I’m as proud to be an American as the next guy – current political environment not withstanding – but damn if I sometimes wish I lived elsewhere so I could play some online poker (yeah, yeah, I know there are a few sites I could play on, but I don’t consider them worth the effort or risk for me). And here we go with PokerStars just teasing me once again, as it has announced the schedule for the 2017 Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP).
Running January 18th through January 29th, the 2017 TCOOP will feature 65 events and guarantees of more than $15 million. Buy-ins will range from $7.50 to $1,000, though the buy-ins on the extreme ends of the range are outliers; most buy-ins are $27, $82, and $215.
On the PokerStars blog, Bryan Slick wrote noted that most of the changes from 2016 to 2017 were made in response to players’ suggestions. “Looking at our feedback roll-up sheet,” he said, “I can see that 15 separate feedback points were addressed in some way – in some cases impacting multiple Events per point – via improvements to the series. Thank you to everyone who submitted feedback on TCOOP 2017!”
In April 2013, William “Bart” Davis and John Newmerzhycky were driving west on I-80 in a rental car after playing in at a WSOP Circuit stop in Joliet, Illinois, heading home to California. They were pulled over by state troopers in Iowa for allegedly failing to signal when switching lanes (the troopers’ dash cam later revealed that the troopers were lying about this). Their car was then searched and the troopers confiscating over $100,000 in cash – the poker players’ bankrolls and profit from the trip – and a small amount of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. The men did have medical marijuana licenses issued in California, but those weren’t valid in Iowa.
The players filed a lawsuit the following year, claiming the troopers conducted a “warrantless search” and that their money was seized illegally. The state, in turn, gave them back $90,000, but the men continued with the suit, partially because so much of the money returned to them had to be used for attorneys’ fees. In 2015, a judge allowed the case to continue, and now, the state has reached a settlement with the poker players, giving them another $60,000.
On top of that, the Iowa Department of Public Safety announced that it would disband its Drug Interdiction Team. The team was originally created to combat drug trafficking, but had troopers had increasingly abused their authority, frequently stopping people for no reason and seizing property, such as in the case of Davis and Newmerzhycky.
Ukrainian Oleg Vasylchenko led Day 3 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Prague Main Event the entire way and used his big stack to propel himself to the championship of the tournament for his first-ever major title. He did not go wire-to-wire at the final table, but though he did spend some time towards the bottom of the standings, he was also rarely found himself in much trouble.
By the time heads-up play began, Vasylchenko had a 3.115 million to 1.895 million chip lead on Anton Petrov. We usually see the player trailing in chips make a charge, but not this time. Petrov won just a single heads-up hand and it was all over after eight hands. On the final hand, the Vasylchenko flopped two pair and hid it well, allowing Petrov to get all of his chips in on the turn, when he himself hit top pair.
Vasylchenko won €132,200 for his victory, by far his biggest live tournament cash.
When WPT Prague began, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic began at the Bellagio. After about a week, James Romero, was crowned champion of the largest Five Diamond Main Event in history. With 791 entries, the $10,00 0 + $400 tournament generated a prize pool of $7,672,700 and a first prize of $1,938,118.
Romero dominated the six-handed final table. He went into it with 9.860 million chips, more than twice as many as the second place player, Ryan Tosoc, who had 4.465 million. From the opening gun, it was off to the races for Romero, as he never trailed. Through the first two eliminations, his lead got smaller as Tosoc grew his stack and the lead actually shrunk a bit more part-way through three-handed play, but eventually he took off. He got to over 17 million chips at one point while his two opponents had fewer than 6.5 million between them. Going into heads-up against Tosoc, Romero had a monumental 20.950 million to 2.775 million chip lead. Tosoc tried to hold strong, but there was nothing he could do, as his pocket Fives ran into Romero’s Kings on the final hand.
Prior to the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Romero had less than $5,000 in live tournament earnings. Now he has almost $2 million.
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