Weekly Poker Roundup: December 25, 2015
Happy Holidays, everyone! As you might expect, it was a rather slow week in the poker world, but there were still a few things going on. Let’s see what we were able to round up (see what I did there?).
Full Tilt Sponsors Top Hearthstone Team
Full Tilt has made a move to enter the consciousness of a wider range of competitive card game players, linking up with G2 Esports to sponsor its Hearthstone team.
Hearthstone is a collectible card strategic “battle” game in which players take turns playing cards from their custom-constructed decks in an effort to whittle their opponent’s “hero” down to zero health. The game is free to play; cards can be acquired via gameplay or, if a player so chooses, via purchase in the game’s store (purchases can be made with in-game currency or real money). Like poker, the game features both skill and luck; skill is on display with how players construct their decks and with which cards they play on a given turn, but which cards they are actually able to play relies a lot on luck.
Hearthstone is also extremely popular for live streamers; many top players have gained strong followings by streaming for both entertainment and educational purposes.
In a press release, G2 Esports’ founder and CEO, Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago said, “Gaming and poker have a long intertwined history with successful gamers effectively transferring skills such as mental strength, determination, concentration and endurance for long hours of play; to the game of poker. Therefore partnering up with an innovative site like Full Tilt was a natural step. We are confident that the sponsorship will help introduce Full Tilt to our fans in a complementary way, giving the site and the game of poker in general, greater exposure in the esports world.”
Shareholders Approve Betfair, Paddy Power Merger
On Monday, the shareholders of Paddy Power and Betfair almost unanimously approved the merger of the two companies in separate extraordinary meetings. The new company, Paddy Power Betfair plc, will be headquartered in Dublin. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has already approved the deal, while the Ireland Competition and Consumer Protection Commission still has yet to rule. The merger is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2016.
When the merger was agreed upon in August, Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran told The Financial Times, “These are two businesses that are performing at a very high caliber and we will have a market-leading position in the UK, Europe, Ireland and Australia. We are paying a slight premium but I regard this as a merger of equals. We have known each other a long time. I used to wear a green jacket [he used to be an exec at Paddy Power]. We have been speaking intensely over the summer and warmly for a time before that.”
Paddy Power has 336 land-based betting shops in the UK and 252 in Ireland, as well as an online presence. Betfair, on the other hand, is the world’s largest internet betting exchange.
Kevin Eyster Wins 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic
Kevin “1sickdisease” Eyster won the second World Poker Tour title of his career this week, taking the crown in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The win came along with a $1.5 million paycheck, Monster 24K headphones, a Hublot Oceanographic 4000 watch, and an Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard (what).
Eyster now has over $4 million in live tournament earnings to go along with more than $3.5 million in online tourney winnings. His other WPT win was at the 2013 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown; he also has five other WPT cashes, eleven World Series of Poker cashes, and one WSOP bracelet.
Eyster entered the six-handed final table in second place and quickly advanced to a gigantic chip lead, having more than the rest of the players combined after hand 25. From there, though, he didn’t do much and had to make some moves to re-grow his stack. Entering heads-up, he had 9.875 million chips versus Bill Jennings’ 9.3 million. The lead flip-flopped a couple times before Eyster finally took off, though Jennings was not nearly in desperation mode when he committed all of his chips.
On the final hand, Eyster raised to 800,000 chips pre-flop and Jennings called. The flop was A-9-4 and Eyster bet 600,000. Jennings called once again to bring on another 4 on the turn. Eyster bet 975,000 and rather than calling, Jennings decided to put his remaining 5.3 million chips in the pot. Eyster called, revealing A-Q for two pair. Jennings also had two pair, but his K-9 gave him a worse version than Eyster’s. The river was of no consequence and Kevin Eyster had his second WPT victory.
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