Weekly Poker Roundup: December 9, 2018

Poker Legend Thor Hansen Passes Away

Thor Hansen, dubbed the “Godfather of Norwegian Poker,” passed away on Wednesday at the age of 71. Though there has been no word on his official cause of death, it is assumed that it was colorectal cancer. Hansen was diagnosed with the disease back in 2012 and was given just a few months to live. Amazingly, with help from doctors back home in Norway, he survived another six years, even feeling well enough to get back on the live tournament circuit.

We are used to seeing loads of successful, high-level European poker players nowadays, but Hansen was one of the original greats, paving the road for those we see now. He had two World Series of Poker gold bracelets and earned nearly $3 million in recorded live tournaments.

Hansen has been a Poker Hall of Fame finalist three times; the failure of voters to put him over the hump and into the Hall has drawn the ire of fans who feel non-American players have been ignored for the honor.

Reflections on Hansen’s life have poured in from all corners of the globe. One of the nicest was from Barny Boatman, who simply said,

“Thor Hansen was that rarest of things, an International Treasure. Let’s let his family and friends know how much we all feel the loss of this lovely man.”

PokerStars Drops Monetary Claims Against Gordon Vayo

It appears that the legal dispute between PokerStars (more specifically, its parent company, Rational Entertainment Enterprises Limited) and poker pro Gordon Vayo is coming to an end. In a joint motion filed this past week, PokerStars has agreed to drop its damages and legal costs claims against Vayo, while Vayo’s team has agreed to not file a similar case against PokerStars again.

Vayo had originally sued PokerStars for failing to pay him about $700,000 in winnings from a 2017 SCOOP event. PokerStars claimed he had played at least part of the tournament from California, while Vayo claimed he was in Canada the entire time.

Vayo presented PokerStars with bank statements and utility bills to show he was a Canada resident, but Recently, and thanks to a third party who had some inside info, PokerStars showed Vayo’s attorney that said documents had been forged. At that point, it was over. Vayo basically gave up.

New York Lawmaker Says Sports Betting over Poker in 2019

New York has come close to legalizing online gambling and online poker for a few years. Bills have flown through the Senate and have had a strong champion in the Assembly, J. Gary Pretlow, but have never been able to actually make it through the Assembly.

This past week, Pretlow told Online Poker Report that while he is still an online poker supporter, it is no longer his gaming priority in the state legislature.

The reason for this is because with the expansion of sports betting in the United States, it has become clear that sports betting is much more profitable that is poker. And this holds true for the states, who want as much money as possible from legalized gambling.

Poker is cool and fun, but just doesn’t bring in the bucks like sports betting does.

For this reason, Pretlow has said that he will introduce an online poker bill once again in 2019, but sports betting now has priority. He will not bundle the two, so poker will not get a free ride on sports betting’s coattails.

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