Weekly Poker Roundup: July 4, 2016
Women Win Big at 2016 WSOP
A very solid week of World Series of Poker action was highlighted by not one, but two women winning open events at the 2016 WSOP. Kristen Bicknell and Safiya Umerova become the 23rd and 24th females to accomplish the feat and are also the first women to win events at the WSOP this summer. Eventually this won’t be a big deal, but when the average has now been boosted to one open event win every two years for women, it is still quite noteworthy. Women still make up a small percentage of the player pool at the WSOP and as poker has been dominated by men for – well, forever – Bicknell’s and Umerova’s victories are a welcome site.
Kristen Bicknell won her bracelet in Event #46, the $1,500 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em event, along with a $290,768. This is actually the second bracelet win of the part-time poker player’s career, as she won the Ladies’ Championship three years ago. A quarter of her live tournament cashes are now bracelet wins – not too shabby. On top of the first place prize money, Bicknell also earned 17 bounties plus her own, giving her an additional $9,000 in winnings.
Safiya Umerova won the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout event and over a quarter million dollars. She has only been playing poker for about a year and a half, but has already set her sights on a professional poker career.
“I dream big. I want to be the best poker player in the world,” she said in her interview afterward. “I know I am not there yet. But I want to have the most gold bracelets anyone has ever had. That’s the goal. That’s what you are supposed to go for — right?”
Danzer and Hennigan Win Fourth WSOP Bracelets
As mentioned, this past week was a good one at the 2016 WSOP. In addition to the above, George Danzer and John Hennigan each won their fourth bracelets. Danzer made WSOP history two years ago when he became just the sixth player to win three bracelets in one year. In 2014, he won $10,000 Seven Card Razz and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better Championship in Las Vegas plus the $5,000 8-Game Mixed event at the WSOP Asia-Pacific, making him the only one of the six to split up his three at multiple venues.
Last week, Danzer won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better once again for nearly $340,000. Afterward, he reflected on 2014 with the understatement of the century, saying that winning three bracelets was “tough to do.”
Danzer is now atop of German WSOP bracelet list, one ahead of Dominik Nitsche. There is no rivalry there, he said. “We all try to help each other out and are cheering for each other, but we also try to be the best we can….I hope Dominik (Nitsche) wins his fourth soon, so I can then go out and win my fifth.”
John Hennigan won the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Championship last Wednesday night, his first bracelet since he won the big $50,000 Players Championship in 2014. And thing is, he wasn’t even impressed with his own play.
“What was really striking to me is – I didn’t play that well,” he said in his post-game interview. I got very lucky in this tournament. I didn’t really have it. But I got lucky at the right times. I bluffed and then caught, and I made so many hands. I normally think I played pretty well. But not this time. I played like shit.”
It doesn’t sound like it was Hennigan’s original plan to play in this tourney, either. He was playing cash games, not doing well, and decided to take a breather. He registered in the middle of the night for the tournament after it had already started, a decision he thought was dumb at the time, but which clearly panned out in the end.
Pennsylvania Online Gaming Bill Passes House
After passing an amendment that would expand gambling in the state, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives finally voted on and passed HB 2150, the parent bill to said amendment. Amongst the expansion plans includes the legalization and regulation of online gambling. The bill passed by a vote of 114 to 85 and now moves to the Senate.
Licenses will be restricted to the state’s twelve casinos if, of course, they decide to apply for one. The casinos may not want to develop their own software, though, so they are permitted to partner with software providers and online operators, all of whom must also be granted a license by the state.
The key to getting the legislation passed was the removal of a part of the amendment that would have greatly expanded the installation of video gaming terminals (VGTs) in the state. The casinos certainly didn’t want it, as it would have given customers not to visit since they could get their slots fix at a nearby tavern, and many legislators didn’t want it either. A similar amendment that would have included VGTs failed.
Tribes Continue to Obstruct California Online Poker Progress
Meanwhile, in California, a hard-line coalition of Native American tribes continues to serve as an obstacle to online poker legalization. On June 29th, a group of seven politically influential tribes – , the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians, the Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Table Mountain Rancheria of California, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and the Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation – sent a letter to Assemblyman Adam Gray, the sponsor of AB2863, demanding certain amendments to the bill.
Their big demand is to keep operators out of the California market – namely PokerStars – who continued to offer games after the UIGEA passed in 2006. They want such operators to be prohibited from applying for an online gaming license for ten years AND be required to fork over a $60 million penalty, just for the privilege of applying. The tribes claim that this would ensure that California “maintains the highest integrity” for its online gambling industry and that it would “provide real consequences” to operators like PokerStars.
In reality, of course, the tribes are just afraid of PokerStars and want as much of the online poker pie to themselves.
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