One of the most interesting characters of the early poker boom has passed away. Paul “X-22” Magriel was 71-years old.
Before his poker career, Magriel was both a chess champion and backgammon champion. As to the latter, he won the 1978 World Championship of Backgammon and wrote the book, Backgammon, still one of the most respected books on the subject. His nickname, X-22, came from backgammon. Magriel setup 64 backgammon boards to simulate a backgammon tournament, numbering them X-1 through X-64; X-22 was the champ.
Magriel only won a bit over $500,000 in live poker tournaments, nothing compared to most top players, but he was extremely entertaining at the tables, often saying “quack, quack” as he opened the betting. I know that sounds lame, but if you watched him, you’d agree that Magriel was a funny, quirky dude.
“Woke up to the sad news that backgammon legend Paul Magriel had passed away,” Erik Seidel tweeted. “He changed the game with his book, was a generous champion and an enthusiastic teacher. He changed my life and the lives of many others.”
Wind Creek Hospitality to Buy Sands Bethlehem for $1.3 Billion
On Thursday, Pennsylvania’s Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem announced that has inked a deal with Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, to sell the casino for $1.3 billion.
Wind Creek currently operates nine casinos, seven in the United States, three of which are under the Wind Creek name. Sands Bethlehem will be easily the largest property in the Wind Creek portfolio. If we had to guess, it will also probably be re-branded with the Wind Creek label.
This also means that Sands Bethlehem, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., will not have to get involved in the upcoming Pennsylvania online gambling market. Since it will still be quite some time before any online poker sites launch (no licenses have even been granted yet) and before the sale is finalized, it would not be surprising to see Sands acquire a license for Wind Creek.
Sands Bethlehem is the second largest casino in terms of revenue in Pennsylvania, generating $540 million last year.
David Larson Wins WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event
When a poker player decides they want to try to satellite into a high buy-in poker tournament, it is usually because the tournament is a bit too rich for their blood and they want to enter at a discount. In David Larson’s case, he wanted to satellite into the WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event, but when he was the bubble boy in a satellite, he wasn’t content to just walk away. Instead, he went to the ATM, withdrew the money he needed for the buy-in, and went ahead and won the whole damn thing.
On top of that, Larson was a prohibitive short stack going into the six-handed final table, holding just 700,000 chips. For comparison, the player one step above him had more than twice as many chips and the chip leader, Ping Liu, had 3.330 million.
For most of the final table, Larson did move all that much. Sure, he increased his chip stack to at least make himself a little more comfortable, but he didn’t really start making a significant run until he was just one of three players remaining. He eliminated 2015 WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen in third place to go into heads-up trailing Ian Steinman, 4.600 million chips to 8.300 million.
Coming from behind at this point was old hat and Larson; he took the lead in six hands. From there, he extended his lead and before long, he had eliminated Steinman to win his first major title and nearly $300,000
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