Posts Tagged ‘Poker’

For the first time in recent memory, the members of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine will reunite under one roof at the Foxwoods Mega Stack Challenge on February 8th. The gathering will take the form of a three-table, 27-man tournament featuring Foxwoods qualifiers and members of the 2010 WSOP November Nine.

Jonathan Duhamel became the first Canadian WSOP Main Event champ ever after defeating Floridian John Racener in November at the Rio in Las Vegas. Now, the action moves 2,000 miles eastward to the forests of Connecticut. The Main Event in Las Vegas featured the third cycle of the November Nine format, which saw the $10,000 buy-in poker tournament paused for four months starting in July once its final table was determined.

Poker News Daily Guest Columnist and Foxwoods ambassador Bernard Lee commented in a press release distributed on Monday that he was looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence: “This will be a legendary reunion watched by the entire poker community. Not only will the November Nine meet at Foxwoods to resurrect memories of their last game, the players will also test their skills against the casino’s strongest poker players.”

Foxwoods will be filling the seats in the three-table event through qualifiers taking place between now and February 3rd. Then, the 19th Mega Stack Challenge will get underway on February 4th and stretch for nine days. The series boasts $400,000 in guaranteed prize money spread across six events, the granddaddy being a $1,200 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament with a $150,000 purse. The $1,200 buy-in contest begins on February 12th and runs for two days. It awards players starting stacks of 40,000 in chips and blind levels run for 50 minutes apiece until the final table, when they’ll be extended by 10 minutes.

In addition to facing off against each other, members of the November Nine will host events during the Mega Stack Challenge XIX in the casino’s World Poker Tour (WPT) branded poker room. Joining Duhamel and Racener will be seven other household names: Joseph Cheong, Filippo Candio, Michael Mizrachi, John Dolan, Jason Senti, Matt Jarvis, and Soi Nguyen.

Three separate $75,000 Guaranteed tournaments are also part of the Mega Stack Challenge schedule. One is a $600 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament that begins on February 4th and crowns a champion the next day. It offers up starting stacks of 20,000 in chips and ticks off blind levels every 45 minutes. The second $75,000 Guaranteed contest is a $400 buy-in two-day event that starts on February 10th, 48 hours after the big November Nine reunion. Players will collect starting stacks of 15,000 and blind levels will run for 40 minutes.

The final $75,000 Guaranteed tournament boasts a $300 buy-in and offers up 10,000-chip stacks. The price of poker will go up every half hour and two starting days will be held, one on February 7th and one on February 8th. The finals will take place on February 9th and the first day of every event begins promptly at 11:00am ET. Single-table satellites to each tournament are also available and start at an affordable $75.

You can listen to Lee break down the news in an exclusive video interview right here on Poker News Daily. The Foxwoods pro told us, “I don’t ever remember hearing that the full World Series Main Event final table ever reassembled again and so I really believe that this is part of history that they’ll all be back together again. I think it’ll be an exciting time for the world of poker and it’ll be exiting at Foxwoods during the Mega Stack.”

Foxwoods is about a 2.5 hour drive from the Big Apple and less than two hours from Boston. Providence, Hartford, and Worcester are all with an hours’ striking distance. We’ll have more information for you on the November Nine reunion at Foxwoods on February 8th as it develops.

On Saturday night, the finals of the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship continued on GSN. The four-handed final table saw its first elimination and the show ended with three teams left standing. Teammates alternate action by street in the Doubles Poker Championship suite at the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas.

Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon were the chip leaders entering Saturday’s Doubles Poker Championship episode with a stack of 873,000, while Chris Ferguson and Phil Ivey owned the second largest tally at 593,000. PartyPoker pro Tony G and cash game specialist David Benyamine entered in third place with 389,000 and Huck Seed and Allen Cunningham were the low men on the totem pole at 145,000. The top team receives $1 million, while, in a steep payout structure, the fourth place team walks away with just $100,000.

Seed and Cunningham doubled up to over 300,000 with A-K against K-J when the board ran out five cards eight or lower. Shortly thereafter, Lederer raised to 47,000 before the flop with A-9 and Seed re-raised to 86,000 with 5-4 of hearts. Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship commentator Brandon Adams speculated that Seed meant to call, but inadvertently raised. Either way, Lederer called and the flop came 7-A-4, giving each team a pair.

Cunningham bet 80,000 with bottom pair and Gordon raised all-in over the top with a pair of aces. Cunningham called for time to consult with Seed, who owns the best record in National Heads-Up Poker Championship history. Seed admitted that the call was “borderline” and Cunningham elected to call all-in. The turn was an eight and the river was a six, giving Seed and Cunningham a miracle straight for the win. Gordon stood up and paced around in dismay after seeing the gutshot straight draw hit on the river.

In a subsequent hand, Ivey raised to 40,000 pre-flop with pocket nines and the entire table folded. As a result, his team became the chip leaders and an elaborate reference to Ivey as “god-like” was made. Then, his partner, Ferguson, open-shoved all-in with pocket deuces and Tony G insta-called all-in with K-9. Tony G dubbed a king on the flop “The Butcher of Baghdad” and a running 10-J gave Tony G and Benyamine a double up.

However, their elation would be short-lived, as on the very next hand, Tony G called pre-flop with Q-J of diamonds and told Lederer, in the big blind with A-Q, “I am ready to call a significant raise.” Lederer raised and, true to his word, Tony G instantly moved all-in. Lederer called to put Tony G and Benyamine at risk. The board fell 5-8-K-8-6 and Tony G and Benyamine became the first casualties of the Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship final table. They earned $100,000 collectively, essentially getting their $50,000 buy-ins back.

Cunningham faced another tough decision to close out Saturday’s episode. He made a continuation bet with pocket fives on a 2-3-6 flop only to be met with an all-in from Gordon, who held A-Q. Cunningham tanked before releasing the best hand and would later move all-in over the top of a raise from Ivey, who sent A-3 into the muck.

The Full Tilt Doubles Poker Championship continues next Saturday at 8:00pm ET on GSN. Check your local listings for more details.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the world’s largest casino company and owner of the World Series of Poker brand, filed an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The company is going public just three years after private equity firms Apollo and TPG Capital took it private for $30.7 billion, and hopes to raise as much as $575 million in stock to finish planned projects in Las Vegas and Ohio.

Harrah’s said on Tuesday in a U.S. regulatory filing that it will use the proceeds of the IPO to finish its 660-room Octavius Tower at Caesars Las Vegas, develop the LINQ retail and entertainment area next to the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip, and invest in the potential joint venture development of two Ohio casinos with Rock Gaming LLC. Harrah’s said in the filing that Apollo and TPG, the company’s largest shareholders, would retain their controlling interest, but didn’t release the firms’ ownership percentages.

Also included in the Harrah’s IPO is New York hedge fund company Paulson & Co. Inc., which is following through on arrangements that were set in August by selling its 9.9% stake in Harrah’s. Paulson & Co. Inc. got its stake in exchange for taking on $710.3 million in debt. The hedge fund bought most of that debt, $532 million, for $354.9 million – nearly two-thirds of its face value.

Harrah’s has been suffering through an economic downturn since the recession hit in 2008 and has taken steps to lower its debt load and interest expenses over the past year. The company, which owns or manages 52 casinos in seven countries, reported $8.9 billion in revenue in 2009, but said it lost $274 million on $2.2 billion in revenue during the second quarter this year. As of June 30, Harrah’s had a long-term debt of $23.3 billion, mostly due in 2015 or later. It assumed $12.4 billion in debt with the takeover by affiliates of Apollo and TPG in January 2008.

Still, there appears to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel for the world’s largest gambling company. In the filing to the Nevada Gaming Control Board requesting to sell the stock, Harrah’s alluded to recent upswings in Las Vegas tourism numbers. In August, gaming revenue soared 21% on the Strip, where Harrah’s owns and operates eight different casinos. That, along with the fact that visitation to Las Vegas has increased or been flat for 12 straight months, may attract investors. Some industry experts are even anticipating close to $1 billion in IPO sales.

“Our industry is heavily dependent upon both the leisure and business traveler,” Harrah’s said in the filing. “The trends in both of these areas have turned positive over the past few quarters, as evidenced by increasing hotel occupancy, visitor counts and convention space booking.”

The move by Harrah’s comes less than a week after rival MGM Resorts International unveiled plans to raise more than $517 million through a stock offering of some 40.9 million shares. Like Harrah’s, MGM has been saddled with a heavy debt load for quite some time, and proceeds from MGM’s sale will go toward its repayment.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for updates on the Harrah’s Entertainment IPO.