Win a Red Spade Pass to Vegas for the F1 Race Through PokerStars US

Win a Red Spade Pass to Vegas for the F1 Race Through PokerStars US

The Las Vegas Formula 1 race is going to be huge, and PokerStars US players all have an opportunity from now until the end of September to win a free trip to join in on the festivities.

Online poker players in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are eligible to enter the PokerStars Red Spade Pass contest for free simply by signing up on the poker site. There will be one lucky winner in each of the three states PokerStars operates in.

How to Win a Free Dream Trip to Las Vegas

Each player who signs up for the Ultimate Fan Experience contest for free receives one entry into a drawing, which takes place Oct. 4. Winners will be announced shortly after and will earn a trip to Las Vegas with Oracle Red Bull Racing Nov. 14 for what just might be the biggest Formula 1 race ever.

If you spent any time in Las Vegas over the summer during the World Series of Poker (WSOP), you probably noticed some heavy traffic due to construction on the Strip. That construction was to get the roads ready for a race that will attract thousands of visitors to Southern Nevada to watch a race that will cost many thousands of dollars. But for you, if you’re one of the three lucky winners, it won’t cost you a penny.

There are multiple ways to receive additional entries to increase your chances of winning. First off, if you make your first deposit on the US-facing poker site, you’ll add an extra 10 entries. Making any other deposit of at least $10 is worth another entry. The more entries you rack up, the better the odds will be of you winning a dream vacation.

Those who win the sweepstakes will receive roundtrip flights, hotel transfers, and five nights stay at Paris Las Vegas, home of the World Series of Poker.

Big Things Going on at PokerStars US

The Red Spade Pass contest is only a part of the big things going on at PokerStars in all three licensed US states coming up. PokerNews has been busy live reporting the PokerStars Summer Series at Live! Casino and Hotel Philadelphia, the first live PokerStars event in the US in quite some time.

Earlier this week, the online poker giant also announced the long awaited return of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT), which will make its first appearance since 2011. The first NAPT return series will take place at Resorts World in Las Vegas starting Nov. 4.

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2023 WSOP Online: Main Event Champ Espen Jorstad Denied Third Bracelet

2023 WSOP Online: Main Event Champ Espen Jorstad Denied Third Bracelet

Four more gold bracelets have been dished out in the 2023 WSOP Online on GGPoker since PokerNews’ last round-up for the online festival.

Paulius “redpillgame” Vaitiekunas, “EEewashu99”, Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk and Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan are the latest names to claim their own piece of WSOP hardware. The latter also denied 2022 Main Event champ Espen Jorstad his third bracelet after sending the Norwegian to the wrong side of the rail at heads-up play.

Day 1b of the $25 million guaranteed Main Event also played out with a further 325 players paying the $5,000 buy-in while China’s Xinwen Zhang sits in pole position for Day 2 of the $500 Ladies Championship.

Vaitiekunas Grabs Fifth Bracelet for Lithuania

Paulius Vaitiekunas
Paulius Vaitiekunas

Vaitiekunas got his hands around the fourth bracelet up for grabs after being the last player standing in #4: $840 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha. He topped the 706-entry field and secured the largest slice of the $564,800 prize pool. His run to the bracelet awarded him a final prize of $81,848, with $56,953 of that coming from bounties.

Vaitiekunas triumph marks the fifth bracelet winner to come from Lithuania, which puts the country on par with other nations such as Indonesia, Belarus, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea.

Many of poker’s biggest names also took a shot, with a few making the money but falling short of a notable run. Felipe Ramos (95th – $1,144 + $200), David Peters (88th – $1,144) and Dario Sammartino (81st – $1,144+$200) were some of those famous faces to depart well before the final table.

#4: $840 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha Final Table Results

Place Player Country Bounty Prize Total
1 Paulius “redpillgame” Vaitiekunas Lithuania $56,953 $24,895 $81,848
2 “The Harvester” Mexico $23,003 $24,839 $47,842
3 Dante Goya Brazil $5,138 $19,808 $24,946
4 “TUL!” Finland $7,169 $15,779 $22,948
5 “big pot boy” Finland $7,475 $12,569 $20,044
6 “y Frankfurt” Israel $2,488 $10,012 $12,500
7 Bernardo “GGeKKo” Dias Brazil $4,075 $7,975 $12,050
8 “Riki_top” Russia $1,050 $6,353 $7,403
9 “The Prestige” China $2,525 $5,061 $7,586

Teusl On Course For Second Ladies Championship

Jessica Teusl
Jessica Teusl

The first stage of the #5: $500 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship has also wrapped up proceedings with the 36 remaining players returning to the virtual felt on Saturday, September 2.

Leading the way is the aforementioned Zhang, who comes back with 96 big blinds, while the likes of the Tatiana Rangel and Zhanna Hodovanets are not too far behind.

Jessica Teusl also sits in the top ten chip counts and is looking to add a second Ladies Championship title to her list of accomplishments. Teusl took down the live version of this event at the 2022 WSOP for $166,975.

After late registration closed on Day 1, there were 167 confirmed entries that created a $79,325 prize pool. The money bubble will burst when just 27 are still in contention, and then anyone left will be battling out for the $16,613 set aside for the winner.

#5: $500 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship Top Ten Chip Counts

Place Player Country Chip Count Big Blinds
1 Xinwen Zhang China 288,046 96
2 Tatiana Rangel Brazil 255,728 85
3 Zhanna Hodovanets Poland 247,248 82
4 Carla Di Marco Argentina 238,515 80
5 Julia Bondarovich Russia 219,850 73
6 Jessica Teusl Austria 206,457 69
7 Maria Korableva Russia 202,348 67
8 Jessica Pilkington United Kingdom 186,517 62
9 Ann-Roos Callens Belgium 184,200 61
10 Mary Dvorkin Israel 154,910 52

Vogelsang Pipped to Monster Stack Title

Christoph Vogelsang
Christoph Vogelsang

Aptly, #6: $1,500 MONSTER STACK No-Limit Hold’em pulled in some behemothic numbers with 1,207 entries recorded in the registration period, resulting in a seven-figure prize pool of $1,719,975.

The unidentified “EEewashu99” overcame a tough final table that included tournament experts Shannon Shorr and Christoph Vogelsang. Shorr was the first to leave the final table, while Vogelsang bowed out in fifth place, meaning both players are still searching for their first bracelet win.

#6: $1,500 MONSTER STACK No-Limit Hold’em Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 “EEewashu99” Austria $231,821
2 Hristo “icho” Anastassov Austria $173,841
3 “Moose is Loose’ Cyprus $130,362
4 Guilherme Carmo Brazil $97,758
5 Christoph Vogelsang Germany $73,308
6 Vitalijs “chegochego” Zavorotnijs Austria $54,973
7 “fer_90_1” Ecuador $41,224
8 “GodsofMongols” Austria $30,914
9 Shannon Shorr United States $23,182

Liszewski Bags Best in Day 1B of Main Event

Arkadiusz Liszewski
Arkadiusz Liszewski

The second qualifying flight for the Main Event has also taken place within the last week, with 325 players taking their shot at the big one. Poland’s Arkadiusz “Noksukow” Liszewski bagged best from Day 1B, ending the session with 1,441,156.

The esteemed Ole Schemion was also in attendance and cruised through to Day 2 and will resume the Main Event with a 913,947 stack.

2020 runner-up of the International Leg of the Main Event Brunno Botteon and Bruno Volkmann were also apart of the class of 39 players to advance.

So far, there have been 568 entries into the Main, with 69 of those still with chips.

#28: $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event Day 1B Top Ten Chip Counts

Place Player Country Chip Count
1 Arkadiusz “Noksukow” Liszewski Poland 1,441,156
2 “loafabread” Canada 1,201,310
3 “KeepControl” Brazil 984,507
4 Ole Schemion Germany 913,947
5 “Eleon” Russia 836,202
6 Itai “PokerSmart” Drory Israel 814,976
7 “caballou44” Guatemala 726,379
8 Zhao Fu Zhang Austria 665,705
9 “muck4fcKK” Croatia 644,012
10 Miguel “kryingkid10” Silva Romania 630,321

Mystery Bounty Eclipses $10M Guarantee

The first eight-figure prize pool of the online festival has also come around with #7: $210 Mystery Millions breaching the $10 million guarantee. The final tally ended up at $10,242,200.

A gigantic 51,211 entries were seen across the wave of starting flights, with just 4,472 of those making it through to the Mystery Bounty stage, which featured a $1 million top bounty prize. “John Milly”, a rightly fitting name, pulled the jackpot bounty within the first five minutes of play restarting.

Ukraine’s Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk was the one to take it down and saw $360,139 go into their GGPoker purse after he defeated Simon “23 Savage” Gilles in heads-up play.

#7: $210 Mystery Millions – $1M Top, $10M GTD

Place Player Country Bounty Prize Total
1 Yurii “pumbiko_O” Olinyk Ukraine $5,488 $354,651 $360,139
2 Simon “23 Savage” Gilles Austria $1,978 $255,055 $257,033
3 “Crayola8” Ukraine $6,271 $183,847 $190,118
4 “Flash_ua” Ukraine $423 $132,523 $132,946
5 “sixsett” Russia $6,474 $95,529 $102,003
6 “Sens @[-_-]@” Indonesia $2,747 $68,864 $71,611
7 “ungkangkang” Singapore $2,422 $49,645 $52,067
8 “carter66” Canada $486 $35,792 $36,278
9 “AK9696” Malaysia $1,828 $25,807 $27,635

Chan Ends 18-Year Bracelet Pursuit

Terrance Chan
Terrance Chan

The most recent online bracelet event to reach its conclusion was #8: $2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship, which saw 124 entries generate a $294,500 prize fund.

Bryn Kenney, who recently returned to the top spot on the All-Time Money List, was unable to add to his winnings and crashed out well before the money in 65th. Daniel Negreanu, who has had two consecutive losing years at the series, saw his WSOP woes continue after his run ended in 31st place.

Limit Hold’em maestro Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan ended his long-awaited bracelet drought after beating Jorstad in the final showdown. Chan’s first-ever WSOP cash came all the way back in 2005, and he has made seven WSOP final tables since then. After a few close calls, Chan finally etched his name in the WSOP history books, much to the delight of the wider poker community.

#8: $2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Terrence “fr33hongkong” Chan Canada $64,021
2 Espen Jorstad Norway $48,330
3 Kostya Holskiy Ukraine $35,485
4 “Ramsau” Austria $27,542
5 “JESUISYAAZY” Austria $20,792
6 Jesse Lonis United States $15,696
7 Timothy “JoeExotic69” Rutherford Canada $11,849
8 Samuel “vivaegipto” Bernabeu Mexico $8,945
9 Ben “RumpelTiltSkin” Underwood Canada $6,753
Name Surname
Calum Grant

Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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CEP Main Shatters Records as PokerStars EPT Barcelona Kicks Off

CEP Main Shatters Records as PokerStars EPT Barcelona Kicks Off


With a groundbreaking turnout of nearly 2000 contenders, the CEP Main Event has shattered records and ignited excitement.

The conclusion of the PokerStars-sponsored Campeonato España de Poker (CEP) tour in Barcelona marked a significant milestone, with the CEP Main Event drawing an astounding crowd of nearly 2000 entries. This unprecedented turnout has set the stage for the upcoming prestigious European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona, while tax-related concerns loom and expectations of record-breaking participation abound.

The CEP Main Event, which featured a €550 buy-in, attracted a record-breaking 1960 players. This accomplishment solidified the Main Event’s position as the largest in CEP history, surpassing the previous record set four years prior with 1773 registrations. The surge in participation reflects an impressive growth of nearly 50% compared to the previous year’s event.

Held at Casino Barcelona from August 11, the 2023 CEP Barcelona stop experienced strong turnouts, despite uncertainties stemming from recent tax changes in Spain.

The trend of robust participation was evident from the outset of the CEP, with various events reporting exceptional attendance. The opening event, with a €330 entry fee, witnessed 822 entries—almost double the attendance of the previous year’s edition. Similarly, the Mini Main Event, featuring a €200 buy-in, saw 786 participants, marking a significant 30% increase compared to the previous year.

The culmination of this enthusiasm was the Main Event’s remarkable achievement, resulting in a total prize pool of €854,560 across its five Day 1s.

The CEP festival aligns with a broader global trend of increased interest in live poker events. From the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to regional events in Europe and Asia, record-breaking attendance is becoming the norm, underscoring the undeniable demand for live poker experiences.

With the CEP chapter coming to a close, attention now shifts to the highly anticipated European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona.

Commencing on August 21, the PokerStars LIVE Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) commenced, serving as an integral part of the main EPT festival.

EPT Barcelona, a cornerstone of PokerStars’ European destinations, is renowned for attracting substantial crowds. The city’s rich poker history dates back to 2004, hosting significant stops of the European Poker Tour. Last year, both the ESPT and EPT Main Events set attendance records, with the €5300 EPT Main Event becoming the largest-ever in EPT history, drawing 2294 players.

However, this year’s EPT Barcelona faces a unique challenge due to recent tax changes in Spain. These alterations impose taxes on poker players’ winnings, affecting both local and international participants, irrespective of their professional or recreational status.

While European Union players face a 19% tax rate, non-EU players contend with a higher 24% rate. This change in tax classification has raised concerns and uncertainty among players about the sustainability of EPT Barcelona’s historically impressive turnouts.

Nevertheless, the record-breaking attendance during the CEP festival provides assurance, suggesting another prosperous EPT Barcelona edition on the horizon.

Running from August 21, the EPT Barcelona series features the prestigious €5300 EPT Main Event scheduled from August 27 to September 3. Online satellites on the PokerStars platform have already begun, with buy-ins starting as low as €5.50.



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The Brief But Entertaining History of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT)

The Brief But Entertaining History of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT)

The North American Poker Tour (NAPT) will return for the first time in over a decade this coming November. In preparation, let’s take a look at the very brief but rather intriguing history of what was once an up-and-coming tour.

This fall, Resorts World in Las Vegas will host an NAPT event, which should bring out a huge crowd in the weeks leading up to the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship across the street at Wynn.

PokerStars, which also owns the European Poker Tour (EPT) has decided to re-launch the NAPT as the iconic online poker brand is focused on hosting live poker events in the US again and around North America. Later this month, the poker site will host a Summer Series at Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphi a with $1 million guaranteed over three events.

So, what is (or was) the North American Poker Tour? Here’s a brief guide to what you missed if you hadn’t followed the NAPT from 2010-2011.

How it Began and Why it Ended

In 2010, PokerStars launched the NAPT and it immediately gained notoriety thanks in large part to the era it took place in, the successful branding of the tour, and a beneficial television deal with ESPN, the largest sports network in North American.

ESPN aired the NAPT on its secondary network, ESPN2, and used its long-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) commentators Lon McEachern and Norman Chad. Here’s a video of former PokerStars ambassador Jason Mercier making an incredible call on the river with a small pair in a 2010 event.

The tour was a rousing success during the poker boom era when poker was still mainstream and available on multiple major television networks. So, why did PokerStars pull the plug on it in 2011?

Season 1 (2010) consisted of seven tournaments around the continent, and then only two the following season (2011) due to the April 15, 2011 “Black Friday” scandal, which forced the top poker sites, including PokerStars, to cease operations in the US. As such, the tour became unnecessary as American players were no longer customers of PokerStars.

With PokerStars back in business in parts of the US (Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) and Ontario, the poker site is bringing back live poker action around the continent.

PokerStars’ Entrance into North America Live Poker Tournaments (2016)

Biggest Names in the Game

Scott Seiver NAPT Poker
Scott Seiver

Part of why the NAPT was entertaining had to do with the players in the game. The tour attracted many of the highest-profile players in poker, such as Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, Erik Seidel, and Scott Seiver. Basically, if you were a big name poker pro back in 2010, you likely competed in at least one North American Poker Tour event.

The NAPT began at the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January with a $10,300 buy-in tournament that attracted 1,529 entries, creating a massive prize pool of $14.8 million. Harrison Gimbel would take it down, beating Tyler Reiman heads-up to win $2.2 million.

William Reynolds won a $25k high roller NAPT event during that same PCA series for $576,400, beating out 84 entrants. The third and fourth tour tournaments took place at the Venetian in Las Vegas with Tom Marchese and Ashton Griffin each winning an event.

In April 2010, the next two NAPT tournaments took place at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and two big name PokerStars pros at the time came out victorious — Selbst and Mercier. Action then shifted to the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles in November of that same year. Joe Tehan won a $5,000 event for $725,000, beating out 701 players.

Season 2 kicked off in January 2011 at the PCA where Galen Hall came out victorious in a $10,300 buy-in tournament for $2,300,000. The turnout was slightly higher than the year prior, showing that NAPT interest hadn’t fallen off.

The tour then returned to Mohegan Sun for another successful tournament starting April 9, 2011 with 367 players registered for the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament. Little did the NAPT know at the time that four days later, Black Friday would hit. Selbst won the tournament on April 13, two days prior to Black Friday, for $450,000 and became the only two-time NAPT champion. And that was the end of the North American Poker Tour for 11 years.

Complete North American Poker Tour Results

Location Date Buy-In Entries Winner Winner Prize
PCA (Bahamas) Jan. 5-11, 2010 $10,300 1,529 Harrison Gimbel $2,200,000
PCA (Bahamas) Jan. 11-14, 2010 $25,500 84 William Reynolds $576,400
Venetian (Las Vegas) Feb. 20-24, 2010 $5,000 872 Tom Marchese $827,648
Venetian (Las Vegas) Feb. 23-25, 2010 $25,600 49 Ashton Griffin $560,000
Mohegan Sun (Connecticut) April 7-11, 2010 $5,000 716 Vanessa Selbst $750,000
Mohegan Sun (Connecticut) April 23-25, 2010 $25,600 35 Jason Mercier $475,000
Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles) Nov. 12-17, 2010 $5,000 701 Joe Tehan $725,000
*PCA (Bahamas) Jan. 8-15, 2011 $10,300 1,560 Galen Hall $2,300,000
*Mohegan Sun (Connecticut) April 9-13, 2011 $5,000 367 Vanessa Selbst $450,000

*Denotes Season 2 events.

PokerStars NAPT Returns on November 4

The Brief But Entertaining History of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) 101

The PokerStars North American Poker Tour (NAPT) is returning after a 12-year hiatus, and where better to get the show on the road than fabulous Las Vegas? November 4-12 are the dates to highlight in your diaries because that is when NAPT Las Vegas heads to Resorts World in “Sin City.”

The 2023 NAPT Las Vegas takes place just one week before the most anticipated Formula 1 Grand Prix in history, which takes place through the streets of Las Vegas. PokerStars will be there, Oracle Red Bull Racing will be there, will you?

Click here for more details on the return of the NAPT!

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WPT World Championship at Wynn to Set Record w/ $40 Million Guarantee

WPT World Championship at Wynn to Set Record w/ $40 Million Guarantee

Last year’s World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas easily surpassed its lofty $15 million guaranteed prize pool with $29 million in the pot. This coming December, the same $10,400 buy-in tournament is going to be even bigger — much bigger — with a record $40 million guaranteed.

The historic no-limit hold’em tournament runs Dec. 12-21 as part of a WPT festival that kicks off Nov. 29 on the Las Vegas Strip. On Dec. 21, the final table will be live-streamed, and those six players could be competing for an eight-figure payday.

Outside of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, never before has a $10k tournament had as many entrants as it will take to reach that record-setting guarantee. It may seem like an ambitious goal to hit $40 million in one event, but the inaugural WPT World Championship in 2022 wasn’t far off, and this year’s edition figures to attract even more players.

2023 WPT World Championship Event Details

As you probably assumed, achieving that huge promised prize pool will take more than just one or two Day 1 sessions, and of course re-entry will be permitted. Players can enter any and all of the four starting flights beginning Dec. 12 with one per day planned.

The structure should be to the liking of both pros and recreational players. Everyone starts with 100,000 chips and plays 60 minute levels on Day 1 with the levels increasing to 90 minutes throughout the remainder of the tournament until heads-up play begins (45 minutes).

Eliot Hudon WPT World Championship
Eliot Hudon, 2022 WPT World Championship winner.

Eliot Hudon is the reigning champion, having won $4.1 million for beating out 2,960 entrants, the largest field ever for a non-WSOP $10k. This year’s winner will almost certainly take home a significantly higher prize than Hudon’s score.

The WPT World Championship series will be competing heavily with the first ever World Series of Poker (WSOP) Paradise series in the Bahamas, which runs Dec. 3-15. Many players will travel back and forth from the Bahamas to Las Vegas, and also the Czech Republic for the European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague stop, which also takes place in December.

More than Just One Big Event

The WPT World Championship series has a host of juicy tournaments on the schedule. Action begins on Nov. 29 with two events — $600 Limit Omaha/8 ($60,000 guaranteed) and $600 No-Limit Hold’em ($1,000,000 guaranteed).

There are numerous other major tournaments on the schedule, none more anticipated than the $1 million buy-in WPT Big One for One Drop from Dec. 18-19, the first time the seven-figure charity event has been hosted in the US outside of the WSOP.

WPT Bringing Back $1 Million Buy-In Charity Event

On Dec. 4, the $1,600 Mystery Bounty starts, and that one will have a $2,000,000 minimum prize pool. The return of the WPT Prime Championship at Wynn, an $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em contest with $5,000,000 guaranteed, kicks off Dec. 7 with the first of four Day 1 starting flights. Stephen Song, who beat out 5,430 entrants for $712,650, is the defending champion.

Stephen Song WPT Prime Championship
Stephen Song, winner of the 2022 WPT Prime Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.

Back by popular demand is the $1,100 Ladies Championship, a three-day no-limit hold’em tournament with $250,000 guaranteed starting Dec. 6. Last year’s same event was one of the biggest female-only poker tournaments in history. Lina Niu beat out a field of 578 entrants for a $105,136 payday.

There’s something for just about every type of tournament poker player on the schedule, and many opportunities to win life-changing money.

Full 2023 WPT World Championship Series Schedule

Dates Tournament Buy-In Guarantee
Nov. 29 Limit Omaha/8 $600 $60,000
Nov. 29-Dec. 4 No-Limit Hold’em $600 $1,000,000
Dec. 3 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Max $10,000  
Dec. 4-7 Mystery Bounty No-Limit Hold’em $1,600 $2,000,000
Dec. 4-6 Seniors Championship (55+) $1,100 $500,000
Dec. 4 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Max $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 5 No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 6-8 Ladies Championship $1,100 $250,000
Dec. 7-12 WPT Prime Championship $1,100 $5,000,000
Dec. 8 8-Game Mix $2,200 $200,000
Dec. 12-21 WPT World Championship $10,400 $40,000,000
Dec. 12-13 HORSE Championship $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 13 Pot-Limit Omaha $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 15 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo ($500 Bounty) $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 16 No-Limit Hold’em Progressive Bounty (PKO) $3,000 $500,000
Dec. 17-18 Limit Omaha/8 Championship $1,100 $100,000
Dec. 17-20 No-Limit Hold’em $3,000 $3,000,000
Dec. 17-18 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller $25,700  
Dec. 18-19 WPT Big One for One Drop $1,000,000  
Dec. 19-23 No-Limit Hold’em $1,600 $2,000,000
Dec. 19-20 Seniors High Roller (50+) $10,000 $500,000
Dec. 19 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Max $3,000 $500,000
Dec. 20-21 Dealers Choice Championship $3,000 $200,000
Dec. 20-21 WPT Alpha8 $50,000  
Dec. 21 Pot-Limit Omaha $10,500  
Dec. 22 No-Limit Hold’em $1,100 $200,000
Dec. 23 No-Limit Hold’em $1,100 $100,000

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New Jersey Online Poker Revenue in July Saw a Massive Year-Over-Year Spike

New Jersey Online Poker Revenue in July Saw a Massive Year-Over-Year Spike

Online poker is booming in New Jersey as evidenced by the nearly 20% spike in revenue in July compared to the same month last year.

The Garden State has three legal and licensed internet card rooms in operation – PokerStars (Resorts Atlantic City), BetMGM (Borgata), and (Caesars Atlantic City). New Jersey is one of five states with legal online poker in action, joining Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

There are many reasons why online poker is so popular in the state. One of those reasons is the access to major tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) online bracelet events on or the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) at PokerStars NJ.

Is Poker legal in New Jersey (NJ)? Online Poker Laws in New Jersey Explained

Breaking it Down

In total, the state’s three online poker rooms generated $2,699,162, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). For comparison, New Jersey’s poker sites raked in $2,277,272 last July, for an increase of $421,890 or 18.5%.

Going back one year further, the July 2021 revenue $3,072,756, but that’s a bit misleading in comparison to the present due to the lack of a WSOP in Las Vegas that summer. The WSOP was moved to the fall temporarily due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the site in New Jersey hosting bracelet events contributed to the month’s revenue.

The poker site rake last month breaks down as follows – PokerStars/Resorts ($842,865), BetMGM/Borgata ($864,687), and ($991,610). In most months, all three sites generate comparable revenue.

There are eight online casinos in New Jersey, but only three offer poker. The state’s total internet gambling revenue cracked $155 million in July, nearly $20 million better than in 2021. Most of that revenue — approximately 98% of it — comes from slots and table games. Poker represents just a fraction of the entire gaming industry. Hence, why most once poker-only sites have added slot machines, sports betting, and table games in recent years.

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World Poker Tour Goes Down Under to Australia From September 14

World Poker Tour Goes Down Under to Australia From September 14

The Star Gold Coast is making final preparations for the biggest and most prestigious poker festival it has ever hosted. From September 14-27, the World Poker Tour is in town for the 2023 WPT Australia festival.

While this is not The Star Gold Coast’s first WPT rodeo, it certainly is the biggest thanks to a Main Tour Main Event commanding an AUD$8,000 ($5,185) buy-in. A WPT tournament of that magnitude is sure to call out to some of Australia’s elite-level players, plus countless more from further afield.

Such luminaries are Sean Ragozzini, Yita Choong, Alex Lynskey, Jarrod Thatcher, Joshua McCully, and the high-stakes guru Michael Addamo all hail from “Down Under” and would love to become a WPT champion on home soil.

Other exciting events include the AUD$880 Shane Warne One Day Perpetual Trophy charity tournament, an AUD$1,500 Opening Event, an AUD$5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Action Clock tournament, an AUD$2,650 Mystery Bounty affair, an AUD$20,000 Super High Roller, and an AUD$10,000 WPT World Championship Warm-Up event.

WPT Australia Schedule

Date Time Event Buy-in (AUD)
Thu 14 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  2:30 p.m. Opening Event Day 1A $1,500
  6:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
  7:30 p.m. Opening Event Satellite $340
Fri 15 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. NLH Turbo Freezeout $565
  2:30 p.m. Opening Event Day 1B $1,500
  6:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
  7:30 p.m. Mystery Bounty Satellite $315
Sat 16 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Opening Event Day 2  
  12:30 p.m. 8 Max Action Clock Day 1 $5,000
  2:30 p.m. Mystery Bounty Day 1A $1,650
  7:30 p.m. Mystery Bounty Satellite $315
  8:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
Sun 17 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Opening Event Final Day  
  12:15 p.m. 8 Max Action Clock Day 2  
  12:30 p.m. Mystery Bounty Day 1B $1,650
  8:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifer $1,075
Mon 18 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Mystery Bounty Day 2  
  2:30 p.m. Outback Survivor Bounty Day 1 $1,150
  7:30 p.m. Ladies Australian Championship Satellite $130
  8:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
Tue 19 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Outback Survivor Bounty Day 2  
  1:30 p.m. Ladies Australia Championship Event Day 1 $660
  2:30 p.m. PLO Action Clock Day 1 $675
  8:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
Wed 20 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:15 a.m. Ladies Australian Championship Day 2  
  11:30 a.m. PLO Action Clock Day 2  
  2:30 p.m. Bonza Bounty Day 1 $880
  7:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
  8:30 p.m. Super High Roller Satellite $2,575
Thu 21 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Bonza Bounty Day 2  
  12:23 p.m. Shane Warne One Day Perpetual Trophy Charity Event $880
  11:15 p.m. Super High Roller Day 1 $20,000
  7:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
Thu 22 Sep 10:30 a.m. Main Event Step 1 Satellite $255
  11:30 a.m. Main Event Day 1A $8,000
  12:30 p.m. Super High Roller Day 2  
  5:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
  7:30 p.m. Main Event Milestone Direct Qualifier $1,075
Fri 23 Sep 11:30 a.m. Main Event Day 1B $8,000
  8:30 p.m. Mini Main Event Milestone Satellite $450
Sat 24 Sep 11:30 a.m. Main Event Day 2  
  2:30 p.m. Mini Main Event Day 1 $2,000
  8:30 p.m. $10K World Championship Warm Up Satellite $1,075
Sun 25 Sep 11:30 a.m. Main Event Day 3  
  2:30 p.m. Mini Main Event Day 2  
  3:30 p.m. $10K World Championship Warm Up Day 1 $10,000
  9:30 p.m. WP World Championship Road to Vegas Satellite $260
Mon 26 Sep 11:30 a.m. Main Event Day 4  
  12:30 p.m. $10K World Championship Warm Up Day 2  
  2:30 p.m. WPT World Championship Road to Vegas Day 1 $1,100
  3:30 p.m. $5K High Roller PLO Day 1 $5,000
Tue 27 Sep 11:30 p.m. Main Event Final Day  
  11:45 a.m. WPT World Championship Road to Vegas Day 2  
  12:30 p.m. $5K High Roller PLO Day 2  
  1:30 p.m. $675 Finale One Day Event Freezeout $675

The Star Gold Coast hosted the WPT Australia festival in late 2019, and it proved a popular stop on the World Poker Tour. The 2019 WPT Australia Main Event commanded an AUD$2,500 buy-in, which 658 players paid and created an AUD$1,480,500 ($996,212) prize pool.

Hari Varma was crowned the Main Event champion, and he received AUD$274,247 ($184,537) for his efforts.

The WPTDeepStacks tour called the Star Gold Coast home in May 2021, and the AUD$1,500 Main Event drew in a massive 1,113-strong crowd. British grinder William Davies came out on top and turned his initial investment into AUD$252,731 ($195,718).

Star Gold Coast completed a World Poker Tour hat trick in June 2022 when it played host to the WPT Prime Gold Coast series. Yang Lei topped an 896-entry field to capture the AUD$201,755 ($141,413) top prize of the AUD$1,500 Main Event.

Play in the $10,400 WPT World Championship For Free With WPT Global

The main WPT returned to the Star Gold Coast in September 2022, and upped the buy-in of the Main Event to AUD$5,400. Some 710 players turned out in force despite the buy-in being twice the size of the previous edition. All that extra prize money resulted in an AUD$647,470 ($429,077) top prize, which David Tang collected.

More recently, the AUD$2,000 WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event, in March 2023, saw Sheng Ye bank AUD$374,953 ($253,264) after battling through a crowd of 1,223 opponents.

With live poker obviously popular in Australia, the fact the recent World Series of Poker in Las Vegas broke several attendance records, and Star Gold Coast is running dozens of satellites into the 2023 WPT Australian Main Event, everything points to this AUD$8,000 tournament being nothing short of huge. Stay tuned to PokerNews to discover if that is the case.

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PokerNews Counts Down Our Top 5 EPT Barcelona Moments

PokerNews Counts Down Our Top 5 EPT Barcelona Moments

It has been a great summer for poker—2023 had a record-breaking WSOP, some of the most exciting cash games in years, and a massive EPT event in Barcelona.

While the European Poker Tour follows its Iberian success with the upcoming EPT Cyprus in October, we’re looking to the past at some of the biggest stories from the EPT Barcelona.

EPT Barcelona has been a fan favorite for years and always continues to provide memorable moments. From last year’s high-roller appearances from soccer players to interventions by the elements, and, of course, having back-to-back record turnout for the Main Events.

So, here’s our list of just the most epic of this moment drawn from two years of the EPT in Barcelona.

5. Invasion of the Footballers

Poker’s an indoor activity, but it attracts its fair share from the green fields and pitches of outdoor sports. Among them in Neymar. After jumping into numerous WSOP events, Neymar dribbled into town in time for the starting whistle of the 2022 EPT Barcelona.

Just a day after scoring for Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar entered the 2022 EPT €100,000 Super High Roller and battled against the likes of David Peters, Sergio Aido, and eventual winner Mikita Badziakouski.

The Brazilian soccer magician hasn’t appeared yet in 2023, but the Premier League was well-represented by retired Man City striker, Sergio Agüero, and ex-Manchester United and FC Barcelona defender, Gerard Piqué.

It’ll be interesting to see if the soccer contingent shows up in strength for the EPT Cyprus in October.

Moraes: “Neymar Doesn’t Play Poker for Money; He Just Wants to Win!”

4. Battling The Elements

EPT Barcelona Main Event Power Outage

The house always wins, but the Casino Barcelona—host to the EPT—had some unfortunate luck during the EPT Barcelona.

Last year, the atmosphere at the final table was electric… except in the literal sense. Thunderstorms over the city caused a brief power outage. During four-handed play, a lightning strike knocked the power out in the casino. The heroic PokerStars LIVE production team got the show back underway without missing any of the action. However, the incident certainly added to what was already a chaotic Main Event final table.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but this year rain storms did clear a section of the casino when a leak in the ceiling started letting the weather in. It never rains, but it pours.

3. Last Minute Bounty

Part of the thrill of the 2023 EPT €1,650 Mystery Bounty event, was waiting for the big €100,000 to be pulled. However, the €100,000 top bounty eluded all players until well into the final table.

Rabinowitz Darren

Darren Rabinowitz held six bounty tickets with only 13 envelopes available – but even with a near 50% chance of catching the biggest prize, the largest bounty he bagged was €10,000. Play continued until the final three players, who attempted to hash out a deal for the remaining bounty with their four bounties, and STILL no one was able to get their hands on the top prize.

Eventually, after play continued, an ICM deal was agreed to split the remaining bounties and prize. Only then was the €100,000 bounty pulled after Mikolaj Zawadzki took down the event for his biggest-ever live score.

Mikolaj Zawadzki Wins EPT Barcelona €1,650 Mystery Bounty (€95,418)

2. Record Breaking Main Events

EPT Barcelona Tournament Room

The 2023 EPT Barcelona attracted 2,120 entries from 1,593 unique players. This makes for a prize pool of €10,600,000 ($11,581,719) and a first prize of €1,488,000 ($1,625,811). It is also the second-biggest main event in EPT history, one of only two to break the 2,000 entry mark.

The biggest was last year’s Main Event.

Barcelona is always a popular stop on the European Poker Tour, and after a field of 749 players entered the EPT Barcelona Main Event on Day 1a, and with bumper fields expected in satellite tournaments for the event, it was already a matter of when and not if the record for the largest EPT Main Event would be broken.

That record was smashed, breaking the 2019 record by some 306 entrants. Plus that year’s Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event finished earlier the same week with 6,313 entries breaking the record for largest live poker tournament of any kind in EPT history.

When you go to the EPT Barcelona, you better go big, because Barcelona certainly does.

1. Chip and a Chair

Giuliano Bendinelli

The most epic story from two years of the new EPT Barcelona has to be Giuliano Bendinelli.

With six players remaining, Bendinelli’s chips stack fell to just one big blind. From there, the Italian pro embarked on one of the most exhilarating comebacks we’ve seen at the poker table.

Powered by his (mostly) electric rail, Bendinelli stormed back to take home the Main Event title, the title of champion, and €1,491,133 in cash.

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WSOP Circuit Tallinn to Cement Estonia’s Capital as the Top Poker Destination

WSOP Circuit Tallinn to Cement Estonia's Capital as the Top Poker Destination

With Autumn knocking on the door, Tallinn, the Estonian capital, is getting ready for the debuting WSOP Circuit Tallinn festival, which will storm the entertaining Olympic Park Casino and luxurious Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel from September 14-24. This will be the first-ever WSOP Circuit event in Northern Europe, offering a record-breaking €1 million guarantee on the Main Event. You shouldn’t be surprised it’s Tallinn that has the honor to host such a prestigious event.

Why Tallinn?

Many circumstances helped Tallinn to become a go-to destination for poker enthusiasts. Located at the shore of the Gulf of Finland, this cozy town of only 450,000 inhabitants is a perfect mix of rich medieval history and a vibrant modern city. Liberal Estonian laws are friendly to poker players and operators, resulting in many Spanish and French poker pros moving to Tallinn to play live and online poker.

The Estonian capital is a popular place among northern neighbors from Finland, with a ferry trip from Helsinki taking less than two hours. Tallinn is also attractive for other poker travelers arriving by air. It takes less than a 10-minute taxi ride from the airport to reach the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel, which is located in the heart of the city center, a mere ten-minute walk from the famous Old Town.

Modern and cozy at the same time, the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel offers a perfect experience for poker players. The hotel’s conference center is filled with poker tables several times per year for festivals such as the Kings of Tallinn, and those are memorable events. Yet, the upcoming WSOP Circuit Tallinn 2023 festival will be something else.

Tallinn Poker Scene

Juha Helppi
Juha Helppi

The biggest Estonian city has been the main hub of the northern poker circuit for some time. Over a decade ago, Tallinn hosted several PokerStars European Poker Tour festivals, showing Baltic hospitality to an international crowd. However, from 2012 until 2015, Northern Europe seemingly vanished from the international poker calendar, but that changed when renowned poker tournament director Teresa Nousiainen, together with OlyBet Group, started a new live festival: Kings of Tallinn.

The very first Kings of Tallinn series in 2015 hosted a modest 12 events; the €1,100 Main Event attracted 111 entries and witnessed future bracelet winner Ranno Sootla earning his first significant title. Since then, the Kings of Tallinn has grown each every year. Main Event champions include Vitalijs Zavorotnijs and Juha Helppi.

12 Gold Rings and a €1M Guaranteed Main Event at the Inaugural WSOP Circuit Tallinn

The Kings of Tallinn series in February 2020 escalated expectations to new heights with a €500,000 guarantee for the €1,100 Main Event and a busy schedule of 39 events, and it was a roaring success. Although the pandemic years slowed down the live poker action, Tallinn festivals were quick to rebound, with the Kings of Tallinn and Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown festivals attacting huge crowds before smashing all the records in 2023.

“The numbers are fantastic, to say the least, placing Tallinn and Olybet events as top poker festivals in Europe. Still, even more than that, I am so happy that we’ve managed to preserve the good vibes, excitement, and player experiences at our events. That has always been my top priority, and I am so happy that OlyBet Group fully supports and enables this approach,” said Teresa Nousiainen.

Time for the World Series

Kings of Tallinn
Kings of Tallinn

In recent years, Olympic Park Casino and Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel have hosted many successful international events, including the Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge (PAPC) festivals, The Summer Showdown series, and many others. Now, the time has come to host the first-ever WSOP Circuit event in Northern Europe, and it will be the biggest poker festival Tallinn has ever seen by far.

“Our poker events have grown from a few hundred players to huge crowds. In the last couple of series, we’ve sold up to 9000 tournament tickets per festival to players from more than 30 nationalities. Our €1,100 Main Event had over 700 entries in February, and now WSOPC Tallinn will have a €1,500 Main Event with a staggering €1 million guarantee! How cool is that?” said Nousiainen.

Breaking Down the Full 52-Event WSOPC Tallinn Schedule

The Hilton Conference Centre was filled with up to 60 poker tables, with 17 more tables offering a variety of cash games at the Olympic Park Casino downstairs during the recent successful festivals and series. Organizers are upping the ante for the upcoming WSOP Circuit festival, with the Hilton Conference Centre housing up to 80 tables, including an additional cash game area and two TV tables.

“I am extremely excited to be able to present the World Series Of Poker Circuit to our poker players. Tallinn is a fantastic poker destination. Hilton Park Tallinn offers beautiful and prestigious facilities for our events, and the 24-hour full-on action cash games are the best in Europe,” said Nousiainen.

Together with €1 million guaranteed €1,500 Main Event, the WSOPC Tallinn 2023 festival will offer 12 Ring Events and a packed schedule of 52 events. Are you ready to discover the Tallinn poker scene and much more?

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Tom Orpaz Continues an Incredible EPT Barcelona Run With €50,000 Super High Roller Title

Tom Orpaz Continues an Incredible EPT Barcelona Run With €50,000 Super High Roller Title

Before the final day of the €50,000 Super High Roller Second Chance at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona even began, Tom Orpaz sized up the trophy and looked forward to taking a winner’s photo with one of the massive trophies the EPT awards to Main Event winners.

Orpaz had good reason to be optimistic. He came into the day as a massive chip leader, nearly three times the stack of his nearest rival. He was also on a hot streak, having won an earlier €25,000 event here in Barcelona and finishing in third place in the €10,200 Mystery Bounty event.

Orpaz ensured he would have to make additional room on his trophy case, defeating Japan’s Tsugunari Toma heads-up to prevail over a field of 24 entries and take home the €442,440 top prize and his second title in Barcelona.

“I’ve reached my goal. My goal was to make more than a million dollars in winnings and at least one trophy. I’ve got two of them and at least a million dollars. And we’re still here, right,” Orpaz said immediately following his victory.

Orpaz took control of the tournament early on Day 1, busting the likes of Jean-Noel Thorel, Sam Grafton, and Nacho Barbero. A lucky six on the turn spelled the end for Argentinian rapper and PokerStars ambassador Alejandro Lococo in seventh place. Orpaz took on the toughest players in the world, from Timothy Adams, Conor Beresford, Steve O’Dwyer, and even Spanish soccer legend Gerard Pique, and beat them at their game again.

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“Of course, it was a good run. I had some good hands, I had some bad hands, I had to adjust my play,” Orpaz said. “I think most of my winnings are in these high roller ones, the 25K, the 50K, even the 10K, where I saw I could adjust towards the other players, the aggression, the bluffs.”

The Tel Aviv real estate investor and entrepreneur isn’t a professional poker player. The game is just a hobby, an avenue where he can challenge himself and have fun doing it all while making a little money.

“This is not my job. This is a hobby of mine. I have a job outside of poker. I have businesses. I have different things that I do. But this I do for fun, and sometimes fun pays you money,” he said.

“It’s the challenge to beat the best players in the world. It’s the hardest game in the world. And if you can beat that against the best players in the world, then it’s a good challenge, right.”

Sam Grafton
Sam Grafton

Orpaz is hard to miss at a poker table, not just for his aggressive, fearless playing style but for the joy he takes in the game. On Day 1, he sat beside the equally gregarious Grafton, and the two exchanged a seemingly endless array of table banter. Orpaz has fun playing the game, and it shows whenever he’s at the table.

“This is just me. I’m having fun at the table. I’m having fun where I am. I don’t think of it as a strategy. I just come here, and I have fun because it is fun,” he said.

Final Table Results

Rank Player Country Prize
1 Tom Orpaz Israel €442,440
2 Tsugunari Toma Japan €285,200
3 Biao Ding China €157,200
4 Erik Seidel United States €113,800
5 Justin Saliba United States €100,600
6 Gerard Pique Spain €65,000

Day 2 Action

Orpaz began the day leading the five remaining players with 2,740,000, far ahead of Biao Ding in second place with 970,000 and Justin Saliba’s 900,000. Orpaz won an early race with two fours against ace-jack to knock out Saliba, who won the €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Freezeout event here in Barcelona earlier in the festival, in fifth place.

Erik Seidel
Erik Seidel

Orpaz then tangled with a poker legend and member of the Poker Hall of Fame. He shoved from the small blind and Erik Seidel called for his last 370,000 with king-six. Orpaz was caught making a move with jack-deuce, but the flop gave him trip deuces to send Seidel to the rail in fourth place.

Toma, who was already guaranteed to become Japan’s all-time money-winner leader today, pulled close to Orpaz when he doubled up for 1,290,000 with ace-king to king-queen. Toma then picked up aces the next hand to bust Ding in third place and take the chip lead into heads-up play, 3,250,000 to 2,750,000.

The pivotal hand of heads-up came when Toma three-bet to 400,000 and Orpaz called. Toma bet another 500,000 on the flop, and Orpaz tanked for a moment before shoving all in for 2,475,000. Toma called with a flopped pair of sevens, but Orpaz had pocket queens and held on for the massive double-up, leaving Toma with fewer than three big blinds.

Tsugunari Toma
Tsugunari Toma

Toma doubled up three times to get back to more than 2,000,000 until he shoved the river on a king-high board. Orpaz called with top pair, and Toma could only show a missed straight draw as he had to settle for a runner-up finish.

Orpaz planned to spend the rest of the day celebrating with his daughter, who came to Barcelona with him. Then it’s on to more high rollers and more fun for the Israeli businessman. Poker may be just a hobby for Orpaz, but he’s proving to be quite good at it.

That concludes PokerNews coverage of the €50,000 Super High Roller Second Chance at EPT Barcelona. Stay tuned for more updates from the remainder of the festival.

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