DIFFERENT WINNERS AROUND THE WORLD IN MOST DEMOCRATIC OF GAMES

ChipsFor anyone thinking poker players adhere to a particular stereotype, a glance through recent results should demonstrate the game’s eclectic collection of recent winners.

When the curtain fell on the European Poker Tour in Madrid last weekend Patrik Jensen was behind it celebrating his first major win. Jensen fits the new mould of poker player; a superb and young online talent with a live record to match, including a runner-up finish in the Aussie Millions earlier this year.

On the other side of the Atlantic the World Series of Poker Circuit event proved a happy hunting ground for eventual winner Joe Kuether, from Wisconsin.

Kuether earned $111,104 for his efforts at the latest circuit event in Rincon, San Diego, coming on the back of a terrific March (winning two events at the Wynn in the week before the Circuit event) for the regional player, who, with the exception of a handful of WSOP scores, is usually found playing more modest buy-in events across the United States. Kuether epitomises the hard working (and successful) poker player.

Gordon Huntly

Gordon Huntly

On the other side of the Pacific, Gordon Huntly was having his picture taken as the winner of the first leg of the new Australia New Zealand Poker Tour season, with a cheque for $238,832. Huntly, an ex-pat living in Asia, is a latecomer to the game, who business acumen into profit at the poker table, with cashes dotted around Asia and Europe, and winnings of half a million in less than three years.

Back in Europe an 18-year-old woman from France dominated the French Poker Series event in Evian. Veronika Pavlikova, playing her first major event, was pushing aside everyone on her way to her first title, and €70,000.

An internet pro, a tournament grinder, a former business man and an 18-year-old French girl; proof, if it were needed, that the key to poker success is not found in a standardised entry system, but in the quality of the individual. This most democratic of games is open to all.

 

 

 

 

CANADIAN POKER FEDERATION JOINS IFP

Canadian FlagThe Canadian Poker Federation (Federation Canadienne du Poker) has become the newest member of the International Federation of Poker, taking the number of official member nations of the IFP up to 41.

Canada has for many years been a poker playing nation, producing of talented poker players, perhaps most notably Daniel Negreanu, one of the leading players of his generation, and stars in the current game. In 2010 Jonathan Duhamel became the first Canadian to win the World Series of Poker Main Event.

The legal status of Canadian poker players remains stable. While the Quebec government has independently legalised online poker, the Canadian government does not issue licenses and players are free to play on foreign based poker sites.

By joining the IFP community the Canadian Poker Federation, chaired by Robert Storey, adds its weight to the shared aims of promoting poker as a skill game, a Mind Sport that can be played by everyone, regardless of background.

THE MONEYMAKER EFFECT ON THE BIG SCREEN

 

ALL-IN – The Poker Movie is not the first cinematic release to highlight the “Moneymaker Effect”.

Cinema Chairs Ifpblog 21mar12The story of a novice player winning a seat to a major poker tournament via the internet formed part of the plot to the movie Lucky You starring Eric Bana and Robert Duvall, in which a father and son settled their differences at the poker tables of the World Series, all while an unknown “internet player” defied everyone to take the title.

While Lucky You portrayed the fictional story, ALL IN recounts in part the non-fiction version, of a Tennessee accountant named Chris Moneymaker (a name too good to make up) who now forms part of poker’s history; from the early days of the game in Las Vegas, to the current state of a game which, in the United States at least, is in legal turmoil.

In essence Moneymaker’s impact was simple. When he was pictured having turned $39 into $2.5 million, he showed the world how a few dollars on the internet could be turned into big money in Las Vegas (he has since added nearly $1 million in tournaments earnings to his record, having become known as one of the leading players of the past decade). It spawned countless new events such as the World and European Poker Tour, offering the same opportunity to new and old players.

The “boom” was at its loudest in the years following Moneymaker, who topped a field of 839 players. In 2004 the figure was 2,576, then up to 5,619 in 2005. At its most popular (and legal) in 2006 the main event had a field of 8,773.

Then the lawmen stepped in, denying poker to millions of American players. In the years following payments between players and poker companies was rendered almost impossible, and then last year Black Friday rolled back the law to effectively prohibit online poker itself. These draconian measures continue to be fought state by state, as well as on a federal level.

Lucky You had a happy ending. Father and son made up and, while neither won the World Series (a questionable fold, it should be said), poker was shown as the great game that it is, uniting people regardless of background to play a game loved by millions. Fiction perhaps, but hopefully the non-fiction version is not far off.

DANISH PLAYERS LEAD THE WORLD

Danish FlagFrederik Jensen’s win in the PokerStars European Poker Tour main event in Madrid over the weekend was the fifth for Danish players on the tour, a country that has consistently produced some of the best players in the world.

From a population of only five and a half million, Denmark has produced a World Series of Poker Main Event winner, five European Poker Tour winners, five World Poker Tour winners (combining for seven titles) and countless other champions around the world.

Gus Hansen is perhaps the most well-known.

The “Great Dane” won the first ever World Poker Tour event — the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas — before adding the Los Angeles Poker Classic title in the same season. Hansen then added the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure title a year later (then a WPT event) and has since claimed the Aussie Millions to his list of victories, famously writing a book detailing every hand played on his way to the win, appropriately titled, “Every Hand Revealed.”

Joining Hansen on the WPT roll call are the likes of Theo Jorgensen, Caspar Hansen, Christian Grundtvig and Rehne Pederesen, winners of some of poker’s richest prizes, with Sander Lyloff, Peter Jepsen, Allan Baekke, Mickey Petersen and now Frederik Jensen added their names to the list of European champions.

In 2008 Peter Eastgate became the youngest World Series of Poker main event champion in history. Some suggested Eastgate was the new Gus Hansen, something that countryman Jacob Rasmussen replied: “It’s more like Gus Hansen is the first Peter Eastgate.”

Frederik Jensen’s win is just the latest Danish triumph. Read more about the Danish Poker Federation on their website.

POKER DOCUMENTARY TO FRAME GAME’S RECENT HISTORY

The poker world is buzzing over the release of a new documentary examining the story of poker’s “boom” during the early years of the 21st century.

ALL-IN – THE POKER MOVIE recounts poker’s journey to the game we now know it to be; from an activity cloaked in stereotype – of back rooms, cigars and crooks – to the global poker revolution, a game now played in casinos, online, in people’s homes for anything from pennies to millions of dollars.Tracking poker’s evolution through the underground clubs of New York City, through to the events of Black Friday, using the US as a model the film explains the complexities of its legal status, and how poker has become a target for politicians who are denying millions of people the right to play the game they love.Starring the likes of actor Matt Damon and poker players Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, the film also features IFP president Anthony Holden as well as contributions from authors Peter Alson and James McManus, both of whom have been integral to the work of both the IFP and the US Poker Federation in the past year.

For those of you that haven’t seen the trailer yet here it is:

The film is set to be released across the US from Friday 23 March 2012 with more details, including how to pre-order the film, available on the ALL IN – THE POKER MOVIE website.