It's been a busy week for live tournament action with two WPT events in the same week. Howard Lederer has been in the news a lot recently and unsurprisingly he is still as unpopular as ever. And there are promising signs of an online internet revival in America as Nevada gears up for legalisation of online poker.
There were two separate WPT main event titles up for grabs this week as the tour took in two new stops in Denmark and Jacksonville, Florida. Firstly Noah Schwartz was looking to improve on his previous WPT near misses when three visits to a WPT final table had yielded no better than third place. On this occasion he was able to seal the deal though, taking home $402,972 for the biggest win of his career.
Just a few days later in Denmark, Stanislav (or Steve for the sake of Americans struggling with foreign names) Barshak was looking to continue his strong 2012 with another final table at WPT Copenhagen. Barshak recently won $225,490 after taking down a WCOOP event on Pokerstars playing as Illini213, and earlier in the year also won the Sunday Warm-Up for $131,028. It was only a fourth place for Barshak on this occasion though as Swedish player Emil Olsson also recorded the biggest win of his career as he saw off a field that was considerably smaller than its American counterpart at just 229 runners. Olsson's prize of 1,200,000 Danish krone equates to around $230,000.
Life goes on for Howard
It has also been a week in which Howard Lederer's name has been cropping up a fair bit as the fallout from the Full Tilt Poker shambles continues. Lederer has filed a motion to dismiss all the civil charges he is facing following the collapse of the original FTP (these charges include bank and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy relating to Full Tilt fraud against players.) It would appear that the main thrust of Lederer's defence is that Full Tilt was not actually a gambling business and therefore the charges are not relevant to this situation.
Relevant or not though, there are still many many people who are very unhappy with Lederer for what happened to their money. Not least amongst them are the Americans (who still have not had their money returned) who are seeing him turn up to play poker at the Aria casino in Las Vegas. So incensed are some that a petition was started asking that Aria ban Lederer from the poker room, with the threat that local regs would boycott Aria in protest if he was allowed to continue playing there. It seems the ball is back in those protestors' court now as Aria has officially stated that it must remain neutral on the matter and can not get involved.
MGM signs up for online poker
Aria is one of several MGM owned casinos in Las Vegas which could soon have its own online poker room after MGM Resorts International was approved to hold a license for when online poker becomes legal in the state of Nevada. MGM will team up with Bwin.Party and use their software, which is expected to be in action, for play money use at least, within the next few months. It only makes sense that you should be allowed to play online poker in Las Vegas, but it will be interesting to see how many other states follow Nevada’s lead. Any return to online poker action elsewhere in America may well be based on segregated player pools for residents of individual states at first, but it is not impossible that one day we will all be re-united as one big player pool with people free to come and go as they please. That may still be a long way off yet, but what is happening in Nevada is a first step towards that.