Saturday, March 1, 2008

Poker Stars - Senators Sununu, Domenici Ask for UIGEA Implementation Clarifications

Senators Sununu, Domenici Ask for UIGEA Implementation Clarifications
Republican Senators John E. Sununu (NH) and Pete Domenici (NM) recently sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System highlighting perceived difficulties with implementing the United States' unpopular Unlawful...

Stud Poker Strategy: Points to Ponder -- Answers
In my last column I gave you some questions to ponder, promising answers in the subsequent column, which you're reading here. I'll repeat the question and then provide each answer in bold face...

NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship Round One Highlights
Half of the 64 original players remained after yesterday's first round action in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Caesars Palace was once again host of the event that has become a favorite for players and television viewers...

Celebrities, pros gather for WPT Invitational

The WPT Invitational is routinely one of the more relaxed events on the Tour's schedule. Because it is a freeroll tournament, with a $200,000 prize pool and a seat at the WPT Championship for the winner divvied up among the final table, both the professionals and the stars in attendance take a more laid-back approach to playing in this event.

It's not just one big love-in, though. Past battles at the felt here have featured many great players and delivered some well-played poker.

Since its inception five years ago, a solid roster of pros have taken the championship. Layne Flack captured the first rendition of the tournament in 2003, followed by Phil "The Unabomber" Laak in 2004.

The first "surprise" winner of the WPT Invitational was one of the Brenes brothers, but not the expected Humberto or Eric. It was Alex, who took the championship in 2005.

Barry Greenstein continued the professional onslaught in the Invitational in 2006 by battling his way to the title. Last year, advantage swung back to the amateurs again, with Adam Weinraub, who earned his seat at the WPT Invitational through a silent auction, defeating "Miami" John Cernuto and Tim West to win the championship.

Weinraub then demonstrated his devotion to charitable causes by donating the $100,000 he won to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Charity is a big focus for the Invitational, in fact. The last 10 celebrities in play will receive a cash donation to the charity of their choice, courtesy of event sponsor Harbor Private Funds, LLC.

WPT Ladies charity partner Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Harbor Private Funds' Harbor Foundation and Crocs, Inc.'s Soles United, will each receive a $2,500 donation from the WPT.

In the past couple of years the concurrent National Heads-Up Poker Championship has siphoned off some pros, but many still make their way to this event. The field has grown from 104 players in its inaugural year to 420 last year. Odds are it will be around that again this year, with some very familiar names in the battle.

Along with the professional players bellying up to the felt, a plethora of celebrities will likely make the attempt to take down a WPT championship.

Over the past few years, stars such as Vince Vaughn, Ben Affleck, Paris Hilton, Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines, James Woods, Don Cheadle, Camryn Manheim, Pete Sampras, Hank Azaria, Laura Prepon, Jon Favreau, Shanna Moakler, Mekhi Phifer and Morgan Fairchild have taken part in the WPT Invitational, and the field is sure to be just as dazzling this year.

"Being the world's largest poker casino and so close to Hollywood, the Commerce Casino sees many pros and celebrities come through its doors each week, but the WPT Invitational tournament is by far and away the most exciting event of the year," said John Griffo, casino spokesperson and director of poker operations.

"What's great about the Invitational is you see them all come together for a tournament where they aren't just playing for cash, but for charity, respect, and overall, for fun."

PokerListings will be on hand for all the red-carpet frenzy and poker action as the WPT Invitational starts today. Check out the Live Tournaments section for all the details.


Pacific giving WPC seats to players

The freerolls will run weekly, and all that's required to qualify is to have signed up at Pacific Poker through and then collect five points during the qualifying period each week.

The first qualifying period starts Sunday and will run through March 9. Players who collect five points during that time will be invited to play in the March 12 freeroll.

The full freeroll schedule is:

  • March 12: Collect 5 points from March 2-9 to play
  • March 19: Collect 5 points from March 9-16 to play
  • March 26: Collect 5 points from March 16-23 to play
  • April 2: Collect 5 points from March 23-30 to play
  • April 9: Collect 5 points from March 30-April 6 to play
  • April 16: Collect 5 points from April 6-13 to play

All the freerolls start at 8 p.m. (GMT).

The seat in the WPC is worth $1,000+$50, but it could potentially be worth much more than that. The WPC has a guaranteed $3 million prize pool, plus it could include a trip to Barcelona.

The main part of the WPC will play out online, but when play gets down to 10, those players will be flown to Barcelona to finish the game live.

The players, along with one guest each, will be given free transportation from anywhere in the world to Barcelona, as well as five-star hotel accommodation for the duration of the final event, which will take place May 6-10.

The event will also be filmed to air on Sky Sports 2 on May 12.

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