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Inside Straight -- News

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Mar 02, 2009


PokerStars Sets New Records

Poorya NazariThings are looking good for the world of poker in 2009 if recent PokerStars activity is anything to go by. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure set a new record for largest live field outside of Las Vegas with 1,347 players - 735 of whom qualified online with PokerStars.

This field created an eye-opening prize pool of $12,674,000 and the $3 million first prize went to Canadian Poorya Nazari.

The $25,000 High Roller tournament on Paradise Island was won by last year's PCA main event winner Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier who pocketed $433,500. ElkY is the Card Player European Player of the Year and you can read an interview with him in this issue.

Another feature of the PCA, the World Cup of Poker, saw nine countries play for a $290,000 prize pool.

In the end it was Germany, led by Jan Heitmann, who took the largest slice of the prize pool after 16 gruelling hours of play. The top prize of $100,000 was divided between Heitmann and his team: Georg Geissler, Malte Strothmann, Bastian Wulff, and Peter Schmidt.

New Zealand took second spot for $70,000, while Italy, captained by Luca Pagano, collected $30,000 for third place.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 also saw numerous records smashed at the site. Firstly, it set the Guinness World Record for the "Largest Online Poker Tournament" when 35,000 players paid $11 to participate in a $500,000 Guaranteed tournament. Play ran for more than nine-and-a-half hours and a record 8,750 players made the money. "Stan34powa" was the overall winner, and so took down the world's largest tournament and $30,000.

The Sunday Warm-up tournament also had a huge turn-out with 5,836 players. The record number pushed the $1 million guaranteed prize pool to $1,167,200, and 855 players enjoyed a piece of it. "Hr_Herman" finished in first place for the chunky sum of $147,067.

Finally, PokerStars also hosted its largest ever Sunday Million tournament when 16,260 players registered, creating a prize pool of $3,252,000, surpassing the original $2.5 million guarantee. While 2,475 players made the money, the overall winner was "lp_SakiSaki", who earned a whopping $331,378.80 for first place.

The Irish Open is Coming

Neil Channing and Marty Smyth

Card Player Media has announced its official media partnership with for the Irish Open 2009. This leaves and in charge of making sure those who are not fortunate enough to attend get their daily fill of all the action as it happens via its live reporting feed.

Card Player Poker + Sport will be the sole magazine present and available for free at the event, and its July issue will see some in-depth, post-event coverage.

Due to take place at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland from April 9-13, 2009, the Irish Open includes the €3,200 + €300 main event, a two-day €1,500 + €150 no-limit hold'em freezeout, a €300 + €30 pot-limit Omaha rebuy tournament, and a ladies no-limit hold'em freezeout.

A new event has also been added this year, the €300 + €30 no-limit hold'em charity tournament, which hopes to raise over €50,000 for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin. The event will see €100 from each player's buy-in and €30 from each registration fee go to the charity. The full schedule is available at

Online registration for the main event is now open through's exclusive payment gateway at The 100 percent secure payment method guarantees a seat for the event, which is the only way (short of qualifying via an online satellite) for players to make sure they will be front-and-centre for all the action in April.

The €100,000 Sole Survivor promotion, open to all players who qualify for the Irish Open on, will see the online qualifier who goes deepest in the main event win a $100,000 sponsorship package for one year.

The weekly super satellites on Sunday and Tuesday evenings are attracting hundreds of players, well up on last year's numbers, all anxious to win the $6,500 Irish Open packages and become eligible to scoop the sponsorship deal.

Eric Booth, head of poker at the site said, "We're thrilled at the initial response to the €100,000 Sole Survivor promotion. We are seeing players qualify for the Irish Open 2009 at twice the rate players were qualifying at this time last year!"

Both defending champion Neil Channing - who features in this issue - and 2007 champion Marty Smyth will return to have another crack at the title this year.

European Masters of Poker Tour Starts February

Devilfish Poker and NoIQThe Entraction network, which hosts online poker rooms such as and NoIQ Poker, has announced a five-stop live series from February to September 2009. The European Poker Masters kicks off in Tallinn, Estonia from February 22 to 29, 2009 then passes through Czech Republic, Spain, and Cyprus, before fetching up at the Casino di Venezia, Malta in September.

The buy-in for the events is €1,100 with prize pools expected to be in the region of €100,000, and players will be able to qualify from as little as $2 in poker rooms on the Entraction network.

A spokesperson for the company said, "European Masters of Poker is a great way for partners in the Entraction poker network to both attract new players and strengthen the relationship with their existing players. The only way to guarantee a seat at the tournament is to play at a partner site in the Entraction poker network."

Danes are Best Poker Players on the Planet

Peter Eastgate Research by Card Player has confirmed that Denmark is the most successful poker playing nation on earth.

One week in November confirmed this unequivocally when three Danish poker players cleared $10 million in tournament prize money: 22-year-old Peter Eastgate won the World Series of Poker main event, Jan Sorensen the Amsterdam Master Classics main event, and "hahila" the Ladbrokes European Online Championship of Poker IV main event.

Card Player Media has been studying the per capita poker playing prowess of countries around the world since the launch of World Tracker in July 2008. The World Tracker tool collates and analyses results from an extensive list of qualifying tournaments (including WSOP, WPT, and EPT events) and awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals to the countries whose players come first, second, and third in major international tournaments.

Recent results have propelled Denmark to a significant lead while Sweden entered the top five for the first time pushing Canada into fifth and Norway into sixth.

Check the back page of this edition of Card Player Poker + Sport for the most recent placings.

$4 Million Cash Game Race Rake at has announced the richest cash game race rake ever held with $4 million being distributed to players over four months. The top 3,000 rakers each month between January and April 2009 will share in $1 million per month. The payouts break down as:

• $25,000 first prize
• $10,000 for a top 5 finish
• $5,000 for a top 10 finish
• $2,000 for a top 50 finish
• $1,000 for a top 250 finish
• $500 for a top 600 finish
• $200 for a top 1,500 finish
• $100 for a top 3,000 finish

Edward Ihre MD of said, "Our players are getting a great deal, definitely more bang for their buck, and following the aftermath of the Christmas period when cash-flow can be a bit tight it couldn't be better timed. More players will benefit with cash prizes equal to, if not greater than what they received before. Points will be cleared on a monthly basis so there are four shots at claiming the big money giveaways."

The company, which sponsors Card Player Poker + Sport writer Roy "The Boy" Brindley, will also pay out double the difference to VIPs who receive less than what they would have under the old rakeback promotion. Irish Poker Championship Successes

Rory Rees BrennanThe Irish Poker Championship, held in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway, Ireland from January 2 to 5 was the first major festival of 2009. The €2,000 (9 percent withheld) buy-in event attracted a score of big names on the circuit including Mike Sexton, Kenna James, Donnacha O'Dea, Marty Smyth, Padraig Parkinson, Ciaran O' Leary, Julian Gardner, and Marc Goodwin as well as the cream of Irish live and online talent.

In total, 255 players created a prize pool of €464,000 for the event which was being filmed for broadcast on RTÉ television and distribution around Europe.

Heads up saw the battle between Dubliner Rory Rees Brennan and Chris Dowling from Kildare last two and half hours with the lead swinging both ways until Brennan, with A-10, forced Dowling all in with 9-6, and despite hitting a 9, Brennan lifted the title when he caught an ace and took down a very satisfying €160,000 for his efforts.

The final table payouts were:

First Rory Rees Brennan €160,000
Second Chris Dowling €90,000
Third Ben Vinson €55,000
Fourth David Poole €30,000
Fifth David Curtis €20,000
Sixth Krzysztof Gwvszko €15,000
Seventh Peter Murphy €12,500
Eighth Derek Murray €10,000

Also at the event, Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott won the €750 side event pocketing €33,000 to get his year off to a winning start.
Ulliott, who faced a tough final table which included Surinder Sunar, Paul "ActionJack" Jackson, 2008 Irish Open second place finisher Donal Norton, and last year's IPC main event winner Jude Ainsworth.

Devilfish said of his win, "I got a lot of chips early in the tournament which meant players were moving in with all sorts of marginal hands. I got lucky once against Paul Jackson with A-J against his queens and when I got heads up against Surindar Sunar I don't think he won a hand. It's great to get the year off to a winning start and I hope I can continue the form Down Under."

The icing on the cake at the Championship was the Poker for the Homeless charity event which raised close to €40,000. Of this €18,200 went to Galway Simon, with the rest to be divided between Dublin Simon Community and Brother Kevin at the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin.

The €330 buy-in saw €100 go directly to Irish homeless charities, and among donators were organisers (who added €28,000 as a gesture of goodwill after a chip anomaly had been uncovered in the main event), the event's massage therapists (who gave €380 from their wages for the weekend), and many European online poker rooms such as,,,, and

Event organiser and ambassador, Padraig Parkinson, said, "We'd like to thank everyone who played and all the companies who contributed financially to the success of the event. Without them it wouldn't exist and we're deeply grateful."

Poker for the Homeless will return later in the year to try and add to the impressive €140,000 collected and donated over the last three years. Launches New Software

PKR.comLeading 3-D online poker room has announced a raft of new changes to its software with the release of "Version 1.7" of its innovative client.

Over 50 changes have been made including several new features and many improvements to existing features. They include:

• Three new game environments - including an Egyptian-themed poker room and an underground wine cellar poker room.

• New tournament celebration sequence - tournaments will now end with dramatic celebration graphics.

• Addition of re-buy tournaments - re-buy events have been added for the first time.

Other upgrades include the reduction of load time of the game, the addition of the Russian language, and two new payment/withdrawal methods - paysafecard and ClickandBuy.

The weekly bounty buy-in has been reduced from $30 to $20, the start times of the Grand Prix, Aussie Classic, and Sunday Classic have been brought forward, and a new pot-limit Omaha tournament has been introduced.

Chief operating officer at, Leon Walters, said, "This is our biggest update yet and our development team are really proud and excited about what we've been able to accomplish - we think the improvements and enhancements to the game are going to be a massive hit."