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News, Reviews And Interviews From Around The Poker World

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Aug 20, 2010


Huck SeedHuck Seed Wins WSOP Tournament of Champions
Continues to be Successful Playing Against the Best

By Ryan Lucchesi

Sometimes, a poker tournament is a bigger story before it happens. That was the case with the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions (TOC) this year. The TOC was back after last being held in 2006, and this time, fans were allowed to vote on 20 of the players who would make the final field of 27.

The top picks were the biggest names in poker, with Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Doyle Brunson garnering the most fan votes. The voting process helped build anticipation for the event, which was poker’s version of an all-star game with no gold bracelet on the line. There was $1 million up for grabs, but as former TOC champions Annie Duke, Mike Matusow, and Mike Sexton will attest, winning the title was the ultimate goal for every player.

The tournament was played sporadically over the course of a week, starting with 27 players on June 27 and ending with a 16-hour test of endurance on the final day, the Fourth of July. When the dust settled, four-time bracelet winner and 1996 World Champion Huck Seed emerged as the fourth TOC champion, winning $500,000.

This should come as no surprise, as Seed has distinguished himself as one of the most consistent players in the world in poker invitational events. He won the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2009, made the “Final Four” of the event in 2008 and 2006, and appeared in the “Sweet 16” in 2007 and 2005.

Fans recognized his talent by voting him into the field, and he recognized their selection of him after winning the title. “I felt like this was a team thing, me and everyone who voted for me,” said Seed. “I’m not much of a self-promoter. I just love to play poker. Sometimes, when you love to do something, it shows, and it produces results.”

He continued, “There were a lot of great players in this event. It was fun to compete. It was like a reunion of the old-school players.”

One of the great players he faced in the end was Howard Lederer, who finished runner-up to Seed and took home $250,000. “I’m thrilled with the way I played, but I’m very disappointed that I did not win,” said Lederer. “Huck is underrated in terms of poker history. He’s playing as well as anyone in the world right now who’s not named Ivey.”

Seed’s chip stack was healthy after a short day 1 that saw the field shrink to 22 players. He was right behind chip leader Erik Seidel when day 2 began, and he built his stack slowly throughout the day and ended day 2 second in chips, trailing only Mike Matusow with 17 players remaining.

The official final table of nine was set when Seidel busted out in 10th place on the third and final day of the tournament. The eliminations of T.J. Cloutier (ninth), Annie Duke (eighth), Jennifer Harman (seventh), and Daniel Negreanu (sixth) came steadily during the next three hours, but then each successive knockout took more time. Barry Greenstein and Joe Hachem held on for another three hours before falling in fifth place and fourth place, respectively.

Just before 2 a.m., Johnny Chan called all in for his final 49,000 against Lederer. Chan had the 7Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit against the JHeart Suit 9Heart Suit of Lederer. The board ran out JSpade Suit 8Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit AClub Suit 2Diamond Suit, and Chan was eliminated in third place. The hand gave Lederer the chip lead heading into heads-up play against Seed — 468,000-342,000.

The heads-up battle took an hour, but it all came down to two hands. In the first, Seed moved all in on a flop of 6Diamond Suit 5Club Suit 3Heart Suit with the 9Club Suit 6Club Suit. Lederer held the lead with pocket tens, but the 8Heart Suit on the turn and the 7Diamond Suit on the river gave Seed a straight, and he doubled up to take the chip lead. The deciding hand took place when Lederer shoved all in preflop with the QClub Suit 8Club Suit, and Seed made the call with the ASpade Suit 2Spade Suit. The 7Spade Suit 6Heart Suit 6Diamond Suit 9Spade Suit AHeart Suit board secured the TOC title for Seed.

Final-table results were as follows:

1. Huck Seed $500,000
2. Howard Lederer $250,000
3. Johnny Chan $100,000
4. Joe Hachem $25,000
5. Barry Greenstein $25,000
6. Daniel Negreanu $25,000
7. Jennifer Harman $25,000
8. Annie Duke $25,000
9. T.J. Cloutier $25,000

Darvin MoonDarvin Moon’s Big Purchases: A Farm and Some Pickup Trucks
Last Year’s World Series of Poker Main-Event Runner-Up Sits Down With Card Player

By Stephen Murphy

How would $5 million change your life?

For Darvin Moon and his wife, Wendy, it doesn’t appear to have changed it all that much. Both still work full time at the same jobs, they still live in the same home, and they aren’t throwing around that money before putting in a great deal of thought about it first.

In the past decade, the poker world has produced some colorful characters, but out of last year’s World Series of Poker main event came one of the most memorable. Moon, a self-employed logger who was far more comfortable with a chain saw in his hand than being in front of a camera answering questions, was the chip leader despite being a self-described amateur.

He eventually finished second to Joe Cada, but while Cada in many ways resembled a large portion of the poker community — the young online crowd — Moon stood out for his common-man demeanor, self-deprecating attitude, and aversion to online poker (he admitted that he had never once played online).

Moon and his wife recently sat down with Card Player to talk about their lives now — what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and what they’ve done in the past 12 months.

Still in the Woods, Still Working

Moon almost didn’t play in the main event last year. After winning his seat in a $130 satellite in a West Virginia casino, he nearly decided to take the money and invest it in his small family-run logging business. But after getting some encouragement from his brother, Moon decided to play.

“I’ve always been poor; I can be poor after this,” was Moon’s line of thinking at the time. But thanks to a seemingly endless stretch of good cards and some well-timed moves, the logger from Maryland pretty much ensured that he and his wife would be set for the rest of their lives after he won nearly $5.2 million for his runner-up finish in the 2009 main event.

“After you pay taxes, it’s really not that much money if you live a different lifestyle than we live, but we’ve lived on $20,000 to $25,000 a year for 26 years. I can now live the rest of my life comfortably,” said Moon. “I’m [still] working, because my whole family was raised that way.”

For 10 to 12 hours a day, Moon works in his logging business. He admits that these days, he doesn’t spend as much time in the forest (only about 20 hours a week now), and he spends less time dealing with a chain saw (he decided to hire someone else to handle the chain saw), but he’s still working with the same people, even though he doesn’t really need to keep the company going for his own financial well-being.

Part of the reason that he’s kept the business going is his loyalty to his employees. He says that they’ve been there for him over the years, and he just wouldn’t feel right about closing up shop now.

“I’ve had guys who worked for me who kept me alive the first 25 years, and I can’t just tell them, ‘You don’t have a job,’” said Moon. “So, I just keep working.”

In fact, even when he was in Las Vegas for the 2010 main event, Moon spent a lot of time on the phone for his job after a truck carrying a load of his lumber went off the road and into a ditch.

“You’ve got to be concerned about it. I was on the phone with them,” said Moon. “The main thing is, the driver’s all right. We can replace everything else.”

Moon declared last year upon reaching the final table that even if he won the main event, we probably wouldn’t see him until this year’s tournament. Indeed, he has been back to Las Vegas only twice — once for the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and once for a charity poker tournament to help those who suffer from cerebral palsy.

In 2010, he declined to play any preliminary events at the World Series, deciding once again to play just the main event. On the day of this interview, he took a healthy chip stack of 78,400 into day 2B.

In the past 12 months, he’s probably played even less poker than he did the year before.

“I haven’t been playing that much back home. Everybody wants to ask questions,” said Moon. “You just don’t get no peace.”

Some Pickup Trucks and Some Properties

The Moons haven’t changed their day-to-day lives too dramatically, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t spent any of that $5.2 million.

“I bought my mom and dad a Chevy Traverse for their 50th wedding anniversary; I bought my father-in-law a new Chevy pickup; I bought my uncle who took care of my grandma for her last 12 years a new pickup; and I bought myself a new pickup and my wife a new vehicle,” said Moon. “Other than that, I’ve bought some properties.”

In total, he bought four properties in his home state of Maryland. Three of them are investments, and he’s been spending much of the past 12 months working on them.

“I’ve got two of them ready to turn over now,” said Moon. “I did some remodeling on the houses and did some work on them so that the properties are worth more, so I’m ready to turn them over once I get back from this.”

The final property that Moon bought was a place that he’s always wanted — the land where he grew up.

“It’s where I was born and raised, so I just bought the whole farm,” said Moon. “It’s just a place I’ve always wanted, so I bought it.”

Moon is also fixing up his current home, including adding a new garage.

“Once I get the garage done, I can get the Corvette, maybe — if she gives me permission,” Moon said, as he glanced at his wife.

“Yeah, right,” Wendy replied sarcastically.

Although the couple has more money than they ever thought they would have, due to Darvin’s poker success, they clearly keep each other levelheaded about it all.

When Moon admitted in the interview that he caved in and finally bought his wife a new lawn mower, as well as a snowblower so that she could take care of all of the snow this winter, she shot him a look that basically said, “We’ll talk about that later, thank you very much.” Even with $5 million, they still do all of the little things themselves. In short, they still are themselves.

“I don’t really think it’s changed us as people, but it’s definitely changed our lives,” said Wendy. “It changed our lives completely, but we’ve met a lot of good new people. I’m really proud of Darvin.”

Moon said that he just doesn’t understand how people can become frivolous with money.

“I don’t understand how just because you get lucky and earn this money, you blow it all on hey-look-at-me [stuff],” said Darvin. “If the money changes people that much, they’re phonies to start with.” Spade Suit

Note: Darvin Moon was eliminated on day 2 of the 2010 WSOP main event.

Peter EastgateFormer World Champion Peter Eastgate Taking a Break
Young Dane Skips 2010 World Series of Poker Entirely

By Brendan Murray

As the 2010 World Series of Poker main event began, the biggest story concerning the tournament was not who had taken the early lead, but who had decided not to play.

Former World Series of Poker main-event winner Peter Eastgate released a statement through, saying, “When I started playing poker for a living, it was never my goal to spend the rest of my life as a professional poker player. My goal was to become financially independent. I achieved that by winning the WSOP main event in 2008. The period following has taken me on a worldwide tour, where I have seen some amazing places and met many new people; it has been a great experience.

“In the 20 months following my WSOP win, I feel that I have lost my motivation for playing high-level poker along the way, and I have decided that now is the time to find out what I want to do with the rest of my life. What this will be, I do not yet know. I have decided to take a break from live tournament poker, and try to focus on Peter Eastgate, the person. I want to thank PokerStars, my friends and family for their support over the last 20 months, and for their support in my decision to take a break from poker.”

Eastgate won just over $9 million for his 2008 main-event victory.

A PokerStars spokesperson said, “We know that poker will miss this world-class player and world-class role model, but PokerStars has only the deepest respect for Peter’s decision. Poker is about determination and excitement, and if Peter lacks this in his game, the right decision is to take a break. Peter has played amongst world champions and he has carried his title in the most admirable fashion.” Spade Suit

FTOPS XVIIFTOPS XVII Schedule Released Includes 34 Events With $19 Million in Guaranteed Prize Pools
By Card Player News Team

Full Tilt Poker recently announced the schedule for its upcoming Full Tilt Online Poker Series XVII (FTOPS XVII). This FTOPS edition will feature 34 events guaranteeing more than $19 million in prize money, including a $3 million-guaranteed, $500 buy-in main event.

The tournament also will feature several unique formats, including rush, knockout, shootout, turbo, ante-from-the-start, heads-up, and even a seven-game event. Buy-ins will range from $109 to $2,100.

FTOPS winners also will receive other prizes in addition to their big paydays. Everyone who makes a final table will get a limited-edition FTOPS jacket. Those who win will get gold-jersey avatars for use on the site. The site is also running a leader-board promotion to determine the best overall player of the Series. That player will win a custom avatar and approximately $8,500 in buy-ins for the next FTOPS.
Even those who don’t make the money will win, thanks to the Bouncebackability freeroll. Players who are eliminated on the money bubble will receive entry into a special freeroll tournament that will take place the day before the main event. The winner of that tournament will get a main-event seat, compliments of Full Tilt Poker.

The full tournament schedule can be found on Spade Suit

Vanessa Selbst wins NAPT Mohegan Sun Main EventVanessa Selbst Joins Team PokerStars Pro
North American Poker Tour Mohegan Sun Winner Latest to Join Elite Team

By Stephen A. Murphy

Amongst her peers, Vanessa Selbst was respected as one of the best young tournament players in the game today. But overall, she stayed largely out of the public eye.

In 2010, however, she couldn’t help but accept the spotlight.

In the NAPT Mohegan Sun main event, televised on ESPN, Selbst topped a stacked field of 716 players for the biggest payday of her career, $750,000.

Now, she is a member of one of the most prestigious poker sites in the world, as PokerStars recently announced the addition of Selbst to Team PokerStars Pro.

“This is awesome. I’m really excited to be a part of PokerStars,” Selbst said at a PokerStars party in Las Vegas. “I’m just really excited to get back to playing some more tournaments. I really miss playing live tournaments, and obviously, Stars puts on some of the best tournaments in the world.”

After winning a bracelet in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event in 2008, Selbst was largely absent from the tournament trail as she concentrated on law school at Yale.

“It was a very difficult two years of law school; somehow, I made it through them still alive,” said Selbst.

Now, the new PokerStars pro will be back on the tournament trail in full force as she competes in NAPT and various EPT events with a new patch on her shirt. Spade Suit

World Series of Poker CircuitWorld Series of Poker Circuit 2010-2011 Schedule Features Major Changes
Four $10,000 Regional Events With Television Coverage, Gold Bracelet to be Featured

By Ryan Lucchesi

The World Series of Poker Circuit schedule for 2010-2011 has been released, and many big changes will be implemented for the seventh season of the tour. The Circuit will feature at least 12 events in the United States, with a handful of others expected to be announced in the coming months. Four of those events will feature a buy-in of $10,000 as Super Regional Championships, and for the first time, the WSOP Circuit will venture into international territory with an event scheduled to take place in South Africa, Oct. 26-31.

“We recognized that the WSOP Circuit events needed a shot in the arm, and we believe that we’ve responded with steroids,” said WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart. “The new model is exactly what the WSOP is all about, giving poker players of all bankrolls the chance to compete for the kind of fame, fortune, and respect that comes only with a WSOP bracelet and a national television audience.”

Here are the major changes for the new season:
• A cumulative ranking system throughout the season, awarding points for each official WSOP Circuit “Ring” open event
• A season-ending National Championship tournament for 100 players who automatically qualify via the cumulative ranking system or performance-based criteria (The televised National Championship tournament will be played at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas prior to the commencement of the 2011 WSOP, will feature a $1 million prize pool, and will award a WSOP gold bracelet.)
• Four regional WSOP Circuit championships with a $10,000 buy-in event and two hours of national television coverage per stop
• Standardized structures and payouts at all events, with the main-event buy-in lowered to $1,500 outside Super Regional Championships to encourage larger fields and more players attending multiple stops on the tour

Here is the 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit schedule:

Note: Boldface indicates $10,000 Super Regional Championship events. The South Africa event does not count in the point-system tabulation.

Aug. 19-31, 2010 Horseshoe Council Bluffs
Oct. 2-12, 2010 Horseshoe Southern Indiana
Oct. 15-27, 2010 Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago Area)
Oct. 26-31, 2010: Emerald Casino (South Africa)
Oct. 28-Nov. 10, 2010 IP Casino and Resort (Biloxi, Mississippi)
Nov. 11-23, 2010 Harveys Lake Tahoe
Dec. 4-22, 2010 Harrah’s Atlantic City
Jan. 27-Feb. 15, 2011 Harrah’s Tunica
Mar. 2-13, 2011 Caesars Atlantic City
Mar. 11-30, 2011 Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego Area)
Mar. 31-Apr. 13, 2011 Harrah’s St. Louis
Apr. 14-30, 2011 Caesars Palace
May 9-22, 2011 Harrah’s New Orleans