Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Ted Forrest to be arrested. 888 CEO Isai Freiberger says no merger with Rank Group in the near future. First event of the PokerStars Live Festival brand to be held in Atlantic City. And more.

Can’t See the Forrest for the Bars

Given the sums of money involved in a big win, it’s easy to imagine that prominent tournament poker players have deep pockets. The reality is that it’s an exceptionally high-variance lifestyle. and those most amenable to the swings involved tend to be fond of risk-taking in other, not always profitable ways. Such appears to be the case with WSOP Hall of Fame nominee and six-time bracelet winner Ted Forrest, who now faces an arrest warrant and possible criminal charges over what began as a civil case between himself and the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. Forrest has cashed for $6.3 million dollars in poker tournaments over his life, but as is always the case, this represents gross winnings and not buy-ins or other expenses, and Forrest has been in the game quite some time.

Forrest, who has previously been in civil court for debts owed to the Wynn and the Mirage, is accused of having knowingly written two checks to the Wynn for a total of $215,000 without sufficient funds to cover the amounts in question. Bounced checks can be subject to either civil or criminal penalties, and Nevada law is tougher than that of most states in the latter regard. The nature of the debts hasn’t been specified, but casinos aren’t generally in the habit of staking anyone to play poker, so it’s probably fair to assume Forrest felt the call of the pit games as well.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal first broke the story here.

Quick Hitters

– 888 Holdings has been in the news frequently of late, due to an attempted three-way deal with William Hill and Rank Group. After William Hill’s board indicated its disinterest in such a deal, Rank CEO Henry Birch insisted that a simple merger with 888 Holdings would “not be unreasonable.” It appears that without William Hill on the table, a merger with Rank is a non-starter for 888, as the latter’s CEO, Itai Frieberger, has gone on the record to say such a deal is “not part of our plan.”

– TonyBet is far from being a significant player in the international online poker scene, but what it lacks in volume, its owner Antonas “Tony G” Guoga makes up for in spunk and marketing savvy. No sooner was buzz created by Phil Galfond’s announcement that he plans to launch an online site under his Run It Once brand, than TonyBet announced its own tournament series using he option (usually only available in cash games) to “run it twice.”

– Another piece of news receiving great attention lately is PokerStars’s decision to consolidate all its regional tours – EPT, APPT, LAPT, and so on – into two global brands, higher-stakes Championship events and lower-stakes Festival series. The first example of the latter is scheduled to be held in Atlantic City in November. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the schedule is that the Main Event – priced at a modest $1,100 – is neither the last nor the largest event on the schedule, but rather placed smack in the middle. It will be interesting to see how this departure from conventional wisdom plays out.

– Aside from Alex Dreyfus himself, there’s no bigger fan of the concept of “sportifying” poker than CalvinAyre’s Lee Davy. In his latest freeform thinkpiece, he espouses his love for the direction EA Games is taking with the 2017 instalment of its licensed FIFA series, which is slated to include a story mode called “The Journey,” which is an approach he’d like to see embraced by online poker brands.