Hit and Run: WCOOP Winds Down, MPN Expands Poker Team, Ohio Considers Online Gambling

Alex Weldon : September 26th, 2016


The final events of the World Championship of Online Poker are underway. The Microgaming Poker Network is expanding its efforts with a dediated “Network Games” team. Ohio eyeing possibilities for online gambling. And more.

WCOOP Finishing Strong

The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) has been running for nearly the entire month of September, but is finally winding down. The $5,000 buy-in, $10 million guaranteed Main Event kicked off yesterday and, unlike last year’s, actually hit that lofty guarantee, drawing in 1,772 unique entries and 319 re-entries to create a $10,052,879.79 prize pool, with $1,517,541.25 for the eventual winner. It’s a 3-day event, however, so we’ll have to wait until sometime late tomorrow night to find out who that is. As of this writing, 75 players remain. Notable names near the top of the chip counts include Nick “PureCash25″ Rampone and Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov.

The final two events of the schedule started today: a $700 No-Limit Hold’em event with 1 rebuy and 1 add-on, and the $1,050 Wrap-Up with a half-million guaranteed.

The leaderboard race looks to be fairly set in stone already, however, with Uruguay’s Fabrizio “SixthSenSe19″ Gonzalez on top with 700 points and no one else within spitting distance.

But what would a tournament series be without fan-favourite and PokerStars frontman Daniel Negreanu winning something? Sure enough, he came through towards the tail end of the series, winning Event #71, the $2,100 H.O.R.S.E. Championship after defeating Viktor “Isildur1″ Blom heads up.

Quick Hitters

- Microgaming’s (MPN) head of poker operations, Alex Scott, announced today on the site’s blog that the parent company is making its poker business part of a new Network Games unit, which will make it both larger and more independent than under the previous system. MPN was one of the first online poker operators to start focusing on recreational rather than high-volume players, and one of the few that has been growing steadily in recent years, while the industry as a whole has been contracting.

- Ohio hired New Jersey research firm Spectrum Gaming Group to advise it on how to update its state lottery. The recommendations include making the lottery a “quasi-public” corporation, but not privatizing it entirely and, of interest to poker players, adding online gambling to its offerings.

- The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement has announced that it will be teaming up with Canada’s Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) to combat illegal sites. Many in the poker community are finding this both ironic and worrisome, given the KGC’s complicity in the UltimateBet super-user scandal.

- With the latest episodes of the WSOP Main Event airing on ESPN over the weekend, the poker media has mostly moved on from the William Kassouf debate. I arrived late to the party this morning, with a suggested rules tweak to help poker tournaments avoid such situations in future.

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