The death of one of the game’s most colorful characters. The United States Department of Justices reverses previous opinion on the Wire Act. Find these stories and more in the Tuesday Hit and Run.

Gavin Smith dies at age 50

Gavin Smith died unexpectedly at the age of 50 on Monday night at his home in Houston. News of his death has sent shockwaves through the poker world, leading to an outpouring of support from friends and members of the poker community to Smith’s family. In addition to some high-profile victories during poker’s mid-2000’s boom, Smith earned attention and a reputation for his love of life and flamboyant presence at the poker table.

Over the course of his poker career, Smith accumulated over $6.3 million in lifetime tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob. His poker career was highlighted by a 2005 World Poker Tour Player of the Year honor, which included a $1.1 million victory at the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown. Smith also won a bracelet during the 2010 World Series of Poker when he won $268,238 during the $2,500 Mixed Hold’em event. In recent years, Smith had been playing less poker to focus on family. His last recorded live tournament cash came during the 2017 $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event.

A GoFundMe drive was been started by fellow poker player Josh Arieh to help his two young surviving children.

DOJ reverses Wire Act stance

On Monday, the United States Department of Justice reversed a 2011 opinion on the 1961 Wire Act. In their new opinion, the DOJ now says that it believes most forms of online gambling are restricted under the law, notably as it relates to online gambling that crosses state borders. The reversal comes under a Justice Department that is now under a new administration and one that is suspected to be influenced by longtime online gambling opponent Sheldon Adelson.

Since the 2011 opinion, many states have regulated various forms of online wagering including poker, casinos, lotteries, daily fantasy sports and even sports betting. The full impact of the opinion, which is not legally binding, is not yet known for states that have already regulated online gambling or even plan to in the future.

Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have introduced widespread online gambling and could be the states most impacted by strong enforcement of the opinion. Pennsylvania, which regulated online gambling in late 2017, is expected to launch online gambling during the first quarter of 2019.

While the situation remains very fluid, the consensus opinion seems to be that there will be significant uncertainty with legal challenges and possibly payment processing hurdles for online gambling in the United States.

Quick hitters

– The $10,300 PCA Main Event began Day 4 on Tuesday with 20 players remaining, which will play down to a final table. Tommy Nguyen held the chip lead to begin the day which was overtaken by Chino Rheem by late afternoon. Among those still alive in the tournament were Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Altman and Matthias Eibinger. The eventual winner will take home $1,567,100 first place prize.

In other PCA action, the $25,000 PCA High Roller entered a second day with 65 out of 162 entries beginning Day 2. At the time of this writing, there are 34 players remaining with Gialuca Speranza holding the chip lead with Max Silver and Nick Petrangelo among the more notable names.

Poker fans can continue to watch Main Event through the PokerStars YouTube or Twitch channels:

PokerStars officially launched 6+ Hold’em in select markets this week including Denmark, Estonia and the PokerStars free-play client. The game will subsequently go live in the United Kingdom, Sweden and on PokerStars.com on Wednesday. The new game, which has been popularized in high stakes cash games, is a form of Short Deck Hold’em, which removes all two, threes, fours and fives from the deck.

– The WPT Gardens Poker Championship kicked off Day 3 with 54 players remaining in the $10,000 Main Event, with 2018 WSOP Main Event champion John Cynn among those still alive.

– The 2019 Aussie Millions kicked off on Tuesday with the AUD $1,150 Opening Event. The series will including 27 events and run through February 4th with the $10,600 Main Event slated for January 27th.

– Tuesday’s featured Grinderschool.com poker training video of the day takes a look at key differences between Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold’em, in a lecture by CFTheNatural.

Best poker videos on YouTube

Doug Polk is back with another video where he analyzes a hand between Dan Smith and Darren Elias while playing a $100/$200 sessions during a Live at the Bike! broadcast.

Andrew Neeme shares his trip report from the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship last week, where he aimed to get a piece of the $26 million prize pool: