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We are back with another edition of our PokerGuru 3-bet. This time, we start with news of partypoker’s golden run with the site receiving the EGR Poker Operator of the Year award. partypoker recently announced the 2018 partypoker Live MILLIONS schedule which features over $100 million in guaranteed prize pool. Next we turn our focus on French based online poker site Winamax, which has purchased the Italian gaming license of bet-at-home to prepare for the upcoming European shared liquidity deal.
Last but not the least, we conclude with the tournament report from 2017 Punta Cana Poker Classic Main Event which was taken down by Chilean Roberto Carvallo.
partypoker Wins EGR Operator of the Year Award, Releases Live MILLIONS Schedule
partypoker recently won the ‘Poker Operator of the Year’ award at the EGR Operator Awards 2017 hosted at Grosvenor House in London on Oct. 26, ending a run of three consecutive victories for PokerStars. The EGR Operator Awards are the most prestigious event in the e-gaming calendar and reward B2C operators for setting the standard across 30 categories.
It has been a golden year for partypoker as its owner GVC Holdings was shortlisted alongside heavy weights like 888poker, PokerStars, Pokerdom and Sky Betting & Gaming in the Poker Operator of the Year category. The award was given to online giant PokerStars in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but not this year.
The award breaking the streak was mainly won after partypoker made four significant moves. The creation of the partypoker LIVE and MILLIONS brands for starters, the induction of John Duthie followed by the signing of Mike Sexton and German prodigy Fedor Holz. Apart from these, many positive changes were put into place at partypoker including a revamped tournament schedule, the reintroduction of rakeback for all players, and a refreshed software.
During the year, partypoker LIVE burst onto the live poker tournament stage with many popular events including the lucrative partypoker MILLIONS. Now, building on that success, through an official blog, the company has announced the 2018 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS schedule which guarantees over $100,000,000 in prize pool between now and December 2018.
The schedule features events around the globe including North America, Russia, the Caribbean and Europe. They will not only return to King’s Casino in the Czech Republic, Playground Poker Club in Canada and the Sochi Casino and Resort in Russia, but a new stop is planned at Casino Barcelona along with a new venue planned for the next year’s Caribbean Poker Party.
A major highlight will be that all festivals henceforth will feature multiple opening flights and guaranteed prize pools of at least $5 million with five events guaranteeing at least $10 million.
partypoker LIVE president John Duthie shared his excitement on the new changes and said, “The response to the partypoker MILLIONS series has been incredible and I think the increased prize pools next year are going to take the events to a whole new level. It’s going to be very exciting.”
partypoker chairman Mike Sexton echoed the same feelings, “The MILLIONS series has brought a great deal of excitement to the live and online poker world and really engaged players with a very competitive environment so I can’t wait to see the impact of even bigger prize pool guarantees in 2018.”
Winamax Purchases Italian Gaming License of bet-at-home
In another major move towards entering the Italian market, French online poker site Winamax has purchased the Italian gaming license of bet-at-home which is a German subsidiary of the French company Betclic Everest Group.
Winamax recently announced that they had signed professional poker players Adrian Mateos from Spain and Mustapha Kanit from Italy as their new Team Pro ambassadors in preparation for the eventual shared liquidity between France, Italy, Spain and Portugal after an agreement was inked between the four countries to allow licensed online gaming sites to share player pools.
This move also explains their plans to take the gaming industry by storm in these countries as Winamax will now get access to the Italian gaming market, which it had abandoned in March 2015 due to “Italian legislation on gaming”.
But some others feel the acquisition could be deemed as a bit of a gamble since earlier in October, key Italian legislators and industry insiders voiced their opinions against shared liquidity as it could increase the chances of money laundering.
Roberto Carvallo Ships 2017 Punta Cana Poker Classic For $97,590
The 2017 Punta Cana Poker Classic Main Event was recently hosted at the beautiful five-star Melia Caribe Tropical Hotel Resort on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic. The event drew a total of 382 runners who ponied up the $1,650 buy-in event to create a $555,810 prize pool easily crushing the $500,000 GTD with the top 45 players making it in the money.
Outshining everyone was Roberto Carvallo who pocketed the $97,590 first place purse making this the Chilean’s largest live tournament take of his short career.
Carvallo in a video interview post his win said, “The final table was tough, I started the day with only a few chips and had the luck to win some flips.”
Carvallo, who won a live satellite into the main event, entered the nine-handed final table in sixth chip position but maneuvered himself well to eventually lift the trophy.
Final Table Recap
Carvallo was down to ten big blinds once the final table played down to six-handed action after the eliminations of James Casement (9th place), Kalman Dohany (8th place) and Cristopher Cardinale (7th place).
The Chilean however managed to bounce back. In pursuit of the title, he was able to eliminate Santiago Soriano three-handed when his defeated the Spaniard's (Soriano) , with the community cards falling .
It didn’t take long for Lucas Smith (5th place), Julian Kaplan (4th place) and Benjamin Craig (3rd place) to hit the rails.
Once heads-up battle began, the young Chilean and his American counterpart Jamin Stokes grinded back and forth, eventually playing with even stacks and agreed on a deal to chop the prize money equally.
The duo shoved on the very next hand to determine the official champion who would take home the trophy. Carvallo was dealt against Stokes’ . The final board of the event fanned out making a three-of-a-kind for Carvallo who was crowned champion!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Roberto Carvallo – $97,590*
2. Jamin Stokes – $97,590*
3. Santiago Soriano – $50,025
4. Benjamin Craig – $39,185
5. Julian Kaplan – $29,180
6. Lucas Smith – $23,620
7. Cristopher Cardinale – $18,900
8. Kalman Dohany – $14,730
9. James Casement – $11,395
*denotes heads-up deal