The Week That Was: High Stakes Poker Makes a Change, WSOPE Makes a Move, Eastgate Makes His Return, and More

Norm McDonald is the new face of High Stakes Poker.

Norm McDonald is the new face of High Stakes Poker.

Today’s edition of The Week That Was is chock full of changes around the poker world. Wholesale changes at High Stakes Poker, to the World Series of Poker moving to a new home, and a World Champion returning to poker highlight this week’s news in poker.

High Stakes Poker: McDonald – Kaplan – FTP Pros = ?

Season seven of High Stakes Poker debuts on GSN Saturday, February 26th with a series of changes to the popular televised cash game. First came the announcement of comedian Norm McDonald to replace Gabe Kaplan as host, a decision that has the poker community divided on how it will affect the show, especially if McDonald is the only person commentating on the action.

A change that has the railbirds and observers in agreement with their displeasure was when the lineup was revealed. While PokerStars will have several of their pros appear on the show, no sponsored Full Tilt Poker players participated in the December taping. The prevailing opinion is that without Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, etc. interested viewers will not want to tune in. Replacing the Full Tilt pros will be several amateur businessmen who will hopefully liven up the action. Viewers watching on DirecTV will be able to watch in glorius 3-D on the n3D network.

WSOPE is in the Cannes

The World Series of Poker Europe is leaving its London location, traveling across the English Channel to a new location – Cannes, France for the 2011 edition. As part of a partnership with the Lucien Barriere casino group, Caesars Interactive Entertainment announced the Casino Barriere de Cannes Croisette in Cannes will be the home of this year’s WSOPE, running October 7 through October 21. Seven bracelet events will be awarded, an increase from the five offered in London last year. Players who were worried about being seated behind a staircase or other tight quarters will be happy with the fact that 75 tables will be available, nearly double the capacity of the Casino at the Empire in London. The full schedule of events will be officially announced later this year.

Part of the agreement with the Barriere group is a revamping of the Barriere Poker Tour, which will have a series of qualifying events for the WSOPE Main Event across France. The alliance will also create, an online site dedicated to French residents similar to the deal announced with Microgame last year.

Eastgate Unretires from Poker

Yet another young, successful poker player has come out of retirement with the announcement of 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Peter Eastgate’s return to the poker community. Earlier this week, a list of names of players who accepted invitationas to the 2011 NBC National Heads-Up Championship included Eastgate’s name to the March 3 through March 6 event. The following day, PokerStars issued a statement from Eastgate giving his reasons for his return. Eastgate said: “Having had time to think about my life and future I feel I have figured out how I can combine playing poker with a healthy life outside of poker.” The European Poker Tour stop in Copenhagen February 21 through February 26 will be the first stop on Eastgate’s comeback tour.


Sunday will be a busy day for poker followers online, on the felt, and on TV. The fourth PokerStars SuperStar Showdown features Viktor “Isildur1″ Blom against Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov. Updates will be available @bluffmagazine along with a recap the following day at The $1,500 Main Event of the World Series of Poker Circuit gets underway in Tunica, Mississippi on Sunday, while the World Poker Tour debuts the first episode of season 9 with coverage of the Bellagio Cup VI on GSN at 8 and 11pm ET. The 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event kicks off coverage on ESPN2 at 10pm ET.

Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS XIX moves into its second week with plenty of exciting tournament action. Recaps of each day’s events can be found here. Two-time BLUFF Readers Choice winner The Poker Beat aired its final episode this week. Alessio Isaia won the World Poker Tour Venice event for 380,000 Euros. February 19th, the World Poker Tour returns to the US for the WPT Invitational, a $200,000 freeroll, at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. BLUFF’s Jessica Welman will be on site with recaps of the event along with updates at

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Kevin Mathers

Widely known by his twitter handle "Kevmath", many consider Kevin a go-to source for news and information in the poker community. Kevin finished on the bubble in the 2014 edition of the BLUFF Power 20.
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