With Phil Ivey back in the news, the massive LA Poker Classic Main Event underway, and a slew of Full Tilt opinions hitting the internet, this past week was a busy one. Rather than dredge through all the muck, we’ve pulled out all the highlights for you in this edition of The Week That Was:
Phil Ivey Re-Emerges at the Commerce
The field in the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic Main Event is dwindling, but even with a turnout of 549 players and a $5 million prize pool, the one major story coming out of that event is the return of Phil Ivey to the US felt. It has been nearly a year since Ivey took part in a major US event, but he broke his sabbatical with an appearance at the Commerce Casino on Thursday.
Ivey bought in shortly after play began and finished the day top five in the chip counts. Over the course of Day 2, Ivey maintained his chip stack to end the day above average, but in the middle of the pack, while Greg Mueller surged up the counts to finish in the top three.
Day 3 will cull the field from 182 down to at least the 54 players who make the money. If Ivey is still alive at the end of that day, it should be interesting to see what the reaction from the poker community will be.
Mickey Petersen Picks Up First Live Title in Copenhagen
The field for the European Poker Tour’s trip to Copenhagen this year may have been decidedly smaller than recent years, but the event still managed to produce some interesting stories, like the early run of Melanie Weisner, not to mention a pretty solid final table line-up.
Steve O’Dwyer continued his hot run with a seventh place finish and Pierre Neuville put in a strong showing for Team PokerStars Pro with a runner-up showing, but it was Team PokerStars Online Pro Mickey Petersen who bested them all to take the title and a more than $450,000 payday.
WPT Ditches Invitational, Launches WPT Foundation
History would indicate this week should have included a couple of days of poker, partying, and fun as it is time for the annual WPT Celebrity Invitational. However, many were disappointed to hear that the popular event, which pits Hollywood against the pros, didn’t make the cut for the Season X schedule.
This week the WPT did unveil that, though the Invitational may be gone, the organizations ties to both charity and Hollywood remain firmly in place. The company has formed a new charitable wing called WPT Foundation, which will host a series of poker-related philanthropic events throughout the year in order to raise money for an array of non-profit organizations.
The first event is just a couple of weeks away, taking place on March 11th at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills with food by world famous chef Jose Andres, a long list of celebrity appearances, and even a little poker.
Rankings Round Up
Not much changed on the Power Rankings and BLUFF Player of the Year fronts this week. Jonathan Duhamel retains the top spot in both contests and will likely remain there next week once his six-figure score in the $5,000 prelim event at the LA Poker Classic gets added to his tally.
Once those LA Poker Classic results enter the database, you can expect even more movement in the ranks beyond Duhamel, as Keith Ferrera, Jordan Young, and some of the other big winners of the past week climb up the counts.
Sounding Off on Full Tilt Poker
Phil Ivey may have had nothing to say about the Full Tilt Poker situation when he made an appearance at the LA Poker Classic, but plenty of other people have been more than vocal about the troubled online poker site this past week. Daniel Negreanu kicked off the series of high profile op eds with a video blog condemning Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, and Chris Ferguson (commentary on FTP starts at the six-minute mark). Negreanu called the trio “disrespectful”, “shameful”, and “disgusting.”
Doyle Brunson responded to Negreanu’s comments with a blog post that is a little more sympathetic to the Full Tilters. Brunson argues that one has to think about intent when passing judgment on some of the Full Tilt shareholders and admits he believes that lederer and others were in the dark about some of the more questionable business decisions.
Then Matt Glantz and Bill Rini both chimed in with blog posts. Glantz admitted he heard the Group Bernard Tapie deal was going to fall through and Rini pointed out some assumptions that can be safely made regarding the silence from the Full Tilt faction and Bitar’s status as a current employee of the company. The opinions on Full Tilt will keep rolling in, but any absolute facts about the organization remain unknown.