Daily 3-Bet: Lederer Grilled, Naoya Named, Poker in Cambodia

Howard Lederer
One more time around the grill for Lederer.

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is the reasonable, soft-voiced good cop making you a little more comfortable under the glaring lights of the afternoon poker news cross-examination.

Any suggestions for a future 3-Bet feel free to drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Howard Lederer getting grilled by the 2+2 Pokercast, Naoya Kihara named Japan’s first sponsored pro and a "low buy-in" poker tournament coming to Cambodia.

1) Lederer: Demise a “Complex Interplay of a Lot of Factors”

The overwhelming response on the 2+2 poker forums to last week’s Lederer Files interview was clear: He got off easy.

Some tough questions weren’t asked, important follow-up questions were missed and Lederer got too much of the floor to tell his version of events.

Fair or not, what the poker community wanted was another shot at putting Lederer’s feet to the fire.

They got their wish last night when the hosts of the 2+2 Pokercast sat down with Lederer for over 3 hours to ask those missed questions.

The result? Some tougher questions, much fewer “I don’t knows” and a very well done interview, but perhaps still not an entirely satisfying result given the early feedback.

The full interview is available here and the discussion about it here, but some key Cliffs:

Ray Bitar
Doesn't work for free.
  • FTP should have had outside corporate governance and took false comfort in AGCC
  • Company grew beyond his capability when he “retired” in 2008
  • Revenue went from $500m to $1b after Lederer left
  • Distributions didn’t start until excess cash was on hand. Distributions were $10m/month and in hindsight were too frequent.
  • No distributions paid after April 1 or Black Friday
  • After Black Friday discussed returning owner “distributions paid in error” per operating agreement; wasn’t going to happen
  • He can’t disagree paying back was morally right and individual responsibility, but he didn’t have much cash to give back. Returned what he owed.
  • When all is said and done, no owners have player money. They gave up assets in deal and money well in excess has been forfeited to US govt.
  • Player loans were handled poorly but the big games added buzz
  • Bitar was asked to take no salary or a 90% pay cut post-April 15 and refused. Lederer agreed to $70k but Bitar continued to take $200k/month

2) Naoya Kihara Named First-Ever Japanese PokerStars Pro

Naoya Kihara
Kihara: Groundbreaker.

Already the first Japanese player to win a WSOP bracelet and third on Japan's all-time money list, Naoya Kihara now has another feather in his cap: PokerStars pro.

A former physics student and teacher, Kihara was recently named the first-ever Japanese pro on Team PokerStars Online.

"I want to be a top poker pro who every poker player knows and can be proud of," Kihara told the PokerStars blog.

"To be a member of Team Online is a really big step."

A former semi-pro on the backgammon circuit, Kihara's long-term goal is now to make a living as a poker pro and become one of the world’s most famous poker players a la Daniel Negreanu.

With over $570k in live tournament earnings Kihara's off to a good start but still has a ways to go to catch Masa Kagawa ($1.3m) at the top of Japan's money list.

You can catch up with Kihara at the PokerStars tables under the handle "nkeyno" and follow him on Twitter as key_poker here.

3) First-Ever Live Poker Tournament Coming to Cambodia

A coming "Asian Poker Boom" has been talked about breathlessly in the poker media for years.

The burgeoning Asia Pacific Poker Tour, the introduction of WSOP Asia-Pacific and booming high-stakes action in Macau seem to back up the case for being on the brink of at least a surge of some sort.

Where you might not expect to see poker even if booms in Asia though?

A country like Cambodia, which the IMF ranked 154th out of 183 nations worldwide in per capita gross domestic product last year.

Titan King Casino

That hasn't seemed to slow down interest in poker, however, according to a recent interview on PokerFuse with Denis Pham, development director with PSW Asian.

The first sanctioned poker tournament in Cambodia is coming to the Titan King Casino in November and Pham says it's just the beginning:

“We are developing poker in Cambodia. The game’s popularity has picked up in the past year and is growing fast.

“We are trying to generate some interest in this country,” he said. “So that’s why we started with a small buy-in—then we’ll see how they like it.”

Whether a $550 buy-in is fair to call "small" in a country with an average annual income of $540 is debatable, Pham says there will be a $100,000 prize pool if the tournament attracts 200 players.

If that's not the definition of life-changing money, we don't know what is.

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Hank 2012-09-27 22:27:58

Much better interview this time. At least it felt like he took some responsibility but the most important question still wasn't asked. While he may not feel like the owners have any player money now that the deal is done, they certainly have been holding onto it for the last 18 months.

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