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Poker News in Brief: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2009
The first week of December treated poker fans to PokerStars EPT Prague, APPT Sydney and a brand new PokerListings.com.
With all that quality front page poker news there were a number of stories that almost fell through the cracks here at PL.com.
Fortunately, we publish our Poker News in Brief feature every Sunday and we’re going to recount some of the lesser-known stories below.
This week we’ll take a look at the original WSOP location shutting down its hotel, an Australian going back-to-back at the APPT High Roller’s event, a UB Poker pro winning a side event at Bellagio and more.
Binions Hotel Shuts Doors
Binions Gambling Hall & Hotel, the original location of the World Series of Poker, will be shutting down the hotel component of the business, according to a statement from owners this week.
Lisa Robinson, a spokesperson for Owners TLC Casino Enterprises, told the Associated Press the decision was made to keep the rest of the property operational.
She went on to say the facility was heavily affected by the economic downturn and the hotel rooms were no longer competitive.
The casino and legendary poker room will remain in business.
The property was originally known as Binion’s Horseshoe and it was there that Benny Binion conceived the WSOP.
The WSOP brand was sold to Harrah’s in 2004 and the next year the tournament was moved to the Rio All-Suites Hotel.
Graham goes back to back at APPT Sydney High Rollers Event
Jarred Graham pulled off an unlikely repeat performance as the APPT Sydney High Roller champion this week.
The young Australian outlasted 26 players including notables Jeff Lisandro, David Steicke and Terrence Chan to take down the $156,000 (AUD) first place prize.
This is the second year the $15,300 (AUD) buy-in event has been held and last year was actually more difficult for Graham, as he had to beat 36 players.
Graham now has life-time tournament earnings of $468,602, which puts him 21st on the Australian all-time money list.
PartyGaming Wins Poker Operator of the Year
PartyPoker won Poker Operator of the Year honors at the eGaming Review Awards (EGR) in London this week.
An independent judging panel recognized that PartyPoker had made the most headway in the real-money poker sector over the last year. The judges were looking at originality, growth, scale, usability, payment processing and marketing.
Other notable poker winners included PKR for Best Online Marketing Campaign with special mentions to Betfair for Mobile Gaming Operator and ChiliPoker for Rising Star of the Year.
Russian Takes European Masters of Poker Slovenia
A Russian stole the show at the Slovenia leg of the second season of the European Masters of Poker this week.
Vladimir Mefodichev outlasted 252 opponents to take down the €58,190 first place prize in the three-day event.
The €1,000 buy-in event drew players from across the globe and the final table had players from Denmark, Russia, Israel, Sweden, France and Romania.
The European Masters of Poker now heads to Casino Las Canaria, Spain for the next tournament, which takes place Jan. 28-31.
Michael Binger Wins Five Diamond Side-Event
UB sponsored pro Michael Binger added yet another side event title at the 2009 Bellagio Five Diamond series this week.
Binger outlasted 127 players to win the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event for $124,160.
Since bursting onto the poker scene with a third place finish in the 2006 WSOP Main Event for $4.1 million, Binger has taken down the 2008 WSOPC Lake Tahoe title for $181,379 and side events at the L.A. Poker Classic and Five Star World Poker Classic.
Adding in numerous cashes from around the globe, Binger has slightly more than $6.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings.
Power Hours on UB, Absolute Poker
Absolute Poker and UB players now have opportunity to earn twice the frequent player points during certain times.
Starting this week both sites will offer Power Hours from Monday-Saturday between the hours of 1-4 a.m. ET and 1-4 p.m. PT where players will earn twice the UB or AP points. The promotion is open to both tournament and cash-game players.
On Sunday, all players can earn double points between the hours of 1-4 a.m. ET with a special 1-5 p.m. ET session just for cash game players.
Players do not need to sign up and the points will simply be added to their account balance.
Full Tilt Signs Jani Vilmunen
It appears that Full Tilt Poker has signed Jani “KObyTAPOUT” Vilmunen as their latest red pro.
At the start of the week, the Finnish PLO-expert was still playing by his KObyTAPOUT alias but by mid-week a red Jani Vilmunen showed up at the tables on Full Tilt.
Vilmunen is most well-known as a fierce high stakes online cash game player, but he’s also had success in tournaments. Vilmunen won the Pot-Limit Omaha event at the WSOPE this fall for $336,396 and he also won the $2,100 PLO Six-Max WCOOP event on PokerStars for $172,140.
Full Tilt has yet to publicly confirm it has signed Vilmunen.
UB, Poker Player Magazine Hold Tournament for Armed Forces
Poker Player Magazine and UB Poker will host a freeroll this January to benefit those serving in the United States armed services.
All members of the armed forces, including veterans, are encouraged to participate, but the event is open to all players who would like to show their appreciation for men and women in uniform.
“This is a great event for everyone,” said Poker Pro Media Vice President Will Jordan, a former Marine. “But it is especially gratifying because we will be getting our servicemen and women involved. They deserve our gratitude, and this is just one small way to show it.”
The grand prize will be a $10,000 seat in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, along with $2,000 in expense money.
To sign up for the freeroll simply go to UB.com by Dec. 27 and use the promotion code PKRPRO.