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Top Poker Stories of 2012 - Part Two

In Part One of our Top Poker Stories of 2012 we looked at the success of women at the WSOP, Sam Razavi's jetlag, the huge Super-High Rollers Event in Macau, the incredible year of Dan Smith and the immortal Phil Ivey.

Now in our second and final part of our Top Poker Stories of 2012 we look at what we think were the top five stories for the Asia-Pacific community over the last 12 months.

Phil Hellmuth wins WSOPE Main Event and Bracelet #13

Phil HellmuthHe walks the walk.  He talks the talk.  Now Phil Hellmuth has evolved beyond the “Poker Brat” to the greatest player of all time.  Statistically speaking, of course.

Hellmuth’s incredible WSOP series already saw him in contention for the Player of the Year award, with a bracelet in the $2,500 Razz and fourth place in the Big One For One Drop among six cashes, but it wasn’t until he ventured to Cannes for the WSOP Europe Main Event that Hellmuth solidified his poker immortality.  Hellmuth defeated the best that Europe had to offer to claim another seven-figure pay day and a record-setting 13th WSOP gold bracelet to silence the critics once and for all.

Unlucky for some, but number 13 will always be a special one for Hellmuth, and a mark that few will ever reach.

WSOP-APAC announced for Melbourne

WSOP APACThe World Series of Poker enjoys a rich 43-year history, and in recent times has branched out into new markets in Europe and Africa.  But the big news of 2012 was that the world’s largest and most prestigious poker series will be heading down under for the very first time.

The WSOP-APAC will take centre stage at Melbourne’s Crown Casino in April of 2013, and while a full schedule has yet to be released at the time of writing, there was enormous hype following the announcement that five WSOP gold bracelets will be up for grabs in the first ever WSOP-APAC series.

What events will be held?  What affect will it have on the Aussie Millions?  Who will be the first WSOP-APAC champion?  And will the Aussies be able to add to our nation’s WSOP bracelet tally?

If the announcement in itself was big, wait until next year as this event is already the early favourite for the top moments of 2013!

Big One for One Drop

Antonio EsfandiariA few short years ago, the WSOP $50,000 HORSE tournament was considered the pinnacle of the poker world as the best of the best played in the highest buy-in tournament in the world.  That mark was then topped with High Roller events around the world hitting $100,000.  Then the Aussie Millions raised that with a staggering 20 players entering the $250,000 Super-High Rollers event two years ago.

That figure has now been dwarfed as this year the WSOP hosted the first ever “Big One for One Drop” event with a staggering $1 million buy-in.  Even more incredible was that the event sold out at a capacity 48 players.

The creation of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, the event donated over $10 million to charity while creating the largest first place prize in poker history - $18.346 million, won by Antonio Esfandiari.

One of the great events, not only of 2012, but in poker history, the Big One for One Drop will return in 2014 to do it all over again.  That’s nearly two years warning for you to scrape together a buy-in to take your shot!

The Lederer Files; Forfeit millions, admit nothing

Howard LedererIt was the interview that the world was waiting for.  And the anti-climax was deafening.

Former Full Tilt Poker board member Howard Lederer agreed to sit down for a one-on-one interview with PokerNews.com, and the poker community sat on the edge of their seats hoping for some answers after 18 months of silence.  It was supposed to be a no holds barred session where Lederer and FTP were put under the microscope.  Lederer was supposed to sweat and the poker community were supposed to gain some sort of satisfaction from watching him squirm in his seat.

Sadly, Lederer’s stock response of “I don’t know”, and the lack of assertive questioning, left most of us feeling a little empty.  We didn’t learn anything new and it did nothing to improve our trust in Lederer or his involvement with the company.

However just months later, Lederer was able to successfully settle his case with the US Department of Justice.  He continued to play ignorant, and admitted no knowledge of how poorly the company was run.  He was cleared of all wrongdoing but was still forced to pay out several million dollars, including the forfeiture of two Las Vegas properties, as part of the settlement – just a drop in the ocean when compared to the estimated $42 million he received from his time at Full Tilt.

PokerStars acquires Full Tilt Poker; Re-opens for real money play

Poker Stars Full Tilt PokerArguably the leading story of the year 2012 was the news that PokerStars had acquired its one-time arch enemy in Full Tilt Poker.

For years, the two online poker giants went toe-to-toe for the mantle of #1.  Sadly the events of 2011’s Black Friday saw the demise of Full Tilt, with repercussions from that day still felt by those US-based players who do not yet have access to their online funds.

Fortunately the players in the rest of the world received some long-awaited good news when it was announced that PokerStars had struck a deal with the US Department of Justice and Full Tilt Poker to acquire their assets, and settle in their own case with the DOJ to allow a potential return to the US market in future.  As part of the deal, PokerStars would honour all outstanding player balances.

If the announcement wasn’t incredible enough, then November 6th was a surreal day as the ninja, clown and fluffy cat avatars were back in action as Full Tilt Poker re-opened its doors for real money play under PokerStars ownership.  Thousands of non-US players have returned to play on the FTP felt, while even more were relieved to reunite themselves with their long-lost bankrolls.



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Poker Asia Pacific Staff
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