Posts Tagged ‘Washington State’

Roadtrip to Repeal: Washington to Washington

Poker convoy lobbies against (anti) iGambling legislation

by , Mar 17, 2011 | 4:12 pm

The PPA flew cross country from DC->Olympia earlier this week so they could rendezvous today with Andy Bloch+Linda Johnson+Jan Fisher and 20 online poker players.

No, it’s not part of the plot line to a poker-politico version of “Almost Famous”.

Unlike the lobbyist-types communing in various state capitals for the purposes of *passing* online gaming legislation, this party is roadtripping to *repeal* the online gambling ban in Washington State.

Read about it via the following presser from PPA (but lol at the word “draconian”):

Poker Players Alliance Members Meet with Washington Lawmakers
Hope to Gain Support for Overturning State Ban on Online Poker

Olympia, WA (March 17, 2011) – Members of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) from across the state of Washington are spending the day in Olympia today to ask their state lawmakers to overturn the draconian state law that makes Washingtonians felons for enjoying a hand of poker on their home computers. The PPA, the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide and more than 20,000 in Washington State, has been leading the efforts in the state to protect players from potential criminalization and provide them with a safe, regulated, national environment in which to play online poker.

“Washington is the only state that makes it not only a crime, but a felony on par with child pornography, for its own citizens to play poker at their home computer. Surely, lawmakers in the state can recognize that penalizing their constituents for opting to enjoy a hand of poker on the computer versus at the casino down the street is not only illogical but ineffective,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “Our goal with this lobby day is to raise awareness of the incongruity of this law and identify alternatives for legislators to support that will remove this criminalization while providing a safe and regulated online poker market.”

Joining more than 20 Washingtonians in Olympia are three renowned professional poker players – Andy Bloch, Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher. The group of players will meet with at least 45 state legislators to discuss the impact of the state ban and how overturning the ban and supporting federal and perhaps even state regulation of online poker would result in consumer protections for players and millions of dollars in much needed state revenue.

The state law, passed in 2006 and recently upheld by the State Supreme Court, makes it a class “C” felony for an individual to play poker online from their home computer punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or five years in prison. A 2010 poll of Washington State voters found that an overwhelming 80 percent of them disagree with this law, and over half believe online poker should be licensed, regulated and taxed.

“We have the support of the public for overturning this ban. We have the support of the players. We hope that after today, we will have the support of state lawmakers as well and can begin the process of removing the criminalization of the individual players and establishing a safe, regulated online poker market in Washington State,” continued Pappas.

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

Full Tilt out of Washington, Jersey shores up i-gaming bills, Party fights back, GTECH-who? & Domain event

by , Nov 16, 2010 | 11:22 am

The midterm elections and the November Nine are over, but interesting things keep happening in the gaming world. For starters, the lame-duck session of Congress is underway; time will tell if anything that affects Internet gaming will pass before the start of the next congressional session. In addition, here are the legal tidbits that I thought were the most interesting and/or relevant coming out over the past week:

  1. FullTilt Turns Off Washington – In big news from last Friday, FullTilt Poker has elected to follow PokerStars’s lead and discontinue providing real money games to players located in Washington State. This impacts players residing in Washington and non-residents of Washington visiting Washington. Tilt’s FAQ on the matter is here. This is being done to preserve Tilt’s Internet-poker-only-is-legal argument. A related fact is that they’re able to protect their poker-only and transparent processing solutions by turning off Washington. This leaves fewer offerings out there willing to service Washington State poker players. [Poker News Daily]
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  3. New Jersey Moves Forward on I-Gaming – Irrespective of what’s happening in Congress, New Jersey continues to move forward in its review of an intra-state Internet gaming offering. This week, the NJ Senate’s Budget and Appropriations Committee reported out S490 (Permits Internet wagering at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances); the bill now goes to the full State Senate for consideration. This bill has State Senator Ray Lesniak as the primary sponsor. It seeks to authorize Internet wagering in Atlantic City casinos, thereby allowing New Jersey residents to place wagers on casino games by means of the Internet. All games, including poker, which may be played at a casino in New Jersey, may be offered through Internet wagering under this bill. Several commentators have been saying for some time that New Jersey is one of the more promising states for intra-state gaming; if this bill becomes law – and there’s a ways to go yet – those predictions may turn out to have been prescient. []
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  5. Kentucky v. PartyGaming – In other US state news, PartyGaming is not (initially, at least) rolling over in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s attempt to extract damages from Party. Recall that Party was added to the state’s suit against Pocket Kings (Tilt) earlier this year; Microgaming was added last month. Party has now brought a motion to dismiss the complaint on several grounds. This will be interesting litigation as it rolls forward alongside the Kentucky domain name litigation. Watch for one or more of the identified defendants in Pocket Kings et al to settle. [EGR Magazine]
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  7. GTECH Worldwide Expansion – GTECH, a Lottomatica subsidiary, continues to generate interesting news and business. Recently it has struck a number of deals with various operators, including with provincial operators in Canada. Last week two more deals were made public. The first was a 10-year agreement with the Shenzhen Welfare Lottery Center to upgrade existing Keno systems, selling online lottery games, and increasing the operator’s terminal base. [iGaming Business] Then came word that GTECH has received a two-year extension to continue providing support to Pronosticos para la Asistencia Publica in Mexico. [Gaming Intelligence] Even though the parent posted a net loss in Q3, keep watching GTECH, folks.
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  9. gTLD Expansions – This is the most important ongoing story in Internet gaming (and, indeed, in intellectual property) that you’re hearing nothing about. Basically, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is opening up the general top-level domain registry well beyond what’s currently available. Instead of .com, .biz, etc., people will be able to create their own extensions and registries. Some of the new registries could include cities (.london, .nyc), Internet auction providers (.ebay), and people with strong trade-marks and domain names in a host of industries (think of .pfizer or .coke). The implications for Internet gaming are huge. Not only could operators register trade-marked names (e.g., .pokerstars), but they could add security to their offerings by owning, domiciling, and managing their own registries. Some think that a more generic name could be registered by one or more parties: .bet or .poker, perhaps. A summary of changes in the proposed final new gTLD applicant guidebook are here – worth a view. [via CircleID]

Political Update from the Heartland

Raymer on Poker-Only, Indian Reservations, and Stars in Washington

by , Nov 1, 2010 | 1:59 pm

This Thursday, I will be making my way to Tama, Iowa to meet up with the Heartland Poker Tour crew once again, this time at their event @ Meskwaki Bingo Casino (Oct 31-Nov 7.)   In preparation for my trip, I’ve been organizing the videos and pics I shot a couple weeks back while covering the HPT Fifth Anniversary Bash in Minnesota.

I found some footage y’all might be interested on this election-day-eve as I posed to a couple burning poli-poker questions to the pstars-patched host, Greg Raymer, asking:

Question 1: What does the PPA front man think of his sponsor blocking players in Washington State?

Question 2: Does libertarian @FossilMan think that internet gambling be allowed for poker-only, or does he feel that all games should be permitted in HR 2267?

Question 3: In Raymer’s opinion, should Indian Reservation casinos, such as the Shooting Star, feel threatened by legalized internet gambling?

Check it out.

This Week in Poker

by , Oct 24, 2010 | 3:20 am

This Week:

Ty Stewart — new WSOP stuff, Poker Hall of Fame, more WSOPE bracelet debate.
Matt Savage — WPT-Bellagio/Festa al Lago.
Matt Affleck — more WPT-Bellagio/Festa, Washington State, 15th place at WSOP.
Trishelle Canatella — beauty quiz + poker.

Watch the show, and readmore here.

News Timeline: Washington State Anti-Online Gambling Law

by , Oct 15, 2010 | 12:06 pm

Washington state’s anti-internet gambling law has been getting a lot of attention lately after the Supreme Court in that state upheld the law late last month. Its worth noting, however, that this has been a struggle that’s been going on for over 5 years, where only now sites such as Pokerstars have pulled out of the mix. Here’s a look back at the big dates as we look at how we got to where we are now in my first “news timeline” of a big news story:

  • June 2006 – The law is initially passed, specifically banning online gambling and making it a Class C felony to gamble on the internet. This made it an equivalent crime to forgery, possession of child pornography, and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. As with all Class C felonies it also carried a 5 year sentence and/or a $10,000 fine. Critics even in the early stages said the law was too broad to hold up in court [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
  • April 2007 – In order to protect Washington State citizens from government intrusion, state legislators passed Bill 1243 to correct excessiveness in the 2006 law. Now, it is legal for a Washington state resident to gamble online for recreation, but not for “organized profit” (read: profession). Although the change was made, it is still illegal for online operators to provide online poker to the state, making the change largely cosmetic. []
  • May 2008 – A King County court judge is the first to uphold the gambling law from challenges from Lee Rousso (attorney and the PPA’s Washington State Director).The judge in the case, Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts, stated that Rousso had not proven that the state law unfairly protected gambling within the state at the expense of interests outside of Washington. [Seattle Times]
  • March 2009 – An appeals court was the next destination for Rousso’s quest to overturn the 2006 law. Unfortunately, he was not successful either. In a unanimous decision by three Division I appeals judges, Rousso would have to prove that criminalizing online poker imposes excessive burdens on commerce. Even by this point, there hadn’t been any prosecutions of online poker players to date, but Rousso felt this was an important enough issue to appeal to the Washington Supreme Court. [Bluff Magazine]
  • May 2010 – The PPA hold a rally outside of the Washington Supreme Court to try to show the justices of the court support for overturning the law. [PPA]
  • September 2010 – The last possible court before forcing the case to go to federal once again sided with the State of Washington after arguments were heard earlier in the year. While the state was not delegated power to deal with online gambling, the law does not violate the commerce clause nor is it considered an “excessive” law, with the court citing gambling problems that are found in off-line and on-line casinos alike in its ruling. [Eric Goldman Tech & Marketing Law Blog]
  • September 30, 2010 – After spending years stating the law did not apply to online poker, Pokerstars announces that Washington state players may no longer play on Pokerstars for real money. They cited the Washington Supreme Court decision as the main reason for its decision, though in theory nothing has really changes so its interesting that Stars waiting until all appeals were exhausted before enacting the ban. [Pokerstars]
  • October 5, 2010 – As announced here earlier, Full Tilt has stated that they are monitoring the Washington state situation closely and will make a decision regarding offering real-money play to the state’s citizens in the near future. With Pokerstars’ pullout from the state a week earlier, the pressure has been turned up on other US-facing sites to make a decision. [Part Time Poker]

Washington Pullout, Lame-duck 2267, Stars Int’l Licensing, Betfair IPO, Penn National Vegas

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

by , Oct 9, 2010 | 5:47 pm

Hello good people of Pokerati. Here’s what I hope to make a weekly digest of what I think are the most interesting and/or relevant stories (not necessarily the same thing) happening online and around the world:

  1. PokerStars turns off Washington players – This is the first US state to be turned off by PokerStars. Major Stars competitors have not responded in-kind. This was not prompted by any change in state law in Washington (the ostensible reason was the result in the Rousso v. Washington judgment handed down on September 23rd). This may signal that Stars is not going to be as aggressive as others in maintaining a presence in all jurisdictions in the US. [Casino City Times]

  3. HR 2267 – People continue to try to read the tea leaves to determine what’s going to happen with the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. Every utterance from Reps. Frank or McDermott or from Senator Reid sends the online forums and poker press into overdrive. The House is now adjourned until after the November elections. If HR 2267 is to pass, it must be done during the lame-duck session starting after the mid-terms and ending before the start of the 112th Congress in early January. I continue to believe that it’s more likely than not that the current version (as amended) will not pass before the start of the next session, but remember that a lot can happen in a few days. []

  5. Betfair IPO – This is one of the biggest public offerings in gaming in some time, so it’s no surprise that it’s getting quite a lot of attention. Betfair is apparently not raising new money on the float; shareholders are selling off approximately 10% of their holdings before over-allotment. Initial media reports had suggested a valuation of as high as £1.5B, but this appears to have been discounted. [Wall Street Journal]

  7. Penn National coming to Vegas – Penn National Gaming purchased the outstanding debt of the M Resort in Las Vegas for $230.5M. This is seen as Penn’s way of eventually owning the asset, giving it its first Las Vegas property. The M was built at a cost of $1B, so most appear to be congratulating Penn for effectively purchasing a nice asset at a fraction of cost. [LVRJ]

  9. PokerStars Licensure – Stars continues to build up gaming licences in various jurisdictions; it now has operating licences in France, Italy, and Estonia, as well as its ‘main’ international licence from the Isle of Man. This may be a sign of the kind of regulatory fragmentation that owners will face in future (especially in Europe) as different countries open up their markets to licensure and operations. [Gaming Zion]

Gaming attorney and expert Stu Hoegner follows the poker and casino industries from a tax- and law-minded perspective @GamingCounsel.

Full Tilt Weighing Options in Washington State

by , Oct 8, 2010 | 9:05 pm

I swear I’m taking a vacation. But it may take me a while to get off the blogging sauce. Meanwhile, Full Tilt is addressing customers in Washington State — saying for now, carry on, but they’ll let you know if they change their mind in the future.

What’s interesting is that you can see Tilt, via message from Support, leaning on the game-of-skill defense (possibly their best option at this point) … and at the same time, if they do pull out, we may strangely see the benefit of Washington’s ignobly conceived law: showing other states how the “opt-out” model of regulation (the PPA proposes) could work.

Washington State in a Time of War

AgentMarco Monologue

by , Oct 1, 2010 | 12:18 am

One relatively new, outta-nowhere media person I’ve taken note of lately has been Marco from QuadJacks. He definitely brings something different to the tournament-interview table … and now seems to be working his shtick in current-events commentary.

From QuadJacks (download)

It’s a unique take on the poker world, imho, at a specific moment in time — specifically, here, amid the hubbub over PokerStars’ decision to shut down ops in Washington State.

PokerStars blocking real money play in Washington State

by , Sep 30, 2010 | 8:11 am

From Rich Muny of the PPA, a statement from PokerStars:

PokerStars statement on the blocking of players from Washington State

PokerStars today announced that it would cease providing real-money poker to residents of Washington State. To date, PokerStars has operated in Washington on the basis of legal opinions where the central advice was that the state could not constitutionally regulate Internet poker, or at least could not discriminate in favor of local cardrooms and against online sites. Last week, however, the Washington Supreme Court for the first time rejected that position and upheld the state’s Internet gaming prohibition.

In light of this decision, following extensive consultation with our legal advisors, we believe that the right course of action is to now block real money play by Washington residents on the site. This policy will remain in effect until the law changes or subsequent legal challenges succeed. Our decision to block real money play in Washington does not affect the balance of funds in customer accounts, which remain completely safe. Our payment services team continues to be available to Washington State residents to assist with cashout requests.

We regret this decision, which will no doubt disappoint our customers in Washington State. However, in all of the jurisdictions where we operate, we are committed to making responsible decisions that are based on a full and considered understanding of the most up-to-date legal advice.

PokerStars remains supportive of passing sensible Internet poker regulation in the United States that will provide much-needed tax revenues and formalize consumer protections. PokerStars operates under those conditions, complying with rigorous licensing regimes, for its worldwide operations in the Isle of Man (UK), and for local operations in Italy, France and Estonia.

PokerStars has also created a FAQ for Washington state residents, at

Pair of state Supreme Court decisions go against online poker

Losses in Washington, Kentucky

by , Sep 23, 2010 | 10:47 am

A busy Thursday for those hoping for some “good for poker” news in a pair of ongoing battles in state courts. First, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that iMEGA and the Internet Gaming Council can not argue for the 141 online gambling domain names that Kentucky has tried to seize since 2008, and that the domain name owners must appear in court. The KY Supreme Court decision can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state’s ban on online gambling does not violate the dormant commerce clause, deciding against Lee Rousso in his case against the state. That opinion can be read here.

Rally in Washington State Fixin’ to Get Underway

But will the Supreme Court fix online poker felony law?

by , May 27, 2010 | 9:02 am

Just to be clear for any poker players who may not know … Supreme Court decisions, both state and federal, are not made according to American Idol-style voting. Still that doesn’t mean the PPA can’t get together to bring issues to light, regardless of how the gavel falls … and that’s what they’re doing today in Washington State as Lee Rousso’s constitutional challenge to the Internet Gambling Ban gets heard.

Click here to watch public live public-affairs coverage from the Supreme Court in Olympia as the highest court in the far-far Northwest tackles the issue that has online poker players peaved like all get-out. Right now, the Court is asking questions about “welching” in online gambling … in a case apparently serving as the opening Act for Lee Rousso’s big show.

And click below for the results from a completely unscientific survey declaring four out of five poker players who chew gum prefer to not be imprisoned for playing on Full Tilt:


Al D’Amato Rallying Poker Players in Washington State

by , May 21, 2010 | 7:45 pm

The somewhat nutty former Sen. Al D’Amato is getting ready for his upcoming trip to Washington — State, not DC — and is calling the online poker troops to action in Olympia, for the PPA’s big shindig in support of Lee Rousso at the state Supreme Court.

It really is an offensive law that Washington passed in 2006 — the Internet Gambling Ban, making it a felony to play a computer game online — regardless of where you stand on poker. But we’ll have to see how the non-poker masses take to one man’s challenge the constitutionality of such a government intrusive.

I’m pretty sure the WA Court doesn’t make its decisions on the spot, so it will likely be some time before we learn if the below vid that D’Amato and the PPA just put out is an invitation to a victory party or a battle cry. Either way, it’s still fun to hear D’Amato get all impassioned:

I don’t know Washington state’s gun laws, so for now it’s probably best to leave your weapons at home. But you can still suit up belligerently in appropriate rally attire:

PPA to Rally at Washington State Supreme Court

Lee Rousso, Phil Gordon, et Al D’Amato standing up for online poker

by , May 12, 2010 | 5:32 am

This shirt is technically inaccurate now in Washington State but still would make for a great rally souvenir.

I saw a horrifyingly disturbing video several weeks ago. In it, this dude is getting fucked by a horse … I know I know … not even gonna link to it. (Forget NSFW, this is NSFHumanity, let alone lunch; trust me, you don’t even wanna google “2 guys 1 horse” … unless you happen to enjoy YouTube reaction vids to interspecies snuff films that show a man dying after literally getting ripped a new one by a 900-pound equine lover.)

Crazy thing is, this Darwin Awards ceremony took place on a farm in Washington State, which apparently has some of the most lax laws anywhere against bestiality — in fact no laws, and thus no charges were pressed against the men who ran an underground bordello for zoophiles. (Seattle Times, fyi, safe to click)

A little stomach-wrenching legal perspective as the Supreme Court in Olympia prepares to consider the felonious nature of the very toughest state law anywhere against online poker. Later this month, the court will be taking up the 2007 case of Lee Rousso vs. State of Washington, where an online poker player challenges the constitutionality of Washington’s 2006 Internet Gambling Ban.

Click here to read Rousso’s original complaint. He filed seeking a declaratory judgment on the legality of playing poker online, as opposed to other forms of online gambling that are specifically illegal (sports betting) or legal (horse racing and lottery). His primary beef seems to be that the IGB violates the federal Commerce Clause. He also calls out the questionable political backscratching between representatives and the casino industry that he claims was really behind this law that infringes on his liberty.

Heavy stuff in the balance …

As the court prepares to hear the case — not sure who won then lost, but these matters almost always require a suck and re-suck to get this far — the PPA is gathering a force to turn whatever happens on May 27 into a media event. Rousso, who happens to be the PPA’s Washington State Director, is set to testify, and cheering him on from the steps of the Supreme Court will be Al D’Amato, John Pappas, and Phil Gordon (the only Team Full Tilter who lives in Washington State). They hope to rally enough local PPA members to turn online poker issues into a noble courthouse spectacle.

Click below to read the PPA press release:


Regional Poker on TV

by , Jul 27, 2009 | 1:36 pm

The final table of the Washington State Poker Championship (live from the Muckleshoot Casino) is about to get underway — in an hour-and-a-half, at 3 pm pacific, 6 pm eastern — and our own favorite @DonkeyBomber will be delivering the play-by-play and/or color commentary on the Continental Poker Channel.

Click here to watch.

(Way) Outside the WSOP – Day 26

by , Jun 21, 2009 | 7:56 am

Finishing up Saturday’s action from the WSOP…

Lisandro Pulls the Triple Double at the Rio

Jeff Lisandro became the third double bracelet winner of this year’s 2009 WSOP when he took down the $10,000 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better World Championship a couple hours ago defeated Farzad Rouhani at about 4am Vegas time. Lisandro pockets over $430,000 for his victory as well as several hours sleep before he comes back to the Rio Sunday to hear Italy’s national anthem this afternoon. When he won his first bracelet two weeks ago in the $1,500 7 Card Stud event, the Australian national anthem was played, making him the first to have two anthems played. This is also the first time more than two players have won multiple bracelets since when six players (Chan, Ferguson, Juanda, Hellmuth, Flack, and Men Nguyen) won bracelets in 2003. His second bracelet also moves him into a tie for first in the red-hot WSOP Player of the Year Race.

Texan Tops in NL Holdem

Jordan Smith from College Station, Texas took down the $2,000 NL Holdem event, pocketing $586,212 after defeating Ken Lennaard heads-up to take home a bracelet. From Nolan Dalla’s tournament report, Smith had this to add about legalizing poker in Texas:

“I think poker definitely needs to be legalized and regulated. Legalize it. Tax it. Regulate it. I don’t think it’s the government’s job to tell me what to do or how to spend my money – even though they sure want a cut of this (taxes) whenever I win it.”

This was event #36 of the WSOP, and after only one woman (Annie Duke) had made a previous final table, there were two at this one. Almira Skripchenko who is more well known for her successes in chess, being an FIDE Woman Grandmaster, finished in 7th place, good for $78,644. Laurence Grondin from Montreal, Quebec, Canada finished in 3rd for $237,537.

Obligatory Limit Holdem Final Table Mention

The final table of the $2,000 Limit Holdem consists of:

Seat 1: Jared O’Dell 189,000
Seat 2: Danny Qutami 323,000
Seat 3: Ian Johns 113,000
Seat 4: Marc Naalden 755,000
Seat 5: Tommy Hang 202,000
Seat 6: Steven Cowley 322,000
Seat 7: Rep Porter 287,000
Seat 8: Jameson Painter 205,000
Seat 9: Alex Keating 284,000

O’Dell, Johns, Hang and Porter list Washington state on their bio sheet, which may be the first time Washington state has represented so strongly at a WSOP final table.

Charania in Charge

Moshin Charania finished day 1 of the $1,500 NL Holdem event the leader with 144,100 in chips with 327 players remaining, of which 270 make the money. Brandon Cantu (86,600), Grant Hinkle (85,800), Jeff Williams (66,200), Eric Baldwin (63,400) and Shane Schleger (63,000) are some of the players who won’t be playing the Sunday tournaments online, as they’ll be returning to the Amazon room at 2pm.

Nate is Great in PLO

Nate Lindsay from San Francisco is the chip leader (482,200) at the end of day 1 in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha World Championship with 116 players remaining, only 27 getting paid. Noah Schwartz (292,600), Ilari “Ziigmund” Saharies (229,400), David Williams (223,000), and Josh Arieh (220,600) round out the top five. Steve Zolotow (220,200), Ben Grundy (191,000), Tom McEvoy (142,800), Erick Lindgren (120,900) and Jimmy “Gobbo” Fricke (108,000) are just some other notables back for more action at 2pm as they attempt to make the final table.

Sunday’s Tournaments

The 12pm tournament day is the $5,000 NL Holdem Shootout which was won by Phillip Tom in a field of 360 for over $475,000. The WSOP Staff Guide projects a field of 396 for this event, but if it’s slightly above that, it could cause a bit of a problem for tournament staff. The payout structure for the shootout event pays 40 spots if the field is between 378 and 420, which would create 11-player tables for the first round if the field size is in the 401-420 range. The 5pm tournament is the debut of the $2,500 8-Game event which consists of HORSE, NL holdem, PLO and 2-7 triple draw, with a projected field size of 250.

More updates during the day at Pokerati and follow the WSOP at