Victoria Coren-Mitchell to be Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

May 24, 2016

victoria-cohen-poker-hall-of-fameVictoria Coren-Mitchell will be one of two women inducted into this year’s Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WIPHOF). The other player is Debbie Burkhead, and both will be inducted during a July 6th ceremony held at Vegas’ Gold Coast Hotel and Casino Ballroom.

Competition for this year’s WIPHOF class was pretty fierce, with the following seven ladies up for vote:

Debbie Burkhead
Victoria Coren-Mitchell
Esther Rossi
Jennifer Tilly
Mandy Glogow
Karina Jett
Shirley Rosario

Despite the many qualified candidates, Coren-Mitchell stands out because she has $2.46 million in live tournament winnings along with two EPT titles. The 43-year-old was actually the first person to ever win two EPT titles. Now she can lay claim to another first in being the only Brit selected to any major poker hall of fame.

As for Burkhead, she was a pioneer for women in poker, getting her start in the 1990s. Burkhead was one of the most-prominent poker writers, doing a column called “Debbie does Poker,” along with other work for PokerPages.com, Poker Digest and Poker Player Cruises.

The public was supposed to be able to vote on the candidates. However, a glitch in the process made WIPHOF Director Lupe Soto decide to end this early.

“When the system was set up, it was only supposed to accept one vote per IP address,” said Soto. “Unfortunately, we discovered that if someone cleared the cookies from their browser, they were able to do multiple votes and we saw such actions in the public voting process where people were abusing the system. Thus, we could not in good faith use the public voting as a part of the process this year.”

Soto added that in the future they’d like to bring software back as long as it doesn’t allow for multiple votes.

Regardless of how the voting occurred, it’s clear that Coren-Mitchell and Burkhead are both very deserving entries into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.

Candace Collins sells Yogurt Shops to play Poker

May 19, 2016

candace-collins-pokerJust a few years ago, Candace Collins was part owner of six frozen yogurt shops in Northern California. But then the poker bug bit Collins and she decided to sell her yogurt shops and pursue the game full-time.

Since starting on the path towards being a poker pro in 2013, Collins has managed to rack up a number of scores, including a $39,800 cash in the 2014 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Main Event. In all, Collins has racked up over $109k in live tournament cashes.

As she told the Huffington Post, her ultimate goal is to attract the attention of a sponsor.

“A dream of mine is to get a corporate sponsor that agrees with my personal values,” Collins said. “I would love to work with a company that respects my talent and likability, not sex appeal. I don’t find it difficult to gain sponsorships in the poker community, I just limit myself with opportunities because of my moral compass.”

Sponsorships are definitely rare in poker these days, but Collins is applying the same work ethic that she used to run yogurt shops and manage a team of criminal investigators to become good at poker.

“Competing with the brilliant minds of poker professionals,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to have several discussions about hands and strategy with literally, the best players in the world. I am constantly striving to be at their level.”

For now, Collins’ plan is to try expanding her poker horizons by playing in more European live tournaments in the coming years.

“To play more European poker events. I played my first France Poker series in Monaco, which was incredible,” she explained. “That series was a preliminary event for the PokerStars, European Poker Tour (EPT.) I will also continue to follow the major U.S. tours in constant pursuit to win a trophy and title.”

Only time will tell how well Collins’ professional poker career goes. But the good news is that she seems to be working hard at it and is serious about improving.

Pro Rock Climber using Poker to make a Living

May 13, 2016

pro-rock-climber-poker-proAndré DiFelice is one of the best rock climbers in the world, even competing in World Cup “bouldering” events.

However, the key problem with rock climbing is that DiFelice doesn’t make any real money with the sport – instead he pays $10,000 to $20,000 annually to compete. So in order to fund his bouldering career and continue climbing, the Canadian plays online poker.

Vice Sports did a feature on DiFelice, detailing how he got into poker after seeing his older brother (also a climber) take up the game. Thanks to an arm injury in climbing, he got even more into poker and has been making a lot of money.

His online earnings have already reached six figures, while he has six live tournament cashes in 2016 worth over $60,000.

“You can become injured when you climb too much. Or when you play too much poker, maybe you start not playing so well and that can go downhill very fast. So now that I have two and I’m focused on both, they both seem to be going very well,” DiFelice said. “Basically I’m always motivated to do both. I don’t burn out.”

DiFelice’s first venture into bouldering came after he tore his ACL with climbing. This prompted him to retire from the sport at the age of 18, citing that he was tired of it. He then started playing online poker for money, even moving to the Netherlands with a plan of staying there just for poker.

Things didn’t work out as planned, though, and he moved back to Canada to continue pursuing both climbing and poker. He’s doing better at both again and thinks that his key to success is moving between the two games.

The entire Vice Sports article is an interesting read, and you can take a look here.

Faraz Jaka starts Online Travel Guide

May 5, 2016

faraz-jaka-pokerLast year, CNN Money did a feature on poker pro Faraz Jaka called The Homeless Millionaire, which revealed his deep love for world travel. So it’s little surprise to find out that Jaka has taken this passion and started an online travel guide.

Called FarazJaka.com, this site features a mix of articles on Jaka, his poker tournament results, coaching rates and, now, travel guides.

So far, the section is a little bare, with only Chicago, Durham, Berlin, Malta and Prague covered. However, the site promises that two cities in the Bahamas – Staniel Cay and Nassau – will soon be covered.

Just to get a glimpse of what you can expect from Jaka’s travel guide, he covers taxi’s, bus service, walking, biking and Uber drivers for different cities. You can read the following excerpt of Prague for an example:

“Public Bus service – The cheapest option by far and if you catch the connections you can be in the city center faster than a taxi. Also note that you should buy your pass for the bus in advance either from the news stand or at the DPP desk at the terminal. If you intend on using the bus for more than 24 hours you don’t need to by a separate ticket for your luggage as you are allowed one over standard piece of luggage per pass. Warning: Be aware of your surroundings as the bus route does attract pick pocketers, although the No.119 is more affected by this due to it being more busy than the No.100.”

Given that Jaka still regularly travels to poker tournaments around the world, we can expect to see content coming out on other cities in the future. Looking at his 2016 cashes, he’s already been to Nassau (2016 PCA), Hollywood Florida (WPT Seminole Hard Rock) and Monte Carlo (2016 EPT Grande Final) this year.

As for his poker career, Jaka has earned over $5.1 million and final tabled several major events. His largest-ever cash was a third place finish in the 2012 PCA Main Event ($755,000). He’ll no doubt be looking for more big cashes soon in the 2016 WSOP.

Huge Taxes could hurt Greek Online Poker Market

April 27, 2016

greece-online-poker-taxesGreece has been struggling financially ever since their economic crisis in 2010. So one of the proposed measures to shore up their $350 billion national debt is to create an online gaming market. While this sounds good in theory, the key problem is that online poker sites and casinos might stay away due to the outrageous taxes

The leading proposal calls for a 35% tax on gross gaming revenue, €3 million to purchase an online gaming license, and a minimum tax payout of €1 million per year.

When looking across the European gaming market, these are pretty steep requirements from a country of 11 million people that’s still struggling economically.

On Greece’s behalf, they hope that the strict requirements will generate €550 million in tax money for the government. However, it’s a bit hard to see this happening when New Jersey and its comparable population of 8.95 people is only projected to make $160 million in total revenue.

Nevertheless, some online poker rooms could still shell out the hefty amount to enter Greece. Amaya Gaming, parent company of PokerStars, has a temporary license in the country. Another 20 gaming companies are also using these temporary licenses as a trial, although very few of these same operators will stick around if the current measures are passed.

Yet another problem with the proposed online poker bill is that players would be forced to pay taxes on any winnings within a 24-hour span. This is made worse by the fact that any losses incurred the following day would not reduce the taxes.

These laws will either force current Greek poker pros to quit or move away from their country. Case in point, PokerStars player ‘Pokerfan89gr’ writes:

“It sucks because of the ridiculous tax. Most Greek pros or people who want to play a lot have to move or stop playing entirely. (Greece’s government) tax daily. At 7:00am each day, they take 20% of your winnings. It’s automatically taken from your account.”

Perhaps only the state of Pennsylvania has a worse plan on the table since they want to impose 54% revenue taxes on operators, which would no doubt get passed on to the consumer.

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