It was a busy week for stars of the game of poker as one well-known player chalked up a record win while another took a loss (on a business venture). Let's take a closer look at the poker news of the week:
Hawkins Claims Record Win at WSOP Circuit Horseshoe
Maurice Hawkins put his name in the record books recently with a win at the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Council Bluffs Main Event. With the first-place finish he took home $97,561. That gave Hawkins a total of 10 WSOPC gold rings, which broke a tie with Alex Masek at nine. This win was also Hawkins' fourth WSOPC Main Event win, which puts him ahead of Blair Hinkle and Chris Ferguson, who both have three. Hawkins has now made $2,516,492 in his career, which is impressive. It was also impressive that Hawkins had to beat out 270 other players. With a buy-in of $1,675, the prize pool climbed up to $406,500. William Perpich came in second while Charles Moore rounded out the top three.
Hawkins will also now take part in the WSOP Global Casino Championship in Harrah's Cherokee, which will take place in the autumn.
Phil Ivey Closes His Ivey League Website
Poker legend Phil Ivey has announced that his Ivey League website will cease operations as of May 1. Ivey started the site in 2014 as he wanted to teach people how to play poker. He's one of the most successful and well-known players, and he had hoped to parlay that into a burgeoning website. Ivey had posted videos with tips and strategies, but it wasn't attracting enough of an audience. There had been a decline in his visitors in recent months due to a number of reasons. Ivey believes the drop is because of strict rules on online poker, which are generally driving people away from the game. What's more likely is that he wasn't marketing it well enough or offering content that was engaging enough. There had been no new videos in the last six months.
Ivey has had a tough time lately in terms of public relations as he is sorting through two lawsuits.
PokerStars Pulls Back From California Lobby Efforts
PokerStars has been a huge supporter in the push to legalize online poker in California, but they've decided to pull back on the reins a little bit. It appears that they're going to focus their efforts in-house for the time being and pull back from lobbying efforts because a number of incidents have shined a negative spotlight on them.
There is the ongoing investigation with Amaya Inc., which is the parent company of PokerStars, as they have been the focus of insider-trading charges. Separately, PokerStars had also partnered with the Bicycle Casino, but was forced to shut down for 24 hours due to a federal investigation.
It's hard for PokerStars to campaign to legalize online gaming and illustrate to the public that it would be a positive move to do so when they have federal investigators putting them under a magnifying glass.
PokerStars will still be part of the campaign but they won't be at the forefront for the time being. There are more than 50 California tribes with online poker aspirations and they'll lead the charge. PokerStars has interest because they're expected to be the software/service of choice to manage the online games if online poker is legalized in California.