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Monday, December 13, 2010
Negreanu Ninth, WSOPC botches schedule

As the window for legalizing online poker during this session of Congress shrinks with politicians preparing to leave Washington, D.C., at the end of business on Dec. 17, the industry waits for definitive news, one way or the other, on the fate of the bill to perhaps regulate the industry. Unfortunately, since our last update on the Poker Edge Listen, there hasn't been significant movement in either direction. Our friends at Pokerati believe that the continuing resolution bill could become an omnibus appropriations bill in which the poker legislation could be attached. In any case, for up-to-the-minute information, make sure you are following @ESPN_Poker on Twitter.

Here's a look at what's going around the poker industry:

APPT Sydney

Over the weekend Daniel Negreanu made his second final table in the past two months at the Asian Pacific Poker Tour in Sydney, Australia, but he couldn't overcome short stack syndrome and finished in ninth, paving the way for a rising superstar to claim the title. The 289-player main event created a $1.7 million prize pool and Jonathan Karamalikis (owner of a screen name that I'm sure my bosses here at would not want me to publish) wrapped up the title to win $454,304. The 22-year-old Australian has been a force at live tournaments in his home country over the past few years and with the win, has eclipsed the $1 million mark in tournament earnings. Karamalikis finished 446th in the 2010 WSOP main event, which is his only cash in the United States.

Jonathan Karamilkis
Jonathan Karamalikis' victory at the APPT Sydney main event was his largest live cash of his career ($454,304).

In addition to Negreanu, the final table included some other star power in the form of Roland De Wolfe and Eddy Sabat. De Wolfe finished fourth in the WSOPE main event and would go out eighth in this event. Sabat, who traveled with Negreanu to the event, brought in $78,861 for his largest live cash in the past two years.

Here's the rest of the final table:

1. Jonathan Karamalikis ($454,304)
2. Ben McLean ($291,440)
3. Tom Rafferty ($162,864)
4. Peco Stojanovski ($120,005)
5. Antoine Amourette ($96,860)
6. Eddy Sabat ($78,861)
7. Manuel Hansimikali (64,288)
8. Roland De Wolfe ($49,715)
9. Daniel Negreanu ($36,002)

WSOP Circuit in Atlantic City

Before the second of four $10,000 Regional Championships on the 2010-2011 WSOPC season, Harrah's Atlantic City $1,650 buy-in main event attracted 352 players to become the second-largest WSOP Circuit main event this year. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe. The WSOPC Hammond main event recruited 872 players before the first Regional Championship and in turn, created a field of 226 for the $10,000 event.

Hopes were high after Hammond that we'd see a great turnout in Atlantic City and in attendance, yes, they've got it compared with 2009 for the "main event." When the highlighted tournament was a $5,150 event last year, 195 players bought in and created a prize pool of $926,835. We'll have to wait to see where the $10,000 event falls as the main event reached only $561,776. Numbers aside, I have one major issue with this stop of the WSOPC: The $10,000 event in Hammond began three days after the $1,600 event; in Atlantic City, the $10,000 event begins a week after the $1,650 event.

Talk about killing all momentum.

It's possible that the staff in Atlantic City wanted to allow players the chance to come back from APPT Sydney or EPT Prague, but let's be serious, that's only an excuse I'm going to throw in their direction. This is a big mistake on their part. Traveling to tournaments isn't cheap and if you can convince players to go for two tournaments instead of one, they'll be more likely to see that the trip is worthwhile. In this case, players either had to decide to fly out for the $1,650 and stay in A.C. for a week or fly in next weekend for the higher buy-in tournament. There are some who definitely stayed for both, but you'll see an influx of different players in town next weekend ready to play in a nationally televised event. There was the opportunity to capitalize on the added excitement a televised tournament brings and this schedule just didn't do the trick. Make the $1,650 a couple days before the $10,000 and see numbers rise in both tournaments. I don't doubt that we're going to see a bigger turnout in this $10,000 compared with the Hammond $10,000, but I think that the WSOPC could've made more out of one of the bigger poker locations in the world.

As for the tournament, just over three dozen remain looking for the $117,797 top prize and notables among them include Matt Glantz, Josh Brikis, Ari Engel, Mike Leah and Chris Tryba. Thirty-six players will make the money.

Small blinds: The World Poker Tour's Royal Flush Girls now boast Maxim's winner in the "Hometown Hottie" competition in Melanie Iglesias. … PokerNews reporter Kristy Arnett won mini-FTOPS event 12 for $31,334. … WSOP main event runner-up John Racener was arrested over the weekend in Florida for DUI. Hire a driver. You have the money. … EPT Prague began on Monday, Dec. 13, and will wrap up on Dec. 18. PokerStars expects this event to be one of the biggest on Season 7 of the European Poker Tour. … A new poker clothing company, Rise, has been sponsoring the player of the day feature on the WPT. Seriously, a solid gift idea for the live poker tournament player as a lot of their gear has pockets for the standard sunglasses, iPod and probably chips. … Daniel Negreanu "won" the second season's finale of the Million Dollar Challenge by defeating amateur Jessica Cupini in the $1,000,000 heads-up match. For his win, Negreanu donated $100,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. … Gus Hansen won $1 million by defeating the final table at the Full Tilt Poker Million IX which featured Howard Lederer, Patrik Antonius and WSOPE champion James Bord.