Players choice: U.S., Portugal or England
In the United States, the newly revamped World Series of Poker Circuit made its debut in Iowa at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs. The last time the WSOP Circuit was in Council Bluffs in March 2010, the $5,000 main event attracted only 46 players. Since then, the Circuit cut down its buy-in to $1,600, created a new points system and offered up a bracelet for the winner of the end of-the-season invitational.
The changes seem to have worked, as 251 players turned out for the final event. Although it wasn't the number I was looking for (I was thinking at least 400), it still should be viewed as a success. Despite three other tournaments going on (with more exposure potential) and no leaderboards just yet for players to pursue to be part of the invitational, the tournament still received five times the number of players and an increase of 70 percent in the prize pool. The WSOP's Ty Stewart relayed to be that he believed that we might see up to 700 players in the coming Circuit stops.
Participation numbers aside, the event is down to its final dozen after an early elimination on Day 3. Among them is ESPN.com's Bernard Lee, who entered Day 3 seventh out of the 13 players starting the day and is looking for his second WSOP Circuit final table appearance of 2010. Among the other players remaining was the unofficial WSOP Circuit Player of the year, Dwyte Pilgrim, who is going for his fourth WSOP Circuit title. Pilgrim entered the day as the chip leader mostly in part to a critical hand with Lee where his A-K was able to catch a flush versus Lee's kings after all the chips went in preflop. Another player to keep an eye on is WSOP bracelet winner Blair Hinkle, who also has previously made a WSOP Circuit final table.
Action in Iowa will conclude on Tuesday and the winner will be taking home $88,555 and an automatic entry into the Circuit National Championship in May 2011. All 27 players who cashed in this event will also receive WSOP Circuit leaderboard points, which, after the season is over, land them a seat into the National Championship.
It's a great time to be a poker player in Portugal with the European Poker Tour stopping by for a 5,300 euro buy-in main event. A record 384 players were in attendance, and after three days of play, only 24 players remain. Leading the field in a big way is Martin Jacobson, who currently has 1.3 million in chips, nearly 600,000 more than his closest competitor, Marco Leonzio. While no Team PokerStars Pro players made it through Day 3, there are a few notables in the top 10 including Sam Trickett (fourth), Rob Hollink (fifth), Jason Lee (eighth) and Erik Van Den Berg (ninth).
Each player remaining has already earned 11,174 Euros, with a top prize of 467,835 Euros going to the champion.
The Mayfair's Palm Beach casino is the home of the first World Poker Tour stop in London and offered a 5,300 euro buy-in. There were two starting days for the event, which featured a lot of the top players in the game who started their European swing a little earlier than usual this year. Day 1A featured only 72 players and 31 made it through the day. Erik Seidel took control of the action early becoming the chip leader. Other survivors from Day 1A include Phil Ivey, Praz Bansi, Huck Seed, Luke Schwartz, Joe Beevers and Andrew Robl.
Day 1B featured nearly 100 players, including Frank Kassela, Barry Shulman, Chris Moorman, Neil Channing, Freddy Deeb and Aussie Millions champion Tyron Krost. Moorman hit the rail early on and mid-way through Day 1B, and Richard Ashby emerged as a player to watch with one of the biggest stacks in the room.
Small blinds: The World Poker Tour and FSN entered into a multi-season broadcast agreement this week, which will lock in the TV show on the network for three more seasons. The show will be sponsored by ClubWPT.com Daniel "jungleman12" Cates had another strong session in the second "Durrrr Challenge" and currently holds a $692,000 over Tom Dwan after 6,820 hands. Charlie Combes won the UB Online Championship main event for $230,445. Peter Jetten finished fifth in the event.