U.S. Casinos May Soon Have To Vet High Roller Funds

The U.S. Treasury Department may soon require casinos to vet where their high roller players get their money, according to Reuters.

It’s no secret that criminals can use casinos to launder illegally obtained cash to make it appear legit. Right now, casinos are required to report any eyebrow raising gambling activity, but its often in the property’s best interest to look the other way once large sums of cash hit the table.

Many casinos may feel that a background check will only force customers to look elsewhere for entertainment.

The new rule would require the casino to verify where a gambler’s funds came from before allowing them to make a wager or exchange cash for chips. The policy is currently being evaluated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.


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Card Player Poker Tour Atlantis Results: Events 14, 16, 17 & 19

Tom McEvoyThe fourth stop of Season II of the Card Player Poker Tour kicked off at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa March 21 and will host a series of 31 tournaments through March 30 culminating with a $1,100 no-limit hold’em $125,000 guarantee main event March 28-30.

Here is a look at the latest results:

Event No. 14: No-Limit Hold’em Mega Stack Survior
Buy In: $230
Entrants: 34
Prize Pool: $6,596

1 Jason Dufton $1,649
1 Mike Vonada $1,649
1 Danon Shelen $1,649
1 Mary Swafford $1,649

Event No. 16: No-Limit Hold’em Survivor
Buy In: $120
Entrants: 36
Prize Pool: $3,492

1 Hein Cao $650
1 Darrell Duffey $650
1 Adam Stemple $548
1 Dennis Grabowski $548
1 Rodney Veach $548
1 Michael Edwards $548

Event No. 17: No-Limit Hold’em Mega Stack Survivor
Buy In: $230
Entrants: 36
Prize Pool: $6,984

1 Trish Potter $837
1 Michael Carey $837
1 Mitchell Cogert $837
1 Justin Gold $837
1 Vince Burgio $837
1 Tom McEvoy $837
1 Eric Stovall $837
1 Michael Vonada $837

Event No. 19: No-Limit Hold’em Survivor
Buy In: $120
Entrants: 25
Prize Pool: $2,425

1 Daniel Frank $1,000
1 Joseph Pugno $1,000
1 John Miner $425

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is a luxurious AAA Four Diamond resort with unparalleled amenities, award-winning dining, a world-class spa and action-packed gaming. The poker room offers the region’s best games, tournaments and promotions with table side dining, a self-service soup and beverage bar, and flat screen televisions visible from every table.

For a complete schedule of events, click here.

CPPT Atlantis counts satellites as numbered events, however results for satellites will not be posted on cardplayer.com, making for a gap in tournament results numbers.

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Card Player Poker Tour Spotlight: Vince Burgio

Vince BurgioVince Burgio has been a part of the poker scene for over 25 years and has seen many changes during his two and half decades at the felt. He is the owner of a World Series of Poker bracelet from the 1994 $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo and has published two books, including his autobiography Pizza, Pasta and Poker. His poker resume includes upwards of $2.1 million in live career earnings and a fourth place WSOP Main Event finish in 1994.

Card Player sat down with Burgio before the start of CPPT Atlantis Event 14: $230 No-Limit Hold’em Mega Stack Survivor.

Name: Vince Burgio

Resides: West Hills, California

Lifetime winnings: $2,111,467

Largest Live Cash: $168,000 – 4th, 1994 World Series of Poker Main Event

Tell me about the name of your autobiography. What does it mean?

Well, I’m Italian and my wife and I struggled with what the name of the book should be, so I tried to intertwine some of my heritage in the book. It came out in the very beginning of 2006. In fact, it was named Best New Poker Book in 2006 by Ashley Adams, who writes for Poker Player Magazine.

What about the other book, Inside Poker: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly?

I used to write a column for Card Player and I had about 60 of the columns published. Then after each column I put an afterthought, because some of them were four or five years old and I thought ‘I was stupid to think that’ or ‘I was very prophetic because I saw this coming.’

Would you say you foresaw the current state of poker? Did you see the downfall of online poker coming?

Yeah, kind of. You just kind of new that either they (the government) were going to tax it or they were going to shut it down. One of the two. And I think it’s still the same now. At some point they are going to let it go and tax it.

What other things did you foresee?

Well, when they said you couldn’t smoke in the poker rooms people said ‘Oh God this is going to kill poker.’ I said ‘No, this is not going to kill poker. People are still going to play poker.’

What about things you didn’t see coming?

I certainly didn’t see the big boom that we had when Chris Moneymaker won the tournament (2003 WSOP Main Event). I think there were three things that contributed to that. Internet poker was just starting and television was different before that. I came in fourth in the Main Event in 1994 and they didn’t show the hands then. So when you watched those broadcasts, they were pretty boring. When they started showing the hands and now everybody could see what people had, that helped.

How long have you been around poker? When did you get your start?

I started in 1987. I had a construction company in L.A. and I played a few local tournaments down there and did well and then my wife said ‘Well lets go to Vegas, they have a tournament at the Hilton.’ It was a $200 or $300 buy-in and I came in third and got about $10,000 or $12,000 or $15,000, whatever it was. Then two weeks later they had one at the Riviera and I won $54,000. So I said you know what, maybe I’ll just try this for a while. I can always start my business back up. But I never have. It’s been good the whole time.

Today it’s a little more common to hear someone say they player poker professionaly, but back in 1987, how did people react after asking what you did for a living?

It’s funny that you say that because in one of my first columns I talked about how people treat somebody that plays poker for a living. Their jaw drops because they’ve never heard of it. ‘Oh wow, you actually do that?’ Then they ask where do you go and how do you do it?

One of my better columns was about how I went to have a root canal and the guy has both hands in my mouths and says ‘What do you do?’ I said ‘I’m a poker player,’ and he happened to be one too, and my whole column was about how he had both hands in my mouth and was asking me all these questions. I decided from now on I’m going to say I’m a crossing guard.

My mother, God rest her soul, she said ‘What will people think?’ And then of course in 1994 I won a bracelet and I also came in fourth in the Main Event. Then I won a $5,000 tournament for about a half a million dollars and I got a little bit of publicity. Before that, in 1992 I won the best all-around player at The Queens and I got my photo on the front page of Card Player. At that point they began to say ‘You know what, maybe it’s a viable thing.’

Of course now, you watch some of those broadcasts and seven of the nine guys are professional poker players. Now I don’t know if they are, in my definition it’s somebody who has been making a living at it for more than one year. I’ve been doing this for a lot of years.

Let’s talk a little about Atlantis, do you play here often.

Not really. In LA where I live I’m about 40 miles from the casino and I used to play everyday, because I played high but the games that I played, believe it or not, they discontinued them. But the travel time back and forth is like three hours and I just hate to put that kind of time in to go down and play.

I like to come up here because you get a room, you get on the elevator and you go down and play. So I played up here and when Mike Gainey (Poker Room Manager) took over the Atlantis, he kind of takes care of me and he is just the nicest, sweetest guy in the world, so whatever he does I will support. And at the Atlantis you’ve got no complaints about the hotel and the property.

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New Jersey Senate Panel Approves Bill To Allow Foreign Online Gambling Companies To Do Business

Atlantic CityA New Jersey Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow foreign online gambling operators to base their operations in the state. Once licensed and partnered with an existing Atlantic City casino, the companies could then offer gambling, as well as online poker, in countries where it is legal.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Ray Lesniak, has a chance to revitalize struggling Atlantic City as an online gaming hotbed.

“This could help make New Jersey the leader in online gaming, across the country and around the world,” said Lesniak in a statement. “We could be the Silicon Valley for high-tech gaming.”

Any products offered by these foreign operators would also be subject to New Jersey’s existing 15 percent tax rate, minus any taxes given to other countries for their resident’s play.

New Jersey recently revised their online poker market projections from the online gambling industry and is now on pace to collect $34 million in tax revenue. Any business brought in from off-shore operators would only help to improve those numbers.


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Store Worker Faked Arm Robbery After Falling Into Gambling Debt

A worker at a William Hill betting shop in England has been sent to prison for faking an armed robbery at the shop after falling into debt from gambling.

In September, the employee, Karl Swift, said he was robbed at knife point, but video later revealed that to be a charade. He admitted to the fraud.

The court sentenced the 25-year-old to a year in prison.

Swift’s lawyer said, “He was a very desperate man who had reached the end of the road.” However, the judge presiding over the case had little sympathy for the defendant.

“These were serious offences and you were in a position of trust. You have lost your reputation, your job and now your liberty.”

He had lost more than he could afford at a local casino.

This report is according to Mancunian Matters.


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Casino Boss: It’s About ‘Bricks And Clicks’

Online gaming doesn’t cannibalize brick-and-mortar play, a casino executive said this week at the 2014 iGaming North America conference in Las Vegas.

“We’re certainly not trying to destroy brick-and-mortar casinos,” Tobin Prior, the CEO of Ultimate Gaming, told a crowd of around 200, the Las Vegas-Review Journal reported. “That would be insane…From the outset, we always saw our business model as bricks and clicks.”

Ultimate Gaming is an offshoot of Station Casinos.

As the debate over online gaming in the United States intensifies, thanks to a pledge by billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson to fight the spread of web games, the subtopic of whether visitation to the physical casinos could suffer will resurface again and again.

The vast majority seem to agree that the Internet gambling and brick-and-mortar gambling can compliment each other, thanks to promotions and how, for instance with poker, the online space offers a customer a chance to play for lower stakes than what are available in an actual casino. Those are just two simple examples of the possible synergy.

The poker boom, after all, was felt by both online and live card rooms.

The opposing camp, most notably Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, is entrenched with its argument that if people can play from home they won’t be as inclined to come to a casino, which has many other ways of depleting customer wallets, such as restaurants and retail.

The kind of online gaming currently being implemented in three U.S. states is still in its infancy, so it’s not really possible just yet to put an end to the somewhat pernicious and obfuscatory debate among elite interests in the casino industry. Maybe one day.

The name of the game is, of course, growth, but some just have different business models. Obviously, online gambling in Nevada and New Jersey would not have been authorized if the casino industry at large didn’t think it was positive for the bottom line.

The year 2012 saw U.S. commercial casinos win $37.34 billion from gamblers, which was the highest mark since 2007’s record of $37.5 billion. Results from 2013 aren’t yet available.

Other states, such as California and Pennsylvania, are looking at potentially legalizing online poker this year. There’s currently a bill in Congress that calls for legalizing of online poker nationwide, while legislation pushing for an outright ban of online gaming is expected to be introduced soon. Nearly three years out from the infamous Black Friday, times are still strange for online poker players and advocates in the United States.


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Head Games: Dealing With Tilt And Poker’s Ups And Downs


The Pros: Jonathan Little, Tim West, and Noah Schwartz

Craig Tapscott: What are some good ways to deal with tilt at the poker table that have worked for you long-term?

Jonathan Little: I firmly believe that in order to control tilt, you have to figure out what tilts you and why. For example, some players get upset when they get unlucky, some get mad when the dealer makes an error, and others get angry when they make a mistake. The reasons for tilt are endless. I personally get somewhat tilted when I do something that is blatantly dumb, at least in my mind. In order to deal with this at the table, I write down the hand and make a point to forget about it until I review all of the hands from my session once I am done playing for the day. I then figure out why I went wrong and make a point to not let it happen again in the future.

It is mandatory to address the reasons you go on tilt in order to cure it. If you get mad when you get unlucky, you must accept that poker is a game where you will constantly get unlucky. I am shocked at the huge number of players who get angry when they get all-in with 70 percent equity and lose. It is as if they do not realize they are going to lose 30 percent of the time, and 30 percent of the time is a lot. Once you accept and embrace that this is an inherent part of the game, you will no longer tilt from it. If you get mad when the dealer makes a mistake, realize people make mistakes. Sometimes people have a bad day. Sometimes people are incompetent at their job. Everyone is not perfect. As for my tilt issue of getting mad at myself when I make an error, I had to accept that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes. I make a point to better myself in every way possible and I work hard to think everything through such that my errors are kept to a minimum.

Another thing I do to alleviate tilt at the table is to listen to a short mp3 on my phone by hypnotist Elliot Roe that calms me down and gets my mind back in a serene state. It helps me relax and breathe, which are two things people fail to do when tilting.

Tim West: If I have adversity at the table I like to slow things down. I might do some push-ups or even grab a healthy drink. I think the best advice I can give for tilt at the table is to stay in the moment. Strategizing is one thing, but too much anticipation or dwelling on past hands or events can do nothing but negatively affect your mood and decision making.

Noah Schwartz: Discussing tilt and the various things that may cause it can be extremely tricky, because it can resemble a 24-hour stomach bug that just creeps up on you out of nowhere (laughs).

When playing cards, there are a lot of different instances that can cause a person to tilt, but usually the number one culprit is getting unlucky in a hand. But when you look at it closely, that is something that is completely inevitable.

In my opinion there are several positive ways to combat tilt. The first is to try your best at remaining cool, calm, and collected. Because upsetting yourself and going on further tilt is only going to lead to worse things. The mind is such a powerful tool. When you are tilting your mind isn’t processing information in a way in which you need it to for good decisions. If this approach is hard for you, another way is to simply take a break for a couple of minutes away from the table and just clear your head. This enables you to not make a bad situation even worse.

When players are in what I like to call tilt mode, they tend to make irrational decisions, which on the poker table will lead to one’s demise. My advice is to just take a few deep breaths, allow the oxygen to flow to the brain, and you’ll be on the right path to coping with full blown tilt.

Craig Tapscott: Poker can be a very brutal and disheartening game at times. How do you deal with the ups and downs of a poker life on a daily basis?

Jonathan Little: You must accept that sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose when you play poker. Most people feel as if they are excellent at the game, whereas in reality most poker players are long term losers. They think they should win most of the time when they play because they think they are superior to their opponents. Of course, if you are a long term loser, you should expect to lose more often than not. If you do not keep records, play in games with a huge rake, and constantly have to reload, you are a long term loser. You can either accept this fact or work diligently at the game.

If you are a winner at the game, you must keep a huge bankroll and a huge nest egg on the side to pay your day-to-day expenses. One of the most useful things I did when coming up in the poker world was to keep my poker money and my life money totally separate. And I made a point to play only games I was properly bankrolled for. For live tournaments, you need at least 100 buy-ins in your bankroll. If you are playing $1,000 tournaments with $20,000 to your name, you must accept that you are degenerate gambling, even if you are confident you are a long term winner in the games. Once you know you are a long term winner who is constantly working to improve his game and you are also properly bankrolled, you will be well on your way to not caring at all about the standard swings that occur on a daily basis.

Tim West: I used to weigh about 280 pounds, and at that time I honestly didn’t care about health or prosperity in my life. All I cared about was having fun, playing poker tournaments, and eating room service. But at this point in my life’s journey I believe the best way to handle the stress and turmoil of poker is to prepare myself both physically and mentally. One way I do this is by making sure I exercise on a regular basis now. In addition, I pay attention to what I eat and consume nutrition that I take pride in and know is healthy for me. You can occasionally indulge yourself, but you must also find a balance.

Through my eight years playing poker seriously, both live and online, I have gained a lot of perspective in this world. When I hear people complaining about mundane things like congested traffic or a bad beat on the river, it reminds me that no matter what (barring a true life tragedy) we are extremely lucky to be breathing and taking a new step each and every day. In summary, nutrition, exercise, perspective, and family is what keeps a smile on my face every day no matter what I encounter. So you take a bad beat at the table. Get up, take a breath, and count your blessings.

Noah Schwartz: When talking about the high and lows in poker, it is analogous to a roller coaster, and being able to deal with that variance is something that takes time adjusting to and getting used to.

Let’s first discuss the lows and struggling for a given period of time, because I know it is something for the most part at one point or another is inescapable.

Take cash games as an example. One thing I have really enforced for myself when things are not going my way, no matter how hard I try, is to set a maximum loss or stopping point. In other words, I limit my exposure to a number I am completely comfortable with that won’t have an impact on me later that night or the next day or week. So this way when I am in a funk I make sure I don’t dig myself into a black hole. Another thing I do a lot to deal with the lows is go to a great spa to seek some type of mental and physical healing and mainly to get my mind off things and rest.

When we talk about the other end of the spectrum, I think Napoleon Bonaparte said it best, “the most dangerous moment comes with victory.” And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. I think what he meant by this was that the highs tend to cloud our judgment and provide our ego with this fuel that enables us to be more prideful and arrogant. So that when we come down off those highs it causes us to easily crash and burn. That is why when I am on a huge upswing in poker and things are amazing, I just take the time to bask in it. Why? Because I know around the next turn there is going to be a downswing or a low period. This is why it is so important to live in the now. That is what poker is all about in my opinion; being aware of the ebbs and flows of the game and learning to approach them more consciously. ♠






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Card Player Poker Tour: Thirty Three Years of Irish Poker – Part VI

Joe BeeversThe Paddy Power Poker Irish Open is now part of the Card Player Poker Tour. With a colorful history spanning more than three decades, the Irish Open is sure to add additional buzz and excitement to the CPPT .

The longest running tournament in Europe and the second longest running tournament in the world, behind only the World Series of Poker, the Irish Open will crown its newest champion April 18-21 in Dublin, Ireland.

There are two years unaccounted for in our look back at history, 1995 and 1997, and it’s possible there was no tournament during those years. Rogers passed away in 1999 and there is a chance, due to age and illness, the tournament did not happen – at least not in a formal sense – during those two years. Paddy Power Poker and Card Player were unable to find records of the Irish Open during that time.


Jenny Hegarty, a 72-year old grandmother, became the third woman to win the Irish Open. To date only three women hold that distinction –Irene Tier, Colette Doherty and Hegarty.


Nick Bernie’s name was added to the list of champions.


British pro and Hendon Mob original Joe Beevers won the Irish Open for just under $55,000. To date, Beevers holds nine career titles and 59 cashes and has more than $2.2 million in live tournament earnings. At the time, his Irish Open win was his second largest career cash.


Popular Northern Ireland pro Ivan Donaghy won the title.


John Falconer turned a short stack into a title when he won the 2005 Irish open, besting 2000 Irish Open champion Alan Betson heads-up. Falconer outlasted a field of 170 players for the win.


Vincent Melinn’s one and only recorded career cash came in big fashion when he won the 2006 Irish open for $423,647.


Belfast native Marty Smyth picked one of his seven career titles when he won the 2007 Irish Open for $867,456, which was his largest cash at the time. Currently, Smyth has more than $3.7 million in live career earnings and holds one seven-figure cash – a first place finish in the 2008 Ladbrokes Poker Million VII for a cool $1,000,000.

For more information about the CPPT and the Irish Open, click here.

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J.C. Tran Headlines World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event Final Table

Chip leader Quoc PhamA total of 465 entries were made in the inaugural World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event at the Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento, California. From that sizable turnout only six players now remain to battle it out for the lion’s share of the $1,488,000 prize pool and the chance to become the latest WPT champion.

The chip leader at the final table tomorrow will be Bay 101 tournament director Quoc Pham with 5,580,000. He is joined by Preston Harwell, Mimi Luu, Benjamin Zamani, Ken Jorgensen, and Sacremento native JC Tran. Tran, a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and WPT champion, is undeniably the most accomplished live tournament player entering the final day, but has the second shortest stack with only 710,000 (23 big blinds at 15,000 – 30,000 with a 3,000 ante.)

The final table bubble lasted 97 hands, with Ryan D’Angelo eventually hitting the rail in seventh place after he got all-in on a board of JHeart Suit9Diamond Suit5Heart Suit4Spade Suit with the 9Club Suit8Heart Suit against Benjamin Zamani’s AClub SuitJDiamond Suit. The river brought the QHeart Suit, securing the pot for Zamani and sending D’Angelo to the rail in seventh place with $41,410.

Here is a look at the chip counts heading into the final table:

Rank Player Chip Count
1 Quoc Pham 5,580,000
2 Preston Harwell 4,425,000
3 Benjamin Zamani 1,990,000
4 Mimi Luu 735,000
5 J.C. Tran 710,000
6 Ken Jorgensen 510,000

Photos courtesy of World Poker Tour.

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New Jersey Revising Tax Estimates For Online Gambling

The New Jersey online gaming industry has been steadily growing since its inception in late November of last year.

Despite this, the state is revising some of its projections on tax revenue from the new games. To put it simply, some predicted that the games would be more lucrative right off the bat than they have proven to be.

Early predictions were that more than $1 billion would be reaped by the casinos from online gambling during fiscal year one. That would have netted the state around $180 million in extra tax revenue.

According to the most recent reporting from The Star-Ledger, the state now estimates that an extra $34 million in tax revenue will be collected from the casino industry and put into state coffers, thanks to the online games and whatever positive effects they have on brick-and-mortar action, in the fiscal year ending in June.

Just last week, the state said that casinos incurred $15.9 million in gaming taxes for February, reflecting eight percent of taxable casino gross revenue and 15 percent of Internet gaming gross revenue. Online gaming revenue for the month crossed the $10-million mark.

“We were told by industry at the time that the introduction of online gaming would help energize Atlantic City’s ongoing recovery,” state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said last month, reported the Star-Ledger. “We’re pretty bullish on this in the medium-to-long term. But clearly, this hasn’t met our expectations for the first fiscal year.”

Nearly $3 million in tax revenue has come from online gambling alone from late November to the end of February. Hence, the massive revision down from the $180 million.

Atlantic City has 11 casinos now, after one closed earlier this year.

More than $5 billion in casino revenue was recorded in a record-setting 2006 for Atlantic City, but now the casino industry is sized at less than $3 billion.

In addition to New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have legalized online gambling.


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Online Poker: Galfond, Blom In $240,000 Pot

The biggest pot in March from the high stakes online poker world came yesterday in a vicious match between Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.

The action began with Galfond ($120,000) raising the button to $1,600. Blom ($200,000) three-bet to $5,400, and Galfond made the call. The flop fell JClub Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit.

Blom fired $7,200, and Galfond just called.

The 7Spade Suit landed on the turn.

Blom barreled again, this time for $16,800. Galfond made it $75,600. Blom elected to put the Maryland native all-in for around $32,000 more. Galfond, of course, made the call.

The cards were tabled, and Blom held the ASpade Suit AClub Suit KDiamond Suit QDiamond Suit, while Galfond exposed the JHeart Suit 9Heart Suit 7Heart Suit 4Heart Suit. Blom had the commanding lead on the flop, but the turn gave Galfond two pair. According to Card Player’s pot-limit Omaha odds calculator, Galfond’s hand holds about 65 percent of the time. The pair elected to run it twice, however.

The first river was the QClub Suit, which was safe for Galfond. The second river brought 10Heart Suit — also a card that was not what the Swede needed.

Galfond raked in the massive $240,000 hand.

Despite losing that hand (also the sixth largest so far in 2014), Bloom managed to be up around $300,000 when the match against Galfond was over, according to HighstakesDB.

As of Monday, Blom was up around $1 million on 2014, while Galfond was in the hole nearly $1.2 million. Their match together this weekend reportedly lasted 12 hours.

They were playing four tables of $300-$600.


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Carter Gill Wins Latin Series of Poker Millions

Carter Gill (right) and LSOP President Diego ChanLatin America has been good to Carter Gill, and during the early evening hours of Mar. 15 things got even better. The American pro won the inaugural Latin Series of Poker Millions main event for $175,070, marking his fifth straight final table and second career title in the region.

“I don’t how that’s possible but it’s literally my fifth straight final table. I won Uruguay (LAPT ), I got sixth in a high roller in Colombia and a second in another tournament in Colombia and a fourth in the LAPT Panama,” Gill said.

As play progressed for the day, it appeared that Gill could just not be stopped.

“Unless I think about a little online tournament, I’ve never had a such a situation where I’ve literally steam-rolled the table,” he said. “I could do no wrong. It was odd, but with the hands I was getting it would have been hard not to win. I was joking to someone that if you gave the cards that I had to anyone at the final table they would have won also.”

The final hand came down to Gill and Israel’s Alon Raz after a very short heads-up match. Raz, with a massive chip deficit, moved all-in for his tournament life with ASpade Suit7Club Suit and Gill called with AClub SuitKSpade Suit. Raz’s hand never improved and he finished the tournament runner-up to the tune of $100,600.

Before he could claim the title and the prize money, Gill had to maneuver his way through a field of 1,290 players and final table featuring Team PokerStars pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero and online pros Guillermo Echevvaria and Francis Cruz.

Echevvaria was the first to go. Adam Reynolds raised to 105,000 from middle position and Echevvaria moved all-in from the small blind. Reynolds had him slightly covered and called with ADiamond Suit10Spade Suit. Echevvaria tabled AClub Suit9Club Suit and the board ran out KDiamond Suit8Diamond Suit7Diamond Suit2Club Suit5Club Suit to eliminate the Peruvian pro as the ninth place finisher for $16,490.

Following Echevvaria was Oscar Ortiz. Leonardo Tarazona raised to 120,000 from the hijack and Ortiz shoved-all in for 900,000 from the big blind with ASpade Suit7Club Suit. Tarazona called with ASpade SuitKHeart Suit and stayed ahead on a KClub Suit10Spade Suit7Diamond Suit2Club Suit4Diamond Suit board to make Ortiz the eighth place finisher for $20,370.

Alon RazReynolds was next to go and his exit signaled the beginning of Gill’s domination of the final table. Gill raised to 120,000 from under the gun +1 and Reynolds three-bet to 280,000 from the hijack seat. Gill four-bet to 500,000, Reynolds moved all-in and Gill snap-called. Gill showed pocket Aces to Reynolds pocket Queens and Reynolds never improved on a board of 6Diamond Suit5Club Suit3Heart SuitJSpade Suit9Diamond Suit to leave as the seventh place finisher for $26,190.

After nursing a short stack for much of the final table, Cruz was eliminated in an unmerciful way. Cruz moved all-in for 895,000 from under the gun +1 and Gill called from the cutoff. Cruz showed 6Spade Suit6Diamond Suit and needed to dodge the two over cards – AClub SuitQSpade Suit – of Gill. After a flop of 9Club Suit8Club Suit7Club Suit Cruz still had to fade a big draw but looked pretty safe after the 8Diamond Suit fell on the turn. Everything went downhill for the Dominican pro when the QHeart Suit opened on the river.

Cruz shook hands with his somewhat astonished tablemates and made his exit as the sixth place finisher for $33,950.

“He had half the deck as outs,” Barbero said as Cruz left the table.

Barbero was eliminated as the fifth place finisher for $43,625 when he got into a pot with Leonardo Tarazona. Barbero moved all-in with JDiamond Suit10Heart Suit from under the gun and Tarazona called with KClub Suit8Diamond Suit. Barbero never hit the needed cards on a ADiamond Suit3Club Suit2Spade Suit8Diamond Suit6Club Suit board and made his exit.

Tarazona was next to go as the fourth place finisher for $57,250 when he ran his Ace-five into the pocket eights of Raz and failed to catch any needed outs on the board.

Two hands later, Maziar Keshavarzi was all-in with AClub Suit9Spade Suit and Gill called with AHeart SuitQClub Suit. Keshavarzi never improved and left as the third place finisher for $75,675.

Final Table Results

1 Carter Gill $175,070
2 Alon Raz $100,600
3 Maziar Keshavarzi $75,675
4 Leonardo Tarazona $57,250
5 Jose “Nacho” Barbero $43,625
6 Francis Cruz $33,950
7 Adam Reynolds $26,190
8 Oscar Ortiz $20,370
9 Guillermo Echevvaria $16,490

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High-Stakes Online Poker: Dan Cates Wins $1.1 Million In Seven Days

Massive limit deuce-to-seven triple draw games have been running on Full Tilt Poker recently, resulting in some big wins for well-known poker pros.

Dan “jungleman12” Cates has benefited the most, adding tons to his already solid upswing. Over the past seven days on Full Tilt, he’s up $1.1 million. This month he’s up $1.6 million.

His leads the high-stakes online poker world with nearly $2 million in earnings on 2014.

Cates is now in the black $9.3 million lifetime on Full Tilt Poker. Over at PokerStars, he’s up around $370,000. He has played around 475,000 high-stakes hands between the two sites.

The Maryland native, who plays over in Europe these days thanks to U.S. poker restrictions, was recently united with millions locked up in his Full Tilt Poker account. He received an ACH deposit from the government in the amount of what was in his account when the site shutdown in 2011. Cates had the most stuck out of any of the victims of old Full Tilt.

The other big winner in the $1,000-$2,000 limit deuce-to-seven triple draw games has been kagome kagome, a high-stakes pro from Germany. He won around $920,000.

On the flop side, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom dropped $1.2 million over this past week. Russian Alex “PostflopAction” Kostritsyn managed to lose $783,000 during the span.

Blom had once been in the black more than $2 million in 2014, but now he’s in the hole around $175,000. He’s down $1.8 million lifetime on Full Tilt.

The big draw games saw the return of Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, who hadn’t played at all this year until March rolled around. He is down around $185,000 this month.

Gus Hansen had been on a solid upswing this month, but the past few week or so hasn’t been too great for him. He’s back to approaching $16 million in losses lifetime on the software.

Figures via HighstakesDB. Image via PartyPoker.


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New Hampshire House Kills Casino Bill

The New Hampshire House has voted against a proposal for a casino with up to 5,000 slots and 150 table games, the Associated Press reported.

The Thursday vote was 173-144 against the proposal.

The governor of New Hampshire has been vigorously pushing the casino plan.

“Despite today’s vote, I continue to believe that developing our own plan for one high-end casino is the best course of action for investing in the priorities that are critical to long-term economic growth,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement.

“Soon, we all will see the impact of Massachusetts casinos right across our border in the form of lost revenue and potential social costs.”

Some in New Hampshire are worried that Massachusetts will take dollars out of New Hampshire. Massachusetts will soon be home to three Las Vegas-style casinos and one slots-only parlor. Penn National Gaming has received the OK to build the slots joint.

The New Hampshire House has rejected a casino bill multiple times.

“It is disappointing to see the House of Representatives break from the New Hampshire tradition of open and thorough debate,” the governor said in statement in May after last year’s plan had hit the muck. “Without passing SB 152, the path will be more difficult, but the people of New Hampshire expect us to do difficult things.”

Right now, New Hampshire has charitable, pari-mutuel and lottery gambling.


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Alberto Cartin Finishes Latin Series of Poker Day 2 in the Lead

Alberto CartinUpwards of $175,000 will soon belong to a single player in the Latin Series of Poker Millions. Day 2 began at 2 pm EST March 11 with 130 hopefuls, but when chips were bagged for the night only 78 remained.

The chiplead once again belonged to Costa Rican Alberto Cartin, who bagged up a whopping 816,500. Cartin, who began Day 2 with a little over 375,000, said the bulk of his chips came from two key hands.

“I had a hand with Bolivar Palacios which was about 300 or so and at the other table I basically called an all-in with a rivered set versus a possible flush, possible straight draw and it came out to be a bluff. So that was really good,” Cartin said.

Costa Rica’s Felipe Montenegro and Panama’s Palacios, two of Latin America’s most successful players, were among the players who survived Day 2.

Montenegro has more than $5.5 million in online and live cashes going back to 2006 with 145 online wins and one live final table. Montenegro won the 2008 Full Tilt Sunday $750,000 guarantee for $135,271 – his largest online cash – and finished 11th in the 2011 World Series of Poker $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Triple Chance for $48,843 – his largest live cash. The Costa Rican pro has tallied more than 2,840 cashes on PokerStars alone throughout his career. He also has 115 online runner-up finishes.

Jose "Nacho" BarberoPalacios has recorded just under $2.3 million in online and live winnings since 2007 including 39 online wins, six WSOP cashes and three cashes each from the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour. Palacios’s largest score to date came from a sixth place finish in the 2011 PokerStars Carribean Adventure Main Event for $450,000. Palacios also finished runner-up in the 2010 Latin America Poker Tour Argentina Main Event for $188,200.

Other notables to make Day 3 include Jose “Nacho” Barbero, Francis Cruz, Euclides Corro, Carter Gill, Roman Valerstein, Phil Nagy and Jaime Antelhoff.

Cards will be in the air on Day 3 at 2 pm EST March 12.

For live updates, visit www.cardplayerla.com. To view the live stream, click here.

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New York Picks Chair For Gambling Commission

The state of New York, which could see a handful of Las Vegas-style commercial casinos pop up in the not-so-distant future, has picked a chair for the five-member Gaming Commission.

The Commission is just a year old.

The New York State Gaming Commission is tasked with overseeing the fledgling commercial casino industry. The state has other forms of gambling, including tribal casinos, lottery and horseracing, which the Commission will also be in charge of regulating.

The governor chose Mark Gearan, who, according to the Saratogian, is the president of Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges in Geneva. Prior to that, he led the Peace Corps and served as Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton.

“I am pleased to welcome Mark Gearan, a proven leader with years of management experience in the public and private sectors, to serve as Chair of the Gaming Commission,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Casino gaming holds the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Upstate New York, while providing millions of dollars to schools and local governments statewide. Mark’s decades of public service and great work leading Hobart and William Smith Colleges will be of tremendous value in this new role, and I thank him for taking the time to serve on the Gaming Commission.”

The New York Senate approved the appointment last week.

Gearan’s term is for five years.


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Alberto Artiaga Leads Latin Series of Poker Millions After Day 1C

Alberto AtriagaMany players tried, but only 138 remain and one of them will soon be the recipient of a six-figure pay day from the Latin Series of Poker Millions.

Cheers once again erupted across the Majestic Poker room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama City, Panama when the elimination of Sebastian Ruiz ended play for the night and guaranteed the remaining players a seat on Day 2.

A total of 328 players put up the $850 buy-in on Day 1C for one last chance at the money, but play concluded for the night when only 32 remained. Those players will join the 27 players from Day 1A, 22 players from Day 1B and 48 players from previous Day 1s held throughout Latin American in previous weeks on Day 2.

Before Day 1C concluded PokerStars team pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero held the chiplead at 336,000, but it was Alberto Artiaga who overtook the lead and bagged up a stack of 371,000.

The blinds will be rolled back to 500-1000 when play begins in order to make sure all players come back to appropriate blind level from where they left off. The initial tournaments held at other venues had smaller fields, and as such reached the 10 percent mark during earlier levels. With that blinds that low, Artiaga will begin with about 370 big blinds while Barbero will begin with nearly 340.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot of chips,” Barbero said. “But I’ll start Day 2 with like 340 big blinds. I mean that has never happened in my life.”

“Day 1A is a little more turbo than I’d like it to be, I’d love to do a slower structure and everything, but it just doesn’t work with all the smaller tournaments and this tournament has to be exactly the same structure as all the other ones,” said Phil Nagy, CEO of Winning Poker Network which includes Ya Poker, America’s Card Room, Black Chip Poker and BetCRIS, all sponsors of the LSOP .

“So we tried to make up for it on Day 2 by moving the blinds back to 500-1000 and a lot of these people are going to be playing with 200 and 300 big blinds. When we did the test runs in Costa Rica, seriously nobody busted out for about four or five hours. It’s a lot of play. But it’s good because you are already in the money and you want it to be a good structure toward the end.”

All players who made Day 2 were automatically in the money, meaning there will be no money bubble to sweat through as the tournament continues on. Each min-cash is worth $2,200.

Alex ManzanoOther names that made Day 2 include Nagy, Bolivar Palacios, Felipe Montenegro and Americans Carter Gill and Roman Valerstein.

A few notable bustouts included the final member of team BetCRIS, Alex Manzano, who will not join fellow pros Engelberth Varela, Gerardo Godinez, Montenegro and Palacios on Day 2. After being eliminated on Day 1A, Manzano got off to a much better start on Day 1C and chipped up early on, but he was unable to hang on until the end of the night. Antoine Lafosse, the number one ranked player out of Peru who recently final-tabled the World Poker Tour Five Diamond in Las Vegas, was eliminated just two away from the bubble. Earlier in the day John Hewitt, who bubbled the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, make his exit.

Day 2 will begin Tuesday, March 11 at 2 pm EST

For live updates on the LSOP Millions visit www.cardplayerla.com. For more information on the LSOP , click here.

*The official prize pool will be released when play begins on Tuesday.

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First Pennsylvania Bar Gets Gambling OK

Small-scale gambling at bars in Pennsylvania is one step closer to reality after state liquor regulators gave the OK Wednesday for the first gambling license of its kind.

According to reporting from WFMZ , the Midway Tavern in Hanover, Adams County has been given state approval to run pull-tab games, daily drawings and charity raffles.

It is expected that 2,000 bars will apply for licenses to offer gambling. Less than a dozen have done so thus far. A license costs a couple grand.

Taxes on the games are expected to net the state around $100 million, eventually. Pennsylvania, like pretty much everywhere, is experiencing budget issues in the post-Great Recession era.

The bar gambling law was signed by the governor just this past November.

The state has the second-largest commercial casino industry in the country. In 2013, Pennsylvania casinos brought in $3.1 billion from gamblers. The state has around a dozen casinos at the moment, with more on the way. Right now, developers are competing for the right to build a brand new Las Vegas-style casino in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania is also taking a look at allowing online gambling.


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Poker Strategy With Gavin Griffin: Defending Your Soldiers


Gavin GriffinPerhaps it’s because of the historical fiction book I’m reading about World War I. Perhaps it’s because I played some interesting hands last night that sort of outline my whole strategy in this situation. Perhaps it’s because I have some tournaments coming up in a couple of weeks and my strategy varies a bit when in tournaments. Either way, I woke up this morning sure of what I needed to write about in this week’s artcle: defending your blinds.

One of the most eye-opening things I realized when I opened my first PokerTracker database with the hands I had imported was how much I was losing from the blinds. With the exception of those who play exclusively heads up or three-handed, everyone loses money from the blinds. It’s something I knew intuitively but when the database showed me what it really looked like in those big red numbers in a sea of black ones, I knew it was something I needed to work on.

I was pretty sure that defending my blinds more (in no-limit) wasn’t the best plan. In limit, things are different. You are nearly required to defend your big blind against a single raise heads up. 3.5-to-1 is just too good of a price to pass up. It’s simplifying things a bit since you can definitely pass up that price if you play poorly postflop and can’t find a way to make money with the hands you play when cards are on the table, but for good players, defense is a must. In no-limit, however, with the massive reverse-implied odds inherent in the game and the increased positional advantage as the streets progress and the bets get bigger, it could be correct to fold a hand as good as K-J offsuit or Q-J offsuit to a small raise in a heads-up pot. The single biggest mistake I see people make in no-limit out of the blinds is defending too much. This happens in both multiway and heads-up pots and I think, even though you’re getting a better immediate price, that it’s usually much worse to defend too wide in a multiway pot than a heads-up pot for two reasons. First, it’s bad enough playing out of position against one player. To have to play out of position against multiple players on all streets is a disaster. Second, the average winning hand curve isn’t linear as the number of people in the hand increases, it’s exponential. Instead of turning your 10-5 suited into a pair of fives against only the preflop raiser and winning, you have to make trip fives or a straight against two or three players. When you add in the amount of money you lose when you make your bottom or middle pair because of how hard it is to play them out of position, defending your blinds with a wide range in a multiway or even heads-up pot in no-limit is a losing proposition.

So, if we’ve decided that we need to defend our blinds with a pretty tight range in no-limit, we now need to decide how we defend them aggressively or passively. Obviously, there are many different circumstances that arise during the course of a poker game, but the one that I’m going to look at now, for simplicity’s sake is one raise and no calls until it is our action in the blinds. I think, just like there are two different blinds in no-limit, there are two separate answers to this question. I defend my small blind aggressively and my big blind passively. Out of the small blind I will reraise with most of the hands I’ll play when there has been a raise and no calls. I like to do this because I get to build a bigger pot with what is probably the best hand, to reduce the stack-to-pot ratio, making my hand easier to play postflop, and it has the added benefit of often making the hand heads-up when it could have been multiway. There are some disadvantages of course. You’ve made the effective stakes bigger when out of position, something you’d generally prefer to do when in position. You have also defined your range more, making it easier for your opponent to play against you.

Out of the big blind, I play a different strategy in heads-up pots. I call preflop with my entire continuing range. Perhaps it’s because I’m too lazy to come up with an unexploitable three-betting range out of the big blind when playing 200 blinds deep or more, or perhaps because it’s impossible to do so. Mostly, I do it because it allows me to call with a wider range, to check-raise the flop with a wider range when my opponent’s range is at its weakest, and it gets me more flop check-throughs than my opponents because of the fact that they know my check-raising range can include hands like overpairs as well as draws, top pair, etcetera.

I think this has been an effective and simple strategy for me defending my blinds. Since I no longer play online and can’t gather hard data on whether that is true or not, it’s difficult to know for sure. I have to rely on that old fashioned gut feeling and that’s something I can defend easily. ♠



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Colombia’s John Idagarra Leads Latin Series of Poker Millions Day 1B

John IdagarraJohn Idagarra of Columbia finished Day 1B of the Latin Series of Poker Millions main event with the chiplead over the final 22 players who lasted through the day. When chips were bagged for the night at the Majestic Casino in Panama City, Panama Idagarra put away 252,000, trailed by Carter Gill with 250,000 and Pablo Eggarter with 202,500.

Pocket Queens favored Gabriel Diaz about two hours before play drew to a close and the two red ladies were enough to catapult the Peruvian to an overwhelming temporary chiplead late in the night.

With only 30 players still alive Diaz got involved in a pre-flop three-way all-in with a player holding pocket aces and another with Ace-King of clubs. The Aces held the lead on a flop of Jx 10x 8Club Suit but Diaz and the player holding Ace-King picked up plenty of outs. Diaz’s straight was completed with a nine on the turn, leaving the owner of the Aces drawing dead and the player with Ace-King needing a Queen to complete Broadway. The river bricked for his opponent and with that hand Diaz took the chip lead for a short time.

While the starting field was slightly smaller on Day 1B – 221 players compared to Day 1A’s 268 – the field was no less stacked with some of the best players in the region.

Gerardo GodinezTeam BetCRIS pro Gerardo Godinez, best known for his 2011 European Poker Tour Grand Final main event 18th place finish for $59,369, was among the field and finished Day 1B with 105,000.

“I was playing the same table during the whole day, so I had a pretty good read on all the players. I was putting the pressure on every single player,” Godinez said of how he pressed his way into Day 2. “I put on the pressure about seven times because I knew that the money meant more for them during the bubble and they were going to fold good hands. They folded Ace-King twice and tens once, so I was right.”

Godinez, of Mexico, will join fellow BetCRIS pros Engelberth Varela of Venezuela, Felipe Montenegro of Costa Rica and Bolivar Palacios of Panama on Day 2.

“It’s going to be a good competition and all of us want to represent the team really good, but in my mind I want to win because I want to be the best out of all of them,” Godinez said. “It’s going to be fun and we want to all go deep. We are friends but we are not going to have any mercy between any of us.”

Carter GillAlso in the mix where Americans Leo Wolpert and 2012 Punta Cana Poker Classic champion Matthew Weber, who both played Day 1A as well.

Weber was unable to get anything going after firing multiple bullets but said he will return for Day 1C and try once again.

“For Day 1A I got up to a pretty big stack but then just ran into a couple of bad hands in a row and unfortunately bubbled,” Weber said. “It definitely would upset me if I didn’t make it to Day 2 after coming down from the states.”

Wolpert followed Weber to the rail just before the night ended.

Guillermo Olvera, the 2013 Punta Cana Poker Classic champion and one of the highest earning tournament winners out of Mexico, was also among those who did not make it through the day.

While Day 1B ended with Idagarra in the lead over the 22 players to advance on Day 1B, Team PokerStars pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero continued to hold the overall chiplead over the 48 pre-qualifiers and the 49 players from Day 1A and 1B with 336,000.

Day 1C will begin Monday, March 10 at 2pm EST with live updates on cardplayerla.com. For more information about the LSOP , click here.

Day 1B Chip Counts

JohnIdarraga 252,000 Colombia
CarterGill 250,000 USA
PabloEggarter 202,500 Argentina
JohnnySandoval 182,000 CR
Jose LuisRuiz 174,000 Venezuela
GabrielDiaz 172,500 Peru
DanKent 140,000
JorgeViena 117,000 Peru
JavierGrant 116,000 CR
GiulioOliviero 115,500 Colombia
RaviManne 114,000
GerardoGodinez 105,000 mexico
FernandoNarvaez 105,000 Colombia
victorLay Castro 96,500 peru
JacoboBucaram 91,500 Ecuador
LuisPerez 87,000 Venezuela
RicardoArosemena 72,000 Panama
Juan FernandoLastra 66,000
JamesDownend 58,000 USA
EitanYechivi 58,000 Panama
EuclidesCorro 50,000 Panama
MarceloOttonello 25,000 Argentina

Day 1A and Pre-Qualifiers

Jose Barbero 336,000 Argentina
Rafael Pardo 333,500 Colombia
Andres Farias 277,300 Colombia
Nicolas Malandre 237,500 Chile
Rodrigo Quezada 222,000 Chile
Camilo Posada 219,500 Colombia
Jose Espinoza 211,200 Peru
Phillip Nagy 200,000 Costa Rica
William Cole 199,700 USA
Ryan Smith 189,000 Canada
Adam Reynolds 185,800 Great Britain
Jaime Antelhoff 172,500 Uruguay
Jonathan Brown 164,500 USA
July Bianchi 159,000 Chile
Felip Montenegro 157,000 Costa Rica
Jelko Palma 155,000 Panama
Khaled Nassief 154,500 Mexico
Roman Valerstein 154,500 USA
Allan Zumeta 150,000 Peru
Francis Cruz 144,300 Dominican Republic
Vito Recchimurzo 144,000 Venezuela
Zennawi Petros 141,000 Canada
Fernando Decorato 140,000 Panama
Pablo Toimil 131,000 Argentina
Cristian Velasquez 130,000 Chile
Eduardo Bernal 125,000 Colombia
Bolivar Palacios 122,000 Panama
Jospehy Ferry 120,100 Canada
Ben Warrington 120,000 Ireland
Adeb Shoman 116,500 Panama
Jaime Ligator 116,500 Costa Rica
Flavio Arrieta 114,000 Peru
Jorge Postigo 112,500 Peru
Alberto Fonseca 111,100 Costa Rica
Juan Alberto Sanchez 110,200 Dominican Republic
Roberto Zamora 110,000 Costa Rica
Guillermo Echevarria 109,500 Peru
Jessica Perez 109,500 Panama
Jose Pino 109,500 Chile
Nickolas Davies 108,500 USA
Carlos Duran 108,000 Dominican Republic
Donys Agenelli 102,000 Venezuela
Roberto Ingino 101,500 Venezuela
Toma Haralampiev 101,500 Bulgaria
Oscar Ortiz 100500 Puerto Rico
John Restrepo 95,500 Colombia
Guillermo Rosario 95000 USA
Ricardo Chauriye 93,900 Chile
Engelberth Varela 90,500 Venezuela
Leonardo Tarazona 90,000 Colombia
Luis Janampa 86,000 Peru
Claudio Piedrabuena 82,000 Argentina
Carlos Lam 78,800 Panama
Sergio Larrain 77,900 Peru
Miguel Velasco 74,800 Colombia
Filippo Storino 72,100 Italy
Andrey Ardila 72,000 Colombia
Richard Webb 71,100 Canada
Manuel Aranguiz 71,000 Chile
Faiber Rodriguez 69,200 Colombia
John Abello 69,000 Colombia
Felipe Morbiducci 65,500 Chile
David Tarbet 65,000 Great Britain
Jorge Olivos 63,000 Chile
Norman Cordero 62,300 Costa Rica
Ezio Fenocchio 54,000 Italia
Raul Hauyana 54,000 Peru
Hector Quinonez 51,500 Dominican Republic
Emanuel Cardenas 44,000 Peru
Rogero Nordgren 42,000 USA
Manrique Quesada 41,000 Costa Rica
Fernando Sarmiento 37,500 Panama
Javier Ramirez 31,500 Honduras
Dustin Benda 23,500 USA
Miodrag Brkovic 19,900 Aruba

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