Two New Jersey Online Poker Players Make WSOP November Nine

The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event is down to the November Nine, and headlined by two of NJ’s finest. Thomas Cannuli and Joshua Beckley are still in.

The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event has reached the November Nine. Joe McKeehen will head into the final table with 63.1 million, twice as many chips as his next closest opponent.

Joining McKeehen are two New Jersey players, Thomas Cannuli and Joshua Beckley. Both players are around the middle of the pack in chips and have a solid shot to contend this coming November. They are also frequent players online in New Jersey although they have different focuses.

Let’s take a quick look at New Jersey’s November Niners.

Thomas Cannuli – cash game specialist with big field experience

Thomas Cannuli will head into the November Nine sixth in chips with 12.25 million. The Cape May resident is a frequent player at the Borgata and is a regular in online cash games in New Jersey.

At first glance, his live tournament resume doesn’t appear that impressive until you consider some of the events he’s cashed in. In 2013, he made the money in the $1,111 Little One for ONE DROP. That even had a field of 4,756 players.

In 2014, Cannuli made the final table of the Main Event at the WSOP Philadelphia stop. He finished 8th in that event. Later that summer, the finished in the money of the 2014 WSOP Main Event.

Cannuli is currently on the run of his life during this year’s Main Event. He has already locked in $1,001,020 and is looking to win his first major poker title and $7.68 million.

Joshua Beckley – “asd26” making waves live and online

Joshua Beckley is well known as “asdf26” on partypoker NJ. The online tournament regular has been dominating both the live and virtual felts for the last year and looks to do the same at the November Nine.

Since August of 2014, Beckley has earned at least $1.2 million including the 9th place money already paid out in this year’s Main Event. He started that run with a win at the Parx Casino Big Stax VIII last August and has cashed regularly since.

This summer, he has five cashes at the WSOP, including a 17th place finish in the $1,500 PL Omaha and now an appearance in the November Nine.

Beckley has been cleaning up online this year, having won eight events including two Majors since the beginning of the year. Prior to the WSOP, he took down the $2,500 Guaranteed NJ High Rollers event on WSOP.com for $1,233.

The Marlton resident will return in November with 11.8 million, good for seventh overall.

Both players in good shape to make a run

Despite the overwhelming chip stack of McKeehen, Cannuli and Beckley still have plenty of chips to make a run at the bracelet. Cannuli will return with 30 big blind stack while Beckley still has 27 big blinds. A double by either player would put them in third chip position and in great shape for a deep final table run.

Beckley and Cannuli are not the only stories at the final table. Zvi Stern from Israel is currently second and looking to become the first Israeli to win the Main Event. Max Steinberg is the only former bracelet winner at this final table and looking to make the Main Event his second career title.

Neil Blumenfield and Pierre Neuville have both defied conventional wisdom to make the November Nine. Blumenfield is 61 and Neuville 72. Both players are looking to become the oldest Main Event champion of the modern era and Neuville can become the oldest Main Event winner in history in November.

The November Nine will kick off on November 8 at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The Penn & Teller theater will be venue and over the next few months we will learn everything possible about the participants.

Below are the final table chip counts and starting positions courtesy of WSOP.com:

  • Seat 1: Zvi Stern – 29,800,000 (74 bb)
  • Seat 2: Pierre Neuville – 21,075,000 (52 bb)
  • Seat 3: Joshua Beckley – 11,800,000 (27 bb)
  • Seat 4: Max Steinberg – 20,200,000 (50 bb)
  • Seat 5: Thomas Cannuli – 12,250,000 (30 bb)
  • Seat 6: Joe McKeehen – 63,100,000 (160 bb)
  • Seat 7: Patrick Chan – 6,225,000 (15 bb)
  • Seat 8: Federico Butteroni – 6,200,000 (15 bb)
  • Seat 9: Neil Blumenfield – 22,000,000 (55 bb)

Image Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

WSOP Announces 2015-16 Circuit Schedule

The 2015-2016 World Series of Poker Circuit will be the largest in the tour’s history. The upcoming season will feature 25 total stops, 19 in the United States and six internationally.

Big changes for next season

This year’s circuit season will have a few changes. For starters, the domestic tour has a new stop in Bally’s Las Vegas. This gives Las Vegas two Circuit stops in the upcoming season.

The WSOP National Championship has been renamed the WSOP Global Casino Championship and will include qualifiers from international stops. In addition, for the first time ever Circuit ring holders who do not qualify for the championship will be able to buy-in directly for $10,000.

Several stops convenient to New Jersey residents

New Jersey residents will have access to several stops. The Foxwoods stop kicks off the circuit season in August, followed by the Horseshoe Baltimore Stop. The circuit will return to Atlantic City in March of 2016, followed by a second Baltimore stop in early April.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart spoke on the upcoming season, stating, “We know not everyone can make it out to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, and this is our way of bringing the flavor and feel of the WSOP to regional markets,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “The WSOP Circuit continues to be a great success, both at getting new players to the game and creating tomorrow’s stars and we’re excited to kick off the twelfth season August 6.”

How to qualify for the Global Championship

Remember that players can qualify for the global championship in one of three ways. Each stop has a Main Event tournament that awards the winner a seat in the championship. The player of the series award at each stop, also known as the Casino Championship, also awards one seat. Finally, an at-large system will award 50 seats based on points earned in events.

Below is a complete schedule of events for both the domestic tour and the international circuit:

World Series of Poker 2015-2016 Circuit U.S. Domestic Tour schedule

TOURNAMENT DATES TOURNAMENT LOCATION MAIN EVENT
1. August 6-17, 2015 Foxwoods Resort Casino (Connecticut) August 15-17
2. August 20-31, 2015 Horseshoe Baltimore (Maryland) August 28-30
3. September 17-28, 2015 Palm Beach Kennel Club (Florida) September 26-28
4. October 1-12, 2015 Horseshoe Southern Indiana October 9-12
5. October 15-26, 2015 Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago) October 23-26
6. October 29 – Nov. 9, 2015 Harveys Lake Tahoe (Nevada) November 6-9
7. November 12-23, 2015 Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas Strip) November 20-23
8. Nov. 26 – December 7, 2015 Harrah’s Cherokee (North Carolina) December 4-7
9. December 3-14, 2015 The Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles) December 12-14
10. January 7-18, 2016 Choctaw Durant (Dallas/Oklahoma) January 15-18
11. January 21 – Feb. 1, 2016 Horseshoe Tunica (Mississippi) Jan. 29-Feb. 1
12. February 4-15, 2016 Palm Beach Kennel Club (Florida) February 12-15
13. February 25 – March 7, 2016 Bally’s (Las Vegas) *new stop March 4-7
14. March 15-26, 2016 Harrah’s Atlantic City (New Jersey) March 24-26
15. March 19-30, 2016 The Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles) March 27-30
16. March 24 – April 4, 2016 Horseshoe Baltimore (Baltimore) April 2-4
17. March 31 – April 11, 2016 Horseshoe Council Bluffs (Omaha/Iowa) April 8-11
18. April 14-25, 2016 Harrah’s Cherokee (North Carolina) April 22-25
19. May 12-23, 2016 Harrah’s New Orleans (Louisiana) May 20-23
  TBD WSOP Global Casino Championship TBD

World Series of Poker 2015-2016 International Circuit schedule

TOURNAMENT DATES TOURNAMENT LOCATION
1. September 16-30, 2015 Casino de Campione (Campione, Italy)
2. TBA, 2015 TBA
3.  November 1-8, 2015 King’s Casino (Rozvadov, Czech Republic)
4. TBA, 2016 Jubilee Casino Monterrey (Mexico)
5. March, 2016 TBA

Pennsylvania iPoker May Not Launch for a Year Even if Passed

Pennsylvania is slated to be the next state to regulate iPoker according to some officials but they still have a lot of work to do before that happens.

For those hoping to play online poker in Pennsylvania sometime this year or even by early 2016, you may want to slow your roll. Information shared during a hearing on iGaming held by the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee on Thursday has all but confirmed that online poker is still nine months to a year from launching regardless of when it is legalized.

Many have considered Pennsylvania as the new frontrunner to legalize online poker in the United States following recently increasing tensions between stakeholders. Recent hearings have proven positive for the potential of passing a bill but doing so doesn’t guarantee PA residents will be playing anytime soon.

Other Pieces of Puzzle Needed Before Launch

Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director of the PA Gaming Control Board, was among those that spoke on the issues surrounding iGaming on Thursday. He stated that even if the legislature manages to pass a bill, several things need to happen before online poker will actually launch in the state. He also reiterated that they cannot control the speed at which applicants apply for a license.

O’Toole estimates that online poker will take anywhere from nine months to a year to launch following the passage of any online poker bill in the legislature. One would assume that much of this delay would be due to drawing up new iPoker regulations, approving licenses and then testing of various platforms to ensure that they comply with state regulations.

Ward Suggests Bill Will Not Be Ready in Time

Senator Kim Ward chairs the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and has a different view on the bill. According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Ward believes a bill will not be ready by June 30 which is the end of the fiscal year and the deadline for the state budget.

According to Ward, “Right now we’re working on a budget in the Senate that does not include any money from gaming, whether it be Internet gaming, whether it be [off-track betting] — new gaming, new ideas.”

There are multiple bills currently under consideration in Pennsylvania but none have been pegged as the vehicle for iPoker regulation. With less than two weeks remaining in the month, it would seem that the odds of getting a bill passed are long at best.

What Happens if a Bill Fails in 2015?

If a bill fails this year, it will not be due to lack of interest or any political grandstanding but rather due to the process not being a swift one. With a lot of the initial legwork having been completed in 2015, the odds of a reintroduced passing in 2016 would be likely be 70% or greater.

It’s no secret that the state is suffering a budget crisis and one that online poker can help resolve. If they move forward with a budget this year without including iPoker, it will be a tool that will be reintroduced next year.

At present, there doesn’t appear to be enough opposition to block a properly drafted bill. If this matter moves on to 2016, expect a comprehensive bill to be at the top of the priority list for lawmakers supporting the measure.

Revel Nightclub Could Reopen in July – Straub Talks Selling Property

Even though the Revel is empty, it is still making headlines. The chief engineer quit, Straub may be shopping the Revel, and the night club may reopen soon.

It’s been a busy news week regarding the shuttered Revel casino in Atlantic City. The building’s chief engineer has called it quits and there are rumors that one portion of the property could reopen in July. Finally, Straub could already be in the market to sell the Revel but only if he can more than double his money on the deal.

Chief Engineer is “Revel’d Out”

John Lezenby, the executive director of facilities and engineering at Revel, resigned from his position on Tuesday. Lezenby stated that he was “Revel’d out” and that “It wasn’t fun babysitting an empty building. I want to be in a building that has customers.”

Lezenby had been an employee of the company since day one but moves on to greener pastures. Prior to his stint at Revel, he served as executive director of facilities at Resorts and the director of construction with Trump Entertainment.

While Lezenby’s loss is huge, it will not be catastrophic. Nine engineers remain employed by the company as well as four security guards. Lezenby claims that the remaining employees “will protect that building with their life.”

Straub Interested in Selling Revel?

Glenn Straub has only owned the Revel less than two months but is already contemplating a sale of the property, but only if the price is right. Straub told the Press of Atlantic City that the Revel was not for sale but he might be swayed if someone came up with an offer in the $200 million range.

He said, “I’ll go and sell it to international people. That’s what we need.” Straub insists that his strategy to revive the Revel hinges on high-rollers being flown or ferried into Atlantic City. With gambling venues such as Macau drying up, high rollers could be swayed to try AC if the right action was available.

Straub may already have a buyer lined up. According to a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal regarding the issues between ACR Energy and the Revel, Polo North has a “contractual… relation” with Vincent Crandon, an investor that has expressed interest in buying the property in the past.

HQ to Possibly Reopen

Also mentioned in the Press of AC article is the possibility that the HQ nightclub could reopen sometime in July. According to the report, Polo North and IDEA Boardwalk are in mediation to reopen the property. If you remember, a bankruptcy judge allowed Straub to purchase the Revel free and clear from tenant obligations and it appears that he is willing to deal.

IDEA Boardwalk, the parent company for HQ, is one of those that were suing for tenant rights to block the sale. It is estimated that around $16 million in improvements have been made by various tenants, including HQ.

The opening HQ would be a step in the right direction for the property. It has been shuttered since summer of 2014 and originally it was estimated that it may be the fall before any part of the casino could be reopened. An official date has not been mentioned and is subject to the results of mediation.

PPA Does Not Support Poker Carve Outs That Don’t Legalize Online Poker

The poker world did a collective double-take Thursday when a PokerNews story claimed that the PPA would fight any federal bill that banned online gambling

The poker world did a collective double-take on Thursday when a PokerNews story claimed that the Poker Players Alliance would fight any federal bill that banned online gambling, even if it contained a carve out for online poker. Quoting the symbiotic nature of poker and general online gambling, the PPA seemingly had abandoned their core constituency.

In a follow-up interview conducted by Steve Ruddock of NJ.com, the PPA clarified their position and confirmed that while their focus may have shifted, they are still open to a poker-only online poker bill.

Poker Needs Online Gambling to Survive

The main argument from the PokerNews article was that online poker would be successful without the inclusion of general online gambling. John Pappas, executive director of the PPA, was quoted as saying, “We as a poker community need to recognize that the success of poker often is built on other forms of gaming.”

“If you cut off all other games in the U.S. market, investment and interest would shrink considerably. We’re going to fight tooth and nail to protect the interests of poker players, but poker-only in the U.S. might not be a sustainable model to benefit players long term.”

Most took these statements to imply that the PPA now feels that online-poker cannot survive without general iGaming and their focus had shifted to legalizing all forms of iGaming.

PPA Clarifies Position – RAWA Carve Out Does Not Benefit Online Poker

Ruddock contacted Pappas on Thursday for clarification on their position and learned a great deal more on the proposed carve out in the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill. According to Pappas, the carve out currently being floated around Congress does not legalize online poker. Rather, it would simply exclude it from the iGaming ban.

Pappas is concerned that Congress could attempt to pass the bill during the Lame Duck session. As he told PokerNews, the possibility for “shenanigans” exists and Congress should be watched closely during the session.

Pappas contends that passing RAWA with the current carve out would actually slow online poker growth. Without general iGaming, most companies would not see the profitability in online poker.

For example, PokerNews pointed to the fact that the New Jersey iGaming market has only seen a 20% market share by online poker. In its current state, online poker simply doesn’t bring the desire revenue to justify the expense.

Pappas further stated that, “If there was a bill that banned online casino games but legalized online poker at the federal level, we would support that all day long. The PPA is going to stand with supporting poker over other forms of gambling.”

Next Few Weeks Crucial

In the next two to three weeks, we should start to get an idea of whether we will see RAWA as part of the Lame Duck session and what form an online poker carve out will take.

While RAWA has some support in Congress, it doesn’t yet appear to have the necessary support to bring it to a vote. The PPA hopes that RAWA doesn’t come to a vote so they can focus on securing a federal solution for 2015

Of course, this assumes that the “shenanigans” hinted at by Pappas do not occur. There is always a chance that RAWA could be attached to another piece of legislation in much the same way that the UIGEA was attached to the SAFE Port Act in 2006.

Should proponents of the measure find another bill to piggyback this one to, then we may start seeing some serious movement on the measure.