Grab The Popcorn, Feuds Aplenty In The Gambling World This Week

Posted on September 22, 2017

[toc]Everybody grab the popcorn. The news this week on the US gamibling front was full of cat fights, both political and poker-centric. It should surprise no one the claws, as well as the teeth, are out in the battle between the Pennsylvania House and Senate. After all, things are dire given that the state is actually, literally out of money.

The latest spat between Phil Hellmuth and, well, every other high stakes poker player, has to deal with a ton of money too, but it is much more petty than the Pennsylvania budget. Wondering what exactly went down? Keep reading, we’ll explain:

The Pennsylvania House and Senate still at an impasse

Last week, the Pennsylvania House finally accomplished something. It passed a budget plan after hours of debate. Unsurprisingly though, this week that budget ran smack into the Pennsylvania Senate.

After not a single Democrat supported the Senate budget, just seven Senators voted in favor of the budget bill. With the new House budget promptly struck down, here is where we are at:

Both the House and the Senate passed versions of a budget to cover a $2.2 billion shortfall. Since neither will sign off on each other’s plan, the next step is a joint committee. Each branch will nominate three members to the committee, which will brainstorm a budget compromise.

In order for a budget to advance out of committee, two members from each branch (four total) must approve it. Time is of the essence too, as the state is already completely out of money.

As for the gambling expansion bill? It remains in play, but no one will be voting on it before the budget situation get settled. The good news is both sides are for gambling expansion, so the only thing to debate is what kind of expansion it will entail.

Millions and millions up for grabs

It is a gambler’s dream to say they won a million bucks, right? One lucky player in Henderson, NV did not just win a million though. He won $10.1 million after hitting the Megabucks progressive slot jackpot on a slot machine at Fiesta Henderson. This is the second time the jackpot hit in Nevada in the span of just a month.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, another million and change will be up for grabs. PokerStars NJ revealed the schedule for this year’s NJ Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP). Across 46 events, there are $1.2 million in total guarantees. That includes a $200,000 purse for the $500 buy-in Main Event.

If that were not enough, PokerStars is also giving it another go at live tournaments at Resorts Casino with a two-event weekend series under its Megastacks brand the first weekend of October.

Aria-hosted Poker Masters generates big paydays, big drama

When it came to action on the felt, the big headline coming out of PokerGO’s Poker Masters series was the continued domination of German players. This time it was Steffen Sontheimer on top. The pro won a prelim event as well as the finale, then cashed in two other events as well.

At the end of the day, Sontheimer pocketed over $2.7 million in earnings from the five-tournament High Roller series. As a result, he took home the first-ever Poker Masters purple blazer.

Off the felt though, the biggest story from the series might be the Twitter battle between Hall of Famers Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. Negreanu Tweeted about how much his game grew over the past few years. Then Hellmuth, being Hellmuth, chimed in to say the old-timers are still better all-around players than the youngster.

Hellmuth’s argument basically amounts to this: Because these young high roller players only play one very specific style of poker, they cannot compare to a player like Hellmuth, who consistently crushes large-field events.

And when it comes to learning to improve, Marty Derbyshire has an idea or two about how the Poker Masters can up its game in order to survive in this crowded tournament calendar.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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