This week the poker world's attention has mostly centered in Europe where major events on the professional circuit are playing out, including two World Poker Tour events and the start of the World Series of Poker Europe. Meanwhile in the U.S., Howard Lederer's decision to speak out in a lengthy interview regarding the various failures of Full Tilt Poker has captured considerable notice as well.
World Poker Tour Crowns Two
The past week has seen the WPT travel to France and Malta, crowning new champions at each stop. Earlier in the week it was TV producer Matt Salsberg taking down the WPT Grand Prix de Paris and a €400,000 first prize. And last night Yorane Kerignard grabbed the trophy at WPT Malta, earning €120,000 for his finish.
Despite recording several modest cashes over the last decade mostly in Las Vegas and California tourneys, Salsberg was better known among poker players for his involvement as a writer and producer of television shows like Weeds and Entourage. We'd also known of Salsberg thanks to reports of his developing a new poker-themed comedy titled Whales along with Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.
That changed this week, however, after Salsberg topped a field of 228 at the Aviation Club de France in Paris to win a WPT title. The victory required Salsberg to outlast a tough final table that included Mohsin Charania, Timothy Adams, Philipp Gruissem, and Theo Jorgensen. Jorgensen, who finished runner-up, was looking for a second WPT Grand Prix de Paris title after winning the same event in 2010.
2012 WPT Grand Prix de Paris final table payouts:
1. Matt Salsberg -- €400,000
2. Theo Jorgensen -- €264,600
3. Philipp Gruissem -- €170,065
4. Timothy Adams -- €125,775
5. Mohsin Charania -- €95,615
6. Fabian Quoss -- €75,765
Meanwhile, Yorane Kerignard bested a field of 169 players in Malta this week to earn his title, surviving a competitive final table that saw Alessio Isaia take third and Jackson Genovesi runner-up.
Genovesi had the chip lead to start heads-up versus Kerignard, but the latter grabbed the edge, then won on a dramatic final hand. Genovesi was all in on a 4d-2s-10c flop holding 10h-9h versus Kerignard's As-3c. The 3s turn meant Genovesi's nines were still best, but the Ad fell on the river to give the hand and title to Kerignard.
For Kerignard the win continues a terrific last 12 months on the felt that has included final tables at EPT San Remo and EPT Deauville. With the WPT Malta first prize, Kerignard's career tourney earnings trip up around the $1 million-mark overall.
2012 WPT Malta final table payouts:
1. Yorane Kerignard -- €120,000
2. Jackson Genovesi -- €82,370
3. Alessio Isaia -- €52,500
4. Hui Chen Kuo -- €39,200
5. Zeljko Krizan -- €29,300
6. Sampo Ryynanen -- €23,300
The "Professor" Speaks
Meanwhile, many in the poker world have been drawn to the lengthy, multi-part interview with Howard Lederer being posted in half-hour segments this week on PokerNews.
Lederer, of course, was a principal owner and member of the Board of Directors at Full Tilt Poker. The site was targeted with others by the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2011 with an indictment and civil complaint bringing a host of charges including violations of gambling laws, money laundering, and bank and wire fraud.
The civil complaint was amended in September 2011 to name Lederer and three others, charging them with further crimes including funneling of more than $440 million into "FTP Insider" accounts. (See "Hard to Explain: The Full Tilt Poker Fiasco" for more.) A second amendment to the complaint appeared last week with additional charges and more details regarding how Lederer and others used those funds.
The PokerNews interview was conducted on August 30, 2012 (prior to the second amendment to the civil complaint), and covers a wide range of topics including the founding of Full Tilt Poker, various details of its management structure, the move of FTP headquarters from the U.S. to Ireland in 2006, and subsequent financial troubles caused in part by mismanagement, distributions to shareholders, frequent loans to poker pros, and the so-called "phantom deposits" that led to players being unable to withdraw funds from the site post-Black Friday.
The interview shows Lederer (a.k.a. "The Professor") and others at FTP having made numerous poor decisions, and while Lederer accepts some culpability he often appears interested in deflecting or diverting blame throughout. In any case, the interview provides a compelling (if blinkered) look at Full Tilt Poker's rise and fall.
WSOP Europe Begins
Following the recently completed Partouche Poker Tour and WPT Grand Prix de Paris, poker returns to France this afternoon for the start of the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe. For a second straight year the events of the WSOPE will be contested at the Casino Barrière de Cannes Croisette in Cannes.
Last year the WSOPE was expanded to include seven events, and this year's schedule will see a very similar schedule also featuring seven events. Here's the line-up of tournaments that will play out over the next couple of weeks:
9/21 -- No. 1: €2,700 No-Limit Hold'em (6-max.)
9/22 -- No. 2: €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em
9/24 -- No. 3: €5,300 Pot-Limit Omaha
9/25 -- No. 4: €3,250 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout
9/26 -- No. 5: €10,450 No-Limit Hold'em Split Format
9/27 -- No. 6: €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha (6-max.)
9/30 -- No. 7: €10,450 No-Limit Hold'em (ME)
This marks the sixth year of the WSOPE. From 2007-2010 the series was held in England, then moved to Cannes last year. Here's a look at all of the past winners at the WSOPE:
No. 1: £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. -- Thomas Bihl
No. 2: £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha -- Dario Alioto
No. 3: £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em (ME) -- Annette Obrestad
No. 1: £1,500 No-Limit Hold'em -- Jesper Hougaard
No. 2: £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. -- Sherkhan Farnood
No. 3: £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha -- Theo Jorgensen
No. 4: £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em (ME) -- John Juanda
No. 1: £1,000 No-Limit Hold'em -- J.P. Kelly
No. 2: £2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em/Omaha -- Erik Cajelais
No. 3: £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha -- Jani Vilmunen
No. 4: £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em (ME) -- Barry Shulman
No. 1: £2,650 No-Limit Hold'em (6-max.) -- Phil Laak
No. 2: £5,250 Pot-Limit Omaha -- Jeff Lisandro
No. 3: £1,075 No-Limit Hold'em -- Scott Shelley
No. 4: £10,350 No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up -- Gus Hansen
No. 5: £10,350 No-Limit Hold'em (ME) -- James Bord
No. 1: €2,680 NLHE (6-max.) -- Guillaume Humbert
No. 2: €1,090 No-Limit Hold'em -- Andrew Hinrichsen
No. 3: €5,300 Pot-Limit Omaha -- Steve Billirakis
No. 4: €3,200 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout -- Tristan Wade
No. 5: €10,400 NLHE Split Format -- Michael Mizrachi
No. 6: €1,620 PLO (6-max.) -- Philippe Boucher
No. 7: €10,400 No-Limit Hold'em (ME) -- Elio Fox
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