The Top 5 Poker News Stories of 2010
In no particular order, we present to you the top five poker news stories of 2010:
Online Poker Nearly Becomes Legalized in the U.S.
A few weeks ago, the poker world was baited into sitting on the edge of its seat on the news that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may try to legalize online poker in the U.S. using the same surreptitious means that former Senator Bill Frist used in 2006 to pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Reid, who won a close re-election race against Sharron Angle thanks in part to campaign contributions from Nevada-based casino companies, was allegedly aiming to legalize online poker to appease his contributors who hope to enter the online poker market but need legal clearway to do so.
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For nearly two weeks, the poker world watched in anticipation to see if a pro-online poker bill would be attached to a larger, "must-pass" piece of legislation in the Senate. However, what we predicted would pan out to be the great tease of 2010 turned out to be just that. On December 16th, PPA executive director John Pappas stated that the online poker's hopes of becoming legal in the U.S. were effectively dead after Reid spent too much political capital on something unrelated to poker to expect a pro-poker measure to make it onto the bill as well. The Great Tease of 2010 left just as quickly as it came which relegated American poker players to likely years more of futile wishes for a change in online poker's legal status.
Duhamel Becomes First Canadian World Champion
In 40 years of action at the WSOP, never was a Canadian able to seize the Main Event championship. That all changed this year. Twenty-two year French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel used relentless aggression and fearless play to cut through a field of 7,319 and reach the November Nine with 30% of the chips in play. In November, he became the first player to win the Main Event after starting the final table with the chip lead since Jamie Gold in 2006.
Duhamel's win leap-frogged him into second-place on the all-time Canadian earnings list behind Daniel Negreanu.
Michael Mizrachi Dominates WSOP
Although Jonathan Duhamel won the Main Event and Frank Kassela earned Player of the Year honors, the 2010 WSOP will be remembered as Michael Mizrachi's return to poker glory. "The Grinder", as he is known online, put himself back on the map by winning the opening event of the series, the $50,000 buy-in Player's Championship that drew a field of 116 of the world's best players. That was only the beginning of Mizrachi's fantastic summer. He went on to record a 6th place finish in the $10,000 buy-in 7-Card Stud event and an 8th place finish in the $10,000 Limit Hold'em event. But his work did not end there. Mizrachi and his three brothers impressed the poker world in a way no four brothers ever before have by all reaching the money in the Main Event. As his brothers Eric, Robert, and Danny saw their November Nine dreams go up in flames, Michael kept the family name in the tournament all the way to the final table. In November, Mizrachi built his short stack into what was temporarily the chip lead but ultimately saw his dream of winning the Player's Championship and Main Event in the same year end in 5th place. Still, it was not a bad summer for "The Grinder". He racked up more than $3 million in winnings in what was one of the most impressive WSOP runs ever seen.
Peter Eastgate Sells WSOP Main Event Bracelet on eBay
Not long after the conclusion of the Main Event final table in November, 2008 World Champion Peter Eastgate listed his WSOP bracelet on eBay. Eastgate pledged to donate all proceeds from the auction to UNICEF, organization that works to provide basic needs and rights to children in developing nations around the world. When the auction ended, it fetched a staggering $146,500. Eastgate stated that while he will always be proud of his Main Event win, he thought the bracelet would be worth more to someone else than it is to him.
EPT Berlin Robbed
In March, participants in the EPT Berlin Main Event received quite the scare when armed robbers entered the tournament venue and robbed the cashier's cage. When the dust settled, no one was hurt in the incident that significantly disrupted the tournament, which was down to four tables at the time of the robbery. Two of the assailants turned themselves into police and helped cooperate to bring the other two suspects into custody. The men, who were between the ages of 19 and 21 when they committed the crime, are serving time in a German prison for their actions.