It’s been a busy year in the online poker world, and not just on the felt. In fact, poker made headlines in the courtroom as well as Washington D.C. While there are still a few weeks left – and the potential for more big news to come before the New Year- here are something about top-5 stories in the poker world for 2010.
1. Harry Reid’s online poker bill
The number one story on our list is the story with the biggest potential ramifications, both presently and in years to come. It is also a story whose conclusion is still very up in the air. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been trying to build support for a bill that would license and regulate Internet poker in the United States. The hope is the bill will get attached to the Obama tax cut compromise bill during this lame-duck session of Congress.The effects of this bill would have an enormous impact on the global poker market.Casino City’s Vin Narayanan wrote an informative column about the details of the legislation, as the bill effectively shuts out offshore competition like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars for at least a couple of years. The bill favors large commercial casinos, with most of them based in Reid’s home state of Nevada.However, all of this discussion may be for naught, as there are rumblings it will be difficult for Reid to attach this bill. But regardless of whether the bill becomes law, it’s always a good thing when the mainstream media discusses online or free online poker games, as long as it isn’t scandal-related.
2. PokerStars, Full Tilt pull out of Washington
After the UIGEA was enacted in 2006, many major online poker rooms, including Party Poker, left the U.S. market. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker did not. That’s a major reason why they’re the two largest poker rooms in the world. The two sites even remained accessible to players in the state of Washington, despite the state having some of the toughest online gambling laws in the country.That all changed in September, when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that a statewide ban on Internet gambling was not unconstitutional. A week later, PokerStars announced it was no longer accepting real-money players from the state. Full Tilt followed suit six weeks later. There is a difference between the two bans. PokerStars won’t accept Washington residents at all, while Full Tilt will allow residents to play real-money games if they are located outside of the state’s borders.
3. Duhamel makes WSOP Main Event history
The person who knocked out Mizrachi was the eventual WSOP Main Event champion, Jonathan Duhamel. The 24-year-old from Montreal made history with his victory as he became the first Canadian to win the prestigious event. Duhamel entered final table play as the chip leader, but lost that chip lead when play became seven-handed. He fought and clawed back, and after winning the largest pot in WSOP history (177 million chips) off Joseph Cheong, he was the overwhelming favorite heading into heads-up play against John Racener. He defeated Racener to win $8,944,310 and his first gold bracelet.You can get more news in Absolute Poker.
4. The year of Michael Mizrachi
Frank Kassela might have won the WSOP Player of the Year Award, but no player was more impressive in 2010 than The Grinder, Michael Mizrachi. Mizrachi’s big year came just in time as he had serious financial problems due to failed investments in Florida. He won more than .5 million after taking down the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship, his first WSOP gold bracelet. Casual poker fans were reintroduced to Mizrachi after his performance in the Main Event. He was one of four Mizrachi brothers who cashed in the event. He did much more than cash, however. He was a member of the November Nine and briefly held the chip lead during the final table. He eventually finished in fifth place and won more than $2,332,992.
5. The debut of the North American Poker Tour
PokerStars continued to stay one step ahead of the game this year, launching the North American Poker Tour. The site has had plenty of success sponsoring the European Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, Latin American Poker Tour and Australia & New Zealand Poker Tour. So it was only natural that the North American market would see similar results. The inaugural season saw stops in the Bahamas (PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) Las Vegas (The Venetian), Connecticut (Mohegan Sun) and Los Angeles (The Bicycle Casino). PokerStars also scored a coup when ESPN agreed to broadcast 16 hours of action.