April is coming to an end, but the high-stakes poker action rolls on. The last week has been filled with huge cash wins by some of the biggest names in the sport. Next month, the action will continue as many competitions are scheduled for the month of May.
In other poker news, the World Poker Tour has signed a second brand ambassador. Unfortunately, not all the news from this past week was positive. One of poker’s biggest winners is the latest player to face cheating accusations. We will cover all of that and more in this week’s poker update.
Lei Wang Wins High Roller Event in London
We start this week’s poker update in the UK. The 888poker LIVE London High Stakes Festival will come to a close this weekend. It has been going on for a week and a half. While the action rolls on through Sunday, one man has already claimed a huge pot.
Lei Wang, a poker player from China, won the two-day High Roller event at the festival. Wang defeated a field of 61 total entrants. The buy-in for the tournament was set at £3,000. For winning the event, Wang claimed a top prize of £49,180. It was the largest win of Wang’s career to this point.
Wang is not the only big winner of the 888poker LIVE London High Stakes Festival. The festival started back on April 20th and the final four events will play out this weekend. You can watch the final hands play out on the 888poker Twitch stream. The action starts at 12 pm GMT every day. The final event is a Mystery Bounty table that begins at 4 pm on Sunday.
Kenney Is the Latest Poker Star to Face Cheating Accusations
Last week, multiple poker stars came out and accused Card Player Player of the Year Ali Imsirovic of cheating. According to the accusations, Imsirovic was caught peeking at other players’ cards. Also, the young poker star was accused of using cheating software during online tournaments.
The accusations against Imsirovic could have huge repercussions. World Series Of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Bryn Kenney was also accused of cheating this month. Kenney is the all-time leader in poker winnings with over $55 million in cash prizes during his career. The New York native was previously an ambassador for GGPoker. He addressed the cheating accusations this week in a live interview.
Kenney was accused of running a cheating scheme during online poker games. According to the accusations, Kenney paid other players to use RTAs and help him win. Some of the accusations even claimed that Kenney could see his horses’ screens while they played. Fellow WSOP winner Martin Zamani was one of the players to accuse Kenney.
Zamani made the accusations against Kenney during his appearance on Doug Polk’s podcast. Polk is a former poker pro and has nearly $10 million in career winnings. According to Zamani, Kenney not only funded horses to help him cheat, but he also used real-time assistance (RTAs) tools.
In an attempt to clear his name, Kenney sat down for an hour-long interview with Sarah Herring. Kenney denied the accusations against him but did not provide any proof to the contrary. In fairness, there was little to no proof provided by his accusers, either. This situation will definitely be one to watch moving forward.
Rheem Wins First-Ever PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown
In last week’s poker update, we covered the beginning of the PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown. The inaugural tournament came to an end this week, with David “Chino” Rheem claiming the first-place prize. The field for the event consisted of 32 of the best poker players in the world.
Entering the final two events on Saturday, Rheem was one of just four players that were left in the tournament. Rheem faced Isaac Kempton in the semi-final round. Kempton cruised into the final four after taking an early lead in his quarter-finals matchup. When the two faced off, Rheem won the final hand with a pair of pocket queens. Kempton won $100,000 for his third-place finish.
After his victory, Rheem credited his newly found sobriety for his success. In the postgame interview, he stated that he is grateful to be able to compete at the highest levels once again. A newly focused “Chino” could make noise at the 2022 WSOP later this year. Rheem is already a 3-time WPT champion and has also won events at the US Poker Open.
Brad Owen Named as WPT Ambassador
Successful poker vlogger and pro player, Brad Owen, has a new job. Owen was recently named as the second ambassador for the World Poker Tour. In the role, Owen will represent the brand at WPT events. He will also be a WPT content creator.
Brad Owen started his career as a pro player but found more success as a poker vlogger. Owen has been vlogging his experience at tournaments for nearly six years. His YouTube channel has more than 600,000 subscribers. Earlier this year, Owen won the “Best Vlogger” award at the 2022 Global Poker Awards.
Owen discussed the new role during a recent episode of his video blog. According to Owen, the WPT is near and dear to his heart. In the video, Owen recounts his connections with the WPT. The first tournament that Owen recorded for his vlog was a WPT event in Sacramento, CA. According to Owen, the first event he will be working for WPT is next month’s meet-up game event in Oklahoma. The event is scheduled to take place at the Choctaw Casino & Resort.
Other poker brands have used ambassadors for years. However, WPT is new to the game ambassadorship. Owen will join celebrity DJ Steve Aoki as the only two official ambassadors of the WPT brand. Owen also recently bought a stake in The Lodge Card Club in Austin, TX. He partnered with Andrew Neeme, another vlogger, and former pro, Doug Polk to buy a majority stake in the club.
High Stakes Duel Prize Pool up to $800K
High Stakes Duel III Round 4 will feature the biggest prize pool in the event’s history. Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan announced they will each put up $400,000 for their rematch. The heads-up battle is scheduled to take place on May 12th. It will be broadcast live on PokerGO’s website.
Dwan and Hellmuth are both familiar with each other and the High Stakes Duel format. Last August, the two squared off with $100,000 on the line. In that meeting, Dwan was the last man standing. However, the pair faced off again in January.
In the High Stakes duel format, the stakes double each round. The winner of each round must continue to play until they have won the minimum rounds to cash out. Losers have the right to challenge for an immediate rematch.
So far in High Stakes Duel III, Hellmuth defeated Nick Wright in round one but was stopped by Wright’s replacement, Dwan. With Hellmuth avenging his loss to Dwan already, he will need two more victories before cashing out. Hellmuth has already stated that he is unlikely to ask for a rematch. He also named Phil Ivey as a potential opponent if Dwan loses and does not want a fourth match.
The month of April was full of plenty of high-stakes poker action. As the month comes to an end, we can begin looking ahead to all the action scheduled for May. There is also plenty of drama around the poker table, including multiple cheat scandals. We will action right here, so be sure to check back next week for another poker update. In the meantime, you can try your luck at winning real money on the best online poker sites.