Weekly Poker Update: August 23, 2021

Weekly Poker Update August 23, 2021

Poker fans might still be getting used to the new geography. For most of their existences, poker in the United States meant two locations: Nevada (mostly Las Vegas) and New Jersey (specifically Atlantic City).

But the map is broadening, especially as states around the country are starting to legalize real money online poker.

Some of the bigger brands in the online poker realm have now started to stretch out to these suddenly poker-friendly states to expand their coverage.

The Pennsylvania Poker, Not Polka

No brand is bigger than the World Series of Poker (and its corresponding website WSOP.com). Thus, it makes sense that the WSOP has gravitated to the state of Pennsylvania, one of the biggest new online poker markets in the US.

Hence, we have the WSOP PA Online Bracelet Series which handed out eight bracelets over the past few weeks of action.

The WSOP Pennsylvania series wrapped up earlier this week when a player going by the online name of Derek Harper pulled in $66,641 of purse earnings with a victory in a no-limit Texas Holdem event.

There were only 66 entrants in this latest event, but the series appears to have been a ringing success overall.

It also might be the only World Series of Poker event that will ever be held that is exclusive to Pennsylvania gambling. The expectations are that shared liquidity arrangements between the states that have legalized online poker for real money will continue to flourish.

As such, the WSOP can concentrate on a much bigger pool of players, which is more profitable on all sides.

Even if it was only a one-time thing, the Pennsylvania players who won these events will always be able to say that they are WSOP bracelet winners.

That puts them in the same group with some of the all-time greats of the game. And no matter what they do in their poker futures, they’ll always have something to look back at that is pretty special.

Poker Progress in the Bay State

Massachusetts poker players have been frustrated in recent months. The two legal Massachusetts casinos have been dragging their feet in returning the game to their establishments.

It reached the point where the gaming commission in the state had been fielding numerous complaints each and every week. The commission then started to scrutinize the casinos and ask why the game hadn’t returned even as all health and safety restrictions had been lifted.

The good news this week is that one of those two casinos, MGM Springfield, told the commission that they were planning to bring back its poker tables in the fourth quarter of the 2021 year.

That would mean that it will be a matter of few months before local players can get back to their legal poker action. No exact time was listed, but the commitment, on record, was a huge step forward.

Massachusetts Encore Casino

No such commitment was put forth by the state’s other casino, the Encore Boston Harbor. They’ve been on record in previous conversations with the commission about how they lacked the labor necessary to make poker happen once again.

And they also said that using the space usually reserved for poker for popular slot machines instead has proven to be more profitable for the casino.

The MGM Springfield did say that there would be a reduced number of tables when poker does return from their former capacity. But some poker is better than none at all.

And perhaps their move to return poker will put some pressure on the Encore Boston Harbor, which would mean Massachusetts would be back to near where it was a few years ago when it comes to in-person poker opportunities for its citizens.

Erik Seidel Sidles to Another Title

It had been a while, but Erik Seidel added to his impressive total of World Series of Poker bracelets this past week. He did so as part of the World Series of Poker online series.

The specific event was a $10,000 buy-in Super Million$ High Roller event, and it ended with Seidel scoring $977,842 in purse.

The last time that Seidel won a bracelet was 2007. But the win pushes his total of bracelets to nine for this career. That puts him into a tie for fifth all-time, with everybody chasing Phil Hellmuth and his 15 wins in WSOP action.

Seidel is now tied with Johnny Moss with nine bracelets in WSOP play. But it won’t take him much more to climb up the ladder in a significant manner.

Pro Poker Player Erik Seidel

If he can win another, he’ll join a four-way tie for second with other luminaries such as Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson, some pretty heady company.

Another interesting fact about Seidel’s win is that he did it in the online sphere. No other player with five WSOP bracelets had ever won one in the online sphere. It’s nice to see one of the game’s all-time great veterans adapting so well to the online style of play.

Considering that his first win in the WSOP came all the way back in 1992, it speaks to Seidel’s longevity. In terms of his WSOP scores, it was also the biggest purse in Seidel’s career by a wide margin.

Poker fans everywhere will be watching closely to see if he can step up in the live event later this year and perhaps add to his haul when more bracelets are on the line.

Tom Dwan Doles Out the Info

Later this week (Wednesday, August 25th), Tom Dwan will have a lot on his mind when he picks up the gauntlet and takes on Phil Hellmuth (and his seven-game winning streak) as part of the High Stakes Duel series.

But earlier this week, “durrrr” had a lot to say in a Poker Life podcast hosted by Joe Ingram. Among the tidbits he let people know was the amount he was paid by High Stakes Poker (the PokerGo show, separate from the High Stakes Duel) to participate.

Dwan made several appearances on the most recent, online-only season of the High Stakes Poker show. And we now know why he was so willing to appear. He announced that he (and other players) were paid $10,000 per taping of the show.

There are some poker players who enjoy the high-profile of televised poker games. But others find the tedium of waiting around for production to be set up to be somewhat infuriating.

Based on his relative anonymity in terms of TV play in the early parts of his career, Dwan was clearly in the latter category.

In addition to the time aspect of it, Dwan is a guy who made his bones in the poker world playing in high-stakes online games. As a result, there wasn’t ever much of a financial incentive to come out and play on TV.

High Stakes Poker Group Photo

He could do just fine financially without ever comes near the cameras.

But the $10,000 boost is something that helped convince him to the High Stakes Poker setup.

Considering the big money on the line in those games, it might not seem like a lot. Still, it must have worked to an extent, as this past season on High Stakes Poker was a who’s who of big names in the game.

One wonders if the producers of the show were too thrilled about Dwan saying that, as it takes some of the all-or-nothing cachet away from the proceedings. But Dwan’s revelation does give some inside information about the perks of being one of the greats of the game.

The fringe benefits these players receive certainly help to soften the blow of losses that would put a kibosh on the bankroll of the average player forever.

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