The Year That Was: July 2013

July 2013 cover

Another calendar year is in the books and when the poker world looks back at 2013, they’ll see the first steps taken towards the return of online poker in the U.S, a dominating performance from Daniel Negreanu and the dominance of German players in High Roller events around the world. Every day until the end of the year BLUFF will take a look back at 2013, one month at time.

HEADLINES

Matt Ashton Wins Poker Players Championship, Takes WSOP POY Lead into Europe

A lot of players got close to Daniel Negreanu’s lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race, including David “Bakes” Baker, who got within a fraction of a point midway through the summer. With just a few days left before the WSOP Main Event, and Negreanu making a deep run of his own in the $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw (he’d finish second), it looked like no one could pass him. Enter Matt Ashton.

After making three final tables in various forms of Seven Card Stud and Omaha earlier in the summer, Ashton put an exclamation point on a tremendous breakout summer by winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Along with the $1.7 million payday, Ashton snatched the WSOP POY lead from Negreanu and started what would be a tremendous back-and-forth that would run all the way to the end of WSOP Europe.

Paul Pierce Plays $10K PLO Championship at WSOP

Celebrities and athletes find their way into several WSOP events a year, with the majority of them surfacing only for the Main Event. NBA superstar Paul Pierce decided to take a shot at a different level of competition, the pro-heavy $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, and he held his own for some time. Pierce is apparently no stranger to the game, having previously played in some big PLO cash games on the strip.

Loni Harwood Caps Tremendous WSOP with Bracelet Win

There were several poker players who thrust themselves into the limelight with tremendous performances at the 2013 WSOP, but Loni Harwood’s was one of the strongest. After finishing sixth in a Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event and fourth in a massive No Limit Hold’em field, Harwood had already secured a profitable summer and thensome. Harwood capped it off just before the Main Event, though, fighting through another massive No Limit Hold’em field to win her first bracelet and over $600,000.

Doyle Brunson Makes Deep Run, Gets First WSOP Main Event Cash Since 2004

When Doyle Brunson had a ceremonial bust dedicated to him and his contributions to the game of poker before one of the starting sessions of the Main Event, he didn’t even intend on playing in 2013. He took a complimentary entry from Ty Stewart and the WSOP, though, and rather than just fire his chips off Texas Dolly made something of the opportunity. Brunson made it into the money and secured his first Main Event cash in almost a decade, running up a stack that was in the top 20 at the end of Day 3.

JC Tran Leads as November Nine is Set

Since the advent of the November Nine, the final tables have been hit-and-miss in terms of star power. As the 2013 field played down to two tables and eventually the final 10, it looked as if it might have been an all-time best group. Even with Carlos Mortensen narrowly missing out on being the first Main Event champion to make the final table since Dan Harrington in 2004, the final nine was a strong one. Led by JC Tran, the final nine also included bracelet-winner Amir Lehavot, WPT Champion Mark Newhouse and online poker legend David Benefield.

WPT Launches Alpha8 High Roller Series

The World Poker Tour has been around since before the start of the poker boom, running through more than 11 successful seasons to date. With the growing popularity of High Roller events, the WPT decided to use its name and experience to launch a major tour around a series of massive buy-in tournaments, one that would air on the new Fox Sports 1 channel. A few weeks after their initial announcement, a broadcast team featuring Ali Nejad, Olivier Busquet and Lynn Gilmartin was introduced.

Phil Hellmuth Digs Hip Hop, Hangs with Ludacris and Jay-Z

Phil Hellmuth talked about his love for hip hop, appearing in a Ludacris music video and an encounter with Jay-Z in a New York restaurant during this interview at the 2013 WSOP.

FROM THE MAGAZINE

Ultimate Beginning

After more than two years with no legal online poker in the United States, Ultimate Poker officially launched the first legal site in the state of Nevada. It was the first fully licensed operation, and it was backed by the money and the know-how of the Fertitta Brothers, who own Station Casinos and a little company known as the UFC.

The Heartland Poker Tour: Back and Better Than Ever

The Heartland Poker Tour was founded in 2005 and built itself into one of the strongest regional tours in the United States. As they reached their peak, despite the uncertainty of Black Friday, they were offered an unbeatable deal by Federated Sports and Gaming in June of 2011 and became a subsidiary of that company. After the Epic Poker League and everything affiliated with it went belly-up, the HPT’s future looked bleak.

This is the story of how they turned it all around.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Daniel Alaei – 337.5 BLUFF POY Points

TOP MONEY EARNERS

1. Daniel Alaei – $852,692
2. Matt Perrins – $792,275
3. Nikolaus Teichert – $737,957
4. Brian Yoon – $663,727
5. Loni Harwood – $609,017

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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