It was an interesting year for the poker industry. While the United States moved slowly towards legalized online poker and continued to feel the aftershocks of Black Friday, the live tournament circuit continued to grow here and abroad. Despite the disappearance of much of the televised poker programming that the ousted online poker sights were responsible for, there were still plenty of bright spots.
This year featured a $1 million buy-in tournament and career years for stalwarts like Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth. Then there was the BLUFF Player of the Year race, with young guns Marvin Rettenmaier, Dan Smith and Greg Merson each putting together a 2012 campaign to remember. As we look back at 2012; you’ll see a lot of great moments and reasons to be hopeful as 2013 begins.
James Carroll Wins Heartland Poker Tour Palms Las Vegas Main Event
Tournament organizers for the HPT expected a solid turnout for their event at the Palms, but they got a much stiffer field than expected. Some 286 players took to the felt and James Carroll walked away with the win and $104,253.
Notables cashing in the event were David Williams, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, David “ODB” Baker, Eric Froehlich and Trevor Pope. The final table included bracelet winner Randy Ohel, Trevor Pope and local pro Dan Alspach.
Greg Raymer Wraps Up Heartland Poker Tour Player of the Year
Greg Raymer finished up his sensational 2012 with four HPT Main Event wins on the season. He took home six figures for his win at the Belterra Casino in Indiana. He was the runaway POY winner with more than twice the points of his next closest competitor and also added his name to the top of the tour’s all-time money list.
The Fossilman defeated an up-and-coming Jacob Bazeley for the title with HPT regulars Iverson “Cotton” Snuffer and Kenny Hicks making the final table.
Jonathan Roy Wins World Poker Tour’s First Stop in Montreal
Jonathan Roy and fellow French-Canadian Pascal LeFrancois got heads up for the title in the Main Event that saw 1,173 players sign up to play. The event turned out to have one of the best final tables this season with Jeff Gross, Gavin Smith and Peter Kaemmerlen rounding out the final table.
The final table had an all star rail with 18 time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and the $18 million man Antonio Esfandiari rooting on Gross. Just missing the final table were Ashton Griffin, Amanda Musumeci and our favorite UFC announcer Bruce Buffer.
The 2013 BLUFF Reader’s Choice Awards Open for Voting
The poker landscape saw a litany of changes in 2012, and as the year winds toward a close it’s once again time for the BLUFF Reader’s Choice Awards. Your votes decide the winners in 14 unique categories covering all of the players, personalities, locations and content the poker world has to offer.
“Looking at the categories and nominees this year I’d say there are some tough choices for poker fans,” said BLUFF Editor in Chief Lance Bradley. “In the past we’ve seen some real runaways in categories. I’m not sure that’s going to be the case this year though.”
FROM THE MAGAZINE
The Arrival of Marvin Rettenmaier
Marvin Rettenmaier isn’t the first poker player to come to mind when you think of Wisconsinites, but he played his very first live poker in Prairie Star, Wisconsin. He was an exchange student in 2003 from Stuttgart, Germany and when he arrived home after a year away poker was starting to take hold in Europe.
BLUFF sat down the soon-to-be 2012 BLUFF Player of the Year and he described how he got his start, when things started snowballing for him and his most recent success at the tables.
Look Who’s Talking
Howard Lederer finally came out of hiding and addressed the fallout from the collapse of Full Tilt in a series of interviews dubbed “The Lederer Files.” In the seven part series Lederer was often left saying that he didn’t know or was unaware of many of the company’s short falls.
BLUFF took in depth look at what Lederer said, and more importantly, didn’t say.
The Double Life
Matt Salsberg has cashed 41 times playing live tournament poker during the past two years and he recently won the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris, a victory that was good for $514,271. Salsberg is in 16th place in the 2012 BLUFF Player of the Year standings and sits in 31st place in the Power Rankings. These numbers tell you that Salsberg is one of the best rising stars in poker that you might not know about, but they only begin to scratch the surface of who Salsberg really is. He has one of the most interesting background stories of anyone playing poker today.
Before Salsberg increased his time on the felt, he worked his way up through the ranks in Hollywood, writing scripts and screenplays that eventually led to a gig writing and producing the hit Showtime series “Weeds,” which is coming to an end after a successful eight season run this year. Salsberg is now developing a new television show called “Whales” that is about the tournament trail in a post-Black Friday poker world. Nobody can know at this point if it will be the next “Rounders,” but as you will read below, Salsberg could be just the right person to pull it off. His obsessive personality has led to a passion for both screenwriting and poker.
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