Year in Review: November Niners, WPT Sale Top August Headlines

Here at Bluff Magazine we started the month of August with the announcement of Lance Bradley as our new editor-in-chief. “I’m very excited about this opportunity. For five years now Bluff has been at the forefront of the poker industry and I hope to continue that tradition and deliver a magazine and website that poker fans recognize as the leader,” Bradley said at the time.

Kevin Schaffel couldnt wait for November to play a final table

Kevin Schaffel couldn't wait for November to play a final table

On the live tournament front it was a relatively quiet month as the poker world recovered from its WSOP binge. Most of the month’s action came from the Chinese island of Macau, where two poker tours converged to crown champions. The Asian Poker Tour wrapped up its season with a main event victory by Frenchman Adrien Allain, good for $391,556. Then the Asia Pacific Poker Tour rolled into town for a main event and a high rollers tourney; Dermot Blain conquered the main event for $541,089, while Vladimir Geshkebein defeated Johnny Chan heads-up for the High Roller title and $266,690.

The World Poker Tour wrapped up the month’s live action with the Legends of Poker main event, which saw dominating performances from not one but two November Niners. Steve Begleiter held the chip lead through Day 1 and Day 2, while Kevin Schaffel joined the party on Day 3 by finishing in second position. Both men would fall short of the title despite their impressive performances, with Begleiter bowing out in ninth place and Schaffel coming close in second behind the eventual champion, Prahlad “Spirit Rock” Friedman, who grabbed $1,009,000 for the win.

Online, Lock Poker began making waves in the market by signing Eric “Rizen” Lynch to become its new Vice President of Product Development and sponsoring a slew of well-known pros. UltimateBet added to its sponsorship list, too, signing WSOP Main Event 11th-place finisher Billy “Patrolman35″ Kopp to a new deal.

November Niner Steve Begleiter led the WPT Legends of Poker for the first two days

November Niner Steve Begleiter led the WPT Legends of Poker for the first two days

Away from the tables, World Poker Tour Enterprises fielded offers to buy the company twice within the month of August. Investment group Gamynia Limited tabled the first offer of $9 million, which when accepted saw WPTE’s stock price drop by nearly a third. Just a few weeks later online gaming giant PartyGaming stepped in with a $12.3 million offer for WPTE, and again the company’s board accepted the offer. “PartyGaming has been an important partner for a number of years and we are confident that they will be an excellent manager of our brands in the future,” said Steve Lipscomb, President and CEO of WPT Enterprises, upon announcing the sale. In Washington, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to regulate poker and other skill games online, and in Bristol, Conn., ESPN finalized a new seven-year agreement with the WSOP to continue broadcasting coverage of the tournament series.

And finally, August saw WSOP bracelet winner Brian Lemke found the Justin Shronk Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late cousin. The fund’s stated goal is to provide financial assistance to students in need who are majoring in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media at Temple University, Shronk’s alma mater. “We have also asked that the recipient of the scholarship exemplify some of the same characteristics that Justin exhibited during his life,” wrote Lemke in his announcement of the fund. “[He had] an absolute passion for everything media, a great wit and sense of humor, loyalty in his friendships, and [was] someone who would take a job for less money to be able to do the work that he loved.”

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