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The latest heads-up challenge that has grabbed everyone’s attention is the one between rising poker star Landon Tice and entrepreneur-cum-poker enthusiast Bill Perkins. Day 5 of the challenge took place yesterday, with Tice coming out on top to take an overall $83,702 lead after a little over 10% of the 20,000-hand challenge playing out.
There was a lot of fodder for the gossip mills this week as a “loose calling poker whale” Billy Joe Taylor, aka “Bildo,” got indicted for attempting to defraud the United States government for over $88 Million in a health care scam.
In another news that’s quickly spiraled into a hot topic of discussion in poker circles, David Afeword has been stripped of his WPT500 title by partypoker on the grounds of violating the site’s game integrity policy.
Landon Tice Bounces Back on Day 5 of Heads-Up Challenge; Takes $83K Lead Over Bell Perkins!
The Landon Tice vs. Bill Perkins heads-up challenge has already seen a few swings. The duo has played over 2,045 hands of their 20,000-hand $200/$400 No-Limit Hold ’em match with five sessions in the books.
The fourth session saw Perkins recovering $44,262.71 from the ~$98K hole he was stuck in, but the up-and-coming poker star made quite the comeback in session #5 to book a profit of $29,922 over 366 hands. Tice extended his overall lead to $83,702.
While Tice holds a significant skill edge in the match that’s pretty much out of the debate, what’s made the heads-up challenge a thrilling one is the 9 BBs/100 hands handicap for Perkins agreed upon by both the challengers. This translates to a $720,000 handicap for Perkins.
After the fifth session, Tice has worked up a win rate of 10.23 big blinds per 100 hands, making him on pace to win the competition. Tice still needs to win at least another $637,000 before the match concludes, or he’ll lose the challenge.
Day 5 Recap
Day 5 of the heads-up match played out on June 9. The two-hour session saw 366 hands being dealt, and it was Tice who came out on top to book a profit of $29,922.33.
Day 5: +$29,922.33
Hands Played: 366
Total Update: +$83,702.3
Total Hands: 2045
All in Adj BB/100: 13.92
Pretty close up to this point. 10% complete.
— Landon (@LandonTice) June 9, 2021
Watch the Day 5 action below.
The sixth session is scheduled for Friday, June 11.
Poker Player Billy Joe Taylor Indicted in $88 Million Health Care Fraud
A 42-year-old Lavaca man known as Billy Joe Taylor has been indicted for attempting to defraud the United States for more than $88 Million. Before his indictment, Taylor was becoming a popular figure in a high-stakes poker game out of Dallas on a webcast called TCH Live, going by the moniker “Bildo.” The player has gained notoriety for his reckless play on the popular live-streamed channel.
Prosecutors said that Taylor, who owns testing laboratories Vitas Laboratories LLC and Beach Tox LLC allegedly made more than $42 Million of the $88 Million in false and fraudulent claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor submitted claims for COVID-19, urine drug, and respiratory pathogen tests that were never actually ordered or performed, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ also says hundreds of claims were submitted for people who had already died or otherwise stopped providing samples.
Taylor was indicted in May in the Western District of Arkansas after a dramatic raid of his homes and businesses in Sebastian County. According to local media, Taylor turned himself in two weeks ago at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith and was released several hours later on a $100,000 bond.
Taylor was one of 14 defendants charged with “participation in various health care fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in over $143 million in false billings,” according to the DOJ.
“The multiple health care fraud schemes charged today describe theft from American taxpayers through the exploitation of the national emergency,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said. “These medical professionals, corporate executives, and others allegedly took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to line their own pockets instead of providing needed health care services during this unprecedented time in our country.”
Taylor’s next court hearing has yet to be scheduled. He faces fines and civil penalties that could cost him millions and up to five years in federal prison.
WPT500 Champion David Afework Disqualified by partypoker For Violating Game Integrity Policy
June 2 was a red-letter day for David Afework, who won a WPT500 event running as part of the WPT Online Series on partypoker. Afework, a relatively unknown player from the UK, outlasted a final table comprising some familiar names, including partypoker Team Online’s Jamie Staples, who had placed third in the event.
As expected, Afework was ecstatic with the win; however, the celebrations didn`t last long. partypoker and the World Poker Tour disqualified him after the $1 Million GTD event concluded.
Afework, using the alias “Devplaza,” took to the TwoPlusTwo forums to explain his plight in a thread titled “WPT 500 Event #24 Winner Disqualified — Help Me.” Afework shared how partypoker had notified him via email that he was disqualified for granting a third-party access to his account. As a result, all of his winnings had been seized. This left the British poker player utterly disappointed, as he believes he won the tournament fair and square.
Afework vehemently denied he committed such a violation, saying no one else has ever had access to his account other than himself. The British player shared that he was alone “for 99% of the time” and never received assistance from anybody while playing the event.
Interestingly, Afework also revealed he has been sharing the same room with another online poker player for the past seven months. Because of that, they registered the same IP address while playing online.
That could be the reason for the “third party nonsense”, according to Afework. While this is the case, the British grinder is standing by his statement that he did not share his account with other people.
Fellow players advised Afework to seek legal help and take his case to the UK Gambling Commission, where partypoker holds a license. The British player will most likely take that step. Still, a victory against online poker operators in such cases isn’t guaranteed, as most of the time, online poker sites successfully defend themselves.
partypoker released their side of the story but had little to offer about the specific details of the disqualification. As expected, the site gave a somewhat generic response, stating that the violation had something to do with the player sharing an account with a third party, which goes against the site’s General Terms and Conditions.
partypoker also said that these types of breaches are being dealt with by their Game Integrity team through various detection methods and that they “establish reasonable evidence” before taking any action.
With Afework being stripped of the title, original runner-up finisher Andre now becomes the winner, with his payout bumped up by over $51,000. Similarly, the other ITM finishers also get to ladder up one place.
The site’s brand ambassador Jamie Staples even tweeted about it.
— Chad Holloway (@ChadAHolloway) June 8, 2021
Yeah found out on stream yesterday by an email I received. Bitter sweet in that you never like to see broken TOS in poker. I don’t have any more info beyond the email I received that someone was DQd but grateful for the 2nd 👍
— Jaime Staples (@jaimestaples) June 8, 2021