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We’re back with our latest edition of PokerGuru Gossip Column to bring you stories that are shocking and scandalous with a little bit of Hollywood thrown in for good measure!
First up we have reality television stars and media moguls Kim Kardashian West and Kris Jenner who will be seen hosting tables and playing against attendees of a charity poker tournament. We then move on to the casino at Caesar Entertainment where an anonymous gambler took home a payday of $1.42 Million by playing pai gow poker. In our next story we move to California where, facing charges in a $6.2 Million Ponzy scam, poker pro Ali Fazeli has now pleaded guilty. He has allegedly fleeced big poker names like Erik Seidel, John Juanda and Zach Clark and is also facing cheating charges from several stakeholders and the Aria Casino, Las Vegas.
In our last story, we return to Vegas where high-stakes legend Gus Hansen refused to be let down by his ouster in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and decided to party hard!
With only a few days left for the 2018 WSOP to reach its finale, the drama and chaos in the poker world seems to be intensifying. So, without delay, lets dive into this edition’s spicy stories!
From starring in reality television series to launching clothing lines while also maintaining an influential presence on online and social media, it really is hard to keep up with the Kardashians! But this time the Kim Kardashian West and Kris Jenner are venturing into the world of poker as they will be hosting tables at the ‘If Only’ Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament from City of Hope National Medical Center and the Forum in Inglewood, California.
With the aim of raising money for cancer treatment, the Kardashians, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Khloe Kardashian and Kendall Jenner, will be kicking off the charity event on July 29th at The Forum. Each of the stars of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians (KUWTK)’ will be hosting their own tables and will also engage in gameplay with the attendees for the good cause. An episode of the upcoming of KUWTK may also be filmed during the event. So, if you plan to attend you might just be able to sneak in your 15 seconds of fame!
All eyes are on the WSOP Main Event World Championship where the remaining three runners, John Cynn, Tony Miles and Michael Dyer, will battle it out to not only win the most coveted honour in poker but also the handsome top prize worth $8,800,000. But the WSOP is not the only tournament that has been doling out the hefty cashe prizes.
In a press release on July 9th, Caesar Entertainment stated that a lucky gambler, whose identity has not been revealed by the casino, had won $1.42 Million playing Pai Gow Poker on June 30. The huge win was a result of the “progressive” jackpot, which links select pai gow poker tables across nine Caesars-owned casinos.
The popularity of pai gow poker is evidenced by the fact that 92 casinos offer the game on 250 tables. It has generated $98.2 million in revenue over the last year for these casinos.
Nevertheless, the WSOP too has witnessed several million-dollar wins, with the ongoing tournament series already crowning 11 players whose winnings have crossed the million-dollar mark starting with Nick Petrangelo ($2,910,227), Elio Fox ($2,201,327), Shaun Deeb ($1,587,052), John Hennigan ($1,303,593), Aymon Hata ($1,297,221), Michael Mizrachi ($1,271,306), Arne Kern ($1,174,518), Ben Yu ($1,062,905), Tommy Nguyen ($1,044,527), Loren Klein ($1,023,795) and Roberly Felicio ($1,000,000).
Poker pro from California, Ali Fazeli who was facing litigation in a multi-million Super Bowl ticket scam has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and accepted a plea deal.
Earlier this year, Fazeli was indicted on wire fraud charges by a federal grand jury in California after he allegedly conned investors out of at least $6.2 Million, with the victims of this Ponzi scheme including names like poker pros Erik Seidel, John Juanda and Zach Clark. He was also charged with conning $5 Million from a trust from the Semblerfamily in St. Petersburg and another $2.5 Million from a firm called Ticket Man.
While Seidel and Clark were each fleeced for $500,000, Juana invested $300,000 in the scheme that was meant to see Fazeli buy and re-sell tickets to sporting events such as the Super Bowl and World Cup through his ticket broker websites and split profits from the resale 50/50 with the pros. Instead, Fazeli allegedly spent the money on high-roller poker buy-ins and paying off debts.
Following his arrest on February 14 this year, FBI Special Agent BC Mason stated,“A large portion of investor funds were used for the personal benefit of Fazeli, including millions spent at Las Vegas casinos.”
The trial got postponed in May after Fazeli’s lawyers sought more time to prepare his defense on the charges that could land the high roller a sentence of up to 40 years. A judge granted a continuance in the case, pushing the trial date from May 2018 to April 2019.
In June, Fazeli entered a guilty plea and admitted to ‘transferring about $1.8 Million of his ill-gotten gains to the Aria Casino via cashier’s cheques.
The high stakes pro sure seems to have got himself entangled in a web of lies and deception as he also faces charges leveled by the Aria Casino in a Nevada court for being extended credit 34 separate times to a total of $2.1 Million and for not paying back $1.1 Million.
While there were a lot of heartbreaks at the 2018 WSOP $10,000 NLHE Main Event-World Championship as the intense rounds of battle sent some of the biggest names packing out, there was one poker champion who decided to party instead! Legendary high-stakes pro Gus Hansen, who had finished in 160th place in the 2008 WSOP Main Event when he banked $41,816 for his efforts, failed to make it to the money in the Championship this year.
And the Great Dane was not the one to sulk over it. Rather he was spotted hitting the Bellagio craps tables and then, partying in Vegas with a bunch of gorgeous blondes!
Hansen shared a video of him in the Bellagio on his Instagram profile.
He then went on to share a photograph of him dancing with two blondes after his Main Event elimination.
We sign off from this edition of the Gossip Column, but we’ll be back soon with more juicy and dramatic stories from the world of poker, so stay tuned!