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SBC Awards 2017: Recognizing sports betting industry’s crème de la crème

Posted: 27 Nov 2017 05:11 AM PST

It has been truly an exciting 2017 for the sports betting industry, which – like in the previous years – has a fair share of ups and downs.

SBC Awards 2017:  Recognizing sports betting industry's crème de la crèmeIn the U.S., the Supreme Court will start hearing New Jersey's petition to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and make sports betting legal in the country.

The industry has also been teased this year by the almost merger of daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel and other waves of company consolidation.

To cap the exciting year in a positive note, SBC will once again recognize the cream of the sports betting industry at the SBC Awards, held on Tuesday 5 December at The Artillery Garden in central London.

This year's SBC awards will be hosted by former Sky Sports presenter Matt Lorenzo and Luis Garcia, a Champions League winner with Liverpool.

One of the highlights of the SBC awards is the Operator/Affiliate Awards. The winner is determined by the attendees of this year's Betting on Football and Betting on Sports conferences.

On the hand, a panel of experts will determine the winner for the Supplier Awards.

This judging panel features the CEO's from Bets10, Better Collective, OLBG, Superscommesse, Betaland, BetBright, BetCris, FavBet, Fortuna, Mr Green, Mybet, PariMatch, Pinnacle, SNAI, Spiffx, Sports Interaction, Star Sports Bet, TopBetta, BetConstruct, Golden Race, OPTIMA and Don Best.

Since SBC is all about celebration, the theme for this year's SBC award is Christmas. Delegates are expected to be treated to a sparkling wine and cocktail reception, an exclusive three-course seated dinner, Christmas themed snacks, and a renowned London DJ.

"Attendees can expect an amazing night at the SBC Awards with the champagne flowing on arrival at the welcome reception, free bar all night, superb three course meal and spectacular entertainment," Paul Mills, Chief Operating Officer at SBC, said.

For more information, email sales@sbcnews.co.uk.

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Nigeria lawmaker threatens to revoke license of 18 lottery operators

Posted: 27 Nov 2017 03:21 AM PST

At least 18 lottery operators have caught the ire of the Nigerian congress for failing to meet their financial obligations to the government.

Nigeria lawmaker threatens to revoke license of 18 lottery operatorsThe Daily Post reported that a frustrated Rep. Suleiman Hussaini Kangiwa, chair of the House committee on governmental affairs, is done waiting for these lottery operators to pay their tax duties and government fees and has warned them that their licenses will be revoked.

Kangiwa also threatened to issue arrest warrants against the erring lottery operators during a meeting with them and the management of the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).

"We're very much aware of the 21 licensed operators in Nigeria, but only two or three remitting something to the government. It's very unfortunate," Kangiwa said. "Nigerians and this committee are disappointed in you, because after getting license and money, you don't give the government anything."

Lanre Gbajabiamila, acting Director General of the NLRC, told the panel that the agency had constantly reminded the licensees of their duties. Gbajabiamila said he met with operators to know the reasons why they were behind their tax payments.

Operators complained that multiple taxation between the federal and states governments and low revenues continue to burden them.

The Committee has asked all operators to provide them with the following: approved licenses; evidence of all fees paid to the commission from 2000-2017; evidence of remittances to the lottery fund for the same period; valid office and business addresses; nature and the type businesses they do, among other information.

Earlier this month, the National Union of Lottery Agent Employees said the increasing acceptance of the lottery among Nigerians ‎indicated that the industry was one of the major contributors to the state economy.

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Yggdrasil agrees Sun Vegas deal with Tabcorp

Posted: 27 Nov 2017 01:24 AM PST

27th November, 2017 ­­– Yggdrasil games will feature on Sun Vegas after the supplier reached an agreement with operator Tabcorp.

Yggdrasil agrees Sun Vegas deal with TabcorpSun Vegas will enjoy Yggdrasil's full portfolio of slots, including recent releases Jungle Books and Valley of the Gods.

It will also have access to Yggdrasil's collection of in-game promotional tools, BOOST™ and social sharing tool, BRAG™.

The deal is the latest in a string of partnerships which have helped Yggdrasil emerge as one exciting suppliers operating in the UK.

Fredrik Elmqvist, CEO at Yggdrasil, said: "It has been almost two years since we made the strategic decision to enter the UK, and our growth in the jurisdiction has been very encouraging.

"Adding a brand as recognisable in the UK as The Sun is yet another major coup for us, and perfectly displays the growing demand for Yggdrasil content in this exciting market."

Adam Ruffett, Director of Casino at Tabcorp UK, said: "Yggdrasil provides the type of high-quality games our customers demand, so we are delighted to add them to our growing library of titles.

"We've been particularly impressed by the powerful and versatile in-game promotional tools which back up these games, and are confident they will prove popular on Sun Vegas."

For more information, please contact:

Square in the Air Communications

Sam Wright
+44 (0) 20 3542 4894

About Yggdrasil Gaming

Yggdrasil Gaming is a provider of superior online and mobile casino games. It has emerged as one of the industry's most respected and acclaimed suppliers and provides games for some of the world's biggest operators, including: bet365, Betsson Group, bwin.party, Cherry, LeoVegas, Mr Green, Casumo and Unibet.

The company is headquartered in Malta, with a major development office in Krakow, Poland and regional offices in Stockholm and Gibraltar. The firm holds licences in Malta, Romania, Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.

Yggdrasil's slots are renowned for their outstanding graphics and gameplay and many have become global hits. They are integrated via the industry-changing iSENSE 2.0 HTML client framework which allows for simultaneous launches on desktop and mobile, and is supported by BOOST™, a collection of promotional tools focused on engagement and retention via concepts such as Missions, Super Free Spins™ and Cash Race, and BRAG, an industry-first concept which allows for the promotion of games via social channels.

iSENSE 2.0+, launched in April 2017, includes a number of industry-leading features, including retina support for crisper visuals, a new minimalistic mobile UI with a sleek and fresh feel, and a new and easy in-game deposit process.

Yggdrasil was the winner of Innovator of the Year at the 2017 International Gaming Awards, Slot Provider of the Year at the 2016 and 2017 EGR B2B Awards, Gaming Software Supplier of the Year at the 2016 International Gaming Awards and Software Rising Star at the 2015 EGR B2B Awards.

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“Priority” Philippine gambling bill filed in Congress

Posted: 27 Nov 2017 12:16 AM PST

A bill seeking to transform the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) into a purely regulatory agency has been filed in Congress, according to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.

House Bill No. 6514 was co-sponsored by no less than Philippine House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who stamped the proposed legislation as a "priority" bill.

It would be recalled that Alvarez has been dying to take away the licensing powers of PAGCOR and transfer it to Philippine lawmakers. Taking the matter into his own hands, Alvarez has proposed to consolidate all regulatory functions into the agency.

Instead of PAGCOR, Alvarez said the new regulatory agency will be called Philippine Amusements and Gaming Authority (PAGA).

"An entity that has this power runs the risk of dealing itself a favorable hand while undercutting others," Alvarez said, according to the news outlet.

Alvarez' bill is the second bill seeking to clip the licensing powers of the state-run agency.

The first bill was filed by 1-Pacman representatives Enrico Pineda and Michael Romero, which aims to consolidate the regulatory functions of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and other special economic zones into PAGA.

Many analysts support the move since it will give an assurance to foreign investors that the country takes its gambling regulations seriously.

It would be recalled that the country's light-touch regulatory regime has kept foreign investors waiting on the sidelines. They also see a conflict of interest in PAGCOR acting as both a casino operator and an industry regulator.

Right now, PAGCOR is on track to achieve 11-percent revenue growth for 2017.

Sunstar quoted PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo saying that the regulator is likely to achieve revenue of PHP61 billion (US$1.2 billion) for this year compared to the PHP55 billion ($1.08 billion) posted in 2016.

During first nine months of 2017, PAGCOR announced that its income from gaming operations stood at PHP42.38 billion ($836.64 million), up 11.1 percent from a year earlier.

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Robert Coppola: Innovation starts in your own backyard

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 11:03 PM PST

In this interview with CalvinAyre.com's Becky Liggero, Robert Coppola of Aristocrat shares how the company is able to come up with cutting-edge offerings for operators and players.

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The next big idea can be found anywhere: on the streets that you passed by on your daily commute; in restaurants, where the most interesting people converge to discuss their everyday lives or exchange views in business, politics, and even entertainment.

Sometimes, the next big idea can be found right in your backyard and people don't even recognize it.

Robert Coppola of Aristocrat said operators should always have an internal program to promote and inspire innovation since there is always a possibility that the big idea is just waiting to be dug up like treasure.

Aristocrat came up with an internal innovation accelerator called ThinkBigger. The program allows employees in nine different countries to submit game ideas to the company, according to Coppola.

To help balance their normal workload, Coppola said the company extends help to these would-be innovators, especially those who don't have the technological know-how.

"It really depends who is really submitting the ideas. In the case of a game designer, we allow them to make their ideas full time," Coppola explained. "If it is someone, for example, an HR who wants to build a mobile app, and is not technical, we’ll find someone who can, whether it is an internal resource or outside resource, and we’ll involve them as the overseer of the project."

This year alone, Coppola noted that at least 500 employees had submitted their ideas to the company. The company sifted through these submissions and took closer looks at at least 70 ideas. In the end, Coppola said 15 ideas were given funds to prove their concepts.

Three of the concepts were shown in the recent G2E Summit in Las Vegas while the remaining 12 other ideas “will be done” by the end of the year, according to Coppola.

"It is a global program and we basically encourage employees around the world to submit innovative ideas. That wouldn't be business as usual," he said. "The response from our operators who have been visiting our booth for our games is overwhelming. We have a virtual reality product and an augmented reality product, really receptive to that. Not only that we are doing this types of concepts but the fact this program exists encourages innovation. The company and the industry have tremendous response to that as well."

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KamaGames celebrates another successful year

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 08:00 PM PST

Dublin, Ireland – November 27th 2017 – Global developers and publishers of social casino games for mobile platforms, the KamaGames Group, is celebrating its biggest year to date, thanks to its ongoing commitment to innovation which included the launch of a suite of new Party game modes with 2 brand new modes launching before the end of the year – HEARTS PARTY and PAIR PARTY.

KamaGames Celebrates Another Successful YearThe Party game modes feature new core gameplay mechanics which enhance the game of Poker making it more exciting and entertaining for users at all levels of the game.

In HEARTS PARTY launching today, players follow the usual rules of Texas Hold'em however all Club and Diamonds suits are removed from the deck and replaced with Hearts and Spades. The game is then played as normal.

Earlier this year, KamaGames introduced its new Party game modes to its flagship title Pokerist to boost the excitement around the tables and to help bring their portfolio of social casino titles to a mainstream audience. These new modes are only made available for an average of 48 hours each week and include 10 TO ACE PARTY, JOKER PARTY, SWAP PARTY, 3 CARD PARTY, and U TURN PARTY. These modes offered small but distinctive variations on the classic poker model and have proven to be a huge success with customer retention improving and player engagement growing at a significant pace across all levels of players.

These new Party game modes are designed to engage and entertain players by altering the core game mechanics of traditional and classic Texas Hold'em poker. The tweaks to the poker rules allow for a far more exciting game featuring wilder hand combinations and more chances to make a comeback mid-hand.

Since the launch of Poker game research has shown that the modes were popular across all player segments and demographics; including gender, age and in every geographical location. The average number of hands played by a player and the number of players online increased by 10-15% during these Party game modes.

Daniel Kashti, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for KamaGames said "The success of these new modes is a great example of the innovation KamaGames is rapidly becoming known for. We believe that by enhancing the core game play, as well as adding various elements to the metagame layer, it makes our game more accessible for mainstream players and first time poker players. We constantly look for ways to enhance the player experience while improving our user-base and retention".

For further details on this release, KamaGames and its portfolio of titles visit www.KamaGames.com

For more information contact
Sam Forrest
Director of Global Communications & Content
KamaGames UK

About KamaGames
The KamaGames Group are global developers and publishers of social card games designed for mobile, social, consoles and smart TVs.

Established in 2010 and employing over 220 staff, the KamaGames Group has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland as well as offices in London and Dubai. The group is also present either directly or through its network of partners in all global markets including USA, Europe ASIAPAC, and the Middle East and CIS countries.

Bringing together creativity, proprietary technology and a passion for games, KamaGames has built a portfolio of premium social card games designed to deliver real-life entertainment to the masses. KamaGames’ Random Number Generator (RNG) is certified by iTech Labs and meets the highest standards to guarantee fair play.

KamaGames portfolio is localised into 29 languages and reaches over 90 million gamers worldwide. The flagship game, Pokerist(R), was named one of the Best Apps of 2012 by Apple, was the #1 Top Grossing App on the Apple App Store in 89 countries as well as being in the Top 5 Google Play Grossing Apps in 24 countries.

For further information on KamaGames' portfolio of titles click here: https://www.kamagames.com/coporate_assets

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SIS continues international greyhounds expansion with Orenes agreement

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 07:47 PM PST

Spanish bookmaker integrates supplier's new greyhound service as part of multi-year deal 

November 2017 – Leading live pictures and data supplier SIS (Sports Information Services), has signed a multi-year deal with Orenes to provide the Spanish bookmaker with its new and improved SIS greyhound service. As part of the agreement, SIS will supply live pictures, commentary and data for greyhounds and horses across the operator's entire retail estate.

The operator will offer this new service through its sports betting and online gaming brand VivelaSuerte.es, which is present in nine Spanish regions, and growing rapidly with ambitions to be a national player.

In addition to Orenes, all UK major bookmakers will take the new greyhound service from 1st JanuarySIS continues international greyhounds expansion with Orenes agreement 2018, and it will form part of the SIS UK Retail Service from that time.

The new service has been developed by working closely with race tracks and bookmakers to create an improved offer which meets the market's growing expectations. Operators across the globe will now be able to take advantage of a more tailored service with better quality racing and scheduling, creating more betting opportunities at times which suit operators' needs.

SIS' Product Director Paul Witten said: "SIS has produced high quality and reliable content for the betting industry for 30 years and we have now developed an even higher quality greyhound product for the international market.

"We are thrilled to be working with Orenes to provide them with our SIS greyhound service and we believe the content will prove popular with their customers and generate significant revenues and profits as the service develops".

Juan José López, Betting and Online Gaming Director at Orenes, said: "We are happy to have secured this enhanced content, and that we are able to expand our product offering for our customers through our partnership with SIS. I believe that they will appreciate the quality greyhounds and horses content on show and the service from SIS.

"With increasing demand for greyhound racing in our market in recent years, SIS's new greyhound service provides our customers with high quality content, at times that suit them."  

About SIS

SIS (Sports Information Services Ltd) is a leading supplier of products and services to the online and retail betting markets and has been at the heart of global bookmaking for more than 30 years. SIS delivers multiple channels of live racing, data and commentary from racecourses and greyhound tracks in the UK, Ireland and across the world.

In addition to trusted satellite delivery, SIS has developed its own low latency streaming platform – SIS Stream, which delivers quick, secure and high-quality pictures, data and virtual content across the globe. SIS continues to develop innovative solutions to suit bookmakers at all levels of the industry, and now provides competitive pricing for UK, Ireland and international horse racing, along with greyhound and other sports via its Trading Services offer.

For more information about SIS please visit www.sis.tv

About Orenes

Orenes Group is one of the main referents in the gambling and recreational sector in Spain. As a global gaming operator, we have presence in all the sub-sectors: casino, bingo, gaming halls, sports betting, AWP operation and on-line gambling.

With over 40 years' experience, Orenes Group has become one of the most highly-developed companies in our sector over the last years. We have a strong presence as operator being absolute market leader in AWP gaming hall venues. Besides, our Group is one of the main Casino and Bingo operators in Spain.

Given the latest legal changes in this sector, our Group started five years ago a new line as a retail and on-line Sports Betting operator under the label VivelaSuerte.es. 

Media contact:

Robin Hutchison, Square in the Air
E: robin@squareintheair.com
T: 0203 586 8272

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EPL review week 13: Arsenal leapfrog Spurs; Everton collapse; City striding

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 07:23 PM PST

Another round-up of Premier League news including Arsenal leapfrogging Spurs, Everton collapsing at St Mary's, and Man City striding towards the title with another win.

Huddersfield 1 v 2 Man City 

The Terriers like the taste of Manchester meat.

A month ago, David Wagner's fighters secured an eminent victory when they beat the mighty Man Utd at the Kirklees Stadium, and they nearly made it a double against the blue half of the city putting in an accomplished performance against the runaway leaders.

If you’re going to beat the saints of City you need to score first. Not since 1995 has a Man City side come from behind to win after going a goal down. So history was on Huddersfield’s side when Nicolas Otamendi scored an own goal in first-half injury time.

And then came the 'Pep' talk.

“We spoke at half-time about how to react, we had enough chances to score, and the first time Huddersfield had a chance they scored,” Pep Guardiola told reporters after the game. “We spoke about not giving up, to keep going.” 

The reaction was immediate; City was level within two minutes of the restart when Sergio Aguero scored his ninth Premier League goal of the season courtesy of a penalty. It was the Argentine’s third successful conversion of the campaign, and Raheem Sterling has won them all.

Arsene Wenger’s favourite Greg Louganis impersonator is finally living up to his top billing, putting in the season of his life. The England star has always been spilt necklace beads tricky, but this year he has added a goal threat to his CV.

Before this game, only five players had scored more Premier League goals than Sterling, and it was his winner, his eighth of the season, that clinched the three points for the Manchester club.

It’s inconceivable to think the race for the Championship is over after only 13 games, but that’s how the bookmakers see things, with a smattering of them offering odds of 1/12 on a City win.

And it's with good cause.

EPL Review Week 13: Arsenal leapfrog Spurs; Everton collapse; City stridingThe victory over the West Yorkshire side was City's 11th successive Premier League win, equalling their 2015 record. Add in the League and Champions League cup games, and you are looking at an 18 game winning streak.

37 points in 13 games is a Premier League record. The frontline battering ram has scored 42 goals in 13 league games, and they have now won 11 away league ties on the bounce.

And what of Huddersfield?

After a first season bloom saw them lose one of their first six games, they are now a dying orchid with five defeats in their previous six games and sit 11th in the table, 11/8 shots to return to the Championship.

The Chasing Pack 

Neighbours Man Utd maintained an eight-point gap between the top two places after a 1-0 win over newly promoted Brighton. It was a remarkable performance for the Seagulls, who had numerous chances to register in the goal count while keeping the Red Army at bay at the back. Ashley Young eventually found a way around the Brighton bus, in the 66th minute, after his shot cannoned off Lewis Dunk and looped over the Brighton keeper.

The Champions, Chelsea, fall three points behind United in third after a hard-fought draw at Anfield. Mohamed Salah became the Premier League’s top marksman after opening the scoring in the 65th minute, for his tenth goal of the season. Willian arose from the bench to score a fortunate cross-come-shot in the 85th minute to salvage a point.

Spurs dropped to fifth as their stuttering league form continued with a 1-1 draw at home to managerless West Brom. Salomón Rondon brushed Davinson Sanchez off like a tired whore to open the scoring in the fourth minute. Harry Kane put away a Dele Alli cross to level things in the 74th minute (his 40th goal of 2017). And Rondon failed to convert from seven yards when a winner seemed as inevitable as West Brom's return to the Championship.

Spurs’ failure to beat the Baggies allowed arch-rivals Arsenal to move above them with a controversial away win at Burnley. As seems to be the norm when these two sides meet, Arsène Wenger’s side snatched the three points with a last-gasp goal coated in controversy when Laurent Koscielny’s winner hit his elbow before nestling in the back of the net.

Southampton 4 v 1 Everton 

Everton continues to look like a team that’s been sleeping in an unlocked car after a crushing defeat against Southampton at St Mary’s. And it’s a very nice car, one of the best, after Everton spent a club record £140m on transfers in the summer.

The club is fast becoming the joke of the season. All bone, no muscle. And Everton's stand-in coach told reporters after the game that Everton's recent form is killing me (Joey Barton thinks it’s the pies). 

The Toffees have only won once in seven games since Unsworth took temporary charge, and the hammering by the Saints comes days after losing 5-1 to Atalanta in the Europa League.

Everton’s woes seem even more compelling when you consider that before this match, Southampton’s frontline had only scored six goals at home all season. Dusan Tadic and Steven Davis scored either side of a Charlie Austin brace. Gylffi Sigurdsson scored for Everton, his first since joining the club for a club record £45m.

Everton lies two points off the relegation zone, but the bookmakers believe they have enough talent to stave off relegation, making them a 7/1 shot for a shock exit.

With Swansea, West Ham, and West Brom each collecting a point this weekend, it allowed Crystal Palace to claw some ground back with a 2-1 win over Stoke. Mark Hughes's side is only three points off the bottom three. The bookies have them as a 9/2 shot to go down, the same as Newcastle, who Watford thumped 3-0 at St James Park.

Results in Full

Man Utd 1 v 0 Brighton
Crystal Palace 2 v 1 Stoke
Liverpool 1 v 1 Chelsea
Southampton 4 v 1 Everton
Burnley 0 v 1 Arsenal
Huddersfield 1 v 2 Man City
Newcastle 0 v 3 Watford
Swansea 0 v 0 Bournemouth
Spurs 1 v 1 West Brom
West Ham 1 v 1 Leicester

Premier League Table

1. Man City – 37
2. Man Utd – 29
3. Chelsea – 26
4. Arsenal – 25
5. Spurs – 24
6. Liverpool – 23
7. Burnley – 22
8. Watford – 21
9. Brighton – 16
10. Southampton – 16
11. Huddersfield – 15
12. Leicester – 14
13. Bournemouth – 14
14. Newcastle – 14
15. Stoke – 13
16. Everton – 12
17. West Brom – 11
18. West Ham – 10
19. Swansea – 9
20. Crystal Palace – 8

Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)

Man City 1/10
Man Utd 14/1
Chelsea 22/1
Spurs 50/1

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Trading places: a snooker player avoiding poker; a footballing jockey

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 06:37 PM PST

Not precisely polymaths, but a tale of a professional snooker player trying to avoid the poker tables, and a former footballer doing the Frankie Dettori.

Red wine and poker don't mix.

One bottle is ok; you can get through on the buzz, but once you drive the screw into the second cork a barrier comes up, like one of those old wooden ones protecting car parks.

The last time two bottles of red wine met poker I was in Lewistown Hall playing in a £10 rebuy. It was a decade ago. I shared a table with Ryan Day, the Welsh professional snooker player, and he was on me bumper-to-bumper all day. I remember seeing the seriousness of his face in my rearview mirror. Then he was gone. Or was I gone? I found out the next day that the man Day had won the lot.

Trading places: a snooker player avoiding poker; a footballing jockeyRyan Day isn't the only snooker player who likes a game of poker. I met Ken Doherty at the World Poker Tour (WPT) in Dublin a few years back. Matthew Stephens is a dab hand. PokerStars and BetStars sponsor Stephen Hendry. And Steve Davis follows me on Twitter!

But I have never heard of a professional snooker player who used to be a poker dealer until the name of Elliot Slessor interrupted the peeling of my satsuma this morning.

Competing in the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open, Slessor made it to the semi-finals where he lost against the eventual champion, another man from God's country, Mark Williams.

Slessor made the headlines, not for beating Ronnie O'Sullivan in an earlier round (I'm sure the Rocket has been all-in a few times), but for telling Eurosport reporters that he was ready to leave snooker in the parking lot, and take up a career as a poker dealer.

"I used to work in a casino as a poker dealer," said Slessor before continuing. "I assume I would be doing the same thing if I'm honest." 

Barry Hearn, Chairman of the World Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), was Slessor’s lifeline, cutting tour fees. It was a decision, Slessor said saved him five grand a season, and so he thought he would give it another shot.

Slessor picked up £20k for his semi-final performance. Williams beat the Gateshead man 6-2 before beating Yan Bingtao 9-8 in the final. The 23-year-old is currently ranked #82 in the world. My old nemesis, Ryan Day is ranked #16. The bottles of red wine I used to drink are just rank.

Michael Owen And The Three Prince's 

From a professional snooker player trying to avoid the poker tables to a former professional footballer jumping into the saddle.

Michael Owen has been in love with horse racing for many years, but last week was the first time the breeder and owner took on the role of the jockey, finishing second on his mount Calder Prince.

The 37-year-old lost a stone in weight to compete in The Prince’s Countryside Trust seven-furling flat race and was fortunate enough to chew the fat with the Prince of Wales after ending the race with his bits and pieces intact.

"I'm home in one piece," Owen told reporters after the race.

When pressed if we would see him repeat his performance, Owen seemed unsure, reminding the reporter that he had four children, and didn't want to hurt myself.

Owen, 37, is one of England’s most beloved former footballers, scoring 163 times in 362 appearances for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Man Utd. The Chester lad also scored 40 times in 89 appearances for England.

He retired in 2013.

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Sam Greenwood wins Caribbean Poker Party Main Event; Mateos wins Finale

Posted: 26 Nov 2017 06:09 PM PST

Two of the biggest buy-in players in the game rise to the top of the two final events of the partypoker LIVE Caribbean Poker Party with Sam Greenwood winning the Main Event and Adrian Mateos taking down the Finale. 

Sam Greenwood will have a cherry seed of pride stuck in the craw of his throat after putting in a performance of a lifetime at the partypoker LIVE Caribbean Poker Party.

Sam Greenwood wins Caribbean Poker Party Main Event; Mateos wins FinaleThe Canadian high stakes pro banked close to $1.5m after three stunning performances, surrounded by some of the greatest poker players in the Milky Way.

It began with a third-place finish in Event #1: $10,300 High Roller, finishing 3/103 for $124,100. Greenwood inched one spot further in the $25,500 Super High Roller ending 2/43 for $242,750, and then he won the Main Event.

Before partypoker LIVE shot out of the birth canal, the online poker room was known more for its missed guarantees than the ones they landed. These days, they are not lagging; they are speeding forward on the hooves of a thoroughbred racehorse.

When they say they will guarantee $5m, they hit it.

The Punta Cana party was no exception.

1,061 entrants once again cementing partypoker in their position as the seven-figure kings of live poker in the $5,300 Main Event.

Many fine warriors made the final table; two deserve special mention. Preben Stokkan, who beat Greenwood and Jonathan Little to win the opening $10k for $275,000, picked up another $150,000 for a sixth-place finish. And PokerStars Team Pro, Felipe Ramos, continued a run of form that has seen him make five major final tables in the past two months, securing a fifth-place finish for $220,000.

But it was the Russian battering ram Andrey Shatilov who would prove to be Greenwood’s toughest challenger when it came to the home of the $1m first prize. The pair exchanged spear and sword in a heads-up encounter that lasted three hours before Greenwood finally defeated his opponent.

"I won because I was on the right side of the cards," said a humble Greenwood.

Greenwood is a monster.

The Canadian picked up a seven-figure score for his win, but it still didn’t rank as his best result (Season 7 European Poker Tour (EPT) €50k High Roller for $1,023,000, finishing runner-up to Fedor Holz in Barcelona). Greenwood has now earned over $2m playing live tournaments in each of the past three years and has $6.8m in lifetime earnings.

Final Table Results

1. Sam Greenwood – $1m
2. Andrey Shatilov – $650,000
3. Jonas Gjelstad – $450,000
4. Jiri Horak – $315,850
5. Felipe Ramos – $220,000
6. Preben Stokkan – $150,000
7. Udo Erlei – $100,000
8. Dan Dizenzo – $70,000

I’m not suggesting that any Phil Ivey/Baccarat tomfoolery was going on the sandy beaches of Punta Cana, but partypoker ambassador Jason Koon finished tenth, partypoker employee Charlie Godwin finished 19th, and partypoker Chairman Mike Sexton finished 24th.

Adrian Mateos Wins the $5,300 MILLIONS Finale Event 

The decision by Winamax to slap a patch onto the puffed out chest of Adrian Mateos is paying off like a New York sandwich.

The young Spaniard’s first tournament appearance for the French online poker room came in Asia where he picked up close to $1.4m dancing on the red-hot coals of three big buy-in events in the Triton Super Series and the Asia Championships of Poker (ACOP).

Money wired to his ever-bulging account, Mateos jumped on a jet plane, landed in Punta Cana, and made it his altar. The man with three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets finished 4/43 in the $25k Super High Roller for $110,000 and then took down the $5,300 MILLIONS Finale event for $250,000.

If you think Greenwood has a live tournament resume that looks like an ice cream pie then check this out:

Mateos has earned over $11.3m in live tournament earnings, $5m of which has come in an increíble 2017.

Final Table Results

1. Adrian Mateos – $250,000
2. Anatoly Filatov – $165,000
3. Kenny Hallaert – $110,000
4. Tom Waters – $87,600
5. Manig Loeser – $70,000
6. Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – $55,000
7. Bartlomiej Machon – $45,000
8. James Walker – $35,000
9. Pavel Plseuv – $27,5000

A few other riders who travelled as far as Chips did on their 1970s motorcycles were Dylan Linde (14th), Barny Boatman (15th), and Tony Cousineau (17th).

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