Legendary Paris Poker Venue The Aviation Club To Re-Open
Throughout the 1990’s and much of the 2000’s the Aviation Club in Paris was one of Europe’s flagship poker rooms renowned for high-stakes action and as host of the 2004 Grand Prix de Paris leg of the World Poker Tour – it’s where Tony G famously made a name for himself via a verbal tirade during a losing heads-up encounter with Surinder Sunar.
But the card room, formerly headed by Bruno Fitoussi, was actually a charter member of the World Poker Tour meaning it staged its first WPT a year beforehand when 86 players bought-in for €10,000 and Sweden’s Christer Johannson won the first prize. Halcyon days.
The card room’s history stretches way back to 1907 when it first opened and, situated at 104 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, it is a stone’s throw from the iconic Arc de Triomphe.
Naturally if a card room could talk – and with no roulette wheels or slot machines this was a thoroughbred card room – the Aviation would have plenty of stories to tell.
One tale would come from 2004, when armed thieves botched a robbery (during the WPT) and left a trail of cash and keys to a getaway motorbike on the stairway – they eventually made their escape on a hijacked road-sweeper!
And then there was September 2014 when police raided the venue amid claims of irregularities in employment law and money laundering. It was to never reopen and placed into liquidation five months later.
It is estimated €1.4 million in customer’s money which was held on deposit or ‘out’ in chips was lost as it has never been recovered. Indeed one person Gambling.com spoke to provided proof he was in the possession of a €25,000 chip which was never cashed-in or honoured.
But five years almost to the day (September 13) the grand old venue, fit for a scene from a classic Bond movie, will reopen albeit under a new name. Leading French casino operator, the Barrière Group, are the new helmsmen and they will be regulated by laws brought into place at the start of 2018.
It means slot reels and roulette wheels will still not spin but, according to the new tenants, the “1,300sq metred venue with deep red carpet and century-old wood panelling will offer 27 tables of games including Punto Bianco and Poker.”
The establishment, which will be open every day from 2pm until 6am with an entrance fee of €15 and an annual subscription of €150, will also feature a Dépôt Légal restaurant, a third Paris eatery for leading Chef Christophe Adam.
Stars in the SCOOP
PokerStars WCOOP surpassed $10 million in allocated prize-money on Sunday, after just four days of action within the 18 day series.
Big weekend winners include Austrian Stefan ‘mindgamer’ Jedlicka (a previous SCOOP and Sunday Million winner) who overcame 269 rivals to win the $2,100 NLHE 8 Max Turbo PKO for a combined prize of $108,173.43.
Czech grinder ‘sksjohny’ proved best in a 789 player $530 No Limit Hold’em Eight Max field collecting $66,298.75. Romanian player ‘Virgilik’ acquired $86,305.72 in prizes and bounties for topping 8,255 players in the $109 NLHE PKO.
Amongst the starting day winners were ‘a.urli’ who took the 107 player $10,300 No Limit Hold’em PKO High Roller netting a $123,282.73 prize plus an additional €126,718.75 in bounties.
Germany’s ‘mickesch777’ was the top dog amongst a 1,246 player $1,050 No Limit Hold’em PKO ‘Thursday Thrill’ field for a healthy yield of $97,974 and another $68,065 in scalps.
New Big Blind Feature at Stars
In a new feature at PokerStars players can now display their stack sizes in relation to the amount of big blinds they have, as well as how many chips they have.
Explaining the thought process behind the new opt-in feature, Chris Straghalis - Director of Poker Product at PokerStars - said: “Poker evolves over time.”
“When we look at where poker was before the online days, it’s fair to say that now there’s a lot more study, analytics, and thinking about concepts of the game than ever before.”
“The overall meta-game of poker is looked at very differently today. Poker is a game of incomplete information and that’s what makes it an amazingly beautiful game. It’s that incomplete information which keeps us coming back for more; it’s what separates poker from chess.”
The Party has Just Begun
Across at Partypoker the $30 million guaranteed KO Series began on Sunday with a cool $5,101,918 awarded across 26 events. The headline $5,200 buy-in $750,000 Guaranteed 8-Max event attracted a field of 154 players vying for a slice of a $785,400 prize-pool.
It went to ‘jackychan’ who collected $67,972 plus an additional $94,412 in bounties.
Alias ‘WorshipMe_7’ was the second Partypoker player to finish the day with a six-figure score. He earned a total prize of $129,525 (collecting more in bounties than the $60,371 winner’s prize) when taking the $2,100 $750K Guaranteed 8-Max.
Attracting 339 entries, it is noteworthy this event fell short of its guarantee.
There were no such problems at GGPoker who smashed the 20 entries needed to reach a $500,000 guarantee for their first $25,000 entry tournament of the night. 49 players eventually took part, generating a $1.2 million pool of which Finland’s Sami “MiMosa1” Kelopuro, definitely a player in form, took the lions share - $458,770.
A second, later $25,000 entry comp at GGPoker, saw another 30 players take their chances and Sami Kelopuro win yet more money as he struck a heads-up deal with Hungarian Andras “PokerBluff1” Nemeth. Both players cleared in excess of $260,000.
New Party Features
Like PokerStars, Partypoker have also introduced a Big Blinds count display, but a round of software updates released last week also includes a new oval and racetrack table shape with improved player plates, customisable table felt and backgrounds with special theme additions, the ability to also choose different card backs and card fronts, preview customisations (in the updated themes section in settings) and new and improved player notes, providing more colour options and optimising the display of notes on the player plate.
BPO Small But Select
Away from online poker, the British Poker Open in Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford, London, has attracted small but selected fields where the results to-date have been:
|#1 £10,000+500 No Limit Hold’em||26||Lucas Greenwood (CAN)||£119,600|
|#2 £10,000+500 Pot Limit Omaha||30||George Wolff (USA)||£120,000|
|#3 £10,000+500 No Limit Hold’em||46||Paul Newey (UK)||£156,400|
|#4 £10,000+500 Short Deck Hold’em||24||Sam Greenwood (USA)||£110,400|
|#5 £25,000+1,000 No Limit Hold’em||28||Sam Soverel (USA)||£322,000|
|#6 £25,000+1,000 No Limit Hold’em||22||Sergi Reixack (ESP)||£253,000|
|#7 £25,000+1,000 Pot Limit Omaha||15||Stephen Chidwick (UK)||£202,500|
India’s Poker Championship Floats this Week
The India Poker Championship (IPC) gets underway this week. The five-day festival will feature four tournaments with the main event coming with a $488 price-tag. It will also feature a guaranteed $418,000 prize-pool.
With prohibitively strict regulations and disapproving state-laws poker has remained an underground pastime in India which it means this event is being staged aboard the floating Big Daddy cruise ship/casino in Goa.
But the vast country, which holds 17.5 percent of the world’s population, is a place of enormous untapped poker potential and should one of India’s 36 states and territories recognise poker as a game of skill and therefore sanction it, a gold rush would unquestionably follow.
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