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Scott Brewster Claims First Gold Ring in WSOP Circuit IP Biloxi $600 No-Limit Hold’em Big-Blind Ante

Scott Brewster entered the tournament on a whim, but eventually took it down for first WSOP Circit gold ring and a nice five-figure payout

Scott Brewster entered the $600 No-Limit Hold’em Big-Blind Ante at the WSOP Circuit’s IP Biloxi stop hoping to just do well in his first-ever official poker tournament. However, the amateur player from Covington, Louisiana was eventually crowned the tournament’s champion.

After two days of play, a series of smart decisions, and a little bit of luck, Brewster is now part of the club of WSOP Circuit gold ring winners. The player also received $21,629 in prize money to celebrate his big victory.

The tournament drew 150 entries for a prize pool of $77,250. The top 15 finishers received a share of the money, with min-cashes being worth $1,304.

Brewster ended Day 1 of play as the chip leader among eight remaining survivors. The player had 640,000 in chips at that point. He had just a few chips more than two-time gold ring winner Bob Beck. However, it was eventually Luther Tran whom Brewster fought against heads-up.

Tran, who was vying for his first gold ring from the series, entered Day 2 action as the short stack with just a few big blinds left. Over the course of the day, the player managed to double up on several important occasions to build a formidable stack and reach the closing heads-up stage of the tournament.

Action-Packed Heads-Up

Surviving heads-up was not an easy task for Brewster and Tran. Both players played exceptionally well throughout the match. While the battle kicked off with the eventual winner holding the chip lead, Tran managed to double up several times and even took the lead twice during heads-up.

On one key hand, the player nearly took down the tournament, but ran out of luck at the worst possible moment. That hand saw Tran engage in a pre-flop all-in confrontation with Brewster. Tran held [Ax][Kx] to his opponent’s [Ah][8h]. An eight landed on the flop and no other cards that would have helped Tran appeared. Brewster thus ended up holding more than 80% of all chips in play.

The moment of victory came shortly after. Tran shoved all he had left with [Ad][10c] and Brewster called with [Qc][Jd]. Lady Luck once again smiled on Brewster, giving him a queen and a jack for two pair. Tran thus had to settle for the runner-up finish and a consolation prize of $13,369.

Brewster told WSOP Circuit staff that he decided to enter the tournament somewhat on a whim. The player, who is originally from Louisiana but is now moving to Texas, was visiting family in town, and having a few days off, he decided to jump into action and try his luck and skills.

Brewster praised his heads-up opponent and thanked the WSOP for running such a great event. Asked what’s next, the player said that he intended to enter the Main Event, which started Friday at the host casino, IP Biloxi.

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The post Scott Brewster Claims First Gold Ring in WSOP Circuit IP Biloxi $600 No-Limit Hold’em Big-Blind Ante appeared first on Casino News Daily.

The Cosmopolitan Drops Parking Fees, Unveils Remodeled Rooms, Private Jet Service

Cosmo is looking to lure visitors with remodeled and upgraded rooms, private jet service, and revised parking policy

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is nixing parking fees following the completion of a massive renovation project at the high-rise Strip resort. News about Cosmo’s reversed parking policy arrive a few months after Wynn Las Vegas and Encore became the first Strip properties to dump parking fees.

The changes at The Cosmopolitan will take effect from January 1, 2019. Guests will no longer be charged separately for parking and valet service. The parking fee will instead be incorporated in the resort fee. That latter fee will rise to $39 come next year from $35. At present, parking and valet services are charged at $10 and $18 a day. The change will result in guests saving $6 and $14, respectively. Vegas residents will continue receiving a first hour of parking for free.

It is also important to note that the new resort fee puts Cosmo in line with the Bellagio, Wynn and Encore, Aria, and other luxury properties on the Strip that are at the higher end of resort fees. Las Vegas Sands’ Palazzo and Venetian are currently topping the list with overnight resort fees of $45 plus tax.

Gaming and hospitality giant MGM Resorts International was the one to start the trend of paid parking along the Strip. The company changed its parking policy in 2016, introducing a parking fee at a number of its Vegas properties. Caesars Entertainment Corp., which along with MGM dominates the Strip in terms of hotel rooms owned, followed suit shortly after.

Both companies increased their parking fees earlier this year, dismissing criticism and warnings that their parking policies could affect visitor numbers not only at their own properties but across Las Vegas, as a whole.

Commenting on The Cosmopolitan eliminating parking fees, Ted Newkirk, founder of gaming and tourism tips site Access Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week that the move would make “people of all incomes feel good” and would ease a growing feeling that Las Vegas visitors are “getting nickeled and dimed.”

Room Renovation

As mentioned earlier, The Cosmopolitan recently completed the planned remodel of its more than 3,000 rooms and suites and announced a plethora of other upgrades at the resort. The property equipped all of its rooms with tablets that guests can use to buy tickets for shows, order room service, control room temperature and lighting, book a spa, and other services.

Cosmo also launched what it lauded as the fastest Wi-Fi network on the legendary Strip. It is complimentary for both hotel and non-hotel guests of the property.

To cater to elite clients, the resort started earlier this month a private jet service. The Gulfstream jet can seat up to 16 passengers and make international flights.

Last year, The Cosmopolitan unveiled its 21 new penthouses with stunning views of Las Vegas. The property also launched its exclusive high roller gaming parlor – The Reserve.

Cosmo commenced operations eight years ago but enjoyed mediocre interest from visitors at first. According to analysts, the property’s lack of rooms for wealthy gamblers was one of its main drawbacks. In 2014, American private equity firm The Blackstone Group purchased the ritzy property for $1.73 billion and undertook a series of renovations and remodel projects in a bid to draw more visitors and hotel guests.

Most recently, reports emerged that Florida-based gaming and hospitality company Hard Rock International had entered due diligence to buy The Cosmopolitan. The property’s owners denied those reports in an emailed statement to Casino News Dailylas veg.

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Quapaw Nation Targets Early 2020 Arkansas Casino Opening

The Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma awaits license receipt to proceed with the construction of its first Arkansas casino

Quapaw Nation’s casino in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, could open doors as early as 2020, it became known earlier this week. The tribe has revealed plans to build a full-scale gaming venue in the city as part of a recently voted and approved expansion of the state’s gambling industry.

While the Quapaw Nation is yet to determine the exact site where it would develop its casino resort, the tribe’s Chairman, John Berrey, said earlier this week that the property would occupy 200 acres of land and that they have been exploring potential locations.

Mr. Berrey, who also chairs the tribe’s Downstream Development Authority, spoke at a Monday conversation with Pine Bluff residents at the city’s Convention Center. The event was moderated by City Mayor Shirley Washington who has recently penned a letter of support for the Quapaw casino project to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Location, design, job opportunities, and the timeline of events leading up to the opening of the gambling venue were among the main topics discussed during the conversation.

The tribal chair told Pine Bluff residents that they are not 100% certain where the property will be located and that they will announce a final site once they receive their gaming license from the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Mr. Berrey also pointed out that everyone employed at the casino will receive proper training and that their contract will include benefits of matched 401k, health insurance, employee dining, and uniform cleaning, among other things.

”Twin” of an Existing Quapaw Nation Casino

Few things are known about the future Pine Bluff casino, but its name is one of them. The property will be called Saracen Casino Resort. It will be named after a former Quapaw Nation tribal leader who had originally been buried in Pine Bluff.

In an exclusive interview with NBC affiliate KARK-TV, Mr. Berrey has said that their new casino will practically be a twin of Downstream Casino Resort, their existing facility in Oklahoma. The official further pointed out that they hope they will get all the necessary permits by April and that they will be able to commence construction sometime in the summer. Mr. Berrey said that maybe it will take around 10 months to open at least part of their new resort. This is how long it took them to start operation at their Oklahoma property.

A rendering of the proposed Pine Bluff casino reveals what could be a 20-story building, the tallest one in the city. The resort will also feature a larger parking. It will likely be developed in phases, with the casino and dining options being part of phase one and a hotel and other amenities likely to be launched in the next phase.

Casino gambling was legalized in Arkansas early in November, when residents of the state approved the so-called Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that allowed the construction of two casinos in Jefferson and Pope Counties and the addition of casino-style gambling at the existing Oaklawn Park and Southland Park race tracks.

The Arkansas Racing Commission will now have to draft the rules under which the state’s young casino industry will be run. The regulator has up to March 14 to craft a regulatory framework. The state Legislature will then have to approve it in order to become effective.

The commission will also have to issue a license to the Quapaw Nation that would authorize the tribe to operate casino gambling. Mr. Berrey said earlier this week that they have completed the application process and the regulatory body will now have to do administrative work before awarding the license.

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Mo Arani Leads 45 Players into WPT Five Diamond Day 4

Mo Arani surges into WPT Five Diamond Day 3 chip lead, leads 45 hopefuls into penultimate day of contention

The giant 1,001-person field of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic was whittled down to just 45 hopefuls after three days of play. Mo Arani bagged the largest stack at the end of Day 3 of the prestigious tournament to place himself in great position to attack the top and his first WPT title.

Arani rose to the chip lead late last night. He won a massive pot against Calvin Anderson on the penultimate hand of the day to top the temporary leaderboard with 2.2 million worth in chips. Anderson was the start-of-the-day chip leader and the player who dominated action for the greater part of the day.

He sat on Arani’s left and the overnight chip leader said that he really felt forced to tighten his range early into the day as Anderson was applying quite some pressure at their table. Anderson bagged and tagged 650,000 at the end of the day and will certainly seek to regain the chip lead on Day 4 of the Five Diamond championship.

As mentioned earlier, the tournament attracted a behemoth field of 1,001 entries at the Bellagio. That created a prize pool of $9,709,700. There will be payouts for the top 126 finishers. In fact, the money bubble burst about mid-day during Day 3 of action, with Andjelko Andrejevic busting Nikolai Sear in 127th place to make him the unfortunate bubble boy and bring everyone left into the money.

Each of the remaining 45 hopefuls is guaranteed a min-cash of $36,945. And each of the six final tablists, the names of whom are to become clear by the end of the day, will leave with no less than $344,529. As for the winner, they will receive $1,631,468 in first-place prize money to celebrate their big victory.

Notables Still in the Mix for the Title

There are a number of former WPT Main Event winners among the final 45 players, with those being Darren Elias, Mike Del Vecchio, Simon Lam, Keven Stammen, and Ravi Raghavan. Raghavan is eying a second consecutive WPT final table, after making it to the final table of the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. The player finished sixth in that tournament.

Raghavan is also the last surviving former Five Diamond winner. The player took down the tournament six years ago. Last year’s champ, Ryan Tosoc, tried to lock up a back-to-back victory but busted shortly before the money bubble.

There are also plenty of notables who are looking for their first WPT title, with some of those being Andrew Lichtenberger, Sorel Mizzi, and Patrick Mahoney. Joe McKeehen, the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion, is also still in contention. The player actually bagged the second largest stack last night, good for 2.03 million.

Day 4 action is set to begin today at noon local time at the Bellagio.

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LeoVegas Gears Up for Sports Betting, Casino Expansion in Spain

LeoVegas eyes Spanish-speaking online gambling markets, makes first foray into those with license application in Spain

Online gambling operator LeoVegas announced earlier this week that it has applied for a license for the provision of casino games and sports betting in Spain. The company anticipates to enter the new market in the first quarter of 2019.

LeoVegas’ entry in Spain will mark the operator’s first foray into a Spanish-speaking market. It said in a statement from earlier this week that setting foot in that particular country will be a first step in a wider strategy to expand its footprint across more Spanish-speaking countries.

LeoVegas cited the rapid growth of Spain’s gambling market as a reason for its interest in it. According to recent data from the country’s gambling regulator, Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), the local market grew nearly 30% year-on-year during the third quarter of 2018.

Locally licensed gambling companies generated revenue of €182 million during the three months to September 30, 2018. Sports betting was the leading sector, contributing €97.6 million to the revenue bulk. The online casino vertical generated nearly €61 million in revenue.

Commenting on the latest announcement, LeoVegas CEO Gustaf Hagman said that they are now taking the next step on their “global expansion journey” and that through their technology and experience, they “can effectively adapt their business to regulated markets regardless of language and regulations.”

Swedish License

Spain is not the only market LeoVegas will expand its footprint into next year. The company recently received a license from the Swedish gambling authority as the Scandinavian country is just weeks away from the official reorganization of its online gambling market. LeoVegas will be able to launch into Sweden from January 1, 2019, when its new gambling law is set to take effect.

The company, which is headquartered in Malta but hails from Sweden, said in a recent statement that expanding into new markets is one of the steps for achieving its financial goals for 2020. LeoVegas targets annual revenue of at least €600 million and EBITDA of at least €100 million by the end of 2020.

The company has already made a clear statement that expansion into the lucrative and newly regulated Swedish market has been among its priorities. According to a report by Swedish measurement company Kantar Sifo from earlier this year, LeoVegas was among Sweden’s top 20 advertisers in 2017. The operator spent around SEK313 million (approx. €30.5 million) on advertising campaigns targeting Swedish consumers last year, boosting its advertising spending by more than 80% year-on-year.

LeoVegas will be competing with the likes of bet365, The Star Group, GVC Holdings, and Global Gaming, among others, for a share of Sweden’s online gambling market. All of the listed above and more than 60 others were recently awarded licenses from the country’s gambling regulator as part of the local market’s reorganization.

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