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Archive for January 13th, 2019

Chris Hunichen Leads 5 Into Final Day of PCA Super High Roller

The field of the PCA Super High Roller has been reduced to just five players who will return today to fight for the $1.77 million top prize

The $100,000 Super High Roller has over the years established itself as the most thrilling tournament on the schedule of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. And although it was a bit outshined by the new PokerStars Players Championship this year, the high roller tournament still drew poker’s elite, just as it always does, and is capturing quite some interest.

The tournament kicked off Thursday at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, the traditional host of the PCA. It attracted 61 entries, including 13 re-entries, who created a prize pool of $5,918,220. The money was split into payouts for the top eight finishers, min-cash worth $236,720.

By the end of the second day of contention, there were just five players left. The finalists are set to return at the host venue today to battle it out for the title. Action resumes at 1:30 pm local time and will go on until there is just one player left at the table. Each of the five remaining survivors are guaranteed a min-cash of $485,300. But the winner’s first-place prize of $1,775,460 is what these five are aiming for.

Day 2 of the Super High Roller saw a number of poker celebrities leave the poker tables, most of them empty-handed. Steve O’Dwyer, GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen, and Mikita Badziakouski were among those to run pretty deep into the event but to bust out just a few spots before the money bubble.

Justin Bonomo, last year’s runner-up finisher in this same tournament, was, too, among those unfortunate players to leave without a payout.

The Five Finalists

The final day of contention will kick off with US player Chris Hunichen as the chip leader. The player bagged and tagged 4.555 million Friday night, good for 114 big blinds. The player was responsible for the elimination of Russian poker star and high roller Igor Kurganov in sixth place.

Denmark’s Henrik Hecklen collected the second largest stack last night. The player bagged 3.465 million to secure a comfortable start into the final day. Hecklen took the chip lead when the field was whittled down to two tables and never really moved from the top two positions until the end of Day 2 action.

Jesus Cortes Lizano from Spain bagged 2.885 million for the third largest stack. The player finished runner-up in the 2010 EPT Barcelona Main Event and hasn’t cashed since 2012. He now has the chance to head to his homeland with a seven-figure payout.

Canada’s Sam Greenwood ranks fourth in the temporary leaderboard with a stack of 2.675 million he put in his bag last night. Greenwood is no stranger to high roller action and it is to be seen whether his experience will help him conquer the Super High Roller top. Last but not least, Talal Shakerchi rounds out the final five with 1.67 million. The player finished eighth in the PSPC a few days ago and jumped directly into the Super High Roller.

As mentioned earlier, action resumes today at 1:30 local time for the final day of this year’s edition of the PCA Super High Roller.

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Carl Icahn Reportedly Building Stake in Caesars

The billionaire investor is reportedly building a stake in Caesars less than a year after he sold Tropicana Entertainment

New York billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn is quietly building a stake in Las Vegas casino and hospitality giant Caesars Entertainment Corp., CNBC’s David Faber reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It is still unknown how large Mr. Icahn’s stake is and what his plans about Caesars involve. Neither the businessman, nor the gaming company have commented on the reports since those surfaced yesterday.

The billionaire investor is no stranger to the US land-based casino scene. In 2008, he invested in gaming and hospitality company Tropicana Entertainment. He eventually unloaded his holding in Tropicana last spring in a $1.85 billion deal that saw Eldorado Resorts and real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties pick up six of the company’s eight casinos, including its marquee property Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City.

In the spring of 2017, Mr. Icahn sold the then shuttered Trump Taj Mahal, another Atlantic City Boardwalk property, to Hard Rock International. The Florida-based gambling and hospitality company replaced the resort’s iconic minarets with guitars and other rock’n’roll memorabilia and reopened it last summer as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

Tilman Fertitta Still Eying Caesars

Reports about Mr. Icahn building a stake in Caesars emerged just a few months after the gaming company rejected a takeover offer made by billionaire casino owner Tilman Fertitta.

Back in October, Mr. Fertitta approached Caesars with a bid that valued the company at $13 per share. The merger deal would have seen an exchange of stock in Mr. Fertitta’s hospitality company Landry’s for shares in the casino giant. A later dutch tender of between $2 billion and $3 billion would have given Caesars shareholders an option to sell, people familiar with the matter revealed back then.

Among other businesses, Landry’s includes Golden Nugget Casinos, Morton’s steakhouses, and Bubba Gump Shrimp. It emerged that Mr. Fertitta’s plans included adding some of his restaurant brands at Caesars locations. The businessman would have been CEO and Chairman of the combined entity as well as its largest shareholder, according to sources.

As mentioned earlier, Caesars rejected the bid, but sources familiar with Mr. Fertitta’s business plans believe he is still interested in the gaming powerhouse.

According to a separate rounds of reports from late last year, Caesars and MGM Resorts International, another major Las Vegas gaming and hospitality company, might have engaged in merger talks. Those reports were quickly dismissed as untrue as a deal between the two companies would have effectively created a hotel room monopoly in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, something the Federal Trade Commission would probably not give the go-ahead to.

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