The poker world is usually extremely busy at the turn of the New Year and 2012 was no different. There were a number of changes at PokerStars, the PCA and Aussie Millions took place, Sam Trickett was in the news on a seemingly daily basis and James Akenhead got off to a flier in the online poker world.
Just weeks after revealing sweeping changes to their VIP scheme and letting a number of their sponsored pros go – including the United Kingdom’s JP Kelly – PokerStars were in the news against when John Duthie announced he was not signing a new contract and he and PokerStars were parting company.
A couple of days later, Duthie stepped down as CEO of the European Poker Tour. Austrian Edgar Stuchly, who became the EPT President, filled his role.
Although the majority of eyes belonging to the poker media were fixated on the goings on at the PCA and Aussie Millions, some of us were keeping a look out for the news from the World Poker Tour Ireland Main Event. A total of 338 players packed into the Citywest Hotel for the €2,500 main event, and they were all bested by Dave Shallow, who defeated Charles Chattha heads-up to claim the €222,280 champion’s prize for himself.
Midway through January 2012 the PCA Main Event was completed after John Dibella outlasted a star-studded field of 1,072 players to get his hands on a the massive $1,775,000 first place prize. Dibella, an amateur player, had to contend with the likes of Ruben Visser, Xuan Liu, Faraz Jaka and Kyle Julius at the final table, but contend with he did and he emerged a worthy champion.
Closer to home, Toby Lewis started his 2012 online poker grind in great style when he took down Event #16 of the newly formed Turbo Championship Of Online Poker (TCOOP) on PokerStars. Lewis, playing under his alias 810ofclubs, topped a massive 12,270 player field in the $55 buy-in event to walk away with $68,676.14.
Another player to win big in online circles, and again on PokerStars, was James Akenhead. The former November Nine member kicked off 2012 by winning the Jan. 22 edition of the Sunday Million! Akenhead picked up a bankroll-boosting $213,750 for his efforts.
Finally, Sam Trickett picked up the European Player of the Year award at the European Poker Awards held at the Aviation Club de France, and Tom “hitthehole” Middleton showed the Aussies how we do it in the UK when he won the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Six Max event at the Aussie Millions.
Do not forget to tune in tomorrow for a recap of February’s action.