As you would expect during this time of year, it is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) that is dominating the headlines not only on the PokerNews.com global site but on its many sub-domains, the UK & Ireland included.
Until this week, British and Irish grinders had a number of near misses, including Marc MacDonnell finishing as runner-up in Event #6, Iaron Lightbourne doing the same in Event #12 where Craig McCorkell finished in fifth place, Ben Dobson (Event #13) and Adam Owen (Event #17) busting in third place in their respective events, and Stuart Rutter (Event #18) coming in fifth.
Event #18: $1,000 Turbo No-Limit Hold'em was also the event that John Gale won, securing his second bracelet in the process. Gale's story is magical. He was forced to take three years away from poker after developing a brain tumor, and after drugs didn't shrink it, doctors said they must perform brain surgery.
During his pre-operation check, medical staff discovered the 61-year-old Gale had a serious heart problem so he then had to undergo open-heart surgery before undergoing brain surgery. It's an amazing story that Chad Holloway wrote, which you can read here.
A little closer to home than Las Vegas, Nevada is Glasgow, Scotland, which is where the Unibet Open headed last weekend. The £800+£80 buy-in event attracted 221 entrants, the vast majority of whom qualified on the recently relaunched recreational-player focused Unibet Poker.
One such player was Bulgaria's Daniel Chutrov, who won a package for a mere €10. He led from start-to-finish and walked away with the winner's trophy and a cool £43,000 first-place prize.
Keeping with live poker, Dusk Till Dawn made some major changes to its revamped monthly Deepstack event. After listening to customer feedback, Rob Yong, owner of DTD, decided to ensure all players who reach Day 2 be paid out with at least £150 to cover some of their expenses. Find out the reasoning behind it here.
Also in the live arena, although negative news and not poker, was the story about two croupiers in the seaside town of Blackpool being jailed for a combined 26-months after pleading guilty to defrauding the casino where they worked. If nothing else it's an interesting read.
A more positive article talked about the UK & Ireland online poker rankings where Christopher Brammer continues to climb; furthermore, the governing body of gambling in the UK, the UK Gambling Commission appointing a new Chief Executive.
Next week there should be a lot more to talk about with the Genting Poker Series heading to Liverpool, the PokerStars UKIPT dropping anchor in Marbella, and several UK or Ireland players winning bracelets. OK, the first two are guaranteed, the last one is hopeful!