Weekly Wrap-up: PCA, Borgata, and Counterfeit Chips

Borgata Trophy

If you’ve been too busy playing poker (or working) to keep up with this week’s headlines, we’ve collected the most noteworthy stories of the week to get you caught up on what has been happening in poker in Canada, online, and around the world.


The PokerStars NHL Alumni Charity Tournament has been airing across the country on Sportsnet360 since mid-December. The final episode saw PokerStars pro Vanessa Rousso take first place against Toronto Maple Leaf Phil Kessel. The players were battling for a share of $100K to donate to their charity of choice, and Kessel earned $15,000 for his second-place finish. He then doubled his donation with money from his own pocket, topping up the total to $30,000 for SickKids Foundation. Earlier this week, Toronto Maple Leafs mascot Carlton the Bear presented Kessel’s cheque at a Toronto hospital.


Zynga Poker has introduced many Facebook users to their first poker table for play money. We all know someone who has earned a couple million phony dollars playing poker on Facebook, and Zynga has long been interested in bringing those players to real money poker tables. Now, players in the United Kingdom will be able to play for real money on Facebook through Zynga’s relationship with partypoker. The player pool will be shared with the rest of partypoker players, meaning it won’t just be Facebook players at the table.


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) wrapped up with Dominik Panka claiming a victory in the Main Event. Mike McDonald was one of three Canadians with a seat at the final table, and he finished in second. McDonald was denied his second EPT title, his first was won in Season 4, and would have been the first to have done so.

Vanessa Selbst also had a great PCA, and her deep runs in the Main Event, High Roller, and the Super High Roller contributed to her current spot at the top of the Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year race. She finished fifth in the 2013 GPI Player of the Year, and is launching into 2014 with a great start.

One event finishes and another begins. Tuesday marked the kick off for the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. Event 1, a Big Stack No-limit Hold’em Re-Entry with a guaranteed prize pool of $2M, was cancelled when it was discovered on the third day of the tournament that a significant number of counterfeit chips were in play. Twitter erupted with comments and photos of the grey 5K chips that looked quite different from their authentic counterparts. The investigation is underway to determine who brought the chips and how they were put in play. All unpaid prize money has been frozen until the investigation is complete.

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