5 Poker Rooms that Closed (for Good) in 2020


2020 was a rough year for poker. From temporary closures to plexiglass partitions to the cancellation of numerous tournaments, live poker took a hit. While we hope that most rooms will return to business as normal at some point in 2021, we want to take a moment to note the rooms that fell by the wayside last year. Here are a few of the poker rooms that closed in 2020.
Poker Rooms Closed Permanently in 2020
The Mirage
The Mirage Poker Room in Las Vegas fell upon hard times long before 2020 came around. The room repeatedly saw its square footage reduced along with its import to the casino. First opened in 1989 by Steve Wynn (later acquired by MGM), the Mirage was a major center of poker action. Its 19 tables hosted the likes of Jennifer Harmon, Daniel Negreanu, and Layne Flack. The Mirage is even mentioned in that greatest of all poker movies Rounders as “the center of the poker universe.”

By the time we visited the Mirage back in 2018, the room, while still nice, had lost a lot of its luster. Down to 12 tables, most of the celebrities and high rollers had migrated to greener pastures at the Bellagio, Aria, and the like. The tournament that we played there was the definition of bingo poker, with blinds doubling rapidly almost from the start. Nonetheless, it is always sad to lose a poker room with such a storied past.

Mandalay Bay
MGM announced the closing of poker rooms in three of its casinos in November 2020, and that was it for poker at Mandalay Bay. Mandalay Bay’s poker room had been open since 1999 and featured 10 tables. While it was a relatively sleepy room, the number of tables lost to the pandemic are mounting.
Excalibur
The Excalibur poker room was the third MGM Las Vegas poker room that closed permanently in 2020. The smallest of the three, with only seven tables, it will nonetheless be missed.

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Harrah’s Philadelphia
The closure of the Harrah’s Philadelphia poker room is a notable loss in the Mid-Atlantic. At 28 tables, Harrah’s poker room was the second largest in the area (after Parx). Harrah’s, owned by Ceasar’s Entertainment, opened the poker room in 2010 and branded it a World Series of Poker room. The casino had recently undergone renovations and the room was bustling in the months before the pandemic.
While most Pennsylvania poker rooms have reopened at this point, tournaments have generally not resumed. Once poker rooms are allowed to fully open again, Harrah’s impact will definitely be felt. The loss of one of the few large tournament venues in the Philadelphia area will definitely have an impact.
We want to take a moment to note the rooms that fell by the wayside last year. Here are a few of the poker rooms that closed in 2020.Click To Tweet
The Poker Room at One Lafayette
The Poker Room at One Lafayette, commonly known as Hampton Falls Poker Room was our poker home away from home. As such, its 2020 demise hit us hard. Hampton’s Friday afternoon tournament had one of the best structures that we have ever had the pleasure to play. The room hosted a number of great tournaments each week, was player-friendly, and had both excellent dealers and professional floor personnel.
Upstairs at Hampton Falls
Sadly, Hampton Falls was sold early in 2020 with plans to merge operations with The Brook across town. Then the pandemic hit and Hampton Falls abruptly closed along with the rest of New Hampshire poker (for a time- most New Hampshire rooms have reopened, at least for cash games). Those of us who loved Hampton Falls were thus robbed of a final good-bye.
Encore Boston Harbor?
While Encore Boston Harbor has not officially declared their poker room closed permanently, the signs are not good. While other New England poker rooms were reopening last summer, Encore quietly shipped its poker tables and chips out west, repurposing the poker room’s space for slot machines and table games.
To be fair, Massachusetts has not yet permitted poker rooms in the state to re-open. However, there has been much back-channel talk by former employees and those in the know indicating that Encore felt that poker detracted from its offerings and would not return, even once permitted.
When it opened in 2019, the Encore Boston Harbor poker room took the New England poker scene by storm, averaging the most cash action and busiest poker tournaments in the entire region. However, Encore management soon soured on poker, complaining that the extremely popular tournaments led to too much congestion in the parking lot without enough of a return to the property.
Fingers crossed for an eventual reopening, but we fear that poker at Encore is gone for good.
Future Poker Room Closures
As the pandemic progresses into a second year, we fear that poker room closures will begin to multiply. Currently, there are only a couple of venues offering poker tournaments in all of New England. As we have stated before, live poker tournaments are our game of choice. We worry that we may see far fewer tournament options in the future than we have had available to us in the past, in New England and beyond.
Fingers crossed for a full and lively return to live poker as soon as it is safe.
If you are looking for a resource on what poker rooms are currently open, Paul is updating such a page over at Advanced Poker Training.

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Irving and Harden lead Nets to big win over Kings

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Sohail hints at managing Shaheen’s workload during PSL 6


Karachi: Lahore Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar has said that they will try to manage Pakistan’s leading pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s workload during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six.
While talking to media in a pre-tournament presser, Sohail revealed that the star pacer won’t be overburdened and will be provided rest when needed.
“He is an asset for Pakistan and we will try to manage his workload properly by giving him rest whenever it is needed and possible by the team,” he said.
Sohail emphasized that in the last season, their spin attack was weak and after Rashid Khan’s arrival in the side, the attack is now strengthened.
“Rashid Khan is the top bowler of the world. With his arrival our spin attack has also got some much-needed experience and it has made our bowling attack a top class one,” Akhtar said.
Meanwhile, Sohail is confident of doing well this season too as they were the runners-up in PSL 2020. “We played good cricket last year. We came so near to the title but couldn’t finish well. This year, we will try to overcome our all shortcomings and give our best. the Qalandars are positive and focused about the upcoming tournament.”
Read: Lahore Qalandars appoint Shaheen Shah as vice-captain for PSL 6
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2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Tuesday Night


Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.

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Pumaren resigns as Adamson coach, focuses on councilor duties

Former Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — Adamson University has parted ways with head coach Franz Pumaren, the school announced Tuesday.
In a statement, Adamson said Pumaren will no longer return as coach of the Soaring Falcons to focus on his duties as councilor in the third district of Quezon City.
“As Adamson University understands the desire of Coach Franz to give full-time service to his constituents in his district in Quezon City, we announce with a heavy heart that Coach Franz will cease mentoring the Adamson Falcons effective this current year,” the statement read.
“The whole Adamson community would like to thank Coach Franz Pumaren for his unselfish sharing of his time and talent with the Adamson Men’s Varsity Team, masterfully lifting once again the standing of the Falcons in the prestigious UAAP League.”
Pumaren, who steered La Salle to five UAAP championships, returned to coaching in the collegiate ranks with Adamson in 2016.
He guided the Falcons to three Final Four appearances.
“His unique brand of coaching has carried the Falcons through several respectable finishes in the last five UAAP seasons which were considered by the Adamson community as the most electrifying Falcon seasons by far,” the school wrote.
“To Coach Franz, we will forever be grateful. We could not have pulled off the Falcon’s comeback in the UAAP podium without you.”
Mike Fermin has been tapped as the Falcons’ interim head coach.

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European Team of the Week: Ilkay Gundogan and Lionel Messi join hat-trick hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Every week we pick 22 of the best performing players in Europe’s top five leagues and, with your help, narrow it down to the best XI.

Using polls on our Instagram stories, we pit players in each position against each other and let you decide who deserves to make the cut.
Follow our Instagram page to get involved.

Here’s what our latest European Team of the Week looks like:
GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

Earned his 12th clean sheet of the season and Villa a point in difficult circumstances. Brighton were well on top and exerted pressure on his goal, but a stunning nine saves kept them at bay.

RB: Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
Undoubtedly his best performances of the season, excelling at both ends of the pitch. Lowton made three tackles, three interceptions and five clearances in a fine defensive display but really caught the eye in attack with three key passes and one outstanding volley to score at the end of a superb run.
CB: Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina)
Solid at the back and certainly didn’t deserve to end up on the losing side. Stood out with 11 defensive actions in a 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria, including five interceptions and he even managed to hit the woodwork at the other end.
CB: Diego Carlos (Sevilla)
A rock at the back as Sevilla secured a 1-0 victory at home to Huesca. Made a staggering 11 clearances in the process and was good on the ball, boasting a success rate of 92.7 per cent.
LB: Ola Aina (Fulham)
Perfect ball across for Josh Maja to score the first goal at the end of a fluid Fulham attack. He put in a shift in defence as well. No one made more than his five clearances during the 2-0 win over Everton.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)
The Premier League’s Player of the Month continued in his rich vein of form. He was excellent in midfield and tormented Tottenham with his well-timed runs forward, bagging a brace. He sat Davinson Sanchez down before slotting home for his second goal.

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Dictated the tempo of the game with his exceptional distribution. The German played 107 passes at 94.4-per-cent accuracy. He picked up an assist for the opener and then passed the ball into the back of the net with ease to get himself on the score sheet as well.
CM: Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)
Took his goal superbly, showing great strength to hold off the defender before checking back onto his weaker right foot and dispatching the finish with aplomb. He posed a constant threat with a game-high five shots in the 2-1 win at Villarreal.
FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Vintage Messi, skipping past challenges and scoring from range. He hammered in his first in emphatic fashion, but his second was a thing of beauty, curling a sublime effort into the corner from the edge of the box with minimal back-lift. He even bagged an assist, by setting up Trincao.

FW: Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
Reached 300 goals for club and country by scoring a brace in a 3-1 win over Lazio that fired Inter to the top of Serie A. He made no mistake from the spot and then took advantage of some suspect defending for his second. He then showed immense pace and power to assist Lautaro Martinez on the break.
FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Leeds and even hit the woodwork. He cut in expertly to score the opener, converted a penalty and then headed home Emile Smith-Rowe’s cross.
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Lahore Qalandars appoint Shaheen Shah as vice-captain for PSL 6


Karachi: Lahore Qalandars have appointed pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi as the vice-captain for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six.
The 20-year-old Shaheen has been with the Qalandars since the third edition of the PSL and has emerged as the core member of the franchise.
Aaqib Javed, LQ’s director of Cricket said that Shaheen Shah Afridi is face of Lahore Qalandars. His dedication towards Qalandars’ mindset is remarkable.
“Shaheen Afridi is a world class cricketer with exceptional bowling skills, his commitment and dedication for the team is unmatched and he is keen to take the team to the next level” said Aqib Javed.
Shaheen Afridi, in his message, thanked the Lahore Qalandars management and aimed to contribute towards team’s success.
“I am thankful to Lahore Qalandars’ management for this opportunity and really looking forward to play my part in success of Lahore Qalandars team” said Shaheen Afridi in his message.
Shaheen has taken 34 wickets in 27 matches. He was Qalandars’ leading-wicket taker of PSL 2020.
Read: Multan Sultans announce Mohammad Rizwan as captain for PSL 6
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Chot on TNT coaching return: ‘It’s not going to be easy’

FILE PHOTO– Returning TNT coach Chot Reyes. TRISTAN TAMAYO
MANILA, Philippines — Chot Reyes is keeping his expectations modest ahead of his second tour of duty as head coach of TNT.
Reyes is the franchise’s winningest coach, having led Talk ’N Text to four titles during his first stint from 2008 to 2012.
“It’s not going to be easy. I know a lot of fans are saying a lot of good things, but this is not going to be a walk in the park, it’s not going to be an instant thing,” said Reyes on Monday in an episode of The Game.

THE GAME | February 15, 2021
THE GAME | February 15, 2021 | 7:30PM• Chot Reyes Returns as Head Coach of TNT Tropang Giga• The Next Chapter: Coach Chot Reyes & Coach Tim Cone• Coach Tim Breaks Down Race for NBA MVP: LeBron James, Luka Doncic, & Nikola Jokic
Posted by One Sports+ on Monday, February 15, 2021

Reyes, 57, replaced head coach Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel at the helm.
“I just want to make sure that we manage expectations because the competition as we all know is very, very tough and everyone is getting better,” added the eight-time PBA champion and five-time Coach of the Year. “So you know, simply changing the coach is not a magic formula, it’s not automatic. You really, really have to work like we’ve never worked before.”
But the pressure will be on Reyes, who will be tasked to end the Tropang Giga’s long title drought.
TNT hasn’t won a title since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup under Jong Uichico.
Led by Roger Pogoy, Ray Parks and Jayson Castro, the Tropang Giga made as far as the finals in last season’s Philippine Cup bubble where they lost to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in five games.

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IPL 2021 Auction: CSK CEO says, “MS Dhoni, Stephen Fleming will stay connected with us digitally during auctions”


IPL 2021 auction CSK – MS Dhoni, Stephen Fleming: Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming will not be coming to Chennai to attend the IPL Auctions. But CSK fans and the team management need not worry. According to CSK CEO, Kashi Vishwanath both will be connected with the team officials digitally and will stay present throughout the auctions.

CSK CEO told InsideSport, “They (Fleming and Dhoni) are not coming to Chennai for IPL Auctions but in today’s time, there are so many mediums to stay connected. They will be with us digitally,”
Chennai Super Kings Released & Retained Players
Chennai had released six players including some big stars like Harbhajan Singh, and Kedar Jadhav. The three-times champion have Rs 19.9 in their purse. At the auctions, they can only sign a maximum of six players including one overseas.
Vishwanathan says they have shortlisted their players and are ready for the auctions. “Our preparations are going well. We are all set for the auctions”.
The eight-team managements will reach the Grand Chola on February 17. Upon arrival they will undergo a COVID-19 test.
A maximum of 13 members will be allowed in the venue where the auction will be conducted. Out of the 13, eight will be allowed to sit at the auction table while five will be seated in the gallery.
Also Read: IPL 2021 Auction: Arjun Tendulkar impresses IPL teams with 77(31) and 3 wicket haul at Police Shield tournament
IPL 2021 auction: Who should CSK sign at the IPL auction?
There are not many gaps for CSK to fill as they have retained their core group and added an experienced player like Robin Uthappa from Rajasthan Royals to it.

But they still need an off-spinner as a replacement to Harbhajan Singh. Krishanappa Gowtham will be a good replacement for the former Indian offie. The former Kings XI Punjab will be available for Rs 20 lakh.

Furthermore, they can bring Umesh Yadav to the squad as a backup for Deepak Chahar. CSK then look for Dwayne Bravo’s backup. Chris Morris will be one option.

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WPT GTO Trainer Hands of the Week: Battling the Big Blind

February 16 2021
LearnWPT

With a 100 big blind effective stack, you open-raise to 3bbs in the Cutoff seat and get called by the player in the Big Blind.
This scenario shows a common spot where you are in position against a tough opponent in the Big Blind on the flop after you were the preflop aggressor.
Against a less-skilled opponent automatically c-betting a standard size is often the best play. These types of opponents are less likely to put pressure on your c-bets by making moves on the flop.

Against tougher players you’ll need to focus on board texture to determine the best continuation bet sizing and identify flops where checking behind will be the best play. Generally you can use smaller c-bet sizes on dry, static flops that don’t have many equity changing turn cards. For example, larger c-bet sizing is not required on a flop of rainbow.
On more coordinated boards that still favor you as the raiser, such as with a flush draw, you can use a larger c-bet sizing. Tough opponents will have robust check-raising ranges as part of their overall Big Blind Defense strategy, so be aware of not over folding hands with too much equity when your c-bet gets check-raised.
You will often be put to tough decisions with marginal hands, with the correct decision often coming down to understanding the effects of blockers. If you hold cards that interfere with your opponent’s ability to have strong hands, you should be more likely to call down in the hand. If your cards interfere with their ability to have bluffs, you should be more likely to fold.
For more GTO hand analysis, you can play through five solved random hands from this situation.
To access the free five hands, visit this page.
Regular play on the WPT GTO Trainer will help you adjust your decisions closer and closer to GTO strategy.
You don’t have to be the world’s best player to use GTO Strategy, and thanks to the WPT GTO Trainer, now you don’t have to buy expensive software or have expert level knowledge to study GTO.
Why use the WPT GTO Trainer?
The WPT GTO Trainer lets you play real solved hands against a perfect opponent in a wide variety of postflop scenarios for cash game and tournament play.
If your goal is to be a tough poker player then you should try the WPT GTO Trainer today.
Register a free account here (it only takes your e-mail address to begin) to play hands and see true GTO strategy in real-time.
The WPT GTO Trainer has over 4 billion unique solved flops, turns and rivers that are fully playable.
As you make decisions in a hand, you receive instant feedback on the specific EV loss (if any) and Played Percentage for every action you take as compared to GTO strategy.
The full selection of scenarios for the WPT GTO Trainer are only available to members of LearnWPT, however we’re giving PokerNews Readers free access to the Trainer on a regular basis with the WPT GTO Hands of The Week.
Use this series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week.

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