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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“It’s About Time”: Martina Navratilova Reflects on Roger Federer Confirming to Play in Dubai


It has been more than a year of inaction for Roger Federer now. He last played at the Australian Open 2020, where the Swiss maestro saw a straight-set loss against the Serbian Novak Djokovic. It was a tough series for him where he had to test his physical limits in 2 five-setters.  The 20-time grand slam champion later in the same year underwent double knee surgeries. All of this kept him away from the tennis court even after various countries lifted lockdown and the sport made a much-awaited return. However, the latest news is a big positive for the Federer camp. Martina Navratilova reflected on the comeback of Roger Federer The Swiss great will make his return to the ATP Tour at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Also, the latest development suggests that he can then play an ATP 500 tournament in nearby Dubai.  In a recent interview, a jovial Martina Navratilova learned the news and reacted with some humor. The 18-time women’s Grand Slam champion expressed, “I think he just wants to stay in Burj Al Arab again, but amazing! “It’s great to see Roger back, it’s about time for him sitting for over a year. So I’m glad he’s healthy and playing again.”  That he is coming back with an ATP 250 will ensure that he does not have to put too much pressure on himself for advancing deeper in the event. Prior to this, there were headlines that alleged Roger was fit enough to return for Australian Open 2021 and that he decided against it because of family reasons. Can the Ninjafed make a successful return? Roger Federer gestures to the spectators before hitting signed tennis balls into the stands during the 2019 Hopman Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Well, it might be an ATP 250, but it has participation from some of the best ATP players. The 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, the ATP Cup 2021 hero Andrey Rublev, and of course King Roger himself will stay in the highlight of the event. Apart from these names, there are six players from the Top-20 that’ll make the competition juicier. From Roger’s Swiss companion Stan Wawrinka to Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, and others, it will not be an easy draw for the legendary 39-YO. However, the rusty Federer is also the mighty Federer, and he has always dominated all the aforementioned names with his stinging play. Also notably, his participation in the Dubai event will depend on how his body reacts to the Qatar event. The event will kick off on March 8th and the world will cheer for the arguable GOAT. READ MORE- Why is Roger Federer Considered the GOAT?

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Irving and Harden lead Nets to big win over Kings

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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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Serena’s husband rips tennis administrator after win


Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has fired another shot at Madrid Open owner Ion Tiriac after Williams booked yet another Australian Open semi-final appearance.Williams was in imperious form in her quarter-final clash against Simona Halep, thoroughly dismantling the No.2 seed en-route to a 6-3 6-3 win at Rod Laver Arena.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!The 39-year-old has looked extremely sprightly after being forced to pull out of the French Open early last year through injury, chasing down balls defensively with the same ferocity she did earlier in her career. Williams’ vintage showing so far in the Australian Open has silenced many of her critics who believed her chances of winning another Grand Slam title were slim, with Tiriac one of the more vocal critics.Williams was in untouchable form against Simona Halep in her Australian Open quarter-final clash (Getty)Following Williams’ dominant display against Halep and advanced to her 40th Grand Slam semi-final, Ohanian made sure to stick the boot into Tiriac on social media.”Good thing no one listens to that racist sexist (clown) Tiriac,” he tweeted.The tweet wasn’t the first time Ohanian had taken aim at Tiriac and called him racist and sexist, after also doing so late last year when Tiriac called out Williams’ physique.”At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago,” Tiriac said on Romanian TV.”Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire.” Williams’ improved lateral movement has stood out so far in her Australian Open campaign, with her agility a far cry from the version of her fans saw in Melbourne Park last year when she was hampered by ankle and Achilles issues.Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted this week that her withdrawal from the French Open last year had allowed the 23-time Grand Slam winner to get out of a “vicious circle”.Williams’ lateral movement has been noticeably improved after she had been hampered by injuries (Getty)”We’ve been struggling those last years because she had a lot of injuries, so she was not able to practice the way we wanted,” he said.”It’s a bit of a vicious circle because when you can’t practice well, you don’t get fit. When you’re not fit, you get more injured. We had to get out of this vicious circle.”In Roland Garros she had an injury that could get really worse, and that would have been extremely bad. That was definitely the right decision to stop, to heal, and to start working hard because she was able after that to do the necessary work in order to get fit.”Now we’re more in a virtuous circle than a vicious one. You have to start that virtuous circle by being fit, then everything goes better.”For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

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IND vs ENG | Wouldn’t call it a good pitch but it made for exciting cricket, opines Joe Root



Following a shambolic loss, Joe Root opined that he wouldn’t call the Chennai pitch for the second Test as a ‘good’ pitch but insisted that it made for exciting cricket. He also admitted that it is a learning experience for the visitors to look at India and bat for long periods of time. After cruising past the hosts India in the first Test, where Joe Root led by example, England were looking to keep their momentum up for the second Test, at the same venue. However, right from the toss, everything went awry as they lost the toss and were made to bowl on a relatively flatter wicket. Eventually, that combined with their first innings batting display took the game away from the visitors, who ended up chasing the game from the second day. The visitors subsequently succumbed to a 317-run loss, during which the conditions in Chennai was a major part of the debate. Joe Root opined that he wouldn’t call it a good pitch but reckoned that the pitch did make for exciting cricket between the two teams. “It’s very alien to what a lot of English guys will have experienced before, as are green seamers that you might across in the UK. Do I think it was a good pitch? I wouldn’t say it was a good pitch, but it made for very exciting cricket,” said Root, reported ESPNCricinfo. “I do think that the toss was an important one to win but it wouldn’t have guaranteed us to win the game either. India showed that you can score runs on it and found a way of managing a very tricky surface so we’ve got to learn from that,” he added.Despite the tricky surface, India through their two innings – showed England how to bat, scoring 614 runs. Root stated that it was something that the visitors would have to learn from and added that they needed bat for long periods of time like the hosts. “How they (India) didn’t get away from their game plan, how they knew exactly the way they were going to score their runs. How they managed to bat at the other end for long periods of time.””And as a batting group, how does that look for us individually? How I am going to manage these big turning deliveries and how am I going to stay really calm and clear under pressure? We’ve got to take bits from it and add it to our own games, and come back better for it as well,” he added.However, next up for the visitors would be a day-night clash in Ahmedabad, where Root has his sights on, insisting that the break will help them regain momentum. “Day-night cricket offers something different again, so we are very much looking forward to that. We’ll have a little bit of a break now to refresh and have a look at a few things, but it’s exciting times.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .

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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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