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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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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Addamo, Adams, and Bonomo Among Big Sunday Winners

February 16 2021
Matthew Pitt

Online poker tournaments are massive on Sundays and this fact along brings out the game’s best players. Michael Addamo, Timothy Adams, and Justin Bonomo are just three of those stellar names who managed to take down a Sunday major this weekend.
Addamo Takes Down GGPoker Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250
Michael Addamo enjoyed a super Sunday courtesy of triumphing in the Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250, a tournament that attracted 113 of the world’s best players to the GGPoker virtual felt.
Addamo’s first bullet didn’t go to plan and he crashed out in 76th place. He re-entered and put used his new stack to full effect.
The likes of Kristen Bicknell, Matthias Eibinger, Elio Fox, Benjamin Rolle, and Anatoly Filatov busted inside the money places but before the star-studded final table.
Austria’s “Filip1” was the final table’s first casualty. Their ninth-place exit awarding a $14,833 prize.
Alex Foxen and David Yan then busted. Yan would go on to take down Sunday High Rollers Bounty King $3,150 for $49,300 later in the evening.
The exits of Michael Zhang, Aleksei Barkov, Pascal Hartmann, and David Peters left Addamo heads-up against Wiktor Malinowski. Addamo rarely loses when he’s heads-up and that was the case again here. Addamo collected $131,187 for his victory while Malinowski banked $99,898 for his runner-up finish.
Defeating Malinowski will go some way to making up for losing a massive $842,000 cash game pot last year.
Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250 Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Michael AddamoCanada$131,187

2Wiktor MalinowskiMacau$99,898

3David PetersCanada$76,072

4Pascal HartmannAustria$57,928

5Aleksei BarkovRussia$44,112

6Michael ZhangBrazil$33,591

7David YanNew Zealand$25,579

8Alex FoxenCanada$19,478

9Flilip1Austria$14,833

¥80 Million Gtd Asian Poker League (APL) Hits GGPoker
Adams Takes Down High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625
Timothy Adams’ latest victory came in the High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625, an event that saw 80 players buy in.
All but two of the players who navigated their way to the final table walked away with five-figures hauls. Fedor Holz and Andrii Novak being that duo.
“LeoJose” fell in seventh and was joined on the rail first by Artur Martirosian, then by Urmo Velvelt, Rainer Kempe, and China’s Kevin Pu.
This left Adams, on his one and only bullet, heads-up against Arsneii Malinov. Malinov fell at the final hurdle and scooped $36,565, which left Adams to add the $46,885 top prize to his GGPoker account.
High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625 Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Timothy AdamsCanada$46,885

2Arsenii MalinovRussia$36,565

3Kevin PuChina$28,516

4Rainer KempeGermany$22,239

5Urmo VelveltEstonia$17,344

6Artur MartirosianRussia$13,526

7LeoJoseBrazil$10,549

8Andrii NovakUkraine$8,227

9Fedor HolzAustria$6,416

Other GGPoker Highlights
Shankar Pillai – first-place in the High Roller MILLION$ for $207,692Gabriel Schroeder – first-place in the GGMasters High Rollers $1,050 for $140,355MonkeyD93 – first-place in the Global MILLION$ for $112,712swedishdream – first-place in the Bounty Hunters HR Main Event $525 for $95,817*Sami Kelopuro – first-place in the High Rollers Sunday Blade Opener $5,250 for $57,374L1mpFold – first-place in the GGMasters $150 for $54,631David Yan – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Bounty King $3,150 for $49,300*Joseph Cheong – first-place in the Sunday Bounty King $315 for $44,349*Ami Barer – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Mulligan $2,625 for $43,288Michael Zhang – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Opener $2,625 for $39,752Andras Nemeth – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Bounty King PLO $3,150 for $35,513*spera91 – first-place in the High Rollers Marathon $840 for $33,695Joao Caetano – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Fifty Stack $500 for $31,657Boris Kolev – first-place in the Sunday Forty Stack $400 for $30,214Bruno Botteon – first-place in the Sunday high Rollers Bounty Special $840 for $29,113*Dante Fernandes – first-place in the Bounty Hunters Sunday Special $210 for $25,808*Babyccino – first-place in the Sunday Main Event $200 for $24,254Anton Wigg – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Fast $525 for $13,780
*includes bounty payments
Justin Bonomo Binks the partypoker High Roller Big Game
Justin Bonomo
Justin Bonomo, fresh from his recent Super MILLION$ victory, continued his impressive run of form by taking down the High Roller Big Game at partypoker. Bonomo came out on top of a 127-strong field in the $2,600 buy-in event to get his hands on $79,128.
The final table was brimming with the world’s top poker talent, as you’d expect from such a prestigious tournament.
Tomi Brouk busted in ninth and won $8,739, the tournament’s last four-figure prize. Ognyan Dimov, Roberto Romanello, and Pedro Garagnani were the next players to fall by the wayside. Niklas Astedt and Team partypoker’s Kristen Bicknell followed suit.
Ukraine’s Pavlo Kolinkovskiy’s elimination in third-place, worth $34,935, left Bonomo and Ali Imsirovic heads-up for the title. Bonomo got the job done and secured the $79,128 top prize, leaving Imsirovic to bank $79,128.
High Roller Big Game Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Justin BonomoCanada$79,128

2Ali ImsirovicMexico$50,916

3Pavlo KolinkovskiyUkraine$34,935

4Kristen BicknellCanada$24,702

5Niklas AstedtSweden$18,330

6Pedro GaragnaniBrazil$14,667

7Roberto RomanelloUnited Kingdom$12,398

8Ognyan DimovBulgaria$10,539

9Tomi BroukFinland$8,739

Jamie O’Connor Takes Down Big Game
Jamie O’Connor turned $530 into $41,417 by winning The Big Game. O’Connor was a guest on Leigh Wiltshire and Des Duffy’s APAT Show while he was grinding this event but chatting didn’t put him off the grind.
O’Connor defeated Rui Da Silva heads-up to lock up the top prize and resign Da Silva to a $28,678 consolation prize.
Two other players saw their bankrolls swell by five-figures. Fourth-place finisher Joel Nystedt scooped $13,158 with Joao Gaspar reeling in a $19,868 prize for his demise in third-place.
The Big Game Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Jamie O’ConnorUnited Kingdom$79,128

2Rui Da SilvaCroatia$28,678

3Joao GasparMalta$19,868

4Joel NystedtAustria$13,158

5Dwayne SluisNetherlands$9,177

6Fahredin MustafovBulgaria$7,273

7Justin OuimetteCanada$5,843

8Joakim AnderssonSweden$4,737

9Jamie NixonUnited Kingdom$3,844

Other Highlights From partypoker
LivviG – first-place in the $320 The 300 for $19,962*BeastFromDaEast – first-place in the $109 Weekender for $17,563*Andreas Puntigam – first-place in the $55 Mini Big Game for $17,155freestylee – first-place in the $111 One Shot for $13,848*youngblood – first-place in the $215 Warrior for $13,450*EZfold55 – first-place in the $55 Gladiator for $12,138*
*includes bounty payments
partypoker MILLIONS Online Schedule Features MEGA High Roller and $5m GTD Main Event
Peter Traply Nets Sunday Super Sonic Top Prize
Peter Traply
Peter “Belabasci” Traply triumphed in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Supersonic and banked a cool $20,378. That only tells part of the story, however, because the Sunday Supersonic is a hyper-turbo structured tournament meaning Traply’s victory only took one-hour 13-minutes for an hourly rate of $16,750, which is nice work if you can get it!
Runner-up “mindreader007” and third-place finisher “acesdesigner” were the two other finalists whose $215 swelled to a five-figure score. Second-place weighed in at $14,591 with the third-place finisher collecting $10,448.
$215 Sunday Supersonic Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Peter “Belabasci” TraplyHungary$20,378

2mindreader007United Kingdom$14,591

3acesdesignerBrazil$10,448

4LilharmisFinland$7,481

5Michiel “utreg” BrummelhuisNetherlands$5,356

6Felipe “ultraviol3nt” OlivieriArgentina$3,835

Dutch Star Wins High Roller Sunday Supersonic
“Daenarys T” from the Netherlands took down the $1,050 edition of the Sunday Supersonic and did so in a mere one hour and five-minutes. This meant their $24,032 prize was worth $22,251 per hour!
There were some awesome players at the six-handed final table, including runner-up Bruno “botteonpoker” Botteon and third-place finisher Benjamin “bencb789” Rolle. The day, however, belonged to former Sunday Million champion Daenarys T.
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Daenarys TNetherlands$24,032

2Bruno “botteonpoker” BotteonBrazil$18,451

3Benjamin “bencb789” RolleAustria$14,166

4Viktor “papan9_p$” UstimovRussia$10,876

5blackaces93Poland$8,350

6Andy “wiisssppppaa” TaylorUnited Kingdom$6,410

Other Highlights From PokerStars
13shaun – first-place in the $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $60,576Aleksei “AS Leshiy” Smirnov – first-place in the $215 Bounty Builder for $31,476*RaiseUpBlind – first-place in he $1,050 Sunday Cooldown for $29,468*yuhei33 – first-place in the $109 Bounty Builder for $29,419*Felipe “lipe piv” Boianovsky – first-place in the $215 Bounty Builder for $29,289*babecallme – first-place in the $109 Sunday Cooldown for $27,227*Black88 – first-place in the $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $17,941Artur “marathur1” Martirosian – first-place in the $1,050 Sunday Warm-Up for $17,814planty07/08 – first-place in the $109 Sunday Kickoff for $15,407Chris “ImDaNuts” Oliver – first-place in the Hotter $215 for $13,872*Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche – first-place in the $215 Fat Sunday for $11,782Christian “WATnlos” Rudolph – first-place in the $530 Sunday Marathon for $11,116
*includes bounty payments
Get Ready for 107 MicroMillions Events Across Only Four Days!
maestro1908 Grabs the $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep Title at 888poker
The $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep had been hitting its guarantee lately but it reverted to type on February 14 when 892 players bought in to leave 888poker nursing a $10,800 overlay.
“maestro1908” netted the $16,350 top prize after defeating the United Kingdom’s “needabridge” heads-up, leaving the Brit to bank $11,900.
The $30,000 Sunday Challenge PKO performed much better with the 335 entrants ensuring the $30,000 guarantee was beaten by $3,500. “troms18” was the last player standing, a result that saw $6,327 head to their account. Swedish star “VnilaVader” was the tournament’s runner-up; they scooped $3,464 with bounties included.
888poker Giving Away $100,000 in 24/7 Freeroll Festival All This Month

The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media, the parent company of PokerNews.

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Jessica Pegula, daughter of Bills and Sabres owners, pulls off massive Australian Open upset


Jessica Pegula. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)Packers: 3 moves Green Bay can make thanks to David Bakhtiari by Rucker Haringey Jessica Pegula continues her magical run at the 2021 Australian Open, knocking off the No. 5 player in the world to get to the quarterfinals.Jessica Pegula is one match away from getting to the 2021 Australian Open semifinals. The daughter of Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula just pulled off an incredible upset in the fourth round on Sunday, defeating the No. 5 player in the world Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. Pegula faces No. 22 Jennifer Brady on Tuesday.This was the 26-year-old’s first victory over a top-10 opponent, as well as her first trip to a Grand Slam quarterfinal. It will be an All-American quarterfinal between Pegula and Brady on Tuesday.“It’s an opportunity for both of us,” said Pegula after defeating Svitolina on Sunday at Rod Laver. “I’m just happy I’m here. She’s been playing some good tennis, solidifying herself as a top player.”Perhaps the Bills’ success will continue to carry over to Pegula in Australia?The Bills are coming off their best season in Pegula’s lifetime. Buffalo had not hosted a playoff game since before she was born. While the Sabres continue to not do much of anything on the NHL side of things, the Bills were one win away from making their fifth trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history. The Bills should be one of the top five teams in the NFL again next season.While Pegula’s remarkable run in Melbourne may be coming to an end soon, being able to knock off the No. 5 player in the sport in such a high-profile event as the Australian Open is a huge accomplishment. Pegula is in her athletic prime and with one more victory over a ranked opponent, she will be one of the last four women’s tennis players remaining in this tournament.Pegula’s run in the 2021 Australian Open has been one of the better stories of the entire event.

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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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European Golden Shoe 2020/21: Messi on the leaderboard but Lewandowski scores again


Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine’s goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side’s rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn’t feature within one of Europe’s top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.

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Ashwin stars as India thrash England to level Test series


Chennai: India captain Virat Kohli said Tuesday his side showed more “grit” and “determination” to thrash England in the second Test, playing down complaints about the difficult pitch.
With local hero Ravichandran Ashwin claiming eight wickets in the match and scoring 106 in the second innings, India completed a 317-run victory inside four days in Chennai.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as England were out for 164 while chasing an unlikely 482 on day four.
Some said the Chennai pitch, which crumbled from nearly the first day, was not fit for a Test.
But England made no public complaint and Kohli rejected the criticism and said his side played a “perfect game”.
“I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” said the India captain.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out.
“We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch.”
Kohli highlighted that India scored 600 runs over two innings despite the conditions, and winning the toss made no difference.
“So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
England ‘outplayed
England captain Joe Root conceded that his side were “outplayed in all three departments this week” and had to learn quickly before the third Test in Ahmedabad.
But he added: “I would say it was a challenging wicket. I do think that it was an important toss to win.”
England, he said, now have to be “honest” and learn quickly to adapt to conditions in India.
England, struggling since the opening day, kept losing wickets after resuming on 53-3 on day four.
Root departed for 33 soon after lunch, falling to Patel.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav joined in to finish off the innings, taking Moeen Ali after he smashed 43 off 18 balls.
The last wicket partnership of 38 between Ali and Stuart Broad, unbeaten on five, was England’s highest of the match.
England, who have been resting and rotating players, said Ali would be returning home after the Test.
Ali had coronavirus in Sri Lanka but recovered to take a total of eight wickets in the second Test against India.
Ashwin’s five wickets to help bowl out England for 134 in the first innings in response to India’s 329 set the tone for the host’s dominance.
England conceded a lead of 195 and then struggled on a pitch that offered turn from day one.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game,” Ashwin conceded, but he added that the wickets had not fallen from the balls he expected.
“It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets.”
Opener Rohit Sharma hit an attacking 161 to set up India’s big innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sharma’s seventh Test century and his first against England raised the pitch of the returning Indian crowd — present in a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohli made 62 in the second innings, putting on a key 96-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ashwin on day three.
Both sides need to win the series to take the second place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this year.
The third Test — a day-night match — will begin in Ahmedabad on February 24.
Authorities have not said if fans will be allowed into the world’s biggest cricket stadium — with a 100,000-plus capacity — for the game.
Read: England thrashes India by 227 runs in first Chennai Test
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Meet America’s 63rd National Park


As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.

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NBA Trade Rumors: Cavaliers engaged in ‘active talks’ with Raptors about Andre Drummond move


Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesJessica Pegula, daughter of Bills and Sabres owners, pulls off massive Australian Open upset by John Buhler The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the precipice of moving center Andre Drummond, possibly to the Toronto Raptors.With the Cleveland Cavaliers holding out center Andre Drummond until they are able to trade him, one team could be at the front of the line for his services: The Toronto Raptors.While ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Cleveland will indeed keep the two-time Eastern Conference All-Star out of action until he is inevitably traded, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Raptors in serious discussions to bring the rebounding maven to Toronto/Tampa Bay. Cleveland is 10-18 through 28 games and in 13th place in the Eastern Conference as of Feb. 14.Reporting with @WindhorstESPN: The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer planning to play center Andre Drummond as they work to trade the two-time All-Star prior to the NBA’s March 25th deadline, sources told ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2021How soon could Andre Drummond be on the move from the Cavaliers?Drummond last played for the Cavaliers on Friday night. The Cavaliers are in the midst of a league-worst seven-game losing streak. This has knocked them 2.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, which coincidentally is the Raptors. Cleveland plays three more games within the week, so we should not expect to see Drummond to continue to ride pine into late February.Cleveland may have already punted on this season, as this recent swoon likely means they will be on the outside looking in at a possible playoff berth. As for Toronto, the Raptors are in win-now mode. Despite having to play their home games in the Tampa Bay Area this season, Toronto has been an ever-present force in the Eastern Conference Playoffs for the better part of a decade.If Drummond is dealt by the end of the week, he could very well be playing for Canada’s NBA team.

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My Confession: Male, Age 21 (AUSTRALIA)


Let me give you some valuable background info first: I live at home with my Dad & my girlfriend (she’s between houses). They’re both my best friends. I am currently going through a chronic pain type disorder that appeared in both wrists & forearms since July 2020. In & out of appointments/checks every fortnight. I am unable to do much in my day, it hurts to do normal things in my day – so I am unable to work or study anymore. Painkillers are not helping. Thursday was the day, the day I basically lost my entire life savings. Since then, I’ve been using every single dollar I can get my hands on to recover this loss & I’m sure you know where I’m at now. $8 in debt & unemployed with no income. But how did I get here? I got caught gambling when I was 17/18, lost all my money then too but it was less than $1000 (my Dad was the only one who knew). Since then, I vowed to never gamble again & I didn’t until 2 weeks ago. My Dad & I were watching the cricket & he placed a $100 multi (he rarely gambles) & won $450. We both thought this was great so I put in $50 myself for the next game. I ended up losing $25 & won it back in the darts later on. I then decided to move on & not do any more as my girlfriend of 2 years (the one I’ll marry) did not approve of me gambling again. So I stopped – until my Dad persuaded me to lie & just gamble anyway behind her back. It was innocent losses, $5-$10 here & there for the next 2 weeks. It wasn’t until last week, the day after my girlfriend’s birthday, that everything went downhill. She had to work Wed & Thu which left me to be alone for 2 days. I was very down in the dumps & just felt like I had all this money & didn’t use it (which is the stupidest thing ever, I know). So I started gambling on the races. With high $1000 bets & spent hours & hours, got up $10k then back down to $5k before I bet my whole bank to get back where I started at $15k. I stopped, went in my room & realised what I did, I almost lost my ENTIRE bank. Did I stop there? Nope, you guessed it. Eventually, one thing led to another & now I’m $15k down & $9 in debt. I confessed everything to my girlfriend & Dad on Thursday. Which they were both very supportive. I had $2000 in my bank then & said I’d stop. But I didn’t, Iost $1500 yesterday & $500 today. So yes in $9 debt. Although I do not have an addiction (oddly enough I studied psychology for 2 years before this chronic pain stopped me), I have definitely fallen into the trap of gambling once again & I only risked losing my last $2000 to not win the money back, but rather I looked at it as an outlet to make money so I can provide my girlfriend & I with a future. But this was such a bad mindset to approach everything. $9 in debt. I am stopping here. I vow to, right here, right now. I have not told my girlfriend or Dad about the last $2000, but I think I will hang onto this one for now as I can make that back in selling some of my collectables that have been collecting profit over the years. So thank god for that at least. Additionally, I may receive a pension for my condition so if that’s approved, must lock my money away. I had to get all this out & it has put me in an awful lot of PHYSICAL pain to even write this due to my chronic pain condition. I don’t expect anyone to read this all as this is rather for me. Thank you. C. submitted by /u/codesfrost [comments]

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