GLOBAL GOSS: Mercier rules the roost

Some bemoaned the absence of poker’s biggest names, but the inaugural EPL event still attracted a world class line-up.

We’re big fans of the new Epic Poker League, with the second event underway at the Palms in Las Vegas at the moment. Chino Rheem took out the first Main Event and USD $1 million last month. The EPL (a bit confusing for those of us who follow English football) is also home to the world’s first independent ranking system for poker players.

The top 300 on the Global Poker Index is updated weekly, with the top 10 currently comprising Jason Mercier (2644.14), Erik Seidel (2609.49), Bertrand ElkY Grospellier (2506.17), Eugene Katchalov (2369.65), Fabrice Soulier (2199.64), Sam Stein (2120.00). Tom Marchese (2117.52), Sorel Mizzi (2115.12), Scott Seiver (2051.08) and Daniel Negreanu (2042.41). Two Aussie – Jeff Lisandro (35th) and Joe Hachem (82nd) feature in the top 300.

• The recent edition of the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in LA marked another milestone in the tour’s history as it was the first final table where the live streaming featured hole cards. But that was of little interest to eventual champ Will Failla, who had little interest in discovering his opponent’s hole cards.

“My boys were trying to give me information on breaks and I said, ‘Just leave me alone right now. I just want to play the game. I don’t care about any anything,” Failla said. That proved an astute decision by Failla, from Commack, New York, who celebrated his eighth WPT cash with victory and a first prize of USD $758,085. He has 14 cashes to his name for 2011, including five at the WSOP.

• Season eight of the European Poker Tour is off to a strong start with the main event field in Barcelona rising almost 10 per cent on that of 2010. The final table at EPT Barcelona lasted more than 12 hours, with much of the focus on the red hot Eugene Katchalov. The 2007 WPT Doyle Brunson Five-Diamond Classic and 2011 PCA Super High Roller champion was the short stack entering the final table but was eager to add his name to the elite club of EPT, WSOP and WPT winners.

All the momentum seemed to be with Katchalov after he secured the chip lead midway through the day but he fell in third, paving the way for German Martin Schleich, who’d led after day 1A to pocket the €850,000 first prize. Amazingly, this was just his fourth career cash. Spain’s Dragan Kostic was runner-up. The next EPT event is in London from September 30-October 6.

• The Asian Poker Tour’s status as the continent’s premier tour has been underlined with the addition of an event in India to run in mid-November. APT Goa is set to take place at the Casino Royale, a floating casino off the west coast of India. It marks the first time the APT has held a tournament in India. The Main Event will run November 11-14 with a buy-in of 50,000 Indian Rupees ($1,000 US). For more information visit

“This is a bold and exciting move for the APT. We will be the first international poker tour to hold an event in India. As with any new and radical endeavour, we are sure there will be challenges but we have high expectations that the tournament will be well received among the growing Indian poker community and visiting international players,” APT CEO Jeff Mann said.

• The World Championship of Online Poker – the world’s richest and most prestigious online series – is under way. This year there is USD $30 million in guaranteed prizes across 62 events that run from September 4-25. For further information, go to

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