California Online Poker Dead for 2017
California seemed a long shot to regulate online poker this year and now lawmakers have officially confirmed that the issue is dead.
The main proponent for the issue this year confirmed to Online Poker Report earlier this week that the matter will be shelved and that lawmakers need to go back to the drawing board on the issue.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer had introduced AB 1677 back in February as an attempt to move the issue forward. However, the lack of suitability language in the bill essentially neutered it and no movement has been attempted since the bill's introduction.
According to Jones-Sawyer, “If you look at the Assembly, we have other big things such as the transportation bill to focus on. This would not be a good year to put something controversial in. I think the ability to work out something next year has a bigger chance if we do some of the come-together healing things right now.”
Continuing further, Jones-Sawyer felt that lawmakers need to "start from ground zero to at least get people to want to try and get it done again." A bill in 2016 was able to move out of committee but last-minute changes to suitability forced a standoff between pro-PokerStars supporters and certain Indian Tribes.
The primary issue that's been holding up regulation in the Golden State for years is whether PokerStars or other companies that took bets in the United States after the passage of the UIGEA should be allowed to apply for a license.
Some groups, such as a coalition led by the Pechanga Coalition, don't want bad actors in the state. Other groups, specifically led by a PokerStars-aligned coalition that includes three of the state's top card rooms, want to allow regulators to make the decision on licenses.
Until suitability language is finally resolved, the chances of online poker becoming regulated in California is slim to none.
Brian Rast and Jake Schindler Dominate in Aria High Rollers
This past weekend was another High Roller Weekend at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Brian Rast has been on a tear in Aria events in 2017, winning a $50k High Roller in February and a $25k in March. This time around, Rast made two final tables and won his third Aria High Roller of 2017.
The first of three events was held last Thursday. The $25k High Roller drew 26 entries with a prize pool of $624,000. Only four were paid and Rast managed to make his third final table of the year. However, Rast was unable to take this event down and finished in fourth place.
Heads-up came down to Jake Schindler and Sam Soverel. The pair cut a deal splitting up the prize money and Schindler came out on top. Soverel took home $231,935 while Schindler banked $248,545.
This was Schindler's second High Roller title of 2017. He won a $25k High Roller in early March.
The second $25k High Roller played out on Friday and just 17 entries were collected in that one. This time around, only three players cashed and both Schindler and Rast managed to make the top three.
Poker Central's Cary Katz was the third-place finisher, taking $48,960. This left Rast and Schindler heads-up for the title.
The pair agreed to a chop and this time Schindler settled for second place. He earned $166,416 while Rast earned $192,624 and his third Aria High Roller title of 2017.
Schindler moved over the $9 million mark in career earnings after these two events. He now has $9.18 million in career earnings. Meanwhile, Brian Rast now has $20.39 million in career earnings.
The final High Roller event of the weekend was another $25k High Roller on Saturday. This one drew 25 entries, paying four players. Bryn Kenney and Andrew Robl made it heads-up in this one and chose to play it out.
Robl ultimately fell in 2nd place and earned $162,000. Bryn Kenney took down the event for $300,000.
Bryn Kenney has been on his own tear in 2017. He presently has $3.3 million in earnings for the year. He started the win with two High Roller victories at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas and always seems to be in the mix in many events.
Kenney's win on Saturday moves him up to $15.21 million in career earnings.