History of Online Poker Series

Published on March 31st, 2014 | by Steve Ruddock

This Week in Poker History March 31st – April 6th

I never really know what I’m going to find when you start scouring the wayback machine looking for interesting poker stories (well, I do know at least one topic that will be covered when I get to the week of April 15) and this week is certainly no exception.

In this week’s column I’ll take a look at an out of the way poker tournament from 1990 that attracted one of the game’s biggest names, examine some more tournament results from the 2000 World Poker Open, fill you in on where you can find some early internet advice on stud poker, ponder what could have been between Wynn Resorts and PokerStars, and a whole lot more.

April 3, 1990: Doyle Brunson is in the Isle of Man????

Texas Dolly, is this true?

Perhaps one of the most hard to believe stories I’ve ever come across was a tournament result of Doyle Brunson’s from 1990 in the Isle of Man. Yes the Isle of Man, the small nation that PokerStars currently calls home, apparently played host to a poker tournament back in 1990 and Doyle Brunson made the trip.

While I’m aware that Doyle and some other big names used to head over to Ireland for the Irish Poker Open, how on earth Doyle was lured over to the Isle of Man in 1990 is beyond me.

Doyle didn’t win the tournament – that honor would go to Chris Bjorin – but he did finish in third place.

April 1-4, 2000: More results from the inaugural World Poker Open

Last week I filled you in on some of the preliminary results from the inaugural Jack Binion World Poker Open (which was created to be a rival of the WSOP) and this week I have even more results as the tournament series was in full swing by the timed the calendar flipped to April.

On four consecutive days we had four well-known players winning events, beginning with Melissa Hayden, who won the $500 No Limit Holdem tournament after defeating a final table that included Eskimo Clark, An Tran, TJ Cloutier, and Scotty Nguyen. Hayden won over $55k for the victory.

The next day it would be Phil Ivey who was the last man standing, this time in a $500 Limit Holdem tournament in which he pocketed over $50,000.

The next big name who found the WPO to their liking was Scotty Nguyen, who took down the $500 O8 tournament, with Men Nguyen and Mike Sexton both finishing in the top ten. Scotty pocketed just over $40k in prize money.

After Scotty it was Cardplayer Magazine owner Barry Shulman who outlasted the field in a $500 No Limit Holdem event collecting nearly $40k for the victory. Shulman would have to get by a couple of future WSOP Main Event final table participants in Amir Vahedi and Al Crux on his way to the win.

April 1, 2002: Nolan Dalla explains Stud Poker

Ah, stud poker.

The former game du jour of the poker world – especially on the East Coast – has fallen out of favor in recent years, but the game will likely always live on as it is perhaps the antithesis of Holdem poker and its community cards, considering stud poker requires players to keep track of the cards that have been dealt, a skill not required in Holdem games.

Back in 2002 Nolan Dalla penned a column for PokerPages.com detailing the structure of stud poker games and how it should affect the way you play the game. The article is still a very good read some 12 years later.

Just as a side note, PokerPages.com was one of the first poker web portals. The site had a ton of content, a forum, its own free-play poker software, and even a subscription training school. The site was truly ahead of its time.

Also from the archives…

  • April 5, 2001: Mike Hart bests Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda, Ken Flaton, and TJ Cloutier on his way to victory in the $1,000 No Limit Holdem tournament at the second annual Jack Binion World Poker Open.
  • April 5, 2003: Phil Ivey starts one of the best runs of his career, winning the $1,500 Stud tournament at the WPT Five Star World Poker Classic. Ivey would win another prelim event a week later (the $2,500 O8 tournament) and finish in 3rd place in the inaugural $25k WPT Championship.
  • April 2007: Andrew Brokos explains his path to online poker dominance in this lengthy post on ThinkingPoker.com.
  • April 5, 2009: A Chris Ferguson profile appears on the Business Insider website – my how things have changed.

April 6, 2011: Steve Wynn’s ill-timed partnership

One of the stories that has been forgotten following Black Friday was the numerous partnerships that were being developed between land-based casinos and overseas online poker sites, as both industries started prepping for online poker legislation in Nevada.

One such partnership was between Wynn Resorts and PokerStars (imagine how strong a product that would have been!) which was announced barely a week before the DOJ came in and effectively shut down the US online poker industry on Black Friday. Wynn would later cut ties with PokerStars as the site faced civil and criminal indictments.

Happy Birthday to…

  • Actor and poker aficionado Gabe Kaplan was born on March 31 in 1945.
  • Former November Niner and high-stakes cash-game player Ben Lamb was also born on March 31, but 40 years after Kaplan in 1985.
  • A third poker player born on March 31 was Erik Friberg, who you may remember as the 8th place finisher in the 2006 WSOP Main Event.


About the Author

Steve Ruddock

Steve is a long-time poker writer with credits at over a dozen sites. His work covers strategy, industry updates and the very latest in UK online poker news. Follow Steve on Google+ for more



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