History of Online Poker

Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Steve Ruddock

This Week in Poker History March 10th – 16th

I have unearthed another treasure trove of great stuff from the poker archives for your reading pleasure this week.

We’ll get things started with some pre-poker boom tournament results, followed by a look at the origins of the World Poker Tour straight from the horse’s mouth (in this case Steve Lipscomb), and as a little game let’s see if you can spot the theme that ties the first three articles together, shall we?

In this installment of This Week in Poker History we’ll bring you those stories plus a whole lot more from poker’s past, including an entertaining lesson on poker etiquette, Jersey gangster style.

March 12 and 13, 1998: Mike Sexton goes back-to-back at the 4 Queens

Players from the poker boom years know Mike Sexton as the voice of the World Poker Tour, but back in the day Mike was a professional poker player making his living at the poker tables just like everyone else.

At the 1998 Four Queens tournament series Sexton showed his prowess in split pot games by winning the Omaha 8 tournament on March 12th (besting fellow Poker Hall of Famer TJ Cloutier heads-up for the title) and the Stud 8 tournament the following day.

The two tournaments victories netted Sexton $35,000, not too bad for events with $500 buy-ins.

For his career Sexton has pocketed nearly $6 million and is 82nd on poker’s all-time money list according to www.thehendonmob.com.

Other winners at the 1998 Four Queens (one of the pre-eminent tournament series of the day) were Dan Heimiller (2 wins), Scotty Nguyen (2 wins), the UK’s Steve Rydel (3 wins), John Bonetti, Brad Daugherty, Mike Laing, Ken Flaton, and some guy named Phil Hellmuth.

March 15-17, 2002: Kathy Liebert wins the inaugural Party Poker Million

In 2002 Kathy Liebert became the first female poker player to win a $1,000,000 prize when she won the Party Poker Million Main Event on what was at the time called Card Player Cruises – yeah, it was played on a luxury cruise liner and I missed satelliting into this tournament by two spots in a $30 qualifier, otherwise this article would have been about me!

Getting back to reality, up until Vanessa Selbst, Liebert was without doubt the most accomplished female player in poker, and in my mind she is a Hall of Famer.

The tournament’s prize-pool was about as top-heavy as you’ll ever see due to the $1,000,000 first-place prize, and the final table lineup was pretty impressive in its own right:

  1. Kathy Liebert $1,000,000
  2. Berj Kacherian $93,600
  3. Phil Hellmuth Jr $62,400
  4. Bruce Yamron $46,800
  5. Scott Buller $37,440
  6. Chris Ferguson $24,960
  7. Michael Yuwiler $18,720
  8. Ken Flaton $15,600
  9. Mel Judah $12,480

March, 2003: Steve Lipscomb promoting the soon to be launched WPT

Here is an extremely interesting interview from 2003 with World Poker Tour CEO Steve Lipscomb, who described the origins of the WPT, which happens to tie-in to Kathy Liebert’s Party Poker Million victory I referenced above.

If you haven’t figured out the connection between Mike Sexton, Kathy Liebert’s Party Poker Million win, and this story it’s the WPT.

For anyone interested in what the poker atmosphere was like back before the boom, this interview is an absolute must read.

Also from the archives…

March 2006: How have I never seen this article?

There are so many listicle type articles on poker scattered across the Internet (some with my name in the byline) that they can start to seem repetitive and uninteresting. But every now and then you stumble across one that is really well done (all of mine are by the way, just saying) as was the case with this offering that appeared in the Washington Post back in 2006.

I got a good chuckle out of reading this article in the voice of Silvio Dante, who described Poker Etiquette in the book Entertaining with the Sopranos. The article is an excerpt from said book. Number one is particularly poignant in today’s game:

“DON’T PLAY SLOWLY. Nothing ruins a game faster than one moron who thinks this is quantum physics and needs 20 minutes to do the math. It’s not quantum anything. Make a decision and get on with it.”

Happy Birthday to…

  • Online legend Dan “DJK123” Kelly was born on March 10th.
  • 2005 WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem was born on March 11th.
  • Former WSOP Main Event final table participant Craig Marquis was born on March 14th.


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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