World Series, Palm Beach Kennel Club ban Pelton

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On Feb. 26, Chan Pelton of College Station, Texas, was disqualified after removing a 25K poker chip from the table during play of Event 9, a $1,125 NLHE World Series of Poker Circuit event at Palm Beach Kennel Club.
Pelton, who had won the tournament and had won Event 2, a pot-limit Omaha tournament, was observed by floor staff pocketing the chip during heads-up play of Event 9, an action that was confirmed on video surveillance. Pelton admitted to taking the chip and returned it to the room, but his first-place prize money was withheld until a decision from the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

The decision was rendered 10 days later by PBKC’s director of poker Noah Carbone, who said Pelton also forfeited any points earned for the Casino Champion race, which would have qualified Pelton for the circuit’s season-ending National Championship in May. Pelton’s win in Event 2 was not affected.

Chris Bolek of Boca Raton was declared the winner and awarded the ring along with the top prize of $47,061. On the heels of the counterfeit chip scandal in January at the Borgata Winter Open, which had not been resolved at press time, the PBKC, the WSOP and the state of Florida felt compelled to deal harshly with the rules infraction.

PBKC extended a permanent ban to Pelton from the facility, while the WSOP announced an indefinite suspension from all WSOP-related events taking place at Caesars-owned properties.

PBKC’s review confirmed the integrity of the event was in no way compromised and distributed the vacated second-place money to the third through 21st-place finishers.

“The integrity of our game is of utmost importance and regardless of the intent in question from this incident, we cannot sit idle and risk the stolen chips being reintroduced in the future,” Carbone said. “We take great pride in providing a fair and secure environment for our valued patrons and this unfortunate incident, while discovered and handled swiftly, should serve as a reminder to players that tournament chips are the property of the poker room and must remain on the table at all times. If rules infractions occur, we view incidents in the worst case scenario plausible.”

NEW LOCATIONS, DIRECTORS: Two South Florida parimutuel facilities opened poker rooms in new locations over the past few months, as businesses in Dade and Broward try to cut themselves a bigger slice of the South Florida poker pie.

Dania Casino & Jai-Alai held a lavish grand opening on Feb. 20 to give the public its first look at a two-floor casino area with more than 500 slot machines and a smaller poker room. Most of the machines are in the section of the building that housed the old poker room on the second floor, an expansive area that held 26 tables.

The new cardroom, still on the second floor, is behind the back wall of the jai-alai court and features 12 tables and a bar, with glass walls on two sides. As more of the facility is refurbished, there are plans for a larger poker room. Cody Basket, who worked on the floor at Calder Casino, was named the director of poker.
Speaking of Calder, the Studz Poker Club, which was moved from the ground floor of the racing grandstand to the former high-roller slots room, has a new director, too. Randy Kiefer, formerly the poker room manager at Hollywood Casino in West Virginia, takes over the 14-table room. Kiefer also worked at Bally’s in Atlantic City as a tournament director.

Since both poker rooms must be accessed through the casino floor, poker players must be at least 21. Both rooms are open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, while Studz is open in Fridays and Saturday until 5 a.m. The Dania poker room runs24 hours on the weekends.

WPT SEMINOLE POKER SHOWDOWN: The fourth edition of the World Poker Tour Seminole Poker Showdown is this month with a new $5 million guaranteed prize pool for the main event, beginning with three Day 1s (with unlimited re-entries) on April 10-12 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. The event features a $3,500 buy-in with the final table, slated for April 16, to be taped for presentation later in the year on Fox Sports Net in WPT’s Season XII.

— Email Dave at bigdave@pokeractionline.com.

WSOPC, Palm Beach Kennel Club, West Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 5-17

Event 1 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 2,531 • Pool: $1.26M
Maurice Hawkins, $183,498
Event 2 • $365 PLO/8
Entries: 145 • Pool: $43,500
Chan Pelton, $12,181
Event 3 • $365 HORSE
Entries: 126 • Pool: $37,800
Jeffrey Gunnip, $10,586
Event 4 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 330 • Pool: $99K
Mihail Karasoulis, $23,269
Event 5 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 262 • Pool: $78,600
Devin Looney, $19,258
Event 6 • $365 6-Max
Entries: 322 • Pool: $96,600
Cory Waaland, $24,150
Event 7 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 244 • Pool: $73,200
Fadi Hamad, $17,935
Event 8 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 224 • Pool: $67,200
Matthew Bray, $16,802
Event 9 • $1,125 NLHE
Entries: 181 • Pool: $181K
Chris Bolek, $47,061
$1,675 Main Event
Entries: 658 • Pool: $987K
Ruslan Dykshteyn, $202,335
Event 11 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 226 • Pool: $67,800
Kevin Lutz, $16,950
Event 12 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 150 • Pool: $45K
Aditya Prasetyo, $12,596