People News: Ike Haxton for Covid live poker boycott; PokerStars signs Neymar Jr… again; Galfond Challenge update; Fist fight at the Aria poker room

In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting news and gossip from our favourite poker people.

Ike Haxton calls for Covid live poker boycott

Isaac Haxton is concerned about Covid-19 numbers in his chosen home of Las Vegas. He is begging the poker community to not play live poker.

The plea goes out to players, asking them not to travel for poker, but also to organizers to not run any poker events while we’re still in the pandemic.

He specifically mentions the WSOP with their efforts in running the Main Event in the hybrid format of playing online and then meeting in person to play out the final tables.

Why exactly Haxton is feeling so strongly about this is unclear, but it seems he is simply trying to appeal to people’s logic and reason in order to reduce infection rates.

PokerStars signs Neymar Jr… again

Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr.

Neymar Jr. might have been one of the best ever choices for an ambassador for this game we love. He is loved worldwide by millions of fans and in return he loves poker, and also his fans, of course. Neymar had been a PokerStars ambassador between 2015 and 2017.

Usually we hear big announcements of players or celebrities being signed by poker operators, but we rarely hear when they leave and the reasons why. So, when the news hit that Stars signed Neymar, many were confused. After all, it could be that he was still an ambassador and just hadn’t done much recently.

Again, signing Neymar as a brand ambassador is an amazing choice. Miles better than others – I’m looking at you, GGPoker. The football/soccer legend will feature as part of the company’s new “I’m In” global marketing campaign.

“When I’m not playing football, I love playing cards,” Neymar said. “Competing with my friends is a huge passion of mine, I love the sense of community, the fun, and the unpredictable moments that can occur in any game. As a true poker fan, I am excited to start a new chapter with PokerStars. Together we’ll be creating moments for our community and fans all over the world.”

Galfond Challenge update

The Galfond Challenge quietly continues, not making as big waves as the heads-up grudge match between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk.

The hero of the story, Phil Galfond, is still battling against Chance Kornuth in $100/$200 Heads-up PL Omaha. The players set out to play 35k hands, of which 21k have been completed.

chance kornuth vs phil galfond
Chance Kornuth (left) and Phil Galfond (right)

In the beginning of this match-up, Kornuth took the reins and was at one point ahead by $125,000. The tables have turned, however and once again Galfond proves that he is a proper comeback kid. He is now in the black with a whopping $279,000.

Highlights can as always be found on the Run It Once YouTube channel.

Fist fight at the Aria poker room

Live poker is back in places and with it unfortunately some of its ugly aspects. Most recently this showed at one of the best and most popular poker rooms in Las Vegas.

The Aria Casino is home to the PokerGo studios and is seen by many players as the best poker room in the world. It is the more surprising that this news about a fight at the poker table comes from this location.

The popular dealer Leandre “Patches” Wharton was allegedly verbally abused by a player at the table, specifically with racist comments, and at some point he could not take it anymore, walked around the table and got into a fistfight with the perpetrator.

The two were separated after a short while and Wharton was afterwards fired from the Aria. A GoFundMe was created for the now unemployed dealer and $27,000 have already been collected to help him out.

Once again it shows how bad and how good poker players can be. Variance.