Short Stacks: WSOP Online Circuit Meets Guarantees, Card Room Owner Sues Lawmakers

The WSOP Online Circuit meets its guarantees in Pennsylvania, PokerStars launching its Winter Series in three states, and a card room owner suing Washington state are just a few news tidbits CardsChat picked up during another orbit around the poker world the past week.

Richard Ali

Richard Ali is currently leading all Pennsylvania players in the WSOP Online Player of the Year race. (Image: Rivers Poker Room) in Pennsylvania wrapped up its first Online Circuit Series of the year with each of its dozen tournaments surpassing their listed prize pool guarantees. In total, more than $836K was won and every event winner received a WSOP Circuit ring.

The $525 Main Event that took place Sunday attracted 201 players who rebought 85 times. A player named “uneedtherapy” took it down for $27,456. The tournament exceeded its $100K guarantee by $43K.

But if this Circuit series had a “player of the series,” it would be Richard Ali. Playing as “Eatmushrooms,” the Pittsburgher won two rings and finished second in another event. He won his first WSOP ring online in September. Ali currently leads the Pennsylvania Player of the Year race with 5,354.09 points.  

Another dozen WSOP Circuit rings will be won by players in Nevada and New Jersey in a series that started Thursday. More than $1 million is guaranteed.

PokerStars online poker Michigan

PokerStars’ state-by-state Winter Series start soon

PokerStars will be starting its Winter Series in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey on Saturday, Jan.22. The site will pack in more than 40 events in each market. The guarantees of each series vary from state to state: $1 million in Pennsylvania, $650K in Michigan, and $500K in Jersey. 

Buy-ins range from $10 to $200, with multiple tournaments taking place every day until the month ends. Each tourney — even those with $10 buy-ins — offer satellites for as low as $1. 


New casino license granted in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control board awarded a license to Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. for a mini-casino that will be located in Shippensburg, a college town in the south-central part of the state. 

The company paid $8 million to acquire the license, which will allow it to build a facility in an old Lowe’s Hardware store in a strip mall. While only approved to operate up to 750 slot machines, the license can be amended to add table games for an additional $2.5 million. 

Greenwood Gaming operates Parx Casino outside of Philadelphia and expects to open Parx Casino Shippensburg later this year. 

Maverick Gaming

Cardroom owner sues Washington State

A company that operates card rooms in Washington State filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday claiming that state officials unlawfully gave tribal casinos a gambling monopoly when they allowed the casinos to open sportsbooks.

Maverick Gaming, which operates 19 card rooms in Washington, is accusing officials of “irrationally and impermissibly discriminating on the basis of race and ancestry” by only allowing sportsbooks in the state’s tribal casinos, according to the Seattle Times.

The first book opened in September at Snoqualmie Casino. Maverick Gaming owner Eric Person has unsuccessfully lobbied state officials to expand casino-style gambling, including sports wagering, beyond the tribal lands.

MJ Gonzales

MJ Gonzales staking a stranger

High-stakes poker professional and Daniel Negreanu’s heads-up coach, MJ Gonzales, told his Las Vegas-based Twitter followers that he will back one of them with $10,000. Those interested in the deal simply need to explain to Gonzales why they are worthy.

Gonzales’ offer resulted in a flurry of Tweets from players explaining why they should receive this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the newest horse in his stable. In the end, Gonzales actually selected two players to back — @bobbyschmidtIII and @sheplayspoker. Check out the full thread for all of the laughs and heartbreak players shared in hopes of making their poker dreams come true.

Written by
Bob Pajich
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn't like. Tips, corrections, complaints and kudos should go to


Bobby300 wrote...

It’s been awesome working with MJ. Can’t thank the poker community enough for all the love and support

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