Short Stacks: A Rigged WPT World Championship Seat Give-A-Way, EPT 2023 Schedule Released

A fishy Twitter contest, the return of “High Stakes Poker” on PokerGO, and the release of the 2023 European Poker Tour’s schedule are some of the short stacks CardsChat picked up in last week’s orbit of poker news.


Everyone wants to get into the $15 million guaranteed WPT World Championship. (Image: WPT)

A bit of chicanery hit the poker and chess world this week after a grandmaster gave a $10,400 entry into the WPT World Championship away on Twitter — to her poker coach and friend. 

The Twitter drama started when women’s chess master Qiyu “Nemo” Zhou, who streams as “akaNemsko”on Twitch, won a $12K package on She live-streamed her victory to her nearly 297K subscribers. She also had a comeback for the ages, winning it after being down to less than a single big blind. 

Zhou then took to Twitter, announcing she would give the package away to one of her fans in a contest. They would have to keep an eye on her streams and, as soon as a special video dropped, they’d have to tweet a special phase from it to Zhou.  

Zhou said she’d choose a player that she thought was most deserving out of the first 10 tweeters.

One of those 10 was Alex Espein, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner who is also known as “Thallo.” He’s also Zhou’s poker coach and friend. He also edited his tweet to include the secret phase.

She picked him — and people immediately noticed and cried foul. 

Shaun Deeb

A tweet by Shaun Deeb that was lost after Qiyu Zhou deleted it after she made a boneheaded mistake and gave a WPT World Championship prize package to her poker coach. (Image: Twitter)

In now-deleted tweets, Zhou and Epstein both defended the outcome before changing their tune and admitting they screwed up.

Of course, Thallo wants into the WPT World Championship for free. Starting on December 12, its $15 million guarantee prize pool is the largest ever. 

Zhou gave the seat away in a random drawing on Friday. A user named Ecgab1025 won. 

European Poker Tour’s 2023 schedule

The 2023 EPT schedule is out.

The five-series tour owned by PokerStars begins the year by returning to Paris on February 15. The EPT missed Paris last year. It also adds a stop in Cyprus, which was skipped last year. The stop in London, which just took place in October, was cut.

The full schedule: 

  • EPT Paris – February 15-26
  • EPT Monte Carlo – April 26-May 6
  • EPT Barcelona – Aug. 21-Sept. 3
  • EPT Cyprus – Oct. 11-22
  • EPT Prague – Dec. 6-17

Qualifiers have begun on PokerStars for the €5,300 Paris event, which will be held at Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. Visit the client or the site for more information. 

‘High Stakes Poker’ to return for 10th season

PokerGO announced that the 10th season of “High Stakes Poker” will begin airing on the streaming service and YouTube TV starting in January.

The show, hosted by Gabe Kaplan and A.J. Benza, features games with a minimum of $200/400 blinds. Season nine saw a return of Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Patrick Antonius, 2022 Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee Jennifer Tilly, as well as TV poker newcomers like casino owner Eric Persson.

PokerStars partners with the Detroit Red Wings

The online poker giant PokerStars and the Detroit Red Wings announced they’ve entered a multiyear sponsorship agreement that will bring the PokerStars branding to ice-level at Little Caesars Arena.

Detriot’s “wheeled wing” logo will also appear in PokerStars’ marketing materials. PokerStars players in Michigan will also be eligible for hockey-related rewards, like memorabilia.

This is an expansion of a relationship PokerStars and the Red Wings had this season in which PokerStars sponsored the scoring updates on Twitter and elsewhere.

“We are extremely proud and excited to build a long-term relationship with such an iconic NHL team as the Red Wings,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars US managing director, in a press release. “Through this partnership, we look forward to delivering epic experiences for our PokerStars community, expanding on what we can offer our Michigan-based players, as well as those across the rest of the US.”

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

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