Short Stacks: Sports Betting Begins in Kentucky, WPT Prime Madrid Has a Winner

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A new gambling industry goes live in Kentucky, a multi-day event outside of Pittsburgh, and the winner of WPT Madrid are some of the short stacks CardsChat picked up in its latest orbit of poker news.

Oscar Gironella is the winner of WPT Madrid. (Image: WPT)

Oscar Gironella won the €1,100 WPT Prime championship that wrapped-up on Oct. 2, but he isn’t the event’s big winner even though he cashed €56,925. That title goes to Juan Gonzalo Ares, who finished second for €66,075.

Once the two made it through the field of 396, they agreed to a deal that split the top two payouts evenly, but left the bonus prize, a $10,400 seat into the 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December, up for grabs. That event has a $40 million guarantee, the largest in tournament history.

That’s quite a ticket to go along with the shiny trophy.

The players in WPT Prime Madrid at Casino Granvia saw a prize pool of €366,370 (USD $387,858), which paid out the top 51 finishers. A min-cash provided players €1,920.

The next WPT mid-stakes buy-in event ($1,100) happens during the WPT Prime Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. Running from Dec. 12-21, the schedule is packed with must-play events that can change a player’s terrible year into something special.

Sports betting industry launched in Kentucky

The sports betting industry in Kentucky went live in September. In person betting at its racetracks began Sept. 7, with a handful of sites going live on Sept. 28. It’s the conclusion to a half-decade long battle to expand gambling in very conservative Kentucky, but money talks and the horse racing industry is one of the loudest voices in the Bluegrass State, and enough politicians agreed in 2023.

Online poker, which was part of each bill put forward in the last several years, was cut from the final version.

There are now five online sports books live in Kentucky: BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

While online sports betting is legal 34 states, online poker is taxed and regulated in only six: Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia, and Connecticut — and West Virginia and Connecticut are to small to have yet attract a site (Delaware shares it’s player pools with Nevada and New Jersey).

The casino and gambling corporations are betting that sports gambling will be huge in Kentucky. BetMGM will soon open a 5,200-square-foot retail sportsbook with partner Revolutionary Racing Kentucky at Sandy’s Racing and Gaming casino as part of a $75 million expansion.

Kentucky’s first quarter horse racetrack and equestrian center will also be build on 182 acres adjacent to Sandy’s. The first races are scheduled for 2025.

The facility does not have a poker room.

Winners in Westmoreland County

A five-way chop gave a chunk of the Westmoreland Live! 300 final table a very nice payday.

The small casino just down the road from where the Pittsburgh Steelers conduct their training camp has spread multi-flight tournaments about once a month this year. It allows them to guarantee larger prize-pools than what is generated in, say, their $80 Wednesday bankroll builders.

But who knows for how long, because the $300 event brought in only 141 players over six days, causing a $7,700 overlay.

Congrats to the players and also to Live!’s poker room management for trying to give players in Western Pennsylvania bigger payouts and tournament choices. Keep it up, I promise they will start to show, especially if you start to award trophies or jackets to the winners.

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