Short Stacks: PokerGo Launching NFT’s, Justice Sotomayor is a Big Poker Fan

PokerGo jumps into the NFT game, Phil Hellmuth helps celebrate a new Chicago poker room, and a Supreme Court Justice who will get you drunk and take your money are some of the short stacks CardsChat picked up in the latest orbit of the poker world.

Phil Hellmuth Greg Carlin

Phil Hellmuth hit Chicago to open the new poker room at Rivers Des Plaines. He was joined by Rivers Casino Founder Greg Carlin and Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Savard. (Image: Phil Hellmuth)

Poker room Grand Opening in Chicagoland 

Congrats to the staff of the poker room at Rivers Des Plaines for pulling off a successful Grand Opening this past weekend. Located right near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, players arrived early on Saturday to check out the scene, which included WSOP superstar Phil Hellmuth and NHL royalty Denis Savard.

The two Hall of Famers were on hand to celebrate the opening of the 22-table, 5,600 square-foot poker room. That includes Greg’s Room, a private VIP area named after the founder and CEO of River’s Casino, Greg Carlin (pictured above).

The new room is part of a 78,000 square-foot expansion that is nearly complete.

Justice Sotomayor loves poker

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor again brought up her love of poker during a talk to Washington University students last week.

“In the last few years, I took up playing poker,” she said. “I’ve read books about it. I’ve watched the World Series of Poker on TV. I’ve watched better players than me play, and I’ve learned a little bit.”

She told the students she is the perfect poker host, providing food and “all the liquor they want.”

She’s hosted games since at least 2006, according to a New Yorker profile published in 2010. “Kyle Wong, a former clerk, recalled. ‘We went over and she had Scotch and all this wine and beer. We sat down at eight and then she busts out the poker, and we play Texas hold ’em until two o’clock in the morning.’”

She then sent the clerks home in cabs as, in my mind, she chugged all the floaters of Scotch they left and counted her money.

PokerStars founder honored at IGA Awards

The iGaming Awards took place last night at the Savoy in London. Sponsored by gambling industry magazine iGaming Post, the IGAs gave PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg its Outstanding Achievement Award. 

Scheinberg, 75, and his son, Mark, become billionaires by founding PokerStars in 2001. They sold it to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion in 2014.

Scheinberg pleaded guilty in 2020 to Black Friday-related charges brought by the Department of Justice for running PokerStars, which was labeled an unlawful gambling business. PokerStars is now owned by Flutter.  

The online poker giant 888Poker was also honored, being named the Online Poker Operator of the Year. It runs in the US markets of New Jersey/Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. 

Other categories included Mobile Operator of the Year (Coolbet), Lottery Product of the Year (BBIN), and iGaming Software Supplier (Pragmatic Play).

PokerGo and Stadium NFT partnering

PokerGo and Stadium NFT are minting Non-Fungible Tokens of every possible starting hold’em hand in May. That’s 1,326 opportunities for people to buy a piece of this form of digital art.

They’re joining the WSOP and Phil Ivey in the NFT craze that allows fans and investors to own a unique piece of art. Like all NFT purchases, this one is also a bit of a gamble. 

Buyers will receive an NFT of a random pair of cards. They then have the option to sweat their hand and wait a week until they know exactly what they’re holding. The more powerful and pretty a hand is, the more value it will hold and, possibly, maintain.

It’s a natural fit for the two companies to be working together. Sam Simmons, the Consulting Chief Strategy Officer of NFT Stadium, is the former CEO of PokerGo. 

A mint and sale date is forthcoming. Details will be released through NFT Stadium’s Twitter feed.

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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