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Thomas Marchese, a young man who made a future through poker

It’s possible that you might not have heard about Tom Marchese too often, however he appeared on the global poker scene 10 years ago like a high speed train. He was born in New Jersey, and now lives in Las Vegas, where he spends most of his time playing poker in the city’s casinos; besides two travels to Europe, once in Canada and a few times in the Caribbean, the American participated to tournaments only on USA soil. He was named player of the year by Card Player in his year of debut.

The Debut

He has loved playing poker since high school, when he played amicable hands with his friends for $5. In 2006, when he was in college, he played on-line under the username “kingofcards”. He first played on-line after a few of his friends lent him $50, which he rapidly turned into $300 and then into $30,000 playing Limit Texas Holdem with buy-ins which started from 0.50/$1 to $30/$60 in just a few months. After a while, he started to play No Limit Texas Holdem starting with a small blind/big blind of $2/$4 and then raising to 25/$50.

In 2007 he started playing heads-up tournaments and hands with few players (the so-called short-handed games) and started to create an important player reputation in the virtual field. after finishing his studies, he moved with a groups of friends to Vegas, occasion on which they exchange ideas, discuss strategy and play a lot of on-line.

The people from Highstakes Data Base discovered him in the winter of 2010 playing high stakes poker on PokerStars, and since then, they have registered 48,792 hands played by Marchese, resulting in $124,249. Poker hands played on Omaha.

The Successes

Tom Marchese

He steps out for the first time live in 2009 without any notable results, and in the next 2 years, he gains about $2,500,000 from tournaments. A very interesting fact to know about his career is that even though he played at many final tables, he hasn’t yet won a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title.

We won’t go over all of his achievements, but we will try to underline what is most important for our readers. In January 2010 he played in Atlantic City at the Borgata Winter Open, finishing in 3rd place in the Main Event with a buy-in of $3,300, earning no less than $190,027.

In February he played in Vegas again, the $5,000 tournament called NAPT Deep Stack Extravaganza at the Venetian, rounding up his accounts by gaining $827,648. The year 2011 isn’t such a winner for Marchese, even though he has earnings, however, 2012 debuts with a great victory: he wins the Super High roller tournament at the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas where he “hits” a little over $1,300,000 and passes a field of 34 players. Well, after this success, he wins another 4 tournament until the end of the year: 2 Festa Al Lago tournaments held in October and another two WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic tournaments, held at the start of winter. In 2013, he plays 6 important tournaments, without any significant results.

2014 is his most prolific year, winning $4,472,478. Therefore, in June 2014, he plays the Super High Roller held at the Casino Bellagio in Las Vegas, tournament with a $100,000 buy-in, where Dan Smith (1st place) and Jason Mercier (2nd place) are the only ones ahead of him in the top. Then, at the beginning of autumn, he plays the Aria $100,000 Super High Roller 2 tournament and wins it, winning a prize of $1,306,800. Marchese’s third hit during this fine year is placing 2nd in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic tournament, in the tournament with 55 $100,000 buy-ins No Limit Hold’em WPT Alpha8.

Next year, he plays 15 tournaments with buy-ins between $1,500 and $500,000 where he earns 3 more victories and 6 other presences at final tables, and gaining various prizes in money from the rest.

2016 is another important year for him. He continues to play at the highest level in the high-roller tournaments and plays the WSOP tournaments where he doesn’t succeed in winning much, maybe 14 place in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event Championship (Event #68) should be mentioned.

Last year he once again increases his bankroll in a constant manner, adding another $793,162 to his gathered riches, earned in the played tournaments. In total, up to now, Thomas has won $16,698,175 from poker! A huge amount. and all of it until the age of 30.

A young millionaire who made a future through poker.

The Future

He contemplates his future daily, and until now, he has succeeded in wisely investing his poker earned money, considering and acknowledging that at some point in time, he will have to retire.


Sorry, this entry is only available in Romanian.


Sorry, this entry is only available in Romanian.


A professional poker player, Englishman Sam Grafton resisted 736 players enrolled in the

Poker Stars Main Event with a buy-in worth 1.100 euros. Grafton has won the title and, also, the prize worth 117.707 euros after defeating in heads-up the Turkish Anil Olgun Ozdemir.

Grafton was, undoubtedly, the player with the greatest achievements in the field, having a solid background in online poker. He has won nearly $5 million in online tournaments and has two major tour­na­ment victories in live tournaments. He has always been an entertaining character at the gaming table, being renowned for smiling all the time and extensively speaking in live events.

“I’m an online player, that’s what I like to do: to fight against other online players. I make a living from it day by day. For me, it’s kind of a bonus to be able to go and play in a live tournament. I love Bucharest. It’s a fantastic city. I came here in a winter and I knew from that moment on that, if a live tournament is ever to be organized, I will come back. It’s a very nice place to play, and the hall has a very good atmosphere”, says Grafton.

On the last day, Grafton occupied the second place in terms of chips and he knew tough drawing lots would wait for him for his table position. The leader of the leaderboard, Ozdemir, was seated only two places behind him.

Eventually, Grafton and Ozdemir came face to face in the final duel. Ozdemir entered the game, leading with 3 to 1, in terms of chips. In addition, he had a better start and has distanced himself from his opponent. But Grafton did not give up and managed to occupy the first place. The two made a deal, leaving the amount of 7.700 euros in order to play for the title. In the end, Grafton defeated Ozdemir, when his “K-9” combination was more powerful than that of Ozdemir. “Q-J”. Ozdemir ended with two pairs, Grafton went on color, and Ozdemir won $96.993.

At the final table, the game rolled out. Seven players returned for the last day, but two of them left during the first three hands of the day. Traian Bostan was pushed down by Grafton on the seventh place, with a prize worth 18.720 euros. Bostan had 12 big blinds and ended with a “8-10”, and Grafton – with a “K-9”. Grafton climbed into the leaderboard and sent the last Romanian player on the sidelines.




• 1st place – Sam Grafton, Great Britain, 117.707€

• 2nd place – Anil Olgun Oz­demir, Turkey, 96.993€

• 3rd place – Daniel Nietr­zebka, Poland, 57.600€

• 4th place – Fahredin Mus­ta­fov, Bulgaria, 43.500€

• 5th place – Patrick Bueno, France, 34.400€

• 6th place – Johann Eclapier, France, 26.091€

• 7th place – Traian Bostan, Romania, 18.720€

• 8th place – Yuriy Kudrynskyy, Ukraine, 12.790€


The high-roller with 2.200-euros worth buy-in within the PokerStars Festival drew 111 entries (made by 101 unique players), creating a total prize pool worth 215.340 euros.

Or Patreanu of Israel won the grand prize and the coveted trophy, awarding the prize of 55.500 euros. Patreanu, 29 years old, defeated his competition and won the biggest prize in his career. He defeated Alin Petrişor Pandilica from Romania in the final duel, one-on-one, which won the prize of 38.100 euros and the second place.

“I gave up playing professionally a few years ago and I focused on my business, but I know all the players. And I think I’m still good at playing”, said Patreanu.


Sorry, this entry is only available in Romanian.

Mark Scheinberg, from an idea to 4.9 billion dollars

By Cristina Toderaș

Mark Scheinberg is one of the parents of online gambling; in 2001, when the global gambling industry was still fresh, he, along with his father, founded PokerStars. PokerStars immediately became a leader in the industry, especially in online poker, where it still holds the spot. In 2014, Mark Scheinberg decided to sell his online empire for 4.9 billion dollars to the Canadian company Amaya.

This transaction allowed Amaya to add 85 million users to its database, thus becoming the largest online gambling company, and made Mark the 405th richest man in the world and one of the top 10 richest Canadians, according to the 2015 Forbes rankings.

Who is Mark Scheinberg?

Born in Israel in 1973, Mark moved with his family to Canada at age 13. Although he got into college, he dropped out after only one year. And from that moment on, he started working the hospitality industry, which sent him on a number of trips to Asia and South America. After a while, he entered the online gambling industry. In 2001, at just 28, he founded PokerStars, along with his father – a former IT programmer at IBM Canada, where he developed the Unicode standard, that allows Asian computers to recognize a European script and vice versa. Initially functioning only in beta version, soon the company allowed users to bet real money. Rational Group – the company that actually owned the online platform Poker Stars and, later on, Full Tilt Poker, was initially based in Costa Rica, but then moved to the Isle of Man, for tax reasons.

The Evolution of Online Gambling

PokerStars only won the appreciation of the players after organizing a few big tours. The tipping point came in 2003, when Chris Moneymaker became a millionaire by winning The World Series of Poker (WSOP), the largest event in the poker industry. And he had only been able to enter the competition after winning an online contest on PokerStars.

In 2004, the company’s estimated worth had reached 2 billion dollars, becoming the largest online poker room. In 2009, PokerStars broke the world record for the largest online poker tournament ever organized, when 149,196 people registered to compete, then broke it again in 2011, when more than 200,000 participants logged in after paying a one dollar buy-in. First place won 50,000 dollars. And the online traffic was so intense, that the servers gave in, and the tournament had to be suspended for approximately 20 minutes. Two years later, in 2013, they managed to break the record again, when 225,000 players entered the online tournament.

The company’s run wasn’t easy, though, as it was involved in a number of scandals in the US, where the legislation regulates online gambling. On the 12th of April 2011, the Attorney General decided to prosecute a number of people who were connected to platforms such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker și Absolut Poker, also blocking the websites, after these online poker rooms allowed American gamblers to use their services, although the American law – The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 – explicitly forbade it. This day remained forever in history under the name „Poker’s Black Friday”. Scheinberg managed to overcome this, after which he decided it was time to buy out his competitor, Full Tilt Poker. In order to obtain permission to buy it, PokerStars had to sue the Department of Justice. Finally, they struck a deal that cost PokerStars 731 million dollars.

The Largest Transaction in the Online Gambling Industry

The negotiations for the deal between Rational and Amaya Gaming lasted for 6 months, during which they almost got canceled, when the state of New Jersey suspended PokerStars’ license. The sale finally went through, and the Scheinberg family gave up on all their stock for 4.9 billion dollars.

Today, among the games that PokerStars offers, you can find: Omaha, Texas Hold’em, Courchevel, Razz, Badugi, Triple Stud, 8-Game Mix etc. Currently, around 25,000 gamblers play online poker with real money on the PokerStars platform, daily.

Mark Scheinberg, the Investor

The Spanish press recently spotlighted his interest in the country’s real estate market. Spain is currently healing after the 2008 real estate crisis, and the opportunity for investments seems significant.

Scheinberg recently paid 225 million euros for 50% of OHL Desarrollos and Grupo Villar Mir, that own Centro Canalejas Madrid, a giant project that means to turn a number of historical buildings in the center of the Spanish capital into a multifunctional complex.


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(Română) PokerStars desemnat “Cel mai bun operator de poker al anului”

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(Română) “Beat the Clock” – câştigi în doar cinci minute! Cristiano Ronaldo este imaginea “Beat the Clock”, un nou turneu PokerStars

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