Anticipation is growing for the PartyPoker Premier League IV, which is set to be played from February 12th to 18th. Today came the announcement of where the tournament will be held and who will be replacing poker legend Doyle Brunson.
PartyPoker and Matchroom Sports, who are the sponsors of the PartyPoker Premier League IV, have selected the M Resort & Spa Casino on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip to play host for what is recognized as one of the most prestigious invitational poker tournaments in the game today. The M has earned kudos as one of the best new hotels in Vegas, with 92,000 square feet of casino area. Over the weekend, however, it will be the 14-table poker room that garners the attention of poker fans during the PartyPoker Premier League IV.
During the announcement of the venue, it was also disclosed that poker professional Phil “The Unabomber” Laak will be stepping in to replace the legendary Brunson in the $100,000 buy-in tournament. Laak, who won the PartyPoker World Open V last year, steps in for Brunson due to the two-time World Champion’s current health issues. Also confirmed for the PartyPoker Premier League IV are defending champion J. C. Tran, defending World Poker Tour (WPT) champion Yevgeniy “Jovial Gent” Timoshenko, former World Champion Phil Hellmuth, Roland de Wolfe, European bad boy Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, David Benyamine, and the newest member of Team PartyPoker, Antanas “Tony G” Guoga.
Laak is excited about the chance to play in one of the biggest buy-in tournaments in the world, but he is also aware of the stakes. “This is the most money I have ever wagered against the toughest field I have ever faced,” Laak said during the announcement. “Collectively, my opponents have over $45 million in tournament winnings, so this will be the best ride ever.”
Laak also broke down the field that he will face during the event, offering critiques in his usual off-kilter manner. “I hear Tony G has a bike now,” Laak stated. “I hope he doesn’t send me off on it!” When the topic turned to Schwartz, whom Laak defeated for the PartyPoker World Open V championship and who is notorious for his antics at European poker events, Laak jabbed, “As for FullFlush, there will be free sandwiches.” Earning the most praise from “The Unabomber” were four opponents that he faces. “Negreanu and Hellmuth (are) ranked two and four on the all time money list. Truly amazing,” Laak observed. “Vanessa Rousso is always thinking, while Roland de Wolfe is full of sharp wit and is amazingly entertaining, always.”
Laak has earned over $1.8 million in his tournament poker career, according to the Hendon Mob database, with a WPT title among his achievements. His quirky style at the tables, where he will do push-ups and offer money for opponents to show their cards, is only topped off by his attire of a hoodie and sunglasses that earned him the nickname “The Unabomber.” He recently also opened his own poker room, Unabomber Poker, which is part of the Cake Poker Network.
The 12 player field for the PartyPoker Premier League IV will be filled out with two additional players yet to be determined. One seat is reserved for one of 16 online qualifiers who will determine a champion prior to the start of festivities in Las Vegas. The second will go to the winner of a special tournament between Team PartyPoker members. The 12 players who make the PartyPoker Premier League IV roster will battle it out in two six-handed semifinal matches and the Championship Event, which will be filmed for television.
With Laak replacing Brunson and the final players almost determined, the prize pool for the PartyPoker Premier League IV will reach $1.5 million, with the extra $300,000 contributed by PartyPoker. The action should be riveting, as some of the top players in the game today vie for a championship that has been won in years previous by such names as Tran, Irish poker champion Andy Black, and Finnish poker star Juha Helppi. Poker News Daily will have all the results as the PartyPoker Premier League IV determines its champion starting this Friday.