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Poker Players Mourn Kobe, PokerStars Co-Founder Pays $1 Million Bail and Wan Wins Aussie Millions

A tribute to Kobe Bryan is shown at the Aussie Millions.

It was a busy weekend in the poker news world. The weekend started off with the Aussie Millions Main Event final table. The five-day event was down to just nine players on Friday, and after a marathon final table that wrapped up at 4 a.m. after a three-way deal, Vincent Wan emerged victorious.

Later that day, Forbes.com also came out with a profile on the rise and fall of PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg, who recently turned himself over to U.S. authorities for charges stemming from Black Friday in 2011.

The weekend ended on a tragic note after news broke that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday morning. The news reverberated around the world and poker players joined the millions across the world mourning one of the NBA’s greatest players.

Vincent Wan Wins Aussie Millions Main Event, Seidel Finishes 5th

After three starting flights, 820 players and four days of grueling NLHE, the Aussie Millions was down to its final seven players last Friday. Action kicked off at 12:30 p.m. and the tournament didn’t get down to a champion until around 4 a.m.

Nino Ullmann started the final table with the chip lead while the eventual champion, Vincent Wan, started in third. Eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel also made it to the final table and started the final day fourth in chips.

While Seidel was the most accomplished player at the table, he was one of the first to go. According to live updates on PokerNews, Seidel was chipped down to less than 20 big blinds and got it all-in with ace-ten offsuit. Vincent Wan called with a dominating ace-jack offsuit. Seidel paired his ten on the flop, but Wan also hit his jack. The rest of the board bricked for Seidel and he finished in fifth.

Ullmann was the next to go and then the final three players cut a deal. After that, it took more than three hours to get to the heads-up. Wan started with the lead, but during the four-hour bout, he dipped to about 10 big blinds before mounting a comeback and taking down the tournament.

For his victory, Wan won the title and A$1.3 million.

PokerStars Co-Founder Isai Scheinberg Surrenders To U.S. Authorities

On Friday, Forbes staff writer Nathan Vardi published an extensive profile on Isai Scheinberg, the often secretive and elusive figure behind the rise of PokerStars. Vardi details Scheinberg’s life, from him fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War to overseeing PokerStars as it became the largest poker site in the world.

The article was prompted by Scheinberg’s negotiated surrender to U.S. authorities. Scheinberg is facing several charges that include bank fraud and money laundering stemming from Black Friday back in 2011.

Scheinberg, now 73, had spent the years since his indictment in Canada and the Isle of Man, but then he faced extradition while he was visiting Switzerland. Scheinberg negotiated his surrender, pleaded not guilty in a federal court in New York City on January 18 and was released on $1 million bail.

This brings the nearly decade-long case that rocked the poker world one step closer to finally coming to an end.

Poker Community Mourns Kobe Bryant

The world was rocked on Sunday by the news that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others had died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. The five-time NBA champ, 18-time NBA all-star and two-time Olympic gold medalist was on his way to coach his daughter’s basketball team.

Bryant, 41, is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in NBA history and his impact on sports, culture and athletes across the world is undeniable. Many poker players took to Twitter to express their condolences or talk about how Bryant influenced them.