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Lance

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  1. [caption width="640"] Jason Somerville is bringing the Aussie Millions to Twitch[/caption] There's an entire generation that grew up playing or watching Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego? It was a game show and series of video games developed to teach kids geography as they took the clues provided and attempted to capture the criminal mastermind Carmen Sandiego. There's an entire generation of poker players and fans that are learning geography, but it's not a fedora-wearing, redheaded villain, but rather a 28-year-old poker-playing, live-streaming New Yorker who is showing his ever-growing fan base the world, one Twitch broadcast at a time. Just a week after taking his show to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Jason Somerville finds himself Down Under as the sole broadcaster for the 2016 Aussie Millions, one of the premier events on the poker calendar. "I started talking to the Aussie Millions guys at the end of September," said Somerville. "They reached out to me saying they wanted to do something really special this year and that they had tried live streaming, I guess, in the past and it hadn't gone really great and they had seen what I had done on Twitch." While Somerville's existing audience was certainly a big part of the reason Crown contacted him in the first place, the enthusiasm he showed in pitching them his concept was what sold them on him. They knew they had the right medium, and after talking to Somerville they knew they had the right partner. "In 2016, Crown Melbourne made the decision to extend the global reach of the Aussie Millions and make the tournament accessible to poker enthusiasts where they consume poker the most," said Xavier Walsh, Crown's COO. "We are committed to providing the most dynamic, compelling, and relevant coverage possible, and it was crucial to extend the digital footprint to a new phase whilst including new channels in the social media space, namely Twitch.tv, allowing the world to enjoy the action as it happens." What Somerville had "done on Twitch" is now well known in most poker circles. Crown Casino still wasn't sure what Somerville would want to do. "At first, I think they didn't quite know what they wanted and then once I heard they were interested I pitched them on the full thing," said Somerville. "I told them, 'I want to come out there, we'll do the full broadcast, commentary on the $100K, $250K, Main Event, as much coverage as we can get every single day and let's showcase this event.'" Somerville debuted as an official partner on Twitch in October 2014 and quickly became the single most popular poker player on the live streaming service. The success of his Run It Up broadcasts have paved the way and set a template for the likes of Jaime Staples, Randy Lew, and Celina Lin to follow. But Somerville's Twitch broadcasts were originally built around his own play. People were tuning in to watch Somerville live stream his own play in PokerStars tournaments and cash games. While that proved extremely popular, Somerville had his eyes on bigger things, including live streaming from live poker tournaments and events around the world. In December, while Somerville was busy finalizing his plans for the Aussie Millions, the brain trust at PokerStars, where Somerville is a Team Pro, wanted to know what his PCA plans were. Sure, it was relatively short notice, but Somerville jumped at the chance to offer his legions of fans the chance to check out PokerStars' marquee event. Somerville didn't exactly take it easy – he jumped in with both feet. Over the course of the PCA, Somerville was on air for nearly 5,000 minutes – 81 hours. During that time, there was an average of 6,000 concurrent viewers tuned in, peaking at just over 13,500 for the Main Event final table. His efforts set a record for live tournament poker on Twitch. He's hoping to smash that record this week. "The shows are going to be absolutely awesome, with hole cards the entire time. That's one thing we heard consistently (during PCA) was people saying, 'I don't know what they have,'" said Somerville. During the PCA broadcasts, hole cards were kept hidden. "It's going to be the same kind of interactive broadcast as we had (at PCA). I'm going to be talking in the Twitch chat the whole time through and people can ask questions. I think it will be the most high-quality (poker) broadcast ever done." The PCA broke all the records, but it also gave Somerville a lot of notes on how to improve the product heading into the Aussie Millions. Being able to see hole cards is important, but that wasn't the only feedback he's using to take the product to the next level. "We've learned a lot of lessons about trying to minimize recycled break content, trying to always have something fresh and interesting and engaging to keep the viewers all night long, and I think they're going to be really compelling and interesting shows," said Somerville. While many poker fans might think of Twitch as a place to watch poker, the Twitch audience is much larger and consists largely of eSports and video game streams. Finding a way to get that audience is one of the challenges that Somerville most embraces, largely because he feels like he's a part of both worlds. "Twitch is used to a certain level of production quality for the massive eSports events that they have. We see Riot games run their League of Legends finals; they're getting hundreds of thousands of concurrent views watching a pristine, top-of-the-line, beautiful broadcast and many of the top games on Twitch present their games in that way," said Somerville. "Poker really hasn't done that too much yet. The live streams from poker have always been like, 'Oh, and let's live stream on Twitch,' instead of having a guy like me who can bridge the gap between the video game world and the poker world." [caption width="640"] The complete Twitch stream schedule for the 2016 Aussie Millions[/caption] The schedule calls for Somerville to be on air for eight straight days, not only talking poker, but also engaging with the Twitch audience. He'll have plenty of help, though, as some of poker's biggest stars will undoubtedly make their way into the broadcast booth to provide commentary and insight. Still, Somerville is going to find himself talking for over 80 hours. "Honestly, I don't drink coffee. I don't really drink soda or anything, I'm just a very... to me, it comes naturally. I'm just passionate about what I'm doing here and I find that it's easy to be energetic because we truly are showcasing one of the most premiere events in the poker universe and we're bringing it to an audience that has never heard of Aussie Millions before," said Somerville. "I feel like we're going to be delivering a broadcast that caters to Twitch. The production is oriented around what I'm saying and what I want to do." Somerville starts streaming on Sunday, January 24 at 8pm local time (4am US Eastern Time) with the opening day of the $100K Challenge, an event that will draw the biggest names in poker. Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Sam Trickett and Antonio Esfandiari are all expected to be in the field.
  2. [caption width="640"] Antonio Esfandiari is no stranger to high stakes, high pressure situations.[/caption] There are a number of ways in which a poker player can be disqualified from a tournament. On Sunday, Day 2 of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, Antonio Esfandiari was disqualified and it had nothing to do with anything the Poker Tournament Directors Association has ever made a rule for. Esfandiari was disqualified for urinating into a bottle while at a table. You read that right. Mother nature called and rather than leave the table and head to the men's room, Esfandiari took care of business at the table. It turns out getting from the table to the men's room would have been all too painful thanks to a prop bet Esfandiari had made with Bill Perkins. To win the bet, Esfandiari had to lunge everywhere he went for 48 hours. Sunday was the second day of the bet and Esfandiari was apparently feeling the effects of lunging around the Atlantis Resort for two days straight. Before Day 2 began, Esfandiari took to Twitter to give an update on the prop bet and ended up foreshadowing the big incident of the day. Esfandiari's punishment was only for the Main Event and he is allowed to play other PCA events beginning Monday.
  3. [caption width="640"] Daniel Negreanu was the biggest name in the field, but suffered an upset thanks to Jonathan Little.[/caption] When the field was announced for the WPT Champions Challenge, the bracket-style contest pitting former WPT champions against one another in a fan vote, it seemed like Daniel Negreanu was a lock to win it all. Negreanu has $6.4 million in WPT earnings, nine final tables and two titles. Couple that with his massive fanbase and Negreanu seemed to be in position to dominate the popularity contest. Locks are apparently just for doors. In what can only be described as a major upset, Negreanu, the number one seed in the Clubs region, was defeated by four seed Jonathan Little. Little did some social media campaigning to get his fans to vote for him. It paid off. Little now moves on to the Elite 8 and finds himself up against Doyle Brunson for a Final Four berth. Brunson, the 11 seed in the region, beat out two seed Hoyt Corkins to advance. Negreanu was actually the second top seed to fall. The Hearts region saw Carlos Mortensen eliminated in the second round by Erik Seidel. Only one of the four regions, the Spades region, had the top two seeds advance to the Elight 8. Top seed Gus Hansen beat out Alan Goehring to advance while second seed Antonio Esfandiari beat out good friend Phil Laak to move on. The other remaining top seed, Anthony Zinno, came out on top of Mohsin Charania to get through. He’ll now face Barry Greenstein. The three seed upset two seed JC Tran to move on. Despite being a number seven seed, Phil Ivey continues to survive and advance. Ivey made it past Michael Mizrachi. Seidel posted yet another upset, beating out Marvin Retteinmaier to earn a spot against Ivey. Clubs Region Matchup Key Stats #4. Jonathan Little: $3,695,510 - 2 titles - 4 final tables - 21 cashes #11. Doyle Brunson: $2,081,824 - 1 title - 3 final tables - 8 cashes Diamonds Region Matchup Key Stats #1. Anthony Zinno: $2,336,548 - 3 titles - 3 final tables - 15 cashes #3. Barry Greenstein: $2,427,428 - 2 titles - 5 final tables - 20 cashes Hearts Region Matchup Key Stats #7. Phil Ivey: $4,027,221 - 1 title - 10 final tables - 14 cashes #8. Erik Seidel: $2,332,000 - 1 title - 7 final tables - 22 cashes Spades Region Matchup Key Stats #1. Gus Hansen: $4,051,782 - 3 titles - 7 final tables - 9 cashes #2. Antonio Esfandiari: $2,956,243 - 2 titles - 8 final tables - 13 cashes The Elite 8 of the WPT Champions Challenge is open for voting until Tuesday at 5 pm ET. Vote here.
  4. [caption width="640"] Only three of the four top seeds are moving on to the WPT Champions Challenge Sweet 16.[/caption] Even though they've had little trouble this year, number one seeds don’t always breeze through the NCAA tournament. Upsets happen. It seems that the World Poker Tour Champions Challenge is no different. Carlos Mortensen, top seed in the Hearts Region, was beaten by poker hall of famer and eight seed Erik Seidel in the Round of 32. The other three top seeds, Gus Hansen, Anthony Zinno and Daniel Negreanu, all advanced to the Sweet 16. The Champions Challenge is a bracket-style tournament pitting 64 former WPT champions against each other with each match-up decided by a fan vote on WPT.com. The field of 64, and the seeding, were determined by taking into account the WPT success of each player. In the Sweet 16, Hansen is matched up against Alan Goehring, while Zinno takes on Mohsin Charania and Negreanu has Jonathan Little as his opponent. There was only two other upsets in the second round, but poker fans might not call one of them that. Doyle Brunson, seeded 11th in the Clubs region, beat Darren Elias, a three seed, to advance to the third round. While Brunson’s popularity is unquestionable, his WPT resume isn’t quite as polished as Elias’. Brunson has one WPT title, three WPT final tables, eight WPT cashes and $2,081,824 in earnings, but Elias has two WPT wins, five final tables and 19 cashes and he only trails Brunson’s lifetime WPT earnings by $189,000. Still, Brunson earned enough fan votes to move on. The other upset came in the Spades region as 11 seed Phil Laak beat out 3 seed Freddy Deeb. Laak’s victory sets up a third round match-up that will probably end up as the most talked about of the round. Laak now faces his best friend, Antonio Esfandiari, in the Sweet 16. The pair have been good friends since long before their WPT success. Those two aren’t the only good friends facing off in the next round though. After upsetting Elias, Brunson now faces Hoyt Corkins for a chance at moving on to the Elite Eight. Like Elias, Corkins brings a better-than-Doyle WPT resume to the table, but his two WPT titles, six final tables, 19 cashes and $3.5 million in earnings might not be enough to overcome Brunson’s popularity. This round of voting is open until Friday at 5 pm ET. The WPT Champions Challenge Sweet 16 Clubs Region Daniel Negreanu vs. Jonathan Little Hoyt Corkins vs. Doyle Brunson Diamonds Region Anthony Zinno vs. Mohsin Charania JC Tran vs. Barry Greenstein Hearts Region Erik Seidel vs. Marvin Rettenmaier Phil Ivey vs. Michael Mizrachi Spades Region Gus Hansen vs. Alan Goehring Antonio Esfandiari vs. Phil Laak
  5. [caption width="640"] Celina Lin relied heavily on her personal connections to construct the Hong Kon Stars roster.[/caption] One of the core concepts of the Global Poker League is taking a game that has always been about individuals and making it about a team of players and personalities. Attaching those teams to a geographic region and giving poker fans in that part of the country a reason to cheer for their local team is another. On draft day last Thursday, nobody May have done more for their local market than Hong Kong Stars manager Celina Lin. Through the four rounds of the draft, Lin was entirely focused on players from Asian markets, something she admitted was her strategy before the draft even began. “I would like the team to feel comfortable and at home, so since I live mainly in Asia, I will look to draft players from my region who regularly play in the PokerStars Live Macau tournaments,” Lin said on draft day. The Hong Kong Stars Roster: Weiyi Zhang (China) - $257,873 career live earnings - #614 on GPI Raiden Kan (Hong Kong) - $908,891 career live earnings - #284 on GPI Dong Guo (China) - $555,656 career live earnings - #431 on GPI Bryan Huang (Singapore) $854,703 career live earnings - #474 on GPI “The idea of having a unified team amongst many different markets/communities brings me to believe we will have strong team morale,” said Lin, a Team PokerStars Online pro. “One of the key characteristics I was paying attention to during the draft was players with an e-gaming background, especially Hearthstone, as I feel many elements are comparable to poker.” Lin was the only manager to not draft a single player ranked in the top 25 of the Global Poker Index. Lin was first approached by GPL founder Alex Dreyfus about running the Stars franchise and was immediately on board. “Alex reached out to me. He was looking for the right ambassador to manage and represent the Hong Kong Stars,” said Lin. “Since I have lived in Macau/Hong Kong the past five years, I’m very familiar with the players and am well-respected in the poker community.” It was that familiarity with the Asian players that turned heads on draft day. As Lin made her way to the stage and announced each pick, more than a few other GPL managers had to ask, “Who’s that?” That sort of risk-taking is something she apparently shares with and admires in Dreyfus. “The idea of ‘sportifying’ poker is an exciting new take on promoting the game like never before. It puts an interesting twist on the game we already know and love,” said Lin. “The idea of playing in ‘The Cube’ on a global stage in front of thousands of people drives me to give my 100% effort into forming and representing the Hong Kong Stars.” While she has plenty of experience as a player – she has $581,359 in career earnings and is 14th on China’s all-time money list – she will now be managing a group of players, something entirely new to her. “As a poker player, you are used to working alone. As the GPL manager for the Hong Kong Stars, I will be working and managing other poker players, something I have never done before,” said Lin. “If I can find good, helpful, hard-working people who are team players, I think my role as the manager will be a breeze.” While Lin didn’t have a hand in naming her team or designing the logo, she’s thrilled that it ties in some cultural aspects of Hong Kong and some of her personal poker story. “I do have to say that the logo is very fitting, as it reminds me of my success of winning the Red Dragon main event twice in Macau,” said Lin.
  6. [caption width="450"] Dzmitry Urbanovich continues to find new ways to dominate the European Poker Tour[/caption] Last season Dzmitry Urbanovich burst onto the European Poker Tour scene and at 19 years old made easy work of the EPT Player of the Year race even though he never won an EPT Main Event. On Saturday in Dublin the now 20-year-old Polish poker pro found himself on top of the EPT Dublin Main Event field after a grueling heads-up duel with Germany’s Gilles Bernies to win €5,125,000 ($5,705,157 US). "It feels very good, very good," Urbanovich said. "It's been a long week." Urbanovich kicked things off on the third hand of the day. Urbanovich opened to 110,000 from early position and Rhys 'floppinhel' Jones moved all in from the big blind. Urbanovich called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"] and had Jones’ [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"] dominated. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="ad"] to give Urbanovich top two pair and eliminate Jones in sixth. It took nearly two hours for the next elimination. Ilios Kamatakis raised to 150,000 from UTG and Bernies called from the cut-off. Kamatakis bet 275,000 before Bernies raised to 650,000. Kamatakis moved all in and Bernies called. Kamatakis showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] for second pair but Bernies held [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"] for top pair. The [poker card="3h"] turn and [poker card="3d"] river provided no relief for Kamatakis and was out in fifth. The remaining four players played without another elimination for three hours and Bernies used that time to build his chip lead before some fireworks began. Bernies raised to 225,000 and Patrick Clarke announced he was all in. Bernies quickly called and turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] while Clarke showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"] flop gave Bernies top set and left Clarke hoping for runner-runner. The [poker card="7c"] turn was one half of that equation but the [poker card="2s"] river was a brick and Clarke was out in fourth and Bernies held over 72% of the chips in play. He increased that total on the very next hand. Bernies moved all in from the button and Kully Sidhu called from the big blind. Bernies was ahead with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] against Sidhu’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"] flop was no help for Sidhu and neither were the [poker card="2c"] turn or [poker card="2s"] river and he was eliminated in third place. When heads-up play began, Bernies held 14,840,000 of the 18,125,000 chips in play. But over four hours of heads up action, Urbanovich battled back to even, took the chip lead, briefly lost it again and then overcame Bernies again before finall finishing him off. The 61st and final hand of play between Bernies and Urbanovich started with Bernies shipping all in for just about 2,000,000 and found himself in dire straits when Urbanovich snap-called and tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"]. Bernies, with [poker card="qd"][poker card="7h"] needed a lot of help. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4c"] flop gave him a pair but didn’t change much. The [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="9d"] river were complete bricks and Urbanovich eliminated Bernies in second place and captured his first EPT Main Event title. The event - the first for the EPT in Dublin since Season IV - drew 605 players paying the €5,300 buy-in. The EPT is now on a brief hiatus until the EPT Grand Final in Monaco April 25 to May 6. Final Table Payouts Dzmitry Urbanovich - €561,900 Gilles Bernies - €349,800 Kully Sidhu - €250,300 Patrick Clarke - €193,650 Ilios Kamatakis - €52,600 Rhys Jones - €119,450
  7. [caption width="640"] Steve O'Dwyer has .7M earnings so far in 2016[/caption] Steve O’Dwyer did in January what most poker players dream of doing in their lifetime. He finished fourth in the Triton Super High Roller in the Philippines for $953,700. He then won the $50,000 High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $945,495. Then he made his way to the Aussie Millions where he finished fourth in the $25,000 High Roller. Three six figure cashes inside of three weeks. But he wasn’t done. On Monday - the first day of February - he capped that off by winning the Aussie Millions LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge for A$951,960 ($673,371 US). The event drew a total of 16 entries including two from Fedor Holz and a Day 2 entry from Mike McDonald to build a total prize pool of A$3,920,000. After Byron Kaverman busted in fifth place, the remaining four players agreed to an ICM chop, leaving $100,000 cash and the title to play for. The original payout structure was only paying the top three spots. Just over 40 minutes after agreeing to the chop, a crippled Fabian Quoss was sent out in fourth place. Peter raised to 50,000 from the button, O’Dwyer re-raised to 150,000, and Quoss put his last 60,000 in the middle. Peters folded. O’Dwyer held [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"] which put him well ahead of Quoss’ [poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"]. O’Dwyer paired his queen on the turn and Quoss was out in fourth. Five minutes later Drinan followed Quoss. Drinan moved all in from the button and Peters moved all in over the top, forcing O’Dwyer to fold. Drinan showed [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"] and was well behind Peters’ [ah[poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="9c"] and Drinan was out in third leaving O’Dwyer and Peters to play for the title. Heads-up play took just over an hour. On the final hand of the night O’Dwyer raised and Peters called to see a flop of [poker card="qh"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3s"]. Peters checked to O’Dwyer who bet 115,000. Peters called and the two saw the [poker card="th"] hit the turn. Peters checked again and O’Dwer bet 230,000. Peters called again. The river was the [poker card="7d"] and Peters checked again. O’Dwyer announced he was all in for 1,700,000. Peters snap-called and tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"] for two pair but O’Dwyer showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="ts"] for a better two pair, eliminating Peters and earning his second high roller victory of the last three weeks. Final Table Payouts Steve O’Dwyer - 951,960 David Peters - 889,236 Connor Drinan - 1,021,909 Fabian Quoss - 956,896
  8. [caption width="450"] Rui 'RuiNF' Ferreira is now part of a unique club following his TCOOP victory.[/caption] History was made on the third to final day of PokerStars Turbo Championship of Online Poker as Rui 'RuiNF' Ferreira become just the third player to join the PokerStars COOP Triple Crown club with his win in Event #37. Ferreira joins Shawn Buchanan and James ‘Andy McLEOD’ Obst as players to have won a WCOOP, SCOOP and TCOOP title in their career. The day began however with Oscar ‘MendaLerenda’ Serradell beating out 299 other players to win Event #36, a $82 No Limit Draw event. The 300 players also produced 198 re-entries to push the total prize pool to $37,350 - well over the $25,000 guarantee. When the final table started, Serradell, the #14-ranked player in the world, was second in chips behind only Artur ‘ARTSchGamble’ Scerbak. Serradell turned the tables early though after Scerbak dropped a big chunk of chips to ‘risto155’. Serradell busted Scerbak in fifth and found himself with the chip lead. After ‘MaTitheone’ busted ‘schn4trick’ in fourth, Serradell eliminated ‘risto155’ in third and then MaTitheone in second to win the first COOP title of his career and earn $7,096.70 in the process. Ferreira’s history-making run came in Event #37, a $215 Six Max No Limit with rebuys Event. When the final table began Ferreira had 2,235,845 in chips - more than 1,000,000 ahead of his closest competitor. Shashank ‘felter1989’ Jain took care of the first elimination, sending ‘Tankanza’ out in sixth. Ferreira busted ‘oswald187’ in fifth before Jain sent ‘mczhang’ out in fourth. Despite picking up two of the first three eliminations, Jain was on the losing end of a blind vs. blind battle against Ferreira and was done in third place leaving only ‘uWannaLoan?’ between Ferreiro and the COOP Triple Crown. After chop discussions went nowhere, Ferreiro went to work at winning the tournament outright. On the final hand of the night ‘uWannaLoan?’ raised to 336,000 before Ferreiro moved all in. ‘uWannaLoan?’ called and tabled [poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"] while Ferreiro was needed some assistance with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"][poker card="3h"] flop gave Ferreiro top pair and that held through the [poker card="8c"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river to give Ferreira the TCOOP title and another $81,474 in earnings. In Event #38, a $215 Ante Up No Limit Hold’em event with Progressive Super Knockout, ‘chickensssss’ (chicken on PocketFives) came out on top of a 1,191 player field to win $20,556.66. ‘chickensssss’ dominated the final table, eliminating five of the last six players to collect not only their chips, but their bounties as well. On the final hand of the tournament, ‘chickensssss’ called from the small blind before ‘philipgm’ raised to 90,010. ‘chickensssss’ called to send both players to a [poker card="kh"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] flop. ‘chickensssss’ called ‘philipgm’s bet of 119,001. After the [poker card="7h"] turn ‘philipgm’ bet 202,311 and again ‘chickensssss’ called. The [poker card="8d"] river got ‘philipgm’ to move all in for 849,047 and ‘chickensssss’ called and tabled [poker card="th"][poker card="5d"] for second pair while ‘philipgm’ showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"] for busted straight and flush draws. The final event of the day, Event #39, saw ‘duffm0n’ emerge victorious in the $82 Six Max Limit Hold’em event over a field of 643 players. The final table included Team PokerStars Pro Kosei ‘K. Ichinose’ Ichinose who finished fifth. With just three players remaining ‘RyderRock’ had the chip lead over both ‘duffm0n’ and ‘TaBuLA_Ras4’. Early talks of a chop were quickly dismissed by ‘duffm0n’ and play continued. Not long after that ‘RyderRock’ and ‘duffm0n’ tangled that eliminated ‘RyderRock’ and sent ‘duffm0n’ on to a quick heads-up battle with ‘TaBuLA_Ras4’ that ended when ‘duffm0n’ made a full house on a [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2d"] board with ‘TaBuLA_Ras4’ betting the entire way with just queen-high. TCOOP Event #36: $82 No Limit Draw (re-entry) 300 entrants, 198 re-entries $37,350 prize pool Oscar ‘MendaLerenda’ Serradell - $7,096.70 MaTitheone - $5,229.00 risto155 - $3,828.37 schn4trick - $2,614.50 Artur "ARTSchGamble" Scerbak - $1,867.50 Bigboss300 - $1,195.20 TCOOP Event #37: $215 Six Max No Limit Hold’em (rebuys) 659 entrants, 1,543 rebuys $440,400 prize pool Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira - $81,474.00 uWannaLoan? - $60,775.20 Shashank “felter1989” Jain - $45,141.00 mczhang - $30,828.00 oswald187 - $22,020.00 Tankanza - $13,212.00 TCOOP Event #38: $215 Ante Up No Limit Hold’em (Progressive Super Knockout) 1,191 entrants $238,200 total prize pool chickensssss - $20,556.66 philipgm - $14,887.50 MarcusG22 - $11,314.50 RodRish - $8,289.36 pcayobh - $5,895.45 Tankanza - $4,704.45 FiatEruditio - $3,513.45 The Carnadas - $2,322.45 marksfive - $1,310.10 TCOOP Event #39: $82 Six Max Limit Hold’em 643 entrants $48,225 prize pool duffm0n - $8,921.95 TaBuLA_Ras4 - $6,655.05 RyderRock - $4,943.06 _stel_23_ - $3,375.75 K. Ichinose - $2,411.25 BADEXTASY - $1,446.75
  9. [caption width="540"] Fabian Quoss won the Aussie Millions 0K Challenge[/caption] After a four day break in action, the stacked final table of the 2016 Aussie Millions $100K Challenge final table resumed play on Friday night with Ben 'Ben86' Tollerene leading over Jason Mercier, Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz, Fabian Quoss, Connor Drinan and Sam Greenwood. It took just five hours to play down to a winner with Quoss outlasting Tollerene heads-up to win A$1,446,480 ($1,024,000 US). Holz, who won Super High Roller events in December and January, wasn’t able to overcome the short stack he started the day with. On just the sixth hand of the day, action folded to Drinan on the button and he moved all-in with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] before Holz tank-called from the button with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"]. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="as"][poker card="9s"] to keep Drinan in the lead and eliminate Holz in sixth place for A$281,260 for his tenth six-figure score in the last year. Just six hands later Greenwood became Drinan’s second victim of the day. From the cutoff Drinan raised to 40,000 before Greenwood moved all in from the small blind for 235,000. Drinan called and tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"] while Greenwood was ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] flop was safe for Greenwood, as was the [poker card="4d"] turn, but the [poker card="9d"] river gave Drinan a pair of nines and sent Greenwood home in fifth place. Despite adding the stacks of Holz and Greenwood to his own, Drinan’s run was cut short. After dropping pots to Mercier and Quoss to get short, Drinan doubled through Mercier before finding himself in a tough spot. Action folded to Quoss on the button and he raised to 55,000 with [poker card="ac"] [poker card="2c"] and Drinan called from the big blind with [poker card="qc"] [poker card="9s"]. After the [poker card="jc"][poker card="td"][poker card="7c"] Drinan check-called Quoss’ bet of 75,000. The [poker card="9c"] turn completed Quoss’ flush and after Drinan checked, Quoss bet 135,000. Drinan called. The river was the [poker card="6c"] which gave Drinan a flush of his own. Drinan bet 165,000 and Quoss responded by moving all in. Drinan went into the tank, eventually using the time bank chips players are given to extend the shot clock on any given hand. Drinan called, was given the bad news and was eliminated in fourth place. While the first three eliminations came in the first 26 hands, the next one took some time. It took 31 more hands of play to get to heads-up action. Holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="8h"] Mercier button-raised to 60,000 and Quoss re-raised to 160,000 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. Mercier moved all in and Quoss called. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="3s"][poker card="3h"] flop gave Quoss top pair. He improved to two pair after the [poker card="kh"] turn but Mercier was now drawing to the nut flush. The [poker card="2d"] missed Mercier and he was eliminated in third place. When heads-up play began Quoss had 2,500,000 in chips to Ben Tollerene’s 1,100,000. The pair played over 60 hands before Quoss conquered the highs stakes cash game specialist. Short-stacked after over two hours of heads up play, Tollerene called off his last 250,000 holidng [poker card="js"][poker card="td"] after Quoss moved all in with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"]. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="5d"], completley missing Tollerene and leaving Quoss with the third super high roller title of his career. Final Table Payouts Fabian Quoss - A$1,446,480 Ben Tollerene - A$924,140 Jason Mercier - A$602,700 Connor Drinan - A$441,980 Sam Greenwood - A$321,440 Fedor Holz - A$281,260
  10. [caption width="640"] Mike 'SirWatts' Watson Wins 2016 PCA Main Event[/caption] The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has often been the place where poker legends have their coming out party. The final table of the 2016 PCA Main Event, however, took on a different narrative. The six-handed final table included former WPT champ Mike 'SirWatts' Watson, One Drop High Roller winner Tony Gregg, and EPT Vilamoura champ Toby '810ofclubs' Lewisas well as Russia’s fifth all-time leading money winner, Vladimir Troyanovskiy. Watson, who won his World Poker Tour title 7.5 years ago at the Bellagio Cup, ended up navigating his way to the third major title of career following a heads-up battle with former PCA Main Event runner-up Gregg. Watson knows the player he was then is very different from the player he is today. "I look back and think about how I was playing in that main event. I was able to win, but I realize all of the fundamental errors I was making. My game has grown so much over that time and the player I was then wouldn't have nearly as good of a chance of winning a tournament today," said Watson following his PCA win. Randy Kritzer, who came into play Thursday with the shortest stack, couldn't get much going and was the first player eliminated. On just the eighth hand of the day, Kritzer raised to 225,000 and Phillip McAllister called from the big blind. The [poker card="qh"] [poker card="9h"] [poker card="6d"] flop got a check from McAllister followed by a bet of 325,000 from Kritzer. McAllister announced all-in and Kritzer called and flipped up [poker card="qs"] [poker card="tc"] for top pair. McAllister showed [poker card="8s"] [poker card="7h"] a straight draw and backdoor flush draw. The [poker card="4h"] turn and [poker card="8h"] river gave McAllister his flush and ended Kritzer's run. With the least experienced player gone, play tightened up. It wasn't until almost four hours later that another player was sent packing. Gregg opened to 350,000 and Troyanovskiy defended his big blind. After the [poker card="ac"] [poker card="8h"] [poker card="4h"] flop, Troyanovskiy moved all-in for 700,000 and Gregg called. Gregg tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="qc"] for top pair and Troyanovskiy showed [poker card="7h"] [poker card="3h"] for a flush draw. Neither the [poker card="td"] turn nor [poker card="9c"] river helped Troyanovskiy and the Russian was out in fifth place. It took 90 minutes to go from four players to three. McAllister called from the button and Toby Lewis moved all-in from the button before Watson came over the top of both players from the big blind. Lewis tabled [poker card="ks"] [poker card="9s"] and Watson showed [poker card="ac"] [poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"] [poker card="6s"] [poker card="3h"] [poker card="kh"] [poker card="qs"] to send Lewis home in fourth. Action folded to McAllister, who limped from the small blind. Watson raised all-in from the big blind and McAllister snap-called and showed [poker card="jd"] [poker card="jh"], while Watson turned [poker card="8c"] [poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="tc"] [poker card="7s"] [poker card="5c"] gave Watson middle pair and flush draw and all drama ended with the [poker card="3c"] turn. The meaningless [poker card="5s"] river ended the hand and McAllister was out in third. When heads-up play began, Watson held a nearly 2-1 chip lead over Gregg. The pair went on a dinner break and when they came back agreed to a deal that saw Watson take $695,325 and Gregg $612,175, leaving $33,000 on the table and, of course, the title. Even with just 2.5% of the first and second place prizes still at stake, Gregg and Watson continued to play for over two hours. On the final hand, Gregg limped his button and Watson checked his option to see an [poker card="8h"] [poker card="6h"] [poker card="2h"] flop. Watson checked and Gregg bet 400,000, only to have Watson check-raise to 1,200,000. Gregg responded by moving all-in for 4,100,000. Watson took his time before calling and showed [poker card="7h"] [poker card="4s"] for a flush draw. Gregg tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="8c"] for top pair. The [poker card="7s"] turn gave Watson extra outs and the [poker card="5h"] turn filled his flush to win the 2016 PCA Main Event. 2016 PCA Main Event Final Table Payouts Mike Watson - $728,325 Tony Gregg - $612,175 Phillip McAllister - $356,020 Toby Lewis - $267,340 Vladimir Troyanovskiy - $207,940 Randy Krizter - $153,920 Ken Demlakian - $110,220 Timothy Ulmer - $78,540
  11. [caption width="640"] Fedor Holz has won over https://cdn.pocketfives.com/p5wp/2017/11/593308-fedor-holz-triton-super-high-roller.jpg million in the last two weeks thanks to back-to-back wins[/caption] It seems like there’s really nothing stopping Fedor Holz these days. Just two weeks after Holz won the WPT Alpha8 event at Bellagio, the German poker pro conquered another tough high roller field, winning the $200,000 buy-in Triton Super High Roller at Solaire Resort in the Philippines. The event, part of the WPT National Philippines schedule, attracted 40 unique players totalling 52 entries after re-entries, including Tom Dwan, John Juanda, Philipp Gruissem and Phil Ivey. Holz beat a final table that included Dan Colman, Steve O’Dwyer, David Peters and Ivey to win the $3.4 million first place prize. Holz eliminated thee of his six opponents at the final table on his way to the victory. Steve O’Dwyer, who started the day with the second largest stack behind only Ivey, picked up the first elimination of the day just 17 hands in. O’Dwyer opened the action with a raise to 65,000 from early position, Peters made it 160,000 before Paul Phua announced was all in for 485,000. O’Dwyer responded by moving all in and Peters folded. O’Dwyer tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="qs"] while Phua showed [poker card="ad"] [poker card="jd"]. The board missed Phua entirely with O’Dwyer pairing his queen on the turn to send Phua home in seventh. Another player with well-documented success in high roller events was the next player to bust. Dan Colman raised to 85,000 and Tang and Ivey both called from the blinds. After the [poker card="jd"] [poker card="8d"] [poker card="7h"] flop, Tang bet 150,000, Ivey folded and Colman called. The turn was the [poker card="3h"] and Colman called Tang’s 200,000 bet. After the [poker card="ts"] river, Tang checked, Colman bet 300,000 and Tang announced he was all in. Colman called and mucked his hand when Tang showed T-9 for a straight to eliminate Colman in sixth. Starting the seven-handed final table with the biggest stack didn't mean much for Ivey. Left with just nine big blinds, Ivey moved all in from the cutoff with [poker card="qs"] [poker card="jc"] and Holz called from the small blind with [poker card="ah"] [poker card="qd"]. The board ran out [poker card="8d"] [poker card="7h"] [poker card="2d"] [poker card="ad"] [poker card="9h"] to eliminate Ivey in fifth place, marking the fifth time that he has cashed in a tournament with a buy-in of at least $200,000. Holz continued the aggression to claim another elimination. The German raised to 140,000 from the button before O’Dwyer moved all in from the small blind for just over 1,300,000. Holz called and showed [poker card="td"] [poker card="ts"] against the [poker card="ah"] [poker card="9c"]. The [poker card="qh"] [poker card="9h"] [poker card="5h"] flop improved O’Dwyer’s hand but not enough to get ahead of Holz. The [poker card="kd"] turn and [poker card="7d"] turn were no help for O’Dwyer and he was eliminated in fourth. Devan Tang had been the frontrunner for most of the final table, but his run at the title came crashing to a halt three-handed against Peters and Holz. On his final hand of the tournament, Tang moved all in from the button for 1,620,000 only to have Peters move all in for 1,790,000 right behind him. Holz folded and left Tang, with [poker card="ah"] [poker card="qc"], and Peters, with [poker card="9d"] [poker card="9s"], battle it out. The board ran out [poker card="kd"] [poker card="ks"] [poker card="tc"] [poker card="3h"] [poker card="3c"] to eliminate Tang and send Peters to heads-up action with Holz. Holz had a nearly 2-1 chip lead when heads up play began but lost two of the first three hands of heads up play before the two made a deal based on stacks. The tournament ended on the fourth hand of heads-up play when the pair got it all in preflop with Peters holding [poker card="ac"] [poker card="qc"] and Holz barely leading with [poker card="7d"] [poker card="7s"]. The board ran out [poker card="jh"] [poker card="5d"] [poker card="5c"] [poker card="kd"] [poker card="kh"] to give Holz the trophy and the lions share of the money. Official Final Table Payouts Fedor Holz - $3,463,500 David Peters - $2,309,000 Devan Tang - $1,405,500 Steve O’Dwyer - $953,700 Phil Ivey - $652,500 Dan Colman- $502,000 Paul Phua - $401,600
  12. Three seperate times Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz has been the number ranked online poker player in the world. Sunday night in Las Vegas he add the biggest live win to his resume when he beat Nick Petrangelo heads-up to win the $100,000 buy-in WPT Alpha8 event at the Bellagio. Holz started the eight-handed final table with the chip lead and needed just 106 hands to claim the title and the nearly $1.6 million first place prize. He only eliminated two players on Sunday; David Peters on the bubble and runner-up Petrangelo. It was Petrangelo that did most of the heavy lifting on Sunday. Daniel Negreanu eliminated Keith Tilston in seventh and Sean Winter busted Kathy Lehne, who was runner-up at the WPT Alpha8 event in St. Kitts last December, in sixth place. That’s when Petrangelo went to work. Just one hand after Lehne exited, Holz raised to 125,000 from under the gun, Petrangelo called from the cutoff before Ankush Mandavia moved all-in from the small blind. Holz got out of the way but Petrangelo called. Mandavia tabled Td Th and was ahead of Petrangelo’s 8c 8d. The flop cam 8h 7h 2d putting Petrangelo ahead. Neither the 5c turn or Qc river were of any relief to Mandavia and he was sent packing in fifth place. Petrangelo wasn’t done flopping sets. From UTG Petrangelo raised to 135,000 before Winter moved all-in for 990,000. Petrangelo called and flipped over 7d 7c while Winter needed help with Ac Ts. The flop came Kd Qh 7s giving Petrangelo bottom set but giving Winter a gutshot Broadway draw. The turn was the 4c and the river was the As and Winter was out in fourth place. His next victim was a little bit more high profile. After Holz folded his button, Negreanu moved all-in for 655,000 from the small blind and Petrangelo called. Negreanu was ahead with Kd 3s against Petrangelo’s Qd Jh. The flop changed everything though as the dealer spread out Js 9c 4s putting Petrangelo ahead. The Qc turn gave him top two and left Negreanu drawing to one of four tens for a straight. The 6s river sealed Negreanu’s third place finish. Petrangelo’s carnage took just 45 minutes. Despite being responsible for three consecutive eliminations to get heads-up with Holz, Petrangelo still trailed the young German by a 2.25-1 margin. Petrangelo closed the gap during heads-up play but ultimately couldn’t overcome Holz. it took just 23 hands before the tournament came to a close. Afte Holz limped from the button, Petrangelo shoved for 3,600,000 and Holz called. Petrangelo turned over Ad Qs while Holz showed 5c 5s. The board ran out Jc 3s 2d 4c 9s and Holz’s pocket fives stayed ahead to eliminate Petrangelo in second place. The win is just the fifth of Holz’s career with the most recent coming in the €770 High Roller event at the Israeli Poker Championships in September. The event, the first of WPT Alpha8 Season III, attracted 45 entrants - down 10 from the Season II turnout. There are currently no other Alpha8 events scheduled. Final Table Payouts Fedor Holz - $1,589,219 Nick Petrangelo - $1,015,335 Daniel Negreanu - $640,103 Sean Winter - $441,450 Ankush Mandavia - $309,015 Kathy Lehne - $242,798 Keith Tilston - $176,580 Photo courtesy Joe Giron/World Poker Tour
  13. [caption width="640"] Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov has stepped aside - temporarily - to deal with insider trading allegations.[/caption] Just days after being charged with insider trading, David Baazov has taken an indefinite paid leave of absence from his role as Amaya Chair CEO to deal with the allegations. He will remain a member of the board of directors. Last Wednesday, Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the securities regulator in Quebec, announced they had filed 23 charges related to insider trading at Amaya. Five of those charges were levied at Baazov including aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities, and communicating privileged information. Amaya acquired the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands in June 2014. After the charges were announced, Baazov proclaimed his innocence. "These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations," Baazov said. "While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF's decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges." Others charged included Yoel Altman and Benjamin Ahdoot, both described by AMF as close friends of Baazov. With Baazov stepping aside, at least temporarily, Amaya's board of directors named Divyesh Gadhia as interim chairman and Rafi Ashkenazi as interim CEO. Ghadia is currently on the Amaya board of directors, while Ashkenazi is the CEO of Rational Group, the company which oversees the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. Despite the charges, which could result in fines, jail time or a combination of those for Baazov, he has indicated he still intends to pursue an acquisition of Amaya. "As always, I continue to be dedicated to doing the right thing for Amaya and all its stakeholders. I believe that stepping down in the short term will help to avoid distraction for the company and its management while I vigorously contest all allegations made against me and pursue my bid to acquire the company," Baazov said in a statement. Ghadia is also the chair of the special committee of independent directors, which was established to handle any potential sale or transfer of Amaya ownership, including the interest shown by Baazov. Rumors of Baazov's interest in acquiring the publicly traded company first surfaced in February and the news sent Amaya's stock price on a nearly 30% upswing. The day the charges were announced, Amaya stock price fell from $18.57 to $14.75 - a 21% decrease.
  14. [caption width="640"] PokerStarsNJ is back on U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.[/caption] Monday, March 21 will go down as one of the brightest early days in the history of regulated poker in the United States. Sure, the markets are few and far between and this new world of online poker is in its infancy, but when PokerStars, after nearly a five-year hiatus from dealing real money poker in the United States, made its return, people got excited. The day, which PocketFives covered live, featured a number of important firsts. First tournament win. First time over 500 seated players. First time over 1,000 seated players. First set of nightly tournaments. While there was probably some celebration in PokerStars’ offices in New Jersey and Isle of Man, there are probably also multiple whiteboards and legal pads filled with notes on things that worked and things that didn’t on Day 1. While nobody from PokerStars is likely to share the content of those whiteboards or notepads, watching the day unfold from the outside looking provided a unique perspective as the day unfolded. Here is What We Learned. People still love PokerStars Black Friday was over 1,800 days ago. That was the last time that PokerStars dealt real money poker in the United States, so its return to the market comes after a lengthy absence. There was probably very good reason to assume people would be excited about the return, but even the most optimistic soul probably didn’t think PokerStars would find itself over 1,000 seated players for a good chunk of prime time on Monday night. While recent events with the rest-of-world product have turned some high-stakes regulars against the company, the general reaction from New Jersey players on Monday was one of pure excitement. Following the social media chatter throughout the day, there were very few complaints or messages of disappointment about what was happening in New Jersey. Spin & Gos are hot; Sit & Gos are not When PokerStars dealt its last hand of real money poker in the U.S., sit & gos were one of the most popular products the company had. Recreational players – those without a six-hour window to dedicate to playing a multi-table tournament – were more than happy to play a sit & go and, good or bad, be done in an hour. In 2014, the company introduced a new concept: the Spin & Go. Played three-handed, the Spin & Gos are a hyper-turbo tournament where, instead of playing for the buy-ins of all players, the prize pool is determined by a pre-tournament spin of a wheel. Players end up playing for between 2X and 10,000X the buy-in amount. The PokerStarsNJ launch gave Americans their first taste of this new product and they proved to be extremely popular. On the other hand, those sit & gos that were once a staple of the overall experience struggled to find traction. Watching all lobbies throughout the day on Monday, the SNG lobby looked and felt like a bit of a ghost town. Those recreational players, the ones who originally flocked to them, seem more keen on gambling it up a little bit to find a big prize pool to play for in a Spin & Go than grinding out a smaller payday in a standard sit & go. PokerStars enjoyed a late-mover advantage When the New Jersey market first opened up, there were a number of hurdles that operators and players faced. While most players were expecting and hoping for an experience identical to the one they had pre-regulation, the reality was a lot different. The sign-up process was different, more personal information (including Social Security Number) was required, credit card companies were slow to differentiate between regulated, legal online gaming operations and offshore gray market sites and depositing wasn’t easy. One of the biggest issues was geo-location. NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement regulations require operators to limit their offering to people within the Garden State. Geo-location software was supposed to make this an easy process, but players were often met with confusing situations, including being told they weren’t in New Jersey even though they were attempting to play from that operator’s Atlantic City casino. But while partypoker, 888, WSOP.com and the now-defunct Ultimate Poker suffered through those early hassles and made their own share of mistakes along the way, PokerStars sat back and were able to observe and be ready for any potential problems. GeoComply, a third-party company that is now the standard-bearer for the gaming industry, solved the geo-location issue. Credit card processing still isn’t perfect (some players reported issues depositing with VISA on Monday), but it’s a lot further developed than it was. The initial guarantees weren’t all that aggressive PokerStars developed a reputation years ago of being the site for tournaments. When they announced their PokerStarsNJ tournament schedule last week, it was met with a shoulder shrug or two and considered pretty standard for the state. To be fair, the New Jersey market isn’t big and there are already a couple of operators with market share. That being said, PokerStarsNJ had no trouble at all making the guarantees on Day 1. A snapshot of some of the regular schedule and how they did against the guarantee. The Big $5: $500 guarantee, $759.85 prize pool The Big $10: $1,000 guarantee, $1,274 prize pool The Big $20: $1,000 guarantee, $1,601.60 prize pool The Big $50: $1,500 guarantee, $3,594.50 prize pool The Nightly Stars $100: $10,000 Guarantee, $12,943.80 There were a few smaller events that did have an overlay and a lot of this early success can be chalked up to the overall buzz and excitement about PokerStars being back in action, but should these numbers continue to be better than the guarantees, it seems likely that PokerStars will come up with bigger guarantees quickly to maintain this momentum. Not all the news was good on Monday PokerStars is a mammoth operation and the New Jersey market represents a fraction of its player base and revenue. So while that state, and a lot of the other U.S. markets, were celebrating Monday, the company managed to drop a bombshell on the rest of its player base. The price of poker was going up. Just after Noon ET, the company announced an increase in rake that averages out, according to PokerStars, to 4%, but "PokerStars will still have the lowest overall pricing (known as 'rake') of any major online poker operator." The increase comes just a few short months after the dramatic altering of the PokerStars VIP program that led to player strikes and meetings between high-profile players and company executives. The announcement, which did not impact the PokerStarsNJ rake, was not received well. The timing could have been a coincidence, but it still felt like a dark cloud on what was otherwise a day of rainbows and sunshine. While New Jersey players were happily clicking away at flush draws and making hero calls for the first time in five years, regular players in other markets were again taking to social media to express their frustration, anger and disappointment with the way in which PokerStars is conducting business. Rather than enjoy a day or two or seven of mostly positive coverage, the company found itself swimming in a sea of negative energy.
  15. [CAPTION=100%]All four #1 seeds advanced to Round 2 in the WPT Champions Challenge.[/CAPTION] Just like March Madness, the first round of the World Poker Tour Champions Challenge was all about the upset. Eight of the first 32 first round match-ups ended with the lower seed advancing to the second round. The Champions Challenge is a bracket-style tournament pitting some of the greatest performers in WPT history against each other in a contest driven by fan voting. It's structured identically to the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament with the winner announced on April 11. Four of the upsets came from the Spades region, with the biggest highlight being #10 seed Tony Dunst beating out #7 seed Howard Lederer. Season 9 WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger, the #12 seed, beat out #5 Tommy Vedes, #11 Phil Laak eliminated #6 Matt Giannetti and #9 David Williams beat out #8 Nenad Medic. The biggest upset came in the Hearts region as #15 seed Dan Harrington beat out #2 seed Erick Lindgren. The only other upset in that region had #11 Nick Schulman come out ahead of #6 Aaron Mermelstein. The other two regions only had one upset each. In the Diamonds region, #11 Vivek Rajkumar bested #6 Randal Flowers and in the Clubs region #11 seed Doyle Brunson ousted #6 Kevin Eyster. And just like March Madness, number one seeds had no trouble in the first round. Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Anthony Zinno and Daniel Negreanu all moved on to the second round. Looking through the 16 second round match-ups, there are a few that stand out as worth watching. Clubs Region #1 Daniel Negreanu vs. #8 Gavin Smith It's an all-Canadian battle as Season 3 WPT Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu goes up against Season 4 WPT POY Gavin Smith. Negreanu has two WPT titles, both coming in Season 3 when he won the Borgata Poker Open and Five Diamond Poker Classic. Smith won the Mirage Poker Showdown in Season 4 and followed that up with a third place finish at the North American Poker Championship and a fourth place finish at the World Poker Open. Negreanu has a huge edge in lifetime WPT earnings, having banked $6.4 million to Smith's $2.6 million. Diamonds Region #2 JC Tran vs. #7 Scotty Nguyen There may not be a closer match-up in the second round than JC Tran against Scotty Nguyen. Tran has two WPT titles to Nguyen's one and has $1.3 million more in earnings, but Nguyen has eight WPT final tables to Tran's seven and 18 cashes to 16. The bulk of Nguyen's success came early in his career. Six of his first eight WPT cashes were final tables including his win at the World Poker Open in Season 4. Tran's first win came in Season 5 at the World Poker Challenge in Reno. He returned to the winner's circle in Season 12 when he won his hometown Rolling Thunder event at Thunder Valley. Hearts Region #1 Carlos Mortensen vs. #8 Erik Seidel Carlos Mortensen is a #1 seed thanks to his three WPT titles, but he may be in for a rough ride in the second round as he goes up against Erik Seidel. Mortensen's three wins are spread out over three different seasons. He won the North American Poker Championship in Season 3, the WPT World Championship in Season 5 and the Hollywood Poker Open in Season 8. He's cashed 21 times for $6.7 million in earnings. Seidel won the Foxwoods Poker Classic in Season 6 and has cashed 22 times with seven final tables and $2.3 million in earnings. Spades Region #2 Antonio Esfandiari vs. #10 Tony Dunst Tony Dunst took out Howard Lederer in the first round, but beating one the poker world's biggest villains is an easier task than taking on one of its most popular players. That's the challenge in front of Dunst, though, as he takes on #2 seed Antonio Esfandiari. Dunst has one WPT title to his credit, the Season 12 WPT Caribbean event, but has four final tables. Esfandiari has two WPT titles, the LA Poker Classic in Season 2 and the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Season 9. He has nearly $3 million in WPT earnings and eight final table appearances. Second round voting is open until Monday, March 21 at 3 pm PT. Vote here.
  16. [caption width="640"] The Super High Roller Bowl confirmed 47 of 49 entrants on Tuesday.[/caption] Three months before cards are even in the air, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl at Aria Hotel and Casino has sold out all 49 available seats. And the list of confirmed players reads like a who's-who of the high-stakes tournament scene - with the glaring omission of one name. Andrew Robl, Dan Colman, Doug Polk, Dan Smith and Fedor Holz are among the 47 confirmed names. Brian Rast, who won the 2015 Super High Roller Bowl, is also one of the players who have confirmed their place in the event. Not surprisingly, others from the 2015 final table are also slated to make another run. Runner-up Scott Seiver is joined by Connor Drinan, Timofey Kuznetsov, David Peters and Tom Marchese. Each one of those players cashed for at least $1 million last year when the buy-in was $500,000. "The speed at which this exciting event sold out is evidence of the popularity of the Super High Roller Bowl and of poker itself,” said Clint Stinchcomb, CEO of Poker Central, the broadcast partner of the event. “With some of the most exciting and famous players already locked in, the Super High Roller Bowl will be riveting to watch.” While most of the regulars from the high roller circuit are in this event, one such player is not amongst them. Phil Ivey, who played the event last year, is not included in the list of 47. Other players who are confirmed to play include Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth and Erik Seidel. Only 47 of the 49 players in the field were announced as two final spots are being held for ARIA VIPs. A shot-clock will also be enforced throughout the tournament. Players will have 40 seconds to act on their hand and will have five 60-second time banks to use each day to extend their allotted time. Players are also expected to adhere to a business casual dress code and players are not permitted to wear sunglasses at the table. This year, the buy-in is $300,000 and the prizepool is guaranteed at $15,000,000. With $300,000 added to the prizepool by sponsors, the SHRB is a negative-rake event. “I’ve never seen a high-stakes tournament sell out three months in advance," Sean McCormack, ARIA Director of Poker Operations. "It’s unprecedented. We have a significant waiting list, too.” The speed at which the event filled even caught some players off-guard. Registration opened on January 22 and nearly four weeks later, interested players were being turned away. Max Silver, who won a $25,000 High Roller event at Aria last May, attempted to lock up his seat in mid-February, only to find there was no more room. "Guess I'm not playing the Aria 300K," Silver tweeted on February 16. "Seems like I bubbled the remaining spaces for pros." The event runs May 29 to June 1 at the Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Play will start with seven seven-handed tables and the final seven players will all cash. The winner walks away with $5,000,000.
  17. [caption width="640"] Stefan Schillhabel outlasted Adam Geyer to win WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star (Joe Giron photo)[/caption] German poker players have had so much success on the international poker circuit the past three to four years that it's really no surprise when another German star emerges to take down a major title. That's exactly what happened Friday night in San Jose as Stefan Schillhabel came out on top of the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star event to win $1,298,000. Schillhabel started the final table with the chip lead, but watched as Adam Geyer was the most active player early, picking up three eliminations in the first two hours of play. Maria Ho entered the final table third in chips with a shot at becoming the first female player to win an open WPT event. Ho lost a significant pot early on to Adam Geyer only to have her tournament come to an end an hour later. After Geyer opened to 175,000 from the cutoff and Schillhabel re-raised to 460,000 from the button, Ho, the last remaining Shooting Star left in the field, cold four-bet all in for 1,735,000. Geyer tank-called and Schillhabel folded. Geyer was in control with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"] against Ho's [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="qs"] to send Ho out in sixth. After losing over 2,600,000 in a hand with Bryan Piccioli, Season XIII Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown champ Griffin Paul was left short-stacked and in need of an opportunity to double-up. Paul moved all in from UTG for 610,000, Geyer called from the button, but Andjelko Andrejevic announced he was all in for 1,130,000. Geyer called and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"] and found himself way behind Andrejevic's [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and Griffin's [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"] flop changed everything though and gave Geyer top two pair with two cards to come. The [poker card="6s"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river were blanks for Andrejevic and Griffin and both players were eliminated, Griffin in fifth place and Andrejevic in fourth. Having been responsible for the first three eliminations, Geyer was in full control with just three players remaining and over 50% of the chips in play. Things got close to even, though, after Schillhabel clashed with Piccioli. From the button, Geyer opened to 240,000. Schillhabel made it 73,000 from the small blind before Piccioli moved all in from the big blind. Geyer folded, but Schillhabel called and got great news when he found out his [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"] had Piccioli's [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] dominated. Neither player connected on the [poker card="th"][poker card="td"][poker card="5s"][poker card="js"][poker card="6c"] run out and Piccioli was eliminated in third place. That hand moved Schillhabel to within 350,000 of Geyer, but as heads-up play began, both players had more than 90 big blinds. Heads-up play took nearly three hours and 54 hands. Schillhabel took down a 6,750,000 chip pot early on to take a nearly 2-1 chip lead, but Geyer battled back to take even and took a small chip lead himself. Schillhabel then took down a 9,000,000 chip pot without showdown to put himself clearly ahead of Geyer for the final time. On the 102nd hand of play, Geyer, left with just 1,850,000, moved all-in and Schillhabel called. Geyer showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="9s"] and Schillhabel needed help with [poker card="8s"][poker card="7d"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] flop moved Geyer even further ahead with top pair, but the [poker card="8h"] turn and [poker card="8c"] river gave Schillhabel running trips to eliminate Geyer and take down the title. Along with $1,283,000 in prize money, Schillhabel also earned a $15,000 seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions next month at Seminole Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The WPT now heads north to Sacramento for the WPT Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino with the Main Event beginning Saturday. Final Table Payouts Stefan Schillhabel - $1,298,000 Adam Geyer - $752,800 Bryan Piccioli - $493,350 Andjelko Andrejevic - $331,500 Griffin Paul - $231,310 Maria Ho - $179,930
  18. When PokerStars acquired the Full Tilt Poker assets as part of their Black Friday settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, many wondered about the future of the Full Tilt Poker brand. To the surprise of many, PokerStars kept the Full Tilt Poker brand running separately alongside their own brand. Now, some 3.5 years later, things are changing. On Wednesday Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt, confirmed that the company will consolidate all players into one player pool. "Players will benefit from a larger pool of players offering greater game choice, bigger prize pools," said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of Rational Group. "It will also make us more nimble as we can focus our technological innovation on one platform, rather than two, so we will be able to innovate more quickly and enter newly-regulating and existing markets swiftly." The Full Tilt brand isn't going anywhere though. While the player pool will be combined into one, players will still have the choice of playing on Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars. Accounts will be consolidated so players have only one account, but they will be able to choose which brand they play under. Those who choose to play under the Full Tilt brand will still be able to choose from their custom avatars. The decision to merge the player pools will result in greater liquidity at all levels and a subsequent increase in tournament prize pools. Players will be contacted once the software migration is complete and given an explanation as to how the changes will impact them. Players with accounts on both sites will now play under their existing PokerStars screenname. All players will now be under the PokerStars reward program. Once one of the most popular online poker rooms in the world, Full Tilt Poker has dropped out of the top 10 according to PokerScout rankings while PokerStars remains a clear number one.
  19. [caption width="640"] Ari Engel won the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event.[/caption] Ari Engel, the former #1 ranked online poker player in the world, made big noise Sunday in Australia, beating Tony 'Bond18' Dunst heads-up to win the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event and A$1,600,000 ($1,133,650 US). The final table began with Engel holding 37% of the chips in play with just six other players between himself and the first major win of his career. It didn’t take long for the first elimination. On just the third hand of the day John Apostolidis raised from UTG to 205,000. Action folded to Samantha Abernathy in the small blind and she moved all in. Apostolidis called and turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found he was racing against the [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"] of Abernathy. The board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="7c"] to keep Abernathy ahead and send Apostolidis out in seventh place. It took nearly a full hour before another player was eliminated. Engel raised to 135,000 from the button and Kitty Kuo moved all in for 690,000. Engel called and flipped over [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"] while Kuo showed [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"]. After the [poker card="qc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4d"] flop Ari was still ahead. Neither the [poker card="qs"] turn or [poker card="6c"] river were any help for Kuo and she was eliminated in sixth. Despite starting the final table with the shortest stack Dylan Honeyman managed to make it past two pay jumps before his tourney came to an end. Dunst raised to 125,000 from UTG, Engel called from the button and Honeyman made it 380,000 to go. Dunst four-bet to 800,000 forcing Engel to fold. Honeyman then moved all in for 1,500,000 and Dunst called. Honeyman had [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"] and Dunst had [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="th"][poker card="3c"] flop was a good on for Honeyman. The [poker card="kc"] turn was of no help for Dunst but the [poker card="qs"] river gave Dunst Broadway and eliminated Honeyman in fifth place. Following Honeyman’s exit, Alexander Lynskey spent nearly 90 minutes as the short stack before running into a monster. Engel limped from UTG and Lynskey moved all in for 1,600,000. Engel called and turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"] while Lynskey was drawing thin wiht [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"]. The community cards provided absolutely no relief for Lynskey and he was out in fourth place. While Engel and Dunst continued to build their stacks it came at the expense of Abernathy. Dunst folded from the button and Abernathy moved all in from the small blind. Engel snap-called from the big blind and table [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"] while Abernathy showed [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"] flop gave Engel two pair but also gave Abernathy an open-ended straight draw. The [poker card="jh"] turn missed her as did the [poker card="8s"] river and Abernathy was eliminated, leaving Engel and Dunst to play heads-up for the title. Abernathy’s third place finish is the highest by a female in the history of the Aussie Millions. Engel and Dunst played heads up for nearly four hours with the chip lead swinging back and fort between the two players. On the last hand of the night Dunst raised to 325,000 from the button before Engel re-raised to 925,000. Dunst called and the two saw a flop of [poker card="ts"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"]. Engel bet 825,00 and Dunst called again. Engel bet again, 1,700,000 this time, after the the [poker card="jc"] turn. Dunst called to see the [poker card="9s"] river. Engel announced he was all in, sending Dunst into the tank. After a few minutes Dunst called all in and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"] only to see Engel turn over [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"] for top pair, good enough to take the the title and the A$1.6 million top prize. Final Table Payouts Ari Engel - A$1,600,000 Tony Dunst - A$1,000,000 Samantha Abernathy - A$625,000 Alexander Lynskey - A$445,000 Dylan Honeyman - A$340,000 Kitty Kuo - A$270,000 John Apostolidis - A$210,000
  20. [CAPTION=100%]Only four players remain in the WPT Champions Challenge.[/CAPTION] After three weeks of fan voting the World Poker Tour Champions Challenge is down to just four players. And surprisingly, there isn't a single number one seed remaining. When the voting closed for the Elite Eight, Antonio Esfandiari beat out Spades region number one Gus Hansen, Barry Greenstein beat out Diamonds region top seed Anthony Zinno, Phil Ivey dusted off Erik Seidel in the Hearts region and Jonathan Little, fresh off of beating out Daniel Negreanu, beat Doyle Brunson to advance. That round sets the final two matches with Esfandiari up against Ivey and Greenstein squaring off with Little. Each player brings a solid WPT resume to the penultimate round. Antonio Esfandiari WPT Earnings: $2,956,243 Wins - Final Tables - Cashes: 13 - 8 - 2 Antonio Esfandiari burst onto the WPT scene in 2002 with a near-miss third place finish at the Gold Rush event in Colma, CA and then solidified his place in the game with a win at the 2004 LA Poker Classic. That event had a field of 382 players with Esfandiari beating out Vinny Vinh heads up for the title. Nearly seven years later he added a second title to his resume, beating out a stacked final table with Ted Lawson, Kirk Morrison, John Racener, Vanessa Rousso and Andrew Robl to win $870,124. Phil Ivey WPT Earnings: $4,027,221 Wins - Final Tables - Cashes: 14 - 10 - 1 Phil Ivey is the only player in the final four with just one WPT title to his credit, but he has the most final tables out of all of them. Ivey made eight WPT final tables before broke through and won the LA Poker Classic in 2008. He has one runner-up finish, three third place finishes, two fifth and two sixth places. At the 2008 LAPC Ivey beat out a final table that included Konstantin Puchkov, Scott Montgomery and Nam Le to win $1,596,100. Barry Greenstein WPT Earnings: $2,427,428 Wins - Final Tables - Cashes: 20 - 5 - 2 During the poker boom Barry Greenstein made a name for himself as the "Robin Hood of Poker" on the World Poker Tour after donating a good chunk of his WPT winnings to charity. And there were a lot of winnings early on. In January 2004, Greenstein won $1,278,370 after taking down the World Poker Open in Tunica, MS. Two months later he finished fifth at the PartyPoker Million III for just under $200,000. Greenstein's second title came in 2006 at the WPT Invitational in Los Angeles. Jonathan Little WPT Earnings: $ 3,695,510 Wins - Final Tables - Cashes: 21 - 4 - 2 Jonathan Little won two WPT titles in 2007, spread over two seasons. His first win came at the Mirage Poker Showdown where he beat out Ivey, Darrell Dicken and Cory Carroll to win $1,091,795. He found himself in the winner's photo again six months later, this time at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods Casino. There he beat out Mike Matusow, David Pham and Jonathan Jaffe to earn $1,120,310. He almost won a third title that year, finishing second behind Scott Clements at the North American Poker Championships in Niagara Falls. Final Four voting is open now through Friday, April 1. Voting for in the championship round runs April 1 - April 8 and the winner will be announced on Monday, April 11.
  21. [caption width="640"] Harrison Gimbel now has a WPT title to go with his PCA Main Event victory (Joe Giron photo)[/caption] Harrison Gimbel burst onto the live poker scene in 2010 when the then 19-year-old took down the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to become the youngest winner in the history of that event. On Wednesday night, Gimbel added another title to his resume after defeating Mohsin Charania heads-up to win the World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder event and pocket $275,112. Along with the cash, Gimbel earns entry to the WPT Tournament of Champions next month in his home state of Florida. Charania was hoping to become the fourth player to capture three WPT titles joining Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen and Anthony Zinno, but Gimbel wouldn’t be denied. Starting the TV final table with the lowest chip stack, Derek Wolters knew he had some work to do. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for the 26-year-old poker pro. Wolters raised from UTG to 90,000 and Gimbel called from the big blind. After a [poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5s"] flop, both players checked. The [poker card="th"] was enough for Gimbel to lead out for 85,000. Wolters responded by moving all-in for 565,000 and after 90 seconds thinking it over, Gimbel called and tabled [poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"], while Wolters showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. Wolters was ahead, but the [poker card="9d"] river gave Gimbel trip nines and Wolters was eliminated in sixth. Russell Garrett opened from the button to 80,000 and Hafiz Khan moved all-in from the small blind. Garrett called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] and was up against Khan’s [poker card="3d"][poker card="3h"]. The board ran out [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="9h"] to counterfeit Khan’s pair and send him home in fifth place. The third elimination of the night happened just 15 minutes later and again began with Garrett opening to 80,000. Gimbel called from the button before Markus Gonsalves made it 275,000 to go from the small blind. Garrett folded, but Gimbel took some time before announcing he was all-in. Gonsalves quickly called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"] and found himself ahead of Gimbel’s [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"]. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="8c"] to put Gimbel ahead with top pair, but Gonsalves picked up a Broadway draw. The [poker card="qc"] turn put Gimbel further ahead with trips and the [poker card="jc"] river was no help for Gonsalves and he was eliminated in fourth. Three-handed play went on for 90 minutes before Garrett, who began the day with the chip lead, and Charania clashed. Gimbel raised to 120,000 from the button, Charania called from the small blind and Garrett moved all-in from the big blind for 1,770,000. Gimbel folded, but Charania eventually called and tabled [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and found himself racing against Garrett’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5c"] flop was no help for Garrett and the [poker card="kh"] turn and [poker card="3c"] river were both bricks, sending him out in third place and leaving Charania and Gimbel to play heads-up for the title. When heads-up play began, the two players were separated by just 55,000 in chips - less than one big blind. While it took a little over two hours and 107 hands to go from six players to two, the duel between Gimbel and Charania lasted much longer. The two players played 116 hands of heads-up play with Gimbel and Charania trading the chip lead back and forth at least four times before it finally came to an end. With blinds of 100,000/200,000 and Gimbel holding the lead, Charania limped his button and Gimbel moved all-in. Charania called and showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"], while Gimbel turned over [poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Gimbel extra outs for a straight. The [poker card="5d"] turn put Gimbel ahead and the [poker card="5s"] river sealed the deal to eliminate Charania in second place and give Gimbel his first WPT title. The next WPT stop is already underway as WPT Vienna began Tuesday and wraps up Sunday. From there the WPT heads to Florida for three events; the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale and the WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Harrison Gimbel - $275,112 Mohsin Charania - $192,132 Russell Garrett - $123,682 Markus Gonsalves - $91,616 Hafiz Khan - $68,712 Derek Wolters - $54,970
  22. [caption width="640"] Poker players are counting down the days until PokerStars returns to U.S. soil.[/caption] For the first time in nearly five years, players in the United States will be able to play on PokerStars for real money beginning Wednesday, March 16 - but only those who are actually in New Jersey. With the official launch of PokerStars' New Jersey product set for March 21, the online poker giant has decided to "soft-launch" on March 16. Soft launches are required under New Jersey gaming regulations to allow the operator and regulators to review and correct any potential issues. The soft-launch announcement comes five months after PokerStars' parent company, Amaya Gaming, announced they had received approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to bring their online gaming products, poker and casino, to the Garden State in a partnership with land-based Resorts Casino. The site will have limited operating hours during the first three days before moving to an around-the-clock product on March 19. There is also a cap of 500 active players at any given time. Soft Launch Hours · March 16 & 17: 4 pm - Midnight · March 18: 8 am - Midnight · March 19 & 20: 24 hours Players can create a new account if they wish, however PokerStars has created a Quick Account Creation process for those who had a previous account that includes exclusive benefits. Beginning March 16, players can download the PokerStars NJ software and login using their previous User ID and password. Those that do will be credited with their previous VIP status and be able to convert Frequent Player Points into StarsCoin immediately at a rate of 1.6 FPP per StarsCoin. Players who complete the Quick Account Creation process will have their previous account closed. For those wishing to continue playing on their PokerStars account outside of the U.S., they'll need to create an entirely new account and will not be credited with any previous VIP status levels. For further information on the return of PokerStars visit thePokerStars NJ FAQ.
  23. [caption width="640"] The 2016 WSOP schedule seems built to bring in big crowds again. (Joe Giron photo)[/caption] Poker players and fans who have been eagerly anticipating the release of the 2016 World Series of Poker schedule have to wait no longer. Event organizers released the final schedule on Tuesday and it includes a number of changes to key events. "It’s hard to fathom that this event can continue to grow the way it has," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "But with the schedule we’ve put together for this year, we are confident 2016 will be another record-breaker at the WSOP." A total of 69 events are on the schedule, including the Main Event, Colossus II, Little One for One Drop, Millionaire Maker and Monster Stack. After the impressive turnout last year for Colossus and subsequent issues with tournament payouts, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel has made changes for Colossus II. The guaranteed prize pool is now $7 million, up from last year’s $5 million, and first place is now guaranteed to earn a minimum of $1 million. There are a total of six starting flights this year, up from four in 2015. Each starting flight will play into the money on Day 1. The Main Event is also undergoing some structure changes for 2016. Players will now start with 50,000 chips and blinds start at 75/150 and reach antes on Level 3. Payouts have also been altered to pay out the top 1,000 finishers or top 15%, whichever is greater. The $1,000 buy-in online event, which attracted 905 players last year, is also back this year, but will include re-entry for the first time. In fact, there are a total of nine events this year that will allow re-entry: $565 Casino Employees (single re-entry) $565 Colossus II (one entry per flight) $1,500 NL 2-7 Lowball (single re-entry) $565 Pot Limit Omaha (unlimited re-entry) $1,500 Millionaire Maker (one entry per flight) $10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball (single re-entry) $888 Crazy Eights (one entry per flight) $1,000 WSOP.com Online NLHE (unlimited) $1,111 Little One for One Drop (unlimited) There are also several new events on the schedule. Most notably, the $1,000 Top Up Turbo No-Limit Hold'em event, allows players to earn additional starting chips by qualifying for the event on WSOP.com or via single table satellites at the Rio in the days leading up to the event. At just $565, Event #12 is the lowest buy-in Pot Limit Omaha event in WSOP history. The WSOP experimented with a lower buy-in PLO event at WSOP Europe in Berlin last October. The $888 buy-in Crazy Eights events will play eight-handed and guarantee $888,888 to the eventual winner. Other new events are the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball, $1,500 Mixed NLHE/PLO and $1,500 Mixed Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better & Big O. The other new event which is sure to generate some buzz is the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Tag Team event. Teams will consist of between two and four players and the total entry fee is $1,000 per team, not per player. Players can tag in at any time between hands and all players must play at least one orbit before the close of the registration period. Players used to Noon or 4pm start times will have to make sure to set their alarm each night for one hour earlier. Start times for events have been moved to 11am and 3pm, with the exception of Colossus II, Millionaire Maker, Seniors Event, Super Seniors Event, Monster Stack and Crazy Eights which have a 10am start time. The $10,000 "Championship" events also have a strong representation on the schedule. There are 13 $10,000 buy-in events, including Six Max NLHE, Pot Limit Omaha and Dealer’s Choice plus a $25,000 Pot Limit High Roller and the $111,111 One Drop High Roller. Check out the complete 2016 WSOP schedule.
  24. [caption width="640"] Andre Akkari represents Brazil in the GPL - but that doesn't mean he's only drafting his fellow countrymen.[/caption] Andre Akkari is a very proud Brazilian. He bleeds gold and green. So when the Global Poker League came calling for him to be the manager of the only Brazilian team – the Sao Paulo Metropolitans - in their inaugural season, Akkari was more than happy to answer. “I loved the idea since the first moment and I was looking for a way to be involved on this,” said Akkari. It was almost a year ago that Akkari first got wind of the GPL. Founder Alex Dreyfus was in Monaco for the European Poker Tour Grand Final and was gauging interest of players. Now, Akkari, who ranks third on Brazil’s all-time earnings list, is readying himself for the first season and knows the key to a great team starts with the GPL Draft this Thursday. “The draft is a really big moment. I have a lot of pressure in Brazil, so it will probably be impossible for me to please everyone,” said Akkari. “I am focused on drafting the best I can, whether I have Brazilians or not. I want the Sao Paolo Mets to be the first GPL champions.” The Brazilian poker scene is full of great tournament players and Akkari could easily draft just for nationalistic pride, but before he looks at passports, Akkari has some other requirements for what he’s looking for to make up his initial roster. “First of all I am looking for a great heads-up player. I have to think about the way that we are going to compete and a great heads-up player is really important,” said Akkari. “Then I am looking for a great six-max player. There are a lot of players that can take this position.” Filling his roster with skilled players is important, but thanks to the unique GPL team concept, Akkari recognizes he’ll need to make sure he’s got people willing to do more than just be a great individual player. “I want to try to get great players, but also get some great people. We will be a team, we will have to create relationships, talk strategies every day, share the energy and the game plan,” said Akkari. “It’s not easy to build it, but I think I can do that.” Since the list of 203 draft eligible players was released last week, Akkari has been in contact with some of them to see if they’d be interested in joining the Metropolitans. Spending a good chunk of his calendar year playing tournaments around the world, Akkari has been using recent trips, including EPT Dublin, to get some valuable face time with potential teammates. “Some people might be surprised because they don’t know a lot of Latin American players and maybe if I draft one or two of them, they will think that it’s because of where they’re from, but its not,” said Akkari. “We have some amazing players, online players, heads-up players, but obviously the names at the top of the Global Poker Index are the most valuable players right now.” While he’s been busy doing his draft homework, Akkari can’t get over the fact that he gets to be a part of something of new and represent his native Brazil in the process. In his mind, the GPL is set to take the game of poker to an entirely new level. “I truly believe that poker is a mind sport. After several years, we brought this concept to the Brazilian community and GPL is completely related with this spirit, the energy of the competition,” said Akkari. That energy and passion for poker is something that Akkari thinks will be an advantage for the Sao Paulo squad no matter who is on the team. “I am a genuine 'Paulista,' so it’s a blessing to be representing the city. The Brazilians are so excited for the draft and to support the SP Mets,” said Akkari. “And everybody that plays poker knows that when the Brazilians supporters are involved, it's trouble time for our opponents.” Akkari picks sixth overall on Thursday.
  25. [caption width="640"] Mustapha Kanit won the EPT Dublin €25,000 High Roller (Photo courtesy PokerStars/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] In the nine years since the European Poker Tour was last in Dublin, Ireland the Tour has changed quite a bit. One of the biggest changes is the addition of High Roller events to the stop in each EPT city. Sunday night in Dublin, Mustapha Kanit put on a show for the ages in winning the €25K High Roller for €501,640 ($563,172 US). Kanit, who is Italy's all-time leading money earner, now has over $6 million US in lifetime earnings. The €25,000 buy-in event, which attracted 70 entries, was the biggest buy-in event in the history of Irish poker. Kanit came to the final table with the chip lead and while he did briefly relinquish that lead to Chance Kornuth in heads-up play, the Italian poker pro basically went wire-to-wire for the win. Kornuth picked up the first elimination on just the second hand of play Sunday. From UTG Kornuth moved all in for 1,290,000 and a shortstacked Ivan Luca called from the button. Kornuth showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] while Luca had [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="th"] run out didn’t help Luca and he was out in eighth. On the very next hand Nick Petrangelo found himself on the way out of the tournament. Action folded to Petrangelo in the small blind and he moved all in for 480,000. Jeff Rossiter called from the big blind and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"], behind Petrangelo’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Rossiter second pair but left Petrangelo drawing to a bigger pair or broadway. the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river were bricks though and Petrangelo was out in seventh. While the first two eliminations took no time at all, it was 90 minutes of play before another player left the final table. Again it was a blind-vs-blind confrontation that lead to the bustout. Anton Bertilsson moved all in from the small blind and Keith Johnson called from the big. Bertilsson turned over [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] and Johnson, who was short when the hand began, needed help with [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"]. The board ran out [poker card="7c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"] leaving Bertilsson in front and sending Johnson out in sixth place. An hour later Kanit picked up his first elimination of the day. Kanit raised to 215,000 and Rossiter moved all in behind him. Kanit called and found himself in a dominating position with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] to the [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"] of Rossiter. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] flop kept Kanit in the lead but the [poker card="7h"] gave Rossiter back door flush outs. The river however was the [poker card="as"] and Rossiter was eliminated in fifth. Kanit held 54% of the chips in play with just four players remaining and pushed that advantage to as high as 70%. It took another blind-vs-blind confrontation to get down to three players. Kornuth shoved from the small blind and Bertilsson called off the rest of his stack from the big blind. Kornuth tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and Bertilsson showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. Bertilsson found no traction on the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8d"] board and was out in fourth. A three-way all in so no player bust out and left Kanit in the lead. Just a few minutes later Charlie Carrel found himself on the way out and Kanit was set for a heads-up battle with Kornuth. Again, it was blind-vs-blind. Kanit limped from the small blind, Carrel move all in from the big and Kanit quickly called. Carrel showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"] while Kanit was ahead with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4s"] to eliminate Carrel. Heads-up play last a little over two hours with Kornuth taking the lead for a little less than 20 minutes of play. Once Kanit had it back, he didn’t relinquish it. On the final hand of the night Kornuth opened to 500,000 and Kanit responded by moving all in. Kornuth took some time but eventually called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"]. Kanit was ahead with [poker card="3h"][poker card="3s"]. The board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jd"] giving Kanit his first win of 2016. Final Table Payouts Mustapha Kanit - €501,640 Chance Kornuth - €360,150 Charlie Carrel - €234,100 Anton Bertilsson - €176,640 Jeff Rossiter - €137,200 Keith Johnson - €106,330 Nick Petrangelo - €84,040 Ivan Luca - €65,170
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