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  1. Jack Hardcastle became the second World Poker Tour champion crowned this week after the UK-based online pro won the $3,200 WPT Montreal Online Main Event on partypoker for a career-high score of $447,859 as well as a seat in the $15,000 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions. The WPT has been firing on all cylinders in the past 24 hours, with two Main Tour titles up for grabs. On Tuesday night, Ilyas Muradi took down the first WPT live event of the year after winning $605,000 at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida. Now, Hardcastle will join him in having his name etched on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup after outlasting the 888-player field of the WPT Montreal Online Main Event. It didn’t take long after cards were “in the air” before the fireworks to begin. Upeshka De Silva was recently in the news for making the final table of the U.S.-based 2020 World Series of Poker. However, after testing positive for COVID-19 the day before play was set to take place, he was disqualified and paid out ninth place money. It didn’t take him long to bounce back and make another major final table and this time, with it being online, he was guaranteed to get to play. But De Silva started the day as the short stack and after an open by Rayan Chamas with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"], De Silva three-bet jammed with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. While often a chop, the board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3s"] giving Chamas the flush and ending De Silva’s day early in another ninth-place finish for $37,024. After an open by Hardcastle, Germany's Andrei Kriazhev three-bet with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. Next to act, Marcel Kunze four-bet shipped his short stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"]. Action folded back to Kriazhev who made the quick call and the duo watched as the flop came [poker card="3s"][poker card="th"][poker card="qc"] keeping Kriazhev in the lead but giving both a gutshot straight draw. The [poker card="jh"] hit the turn, giving Kriazhev the straight and leaving Kunze drawing dead to the [poker card="5c"] river. Kunze was eliminated in eighth place for $46,684. Jakob Meigel had managed to ladder up from his eighth-place starting position, but an hour into the final table, was still grinding a short stack. He raised with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="3d"], leaving himself a few big blinds behind. Hardcastle three-bet with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"] and when folded to, Meigel put the rest of his chips in the middle. The board ran out [poker card="th"][poker card="8c"][poker card="ts"][poker card="4s"][poker card="tc"] allowing Hardcastle’s king kicker to play and sending Meigel out in seventh place for $58,650. The final six played for nearly another hour before Charles Chattha raised on the button with [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. Out of the blinds, Hardcastle three-bet with [poker card="ks"][poker card="kh"] and Chattha pushed nearly 40 big blinds all-in. Hardcastle snap-called and the flop came [poker card="8h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="jd"], giving Chattha some straight outs. However, the turn came the [poker card="7d"] and the river was the [poker card="4d"] sending Chattha to the rail in sixth place for $74,119. Kraizhev found himself short and in need to make a move. Leaving himself just a few chips behind, Kraizhev raised with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="th"]. Felix Schulze then raised with [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] and when folded back to him, Kraizhev put his remaining stack in the middle. Schulze hit his ace right away on the [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"] flop and when the [poker card="4d"] hit the turn, Kraizhev was drawing dead. The [poker card="qc"] river hit and Kraizhev was ousted in fifth place for $95,672. Just minutes after a break, a big hand took out another player. Dan Shak raised with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] and Schulze flat called with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. From the small blind, Chamas three-bet holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and after Shak folded Schulze made the call. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5c"] and Chamas, hitting second pair, open-shipped his big stack. Schulze snap-called with top pair, top kicker and the [poker card="4d"] hit the turn. Schulze was in great shape to double up but the river was the [poker card="kd"] awarding the hand to Chamas and sending Schulze out in fourth place for $139,163. Shak, who started the day as the chip leader, had been active and steady. But with three players left, he found himself as the short stack when his bluff was picked off by Hardcastle. Just minutes later, Hardcastle shipped his stack holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"] into Shak who had [poker card="kc"][poker card="js"] in the big blind. Shak made the call. The flop came [poker card="6s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"] giving Shak plenty of additional flush outs. But the [poker card="8h"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river were of no help and Shak added $212,458 to his extensive bankroll for finishing in third place. When heads up play began, Hardcastle held a significant chip lead over Chamas and he continually applied pressure. But Chamas hung around and evened out the stacks at one point. But some key calls and strong bluffs by Hardcastle allowed him to again grab a large lead. On the final hand of the tournament, Chamas opened with [poker card="jc"][poker card="3s"] and Hardcastle called in the big blind with [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"]. Hardcastle paired his nine on the flop and made the call when Chamas put out a bet on the flop. The [poker card="ks"] came on the turn and Chamas fired again, which Hardcastle called. The river was the [poker card="8d"], giving Hardcastle two pair and when Chamas shipped the rest of his small stack, Hardcastle made the quick call ending the tournament. Chamas finished as the runner-up and took home $308.703 while Hardcastle collected the $447,859 first-place prize and became the latest member of the WPT Champions Club. WPT Montreal Online Main Event Final Table Payouts 1. Jack Hardcastle - $447,859.32 2. Rayan Chamas - $308,703.22 3. Dan Shak - $212,458.57 4. Felix Schulze - $139,163.79 5. Andrei Kraizhev - $95,672.65 6. Charles Chattha - $74,119.22 7. Jakob Miegel - $58,650.26 8. Marcek Kunze - $46,684.79 9. Upeshka De Silva - $37,024.08
  2. After a year away, partypoker’s marquee online festival, MILLIONS Online, is set to take place from February 13 through March 9 with 28 events, nearly $18 million in total guaranteed prize money, and an expanded satellite schedule designed to give players of every buy-in level a shot at a seat in some of the series' biggest tournaments. The schedule for the three-week series features a variety of high buy-in tournaments ranging from $530 to the $102,000 Mega High Roller. But for a pair of the schedule's featured events, partypoker is already running an abundance of low-cost satellites to make sure everyone has an opportunity to win their way in. One of the major tournaments partypoker is getting players qualified for is this year’s $5,300 Main Event with $5 million guaranteed. The Main Event has two starting flights, the first taking place on Sunday, February 21, and the second one week later on Sunday, February 28. This will be followed by three days of play until the final table when a winner is crowned on Wednesday, March 3. This year’s MILLIONS Main Event is a throwback of sorts for partypoker. In 2018, the $5,300 MILLIONS Online Main Event came with a $20 million guarantee and an eye on setting online poker’s largest prize pool of all time. The event did just that, eclipsing $21.7 million and paying out four seven-figure sums. In 2019, partypoker took aim at their own record. They doubled the buy-in to $10,300 and kept the $20 million guarantee. While they missed the mark on the record, the just over $21 million prize pool was another massive achievement. Only the GGPoker 2020 World Series of Poker Online Main Event with its Guinness World Record-setting $27.5 million prize pool eclipses the records set by those two MILLIONS Online Main Events. However, rather than make another run at the record through a guarantee, partypoker has decided to go back to its 2017 guarantee of $5 million while increasing its satellite schedule to make it more accessible for players to participate. "We’re extremely proud to be hosting yet another online leg of the world-renowned MILLIONS tour," said Chris Donnchie, partypoker’s Head of Poker Room Management."The satellite framework this year has been designed with a view to make both the Main Event and Mini Main Event even more accessible to players of all buy-in levels." partypoker has ensured that players of every buy-in level can have a chance to win a Main Event seat with a variety of ways including through a satellite tree that starts at just $0.01. The 'centroll' satellites feed into $5.50 events, the winners of which will earn a $55 phase satellite ticket. Those that survive the $55 phase will be entered into a Sunday final that promises at least 10 seats to the Main Event will be awarded. "One of my favorite things about poker is the zero-to-hero stories we hear on a regular basis," said Team partypoker’s Patrick Leonard. "When I started playing, somebody would qualify for a $5,000 event from a $1,000 satellite and it was a great story when they went on to the final table." "Recently, at partypoker, we’ve seen numerous people qualify for huge events for as little as $0.01 and win life-changing amounts. MILLIONS Online is always an amazing tournament and any player with a bankroll of $0.01 or more should get ready," Leonard added. The Main Event is not the only event bringing players in via satellite as the $1,100 buy-in Mini Main Event and it’s $1,000,000 guarantee features a similar satellite tree which starts at a penny and leads to an $11 phase tournament. The Mini Main Event kicks off the entire MILLIONS Online series on February 13 and after two starting flights and three days of play will determine a winner on Wednesday, February 17. partypoker 2021 MILLIONS Online Schedule [table id=165 /]
  3. After a ten-month hiatus, the live World Poker Tour Main Tour returned to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. After a long day of play and a three-handed deal, Ilyas Muradi took home $605,000, a ticket to the 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions, and his first career WPT title. For anyone questioning if live poker players were eager to get back in the action, the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open had the answer. Despite the state of the pandemic, playing behind plexiglass barriers, and the requirement to wear masks the tournament’s 1,753-entry field became the third-largest in the WPT’s eighteen-year history. It wasn’t just an outpouring of local players that made their way to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as players traveled from all parts of the globe to participate in the first WPT Main Tour live event since the conclusion of WPT Rolling Thunder in March 2020. There were plenty of notable names who made a deep run in the event but fell short of the final table. World Poker Tour champions Sam Panzica (189th, $6,150) and Kevin Eyster (167th, $6,300) made Day 3 as did Athanasios Polychronopoulous (125th, $7,025), Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (103rd, $7,880), and well-known vlogger Johnnie Moreno (93rd, $8,230). Among those joining them in the money were Jerry Wong (90th, $8,230), Alex Keating (77th, $9,885), and worldwide current #2-ranked online pro from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic (31st, $23,110). The final three tables included some of the World Poker Tour’s biggest names including WPT winner Aaron Mermelstein (25th, $23,110), Scott Baumstein (24th, $27,660), WPT Deepstack Champion Justin Liberto (22nd, $27,660), and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias who finished in tenth place and earned $79,455 which brought his career WPT total to just under $3.9 million. Day four started with the final seven players grinding for two 90-minute levels before reaching the official final table of six. Andy Hwang, the final WPT Champion Club member left in the field, started the day third in chips, however, a few hours into play he found himself grinding a short stack of fewer than 20 big blinds. After a raise from Francis Margaglione in early position with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7c"], Hwang three-bet shipped his stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Folded back around to Margaglione, he made the call. The board ran out [poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="qd"] ensuring that a new WPT champion would be crowned as Hwang exited in seventh place for $115,630. Roughly twenty minutes later, after an early position raise, Tsz Shing shipped his 22 big blind stack holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"] from the button. Ronnie Bardah made the call from the small blind with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and the early position raiser folded. The [poker card="th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5d"] ran clean for the pocket queens and eliminated Brooklyn’s Shing in sixth place for a career-high recorded live cash of $168,990. At five-handed, Jesse Lonis put in a raise from late position with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. After it folded to Bardah in the big blind, Bardah put in a three-bet with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"]. With the action back on Lonis and 30 big blinds behind, Lonis four-bet shipped with Bardah snap-called. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] flop left Lonis looking for one of two outs to save him. The [poker card="3d"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] completed the board and ended Lonis’ tournament in fifth place for $223,895. Margaglione started the day with the chip lead but his stack slowly dwindled during the day. Eventually, he made his move by raising from the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"] only to be shoved on by the big stack of Bardah in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"]. With just over 10 big blinds behind, Margaglione opted to make the call. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7s"] giving Bardah top pair and leaving Margaglione looking for runner-runner help. The [poker card="2h"] was of no use to Margaglione who was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Margaglione finished in fourth place for $293,510. During a break, the final three players negotiated a deal for the remaining prize pool. Ilyas Muradi locked up $580,000 as the chip leader and Bardah, sitting in second, agreed to $566,135. Robel Andemichael secured $545,500 and all three agreed to leave $25,000 and a ticket to the WPT Tournament of Champions on the table for the eventual winner. Even though a deal was in place, the pace of play stayed deliberate. After roughly two hours, Andemichael put in a raise on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="9d"] and Bardah pushed his final twelve big blinds in the middle with [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Bardah the lead, which held through the [poker card="ts"] turn. But the [poker card="9s"] river gave the hand to Andemichael which eliminated Bardah in third place for his agreed-upon career-high score of $566,135. Heads up play started with both Andemichael and Muradi practically even in chips. Another two hours passed without either player holding a significant lead. Finally, Andemichael moved all-in for his final 15 big blinds with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and was called by Muradi holding [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"] giving Muradi’s pocket fours the pot and his first WPT title. Andemichael finished as the runner-up, taking home the$545,500 he locked up in the deal. Ilyas Muradi added the $25,000 to his $580,000 portion of the deal for a total cash score of $605,000 plus a $15K ticket to the Tournament of Champions, and a date to have his name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Ilyas Muradi - $605,000* + WPT Tournament of Champions seat 2. Robel Andemichael - $545,000* 3. Ronnie Bardah - $566,135* 4. Francis Margaglione - $293,510 5. Jesse Lonis - $223,895 6. Tsz Shing - $168,990
  4. UK high-stakes tournament pro Lucas Reeves joined the elite company of Darren Elias and Niklas Astedt this week by becoming just the third player to win the weekly GGPoker Super MILLION$ two or more times. In the 33rd edition of the $10K buy-in event, Reeves emerged from the middle of the final table chip counts to take down the tournament and lock up the $408,406 first-place prize. Reeves is now two-for-two at Super MILLION$ final tables with his first victory coming back in December, when he earned $381,241 while playing under his original screen name ‘Xingyun888’. This week marked the fifteenth time Reeves participated in the Super MILLION$ and he has now amassed a total of just over $811,000 in his three cashes. When nine-handed play began Reeves was sitting fifth in chips, surrounded by another final table packed with top-tier talent. Ole Schemion and worldwide #3-ranked Michael ‘SirWatts’ Watson were above him on the chip counts while Daniel Dvoress and Connor Drinan were beneath, looking to chip up. For his part, Drinan was never able to get anything going. The PokerStars SCOOP record holder started the day as the short stack and subsequently was the first to hit the rail. After dwindling down in chips, Drinan open-shipped his short stack with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"] and fellow Canadian Watson made the call in the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"]. The board ran out nine-high and Drinan, who currently sits third in overall Super MILLION$ earnings, used the ninth-place prize of $51,051 to climb over $1.5 million in total Super MILLION$ prize money. After Reeves opened [poker card="qc"][poker card="8d"] on the button, the UK’s ’WanYu’ three-bet his [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"] from the small blind with 15 big blinds. Dvoress then shipped his [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] over ’WanYu’ from the big blind and, after Reeves got out of the way, ’WanYu’ committed the rest of his stack. The [poker card="js"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"] flop paired ‘WanYu’, but the [poker card="2d"] brought Dvoress some additional flush outs. The [poker card="6d"] on the river completed the runner-runner flush for Dvoress, sending ‘WanYu’ out in eighth place for $66,205. Sweden’s Melker Larsson won his way into this week’s Super MILLION$ by first winning a $100 satellite into a $1,000 satellite and then winning that satellite for his seat into the $10K. After all of that winning, he cruised through the 202 player field and emerged as this week’s final table chip leader. However, with seven left, Larsson found himself in the bottom half of the chip counts. After Dvoress opened from late position with [poker card="as"][poker card="tc"], New Zealand’s David Yan put in a three-bet on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. Schemion, in the small blind, folded and Larsson, with roughly 20 big blinds, moved all-in from the big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"]. Dvoress folded and Yan made the quick call putting Larsson’s tournament at risk. The [poker card="ah"] hit the flop and held through the river, ending Larsson’s incredible run in seventh place for $85,857, the largest online cash of his career. Finland’s Eelis Parssinen, was the next to go when he moved all-in with his last five big blinds with [poker card="qc"][poker card="7c"] and got called by Yan in the small blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The flop came [poker card="jc"][poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"], but it was the [poker card="ks"] turn that really ended the tournament for Parssinen who exited in sixth place for $111,342. One of the biggest hands of the tournament took place with just five left. From late position, Yan opened with [poker card="ac"][poker card="2h"] prompting a short-stacked Schemion to move all-in for his final ten big blinds with [poker card="ts"][poker card="th"]. In the small blind, Watson, who covered Schemion also moved all-in holding [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"]. In the big blind, Reeves woke up with [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"] and followed suit by shipping his stack. Yan quickly folded and it was a three-way all-in. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9d"] giving Reeves top set, Schemion a gutshot straight draw, and leaving Watson drawing dead to running quads. The turn was the [poker card="9s"], essentially ending the hand. Despite making a full house on the [poker card="td"] river, Schemion was ousted in fifth for $144,393. Watson was crippled from the previous hand and left with a stack of less than four big blinds. He immediately moved all-in with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] and was called by Dvoress in the big blind with [poker card="2s"][poker card="2c"]. Dvoress held through the [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"][poker card="td"][poker card="8d"][poker card="jh"] board and ‘SirWatts’ finished his fifth Super MILLION$ final table in fourth place for $187,255. The final three proceeded to pass the chip lead around, evening out the stacks for a time. But after a big clash with Yan, Reeves built his chip stack up over 10 million which gave him a lead he wouldn't surrender. With his commanding chip lead, Reeves open-shipped holding the [poker card="qs"][poker card="7s"] on Dvoress. Dvoress had just over 10 big blinds and called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="3s"] with his tournament on the line. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4c"] flop put Reeves in the lead. The [poker card="5s"] turn gave Dvoress some additional straight outs, but the [poker card="jh"] brick on the river ended Dvoress’ tournament in third-place where he collected $242,840. Heads-up play lasted just six hands when Yan, at a 3:1 chip deficit, raised on the button with [poker card="5h"][poker card="5d"]. In the big blind, Reeves moved all-in with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"] and Yan called with his pocket pair. The [poker card="8c"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4h"] flop gave both players plenty of ways to win the hand, but it was the [poker card="jc"] on the turn that gave Reeves the nut flush and left Yan drawing dead to the [poker card="3d"] river. It was another solid showing for Yan who now has three Super MILLION$ final tables and with his $314,924 runner-up prize, now has earned over $908,000 in this tournament series alone. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (1/26) 1. Lucas Reeves - $408,406 2. David Yan - $314,924 3. Daniel Dvoress - $242,840 4. Michael Watson - $187,255 5. Ole Schemion - $144,393 6. Eelis Parssinen - $111,342 7. Melker Larsson - $85,857 8. ‘WanYu’ - $66,205 9. Connor Drinan - $51,051
  5. The latest Galfond Challenge came to an abrupt end over the weekend when challenger Chance Kornuth conceded the heads-up match roughly 10,000 hands shy of the finish, awarding Phil Galfond another challenge victory and a payday worth over $976,000. Kornuth booked the $100/$200 heads-up Pot Limit Omaha heads-up challenge with Galfond at the start of 2020 in what was expected to be a 35,000 hand event. In addition to the money on the table, the pair agreed to a side bet in which the favorite, Galfond laid four-to-one to Kornuth, risking $1 million to Kornuth’s $250,000. Over the past four months, the pair battled online each taking turns holding the lead. However, as the challenge approached the 25,000 hand mark, Galfond extended his lead up over $680,000. On Saturday, during session #50, Kornuth lost a pair of critical all-ins. Then, during a break in the action, Kornuth conceded the challenge. “It was a heck of a battle that didn’t really go my way down the stretch and Phil played great,” Kornuth said just moments after conceding. In a joint interview after the match, Kornuth was asked if he knew that he was going to call it early. He discussed the fact that he had sold a package that was based on $1 million. Once he had started the day on a downswing he took a look at the numbers which showed that his in-game loss of $726,500 plus the loss of the $250,000 side bet would put him critically close to his maximum loss amount. So, during the break he let Galfond know that he was ready to quit. “Even though I lost, I actually, surprisingly, enjoyed the battle,” Kornuth said. “I’d been grinding tournaments for the last few years and I really forgot how much I truly do enjoy the heads up battle.” Once again, Galfond was a gracious winner. Galfond joined the interview and praised Kornuth’s toughness as an opponent while discussing the strategies that did and didn’t work against him. “The beginning of the challenge was definitely, especially, mentally draining because Chance was playing so many spots that in ways that were very exploitative or my tendencies or population tendencies. And he was adjusting quickly,” Galfond said. “It funny when you’re playing an exploitative player and you’re one as well because I would imagine that, like, 70% of the things that I thought he was doing - he was. And then 30% was just in my head and I was counter-adjusting to things that weren’t even there,” Galfond said. Galfond is now three-for-three in his string of challenges. His first victory came in dramatic fashion when he battled back from a roughly $1,000,000 deficit to defeat online cash game pro ‘Venividi1993’ over 25,000 hands for the €100,000 side bet. In May 2020, he completed another 15,000 hand challenge against Greek grinder Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonstsios where he booked a €114,000 profit plus an additional €150,000 in side bet action. Over the course of the three challenges, Galfond has won more than $1.4 million in on-the-felt and side bet earnings. After his victory against Kornuth, Galfond talked about the differences in preparation and study against online specialists like ‘Venividi1993’ in comparison to a more exploitative player like Kornuth. “At first, I kind of approached it the same way but it was way, way different. Because I feel like when I found something that I could take advantage of against ‘Veni’ or ‘ActionFreak’, not that there were very many things, I felt like I could rely on it for weeks,” Galfond said. “But with Chance, that’s not the case. It kind of became almost a waste of energy to spend a ton of time looking back on hands and trying to figure out his range construction in different spots and a counter-strategy.” “So I started to, towards the end of the challenge, prioritize resting my mind because I felt just too burnt out trying to make all these reads and strategy adjustments and plans and I feel like I wasn’t performing as well and so in the second half of the challenge I feel like a lot more of my focus went to performance than specific strategic studying.” Galfond wasn’t alone in feeling burnt out as Kornuth expressed some relief at the challenge coming to an end. Additionally, in between the time that he accepted the challenge in early 2020 and the conclusion, Kornuth became a father for the first time. “It’s really weird, I almost feel better not that it’s over than I did yesterday,” Kornuth said. “It’s almost a relief that it’s over. Obviously, I gave it my all and tried to win but it’s kind of a weird feeling. I expected to be more dejected today than yesterday but I actually feel surprisingly good.” When discussing what’s next for him, Kornuth said he planned to “focus on being a dad” as well as marketing the latest programs of his online poker training site Chip Leader Coaching. Galfond also expressed that he planned on spending time with family and putting work in on his own Run It Once training site. Although the start of the next Galfond Challenge is still up in the air, Galfond did note that there are a number of battles left on the horizon. There’s a challenge with Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, a live challenge against Brandon Adams, and the resumption of his challenge against Bill Perkins but with no plans to travel out of the country, Galfond indicated that those will have to wait.
  6. Brazil’s Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann is on the verge of a breakthrough. Volkmann is a key member of the trio of Brazilians who have been occupying the upper echelons of the Online Poker Rankings for weeks on end. Of course, there’s 2020 Rising Star of the Year, Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon who, this week, continued his reign as the #1-ranked player in the world for the fifth week running. Then there’s Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivieleski, the superstar MTT professional who sits at #5, looking to make another run at the top spot which he last held in 2015. Volkmann, currently ranked at #6, has been grinding relentlessly and reaping the rewards of major scores. Throughout the last half of 2020 and right into the New Year, his results have put him in a position to rise back into the worldwide top-5. In recent months, some of Volkmann’s biggest scores in his career have taken place while battling in the weekly $10K buy-in Super MILLION$ tournament on the GGPoker network. In September 2020, Volkmann locked up one of the biggest scores of his career when he outlasted a tough final table that included Jans Arends, Daniel Dvoress, and Matthias Eibinger to capture the $564,947 first-place prize. He was back at a Super MILLION$ final table in November where he finished in fourth place, good for another $179,542 and 592.04 PLB points. Since the start of the Super MILLION$ weekly tournament, Volkmann has finished in the money six times, reached four final tables, and earned over $965,000. While his MILLION$ scores have helped see his career online earnings soar north of $7.8 million, it’s his regular grind that has helped him rack up the PLB points necessary to sit in contention for a top-5 spot. December 27, Volkmann wrapped up 2020 a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder High Roller for $44,297 and 574.89 PLB points. At the very same time, he finished in fourth place in the PokerStars Blowout Series $5,200 NLHE High Roller for $93,799 and 574.89 PLB points. As good as December was for Volkmann, things have only gotten better in January. He kicked off the year by besting the 194-player field in the Blowout Series Event #28 ($2,100 NLHE, PKO) for $34,173 and 440.45 PLB points and then went on a deep run in the January 10 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR for $13,456 plus 186.93 PLB points. The recently completed Blowout Series continued to be a source of impressive results for Volkmann as he picked up back-to-back five-figure scores in some of the series final events. He went on a deep run in Event #68 ($1,050 NLHE Thursday Thrill) and eventually finished in fourth place for $20,166. At the same time, he was heads-up in Event #71 ($530 NLHE 8-Max, HRC Daily Supersonic). He ended up as the runner-up which added another $26,308 to his bankroll. With over a week left in the month, Volkmann’s start to 2021 includes 24 in-the-money results and more than $133,000 in earnings. His six PLB-qualified cashes resulted in 1,405.20 points added to his running total. In order to make a push for the #1 spot, Volkmann is going to need another really big result or two. Sitting this week with 9,925 PLB points, Volkmann has plenty to keep him entrenched in the top 10, however, both Botteon and the #2-ranked Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic both have over 13,500 PLB points which is considerable ground to cover. But Dzivieleski, who is right above Volkmann in the rankings is a mere 316 points ahead. Should Volkmann continue to record the same caliber of impressive results as he has already done in 2021, he may see a return to the elite section of the rankings and possibly break ground into a new career-high spot. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=164 /]
  7. It’s a brand new year for the online grinders in the Regulated States of America and an early snapshot of the U.S.A. Online Poker Rankings finds some new names challenging the familiar faces for their spot in the top-10. David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman (6,027 PLB points) retains the top spot in the U.S.A. thanks to an impressive string of PLB-qualified cashes to kick-off 2021. The New Jersey online grinder picked up wins in the January 4 edition of the WSOP.com $15,000 Weekly Sunday Deepstack for $7,705 and 170.51 PLB points and the January 6 edition of the BorgataPoker.com Mega $535 Tuesday for $7,611 and another 156.68 PLB points. He picked up another 164.58 PLB points with his January 8 victory in the WSOP.com $20,000 Weekly Thursday which was good for another $9,480. So far this year, Coleman has logged seven top-three finishes (four of which were outright wins) and nine four-figure scores. He is currently ranked #57 in the world, down just a few spots from his career-high ranking of #50 where he sat in late 2020. Challenging Coleman for the #1 ranking in the U.S. is Alexander ‘Veruz’ Butcher (5,707 PLB points). The up-and-coming Butcher is originally from Michigan but is currently playing out of New Jersey and he has been making his presence felt in the U.S. regulated online sites over the past six months. Butcher had a tremendous December which included capturing his current career-high online score of $38,256 and 416.66 PLB points when he took down the $1,000 buy-in WSOP.com $75,000 Sunday High Roller on December 14. Two weeks later he made a deep run in the WPT Online Poker Open Main Event in which he finished in 15th place for another $13,115. The big scores continued for Butcher when the New Year arrived. On January 11 he booked the win in the WSOP.com $50,000 Weekly Sunday for $24,223 and 291.54 PLB points, the second-highest online score of his career. As recently as January 16, Butcher found himself in the winner’s circle yet again on WSOP.com in the $15,000 Weekly Friday as he added $6,757 to his bankroll, and pushed his lifetime total recorded cashes to just over $830,000. All of his hard work paid off by helping him break into online poker’s top-100 worldwide rankings. Butcher currently sits at #70, down a few spots from his all-time high of #57. To reach the #2-spot, Butcher had to get past perennial top-ranked U.S. grinder Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon (5,226 PLB points). Kwon was recently named the WSOP.com 2020 Player of the Year and earned himself a $10,000 cash prize as well as a package that includes a set in a $1K online event in the 2021 World Series of Poker. Kwon’s spotlight scores from the last month include a victory in the December 16 edition of the WSOP.com Tuesday Showdown for $24,844 and 295.48 PLB points and a runner-up finish in the December 20 PokerStars NJ Sunday Special for another $4,757 and 115.58 PLB points. Kwon put a bow on his 2020 with a win in the WSOP.com $25,000 Weekly Monday on December 29 for $10,047 and 189.43 PLB points. So far in 2021 has continued his trademark grind, racking up six four-figure cashes with two wins. [table id=163 /]
  8. In what is seen as a big win for interstate online poker, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in their case against the U.S. Department of Justice and its revised opinion of the Wire Act. As originally reported by OnlinePokerReport.com, the ruling upholds the decision of a lower court that the reinterpretation of the Wire Act by the Department of Justice in 2018 is incorrect. In that revised opinion, the DOJ sought to expand the coverage of the Wire Act beyond sports betting to include all forms of gambling which included lotteries and online poker. The Wire Act of 1961 was originally enacted to prohibit the use of "wire communication" to assist in the interstate placing bets or wagers (or the collection of earnings) in any "sporting event or contest." In 2011, the DOJ released an opinion that events and activities that fall outside of the "sporting event" wording are outside of the Wire Act's purview. Then, in 2018, the DOJ reversed itself and attempted to extend the law's coverage. The appellate court’s decision is a potential boom for online poker in the United States. Even though online poker was not at the forefront of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission’s case, the industry should benefit providing the decision stands. It clears up the legality of whether states that legalize online poker, as Pennsylvania and Michigan have recently done, can join or create their own interstate network as Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have already done with WSOP.com being the first and only network to date to take advantage of the opportunity. In addition to opening the gates for new states to join an interstate network, it also reinforces that what has already been established can continue to grow. Prior to the 2019 World Series of Poker, organizers were unclear if players in New Jersey would be allowed to participate in online bracelet events as they had in year's past due to the language in the DOJ’s 2018 interpretation. After an initial loss in federal court about the Wire Act, the DOJ let it be known that they would not start enforcing on other forms of gambling until 2020 at the earliest. Now, the decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals leaves the DOJ, should it choose to proceed, the final option of appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States. Given the current political landscape, the DOJ may choose not to do this in which case the lawsuit would be complete and the interpretation nullified. The Supreme Court may also opt not to hear the case which would be an end to matters as well. The new presidential administration will likely be a factor as well. According to Bloomberg News Network, President Biden is on record as not supporting the DOJ’s Wire Act expansion. Additionally, as reported by CDC Gaming Reports, back in December 2019 the Biden campaign issued a statement saying that Biden “doesn’t support adding unnecessary restrictions to the gaming industry like the Trump Administration has done.” With this being the likely end of the line for the case, players in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are likely to see some new screen names at the tables as online poker in the U.S. prepares to expand in 2021.
  9. Germany’s Pascal Hartmann entered Tuesday’s GGPoker Super MILLION$ final table near the very bottom of the chip counts but after chipping up and eliminating each of his final five opponents, the high-stakes superstar emerged as this week’s winner and took home the $454,907 first-place prize. Hartmann has been a consistent presence in the $10K Super MILLION$ field having participated in 31 of the 32 times the tournament has been run. This was his tenth in-the-money finish and fourth final table, the result of which has sent him into the tournament series top 10 money earners. At the start of the day, Hartmann was in eighth place with roughly 25 big blinds and facing off against another talent-packed final table that included online poker legend Isaac Baron, Ami Barer, and 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Dario Sammartino. Despite the hurdles in front of him, Hartmann managed to continually pick up big hands in key spots which lifted him to victory. Even though the chips were flying in the first ninety minutes of the final table, it was slow going in terms of players hitting the rail. Finally, a short-stacked Aliakesei Boika shipped his final nine big blinds in with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] and ran into Russia’s ‘RRomashka’s [poker card="tc"][poker card="td"]. Dominated by the pair as well as both suits, the board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="2h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] provided a little drama as Boika had both straight and straight flush outs headed into the river. But the pocket tens held and Boika fell in ninth place for $56,864. Ami Barer exited in eighth place when his [poker card="qs"][poker card="qc"] failed to hold against Argentina’s ‘OnTheFlow’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] in a preflop clash. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8s"] and Barer added $73,743 to his bankroll. Then, roughly thirty minutes later, Kyle Menard hit the rail in painful fashion. A short-stacked Sammartino moved all in under the gun with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"]. Looking to double up his own short stack, Menard called with his tournament on the line holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"][poker card="6h"] gave Menard middle set, but the [poker card="td"] turn turned the tide to Sammartino, hitting his gutshot straight draw. The [poker card="9h"] river was no help to Menard who exited in seventh place for $95,633. Soon after the second break, Hartmann and Baron clashed for the chip lead. Under the gun, Baron raised with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. It folded back to Hartmann in the big blind who three-bet with [poker card="qs"][poker card="qd"]. Baron quickly shoved the rest of his 30 big blind stack and Hartmann made the call. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="td"] board was clean for the pocket queens and Baron, who had won his previous Super MILLION$ final table appearance, settled for sixth place and $124,020. Two hands later Hartmann was back in action, this time against Sammartino. The fortunes had reversed for these two players as Sammartino entered the final table as the chip leader but with five left was sitting on fewer than 10 big blinds. From the hijack, Sammartino put in a big raise with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"], leaving himself with less than one big blind behind. On the button, Hartmann made the call with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"]. The flop came [poker card="qs"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3c"] and Sammartino committed the rest of his chips, which Hartmann quickly called. Sammartino spiked the [poker card="ac"] on the turn and was in a perfect position to double up. But Hartmann spiked one of his two outs with the [poker card="jh"] river, sending Sammartino out in fifth for $160,834. Hartmann’s heater continued when ‘RRomashka’ shoved all-in with [poker card="3s"][poker card="3h"] and Hartmann woke up with [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. Hartmann spikes a set on the turn leaving ‘RRomashka’ drawing dead to the river. The Russian finished in fourth place for $208,576, nearly doubling the amount of their previous earnings in the Super MILLION$. ‘OnTheFlow’ was the next to go. Now, the overwhelming chip leader, Hartmann shoved from the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="6d"] and ‘OnTheFlow’, with 13 big blinds, made his stand by calling all-in from the big blind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"]. The flop came [poker card="qc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"] pairing Hartmann, but changing nothing. The turn was the [poker card="9c"], giving ‘OnTheFlow’ additional straight outs. But the river came the [poker card="4h"] and ‘OnTheFlow’ was out in third place for $270,490. Hartmann entered heads-up play against Ireland’s ‘Pluto The Doggo’ with a nearly 6-1 chip advantage. That grew to nearly 10-1 at one point but ‘Pluto The Doggo’, who was at their second Super MILLION$ final table in as many weeks, clawed their way back into the match by picking up a key pot or two and scoring a crucial double up. However, as it was demonstrated throughout the final table, it was Hartmann’s day. On the final hand, Hartmann called on the button with [poker card="kh"][poker card="6h"]. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ put in a three-bet with [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"] and Hartmann came along. The flop came [poker card="9d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2h"] and ‘Pluto The Doggo’ led out, Hartmann with the flush draw made the call. The turn was the [poker card="7d"] and ‘Pluto The Doggo’ stayed aggressive, leading again. Hartmann made the call. The river came the [poker card="5h"], pairing ‘Pluto The Doggo’ but giving Hartmann his flush. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ then checked and Hartmann shipped all-in. After taking some time, ‘Pluto The Doggo’ called off which sent him home as the runner-up. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ collected $350,782 for second place and brought his career Super MILLION$ total to just over $487,000. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (1/19) 1. Pascal Hartmann - $454,908 2. ‘Plutto The Doggo’ - $350,782 3. ‘OnTheFlow’ - $270,490 4. ‘RRomashka’ - $208,576 5. Dario Sammartino - $160,834 6. Isaac Baron - $124,020 7. Kyle Menard - $95,633 8. Ami Barer - $73,743 9. Aliaksei Boika - $56,864
  10. 2020 was a career year for UK online crusher Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford who not only spent more than half the year as the #1-ranked player in the world but also earned more than enough PocketFives PLB points to run away as the 2020 Online Poker Player of the Year. For years, Beresford had been considered one of the toughest online poker tournament players in the world, but in 2020 he cemented himself as one of the very best. He hit new heights by earning six six-figure scores, four of which are currently a part of his top-5 results. He also padded his poker resume with victories in high roller events as well as his first PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker title. Beresford’s year got off to a quick start when on January 30 he finished as the runner-up in the GGPoker $2,020 2020 Series Championship for what was easily a new career-high cash of $611,134. Although he settled for second in that spot, Beresford spent the rest of the year finding ways to take home the win in the face of huge paydays at major final tables. For Beresford, those final tables often came with a title attached. He started his 2020 collection in March when he took down the partypoker POWERFEST Event #8 for $70,588. It was then that the online poker industry ramped up its offerings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which meant more opportunities for players like Beresford. On March 22, he picked up a win in the PokerStars High Rollers Week Kickoff Event ($5,200 NLHE) for $180,438. That fed right into back-to-back six-figure scores, the first of which took place during High Rollers 32 ($5,200 8-Max Main Event) for $378,205. That was closely followed by another huge win in High Rollers 39 ($10,300 NLHE) where Beresford defeated fellow UK pro Michael 'mczhang' Ch Zhang heads up for $239,652. All three of those PokerStars High Rollers victories were good enough to enter Beresford’s top-5 career results. The highlights continued in April as Beresford walked away with the win in the GGPoker GSS #162-HR for $74,066. Then again in May when he picked up a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker title with a win in Event 32-H ($530 NLHE) for $85,959. It was only fitting that in the middle of his 29-week long run as the #1-ranked player in the world, Beresford took down his first PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker title for $162,674. By the end of the year, Beresford’s lifetime career cashes soared over $14.7 million in earnings and he accumulated 29,804 PLB points, more than 4,000 ahead of Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon who ended the year with 25,730 points. Botteon had a well-documented incredible year in his own right highlighted by a second-place finish in the international leg of the World Series of Poker 2020 Main Event for a career-high score of $1,062,723. He also finished as the runner-up in the WSOP $25,000 Heads Up NLHE event on GGPoker for $622,300 as well as making an appearance at the final table of the WSOP $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship where he finished in sixth place for another $388,837. In total, Botteon, who is currently the #1-ranked player in the world, earned 14 of his top 15 scores in 2020, seven of which were good for six-figures or more. The current #2-ranked player, Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic also made a run at the Online Player of the Year title by accumulating 23,773 points. The largest score of his year came in August when he earned a WSOP gold bracelet in Event #63 ($500 Mini Main Event) and collected a career-high cash of $843,460. After winning the PocketFives Yearly PLB title in both 2018* and 2019, ‘Lena900’ finished fourth in the 2020 race with 22,918 points. ‘Lena900’ started the year off as the #1-ranked player and held on to it for the better part of five months until Beresford assumed the top spot. Despite everything he’s accomplished in his career, all of his titles, the online great managed to add even more last year. His yearly highlights included a win in the PokerStars Stadium Series for $230,435 which was the third-highest cash of his career plus two WCOOP titles. In total, ‘Lena900’ has extended his lead on the Online All-Time Money List to more than $21.5 million. Former #1-ranked Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski finished in fifth place with 20,411 points on the back of his second career WSOP bracelet and three World Championship of Online Poker titles which included one in Event #48-H ($5,200, 8-Max PKO) for a total of $245,000. 2020 Online Poker Player of the Year Standings [table id=150 /] * In previous years, players were awarded the title of PocketFives Yearly PLB winner. This title has been changed to PocketFives Online Player of the Year.
  11. Chris Moneymaker didn’t become of the best ambassadors in poker by being a high-stakes crusher or a Hollywood celebrity. It was practically divine intervention that married the Moneymaker name with his down-to-earth personality and stuck him in front of the ESPN cameras holding up bricks of cash as the winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. It turns out, he was perfectly suited for the role of a poker ambassador. But on the final day of 2020, Moneymaker took to Twitter to announce that, effective immediately, he and PokerStars were mutually parting ways bringing to an end his 17-year run with the world's largest online poker site. Not a bad run for a job that was thrust upon him. Moneymaker’s tenure at PokerStars makes him if not the - one of the - longest-running ambassadors in poker history. But over his time at PokerStars, the job description of poker ambassador changed quite a bit. Here at the end of an era, Moneymaker took some time to reflect on what it means to be an ambassador, how it’s evolved, and what it takes to succeed in the role today. “When I signed, there was no such thing as an ambassador. Tom McEvoy was the only one who had a deal, and I don’t really know what his role was,” said Moneymaker. “My first year with PokerStars, I really didn’t do anything. There was nothing going on. Tournaments were probably three or four a year, there wasn’t a whole lot televised. So basically they were giving me money for nothing, just to wear a patch. But I never got to wear a patch because it was never on TV. That was the first year. “As the years progressed, tons of TV shows, tons of tournaments, tons of everything started coming out. To be an ambassador back then was, essentially just wear the patch and represent the site and do interviews and play on the site. Nothing that I normally wouldn't do anyways. So it wasn't really work to me. I just got to be myself and it, again, made it really easy.” But that was then. It was an era where poker participation was skyrocketing and companies like PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Ultimate Bet, among others, looked to lock up top talent in hopes that slapping a patch on a player at a televised final table would entice the next wave of depositors. “It went from three of us, there was me, Joe [Hachem] and Greg [Raymer] to, freaking, I think we got to 100 almost. It was a revolving door of people coming in and going out. I never even met some of them,” he said. According to Moneymaker, PokerStars' aggressive ambassador stance was in part due to PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg’s belief in the ambassador role as a means to grow the industry. They snapped up players in any country where poker could explode. “It was a while there where every day I’d wake up and there would be a new pro.” Over a decade later, and after the fallout from Black Friday, the abundance of televised cash games and made-for-broadcast tournaments like the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship is all but gone. For online operators, the landscape of how new customers are obtained continues to be a challenge and the role of an engaged ambassador requires much more than simply playing on a site with a custom avatar. “The role of the ambassador changed quite a bit. I might be a little bit of a unicorn in the fact that I don’t stream a whole lot, but to be an ambassador in today’s game, you almost have to be a streamer or do things of that nature, because there’s not enough opportunity to be on TV,” Moneymaker said. “Once Black Friday happened, they took away patches on TV, so there’s just not as many opportunities for someone to get patched up to be on TV. Really the way to get into an ambassadorship role in today’s game is to be as a streamer of some kind, or be a personality that would attract outside of poker.” That is part of what makes Moneymaker the “unicorn” he is. He’s not a 40-hour per week online poker streamer showcasing a platform. And while his social media following is impressive, he doesn't have the millions of followers that names like Neymar, Rafael Nadal or Usain Bolt have (all of whom have passed through the turnstile of poker ambassadorship.) Yet, even though multiple ownership changes at PokerStars, his ambassador deal was "rubber-stamped" time and time again. Moneymaker is one of the rare poker personas who transcended company marketing. People feel connected to Moneymaker by having watched him live out the same poker dream that they have themselves. He’s an ambassador for poker as a whole and it’s that connection that Moneymaker feels is his real value as an ambassador is. It’s a connection he doesn’t take for granted. “For me, personally, [the job] was going out and actually meeting people and meeting the guys that want to win a big tournament, or change their life, or want to take the game a little more seriously.” Moneymaker said. “They get the experience of playing with me and meeting me, and [being an ambassador] was more about the person-to-person experience for me.” “The one thing that’s made me last 17 years, I believe, is whenever they ask me to do something I’ve always just said ‘yes’. I’ve never told them no to anything. But I always felt like they really didn’t ask me to do a whole lot.” That’s not to say that the ambassador's life is always easy. Time away from family can be taxing. Trips to Europe, Australia, and China may be exciting but the travel can be grueling. Adding the travel to the event and half-a-month is spent on the road and according to Moneymaker, “eventually it gets old after 17 years.” On December 31, Moneymaker cited the desire to spend more time with his family as a reason for his mutual parting of ways with PokerStars. The news was a surprise for many fans and members of the poker industry alike as the association between the WSOP champ and the site he won his $10K seat on felt like the strongest in poker. Moneymaker’s decision was also a bit of a surprise to Moneymaker himself who, at one time, imagined a future that extended well past 17 years. “It’s a good company. I was really happy with them,” he said. “I’m still really happy with them, I have no problem. It was a mutual thing and they really didn’t ask me to do a whole lot and they paid me pretty good. So, from my side, I was really happy and I felt like they got a lot of value out of me. In any good business deal, you’re going to have both sides coming out good, and I think that’s the case we had. I know the relationship would have continued…I actually expected it to go on another decade, but then the coronavirus happened and everything changed from my standpoint.” When asked to reflect on the peak of being an ambassador for PokerStars, Moneymaker paused, as if there’s were too many to count or perhaps the seventeen years is all a blur. He talked about his connection with Donald Hobbs back in 2008 and his successful Moneymaker Tour where he handed out a series of $25K Platinum Passes to players who could never afford to play in the high-roller event. “Those types of things are what really stick out to me, changing people’s lives and giving people experiences. Honestly, some of the best times I had was when I’d take someone’s bankroll at the table but then they’d get up and shake my hand and say ‘That was awesome’. Basically, I know I’ve done my job.” The Moneymaker ambassador era at PokerStars may be over, but Moneymaker’s not headed off into the sunset yet. Just 45 years old, in his farewell video he hints at future endeavors, and as one of poker’s ultimate ambassadors, one would think that it’s just a matter of time before he’s called on again. “I’ve already had phone calls and I’ve already answered a few of them, so yeah, you’ll be seeing some things from me in the near future.”
  12. After 23 prior attempts, high-stakes cash game pro Alexandros Kolonias finally broke through this week and made the final table of the weekly $10,300 buy-in GGPoker Super MILLION$. A hard-fought battle through a swingy and tough final table helped Kolonias erase all his prior Super MILLION$ frustrations by taking down the tournament and walking away with the $438,733 first-place prize. Although Kolonias entered the final table as the chip leader, his path to victory was anything but straight forward. Week-in and week-out, the Super MILLION$ final table features some of online poker’s strongest players and this week was no different. Samuel ‘€urop€an’ Vousden, Kevin Rabichow, and Michael Addamo all had a seat, and Kolonias’ aggressive style had him losing and re-taking the chip lead multiple times before all was said and done. Vousden who started the day as one of the three shortest stacks, and early in the final table found himself with under five big blinds and in need to double-up. From under the gun, Rabichow put in a raise with [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"] only to be three-bet by Gleb Tremzin in the big blind with [poker card="5s"][poker card="5h"]. Vousden then called off all-in holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. After Rabichow folded, the pair watched as the board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="td"], shipping the pot to Tremzin’s pocket fives. Vousden’s day ended in ninth place for $54,842. Chips flew for well over an hour before the next elimination. Now with fewer than four big blinds himself, Tremzin opened with [poker card="8s"][poker card="8d"], leaving himself less than a small blind behind. In the small blind, ‘Pluto The Doggo’ called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="2s"] and ‘imjuniar’ came along holding [poker card="jd"][poker card="7c"] in the big blind. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"] and ‘Pluto The Doggo’ and ‘imjuniar’ checked it to Tremzin who put in the rest of his stack which was roughly 1/30th of the pot. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ made the call and, having flopped trips, ‘imjuniar’ called as well. The turn was the [poker card="5c"] and when checked to, ‘imjuniar’ put in a small bet which got him heads up against Tremzin. The river was the [poker card="5d"] sending Tremzin out in eighth place for $71,121. The very next hand, Carlos Villamarin raised in early position with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"]. It folded to ‘Pluto The Doggo’ on the button who shipped his final 16 big blinds holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"]. It folded back to Villamarin who quickly called. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ flopped a gutshot straight draw to go with his overcard on the [poker card="5c"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"] flop but the [poker card="td"] turn and [poker card="9d"] river was of no help and ‘Pluto The Doggo’ hit the rail in seventh place for $92,323. After an early position raise from Addamo with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"] the action folded to ‘imjuniar’ in the big blind holding [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"] with fewer than 10 big blinds. ‘imjuniar’ shipped his stack, Addamo snap-called, and the pair watched as the board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"]. Addamo took down the pot with his pair of kings and ‘imjuniar’ laddered to sixth place which was good for $119,610. With five left, Rabichow put in a nearly 10 big blind big raise under the gun with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"], leaving himself with roughly five bigs behind. EPT Barcelona High Roller champion Juan Pardo Dominguez made the call on the button with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8s"], also leaving himself just a few big blinds behind. The action went check-check on the [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"][poker card="kc"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="2c"] and Rabichow moved all-in with top pair. Dominguez took some time but eventually made the call with his dominated pocket eights. Down to two outs, Dominguez saw his tournament end in fifth place when the [poker card="7d"] fell on the river. Pardo collected $155,116 for the deep run. Addamo started the day as the short stack, but through a series of hands was able to rise up the leaderboard throughout the day. With four players left, it looked like he found another spot to put himself in position to make another run at a Super MILLION$ title. Folded to Kolonias in the small blind, the chip leader open-shoved with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6h"]. It was a quick call by Addamo in the big blind who had Kolonias dominated with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"] flop kept Addamo in the lead, but everything changed when the [poker card="6c"] hit the turn. Addamo’s day concluded when the [poker card="7h"] came on the river. While Addamo didn’t win another Super MILLION$ this week, his $201,160 fourth-place prize put him back top the Super MILLION$ Top Earners list. For a decent stretch of the tournament, Rabichow had been in the lower half of the chip counts. But with three left, the chip stacks evened out and he found himself back in the thick of it. After Kolonias put in a raise on the button, Rabichow defended his [poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"] in the big blind. The flop came [poker card="6h"][poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"] giving Rabichow a flush draw. Unfortunately for him, Kolonias was sitting on [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"] for flopped quads. Rabichow checked and Kolonias min-bet the quads. Rabichow check-raised and Kolonias just called. The turn was the [poker card="7s"] adding a worthless open-ended straight draw to go with Rabichow's perceived flush outs. Rabichow checked, Kolonias put in a bet and Rabichow thought about it and decided to shove all-in. Kolonias made the quick call with Rabichow drawing dead. Rabichow earned $260,872 for third place plus a little needle on the way out as the meaningless [poker card="ah"] hit the river. Heads-up play between Kolonias and Villamarin had the pair passing the chip lead back and forth. When the final hand of the tournament was dealt the pair had virtually even chip stacks with Kolonias holding just a slim advantage. Villamarin called on the button with [poker card="jc"][poker card="td"] and Kolonias put in a raise from the big blind with [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"]. Villamarin made the call and the flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3s"]. Kolonias bet out and, with no time bank left, Villamarin moved all-in with top pair. Kolonias called with the overpair which held through the [poker card="kh"] turn and [poker card="ac"] river. Villamarin collected $338,310 as the runner-up and in his 24th appearance in the GGPoker Super MILLION$, Kolonias took home the title and $438,733 for first. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (1/12) 1. Alexandros Kolonias - $438,733 2. Carlos Villamarin - $338,310 3. Kevin Rabichow - $260,872 4. Michael Addamo - $201,160 5. Juan Pardo Dominguez - $155,116 6. ‘imjuniar’ - $119,610 7. ‘Pluto The Doggo’ - $92,232 8. Gleb Tremzin - $71,121 9. Samuel Vousden - $54,842
  13. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Listen in to the first episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast of 2021 and Lance and Donnie return with all of the latest news from the world of poker. First, controversial casino magnate and long-time political opponent to online poker Sheldon Adelson passed away early Tuesday morning leading the guys to discuss what, if anything, his passing will mean to the future prospects of online poker legislation. Huck Seed is the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame leading to a conversation surrounding the future of the Hall of Fame and the onslaught of qualified people who will be eligible in the next few years. Also, after seventeen years as an ambassador for PokerStars, Chris Moneymaker announced that he and the online poker company have mutually decided to part ways. What does this mean for Moneymaker's future? Listen in and find out. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  14. In the same month that Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon captured the worldwide #1 ranking for the first time in his career, he leveraged his first seven-figure score to take home the title of PocketFives Player of the Month for December. Botteon’s outstanding performance in 2020 has been well documented. Continually reaching new career-high cashes throughout the year, Botteon made a name for himself with high-profile appearances in the WSOP Online $25K Poker Players Championship as well as earning a spot in the finals of the WSOP Online $25K Heads-Up Championship. However, in December he was able to, once again, find a way to reach new heights. Botteon’s runner-up finish in the international leg of the $10K WSOP Main Event earned him $1,062,723, his first million-dollar score. It was also the fifth time in 2020 that he earned himself a new career-high cash. But it wasn’t just his deep run in the WSOP Main Event that helped him lock up the Player of the Month. Early in the month, he took down the December 6 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club ($1,050 Sunday Cooldown) for $10,478 and 232.78 PLB points. The very next day he won the GGPoker Sunday Forty Stack for another $35,985 and 451.43 PLB points. He picked up yet another win in the GGPoker $1,050 High Rollers Main Event for $25,645 and another 342.05 PLB points. In total for December, Botteon picked up nine five-figure scores from his 37 total results (outside of his WSOP cash). He also had nine PLB scores for a total of 5,308 points, just enough to help him outpace the competition to win the monthly award for the second time in his career. It was a perfect finish to an incredible year in which Botteon was named one of poker’s brightest rising stars. It seems like for the past month, whatever Botteon has done Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic has been right behind him, chasing him down. The #2-ranked player in the world finished as the runner-up in December’s Player of the Month race with 5,237 PLB points, just 71 behind Botteon. Zufic may not have had an avalanche of PLB points like one gets for taking second in the WSOP Main Event, but he did have a massive score of his own. His runner-up finish in the December 13 GGPoker High Roller Million$ brought him $228,682 and 821.52 PLB points. He added to his PLB point total with a victory in the GGPoker WSOPC Series $400 Sunday Forty Stack for $41,934 and 547.42 PLB points. In December Zufic was on a non-stop grind. He logged 131 in-the-money results, 12-PLB qualifying scores, and ten cashes of five-figures or better. He’s off to a fast start in 2021 as well, already locking up multiple large scores and keeping himself in the race for the worldwide top spot. Anton ‘AnteSvante’ Wigg, Austria’s #1-ranked pro, finished in third place in December after accumulating 4,091 PLB points. He finished in fourth place in the GGPoker Super Million$ High Rollers on December 1 for a career-high online cash of $176,631 and 587.22 PLB points. Two weeks later, Wigg defeated the 321 runners in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $60,389 and another 566.57 PLB points. Over the final two weeks of the year, Wigg went on a run on GGPoker picking up five-figure cashes and PLB points in bunches. A runner-up finish in the WSOPC Series $1,500 Sunday High Rollers brought him $44,369 on the same day he won the Sunday Special for $31,929. The next day he earned another $22,477 in the WSOPC Event #2 ($10, 300 Super MILLION$ High Roller) and another $32,729 in WSOPC Event #3 ($3,000 Deepstack) the very next day. His late-year results have pushed Wigg into the worldwide top-10 ranked, where he currently sits at #7. December 2020 Player of the Month Results [table id=153 /]
  15. The World Series of Poker has announced its new 2021 season of the WSOP Online Circuit Series. In light of the challenges of scheduling live events in face of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the WSOP has expanded its online schedule on WSOP.com to cover the entire year and offer players the opportunity to win more than 180 WSOP gold rings. The WSOP.com shared player pool in Nevada and New Jersey will be offered monthly Circuit series. Eight of these will feature 12 gold ring events with another four “Super Circuits” expanded to 18 events. In an attempt to capture some of the same benefits of grinding the WSOPC live events, the new online season will also feature cumulative and monthly leaderboards with added prizes as an incentive for those who succeed in racking up results in multiple WSOP Online Circuit events. “Players deserve great tournaments and great value year-round and that’s what we aim to do with the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart in the announcement. “We’ve been thrilled with the big prize pools for the WSOP.com events in 2020, and we only expect to see that grow with the new model.” Over the course of the year, the WSOP Online Circuit Series will offer players more than $600,000 in additional prize money through a variety of promotions. One of the biggest promotions arrives at the end of the year. The season-ending $250,000 WSOP Online Circuit Championship will be capped at 256 runners filled with the year’s most successful Online Circuit players. Seats can be earned by winning one of the gold ring events or by earning a spot through one of the other accompanying promotions including the $10,000 WSOP.com Circuit Player of the Month or a Second Chance Fast Forward freeroll. Additionally, players who finish the year inside the top 50 of the Cumulative Circuit Leaderboard, but who have not qualified through any other avenue, will also be eligible for the Championship event. Another $300,000 will be disbursed throughout the year in a series of $25,000 WSOP Circuit Stars Monthly Freerolls. Players who win a gold ring event that month, as well as those in the top 10 of the WSOP.com Circuit Player of the Month leaderboard, will make up the small field eligible to pick up a piece of the additional $25,000 As well as entry into the $25,000 Circuit Stars Monthly Freeroll, the top 10 players on the Circuit Player of the Month leaderboard will share $10,000 worth of tournament tickets. Points are accumulated by cashing in Gold Ring events with the leaderboard winner each month earning a seat to the Championship event. The monthly Second Chance Fast Forward freeroll rewards players who play in multiple events, whether they cash or not. Players who play in a minimum of four WSOP Online Circuit events in a given series will be entered into the “winner take all” freeroll where the last player standing will be admitted to the WSOP Online Circuit Series Championship. Also of note, the WSOP announced that in addition to the 12 events taking place on WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey, a 13th event is penciled in for “the pending launch of the WSOP.com service in a newly regulated market.” This looks like an indicator of a 2021 arrival of WSOP.com in Pennsylvania where PokerStars has already been operating for over a year. The WSOP has also teamed up with official casino partners who will provide promotional rates for players who wish to travel to play in the events. In addition to co-branding the events with the property names, players can opt to buy-in and cash out at the onsite cage. The new WSOP Online Circuit Series gets underway on January 14 with the start of the 18-event Winter Online Super Circuit. WSOP Online Circuit 2021 Season [table id=152 /]
  16. The online poker explosion of 2020 proved to be a boon for PocketFivers, especially those who took advantage of the extensive tournament offerings over on 888poker. The online site spent the better part of the year giving players plenty of reasons to log on and play. From their Early Bird Rakeback promotions to the multiple $500,000 GTD XL Series Main Events, the data shows PocketFivers padded their bankrolls by making deep runs in some of the biggest tournaments the online site offered all year long. In total, the top ten PocketFives tournament players on 888poker earned more than $1 million over the course of 139 victories. Denmark’s ‘N33dCoaching’ led all scores in 2020 by earning $124,973 with a total of 221 cashes. A regular grinder of mid-high stakes tournaments, ’N33dCoaching’ put together his six-figure earnings with volume and consistency. He notched 10 wins with his biggest score coming in the April 5 edition of the $25,000 Sunday Challenge when he outlasted the field of 226 entries to earn a $5,529 payday. A late-year heater brought him three more important victories in a four-week span. First, he took down the $16.50 BIG Fish on October 17 for $2,835. Right before the end of the month, he booked another win in the October 30 $10,000 Mega Deep for $3,400. Just two weeks later ‘N33dCoaching’ grabbed the gold medal once again in the $12,000 Mega Deep for another $3,600, which proved to be a critical score to help him take down the 888poker Top Earners leaderboard. Just $3,390 behind ’N33dCoaching’ was online poker savant Peter ‘Belabacsi’ Traply. Traply, who currently sits at #2 on the Online Poker All-Time Money List, locked up a yearly total of $121,583 on 888poker to push his career online earnings to more than $18.4 million. Traply, playing under his screen name ‘kiskutya23’, made the money in 220 tournaments in 2020 and finished in the top spot in 16 of them. Of those 16 victories, 15 were good for four-figure scores and the total of those wins account for $32,898 of his earnings (27% of total scores). One of the most important of his year was his victory in the January 27 edition of the $3,000 Late Mega Deep for $1,924 which became a part of his 12th PocketFives Triple Crown, his first time achieving that accolade since 2013. Surprisingly, his biggest score of the year wasn’t one of those wins. In fact, it was a tournament where he didn’t even place in the top three. In the July 19 edition of the $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep, Traply took home his biggest 888poker score when he finished in fifth place for $5,250. Traply ended the year as the #3-ranked player in Hungary and #156 in the world. Rounding out the top three is Germany’s ‘LIk3az0mbY’ who took home $115,698 over 367 in-the-money finishes. Like the two players above him, ‘LIk3az0mbY’ made his money by sticking to the grind. His 2020 highlights included grabbing a title in 888poker’s PKO Series by winning Event #27 ($20,000 Mini 6-Max) for $3,298. The very next week he hit what would be his high score of the year with a runner-up finish in the April 16 edition of the $20,000 Mega Deep for another $3,937. With the help of his results on 888poker, ‘LIk3az0mbY’ climbed into the top 10 online players in Germany and hit an all-time career-high of #858 in the world. 888poker Top 10 Earners of 2020 [table id=151 /]
  17. After a vote by the 30 of the 31 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame, 1996 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Huckleberry Seed has been named as the sole member of the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2020. “Hearing the news that I am being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame this year brought back memories of my early poker days, walking into Binion’s Horseshoe, about to start a poker session, admiring all the Poker Hall of Famers on the wall,” Seed said. “It feels good to be included with all the poker legends that I once idolized and competed against over the year. Thank you, everyone.” Seed is a four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner with more than $7.6 million in career live tournament earnings. In addition to his Main Event victory, Seed won bracelets in Pot Limit Omaha (1994) and Razz (2000, 2003). His career dates back to over a decade before the poker boom, but he became a fixture in poker culture by being featured on televised tournaments and cash games. In 2009, Seed was the winner of the NBC Heads Up Tournament and in 2010 he prevailed in the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. After inducting two people every year since 2010, WSOP officials decided to return to the original limit of one inductee per year this year. WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart wanted to honor the original tradition of one inductee per year, which started in 1979. “We like tradition. One per year is the way it was for the majority of the Poker Hall of Fame’s history. A single inductee seems to promote the prestige of the honor,” Stewart said. “Most of the finalists these past few years are very young men. I would hope and assume they will all get inducted eventually.” There were a total of 300 votes cast by the Poker Hall of Fame members (one person abstained from voting) with Seed collecting 76, or roughly 25%, of the votes. Behind him in the voting was Matt Savage with 51 and PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg with 45 votes. Distribution of Votes Huckleberry Seed – 76 Votes Matt Savage – 51 Votes Isai Scheinberg – 45 Votes Eli Elezra – 30 Votes Antonio Esfandiari – 23 Votes Lon McEachern and Norman Chad – 20 Votes Ted Forrest – 20 Votes Mike Matusow – 17 Votes Patrik Antonius – 15 Votes Chris Ferguson – 3 Votes In the poker community, Seed is also known as the “Master of the Prop Bet” with stories of the gambler putting himself through challenges that have included betting $10,000 that at six-foot-seven former basketball player could learn to perform a standing backflip in just two days. Other stories include Seed attempting to go an entire year without shaving, stand submerged in water up to his shoulders for 18 hours, and run a mile in under 4:40. Seed’s official induction into the Poker Hall of Fame will take place at a ceremony in 2021huck
  18. After surviving three days of play and fighting through a field of 395 runners, Soheb Porbandarwala finished 2020 as the last player standing in New Jersey’s WPT Online Poker Open taking home the $239,820 first-place prize and admission into the WPT Champions Club. The $3,500 buy-in tournament generated a prize pool of $1,264,000, shattering the $1 million guarantee and making it one of the largest events ever to take place on the partypoker US Network. It also made history as the first time that players in the United States could battle for a WPT Main Tour title by playing online. Porbandarwala entered the final day as the chip leader and while he didn’t hold on to it for the entire final table, he won the day in convincing fashion by eliminating four of his final seven opponents and battling back from a short stack to defeat WPT LAPC final table chip leader Balakrishna Patur heads up for the trophy. The day started with just eight players left, including Daniel Buzgon who was playing in his fourth WPT final table. Buzgon started the final table as the short stack and less than ten minutes in, found himself at risk. With the blinds at 350k/700k, Alex Farin opened on the button to 1.6 million holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Buzgon, in the big blind with [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"] made the call. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] and Buzgon checked it over to Farin who bet another 1.6 million. Buzgon check-raised to 3.9 million and Farin responded by raising enough to put Buzgon all in. Buzgon made the call, way ahead, but the [poker card="ac"] hit the turn leaving Buzgon looking for one of his two outs to hit the river. It wasn’t to be as the [poker card="6d"] completed the board and Buzgon exited in eighth place for $28,727. After Buzgon’s exit, the remaining seven players battled for nearly another hour before the next bust out. With the blinds at 500k/1M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2 million in early position with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"]. Tim Kuder made the call from the small blind holding [poker card="3h"][poker card="3d"]. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] and Kuder checked it over to Porbandarwala who continued for 1.9 million. Kuder then check-raised with his flopped set to 5.2 million, prompting Porbandarwala to ship with his nut flush draw. Kuder called, and with his tournament on the line, the [poker card="9d"] hit the turn. However, the [poker card="jh"] came on the river giving Porbandarwala his flush and sending Kuder out the door in seventh place for $41,217. The better part of another hour passed before Porbandarwala was back at it. With the blinds up to 600k/1.2M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2.6 million with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"]. Farin three-bet to 6.8 million holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jh"], leading to a four-bet shove from Porbandarwala. Farin made the call and the duo was off to the races. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"] flopped looked good for Farin’s pocket jacks, but when the [poker card="kh"] spiked on the turn, he was down to just two outs. The [poker card="3s"] on the river wasn’t one of them and Farin was knocked out in sixth place for $56,830. Just after the blinds increased to 1M/2M, Obli Prabu completed the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"] only to be shoved on by the bigger stack of Matt Iles in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. Prabu made the quick call with the pocket pair and his tournament life on the line. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"], giving Iles the lead he wouldn’t lose through the [poker card="qc"] turn and the [poker card="3c"] river. His pocket kings cracked, Prabu collected $75,564 for a fifth-place finish. ‘anomalous’ was the next to fall at the hands of Porbandarwala. With the blinds up to 1.2M/2.4M, Porbandarwala raised holding the [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] and ‘anomalous’ shoved his final 20bb stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9s"]. Porbandarwala made the call with the dominating hand and the two watched as the board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="ac"][poker card="td"], giving both players two pair but Porbandarwala out kicking his opponent. ‘anomalous’ fell in fourth place which was good for $95,948. Three-handed play lasted roughly forty minutes when at 1.4M/2.8M blinds, Iles shoved his 17bb stack from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"]. Patur, who had taken over the chip lead, made the call holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. The flop [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="8c"] gave Patur top pair and left Iles searching for help. The turn was the [poker card="5h"], leaving Iles looking for an ace on the river. Instead, it was the [poker card="2c"], which ended his tournament in third place for $127,398. Even though he’d headed into the final table as the chip leader and held on to it for most of the day, Porbandarwala entered heads up play against Patur as the shorter of the two stacks. Patur kept his foot on the gas, continually chipping up, and at one point held a roughly 4-1 chip advantage. But Porbandarwala battled back. He took back the lead by securing a couple of key double ups and picking off a big bluff. On the final hand of the tournament, with fewer than ten big blinds, Patur shoved from the small blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"]. Porbandarwala made the easy call holding [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="td"][poker card="7s"] board missed both players and Porbandarwala took the hand and the WPT title with ace high. Patur settled for second place and a $164,868 payday but still has a chance to take home a title when the delayed LAPC live final table takes place at a future date. Porbandarwala takes home $224,820 as the winner plus a $15,000 entry into the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions, a Hublot Big Band E Titanium watch, a set of Baccarat Crystal Beluga Highball Glasses as well as the honor of having his name added to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Soheb Porbandarwala - $224,820 + $15,000 WPT TOC ticket 2. Balakrishna Patur - $164,868 3. Matt Iles - $127,398 4. anomalous - $95,948 5. Obil Prabu - $75,565 6. Alex Farin - $56,830 7. Tim Kuder - $41,217 8. Daniel Buzgon - $28,727
  19. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don't miss another all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie recap all of the most important news and results from this week in the world of poker. This week, the poker world was abuzz with the fiasco at the live Midway Poker Tour that left players who made a deep run collecting "precious metals" in lieu of an immediate cash payout. Plus GGPoker took a hard stance against online RTA usage by banning a number of accounts on their site and returning over $1 million to players. Social media was in full form this week as Phil Galfond unexpectedly praised Phil Hellmuth for his performance on Poker Central's The Duel and Dan Bilzerian put Jean-Robert Bellande on blast over some live game shenanigans. Also, the guys salute the late Darvin Moon and his contribution to poker as the runner-up in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  20. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don't miss this week's all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie reunite once again to bring you all of the latest news from this week in the world of poker. This week, the guys are discussing the World Series of Poker's recently announced hybrid live/online 2020 WSOP Main Event. The 10K freezeout will start by being played out on both WSOP.com (in the U.S.) and GGPoker and eventually end up with a televised heads-up match for broadcast on ESPN to determine poker's new World Champion. Plus, speaking of heads-up action, the Doug Polk-Daniel Negreanu high-stakes challenge is full speed ahead and the guys break down all of the action taking place and what they've learned in the early going. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  21. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don’t miss this week’s all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie break down all of the news from a busy week in the world of poker. First up, the guys dive into the latest numbers coming out of the Doug Polk/Daniel Negreanu high-stakes heads-up challenge. Polk still holds a commanding lead while Negreanu has strung together a number of winning sessions - will the challenge end at 12,500 hands or extend to the full 25,000? The guys get to the bottom of it. The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is taking place this month with the first flights of the international leg taking place on GGPoker. In the United States, as players prepare to take their shot in the $10K buy-in event, an issue cropped up in one of the satellites on WSOP.com which had the poker community buzzing. Also, GGPoker’s signing of social media influencer Dan Bilzerian drew both praise and sharp criticism from all corners of the poker world. Is the controversial Bilzerian good for the game of poker? Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  22. When the World Series of Poker announced that they would be crowning an official Main Event champion in 2020 with a hybrid online-live $10,000 buy-in tournament it was clear that the logistics of making that happen smoothly in the current state of the pandemic would be a challenge. Some of those very challenges presented themselves just hours before the start of the domestic WSOP Main Event Final Table on Monday when it was reported that three-time WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva has been disqualified from the Main Event due to COVID-19 protocols. De Silva Disqualified Late Sunday night, poker pundit Joey Ingram broke the news that Upeshka De Silva, who was then sitting eighth in chips headed into the WSOP Main Event Final Table, had been disqualified due to testing positive for COVID-19. De Silva has since laid out his story in a series of Tweets that started with him having “slight allergies” on December 15 and 16. After noticing that he’d lost his sense of smell, De Silva said he took a test on December 20 in which he tested positive for COVID-19. After alerting WSOP officials, he was told to still show up to the official test on December 27. The day before, on December 26, De Silva says he tested negative on a nasal swab test. However, ultimately, De Silva tested positive on the official mouth swab test that took place at the Rio on December 27. According to the rules laid out by the WSOP prior to the tournament, De Silva will be regulated to ninth place and collect the $98,813 payday. The news comes as a hit to the Main Event as De Silva is one of the final table's most well-known players. A three-time bracelet winner, De Silva has earned more than $1.6 million in WSOP events in nearly a decade of attending the series. Salas Denied Entry Just hours after the story on De Silva broke, the WSOP’s plans took another detour as Codigo Poker reported that Damian Salas, winner of the international leg of the 2020 WSOP Main Event, was denied entry into the United States because he had traveled to Europe within the past 15 days.   Salas was due to be in Las Vegas to take on the winner of the U.S.-based Main Event on December 30 in a filmed for television million-dollar added heads-up battle that will determine the official winner of the Main Event. It appears that production will simply hold until Salas is able to enter the United States and is now expected to play out on Sunday, January 3. The World Series of Poker has yet to comment on either situation at the time this story was posted.
  23. You can say you hate poker’s petty drama all you want, but numbers don’t lie. When something in the poker community sparks a heated debate, the clicks go up as people are eager to read all about the latest scandal and have their say. Even here in 2020, a year fraught with incredibly real drama that affected millions of people around the world, the game of poker managed to have a few stories of its own which scratched that drama itch for the poker community. From temper tantrums to TOC's, here are some of the stories that kept the conversation going in 2020. Daniel Does Drama When you are the biggest name in the game, you don’t need to court drama - drama comes to you. Then again, perhaps you do bring it on yourself when you threaten to knock out someone’s teeth and feed it back to them somewhere other than their mouth. This is the defining moment of Daniel Negreanu's year. Negreanu, like all of the poker community, was looking to make the best of a bad situation by streaming some online poker for the fans from his Las Vegas home during the 2020 WSOP Online series. When someone in the chat said something regrettable to the six-time bracelet winner, ‘DNegs’ went supernova on them. “Come f***ing step to me and say that and I will knock you the f**k out. How about that? I’m not f**king around. I will break your f**king teeth if you step to me and I will feed them to you anally. How about that?” Negreanu said (off the top of his head.) Perhaps for any other regular streamer or player, this would blow over pretty quickly. But as one of the most recognizable faces in the game of poker, members of the poker community were quick to take sides. As the clip made the rounds on social media, those who hold a grudge against the GGPoker ambassador were quick to attack, while his defenders were in support of him being himself and defending his family. In the end, Twitch banned Negreanu from the platform stating, “Acts of threats of violence will be taken seriously and are considered zero-tolerance violations.” The Twitch ban turned out to be temporary, but the ripple effects from Negreanu’s rant will have a longer-lasting effect on poker. In the aftermath of this particular rant (Negreanu’s had a few this year, like this one, or this), Negreanu’s biggest rival of the past 10 years, Doug Polk, peaked his head back into poker. Polk, who had recently entered poker retirement reemerged and used the rant to take a couple of shots at his old foe. It was just days later that Polk issued the high-stakes, heads-up challenge that, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Negreanu accepted. Still very much underway, the challenge has turned into one of the most entertaining and engaging grudge matches in recent poker history. Fans are getting nearly everything that could have hoped for including massive six-figure swings, a regular playing schedule, and candid conversations after the sessions with both Negreanu and Polk. Love him or hate him, Negreanu knows how to keep people talking about him. And when it comes to dealing and creating poker drama, perhaps no one in the game does it better. Postle Seeks A Payday The biggest story of 2019 continued to play out in the courts as the Mike Postle cheating scandal had its day in court. The lawsuit, which alleged that Postle cheated during the live-streamed cash games at Stones Gambling Hall was, essentially, dismissed by Judge William B. Shubb shuddering the prospects of the plaintiffs to find any real relief in the scandal that rocked 2019. Rather than proceed with an appeal, based on the initial judgment, plaintiffs’ lawyer Mac VerStandig negotiated a settlement with Stones Gambling Hall and tournament director Justin Kuraitis. Sixty-two of the plaintiffs allegedly received a one-time joint payment of $40,000, which, if true, broke down to roughly $645 per player. In addition, those who accepted the deal were also restricted from talking about the settlement. Read: Behind the Scenes of WIRED Magazine’s Mike Postle Scandal Deep Dive Soon after, an emboldened Kuraitis took an ugly victory lap on Twitter, calling out nearly everyone who had believed him to be a potential conspirator with Postle. While Postle himself was excluded from anything having to do with the settlement, he tried to turn the tables. In the wake of the case being dismissed, Postle filed a $330 million defamation lawsuit against nearly a dozen defendants including Veronica Brill, Daniel Negreanu, and Joey Ingram. As the year draws to a close, it looks like Postle’s lawsuit also nearing an end as it has been reported that his lawyers are seeking to be taken off the from the case after nearly all communication between their firm and Postle have ceased. Matusow Opens His Mouth Again When four-time gold bracelet winner Mike "The Mouth" Matusow entered Event #5 of the 2020 WSOP on WSOP.com he likely thought he was in for a long day of grinding. However, when he busted just two hands into the freezeout event, Matusow, who was streaming live on YouTube at the time, had a full-on on-air meltdown. “This motherf**ker, ‘wolverine17’…I’m going to f**k him right in his f**king ass man, right in his f**king ass. Mark that name down, ‘wolverine17’,” Matusow said. ”I’ve got this guy’s name written down. I’m going to find out who he is. I’ll see him in person, I’ll f**king knock him the f**k out. Think I won’t? Watch,” he continued.”I am going to find out who this motherf**ker is and I swear to you I’m going to throw him up against the f**king wall and tell him, ‘you f**king ever slow roll me again, I’m going to beat your f**king ass.'” Matusow then offered his fans in his chat some extra money if they could supply him the identity of ’wolverine17’. Someone in the chat supplied Matusow the player’s real name, Megan Milburn, who he promptly tweeted at and stating “do you enjoy acting like a fucking c*** by slowrolling people online where nobody can see you?” Milburn took it all in stride, and even though there was some pressure put on the World Series of Poker to issue some kind of penalty, they opted not to as they determined a YouTube live stream was not under their purview. Respect The TOCs After a lengthy investigation from PokerStars, the 2018 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event champion ‘wann2play’ was removed as the winner, and the $1.35 million first-place prize he won was redistributed to the rest of the player pool. Shortly after ‘wann2play’s victory suspicions arose about their play. PokerStars quickly froze the account to take a closer look and after a year and a half long investigation, it was announced in March that ‘wann2play’ violated their terms of service and was disqualified. “Our players deserve a safe place to play online poker, said Rebecca McAdam, Associate Director, Group Public Relations for PokerStars. “That’s why we invest millions of dollars every year and have a large Game Integrity team working round the clock.” Argentina’s ‘Eze88888’ was officially installed in the history books as the winner and had their earnings credited with the original first-place prize of $1.529 million. GGPoker also clawed back some money that was earned by breaking the rules this year when German cash game pro Fedor Kruse was outed by his roommates as using Real-Time Assistance software in some of the online operator's high-stakes cash games. This led to GGPoker banning 40 different accounts and confiscating more than $1.175 million in funds that were reimbursed to the affected players. “While there will always be deceitful individuals trying to cheat the game and steal from their fellow players, our Security Team continues to be on the cutting edge with regards to detection and protection and maintains a zero-tolerance policy to Real-Time Assistance.” He Took It Like A Champ When the World Series of Poker announced that the successor to Hossein Ensan as the WSOP World Champion would be crowned this December, many in the poker community were left asking - Um, but what about Stoyan Madanzhiev? Just three months earlier, the 29-year old Madanzhiev battled through a field of 5,802 entrants to capture the $3.9 million first-place prize of the 2020 WSOP Online Main Event. An event that turned into a Guinness World Record-setting tournament. Madanzhiev received a certificate and a special WSOP bracelet and, at least for a little bit, the perceived title of WSOP Main Event winner. And he was...kind of. He was the ONLINE Main Event winner and in the eyes of the WSOP itself, not the same banner-worthy achievement as the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker, or Jerry Yang. While many advocated for Madanzhiev to be recognized as the 2020 Main Event champion, the plan to crown a more official Main Event champion moved forward and Madanzhiev was left to be called A Main Event champion rather than THE Main Event Champion.
  24. There’s not a single year-end list that won’t be heavily influenced by the pandemic, and this one is no different. Nearly every industry faced overwhelming challenges in the face of COVID-19, the same was true for poker. As live poker events took a backseat to an online poker surge, some of this year’s brightest rising stars had career-making moments take place while playing online in the strangest of times. While there were plenty of poker players (and personalities) who succeeded in continuing their poker pursuits in 2020, these are our five Rising Stars who took what this year gave them and used it to step into the spotlight. Brunno 'bbotteon' Botteon Some in South America knew what Brazilian poker powerhouse Brunno Botteon had to offer, but after a year where Botteon seemingly never cooled off, now the whole poker world knows how great he really is. In 2020, no matter the online series, no matter the stakes, Botteon found a way to thrive. At the end of 2019, Botteon could regularly be seen playing mid-stakes, with the occasional high roller mixed in. That all began to change at the very start of 2020. In early January, on the same day at the same time, he finished as the runner-up in the PokerStars Winter Series $530 Main Event for $196,908 and third place in the Winter Series $5,200 Main Event for another $265,463. The hot start to his year set him up to make deep runs in many of the marquee series that made the move online when forced to postpone their live events. During the World Series of Poker Online events on GGPoker, Botteon found himself in the mix for a bracelet in some of the most prestigious events of the series. After he finished as the runner-up in Event #67 ($500 NLHE) for $41,855, Botteon made another final table in the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship. He ended up finishing in sixth for $388,837 for what was, at the time, a career-high cash. He bested that just days later when he made it to the finals of the WSOP $25,000 Heads Up Championship. He finished in second place, just behind German superstar Fedor Holz, for a new career-high score of $622,300. Botteon then turned his attention to the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker where he picked up his second career title in Event #36-H ($2,100 NLHE Midweek Freeze) for $80,642. He also finished as the runner-up in Event #48-H ($5,200 8-Max PKO) for another $95,458. By this time, Botteon had soared in the rankings and was sitting as the #3-ranked player in the world and was regularly competing and cashing in the biggest buy-in tournaments online. However, as much as Botteon had already achieved in 2020, he decided to save the best for last. Botteon weaved his way through the international leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker hybrid Main Event, taking the chip lead into the live final table. The Brazilian made his way to Rozvadov where, in the end, he finished in second place to Damian Salas, but locked up his first career seven-figure score of $1,062,723. It was the third time in 2020 that Botteon set himself a new career-high cash and, in total, in his first WSOP experience, Botteon earned more than $2.16 million. Sitting with more than $5.2 million in lifetime online earnings (excluding his WSOP Main Event haul) Botteon’s tenacity at the tables has helped him into online poker history as one of the elite few who has reached the top of the worldwide rankings. On December 12, Botteon finally became the #1-ranked player in the world, capping off an incredible year for one of 2020’s biggest breakout stars. Artur ‘marathur1’ Martirosyan Also known by his screen name ‘marathur1’, Russia’s Artur Martirosyan took his career to the next level in 2020 after capturing multiple titles and big-time cashes. During the Poker Masters Online series in April, Martirosyan narrowly missed out on winning the Purple Jacket after cashing in nine of the 30 high roller event events for a total profit of $551,674. Just weeks later Martirosyan’s heater extended into the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker where he took down Event #17 ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller) for over $271,000. Days later he grabbed his second title of the series in Event #19 ($5,200 NLHE Midweek Freeze) to add another $157,426 to his ever-expanding bankroll. In June, he was back dominating another Poker Central series when Martirosyan took a series victory in the Super High Roller Bowl Online Series. He made six final tables, eight cashes overall, over the series' 27 events and he earned just under $1.8 million for his efforts. He wasn't done. After a deep run in the World Poker Tour World Online Championships Main Event, he took down the WPT Mini Super High Roller for $239,500 which led to the Russian being named player of the series and winning an additional $50,000 for topping the leaderboard. Landon Tice When you make the leap from online micro-stakes to playing in some of the biggest live games Las Vegas has to offer in a matter of just a couple of years, people are going to take notice. That is exactly what 21-year old Landon Tice has done and his story, and talent, brought youthful energy and excitement to poker 2020. For those that follow poker closely it was hard not to encounter Tice in some form or another, from his on-stream appearances with Joey Ingram to guest co-hosting the Solve For Why podcast with Matt Berkey and Christian Soto, Tice took little time letting his personality shine in the poker media. At the same time, Tice's poker game has reportedly been taken under the wing of the likes of Nick Schulman, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Berkey among others. Tice's Las Vegas cash game exploits at the higher limits were recounted and analyzed on podcasts and social media. At the same time, he quickly proved that his talent translated to the tournament scene as well. Tice took down one of the few major live tournaments to take place this year, besting a field of 1,123 entries in the 2020 MSPT Venetian Main Event for a $201,529 first-place payday. And if the World Series of Poker is able to be run in its traditional form in 2021, one should expect to see a lot more of Landon Tice in the chip counts. Ryan Depaulo When it comes to seizing the spotlight in 2020, perhaps no one did it better than Ryan Depaulo. With his star already on the rise from his popular YouTube channel Ryan Depaulo: Degenerate Gambler, the New York pro successfully pulled off one of the most improbable WSOP gold bracelet victories of the year. In order to play WSOP Online Event #13 ($500 No Limit Hold’em, The Big 500), Depaulo drove his car to a Whole Foods parking lot in New Jersey in order to “borrow” a little internet. From the front seat of his car, Depaulo played all night and reached the final table. When he got there, he dominated. Depaulo eliminated six of his final eight opponents and grabbed the gold bracelet and a $159,563 score as the sun rose over the hood of his car. https://twitter.com/depaulo_ryan/status/1282600527839334400?s=20 After he locked up the win, Depaulo, stunned, jumped out of his car and as the Whole Foods employees were coming in to start their morning shift he screamed out loud “I’m a Legend!” He may not yet be a full-blown poker legend yet but if he continues to pull off insane feats like this one he might just be on his way to becoming one. Jeff Platt It would be fair to say that poker commentator Jeff Platt could have, and rightfully should have, been named a rising star a year ago. Maybe he was and if so, it would have been true. But in 2020, Platt found the opportunity to level up in poker once again by becoming one of the premier faces and voices of some of this year’s most-watched poker streams on Twitch. If Nick Schulman is the current GOAT when it comes to poker commentary, then Platt is the People’s Champion. Platt seemed to be everywhere he was needed in 2020. From grabbing a glass of wine and anchoring the WSOP pre-final table broadcast throughout the summer, to holding down the GGPoker Twitch stream during the Polk-Negreanu challenge, you could count on Platt to be a consummate pro juggling talking thru the action with indulging the chat. With so many events taking place online this year, plenty of content creators have taken a stab in the commentary booth, with varying degrees of success. But it’s Platt’s professionalism that will likely put him in line for more and more work in the poker industry for years and years to come.
  25. The 71 players who survived Day 1 of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event on WSOP.com returned to the tables on Monday to battle for a seat at the December 28 televised live final table and a shot at the $1,553,256 first-place prize. The Final Nine After roughly seven hours of play, only nine players remained with Louisiana’s Joseph Hebert taking a commanding chip lead into the final table. Hebert was involved in a number of key eliminations down the stretch and ended the day with 13,052,534 in chips, more than 2.5 times anyone else in the field. New York native Shawn Stroke wrapped up the day sitting in second with 5,252,000 in chips, followed closely by New Jersey's Ryan Hagerty in third with 5,071,572. Ye Yuan (4,829,459), Michael Cannon (4,408,847), and Gershon Distenfeld (3,475,481) make up the middle of the pack. Southern California's Ron Jenkins (2,476,746, Day 1 chip leader Upeshka De Silva (2,151,969) and short stack Harrison Dobin (1,581,392) complete the final table. Final Table Chip Counts [table id=145 /] Early Eliminations It didn’t take long for the bustouts to begin as mere moments after the start of Day 2 one of the shortest stacks in the field, Julian Parmann, hit the rail at the hands of Dan Zack after Parmann’s [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"] couldn’t hold against Zack’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"] after the [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3s"] flop. The [poker card="3c"] turn looked good for Parmann but the [poker card="ks"] on the river helped break the dam on the flood of eliminations that occurred before the final table. Parmann wasn’t the only player to exit in the early going as he was joined by the likes of Ryan Laplante, Barry Hutter, and Farid Jattin, all of whom turned their $10K into an $18,274 payday. Of course, the hits kept coming in the first half of the day as the dream of taking down the Main Event ended for some of the most notable names in the field. Nick Schulman (55th, $20,304), Aram Zobian (52nd, $22,334), Darren Elias (50th, $22,334), 2013 WSOP Champ Ryan Riess (47th, $22,334), and Freddy Deeb (46th, $22,334) were among those whose Day 2 was cut short. Big Name Bustouts Bracelet winners fell in bunches at the half-way point. After three-time WSOP bracelet winner Scott Seiver busted in 39th place for $25,718, Mohsin Charania (35th, $29,779), Joseph Cheong (33rd, $29,779), and Jason Somerville (32nd, $29,779) all exited in short order as well. Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (23rd), Maria Ho (22nd), and Jared Griener (20th) were among those who picked up a $35,194 payday after being eliminated with three tables left. March To The Final Table With just two tables remaining, half of the field still needed to go broke before the final nine could celebrate. Unfortunately for WSOP bracelet winner Sean Swingruber, he would not be among them. After Stroke and Yaun flat called, Swingruber shoved his short stack from the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="tc"]. Stroke reshoved his stack holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"] and Yuan, who had everyone covered, called with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. The board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="js"] to give the pot to Stroke and sent Swingruber home in 18th place. Moments later Michael Hahn made his move by open-shoving his ten big blind stack with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"]. Dan Zack made the call from the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"] and then Clayton Maguire, who had both covered, three-bet shoved holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. Maguire hit his king on the [poker card="kd"][poker card="js"][poker card="5s"] flop, but the [poker card="th"] let Zack hit his gutshot straight. Hahn was drawing dead to the [poker card="9d"] river and he fell in 17th place. After Distenfeld opened, Keith Dovovan three-bet his final ten big blinds holding [poker card="as"][poker card="4s"] only to get called by Yuan in the big blind who has [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"]. The board came [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] allowing Yaun’s kicked to play and sending Donovan home in 16th place. It was a rough exit for Rody Collazo who got his stack in the middle with [poker card="jd"][poker card="jc"] against Hebert and his [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"] flop looked good for Collazo, but after Hebert spiked the [poker card="tc"] on the turn, Collazo was down to two outs. The [poker card="9h"] was not one of them and Collazo left in 15th place. A huge hand when down after Stephen Graner raised nearly his entire stack holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] only to be jammed on by Maguire in the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"]. Then Hebert, the largest stack of the three, re-jammed over the top with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. After Graner put the rest of his stack in, the three watched a board of [poker card="kd"][poker card="9h"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="8d"] run out. Hebert’s big slick won the pot and eliminated both Graner (14th) and Maguire (13th) in one stroke. Hebert wasn’t anywhere near finished. Next, he got involved in a hand with Martin Zamani where Herbert raised from early position with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"] and Zamani defended his big blind with [poker card="js"][poker card="8h"]. The flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"][poker card="9c"] and Zamani checked it over to Hebert who put in a bet. Zamani then check-raised all-in, which Hebert called.The turn came [poker card="ah"] and the river was the [poker card="6h"]. Both players missed, but Hebert’s ace-king high hand was good enough to take Zamani out in 12th place. Hebert then mixed it up with WSOP bracelet winner Dan Zack. After Zack put in a raise with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="9d"], Hebert flat called holding the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3c"] flop meant there was going to be plenty of action. Zack checked his two pair and Hebert put in a bet with his top set, which Zack called. Zack checked the [poker card="jd"] turn and Hebert shoved, putting Zack to the test for all his chips. Zack made the call, which ended his tournament in 11th place before the [poker card="qh"] hit the river. With just 10 players left, Anthony Spinella was sitting on just two big blinds. He moved all in from the button with [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"] and Stroke put in a three-bet with [poker card="as"][poker card="8c"], allowing for the pot to be heads up. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5c"] flop put Stroke in the lead, but gave Spinella outs to the gutshot straight. The [poker card="js"] produced a few more outs for the WSOP Online bracelet winner, but the [poker card="5s"] was not one of them and Anthony Spinella finished in 10th place, bubbling the final table of the 2020 WSOP Main Event. Payouts 18-10 [table id=146 /] Now the final nine have two weeks to prepare, and quarantine, in preparation for the live final table that will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on December 28 where one of them will not just earn the over $1.55 million first-place prize but a date to battle the international Main Event winner in a $1 million heads-up contest that will determine who the history books will recognize at the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion. Final Table Payouts [table id=143 /]
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