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  1. [caption width="640"] Farid Yachou now has a Corvette and a few hundred thousand dollars after winning the WPT Tournament of Champions[/caption] Farid Yachou seems to know how to make his tournament appearances count. Last May the Dutch amateur outlasted 340 other players to win WPT Amsterdam and $225,073. Part of that prize pool was a seat to the $15,000 buy-in WPT Tournament of Champions. He didn’t want to fly to Florida to play and he almost didn’t get Visa paperwork handled in time. Yet Sunday night it all came together for him again as he beat Vlad Darie to win the WPT Tournament of Champions for $381,600 - just his second career score. "It’s something I cannot believe," Yachou said after the win, smiling. "I am seated with only champions. I said to myself, ‘I will be glad if I finish 30th.’ Then, day by day and hand by hand it came altogether, and everything came to me." Darren Elias started the final table fourth in chips, but thanks to the early work of Darie, he found himself as one of the shorter stacks early on. Elias jammed from the cutoff for 261,000 and Yachou reraised all in from the button to 694,000. Everybody else folded and Elias tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] while Yachou was well ahead with [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3h"] to eliminate Elias in sixth place and move Yachou into the lead. Just two hands later Noah Schwartz joined Elias on the rail. Michael Mizrachi raised to 40,000 from the cutoff and Schwartz moved the last of his 229,000 all in from the small blind. Mizrachi called and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"] and Schwartz showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2s"] flop was relatively safe for Schwartz but the [poker card="3h"] turn gave Mizrachi flush outs. The river though was the [poker card="jc"] to give Mizrachi a pair of jacks and send Schwartz out in fifth. Darie opened from the button for 40,000 before Jonathan Jaffe took his time in making his decision. So much time in fact that he he had to use one of his remaining “time chips” to give himself and additional 30 seconds to act. Before his time expired he moved all in for 349,000 and Darie called instantly. Jaffe showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] while Darie tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. Jaffe was unable to connect on the [poker card="jd"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="td"][poker card="8s"] board and his run ended in fourth. When three-handed play began Mizrachi held over 50% of the chips in play with Yachou and Darie each working with 25% each. That turned out to be as close as ‘The Grinder’ would get to the win though. Yachou was the first to take some of Mizrachi’s stack and then Darie took enough to push Mizrachi to third in chips. Darie and Yachou took turns swapping the lead until Mizrachi made his final stand. After Mizrachi opened to 50,000 from the button, Darie folded before Yachou moved all in from the big blind. Mizrachi called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="9d"] and found himself needing help against Yachou’s [poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="4h"] flop gave Mizrachi top pair but bottom set to Yachou. Mizrachi was unable to improve on the [poker card="6s"] turn or [poker card="8d"] flop. Yachou began heads up play with a small lead over Darie. The pair played heads up for just over 30 minutes before Yachou emerged with the title. Darie raised to 50,000 and Yachou called. After the [poker card="8h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2c"] flop Yachou check-raised Darie’s bet of 50,000 to 250,000. Darie called that bet and the 200,000 Yachou bet after the [poker card="tc"] turn. The river was the [poker card="8d"] and Yachou shoved all in for 1,585,000. Darie called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"] for two pair with his king playing kicker, but Yachou showed [poker card="as"][poker card="2d"] for a full house to eliminate Darie in second and win the second poker tournament of his career. Along with the $381,600 first place prize money including a $15,000 seat to the Season XV WPT Tournament of Champions, a 2016 Corvette provided by Monster Products, a Hublot watch, Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard, Monster 24K headphones, a custom poker table from BBO Poker Tables and a seat to Tiger’s Poker Night next week in Las Vegas. "The Corvette is something I have never seen a tournament give away, it’s amazing," Yachou said. "I took my Monster Headphones from WPT Amsterdam because I like to hear the sound it has. It’s not like the others." Payouts Farid Yachou - $381,600 Vlad Darie - $224,190 Michael Mizrachi - $140,450 Jonathan Jaffe - $95,400 Noah Schwartz - $74,200 Darren Elias - $58,300
  2. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour could be using the Protection Poker Action Clock regularly next season.(WPT photo)[/caption] Matt Savage thought Mike Sexton was crazy. Sexton, World Poker Tour commentator and Poker Hall of Famer, had been pushing Savage, Executive Tour Director of the WPT, to introduce a shot clock to WPT events to speed up the game and prevent players from tanking unnecessarily. On Friday, the WPT debuted the Protection Poker Action Clock for the first time in the $15,000 buy-in Monster WPT Tournament of Champions. The Action Clock allows players 30 seconds to act on their hand. If time expires, the hand is dead. Players are also given four time buttons that can be used to give themselves another 30 seconds. Each table has been outfitted with a tablet with the Action Clock app on it. Dealers push one of four buttons depending on what’s happening in the hand. Most players were pleased with the concept and Savage, once a skeptic, seems to have changed his mind. “Seeing this in motion, seeing how easy it is for the dealers to use, how much more of a different dynamic it creates for the game, I’m excited and I think this is something we can probably use at other events in the future,” said Savage. As the clock winds down during a hand, the app beeps when a player has ten seconds left to act and then a more distinct buzz when there are just three seconds remaining. “I love it. Absolutely love it. For me, it’s not much of a hindrance because I don’t take more than 30 seconds,” said Season XIII WPT Championship winner Asher Conniff. “I have 3 of my 4 time banks left through eight levels. Some of the other guys, they need the time, and I appreciate the edge on some of these guys, they’re great players.” Savage admits it is going to take some players some time to adjust to the concept, but as more and more players see the concept and play with it, they’ll learn to adapt. “I think that we saw early on in the day people were timing out when they didn’t want to be. But I think as people get more and more used to it, it becomes easier and becomes second nature, people just play faster,” said Savage. “Jordan Cristos and Marvin Rettenmaier and Yevgeniy Timoshenko, they’re all dealing with it, they’re all adjusting.” [caption width="640"] Each player is allotted four "time" chips at the start of each day. (WPT photo)[/caption] In 2014, the WPT polled players at the LA Poker Classic to gauge their feelings on the shot clock and 80% of those that responded were in favor of limiting players' time to act on each hand. Dan Smith thinks the clock brings some of the fun back to tournament poker just by getting rid of hands that take too long to play. “I think in terms of quality of play it’s not quite as high, but maybe it’s like 90% as high,” said Smith. "From an enjoyment standpoint, not having to sit there for six minutes while somebody makes a decision - that’s just brutal.” Smith also pointed out that it makes the game more exciting for those at the table with an added element of drama. “There’s something exciting about it, it goes to the river and it’s like 5, 4, 3, 2, - it’s exciting,” said Smith. Not all players were fans of the clock, though. A number of players continue to express concern over how it changes the game. "I’m not a big fan, to be honest. I actually didn’t think it was going to go as well as it does. But I think 30 seconds is just not enough time. There are so many situations that come up," said Marvin Rettenmaier. "I’ve definitely made some folds that I may have tended the other way if I had a minute or something." While the WPT TOC had a field of just 64 accomplished players, Rettenmaier worries about the way recreational players might react to the added pressure. "I think it’s way worse for them than it is for us because we should kind of have a feel for what we’re going to do,” said Rettenmaier. “I think it’s actually not amateur-friendly at all even though people are saying that’s why they want to do it, but it really isn’t." Given the relative success of the first use of the Action Clock, it’s likely to find its way to another couple of tour events next season. “We’ll definitely be using it for the (2017) Tournament of Champions,” said Savage. “I think that it’s going to take one of our casino partners to step up and say ‘Hey, we want to give this a try.’”
  3. [caption width="640"] Mike Shariati has gone from low-stakes grinder to WPT Player of the Year. (Joe Giron/WPT photo)[/caption] This time last year, Mike Shariati was just another poker player dreaming of a big break while grinding away in the low-stakes dailies at the Commerce or the Bike or Hawaiian Gardens in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, as the World Poker Tour season was winding down, 42-year-old Shariati locked up WPT Player of the Year honors after the last player with a shot at catching him, Cate Hall, busted the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in ninth place. Along with having his name run alongside previous winners like JC Tran, Betrand Grospellier and Daniel Negreanu, Shariati also gets a prize package that includes a one-of-a-kind Hublot watch, hotel accommodation and ground transportation for all WPT main tour stops and a trophy. Shariati’s amazing run from low-stakes grinder to POY started with a win in the $130 buy-in Mega Millions at the Bicycle Casino worth a whopping $275,000. "Last year, the Mega Millions at the Bike, it was over 4,500 players. It took a whole ten days and I made the final table,” said Shariati. “I was down 6-1 heads-up, I came back and won it and that gave me good confidence." It wasn't a WPT event, but it gave Shariati with a bankroll and the belief that he could play. From there, he won a WSOP Main Event satellite and headed to Las Vegas. He didn’t cash, but in true grinder fashion, he found himself in a Daily Deepstack at the Rio that he found a small score in. That would be the last of his small scores for a while. In August, Shariati played a satellite at the Bike for the WPT Legends of Poker and won his way into the $3,700 buy-in event. His run good continued as he outlasted 785 other players and beat Freddy Deeb heads-up to win the event and $675,942 first place prize money. Rather than jump onto a plane and start playing more big buy-in events around the country, Shariati went right back to playing the dailies. His next cash came in a $130 buy-in event and earned him $250. He cashed six more times over the next four months leading up to the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, but Shariati wasn’t ready to put up that $10,000 buy-in himself. “The same day (LAPC) started, they had this satellite, the last satellite. The (LAPC Main Event) started at 12 o’clock and the satellite started at 5 o’clock. So I played the last satellite,” said Shariati. “So at 12:30 that night I got qualified. I entered the LAPC on Day 2 with 30,000 - lower than average - and I got down to two chips - a 1,000 and a 5,000 - at the end of the second day and came back and finished second.” That runner-up finish earned him $656,540 and put him into the lead for WPT POY. There were still a few events left on the schedule and although his lead was anything but safe, Shariati held off all comers thanks to a 21st place finish in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown to wrap up the POY award on the second-to-last day of the WPT season. “A few people were on my heels for the Player of the Year, so I was fortunate enough to finish up as Player of the Year,” said Shariati, who didn’t call himself a professional poker player until recently. “I’m a biochemist. I also invented a medical device that I’m putting a lot of time into, to patent it. So probably 6-7 months into it. So hopefully that works out, that would be great,” said Shariati. “I’m getting my partner more involved so I can travel more (to play).” Shariati wants to take his shot as a poker pro now and still find time to run his business. He knows that finding a repeat of this season is a near impossibility, but he just wants to enjoy the ride. “I don’t think I can ever have the same year, but I’m grateful,” said Shariati.
  4. [caption width="640"] Seth Davies beat out 470 other players to win the WPT Canadian Spring Championship. (Joe Giron photo)[/caption] Just over 10 days ago, the World Poker Tour put a bow on Season 14. Thursday afternoon in Montreal, Quebec, the first champion of Season 15 was crowned with the conclusion of the WPT Canadian Spring Championship at the Playground Poker Club. It also likely going to become known as the Seth Davies show. Davies came into the six-handed final table with the second biggest stack behind only Ruben Perceval. That didn’t stop him from being active and he found himself playing the role of executioner early and often on his way to the first major win of his career and the $226,893 first place cash. Tony Dunst, making his fifth WPT final table appearance, wasn’t able to add to his chip stack on Thursday and was the first player eliminated. Thomas Taylor threw in a UTG raise to 100,000 and Davies called before Dunst moved all in. Taylor folded, but Davies called and tabled [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"], while Dunst showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"] flop didn’t help Dunst, but the [poker card="3d"] turn gave the partypoker ambassador extra outs. The [poker card="ks"] river wasn’t one of them and he was left with the second sixth place finish of his WPT career. While that hand propelled Davies into the chip lead, the next elimination put Davies in a position to control the table the rest of the afternoon. All he had to do was call two all ins in front of him while holding the best hand. Action folded to Guillaume Nolet on the button and he moved all in for 695,000 (14 big blinds). Taylor came over the top from the small blind for 2,500,000. Davies called from the big blind and watched as Taylor showed [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] and Nolet showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] before flipping over [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"]. The board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"] and Davies eliminated Taylor in fourth and Nolet in fifth and suddenly found himself with 7,835,000 of the 12,465,000 chips in play with only three players remaining. It took only another eight hands to reach heads-up play. Davies opened from the button to 130,000 before Joel Miller made it 350,000 from the small blind. Perceval cold four bet all in for 3,300,000, forcing Davies to fold but soliciting an all in call from Miller. Perceval showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] and Perceval turned over [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="8d"] board brought no relief for Perceval and he was out in third place, while Miller had climbed to within striking distance of Davies’ lead. When heads-up play started, Davies held 6,780,000 and Perceval had 5,680,000. Perceval eventually took a 3-2 lead over Davies, but that was as close as Perceval would get to the title. After 90 minutes of one-on-one action, Davies re-took the lead and never gave it up again. Just 45 minutes after getting the big stack back, Davies finished Perceval off for good. Davies raised to 275,000 and Perceval called to see a flop of [poker card="th"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"]. Perceval checked, Davies bet 375,000 and Perceval threw in a check-raise to 1,075,000. Davies called. The turn was the [poker card="7h"] and Perceval lead out for 800,000 and Davies called again. The river was the [poker card="5d"] and Perceval moved all in for 2,880,000. Davies called and after Perceval showed [poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"] tabled [poker card="kh"][poker card="td"] to take the pot with a pair of tens. The $3,500 CAD ($2,720 US) buy-in event attracted 417 players. Final Table Payouts Seth Davies - $226,893 Ruben Perceval - $148,833 Joel Miller - $95,512 Thomas Taylor - $70,628 Guillaume Nolet - $53,025 Tony Dunst - $42,479
  5. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour is hitting the road for Season XV[/caption] With one event already in the books, the World Poker Tour announced the full Season XV schedule featuring 17 more open events and the return of the WPT Tournament of Champions. The new season, which started with the Canadian Spring Championship at the Playground Poker Club in early May, also has some new additions including the introduction of the partypoker WPT Passport, WPT Festival Championship, and a return to the Caribbean. "With 12,000 entries in Season XIV, the World Poker Tour and its outstanding casino partners generated more than $50 million in combined prize pools,” said Adam Pliska, President and CEO of the WPT. "Following the overwhelmingly positive response from members of the WPT Champions Club, we are delighted to announce the return of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Season XV and launch new initiatives like the partypoker WPT Passport as we continue to enhance the WPT experience for both professionals and casual players around the globe." The season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, which replaced the WPT Championship for the first time last season, returns in April. It again takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida from April 7 to 9. One new tournament this season is the partypoker WPT Caribbean, set for November 19 to 26 at the Hard Rock Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The Main Event, which runs from November 19 to 23, has a $5,000 buy-in. "Hard Rock is one of the most globally recognizable brands and is synonymous with delivering a first-class experience," said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for WPT. "We are proud to partner with Hard Rock and partypoker to host partypoker WPT Caribbean and to add this tropical destination to the Season XV WPT Main Tour schedule." Also new in Season XV is the WPT Festival Championship. Players who win preliminary events in a festival leading up to each Main Event will be able to play in a tournament that awards one seat to that festival's Main Event. Along with the buy-in, each WPT Festival Champion gets a special trophy and VIP access during the WPT event. The WPT Passport also makes its debut this season. Online qualifiers for WPT events will now be able to choose which tournament to use their $5,000 package on, with four tournaments still remaining in Season XV that are eligible. $530 WPT Passport satellites run on partypoker that have at least one $5,000 package guaranteed. For live-streamed broadcasts during Season XV, an enhanced graphics package will be introduced, with broadcasts on PlutoTV, Twitch, and YouTube. And for the first time, poker fans in Asia will be able to view Chinese commentary streams, further broadening WPT's global reach. WPT Season XV Schedule: WPT Choctaw (TV) Choctaw Casino Resort Durant, Oklahoma Festival: Jul 14 - Aug 2, 2016 Main Event: Jul 29 - Aug 2, 2016 $3,500 + $200 buy-in WPT Legends of Poker (TV) The Bicycle Hotel & Casino Bell Gardens, California Festival: Jul 28 - Sept 1, 2016 Main Event: Aug 27 - Sep 1, 2016 $3,700 + $300 buy-in WPT Borgata Poker Open (TV) Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa Atlantic City, New Jersey Festival: Sep 6 - 23, 2016 Main Event: Sep 18 - 23, 2016 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT Maryland Live! Maryland Live! Hanover, Maryland Festival: Sept 24 - Oct 5, 2016 Main Event: Oct 1 - Oct 5, 2016 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble (TV) bestbet Poker, Simulcast & Racing Jacksonville, Florida Festival: Sept 30 - Oct 18 Main Event: Oct 14 - 18, 2016 $4,650 + $280 +$70 buy-in partypoker WPT UK Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham, United Kingdom Festival: Oct 24 - Nov 6 2016 Main Event: Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2016 £2,000 + £200 buy-in partypoker.net WPT Montreal (TV) Playground Poker Club Montreal, Canada Festival: Oct 30 - Nov 17, 2016 Main Event: Nov 11 - 17, 2016 CAD $3,500 + $350 buy-in partypoker WPT Caribbean Hard Rock Punta Cana Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Festival: Nov 19 - 26, 2016 Main Event: Nov 19 - 23, 2016 $4,650 + $350 buy-in partypoker WPT Prague King's Casino Prague, Czech Republic Festival: Dec 1-18, 2016 Main Event: Dec 3-7, 2016 €3,000 + €300 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic (TV) Bellagio Las Vegas, Nevada Festival: Nov 25 - Dec 11, 2016 Main Event: Dec 5 - 10, 2016 $10,000 + $400 buy-in WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa Atlantic City, New Jersey Festival: Jan 17 - Feb 3, 2017 Main Event: Jan 29 - Feb 3, 2017 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort Ontario, Canada Festival: Feb 17 - 24, 2017 Main Event: Feb 22 - 24, 2017 CAD $4,700 + $300 buy-in WPT L.A. Poker Classic (TV) Commerce Casino Commerce, California Festival: Jan 13 - Mar 2, 2017 Main Event: Feb 27 - Mar 2, 2017 $9,600 + $400 buy-in WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star (TV) Bay 101 Casino San Jose, California Festival: Mar 5 - 10, 2017 Main Event: Mar 6 - 10, 2017 $7,150 + $350 buy-in WPT Rolling Thunder Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, California Festival: Mar 8 - 15, 2017 Main Event: Mar 11 - 15, 2017 $3,200 + $300 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 Main Event: Mar 31 - Apr 2, 2017 Final Table: Apr 5, 2017 $3,200 + $200 + $100 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 Finale: Apr 2 - 4, 2017 Final Table: Apr 6, 2017 $9,500 + $300 +$200 buy-in WPT Tournament of Champions (TV) Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 TOC: Apr 7 - 9, 2017 $15,000 buy-in
  6. [caption width="640"] Andjelko Andrejevic captured his first WPT title Saturday in Amsterdam[/caption] Saturday afternoon in Amsterdam, Anthony Zinno found himself within spitting distance of making World Poker Tour /B] history. Zinno entered the final table of WPT Amsterdam with the third biggest stack and a chance at becoming the first player to win four WPT titles. Serbia’s Andjelko Andrejevic had other ideas though. Andrejevic defeated Tomas Fara after a three-hour heads-up battle to win the event and the $228,000 that came with the title while Zinno had to settle for third. Just seven hands Zinno got even closer, sending one of the short stacks home. Zinno opened to 125,000 from the button and Hans Bosman moved all in from the big blind. Zinno called to find himself racing with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] against Bosman’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5s"] to eliminate Bosman and move Zinno closer to the chip lead. Just fifteen minutes later another player hit the rail. Andrejevic raised to 125,000 from the button before Senh Man Ung moved all in from the button and Andrejevic called. Ung was ahead with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] against Andrejevic’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7s"] flop put Andrejevic ahead and neither the [poker card="qd"] turn or [poker card="qc"] river changed anything and Ung was out in fifth place. After nursing his short stack for over an hour, Emrah Cakmak finally had to make a stand - but it didn’t end well. Action folded around to Cakmak on the button and moved all in and Fara called from the big blind. Cakmak showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"] but got bad news when Fara tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"] flop brought no help for Cakmak and after the [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="3s"] river, he was eliminated in fourth. That hand left two players between Zinno and history but that’s as close as the former WPT Player of the Year would get. While Andrejevic was adding to his stack, Zinno saw his moving in the opposite direction. After 90 minutes of three-handed play Zinno was left with just over 20 big blinds. Andrejevic opened to 225,000 from the button before Zinno moved all in for 1,785,000. Fara move all in over the top. Andrejevic folded and Zinno got the bad news as he tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="2h"] before Fara showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="4h"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="th"] run out didn’t help Zinno and his run ended in third place. Heads-up play began with Andrejevic holding 5,150,000 of the 9,540,000 chips in play. Fara refused to go quietly though and the two players traded chips - and the chip lead - over the course of three hours before Andrejevic emerged victorious. Andrejevic moved all in from the small blind for 6,800,000 and Fara called, with his tournament life at stake. Andrejevic turned over [poker card="8h"][poker card="7c"] while Fara showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] flop put Andrejevic ahead and neither the [poker card="5s"] turn or [poker card="8s"] river put Fara back ahead, giving Andrejevic the first WPT title of his career to go along with his victory in the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Super High Roller win from November. Final Table Payouts Andjelko Andrejevic - $228,000 Tomas Fara - $163,362 Anthony Zinno - $103,124 Emrah Cakmak - $76,722 Senh Man Ung - $57,591 Hans Bosman - $46,051
  7. [caption width="640"] World Poker Supervising Producer Mandy Glogow talks to Mike Sexton and Galen Hall during a WPT event.[/caption] The end of every World Poker Tour season is always a busy one for Mandy Glogow. As the Supervising Producer for the TV product, Glogow goes from filming the final TV event of the season to jumping in to a production studio to put the finishing touches on the episodes that will air on TV throughout the rest of the year. This year is a little bit more hectic though. Glogow is pregnant with her first child and due any day now. “I’m trying to do my best to wrap up as much as I can on Season 14,” said Glogow, who plans on taking some time off once the baby arrives but plans on rocking the producer’s headset as soon as August for the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. “My plan is to be back by Legends, which luckily, is a local event for me, being based in Los Angeles,” said Glogow. “It was funny, when I was talking to Adam Pliska to let him know that I was pregnant, we were laughing about how serendipitous it was that when the baby was due was in between seasons. It fell right in the right time, he's a production baby.” In early May, Glogow got some exciting news that only added another layer to the chaos. The Women in Poker Hall of Fame named her one of the seven finalists for the Class of 2016. She joins Jennifer Tilly, Victoria Cohen Mitchell, Esther Rossi, Shirley Rosario, Karina Jett and Debbie Burkhead as potential inductees. The nominees are voted on by a panel of media and players with the inductees honored at a ceremony on July 6. “I was completely surprised and floored and humbled that my name was thrown into the hat for Women in Poker Hall of Fame,” said Glogow. If you were to compare the live tournament results of the seven nominees, it’s clear that Glogow has the least impressive of the group, but Glogow’s nomination comes more for her contribution to the game and that’s something she takes extra pride in, no matter how the voting process turns out. “I see some of these more as a popularity thing and being somebody behind the scenes, you don't normally get too much recognition,” said Glogow. “I know Deb Giardina, who is currently at BestBet Jacksonville. She was in the last round, but she's a strong, female executive more so getting in. I'm just a TV producer that likes to tell stories and to be recognized for that is quite an honor.” [caption width="320" align="alignright"] Glogow has been with WPT since 2005.[/caption] Glogow’s humble nature shows as she undersells her accomplishments with WPT. She’s been with them for almost 12 years now. The USC film school grad found her way there because of a poker game. “I played in a home game with somebody who had worked here, Alex Outhred,” said Glogow. “He kept saying to me, "Oh you should come if we ever have anything open. You should come work here." I said, "Sure, keep my name in mind." It was when they were staffing up for the short-lived Professional Poker Tour TV show, and I got hired on to do the statistics and final table data basis for the PPT. That was back in 2005” From there Glogow worked her way up to being the one calling the shots on the production side of the business. A recreational player herself, Glogow was star struck during her early days with the company as some of her poker heroes were standing in front of her, answering questions she was asking. “I’ve always been very attracted to the game of poker, and I think initially it was getting to meet players that I admired their game so well. The first time I met Doyle Brunson, or Jennifer Harman, I was in awe,” said Glogow. Being able to tell the story of a tournament, while also winding in a narrative about the player at the final table, is one of the things Glogow likes most about her job. As the game of poker has grown and changed during her career, so has the group of players she’s often telling the story of. “I just think you have to be creative and go at it at different angles. Everybody has a story. I think that some of the players are cut from a similar mold these days, where they had the same upbringing in the game,” said Glogow. "Trying to dig deep to find what is that special thing about this player that differentiates them from the rest of the field. Sometimes it's easier to find than others." When the WIPHOF nominees were announced, the public was initially given the opportunity to vote. Glogow’s WPT co-workers went to work on social media, campaigning for her and it appeared to be working, but a technical glitch caused the WIPHOF to cancel the public voting. Glogow was just happy to have the support of people she considers part of her family - and knows that once the little one arrives, they’ll be even more excited for that chapter of her life. “I know I have their support, and I know that they're a phone call away. I live pretty close to the office, so I'm sure I'll drop by with the baby,” said Glogow. “It's good to know that I have the love and support of the whole WPT team.
  8. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour has partnered with Dusk Till Dawn to create The Devilfish Cup[/caption] British poker legend Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott tragically passed away in April of last year after a short battle with terminal liver cancer. Now, the WPT Foundation and England’s Dusk Till Dawn poker club are teaming up to honor the memory of the poker pro with the inaugural Devilfish Cup, a £1 million guaranteed tournament that takes place during the partypoker World Poker Tour UK festival. The event kicks off on Monday, October 31 and features a buy-in of £5,000 with a £300 donation. The donated money, along with 3% of the prize pool, will be split between the Marie Curie organization, a nonprofit which provides support to terminally ill patients, and a trust fund for Ulliott’s daughter Lucy. “We are proud to announce the Devilfish Cup for the partypoker WPT UK festival at Dusk Till Dawn, and to honor and celebrate Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott alongside his family, friends, and fellow competitors,” said WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska. “As a testament to the community’s dedication and contributions, WPT Foundation has helped raise more than $6 million to date, and we look forward to supporting another non-profit program of excellence in Marie Curie.” Ulliott, whose poker career began more than 20 years ago, was instrumental in popularizing the game in the UK and Europe. In 1997, the poker pro earned his first and only World Series of Poker bracelet at the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold ‘em event. In 2007, he had his biggest career cash after taking third at the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic for $674,500. With more than $6.2 million in live tournament winnings to his name, the 61-year-old holds the distinction of being the second biggest winner in UK poker history, behind only Sam Trickett. Devilfish was well known for his lively personality which sometimes stirred controversy but always entertained. After his death, poker pros Phil Hellmuth, Tony G and others made a push to induct Ulliott into the 2015 Poker Hall of Fame. 2014 Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu stirred controversy at the time by writing that death shouldn’t have any bearing on a player’s inclusion in the prestigious club. In addition to the Devilfish Cup, Dusk Till Dawn will further honor the pro by renaming his favorite drink, a double vodka Red Bull, to “The Devilfish.” The venue will also throw a party in the poker pro’s name on Wednesday, November 2, where family, friends and fans can celebrate the life of Ulliott while a live band jams to some of his favorite tunes. “Rob Yong, owner of Dusk Till Dawn, announced after Dave’s funeral that we would wait a while before announcing plans to honor him,” said Simon Trumper, Dusk Till Dawn Club Director and friend of Ulliott. “During his last few days, Rob visited Dave and asked him how he wanted to be remembered. He asked us to hold a high buy-in event at the club, as Dave was always proud of his WPT Tunica win,” Trumper continued. “We thought it fitting to replace this year’s High Roller with the Devilfish Cup. World Poker Tour and WPT Foundation have been great and it is a pleasure to be working with them on this inaugural event.” partypoker will make the event accessible to all by running several satellites into the tournament and qualifiers as low as one cent. The winner of the Cup will not only receive the biggest share of the £1 million prize, but will be presented the trophy by Ulliott’s wife, Anpaktita.
  9. [caption width="639"] Mike Sexton's final season with the World Poker Tour gave him a grand sendoff as he won his first career WPT title.[/caption] After 15 seasons in the booth and countless memorable moments, Mike Sexton’s run as the voice of the World Poker Tour is at an end. The WPT announced Sexton’s retirement today as he transitions into the next stage of his poker career. Sexton’s final season as co-commentator of the World Poker Tour was one to behold. The Poker Hall of Famer notched his first career WPT Main Event win in November at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal and was in the thick of the WPT Player of the Year race where he eventually finished third. As a result of his win, Sexton is eligible to play in the event he played a major role in creating, the WPT Tournament of Champions, each year. Replacing Sexton in the booth is the former host of WPT’s Raw Deal, Tony Dunst, who has previously subbed in for Sexton in a limited capacity. Dunst will officially start as Vince Van Patten’s new partner when the first taping of Season XVI takes place this later this summer from Choctaw. Although Sexton is longer with the World Poker Tour, there is plenty to celebrate as Sexton’s role as a broadcaster and ambassador helped launch the WPT to where it is today. “Today is a bittersweet day in WPT history. As we announce the end of Mike Sexton’s incredible tenure as WPT co-commentator, the World Poker Tour celebrates the internal promotion of Tony Dunst to one of poker’s most visible positions. Mike, along with Vince Van Patten, is more than just a part of one of the longest-running commentating pairs in sports broadcast history.Mike will forever be a cherished member of the WPT family, and his impact will forever shape the core of this company and the entire industry, ” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. Dunst’s role grows with his movement into the booth after first joining the WPT in Season IX. Dunst won an open casting call to host WPT Raw Deal and appeared in over 140 segments in the time since. A former online professional, Dunst is also a member of the WPT Champions Club thanks to his Season XII win in St. Maarten. WPT is yet to announce a new Raw Deal host and Dunst is being welcomed to the broadcast team with open arms. “Tony has become a friend over the years, and I have increasingly come to admire his talent and dedication. Tony’s knowledge of the game was highly evident during WPT Raw Deal segments and occasions when he joined Mike or me in the booth, and it is without question that his commentary will elevate World Poker Tour broadcasts. It is my pleasure to welcome Tony into the booth full time, and I look forward to another great partnership starting with Season XVI,” said Van Patten. Sexton is far from finished being an ambassador for the poker world, as his new position with partypoker entails. His formal title with the company is yet to be announced, but it is known that Sexton will be taking on an executive role. The voice of a poker generation, Sexton’s contributions to the game are unmatched. Sexton has been with the World Poker Tour from when they first launched in 2002 and leaves on a high note. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the World Poker Tour since its inception in 2002. When the World Poker Tour launched, it was a dream come true, and to be there from the beginning and see how the WPT changed the poker world forever by essentially turning poker into a televised sport has been amazing.It's been quite a ride over these 15 seasons, and one that I've been extremely blessed to take,” said Sexton “I’d like to thank Steve Lipscomb for his vision to create the World Poker Tour, Adam Pliska for bringing the WPT to incredible heights, and the entire WPT family for all they do and have given me. I'd like to mention everyone, but there’s simply too many to name. They know who they are, and without them, the WPT wouldn’t have become what it is today.”
  10. [caption width="640"] Poker players are flocking to the Playground Poker Club just outside of Montreal for the upcoming partypokerLIVE MILLION North America.[/caption] After opening its doors in December of 2010, the Playground Poker Club has quickly become one of North America’s premier poker venues. Located in Kahnawake, Quebec, just on the other side of the St. Lawrence river from downtown Montreal, the Playground Poker Club hosts several high-profile tournament series and has partnerships with some of the biggest brands in poker. The club became a household name in the poker world in 2012 when they partnered with the World Poker Tour. Since Jonathan Roy took down the inaugural WPT Montreal for $754,210, the Canadian card room became a fixture on the WPT and is always one of the most popular stops on the schedule. It can be argued that two of the most historic moments in WPT history took place during two of the three stops at the Playground this past WPT season. Last November, one of the faces of the WPT and Poker Hall of Famer, Mike Sexton, etched his name on the Champions Cup. He topped a field of 648 and defeated Benny Chen heads-up to win $317,817. The third stop of the season at the Playground Poker Club saw the WPT crown its first female champion in an open event. Ema Zajmovic won $183,789 to become the second woman to have her name inscribed on the cup. She joined Van Nguyen, who won an invitational event, as the only two females to earn the title of WPT champion. With the success of the first WPT stop in 2012, Playground added a second stop to the schedule in 2013 with the creation of the partypoker WPT Canadian Spring Championship. Since 2013, they have been one of the few venues with multiple stops on the tour in the same season. This year, however, instead of running the Canadian Spring Championship, they are hosting the partypokerLIVE MiILLION North America stop in its place. Even with the subtraction of the Canadian Spring Championship, Playground added an event in February, which will likely become a permanent stop on the tour’s schedule to continue its trend of multiple stops a year. The Playground Poker Club became relevant in the poker world largely after Black Friday, but since it is based in Canada, it was still able to run events with several of the biggest names in the online world. In 2013, they held the Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival and the partypoker.net Premier League. In 2014, they hosted the PokerStars Canada Cup, which gave them an event with, at the time, the three biggest online poker rooms on the planet. The 2014 Canada Cup was one of the most memorable ends to a tournament in poker history. Robert Notkin, a qualifier on PokerStars for $30, won a four-way all in with pocket kings to knock out three players and win $354,379. One of the features of the club that sets itself apart from other tournament venues is that the only gambling that takes place at Playground is poker. There are no slot machines, no table games and no sportsbook for players to place other bets. It's all poker, all the time. The club is widely regarded as the best place to play poker in all of Canada. It spreads games of all sizes, ranging for $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em all the way up to some of the biggest games the country has to offer. If players are looking for some time away from the tables, they are a 20-minute car ride away from taking in the sides and sounds of downtown Montreal. Between its location, selection of cash games and premier tournament schedules, it’s not a surprise that Playground Poker Club has emerged as one of the most desired places to play poker.
  11. [caption width="640"] Daniel Weinman grabbed his second WPT title of 2017 at the Season XV Tournament of Champions (WPT Photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Two months ago Daniel Weinman added his name to the World Poker Tour Champions Cup with a win at the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. Sunday night in Hollywood, Florida the 29-year-old capped off Season XV of the WPT by winning the Tournament of Champions. "I feel incredible, this was such a tough tournament and to come out on top it's super special," said Weinman, who had to pass up a trip to The Masters final round after making the final table. ""It's crazy, usually you play these tournaments with a thousand people and there may be 850 people that really don't have a chance at winning the tournament that you go deep. They're just not comfortable with all the spots they're going to encounter. Having 66 people that have already won this and have had some success in the poker world, coming out on top is incredible." After running kings into aces, Dylan Wilkerson wasn’t left with much of a stack to work with. Daniel Santoro raised to 40,000 from UTG and Wilkerson moved all in from the cut off for 179,000. Santoro called and showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"] while Wilkerson had [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop put Santoro ahead and neither the [poker card="3d"] turn or [poker card="6d"] river were any help to Wilkerson and he was out in sixth. Just six hands later Santoro picked up another elimination. With blinds of 8,000/16,000, Seidel all in for 138,000 from UTG and Santoro called, this time showing [poker card="ks"][poker card="jd"] and again found himself up against an ace as Erik Seidel showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"] flop put Santoro ahead with second pair and left Seidel hoping for one of the three remaining kings or running fives. The [poker card="2h"] turn was no help and neither was the [poker card="7h"] turn and the Hall of Famer Seidel was eliminated in fifth. The Daniel Santoro show kept on going. David Ormsby moved all in from the button for his last 286,000 and Santoro re-raised from the small blind, forcing big blind Michael Mizrachi to fold. Ormbsy tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"] but this time Santoro was ahead with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="8c"][poker card="td"] to eliminate Ormbsy in fourth place and leave Santoro as the chip leader with three players remaining. Unfortunately for Santoro, just over two and a half hours later, the show came to an abrupt halt. Mizrachi folded his button, Weinman moved all in from the small blind and Santoro called all in from the big blind. Weinman showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"] while Santoro had [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2s"] flop put Santoro ahead and he dodged the [poker card="7c"] turn, but the [poker card="ac"] gave Weinman a better pair and eliminated Santoro. When heads-up play began, Weinman had Mizrachi outchipped 4.5-1 and it took him just 18 hands to end things. Mizrachi moved all in for 890,000 and Weinman called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"] while Mizrachi showed [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"][poker card="3c"] flop kept Mizrachi ahead, but the [poker card="8s"] turn gave Weinman third pair. The [poker card="7c"] river card was no good for Mizrachi and he was eliminated in second place, improving his TOC finish from last year by one spot and leaving Weinman as the Season XV TOC winner. Along with the $381,500 first place prize money, Weiman also won a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe, a pair of rose gold wireless Monster Headphones, a custom poker table, a seat in Tiger’s Poker Night and a one-week stay with Wyndham Extra holidays. Final Table Payouts Daniel Weinman - $381,500 Michael Mizrachi - $218,000 Daniel Santoro - $133,525 David Ormsby - $95,375 Erik Seidel - $73,575 Dylan Wilkerson - $57,225
  12. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour Season XV broadcasts begin Sunday on Fox Sports (WPT Photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Fret not poker fans. New episodes of the World Poker Tour are coming to Fox Sports Regional soon. Really soon actually. Beginning this Sunday, March 12, Fox Sports Regional will begin airing 27 episodes from Season XV of the World Poker Tour. This marks the beginning of a five-year extension that WPT signed with Fox Sports in late 2016. “Thanks to our award-winning production team, the World Poker Tour continues to raise the bar as the premier name in internationally televised gaming and entertainment," said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. "Season XV of the World Poker Tour promises some truly legendary moments, including the first-ever King of the Club series and the second edition of the prestigious WPT Tournament of Champions.” The action kicks off with the first episode of the WPT Choctaw final table. A total of nine events will hit the airwaves this season. Along with Choctaw, viewers will see the final tables from the Legends of Poker, Borgata Poker Open, bestbet Bounty Scramble, WPT Montreal, Five Diamond World Poker Classic, LA Poker Classic, Bay 101 Shooting Star and the debut of the Tournament of Champions. As well as the Season XV episodes, the ClubWPT.com 'King of the Club' series will make its TV debut. The two 'King of Club' episodes feature six different ClubWPT.com qualifiers playing for a piece of the $37,500 in prize money. All of the familiar faces from previous WPT seasons will be back. Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who have been in the broadcast booth since the beginning, are both back calling the action together in all but one episode. Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst fills in for Sexton for one event - but we won't spoil why.Lynn Gilmartin is also back as WPT anchor this season. Episodes air each Sunday at 8/11 PM local time with repeats throughout the week
  13. [caption width="640"] Daniel Strelitz beat out a stacked final table to win the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Former World Poker Tour One to Watch Daniel Strelitz lived up to the billing Thursday night in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old overcame a final table that included a poker living legend and two other WSOP bracelet winners to take down theWorld Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with just over $1,000,000 in prize money. It took just seven hands to go from six players to five. The action opened with Strelitz raising to 85,000 from the button. Action folded to Richard Tuhrim in the big blind and he moved all in for 545,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"] but was behind Tuhrim's [poker card="as"][poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"] flop didn't change anything and neither did the [poker card="9h"] turn but the [poker card="kh"] river gave Strelitz top pair and sent chess prodigy Tuhrim to the rail in sixth. The next elimination came in a blind vs blind battle almost 60 hands later. Action folded to Jesse Martin in the small blind and he moved all in for 745,000 and Jared Griener called from the big blind. Martin showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="6c"] and Griener tabled [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="ah"] to eliminate Martin. Coming in to the final table all eyes were on WPT commentator Mike Sexton. Just a few short months after winning his first WPT title in Montreal, Sexton was at the LAPC final table seeking a second victory but it was snuffed out by Strelitz. Sexton moved all in from the button for 670,000 and action folded to Strelitz in the big blind. He called and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="7s"] while Sexton showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"][poker card="7c"] flop was bad news for Sexton though and neither the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="as"] river were any help and Sexton was out in fourth. Three-handed play lasted 65 hands. Strelitz opened to 225,000, Simeon Naydenov called from the small blind but Jared Griener moved all in from the big blind for 1,755,000. Strelitz got out of the way before Naydenov called and showed [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"]. Griener had [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and needed help. The [poker card="as"][[poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"] flop paired Griener's ace but gave Naydenov a set of eights. The [poker card="js"] turn gave Griener extra outs to a straight but the river was the [poker card="qc"] and he was out in third place. When heads-up play began Naydenov had 8,475,000 in chips to Strelitz's 7,150,000 but a key full house over flush hand early on changed the dynamic and paved the way for Strelitz's win. On the 38th hand of heads-up action, Strelitz raised to 260,000 and Naydenov called. After the [poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"] flop, Naydenov check-raised to 975,000. The [poker card="8h"] turn got Naydenov to check, Strelitz bet 1,350,000 and Naydenov raised all-in to 3,860,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"] tor a turned straight while Naydenov had [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"] for top pair. The [poker card="4d"] river changed nothing and Strelitz picked up his third elimination of the final table to win the first major title of his career. Final Table Payouts Daniel Streliz - $1,001,110 Simeon Naydenov - $672,190 Jared Griener - $431,340 Mike Sexton - $300,690 Jesse Martin - $230,380 Richard Tuhrim - $191,490
  14. [caption width="640"] Ryan Riess captured his first World Poker Tour title on Thursday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale (WPT photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] The final table of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale had an amazing group of players with storylines galore; Two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a World Series of Poker Main Event champion, a WPT Champions Club member, one of the hottest players on the planet, and a relative unknown. In the end though it was 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess who outlasted the likes of Cliff Josephy, Tim West, Alan Sternberg and Jason Koon to win his first WPT title and $716,088, including a seat in the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions. “It feels amazing. The final table was so hard, it feels really good to beat a final table with Cliff Josephy, Jason Koon and Alan (Sternberg) played great. He's very tough, very aggressive and put me in a lot of hard spots. It feels really good,” Riess said. The win marks the first for Riess since 2015 when he won a side event at Seminole Hard Rock and his first six-figure or bigger cash since taking down the WSOP Main Event. While comparing anything to that win might sound crazy, earning his first WPT title was still special for Riess. "I didn't start crying this time but I got very close. It just feels great, because I've been playing a lot of them,” said Riess. “I run really good in 10Ks and it brings all the best players out so to win the tournament with such a stacked field where all the best players in the world, minus a few that are in Macau, are all here, it feels really good.” Josephy started the final table with the third smallest stack but ended up as the first one to hit the rail. West raised to 150,000 from UTG and Josephy moved all in from the button for 1,290,000 before Alan Sternberg called from the big blind. West folded and Josephy turned over [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"] and Sternberg showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3c"] and failed to save Josephy, eliminating him in sixth place. Just 20 minutes later another player found himself out of the tournament. Jason Koon raised to 70,000 from the button and Terry Schumacher called from the big blind. Schumacher then check-called Koon’s 45,000 bet after the [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="4c"] flop and then check-called another 225,000 bet from Koon after the [poker card="7h"] turn. The river was the [poker card="8h"] and Schumacher checked for a third time. Koon moved all in for 715,000 and Schumacher tank-called. Koon showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="td"] for a missed straight draw and Schumacher showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"] for top pair to eliminate Koon in fifth. The next elimination took almost two hours and it meant the end of the line for the former #1-ranked players at the final table. With blinds of 25,000/50,000 (5,000), action folded to West in the small blind and he moved all in for 505,000 and Riess called from the big blind. West showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"] and Riess showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"][poker card="2s"] flop put West ahead before the [poker card="kd"] turn gave Riess broadway. The [poker card="7h"] river didn’t fill West up and he was out in fourth place. Riess claimed another victim just 30 minutes later. Sternberg raised to 120,000 from the button, Riess called from the small blind before Terry Schumacher moved all in from the big blind for 1,355,000. Sternberg folded, but Riess called and showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. Schumacher needed help with [poker card="jh"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="kd"][poker card="4h"] runout did nothing for Schumacher and he was out in third place, leaving Sternberg and Riess to play heads up for the title. Sternberg began heads up play with a 5-4 chip lead over Reiss, but over the course of the next three hours of play, the chip lead changed five times before Riess was finally able to end it. Riess raised to 450,000 and Sternberg re-raised to 1,150,000 before Riess move all in. Sternberg called and showed [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and found out he was racing against Riess’ [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="6s"] flop put Riess ahead and the the [poker card="kd"] turn ended it all before the meaningless [poker card="tc"] river. Final Table Payouts Ryan Riess - $716,088 Alan Sternberg - $491,081 Terry Schumacher - $315,726 Tim West - $204,466 Jason Koon - $157,599 Cliff Josephy - $130,370
  15. [caption width="640"] Tony Sinishtaj beat out a talented final table to win the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. (WPT photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Over 3.5 years ago, Tony Sinishtaj found himself as a part of one of the most popular moments in Seminole Hard Rock poker history as the player Mimi Luu was up against in the “I Can’t Fold This” hand a the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. Wednesday night he overcame a final table that included Dan Colman, Darryll Fish, Simeon Naydenov and Robert Mizrachi to win the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown title, $661,283 and a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions event later this week. "It feels great. It's really hard to put into words. It's just a long time coming. I've been playing a long time and it feels great to finally, you know, put your name on the trophy," said Sinishtaj. Colman began the final table with the chip lead and quickly went to work in applying pressure. Just 20 minutes after play began, Colman opened to 225,000 from the button and Naydenov moved all in from the big blind for 1,915,000. Colman called and tables [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] while Naydenov showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="8h"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"][poker card="4c"][poker card="ac"][poker card="6s"] to give Colman the win and eliminate Naydenov in sixth place. Just half an hour later, Eric Beller moved all in for 2,090,000 and found a caller in Robert Mizrachi. Beller showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7s"] while Mizrachi showed ]kc][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"][poker card="9d"] flop all but ended things for Beller and the [poker card="5c"] turn and [poker card="6c"] river sealed the deal. Four-handed play lasted three hours before Colman went from chip leader to fourth place finisher in just three hands. Colman raised to 425,000 from the button and Sinishtaj defended his big blind. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2h"] and Sinishtaj fired out a bet of 550,000. Colman raised to 1,500,000 before Sinishtaj moved all in. Colman went into the tank for several minutes before finally calling and tabling [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"]. Sinishtaj turned over [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"] for top pair. The [poker card="td"] turn gave Sinishtaj a flush draw and the [poker card="ad"] river completed the flush to leave Colman with just 2.5 big blinds. Colman was eliminated in fourth place on the next hand by Darryll Fish when his pocket twos weren't able to hold up. It took just 20 hands to get to heads-up. After Fish button-raised to 600,000, Mizrachi moved all in from the small blind for 3,500,000. Fish called and found himself racing with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] against Mizrachi’s [poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"]. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2s"] to put Fish ahead with top pair and the [poker card="8h"] turn or [poker card="9h"] river completed runner-runner flush to eliminate Mizrachi in third. Sinishtaj began heads-up play with a nearly 2-1 lead over Fish and needed just under an hour and 39 hands to wrap up the win. On the final hand Sinishtaj raised from the button to 1,250,000 and Fish called and then checked after the [poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"] flop. Sinishtaj bet 1,500,000 and Fish moved all in for 10,950,000 and Sinishtaj called and showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"] for a flush draw while Fish had [poker card="as"][poker card="3d"] for middle pair. The [poker card="6d"] turn completed Sinishtaj’s flush to eliminate Fish and wrap up his first major title. Final Table Payouts Tony Sinishtaj - $661,283 Darryll Fish - $453,185 Robert Mizrachi - $293,864 Dan Colman - $217,686 Eric Beller - $164,438 Simeon Naydenov - $132,889
  16. [caption width="640"] Sam Panzica is now a two-time WPT winner after taking down the Bay 101 Shooting Star event Friday (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] When the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star final table kicked off Friday afternoon in San Jose, California, the focus was clearly on Chino Rheem. With three WPT titles already to his credit, and over 44% of the chips in play, Rheem seemed to be on the verge of becoming the first player in WPT history to win four titles. Sam Panzica wanted no part of that storyline though and went on to win his second WPT title of Season XV and $1,373,000 while Rheem had to settle for a third place finish. With all eyes on him at the start of the day, Rheem didn’t disappoint, picking up the first three eliminations. Just 37 hands in Rheem went to work at whittling the field. Rheem raised to 225,000 from the cutoff before Rainer Kempe moved all in for 2,190,000 from the small blind. Rheem snap-called and tabled [poker card="kh"][poker card="kd"] while Kempe showed [poker card="as"][poker card="9c"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3h"] flop was a great one for Rheem and when the [poker card="3d"] turn and [poker card="8s"] river failed to connect with Kempe, the German was eliminated in sixth place. Kempe was also the last remaining bounty, meaning Rheem picked up an additional $2,500 cash. Just over 90 minutes later, Rheem did it again. From the button Rheem made it 320,000 to go and Dennis Stevermer moved all in from the big blind for 1,425,000. Rheem called and tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"] but found himself behind Stevermer’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6c"] flop flipped the odds in Rheem’s favor and he stayed in front through the [poker card="4h"] turn and [poker card="qh"] river to eliminate Stevermer in fifth. Things went slightly off track 20 minutes later when he clashed with Anthony Spinella in a pot that cost him the chip lead. With 2,775,000 already in the pot and a completed board of [poker card="kd"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="ac"], Spinella check-called Rheem’s 1,500,000 bet and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"] for a river pair of aces while Rheem showed and mucked [poker card="kc"][poker card="9s"] for second pair. Following that hand, Spinella had more than half of the chips in play. Five hands after that Rheem was hard at work rebuilding his stack. Rheem raised to 325,000 from UTG and Paul Volpe called from the big blind. The flop was [poker card="8d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"] and Volpe checked, Rheem bet 375,000 and Volpe responded by moving all in fro 2,975,000. Rheem didn’t hesitate to call and tabled [poker card="kh"][poker card="kd"] while Volpe turned over [poker card="qs"][poker card="js"] for a flush draw. The [poker card="2c"] turn and [poker card="8c"] river were no help for the former #1-ranked online poker player in the world and Volpe was out in fourth place. Five hands later, Rheem re-took the chip lead from Spinella. The first 54 hands of three-handed play were all about Rheem and Spinella taking turns as chip leader but once Panzica took his turn with the top spot, he never relinquished it again. Rheem’s run at history took a major hit on the 98th hand of three-handed play. Panzica raised to 500,00 from the button and Rheem defended his big blind. Rheem check-called a 500,000 bet after the [poker card="as"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2c"] flop and then check-called again after the [poker card="ks"] river. The [poker card="qs"] river got Rheem to check a third time, Panzica bet 2,100,000 and after taking some time to think over his decision, Rheem called and mucked after Panzica showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"] for top two pair. A few hands later Spinella doubled up through Rheem, leaving him with just two big blinds. On the very next hand Rheem moved all in for his last 475,000 and Spinella called from the big blind. Rheem was ahead with [poker card="qc"][poker card="th"] to Spinella’s [poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] but the [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2h"] runout spelled an end to Rheem’s run in third place. Three-handed action took over 3.5 hours but heads-up play took almost no time at all. Five hands after Rheem was shown the door, Panzica picked up his first elimination of the final table. Spinella raised to 650,000, Panzica moved all in Spinella called. Spinella tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"] but found himself behind the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] of Panzica. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5c"] board kept Panzica ahead for good and eliminated Spinella. Panzica, who already has a $15,000 seat in the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions, was given the $15,000 seat from this event as cash. Final Table Payouts Sam Panzica - $1,373,000 Anthony Spinella - $786,610 Chino Rheem - $521,660 Paul Volpe - $349,610 Dennis Stevermer - $243,090 Rainer Kempe - $188,460
  17. [caption width="640"] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell now has a WPT title to go along with his EPT win (WPT photo)[/caption] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell is one step closer to being a part of poker’s Triple Crown after taking down the partypoker World Poker Tour Caribbean title for $330,000. 323 entrants took part in the $5,000 buy-in event and after starting the final table among the short stacks, Farrell wound up taking the lion’s share of the over $1,450,000 prize pool. Farrell won the European Poker Tour Malta Main Event in October 2015 for the first leg of the Triple Crown and this victory adds to his already sizable $2,936,820 in live tournament earnings. The final table marked Farrell’s first in a WPT main event and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. This TV final table was an international affair with six different countries represented. Additionally, all the final tablists were making their first WPT final table appearance. Stephen Woodhead started the final table as the short stack and it took 24 hands before he met his end. It was Farrell who did the deed knocking out Woodhead as the two battled for Woodhead’s last 15 big blinds in a preflop confrontation. Farrell opened for 105,000 from the hijack and Woodhead moved all in for 750,000 from the big blind. Farrell called having Woodhead dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"] against the short stack’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8s"] runout was no assistance to Woodhead as he took home $66,000 for his finish. The next to go was Yiannis Liperis, who has also hamstrung with a short stack coming into the final table. With just over six blinds left, Liperis jammed for 375,000 on the button and got a call from Anthony Augustino out of the big blind. Like Woodhead, Liperis had an inferior ace as he showed [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"] against Augustino's [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"] flop left Liperis needing running cards to double up, as well as a three. The [poker card="7h"] turn gave him a gutshot straight draw but the [poker card="4h"] would seal his fate as the fifth place finisher. Farrell picked up his second elimination of the final table as he took downColin Moffatt 17 hands after Liperis departed. With the blinds still at 30,000/60,000, Farrell raised to 105,000 on the button and Moffatt moved all in for 1,180,000 from the big blind. Farrell called and was in a flip with [poker card="6d"][poker card="6c"] against the [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] of Moffatt. The [poker card="ad"][10s][poker card="7s"] flop surged Moffatt ahead as he flopped two pair. Farrell regained the lead on the turn, though, with the [poker card="6h"] giving him a set. Needing to fill up on the river, Moffatt did not as the [poker card="jc"] and he exited in fourth place. It would only take Farrell 10 more hands to earn the championship as he dispatched his next two opponents in short order. Farrell caught a double at an opportune time which fully charged his late run to the title. In one of the biggest pots of the tournament, Farrell chased down Troy Quenneville in the hand that effectively sealed the title for Farrell. With the blinds still at the same level, Quenneville opened to 135,000 from the button and was three-bet by Farrell to 375,000. Quenneville pumped it up to 890,000 and Farrell jammed for 3,380,000 total with Quenneville calling with [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. Farrell needed to come from far behind with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] to stay alive. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] surged Farrell into the lead and he held on the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="ah"] river. The pot put Farrell into the chip lead with 6,850,000 (114 big blinds) and left Quenneville with 840,000 (14 big blinds). Despite being the short stack, Quenneville doubled through Augustino a few hands later to put him as the low man on the totem pole as Augustino was eliminated in third place. In Hand 73 of the final table, Farrell moved all in from the small blind and Augustino called for his last 1,160,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"] from the big blind. Farrell was behind, but live, with [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"] and promptly flopped a straight draw on the [poker card="ks"][10s][poker card="8h"] board. The [poker card="8s"] changed little but the [poker card="jc"] on the river filled Farrell’s straight to send Augustino out with the bronze medal earning $140,000. Heads up play didn’t last long as Farrell knocked out Quenneville in the first hand of their match. Farrell moved all in from the small blind to put Quenneville at risk for his last 1,540,000 and Quenneville called. Farrell had the slight lead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] but Quenneville had a lot to work with holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"] flop gave both players a pair but Quenneville still needed help to double. The [poker card="qd"] on the turn gave Quenneville a straight draw but the [poker card="6d"] on the river would eliminate him just short of first place. The $330,000 first place prize marks the fourth largest of Farrell’s career as he adds to his already sterling poker resume. Farrell also earns his place in the WPT Tournament of Champions for his victory. Final Table Payouts Niall Farrell - $330,000 Troy Quenneville - $220,000 Anthony Augustino - $140,000 Colin Moffatt - $105,392 Yiannis Liperis - $80,000 Stephen Woodhead - $66,000
  18. [caption width="640"] James Mackey won his first World Poker Tour title in Choctaw, Oklahoma (Photo courtesy Joe Giron/WPT)[/caption] Just over nine years ago James Mackey joined the rare group of 21-year-old players to win a WSOP bracelet. On Tuesday night in Choctaw, Oklahoma, he joined another exclusive group when he won the World Poker Tour Choctaw event, earning $666,758 in the process. Mackey began the final table third in chips but thanks to an early double-up, found himself in the driver’s seat for most of the night. Matthew Smith came into the final table with the shortest stack and barely made through the first hour of play before busting. Benjamin Zamani opened to 350,000, Jack Duong called from the cutoff before Smith moved all in for 1,725,000. Zamani folded but Duong called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] while Smith showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop offered Smith no relief and after the [poker card="3h"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river he was out in sixth place. Duong’s run didn’t last much longer after a big clash with Mackey. Action folded to Duong in the small blind and he raised to 400,000 and Mackey defended his big blind. After the [poker card="kc"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop Duong bet 425,000 and Mackey raised to 900,000. Duong moved all in for 3,555,000 total and Mackey called all in. Duong tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"] for the nut flush draw and Mackey showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="jc"] for top pair. The [poker card="6s"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river both missed Duong and he was left with just 275,000 while Mackey doubled-up. Duong was eliminated on the next hand by Craig Varnell. Varnell claimed another victim just an hour later when he opened to 450,000 from the button and then called Bastian Fischer’s small blind shove for 3,500,000. Varnell showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] which put him ahead of Fischer, who showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8s"][poker card="tc"] to eliminate Fischer in fourth and send Varnell back into the chip lead. His spot at the top of the chip counts didn’t even last a full level though and Varnell found himself on the outside looking in when heads-up play began. Varnell’s fate was sealed in an all in preflop confrontation with Mackey. After a raised to 600,000 from Mackey, Varnell made it 1,825,000. Mackey announced he was all in and Varnell called all in for just under 9,000,000. Mackey showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and Varnell was behind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="7s"] The [poker card="kc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6s"] flop didn’t help Varnell and neither did the [poker card="jh"] turn or [poker card="2s"] river and the former WPT500 champ was out in third place. That hand propelled Mackey into a better than 3-1 chip lead over Zamani when heads-up play began. It took 37 hands of play over less than an hour for Mackey to emerge victorious. On the final hand of the night Zamani limped fore 300,000 before Mackey raised to 1,000,000. Zamani responded by putting his entire stack of 7,400,000 at risk and Mackey called. Zamani tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] but found himself behind the [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] of Mackey. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Zamani more outs for a win, but neither the [poker card="js"] turn or [poker card="6h"] river were of any help for Zamani and he was out in second place. The win pushed Mackey’s lifetime earnings to $3,575,959 and the $666,758 first place payout is the second largest of his career behind only the $730,740 he earned for winning his WSOP bracelet. The closest he had come to winning a WPT prior to this was a third place finish at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April 2014. He’s also won $3,874,095 online and won a PocketFives Triple Crown in 2006. Final Table Payouts James Mackey - $666,758 Benjamin Zamani - $412,234 Craig Varnell - $306,346 Bastian Fischer - $230,300 Jack Duong - $175,122 Matthew Smith - $134,720
  19. [caption width="640"] Andreas Olympios arrived at the final table with 15 big blinds and ran it up to win the title and 0,000.[/caption]The third incarnation of the WPT500 at the Aria Resort and Casino proved to be more popular than ever with 3,956 entrants and a $2 million prize pool – double the advertised guarantee. The WPT did kick in a nominal sum for the attractive number for a $565 buy-in, but after an action-packed final table with a slew of double ups Andreas Olympios won $260,000 and the title. Wesley Hickey built a monster stack in Day 2, returning to the final table with 105 big blinds while Jonathan Opas was second in chips with 53. A three-way chase pack of Drazen Ilich, Robby Seurynck, Sanjay Mayekar held 20 plus big blind stacks and Olmpios was 8th of nine in chips to start Day 3. Olympios was at risk of elimination after the first orbit. He was all in holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] and Hickey called with pocket kings. Olympios spiked an ace on the flop and hit a queen on the river for good measure but still had less than ten big blinds. The other short stacks were eliminated in relatively short order and at five-handed play it was anyone’s game with only ten big blinds separating the field. Hickey and Olympios both scored key double ups with five left – Hickey doubled up holding [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] against Ilich’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"] and made two pair. Olympios got all in on the river holding a queen-high straight and got paid off by Jonathan Opas’ jack-high straight. Olympios survived going all in half a dozen times throughout the day and when the final pairing began, Olympios held a near 3-1 chip lead over Hickey They only needed ten hands, pushing the final table to 143 total, when they went to a raised flop of [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2s"]. Hickey shoved holding [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"] for second pair and Olympios called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"]. The board finished [poker card="5s"][poker card="qc"], Hickey didn’t improve and Olympios joined Craig Varnell and Sean Yu as WPT500 champions. Olympios’ previous largest cash came at the 2016 WPT Amsterdam High Roller for $19,408 with 9th place finish. Hickey’s results reach back 15 months and his largest previous cash was a runner-up finish at the 2015 DeepStacks Edmonton Main Event for $44,109. The event’s nine entry flights played until 5% of the field remained and 201 players returned for Day 2. Ebony Kenney and Mike Beasley just missed the final table while Justin Young and WPT Commentator Mike Sexton made the final three tables. Zo Karim, Jesse Yaginuma, James Calderaro, Allen Cunningham, Ralph Massey and Joe Serock all recorded a cash on Day 2. Final Table Payouts Andreas Olympios - $260,000 Wesley Hicks - $185,000 Drazen Ilich - $135,000 Robby Seurynck - $100,000 Jonathan Opas - $75,000 Sanjay Mayekar - $58,000 Khoan Ho - $45,000 Guy Gorelick - $35,000 Guy Cicconi - $27,150
  20. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES Lance Bradley and Matt Clark are joined by Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas to talk about the sudden resignation of long-time online gaming opponent, Jason Chaffetz, the rumors surrounding Jeff Sessions and an update on Pennsylvania online poker momentum hitting a small snag. The guys also talk about the partnership between the World Poker Tour and PokerStars for the MonteDam Swing, and also discuss WPT Beijing, what it means to be an online poker room ambassador in 2017, and the overwhelming success of the "mid-major" tournament series' in the United States.
  21. [caption width="640"] Daniel Buzgon is an accomplished poker player in his own right but he is also a menace on the golf course. (Will OC photo)[/caption] While clicking buttons or riffling chips takes up most of the time spent in “the office” of a professional poker player, like any other job, there are hobbies that players enjoy taking part in when they aren’t grinding. When the weather cooperates, the golf course is a well-traveled destination for players as the gambling nature of the game carries over along with the competition aspect. New Jersey native and resident Daniel ‘wildman75’ Buzgonhas a fondness for golf that stretches back to his childhood and led him to pursue a degree in Professional Golf Management from Arizona State University. It was there where the 32-year-old Buzgon first found poker. These days, Buzgon enjoys a life as a respected professional and he sees plenty of similarities in comparing the two games, calling golf “the perfect compliment to poker.” “I think golf and poker fit together perfectly for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. They are both individual ‘sports’ (using that term VERY loosely) where all the pressure is on you. There is no teammate to bail you out in crunch time and that's why I really enjoy both of them. Unlike a lot of sports or games, it is very easy to get a fair bet in golf because of the use of handicaps. Everyone is essentially even and it just matters who shows up and plays better on that day,” said Buzgon. Buzgon certainly knows of what he speaks when talking about the green felt and the putting green. The two-time World Poker Tour final tablist has over $1,600,000 in live tournament earnings to go along with $2,600,000 in online tournament cashes. In addition, Buzgon is the proud owner of a 2.5 handicap. In fact, Buzgon’s commitment to both poker and golf stretches so far that during Borgata Poker Open events, Buzgon can be seen sporting the necessary attire so that should he bust from the event he is playing, he can head directly to the golf course. Fortunately for Buzgon, he was forced to miss some tee times in September as he cashed in the Borgata Poker Open $2,000,000 guaranteed Event 1, Almighty Stack event, and the WPT Main Event. From all of his time shared between the tee box and green, Buzgon has picked up on a few of the nuanced similarities that golf and poker share and a keen understanding of how luck plays a role in both. “The only thing worse than listening to poker players bad beat stories is listening to golfers bad beat stories. You can do everything right in a hand and still lose while you watch your tablemate do everything wrong in a hand and still win," said Buzgon. "That's how the game works and of course, it’s frustrating as hell but stop worrying about it because you cannot control it. There is nothing more enjoyable than when you hit an awful shot and you get a favorable bounce and end up closer to the pin than your opponent who thought he just hit the best shot of his life. You can’t control the outcome so stop worrying about the results.” Fair is not the word that most people would use when initially describing the qualities of the games requiring two cards and a two iron. Buzgon acknowledges that dealing with adversity comes with the territory for both endeavors and that in tournament poker, sometimes laying up is good enough. “There have been so many times where I have been playing a round and everything is going along smoothly and then you lose focus for one shot and your whole round is essentially over. You are not going to win every hand that you play in a poker tournament and you are not going to hit every shot the way you want to over the course of a round. Dealing with these usually separates the good players from the elite ones.” Buzgon concedes that at this point in his poker career, he is content to stay home and play cash games online at night while golfing during the day instead of “traveling around living out of a suitcase playing tournaments.” The life of a full-time tournament grinder may be behind him but with the Borgata Winter Poker Open set to open on January 17, Buzgon will be ready to put his game to the test as there’s always another hole waiting to be played.
  22. This news might surprise the most casual of poker fans. The World Poker Tour is openly encouraging players to play in an upcoming PokerStars Championship event and PokerStars is encouraging players to make their way to Amsterdam for an upcoming WPT event. You read that right. Two of poker's biggest brands – both top-tier competitors in the live tournament landscape – have teamed up to encourage players to play in each other's tournaments - and they're giving away over €50,000 in prizes in the process. The PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing, announced Friday, is a first-of-its-kind leaderboard that allows players to collect points for cashing at the upcoming WPT Amsterdam and PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo events. While players might not realize, the companies have worked together before, just not so much in the public eye. “For many years, PokerStars and the World Poker Tour have collaborated behind the scenes to ensure the scheduling of our major events is done in the best interest of the players,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “We are proud to take the collaboration a step further with the creation of the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing, and we welcome all players to kick off a spectacular three weeks of poker by attending PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo starting April 25.” There a total of four events - two at each stop - that allow players to earn leaderboard points. The top five players at the conclusion of the fourth event win prizes, including buy-ins to upcoming PokerStars Championship and World Poker Tour events including a PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event package valued at €7,500. The four qualifying events are: €1,100 buy-in PokerStars National Championship Monte Carlo (April 26 – 30) €5,300 buy-in PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Main Event (April 29 - May 5) €1,500 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam (May 5 – 8) €3,300 buy-in WPT Amsterdam Main Event (May 9 – 13) To be eligible for the leaderboard, players must cash at least once at both locations. “Both PokerStars and the World Poker Tour are committed to growing the game of poker, and the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing was developed to benefit players competing at both PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo and WPT Amsterdam,” said Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars Director of Live Events. “This exciting partnership allows players a natural transition from one world-class festival to another, and we encourage our players to head to WPT Amsterdam following their time in Monte Carlo.” Complete list of prizes: 1st place: PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event package (€7,500 value) 2nd place: WPT Main Event* package (€6,000 value) 3rd place: WPTDeepStacks* package (worth €3,000 value) 4th place: PokerStars National Championship Barcelona Buy-in (€1,100) plus a €500 Barcelona hotel voucher 5th place: WPTDeepStacks* Buy-in (€1,500) On top of that, players who play in at least on event at both stops receive a ticket to play in a $30,000 freeroll on PokerStars and players who play in both Main Events receive a $300 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker voucher.
  23. [caption width="640"] Ema Zajmovic overcame a field of 380 to win the WPT Montreal event. (WPT photo)[/caption] There was plenty of intrigue heading into the final table of the World Poker Tour Montreal event at the Playground Poker Club. Former WPT champion Eric Afriat was gunning for a second WPT title while Ema Zajmovic, who made the final table of the previous WPT held at the Playground, was playing to be the first woman to win an open WPT event. In a long battle among the final tablists, Zajmovic outlasted them all to win the WPT title and $200,769. In her only two WPT cashes, Zajmovic now has two final tables and one championship to her name in one of the greatest back-to-back accomplishments in the history of the WPT. It was an arduous final table that took over 250 hands to complete and 36 hands to eliminate the first player. That unlucky competitor was Jean-Pascal Savard, who started the final table in the middle of the pack but quickly slid down the leaderboard. In his final hand of the final table, Savard raised to 100,000 from the hijack and Jean-Francois Bouchard called on the button. Savard bet 130,000 on the [poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"] flop and Bouchard moved all in. With 750,000 behind, Savard called with [poker card="jh"][poker card="jc"] and needed to hold against Bouchard's two draws with [poker card="as"][poker card="4s"]. The [poker card="8s"] on the turn ended the hand and Savard hit the rail in sixth place. It took 74 more hands for the next bust out and Mekhail Mekhail was the victim. Mekhail raised to 225,000 from the cutoff and Zajmovic went all in from the button. Mekhail called for a few hundred thousand more with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"] and was an underdog to the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kd"] of Zajmovic. A jack hit the flop but that was all the help Mekhail would get as Zajmovic moved into the chip lead with the elimination. The next to go was Tam Ho, who took his leave 65 hands later. Ho shoved all in for 11 big blinds with [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"] and was called by Zajmovic from the big blind who had [poker card="ah"][poker card="2h"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="9h"][poker card="3h"] flop gave Zajmovic the nut flush and she eliminated her second opponent of the final table. Only 19 hands later, the event was down to heads up play. Bouchard doubled through Afriat, leaving the latter with less than one big blind. Bouchard opened for 300,000 from the button and called the three-bet of 700,000 from Afriat. Afriat continued for 450,000 on the [poker card="jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2d"] flop and Bouchard called. On the [poker card="ah"] turn, Afriat slowed down with a check and Bouchard bet 900,000. Afriat check-raised all in for effectively 2,250,000 and Bouchard called with [poker card="as"][poker card="js"] which had the [poker card="ad"][poker card="6h"] of Afriat drawing dead. Afriat was eliminated on the next hand by Zajmovic and heads up play began shortly after. Zajmovic started the match with Bouchard with 30 big blinds to Bouchard’s 46. It took 33 hands for Zajmovic to claim the chip lead and she closed out the title shortly after. On the 256th hand of the final table, Zajmovic took out Bouchard and claimed the title. Bouchard was all in for 20 big blinds with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"] against the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"] but fell behind on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="7c"] flop. The turn and river changed nothing and Zajmovic completed her incredible run. With the win, Zajmovic locks up a spot in the WPT Tournament of Champions and secures herself a place in the history of the WPT. Final Table Payouts Ema Zajmovic - $200,768 Jean-Francois Bouchard - $130,208 Eric Afriat - $83,608 Tam Ho - $55,131 Mekhail Mekhail - $42,462 Jean-Pascal Savard - $35,146
  24. [caption width="640"] James Romero earned almost million and etched his name on the WPT Champions Cup with his Season XV Five Diamond Win.(WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] The World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic is one of the tougher WPT fields each year. The Bellagio event draws some of the best poker players in the world to Las Vegas each December and the list of previous champions is a testament to that. Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, Mohsin Charania, Dan Smith and Antonio Esfandiari are just a few of the players who have captured the title. The record-sized field that showed up in Las Vegas this past week for the Season XV Five Diamond Classic was star-studded, but in the end it was a relatively unknown player, playing his first WPT event, that managed to capture the title and the nearly $2,000,000 first place prize. James Romero topped a final table that included Justin Bonomo, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Jake Schindler to earn the first live win of his career. Romero came in to the final table with over 40% of the chips in play and never relinquished his lead, eliminating four of the five players that stood between himself and the title. Yaroshevskyy was one of just two players at this final table and came in*with the fourth largest stack, but that didn't stop him from being the first*player eliminated. With blinds at 50,000/100,000, Yaroshevskyy moved all in*from UTG for 1,420,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] and Romero called from the big blind with*[poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2d"] flop left Romero ahead and when Yaroshevskyy failed* to connect with the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="3d"] river he was out in sixth place. The*$268,545 sixth place cash is he third biggest of his career, falling behind his*second place in a 2015 World Series of Poker $5000 NLHE Turbo ($303,767) and a*fourth place finish at the 2015 WPT LA Poker Classic ($333,680). Two hands later Justin Bonomo joined Yaroshevskyy in the payouts line.*Schindler raised to 225,000 from the cutoff before Bonomo moved all in for*995,000. Schindler called and tabled [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] while Bonomo showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="5s"]. The*[poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"][poker card="7s"] flop left Bonomo needing runner-runner fives. The turn was [poker card="ad"] to*officially seal Bonomo's fate before the [poker card="ah"] hit the river. Three hands later Romero found himself another victim. Action folded to Alex*Condon on the button and he moved all in for 1,170,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"] and Romero*called from the big blind with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="8h"] flop gave Condon*extra outs but neither the [poker card="as"] turn or [poker card="7d"] *were any help and he was*eliminated in fourth place. After three eliminations in the span of five hands, the pace slowed down but at no point Romero continued to build up his lead. After 2.5 hours of three-handed play, and with Romero holding almost 75% of the chips, he used his overwhelming lead to bust another player. Ryan Tosoc folded his button, Romero called from the small blind before Schindler moved all in for just over 4,000,000 from the big blind. Romero called and tabled [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] while Romero showed [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"] to give Romero the pot and eliminate Schindler, the only other player with a WPT final table appearance, in third place. Heads up action between Romero and Tosoc began with Romero holding a 7-1 lead. Tosoc managed a nearly full double early, but it only took 16 hands for Romero to end the party. Down to just 2,000,000, Tosoc moved all in pre-flop and Romero called. Tosoc tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] but found himself up against Romero’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6c"] run out made the elimination official and crowned Romero as champion, eliminating Tosoc in second place for $1,124,051. The $1,938,118 first place score doesn’t even push Romero’s lifetime live tournament earnings over $2,000,000. The 27 year old was previously focused on online poker and Las Vegas cash games. The event drew a field of 791 players, a record for this event. The previous largest Five Diamond field was in 2007 when 664 players entered the then-$15,000 buy-in event. The buy-in was lowered to $10,000 in 2010. The next WPT event is the Borgata Winter Poker Open in January. Final Table Payouts James Romero - $1,938,118 Ryan Tosoc - $1,124,051 Jake Schindler - $736,579 Alex Condon - $494,889 Justin Bonomo- $345,272 Igor Yaroshevskyy - $268,545
  25. [caption width="640"] Erik Seidel recently broke through the million lifetime earnings mark (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] It is pretty easy to talk about Erik Seidel solely using hyperbole. Justified hyperbole, of course, but phrases like “the GOAT”, “the greatest”, or “Seiborg” all are merited to explain his poker career. Seidel recently crossed $30 million in career tournament earnings, putting him second on the all-time money list and reminding us all that though he can be soft-spoken, his results speak loudly and 2016 has been no exception. Since he isn’t one to brag, we decided to take a closer, specific look at his success and do it for him in this edition of Number Crunch. 5 – Number of non-poker show credits for Seidel on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). One is as a poker consultant for the now-defunct ESPN show Tilt. Three others are cameos in poker-related movies. One is a brush with the President-elect on an episode of Celebrity Apprentice. Interestingly, Rounders, where Seidel’s heads-up battle with Johnny Chan in the 1988 WSOP Main Event, was not listed. Nor was Seidel’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stint as an extra on Curb Your Enthusiasm. 7 – Number of career World Poker Tour final tables for Seidel. He is sixth on the WPT all-time final tables list and fifth on the WPT all-time cash lists with 22. He also has one title, won at Foxwoods in 2008. 16 – Number of years since the New York card club the Mayfair closed its doors. Seidel is one of a number of backgammon and poker players who cut their teeth on the games at the Mayfair. Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to clean up NYC led to the club’s closure in 2000. 53 – Percentage of Seidel’s cashes this year which were in High Roller events. Of the nineteen 2016 cashes, ten are in high rollers. In 2015, 41% of the cashes were High Roller tournaments. In his standout 2011, that rate was 44%. Part of the uptick can be explained by the proliferation of High Roller tournaments, most notably the regular events running at the Aria in Las Vegas. It also indicates Seidel tends to skip most events that do not include a High Roller component somewhere in the tournament series. 60 – Number of six-figure cashes in Erik Seidel’s career. From 1988 to present, he earns a payday of at least $100,000 approximately twice a year. In reality, currently Seidel is making up for some early six-figure dry spells. In 2016 alone he notched ten six-figure cashes with the end-of-year high rollers still coming up on the schedule. 99 – Number of WSOP cashes for Seidel in his 18-year career playing the series. This puts him second on the cashing list behind Phil Hellmuth, who has 118. Eight percent of those cashes are victories, as Seidel is the owner of eight bracelets. 100 – Percent of the time Seidel has been in attendance for his daughter’s events growing up according to his daughters, Jamesin and Elian. During interviews for the Poker Central Pokerography series, his daughters said their fatherl never missed any of their important games or events as kids. He is often cited as an incredibly dedicated father both by his own family and by his poker peers. 76,000 – Approximate number of followers on Twitter of @Erik_Seidel. Ever since Seidel got on Twitter, he established a reputation for being one of those great follows who does not Tweet a lot, but when he does have something to say, it is usually quality. 1,990,476 – Dollars separating Daniel Negreanu and Seidel on the all-time money list. Negreanu took the top spot with his runner-up finish in the 2014 Big One for One Drop at the WSOP. Seidel had claimed the top spot during his historic run in 2011, but had fallen back a bit as Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari passed him. Esfandiari is just a touch over $3 million in earnings behind Seidel on the all-time list. 6,530,153 – Dollars earned by Seidel during his most successful tournament year, 2011. During a week in 2001, Seidel won over $3 million. First he took third in the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge, then he went on to win the $250,000 Challenge. February brought a $750,000 victory in the NBC Heads-Up Championship. In May, he won a $100,000 buy-in event at Bellagio for another million-dollar payday. The WSOP was a slow one for Seidel, but he finished out the year with back-to-back Epic Poker final tables for one of the most memorable individual runs in recent memory.

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