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  1. [caption id="attachment_617498" align="alignnone" width="640"] Germany's Ole Schemion wins the World Poker Tour Season XVI European Championship.[/caption] The World Poker Tour Season XVI European Championship Berlin came to a conclusion on Monday as the remaining six players from the 339 starting field, took their seat to battle for the €218,435 first-place prize and the title of WPT Champion. The €3,300 televised Main Event was held at Spelbank Berlin and it was the first time the WPT had held a Championship event on German soil. Therefore, it seems only fitting that one of the best players on the planet, Ole Schemion who hails from Germany, took over the tournament and rode a wave of momentum right into the winner’s circle. Schemion entered the final table with the chip lead, something he had held for the past two days. He used that leverage to eliminate four of the other five players, including Czech Republic’s red-hot Michal Mrakes, standing in his way to victory. It took nearly two hours into the six-handed final table for the first of the finalist to hit the rail. After 37-year old Amjad Nader was crippled down to 6 big blinds on the hand prior, he pushed with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. Schemion flatted with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] as did Mrakes with the [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"]. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"] and Schemion put out a bet that drove Mrakes out of the pot. When the [poker card="8h"] hit the turn, Nader was drawing dead and as the inconsequential [poker card="7h"] completed the hand, Nader stood to collect a career-high cash of €39,010 ($47,323). Born in China, but living in Germany, Hanyong Kuo entered the final table third in chips. Kuo made a gutsy king-high bluff-catching call for the majority of his stack only to be shown ace-high, leaving him with only five big blinds. Four hands later, he’d make his final move of the tournament by shipping [poker card="kd"][poker card="9d"] into the surging Schemion who isolated with [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"]. There was no help to Kuo, a veteran Pot-Limit Omaha cash game specialist, when the board ran out all blanks for both players leaving Schemion's ace-high as the best hand. Schemion claimed another victim and Kuo claimed his fifth-place prize of €46,705 ($57,118). A mere two hands later another elimination took place as Germany’s Michael Behnert took his ten big blind stack and put it in the middle from the small blind holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"].,Patrice Brandt made the call from the big blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="3d"]. Behnert’s 3:2 advantage quickly diminished on the [poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"] flop. But when the turn came [poker card="5c"], Behnert picked up backdoor flush outs in addition to his two overs, essentially giving himself the same odds Brandt had at the beginning of the hand. But the [poker card="6s"] was of no help and Behnert, who entered the day fifth in chips, laddered to fourth place and took home €60,730 ($74,088). Brandt himself would be the third elimination in five hands as he took his made a stand with his roughly 30 big blind stack against the tournament boss, Schemion. Brandt raised the button with [poker card="jh"][poker card="9h"] only to be three-bet by Schemion from the small blind. Mrakes folded the big blind and Brandt called to see the flop. The flop dropped [poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. Schemion bet around one-third pot and then, with his two overs and a flush draw, Brandt committed the rest of his chips. Schemion made the call and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="4d"]. While Schemion’s gutshot straight draw and ace-high was the best hand, Brandt was a slight favorite when all the cards were exposed. But it was Schemion’s day and a pair of bricks in the form of the [poker card="kc"] and [poker card="7c"] sealed Brandt’s fate. Schemion had eliminated his second player with ace-high. Brandt finished in third despite entering the final table with just over 15 big blinds. He earned €93,105 ($115,077) for the result. After a 30-minute break heads-up play began with Ole Schemion holding roughly a 2:1 chip advantage over Michal Mrakes, who had entered the final table second in chips. An early full house for Schemion extended his chip lead and the Germany superstar never looked back. Twenty-one hands later the pair would mix it up on the final hand of the tournament. Schemion raised holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7c"], Mrakes three-bet with [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"] and was called. When the action flop of [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"] hit, Mrakes made his move and pushed. Schemion ultimately made the call. The pair watched as the [poker card="8h"] hit the turn opening Mrakes outs to include an inside straight. But the [poker card="4d"] shut the door on Mrakes comeback bid and awarded the hometown hero, Schemion, the victory. Mrakes finishes as the runner-up, winning €143,845 ($178,892) for his third career six-figure score. Ole Schemion added to the accolades of his remarkable career that includes over $13.5 million in tournament cashes. Now in addition to his victories in the Aria High Roller series, the Partouche Poker Tour Championship and EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller, Schemion can now call himself a World Poker Tour Champion. The title includes an entry into the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions at the Aria Resort & Casino in May, a Hublot Big Bang Steel timepiece and, of course, €218,435 ($255,352) for his first-place prize money. Final Table Payouts Ole Schemion - €218,435 Michal Mrakes - €143,845 Patrice Brandt - €93,105 Michael Behnert - €60,730 Hanyong Kuo - €46,705 Amjad Nader - €39,010
  2. The World Poker Tour heads to the West Coast to start the closing portion of Season XVI. The first tournament on the list is the prestigious L.A. Poker Classic hosted inside the Commerce Casino. One of the few $10,000 buy-in events on the WPT schedule, the schedule mainstay features a $1 million guaranteed first place prize for 2018. LAPC opens on Saturday, February 24 and, as is tradition, is a freezeout event. The final table takes place on Thursday, March 1 and airs via live stream on PokerGO. Can Anyone Overtake Art Papazyan for Player of the Year? Season XVI storylines entering the event are not hard to find. At the top of the list is current Player of the Year leader Art Papazyan. The Los Angeles local opened his WPT season by winning the Legends of Poker event at the Bicycle Casino, a few miles from Commerce, by beating Phil Hellmuth heads up. Papazyan built on that run by winning WPT Maryland a few weeks later and carries 2,400 points with him into LAPC. The lead for Papazyan shrinks with every event he doesn’t cash and Eric Afriat is the first player to levy a serious challenge against Papazyan. Afriat followed up his WPT Montreal final table by winning the WPT Winter Poker Open at the Borgata two weeks ago. The 1,700 points sitting next to Afriat’s name leave him needing one more final table to come close to or pass Papazyan. It remains to be seen how seriously the real estate professional is about playing a full schedule in order to win WPT Player of the Year. Coming off of his controversial win in Fallsview, Mike Leah is a favorite to be in attendance and brings 1,050 points with him to California. Tradition of Prestige The recent trend at LAPC is for players who are under the radar by the national viewing audience standard to earn their formal breakout. Anthony Zinno’s win in Season XIII launched him into stardom as he went on to win that season’s Player of the Year honors. German Dietrich Fast earned his original seven-figure score in Season XIV by defeating a final table of former WPT POY Mike Shariati, Farid Jattin, Sam Soverel, and Anthony Spinella. Finally, California’s own Daniel Strelitz took down the first major title of his career last season. All three players earned over $1 million by overcoming respective fields of 538, 515, and 521. A similar attendance figure is expected in 2018. Season XVI Hits the Homestretch Immediately following LAPC, the World Poker Tour travels to Northern California for WPT Rolling Thunder. Only two North American Main Tour events remain on the schedule once the WPT leaves the West Coast. Papazyan’s lead is safe for now but that could change by the end of the month. The best players move to Los Angeles in one week to take their shot at $1 million and joining the likes of Gus Hansen and Michael Mizrachi as L.A. Poker Classic Champions.
  3. The World Poker Tour rolls on. Just days after Eric Afriat’s epic victory in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open the Championship tour turns its attention north of the border to Niagra Falls, Ontario in Canada and the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. The second Canadian stop of WPT’s Season XVI, the Fallsview Poker Classic brings with it a $5,000 CAD (~ $4,025 USD) Main Event. Unlike the recent WPT stops of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open or the Borgata Winter Poker Open, the Fallsview Poker Classic has a more compact schedule with a single starting day, February 10. Should players bust out on that starting day, it offers a single same-day re-entry to get back into the action. While the event doesn’t carry a guarantee, event organizers advertise the Main Event prize pool to be an estimated $2,055,000 CAD based on projected number of players. The first nine levels of the four-day tournament come with slightly expedited 40-minute levels and increase to the more-standard Main Event 60-minute levels thereafter. Once the final two participants are ready to determine a winner, the levels dip back down to 30-minutes. Despite the rate of play moving a little faster, players can expect to get more hands in per hour as the Main Event is once again utilizing a shot clock. The shot clock gives players 30 seconds with which to make any given decision and time extensions for those extra tricky spots. The Fallsview Poker Classic has been a staple of the World Poker Tour since Season XII when Canadian Matthew Lapossie bested 383 runners to take the inaugural Fallsview Poker Classic trophy and $342,266. After a successful start in 2014, the stop has become more popular every year since with ever-growing prize pools. In Season XIII Anthony Zinno took down the tournament helping propel him to earn Player Of The Year honors that year. Season XIV’s brought it’s own distinction of having an “all hometown” final table as six Canadian players dueled for the top prize of $383,407, eventually won by David Ormsby. Finally, last year, in Season XV, Darren Elias used the Fallsview Poker Classic to make history when he won his third World Poker Tour title, becoming only the fifth player in history to do so. Of course, if chasing history in the Main Event isn’t enough action for you, the festival comes with a pair of big-time prelims. On February 5 the $1,100 CAD event gets underway. This tournament has two starting days and wraps up on February 8. Organizers expect the prize pool to be over $1.3 million CAD. Just as the $1,100 tournament is ending the $2,500 CAD tournament kicks off. The four-day tournament is expected to have a prize pool of just under $1.5 million CAD. Finally, should you bust out of the Main Event and are looking for a "trip-saver", there’s a Shootout starting on February 11 for $1,500 CAD and an expected prize pool of roughly $132,000 CAD. Headed into the final stretch of Main Tour contests, two-time Main Event winner Art Papazyan still holds the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. But after Eric Afrait’s victory at Borgata, combined with his prior final table in Montreal, there’s finally someone who can possibly overtake the one-time seemingly insurmountable lead held by Papazyan. With only five events left on the WPT Season XVI schedule before the season-ending Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, everyone will be keeping an eye on if one of these two men post another big result or if someone else makes a move for the POY crown. The WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event fires up on February 10 with live updates available by the World Poker Tour.
  4. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] The latest episode of The Fives is now available on iTunes and Stitcher.[/caption] 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. After what feels like a ridiculously long hiatus, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark are back with another episode of The Fives. In this episode, the guys talk about Darryll Fish's recent win at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open and recap the other storylines out of that event, including the "controversial" return to action of the recently retired Vanessa Selbst. They also get into the recently announced WPT Finale schedule, the Super High Roller Bowl's decision to expand their event to China, and talk about partypoker's decision to sign Isaac Haxton. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER
  5. Over the course of his career, Mike Leah has won five WSOP Circuit rings and a World Series of Poker bracelet. On Monday night he captured his first World Poker Tour title, winning the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $359,001. The victory is Leah's fourth career win at the Canadian casino and third in three straight years. His three other wins all came in the $1,100 buy-in event that traditionally opened the weeklong festival. Despite starting the final table with the third biggest stack, Joe Ferrier lasted just nine hands before exiting in sixth place. Leah raised from middle postilion to 150,000 and Ferrier re-raised to 375,000 from the button. Leah responded by moving all in for 4,400,000 and Ferrier called all in. Leah tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"] which put him ahead of Ferrier's [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3c"] flop gave Ferrier a backdoor flush draw but neither the [poker card="ts"] turn or [poker card="8s"] river were any help and Leah picked up his first elimination. About 30 minutes later, Daniel Wagner was shaking hands and saying "good game" after going out in fifth. Down to just 385,000, Wagner moved all in from UTG and got a call from Carlos Chadha in the small blind. Wagner was ahead with [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"] to Chadha's [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"] but the [poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2c"] flop changed that. Wagner could only watch and grimace as the [poker card="8c"] hit the turn and [poker card="5d"] completed the board. It took 62 hands and 2.5 hours to find the next elimination. From UTG, Chadha moved all in for 1,365,000 and Ryan Yu called from the big blind. Chadha tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] and was racing against Yu's [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3h"] flop kept Chadha in front as did the [poker card="3h"] turn, but the [poker card="as"] river gave Yu top pair and send Chadha out in fourth place. Just 10 minutes later, Yu picked up another elimination. Tim Rutherford moved all in for 1,360,000 from the small blind and Yu called from the big. Rutherford turned over [poker card="9h"][poker card="6h"] and was drawing live against Yu's [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3h"] [poker card="4c"][poker card="5d"] runout kept Yu ahead and send Rutherford home in third place. When heads up play began Yu had 70% of the chips in play. That changed quickly after Yu and Leah had taken an unscheduled break to discuss a deal. Over the next three hands, Yu lost almost all of his stack without seeing a flop. According to official WPT live updates, Yu raised to 4,000,000 from the button and Leah moved all in for 4,695,000 an Yu responded by folding. On the next hand, Leah limped his button, Yu raised to 5,000,000 and then folded to Leah's 8,715,000 shove. On the third hand of play between the two, Yu raised to 1,700,000 and Leah again moved all in. Yu folded and left himself just 40,000 - 1/3 of a big blind - to work with. It took three more hands before Leah finally eliminated Yu to win his first World Poker Tour title. Final Table Payouts Mike Leah - $359,001 Ryan Yu - $239,327 Tim Rutherford - $176,636.47 Carlos Chadha - $131,771 Daniel Wagner - $99,361 Joe Ferrier - $75,755
  6. In 2013, Darryll Fish finished third in the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Open at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. In 2017, he finished runner-up at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, also at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. On Wednesday, Fish put those close calls behind him by winning the LHPO for his first WPT title and $511,604. Fish entered the final table with a middle-of-the-pack stack but worked his way through the final table to book his first live win since the 2016 Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions. Alan Krockey came to the final table with the second shortest stack but found himself leaving first after running into a hand that basically played itself. Ness Reilly raised to 160,000 from UTG before Krockey, down to just 12 big blinds, moved all in for 915,000. Reilly called and turned oer [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"] while Krockey needed some help with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="9h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3h"] flop took away one of Krockey's ace outs and neither the [poker card="7c"] turn or [poker card="6d"] river was enough to save him and the 68 year old was eliminated in sixth. Just 13 hands later another all-in preflop race claimed a victim. Aleksandr Shevelev raised to 170,000 from UTG, Reilly made it 500,000 from the button before Brett Bader re-raised to 1,350,000. Action folded to Shevelev and moved all in for 7,005,000. Reilly folded before Bader called all in and tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. Shevelev showed [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="Kd"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9h"] to give the young Russian a pair of kings and send Bader out with a fifth place finish. After doubling up Andy Frankenberger, and dropping almost 4,000,000 to Shevelev, Reilly was down to just nine big blinds. Action folded to her on the button and she moved all in. Darryll Fish called from the small blind and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] while Reilly was ahead with [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2s"] changed everything though and Reilly was unable to find a jack on the [poker card="qh"] turn or [poker card="9d"] river and was eliminated in fourth. Despite starting the day as the shortest stack, Frankenberger navigated his way to the top three. Unfortunately for the former WPT champion, that's as far as he could get. Frankenberger moved all in for 2,305,000 from the button, Fish called from the small blind and Shevelev fold his big blind. Frankenberger turned over [poker card="7d"][poker card="7h"] while Fish had [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4c"] flop kept Frankenberger in front but the [poker card="Jd"] turn put Fish in front and the [poker card="3s"] river couldn't save Frankenberger. Heads-up play began with Shevelev holding almost 60% of the chips in play. It took just 87 hands to go from six players to two, but it took 121 to go from two to a champion. Fish and Shevelev traded the lead back multiple times before Fish finally put away Shevelev for good. After doubling Fish up, Shevelev was left with just eight big blinds when he moved all in and Fish called. Shevelev was ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"] to Fish's [poker card="kd"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"][poker card="kc"][poker card="td"] to give Fish a king-high straight and his first WPT title. The Lucky Hearts Poker Open attracted 911 entrants, paying $3,500 to generate a $2,915,200 prize pool. Final Table Payouts Darryll Fish - $511,604 Aleksandr Shevelev - $331,116 Andy Frankenberger - $244,342 Ness Reilly - $182,249 Brett Bader - $137,440 Alan Krockey - $104,784
  7. The World Poker Tour stays on the West Coast after the L.A. Poker Classic and travels north for WPT Rolling Thunder. Season XVI marks the fifth trip for the WPT to the Lincoln, CA outpost for a $3,500 buy-in event. From March 2-6, there is fierce poker competition to be had as one of the final WPT titles of the season is on the line. Building on 2017 Success Mike Del Vecchio battled through a field of 421 to claim his first WPT title in Season XV. The players who Del Vecchio defeated at the final table include Connor Drinan and Olivier Busquet. Del Vecchio joined an elite group of WPT Rolling Thunder winners led by J.C. Tran and Harrison Gimbel. Tran took down 465 entrants to win his title in Season XII and Season XV’s field was the largest since that time. Riding the LAPC Momentum From the time it was added to the WPT calendar, Rolling Thunder follows Bay 101 Shooting Star Classic on the schedule. That is no more for at least this year with the hiatus of Bay 101 for at least Season XVI. The L.A. Poker Classic wraps up on March 1 and the WPT train rides immediately for Rolling Thunder the next day. Expect to see dozens who played LAPC to catch a flight and make their way to Thunder Valley for the last California WPT event of the season. The LAPC field size should carry an indication of how many and who will play at Thunder Valley. Player of the Year Battle Builds Art Papazyan is 700 points in front of Eric Afriat for current Season XVI Player of the Year honors but that lead is on the fringe of changing. Afriat won the WPT Winter Poker Open at Borgata in January in his second final table appearance of the season. With one more WPT final table appearance this season, Afriat can tie or surpass Papazyan’s 2,400 points. The Quebec business professional is uncertain of his upcoming WPT schedule but the opportunity to win the exclusive prize may bring him out to the West Coast. New Room to Show Off Thunder Valley recently opened their brand new poker room and the glamour element should add to what is already an event with high expectations. Locals are flocking in large numbers to play satellite qualifiers, leading to more buzz for an already prestigious event. The new room features an open playing space and nearby access to all the amenities Thunder Valley is known for. Unique Format Features Six Max Action The WPT Rolling Thunder adds the shorthanded element of poker deep in their event. Once the field reaches 36 players, the field condenses to six tables of six players each. It is at this stage where the tournament switches over to 90-minute levels until the final table. Bay 101 is famous for this structure pivot and Rolling Thunder recently added it to their WPT showcase. Expect to see some fun hands and memorable moments that compare to Charlie Carrel’s elimination in a hand where Pat Lyons moved all-in blind. Where to Watch The final table streams live on WPT.com on March 6 starting at 12:30 pm PT. The six-figures in prize money, the prestige of winning a WPT, and predicted tough final table leads to what will be an exciting conclusion to what has become one of the most enjoyable stops on the WPT circuit.
  8. Last August, Art Papazyan entered and won the first World Poker Tour event he ever played when he beat Phil Hellmuth heads-up to win the Legends of Poker event. That scenario repeated itself Thursday night as Dennis Blieden, playing in his first WPT event, beat Toby Lewis heads-up to win the L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with $1,000,000. When the final table began, Manuel Martinez was at the bottom of the chip counts looking up. That situation didn't last long - but not in the way that Martinez had hoped. From UTG, Martinez raised to 60,000 and Blieden defended the big blind. After the [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2h"] flop, Blieden check-raised Martinez's 50,000 bet to 175,000 and Martinez called. The turn was the [poker card="6c"] and Blieden lead out this time for 230,000 before Martinez moved all in for 675,000. Blieden called and tabled [poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] for a turned full house while Martinez was left looking for two outs with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"]. The river was the [poker card="6s"] to eliminate Martinez in sixth place. Blieden continued to build his stack and picked up another elimination just eight hands later. Blieden raised to 65,000 from the cutoff before Peter Hengsakul moved all in from the big blind for 560,000 total. Blieden called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] which had him ahead of Hengsakul's [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6d"][t2] to miss Hengsakul and send him out in fifth place. The first two eliminations came quickly, but the third took some time. 43 hands after Hengsakul was eliminated, Marc Macdonnell clashed with Toby Lewis and saw his run end early. Macdonnell moved all in for 1,105,000 from the button and Lewis called from the big blind. Macdonnell showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="7h"] while Lewis showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Lewis middle set and as the [poker card="5d"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river were dealt, all Macdonnell could do was watch as he was eliminated in fourth place. Blieden continued his push towards the title just 20 hands later when he sent yet another player to the rail. Lewis folded the button before Derek Wolters moved all in for his last 355,000 and Blieden called from the big blind. Wolters was behind but drawing live after tabling [poker card="qc"][poker card="7c"] and seeing Blieden show [poker card="ks"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4s"] flop moved Blieden even further ahead and the [poker card="2s"] turn [poker card="as"] river actually gave Blieden an unneeded flush as Wolters busted in third place. When heads-up play started, Blieden had Lewis out-chipped by a nearly 4-1 margin. It took only two hands for Blieden to end the tournament. Lewis raised to 120,000, Blieden made it 300,000 and Lewis clicked back to 750,000. Blieden called and then checked the [poker card="6d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"] flop. Lewis bet 400,000 and Blieden called. The turn was the [poker card="qh"] and Blieden checked again. This time, Lewis moved all in for 2,200,000 and Blieden called after asking for a count. Blieden showed [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"] and Lewis could only watch in disbelief after tabling [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The river was the [poker card="6h"] to eliminate Lewis and give Blieden his first major live win and $1,000,000 and entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions this May in Las Vegas. Final Table Payouts Dennis Blieden - $1,000,000 Toby Lewis - $600,630 Derek Wolters - $430,210 Marc Macdonnell - $319,310 Peter Hengsakul - $244,430 Manuel Martinez - $186,325
  9. The global expansion of the World Poker Tour and WPTDeepStacks hits Amsterdam next week. From April 13-20, Holland Casino in Amsterdam is the home for two major tournaments from one of poker's largest brands. WPTDS has traveled to Belgium, Portugal, and France in the last 12 months and makes a return trip to Amsterdam. The WPT is in Amsterdam for the second time in Season XVI. In May 2017, Daniel Daniyar won $166,344 for defeating a field of 224 entrants. That event was the second of the season for the main tour. Start of a New Tradition Europe is proving to be a hotbed for the WPT brand in the last 12 months and the combination of the two events into one week is starting to become a tradition. The WPT opened 2018 with a Main Tour and WPTDS event in Germany at the Spielbank Berlin Casino. The two events offer players a chance to win championship packages that can be used on the American side of poker. WPT European Championship winner Ole Schemion earned $255,352 for his win and is now one of at least 16 players who have a $15,000 seat waiting for them at the Tournament of Champions. WPTDS winners in Season V of the tour earn a seat in the season-ending WPTDS Championship in December and all players who cash earn points for WPTDS Player of the Year. Full Week of Poker The action starts on April 13 with the WPTDeepStacks competition. The €1,500 buy-in event carries no guarantee but the field is expected to hit somewhere in the range of 500 entrants. Players can expect the same structure as the one used in North American events. All levels are 40 minutes for the three-day event and entrants start with 25,000 chips. There are two Day 1s for the WPTDS Main Event with the final table wrapping up the four-day tournament on April 16. The WPT Main Tour offers a €3,300 buy-in and opens play on April 16. Two starting flights are available for players with a single re-entry available each flight. Levels are 60-minutes throughout and starting stacks are 30,000. WPT Amsterdam is a four-day event and wraps up on April 20. Familiar Venue Both tournaments take place at the Holland Casino in Amsterdam. The property has hosted the World Poker Tour and WPTDS in previous seasons. The first-ever WPT Amsterdam event in Season XIV coincided with the inaugural WPT Tournament of Champions. Farid Yachou won both events for a combined $621,159. Andjelko Andrevic earned his first career WPT title at WPT Amsterdam in Season XV and collected $228,000 in the process. The two tournaments brought in 318 and 341 entrants, respectively. Midway Point for One Tour and Near the Finish line for Another WPTDS is approximately halfway through their 2018 campaign and WPTDS Amsterdam is the 10th of 17 officially scheduled events. The World Poker Tour has only two stops left after WPT Amsterdam. WPT travels to Las Vegas for the Elite Poker Championship from May 4-6 and then back again for the Bobby Baldwin Classic along with the Tournament of Champions in mid-May. WPT Amsterdam also directly coincides with the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
  10. In the days leading up to the World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder event at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, David Larson was playing mega-satellites trying to get into the Main Event. He stone-bubbled one, walking away with $2,000 in cash. He decided to use that money to buy-in directly to the $3,500 buy-in event. Good decision. Larson outlasted 439 other players to win the WPT Rolling Thunder event for $295,128 and now finds himself preparing to play the WPT Tournament of Champions this May in Las Vegas. Larson took care of the first elimination at the final table. Down to just 12 big blinds, D.J. Alexander moved all in from UTG and Larson called from the button. Alexander showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] while Larson turned over [poker card="td"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qd"] to eliminate Alexander in sixth place. Five-handed play continued for over 3.5 hours but during that time, Ian Steinman and Joe McKeehen, the two biggest stacks at the time, clashed in a hand that left many fans watching at home shaking their head in disbelief. Action folded to Steinman in the small blind and he raised to 160,000 with [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] and McKeehen called from the big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"]. After the [poker card="ah"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5h"] flop, Steinman bet 150,000 and McKeehen called again. The turn was the [poker card="jc"] and Steinman check-called McKeehen's bet of 370,000. The river was the [poker card="kc"] and Steinman bet 800,000. McKeehen announced he was all in for 2,940,000. Steinman used six of his time banks before folding. Steinman regained some of those chips when he eliminated Rayo Kniep some 30 hands later. McKeehen raised to 200,000 from UTG, Kniep called from the small blind and Steinman called from the big blind. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="th"][poker card="5c"] flop got all three players to check. The [poker card="tc"] turn got Kniep to check, Stienman bet 255,000 and McKeehen folded. Kniep moved all in for 1,100,000 and Steinman called. Kniep showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] but got bad news when Steinman tabled [poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"] for trip tens. The river was the [poker card="jh"] and Kniep was sent to the rail. Five hands later, Steinman busted another one. Ping Liu moved all in from the button for 1,415,000 and Steinman called from the small blind. Liu showed [poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"] but found himself dominated when Steinman showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4h"] flop changed nothing and Liu could only watch as the [poker card="5s"] turnand [poker card="6h"] river sealed his fate. Despite having held the chip lead at multiple times during the final table, McKeehen couldn't carry that momentum to his first WPT title. McKeehen raised to 250,000 from the button, Larson called from the small blind and Steinman folded his big. After the [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4h"] flop, Larson fired 400,000 into the middle only to have McKeehen move all in for 1,320,000. Larson called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] for the nut flush draw while McKeehen tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. The two-time WSOP bracelet winner picked up extra outs on the [poker card="kc"] turn but was eliminated after the [poker card="4s"] river failed to connect. Heads-up play began with Steinman holding 8,500,000 million of the 13,100,000 million chips in play. Larson took the chip lead for the first time just five hands into heads-up play though and after 24 hands of play between the two, he finished Steinman off. Larson raised to 375,000 from the button before Steinman made it 1,100,000 to go. Larson called to see a [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"][poker card="6c"] flop. Steinman check-called Larson's bet of 400,000. The turn was the [poker card="ah"] and both players checked. The [poker card="qs"] river got Steinman to bet 500,000 and Larson responded by moving all in. Steinamn called off his last 1,000,0000 and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] but got the bad news as Larson tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="6d"] for a full house. Final Table Payouts David Larson – $295,128 Ian Steinman – $201,428 Joe McKeehen – $131,081 Ping Liu – $97,510 Rayo Kniep – $69,650 D.J. Alexander – $56,417
  11. Season XVI of the World Poker Tour is in the homestretch and on its way to sunny Hollywood, FL for a $3 million guaranteed event. Seminole Hard Rock is the home to the largest field in World Poker Tour history and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is expected to draw at least 1,000 entrants. From April 13-18, all eyes in North America are on one of the annual marquee WPT events. The Season XV version of Showdown brought in 1,207 entrants in only a single starting flight for a $2 million guaranteed prize pool. Tony Sinishtaj drove into the winner’s circle with $661,283 of the $3.862 million prize pool after defeating a final table of Dan Colman, Robert Mizrachi, and Darryll Fish. Millions In The Middle The current WPT season has been busy from the moment it started in August and the pace is still in fifth-gear coming into the final East Coast event of the campaign. Seminole hosted the World Poker Tour in January for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open and drew a field of 911 runners for a $2 million guarantee. The prize pool for that event brushed against the barriers of the $3 million and a four-figure amount of players at Showdown creates one of the highest pots of Season XVI. In Season XII, Seminole placed a whopping $5 million up for grabs and attracted 1,795 entrants for what still stands as the largest WPT field of all-time. Eric Afriat walked away with first-place and $1.08 million against a final table that included WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja, future Champions Club Member James Mackey, and bracelet winner Chance Kornuth. Expect to see Afriat back at the Hard Rock in a few weeks for more reasons than just another title. Player of the Year Hits Octane Mode Art Papazyan’s Season XVI Player of the Year lead decreases with every stop. Papazyan opened up a giant gap between him and the field after winning his second title of the season at WPT Maryland in October. The 2,400 points Papazyan holds are from his two titles, which are his only cashes of the season. Papazyan’s selective schedule means he may not show up to Florida and attempt to increase his overall total. Afriat is one of a few players who can overtake Papazyan with at least a final table finish. January’s Borgata Winter Poker Open featured a win from Afriat for his second career WPT victory along with 1,200 Player of the Year points. Coupled with his fifth-place result at WPT Montreal, Afriat stands with 1,700 points. In second place on the leaderboard is Derek Wolters, who has recorded two final table finishes along with three cashes in total. Wolters recently took third at the L.A. Poker Classic. That bronze medal sits next to the one he earned at WPT Montreal. Overall, Wolters is playing with 1,850 points heading down the stretch. The final member of the chase committee behind Papazyan is 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen. Through a fourth-place result at Borgata and third-place at WPT Rolling Thunder in March along with two other cashes, McKeehen keeps pace with 1,600 points. A few others lurking who need at least 1,200 points to hit Papazyan’s mark are D.J. Alexander, Phil Hellmuth, and Lucky Hearts victory Darryll Fish. Structure Details Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown features two starting flights and unlimited re-entry across both Day 1s. The total prize pool makes itself known after Level 9 on Day 1B. Levels on Day 1 and 2 are 60 minutes before ticking up to 90 minutes for Day 3 and Day 4. Final table levels are 60 minutes on Day 5 for the six remaining players. The final table airs on the PokerGO live stream on April 18 and plays down to the 16th champion of Season XVI.
  12. Season XVI on the World Poker Tour enters its last hurrah this month in Las Vegas. The race to the finish line starts with the Bellagio Elite Poker Championship from May 1-6. The $10,400 event was added in March to the WPT Main Tour calendar along with a $25,000 high roller. The Elite Poker Championship harkens back to past seasons of the WPT where multiple events were hosted at the Bellagio. Festa al Lago last ran in Season IX and the WPT World Championship moved from Bellagio to the Borgata after Season XII. The field should be strong with the summer on the horizon. The final days of the Elite Poker Championship overlap with the special edition WPT Bellagio High Roller. The $25,000 event follows up on the Rockstar Energy High Roller from March at the L.A. Poker Classic that brought in 50 runners. The Bellagio High Roller runs May 5 and 6 with the final table delayed until May 25. The final table is going to be filmed for television at the Esports Arena Las Vegas inside Luxor along with the Bobby Baldwin Classic and WPT Tournament of Champions final tables. Play for the high roller event starts with both the big blind ante and Action Clock in effect. Registration is open until the start of Level 11 on Day 2. All levels are 60 minutes and players open their High Roller accounts with a starting bank of 100,000. The $10,400 Elite Poker Championship Main Event is a six-day slog to find a winner. The structure is reminiscent of the Five Diamond Classic. Blinds are 90-minutes all the way up to the final table and registration is open until the start of Level 9 on Day 2. The field welcome to unlimited re-entries. A formal announcement awaits on whether or not the final table is to be televised or live streamed. The Elite Poker Championship could have major ramifications for the WPT Player of the Year race. Art Papazyan still holds a wide lead with 2,450 points but one more deep run from some of the contenders could put his title hopes in peril. Papazyan cashed in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown last week to add to his point total solely earned from his two titles. Expect to see Papazyan in attendance at the Bellagio. Derek Wolters is in second-place thanks to two third-place finishes. Wolters sits on 1,850 points and WPT Winter Poker Open champion Eric Afriat is right behind with 1,750. WPT Maryland runner-up Zach Donovan did the biggest favor of all the contenders in Florida for his POY hopes. Donovan added 400 points for 10th place to move up to 1,450 for the season.
  13. Scott 'Aggro Santos' Margereson has two World Championship of Online Poker titles and won the PokerStars Sunday Million in 2015. On Wednesday night he added World Poker Tour champion to his resume. The final table of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown featured a couple of high profile players, including a former WPT Player of the Year, but Margereson outlasted all of them to win $696,740, including a seat in the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions. When the final table began, Jeff Fielder was sitting fourth in chips but over the first 45 hands of play, the two-time WPTDeepStacks champion saw his stack dwindle before a four-way pot ended his night. Faraz Jaka raised to 210,000 from UTG, Scott Margereson called from the cutoff, Fielder called from the button, and Brian Hastings defended the big blind. After Hastings checked the [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"][poker card="4s"] flop, Jaka bet 325,000 and Margereson and Fielder called while Hastings folded. The [poker card="7c"] turn got Jaka to check before Margereson bet 1,350,000. Fielder called and Jaka folded. The [poker card="6c"] got Margereson to move all in and Fielder called. Fielder tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] for a rivered flush, but Margereson showed [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"] for a flopped full house and Fielder was eliminated in sixth. Three hands later, Matt Stout tangled with Jaka, the Season VIII WPT POY, in what was ultimately his final hand of the tournament. From UTG Stout raised to 225,000 before Jaka raised to 675,000 from the button. Stout came over the top, moving all in for 2,925,000 and Jaka called. Stout showed [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"] but got bad news when Jaka showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"] flop was a brutal one for Stout and as the dealer placed the [poker card="qh"] on the turn, Stout was out in fifth place. The meaningless river was the [poker card="3h"]. Four-handed play last 66 hands before Jaka found himself on the good end of another cooler. Joey Couden raised to 475,000 from UTG and Jaka made it 1,500,000 to go from the big blind. Couden responded by moving all in for 9,600,000 and Jaka called, tabling [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"] in the process. Couden tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"] and then stood to watch the board run out [poker card="7s"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="ah"][poker card="3d"] to end his tournament with a fourth-place finish. Brian Hastings started the day with almost 33% of the chips in play but he was unable to turn that into his first WPT title. After 36 hands of three-handed play, Margereson button-raised to 500,000 and Hastings raised to 1,800,000 from the small blind. Jaka folded his big blind and Margereson called. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="3c"] flop saw Hastings check-raise Margereson's 1,200,000 bet to 3,800,000. Margereson clicked back, moving all in and Hastings called all in for 9,825,000. Margereson showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"] for a flush draw and an overcard to Hastings' [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"]. The [poker card="3d"] turn changed nothing but the [poker card="7c"] river filled Margereson's flush and ended Hastings' run in third place. Heads-up play began with Margereson holding a nearly 3-1 chip lead. Jaka eventually evened out the stacks, but after 2.5 hours and 81 hands, Margereson was too much for Jaka to overcome. On the final hand of the night Margereson open-shoved and Jaka called all in for 12,375,000, tabling [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"]. Margereson showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"] and then watched the dealer fan out the [poker card="qd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9c"] flop to give him two pair. Neither the [poker card="7h"] turn or [poker card="ah"] river were enough to save Jaka, giving Margereson his first major title and almost $700,000. Final Table Payouts Scott Margereson - $696,740 (incl. $15,000 WPT TOC entry) Faraz Jaka - $454,496 Brian Hastings - $336,466 Joey Couden - $251,523 Matt Stout - $189,880 Jeff Fielder - $144,775
  14. The World Poker Tour Gardens Main Event came to a conclusion on Thursday when Simon Lam turned in a fantastic final table performance to secure his first WPT title. Lam defeated the 584 player field, taking home the $565,000 first place prize, a brand new Mercedes and claiming a spot in the WPT Champions Club. The event, the first held at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles, generated a prize pool of over $2.9 million. The final table was flush with talent including high roller phenom Jake Schindler, controversy magnet Men “The Master” Nguyen, poker pro Jared Griener, Los Angeles local Saya Ono, recent World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig Varnell as well as Lam himself. Lam held a comfortable lead at the start of the Day 5. He started the final table with over 100 big blinds but with so many experienced players vying for the trophy, it was still anybody’s tournament to win. It took nearly four hours for the first player of the final table to fall. Decked out in his New England Patriots attire, Griener, the California based pro, shipped his stack of just over 10bb in while under the gun. Varnell, having him slightly covered reshoved holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Griener was a slight favorite showing down [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"]. The red jacks, however, did not hold as Varnell spiked an ace on the flop and one on the river for good measure. Griener finished his tournament in sixth place for $115,885. Roughly 40 minutes later, after having slipped down to under 10 big blinds, Ono made her last stand. Folder to Ono on the button she shipped her short stack holding [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"]. Nguyen peered down at [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"] and isolated Ono by reshipping. The turn completed a club flush for “The Master” sending Ono to the rail. Her fifth-place finish for $151,995 is a career-high score for Californian, nearly quintupling her previous highest cash. After losing a large pot to Nguyen (which resulted in Nguyen shouting “All you can eat, baby!”), Varnell dropped into the 10bb range. In a blind versus blind confrontation with Schindler, Varnell moved all in with the [poker card="as"][poker card="js"]. Schindler made the call with his [poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"]. Schindler out flopped Varnell on the [poker card="td"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] flop. Needing some help for his tournament life, Varnell watched as two bricks completed the board. It has been an incredible couple of months for Varnell who earned his first bracelet in Event #19: $565 Pot Limit Omaha during the WSOP and now earns another $201,615 for his fourth place finished at WPT Gardens. With the elimination of Varnell, the stacks evened out between Lam, Schindler, and Nguyen. Play continued three-handed for another hour and a half before the next elimination took place. Simon Lam picked up [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"] and raised the button. Nguyen then, looking down at the [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"] shipped his roughly 30bb stack. Lam took his time but eventually made the call. Men “The Master’s” tournament life was at stake on a 62/38 flip. Lam took an even bigger lead on the [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"][poker card="8h"] flop. However, Nguyen still had a gutshot straight draw, The [poker card="5c"] turned and when the [poker card="6c"] completed the board, the Nguyen show came to an end. Men Nguyen finished his run in third place for $270,430. Heads-up play began between Lam and Schindler with Schindler a 4.5-1 chip underdog. It only took 10 hands of heads-up play for Lam to find his winning moment. In a bit of a cooler hand, Lam raised and Schindler made the call. Lam held [poker card="jc"][poker card="9s"] barely out-pipping Schindlers [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"]. When the flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"] the writing was on the wall. Neither could get away from top pair. The action unfolded as Schindler checked, Lam bet, Schindler check-raised and Lam applied maximum pressure by moving all in. Schindler, with roughly 10 big blinds remaining quickly made the call. The board ran low and clean for Lam, allowing his nine kicker to play. Schindler ended the evening in second place for $366,740. The score pushes his to over $20 million in lifetime earnings. Lam takes home $565,055 for first, a career-high cash. He also secured a $15,000 entry into the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions and a brand new Mercedes to take him there. The World Poker Tour's next stop begins on August 3 in Oklahoma for WPT Choctaw.
  15. Darren Elias was the headliner Saturday night in Las Vegas as the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions played down to a winner. Just days after winning his record-setting fourth WPT title, Elias entered the TOC final table with the chip lead and a chance at going back-to-back against some of the toughest fields in WPT history. Matthew Waxman wasn't thinking about that narrative though and after eliminating Elias in third place, had little trouble cruising to victory to capture the TOC and the $463,375 first-place prize money at the Esports Arena at the Luxor Las Vegas. After a double-elimination on the final hand of Day 2, only five players returned for Saturday. With blinds at 8,000/16,000 (8,000) Elias raised to 35,000 from the cutoff before Nick Schulman moved all in for 438,000 from the small blind. Elias called and turned over [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] which put him ahead of Schulman's [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop put Schulman in the lead but only briefly as the [poker card="7d"] hit the turn. The river was the [poker card="jd"] sending Schulman out in fifth place. Another 22 hands later and Elias, who began the day with the chip lead, was picking up another elimination thanks to fortuitous turn card. David Benyamine moved all in for 370,000 from the small blind and Elias called from the big. Benyamine showed [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] while Elias found he was behind with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"] flop changed nothing but the [poker card="5h"] turn moved Elias ahead. The river was the [poker card="4s"] and Benyamine was out in fourth place. Any momentum that Elias had built up was erased in hand with Waxman that saw Elias queens outrun by Waxman's jacks, doubling up Waxman and leaving Elias reeling. It wasn't long before Elias' run at back-to-back victories was snuffed out. Matas Cimbolas raised to 50,000 from the button and Elias moved all in the small blind for 645,000. Cimbolas called and showed [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] while Elias was drawing live with [poker card="tc"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9c"] to give Matas top pair and eliminate four-time WPT champion Elias in third place. Waxman began heads-up play with a 2-1 lead over Cimbolas and he never surrendered it, eliminating his Lithuanian opponent after 38 hands of play. Cimbolas completed from the small blind and Waxman checked to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"]. Waxman check-called Cimbolas' bet of 40,000. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Waxman check-called again, this time for 125,000. The river was the [poker card="8h"] and Waxman checked again. Cimbolas moved all in for 425,000. Waxman used one of this time extension before announcing a call. Cimbolas showed [poker card="th"][poker card="3s"] and Waxman happily tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"] for second pair, good enough to win the pot and eliminate Cimbolas. The event, which allows champions from previous seasons to buy-in for $15,000 while Season XVI earned their entry by winning a WPT title, attracted a record-setting 80 players. This was the first year the event was played in Las Vegas after spending the previous two years at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. Final Table Payouts Matthew Waxman - $463,375 Matas Cimbolas - $265,590 Darren Elias - $177,060 David Benyamine - $123,045 Nick Schulman - $89,290 J.C. Tran - $67,800
  16. When the final table of the inaugural World Poker Tour Bobby Baldwin Classic started Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas there was no shortage of star power or storylines. Darren Elias was going for his record fourth WPT title. Jonathan Little and Sam Panzica were attempting to become the sixth player with three titles. Dietrich Fast was hoping to etch his name onto the Champions Cup for the second time. Joe McKeehen was hoping to put an exclamation point on a WPT Player of the Year season. Kitty Kuo was hoping to become just the second woman to ever win an open WPT event. Elias rose above all of those to etch his name in the WPT history books yet again. Little's run at his first WPT title since 2008 ended just 13 hands after the final table began. Action folded to Little in the small blind and he completed the bet. Sam Panzica moved all in from the big blind and Little called. Panzica tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"] which put him behind Little's [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"] flop put Panzica ahead and all Little could do was watch as the [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river failed to help him out, eliminating him in sixth place. Despite picking up Little's stack, Panzica didn't stick around much longer. One hour later Panzica clashed with Elias and was unable to survive. Panzica raised to 35,000 from UTG and Elias made it 110,000 to go from UTG+1. Panzica moved all in for 385,000 and Elias called. Panzica turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"] and was racing against Elias' [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"] to send Panzica packing in fifth. It was another later when Kuo raised to 125,000 from the big blind after Fast limped his button and Elias defended his small blind. Fast called Kuo's bet and Elias got out of the way sending the two players to a [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] flop. Kuo moved all in for 980,0000 and Fast called all in. Kuo showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] while Fast had [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"]. The drama ended on the [poker card="qd"] turn as Kuo completed her flush and Fast was eliminated in fourth place as the [poker card="3h"] river completed the board. Ten hands later McKeehen, who needed a win in this event to pass Art Papazyan for WPT Player of the Year, found himself on the ugly side of variance and headed out the door. Elias raised to 45,000 from the button before McKeehen re-raised to 180,000 from the big blind. Elias responded by moving all in for 2,078,000 and McKeehen quickly called all in and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"]. Elias turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"] but got great news on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"] flop. The [poker card="5c"] turn left McKeehen with just two outs and the [poker card="8s"] river wasn't one of them, eliminating the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion in third. Elias started heads up play with a nearly 3-1 chip lead over Kuo but it took him 103 hands and just over three hours to put a cap on his fourth title. Down to just 7.5 big blinds, Kuo moved all in from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="5d"] and Elias called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. The board ran out [poker card="js"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Kuo and give Elias $387,580 and his fourth WPT title. Elias' previous WPT titles came at the Borgata Poker Open (2014), WPT Caribbean (2014), and the Fallsview Poker Classic (2017). Final Table Payouts Darren Elias - $387,580 Kitty Kuo - $248,380 Joe McKeehen - $178,610 Dietrich Fast - $130,895 Sam Panzica - $97,795 Jonathan Little - $74,520
  17. With the successful season-opening WPT Gardens Poker Festival in their rearview mirror, the World Poker Tour rolls into Oklahoma for WPT Choctaw. Taking place from August 3-7 at the Choctaw Casino & Resort, it’s the fourth year in a row that the WPT has traveled to the Sooner State as a part of their main tour. The Main Event The 5-day Main Event is a $3500 + $200 buy-in, the same as it has been in years past. This year, it comes with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, which happens to be the lowest guarantee on the Main Tour. But take note, unless something goes drastically wrong, that guarantee is merely a marketing tool. In the three previous years, WPT Choctaw has never had a prize pool less than $3 million. Every player to make ever make a WPT Choctaw six-handed final table have earned themselves a six-figure payday. Even though attendance for this event has been drifting slightly lower year-over-year, with 2017’s field dropping below 1,000 runners for the first time since they started holding it, they are still very likely to see a multi-million dollar prize pool. To get a piece of that prize pool players can choose from two starting flights. The first flight kicks off at 12:00 pm CT on Friday, August 3 and the second the next day at the same time. This tournament is unlimited re-entry and players can play both flights and fire away as many times as they need to. The catch is, this is not a best stack forward tournament so participants that bag at the end go Day 1A but would rather take a shot the next day would need to forfeit their stack. As players have come to expect from the WPT, the structure is deep. Players start with 40,000 in chips (400bb) and 60-minute levels. New To Choctaw While the buy-in and structure may be familiar to those who have played in the past there are a couple new wrinkles to enhance the Oklahoman experience. The wildly popular big blind ante format is in play. The big blind pays the antes for the entire table, helping speed up the rate of play and taking a little bit of the burden off the dealer. Additionally, once the tournament is one table out of the money a 30-second shot clock will be adopted. Players have 30 seconds to act on their hand, with four "time extension" chips that can be used for those tough spots. Once a player is out of time extension chips and the clock runs out, if the player has not declared an action they will be forced to check their hand, or, if facing a bet, fold. A Look Back Choctaw has been an early-season stop on the WPT since Season 14. In its first year, 1,175 runners helped create a prize pool of nearly $4 million. Jason Brin won it all and walked with $682,975 for a career-high cash. Brin’s final table featured some of poker’s top talent including Andy Hwang, WPT Garden's runner-up Jake Schindler, WSOP 2018 Final Tablist Alex Lynskey and 4-time WPT Champion Darren Elias. In Season 15, poker pro James Mackey took the Choctaw title for his first WPT victory. The $666,758 was second largest payday of his esteemed career helping him to $4.1 million in lifetime earnings. Then, just last year, it was the recreational player from Austin, Texas Jay Lee who won $593,173 for just his third career recorded cash. Are You Qualified? For those looking to take a shot at getting into the Main Event for the minimum, Choctaw offers plenty of opportunities to satellite into the Championship Event. Beginning on July 28, there are $100 Super Satellites into any of the $300 tournaments. Then on starting on Tuesday, July 31 the casino offers as many as 15 opportunities for players to win a seat into the $3500 + $200 Main Event. Most are of the Mega Sattliest are of the $300 variety, with a few $500 Megas to ensure that as many qualifiers as possible can grab a seat in the field. WPT Choctaw Main Event gets underway on August 3 with daily live updates provided by the World Poker Tour.
  18. The World Poker Tour’s second stop of season 17 wrapped up on Tuesday as the final table of WPT Choctaw crowned a winner. Brady Holiman, a car salesman from Texas, brought the chip lead to the final table and stormed his way to his first WPT Championship and the $469,185 first place prize. The final table came together boasting a variety of experience. Three players, including chip leader Holiman, Timothy Domboski and Christopher Smith were all assured the largest cash of their career simply by making the final table. Viet Vo, had already earned over $1 million in career earnings and Tony Ruberto is not only a WSOP Circuit ring winner but a previous WPT Champion. However, it was Anthony Zinno that claimed the most experience as the former WPT Player of the Year sat down at the final table looking to win a record-tying fourth WPT title. The first elimination came roughly 30 minutes into play. Timothy Domboski, who entered the final table second in chips, ran into the aggression of the chip leader Holiman. Domboski put in a raise only to be three-bet by Holiman. After spending a time-extension chip, Domboski put his entire stack in the middle holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"]. Holiman calls with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] and the [poker card="ad"][poker card="4c"][poker card="6s"] flop puts Domboski looking for the one-outer. The turn and river are unable to provide Domboski his one time and the bad beat sent him to the rail in sixth place for $95,780 for what is far and away the largest cash of his career. Holiman’s chip lead surged to over 50% of the chips in play. A little less than an hour later, the three-time WPT Champ, Anthony Zinno would play his last hand of the tournament. With just over 10 big blinds he pushed all-in with [poker card="ad"][poker card="4h"]. Holiman, still with an abundance of chips, made the call out of the big blind with [poker card="qs"][poker card="ts"]. The flop [poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4s"] brought bottom pair for Zinno, but put Holiman in the lead with top pair. When the [poker card="ah"] appeared on the turn, Zinno looked to be in great shape to double up. The [poker card="qd"] on the river shut the door on Zinno’s aspirations to win his fourth title, as Holiman improved to trips to take the hand. Zinno exited in fifth place for $125,630. His impressive World Poker Tour resume increases to 24 total cashes for over $2.7 million. WPT Choctaw was Zinno’s fourth WPT final table and the only one where he didn’t walk away with the title. The very next hand saw the elimination of another WPT Champion. Tony Ruberto, also sitting on a short stack, made his final stand with [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"]. Once again it was Holiman who had to do the dirty work, making the call with two red queens. The board was rather uneventful, only providing Ruberto the hope of a gutshot on the turn. The Season 10 bestbet Jacksonville winner bowed out in fourth place and earned over $166,000 for his efforts in Oklahoma. The bustouts continued to come quickly as Christopher Smith found himself all-in from the small blind holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="td"]. He was called by the surging Viet Vo with [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. Although Vo hadn’t been involved in any knockouts until this time, he had been climbing up the chip counts and was comfortably in second place. With the cards on their backs, the flop came [poker card="qs"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"], leaving much to be desired for Smith. The turn came the [poker card="8c"] which was no help and finally when the river was dealt the [poker card="6h"], Smith was eliminated. The Texas resident took home $223,370 for third place, the amount eclipsed his entire career total to date. Holiman held a 3:2 chips lead at the start of heads-up play. Vo briefly closed the gap, to bring the pair to even, Holiman continues to do what he had done for the entirety of the final table and keep his foot on the gas. On the 17th hand of heads-up play, the pair got their stacks in the center in the hand which determined the winner of WPT Choctaw. Vo opened the button and Holiman three-bet out of the big blind. Vo took a dip in the tank and came out four-betting. Holiman took some time of his own and shipped. Vo was covered and snap called, turning over [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. Holiman needed help, showing down the [poker card="as"][poker card="js"]. Help arrived for Holiman in the form of a [poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="6d"] flop. Vo was drawing to one of the two kings left in the deck. The turn and river didn’t change anything and Vo had to settle for second place and a massive $320,725 payday. Holiman finished the final table going wire-to-wire with the chip lead and joining the WPT Champions Club. He earned a career-making $469,185 for the win as well as entry into the season-ending Tournament of Champions. The World Poker Tour will now make their way to the East Coast for the WPT Borgata Poker Open which kicks off on September 16. WPT Choctaw Final Table Results 1. Brady Holiman - $469,185 2. Viet Vo - $320,725 3. Christopher Smith - $223,370 4. Tony Ruberto - $166,605 5. Anthony Zinno - $125,630 6. Timothy Domboski - $95,780
  19. The World Poker Tour returns to the East Coast for the popular WPT Borgata Poker Open. Taking place from September 16-23, the third stop of Season 17 features a $3,500 Main Event with a $3 million guarantee. Get In The Game Those looking to play in the tournament will find what the players on tour have come to expect: a Main Event worthy of being called a major title. It begins with sixty-minute starting levels that expands into 90-minutes as the tournament progresses. The 40,000 starting stack (400bb), the big-blind ante and a 30-second shot clock (when the tournament is one table away from the money) gives players plenty of room to maneuver but also keeps the action moving quickly. There are two scheduled two starting flights with unlimited re-entry. So, players may want to consider registering early if they want to avoid being an alternate as the Main Event has drawn more than 1000 entries every year since Season 8 when they dropped the buy-in from $10,000 down to $3,500. A Rich History The partnership between the World Poker Tour and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa reaches all the way back to Season 2 (2003-2004) when Noli Francisco defeated a final table that included poker heavyweights David Oppenheim and Carlos Mortensen for a first place prize of $470,000. Since that time, the Atlantic City resort has been a staple of the tour and has crowned some of the biggest names in poker as its champion. Daniel Negreanu, Mark Newhouse, Vivek Rajkumar, Olivier Busquet, Anthony Zinno, Jesse Sylvia and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias have all hoisted the Borgata Poker Open trophy over the past 15 years. Last year, in Season 16, a field of 1,132 runners helped push the prize pool to over $3.6 million dollars. Virginia resident Guoliang Chen’s poker dream came through when he went on to close out the final table, that included PocketFives Legacy Award winner Cliff Josephy, to earn $789,058. It was easily a career-best cash for the East Coast grinder who is likely to be in the field in 2018 to defend his title. Early Returns In POY Race It’s still early in the WPT season and so the Player of the Year race is still very much wide open. Simon Lam who won $565,055 for his victory at WPT Garden Poker Festival in Los Angeles and WPT Choctaw winner Brady Holiman are tied for the lead. Lam, who currently lives in Los Angeles but is from the East Coast, was a longtime Borgata regular. In fact, last year, he took fourth in this very event for $250,970. There’s a good chance with his recent WPT success and his results from last year, Lam will return to make a run at another 2018 title. However the player to keep an eye on, should he show, is Men “The Master” Nguyen. That is, if Nguyen can even keep his own eyes open. Through the first two WPT Main Tour stops, Nguyen has been more than just a presence on the tour, he’s been a big part of the show. He made the final table at The Gardens Casino, but not before literally falling asleep at the poker table. He also tried to take a bet back after he saw he lost the hand. Nguyen ended up finishing in third place for $270,430. “The Master” then marched on to Choctaw and went deep again, taking 11th place for another $36,230. Those two results have put him third in the early POY race and should he show at Borgata he’d be in a position to take the lead. Follow The Action For those looking to follow all the action from the Borgata, the World Poker Tour live updates team will be keeping track of all the biggest hands. The WPT will also be live streaming the final table, which will begin on Friday, September 21 at 2 pm. Viewers can catch the broadcast on the WPT website or YouTube page. All of the action gets underway with Day 1A of the WPT Borgata Main Event on Sunday, September 16 at 11:00 am ET. World Poker Tour Main Event Schedule Date Day Time 09/16 Main Event Day 1A 11:00 AM 09/17 Main Event Day 1B 11:00 AM 09/18 Main Event Day 2 11:00 AM 09/19 Main Event Day 3 11:00 AM 09/20 Main Event Day 4 12:00 PM 09/21 Main Event Final Table 2:00 PM
  20. When one thinks of the greatest years in poker history perhaps Erik Seidel in 2011 comes to mind. Maybe it’s Fedor Holz' campaign in 2016. Most recently, Justin Bonomo's legendary 2018. All of their high-rolling victories resulted in millions of dollars won and a prominent place in poker history. However, for true grinders hoping to make the poker dream come to life, the last 12 months that Alex Foxen has put together might be the most inspiring of them all. From his victory in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $2,650 event in August 2017 up until his amazing repeat of the same event just a few weeks ago, Foxen’s meteoric rise as a poker superstar has been nothing short of amazing. Prior to his 2017 SHRPO victory, Foxen had built a solid reputation and posted impressive results. However, it is his tournament timeline over the past year that truly displays the poker dream manifested. Early Results When one takes a look at Foxen’s early results it’s his very first recorded cash that jumps out at you. After turning 21 in February of 2012, New York’s Foxen traveled to New Orleans to participate in a World Series of Poker-Circuit Event. The result was a victory in the Six Max event for his first (and currently only) WSOP Circuit ring and over $22,000. It was over three years before Foxen recorded another five-figure result. In 2015, Foxen made his way out to Las Vegas to participate in the WSOP. He cashed in three events that year, the highlight being his ninth-place finish in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed event for over $40,000. After that Foxen began recording a number of those five-figure cashes including results on the European Poker Tour. Foxen was grinding throughout 2016. He played on both coasts of the United States, returned to the WSOP, attended the 2016 SHRPO, and played on the World Poker Tour. In the summer of 2017, Foxen really began to heat up. During the 2017 WSOP, he cashed in 14 different bracelet events, including a third-place finish (out of 1,413 runners) in a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event for just under $100,000. His successful summer brought him some recognition and placed him in the top five of the WSOP Player of the Year race. He wasn't able to wrestle that title away from Chris Ferguson, however, Foxen wouldn’t have to wait much longer to take the next step in his career. 2017 SHRPO In August 2017, Foxen finally broke through the six-figure cash barrier when he bested the field of 395 players to take down the $2,650 Event at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. The final table included tournament savant Faraz Jaka and regular high roller, Jason Koon. Foxen took home over $204,000 for what was, at the time, the largest tournament score of his career. "The 2017 SHRPO was definitely a big breakthrough for me," said Foxen. "I had some close calls fall the wrong way for me prior to that and both for my bankroll and my psyche it felt really sweet to get a win." From there Foxen was off, traveling the world playing poker: Barcelona, Rozvadov, Canada and the Caribbean were all on the flight manifest. His next stop would prove to his next level up. 2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond Less than four months after Foxen earned his first six-figure score, he achieved what very few players even have the opportunity to do: win a million dollars in a tournament. At the World Poker Tour Five Diamond in December 2017, Foxen finished runner-up to eventual winner Ryan Tosoc in the $10,400 Main Event. His prize was for more than his entire career up until that point in time, earning $1,134,000. The performance helped him get a nomination at the 4th Annual American Poker Awards for 2017 Breakout Player of the Year. "The Five Diamond second-place finish was very bittersweet. I really wanted to win but having a score like that really changed my financial situation and allowed me a level of comfort that I think helped me play better and play bigger," Foxen said. "I had been confident that I could play at the highest level prior to that but that score allowed me to play higher from a financial standpoint and also helped me be able to sell action more easily to high rollers." Foxen was seemingly off and running after the WPT Five Diamond flying to Prague for the PokerStars Championship Prague as well as the 2018 Aussie Millions. 2018 WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic Foxen’s next major victory was another step in his evolution. In February, during the 2018 WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic, Foxen won the first High Roller tournament he ever cashed in, defeating the 50 elite runners of the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller for $424,625. "The LAPC $25K was probably the third or fourth $25K I had played. I bubbled or nearly bubbled all of the prior $25K's," Foxen said. The final table of the tournament included some of the most notable names in the game including three-time WPT champion Darren Elias, Isaac Baron, Sam Panzica, Maria Ho and regular high-roller Nick Petrangelo. "I felt confident that I could do well in those fields, but to have a breakthrough and win that felt awesome." The victory in the LAPC High Roller was just the beginning of a string of results in high buy-in events with the toughest fields the game has to offer. 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Less than a month after his high roller victory, Foxen was ready to visit Macau, one of the richest poker destinations in the world. During one of the largest events of the APPT, the HK$400,000 buy-in (~$50,000 USD), Foxen rose to the top yet again. This time, in order to take home the victory, he wouldn't have to just beat elite players, he’d have to outplay some of the best players to ever play the game. Isaac Haxton, Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Rast, Rainer Kempe, Sam Greenwood and Patrik Antonius all had a seat at the final table and made the money. It was Foxen who took home the title and $963,880. The score remains the second best of his career. "This $50K is probably the tournament I'm most proud of. The field, and especially the final table, was really tough and to come out with an outright win was surreal," Foxen said. "To add to things my girlfriend, Kristen Bicknell, had won the $10K high roller the day before. We both ended up winning with Ace-Six, probably the craziest thing I've been a part of in my poker career. The positive energy and poker insight we give each other has been a major element of my recent success." That positive energy between Foxen and Bicknell also helped the pair to finish one-two In June 2018 during the MSPT Venetian Deepstack Championship Poker Series. Foxen ended up taking home the win for $239,000. 2018 SHRPO On August 14, Foxen was back to where his eventful year started. He found himself, once again, at the final table of the $2,650 event of the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. A couple of things were different in 2018 as there were a few more runners and the prize pool beat the guarantee. The outcome though was the same. Foxen took it down for $208,452 accomplishing one of the most difficult achievements in poker - defending a tournament title. "The recent SHRPO had been a frustrating series for me following a somewhat disappoints summer, so to win that one again felt extra sweet. I ran so good in all of these tournaments but this one mean extra to be to be able to win back to back," Foxen recalled. "The long heads-up battle with Blair [Hinkle] made it feel even better." From title to title Foxen managed to record a cash in 23 different events for a total of over $3.7 million. Eight of his cashes resulted in six-figure (or more) scores and had him reach as high as #2 on the Global Poker Index. "I plan on continuing to grind tournaments really hard and I'm aiming to reach #1 in the GPI rankings," Foxen said when asked about what is next for him. "So all in all not much different than prior, just bigger tournaments and even more focus on getting better every day."
  21. Got a tough poker decision? Matt Savage has the answer. Savage is one of the most high profile tournament directors in the game today thanks to his decades of work in poker as well as his role as the World Poker Tour’s Executive Tour Director. In 2001 Savage was one of the founding members of the Tournament Directors Association with a purpose to create a set of uniform rules for poker tournaments and give players an experience they can count on wherever they decide to play. Savage is so well-regarded by both players and his peers that he’s been nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame every year for the past four years. But if you think it would be tough to connect with a guy who wears so many hats in poker, you’d be wrong. Savage is seemingly ever present on social media, constantly Tweeting and engaging with players by answering just about any poker question posed to him. So while Savage may be used to clarifying the “one chip rule”, we decided to grill him on subjects that he’s not used to answering. Here’s some more about Matt Savage that you just gotta know. Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson When not coloring up chips on the felt, Savage can be found hitting chip shots on the greens. An avid golf fan, Savage holds his own invitational golf tournament every year. "I really want to go, first of all. It’s going to be at Shadow Creek, a place I love to play golf a lot. I would definitely be a Tiger fan on that one. I’m not a huge fan of Phil Mickelson, he seems kind of phony to me. Tiger Woods has been through a lot so I know there’s a lot of people pulling for him even though a lot of people don’t believe in what he’s done or whatever. There’s no debating that he moves the needle as far as watching golf on TV and I’m a fan, that’s for sure." GTO Savage has had the opportunity to oversee some of the biggest tournaments in the world and watch the best players on the planet up close. "I think GTO is overrated, for sure. I know a lot of the great poker players do it just from feel alone and don’t focus too much on GTO. However, I do know that being GTO has helped a lot of poker players raise their levels from where they were, maybe, a total fish to just being good poker players. I think it means different things for different people but I don’t think it’s the end-all, be-all of poker playing." Professional Wrestling Any chance he’s related to Randy “The Macho Man” Savage? "Those guys are great athletes, believe it or not. I’m not a big fan. I know a lot of people that are. I haven’t taken my son to a match but I think they’re…well, obviously it’s fake. But they’re also great athletes. It’s not something I would be involved in, per se, I don’t think I could take it. But I still think it’s definitely entertaining and the people that are into it, are really into it. So, while it’s entertaining it’s not something I’ve been a part of…yet." All-Inclusive Resorts Plenty of poker tours have events at resorts that claim to take care of a player’s every want and need. "I’ve had some good ones and I’ve had some bad ones. You know, you go on these cruise ships and they’re all-inclusive and I seem to choose to go to the place in the boat where you have to pay for dinner because I feel like it’s better. I’m not a huge fan of the all-inclusive bars because it’s all well drinks and if I’m going to have a drink I want it to be a little more top shelf. So, overall I’d say I’m not a fan but I have had some good ones over the years." Poker Vloggers A new generation of poker superstars has been created on YouTube with players and fans tuning in by the thousands to watch their favorite poker players grind it out in the cash games. "Well, I just had to start a vlog for the World Poker Tour so I’ve been enjoying doing that. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort as well so I think that I have a certain respect for those guys showing us what they do in their normal life. It’s interesting, it’s definitely interesting. I am doing my own vlog now so I know how hard it is and I respect the amount of effort it takes to put those together." Mascots The World Series of Poker just introduced their new mascot in 2018 - Chippy…the Chip? Savage, a well-documented hockey fan, has had his encounters with a number of these real-life cartoon characters. "I am a fan of mascot racing. I’m a fan of watching those guys fall down and make a fool of themselves. I’m a big hockey fan so whenever they get on the ice it’s more entertaining. My son loves it so anything that he’s a big fan of, I’m a big fan of as well. It definitely adds a lot of entertainment atmosphere to any sporting event and we have Champ here in Las Vegas for the Golden Knights. I met him, he’s a cool dude. I’m a fan."
  22. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  23. Some of the biggest names in poker will put a target on their back as the World Poker Tour returns to Jacksonville, Florida for the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble. The WPT’s $5,000 Main Event will take place from October 19-23 at bestbet Jacksonville and feature 24 players with a $2,500 bounty on their head. The Main Event A staple of the WPT Main Tour, the bestbet Jacksonville has been a key stop for the past seven seasons. The Bounty Scramble Main Event carries a $5,000 buy-in ($4,630 + $290 entry fee + $80 staff) and a $1 million guarantee. Players have the option of two starting days beginning on October 19 with both starting days allowing players unlimited re-entry. The four-day structure has the final table playing out on a lifestream on Friday, October 23. Additionally, the WPT has incorporated the big blind ante as well as a 30-second Action clock which starts when the tournament is only one table away from the money. Capture A Bounty The standard structure of a WPT event is normally enough to get players excited to attend an event. However, the bestbet Bounty Scramble gives players an extra incentive to grab a seat and make a loose call. There will be (at least) 24 players in the field that, if they are eliminated of the tournament, will give the player that knocked them out $2,500 on the spot. This year, bestbet Jacksonville has taken a positive step in continuing to promote the game of poker to women. They have doubled the number of women invited to participate as bounties from 2017. In 2018, ten of the 24 players that have been selected as bounties are not only some of the best players on the planet but they also happen to be women. The list includes 2018 World Series of Poker Ladies Champion Jessica Dawley, 2-time WSOP bracelet winner Loni Harwood, Kitty Kuo, Jamie Kerstetter, WSOP Main Event standout Kelly Minkin and more. Joining them are some of poker’s most notable names. A sampling of those with a price tag on their backs includes 4-time WPT Champion Darren Elias, Bryan Kaverman, Martin Rettenmaier, Matt Affleck, 3-time NFL Super Bowl Champion Richard Seymour, actor Kevin Pollack and 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Tony Miles among others. A Look Back Bounty tournaments at the highest level come with an extra level of adrenaline. The idea that after taking out an opponent, the tournament director may be giving you four-figures on the spot gives players extra incentive to get in the mix. bestbet Jacksonville has appeared on the WPT schedule since Season 10 (2011-2012). It wasn't until Season 13 that they formally changed the name to the Bounty Scramble and increased the buy-in to $5,000. In that year, Ryan Van Sanford from Colorado Springs, CO took down the field of 461 players to win a career-high cash of $421,668. Tyler Patterson, who returns again as a bounty in 2018, took down the title in 2014 besting Benjamin Zamani heads-up for $375,270. Patterson returned to the final table of the very next year in what was a stacked final table that included Noah Schwartz, Ankush Mandavia and eventual winner Sam Panzica. Panzica won over $350,000 for his first WPT title. He would go on to win a second WPT title in another bounty tournament - the 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Stars for over $1.3 million. Like Patterson before him, Panzica also made the final table the year after he won it. Just last year, Panzica finished runner-up to Paul Petraglia. Petraglia, a Florida local, defeated the 323 player field for a cash of over $315,000. Prior to his win, his largest recorded cash was for just over $3,000. What To Watch For It’s still early in WPT season 17 with WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble as only the fifth event, but the WPT Player of the Year race is in full swing. After his victory in the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event, two-time WPT Champion Tony Ruberto has taken the POY lead. If he makes the trip to Jacksonville, he will be looking separate him from the field of other Season 17 winners. Keep an eye on the core group of bounties as well. The WPT has chosen a refreshing group of young pros as well as players who have traditionally done well in this event. Minkin, Miles and Dawley will be mixing it up with players who have multiple WPT titles like Elias and Rettenmaier to vie for the title of last bounty standing. With so much talent, it’s not altogether unlikely that a bounty (maybe two) will make it to the final table of six. Finally, the industry will be watching for the number of runners bestbet Jacksonville will register in 2018. Over the past three years, entries and the prize pool have been on the decline in Jacksonville. The $1 million guarantee placed on the Main Event is the lowest guarantee on tour (WPT Choctaw also had a $1 million guarantee which was more than doubled). Even though there’s $60,000 taken out for the bounties, the hopes are that there is an uptick at the Bounty Scramble. A prize pool of over $1.5 million, exceeding 2017, should be considered a win. Follow Along Live updates for the event will be provided by the World Poker Tour on their website. Also, the final table will be broadcast on a live streamed on Tuesday, October 23. The final table will start at 4:00 pm ET on a 30-minute delay. Complete List of Bounties $2,500 Bounty Player Allison Hollander Byron Kaverman Darren Elias Ester 'Etay' Taylor James Calderaro Jamie Kerstetter Jessica Dawley Jo Kim Kelly Minkin Kevin Pollack Kitty Kuo Lacey Jones Lexy Gavin Loni Harwood Marvin Rettenmaier Matt Affleck Matt Glantz Matt Savage Nabil (Doc) Hirezi Paul Petraglia Richard Seymour Tony Miles Tristan Wade Tyler Patterson
  24. The World Poker Tour joins forces with partypoker LIVE to present the Season XVII partypoker WPT Montreal festival from October 21-November 4. All the action takes place at the popular Playground Poker Club in Montreal and, for the first time, brings together all of the WPT tournament brands in a single stop. Three Tours In One There will be a lot of firsts taking place at the Montreal festival. The stop is the beginning of the new four-year partnership between the World Poker Tour and partypoker LIVE brands to co-produce live events in both Canada and Europe. It’s also the first time that the World Poker Tour has brought all of their major tournament brands under the same roof at the same time. Players who travel to Montreal will have the ability to compete in a WPT500 event, a WPTDeepstacks tournament as well a WPT Main Tour championship event. WPT500 The popular WPT500 tournament kicks off the festival on October 26. But not before players are able to participate in three starting flights that will take place on partypoker. The online Day1's run from October 21-23, one per day, with those who finish the day able to make their way to the Playground Poker Club for the live portion of the event. Then five more live starting flights of the C$550 will take place at the Playground Poker Club. The WPT500 Montreal tournament carries a C$550 buy-in and a C$1 million guarantee. The final table is set to play out on October 30. WPT Main Event Right on the heels of the WPT500, the C$5,300 Main Event takes place. partypoker will again play host to an online starting flight which runs on Sunday, October 28. Then players take their seats in the cardroom for one of three starting flights for the Main Event. The championship event guarantees C$5,000,000 and begins on October 29. The players who advanced both online will join those who advanced playing live and the two will play side-by-side as they combine the fields in the live arena on November 1. From November 1-4, the WPTDeepstacks event begins with five starting flights. The C$1,650 buy-in provides a C$1million guarantee as well. In addition to all three marquee events, the festival offers a Ladies Event, a $10K High Roller, a Pot Limit Omaha event and for the closer, a C$550 No Limit Hold'em Six Max Turbo A Look Back Season XVII marks the seventh season that the World Poker Tour has been visiting Montreal at this time of year. The popularity of the poker room plus the prestige of the event has, in no small part, contributed to the long list of popular poker pros that have appeared at the final tables of Montreal. Past champions of the event include Canadian Jonathan Roy, who took down the initial WPT Montreal in 2012 for over $784,000. Two years later, Jonathan Jaffee bested a field of 732 for $463,432 at a final table that included back-to-back WPT Montreal final table participant Mukul Pahuja and WSOP Europe Main Event Champion Kevin McPhee. In 2016, current partypoker Chairman, Mike Sexton, went on to win the event while still in his duties as co-commentator for the WPT television show. It was a performance that got him nominated for two American Poker Awards. Then just last year, Canadian Maxime Heroux took down the event for $403,570. It was the first time a Canadian had won the tournament since Roy’s initial victory in 2012. What To Watch For With the ability to satellite into various events online plus play starting flights on partypoker, watch for an uptick in the number of players in the Main Event. The number of players has never drifted south of 600, but player turn out has continually decreased year over year since the beginning of WPT Montreal. The hope will be that the online presence plus bringing in all three WPT tournament banners for a single festival be just the shot in the arm that the festival is looking for in 2018. In the short history of the event, the winner has always been from North America. In fact, only three players of the past six WPT Montreal final table has not been either American or Canadia. Rainer Kempe represented Germany in 2015, Ilan Boujenah from Israel in 2016 and Pat Quinn, who finished as the runner-up, in 2017. Perhaps with the ability to buy-in using partypoker LIVE dollars, the rare European, perhaps red-hot partypoker ambassador Anatoly Filatov, will arrive to take the Montreal title away from the North Americans. Follow Along Live updates for all of the major events will again be provided by the World Poker Tour on their website. The final table of the Main Event will be livestreams and can be seen both from the WPT as well as partypoker on the My partypoker LIVE app. partypoker WPT Montreal Schedule Of Events Dates Event Buy-In 10/21 WPT500 Online - Day 1A $550 10/22 WPT500 Online - Day 1B 10/23 WPT500 Online - Day 1C 10/26 WPT500 Online - Day 1A WPT500 - Day 1A WPT500 - Day 1B 10/27 WPT500 - Day 1C WPT500 - Day 1D 10/28 WPT500 - Day 1E WPT500 - Day 1F WPT Main Event Online - Day 1A $5,300 10/29 WPT500 - Day 1G Turbo $550 WPT Main Event - Day 1A $5,300 10/30 WPT Main Event - Day 1B 10/31 WPT Main Event - Day 1C 11/01 WPT Deepstacks - Day 1A $1,650 WPT Deepstacks - Day 1B 11/02 WPT Deepstacks - Day 1C High Roller $10,300 WPT Deepstacks - Day 1D $1,650 11/03 WPT Deepstacks - Day 1E Turbo WPT Ladies Event $220 11/04 Pot Limit Omaha $1,100 NLHE Six Max Turbo $550
  25. On Tuesday night, World Poker Tour Champions Club member Tony Ruberto defeated the 554 player field of WPT Maryland at Live! Casino Main Event, taking home $344,755 and earning his second WPT title. In addition to Ruberto, the final table of the World Poker Tour Maryland Live featured experienced players from all over the poker spectrum. Perhaps the most notable would be PokerGo on-air talent and one-time World Series of Poker final table participant Jeremy Ausmus. Also taking their shot at a first WPT title was WSOP bracelet winner and final table chip leader William Givens, HPT and MSPT Main Event winner Mark Sandness, former WPT final table participant Shankar Pillai and cash game specialist Aaron Pinson. The first elimination of the day came within the first ten hands of the final table as Sandness three-bet shoved his roughly 27 big blind stack over an open from Ruberto with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"]. Roberto’s quickly called with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="5s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="js"][poker card="4s"] board ran out clean offering no pair for either player and Sandness exited in sixth place for $69,609. The cash is the second WPT result for the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event Champion, pushing his live career total earnings over $700,000. It took nearly an hour for the next player to fall. Pinson, who came in as the shortest stack but doubled early, laddered into fifth position but ran into a big hand from Ruberto. After a raise from Ausmus, Ruberto three-bet with [poker card="js"][poker card="jh"] only to have Pinson four-bet shove 20 big blinds holding [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"]. Ausmus let his hand go and Ruberto showed Pinson the bad news. The board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="3d"] sending Pinson home in fifth place for a career-best $91.230. As is often the case when tournaments wind down, big flips determine the fate of the players. After a raise from Pillai and a call from Ruberto, Givens three-bet from the big blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. With the action back on Pillai, he put in another raise that squeezed Ruberto out of the hand. The raise was big enough to put Givens’ tournament at risk. Givens called and Pillai turned over [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. This was a big flip for Givens. The flop came down [poker card="7d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="ts"] keeping Pillai in the lead with some additional backup outs. When the [poker card="qh"] fell on the turn. Givens added some equity. But the river [poker card="7h"] sealed the hand for Pillai and Givens, a WSOP bracelet winner, was sent to the cage in fourth for the six-figure sum of $121,112. He’ll add that to his already impressive $1.7 million in lifetime earnings. An hour later Jeremy Ausmus was short-stacked but still fighting for the opportunity to win his first WPT title. In a blind on blind confrontation, Ausmus limped holding [poker card="9s"][poker card="9d"] and Ruberto checked his option with the [poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"]. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="6h"][poker card="5d"] giving Ruberto bottom pair however Ausmus was still in the lead. Ausmus checked, Ruberto put in a small bet, Ausmus called. The turn was the [poker card="8d"]. Ausmus checked again and after Ruberto followed up with another bet, Ausmus check-raised all in. Roberto called and Ausmus was at risk needing some help. The river [poker card="jc"] was no help and the part-time PokerGo commentator’s WPT run ended in third for $162,597. Roberto entered heads-up play against Pillai with a 4.5-1 advantage. While Pillai would find a double and bring the chip counts nearly event, after nearly two hours of play the pair would find a flop they both liked enough to get it all in. Pillai raised the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="9c"] and Ruberto, holding a better than 2:1 chip advantage called with his [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"]. The flop was action. [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5d"]. Roberto checked from the big blind, Pillai bet. Roberto check-raised. Pillai tank-shoved. Roberto eventually made the call putting Pillai’s tournament at risk. The turn was the [poker card="ks"] giving Ruberto a gutshot straight draw to go with his flush draw. The river was the [poker card="9d"], not only giving Ruberto the flush, but also the victory. Pillai finished as the runner-up and earned $220,780. Tony Ruberto is the winner of WPT Maryland, earning $344,755 for first and his second World Poker Tour title. The World Poker Tour’s next stop will be the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble in Jacksonville, FL on October 19. Final Table Payouts 1. Tony Ruberto - $344,755 2. Shankar Pillai - $220,780 3. Jeremy Ausmus - $162,597 4. William Givens - $121,112 5. Aaron Pinson - $91,230 6. Mark Sandness - $69,609
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