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Found 246 results

  1. 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
  2. The World Poker Tour and partypoker have teamed up once again to present the partypoker WPT Montreal festival, taking place at the Playground Poker Club from October 26- November 4. The festival brings together three major WPT brands into a single series. Players will have the opportunity to battle for a WPT500, WPT DeepStacks and the Main Tour title all in the same trip. Players also have the opportunity to win their way into these events through satellites where they can win and buy-in with partypoker LIVE Dollars. partypoker LIVE Dollars is a new proprietary currency that helps players to buy in to LIVE tournaments. They can also be used to pay for travel, lodging, all of the LIVE events, and online Day One's. Now, players headed to Canada to take part in the Montreal Festival can work their way up a satellite tree of LIVE dollars and win their way into the Main Event or even the WPT500. Work Your Way Up The steps of the satellite tree are very similar to what many players will be already familiar with. Players can start at the bottom of the steps and work their way up to competing for a WPT seat for as little as $1.10. pp LIVE Dollar Mega Satellites $1.10 to win a $5.50 ticket $5.50 to win a $22 ticket $22.00 to win a $109 ticket $109 to win a $530 ticket The $530 ticket can be used to purchase a seat into the WPT Montreal Satellite which awards a minimum of two seats into the Main Event. Of course, one does not need to start at the bottom as players can jump into the satellite tree at any point and play their way through. This includes the $530 direct satellite to win a seat. Cash Out Along The Way partypoker LIVE Dollars have some flexibility to them. Instead of working their way up through the tournament ticket steps, at just about any point a player can opt to play for more LIVE Dollars. Once they have accumulated enough Dollars they can be put to any LIVE event as well as the online starting flights. The WPT500 will have three online starting flights on partypoker beginning on October 21. The Main Tour $5,300 buyin will have one online starting flight taking place on October 28. Win An Ambassadorship partypoker is running a number of promotions in connection with their LIVE Dollars with regards to WPT Montreal. If a player is one of the first 100 to buy in to the Main Event using PP LIVE Dollars and they end up winning the event, partypoker will make them a Sponsored Pro for a year by giving that player $100,000 to use at any of their LIVE events in the next 12 months. Additionally, that player gets to keep 100% of any winnings. partypoker is extending that Sponsored Pro promotion to both the WPT500 and WPT Deepstacks tournaments as well. Be one of the first 200 to buy in to either one and then win that tournament and receive $50,000 to spend on LIVE events for the next year. Upcoming partypoker WPT Montreal Qualifiers Date Event Buy-In 10/09 WPT Montreal Satellite: 2 X $5,300 CAD Seats Gtd $530 10/11 WPT Montreal Satellite: 2 X $5,300 CAD Seats Gtd $530 10/14 WPT Montreal Satellite: 2 X $5,300 CAD Seats Gtd $530
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 42-year-old Erkut Yilmaz started the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open with the chip lead and over the course of six hours of play fought off TK Miles to add his name to the WPT Champions Cup while picking up a $575,112 payday. Anthony Maio, the top-ranked online poker player in Pennsylvania, made the final table with just nine big blinds and got the chance to play just 11 hands. Down to just six big blinds, Maio moved all in from UTG with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] only to have Austin Wentling wake up in the big blind with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"]. Maio got no assistance from the [poker card="ts"][poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="th"] runout and was eliminated in sixth for $121,697. Liam He had the second shortest stack when the final table began on Friday night and managed to outlast just Maio. Action folded to Aleg Shnaider in the small blind and he raised to 400,000 with [poker card="jd"][poker card="9d"] before He moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"] and Shnaider called. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"][poker card="js"] flop put Shnaider way ahead and he stayed there through the [poker card="5d"] turn and [poker card="3h"] river to elimiante He in fifth place. From UTG, Miles raised to 500,000 before Wentling moved all in for 1,725,00 from the button. Yilmaz defended his big blind and Miles called. Yilmaz and Miles then checked through the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="as"] runout before Miles tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"] to force Yilmaz to muck his hand. Wentling turned over [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and was eliminated in fourth place for $211,562. Shnaider and Yilmaz battled 15 hands later in a blind vs. blind spot that spelled the end for Shnaider. Miles raised to 500,000 from the button, Shnaider moved all in for 6,000,000 from the small blind and Yilmaz called from the big blind. Miles folded and Shnaider got bad news when he showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"] and found himself up against Yilmaz's [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="5h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"] flop gave Shnaider some outs to a chop but the [poker card="6c"] turn and [poker card="5c"] river both fialed to help him out and he was eliminated in third place. Yilmaz began heads up play with almost 60% of the chips in play but he and Miles traded the chip lead back and forth over the next 55 hands before Yilmaz finally eliminated Miles. Miles completed his bet and Yilmaz checked to go to a flop of [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3s"]. Yilmaz checked to Miles who bet 800,000 and Yilmaz check-raised all in forcing Miles to a decision for his tournament life. Miles called and showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="5s"] for top pair while Yilmaz tabled [poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] for bottom pair and an open-ended straight draw. The [poker card="6h"] turn gave Yilmaz two pair and Miles was eliminated in second when the [poker card="4h"] river failed to improve his hand. Final Table Payouts Erkut Yilmaz - $575,112 TK Miles - $383,399 Oleg Shnaider - $283,341 Austin Wentling - $211,562 Liam He - $159,616 Anthony Maio - $121,697 Notable finishers Just days after winning the 2018 Poker Masters Purple Jacket, Ali Imsirovic finished ninth ($57,510) while PokerStars Ambassador Maria Konnikova finished 20th ($24,695). Other well known players to finish in the money include Alex Fitzgerald (39th - $14,769), Jared Griener (84th - $7,309), Joe McKeehen (89th - $7,309), Daniel Weinman (100th - $6,393), Ryan D'Angelo (101st - $6,393), Jared Jaffee (117th - $6,097), Anthony Zinno (130th - $6,097) and Darren Elias (131st - $6,097). Next WPT Stop The next World Poker Tour stop actually began on Friday in Hanover, MD. The WPT Maryland At LIVE! Casino runs September 21 - 25 and has a $3,500 buy-in.
  6. The World Poker Tour announced a significant section of the second half of the Season XVII Main Tour Schedule. Ten new events with locations on both coasts of the United States as well as stops in Canada and Europe. The schedule features the first of the final tables that the World Poker Tour will be pausing in order to film them for television at the newly renamed HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. “The World Poker Tour is proud to announce more events to our growing Season XVII WPT Main Tour calendar,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “In addition to the great events on the schedule, the WPT looks forward to the first of this season’s final tables to be played at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel & Casino. In partnership with our sister company, Allied Esports, and backed by the support of Ourgame, we are thrilled to host the best final tables in poker at Esports Arena.” The tour returns for a second stop at The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, CA (Los Angeles Country) for the $10,000 buy-in WPT Gardens Poker Championship from January 12-16. It will be the first event to feature the new final table format. Subsequent tour stops that will have their final tables featured at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas include The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in February, a second go around for WPT Choctaw in May and the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions taking place at the ARIA Resort & Casino in June. “Our players and casino partners deserve the brightest spotlight poker has to offer and what better way to give them that than inside the new official home of poker at the HyperX Esports Arena,” said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour. “The WPT is excited to work with our Esports Arena final tablists to provide a true superstar VIP experience.” According to the World Poker Tour, travel accommodations and hotel stay are provided for HyperX Esports final table participants. In addition to those four tournaments, the WPT continues to live up to its name by producing events around the globe. From Russia to Canada, Barcelona to the UK, the World Poker Tour is bringing its brand of poker to all corners of the world. Of course, it also hasn’t forgotten about their successful tour stops like WPT Rolling Thunder and, of course, the final open even the WPT ARIA Summer Championship in May. Even with the current slate of tour dates, it's likely that the WPT will add at least one more stop to the calendar. WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage tweeted on Monday that the schedule for the Los Angeles Poker Classic was simply waiting for approval with a WPT Main Event taking place from March 2-6. Current World Poker Tour 2019 Schedule DATE EVENT LOCATION BUY-IN January 12-16 WPT Gardens Championship Gardens Casino Hawaiian Gardens, CA $10,000 January 21-27 WPT Russia Casino Sochi Sochi, Russia $3,000 January 27-31 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Atlantic City, NJ $3,500 February 23-25 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort Ontario, Canada CAD$5,000 March 8-12 WPT Rolling Thunder Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, CA $5,000 March 10-17 WPT Barcelona Casino Barcelona Barcelona, Spain €3,300 April 7-14 WPT European Championship Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham, UK £3,300 May 17-20 WPT Choctaw Choctaw Casino Resort Durant, OK $3,700 May 27-31 WPT ARIA Summer Championship ARIA Hotel & Resort Las Vegas, NV $10,000 June 1-3 Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions ARIA Hotel & Resort Las Vegas, NV $15,000  
  7. Dylan 'ImaLucSac' Linde entered the Season XVII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic final table second in chips among the last six competitors. A dominating performance from Linde followed that earned him his first World Poker Tour title and a $1.631 million payday. "Incredible… I'm stunned, I'm stunned," Linde said after the victory, noticeably searching for the right words in the winning moment. "I was in for a lot of bullets in this tournament - I was in for five bullets - and all I wanted to do was get even. I was like, 'OK, I need to get 24th place and then I make like 8K, that’s great.' Then I got to there and it just felt like freerolling. I just was confident, I played my game - I mean, I'm still… I’m still in shock." Linde entered the final table of the record-setting event with just more than $2 million in live tournament earnings to his name. He nearly doubled that total thanks to scoring the largest live tournament score of his career. Not only did Linde earn a $1.631 million payday, but he claimed the title in one of poker’s most prestigious events, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. Linde now goes down in history alongside players such as Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Joe Hachem as a champion of this event. "Incredible!" Linde said once again, more emphatically. "Besides having played a lot of poker for the past 10 or 11 years, I’m a gargantuan poker fan. I watch every single everything on PokerGO, I watch all broadcasts. Even weird cash games that have been televised, I consume it all. I love poker. To be there, to be here playing in the studio, it’s incredible. It's just incredible. I watched the Super High Roller Bowl Cash Game this morning before I came to play." What's more is that Linde topped a record-breaking field in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The event attracted a field of 1,001 entries, nearly 200 more than the previous record of 812, and generated a prize pool of $9.709 million. "It was like a roller coaster," Linde said of firing multiple $10,000 bullets in the event. "The first one or two, it was like, 'Ehhh, OK.' And then when I busted bullet three, I was pretty sad and I kind of tilted. Then when I busted bullet four, I was just like, 'Ya know? Whatever, this tournament is really good and I need to fire.' At that point, I've already passed my pain threshold so now it doesn’t matter. I just try and it almost helped me to be in for five." WPT Five Diamond Final Table Results 1st: Dylan Linde - $1,631,468* 2nd: Milos Skrbic - $1,087,603 3rd: Andrew Lichtenberger - $802,973 4th: Ping Liu - $599,147 5th: Lisa Hamilton - $451,880 6th: Barry Hutter - $344,529 *First place includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. Barry Hutter was first knocked out at the final table when his top pair ran into the bottom two pair of Milos Skrbic on the [poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"] flop. Hutter's [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8d"] couldn’t come from behind against the [poker card="6h"][poker card="5d"] of Skrbic, leaving Hutter with a sixth-place result worth $344,529. Next to go was Lisa Hamilton in fifth place, and she was eliminated when her pocket fives couldn't hold up against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Td"] of Linde. The money went in preflop and Linde flopped top pair, turned trips, and rivered a full house to send Hamilton to the payout desk to collect her $451,880 in winnings. Eliminating Hamilton in fifth place gave Linde the chip lead. This is when he really began to press on the gas in order to put distance between himself and his opponents. It also helped when Linde busted Ping Liu in fourth place with the [poker card="Jc"][poker card="2c"]. Action folded to Linde in the small blind, and he moved all in against Liu's big blind. Liu was short stacked and called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out[poker card="Kh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Kd"] to eliminate Liu in fourth place for a career-best $599,147. Andrew Lichtenberger was the shortest stack entering three-handed play. He fought as hard as he could to get himself back into the match against Linde and Skrbic, but ultimately it wouldn’t be in the cards for the player so widely known as "LuckyChewy." Lichtenberger flopped top pair with the [poker card="Kd"][poker card="5h"] on the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="3c"] flop against Skrbic holding the [poker card="Tc"][poker card="6c"] for a flush draw. The two bet and raised back and forth to get all the money in, leaving Lichtenberger needing to fade the draw to stay alive. Skrbic quickly completed his flush on the turn with the [poker card="8c"] and the river completed the board with the [poker card="4d"]. For his efforts, Lichtenberger scored $802,973. Linde held the chip lead entering heads-up play, with his 22.375 million to Skrbic’s 17.675 million. Linde dominated the duel and took just 35 hands to dispose of Skrbic. On the final hand, Linde's pocket jacks held up against the pocket fives for Skrbic after all the money went in preflop and that was all she wrote. Skrbic, who entered the event with less than $500,000 in live tournament winnings, took home $1.087 million for his runner-up result, and Linde was crowned champion. "I'm pretty much going to keep doing the same thing I've been doing," Linde said when asked where he takes his poker career from here. "I'm a big believer in the amount of money that I have doesn’t really dictate the games that I should be playing. I’ll have some more action of myself in tournaments rather than selling more. I’m not going to start playing super high rollers or anything. I’ll just play the cash games I normally play here (in Las Vegas) and play tournaments. I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment, as far as poker. I play fairly high stakes normally anyway, and I don’t really need to go battle against my friends in the 25Ks and 100Ks who I know are slightly better than me or a lot better than me. At one point, maybe I will, but for now, I just want to keep improving, use this to make my life more comfortable, and hopefully make it so that I feel more confident and can just play my A-game more consistently." With the victory, Linde earned a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. He also picked up 1,400 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, although that only puts him in third behind Tony Ruberto's 1,850 points and Liu's 1,550 points. Next up on the WPT Main Tour is the $10,000 buy-in WPT Gardens Poker Championship in January at the Gardens Casino in Southern California. That tournament runs January 12-16, 2019.
  8. The record-setting WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic wrapped up at Bellagio in Las Vegas, with the $10,400 Main Event attracting a huge field of 1,001 entries and featuring some of poker's biggest names. In addition to the Main Event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule featured several events with five-figure buy-ins and one with a six-figure price of entry. Here are the winners from a tremendous week of poker in Sin City. The biggest winners overall from these high buy-in events, excluding the $10,400 Main Event, were Jake Schindler, Jason Koon, Seth Davies, Chris Hunichen, and Dominik Nitsche. Although he didn't earn the most money, it's certainly worth noting that Sam Soverel cashed in four of these events for a total of $314,500. No one else cashed in more than two. Ladines Wins First $10,000 PLO Event The first two high roller events on the schedule were both $10,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournaments. The first one attracted 35 entries for a $350,000 prize pool and saw the top five places make the money. Joshua Ladines took the event’s title and $128,090 top prize, with both Brian Rast and Sam Soverel finishing in the money. Joshua Ladines - $128,090 John Riordan - $102,910 Jonathan Abdellatif - $56,000 Brian Rast - $35,000 Sam Soverel - $28,000 Soverel Takes Second $10,000 PLO Event In the second $10,000 PLO event, a group of familiar faces was back in the money. Soverel topped the field of 29 entries to win the title and $116,000, Ladines finished third for $46,400, and WPT Five Diamond wonder boy Ryan Tosoc scored fifth for $23,200. Tosoc notably finished second in the Season XV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.134 million before going on to win the event in Season XVI for $1.958 million. Sam Soverel - $116,000 Jonathan Depa - $75,400 Joshua Ladines- $46,400 Michael Song - $29,000 Ryan Tosoc - $23,200 Hennigan Captures $10,000 8-Game Mixed Title If you know Bellagio, you know it’s home to the most iconic high-stakes poker room in the world, Bobby’s Room. It’s where the game’s elite compete for astronomical cash-game stakes, but during WPT Five Diamond some of those players shifted their focus to tournament play, specifically in the $10,000 buy-in 8-Game Mixed High Roller. The tournament generated 24 entries, and it was none other than five-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and WPT Champions Club member John Hennigan taking home the top prize of $110,400. John Hennigan - $110,400 Ben Yu - $67,200 Randy Ohel - $38,400 John Racener - $24,000 Loeser and Fox Chop First $25,000 High Roller In the first of three $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments on this year’s WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic slate, 42 entries were generated to create a prize pool of $1.05 million. The top six places paid, and the top two spots went to Manig Loeser and Elio Fox in a chop that earned each player more than $300,000. Loeser scored first place for $321,300, and Fox took second for $308,700. Manig Loeser- $321,300 Elio Fox - $308,700 Jake Schindler - $168,000 Dan Smith - $105,000 Cary Katz - $84,000 Nick Petrangelo - $63,000 Petrangelo Wins Second $25,000 High Roller The second $25,000 buy-in tournament attracted 47 entries and generated a $1.175 million prize pool. The top seven places reached the money, with several notables cashing. None earned more than Nick Petrangelo, though, who chopped the event heads up with Sergio Aido to take home the winning prize of $289,944. Aido scored $287,634 for second. Petrangelo was coming off a sixth-place result for $63,000 in the first $25,000 event of this series. Soverel, who finished in the money of the first two high rollers on the schedule, including winning one for $116,000, finished sixth in this event for $70,500. Nick Petrangelo - $289,944 Sergio Aido - $287,634 Seth Davies - $256,672 Ben Yu - $117,500 Kazuhiko Yotsushika - $94,000 Sam Soverel - $70,500 Rainer Kempe - $58,750 Davies Victorious in Third $25,000 High Roller The third and final $25,000 high roller tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule drew 50 entries for a $1.25 million prize pool. The top eight places reached the money, and it was Seth Davies taking the title and $341,920 in first-place prize money. The win came just days after Davies took third in the previous $25,000 high roller event during the series of $256,672, as you can see above. Davies did a deal with Isaac Haxton in second place, who earned $320,580. The money was filled with notable high rollers, including Alex Foxen taking third for $175,000. Foxen has had himself quite a 2018 and is closing it strong both on the live felt and the virtual felt. In the online world, Foxen recently achieved a new all-time high in the top 100 of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings. You'll also notice Soverel's name appearing in the in-the-money places once again, this time for fifth place, worth $100,000. Seth Davies - $341,920 Isaac Haxton - $320,580 Alex Foxen - $175,000 David Peters - $125,000 Sam Soverel - $100,000 Christoph Vogelsang - $75,000 Rainer Kempe - $62,500 Elio Fox: $50,000 Schindler Defeats Koon for $100,000 Super High Roller Victory The final big buy-in event from the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule this year was the $100,000 Super High Roller. The event drew 37 entries to Bellagio for a $3.7 million prize pool and the top six spots reached the money. Earning the $1.332 million first-place prize was Jake Schindler. Adding that score to the $168,000 he won earlier in the series for taking third place in one of the $25,000 high rollers, Schindler scored $1.5 million in prize money at Bellagio this December. Schindler beat out Jason Koon for the win, and Koon took home $888,000 for his second-place finish. Jake Schindler - $1,332,000 Jason Koon - $888,000 Chris Hunichen - $592,000 Dominik Nitsche - $370,000 Ben Tollerene - $296,000 Talal Shakerchi - $222,000
  9. February may seem like forever ago, but it wasn't too long ago that the second month of 2018 saw the names of Chris 'moorman1' Moorman, Mike 'goleafsgoeh' Leah, and Viktor 'isildur1' Blom capture the headlines. Below are PocketFives' top five stories from February 2018, plus a look back at the February's Monthly PLB winner. MILESTONES: Chris 'moorman1' Moorman Earns 27th Triple Crown Chris 'moorman1' Moorman is online poker’s leading all-time money earner with, at time of writing, $15.595 million in online tournament winnings. In February 2018, Moorman captured headlines when he won his record 27th PocketFives Triple Crown. Moorman achieved the feat when he scored first place in tournaments from three different sites in back-to-back-to-back days. Moorman then went on to win two more in 2018 and bring his industry-leading total to 29. READ: MILESTONES: Chris 'moorman1' Moorman Earns 27th Triple Crown Stephen Chidwick Wins Inaugural U.S. Poker Open Title The poker world was treated to the first-ever U.S. Poker Open in February 2018. The eight-tournament high-roller series took place at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. An elite group of poker's best were in competition across the eight events, including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo, Dan Smith, and Jason Koon. In addition to individual tournament scores for large sums of money, each player was looking to become the first overall U.S. Poker Open champion. At its completion, Stephen 'stevie444' Chidwick had cashed in four of the eight events to win more than $1.25 million combined and be crowned U.S. Poker Open champion. READ: Stephen Chidwick Wins Inaugural U.S. Poker Open Title WPT: Mike Leah Wins Fallsview Classic for First WPT Title The World Poker Tour once again made its seasonal stop at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, back in February. With it came a record-breaking field of 517 entries for the event and a final table that included one staunch Canadian grinder, Mike 'goleafsgoeh' Leah, looking for his first WPT title. Leah entered the final day of play ranked third in chips among the remaining 20 players. From there, he went on to claim victory and his first World Poker Tour title worth C$451,821 ($359,001). READ: Mike Leah Wins Fallsview Classic for First WPT Title Viktor Blom Stages Huge Comeback to Win partypoker MILLIONS Germany If 2018 was the year of anything, it's likely the year of partypoker. The online poker giant’s live tournament offering, partypokerLIVE, delivered enormous prize pool upon enormous prize pool all across the globe, including February's partypoker MILLIONS Germany in Rozvadov. That's where Viktor 'isildur1' Blom grabbed the title worth €1 million, but not without having to overcome a greater than 6-to-1 chip deficit during heads-up play against Pavel Plesuv. READ: Viktor Blom Stages Huge Comeback to Win partypoker MILLIONS Germany Leon Tsoukernik's Counterclaim Against Matt Kirk Dismissed Speaking of Rozvadov, King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik was back in the headlines in February with another episode involving his dispute with high-stakes poker pro "Aussie" Matt Kirk. Three months prior, in November, Tsoukernik filed a counterclaim for $10 million in damages. That was followed by Kirk's lawyers filing a motion to dismiss. At the end of February 2018, a Las Vegas judge dismissed Tsoukernik’s counterclaim it what appears to have ended a highly publicized legal tug o' war. READ: Leon Tsoukernik's Counterclaim Against Matt Kirk Dismissed 'European' Wins February Monthly PLB Title With 4,133.54 points, 'European' won the Monthly PLB title for February. 'European' booked 48 cashes in February, including scores of $86,000 for 707.11 points, $58,160 for 584.38 points, $56,975 for 463.68 points, $49,574 for 383.28 points, and $46,418 for 415.33 points. The $86,000 win for 'European' came in the $530 buy-in partypoker Powerfest #46-M: $500K Gtd NLH under the username 'JHelppi' when he outlasted a field of 979 entries.
  10. As 2018 winds down, PocketFives is taking you a trip down memory lane with a month-by-month year in review. We get things started with January and a trip the Bahamas. Vanessa Selbst Calls It Quits Word actually broke in the closing hours of 2017, but the talk around Vanessa Selbst retiring from poker carried on into the early days of 2018. Selbst, the all-time leading female money winner, announced her decision to retire via a Facebook post. In that post, she explained that she had taken a job with a New York-based hedge fund and had already been working there for a few months. Selbst did indicate that she wasn't done entirely with the game though. "To me, the opportunity to work hard and learn something totally new and get to keep poker in my arsenal of fun go-to hobbies feels like the right approach,” Selbst wrote. Selbst lived up to her word, showing up to play the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open in late January. READ: Vanessa Selbst Retires From Poker Maria Lampropulos Wins PCA Main Event; Cary Katz Tops $100K High Roller The first major poker tournament of 2018 was the return of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The PCA was brought back after PokerStars' failed rebranding of all of their live events as PokerStars Live Championships. The PCA Main Event brought out 582 players for a total prize pool of $5,645,400. The final table included Adrian Mateos, Koray Aldamir, Shawn Buchanan and Maria Lampropulos. The tournament came down to an epic heads-up battle between Buchanan and Lampropulos with the Argentinian pro taking it down for her second major title in a 10-month span. READ: PCA: Maria Lampropulos Wins Main Event, $1.08M, Platinum Pass At a final table that included the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Isaac Haxton, Bryn Kenney and Sam Greenwood, PokerGO founder Cary Katz managed to outlast all of them to win the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller for the first major title of his career. READ: PCA: Cary Katz Wins $100K Super High Roller Platinum Passes Galore in the Bahamas The PCA was also the launching for what would become PokerStars' year-long campaign to award nearly 300 Platinum Passes worth $30,000 each that give the pass holder entry into the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship. Lampropulos picked one up for her victory in the PCA Main Event, author Maria Konnikova also grabbed one for taking down the PCA National Championship and David Peters won his via a random draw. Pennsylvania-based grinder Thai Ha was the fortunate winner of a Platinum Pass on Day 2 of the Main Event, but he almost missed it after oversleeping. READ: Thai Ha Almost Misses Out on Platinum Pass Winning Moment While Lampropulos, Konnikova, and Peters are all established players who may have played the PSPC anyways, Steven-John Jost is the polar opposite. The Swiss amateur qualified for the 2018 PCA Main Event on PokerStars for $27 and ended up cashing for $17,500. By finishing in the money, Jost was also given a raffle ticket for a Platinum Pass and he ended up having his name drawn. “I was really shaking. Now I’m calm. I had to go for a drink and now I’m relaxed, just enjoying it,” Jost said after learning he'd won the $30,000 package. READ: Steven-John Jost’s ‘Dream Come True’ Topped Off with Platinum Pass Ole Schemion and Darryll Fish Pick Up WPT Titles The World Poker Tour added two well-known names to the WPT Champions Cup in January. Germany's Ole Schemion beat out 338 other players to win the €3,300 WPT European Championship at Spielbank Berlin. The win earned Schemion $260,858 and he finished 2018 within spitting distance of $15,000,000 in career earnings. READ: Ole Schemion Wins WPT European Championship Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, one of poker's most well-respected grinders finally picked up a major title. Darryll Fish topped the 911-player field to win the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $511,604. It was a career-best cash for Fish at the time, only to be eclipsed a few months later when he finished second in the partypoker MILLIONS North America Main Event for $ 937,221. READ: Darryll Fish Wins Lucky Hearts Open for First WPT Title, $511K partypoker Adds Isaac Haxton as Ambassador To say that Isaac Haxton's departure from Team PokerStars was messy, might be an understatement. Haxton left PokerStars in the wake of the changes the online poker giant made to its player rewards system and took special joy in being a thorn in their side via social media ever since. That thorn got a little bit bigger when Haxton signed on as an ambassador with partypoker. Haxton noted that partypoker's growth, both online and live, was a big part of his decision to sign with them. “I’ve been very impressed with their growth over the last year or so. From expanding their online cash game and tournament offerings, to improving their software, and most of all rolling out their ambitions and innovative live events program, their commitment to growing the game and providing a great product for their players has been clear,” Haxton said. READ: Isaac Haxton Joins partypoker as Brand Ambassador Sweden's 'lena900' Tops January PLB Race Anybody who follows the PocketFives Rankings will know that the Swedish players have dominated them for years. So it's no surprise to learn that one of the most successful Swedish players started 2018 off with a bang. 'lena900' topped the January PLB thanks ‘lena900’ to eight five-figure scores and a win in the partypoker Powerfest Event #5 for $26,899 and 328.63 PLB points. READ: Swedish Crusher ‘lena900’ Wins January PLB Title
  11. “I have always said San Jose has the greatest poker fans in the world.” Matt Savage has called San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino home since he took a job dealing there back in 1994. This week, after its much-discussed one-year absence from the poker tournament calendar, Savage announced that the casino’s premier event, the Shooting Star, will return in 2019. Savage is one of Bay 101's key Tournament Directors in addition to his position as the Executive Tour Director for the World Poker Tour. “We have been working on the Shooting Stars and it has been championed by new Casino Manager Samuel Quinto to bring it back,” Savage said. “To be honest, we are not happy that it skipped a year but we are truly thrilled that the Shooting Star will return in 2019.” So while the Shooting Star is back, it’s not the same tournament as the one that left. Some slight tweaks to the structure, a single starting day and, perhaps most notably, it will not be a World Poker Tour event in 2019. “I have always said this is the most unique tournament in poker and many of the things that make this a one-of-a-kind event will return,” Savage said when talking about the resurrection of the Shooting Star. “It will have a $5,200 buy-in, 30 Shooting Stars that are worth $2,000 if you claim their last chips. The tournament will have a one day start and feature an excellent structure that will have 40,60 and 90-minute levels and play six-handed at 36 players. The 30 Stars will not only be poker greats but also some non-poker personalities and social media influencers.” The absence of the tournament in 2018 coincided with a venue shift for Bay 101. The old card room, which had its opening back in 1993, was a fixture of the Northern California poker landscape. It was a broad open space with high ceilings and an old-school card room vibe. The new location, located directly across the 101 freeway from the now-defunct card room, has adopted a more modern approach for their environment. When the new Bay 101 opened in September of 2017, the casino was slow to re-introduce daily tournaments. It quickly became apparent that the Shooting Star tournament would not be able to be incorporated into the casino’s plans in 2018. For many in the industry, the Shooting Star has always felt like a unique tournament on the schedule. Its ability to attract big names, award bounties and t-shirts for knockouts and drop to six-handed in the late stages of the tournament made it a favorite for pros and recs alike. The legendary rabid San Jose poker fanbase had made the event a can’t-miss tour stop. So, when it was dropped from the WPT schedule in 2018, its absence was felt by locals and pros alike. But for many of the players, including the locals that make up that legendary fan base, the lack of WPT affiliation won't stop them from registering. “I can tell by the messages I have already received that the event was sorely missed,” Savage said. Bay 101’s day-to-day Tournament Director Quoc Pham echoed Savage's sentiment. The local players are ready to have their Shooting Star back in the fold. “[The locals] were ecstatic, they couldn’t be happier,” Pham said. “A lot of people dream of playing the Shooting Star, the prestige of playing in a big buy-in tournament. They have a chance of playing for life-changing money.” One of the questions that will be answered soon will be who the Shooting Stars will be. In the past they’ve been some of the biggest names in the game, Savage promises that the bounties of 2019 will be just as impressive but give the tournament a brand new look. “Invites are just being sent out now and contracts need to be signed before we can release names but I can tell you that this year’s list of Stars will look entirely different than years past,” Savage said. Even without the WPT branding behind it, the Shooting Star is likely to be an appetizing event for big-name pros, if only for the number of qualifiers it is expected to bring in. The venue has 26 satellites on the schedule. “The satellite schedule is really aggressive and the Shooting Star is always strongly supported by our Bay Area locals making our field one of the best in poker,” Savage said. “We are hoping that we will give away about 200 seats into the event,” Pham added. ”Roughly half of the field will be from satellites.” Even though the Shooting Star is not an official WPT event, the 2019 scheduling of it makes it obvious that Savage kept the WPT Main Tour, and his own duties, in mind, placing the tournament in its traditional March timeslot. The World Poker Tour has both the Los Angeles Poker Classic and WPT Rolling Thunder taking place earlier in March, allowing the Shooting Star to, perhaps, capture some of the pros that make their way to California for those events. “It is important in the current tournament poker climate that dates, especially in the same region in the world, work in tandem. Fortunately, our relationship with the WPT made that easy and it will fit right between two of their events on the West Coast making it easy and convenient for traveling players.” When asked if the Shooting Star would return to the World Poker Tour, both Savage and Pham couldn’t say. There is a sentiment that they would be trying again to make that happen in 2020. The Bay 101 Shooting Star takes place from March 19-22 at the Bay 101 Casino in San Jose.
  12. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. The partypoker MILLIONS Online is done and dusted with two players walking away with record-setting payouts. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters recap all of the action and look ahead to what the event might look like in 2019. They also handicap the field for the upcoming Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas and rail against the World Poker Tour's decision to hold an event at The Venetian. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  13. May was a jam-packed month in the poker world and there were plenty of major headlines that grabbed our attention. Here are PocketFives' top five stories from May 2018, including a regulated online poker milestone, a lawsuit against PokerStars, and a handful of record-breaking performances. Interstate Online Poker Now Live in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware It's a new era for online poker in the United States, and the regulated online poker market has been growing slowly and continues to gain momentum. In May 2018, it received another big boost when Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware went live with interstate online poker on WSOP.com, allowing players from the three states to play against players in other states for the first time in the history of regulated online poker in the United States. The game-changing development paved the way for more robust interstate online poker series and online gold bracelets events available to those in New Jersey and Delaware. READ: Interstate Online Poker Now Live in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware Gordon Vayo Suing PokerStars for Confiscating 2017 SCOOP Winnings Gordon Vayo went on an incredible ride in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing second for $4.66 million, but his roller coaster 2018 was even more dramatic. It started when news dropped in May that Vayo was suing PokerStars for confiscated winnings from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament. Vayo's score was worth nearly $700,000, but PokerStars denied payment of the funds based on suspicions he violated the site's terms of service and played from the United States. READ: Gordon Vayo Suing PokerStars for Confiscating 2017 SCOOP Winnings SCOOP: Calvin Anderson Does It Again, Wins 10th SCOOP Title We're going to cheat a little bit here and roll two stories into one, but they both involve the record-breaking success of Calvin 'cal42688' Anderson in the PokerStars SCOOP. Anderson, a former #1-ranked online poker player, won his ninth and 10th SCOOP titles in 2018, both of which set records, and he did it in back-to-back days. Anderson first won Event #19 (High): $2,100 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em for $126,659 and then he captured the Event #26 (High): $1,050 Omaha Eight-or-Better (Eight-Max) title for $26,305. READ: Calvin Anderson Does It Again, Wins 10th SCOOP Title WPT: Darren Elias Wins Bobby Baldwin Classic, Record 4th WPT Title Anderson wasn’t the only high-profile player to have a record-setting victory in May, but this next player did it in the live realm. Darren Elias, one of the World Poker Tour's most successful competitors, earned his record-setting fourth WPT title when he took down the WPT $10,000 Bobby Baldwin Classic in May. Elias topped a field of 162 entries to win $387,580. At the final table, Elias battled with an elite group that included Kitty Kuo, Joe McKeehen, Dietrich Fast, Sam Panzica, and Jonathan Little. READ: Darren Elias Wins Bobby Baldwin Classic, Record 4th WPT Title Justin Bonomo Beats Daniel Negreanu to Win Super High Roller Bowl Justin Bonomo had himself an absolutely tremendous 2018 and the month of May was huge for him. Just two months after winning the Super High Roller Bowl China for more than $4.8 million, Bonomo won the Super High Roller Bowl IV title in Las Vegas for $5 million. Bonomo topped the field of 48 entries in the $300,000 buy-in tournament and defeated Daniel Negreanu in heads-up play. The score was part of Bonomo's $25.4 million year that became the most winningest year in poker history and vaulted Bonomo to the top spot on poker's all-time money list. READ: Justin Bonomo Beats Daniel Negreanu to Win Super High Roller Bowl Sweden’s ‘lena900’ Wins May Monthly PLB Title From a PocketFives Monthly PLB perspective, Sweden’s 'lena900' had the best month ever for an online poker player, earning 7,135.57 points. His largest Monthly PLB point win was worth 1,414.21 when he won the $10,300 buy-in Powerfest #53-SHR: $2M Gtd [Championship Event - PKO] for $430,047. 'Lena900' also won not one but two SCOOP titles in May. His first was a victory in the SCOOP-25-H: $530+R NLHE, $400K Gtd $102,115 and 748.70 points. His second came in the SCOOP-39-H: $1,050 NLO8 [6-Max], $175K Gtd for $50,391 and 513.81 points. *Photos courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
  14. Pavel Plesuv made quick work of the final table at the World Poker Tour Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open on Wednesday for his second live tournament win of 2018. Plesuv, who won the $3,500 Mid-States Poker Tour Championship at the Venetian in June, eliminated the final three players standing in his way to pick up $504,820 which includes entry to the WPT Tournament of Champions event at the end of the season. The Czech poker pro, who also won a partypoker Powerfest High Roller title in September, started the final table with the biggest stack. After the two short stacks busted, Plesuv went to work. Ravi Raghavan started the final table with 17 big blinds and it didn't take him long to find a spot to get it all in. On just the second hand of the day, Plesuv raised to 175,000 from the cutoff before Raghavan moved all in from the small blind. Marius Gierse re-raised all in from the big blind for 6,100,000 and Plesuv folded. Raghavan turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"] but found himself in trouble after Gierse tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The board ran out [poker card="5s"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"] to eliminate Raghavan in sixth place. Just 13 hands later, Jeremy Joseph raised to 225,000 from UTG before Chris Kennedy called from the button and Plesuv defended his big blind. After the [poker card="9s"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7s"] flop, Plesuv checked, Joseph bet 225,000 and Kennedy moved all for 2,625,000. Plesuv folded, but Kennedy called and turned over [poker card="jd"][poker card="9d"] for top pair with a gutshot. Joseph showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] for an overpair and then sweated through the [poker card="4h"] turn before the [poker card="kc"] river gave him an unneeded top set to send Kennedy out in fifth. Plesuv's stack got a major boost after taking down a massive pot against Joseph. With the board showing [poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"], Plesuve bet 3,000,000 into the 4,200,000 pot. Joseph used up four of his time banks before calling and getting the bad news after Plesuv showed [poker card="th"][poker card="6c"] for a turned straight. Joseph mucked his [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"] as Plesuv raked in the 10,325,000 pot. On the very next hand, Plesuv picked up even more chips and ended one player's run. James Gilbert raised to 250,000 from the cutoff, Plesuv called from the button before Gierse moved all in for 4,950,000 from the big blind. Gilbert folded but Plesuv called and flipped over [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"] while Gierse showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="6d"] runout gave Gierse no help and he was eliminated in fourth. Not surprisingly, Plusev was responsible for the next elimination as well. From the small blind, Plesuv raised to 400,000 and Joseph called from the big blind. After the [poker card="th"][poker card="7c"]6s] flop, Plesuv bet 550,000 and Joseph called. The turn was the [poker card="3h"] and Plesuv lead out again, betting 1,300,000. Joseph raised to 3,500,000 and Plesuv responded by moving all in. Joseph called and showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="9h"] for a flush and straight draw while Plesuv showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="ac"] river was a brick for Joseph and he was sent to the rail in third place. Heads up play began with Plesuv holding a nearly 6-1 chip lead over Gilbert. Despite this it took 68 hands for Plesuv to finish off his final opponent. Gilbert opened to 750,000, Plesuv moved all in and Gilbert called all in. Gilbert was ahead with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"] against Plesuv's [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"] but the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"][poker card="3c"] flop changed that. The [poker card="jc"] turn and [poker card="qh"] river finalized Gilbert's bustout. Final Table Payouts Pavel Plesuv – $504,820 Jim Gilbert – $326,565 Jeremy Joseph – $240,945 Marius Gierse – $179,710 Chris Kennedy – $135,505 Ravi Raghavan – $103,310
  15. The World Poker Tour will close out 2018 action with the prestigious WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The tournament, held at the iconic Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be the eighth WPT Main Tour stop of Season XVII. It’s an event that comes with a $10,400 buy-in and has been a part of the World Poker Tour schedule since the very first season. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,400 Main Event kicks off Tuesday, December 11, 2018, and runs through Saturday, December 15. The format calls for 40,000 in starting chips, big blind ante, registration until the start of the 12th level, and unlimited reentry until the close of registration. Levels will be 60 minutes long on Day 1 and 90 minutes long on Day 2, 3, and 4. The final table will be played with 60-minute levels until heads-up play. The full tournament festival begins Thursday, November 29. Rich Prizes, Storied History, and Legendary Champions The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic was the very first event on the World Poker Tour, held all the way back in 2002 when the WPT got its start. In that inaugural event, 146 players ponied up the $10,000. The one and only Gus Hansen emerged victorious to claim the $556,460 top prize and his first of three WPT titles. In Season III, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic had a $15,300 buy-in and an incredible first-place prize of more than $1.77 million. Winner the event was none other than Daniel Negreanu after he defeated the popular Humberto Brenes in heads-up play. Season V of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic attracted 583 entries and awarded a first prize of more than $2.2 million. Walking away with the title was Joe Hachem, who had just won the World Series of Poker Main Event one year prior. With the WPT Five Diamond victory, Hachem became the fourth player in poker history to own both WSOP Main Event and WPT titles, alongside Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen, and Carlos Mortensen. More stars of the game captured WPT Five Diamond titles in Season VI, Season VII, and Season VIII of the World Poker Tour. First, it was Eugene Katchalov winning in Season VI for $2.482 million. In Season VII, Chino Rheem took the title and $1.538 million. For Rheem, it was his first of three WPT titles. In Season VIII, Daniel Alaei scored first place for $1.428 million. As if the likes of Hansen, Negreanu, Hachem, Katchalov, Rheem, and Alaei weren’t enough, Antonio Esfandiari earned his second WPT title when he won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Season IX for $870,124. Esfandiari returned to the final table the following season and earned a sixth-place finish worth $119,418. Then in Season XI, Esfandiari was back at the final table, taking fourth for $329,339. To date, Esfandiari has cashed six times in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio, earning more than $1.4 million in total from the event through its first 16 editions. Dan Smith earned the WPT Five Diamond title for $1.161 million in Season XII. Then in Season XIII and Season XIV, both Mohsin Charania and Kevin Eyster won WPT Five Diamond for their second World Poker Tour titles. Charania won for $1.177 million, and Eyster won for $1.587 million. Record-Breaking Turnouts and Tosoc’s Back-To-Back Success In Season XV, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic drew a mammoth field of 791 entries, setting a new record for the WPT Five Diamond tournament and tying the all-time record for a $10,000 buy-in event in WPT history. That tournament created an enormous prize pool of more than $7.67 million and saw the top two places walk away with seven-figures scores - first place earned $1.938 million and second place won $1.124 million. James Romero defeated Ryan Tosoc in heads-up play to win the event. The following season, an even larger field turned out for the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, with 812 entries setting new records for the largest turnout in the WPT Five Diamond event and a $10,000 buy-in WPT event. Nearly $7.9 million was up for grabs, and once again the top two places earned seven figures - first place took home $1.958 million and second place earned $1.134 million. In a jaw-dropping back-to-back run, Tosoc, who placed second the year before for $1.124 million, won the event for $1.1958 million. From the two-season WPT Five Diamond run, Tosoc earned $3.082 million in total prize money. Big Buy-In Events Galore In addition to the $10,400 Main Event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule features several big buy-in tournaments. Included in the Season XVII schedule are seven other events with buy-ins of $10,000 or more. They are, as follows. - Wednesday, December 5, at 2 p.m.: $10,000 buy-in Bellagio 10K PLO 02 - Thursday, December 6, at 2 p.m.: $10,000 buy-in Bellagio 10K PLO 03 - Friday, December 7, at 2 p.m.: $15,000 buy-in Bellagio 15K 8-Game 01 - Saturday, December 8, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 01 - Monday, December 10, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 02 - Friday, December 14, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 03 - Saturday, December 15, at 2 p.m.: $100,000 buy-in Bellagio 100K 01 There are also two $5,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments on the schedule. The first starts on Sunday, December 9, at 1 p.m., and the second starts on Thursday, December 13, at 1 p.m. *Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
  16. April often opens with a day dedicated to Fools, but this year some of online poker's biggest stars shined brightest all month long - including the most-decorated player in PocketFives history. Moorman, 'bencb789', Nitsche, Leonard Grab Sunday Majors Wins Chris Moorman has won more PocketFives Triple Crowns than anybody else and he tops the all-time online poker tournament earnings list by a very healthy margin. In April, he added to his resume by winning the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up. That win earned him $39,343 and pushed him closer to the $15 million lifetime earnings mark. The final table included Dennys Ramos, Bruno Volkmann and 'girafganger7'. READ: SUNDAY MAJORS: Chris Moorman Conquers Sunday Warm-Up Moorman wasn't the only big name to pick up a big Sunday score. One week after Moorman won the Sunday Warm-Up, high stakes crusher 'bench789' beat Andrew 'eastwest_27' Theriault heads-up to win the event for $51,562.79. READ: SUNDAY MAJORS: ‘Bencb789’ Conquers Sunday Warm-Up The month actually started off with 888poker ambassador Dominik Nitsche winning the $1,050 $100,000 guaranteed Whale on 888 for $30,600. He beat Joao 'Jaolito85' Navarro heads-up for the win. READ: SUNDAY MAJORS: Dominik Nitsche Takes Down 888poker Whale One week after that, Patrick Leonard beat a final table that included Roman 'RomeOpro' Romanovsky, Parker Talbot and 'C Darwin2' to win the PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller. READ: SUNDAY MAJORS: Patrick Leonard Outduels ‘C Darwin2’ for HR Victory US Online Poker Shared Liquidity Inches Closer to Reality Since New Jersey and Nevada - okay, and Delaware too - launched regulated online poker, players in those states have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to play against each other in a shared player pool. WSOP.com, the only online operator working in the two big states, announced in April that they would be making interstate liquidity a reality on May 1. READ: WSOP.com Announces Interstate Liquidity Sharing Begins May 1 The news also had an impact on the 2018 World Series of Poker. With interstate liquidity, players in New Jersey would be able to play the WSOP online bracelet events for the first time in history. READ: Interstate Liquidity Brings High Hopes To 2018 WSOP Online Events Scott Margereson Grabs WPT Title in Florida April proved to be a slower month on the live tournament calendar than any other month, but don't tell Scott Margereson that. The British pro, who has two major online titles to his credit, picked up his first World Poker Tour title in April, winning the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Margereson beat out a final table that included Jeff Fielder, Matt Stout, Brian Hastings and Faraz Jaka to pick up nearly $700,000 and a seat in the WPT Tournament of Championship. READ: Scott Margereson wins WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown WSOP Changes Player of the Year System The 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race was marred by player issues with the scoring system. One year later, WSOP executives admitted the system was flawed and announced a totally revamped system for 2018. The new system better-rewarded players for wins and deep runs and placed far less emphasis on a min-cash. READ: WSOP Makes Changes to Much-Maligned Player of the Year System After Surviving Route 91 Shooting, Garry Gates Considers Himself Lucky In October 2017, the city of Las Vegas was the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in American history when 58 people died. Garry Gates, an executive with PokerStars, was one of the 22,000 in attendance that night but thankfully avoided injury. Six months after the shooting, Gates looked back at how he managed to stay alive that night, how the events changed him and how he realized how much Las Vegas meant to him in the aftermath of that horrible event. READ: Garry Gates, One of the Lucky Ones Sunday Million Anniversary Win Propels 'danearys-t' to April PLB Win Dutch grinder 'danearys-t' finished 2018 with $1,199,383 in lifetime earnings. A whopping $1,000,043.77 of that came from winning the PokerStars Sunday Million Anniversary: Take 2 on April 22. That win also gave him 3,355.89 PLB points which, combined with the 584.54 he picked up over the course of the rest of the month, was enough for him to win the April PLB race. He beat out names like 'C Darwin2' (sixth place), 'hellohellohello' (fifth place), and runner-up 'lena900' to claim the crown.
  17. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters are back for another episode of The Fives. This week they discuss the early end of the Rich Alati bathroom prop bet, the record turnout at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio and talk about Dylan Linde's huge win. They also recap all of the action from the European Poker Tour stop in Prague and talk about Dan Smith's Double Up Drive. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  18. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Is Chino Rheem a Poker Hall of Famer? Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters are back from the Bahamas to talk about all things poker, including whether or not the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event winner is worthy of getting into the Poker Hall of Fame when he's eligible in 2020. Other topics include the most recent news from the World Series of Poker including the addition of a Short Deck event, the use of Big Blind Ante in the Main Event and plans for the 50th WSOP. The guys also recap the WPT Gardens Championship, discuss PokerStars' decision to lower the Sunday Million buy-in to $109 and go over the first few events of the 2019 Aussie Millions. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  19. The World Poker Tour was back at Gardens Casino in Southern California for the second time in Season XVII, this time for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. Six players remain from the 253-entry field, and it was Frank Stepuchin who bagged the chip lead. Stepuchin was joined at the official final table by Shannon Shorr, Steve Sung, Brent Roberts, Ray Qartomy, and Jonathan Abdellatif. The $10,000 buy-in event was the first WPT Main Tour event to feature the delayed TV final table format. After playing down to the final six players on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the tournament was put on ice for what will be nearly two months before play resumes on Tuesday, March 12 - 55 days, to be exact. That is when the final six will compete for the $548,825 top prize at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Stepuchin, who hails from Park City, Utah, and entered this event with $354,625 in live tournament earnings, bagged the chip lead in a very large way, with 4.065 million in chips. The next closest was Shorr with 1.71 million. Belgian player Jonathan Abdellatif, who held nearly $1.7 million in live tournament earnings entering the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, finished as the short stack with 555,000. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Shannon Shorr - 1,710,000 Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin - 4,065,000 Seat 3: Brent Roberts - 1,385,000 Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif - 555,000 Seat 5: Ray Qartomy - 820,000 Seat 6: Steve Sung - 1,580,000 Road To the Final Table Stepuchin emerged as a big stack right out of the gate. He finished as the Day 1a chip leader and was second in chips entering Day 2. At the time, he was behind another player that reached the final table, Qartomy. Stepuchin finished sixth in chips after Day 2 when Shorr bagged the chip lead, then Stepuchin led the final 19 players after Day 3 before riding that chip lead into the final table. On Day 4, Stepuchin eliminated Toby Lewis in seventh place and Allen Pock in 15th place. Eliminating Lewis in seventh set the official WPT final table, and it came just before 10 p.m. PT on Wednesday when the tournament was in Level 24 with the blinds at 15,000-30,000 with a 30,000 big blind ante, according to WPT coverage. Shorr had opened with a raise from the cutoff seat to 60,000, Lewis called from the button, and Stepuchin called from the small blind. The flop was [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"] and action checked to Lewis. He bet 75,000 before Stepuchin check-raised to 190,000. Shorr folded, but Lewis made the call to see the [poker card="Kd"] land on the turn. Stepuchin fired 360,000 and Lewis called to see the [poker card="3d"] appear on the river. Stepuchin bet all in, having Lewis and his remaining 360,000 covered. Lewis called with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jh"] but saw the bad news when his two pair was second best to Stepuchin’s pocket fives - [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. For Shorr, Sung, and Roberts, they’re second, third, and fourth in chips, respectively. Shorr ended Day 2 with the chip lead, but it wasn’t without a couple of very eventful hands that saw Shorr with plenty of chips on the line. First, he was all in with pocket kings against the pocket queens of Dan Smith and earned a double up. After that, Shorr took out Mike Eskandari, but did so with an inferior hand when his pocket sevens came from behind against Eskandari’s queens. On that hand, all of the money went in preflop and Shorr flopped a set. Qartomy reached the final table as the second shortest stack remaining, but he could’ve been knocked out by the lowly [poker card="9c"][poker card="4d"] in seventh place had his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"] not held up. Qartomy three-bet jammed for 410,000 over a raise to 60,000 from Stepuchin. Stepuchin called, but Qartomy’s hand held strong to give him the double up. On Day 3 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, Qartomy was the player to send everyone into the money, doing so when he knocked out Raul Lozano in 33rd place. Qartomy held the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qs"] and was behind Lozano’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"], but a queen flopped and Lozano couldn’t come back from it. Some of the notable players to cash in the event but fall short of the final table were Garrett Greer (8th - $66,955), WPT Champions Club member Marvin Rettenmaier (11th - $43,220), Ricky 'RatedGTO' Guan (13th - $35,550), and Nicole Schwartz (20th - $25,225). Schwartz won her way into the event by winning a $100 charity event. She fired an additional $100 bullet in that event, so her $10,000 seat cost her $200, but she then turned that into more than $25,000 in prize money. Can Shorr, Sung, and Roberts Finally Break Into the WPT Champions Club? Shorr, Sung, and Roberts are no strangers to tournament poker. They’ve been around the game for a long time and have impressive career résumés. Entering this event, Shorr had nearly $6.7 million in live tournament earnings, Sung had more than $5.5 million, and Roberts was just over $2 million. All three have experienced podium finishes in WPT events, but none have won a WPT title. Shorr’s best WPT finish was a second-place result in the Season XII WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. In a field of 415 entries, Shorr finished runner-up to James Calderaro and took home $190,039. "I'm on cloud nine after reaching the Gardens final table," Shorr told PocketFives. "I've been putting a ton of work into my poker game and my mind and body lately, so to have a big result like this in a major tournament is really special, personally." Shorr also placed fourth in the Season IX WPT Southern Poker Championship and fifth in the Season VII WPT World Championship for $144,985 and $408,550, respectively. "Winning a WPT title would be incredible," Shorr added. "I've had tons of final tables in big events worldwide but haven't won a 'major.' Maybe this is the one." Sung has three official WPT final tables on record, with his best result coming in the Season VI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event when he took second to Brandon Cantu and won $585,000. "It feels amazing to have reached the Gardens final table, to be able to enjoy the next couple months knowing that the final table will always be there," Sung said. "I always wanted to experience making the 'November Nine,' and this is the next best thing, the 'March Six!'" Sung also has a pair of fourth-place finishes on the World Poker Tour, first in the Season VI WPT Spanish Championship for €117,400 ($164,943) and then in the Season VII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $396,205. “Winning a WPT title means that my goal has been finally accomplished,” Sung said when asked what a winning a WPT title would mean to him. “I've expected to win one over a decade ago and had to come back from self-inflicted setbacks in multiple aspects of my being.” Roberts does have a WPTDeepStacks title from back in 2016, but a WPT Main Tour title has eluded him. His best WPT Main Tour finish was in the Season XIV WPT Legends of Poker when he took third in a field of 786 entries to win $251,035. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications The final six have locked up 600 points in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, currently led by Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, and there are 1,200 points up top. The points could mean the most to Qartomy, who already has 650 points on the season and is in 40th place on the leaderboard. A win would vault him to the same 1,850 points as Ruberto, but Qartomy would hold the tiebreaker of most money won as he’d have $652,474 to Ruberto’s $530,692. Sung also stands to benefit well from the Hublot WPT Player of the Year points earned at this final table. Entering the event, Sung has 450 points and was in 57th place. He’s guaranteed to move to 1,050 points, which would put him in the top 15, and has upside to move into second place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with a victory. Sung now has five WPT Main Tour cashes in Season XVII, including a ninth-place finish in the WPT Gardens Poker Festival that kicked off the season. Stepuchin entered this event with 100 points, Shorr 100 points, Roberts 175 points, and Abdellatif 50 points. Champion To Be Crowned on March 12 The final six competitors have locked up $110,225 for reaching the final table and will be back in action on March 12 in Las Vegas to compete for the $548,825 top prize. First place includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. "It's a bizarre feeling traveling to LA for five days, playing nonstop in a tournament, and to not know my result upon leaving," Shorr said. "I really like the format, though, and am all for anything that helps grow the game." "I'm going to enjoy the next 55 days like no other!" Sung said.
  20. The first major poker tournament of 2019 is just days away. So there's no better time than to pull out the crystal ball and take a look at how some of poker's biggest names will do in 2019. Editor in Chief Lance Bradley, Managing Editor Donnie Peters and Senior Writer Jeff Walsh give their takes on what's in store over the next 12 months for Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Ivey. Phil Hellmuth Set for WSOP Player of the Year Run "After winning $684,190 from live poker tournaments in 2018, Phil Hellmuth’s streak of consecutive years with more than $1 million in live tournament winnings stopped at three. After the World Series of Poker wrapped up in July, Hellmuth didn’t record another cash on the live poker felt for the remainder of the year. He did, however, pick up his record 15th WSOP gold bracelet in 2018." "In 2019, not only am I predicting that Hellmuth will win more than $1 million on the year, I’m going to say he’ll win more than $2.5 million. Although he seems to be dabbling more and more in the world of sports betting these days, as can be evidenced by content populating his Twitter feed, poker is Hellmuth’s bread and butter. With 2019 bringing the 50th annual World Series of Poker, I anticipate him being as focused as he’s ever been, which will lead to several deep runs. So many, in fact, that I’m predicting Hellmuth wins the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year award. He won’t win a gold bracelet, or a WPT title, though, as it will be the year of close calls for Hellmuth." - Donnie Peters * * * Daniel Negreanu Engaged and Disengaged at the Same Time "So, what is on the horizon for poker’s most famous superstar? There’s no doubt that 2018 was a monster year for Daniel Negreanu. It was one that included the second highest live tournament score of his career when he finished second in May’s Super High Roller Bowl for $3 million. In total,’ Kid Poker’ pulled in over $4.5 million in earnings in 2018. Add to that a brand new mainstream poker training course, his deal with PokerGO, a cameo in the movie ‘Bodied’ and his continued relationship with PokerStars - Negreanu was successful both on and off the felt." "However, looking forward to 2019, I’m afraid I see his poker results taking a bit of setback. In addition to all of those things he accomplished in 2018, Negreanu also - very publicly - reconnected and fell back in love with his longtime 'will they or won’t they?' romantic partner, Friday Night Poker commentator, Amanda Leatherman. After months of some very public social media and podcast PDA, the pair got engaged on New Year’s Eve." "Sometimes, when people get really happy, they take their goals and ambitions and put them in the backseat. That’s what is likely to happen for Negreanu. Instead of spending time with coaches and a solver to stay at the top of the high roller game, he’ll be picking out wedding invitations and preparing to start a family. So while 'Kid Poker' will still be everywhere in poker, he may find that his tournament results in 2019 just aren’t there. At the same time though, his happiness ROI is going to be through the roof." - Jeff Walsh * * * Phil Ivey Isn't Coming Through That Door Anytime Soon "After spending all of 2017 away from the tournament scene, Phil Ivey re-emerged in 2018 to play a limited schedule that culiminated with a small cash in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event. Seeing Ivey back at the tables was an exciting development for poker fans, but it was short lived and it was far from a complete return to the dominance those same poker fans have come to expect from him. It was $2.4 million in earnings from six cashes. When he played the $565 buy-in WSOP Colossus event in June, we were told Ivey was back because he loved the game too much to stay away. That might be true, but he never showed up in another tournament over the last five months of the year. Sorry, poker world. There's very little reason to believe it won't be more of the same in 2019 though. With the Borgata and Crockfords cases still hanging over his head - largely over back payment - Ivey has no real reason to emerge in a big way. He's likely to continue playing high stakes cash games around the world and might make the odd Triton Cup appearance, but don't look for him to show up on the scene playing European Poker Tour or World Poker Tour events on the regular. He's likely going to be at the WSOP again this summer unless of course, the cash games in Vegas at that time are just too good to pass up." - Lance Bradley
  21. Chino Rheem is about as polarizing of a figure as you’ll find in today’s world of poker, but for all of the issues he’s had over the years, there’s no denying his ability to perform on the game’s largest stages. Rheem has won three World Poker Tour titles, final tabled the WSOP Main Event, and amassed more than $10.5 million in live tournament earnings. Coming off a first-place score for more than $1.5 million in the 2019 PCA Main Event, Rheem recently became the 41st poker player in history to win more than $10 million from live poker tournaments. Here’s a look at the five biggest scores of Rheem’s poker career. 7th in 2008 WSOP Main Event ($1,772,650) Rheem had been around the poker world for a handful of years before the 2008 World Series of Poker, and he even had a second-place finish in a gold bracelet event in 2006 that earned him $327,981. He truly made waves in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, though, when he aggressively splashed his way through the 6,844-player field to reach the final table in what was the first-ever WSOP November Nine. Rheem entered the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table in sixth position on the leaderboard. His run ultimately ended in seventh place after he got the last of his money in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"] against Peter Eastgate’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qd"]. A queen hit the flop, and that was all she wrote for Rheem, who was sent to the rail with a $1.772 million prize. 1st in 2019 PCA Main Event ($1,567,100) The 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event attracted 865 entries. With six players left, Rheem entered the final day with the chip lead. He busted all five of his opponents to win the 2019 PCA Main Event and capture its $1.567 million first-place prize. This result proved to be, at the time, the second largest of Rheem's career, just behind his WSOP Main Event seventh-place finish. It also moved him to more than $10.5 million in live tournament earnings and he became the 74th player to eclipse the $10 million earnings mark, per HendonMob. 1st in WPT Five Diamond ($1,538,730) Rheem was one of 497 entries in the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic event at Bellagio in 2008. The event was part of Season VII of the WPT and featured a buy-in of $15,400. The prize pool was $7.231 million, of which Rheem got the most of when he scored the $1.538 million top prize. It was the first of Rheem’s three World Poker Tour titles and came just a month after he finished seventh in the World Series of Poker Main Event. At this final table, Rheem had stiff competition in the form of Justin Young, Evan McNiff, Steve Sung, Amnon Filippi, and Hoyt Corkins. 1st in WPT World Championship ($1,150,297) To conclude Season XI of the World Poker Tour, Rheem won the $25,500 buy-in WPT World Championship. The event was held at Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2013 and attracted 146 entries to create a $3.54 million prize pool. In the end, it was Rheem against Erick Lindgren for the title, with Rheem coming out on top to win a $1.15 million payday and his second WPT title. 1st in Epic Poker League Event #1 ($1,000,000) Currently standing as the fifth largest score of Rheem’s poker career is a victory in the now defunct Epic Poker League. Rheem won the EPL’s first title, defeating a field of 137 entries in the $20,000 buy-in tournament to score the $1 million top prize. At the final table, Rheem out-battled runner-up Erik Seidel and third-place finisher Jason Mercier en route to the title and million dollar payday.
  22. The PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish. The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1078708641665073152 The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays. If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. Here's a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750 Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415) 2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250 Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165) 2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250 Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140) 2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000 Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150) 2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000 Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000) 2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000 Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356) 2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500 Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960) 2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852 Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059) 2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825 Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It's more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn't happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here's a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000 Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000) 2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800 Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000) 2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400 Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000) 2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400 Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000) 2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700 Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096) 2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900 Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000) 2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976 Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000) 2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200 Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580) 2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842 Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall. The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event. So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship's figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  23. November was a big month for attention-grabbing poker headlines. There was a hard-to-believe $100,000 prop bet that generated incredible buzz, the return of a high-profile lawsuit between a WSOP Main Event runner-up and the largest online poker site in the world, and the conclusion of a handful of prominent live poker tournaments that found winners. Here are PocketFives' top five stories from November 2018, plus a look at who won the PocketFives Monthly PLB title. Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch-Black Bathroom Prop Bet Poker players can be known to make wild prop bets, and that was certainly the case for Rory Young and Rich Alati. The two grabbed more than just poker headlines in November when their $100,000 bathroom prop bet was featured in headlines from several mainstream media outlets. It was one of the craziest prop bets we've ever heard of and will be one that is remembered for years and years to come. The bet was made to see if Alati could live in a pitch-black bathroom with no human contact and no electronics, among several other stipulations, for 30 days straight. Soon after the bet was made and began making its way around the poker world, PocketFives spoke with Young about the details of the bet and how it came to fruition. READ: Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch Black Bathroom Prop Bet Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Back in May, it was made known that Gordon Vayo, runner-up in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, was suing PokerStars for the winnings the online poker site withheld from him from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament that was worth nearly $700,000. That story made headlines everywhere within the poker world, but it made even bigger news in November when a November 12 California court filing revealed that Vayo had voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. What really kicked things up a notch, though, were two things. First that the lawsuit was dropped amid accusations of forgery committed by Vayo. Second, PokerStars was seeking repayment of their attorney fees for nearly $300,000 - quite the tipping of the scales. READ: Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event A former eighth-place finisher in the WSOP Main Event in 2017 for $1.2 million, Jack Sinclair was back in the World Series of Poker spotlight in November 2018, only this time in Europe. Sinclair made his way to the 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event final table and emerged victorious atop the 534-entry field to win the €1.222 million ($1.277 million) first-place prize. To claim victory, Sinclair had to defeat one of online poker's toughest players in heads-up play, Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas. The victory earned Sinclair the largest payday of his poker career and first WSOP gold bracelet. READ: Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 The World Poker Tour was in action in Canada in November for the Season XVII WPT Montreal. The event attracted 792 entries, and it was Patrick 'prepprepprep' Serda who came out on top after entering the final table with the chip lead. Serda defeated the first female winner of an open WPT Main Tour event, Ema Zajmovic, in heads-up play to take home the C$855,000 ($652,801) first-place prize, denying Zajmovic her second World Poker Tour title. READ: Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 Big Titles Won at partypoker Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas While the WSOP and WPT were busy dishing out titles in colder climates, partypoker LIVE was down in the Bahamas for the much-anticipated partypoker Caribbean Poker Party tournament festival. The series was full of big buy-in events, notables faces capturing huge sums of cash, and nine seven-figure prizes awarded. The first big tournament of the series to find its winner was the $25,500 buy-in partypoker MILLIONS World. The event generated 394 entries and fell just short of its $10 million guarantee, but enormous prizes were still to be had, including the $2 million first-place prize that Roger Teska took home after he defeated Steve O'Dwyer in second place. O'Dwyer scored $1.3 million for the runner-up result, and third-place finisher Charles La Boissonniere also took home seven figures, winning $1 million. READ: Roger Teska Battles Back to Win partypoker MILLIONS World for $2M We then saw a $3.685 million winner come from the partypoker $250,000 Super High Roller Championships event, and it was Steffan Sontheimer earning a new career-best score. The event generated a field size of 34 entries for a prize pool of $8.235 million. Sontheimer beat out Sean Winter in heads-up play, and David Peters finished in third place. Winter and Peters took home $2.43 million and $1.42 million, respectively. READ: Steffan Sontheimer Wins partypoker $250K SHR Championships For $3.68M In the $5,300 buy-in Main Event, another $10 million prize pool guarantee was on the line. The event fell short of the guarantee with just 1,815 entries, but the top three spots still gave out a million dollars or more each. Winning the event was Portugal's Filipe Oliveira, taking home the $1.5 million top prize. Craig Mason finished second for $1.2 million, and Marc MacDonnell took third for $1 million. READ: Filipe Oliveira Wins 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event Sweden's 'lena900' Wins Another Monthly PLB Title in November Sweden's 'lena900' stayed hot and won another PocketFives Monthly PLB title in November after cashing 191 times for a total of $585,250. It was a dominating performance for 'lena900,' who racked up more than 4,900 points. The closest competitor was 'girafganger7' with a monthly point total of less than 3,900. A couple of the notable November scores for 'lena900' included a third-place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million on November 25 for $80,555 and 569.39 points and a win in the partypoker Sunday Super High Roller: $100K Gtd on November 18 for $41,480 and 387.30 points. READ: Top-Ranked ‘lena900’ Wins November Monthly PLB Title
  24. Nearly every ride at Disney World starts with a slow build-up and crescendos into some combination of speed and excitement before inevitably slowing to a halt to allow the rider to safely depart. The last 14 months of Anthony Maio’s life have closely resembled a thrill ride, but one that shows no signs of slowing down at all. The slow build-up actually came in October 2017 at Disney World in Orlando when he proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Jenelle, while Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Jenelle’s daughter looked on. Things began to accelerate a few months later when he took some of the money he’s won playing live and online poker in New Jersey and started putting it to work for him. “It's been a whirlwind, said Maio. “Especially to start the year. I started a charter fishing and motorsports business here in South Jersey.” Maio admits he’s not much of a fisherman, and the business is actually run by one of Maio’s close friends, so it doesn’t take him away from the online games he frequents. “I play probably seven days a week,” Maio said. “Start at seven to eight at night and end up around four every day. So I probably play eight hours, [six or seven] days a week. I usually try to take a night off for a date night every week.” Maio, currently ranked #82 in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, might have thought he’d hit peak velocity over the summer. While poker pros from around the world headed to Las Vegas for the seven weeks of the World Series of Poker, Maio stayed back in New Jersey, where he found his working conditions improving quite a bit. “Grinding in Jersey during the summer is the best decision I could make,” Maio said. “Not only for the business, that's pretty much self-sufficient, but the fact that every grinder goes to Vegas. I'm the only one here. You see so many people come out of the woodwork that don't play poker online that just are online in the summertime. I don't know where they come from, I don't know if they're people just here visiting, but it's great.” That doesn’t mean he avoided Sin City entirely during the summer, though. He made one trip in mid-June and picked up $8,632 cash at the Venetian before heading back east. He continued grinding online and when the WSOP $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Online Championship event rolled around, Maio was ready. He outlasted 1,633 other players before losing heads-up to Ryan Tosoc for the bracelet. “Getting second in a bracelet event in Jersey at my home at 10 a.m. was pretty cool,” Maio said. “It would've been awesome to win the bracelet, but doing that in New Jersey was quite amazing.” The thrill ride now in full swing, Maio packed up and headed back to Las Vegas with the WSOP Main Event in sight. This was the second consecutive year that he’s stayed home and played online and he’s noticed both years the difference it makes in his Main Event mindset compared to some of his colleagues who were gone all summer. “I'm coming every year to Vegas and I'm fresh for the Main,” Maio said. “I see so many people burned out, they're just away in the summer and their summer's been going terrible. So they're already over it by the time the Main rolls around, and I get there and I'm excited to play. So it's a big difference.” Coming in fresh, and with his fiancé there for support, Maio breezed through the first few days of the Main Event. As the money bubble approached, Maio couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. “My table on the bubble was so insane,” Maio said. “I had 30 bigs to start when it went hand-for-hand and my table had all Euros on it. I didn't see a pot. I got moved to this table. I sat there for a good 20 minutes of hand-for-hand, and I didn't see one hand that was not at least three-bet. That's how action-happy these people were.” Seeing as how he couldn’t even enter a pot, let alone win one, Maio did something he’s never done before. While the tournament was hand-for-hand, Maio left the table and went outside to get some air while the madness played out inside the Amazon Room at the Rio. “It took 20 minutes,” Maio said. “I only lost maybe 25K in chips. So not even four or five big blinds. I came back, had a great Day 4 table, and then made it to Day 5.” He busted in 377th place for $33,305 and immediately headed back to New Jersey. He played a few live events at Borgata but mostly continued to grind online until the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open in mid-September. Maio continued his great run and wound up at the six-handed final table with a shot at $575,000. It wasn’t meant to be, though, as Maio couldn’t spin his short stack up and was eliminated in sixth. The final table wasn’t the most disappointing day of that tournament, though. “It was frustrating the day before [the final table],” remembered Maio. “At the final table, the only frustrating part was the kid waking up with kings and slamming them down and fist-pumping it. That was frustrating.” The frustration didn’t last, but Maio’s seemingly endless thrill ride did. In late September, on the second day of the PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Poker, Maio entered the $86 buy-in Chris Moneymaker Tour Online event that awarded a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the winner. Maio beat out 409 other players to win the tournament and now is preparing himself to head to the Bahamas in January to play the PokerStars Players Championship event, the largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history. Maio, who doesn’t normally travel to play poker tournaments, is looking forward to this one. “Every known player, I'm assuming, is gonna play that and they're entering 300 Platinum Pass winners and most of the Platinum Pass winners are not professional poker players,” said Maio. “I'm probably one of the few Platinum Pass winners that's actually a professional. So that alone, there's so much value in the field. Plus, they're adding a million dollars for first. The structure itself looks amazing. It's a freeze-out, so the bosses can't come in and just blast off. Because if you give Bryn Kenney 10 bullets, he's just gonna beat you every time.” Thanks to the runner-up in the bracelet event and the WPT final table, Maio decided to pitch Jenelle on changing up their wedding plans. “We were gonna do something in Virginia, in the mountains, and then I got second in the bracelet event, and I just said, ‘Let's just get married in Disneyworld’," said Maio. Jenelle was all for it and almost exactly one year after getting engaged in front of Mickey and Minnie, the pair got married with friends and family watching on. With the PSPC, another live Borgata series, and the online games in New Jersey all presenting opportunities for ever more momentum, Maio isn’t ready for this ride to end.
  25. Season XVII of the World Poker Tour saw the WPT head to the cold Northeast for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. A whopper of a field turned out for the $3,500 buy-in event, as 1,415 entries were generated to make it the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field size of all time. When play wrapped up on Thursday night, just six players remained. Those six were led by Dave Farah and will now enjoy a 41-day break before playing for the title in Las Vegas on March 13, 2019. Each of the remaining six players is guaranteed $154,734 for reaching the final table, with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the eventual champion. The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be televised as part of the WPT's broadcast schedule for Season XVII, and it’s the second final table undergoing a delay before its played out in Las Vegas. The first final table to hit a delay was the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. That event will see the final six compete on March 12, one day before the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table plays out. Farah is from New Jersey and entered the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. That means this result is the largest of his live tournament career. Farah finished atop the final six with 18.85 million and was nearly 5 million ahead of Brandon Hall's second-place stack of 14.1 million. WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table Seat 1: Ian O'Hara - 5,100,000 Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open began with 1,415 entries. Entering Day 2, 662 players remained, with the registration and re-entry period open for another couple of hours. When Day 2 was all said and done, 177 players remained. They were all in the money, as the top 177 places paid. Chris Tryba was eliminated on the money bubble at the hand of Dylan Gang. Tryba's pocket nines could hold up against the [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"] of Gang thanks to an ace on the flop, sending Tryba home in 178th place. That's when Day 2 ended and it was Alex Aqel on top with 1.26 million in chips. On Day 3, WPT Champions Club members Mike Linster (74th), Brian Altman (92nd), David Paredes (134th), Victor Ramdin (152nd), Daniel Strelitz (164th), Taylor Paur (168th), and Anthony Zinno (175th) all his the rail. Aqel's run came to an end in 69th place. A little later, the last of the WPT champions fell. Matt Waxman busted in 49th, Bobby Oboodi went out in 39th, and then Olivier Busquet was bounced in 32nd. Busquet, a former WPT winner at Borgata, was the final WPT champion standing. Day 3 ended with 29 players left and Nick Schwarmann out in front. To start things off on Day 4, Ian O'Hara knocked out Taylor Wilson in 29th place. A little bit after that, Daniel Buzgon, who is currently the 13th-ranked online player in New Jersey and 19th-ranked player in the United States, took the chip lead from Schwarmann. Schwarmann stayed strong, though, and eventually busted Chase Bianchi in 22nd place. Farah knocked out A.J. Kelsall in 20th place, Buzgon sent Joseph Liberta out the door in 19th, and Hall KO'd Ariel Albilia in 18th position. Buzgon then took care of Elilton Gouveia in 17th, Vinicius Lima sent Melad Marji home in 16th, and Ping Liu was eliminated in 15th. Liu's elimination was significant because by reaching the top 15, Liu earned enough points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race to sit atop the leaderboard. Although tied with Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, Liu holds the tiebreaker of most money won. After a dinner break, Raul Martinez busted in 14th and Lucas Braga went out in 13th. Braga was knocked out by Buzgon. Steven Sarmiento, who won a huge pot earlier in the day with aces over Brandon Shane's kings, the knocked out Dave Peay in 12th place. Schwarmann's run would come to an end in 11th place and Gang busted in 10th, both falling to Hall. The final nine players then joined to one table. From there, Michael Cannon went out ninth, Shane hit the rail in eighth, and Sarmiento fell in seventh. Sarmiento was busted by Farah. On that final hand of Day 4, Sarmiento was all in with pocket nines against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"] of Farah. Sarmiento's nines held until the river, but that's when a ten appeared to knock Sarmiento out. Is the Third Time the Charm for Farah? Although this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table may lack a big name such as Phil Hellmuth, who busted in 102nd place for $7,176, or a WPT Champions Club member looking to earn another title, what we can look forward to is a new name etched on the WPT Champions Cup. As mentioned, Farah is making the largest cash of his live tournament career. In fact, it's only his ninth live tournament cash ever. His previous best was a 344th-place finish in the 2016 WSOP Main Event when he took home $32,130. He does have two prior WPT Main Tour cashes on record, and both came from previous editions of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. In Season XV, Farah placed 41st for $13,607. In Season XVI, he finished 75th for $8,623. As the saying goes, the third time is the charm, and Farah's third cash in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open could very well be the charm he is looking for, and it'd be worth $728,430. [caption id="attachment_622498" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Brandon Hall Back On the Big Stage Hall will enter the final table second in chips. If you were to stroll through the field of 1,400-plus players at Borgata, you might walk right past Hall, as he has a modest appearance that can truly blend into any tournament field. That said, Hall has been on the big stage before, evidenced by his more than $1.46 million in live tournament earnings. Hall's first big splash came in 2009 when he won the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330, defeating Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. [caption id="attachment_622499" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Daniel Buzgon (left) and Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Buzgon and O'Hara Eye First Major Title Both Daniel Buzgon, third in chips, and O'Hara, fifth in chips, have plenty of poker success ahead of this deep run in the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Both had more than $2 million in live tournament earnings and multiple six-figure scores ahead of this event, but neither had won a major poker title. Both have also come close in WPT Main Tour events before. Buzgon has previously reached a WPT final table twice, finishing third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, both in Season X. O'Hara's closest call to winning a WPT title was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Di Rosa Rojas and Lima Making the Most of First WPT Cashes The other two players to reach the final table were Joseph Di Rosa Rojas and Lima. Combined, the two have just more than $1 million in live tournament earnings. Di Rosa Rojas entered the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with $770,366 in live earnings, and Lima had $263,186. You may know Di Rosa Rojas for his finish in the 2017 WSOP Marathon event, which he won for $690,469. Lima's best result comes from a $102,149 score in Las Vegas. Both Di Rosa Rojas and Lima are making their first World Poker Tour final table with this run. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications As already mentioned, Liu moved into first place in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with his 15th-place finish in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Each of the remaining six players will earn at least 800 points in the race, and there are 1,400 points up for grabs to the winner of this event. Those are a lot of points for the winner, but no player to reach this final table has cashed in Season XVII yet, so everyone is starting from scratch. That said, 1,400 points would jump the winner into fourth place, right behind this season's WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic winner, Dylan Linde. Next Stop, Las Vegas On March 13 After reaching the final table, the final six players were sent on a 41-day hiatus. They’ll pick up the action on March 13, 2019, in Las Vegas at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. That’s when they'll compete for the $728,430 top prize, which includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
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