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Found 246 results

  1. Police in Medford Township, New Jersey have arrested a 24-year-old in connection with the attempted armed burglary of the home of professional poker player Darren Elias. Shannon Soroka, a part-time poker player, was arrested Friday, one day after he burst into Elias' home armed with a handgun. Elias and his wife were out at the time and Soroka allegedly demanded the 19-year-old babysitter that was home show Soroka where Elias kept his cash. During the robbery, Soroka allegedly held a gun to the woman's back. Elias and his wife were not home at the time. The babysitter was watching the couple's two-year-old daughter when Soroka forced his way into the home and eventually locked the babysitter in an upstairs bathroom before fleeing. "It's incredibly scary for me and my family. It was an awful feeling," Elias told NBC10. "I would say he was familiar with what I do for a living and thought that I might have things of value in the house." Elias recently returned from Las Vegas where he finished third in the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic. Soroka, who has 23 cashes on his HendonMob profile for $37,745 in earnings, has been charged with robbery, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, mischief and making terroristic threats. Neither the babysitter or the child were injured during the robbery.
  2. When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open started on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Viny Lima was the shortest stack of the six players remaining. Over the course of the next 10 hours, Lima refused to go into the night quietly and eliminated his final four opponents to take home $728,430 and his first World Poker Tour title. Ian O'Hara waited 41 days for his shot at WPT title but only managed to get to play for a little over 30 minutes on Wednesday night before busting. Brandon Hall raised to 350,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"] and action folded to O'Hara in the big blind and he moved all in for 5,125,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. Hall called instantly and then watched the board run out [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="td"][poker card="9d"] to eliminate O'Hara in sixth place. While the first elimination of the night came quickly, fans inside the HyperX Esports Arena had to wait another six hours for the next one. Action folded to Lima in the small blind and he moved all in for 11,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"] and Daniel Buzgon called all in for 5,400,000 from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="7c"] flop put Lima comfortably ahead and after the [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river failed to save him, Buzgon was eliminated in fifth place. The BorgataPoker.com ambassador tweeted following his elimination. Brandon Hall spent some time at the top of the chip counts on Wednesday but ultimately couldn't stay there. From UTG, Lima raised to 1,500,000 with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Hall called from the big blind with [poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="kd"][poker card="7s"] to send Hall packing in fourth place. Down to just eight big blinds, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="4c"] and Lima called from the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Lima two pair and neither the [poker card="3d"] turn or [poker card="th"] river improved Rojas and he was eliminated in third. Farah started heads up play with a 5-3 chip lead over Lima, but the early stages of heads up play saw Lima flip the script and eventually take a 4.5-1 lead of his own. After an hour of play, Lima and Farah clashed one final time. Farah moved all in from the button with [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"] and Lima called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="js"][poker card="5h"] flop gave both players a pair but kept Lima ahead. The [poker card="2c"] was no help and the [poker card="ks"] river gave Lima an unneeded second pair to eliminate Farah, who started the day with the chip lead, in second place. Final Table Payouts Viny Lima - $728,430 Dave Farah - $485,611 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - $359,555 Brandon Hall - $268,810 Daniel Buzgon - $202,942 Ian O'Hara - $154,734
  3. The World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder stop in Lincoln, California wrapped up on Tuesday with former Sacramento resident Erkut Yilmaz pulling off the incredible feat of winning his second WPT Main Tour stop in the same season. Now a Philadelphia resident, Yilmaz took down the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September, taking home a career-high cash of $575,112 in the process. Now, after navigating through the field of 280 runners at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and eventually defeating Jim Collopy in a grueling heads-up battle, he's become a two-time WPT champion and takes home $303,920 for the victory. Before he could celebrate his Sacramento homecoming, Yilmaz would have to face an incredibly stacked final table that included Season 13 WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno and WPT Champions Club member Dylan Linde. North Carolina business owner Jerry Robinson was at his first World Poker Tour final table when he looked down at [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"] and put in a raise from the hijack. Ajay Chabra defended his big blind with the dominated [poker card="ac"][poker card="3c"]. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] and Chabra checked it over to Robinson who bet. Chabra put in a healthy check-raise and Robinson moved all in with his tournament on the line. With the nut flush draw, Chabra made the call. The turn was the [poker card="6s"] giving Chabra an open-ended straight draw to go along with his flush draw. The river fell the [poker card="7h"], bringing in the runner-runner straight for Chabra and sending Robinson to the rail having his aces cracked. Robinson picked up $50,720 for a new career-high cash. Anthony Zinno started the day as the short stack and was able to find a double up which helped him ladder the payouts. However, he wasn’t long for the final table after a clash with Collopy. Zinno raised from the cutoff with [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"] and both Collopy and Chabra made the call from the button and big blind respectively. The flop fell [poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] and when checked to him, Zinno put out a bet. Collopy made the call and Chabra folded. The turn was the [poker card="jd"] and Zinno open-shoved the rest of his stack. Collopy made the call and flipped over the [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] for the flush and Zinno was drawing dead to the [poker card="2h"] river. Zinno fell in fifth place and the three-time WPT champ earned $68,860 in the process. Dylan Linde was the next to move when he shipped his roughly 15 big blind stack from the small blind holding the [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. He was quickly called by Collopy in the big blind holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"] flop was good for Linde who improved to a pair, leaving Collopy with the three aces as outs as well as running straight or flush cards. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] bringing in some backdoor possibilities for Collopy. The [poker card="as"] spiked on the river for Collopy which sent Linde out the door in fourth place for $95,530. The remaining players battled three-handed for the better part of three hours until an all in preflop clash sent the next player to the rail. Chabra limped the button holding [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"]. From the small blind, Collopy put in a raise with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] and Yilmaz folded the big blind. Chabra then three-bet jammed his remaining stack only to get snap called by Collopy. With the cards on their backs, the players saw a flop of [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"], giving Collopy top pair and leaving Chabra looking for some serious help. The turn was the [poker card="3d"], leaving Chabra looking for a five to survive. The river was the [poker card="9s"], marking the end of the tournament for Chabra, who, settled for third place and a six-figure payday of $130,345. Collopy held a commanding lead for most of the first part of the heads up match and had multiple shots at closing it out, only to lose back-to-back crucial flips to Yilmaz. The duo trades blows for well over two hours, with both players having their opponent on the verge of elimination only for the other to spike the card they needed to stay alive. Finally, with the chip lead, Collopy raised from the button with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Yilmaz shipped his [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] on the button. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"] flop put Yilmaz in the lead but left Collopy with outs. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] adding an open ender for Collopy, but the river was the [poker card="qd"] giving the hand to Yilmaz. After the chips were placed in Yilmaz' stack, he held 95% of the chips in play. On the very next hand, the pair put the chips in the middle again with Yilmaz spiking an ace on the river to complete the feat of winning two titles in a single season. Collopy was eliminated in second place, receiving $200,780 as a consolation. The score sends his lifetime recorded earnings north of $2 million. Yilmaz earned the $303,920 first-place prize, a new Hublot watch, and an extra $15,000 in lieu of a ticket to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, as he has already won a seat to that tournament earlier in the season. With the victory, Yilmaz takes the lead in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Payouts 1. Erkut Yilmaz - $303,920 2. Jim Collopy - $200,780 3. Ajay Chabra - $130,345 4. Dylan Linde - $95,350 5. Anthony Zinno - $68,860 6. Jerry Robinson - $50,720
  4. When the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship reached their final table 55 days ago, the poker world was given a chance to get to know a little bit about chip leader Frank Stepuchin. On Tuesday night, Stepuchin put on quite a show, eliminating four of his opponents while devouring tandoori chicken wings at the table on his way to winning the title and $548,825. The final six players played for 90 minutes before finally seeing an elimination. From the hijack, Jonathan Abdellatif moved all in for 590,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"]. Action folded to Stepuchin in the big blind and he called with [poker card="8h"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop gave Stepuchin the lead and the [poker card="6d"] turn gave him a boat. The [poker card="ac"] river provided nothing but a needle for Abdellatif as he was eliminated in sixth place. It took less than an hour before the next player was sent to the rail and once again, it was Stepuchin doing the work. Ray Qartomy moved all in from UTG for his last 335,000 with [poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"] and Stepuchin called from the small blind with [poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] and Qartomy was out in fifth place. Shannon Shorr then took over the role of executioner. From UTG Shorr raised to 105,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] before Brent Roberts moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"] and Shorr insta-called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"] flop changed nothing and neither did the [poker card="6c"] turn before the [poker card="kd"] river gave Shorr an unneeded set to bust Roberts in fourth place. A blind versus blind battle set up the next elimination. Shorr folded his button, Stepuchin bet 1,530,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] and Sung called off his last 775,000 with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"] flop gave Stepuchin all kinds of outs. The [poker card="ac"] turn gave Stepuchin Broadway but Sung still had four outs to a full house. The [poker card="as"] river was not one of them and Sung was out in third place. Heads up play began with Stepuchin holding 85% of the chips in play. Shorr was able to chip up a little bit, but Stepuchin wasn't going to be denied his victory. Shorr raised to 160,000 from the button and Stepuchin called and then check-called Shorr's bet of 210,000 after the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5c"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="as"] and Stepuchin checked again. Shorr bet 650,000 before Stepuchin moved all in for 7,165,000. Shorr called and turned over [poker card="8h"][poker card="5s"] for two pair while Stepuchin showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="4c"] for top pair with a straight draw. The river was the [poker card="4c"] to give Stepuchin a better two pair and $548,825 along with his first WPT title. Final Table Payouts Frank Stepuchin - $548,825 Shannon Shorr - $355,885 Steve Sung - $259,880 Brent Roberts - $192,465 Ray Qartomy - $144,595 Jonathan Abdellatif - $110,225
  5. Ben Palmer helped set a record on Tuesday night in Las Vegas and ended up picking up a career-best score and a World Poker Tour title in the process. Palmer emerged victorious at the WPT event in Las Vegas Tuesday night after surviving a 268-hand final table - the longest of season XVII - to win $431,655 and a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions in June. Will Givens started the final table with 50 big blinds, but over the course of the first 68 hands of play that number dwindled. Down to just 12 big blinds, Givens raised to 1,100,000 from the cutoff. Mark Ioli moved all in from the big blind and Givens called all in. Ioli tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"] and Given had two live cards with [poker card="kh"][poker card="tc"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"][poker card="7h"] flop gave both players a pair but the [poker card="ad"] turn clinched the hand for Ioli and as the [poker card="qd"] hit the river, Givens was out in sixth place. Despite picking up those chips from Givens, Ioli was the next to hit the rail. Action folded around to Palmer in the small blind and he raised to 500,000 and Ioli called from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5s"] and Ioli called Palmer's bet of 350,000. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] and Ioli called Palmer's bet of 575,000. The river was the [poker card="kc"] and Palmer moved all in and Ioli called all in. Palmer showed [poker card="7s"][poker card="7s"] for a turned straight while Ioli showed [poker card="qs"][poker card="9h"] for two pair. Ioli was out in fifth place. Another player was sent packing a few hands later. From UTG, Orlando Barrera raised to 600,000 and Tony Gargano called from the big blind. After the [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7h"] flop, Gargano check-called after Barrera moved all in for 1,250,000. Gargano quickly tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"] for flopped quads while Barrera showed [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"] and was drawing dead.The [poker card="jc"] and [poker card="8d"] completed the board and Barrera was officially out in fourth place. Three-handed play lasted nearly three hours before Gargano picked up another elimination. Gargano raised to 750,000 from the button and Danny Qutami responded by moving all from the big blind for 7,300,000 and Gargano called. Qutami found out he was dominated after tabling [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"] and seeing Gargano show [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"][poker card="7s"] flop gave both players top pair but neither the [poker card="2c"] turn or [poker card="4c"] river were able to save Qutami from a third place finish. Gargano started heads up play with 57% of the chips in play and over the first hour of play, he actually increased that lead significantly. Palmer eventually doubled up and then re-took the lead he held earlier in the day. Palmer then continued to apply pressure and eventually found himself with a 2-1 lead. On the final hand, Gargano moved all in from the button for 9,500,000 and Palmer called. Gargano flipped over [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"] and Palmer showed [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="th"][poker card="9c"] flop moved Palmer in front. The [poker card="6c"] turn gave Gargano extra outs but the [poker card="qh"] river wasn't one of them and he was eliminated in second place. The $431,655 score is the biggest of Palmer's career. His previous best came in 2008 when he won a Festa Al Lago side event at the Bellagio for $189,975. Final Table Payouts Ben Palmer - $431,655 Tony Gargano - $277,760 Danny Qutami - $204,810 Orlando Barrera - $152,690 Mark Ioli - $115,105 Will Givens - $87,760
  6. The World Poker Tour crowned four champions this week, with three coming from the WPT's delayed final tables that took place in Las Vegas and another one coming in Northern California. The conclusion of these four events cause a lot of shakeup in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings, and it's now two-time WPT champion Erkut Yilmaz as the frontrunner with only a handful of events to go. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Top 10 1. Erkut Yilmaz - 2,300 points 2. Dylan Linde - 2,000 points 3. Ping Liu - 1,900 points 4. Tony Ruberto - 1,850 points 5. Jake Schwartz - 1,725 points 6. Tony Tran - 1,500 points 7. David Baker - 1,400 points 8. Vinicius Lima - 1,400 points 9. Steve Sung - 1,400 points 10. Ray Qartomy - 1,350 points Yilmaz moved to 2,300 points and into the Hublot WPT Player of the Year lead after he won his second title of the season. Yilmaz won WPT Rolling Thunder in Lincoln, California, for $303,920 and 1,000 points. He defeated a field of 280 entries to win. Earlier in the season, Yilmaz topped a field of 1,075 entries in the WPT Borgata Poker Open to win $575,112 and 1,200 points. Now currently in second place is another player who just had a chance to win his second title of Season XVII, Dylan Linde. Linde won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in December for $1.631 million and 1,400 points. At the WPT Rolling Thunder event that Yilmaz won, Linde finished fourth for $95,350 and 600 points. Entering the recent log jam in the WPT schedule, Ping Liu was in front with 1,900 points. Liu hasn't won a WPT event in Season XVII, though, and was on top thanks to his six cashes and two final tables. After the happenings over the past few days, Liu is now third in the race. Rounding out the top five are currently Tony Ruberto and Jake Schwartz. Ruberto had a great start to the season, with a fourth-place finish at WPT Choctaw and a victory at WPT Maryland, but he's only managed one cash since then. Schwartz has come on nicely in the second half of Season XVII, posting second- and fourth-place finishes at WPT bestbet and WPT Fallsview recently, and then he took 14th at WPT Rolling Thunder. In addition to Yilmaz, David Baker, Vinicius Lima, and Frank Stepuchin won WPT titles this week. Baker won the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $1.015 million, Lima won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $728,430, and Stepuchin won the WPT Gardens Poker Championship for $548,825. Baker is now seventh with 1,400 points, Lima is eighth with 1,400 points, and Stepuchin is 12th with 1,300 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. There is a tiebreaker for players who have the same amount of points. In those cases, the player with the most money won in the current season takes the better position. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event and a Hublot watch. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  7. 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 poker world may have been introduced to its latest over-the-top character on Tuesday night as Frank Stepuchin took down the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters bring you all the action from the floor including an interview with Stepuchin where he explains his fascination with eating chicken wings with a fork. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  8. 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 LIVE from the HyperX Esports Arena covering the World Poker Tour final tables. This episode features a full recap of David Baker's win in the LA Poker Classic final table including a conversation with an emotional Baker after his win. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  9. The World Poker Tour will be in Las Vegas on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for three consecutive final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The first is the finale of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic on Monday, and it will be followed by the conclusion to the WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday. We previously previewed the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, and now we’ll do the same for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship that features Shannon Shorr, Steve Sung, and Brent Roberts. This inaugural event featured a $10,000 buy-in and took place back in January. When the final six from a 253-entry field return to action on Tuesday, it will have been 55 days since they last played. Frank Stepuchin has the chip lead, and along with Shorr, Sung, and Roberts, Ray Qartomy and Jonathan Abdellatif make up the final six. Click here to read how the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table was reached. What Are They Playing For? Up top is a $548,825 top prize that includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. The final six are guaranteed at least $110,225. As this event is also a televised WPT event, the winner will also score a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $548,825 2nd Place: $355,885 3rd Place: $259,880 4th Place: $192,465 5th Place: $144,595 6th Place: $110,225 How To Watch the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship will play out on March 12, starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event originated at the Gardens Casino in Southern California and will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Let’s meet the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. [caption id="attachment_623054" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Shannon Shorr (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Shannon Shorr - 1,710,000 Shannon Shorr recently moved to Las Vegas and will now get to play for this first World Poker Tour title in the comfort of his new hometown. Shorr’s career had him at $6.744 million in live tournament earnings entering the final table, but that’s really $6.854 million with the sixth-place payday worked in. Shorr has been on the cusp of joining the WPT Champions Club before. His 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. 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 previously told PocketFives. “I’ve had tons of final tables in big events worldwide but haven’t won a ‘major.’ Maybe this is the one.” Shorr comes into the WPT Gardens Poker Championship second in chips with 1.71 million. [caption id="attachment_623050" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Frank Stepuchin (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin - 4,065,000 Frank Stepuchin is the final table chip leader. Much like Darren Elias’ chip lead entering the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, Stepuchin’s lead is sizable. He holds just more than 40% of the chips in play entering the finale and has more than 2.3 times the second-biggest stack held by Shorr. Stepuchin hails from Park City, Utah, and entered this event with $354,625 in live tournament earnings. He was the big stack of the tournament right out of the gate, finishing atop Day 1a with the chip lead, and is now in line for his first WPT title. The largest live tournament score of Stepuchin’s career isn’t too far off either. Previously, his best cash was for $149,220. Finishing fifth will be less than $5,000 short of that and finishing fourth or better will give him a new career high. Stepuchin enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table with 4.065 million in chips and is the chip leader. [caption id="attachment_623049" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Brent Roberts (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Brent Roberts - 1,385,000 Brent Roberts comes into this final table with just more than $2 million in live tournaments earnings. Like Shorr, he’s been close to a WPT title before. His best WPT Main Tour finish was in the Season XIV WPT Legends of Poker. In that event, he placed third from a field of 786 entries to win $251,035. Roberts does have a WPTDeepStacks title that he won in 2016. In the WPTDeepStacks event he won, Roberts topped a field of 696 entries at Parx Casino to win $205,944. Also on Roberts’ record is a WSOP Circuit gold ring when he won the $5,150 Championship Event in Atlantic City in 2008. That win was the largest live tournament score of Roberts’ career, but he does have a chance to better that at the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. Roberts enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table fourth in chips with 1.385 million. [caption id="attachment_623052" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jonathan Abdellatif (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif - 555,000 Jonathan Abdellatif hails from Belgium and will bring some international flavor to the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. He’s the shortest stack left, though, so he’ll have some work to do when play resumes on March 12. Ahead of his run in this event, Abdellatif had three WPT Main Tour cashes. His highest result of those three was a 17th-place finish in the Season XV WPT Montreal Main Event. He also has a pair of fourth-place finishes that came from a WSOP event in 2018 and the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event in 2017. Those finishes netted Abdellatif $163,404 and $119,480, respectively. The largest live tournament score of the young Belgian’s career is a victory from 2017 when he won the £2,700 8-Max tournament at the partypoker MILLIONS in Nottingham. For that victory, Abdellatif earned $275,655. Again, he’s the shortest stack returning for this final table with 555,000 in chips. [caption id="attachment_623053" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ray Qartomy (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Ray Qartomy - 820,000 Ray Qartomy is a fixture on the World Poker Tour. He can be seen at almost every stop on tour, but he’s yet to win a WPT title. That could all chance on Tuesday, but, like Abdellatif, Qartomy is going to have a bit of an uphill battle ahead of him as he enters the final six in fifth chip position. Qartomy has 12 cashes and three final tables on the WPT Main Tour. His three final tables came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Open, the Season XIII WPT World Championship, and the Season XVII WPT bestbet Jacksonville. However, his largest live tournament score doesn’t come from one of those events. His largest live tournament score of $639,925 came when Qartomy took fourth place in the $5,300 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in 2013. Qartomy will almost never be found without a smile on his face. Come Tuesday, that smile will be behind 820,000 in chips to start the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. [caption id="attachment_623055" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Steve Sung (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Steve Sung - 1,580,000 Steve Sung has more than $5.5 million in live tournament earnings, two WSOP gold bracelets, and three WPT Main Tour final table appearances. He’s never won a WPT event, though, but that could all change on Tuesday. Sung’s best WPT result coming in the Season VI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event when he took second to Brandon Cantu and won $585,000. 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. The largest live tournament score for Sung came in 2013 when he won the $25,000 Six-Max Championship at the WSOP for more than $1.2 million. His other bracelet came in 2009 when Sung topped a huge field of 6,012 entries in a $1,000 event for $771,338. “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.” Sung enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table third in chips with 1.58 million. [caption id="attachment_623036" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Hublot WPT Player of the Year and Baccarat Crystal (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of $2.428 million, the winner gets 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, with the rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,200 points 2nd Place: 1,000 points 3rd Place: 900 points 4th Place: 800 points 5th Place: 700 points 6th Place: 600 points The points could mean the most to Qartomy, who already has 650 points on the season. Sung also stands to benefit well from the Hublot WPT Player of the Year points earned at this final table. Entering the final table, Sung has 500 points. Roberts enters this final table with 175 points, Stepuchin 100 points, Shorr 100 points, and Abdellatif 50 points. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  10. 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. Back from Las Vegas, Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters discuss their takeaways from the World Poker Tour final tables at Luxor and how they're maybe not as fan-friendly as we were lead to believe when the company announced the decision to move all TV final tables to Sin City. They also review not only the nominees for the Global Poker Awards, but offer suggestions on ways to vastly improve the shortlist and nomination process. As a hot of a topic as the GPAs are, Lance and Donnie also go over some of the people who were snubbed and some of the people who got nominated despite not having a body of work worthy of that honor. And it wouldn't be an episode of The Fives in 2019 if they didn't discuss the dwindling attendance in the PokerStars Sunday Million. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  11. The World Poker Tour’s third Las Vegas final table next week will be the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six from the booming 1,415-entry field will look to crown a champion on Wednesday, following the conclusion of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic on Monday and WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday. Dave Farah is leading the final six with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the winner. Joining Farah and his chip-leading stack of 18.85 million will be Brandon Hall, Daniel Buzgon, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas, Ian O’Hara, and Vinicius Lima. Come Wednesday’s return to action, the players will have been on a 41-day hiatus. If you’d like to relive the action leading up to the final table, you can do so by reading our extensive recap right here. What Are They Playing For? With 1,415 entries, the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open generated the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field in history. The prize pool topped $4.5 million to easily surpass the $3 million guarantee and up top is a juicy $728,430, which includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $728,430 2nd Place: $485,611 3rd Place: $359,555 4th Place: $268,810 5th Place: $202,942 6th Place: $154,734 [caption id="attachment_623071" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] WPT Champions Cup at Borgata (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] How To Watch the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will play out on March 13, starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event started at the end of January at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and reached the final table just before the calendar rolled over into February. The final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Let’s meet the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. [caption id="attachment_623074" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Ian O’Hara - 5,100,000 Ian O’Hara is often a name that rolls off fellow players’ tongues when asked who the best young player is in the game today, especially if you’re looking for upcoming talent in the United States. With more than $2.2 million in live tournament earnings and a respected reputation from his peers, O’Hara packs a big punch coming into the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open finale. He’s never reached a WPT Main Tour final table, though. O’Hara’s closest call was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic worth $89,875. The most prominent live tournament victory of O’Hara’s young career came during the 2016 Coco Poker Open in Coconut Creek, Florida. He won the $2,500 Championship Event for $212,830. The largest live tournament score for O’Hara, to date, is a runner-up result in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $25,400 High Roller in 2015, when he chopped the event with Jason Mercier. O’Hara actually got more prize money than Mercier, winning $527,313, but Mercier officially scored first place. O’Hara has 5.1 million in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, which is good for fifth overall. [caption id="attachment_623073" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Dave Farah (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Dave Farah is from New Jersey and came into the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. His run in this event is now the largest of his live tournament career, but it isn’t the first time he’s made the money in a World Poker Tour event at Borgata. In the Season XV WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah placed 41st from a field of 1,312 entries to win $13,607. In Season XVI, also in the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah finished 75th from a field of 1,244 to score $8,623. This season’s run is now his third consecutive deep run in this event and he could truly make his third time a charm by capping it off with a WPT title. Farah doesn’t quite have the huge chip lead that Darren Elias has at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table or Frank Stepuchin has at the WPT Gardens Poker Classic final table, but he does have 18.85 million of the 56.5 million in play, which is 33.3%. He’s also got a good chunk more than Hall’s second-place stack of 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623075" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas is the first of two players at this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table who is making his first WPT Main Tour cash. The other is Vinicius Lima. Di Rosa Rojas, a Venezuelan, does have a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, though, so it’s not as though he hasn’t been to the winner’s circle before in a marquee event. Di Rosa Rojas won the 2017 WSOP Marathon tournament, topping a field of 1,759 entries to score $690,469. Entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, Di Rosa Rojas is fourth in chips with 5.8 million and fourth on the Venezuelan all-time money list. A finish in second place or better would move Di Rosa Rojas to second on that list, and a finish in third would jump him to third. [caption id="attachment_623070" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Brandon Hall has had some quiet years recently when it comes to poker, but he’s back on the big stage and looking for another big trophy to add to his trophy case. This time, it’d be the WPT Champions Cup. Hall’s first big live poker score came in 2009 when he took first place in the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330. In that tournament, Hall defeated Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play to win the title. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. Hall has had some success on the felt during the hiatus in this event. In late February, he finished third in the Parx Big Stax 1100 event for $55,241. Hall enters the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table second in chips with 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623076" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Vinicius Lima (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 In similar fashion to Di Rosa Rojas, Vinicius Lima is making his first WPT Main Tour cash with his run in this event. Reaching the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table and already earning $154,734 is Lima’s largest live tournament score, and he’ll be the shortest stack returning for the final table. Overall, he boasts $263,186 in live tournament earnings ahead of his finish in this one. Lima only has one prior six-figure result on record, which came from a $1,600 buy-in tournament in Las Vegas when he won $102,149 with a third-place finish. In 2016, Lima won the Poker Night in America Grand Poker Series Main Event for $56,366. Lima’s stack to start the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be 3.55 million. [caption id="attachment_623072" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Daniel Buzgon (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 Like O’Hara, Daniel Buzgon has enjoyed a close call on the World Poker Tour. In fact, Buzgon’s reached a WPT Main Tour final table twice before in his career. Both came in Season X when Buzgon finished third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, winning $335,433 and $94,624, respectively. The Borgata score is, to date, the largest live tournament score of Buzgon’s career. Buzgon is sponsored by BorgataPoker.com, so he’s representing the home team in his trip to the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. Entering the final table, Buzgon, a New Jersey native, has $2.035 million in live tournament earnings. Buzgon is third in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table with 9.1 million. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of more than $4.5 million, the maximum amount of Hublot WPT Player of the Year points will be up for grabs in this one, with the winner getting 1,400 points. The rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,400 points 2nd Place: 1,200 points 3rd Place: 1,100 points 4th Place: 1,000 points 5th Place: 900 points 6th Place: 800 points No player in the final six has previously accumulated Hublot WPT Player of the Year points in Season XVII. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  12. The Season XVII World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic final table was set on Wednesday evening, with the tournament reaching its final six players from a field of 546 entries. The $10,000 buy-in event is now on a short break from action before the final table plays out on March 11, 2019, in Las Vegas. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias topped the leaderboard entering the hiatus, with a first-place prize of $1.015 million awaiting the winner. The final six players were guaranteed $201,650. When action resumes on March 11, Elias will have a sizable lead on the other five. His stack of 9.07 million in chips in 41.5% of the chips in play and nearly double anyone else. Not only with Elias’ opponents have to battle with his powerful chip stack, but they’ll have to go up against a chip leader with an incredible amount of WPT experience. Elias holds the record for most World Poker Tour titles with four. Of the $6.628 million in live tournaments he had to enter this event, Elias had won more than $3.2 million in WPT events. He’s making his 33rd cash and 12th final table on the WPT Main Tour and is in line to earn an unprecedented fifth title. The reason for the delay is so that the event can move to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That’s where the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s Season XVII television schedule alongside the WPT Gardens Poker Championship and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship will play to a winner on March 12, and the final six of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will grind to a champion on March 13. WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Seat 1: Jean-Claude Moussa - 1,250,000 Seat 2: Matas Cimbolas - 4,675,000 Seat 3: John Smith - 895,000 Seat 4: Darren Elias - 9,070,000 Seat 5: David Baker - 4,760,000 Seat 6: Steve Yea - 1,205,000 The Grind To the Final Table The WPT L.A. Poker Classic remains one of the few $10,000 buy-in tournaments with a freezeout format. Blake Bohn emerged as the Day 1 chip leader, and Andrey Zaichenko was atop the pack after Day 2. Day 3 brought about the money bubble, as 69 players of the 546-entry field would reach the money. On Day 3, 108 players returned to action and began to work their way towards a payday. Eventually, Andy Park busted in 70th place when he found the last of his chips in the middle on the flop of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kh"][poker card=“5h"] holding the [poker card="Ad"][poker card=“Jd"] for top pair. He was up against the [poker card="Ah"][poker card=“7h"] of Oscar Carrasco. Park had the lead on the flop due to his kicker, but Carrasco had plenty of outs thanks to holding a flush draw. The turn and river were the [poker card=“4h"] and [poker card=“Qh”], respectively, giving Carrasco his flush and busting Park on the bubble. From there, players began to pile up in the payouts, including Bohn going out in 68th, Billy Baxter bowing out in 51st, Adam Levy busting in 49th, Mike Del Vecchio falling in 41st, and Gordon Vayo hitting the rail in 36th place. Vayo, who famously dropped his lawsuit against PokerStars, was the final elimination to take place on Day 3 and he scored $26,830 for his finish. With 35 players remaining, David Baker headed the charge into Day 4. Baker entered the event with only one WPT Main Tour final table on his résumé and just more than $4.4 million in live tournament earnings. On Day 4, Baker busted Brock Wilson in 34th, Douglas Smith in 22nd, Carrasco in 19th, and Zaichenko in 18th en route to leading the final 12 players heading into Day 5. Elias came into Day 5 second in chips behind Baker. He stumbled out of the gate when Mike Meskin doubled through him, but Elias was back in form after taking a big pot from Tony Tran before busting the fellow WPT Champions Club member a short while later in 11th place. After Jeffrey Colpitts was eliminated by Matas Cimbolas in 10th place, Elias sought revenge on Meskin by busting him in ninth. Paul Fontan would later fall in eighth place to Baker, and after that, it was a series of double ups that tried to derail Elias. First, Jean-Claude Moussa doubled through Elias, not once but twice. Then, it was Steve Yea’s turn to double through Elias. The four-time WPT champion steadied the ship each time and would go on to bust James Carroll in seventh place and set the official final table. On the final hand of Day 5, Elias opened to 100,000 from the hijack seat with the blinds at 25,000-50,000 with a 50,000 ante. Carroll reraised all in for 800,000 from the cutoff position and Elias called with the [poker card="Ks"][poker card=“Qs”]. Carroll had the dominated [poker card="Kc"][poker card=“Jh”]. The flop, turn, and river came [poker card="8h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="9d"][poker card=“3s”] to eliminate Carroll in seventh position. He took home $155,900 in prize money and Elias soared into the final table with the chip lead. Elias Continues To Shine as "Mr. WPT" If there was a player to be named “Mr. WPT,” it would be Darren Elias. His run on the World Poker Tour is tremendous and he now has a chance to claim a record fifth WPT title. Elias’ first WPT title came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open, when Elias topped a field of 1,226 entries to win $843,744 and his first World Poker Tour title. Less than a month later, Elias topped a small but tough field of 118 entries in the WPT Caribbean for a score of $127,680. Elias’ third WPT title came in Season XV when he scored first place in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $346,776. He then won the final event of Season XI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, for $387,580. Not only would a victory be Elias’ fifth World Poker Tour trophy, but he’d earned the largest payday of his live tournament career. Right now, the result is the eighth largest score of Elias’ live tournament career. [caption id="attachment_623019" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Matas Cimbolas looking for second WPT title (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Cimbolas Also Looking for Another WPT Title Matas Cimbolas, a Lithuanian player who won the Season XIII WPT Nottingham title for €313,327, is also looking to add another WPT Champions Cup to his trophy case. He’ll enter the final table third in chips with 4.675 million. Interestingly, this won’t be the first time Cimbolas and Elias share the stage at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. To close Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, both Cimbolas and Elias reached the WPT Tournament of Champions final table. Cimbolas finished second to Matt Waxman for $265,590, and Elias took third for $177,060. Waxman won that event for $463,375. [caption id="attachment_623020" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] David Baker is chasing his first WPT title and a career-best score (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Baker Chasing First WPT Title and Career-Best Result David Baker has put countless hours into poker. In 2012, he finally won the elusive WSOP gold bracelet. Now he has a chance to win his first WPT title and comes into the final table second in chips with 4.76 million. Baker has one previous WPT final table on record, coming back in Season V when he took fifth in the WPT Festa Al Lago tournament for $125,240. Money-wise, this is his best WPT result, but he’ll need to jump up two more places to make it his top finish. Second place or better will give Baker the largest tournament score of his live poker career. A win would mean his first World Poker Tour title and first million dollar tournament payday. Final Table Takes Place On March 11 The final table for the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic takes place March 11 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events, plus the live stream can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
  13. After tabulating the votes of over 130 Nomination Panel members, the Global Poker Index, along with their partner PokerCentral, has unveiled the nominations in thirteen of the 20 categories of the first ever Global Poker Awards. The awards are set to take place on April 5 at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas where poker players and industry members from 10 different nations will be represented in a wide variety of categories that aims to celebrate all aspects of the poker community. PocketFives is well represented within the nominees. The Fives Podcast is one of five nominees for Podcast of the Year and PocketFives' President & Editor in Chief Lance Bradley's book, The Pursuit of Poker Success, Here are the nominees, presented in alphabetical order: Tournament Performance of the Year Justin Bonomo (Super High Roller Bowl IV) John Cynn (2018 World Series of Poker Main Event) Maria Lampropulos (2018 PCA Main Event) Dylan Linde (WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic) Breakout Player of the Year Almedin ‘Ali’ Imsirovic Maria Konnikova Ping Liu Christopher Michael Soyza Streamer of the Year Jeff Gross Jason Somerville Jaime Staples Lex Veldhuis Vlogger of the Year Marle Cordeiro Joe Ingram Andrew Neeme Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk Podcast LFG Podcast PokerCentral Podcast PokerNews Podcast The Chip Race The Fives Poker Podcast Broadcaster Maria Ho Lon McEachern Nick Schulman Lex Veldhuis Poker Journalist Drew Amato Sarah Herring Remko Rinkema Christian Zetzsche Media Content Drew Amato (photo: Brunson bids farewell to WSOP) Lance Bradley (book: The Pursuit of Poker Success) Haley Hintze (article: Vayo v. PokerStars) PokerCentral/PokerGO (Super High Roller Club: Schulman featuring Nejad) Industry Person Angelical Hael (World Poker Tour) Cary Katz (Poker Central) Matt Savage (WPT, TDA) Ty Stewart (World Series of Poker) Rob Yong (Dusk Till Dawn, partypoker) Tournament Director Tony Burns (Seminole Hard Rock) Paul Campbell (ARIA) Jack Effel (World Series of Poker) Kenny Hallaert (Unibet Open) Mid-Major Tour/Circuit 888poker LIVE RUNGOOD Poker Series Unibet Open WPTDeepStacks WSOP Circuit Event of the Year partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event Super High Roller Bowl IV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic WSOP Main Event Moment of the Year Jeremy Hilsercop received PSPC Platinum Pass via Christmas Day viral video Joe Cada wins The Closer after finishing 5th in WSOP Main Event Doyle Brunson plays his final WSOP event Justin Bonomo wins Big One for One Drop, completing Super High Roller Streak In addition to the above categories, there are seven other awards that will be given out during the ceremony. Due to their results in 2018, Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell will each be receiving awards for the 2018 GPI Player of the Year and the 2018 Female Player of the Year respectively. Along with trophies for Foxen and Bicknell the following categories will be determined by the Global Poker Awards Jury: - Lifetime Achievement in Poker Award - Charitable Initiative - Jury Prize As has been the case in previous GPI award shows, the “people” will have a voice and will vote to award the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year. Also, PocketFives will be handing out the PocketFives Legacy Award acknowledging a player who has come from the world of online poker to make major contributions to poker’s live tournament scene. The Global Poker Awards can be watched live on PokerGO on April 5.
  14. 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 World Poker Tour has taken over Las Vegas this week with three final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel and Casino. The LA Poker Classic, the Gardens Poker Classic, and the Borgata Winter Poker Open are all going to crown champions this week and Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters preview all three final tables in the first of four podcasts from the city of Las Vegas. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  15. The World Poker Tour has a new WPT Champions Club member. On Monday night, Canadien Demo Kiriopoulos captured first place in the Season XVII WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event. Kiriopoulos topped a record-breaking field of 602 entries to win the C$517,424 ($382,894) top prize. WPT Fallsview Final Table Results 1st: Demo Kiriopoulos - C$517,424* 2nd: Wing Yeung - C$362,853 3rd: Andrew Pantling - C$233,339 4th: Jake Schwartz - C$167,388 5th: James Morgan - C$128,471 6th: Noeung Troeung - C$105,170 *First place includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. Nineteen players remained to enter the third and final day of play, with Kiriopoulos sitting 14th on the leaderboard. Chanracy Khun was the only remaining WPT Champions Club member in the field and Garrett Dansereau was in the lead. Khun busted in 11th place, just after the last woman standing, Christine Do, went out in 12th. Kiriopoulos then knocked out Yuri Siniak in 10th place, as Andrew Pantling continued to lead the way. Pantling padded his lead with the knockout of Jason Sagle in ninth place, and then Brad Lampman was eliminated in eighth place by Jake Schwartz. Dansereau, the start-of-day chip leader, bowed out in seventh when his [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"] couldn't win against Schwartz's [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kc"], according to the WPT coverage. With six players left, it was still Pantling out in front in a big way. He had 9.475 million and Schwartz was the next largest stack at 4.07 million. At the time, Kiriopoulos was fourth in chips with 2.855 million. Kiriopoulos began chipping up right away and soon found himself second in chips behind only Pantling, who had also chipped up to more than 10 million in chips. On the 28th hand of six-handed play, Noeung Troeung was eliminated in sixth place by James Morgan. A handful of hands later, Kiriopoulos clashed big against Pantling to take over the chip lead. During five-handed play, Kiriopoulos and Pantling exchanged the chip lead a few times. Pantling then took a big chunk out of Morgan before Morgan busted in fifth place to Wing Yeung. Schwartz then went out in fourth place when he couldn't win with the [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jh"] against the [poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] of Kiriopoulos. Three-handed play started with Pantling and Kiriopoulos almost tied for the chip lead, and Yeung in third place. Yeung found a double through Kiriopoulos, then Kiriopoulos found a double through Pantling. After the dinner break, Kiriopoulos came back and went to work. He quickly moved into the lead before he won a big pot off Yeung who had just doubled through Pantling. That allowed Kiriopoulos to really separate himself from the pack. Pantling went out to Yeung in third place when his pocket kings couldn't hold up against the pocket twos of Yeung. Kiriopoulos had the lead entering heads-up play by about 2-1. The two battled for quite some time, but in the end, Kiriopoulos was too much for Yeung to handle. Kiriopoulos won the big pots and the majority of the small pots to finish Yeung off and win his first WPT title. On the final hand, Kiriopoulos called Yeung's shove with pocket tens. Yeung had the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="6d"] and failed to improve. He earned C$362,853 ($268,511) for his runner-up finish. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Update With the win, Kiriopoulos soared past $1 million in career live tournament earnings. He also picked up a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. Ping Liu added to his Hublot WPT Player of the Year lead with a 62nd-place finish at WPT Fallsview. Liu now has 1,900 points and is 50 points ahead of Tony Ruberto in second place. Liu has six cashes and two WPT final tables on the season. Schwartz, who took fourth at WPT Fallsview, added 800 points to move to 1,650 points overall. He's currently in third place. The winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVII will earn a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-in credit across global WPT events. The winner also receives a custom Hublot watch. Second place in the race will earn a $7,500 WPT Passport, and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  16. The European poker world has had its attention focused squarely on Barcelona for the past week as 1,227 players entered World Poker Tour Barcelona to create one of the biggest WPT events in history. Sunday's final table saw Vitalijs Zavorotnijs go wire-to-wire to claim his first major title and $678,000. Alain Zeidan started the final table with just 16 big blinds and it took him just eight hands to find a hand to go to battle with. From UTG, Boris Kolev raised to 250,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"] and Niko Coop called from the cutoff with [poker card="kd"][poker card="js"]. Zeidan shoved for 1,300,000 with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"] from the small blind and Zavorotnijs called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"]. Kolev called and Koop folded. Kolev and Zavorotnijs checked through the [poker card="qd"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2s"] flop. After the [poker card="3d"] turn, Zavorotnijs check-folded to Kolev's bet of 850,000. Zeldan actually made a set of his own with the [poker card="9d"] river but it wasn't enough to be Kolev's top set and he was eliminated in sixth place. It took an hour of play to get another player to bust and once again Zavorotnijs and Kolev were involved. Zavorotnijs raised to 400,000 from the button with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"], Kolev called from the small blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"] before Jerry Odeen moved all in for 975,000 from the big blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"]. Zavorotnijs and Kolev called and then checked through the [poker card="kc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6s"][poker card="8d"] runout to give Kolev the pot and eliminate Odeen in fifth. The $180,000 score is the biggest of Odeen's live or online career. Two hands after losing half of his stack to Zavorotnijs, Koop was the next to go. Kolev raised to 400,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] from UTG. Next to act, Koop responded by moving all in for 3,000,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. Zavorotnijs called from the big blind with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] and Kolev folded. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5h"] flop changed nothing and neither did the [poker card="7h"] turn or [poker card="3s"] river and Koop was out in fourth place. Zavorotnijs continued to pick up hands and apply pressure and picked up another elimination because of it. Kolev opened to 400,000 from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="3d"], Eric Sfez shoved from the small blind for 3,600,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9c"] and Zavorotnijs called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"], allowing Kolev to fold. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] to give both players a pair, but Zavorotnijs' pair of kings was best to eliminate Sfez in third. Zavorotnijs began heads up play with a 3.5-1 lead over Kolev and it took him about 10 minutes to finish the job. Zavorotnijs opened to 425,000 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] before Kolev re-raised to 1,700,000 with a[poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] and Zavorotnijs called. After the [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"][poker card="4h"] flop, Kolev bet 1,200,000 and Zavorotnijs called. The turn was the [poker card="7s"] and Kolev moved all in for 5,700,000. Zavorotnijs used two time banks before calling. The river was the [poker card="2s"] to give Zavorotnijs a flush and the WPT Barcelona title, eliminating Kolev in second place. Final Table Payouts Vitalijs Zavorotnijs - $678,000 Boris Kolev - $423,750 Eric Sfez - $318,174 Niko Koop - $242,950 Jerry Odeen - $180,800 Alain Zeidan - $135,600
  17. Controlling your emotions is a key component of being a winning poker player and Monday night in Las Vegas, David Baker put on a master class on how to do just that as he won the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic for a little over $1 million. In the afterglow of his win, as the WPT television crew was setting up for one final shot, Baker let go of that control, looked skyward and let out a very visible, audible deep breath. After years of playing poker, with a good amount of time spent at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, Baker finally erased some of what he considered were glaring omissions from his poker résumé. "It kinda sounds corny, but it means so much to me," Baker said. "I've battled my whole life in this business. I care about this business. I care about the prestige of these things and I know sometimes some of the guys are a little too cool for school to say that, but I do. I've got a good résumé, I've been there a lot, but I've never won a major No Limit Hold'em tournament, I've never won a WPT, I've never had a million-dollar score and I just get to check off all of those boxes today and I'm overjoyed." Fairly or unfairly, the win also changes the way Baker is viewed by the poker community and his peers and Baker admitted that's important to him - if only for him to be able to put his head on his pillow every night knowing that the people he respects, respect him for the work he's put in over the years. "I know that I'm considered a good poker player and even probably really good by my peers, but I want to be elite, I want to be thought of as elite," Baker said. "I know I'm not an elite No Limit Hold'em player. I know I'm not sitting down in the $100Ks and battling with the GOATs of GOATs, but I can still play man, I can still play with these guys in the $10Ks and all-around, I'll take my all-around poker game versus anyone. I've always had this chip on my shoulder that I don't know if I've always felt that I've gotten the respect that I deserve. I really feel like being able to put this on my resume really helps, at least helps me mentally just being able to do that." The final table might have been in Las Vegas, but the fact that this was the L.A. Poker Classic and not just some other WPT event, was another important component of why the win was so important for Baker. Over the course of his poker career, the Commerce Casino, the host of the LAPC, has become his home away from home - to the point that a good number of people are actually under the impression that he does live there year-round. "I haven't been able to live where there's a poker room for the last 20 years because of family," Baker said. "I've still been able to support my family by traveling 2-3 weeks a month every single month for the last 15 years and my major destination spot is the Commerce. I've grinded the cash games there since at least 15 years. I stay at the Commerce Casino 200 days a year and it's my home away from home. I go there, I know everybody, everybody knows me. Most of the people there don't even realize that I don't live there because I basically do live there." The HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor is designed to hold a good-sized crowd. Over the nine hours of play on Monday night, most of the seats were filled by Baker's friends and family and each of them served an important role throughout the night. Some were there for moral support, others were watching the live stream and helped Baker understand what his opponents were doing and how he should adjust to them. "I had the three or four people that I really wanted to talk to; Cord (Garcia), (John) Racener, Josh Arieh, Ray Henson," Baker said. "Those were basically like my four guys. My wife, my mom, my other friends, they all just left us all alone. I jumped off the stage, I went, we talked, they got me in the right state, they pumped me up, they brought me down, whatever needed to happen. We discussed a strategy of how we were going to start and what we were going to do if things changed. Then they left me by myself for a few minutes, I could unwind. My crowd was great. A lot of crowds they just want to talk and bombard you, and drink and joke and do all that. My crowd was perfect. The four people who I needed, came to me, gave me what I needed, the rest of them left me alone and cheered and it was perfect. This is surreal. This is what I dreamed of and everybody around was a part of it." The million-dollar score isn't just some box Baker checked off. The financial windfall served as a reminder of some of the hard times Baker has endured over the course of his career and the impact those tough times have had on the people he loves most. The tough times, including spending upwards of 250 days a year on the road away from his family, are part of the sacrifice Baker has made to reach this point in his journey. Having had to share the tough times with his family, he's now happy to share the joy of the win with them as well. "My wife has been through the war," Baker said. "I do OK, but there have been many times in my career where I've had struggles. I've got very high expenses because of my family situation, my children and she has children from a previous marriage. We've battled a lot. Everyday," Baker said. "There's nobody who works harder than me, honestly, when it comes to the poker arena. I'm traveling and I'm at the Commerce 2-3 weeks a month, sometimes month round. I start the games, I end the games. I quit the game, I go play a tournament, I bust the tournament, I go back down and play the cash game. I work hard." Those cash games almost kept Baker from even entering the LAPC Main Event - even though he's played in it every year for the last dozen or so years. Baker didn't want to give up his seat in a game he enjoys playing to play a five-day tournament. A good satellite system, putting lots of qualifiers into the tournament who normally wouldn't play a $10,000 buy-in event, was part of the reason he decided to play, but so was the scheduling. "Our game really runs Monday through Friday, so I could play (the Main) Saturday, play Sunday and if I was still in Day 3, which was Monday, it was fine to miss a game or two," Baker said. "Had this tournament started on a Monday, I probably wouldn't have played, honestly, but the Saturday start got me to pony up." Baker isn't sure what's next. It might be a vacation with his wife and it might just be a return trip to the Commerce to get back to the high stakes mixed game. "I'm in a mixed game now that I just love, I love the people, I love playing it, it's fun, Baker said. "I'm a poker player man, some of these people they play just for the money and they just want to be lazy. I'm a poker player, I love this shit."
  18. David Baker has done it. He has won the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event for $1.015 million. For Baker, it was a career achievement held in the highest regard, as he considers the WPT L.A. Poker Classic to be the most prestigious major tournament title to win other than the WSOP Main Event. Baker also earned a Hublot Big Bang watch with the victory and a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Bacarrat Crystal Tournament of Champions, in addition to moving to more than $5.4 million in live tournament earnings. WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Results 1st: David Baker - $1,015,000 2nd: Matas Cimbolas - $646,930 3rd: Darren Elias - $473,280 4th: Jean-Claude Moussa - $346,550 5th: John Smith - $267,400 6th: Steve Yea - $201,650 Darren Elias entered the final table with the chip lead, holding more than 40% of the chips in play to start the final six. After John Smith doubled early to climb off the short stack, Steve Yea was eliminated in sixth place. Yea went out to Matas Cimbolas on the 33rd hand of the final table when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="3h"] lost out to Cimbolas’ [poker card="Jc"][poker card="Jd"]. Despite the early double, Smith didn’t last much longer and was out on the 36th hand of the final table. Again, it was Cimbolas doing the deed. This time, it was Cimbolas’ pocket kings beating the pocket fives of Smith to send the 72-year-old home in fifth place. Four-handed action only lasted a handful of hands, as Jean-Claude Moussa fell to David Baker in fourth place. Moussa was all in with the [poker card=“Ah”][poker card=“Tc”] and busted to Baker’s [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qd"]. Three-handed action lasted quite some time as Cimbolas, Baker, and Elias battled back and forth with several lead changes. No one wanted to give an inch, but eventually, it was the four-time WPT champion Elias who ran into Baker’s aces to bust in third place. On his final hand, Elias, who had just doubled up Baker a few hands prior, moved all in from the button with the [poker card="7c"][poker card="4c"] for 950,000 with the blinds at 75,000-150,000 and a 150,000 ante. Cimbolas called from the big blind with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="2d"]. The board ran out [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Td"][poker card="5c"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qh"] to eliminate Elias in third place. Heads-up play began with Baker in the lead by a sizable margin. At the start of the final duel, Baker had 15.375 million to Cimbolas’ 6.475 million. Baker stretched his lead in the early portion of the heads-up match, but then Cimbolas found a double up when he picked up two tens and Baker three-bet shoved on him with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="3d"]. Cimbolas flopped a set of tens and held from there to move to 8.6 million in chips. Baker was knocked back to 13.25 million. Baker went right back to work and he began stretching his lead once again. The next thing everyone knew, Cimbolas was pretty short once again and needed something to pull him back into the match. It wouldn’t be in the cards, though. On the final hand, Cimbolas limped the button with the blinds at 150,000-300,000 with a 300,000 ante. Baker checked and the flop came down [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="3s"]. Baker checked, Cimbolas bet 300,000, and Baker called to see the [poker card="6h"] land on the turn. Baker checked, Cimbolas bet 600,000, and Baker called. The river was the [poker card="2h"] and Baker announced a bet of 10 million. Cimbolas tanked for a bit and then called for his tournament life. Baker tabled the [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] for a straight to beat Cimbolas’ [poker card="Ts"][poker card="5d"] and win the tournament.
  19. The World Poker Tour heads back to fabulous Las Vegas on Monday, March 11, for the first of three consecutive final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The three final tables to play out are, in order, the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Gardens Poker Championship, and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The WPT L.A. Poker Classic is headlined by four-time WPT champion Darren Elias and has a $1.015 million first-place prize up for grabs. What Are They Playing For? The winner of the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic will take home $1.015 million in first-place prize money. That includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. As this event is a televised WPT event, the winner will also score a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $1,015,000 2nd Place: $646,930 3rd Place: $473,280 4th Place: $346,550 5th Place: $267,400 6th Place: $201,650 Click here to read about how the final table was set. [caption id="attachment_623033" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] HyperX Esports Arena (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] How To Watch the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic takes place March 11 starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Now, let’s meet the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table. [caption id="attachment_623037" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jean-Claude Moussa (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Jean-Claude Moussa - 1,250,000 Jean-Claude Moussa is a 36-year-old player from Massachusetts, who entered this event with $516,544 in live tournament earnings. He has two prior WPT Main Tour cashes on record, including his career-best live tournament score of $321,840 when he finished fifth in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic back in Season VIII. Other notable results for Moussa included a deep run in the 2011 PCA Main Event for $45,000 and two cashes in the World Series of Poker Main Event for $25,027 and $24,808. Moussa enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table in fourth chip position with 1.25 million. [caption id="attachment_623039" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Matas Cimbolas (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Matas Cimbolas - 4,675,000 Lithuania’s Matas Cimbolas seems to be becoming more and more of a fixture on the World Poker Tour by the day. The 25-year-old already has one WPT title to his credit thanks to winning WPT Nottingham in Season XIII for $313,327. At the end of last season, he made his way to the WPT Tournament of Champions final table and ultimately finished second for $265,590. Those are the two biggest scores of his live tournament career. Interestingly enough, when Cimbolas made the WPT Tournament of Champions final table, it was played out at the HyperX Esports Arena in Vegas. Whereas the enormity of the arena might cause some players to feel a little less comfortable, Cimbolas has the experience of playing there already under his belt. Another interesting note is that Darren Elias, who leads the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, finished third in the WPT Tournament of Champions event that Cimbolas took second in, so these two have a bit of history on the very stage they’ll be competing on come Monday. Cimbolas entered the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic with just shy of $2 million in live tournament earnings. A third-place finish or higher would move Cimbolas ahead of Dominykas Karmazinas and into second on Lithuania’s all-time money list. Cimbolas enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table second in chips with 4.675 million. [caption id="attachment_623038" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] John Smith (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: John Smith - 895,000 John Smith is by far the oldest player at the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic. He’s also the shortest stack remaining. Don’t let those two things fool you, though. Smith packs plenty of game that’s received a popular following in recent years due to his success in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship at the WSOP. In that event, Smith has results of 11th place in 2014 for $26,584, second place in 2016 for $198,192, and second place again in 2017 for $208,154. As Sean Chaffin wrote for the WPT, Smith served in the U.S. Army when he was younger. He was in Vietnam in the 1960s when a tank he was in hit a landmine. Everyone in the tank died, but Smith survived. He would later receive a Purple Heart for his service. Ahead of this event, Smith had $1.256 million in live tournament earnings. He has five prior WPT Main Tour cashes, with his best being a 20th-place result in the $25,000 buy-in WPT World Championship in Season III for $75,485. Smith enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table as the shortest stack with 850,000. [caption id="attachment_623034" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Darren Elias (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Darren Elias - 9,070,000 A four-time World Poker Tour champion, Darren Elias is "Mr. WPT." No one has won more WPT titles than Elias and on Monday he could better his record by scoring an unprecedented fifth. Elias’ first WPT title came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open. There, he topped a field of 1,226 entries to win $843,744. Less than a month later, Elias beat a small but tough field of 118 entries in the WPT Caribbean for a score of $127,680. Elias’ third WPT win came in Season XV when he scored first place in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $346,776. He then won the final event of Season XI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, for $387,580. In addition to a victory on Monday being Elias’ fifth World Poker Tour trophy, he’d earn the largest live tournament score of his career. As mentioned above, the 32-year-old Elias has experience playing at the HyperX Esports Arena. On Monday, he’ll start the final table with a sizable lead on the other five. His stack of 9.07 million in chips in 41.5% of the chips in play and nearly double anyone else. [caption id="attachment_623035" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] David Baker (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: David Baker - 4,760,000 David Baker, better known as "ODB" to many in the poker world, has put countless hours into poker. In 2012, he finally won the elusive WSOP gold bracelet. Now he has a chance to win his first WPT title and a huge score of $1.015 million. https://twitter.com/audavidb/status/1103776743091953665 Baker has one previous WPT final table on record, coming back in Season V when he took fifth in the WPT Festa Al Lago tournament for $125,240. Money-wise, this is his best WPT result, but he’ll need to jump up two more places to make it his top finish. Second place or better will give Baker the largest tournament score of his live poker career. A win would mean his first World Poker Tour title and first million dollar tournament payday. Baker comes into the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table second in chips with 4.76 million. [caption id="attachment_623040" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Steve Yea (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Steve Yea - 1,205,000 If you’re a diehard follower of poker, you’ve heard the name Steve Yea. For casual fans, his name might not be so common, but Yea has been around for quite some time. Yea has live tournament results dating back to 2007 and he’s amassed more than $630,000 in live tournament winnings entering this event. He hails from South Korea and is making his first WPT Main Tour cash. Yea’s largest live tournament score came from a second-place finish on the Asian Poker Tour in 2008 when he won $250,000 in an event in Macau. He also placed second in an APT event in 2009 in Manila for $100,000 as the second biggest live tournament score of his career. Yea enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table fifth in chips with 1.205 million. [caption id="attachment_623036" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Hublot WPT Player of the Year and Baccarat Crystal (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of more than $5.1 million, the maximum amount of points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race are up for grabs in the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic. The winner gets 1,400 points, with the rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,400 points 2nd Place: 1,200 points 3rd Place: 1,100 points 4th Place: 1,000 points 5th Place: 900 points 6th Place: 800 points As it stands, Ping Liu is the man to catch at the top of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year leaderboard. He has 1,900 points thanks to six cashes and two final tables in Season XVII. For the six players at this final table, the points would mean the most for Elias, as he’s the only competitor remaining with points entering this event. Elias has 150 points on the season and could shoot up to 1,550 with a win. That would put him in fourth place overall on the Hublot WPT Player of the Year leaderboard. For the other five, a victory would place them in sixth place on the leaderboard. Despite all of his success on the World Poker Tour over the years, Elias has never been crowned WPT Player of the Year. He has had some close calls, though. Last season, Elias finished third in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. In Season XV, he finished sixth. In Season XIV, he ended up in 12th. In Season XIII, he finished second to Anthony Zinno, who also won two WPT titles that season. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event and a Hublot watch. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  20. Season XVII of the World Poker Tour has reached another final table on Tuesday, this time down in South Florida for the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. From a booming field of 1,360 entries, just six competitors remain, and they’re on break until playing out the final table on May 30 in Las Vegas. Leading the way is WPT Champions Club member James Carroll. The final six players have each locked up $148,380. When they return to action in a month and a half, they’ll be chasing the $715,175 first-place prize and seat into the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. Joining Carroll at the final table was Maria Ho, Ami Alibay, Eric Afriat, Chad Eveslage, and Jerry Wong. Carroll boasts a stack of 18.525 million, which is just about 2 million ahead of Ho’s second-place stack of 16.65 million. WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Seat 1: Maria Ho - 16,650,000 Seat 2: Chad Eveslage - 3,350,000 Seat 3: Jerry Wong - 3,225,000 Seat 4: Eric Afriat - 4,425,000 Seat 5: Ami Alibay - 8,175,000 Seat 6: James Carroll - 18,525,000 Numbers Never Lie With 1,360 entries, the Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown generated a prize pool of $4.352 million and produced the fourth largest WPT Main Tour field size in history. The event with the largest turnout was the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown that attracted 1,795 entries. In second is the Season XIII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, and then it’s this season’s WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with 1,415 entries. Interestingly, the winner of the largest-ever WPT Main Tour event was Afriat and he’s now reached this final table. Reaching the Final Table The money line was set at 170 players, and entering Day 2 of the tournament there were 524 remaining. After a few hours of play, 171 players remained and the money bubble had come. Brandon Hall, who recently took fourth in the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, found himself all in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="Ks"] against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ah"] of Alibay, according to the WPT coverage. The board ran out clean for Alibay’s aces which meant Hall was out the door as the "bubble boy." From there, players began filling up the payout line. Busting before the end of Day 2 were Anthony Zinno (96th), Faraz Jaka (103rd), Victor Ramdin (112th), Tyler Patterson (118th), David Baker (122nd), Scotty Nguyen (125th), Dylan Wilkerson (132nd), Sam Panzica (133rd), and Dylan Linde (134th). When the day was all said and done, 90 players remained with Keith Ferrera leading the pack. Day 3 saw the returning field of 90 players whittled down to 18. Darren Elias and Frank Stepuchin when out early, Aaron Mermelstein, Erik Seidel, and Will Failla fell later, and then Ferrera’s run came to an end in 19th place. On Ferrera’s final hand, he, like Hall before him, ran ace-king into the pocket aces of an opponent. Ferrera’s opponent was Eveslage who went on to bag the chip lead entering Day 4. [caption id="attachment_623684" align="alignnone" width="800"] Former NFL star Richard Seymour had a deep run that resulted in a 15th-place finish (photo: WPT)[/caption] On Day 4, the goal was to play down to the official WPT final table of six. Former NFL star Richard Seymour was still in the field, but his time ran out with a 15th-place finish for $29,690. On his final hand, Seymour was all in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="6s"] against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Td"] for Alibay. The board ran out [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"] and Seymour was eliminated. With 11 players left, Carroll won a big pot off Afriat that gave him a stack that was right up there with Alibay’s for the chip lead. After raising and calling a three-bet in position, Carroll was faced with a bet of 400,000 on the [poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3h"] flop. He called and the turn was the [poker card="2s"]. Afriat fired 750,000 this time, but Carroll stuck around with a call. The river completed the board with the [poker card="5h"] and Afriat checked. Carroll fired 1.45 million and Afriat eventually folded. Carroll showed the [poker card="Js"][poker card="Tc"] for jack high. From there, Carroll continued to build his stack as players busted out. On the final hand of Day 4, Jason Marshman went out in seventh place when Ho made trip jacks against him with the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jd"] versus the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8h"]. WPT Champion Carroll in Dominating Position James Carroll is no stranger to the WPT winner’s circle and he’s now in a dominating position to score his second World Poker Tour title. Back in Season XII, Carroll won the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars event for a huge score of $1.256 million. In that event, he topped a field of 718 entries. The final table included fellow WPT Champions Club members Dylan Wilkerson and Nam Lee, who finished in second and fifth places, respectively, and Season XII WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja. Carroll boasts career live tournament earnings of more than $3.2 million, of which he’s won $1.556 million on the World Poker Tour. He has six WPT cashes, including this one, and three other top 10 finishes outside of his Bay 101 victory and this event. This season, Carroll finished seventh in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $155,900. With a 18.525 million, Carroll has 34% of the chips in play entering the final table. [caption id="attachment_623681" align="alignnone" width="800"] Eric Afriat seeks a third WPT title (photo: WPT)[/caption] Afriat Seeks Third WPT Title Eric Afriat could be the story of the whole event. The two-time WPT Champions Club member won the largest-ever WPT Main Tour event in Season XII, which was this very event that attracted a massive 1,795 entries. Afriat entered that final table fourth in chips, and that’s the position he’ll come in this time around, too. He scored $1.081 million for that victory, but his WPT success didn’t end there. In fact, it was only just beginning really. Afriat has racked up 12 WPT Main Tour cashes, including this one, and in Season XVI he won his second World Poker Tour title when he topped another huge field at Borgata in Atlantic City. In the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, Afriat finished in first place above a field of 1,244 entries to win $651,928. Needless to say, Afriat knows a thing or two about winning large-field WPT events. In addition to that success, Afriat has three additional trips to WPT final tables in previous events. He came sixth in the Season IX WPT Bellagio Cup for $118,950, third in the Season XV WPT Playground for $82,716, and fifth in the Season XVI WPT Montreal for $75,043. A third WPT title would tie Afriat with the likes of Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, and Anthony Zinno, who each have three titles and are one behind the leader, Darren Elias, who has four. [caption id="attachment_623683" align="alignnone" width="800"] Maria Ho has her eyes on his first major tournament title (photo: WPT)[/caption] Ho Seeking First Major Title For all of the success Maria Ho has enjoyed in the poker world, both on the felt as a player and off it as a broadcaster and personality, she’s yet to snag herself a major tournament title. Ho is second in chips entering this final table and it could very well be the one that allows her to grab that first major victory. Ho has had deep runs on the World Poker Tour before. She reached the Season XIV WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars final table and finished in sixth place for $179,930. She also finished 10th in the Season IX WPT Bellagio Cup that Afriat took sixth in, earning $40,783 for that finish. She also has two World Series of Poker final tables under her belt, including a runner-up finish to Allen Bari in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2011 WSOP. “It would mean so much,” Ho told WPT.com when asked what it would mean to win a WPT title. “I’ve been playing poker professionally for 14 years now, and unfortunately I’m still lacking that one major win. I know that it doesn’t define my career, but the World Poker Tour is very prestigious so it would mean a lot.” In October of 2018, she did win the WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg Main Event for $69,166. Ho had more than $3.2 million in live tournament earnings ahead of this event. Don’t Sleep On Wong Jerry Wong may be the shortest stack at the final table to start, but he’s been on the biggest of stages before. In 2016, Wong reached the WSOP Main Event final table and finished eighth for $1.1 million. For Wong, he’s yet to win a WPT title and it’s his first World Poker Tour final table. His position on the leaderboard isn’t an advantageous one, but if Wong’s able to generate some momentum early then he could really put some pressure on his opponents given the experience he has. We’ve seen a short stack come back to win many times, so don’t be surprised if Wong maneuvers his way to a victory. The Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will resume action on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.
  21. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. On this week's episode, Lance and Donnie talk more about the latest numbers out of PokerStars' Sunday Million Experiment™, Maurice Hawkins' dominance of the World Series of Poker Circuit and why WSOP Circuit success doesn't necessarily translate to WSOP success. Lance dubs Run It Up Reno to be the "festival of fun" and talk about not only the poker results (including Loren Klein's crazy run of success there over the last three years) but also how the week-long event should be a model that other poker festivals emulate. Phil Hellmuth once again stirred up a hornet's nest on social media this week. The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner is being roasted by the World Poker Tour later this month in a private event. Hellmuth fans and haters alike both complained that the event should be open to the public and live-streamed. Lance and Donnie discuss not only the history of the annual WPT roast but also why the event has remained private over the years. Lastly, Cat 'Catrific' Valdes is leaving the Thirst Lounge and Lance and Donnie wonder what's next for her and for the Bill Perkins project, the Thirst Lounge.
  22. Poker’s Mid-Major circuits are home to some of poker’s brightest up-and-coming stars. Each month, PocketFives breaks down the big winners from the WSOP Circuit, WPT DeepStacks, Heartland Poker Tour, and Mid-States Poker. World Series of Poker Circuit Elik Vodovoz Takes Down World Series of Poker Circuit Hammond Main Event The World Series of Poker Circuit was seemingly everywhere in the month of March, holding no fewer than four different series in different parts of the U.S. The first saw the WSOPC travel to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Illinois where Elik Vodovoz took down the 1,050-entry field of the $1,700 Main Event for a career-high score of $294,290. The event crushed its $1M guarantee, generating a prize pool of over $1.59 million, awarding eight of the final nine players their own career-best cashes. Sean Yu Dominates Los Angeles WSOPC Event at The Bike South Korea’s Sean Yu bested cash game grinder Andrew Moreno heads-up to capture the $1,700 Main Event WSOPC title from the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. The $210,585 score helped Yu, who currently resides in Los Angeles, up over the $2M mark in career earnings. It was the second circuit ring of the series for Yu, who has seven rings total as well as a WSOP bracelet. Moreno ended up with $130,295 as the runner-up. With the event being held in Los Angeles, plenty of well-known names made the money including Scott Vener (6th, $40,910), Ralph Wong (8th, $24,815), Mohsin Charania (15th, $12,890), Joseph Serock (20th $8,855) and Joe Kuether (22nd, $7,470). Ryan Eriquezzo Wins Fourth WSOPC Event In Atlantic City On the East Coast, veteran tournament grinder Ryan Eriquezzo picked up his fourth WSOPC ring when he finished atop the 357 entry field of the $1,700 Main Event at Harrah’s in Atlantic City for $124,397. With the win, Eriquezzo now has more than $1.5M in career earnings. Phillip Pope Takes Down Tulsa WSOPC Event Phillip Pope captured a career-high cash when he picked up the win in the $1,700 WSOPC Main Event from the Hard Rock Hotel & Cainso in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pope outlasted the field of 533 entries to take home $215,000 after beating Kou Vang heads up. Vang walked with a six-figure cash of $132,930, also a career-high score for the well-traveled grinder. Superstar WSOP Circuit grinder Maurice Hawkins just missed out on what would be a record-tying 12th ring after finished in third place. Hawkins added $97,110 to his over $3.5M in career earnings. World Poker Tour DeepStacks Vitor Coleho Wins WPTDeepStacks Jacksonville Tampa resident a former restauranteur, Vitor Coleho secured the fifth six-figure cash of his career by besting the 446-entry field of WPTDS Jacksonville. The score propels him up over $1M in total recorded earnings. “In my mind, I was going to win this tournament,” Coelho said after his victory. It marks his ninth WPT cash where he’s accumulated over $423,000 in earnings. Simon Brandstrom Takes Down WPTDeepStacks Barcelona Sweden’s Simon Brandstrom posted only the fourth recorded cash of his poker career when he won WPTDS Barcelona for €270,000 plus a €2,000 seat to the WPTDS Europen Championship. The 1,232 player field was the largest ever outside of North America and ranks as the fifth largest ever in the history of the tour. WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg & Vietnam Crown Champions You Zeng took home the $69,451 first-place prize and the trophy after surviving the 452-entry field of WPTDS Johannesburg. The score marks the South African resident’s second career recorded cash. Thailand’s Vincent Chauve eliminated each of his final five opponents to take home a career-high cash of $99,000 as the top prize of WPTDS Vietnam. Justin Liberto Adds WPTDS Title To Resume In Maryland Accomplished tournament pro Justin Liberto finally captured a WPT title, after 14 cashes, by finishing in first in the WPTDS Maryland Main Event for $116,363. Liberto, who has over $3.3M in career earnings had a near-miss in this very event two years ago when he finished in fourth place. Noah Shefrin finished as the runner-up, taking home $81,472 as a consolation and popular poker vlogger Matt Vaughn wrapped up in eighth place for $15,026. Felix Schulze Is The WPTDS Amsterdam Champ Felix Schulze wrapped up an incredible run at the Holland Casino Amsterdam Center after winning the €1,200 WPTDS Amsterdam Main Event for €104,304. It was his third tournament victory of the week after, earlier in the series, Schulze bested a 50 player field in a €330 Hyper and 61 entries in the €330 Short Deck event. “I feel good, it’s been a decent week,” Schulze said after finishing off the 507- entry field of the Main Event. Heartland Poker Tour Bill Byrnes Bests Heartland Poker Tour in St. Louis Hailing from Wentzville, Missouri, 47-year old criminal defense attorney Bill Byrnes picked up a career-high cash by defeating the 444 entries in the Heartland Poker Tour $1,650 Main Event in St. Louis. With the win, Byrnes moves into fourth place in the HPT Season 15 standings, siting right behind Nick Davidson, Nick Pupillo and current leader, Greg Wood. Kou Vang, who finished as the runner-up in the WSOPC event in Tulsa, finished in fifth place for $31,978. Mid-States Poker Tour Steven Federspiel Wins Mid-States Poker Tour Iowa 409 players flocked to the Meskwaki Casino and Bingo Hall for the Mid-States Poker stop in Tama, Iowa. North Liberty’s Steven Federspiel made his way to his second career MSPT final table and took home the title and a career-high cash of $86,949. The score helped push him over $250K in lifetime earnings. It was Federspiel’s sixth MSPT cash of his career.
  23. On Monday morning, 31 players woke up with the chance to make the final table of the World Poker Tour Choctaw event knowing full well they'd have to wait 11 more days before playing down to a winner. Over the course of six hours of play, 25 players were sent to the rail with the final six needing to get themselves to Las Vegas by the end of the month. Will Berry made his way through those 25 eliminations and now holds the chip lead heading into the final table on May 31 in Sin City. Berry was responsible for five of the 25 players sent packing on Monday. He made quick work of the unofficial final table, eliminating Joe Elpayaa in eighth place with [as][ks] against Elpayaa's [qd][qh] and then was on the good side of a cooler when sent Denny Tran out in seventh with [ad][as] against [kc][kh]. Those two pots mean Berry returns to a stack of 7,575,000 (189 big blinds) when action resumes at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor. The most decorated player at the final table, Craig Varnell spent a good amount of time on Monday as the chip leader. He eliminated six players on his way to bagging up 6,230,000 (156 bb). Varnell finished fourth at the WPT Gardens Poker Festival last July weeks after winning his first World Series of Poker bracelet earlier that month. He also won the WPT500 event in Las Vegas in 2015. Nick Pupillo sits in third place with 3,135,000 (78 bb). Pupillo has two Heartland Poker Tour titles and two WSOP Circuit rings to his name. His previous best WPT finish came last September when he finished 13th in the Borgata Poker Open. He has six WPT Main Tour cashes for a little over $108,000 in winnings. Trung Pham and Austin Lewis make up the fourth and fifth spots with nearly identical stacks. Pham, who has three WSOP Circuit rings, has 2,600,000 while Lewis has 2,560,000. The short stack is Stacey Jones with 980,000 (25 bb). Jones has by far the least amount of previous tournament success of the remaining six players. He's won just $42,476 through 13 cashes and has no recorded live wins according to Hendon Mob. The sixth place payout of $76,980 - which all players received at the conclusion of Monday's action - nearly triples Jones' lifetime earnings. Arthur Morris began the day as the chip leader but was eliminated in 21st place by Austin Lewis. The $3,700 buy-in event drew 577 entries to create a total prize pool of $1,958,915 with the eventual champion earning $379,990, which includes entry into the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. WPT Choctaw is one of three final tables being filmed at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas to close out Season XVIII. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table will play down to a winner the night before. The average stack at the start of the six-handed final table will be 3,850,000 and play will start with blinds of 20,000/40,000 (40,000 ante). Final Table Chip Counts Will Berry - 7,575,000 Craig Varnell - 6,230,000 Nick Pupillo - 3,135,000 Trung Pham - 2,600,000 Austin Lewis - 2,560,000 Stacey Jones - 980,000
  24. Back on April 16, the Season XVII World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown reached its final table of six. WPT Champions Club member James Carroll led the group, with Maria Ho firmly in second place. Eric Afriat, another WPT Champions Club member, also reached the final table. On May 30, the final six hit Las Vegas at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino to compete for the $715,175 top prize. What’s Up for Grabs? The winner of the Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown gets $715,175, a seat into the season-ending Baccarat WPT Tournament of Champions, and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang watch. As things stand, each of the final six have already locked up $148,380 for reaching the final table from the field of 1,360 entries. 1st Place: $715,175 2nd Place: $465,120 3rd Place: $344,960 4th Place: $257,815 5th Place: $194,610 6th Place: $148,380 READ: How the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table was set. How To Watch the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table If you’re in Las Vegas on May 30, you’re able to head over to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to view the conclusion of the event in person, but of course, not everyone is within reach of Sin City. For those looking to tune in as it’s happening, the final table can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. You can also follow along with written coverage on WPT.com. The event is also being filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events that you’ll be able to catch later on FOX Sports Regional Networks. [caption id="attachment_624382" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Maria Ho (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Maria Ho - 16,650,000 For all of the success that Maria Ho has enjoyed over the course of her poker career, she’s still yet to win her first major title. She has second-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishes in World Series of Poker events, and she’s twice finished in sixth place in a WPT Main Tour event. She did win the WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg title in October 2018. With the second-largest stack entering the final table, it’s all eyes on Ho. She’s not too far behind the chip leader, Carroll, and looks to be in fairly top form. Ho scored first place in the L.A. Poker Classic $25,000 High Roller for $276,690 in March, and she just placed fourth in the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North America High Roller for another chunk of change around $70,000. Sprinkle in another handful of cashes and Ho is having one of the best years she’s ever had on the live felt. Her previous best year was in 2011 when she won nearly $660,000 in prizes. She’s already up to more than $550,000 in 2019 with a chance to go much higher with some pay jumps in this event. A victory would not only give Ho her first-ever WPT title, but she’d have earned more than $1 million from live tournament poker in a calendar year for the first time in her career. [caption id="attachment_624383" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Chad Eveslage (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Chad Eveslage - 3,350,000 Chad Eveslage enters the final table second-to-last in chips, just ahead of Jerry Wong. Eveslage is already enjoying the best year of his live tournament career and this result is already the most money he’s ever cashed for in a single live tournament. Eveslage’s results track back to January 2011 when he cashed in the PCA Main Event for $23,500. This run marks his fourth WPT Main Tour cash and deepest run, besting his eighth-place result from the Season XII WPT Rolling Thunder event that was won by JC Tran. [caption id="attachment_624384" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jerry Wong (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Jerry Wong - 3,225,000 Jerry Wong has been on the big stage before. In 2016, he made the final table of the WSOP Main Event and finished in eighth place for more than $1.1 million. In 2017, he won the opening event of the WPTDeepStacks Hollywood stop down at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. In that $360 buy-in event, he topped a mammoth field of 4,756 entries to win $250,000. Wong hadn’t reached a WPT Main Tour final table before reaching this one, but he has had a handful of deep runs to the last few tables. He wasn’t able to break through in those events and he’ll again have his work cut out for him in this one as he’s the shortest stack left in the field. Still, Wong has more than 20 big blinds to work with and one double up can get the seasoned pro right back into the mix. [caption id="attachment_624385" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Eric Afriat (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Eric Afriat - 4,425,000 If you follow the World Poker Tour, then the name Eric Afriat is one you know. He’s a two-time WPT champion looking for his third trip to the winner’s circle, and he has plenty of experience winning these large-field WPT events. Afriat’s first WPT title came when he won the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1.081 million. In that event, he topped an enormous field of 1,795 entries. Afriat won his second WPT title in Season XVI at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. There, he topped a field of 1,244 entries to win more than $650,000. A victory in this one would give Afriat a third WPT title and move him into the ranks of Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem, and Anthony Zinno, all of whom have three WPT titles and are one behind the leader, Darren Elias. [caption id="attachment_624386" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ami Alibay (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Ami Alibay - 8,175,000 Ami Alibay has been around the WPT scene quite a bit and he’s making his fifth WPT Main Tour cash to show for it. It’s his first time at a WPT Main Tour final table, though, and it’s also the largest live tournament score of his career. Alibay’s previous best WPT finish came in March when he took 11th in the Season XVII WPT at Venetian. That finish earned Alibay more than $33,000. All told, when you include the $148,380 he’s earned for no worse than sixth place, Alibay has more than $630,000 in live tournament earnings. Like Afriat, he’s a Canadian player, but he’ll have about twice as many chips to work with to start the final table as Afriat does. [caption id="attachment_624387" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] James Carroll (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: James Carroll - 18,525,000 James Carroll has already experienced winning a World Poker Tour event once. Back in Season XII, Carroll topped a field of 718 entries in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars event to win $1.256 million. He came close to winning a second WPT title not too long ago, when in March he took seventh in the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $155,900. One more place up and Carroll would have found himself at the HyperX Esports Arena playing for the title. He’ll get his shot this time around, though, and he’ll come into play with the biggest stack left. Carroll boasts a career of nearly $3.4 million in earnings when you include the almost $150,000 he’s already scored here. A couple jumps up the payout list will give Carroll his second-best year on the live tournament felt when it comes to earnings, but a second WPT title is really what he’s chasing. Carroll should have one of the biggest rails of supporters at the HyperX Esports Arena on May 30. He has plenty of friends in the community who will be around to sweat him with the WSOP kicking off, and he’s from Las Vegas. If we were to guess, Ho will have the biggest group of supporters and then Carroll will be a close second. Seeing as those two are one-two in chips, it should make for a very fun day of action.
  25. James Carroll came into the final table of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown with the chip lead and something to prove. Having already won one WPT title, Carroll still had the bitter memory of a seventh place finish at the LA Poker Classic in February to overcome. Over the course of eight hours of play, Carroll outlasted five other opponents to pick up his second WPT titles and $715,175. "This one is actually somewhat sweeter. The first one felt good, but I've been through some super tough times in the last five years, this feels good," Carroll said, after eliminating Eric Afriat on the last hand. Carroll and Afriat were the two players at the final table to already have a WPT title to their credit. Carroll won the Bay 101 Shooting Stars event in 2014 while Afriat took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in 2014 and the Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2018. The final table also included Mario Ho, Jerry Wong, and Chad Eveslage. Maria Ho raised to 500,000 from early position before Chad Eveslage moved all in for 3,400,000 from the cutoff and Ho called. Eveslage turned over [ad][jd] and found out he was racing against Ho's [tc][td]. The board ran out [8h][7h][5h][7s][2c] to give Ho the pot and eliminate Eveslage in sixth place. Just 15 hands later, Ami Alibay and Jerry Wong got into an all-in preflop confrontation that ended Alibay's run. From the button, Wong raised to 700,000, Eric Afriat called from the small blind before Alibay moved all in for 3,275,000 from the big blind. Wong called before Afriat folded. Alibay got great news when he turned over [9c][9d] and Wong showed [8c][8h]. The [ah][tc][7h] flop kept Alibay ahead, but the [kh] turn gave Wong extra outs with a flush draw and the [5h] river completed it to eliminate Alibay in fifth. Four-handed play continued for 51 hands before another player was sent to the rail after a preflop all-in battle. Afriat raised to 1,000,000 from UTG and Wong shoved all in from the big blind for 3,900,000. Afriat called and tabled [4c][4d] and Wong showed [ad][9h]. The board ran out [jc][hj][6h][3c][5d] and Afriat's pocket fours held up to bust Wong in fourth place. Down to just 16 big blinds, Ho moved all in from the button for 8,100,000 and Carroll called from the big blind. Ho was slightly ahead with [ac][5d] to Carroll's [ks][qc]. The flop came [as][qh][jd] to leave Ho in front, but the [kc] turn flipped the script and left Ho drawing to any ace, jack, or five for the win. The river was the [4s] leaving Ho as the third place finisher. Afriat started heads up play with a 2-1 advantage over Carroll but the two players traded the lead multiple times before Carroll took a formidable lead before finishing the job. Afriat raised from the button to 2,000,000 and Carroll three-bet jammed. Afriat moved all in and Carroll called and flipped over [ks][8h] while Afriat showed [6d][6h]. The [kc][kd][qc] flop gave Carroll a commanding lead. Neither the [3h] turn or [qs] river saved Afriat and he was eliminated in second place, giving Carroll the title. "He's very tricky. He's won two of these before and now he's got a second. I'd say he's doing a whole lot of things right," Carroll said of Afriat. "This is the first tournament I played with him. I probably played with him for three or four hours total before the final table. From what I've seen, he's very good." Final Table Payouts James Carroll - $715,175 Eric Afriat - $465,120 Maria Ho - $344,960 Jerry Wong - $257,815 Ami Alibay - $194,610 Chad Eveslage - $148,380
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