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Found 246 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Zachary Smiley has one career live cash - a World Poker Tour win (Joe Giron/WPT photo)[/caption] At a final table that included current World Poker Tour Player of the Year frontrunner Benjamin Zamani, Season XIV breakout star Cate Hall and two-time WPT champion Darren Elias it was a relative unknown that was left standing on Wednesday night as WPT Maryland Live played down to a winner. Zachary Smiley, who dropped out of medical school last week, beat out that group of players to win WPT Maryland Live and $356,536 for his first career live cash. Cate Hall began the final table as the shortest stack and wasn’t able to improve her position before being eliminated in sixth place. Ryan Belz raised to 230,000 from UTG and Hall shipped her last 800,000 from the big blind and Belz called. Hall tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"] and was racing against Belz’s [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2s"] to eliminate Hall. She now has eight career WPT cashes including two fifth place finishes, a ninth place and a sixth. While it took 73 hands for the first elimination, it took just 11 more hands to get the second. Smiley moved all in from UTG, Zamani called from the small blind and Belz called from the big blind. When the hands were table Smiley was behind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"], Belz held [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and Zamani had [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. Fortunately for Smiley the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="3c"] to put him ahead. The [poker card="9d"] turn and [poker card="9c"] river were no help for his opponents and Smiley tripled up while Zamani was eliminated in fifth place. Zamani now has three WPT final table appearances this season and has twice as many WPT Player of the Year points as his nearest competitor. Just 20 minutes later the only former WPT champion at the final table was eliminated. Left with just over six big blinds, Darren Elias moved all in from the UTG and Mario Silvestri called from the big blind. Elias got bad news after turning over [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"] and discovering Silvestri had him dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. It only got worse for Elias as the board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="5c"] to give Silvestri a flush and end Elias’ run in fourth place. Despite picking up the extra chips, Silvestri didn’t stick around much longer. Just eight hands later Silvestri raised to 240,000 from the button, only to have Smiley make it 525,000. Silvestri moved all in and Smiley called. This time it was Silvestri who was dominated; Smiley showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] while Silvestri had [poker card="ah"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"] run out couldn’t save Silvestri and he was out in third. When heads up play began Smiley had a better-than 3-2 chip lead over Belz. Over the next 42 hands of play Smiley only increased his lead before finally finishing Belz off. Smiley opened to 300,000, Belz raised to 800,000 and Smiley moved all in. Belz called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] while Smiley showed [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6d"] flop was no help for Belz but the [poker card="jh"] turn gave him eight extra outs for a straight. The [poker card="4s"] river was not one of those outs and Smiley eliminated Belz to capture the title, the $356,536 first place prize, including a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Zachary Smiley - $356,536 Ryan Belz - $239,412 Mario Silvestri - $153,983 Darren Elias – $113,905 Benjamin Zamani – $85,429 Cate Hall - $68,554
  2. [CAPTION=100%]Pat Lyons wins the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event, earning over $615,000. (Photo credit Joe Giron/WPT)[/CAPTION] Hours after making the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker final table at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, Pat Lyonstweeted: A professional poker player from Hillsborough, California, Lyons' prediction came true, winning $615,346 and a seat into the 2017 WPT Tournament of Champions. The $4,000 Main Event drew a field of 687 entries for a prize pool of almost $2,500,000 paid out to the top 72 players. WPT Champions Club members finishing in the money were Andy Frankenberger, Olivier Busquet, Seth Davies, defending champion Mike Shariati, Chino Rheem, James Mackey and Taylor Paur. The final table was led by 77-year-old William Vo, hoping to pass Doyle Brunson as the oldest player to win a WPT title. Second in chips was Lyons, winner of the Arizona State Poker Championship for over $240,000 in August. A pair of 2015 WSOP bracelet winners – Upeshka De Silva and Benjamin Zamani – held down third and fourth place respectively. Todd Peterson and Rafael ‘Mahalael’ Oliveira rounded out the lineup, as they started with the following chips: Seat 1: William Vo – 5,260,000 Seat 2: Pat Lyons – 4,980,000 Seat 3: Benjamin Zamani – 3,215,000 Seat 4: Todd Peterson – 1,930,000 Seat 5: Upeshka De Silva – 4,475,000 Seat 6: Rafael Oliveira – 780,000 It was a short stay at the final table for Rafael Oliveira, eliminated on the seventh hand. Facing a limp from Benjamin Zamani and a raise from Upeshka De Silva, Oliveira looked down at [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and moved his short stack all in. Zamani folded and De Silva called with [poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] as De Silva made runner-runner trips to end Oliveira’s tournament. Early action at the final table featured a couple of events one would find in a cash game. The players agreed to show one card every time they won a pot. When Pat Lyons wasn't active with his table talk, he wandered away from the table for several hands at a time, even as the chip leader. William Vo had the support of many spectators railing him at the Bike, but he couldn’t maintain his success from earlier in the tournament, finishing in fifth place. Vo lost a huge pot to Todd Peterson, attempting a huge bluff on the river with nine-high as Peterson eventually called, showing two pair. A few hands later, Vo attempted another bluff on the river, shoving with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] on a [poker card="jc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"] board. Zamani called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"] and his pair of jacks left Vo taking home a six-figure payday. Finishing in fourth place was Peterson, knocked out in dramatic fashion by Lyons. The hand started with a raise from De Silva, a three-bet from Lyons and a four-bet shove from Peterson. De Silva folded and Lyons called with [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"], promising the crowd free drinks if he won the hand, as Peterson revealed [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4s"] flop put Peterson in front with nothing changing on the [poker card="5c"] turn. The [poker card="th"] on the river gave Lyons the winning hand and a round of drinks for the spectators as three remained. Three-handed play featured plenty of action as Zamani doubled through Lyons, then De Silva doubled through Lyons to take the chip lead. Zamani then doubled through De Silva by flopping quads to tighten up the chip counts. Lyons would retake the chip lead on the 139th hand of the tournament and never relinquish it again. Upeshka De Silva was now the short stack and was in a good spot to double up, calling with [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] against Lyons' shove with [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2h"][poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] as the river once again doomed a player as De Silva finished in third place. Benjamin Zamani already had a runner-up finish earlier in the season at Choctaw, hoping to finish one spot higher but facing an over two-to-one chip deficit against Pat Lyons. Heads-up play lasted less than 20 hands when Zamani shoved with [poker card="ah"][poker card="2c"] as Lyons called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"]. The dealer dealt the final five cards: [poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"], giving Lyons the winning straight and the title. Lyons also receives the WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King Power watch and a pair of gold Monster 24k headphones. Zamani settles once again for second place this season to take over the WPT Player of the Year lead with 2,000 points, 750 ahead of James Mackey. The next stop for the WPT takes players to Atlantic City for the Borgata Poker Open. The $3,500 Main Event with a $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool runs from September 18-23. On September 19th, the WPT Players Forum takes place at 8:30pm as players can provide feedback and suggestions. WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Results: 1st: Pat Lyons - $615,346 2nd: Benjamin Zamani - $341,412 3rd: Upeshka De Silva - $198,720 4th: Todd Peterson - $149,715 5th: William Vo - $113,105 6th: Rafael Oliveira - $85,760
  3. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour, with Mike Sexton, Lynn Gilmartin and Vince van Patten will be on FOX Sports networks through Season XIX.[/caption] Fans of the World Poker Tour are going to be happy to learn that FOX Sports and the tour have come to terms on a deal that will see FOX Sports continue to be the broadcast home of the WPT for the next five years. The extension means that FOX Sports will broadcast WPT events through Season XIX. "This unprecedented, five-year deal with FOX Sports elevates WPT into an elite and exclusive group of shows that have aired on television for nineteen seasons," said Adam Pliska, WPT President and CEO. The WPT debuted on the Travel Channel in 2003 and moved to Fox Sports fro Season VII in 2008. Since then it has become a staple of FOX programming, averaging more than 900,000 viewers per week. "WPT remains a highly rated, regularly scheduled program on FOX Sports Regional Networks, and it's a key part of our primetime lineup each Sunday," said Josh Oakley, Executive Director, Acquisitions and Programming, FOX Sports. "WPT is the perfect complement to our other sports programming, including MLB, NBA, NHL, and college football and basketball. We are excited to have this partnership through 2021." In 2015 the WPT broke their own record when Episode 22, the final table of WPT Fallsview won by Anthony Zinno, drew 1.6 million viewers to become the most-watched episode in tour history. As part of the new agreement, Fox Sports Regional Networks will air two WPT marathons each season with the first coming on Labor Day. "This announcement is great for fans of the WPT and provides extensive, guaranteed exposure for our mainstream sponsors, including Hublot, Monster Headphones, Royal Caribbean International, and FIAT," said Pliska. "We are proud of our new deal with FOX Sports, and we thank the network for its continued support and promotion of our content across its television and digital platforms." World Poker Tour mainstays Mike Sexton, Vince van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin and Tony Dunst will continue to be a part of the broadcast. Season XV began two weeks when James Mackey beat Benjamin Zamani to win WPT Choctaw. The World Poker Tour is broadcast each Sunday night on FOX Sports Regional Networks.
  4. [caption width="640"] Oleg Vasylchenko outlasted a field of 167 to win the WPT partypoker Prague event (WPT photo)[/caption] The poker world may have its eye currently set on Las Vegas and the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic, but over in the Czech Republic, the partypoker WPT Prague event drew a field of 167 to the Hotel Grandior. It took four days of play for the final table to be reached and 122 hands for Oleg Vasylchenko to put the seal on his first career WPT title. Vasylchenko started the final table as the chip leader and kept his edge throughout to take down the title and the €132,200 first place prize. The final table was an accomplished one that included WSOP circuit ring winner and EPT Champion, Martin Khabrel. It took 21 hands to find the first elimination and it was Preben Stokkan who earned that distinction. Stokkan started the final table as the second shortest stack and met his end with Romain Lewis finishing him off. Tonio Roder raised to 55,000 and Stokkan came over the top all in, as did Lewis. Stokkan was on the short end of the hand with [poker card="th"][poker card="9h"] as Roder showed [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] with Lewis [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] having them both dominated. The [poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"] board was good for Lewis to ship the pot. Stokkan took home €23,520 for his finish. Next out was Khabrel, who was felted by Lewis. Khabrel shoved for 265,000 and was called by Lewis in the big blind with pocket queens. Khabrel held a single overcard [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"] but the [poker card="ad"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="th"][poker card="qh"] runout provided barely a sweat and he hit the rail. Four-handed play ensued for 20 hands and it was Lewis who was the next man out. Roder raised to 80,000 and big blind 30,000, and Lewis defended his big blind with about 300,000 behind. Lewis checked the [poker card="qc"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3d"] flop over to Roder and found himself check-raising all in. Roder called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="7s"] and would need to hold against the [poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"] of Lewis. The [poker card="ts"] turn failed to increase Lewis’s outs and the [poker card="ac"] on the river gave Roder the pot and the knockout. Three-handed play was a lengthy affair that lasted for over 50 hands. Roder was neck-and-neck with Anton Petrovbut saw his stock drop with Vasylchenko picking up most of the slack. It would be Vasylchenko who eliminated Roder, marking his first victim of the final table. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000, Vasylchenko limped in from the small blind and called a raise from Roder. The two saw a flop of [poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] and Vasylchenko check-called an all in from Roder. Roder held [poker card="ad"][poker card="8c"] but would have to dodge Vasylchenko’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="6d"] web of outs. The turn was the [poker card="kd"] leaving Roder needing the fourth diamond on the river to hit a higher flush. Only the [poker card="5h"] could be mustered and Roder left the final table €52,500 to show for his days of play. Vasylchenko started heads up play against Petrov with about 60 percent of the chips in play and wasted little time finishing his last opponent off. Petrov raised to 115,000 and Vasylchenko called from the big blind to see a [poker card="ts"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"] flop. The [poker card="jc"] hit the turn and Vasylchenko bet 315,000. Petrov raised all-in and Vasylchenko called with [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"] for a flopped two pair. Petrov and his [poker card="jd"][poker card="3d"] would need help going to the river but the [poker card="9s"] would wrap up the win for Vasylchenko. Vasylchenko’s career earnings now eclipsed the $200,000 and more importantly, he has clinched a spot in the WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Oleg Vasylchenko - €132,200 Anton Petrov - €82,000 Tonio Roder - €52,500 Romain Lewis - €39,120 Martin Kabrhel - €29,410 Preben Stokkan €23,520
  5. [caption width="640"] Mike Sexton added some hardware to his World Poker Tour legacy on Thursday night in Montreal (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] For nearly 15 years Mike Sexton has been the voice of World Poker Tour broadcasts. Thursday night in Montreal the Poker Hall of Famer was unable to be in the broadcast booth as he was busy adding his name to the WPT Champions Cup after overcoming Benny Chen heads-up to win the partypoker.net WPT Montreal event and $317,896. Sexton outlasted a field of 648 players at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal to win the first WPT title of his career. He now has over $6 million in lifetime earnings, a World Series of Poker bracelet and a Tournament of Champions title. The final table included Chen, the first winner of the WSOP Millionaire Maker and highly respected pro Jake Schwartz, who had two previous WPT final table appearances to his credit before this event. Schwartz came in to the final table with the second shortest but wasn’t able to outlast anybody. Action folded to Schwartz in the small blind and he jammed 695,000 in the middle with [poker card="jd"][poker card="9h"] only to have Nadir Lalji, the only player who started with a shorter stack, called from the big blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"][poker card="2d"][poker card="qd"] to give Lalji the hand and eliminate Schwartz in sixth. Sexton started the final table with the lead, but right behind him was Ema Zajmovic. Those two tangled in a big pot early on that saw Zajmovic’s run end. From the cutoff, Sexton raised to 250,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] before Zajmovic moved all in for 2,065,000 with [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"]. Sexton called and the [poker card="5s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] flop, [poker card="5d"] turn or [poker card="9s"] river were no help for Zajmovic and she was out in fifth place. Through 15 seasons of the WPT events, no woman has ever won an open event title. Chen claimed his first victim at the final table a little over an hour later in a blind vs blind battle. Action folded to Chen in the small blind and he called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"] before Ilan Boujenah moved all in for 1,325,000 with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] and Chen called instantly. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"][poker card="9d"] flop left Boujenah drawing to runner-runner, but the [poker card="js"] turn was no help for him and the [poker card="9h"] river gave Chen a full house. Boujenah was eliminated in fourth. Over the next 45 minutes Chen and Sexton took turns with the chip lead. Caught in the middle was Lalji who fell victim to another pocket pair from Sexton. Chen folded his button, Sexton raised to 375,000 from the small blind with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] and then called when Lalji moved all in for 2,200,000 total with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"] flop put Sexton well ahead. Lalji got no love on the [poker card="4s"] turn or [poker card="5h"] river to end his run at the title in third. Heads up play between Chen and Sexton began with Chen holding 10,575,000 chips to Sexton’s 8,875,000. The pair played heads-up for nearly four hours with Chen holding the lead for almost all of that. Sexton took the chip lead for the first time after 155 hands between the two players and then ended things two hands later. Chen open-shoved all in for 8,150,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"] and Sexton called with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="qd"] door card put Sexton ahead and the remaining board of [poker card="9c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="ac"][poker card="2d"] sealed the deal and gave Sexton his first WPT title. Sexton has twice been unable to be in the broadcast booth at the start of a WPT final table because he was playing. The first occurred in 2011 (Season 9) when he made the Bay 101 Shooting Star final table, eventually finishing sixth. The second came in 2013 (Season 11) when he finished third at the WPT Venice Grand Prix. On Thursday night Sexton’s normal commentary seat was filled by Raw Deal host Tony Dunst. Final Table Payouts Mike Sexton - $317,896 Benny Chen - $213,515 Nadir Lalji - $136,806 Ilan Boujenah - $99,067 Ema Zajmovic - $76,127 Jake Schwartz - $61,000
  6. [caption width="640"] Sofia Lovgren wants to be the first woman to win a World Poker Tour open event (WPT photo)[/caption] Every week or two it seems someone is bringing up something on Twitter or other social media regarding gender and the poker world. A massive debate ensues, people take sides, and the rest of us just grab the popcorn. With that in mind, you would think the reality TV concept Girl Got Game, which put nine poker-playing girls under one roof, would result in intense competition and catfights, but instead the ladies bonded and continue to support one another long after filming wrapped. Swedish poker pro and 888 ambassador Sofia Lovgren was approached by the producers of the show and agreed to take part in what turned out to be a very diverse collection of players from all over the world. Lovgren summed up each of her cast members with a single word: Katrina Lim - Positive Danielle Andersen - Boss Joanna Kwak- Frisky Oanh Bui - Cool Kitty Kuo - Funny Sabina Hiathullah - Energetic Samantha Abernathy - Adventurous Xuan Liu – Friendly In addition to living together, the ladies were also presented with tasks and challenges. Lovgren was game for just about anything, but not all of her castmates had the stomach for it. "I was surprised that so many of the girls chickened out when we had a challenge to eat crickets and scorpions," Lovgren says with a laugh. "Personally, I thought they were delicious." Initial filming wrapped before the 2016 World Series of Poker began, but the ladies continued to hang out and talk throughout the summer in Las Vegas. Lovgren certainly appreciated the camaraderie, which is not always easy for females to find in the poker world. "It's a fact that there aren't many female poker players playing the big poker tours, and the first years I traveled with my ex-boyfriend. The last year I've been traveling around with these female poker players and some other good friends. Of course we enjoy spending time together and also support each other in a great way which, for sure, is positive from a mental point of view." The experience was so positive that Lovgren recently hosted the ladies in Sweden. “We had all been playing lots of poker this summer and also spent time together in different constellations. I felt that it would be fun to invite all these girls to my lovely home country for a poker-free, crazy vacation week together,” she explains. The trip, which was done independent of the show, was quite a success. "I loved to show some typical Swedish traditions, like ‘kräftskiva’ (cray fish party), sailing to a small fishing village in the archipelago, and, of course, how to make the famous Swedish meatballs! We did many other things like going to a big to a music festival, roller coaster rides in the Liseberg amusement park, and some rather heavy partying!" The ladies of Girl Got Game are a much-needed wholly positive story of female poker pros supporting one another. They are all very competitive, but the competition is a healthy one, where everyone can succeed without it coming at the expense of someone else. Like many other women in the game, Lovgren would still like to see the female presence in poker grow not just with TV shows and publicity, but on the felt as well. "I’d like to see more female poker winning big tournaments and become superstars of poker. That would create more inspiration for other girls than anything else, I think," says Lovgren. As for how she can participate, she has a very specific goal in mind. "I’m planning to be the first female World Poker Tour, main tour event winner, which would certainly help," she half-jokes. 888poker signed a two-year deal to sponsor The Swedish Poker ChampionshipsUp first for Lovgren though is figuring out where to live so she is close to good cash games and tournaments. Her options are rather diverse. "Right now I'm considering Gothenburg [Sweden] or somewhere in Asia. I'm single now, so obviously anything can happen. I understand that I have a unique opportunity right now to be flexible and enjoy life without any big obligations, so I really try to make the most of life like traveling around the world in the next year." One of the reasons Lovgren has this opportunity is her relationship with 888. Having studied business management in school, Lovgren isn’t just about promoting the brand, she also plays an active role in developing the business. She is currently developing some business ideas for the growing Asian market. Lovgren has had a busy year, what with the show, the sponsorship, and finding a new home. You would think with that much on her plate, poker would take a place on the back burner, but Lovgren actually had a breakout year at the WSOP, cashing four times, including deep runs in both the Colossus and the Millionaire Maker, where she finished 12th. After getting her start in cash games, Lovgren’s transition to tournament player is going well and, with lots of grinding on the schedule for the fall and winter, she is in a great position to continue her success. Even if she does not win that WPT title this year, her growing presence in the poker world is something the women of poker can certainly get behind, well, except maybe the eating crickets part.
  7. [caption width="640"] Sam Panzica won WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble for his third live win of 2016 (WPT photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Sam Panzica might not be allowed to play World Series of Poker events anymore, but he can now call himself a World Poker Tour champion. Panzica beat Richard Malone Jr. heads-up and survived a final table that included former WPT winners Noah Schwartz and Tyler Patterson to win the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble and $354,335. Panzica was banned from all Caesars properties in 2013 after being removed from the rail by security during the 2013 November Nine. He has appealed the lifetime ban and been denied making it impossible for him to play WSOP or WSOP Circuit events at any Caesars property. Things got chaotic on the very first hand of the final table. Malone raised to 150,000 from the button and Paul Balzano re-raised from the small blind to 380,000 and Malone called. After the [poker card="js"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"] flop, Malone called Balzano’s 300,000 bet. The turn was the [poker card="tc"] and Balzano moved all in for 1,180,000 and Malone deliberated before calling. Balzano showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] while Malone turned over [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] for an open-ended straight draw. The river was the [poker card="9h"] to give Malone his straight and send Balzano packing. That hand moved Malone, who started the day second in chips behind Panzica, into the chip lead. Just nine hands later he picked up another big stack after eliminating the most accomplished player at the table. Action folded to Schwartz on the button and he moved all in for 870,000. Panzica folded his small blind but Malone called and tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"] which had Schwartz’s [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"] dominated. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="5s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5c"] to eliminate the two-time WPT champion Schwartz in fifth place and extend Malone’s chip lead. It took a little bit longer for the next elimination, but it still came at the hands of Malone. After Malone raised to 155,000 from the button, Patterson, the defending champion and last remaining bounty in the tournament, moved all in for 860,000 from the small blind. Ankush Mandavia then came over the top for his last 2,025,000. Malone took some time to consider his action before calling. Patterson showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="kd"], Mandavia showed [poker card="th"][poker card="th"] and Malone needed help with [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2h"] flop left Patterson ahead, but the [poker card="ac"] turn put Malone ahead with a pair of his aces. The [poker card="5s"] river changed nothing and Malone eliminated two players on one hand to get heads up with Panzica. With just two players remaining, Malone had a nearly 2-1 chip lead but over the course of 145 hands Panzica’s experience shined through and allowed him to take a commanding chip lead and eventually eliminate Malone. On the final hand of the night Panzica moved all in from the big blind and Malone called all in for 2,575,000 and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="3d"]. Panzica was behind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="9c"] and got no help from the [poker card="8s"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5s"] flop. The [poker card="9s"] turn changed that though and when the [poker card="kc"] river didn’t put Malone back out in front, Panzica had eliminated Malone to win his first WPT title and $354,335. This win is just part of what some might describe as a breakout year for Panzica. In February he won the European Poker Tour Dublin High Roller for $418,704. He then won the Florida State Poker Championship at Pompano Beach in July for $117,282. The three victories are the only three live victories for the 24 year old poker pro. Final Table Payouts Sam Panzica - $354,335 Richard Malone Jr. - $237,616 Ankush Mandavia - $152,766 Tyler Patterson - $100,643 Noah Schwartz - $77,499 Paul Balzano - $64,183
  8. [caption width="640"] Jesse Sylvia finally got the monkey off his back Friday night, winning his first ever live title (WPT Photo)[/caption] When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open began Friday afternoon, former World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia was the shortest stack at the table and seemed to have little hope of winning the title. But over the course of nearly seven hours of play Friday night in Atlantic City, Sylvia went from short stack to chip leader to champion as he captured the Borgata Poker Open for the first live win of his career and second biggest score. Sylvia tripled up on the seventh hand of the final table when his [poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"] held against Farid Jattin’s [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and Simon Lam’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"] in an all in preflop confrontation. That took Sylvia from the short stack to second in chips and set up another confrontation with Jattin. Chris Limo raised to 275,000 from middle position before Jattin re-raised from the small blind to 880,000. Sylvia then made it 2,375,000, forcing Limo to fold and sending Jattin into the tank before announcing all in. Sylvia called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] while Jattin showed [poker card="4c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2d"] flop gave Sylvia top pair and a gutshot draw to Jattin. The [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="js"] river were no help for Jattin and Sylvia vaulted into the chip lead with Jattin dropping to just 11 big blinds. Jattin, who started the final day with a stack three times the size of his closest competitor, was out in sixth place just 15 minutes later when he ran his [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"] into the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] of Zach Gruneberg. While Sylvia wasn’t directly responsible for eliminating Jattin, he did take care of the next one. Sylvia raised to 280,000 from the cutoff only to have Limo three-bet to 655,000 from the small blind. Sylvia called and the flop came [poker card="9c"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4s"]. Limo fired 680,000 and Sylvia tank-called to see the [poker card="3h"] turn. Limo announced he was all in for 2,075,000 and Sylvia called. Limo showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] for a gutshot straight draw and Sylvia was way ahead with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] for a flopped set. The [poker card="9d"] river changed nothing and Sylvia increased his chip lead. Just three hands later Lam, who started with the second shortest stack behind only Sylvia, saw his run end. Lam moved all in from UTG for 870,000 and Gruneberg called from the big blind. Lam had [poker card="jc"][poker card="6c"] and was dominated by Gruneberg’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="ks"] giving Gruneberg an unnecessary rivered pair to send Lam home in fourth place. It only took another 30 minutes for the next elimination and Gruneberg was involved again. Gruneberg moved all in from the small blind and Taha Maruf called from the big blind for 2,695,000 with his tournament life on the line. Gruneberg showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8h"] while Maruf happily turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3d"] flop put Gruneberg ahead and the [poker card="th"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river kept him there, eliminating Maruf in third place. Sylvia and Gruneberg began heads-up play nearly dead even in chips with Sylvia holding just one more big blind than his opponent. Over the course of the first two hours of heads-up action, Sylvia increased his lead to 3-2 over Gruneberg. Sylvia briefly relinquished the chip lead only to get it back for the final time just 30 minutes later. Sylvia eventually built up his lead to 5-1 over Gruneberg. On the final hand of the tournament, Sylvia moved all in and Gruneberg called off the last of his 5,800,000 chips. Sylvia had [poker card="jh"][poker card="4h"] and Grunberg tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="2c"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"] flop gave Sylvia top pair and a flush draw to Gruneberg. The [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="kd"] river were good enough to give Sylvia the title and the $821,811 first place prize money. Final Table Payouts Jesse Sylvia - $821,811 Zach Gruneberg - $490,617 Taha Maruf - $300,031 Simon Lam - $250,970 Chris Limo - $207,569 Farid Jattin - $167,942
  9. [caption width="640"] The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is hosting the partypoker Caribbean Poker Party this November.[/caption] Set at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in sun-soaked Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, partypoker’s Caribbean Poker Party is sure to be one of the most anticipated poker events of the year. Now, the online poker site is giving players even more reason to make the trip after doubling the guarantee of one of the events, the partypoker Million, to an impressive $2,000,000. The addition of the extra cash coupled with the $1 million earmarked for the WPT Caribbean tournament means that, aside from working on their suntans, players will be vying $3 million across two great tournaments. The festivities kick off on November 19 with the $5,000 buy-in World Poker Tour event and wrap up on the November 25 with the final day of the $2,750 buy-in Million. Players dreaming of white sandy beaches but lacking a travel budget will have the chance to win one of several $8,000 packages, up for grabs on partypoker starting September 5. Lucky winners will enjoy airfare for two, all-inclusive accommodations, the $2,750 Million buy-in, plus loads of bells and whistles sure to make the trip a memorable one. Sign up now for partypoker and get a 100% bonus on your first deposit and start playing your way to a seat in the partypoker Caribbean Poker Party. Several big names in the poker world have already confirmed their attendance, including poker pro Sam Trickett, and partypoker ambassadors Mike Sexton and Tony Dunst. "After launching the first partypoker Million in 2002, it will be fantastic to see how the event has grown and with qualification starting at $0.01 and ten $8,000 packages per week up for grabs on partypoker from September it offers more value than ever," said Sexton. "I look forward to a week of unforgettable action in paradise on and off the felt." Trickett, who boasts an astronomical $20 million in live tournament cashes, looks to add even more titles to his resume while relaxing with friends. "The Caribbean Poker Party is going to be a fantastic event, I’m looking forward to going with a big group of friends and it’s brilliant to hear that the Million guarantee has been doubled to $2 million," said Trickett. Also coming to the party is boxing superstar Carl Froch, who can’t wait to put his live poker training to the test. "I’m looking forward to a week of poker in paradise and my first live tournament action outside of my home town,” he said. "Playing the partypoker Million and WPT Caribbean is the ultimate test and I’ve been putting in the hours, preparing myself for the differences between online tournaments to ensure I will be at the very top of my game." Both events allow players to re-enter one time. Of course, partypoker will take full advantage of the idyllic Punta Cana backdrop and has packed the schedule with an array of outdoor sporting events and cocktail parties. Players can play water polo, golf or volleyball on off days or enjoy the beach on their own.
  10. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES PocketFives.com Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark wrap up the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, talk about Mike Sexton moving on from his 15-year run with the World Poker Tour and spend a good amount of time talking all about the upcoming Super High Roller Bowl.
  11. [caption width="680"] WPT500 is coming to Gardens Casino from May 21-31. (WPT photo)[/caption] The success of the WPT500 has been immense since first being introduced at Aria Casino and Dusk Till Dawn, in Nottingham, UK in 2014. Now another venue is set to host the budget-minded event as WPT announced WPT500 Los Angeles was coming to the Gardens Casino. Starting on May 21, players will have the opportunity to enter in one of 14 starting flights. The $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool features a buy-in of $565 and will use the Action Clock by Protection Poker once the field narrows down to 54 players remaining. “We are excited to welcome the World Poker Tour to The Gardens Casino for WPT500 Los Angeles,” said Ron Sarabi, Casino General Manager, The Gardens. “With a $1 million guaranteed prize pool at an accessible price point of $565, WPT500 Los Angeles is the perfect main event for The Gardens Poker Festival and a must-attend tournament for all players.” From May 21-24, one starting flight takes place each day starting at 11:00 am PT. All Day 1 flights carry eight levels of late registration and re-entry. Starting on May 25 and ending on May 29, there will be two starting flights on each day. The first flight will start at 11:00 am PT and the 5:00 pm PT flight carries a more fast-paced structure. All of the 14 starting flights are to play down to the final eight percent of the field before all remaining players return on Tuesday, May 30, to play to the final table. May 31 marks the date of the final table and will have a live stream. The best stack forward format will be used and any player who bags chips is allowed to enter another starting flight. Should a player bag in multiple flights, the lesser of his or her chip totals will be forfeited at the start of Day 2. “The World Poker Tour couldn’t be happier to partner with The Gardens Casino to bring the WPT500 to California for the very first time,” said Angelica Hael, WPT VP of Global Tour Management. “The WPT500 is a tremendous addition to the state’s robust and vibrant poker landscape, and Memorial Day Weekend in Los Angeles is the perfect time and place to host this historic event. With fantastic onsite amenities, a world-class poker room, and genuine hospitality from The Gardens team, the World Poker Tour is very excited about hosting the first-ever WPT500 in California.” The WPT500 is running as part of the Gardens Poker Festival, which is running from May 15-31, at Gardens Casino. There will be satellites for the WPT500, starting at the low price point of $65, with 40 seats guaranteed.
  12. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Local businessman Ian Kalman wants a deep run in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event this week.(HPT photo)[/caption] When the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star event gets underway this week in San Jose, California, Ian Kalman will be in the field taking on some of the biggest names in the game. “I love the Shooting Star tournament. It’s nice that it’s local and easy to get too. I mean, I don’t have to take a flight to play in it – so that’s nice,” said Kalman. The Shooting Star event is a unique one on the WPT. A total of 54 top pros are invited to be ‘Shooting Stars’ and players who send one of them to the rail earn $2,500 and an autographed shirt from that player. Almost every table on Day 1 has a ‘Shooting Star’, meaning amateur players are guaranteed to get the chance to play with a top pro. Kalman has played the event before. In 2005 he finished 29th and won $25,000, but he also managed to get himself one of those highly coveted bounties and that’s the story he tells about that tournament. “It was $5,000 to knock out a pro. I knocked out 1983 WSOP Main Event Champion Tom McEvoy and he hasn’t talked to me since,” said Kalman, who has been playing satellites in attempt to get into this year’s event. “But to be fair, he doesn’t know who I am, so there’s no real reason for us to talk.” All joking aside, the San Francisco business owner and recreational poker player isn’t at all intimidated at all by having to play against top competition. It’s something he’s used to. In 2005, Kalman and his business partner Sean Farrell started a greeting card company, Bald Guy Greetings, and he’s been competing alongside some of the bigger names in that industry since. “We started Bald Guy Greetings for fun and had no idea that we’d be taking on Hallmark. I didn’t know what would come of it and I didn’t think Hallmark would even know who we were,” said Kalman. “ I should be clear though -- we’re not taking on Hallmark. They’ve already won.” The idea behind the company isn’t to one day be Hallmark. Kalman knows his products are unique in the marketplace and not the same old birthday or anniversary cards you’ll find in chain stores across the country. He’d much rather focus on continuing to find smaller stores to get the products in. [caption width="640"] An example of the unique style of greeting card Kalman's company, Bald Guy Greetings, makes.[/caption] “We thought that we were filling a void in the greeting card industry and people would be beating down our door. But it turns out, a lot of storeowners are very happy selling watered-down greeting cards,” said Kalman. “Our dream is to be in the best card stores in every city. The stores that take pride in what they carry. Those are the stores that gave us a chance in the beginning and we will forever be thankful to them for that.” Poker is a hobby for Kalman, but one that he’s enjoyed some success with. Just over four months ago, Kalman made the final table of the Heartland Poker Tour event at Thunder Valley Casino just outside of Sacramento. Kalman, busted in ninth place, earning $21,758 – his third largest lifetime score. His biggest score came in 2006 when he lived the dream of every amateur player with a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Finishing in 167th place in the year Jamie Gold won, Kalman walked away with $47,006. While a six-figure score in the Bay 101 event this week would be fantastic for Kalman, he wouldn’t have to or even want to invest any of that money into the business. “Bald Guy Greetings is doing well and we really don’t have a need for more capital. Investors and people that just love the brand have approached us and they’re interested in investing. But for now, we like that it’s just me and Sean making all the decisions,” said Kalman. Kalman has imagined what it would be like to be the last player standing, posing for winner’s shots with Mike Sexton, Vince van Patten and the Hublot watch, but even that dream isn’t as exciting as the opportunity to turn his company into a national brand. “Poker tournaments are exciting and of course, I always want to win, but Bald Guy Greetings is something that Sean and I started from scratch and that’s exciting.”
  13. [caption width="640"] Mike Leah has made a habit out of winning at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls (photo provided)[/caption] Mike ‘GoLeafsGoEh’ Leah has a poker resume that is comparable with almost anybody in the world. He’s got a World Series of Poker bracelet, multiple World Championship of Online Poker titles, over $5.5 million in live earnings and just shy of $3 million in online earnings. Of all his achievements on the felt, Leah feels that he accomplished the most impressive feat on his poker resume on Monday afternoon at the Fallsview Hotel and Casino. The Canadian pro topped a field of 1,524 entries in the CAD$1,100 No Limit Hold’em event to take down CAD$244,256 ($187,051 US). This is the second year in a row and third time in the last four years he’s won this World Poker Tour prelim event. In 2016, he bested a field of 1,305 for CAD$210,108, and in 2014, he came out on top of a 649-entry field for CAD$118,982. “I think it ranks number one as my poker career accomplishment,” said Leah of his latest victory. “I’m very proud not only because of what I actually get but the fact that I came into this tournament saying ‘I’m going to win this poker tournament.’ Everything leading up to this tournament, I wanted, expected, and was going to do everything I possibly could to not just do good in the tournament, but to outright win it because I wanted to accomplish the feat of winning it in back-to-back years and three out of four years.” Some players may chalk up this kind of a run to some run good, but Leah made decisions to put himself in the right frame of mind before playing this event. After spending time in Montreal for a previous WPT stop at the Playground Poker Club, Leah spent a couple of days at home in Toronto before heading south to Fallsview. To get himself motivated for the upcoming tournament, he went back through his social media posts from a year ago, and looked at previous updates throughout his 2016 run at the title. “I went through my posts and chip counts and started to kind of visualize that I was going to do it again,” said Leah. “For me, motivation is probably my biggest factor of my success when I do good in a tournament. So, I just wanted to make sure I was motivated as possible so that I could make the run at it again.” Adding to Leah’s motivation was the location of the venue. The limited number of major tour stops in Canada got the 42-year-old veteran a little more excited playing on his home turf. “I really enjoy playing poker tournaments in Canada,” said Leah. “Whether it’s Montreal at Playground or here in Fallsview. It feels really good to be playing in your home country since there aren’t as many tournaments. So, I’m a little more motivated to play here.” The timing of his win couldn’t come at a better time for Leah. With the WPT Fallsview Main Event starting on Wednesday, Leah looks to keep his momentum going and win his first WPT Main Tour title by the week’s end. Leah believes that all good runs start with two things. “Momentum and confidence are really big factors in poker,” said Leah. “If you look at the year that Dan Colman had in 2014 and Anthony Zinno in 2015. Look at Fedor (.Holz) winning everything. Confidence is key because every time you do it, it makes it seems that much easier and attainable to do again. “Sometimes people think poker is hard and it’s hard to see yourself winning. But when you have confidence, you don’t get ahead of yourself. You don’t try and win a tournament in level one.” Regardless of the outcome in his next event, Leah is already getting excited at the idea of a three-peat in the CAD$1,100 event. “Even more so than this year,” said Leah about his motivation to win this event again in 2018. “I’m going to try and replicate the preparation, but to an extra degree. It’s just such an unheard-of thing to do to go through such big fields. It’s going to make me want to do it again that much more.”
  14. [caption width="640"] Players could find themselves sitting at a televised final table thanks to the King of the Club promotion from ClubWPT (WPT photo)[/caption] Every April, the World Poker Tour season wraps up in Florida for a tournament series that is one of the most popular stops of the year. The Seminole Hard Rock Showdown series features both a WPT Main Event and the Tournament of Champions event. Thanks to ClubWPT, 16 lucky players can win their way into the fun and action for just $19.95 a month. The new King of the Club promotion is giving ClubWPT players the opportunity to travel to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida and play in an invitational tournament under the bright lights of the WPT final table. There will be two televised tables ofKing of the Club winners with over $37,000 in cash and prizes. One lucky winner will even earn a $10,000 seat in a future WPT Main Tour event. In addition to taking part in their exclusive tournament, King of the Club qualifiers will also enjoy a five-night stay at Seminole Hard Rock. While there, the qualifiers will enjoy a couple of days of curated activities and tapings for the show. They will also enjoy VIP seating at the final table of the tour’s second annual Tournament of Champions event. While there, they will get to meet the show’s hosts Vince Van Patten and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton as well as WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin. Given that the Tournament of Champions is populated with nothing but past WPT champs, there will be plenty of opportunities for poker starseekers as well. The vacation and televised table may feel like prize enough, but these qualifiers have an opportunity to parlay this freeroll into a substantial payday. Club WPT qualifiers to WPT Main Events have found quite a bit of success over the years. Club qualifier Leron Washington won the Celebrity Invitational in 2010, and Andy Whetsone final tabled the Hollywood Poker Open in 2011 after winning a seat on ClubWPT. Online qualifiers for the live event, which runs April 5-10, are already underway. Daily qualifiers are running every night with start times ranging from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET. There will be two qualifiers on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Periodic additional qualifying events will run throughout the month as well. A full schedule of the daily satellites is available on the Club WPT website. The first monthly qualifier runs on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. ET and the second runs on Feb. 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The top eight qualifiers from each qualifier win seats into the King of the Club event. Players must qualify during the play periods of each individual qualifier in order to participate. Players who qualify Jan. 1 – 29 play in the first monthly event. Those who qualify from Jan. 30 – Feb. 26 play in the second qualifier. Players who win multiple seats into the qualifiers may only redeem one. Additional seats are not redeemable for cash or promotional value. The subscription-based ClubWPT.com offers players the opportunity to play tons of online poker tournaments for a flat rate of $19.95 per month. Prizes on the site include seats into WPT Main Tour events, cash, and other prizes.
  15. [caption width="640"] The WPT Action Clock is coming to all Season XVI tour stops starting in Choctaw next week.[/caption] The World Poker Tour Action Clock premiered two seasons ago at the WPT Tournament of Champions and received rave reviews upon its introduction. The concept has grown as players of both the professional and recreational ranks are looking to speed up play in the later stages of tournaments. Just announced this week, the WPT is making an innovative change that officially brings the Action Clock into the full poker spotlight. Starting with the first American stop of Season XVI, the Action Clock is ready to tick at Choctaw in the first week of August. The Action Clock, which WPT is bringing in with a partnership agreement made with Protection Poker, will be in use once the respective field is one table away from breaching the money bubble in all WPT Main Tour events. From that point forward, the Action Clock will be on all tables down to the final table, where it will also be used. Players are given 30-seconds with each decision in order to maintain a reasonable pace of play. For decisions that may require some additional thought, players have the option to use one of their four time-extension chips. Each chip is worth 30 seconds of additional time given to a player. As the final three tables are reached, players will be given a maximum of six chips and then a maximum of eight chips when the official WPT final table of six is hit. Another change being made by WPT and its hosting partners is for all tables to be eight-handed once there are 10 tables remaining in play in a WPT Main Tour event. WPT Executive Director Matt Savage has been open to player feedback on the subject of faster play over the last few years and is excited to introduce the Action Clock across all WPT events. “The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across all of its Main Tour event. Many players, both recreational and professional, have expressed concerns that unnecessary tanking has taken a lot of the fun out of poker. Poker should always be fun, and it was a no-brainer decision to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events following its success in the WPT Tournament of Champions and WPT500™ Los Angeles. With the Action Clock, more action equals more fun, and who doesn’t want more fun in poker?” The third running of the WPT Choctaw event kicks off on August 4 and runs through August 8. The $3,700 buy in tournament holds a $2,000,000 guarantee and had a playing field of 1,066 in 2016.
  16. [caption width="640"] Ryan Franklin added a Sunday Major title to his impressive resume (WPT photo)[/caption] Longtime online poker tournament specialist Ryan 'HITTHEPANDA' Franklin took down the PokerStars Sunday Million for a cash prize of $159,701 with fellow veteran Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov of Russia finishing second for $112,069 and #400-ranked 'vip25459' placing third for $78,646. 'Alexey5758' was awarded $55,192 in fourth place while 'fatboi' of the United Kingdom walked away with $38,732 in fifth place. There was a heads-up final table chop in the Stars Sunday High Roller as 'fish2013' took home $59,662 for the win and 'WATnlos' earned $53,566 in the runner-up position. Belgium's Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson (ranked #92 worldwide) placed third for $37,322 in that event. The Sunday Warm-Up was won by 'anti-VGKC' who received a cash payment of $42,180 upon reaching a two-way deal. Peru's Diego Ventura (ranked #68 worldwide) captured an outright victory in the Sunday 500 for $37,333 and Brazilian Dennys 'dennysramos2' Ramos looked to move back into the Top 100 with a win in the Sunday Supersonic for $30,263. Online poker tournament specialist 'Chelsea72' came out on top in the $2,600 buy-in Super High Roller on Partypoker, cashing in for $46,857 while 'NoSaalt' finished second in that event for $34,634. The $530 buy-in High Roller was won by 'SentimenTODO23' who was awarded $31,848 with the runner-up 'josef_shvejk' of the Russia (ranked #9 worldwide) taking home $31,720 following a two-way negotiation. The $320 buy-in Baby Whale tournament on 888poker was won by 'Eat1ngAndWIN' for a cash prize of $21,500. 'RakDoll' was the winner in the Mega Deep event and collected $19,114. PokerStars Sunday Million $200 + $15 NLHE 5,914 entrants $1,182,800 paid out to 1,052 spots Ryan 'HITTHEPANDA' Franklin - $159,701.07 Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov - $112,068.64 vip25459 - $78,646.26 Alexey5758 - $55,191.57 flong78 - $38,731.85 (fatboi) s0nny_bLacCk - $27,180.86 AchoBogdanov - $19,074.77 BongadasVN - $13,386.22 (RomeuRato) cojones2010 - $9,394.15 PokerStars Sunday High Roller $2,000 + $100 NLHE 155 entrants $310,000 paid out to 20 spots fish2013 - $59,662.21 WATnlos - $53,566.43 *2-way deal Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson - $37,322.48 raidalot - $28,444.32 Apotheosis - $21,678.08 enigma2018 - $16,521.38 flong78 - $12,591.33 (fatboi) iamivar - $9,596.14 gorodski - $7,313.45 PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up $200 + $15 NLHE 1,479 entrants $295,800 paid out to 251 spots anti-VGKC - $42,180.32 Vanad3784 - $35,434.86 *2-way deal Futti18 - $23,341.48 Dominic 'BounatirouIMO' Nitsche - $16,782.74 PataNegraXD - $12,066.92 Maui2waui - $8,676.22 Gustavo '22ehnutzz' Mastelotto - $6,238.27 w3c.RaY - $4,485.36 WATnlos - $3,225.01 PokerStars Sunday 500 $500 + $30 NLHE 412 entrants $206,000 paid out to 55 spots Diego Ventura - $37,333.38 Zluka2010 - $27,441.19 joselo29 - $20,170.24 shushko19 - $14,825.82 AppelKruimel - $10,897.50 Jon 'apestyles' Van Fleet - $8,010.04 Flat - $5,887.64 pappadogg - $4,327.62 zÿax - $3,180.96 (OMGpou) PokerStars Omania High Roller $500 + $30 PLO Six Max 208 entrants $94,500 paid out to 23 spots Fresh_oO_D - $17,020.91 chico134 - $13,586.03 sadface11 - $10,844.40 Riphraph94 - $8,656.02 C Darwin2 - $6,909.25 anonymstruts - $5,514.98 PokerStars Sunday Supersonic $200 + $15 NLHE Six Max Hyper Turbo 895 entrants $183,260 paid out to 101 spots Dennys 'dennysramos2' Ramos - $30,263.33 isistar185 - $21,540.22 Steve 'Mr. Tim Caum' O'Dwyer - $15,331.76 --KarlsenA-- - $10,912.74 (andersfk) BobbyW519 - $7,767.41 masatotan - $5,528.63 partypoker Super High Roller $2,500 + $100 77 entrants $192,500 paid out to 13 spots Chelsea72 - $46,857 NoSaalt - $34,634 TheTryangle - $25,599 JeanClaude1970 - $18,922 WelshWizard - $13,986 (the beej) Patrick 'pleno1' Leonard - $10,337 mwhldwn - $7,641 ACHSO8000 - $6,607 partypoker High Roller $500 + $30 372 entrants $200,000 paid out to 63 spots SentimenTODO23 - $31,848 josef_shvejk - $31,720 *2-way deal PhileasFogg - $19,244 (hellohellohello) jaimelaviande - $13,965 Chelsea72 - $10,135 McDlsiLDrOoN - $7,355 Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov - $5,337 Batdog666 - $3,873 888poker Baby Whale $300 + $20 NLHE 210 entrants $100,000 paid out to 27 spots Eat1ngAndWIN - $21,500 trino11 - $15,500 AsaNisse4 - $11,750 tigerhooods62 - $8,750 888tonkaaaa - $6,000 nelisschuif - $5,000 TylerRM - $4,000 88TIGER889 - $3,000 888poker MEGA DEEP $200 + $15 NLHE 389 entrants $100,600 paid out to 56 spots RakDoll - $19,114 TrollKnost8 - $14,084 IceStream - $10,563 koenigskebap - $7,545 CraiEvryTime - $5,030 Imyurfriend - $3,521 GramNaKartke - $2,515 (ksieciunio) ckb4714 - $2,012
  17. Earlier this summer Adam Pliska’s phone rang. On the other end of the call was an executive recruiter. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. They call every now and then. This wasn’t just some cold call gauging the 45-year-old’s interest in looking for another job though - they had a legitimate offer and were hoping to convince the World Poker Tour President and CEO to take his talents elsewhere. Pliska politely listened to the caller’s pitch and then even more politely told him he wasn’t interested. THE ORIGIN OF IT ALL Orange, California is about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles and has just about 140,000 people who call it home. Adam Pliska grew up in Orange, the son of a sheriff and a homemaker, and it’s where the foundations for the rest of Pliska’s life come from. He has two sisters, 10 and 11 years older than him, and by the time Pliska was eight years old, they were out of the house. Family friends probably expected the youngest Pliska to grow up and take on a law enforcement career. Not only was his father a sheriff, but his grandfather was the Captain of the Newport Police Department and his great-grandmother was the first policewoman in Orange County. The first time somebody asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Pliska said he wanted to be a priest - for rich people. “I was six, and I said, ‘because I believe rich people have problems that other people don’t know that they have’,” said Pliska. Barely into high school, Pliska inherited a ‘56 Chevy after his uncle passed away. It was going to need gas and insurance. His parents made it clear they weren’t going to be the ones paying for that. “So, I do what all kids do. I go out and get a job. I literally got turned down at Subway. I got turned down at a place called Spires (a family restaurant),” said Pliska. “I decided, ‘Okay, I better start my own business’. I started printing t-shirts for the sports teams.” Adam Pliska the brand-building entrepreneur was born. [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596123-adam-pliska-final-table.jpg]Pliska has been with the World Poker Tour since 2003.[/figcaption] THE VISION When the World Poker Tour launched, one of the company’s first full-time employees was a Berkley Law School graduate named Adam Pliska. He served as General Counsel, working closely with founder Stephen Lipscomb to help the company navigate its first few years of existence. The mentality of the company at that time, when poker was booming and money from online poker sites was keeping everybody flush, was very different from the one that exists today. That change was largely driven by the lessons Pliska learned along the way. “When I started as (general counsel) of the World Poker Tour, I was 30 years old or something like that. You get caught up in ‘this is how you make money and you do this and money flows’. It’s over time that you start to care about people and the brand. I care about this brand,” said Pliska. “You have to think about the long term. So, I spend a lot of time looking at that model and persuading people that over the long term this is what you get; the result is the brand.” Pliska has quite literally seen it all with the WPT, and he vividly remembers a time when the company wasn’t viewed so favorably by the players. Over the last eight years, and through a pair of ownership changes, he’s worked hard to make sure that the paying customers - the players themselves - feel like the WPT is listening to them and that they ultimately get something out of their experience, whether they’re playing every event on the schedule or just one. “You’ve got to remember, there are 50,000 people coming to World Poker Tour events. How many of them are not cashing? A lot of people. More than 60% of the people that play in the tournament has never played in a (WPT) main tour tournament. That’s an amazing thing,” said Pliska. “But that’s the whole story of the World Poker Tour. If you just want to go to a big event, go to the World Series Main Event … but there are other things that are important, and that’s what the World Poker Tour stands for - your personal growth in poker. We just want to capture and put it in ways where people walk away and feel like it’s important to them.” Pliska has overseen international expansion of the tour, including recent WPT events in India, China and Japan, the acquisition and rebranding of the DeepStacks Poker Tour as well as a new TV deal with Fox Sports. Not everything the WPT touched has turned to gold though. In 2010 the WPT introduced the Royal Flush Girls as part of broadcasts and in 2013 they announced the creation of Alpha8, a series of tournaments with buy-ins of $100,000 or larger and in. Alpha8 struggled to find any traction while the Royal Flush Girls concept has been subject to criticism from players and media alike. In both cases, Pliska says he learned more about what the WPT is, and where it needs to be in the modern poker landscape. “There were successes and there were elements of mistakes. The mistakes were that we didn’t put enough time thinking about our wrangling abilities. We had 50 at one event and we had six in another,” Pliska said of Alpha8. “We’re not great high roller wranglers. Our specialty is to create places where people came at any time in their journey and make sure they feel comfortable and have a good experience.” While Alpha8 quietly went away after filming just one episode in what would have been its third season, the Royal Flush Girls concept is still part of the WPT, but it has undergone a transition since the press release announcing the creation of the RFG described them as “sexy, fun and approachable”. The group is now known as the Royal Flush Crew and includes a male member, Brenden Johnson. And rather than serving as eye candy, the crew is being integrated into broadcasts and live events in a much different way. “The thought process at the time was we should be more like sports and sports have cheerleaders and those kinds of things, but yes, I have really positioned that differently over time,” said Pliska. The current plan calls for the Crew to bring value to the broadcasts and live events that all players can take advantage of. “What do (the Royal Flush Crew) you do besides be a face that people go, ‘Oh, I can go up to you and take pictures?’. We all have to ask ourselves, what are we giving? The players are giving us their time - what are we giving back?” said Pliska, who expects the Crew members to have an area of expertise that they can share with players. “So now we’re looking for people who can bring something. Maybe you can do yoga. Maybe you can do some workout. It doesn’t have to be physical.” Pliska points to planned TV segments on getting in shape, healthy eating and even mental health, all hosted by members of the Royal Flush Crew who carry a passion for the subject matter as well as opportunities for players to attend events during WPT tournaments geared around the same concepts. He likens the redevelopment of the Royal Flush Crew concept to other elements of the WPT. “Raw Deal wasn’t exactly what it was before. The anchor position started off in one way and evolved a little bit over time,” said Pliska. “I actually see this really taking a future and really representing the family element in a way I’m really happy about.” [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596122-adam-pliska-wpt-standing.jpg]Pliska has overseen two ownership changes and an evolution of the TV product since taking over as President and CEO in 2009.[/figcaption] THE MENTOR While in high school, Pliska had a small part in Teahouse of the August Moon. That piqued his interest in production, so he signed up for a stage production course at a local community college. As that course was wrapping up, he agreed to be an usher in their stage production tribute to Lassie. A number of Hollywood heavyweights came to the show. Dee Wallace Stone, who was starring in E.T. at the time, got a little lost so Pliska helped her out. “I walked her into the green room and I saw this guy, Al Burton,” said Pliska, who was impressed by the way everybody in the room reacted to Burton, a TV show producer. “He was such a likable person and all of these people liked him and they got along well. He treated them with respect. They enjoyed being there. It wasn’t about egos. I remember thinking, ‘I wish I could be a part of this’.” A security guard told Pliska he had to leave. Thinking quickly on his feet, Pliska told Burton, who was the producer of TV shows Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, that he was with the school newspaper and asked for an interview. Burton agreed and told Pliska to come to his office later in the week. There was a problem, though. Pliska wasn’t actually with the school newspaper. “I remember the day I went there. Leonard DiCaprio was there, he was on Lassie at the time. Scott Baio had been in and I was so nervous, (Burton) said ‘What can I do for you?’,” remembered Pliska, who told Burton he had just three questions for him. Burton was one step ahead already though and Pliska remembers the next few minutes vividly “You know what? I”m going to take a guess, and I don’t want to offend you, my guess is that you’re not necessarily associated with the school newspaper, you just wanted to get in my office and you wanted to make a connection and if that’s true, tell me,” Burton said. Pliska copped to it and told Burton he just wanted to get his foot in the door somehow. The ploy worked and Pliska started working with Burton right around the time he began producing Charles in Charge. Burton eventually became a mentor to Pliska. “He gave me so much of my foundations of the business world, because my father was a civil servant, so I really had no context,” said Pliska. “Al Burton used to have this expression, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll exploit you for your own good’. And he did. I got paid very little money, but I learned so much." Along with learning about business, being mentored by Burton also introduced Pliska to futurist Alvin Toffler and eventually to doing business with one of the world’s richest people, Carlos Slim. Now that he’s in a position to do so, Pliska works as a mentor to multiple people. “To me, mentoring is so important because it absolutely has a chance to not just change one person, but an entire family. It completely changes trajectory (and) allows people to think,” said Pliska. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP Considering his tenure with the company and his position at the very top of the corporate ladder, it’s surprising to realize that in this era of tireless self-promotion, Pliska isn’t the face of the company. That’s by design. Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst, Vince van Patten and Lynn Gilmartin have all held visible positions in the broadcasts. Matt Savage has been out front within the poker industry as the person players can talk to about operational issues. Being in the position he’s in now allows Pliska to drive the vision while allowing his staff to execute. “Steve Lipscomb and I are still incredibly close friends. We talk about this all the time, that one day, no one will know who you are,” said Pliska. “But this brand will mean a lot to people for a long time because it touched so many people. So Adam Pliska doesn’t need to have that brand, but feeling like you made an impact and you helped shape a culture, that’s incredible.” Being the CEO of a poker company and not being a poker player - now or ever - isn’t the only way in which Pliska is a walking contradiction. The SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills has a cocktail named for him, but he doesn’t drink. To be fair, he did drink when chef José Andrés created it, but a milestone birthday and a chance encounter with a poker player at a WPT event changed all of that. “At 40, I got this point where I said my motto, which is ‘life is edited’. You want a good script? Edit it. You want a good story? Edit it. If you want good friends, edit that too,” said Pliska. “I took my own advice. I was 40 and I said, ‘You know what? You’ve got to live a healthier life and I did. I just cut (alcohol) out. I started to exercise, started to try to maintain my energy level and I think it helped.” Eight months before his 40th birthday, young poker pro Thuy Doan walked up to Pliska at the Legends of Poker and asked for some advice. “She came up to me and said, ‘I’m starting to get some attention. Would you mind helping me with some media stuff and how to present myself?’,” said Pliska. “I said, “Okay, why don’t you come to Borgata?” Doan went to Borgata and while there slipped and ended up in hospital. Pliska met her there and was bedside with her when the doctor told her the fall wasn’t random, the cancer she thought she had beaten had returned. And it was aggressive. “I’m sitting there with this 20-something-year-old girl, her step-father is driving seven hours from Virginia. It was one of the most impactful things of my life,” recalled Pliska. “I became friends with the family. I ended up staying at their home several times. On my birthday, she asked me to come in. She knew I’m a history buff, so she checked herself out of the hospital. They took me to Monticello. That was the last time she went out. It was my best birthday ever.” Doan passed away in September 2011 and her death had an immediate impact on Pliska. “I did a lot of reflection after she passed away and I looked at the things that were extraneous and I decided to cut it out,” said Pliska. “You know what? It is the greatest thing. It just makes you clear on what it is that you love. So I attribute a big part of that to a lot of lifestyle changes for me.” [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596121-adam-pliska-wpt-family.jpg]Pliska often refers to the WPT employees under his charge as the "WPT family" and uses that as a guiding principle in running the business.[/figcaption] THE FAMILY Growing up in Orange, California, working in Hollywood for a powerhouse producer, traveling the world while running the WPT and a life-changing friendship with a poker pro have all helped Pliska frame how he runs the company. “I think to me, the family approach is the only way I know how to run a company,” said Pliska. “That means you’ve got to be honest with each other and when you’re falling, you’ve got to be able to go, ‘Hey, I gotta talk to you’. We do that with each other.” It’s not the lovey-dovey approach that it might sound like. For Pliska, it helps build a sense of personal responsibility and accountability within the walls of the WPT offices. It also allows those entrusted with doing right by the business, to make a mistake once in awhile and know it’s not going be the end of the world. “You have to put an element that’s in real families. You’ve got to make people feel like if you screw up, if you make a mistake, you’re still here. Because of that, we can really get people to be at their very best,” said Pliska. The phone calls from recruiters are going to continue, especially as the business he runs now continues to grow, but they’re likely wasting their time. Pliska seems intent on continuing to serve as the leader of the WPT family and hopes that, more than anything, becomes his legacy. “If I go back 14 years or so, and I look back and what’s the most important thing, if someone says what did you do with your career? I hope somebody will say I showed that you could be serious about business and respect your colleagues that work there.” Photography courtesy of the World Poker Tour, Joe Giron and Patrick Ecclesine.
  18. Sometime next spring, loyal World Poker Tour fans will tune into the WPT Choctaw broadcast on Fox Sports and might be a little bit startled, not so much by what they see, but rather what they hear. After serving as the lead commentator and de facto voice of the WPT for 15 seasons, Mike Sexton retired before the start of Season 16. When it came to filling that void, WPT executives and producers didn't have to look far. Tony Dunst, who had been hosting The Raw Deal segment during WPT broadcasts since 2010, was ready and willing to take on the challenge. So when Season 16 begins airing in 2018, with action from WPT Choctaw as the first televised event, it’ll be Dunst working alongside Sexton’s longtime broadcast partner, Vince van Patten. WORKING FOR PEANUTS Choctaw, Oklahoma is approximately 850 miles from Madison, Wisconsin, but the same city that gave the world Phil Hellmuth, is actually where Dunst’s journey to the WPT commentary booth began. It’s where Dunst grew up, and looking back now at his childhood, he knows he was different from the other kids in a lot of ways. “I was definitely a very weird kid. I would get obsessive about things to a degree that was sort of unnatural for a kid,” said Dunst. “In high school, for example, I got very obsessive about dieting and lifting, and I would eat the same 4-5 meals every day for months on end, to the point that my friends would tease me.” None of the teasing ever really bothered Dunst. He was hyper-aware that his approach to learning new things or conquering goals was different than most of his peers and he had a gut feeling early on that, even though he didn’t know which direction it would ultimately take, he was going to have a very unique career path. “Even back then, I had an ability to focus on things in a very singular way, and I also remember thinking pretty early on in life that the usual 9-5 job, with a boss, a sort of ‘more safe’ career, was not for me,” said Dunst. “I can remember thinking that at a very young age.” Like a lot of kids, he grew up dreaming of being a professional athlete of some sort. And like most kids, he eventually realized he wasn’t a good enough athlete for that to ever become a reality. He worked some part-time jobs through high school and they ended up shaping his thinking towards what he wanted to do with his life - or maybe more importantly, what he didn’t want to do. “I started working at 13, selling peanuts at the stadium, and then I worked at Subway making sandwiches and then I sold shoes in the mall,” said Dunst. “All these kinds of jobs where you’re getting $5 or $6 an hour, and being told what to do by the people above you, and I was like, ‘Man, there’s gotta be something better than this’.” Even though he didn’t want to pursue a corporate-type job, early on he toyed with the idea of becoming a stockbroker. Admittedly, Dunst says he was attracted to the risk involved, but also the potential for making enough money to afford a certain type of lifestyle. Nice suits. A nice car. All of that good stuff. LUNCH MONEY TO BIG MONEY [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596074-tony-dunst-wpt-main-red.jpg]After working for Subway and selling shoes, Tony Dunst decided a regular career just wasn't for him.[/figcaption] While the money would certainly have been nice, the Wall Street dream came with too many rules and too many bosses. He never really pursued it after he realized that didn’t fit with his personality. His desire for a high risk-high reward career never wavered though. “When I was 16, I was reading books about blackjack and card counting and became absorbed in the casino world and stories about gamblers,” said Dunst. “At 17, poker started to become popular, the World Poker Tour came on TV and my friends always wanted to play these home games.” With buy-ins of just $5 and $10, it’s hard to imagine these high school home games were anything but buddies just trading the same money back and forth, week after week, but Dunst figured out very quickly that he was doing pretty well in these games. Tony Dunst the Home Game Crusher was making way more money than Tony Dunst the Sandwich Artist and having way more fun than Tony Dunst the Shoe Salesman. It was 2002, and online poker was in its infancy. Chris Moneymaker was still doing the books for some restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee and the world was over a year away from the Boom. Dunst was already playing online poker though. He discovered sites like Paradise Poker and Planet Poker while looking up poker strategy online. “I had already started to buy strategy books, and was really curious as to how you win at this game. Back then most people were just playing for fun, it was just kind of a ‘mess around’ type thing,” said Dunst, who began winning online almost immediately. “Early online poker was pretty laughable at the low stakes.” Even though Dunst, by this time a senior in high school, had found an early version of his personal utopia, his parents still had expectations that Dunst would get a college education. “My parents were, of course, concerned that being a professional gambler was not a realistic career choice,” said Dunst, who attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he majored in theater arts. Dunst eventually dropped out of college to play full time. To say his parents didn’t approve would be an understatement. “They were terrified, of course, and I think a lot of players in my generation experienced that and it created some riffs in the relationships between players my age and their parents at times,” admitted Dunst. Getting his parents to change their mind wasn’t easy, but Dunst simply relied on the obsessive nature he first displayed as a teenager. That, combined with a little help from PocketFives, got them to come around. “I just kept playing for years and they just sort of grew to accept it,” said Dunst. “I eventually had such consistent success online that my mom would see the results on PocketFives and would send me a message, ‘I saw you won that tournament for $20,000. That’s great!’.” GETTING RAW It was around that time that another opportunity, one that looked and felt more like a real job than anything he’d ever really had, came along. Despite Dunst’s previous dislike of a corporate job, he pursued this one with vigor. “The last nail in the coffin was getting the job with the World Poker Tour, because then it wasn’t just ‘you’re a gambler relying on this very unstable form of income. Now you’ve turned it into a career’,” said Dunst. Dunst’s Raw Deal hosting job almost didn’t happen though. In 2010, while trying to revamp their weekly shows, the WPT put out an open casting call for a new segment. They were looking for somebody who could dissect hands on camera in an entertaining and edgy way. Dunst was definitely interested, but had a scheduling conflict that meant he couldn’t get to the live audition that the finalists were asked to attend. The WPT was keen on Dunst though, and made arrangements for him to come in a week later and audition on his own. He nailed it. “It was the first audition I ever went out for. It was the first job interview I ever had pretty much my entire adult life,” said Dunst. Hosting the Raw Deal meant being willing to critique other people’s play, a challenge he was more than willing to accept thanks his extensive playing experience. “I tried out for that job at 25, so I had already been in poker for eight years. I’d played a lot online and live. I hadn’t been that successful live but, especially in my early 20s, I thought I was hot shit. So, I probably walked in there feeling like, ‘of course I belong here’.” Over the next seven years, Dunst become a valued member of not only the broadcasts, but also of the WPT organization. Through all of it, Dunst learned that while he probably wasn’t cut out to be a stockbroker riding the subway to get to the office for 7 am, he enjoyed working with others and creating something unique. “I learned how much I enjoy collaborating with other people. I liked the social element of having a job,” said Dunst. “I enjoyed the creative process of watching this footage and saying ‘Okay, how are we going to turn a poker hand into enjoyable or funny commentary?’ How do you highlight something interesting about the decisions these people are making, be they positive or negative, and do it in a way that your casual viewer is going to both enjoy and understand.” Along with doing the the Raw Deal segments, which he shot in studio in Los Angeles, Dunst also handled commentary on some of the live streams that WPT did at various events. While it gave Dunst exposure to an even bigger audience, it also allowed him even more opportunities to work with the WPT producers and talent. “You’re working in an environment where you’re all working towards a common goal, a shared goal with your co-workers,” said Dunst. “You’re relationship with those people is going to be as important to your success in that endeavor as the product or commentary that you create.” [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596075-tony-dunst-playing-wpt.jpg]With nearly $3 million in live earnings, Tony Dunst brings a wealth of playing experience to the booth.[/figcaption] None of this meant that Dunst stopped playing poker though. Just the opposite. He continued to travel the world, and even began playing more WPT events. He posted his first WPT cash in the Five Diamond Poker Classic in 2011, finishing 18th in what is one of the toughest fields of the year. Then he final-tabled the Jacksonville bestbet Open, finishing fifth. He posted another pair of cashes during the next season before pulling off the dream scenario. In November 2013, Dunst, who played online under the name ‘Bond18’ made the final table of the WPT Caribbean event at a hotel named ‘Casino Royale’ - the name of the Bond film where the super spy finds himself playing high stakes poker. He went on to win the event, adding a signature win to his resume and $145,000 to his bankroll. He continued to add to that resume by making back-to-back final tables of the WPT Championship event in Atlantic City, finishing third in 2014 and sixth in 2015. All told, Dunst has cashed in 11 WPT main tour events, earning $984,779. He's also had success outside of the WPT, including a World Series of Poker win in 2016. That came just over five months after he finished runner-up in the Aussie Millions Main Event. His career earnings now sit at $2.9 million. A WISE INVESTMENT [figcaption=https://www.pocketfives.com/profiles/admin/albums/article-images/596073-dunst-punta-booth.jpg]Tony Dunst will now work alongside Vince van Patten to bring the action to life on WPT broadcasts.[/figcaption] While the Raw Deal gig helped him convince his parents that he’d made the right career choice, it also gave him valuable experience that wound up paying off later. While each segment was only a couple of minutes long, the time it took to film each one gave Dunst time to get comfortable working with the lights and cameras bearing down on him. “Speaking on camera is something that you gradually get better at over time. You learn to not let your eyes move down on a teleprompter. You speak more coherently, more smoothly. You learn the timing,” said Dunst. “It can be tempting when you first start speaking on camera, to talk really fast. You have to calm your nerves. And that dissipated over time.” Dunst isn’t quite sure how many Raw Deal segments he filmed over the years, but estimates it’s close to 150. That means there were at least that many players whose play Dunst was publicly critical of. Being candid and critical, knowing that he’d be talking to those players at some point on tour is also something he’s taking with him to his new role. “(The Raw Deal) was great practice, both the collaborative process of working with other people, but also understanding the nuance of interacting with players after you do commentary or criticism of them,” said Dunst. “That’s going to be important, because in these events, I’m in the fields, I’m hanging around at the events, I have to have relationships with these players, and then I’m expected to critique them at a very sensitive time for them.” The days of micro-analyzing and critiquing just a single hand from every final table are over for Dunst. Working alongside van Patten as commentator means he’s going to be calling the action now and making sure the viewers at home know exactly what’s happening at all times and what it means as the final table plays down to a champion. “It’s more of a play-by-play (role) now. I think it’s pretty hard to make a deep dive in strategy when we’re trying to keep the action moving on the show, and it’s just not my responsibility the way it was with the Raw Deal,” said Dunst. Stepping into a role that a Poker Hall of Famer and one of poker’s greatest ambassadors held for a long time isn’t something Dunst did lightly. Having already established himself on the broadcasts made the decision to take the new job even easier - but some kind words from Sexton also put Dunst at ease. During a WPT dinner honoring Sexton, he went out of his way to make sure the WPT staff in attendance knew that Dunst was ready for the new role. “He just had some very kind, encouraging words, which he said publicly in front of a lot of people,” remembered Dunst. “He said, ‘WPT has nothing to worry about - they’re in really good hands with Tony’.” While calling the action of every televised WPT final table is the nitty gritty of the job, Dunst has been around long enough to know that filling Sexton’s shoes involves much more than getting the suits of the cards on the flop, turn and river right every time. He has a legacy to live up to. “I think it adds some pressure to uphold the image of an ambassador that Mike projected so well in his time with the World Poker Tour,” said Dunst. “I think that if you’re going to have that role with the WPT, I think there is an expectation that you will always portray poker in a positive light.” With that in mind, Dunst plans on being at as many WPT events as he can - including the non-televised variety. Even making appearances at WPT National or WPTDeepStacks events is something Dunst plans to do, if only to give him an opportunity to mix it up with poker players and fans at all levels. “I think also being willing to to share your experiences in the poker world is important in this role as part of the standard that Mike set,” said Dunst. “Coming after somebody with the presence of Mike Sexton is a challenge in a way, but on the plus side, Mike himself, the WPT, the players, they’ve all helped make this transition feel pretty natural and welcoming for me.” ALL IN THE FAMILY Inside the WPT itself is where Dunst sees his third and final transition that comes with the new job. If the Raw Deal gig cast Dunst as the cool big brother in the WPT family, being the commentator means it’s time to take on something bigger. “My role in the family is a little more in a position of leadership I guess you would say now,” said Dunst. “I think that just being present for almost everything that we do is really important. Even if I don’t have a very active role in whatever that activity is, or the event is that day, being present when you’re in my position is really important.” More visibility on the broadcasts, an expectation of ambassadorship in the poker industry, and a position of leadership within the walls of the WPT is a lot for anybody to take on. When Dunst was offered the job, he embraced everything that came with it. All to live out a fantasy he had as a high schooler watching the WPT on TV while beating his friends in those $5 and $10 home games. “It’s one of, if not the best position in the entire poker industry. I watched this show when I was a kid. Back then I was like, ‘Oh I hope I can be on the WPT one day as a player’. As a host, seemed almost too good to be true,” said Dunst. “I enjoy this kind of work, I enjoy this type of role. I knew what taking it meant. And I felt like, I already live out of a suitcase and just hang out at poker tournaments all the time. So if you want to pay me to do it, no problem, man.” Photos provided by World Poker Tour and Joe Giron/
  19. [caption width="640"] Guo Liang Chen won 9,058 for taking down the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event Friday in Atlantic City (WPT Photo)[/caption] In yet another exciting final table in Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, Guo Liang Chen outlasted a final table that included Cliff Josephy and 2017 Winter Poker Open WPT final tablist Jia Liu. Final table play lasted for 10 hours and when the dust settled, it was Chen who earned the title after a hard fought battle. In Hand #50 of the final table, Thomas Paul was the first player eliminated of the six. Paul was short after doubling up Chen in a previous hand, and was eliminated by Chen a few hands later. Chen opened to 260,000 and Paul defended out of the big blind. Paul checked the [poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] flop and Chen went all in. Paul called for a few blinds more with [poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"] for a pair against the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] of Chen. The [poker card="js"] turn was clean but the [poker card="kc"] sent Paul out the door. In the first hand of 75,000/150,000, Josephy was eliminated by Greg Weber. Josephy started the final table as the shortest stack in play. Weber shoved with [poker card="qs"][poker card="js"] in the small blind and Josephy called of with [poker card="ad"][poker card="3h"] in the big blind for 2,175,000. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9h"] flop put Weber in the lead and although Josephy picked up flush outs on the [poker card="jh"] turn, he was dead on the [poker card="3s"] river. It was 36 more hands before Matt Parry, who came into the final table as chip leader, was sent out by Weber. Parry opened the button to 450,000 and Weber three-bet from the big blind to 1,200,000. Parry jammed for 5,225,000 total and Weber called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] of Parry was in huge trouble. A king hit the flop and Parry was dead on the turn. Three-handed play lasted for over 60 hands as Weber, Chen, and Liu traded the chip lead before Liu finally succumbed. With the blinds up to 150,000/300,000, Liu shoved the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"] for 4,175,000 and Chen called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="9d"] board proved no good and Chen was heads up for the title against Weber. Chen started heads up with a deficit but battled back after calling for his tournament life on the river. Weber opened the button to 1,000,000 and Chen defended. Chen checked the [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"] flop and then called the bet of 1,000,000 from Weber. Chen bet 1,500,000 on the [poker card="3d"] turn and Weber called to the [poker card="as"] river. Chen checked and Weber put him all in for 5,750,000. It took a moment, but Chen called with [poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] to pick off the bluff of Weber [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"]. Only a dozen hands later, Chen sealed the title. Weber shoved for 5,050,000 holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="9s"] and Chen looked him up with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qh"] board gave Chen the title and the $789,058 first place prize and a seat in April’s WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Guo Liang Chen - $789,058 Greg Weber - $471,059 Jia Liu - $288,071 Matt Parry - $240,965 Cliff Josephy - $199,294 Thomas Paul-$161,247
  20. [caption width="640"] Phil Hellmuth is back at a World Poker Tour final table for the first time since 2010. (WPT photos/Joe Giron)[/caption] It’s been over seven years since Phil Hellmuth last appeared at a World Poker Tour TV final table. His bustout from the 2010 Bay 101 Shooting Star event became one of those Phil Hellmuth moments that everybody remembers. “I kind of blew that one,” said Hellmuth, who, despite all of his other success in poker, has never won a WPT title. On Thursday, Hellmuth makes his long-awaited return to WPT TV when he brings the third biggest stack to the WPT Legends of Poker final table. He’s promising not to blow this one. I'm thinking that the only thing that could stop me (Thursday) is either a super bad beat or I just get fatigued,” said Hellmuth. The 14-time WSOP bracelet winner admits that as he’s gotten older he’s recognized the long days at the table can wear on him and leave him fatigued. He’s got a strategy to deal with that though. It’s not White Magic though. It’s much simpler than that. Naps. “(The other players) fought for a 15 minute break. I went upstairs and took a nap,” said Hellmuth, who turned 53 in July. “That's what I'm going to have to do the rest of my life. I'm older now. I have to take more naps and keep myself fresh. I swear to God, if we’re in the middle of the final table and somehow I get fatigued, I will leave for 15 minutes, rush up to my room or 20 minutes or half an hour and take a nap and ante off, because it's worth it.” Throughout the last three days of the Legends of Poker, Hellmuth has had the poker community buzzing a couple of times with unorthodox laydowns - the very type of thing that Hellmuth has developed a reputation for over the last ten years his career. Late on Day 3, Hellmuth made a fold against chip leader Oddie Dardon that left his tablemates, and those following at home, shaking their heads. With the board showing [poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"][poker card="th"][poker card="5h"][poker card="9d"], Hellmuth bet 83,000. Dardon raised to 275,000, sending Hellmuth into the tank. After using two time banks, Hellmuth folded [poker card="9h"][poker card="7h"] face up. Dardon happily showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"] for a bluff. For Hellmuth’s detractors - and even his fans - that was just the appetizer though. The main course and dessert came on Day 4. Early on Day 4, Dardon and Hellmuth clashed again. After a flop of [poker card="kh"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4c"], Dardon checked, Hellmuth bet 150,000, Adam Swan folded and Dardon called. The turn was the [poker card="5s"] and Dardon check-called Hellmuth’s bet of 350,000. The river was the [poker card="kd"] and Dardon used two time chips before moving all in. Hellmuth used up three time chips before folding [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"] face up. Dardon showed just the [poker card="qc"]. The best hand Dardon could have had would have resulted in a chopped pot. “I felt in my mind like he could have king-queen of clubs, which I tied, king-jack of clubs, he could have queen-ten of clubs or queen-jack of clubs, which I have crushed,” said Hellmuth. “But I just didn't think any sane person would put that much money into not having a full house. But I'm not sure how sane he was.” A few hours later, with seven players remaining and the televised final table within reach for Hellmuth, he again made another face-up fold that most players simply couldn’t - or wouldn’t - make. Art Papazyan opened to 130,000, Hellmuth raised to 250,000 from the button. Action folded back to Papazyan and he moved all in. Hellmuth folded [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"] face up. Papazyan happily showed the table - including Hellmuth - the [poker card="4d"]. A Poker Brat moment ensued, but afterwards he admitted that making the TV final table impacted his thinking. "Yes, I can call 1.6 million here, or I can guarantee myself top six and maybe run into two or three million without ever taking any risk,” said Hellmuth. “I fold hands nobody else folds and a lot of times, a lot of times I'm wrong, in one sense - but I'm never all in."
  21. [caption width="640"] Conor Beresford is the current king of the UK rankings. Photo: PokerStars.[/caption] As an online poker powerhouse country, the UK continues to be in the conversation of producing some of the best poker players in the world. Just as the country itself has been a major world influence in popular culture, players hailing from UK have helped shape the modern-day poker landscape including old school veterans like David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott,Neil Channing and Roland de Wolfe, high-rolling regulars like Sam Trickettand Charlie Carrell and even some of the most recognizable faces of the game in PokerStars Team Pro Liv Boeree and online poker legend, Chris Moorman. The current crop of Top 10 online players from the United Kingdom uphold the tradition of influential talented grinders and current at the top of the list is Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford (6,76.34 PLB Points). Beresford is not only the #1-ranked player in the UK, but also currently sits as the #15-ranked player in the world, according to the PocketFives.com Worldwide Rankings. His last month is highlighted third-placed place finish in Event #8 of the PokerStars High Rollers Series ($2,100 8-Max No Limit Hold’em) where he took home $57,781. Beresford, constantly grinding a schedule of the largest online MTTs, cashed 30 times for four-figures or more in November and looks to out do that pace here in December already notching nine four-figure or more paydays including a sixth place finish in the PokerStars $1,050 Super Tuesday for $10,929. Despite Beresford’s amazing stats and consistency, he’s being hotly pursued by Team partypoker ambassador Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard (6,612.64). The former Worldwide #1-ranked superstar, currently sits as the UK’s #2-ranked player having just recently reached a new personal benchmark of eclipsing over $4 million in lifetime earnings. Leonard also did a good deal of damage in the PokerStars High Rollers Series cashing in five of the events for over $130,000. He final tabled three of the events and his largest score of the month came with his seventh place finish in Event #6 ($10,300 No Limit Hold’em - $1M Gtd) for $55,635. David ‘davaman’ Lopez (5,894.23) has ascended to the UK’s #3 spot. While there’s a pretty big gap between him and the duo of Beresford and Leonard, that could be in part due to a lighter play schedule in November. Originally from Spain, but currently playing out of London, Lopez reportedly at one point earned the title of Supernova Elite on PokerStars in only three months but with only a handful of scores for the month of November it looks like the pro is simply taking some time off after a month of everyday scores in October. Still sitting in the Worldwide Rankings at #40, his best recent score was a tenth place finish in the partypoker High Roller back on November 13 for $3,000. Literally right behind Lopez is the UK’s #4-ranked player Jonathan ‘proudflop’ Proudfoot (5,874.55). Proudfoot has been making waves in the Worldwide rankings, climbing just about every week in the month of November, where he currently resides at #41. Proudfoot has been putting in the time and his results have shown it. On the precipice of conquering $1 million in lifetime earnings, Proudfoot racked up 25 four-figure scores in November, not including his victory in the partypoker High Roller on November 28 for $19,734. Sitting less than 20 PLB points behind Lopez, he could, once again, climb the rankings in no time. Charlie ‘chaz_man_chaz’ Combes (5,843.76), caps off the UK’s Top 5, having recently taken down the partypoker High Roller on November 23 for $12,170. Combes is the third of the UK trio that occupies virtually the same space in the Worldwide rankings as he currently stands only 2 spots back from Proudfoot at #43 and as of now is trailing him only 30.79 PLB points, meaning things can change in a hurry on both the UK and Worldwide rankings list. Combes’ December is off to a hot start as well as the daily mid-high stakes tournament grinder has won nearly $40,000 in the first week of play. There’s a little breathing room between the #5 and #6 spots, where Owain ‘sngwonder’ Carey (5,581.54) ranks. Carey was recently featured in the PocketFives.com Milestones column for surpassing the $3 million lifetime earnings mark and he also is enjoying his highest placement in the Worldwide Top 100, currently sitting just outside the Top 50 at #51. Playing out of Glasgow as its #1 player, Ludovic ‘ludovi333’ Geilich-Jonsen (5,554.91) checks in at #7. After a light November schedule, Geilich-Jonsen emerged to cash in the PokerStars High Rollers Event #19 for over $7,800. PokerStars WCOOP Event #1 Champion‘carpediem200’ (5,426.14) checks in at #8. While still benefitting from the massive points boost a major victory like a WCOOP will give you, he’s not sitting idly by having put in a full schedule over the past two months raking in over 20 four-figure scores in that time period. Bristol’s Oscar ‘MendaLerenda’ Serradell (5,408.48), a former #2-ranked Worldwide professional, occupies the #9 spot. His victory in PokerStars Bounty Builder on November 14 for $7,297 was his highest PLB points score of November and is basically the difference between him and the #10 spot which belongs to…Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman (5,278.54). As we previously mentioned, Moorman is one of the UK’s most popular and accomplished tournament grinders. The 888poker ambassador recently published his second book as well as took down one of the side events at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond (Event #9 $1,100 No Limit Hold’em Turbo) for $37,132. Even with all of his media duties and live play, he still finds the time to grind and add to his over $14 million in lifetime earnings. His most recent only victory came just days after his live win as he took down the PokerStars Bigger $162 for over $5,200. UK Online Poker Rankings Top 10 RANKPLAYERPOINTS 11_conor_b_16,6776.34 2pleno16,612.64 3davaman5,894.23 4proudflop5,874.55 5chaz_man_chaz5,843.76 6sngwonder5,581.54 7ludovi333r5,554.91 8carpediem2005,426.14 9MendaLerenda5,408.46 10moorman15,278.54
  22. [caption width="640"] Michael Ruane is on the verge of recording his first cash since busting from the WSOP Main Event in July (WPT photo)[/caption] For a lot of poker players, getting to the final ten of the World Series of Poker Main Event along with one their good friends sounds like a dream scenario. The two of, on the verge of winning a million dollars and maybe more, along with the chance of winning the whole thing. For Michael Ruane, that dream scenario turned nightmarish this past July when he found himself in a hand with his good friend Bryan Piccioli on the final table bubble. Piccioli was the one that was all in, but the result of the hand all but guaranteed one of the two good friends would eventually become the 10th place finisher. That was Ruane's fate as Piccioli, holding [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"], called for his tournament life after Ruane, holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"], had moved all in. The board brought no help for Ruane and a few minutes later he was eliminated in 10th place. "It was the worst. If somebody's going to win I'd rather have it be him. It was just a terrible situation because getting to the final table together with a very good friend of mine would have been awesome," said Ruane. "All of our mutual friends were on the rail and nobody knew who to root for. It was silent. It was awful." The cliche says that the day a poker player busts out of the Main Event is their worst day of the year. Ruane got to live that moment, in an extremely important spot, live on ESPN for all the world to see. As the cards were turned over and the board ran out, Ruane looked upset and some mistook that as something directed towards Piccioli. Ruane insists that's not the case. "I was immediately obviously pretty angry, just because I wanted to make the final table, but I handled it a lot better than I thought I would. It just took me an hour or two to decompress, said Ruane. "I called my brother, Sean, and we talked on the phone for a bit. I actually didn't even realize there was a pay jump between 10th and 11th." Even though the two are good friends, and saw each other later that night, the big hand wasn't brought up. Five months after that fateful day, Ruane says that he and Piccioli have yet to discuss it at all. "We saw each other that night actually, and I congratulated him and I was happy for him. There's nothing really to talk about. It's just a shitty situation, I think we both just understood that. It's just poker. It's all good," said Ruane. The WPT Five Diamond, where he's starting Day 3 with a decent stack, is just the third live tournament Ruane has played since July. As long as he avoids a monumental misstep early on Friday, he's going to record his first cash since then. He had no cashes between his fourth-place finish in the 2016 WSOP Main Event and the 10th place finish last summer either. "I'm really pumped for this tournament because I haven't played in a while. I don't really like traveling and playing live - I like playing live a lot, but only when I want to. So I don't want to just go and play," a aid Ruane, who plans on spending the holidays with friends and family before heading off to Australia and Asia for prolonged vacation. "I was in Europe before the World Series and I've been to South America, so it's kind of the next place I haven't been yet and I feel like it's a pretty good time to go in my life right now," said Ruane. "Plus, I've never played the Aussie Millions. I've got a friend that lives there and a friend in China, so it just makes sense for me to this right now."
  23. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour's Five Diamond World Poker Classic returns next week.[/caption] On December 5, the World Poker Tour returns to the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for the $10,400 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event. The six-day affair promises to be a massive event as the tournament has made a millionaire out of every winner since 2012. Looking to take a dive into the deep end? Here’s what players need to know about the tournament itself: the Five Diamond Main Event is one of the deepest offerings on the WPT schedule lasting a full six days with Day 1 starting on December 5 and cards in the air at Noon Las Vegas time. With 90-minute levels (up until the Final Table) and 30,000 in chips, there’s plenty of room to maneuver but should the deck turn cold on you, players are allotted unlimited re-entry through Level 9. That isn’t expected to hit until approximately 5:15 pm on Day 2. Late registration runs until that time as well should your travel schedule keep you from arriving earlier or you’re simply adverse to those pesky “early levels.” One of Las Vegas’ premier poker destinations, the Bellagio Resort and Casino plays host to the tournament as it has since it’s inception as the first event of Season I when a young Danish poker player named Gus Hansen bested the field of 146 to claim the first WPT title and $556,460. In fact, it can be argued that the Five Diamond World Poker Classic is the most recognizable of the WPT tour stops due to it’s rich history of massive prizepools and final tables packed with superstars. A list of past winners of the event reads like a fantasy team of poker all-stars that includes Daniel Negreanu, Joseph Hachem and Eugene Katchalov (when it was briefly re-branded as the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic), David ‘Chino’ Rheem, Daniel Alaei, James Dempsey and Antonio Esfandiari. In more recent years, as the number of entries began to swell, some of the most talented rising stars helped solidify their names as top professionals with victories including Mohsin ‘chicagocards1’ Charania, Ravi Raghavan and regular high roller “King” Dan Smith. One of the players to watch here in 2017 is last year’s winner, the defending Five Diamond champion, James Romero. Last year Romero bested a record field of 791 players, including fellow final tablists Justin Bonomo and Jake Schindler to take home over $1.9 million. The victory easily represented the largest score of the young Oregonians career and it not only launched him into the poker spotlight but sent him into a year of live grinding that brought him over $200,000 in earnings in 2017. This is the final event of the calendar year, but it’s just past the halfway point in the WPT season. Still, the chances are fewer for players to catch the current runaway WPT Player of the Year, Art Papazyan. But if history is an indicator, the field is expected to be on the larger size and, with it being the first $10,000 buy-in of the season, first place could be more than double any other first-place prize this season, including the Guo Liang Chen’s $789,058 take home for his win at the Borgata Poker Open. Preliminary events are running now with a pair of $25,000 High Rollers scheduled for December 8 and 9. For those looking to win their way into the Main Event, the Bellagio is holding a series of $1,100 satellites from December 3-6. The Final Table, set to take place on December 10, will be filmed for television complete with anchor Lynn Gilmartin and commentators Vince Van Patten and Tony Dunst on hand. Additionally, every hand will be streamed live via the PokerGo app.
  24. [caption width="640"] Playing on playMGMpoker this month could send you to the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic (WPT photo)[/caption] For November only, PocketFivers in New Jersey can win one of three $535 World Poker Tour Five Diamond super satellite tickets simply by playing tournaments on playMGMpoker.com. Players can earn leaderboard points by cashing in tournaments on PlayMGMpoker.com throughout the month of November. Points are awarded based on the PocketFives.com Leaderboard Formula and only results from PlayMGMPoker count towards the leaderboard. Points are earned only AFTER players opt in to the leaderboard. The three players who earn the most leaderboard points during this time will each win a $535 WPT Five Diamond Super Satellite ticket good for entry to the December 3 Super Satellite. That Super Satellite awards one $12,000 WPT Five Diamond package, including $10,400 buy-in and $1,600 travel, for every 24 players entered and at least one seat is guaranteed. This is the first time that New Jersey players have been able to qualify for a Las Vegas WPT event. "The leaderboard is just another way for us to give back to our loyal New Jersey community," said Lance Bradley, PocketFives President and Editor in Chief. "We'd love nothing more than for one of our members to turn that $535 ticket into a World Poker Tour title." One of the most prestigious WPT events on the schedule, the Five Diamond Poker Classic, which has a $10,400 buy-in, is set to take place December 5-10 at the Bellagio Resort and Casino. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to extend this to a national offering, with playMGMpoker sponsoring our online satellite program into the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond Poker Classic; allowing for participants in New Jersey to compete amongst the best players at an MGM Resorts Destination in Las Vegas,” said Ray Stefanelli, Executive Director of Online Gaming for playMGMpoker. Players who finish 4th - 10th on the leaderboard each receive a PocketFives hooded sweatshirt. To be eligible for this promotion you must have your PlayMGMpoker screen name listed on your PocketFives.com profile. Click here to do that (be sure to select “PlayMGM” from the list of sites). Once you've done that, make sure you visit the PlayMGMpoker WPT Five Diamond Leaderboard and click the green OPT IN button.
  25. [caption width="640"] World Poker Tour and 888poker annouunced a new global partnership that will ultimately send players to WPTDeepStacks events[/caption] A new global partnership between 888poker and the World Poker Tour will allow players from all over the world to qualify for select live WPTDeepStacks events while playing on 888poker. The WPTDeepstacks brand aims to offer players a global tour that features mid-stakes buy-ins for their Main Events with deeper, "bang-for-your-buck" structures. Now, with WPTDeepstacks partnership with 888poker, certain international stops will be augmented with even more online qualifiers. The first event players will have an opportunity to satellite into will be the Main Event of WPTDeepstacks Berlin held at the Casino Spielbank Berlin in Germany. It's a three-day, €1,500 tournament that marks the start of the Season XVI European Championship Festival. WPTDeepstacks Berlin kicks off the New Year, running from January 5-8 2018, and features a €500,000 guaranteed prize pool as well as a live-streamed final table. Qualifiers are available now on 888poker. Players can win their way into the Main Event starting as little as $.01 by clicking on the Live Events tab in the player client. 888poker is providing two options for players to help them with their shot at the big one in Berlin. First, players can opt to satellite into the $1,750 "seat-only" qualifier where 888poker will provide winners a seat in the tournament with no hotel or travel provided. Additionally, there is a larger $2,400 WPTDeepStacks Berlin package that provides not just a €1,500 ticket into the tournament, but an additional €300 to assist with accommodations as well as €250 in travel expenses. Take note: While entry to the satellite is made in USD, the tournaments entries and additional funds are in Euros. The $109 seat-only satellite runs every Monday night at 7:35pm GMT now through December 24 and awards one seat for every $1,750 included in the prize pool. The $160 package to Berlin is scheduled to run every Thursday, also at 7:35pm GMT and also through December 24. One package is awarded for every $2,750 collected in the prize pool. The €1,500 WPTDeepStacks Berlin Main Event is part of a larger festival that hopes to keep players in action all week long with 11 additional side events. The schedule includes a pair of €10,000 High Roller tournaments, a €500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament, a number of one-day NLHE Turbos, as well as the €3,300 World Poker Tour European Championship, a five-day event with a €1,000,000 guarantee that begins on January 10. The WPT European Championship event will be filmed for inclusion in WPT's televised Season XVI. WPTDeepStacks Berlin is the penultimate event in the current WPTDeepStacks Season IV one that, when completed, will have seen 28 events taking place while making a mark on five Continents. Although Berlin is thus far the only announced stop in the new partnership between WPT and 888poker, with both companies touching worldwide audiences, it is expected that more online-to-live event qualifying between the two will take place in WPTDeepStack Season V in 2018.
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