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Found 14 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Just two players stand between Qui Nguyen and the 2016 WSOP Main Event championship (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] The first day of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table was all about Qui Nguyen. The Vietnamese-born Nguyen got into it with chip leader Cliff Josephy on hand #1 and finished with the chip lead. The storyline from the second day wasn't much different. Nguyen started play Monday, with five players remaining, with more than double that of his nearest competitor. When play wrapped up late Monday night, Nguyen again had more than double either of the other two players remaining and almost 59% of the chips. The fireworks started early on Monday night with Michael Ruane and Nguyen finding an all in preflop situation. Nguyen opened to 2,350,000 with [poker card="6d"][poker card="6h"] from the button. Ruane found [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"] in the big blind and moved all in for 23,100,000. Nguyen wasted no time in calling. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="kh"] to double Ruane up and drop Nguyen below 100,000,000. Another double up three hands later ultimately lead to the first elimiantion of the night. Gordon Vayo raised from the button with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8s"] to 2,300,000. Vojtech Ruzicka three-bet to 8,150,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] from the small blind and Vayo called. After the [poker card="qc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"] flop, Ruzicka bet 6,150,000 and Vayo called. Ruzicka then bet 11,400,000 after the [poker card="7h"] turn and Vayo called again. The river was the [poker card="5s"] and Ruzicka announced he was all in for 28,700,000 having Vayo covered. Vayo called and took down the pot to take over the chip lead and leave Vayo with less than one big blind. The Czech pro was eliminated on the next hand by Nguyen. Over the next 50 hands Vayo and Nguyen each took turns as the chip leader. That changed for good on hand after Nguyen claimed another victim. From UTG Nguyen raised to 2,700,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="js"], Ruane moved all in for 15,700,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"] and Nguyen called. The board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="jc"][poker card="8d"] to completely miss Ruane and send him out in fourth place. After that hand Nguyen has 178,400,000 chips and a stronghold on the lead. Nguyen has now eliminated the last three players from the final table. He ended play on Sunday by eliminating Kenny Hallaert in sixth place and then continued on Monday by busting Ruzicka and Ruane. The final three players return to action on Tuesday night just after 8 pm ET with just under an hour left in the 600,000/1,200,000 (200,000 ante) level. The ESPN broadcast begins at 9 pm ET. Chip Counts Qui Nguyen - 197,600,000 (164 bbs) Gordon Vayo - 89,000,000 (74 bbs) Cliff Josephy - 50,000,000 (41 bbs) Payouts Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  2. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] With just 12 big blinds to come back to, Fernando Pons was unsure how to prepare for the November Nine (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Two years ago, in 2014, for the first time since the November Nine format was created, a Spanish player reached the final table of the WSOP Main Event. His name was Andoni Larrabe, a 22-year-old guy that eventually finished in sixth position in a tournament won by Martin Jacobson. This year, in 2016, Spanish poker is again represented again at the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio. Andoni Larrabe's successor is Fernando Pons. Unlike Andoni, who already had extensive experience as an online player and with important results in international circuits like the European Poker Tour, Pons has virtually no experience as a live player. Pons defines himself as a recreational player, who combines his passion for poker with a full-time job, something that recently has changed slightly. "I asked for a leave of absence a year in my work. I want to live this experience and play all the tournaments I can. In a year from now, I will think if I come back or not," said Pons. Many might think that being one of the nine finalists of the world's most important final table, Pons come to it with a great experience behind him, but nothing is further from reality. All his live results are practically limited to a second place finish in the Spanish Poker Championship in Mallorca, his hometown, in 2012, where he earned €14,858. There begins and ends his live tournament success. Pons' greatest triumphs have come from the online tables where he has achieved important victories in most ".es" rooms. When gaming regulation came into force in Spain, Pons didn’t think - like many other Spaniards players did - to move to countries like the UK, Malta or Portugal. He stayed in Spain, trying to be the best in the Spanish rooms. He has a victory in an ESCOP event (Spanish Championship of Online Poker) and is a regular in the most important tournaments that can be played from his country, but if there was an online result that for sure Pons will not forget, it's the €30 satellite on 888poker which ended up giving him a seat into the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. You may remember 2003, when a man named Chris Moneymaker came to the Main Event through a $39 satellite and ended up winning? Who knows, maybe that story could be repeated, however, Pons tries not to compare him with Moneymaker, at least not yet. “I just want to be compared with Moneymaker in case I win the tournament; until then, I prefer not to be compared”, said the Spanish player. Pons traveled to Las Vegas with the dreams familiar to most recreational players: he wanted to visit Sin City, breathe in the atmosphere of the best poker tournament of the world and enjoy a unique experience, which perhaps he never could repeat. Without any pressure, Pons was gradually advancing one day after another, surpassing the goals he was setting and eventually found himself the final table. Pons had so little expectation to reach such an advanced stage in the tournament, he had to call his boss to warn that he wasn't going to be able to return to work as planned. Fortunately for him, his employer was well informed of what was happening in Las Vegas without that call. His wardrobe also wasn't ready for such a long performance in the Main Event. As he progressed through the days, he had to go buy new clothes, or at least asking some friends who were there to buy them. It was an unexpected expense, but sense it came with a $1,000,000 pay day, he wasn't too worried. Pons has been 100% focused on the preparation of the final table. Last August he participated in a lot of EPT Barcelona events, getting some good results there for him. In September he played in several tournaments in Spain and the World Poker Tour in Marrakech. Meanwhile, Pons continued to achieve good results in the Spanish online rooms. On August 11th he won the SuperJueves BigStack Turbo at PokerStars.es (336 players) earning a € 2,947 prize. A month later, on September 19th, in 888poker.es, Fernando won the Gran Domingo € 20,000 Guaranteed tournament in which 186 players participated, achieving a €4,300 prize, something that surely have helped Pons to prepare his performance in Las Vegas next October. Once he confirmed he was one of the November Nine, Pons was unsure about how to deal with the preparation. He was reluctant to seek help in a personal coach, as their starting stack will be 12 big blinds, but finally reached out for help in the Spanish community. Meanwhile, as sure others are doing, Pons also wanted to know what the other eight were doing, how they are preparing. Some of them are considered as the best in the world as Cliff Josephy or Vojtech Ruzicka, but if there is someone who would like to see eliminated as soon as possible, this is Griffin Benger. "The sooner he goes, the better. Everyone considers him as one of the favorites, and I also think that," said Pons. Nevertheless, Pons arrived in Las Vegas without any pressure. He has already gone much further than he could imagine. He will live an unforgettable experience, knowing he will have the support of all the Spanish poker community, and a small rail that will be close to him at the Penn & Teller Theatre in Las Vegas. "Some friends will come with me, not many. What is certain is that I will not have a rail like Bruno Politano," laughed Pons.
  3. [caption width="640"] Kenny Hallaert has a career in poker - just not as a player (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Tournament director Kenny Hallaert wants to make something clear. Poker is not a job to him. Instead, it is a passion. The fact that the November Niner honoured commitments to work as a tournament director at two tournaments following the conclusion of this year's World Series of Poker shows that it is his passion for poker which is the driving force behind a lot of what he does. But with the additional label of being a November Niner, did that add anything extra to his work? "No, not at all! I did two tournaments: one in Copenhagen and one in Belgium. They both went very smoothly. Being a November Niner had no influence on me as a tournament official. "I always try to have a high degree of professionalism when I'm organising a tournament. I was always going to work these tournaments and make sure that the players have a good experience playing in it." Hallaert has been managing the Belgium Poker Challenge for several years. His first job in poker involved marketing, but he has since moved into tournament directing and hasn't looked back since. The success of the BPC and Hallaert’s involvement in it has come in a golden era for Belgian poker, an era which Hallaert says he is honoured to be part of: "With Belgium being such a small country, it's quite amazing all of the performances that we've been making around the world over the last few years." "We have Pierre Neuville of course, but then also Davidi Kitai and Michael Gathy who have both won three bracelets. Potentially the greatest online cash game player in the world is Belgian - OtB_RedBaron." Hallaert was on the rail last year to see his friend Pierre Neuville make the November Nine and he said that he had talked with him and others about the experience as well as the do's and don't of preparing for the biggest final table of his life. "I have that experience of knowing how things work and what to expect, which I suppose is an advantage." "I obviously didn't sit at the final table but I've been there for the last two years with Pierre [Neuville] and Jorryt van Hoof. And I'm in contact with Michiel Brummelhuis too" "Regardless, all of these results were good for the popularity of poker. The results of all Belgian players are really very good for the popularity of the Belgian poker scene. Having played poker for around 12 years, Hallaert says that making the final table of the Main Event stands out from all the success he has enjoyed in the past. "It's a tournament that takes place only once a year and it's not exactly a final table you can make purely from skill. I had my run good at good moments. This is a little bit of a reward for all the work that I've put in throughout those 12 years." Despite this, Hallaert says he has never considered quitting being a tournament director in favour of pursuing a full-time professional career. "I never wanted to be a 100% professional player. It brings a lot of pressure because you have to make results. Having a job next to playing was a perfect combination for me. However, he admits that the outcome of the final table could have an influence on his future. "I haven't thought about what happens after the final table, because my future will obviously depend on the result a lot." "Things will change after the main event. Especially because right now my focus is still on the tournament. I mean I'm still playing in a tournament, but there just happens to be a very long break in between of course" In between working and preparing for the Main Event final table, Hallaert also found time to jump onto the online tables and take down the Partypoker $500k Online Grand Prix for $63,891. ‘FCBSpacey’ as he is known online said that it gave him a well-timed boost of confidence in his preparations. "It felt really good. There were over 4,000 runners and for me personally it helped because you know that it is possible for you to win big tournaments. Also, I was happy because personally it had been a while since I had a big score online." "$64K isn't a lot if you compare it to the $1,000,000 I had won from the Main Event, but for an online tournament it's still quite big, so I was very happy with it." "It motivated me to continue to work hard with my work towards the final table of the Main Event itself." And with just under two weeks to go until the final table gets underway, Hallaert says he is still feeling very comfortable. "I don't feel any pressure at all right now, and there's no stress going on. I'm sure there will be a little bit of nervousness when I arrive in Vegas and maybe a couple of days before that." "There's a lot of money on the line and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity" He laughs, perhaps remembering Mark Newhouse's legendary back-to-back final tables in 2013 and 2014. "Well, it normally is a once in a lifetime experience! I definitely don't want to finish ninth! I would rather finish once for $2M than finish ninth twice" "It's a unique opportunity and I'm trying to prepare myself so that I'm in a good condition at the start of the event." "It's poker and anything can happen and I'm starting to realise that myself. If you flop set under set first hand, there's nothing you can do about it. I might win it but I might as well be out after ten minutes!"
  4. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen walked away with a little bit more than ,000,000 but that wasn't the only interesting number coming out of the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table (WSOP photo/Jayne Furman)[/caption] You know the headlines, you know the bustouts, you saw what happened on TV. But there were many untold and unexplored stories of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, so we decided to break some down and crunch some numbers. -45: Average temperature in the regions of Antarctica inhabited by polar bears. The bears are built for the cold, which is perhaps why Kenny Halleart’s rail chose to have someone dress as one to cheer their friend on at the notoriously cold Rio. 4: Number of players lost on the first day of November Nine play. While the plan was originally to play from nine down to six, the producers and tournament staff elected to play a little longer, perhaps because it did not take long to lose three players and, as a result, the table did not get far along in the structure. Because of the extended play, Halleart exited in sixth place on the first day of action. Then, on the second day of play, the table played three-handed for a little while because it took so little time to get from five players to three. 9: Number of years since an Asian player has won the WSOP Main Event. Laos-born Jerry Yang won in 2007, but since then the list of winners has been exclusively Caucasian and exclusively under the age of 30. Nguyen, who is 39, bucked both trends. 16: Number of hands it took before losing a player. Fernando Pons didn’t quite make it twice around the table before exiting in ninth place. 58: Number of hands it took at the final table before Griffin Benger managed to win a pot. The Canadian struggled at the final table and blinded off much of his stack. He also failed to flop much of anything, resulting in the very long stretch without dragging chips in his direction. The celebration was short-lived though. He busted in seventh place nine hands later. 60: Going rate in dollars for four pints of ice cream from the boutique Tin Pot Creamery, a Palo Alto ice cream provider Gordon Vayo promoted with a patch at the final table. Boasting flavors like Earl Grey and Sweet Barbeque, the creamery produces small batches of ice cream at quite the price, which also doesn’t include tax or shipping and handling. 69: Starting bid on eBay for the New Era brand Rocket Raccoon ball cap similar to the one wore by Qui Nguyen throughout the final table. The Guardians of the Galaxy hat was one of the more memorable pieces of headgear in Main Event memory. Now the hat is difficult to come by, but that is largely because of the popularity of the now two-year-old movie as opposed to Nguyen’s ability to influence style. 182: Number of hands heads-up play lasted. It is also the number of hands it took for the final table to get from nine down to two players. By comparison, last year the entire final table took 184 hands, with Joe McKeehen besting Josh Beckley after 13 hands. 1,046,965: Difference between $4.5 million and what Cliff Josephy collected for finishing in third place. Much has been made of the fact Josephy staked Joe Cada when he won the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Though the number was never confirmed, most assume Josephy took home half the $9 million payday. If that is the case, turns out this wasn’t his most profitable WSOP Main Event after all.
  5. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Fernando Pons returns to the 2016 WSOP Main Event as the shortest stack (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Fernando Pons. Fernando Pons, a native of Palma, Spain, has spent the past 3.5 months knowing he's returning the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event as the shortest stack. He's working with a stack of just over 12 big blinds but after qualifying for €30 on 888poker, Pons is living the dream and hoping to become a Spanish version of Chris Moneymaker as he defies the odds and ends up as World Champion. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? Pons: If I had to bet on someone, would be Cliff Josephy, due to the experience he has and the number of big blinds with which he will begin the final table. PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? Pons: I would take a boat, a very big barrel of gasoline and a box full of food and drink. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Pons: I would give my wife a closet full of "Manolos" (expensive shoes). PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Pons: I have no idea because I am not a big fan of movies, but my wife likes Justin Timberlake, so I would probably choose him. PocketFives: What feature of your game or your personality helped you most to be where you are today? Why? Pons: I am a person with cool head, very concentrated in my game, and don't usually get nervous. I am very observative and intuitive, and all that helps me to stay calm at key moments and adverse circumstances, trying to make the best decision.
  6. [caption width="640"] Get to know Kenny Hallaert a little bit better (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Kenny Hallaert. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? It would probably be Cliff Joseph. I mean he's the chip leader at the moment so he has the biggest chance of winning. He has experience as well, and has chips so at the moment he's the favourite. But things can change very quickly in poker. If Gordon Vayo wins a big pot from Cliff early on then all of a sudden he might become the favourite to win. It's a very competitive final table and at any point the chip leader will probably have the best chance of winning. I'm not saying it's a 50% chance of winning, but because the competition is equal I would say it's the biggest chance of winning. PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? I've never thought about that! Non-living things? Food and water to start with, just to survive. We assume we don't have internet, right? I have no idea! PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? I have not thought about it, and I don't really want to think about it right now. I haven't won the Main Event yet. I hope I will win it, but since making the final table I have just been focussing on the game itself and not think about the future. My future will obviously depend on my result in the Main Event. But if i had to buy something I might just go on a really nice vacation, or buy a nice house or apartment. PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? To tell you the truth I never watch movies, and I don't know who the famous actors are right now! They'd have to be a cool guy though for sure. PocketFives: If you could eat just one type of food for the rest of your life what would it be and why? I love french and modern cuisine, but I couldn't eat that for the rest of my life. I've put a lot of effort into losing weight so all that effort would be gone. I would probably stick to sushi.
  7. [caption width="640"] Martin Jacobson came from a long way back to win the 2014 WSOP Main Event (WSOP photo)[/caption] Over the past decade, more often than not, the guy with the most chips has not walked out of the Rio in Las Vegas with the bracelet. Sure, Joe McKeehen cruised to victory last year, as did Jamie Gold before them, but a quick look at the chip counts can tell you quite a bit about how varied the past decade of Main Event Champs’ paths to victory have been. Let’s take a look at them, by the numbers. 0 – Number of hands at the final table both Jamie Gold and Joe McKeehen didn’t hold the chip lead. Both players came in with massive stacks and never experienced a moment where their tournament life was at risk from nine down to the bracelet. 1 – Times Cliff Josephy has been on stage in the Penn & Teller Theater during the Main Event championship. This year, two-time bracelet winner Josephy is the chip leader and in charge of his own destiny, but in 2009, he was memorably on hand to watch Joe Cada win the bracelet. The exuberant Josephy wasn’t just a good friend enthusiastically cheering Cada on—he had a financial interest as his backer. While that victory did not count towards his own bracelet total, Josephy does have the leg up on the competition when it comes to final table experience in the Main Event. 2 – Number of Main Event champions who bagged the chip lead on Day 1, then went on to win the entire tournament. In 2009, Joe Cada finished as Day 1C chip leader and eked into the final table seventh in chips. Five years later, Martin Jacobson had a similar trajectory, leading on Day 1A, making the final table eighth in chips, and going on to win. 4 – Average chip position at the start of the final table for the last ten WSOP Main Event champions. Three times, including last year, the chip leader at the start of the final table came away with the bracelet, but the other seven times, someone came from behind to win. Interestingly, no player who was second in chips has gone on to win the bracelet, but twice the second-smallest stack has won, in 2007 when Jerry Yang’s sudden, aggressive approach threw his opponents off as he ascended the counts, and in 2014 when Martin Jacobson took home the title. 7 – Number of hands of heads-up play before Gold bested Paul Wasicka to win the 2006 Main Event. Gold dispatched with his opponent quicker than anyone, but there have been two other heads-up battles this decade which lasted fewer than 20 hands. Last year, it took McKeehen 12 hands to best Josh Beckley. In 2012, after hours of three-handed play, Greg Merson beat Jesse Sylvia after 17 hands of action. 25 – Percentage of the time the player who began two- or three-handed play with the chip lead on the final day of the November Nine has not won the event. In the eight years the delayed final table has been in place and split into two days of play, only Jorryt van Hoof and Jay Farber have come in with the lead and not left with the bracelet. 265 – Number of hands at the final table before Jacobson took the chip lead for the first time. There were only three players left by the time Jacobson reached the top spot on the counts. Sixty-three hands later, Jacobson was champion. 3,150 – Number of chips Ryan Riess grew his stack by from Day 1 to Day 2. During their Main Event runs, Riess and others haven’t experienced smooth sailing the entire way. A couple of players bagged less than they started with on some days, while others like Riess mainly tread water, starting with 72,250 and ending with 75,400. 50,000 – Approximate number of chips Greg Merson was left with during Day 5 after doubling up Fabrizio Gonzalez. While it was more than a starting stack, at that stage in the tournament it amounted to less than two big blinds. Merson managed to find double-up after double-up though and ended the day with an average stack. He also ended the tournament with his second bracelet and the WSOP Player of the Year title. 42,000,000 – Approximate chip count of the infamous hand in which 2010 champ Jonathan Duhamel eliminated Matt Affleck from the Main Event in 15th place, launching himself to the top of the counts where he would be with an impressive 65 million chips when they bagged and tagged five eliminations later and headed on their 100-day break.
  8. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka has concerns about the after party should he win the 2016 WSOP Main Event (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Vojtech Ruzicka. Vojtech Ruzicka finds himself sixth in chips going into the November Nine, but one of the biggest things on his mind is how he is going to control his gang of rowdy Czech railbirds. In this Q&A he gave to PocketFives he explores all that and more as the countdown to the final table gets underway. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? Ruzicka: I would put it on Gordon Vayo. There are several reasons for this, but the main ones are experience, stack, and position. That together makes him very dangerous. But I also like my chances. PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? Ruzicka: I am actually a big Survivorfan, so that one is easy for me. I’d bring a knife, some fishing gear, and the third one is probably a lighter or something else to start a fire. If I knew beforehand that I could start a fire without that, I would take a book of local flora and fauna instead, so as to know what I can eat there. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Ruzicka: To be honest, I am kind of worried that it could be the reconstruction of the suite that the Rio gives the winner to celebrate the victory. I promise you, Czech people can party really hard! PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Ruzicka: I honestly have no idea. But it definitely should be someone who is able to drink a lot of Czech beer. That way it makes the movie more realistic. PocketFives: If you were to win the Main Event what type of champion do you think you will be, and why? Ruzicka: I suppose I’d be the first Czech champion! I promise that I am not going to retire from poker if I win. I want to play as many high buy-in tournaments as possible in the future, and of course, represent my home poker room King’s Casino in Rozvadov as well.
  9. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen has 8 million reasons to smile after winning the 2016 WSOP Main Event (WSOP Photo / Jayne Furman0[/caption] When the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table began on Sunday night, nobody thought Qui Nguyen had a chance at overcoming a field that included two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a talented European poker pro, a former PokerStars SuperNova Elite and two young American poker pros who cut their poker teeth online. On Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Nguyen beat Gordon Vayo after a lengthy heads up battle to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event and the accompanying $8 million. Just like they did on the first night, when Nguyen and Cliff Josephy went at each other, things got crazy on the first hand Tuesday night. Nguyen started things off by raising to 2,700,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"] from the button. Josephy re-raised to 8,500,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Gordon Vayo got out of the way before Nguyen four-bet to 20,900,000. Josephy immediately moved all and after getting a count, Nguyen called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7c"] flop gave Josephy top two pair. The [poker card="3s"] turn clinched the pot for Josephy with the [poker card="qs"] falling on the river. Nguyen’s stack dropped to 147,600,000 while Josephy more than doubled to 101,400,000. He also had momentum that proved to be short lived. Just four hands later the three players clashed in the biggest pot of the tournament to date and it nearly meant the end of the road for Josephy, the longest reigning #1-ranked player in PocketFives history. Josephy raised to 2,500,000 with [poker card="2d"][poker card="2c"] from the button, Vayo called from the small blind with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] before Nguyen made 7,700,000 from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. Josephy and Vayo both called to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"]. Nguyen bet 9,900,000 and both Josephy and Vayo called. After the [poker card="4d"] turn, Vayo and Nguyen both checked and Josephy bet 21,000,000. Vayo eventually moved all in for 75,100,000. Nguyen folded and Josephy called. The river was the [poker card="6d"] and Vayo doubled up while Josephy was left with just eight big blinds. Josephy doubled up through Nguyen on the very next hand and then again four hands later through Nguyen to get his stack back to 46,200,000 - just 3,800,000 less than he started the final day with. Josephy’s roller coaster ride continued five hands later when Nguyen took half of his stack and officially ended on the very next hand. Nguyen folded the button, Josephy moved all in for 18,700,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"] and Vayo called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Josephy in third place. After his elimination, Josephy discussed the set-vs-set confrontation with Vayo. “If he had played a small pair out of the small blind yesterday, I would’ve easily folded, due to his image, his reputation and my perception of him” said Josephy. “But he had folded a small pair against cutoff open against me, so it was easy to pull small pairs out of his range,” said Josephy. “The way he played the hand, he had to have a set of threes, but I don’t have him on threes, so it’s so hard because I couldn’t figure out what he could have.” When heads up play began Vayo had 200,300,000 chips to Nguyen’s 136,300,000. The two players exchanged the chip lead back and forth six times over the next 25 hands before Nguyen took the lead for the final time. Over the next seven hours of play, Vayo did everything he could to stave off elimination from the hard-charging Nguyen, but in the end, Nguyen’s aggression and unique approach that left his opponents dazed and confused over the final three days of play, ended up leading him to victory. After leaving Vayo shaking his head after numerous folds, the tournament ended in anti-climatic fashion. Nguyen opened to 8,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and Vayo shipped in his 53,000,000 stack with [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"] and Nguyen called. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Nguyen top pair and Vayo a boatful of extra outs but the [poker card="2s"] turn and [poker card="3h"] river were complete bricks for Vayo and after 181 hands of heads up play, Nguyen eliminated Vayo in second place to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Nguyen eliminated four of the final five players on his way to the win. Final Table Payouts Qui Nguyen - $8,005,310 Gordon Vayo - $4,661,228 Cliff Josephy - $3,453,035 Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  10. [caption width="640"] The 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event has new chip leader with five left: Qui Nguyen (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] All eyes were on chip leaderCliff Josephy as the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table got underway in Las Vegas on Sunday night, but it took just one hand for another player to let it be known that this wasn't simply going to be a coronation for one of online poker's most dcorated heroes. On the first hand of play action folded to Qui Nguyen in the hijack and he raised to 1,250,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"]. Josephy, to Nguyen's left, re-raised to 3,200,000 with [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"]. The rest of the table got out of the way and Nguyen put in another raise to 8,250,000. Josephy folded and Nguyen assumes the chip lead. The two players swapped the chip lead back and forth over the next three hands. It didn't take long for the first elimination. Fernando Pons, who started the final table as the shortest stack, managed to get all in once with no callers on the tenth hand of play. He wasn't so lucky the next time. Pons moved all in from the button for 4,652,000 and Josephy called from the big blind. Pons was ahead with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6c"] to Josephy's [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] but the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"][poker card="3s"] flop changed that. The [poker card="9d"] turn was no help and the [poker card="kc"] river gave Josephy trip kings and sent Pons, the €30 satellite winner, home in ninth place. As if following some sort of script, the player who started the day as the next shortest stack was the next to go. Jerry Wong had managed to build up stack to just under 30 big blinds at one point but wasn't able to build any further momentum and eventually found himself in a hand that basically played itself. Vojtech Ruzicka raised to 1,825,000 wiht [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"] before Gordon made it 5,100,000 to go with [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"] from the button. Wong woke up in the big blind with [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"] and raised to 8,500,000. Ruzicka raised to 13,500,000, Vayo folded and Wong called his last million or so. The board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="qc"] to give Ruzicka a set of queens and eliminate Wong in eighth place. After that hand Ruzicka took over the chip lead with 82,300,000. Just eight hands later another player was eliminated. Gordon Vayo raised from the button with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] to 2,200,000 and Griffin Benger moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"] for 7,235,000. Vayo called quickly and watched as the flop came [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] to give Benger extra outs. The [poker card="2h"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river weren't any of those outs and Vayo busted Benger in seventh place. The original plan called for play to stop once just six players remaining but ESPN producers and WSOP floor staff made the decision to play two more hours following Benger's elimination out of concern for how long Monday and Tuesday could run with players so deep. As the night was winding down another player was sent packing. From UTG Kenny Hallaert raised to 2,300,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] before Nguyen raised to 5,700,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. Hallaert wasted no time in moving all in for 35,625,000. Nguyen snap-called and tabled his hand. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"] flop gave Hallaert some hope but the [poker card="7d"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river ended his run in sixth place and halted play for the night. That final hand gave Nguyen an astonishing 128,625,000 of the 336,625,000 chips in play. Action resumes Monday night on ESPN at 830 PM ET with 1 hour and 42 minutes left at 500,000/1,000,000 (150,000 ante). Chip Counts Qui Nguyen - 128,625,000 (128 bbs) Cliff Josephy - 63,850,000 (63 bbs) Vojtech Ruzicka - 62,250,000 (62 bbs) Gordon Vayo - 58,200,000 (58 bbs) Michael Ruane - 23,700,000 (23 bbs) Payouts Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  11. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka could become the first Czech winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] You get the impression from 2016 November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka that he really loves poker. He's already promised that he won't be retiring if he wins the Main Event and that he would continue to play high buy-in tournaments all around the world. But since the end of this year’s World Series of Poker, and the final table eventually getting underway, Ruzicka has been spotted playing in a variety of different destinations. The Czech pro has certainly been honing his game ahead of the most important final table of his life, not only in tournaments! Ruzicka admitted over the summer that he wasn’t much of a cash game player, but that certainly didn’t stop him from heading to Rozvadov for the King’s Casino Cash Game. After a rough couple of days playing against the likes of Tony G and Igor Kurganov, he managed to turn it back around in the final session and finish the trip as a winner. Since then King’s Casino have announced that they intend to build a new hotel, spa and a new huge poker room. Ruzicka was quick to praise Leon Tsoukernik and the recent expansion plans at King’s. “I couldn’t be more excited about it! It looks like King’s could become the biggest European poker room really soon and the plans look awesome,” said Ruzicka of the host casino for WSOP Europe in 2017 and 2019. “King’s has some special memories for me. I actually played my first big live tournaments there, and I have won the German Championship of Poker there twice.” “I am really excited to represent Rozvadov in November." READ: Five Questions with Vojtech Ruzicka As well as playing at King’s, Ruzicka also headed to the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona where not only did he finish 18th in the €25,000 High Roller, but managed a deep run in the Main Event only to finish 24th. Ruzicka said that it was great to have the experience of running deep in another tournament so soon. “When I was deep in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, I was really excited, but not nervous at all. It felt great,” said Ruzicka. “I’ve never thought self-confidence makes much of a difference, but the fact that you will play a final table in a much bigger tournament in three months’ time made me much more relaxed.” “I definitely felt much better at the table and I was just like ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to win the EPT while waiting for the November Nine?’” In Barcelona it was announced that the EPT is soon to rebrand into PokerStars Championships. Ruzicka’s poker resume is littered with cashes, as well as a High Roller win at EPT Deauville in 2013 for €313,000. Ruzicka says that he hoped that the new format will work as well as the EPTs have done. “I honestly think that the EPT had a great name around the poker world, and I personally would never have renamed those tournaments. But we will see. I will definitely give them a shot,” said Ruzicka. This year there are three Europeans at the Main event final table, with Ruzicka joined by Spain's Fernando Pons and the Netherlands' Kenny Hallaert. This is an increase from 2015 where just Federico Butteroni and Pierre Neuville were from the other side of the pond. In 2014, however, there were four Europeans at a final table which was eventually won by Swede Martin Jacobson. And with four of the last eight Main Event Champions being European, does Ruzicka think that it would mean anything special to become yet another European Main Event winner? “I think everyone wants to win the Main Event really bad, but I think that people care more about how the winner plays and behaves. I don’t think that nationality is that important," said Ruzicka. “However, I do feel that following these results American players are starting to respect us Europeans much more at the tables and when we come to the World Series of Poker.” And with the November Nine right around the corner, Ruzicka will have a gang of rowdy Czechs railing him at the final table. “Now that I’m a November Niner, everybody has been really nice to me. It’s been actually quite pleasant so far,” admitted Ruzicka. “I would like to thank the entire Czech poker community. Everyone has been so supportive to me and I hope that I will make them proud!”
  12. [caption width="640"] There are more numbers in play at the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table that just the November Nine (WSOP Photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] You’ve seen plenty of numbers related to the November Nine. You’ve seen ages and chip counts, number of bracelets and final tables. Let’s not forget lifetime tournament earnings and number of big blinds. Rather than examine the obvious stats, let’s get to know this final table by the not-so-apparent numbers in this edition of The Number Crunch. 0 – This number applies to quite a bit of Fernando Pons’ resume. Prior to this Main Event, he had never played a World Series of Poker tournament, he had never even been to Vegas. He also has zero players behind him on the leaderboard, as the Spaniard is coming in with just a handful of big blinds amounting to 6.15 million. 2 – Spot on the Czech Republic all-time money list for Vojtech Ruzicka, who has already been credited with at least ninth place money. If he wins, he can take the top spot away from Martin Staszko, who finished second to Pius Heinz in 2011. 3 – This is the third career WSOP final table for Gordon Vayo. While he may not be a household name to casual poker fans, he actually came up just shy of a bracelet in 2014, finishing second to Davidi Kitai in a $3,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event. 25 – Position of Qui Nguyen in the counts with 27 players remaining. He began near the bottom of the counts, but after doubling through Michael Ruane early, he went on to eliminate Tom Marchese, James Obst, and Mike Shin to take the chip lead and go on to bag the second-biggest stack going into November. 407 – Total number of runners in the 2016 Unibet Belgium Poker Championship in September of 2016. Kenny Hallaert was on hand as the Unibet tournament director for the event, and does not appear interested in quitting his full-time day job after making the final table. 519 – Number of days chip leader Cliff Josephy was ranked #1 on the PocketFives Rankings. One of the OGs of online poker, the man known as 'JohnnyBax online joined P5s in 2005 and quickly ascended the ranks of online poker to take the number one spot. He is not the only top PocketFiver in the pack though. Griffin Benger was also ranked #1 in P5s World Rankings. Bax isn’t just a token member either. He has posted over 1,300 times in the forums as well as backed numerous other P5ers, including a former Main Event winner, Joe Cada. 26,158 – Total dollars confiscated by US Customs when Michael Ruane tried to fly back into the States after the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Then 23, Ruane and his brother and cousin did not properly declare the amount of money they were returning with, so officials confiscated it at the Nassau Airport. 98,683 – Dollars in earnings for Griffin Benger in his career as a professional Counter-Strike player. His career-high score came in 2007 when he and four teammates won a Competitive Gaming Series (CGS) event for $250,000 total, amounting to $50,000 apiece. 1,380,000 – Number of chips Jerry Wong lost over the course of two days of play as the field winnowed down from 80 to the November Nine. He was chip leader at the end of Day 5 with over 11 million, but lost steam late in play, bagging just over 10 million and coming into November eighth out of nine in the chip counts.
  13. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Michael Ruane sits fifth in chips as the 2016 WSOP Main Event gets underway, but there's more to the New Jersey native than just poker (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Michael Ruane. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? I don't really gamble or bet outside of poker so I'd probably make the fish bet and just bet on whoever has the most ridiculous odds, who happens to be Fernando - so I'd probably throw a 20 ball on Fernando to win. * PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? This is a good one that I've put a lot of thought into and tried to come at from a very practical angle.*So growing up the first show I was absolutely obsessed with was LOST.*It was the first show that I (and I think a lot of people) totally immersed myself in 100%.*This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but if you haven't watched LOST at this point, you've probably missed the boat - but in later seasons Locke's mortality is sort of up in the air, so technically I think he'd qualify as non-living.*So my first "thing" I'd bring to this island is the character of John Locke.*I honestly don't think I'd need anything else after that to survive, but to round out my three I'd probably bring a knife (for practical purposes) and an iPod (for when Locke gets too annoying rambling on about said deserted island's meaning). PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? I don't think it would be one extravagant single purchase.*I'm a pretty big music nut and try to go to as many concerts and music festivals as possible.*I also really love to travel.*I think I would try to combine these two passions and plot a really awesome (and expensive) trip that included different places I've been wanting to visit that had a cool music festival or band playing at the same time. * PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? I've been told that I resemble anywhere from Michael Shannon to Robert Pattinson to Leo, himself.*To answer the question, if a Hollywood studio was serious about this idea, I'd embark on a global journey to find this mystical creature who looks like a combination of all three of these actors.*I'd then offer this person an exorbitant amount of money (so this actually might be my most extravagant purchase) to portray me in a major motion picture. * PocketFives: If you and your brother Sean (also a professional poker player) had to play heads-up against each other in a winner-take-all scenario, who wins and why? Depends when this match takes place. If it takes place before the Final Table, Sean would for sure let me win to give me a nice confidence boost. If it's after the Final Table, it's a real toss up.*Sean is huge lightweight though, so my strategy would be to act as if this heads-up match was a fun, light-hearted brotherly match where we'd have a few beers and have a good time.* I'd then get Sean absolutely bombed, rendering him incapable of defeating me.*In theory, I think it'd be virtually impossible for the poor guy to win.
  14. [caption width="640"] Cliff Josephy is the 2016 November Nine chip leader.[/caption] This was supposed to be the final installment of Rank & File for the 2016 World Series of Poker. It was supposed to show the final tally for how the former #1-ranked players on PocketFives did this summer but it turns out there’s going to be at least one more Rank & File needed after two members of this elite fraternity, Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy and Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger, made the final table of the Main Event. Josephy and Griffin were actually two of 10 former #1-ranked players to cash in the Main Event this year. While both will have to wait until November to find out their final payout, they are each guaranteed at least $1,000,000. Paul Volpe had the next biggest Main Event score, walking away with $216,211 for finishing 29th. All told the ten players walked away with at least $2,498,657. Former #1-ranked Players in the WSOP Main Event Cliff Josephy - $1,000,000* Griffin Benger - $1,000,000* Paul Volpe - $216,211 Bryan Piccioli - $67,855 Sorel Mizzi - $49,108 Chris Hunichen - $49,108 Tim West - $28,356 Kevin Saul - $25,235 Dan Kelly - $20,499 While the Main Event was clearly the focus of the final days of the WSOP, there was one other event on the schedule and a former #1-ranked player almost walked away with the bracelet. Calvin ‘Cal42688’ Anderson finished runner-up to Michael Tureniec in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop event, earning $324,597 in the process. Bracelet WinnersThree former #1-ranked players managed to win bracelets this summer – with Josephy and Benger still having a shot at adding fourth in November. Paul Volpe won the $1,500 Eight Game Mix in early June to grab the second WSOP bracelet of his career. It was a little over two weeks later when Shaun Deeb won the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event for his second career bracelet. It was a first-time winner that stole the headlines just as the Main Event was getting underway. Fedor Holz beat Dan Smith heads up for his first ever WSOP bracelet in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event. It was the fourth cash of his summer and earned him $4,981,775. The 22 year old German poker pro is just the 10th former #1-ranked player to win a WSOP bracelet. Holz surprised many by announcing he was taking a long-term break from poker immediately following the Main Event. Biggest ScoresObviously Josephy and Benger already have a seven-figure score, but there were a few other players that put up big numbers in individual events. So far Holz’s win in the One Drop High Roller is the single biggest score by a former #1-ranked player this summer and the only way it gets surpassed is if either Josephy or Benger goes on to win the Main Event. Volpe actually owns the two next biggest scores. He won $149,943 for his bracelet win and $216,211 for his deep Main Event run. Deeb’s bracelet win earned him $111,101. There were no other six-figure cashes but there was 27 cashes of between $10,000 and $100,000. Most CashesWhile Dan Kelly had the smallest Main Event cash of this group, he did have the most 2016 WSOP cashes of any former #1-ranked player. Kelly finished with 12 cashes – one off the record set this year by Ronald Israelashivil - for a total of $89,639 earned this summer. Kelly now has 47 career WSOP cashes and two WSOP bracelets. The next highest number of cashes was nine from Volpe. Along with his win and deep Main Event run, Volpe cashed in seven other events and posted top-20 finishes in four of them. Just one cash behind Volpe was Jordan ‘Jymaster0011’ Young with eight. While the closest Young got to a final table was a 16th place finish in a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em, the eight total cashes double his previous best WSOP performance. He finished up his summer by holding true to his online poker roots with a 138th place finish in the Online Bracelet event for $2,013. The (not quite) Final NumbersWhile the poker world waits to see just where Josephy and Benger finish in the Main Event, the numbers put up by the group of former #1-ranked players is impressive on its own. Total Cashes: 110 Total Bracelets: 3* Total Earnings: $9,025,917* *includes only $1,000,000 each from Cliff Josephy and Griffin Benger (ninth place pay out).
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