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Hungary’s Norbert Szecsi and World Series of Poker Player of the Year points leader Shaun Deeb battled heads-up for the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Event #6 (€1,650 Mixed Pot-Limit Omaha/No Limit Hold’em) title with Szecsi denying Deeb of his sixth career bracelet and emerging victorious for his own second career gold bracelet. Szecsi, who has a previous WSOP win back in 2013, defeated the field of 241 players and went on a final table run that included hitting a royal flush on the river to take home the €86,596 first place prize. Szecsi finds himself is in the midst of a career peak. In addition to his victory in Rozvadov, Szecsi recently finished as the runner-up in a €10K High Roller during August's EPT Barcelona for a career-high cash of $731K. Deeb may have been denied his third bracelet of 2018 but with his deep run the former #1-ranked PocketFiver has very likely wrapped up his first WSOP Player of the Year award. Additionally, Deeb takes home €63,731 as the runner-up. Almost two a half hours into the final table, the first player was felted. After an under the gun open in No Limit Hold'em from Julien Sitbon, Van Tiep Nguyen re-shoved his ten big blind stack holding [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"]. Sitbon asked for a count and ended up making the call with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jh"]. The flop came down [poker card="jc"][poker card="kd"][poker card="2h"] putting Sitbon in a comfortable lead in the hand. The turn was the [poker card="td"] and with only two outs left for Nguyen, the river was the [poker card="3d"]. Nguyen finished in eighth place for €7,606. Ten minutes later, while playing PLO, Vittorio Castro found himself all-in and at risk. Szecsi opened on the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"][poker card="9c"] and Castro, holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="5h"], raised pot. Szecsi re-raised all in and Castro quickly called. The flop fell [poker card="as"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3s"] providing top set for Szecsi and little hope for Castro. The [poker card="qd"] turn opened the door a little, but the [poker card="8h"] river closed it for good and Castro headed for the cashier to collect €9,953 for seventh place. Jaroslav Peter was sitting on fewer than ten big blinds when he made his move during PLO. Netanel Amedi opened from the hijack with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="4d"]. Right behind him Peter re-shoved all-in with [poker card="as"][poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5h"]. The flop came [poker card="2h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="kc"] which provided little for Amedi. Fortunes change on the [poker card="8h"] turn which provided Amedi with a set with one card to come. The river was an inconsequential [poker card="2d"], ending Peter’s run in sixth place for €13,334 for his third cash of the series. Only a few hands later another all-in confrontation occurred. Deeb raised from the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"] only to be shoved on by Germany’s Samuel Albeck in the small blind and his [poker card="as"][poker card="3c"]. Albeck had fewer than ten big blinds and Deeb made the call. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="9d"][poker card="th"], providing some chop outs for Albeck. The turn was the [poker card="6c"] and the river [poker card="8s"] actually hit Deeb and gave him the pot. Albeck finished in fifth for €18,276 for a new career-high live cash. Despite getting his final ten big blinds in good, Sitbon was the next to fall. After an open from Amedi in PLO, Sitbon three-bet shoved with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"]. Amedi made the call holding [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="qh"]3s]. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"][poker card="ah"] improved Sitbon’s hand to trips. The [poker card="5d"] hit the turn changing nothing. However, when the [poker card="jc"] came on the river, Amedi improved to a full house ending Sitbon’s tournament run. The Frenchman finished in fourth place for €25,618. Israel’s Amedi nearly brought a fourth 2018 WSOPE bracelet 2018 to the country, however, he would fall just short. Playing NLHE, the key hand for Amedi came when he raised from the button with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Szecsi three-bet shoved from the small blind. With the action back on Amedi, he thought about it and made the call. Szecsi turned over a dominated [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"]. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="6c"] giving both a straight draw and Szecsi the flush draw as well. The turn was the [poker card="td"] but the river came [poker card="qh"] giving Szecsi a royal flush to take the hand. Amedi was crippled to fewer than three big blinds and he was eliminated on the very next hand in third place for €36,705 leaving the two previous bracelet winners to battle it out for the win. Szecsi held a slight chip over Deeb lead as the pair squared off for heads-up play. After trading the chip lead back and forth an action hand during PLO would deliver Szecsi his second WSOP gold bracelet. Deeb raised the button with [poker card="qs"][poker card="qc"][poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"] and Szecsi flatted with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3h"]. The flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="td"][poker card="6d"] giving Szecsi top set and Deeb top two pair. Szecsi simply check-called Deeb’s small bet. The turn was the [poker card="4c"], Szecsi checked again and Deeb bet again. This time Szecsi check-raised pot. Deeb thought about it for a moment and re-raised pot committing himself. Szecsi snapped called and Deeb discovered he was drawing dead. The river ended up being the [poker card="2h"] but by then both participants were already out of their seats with Deeb headed to collect his €63,371 for second place. Szecsi takes home €86,596 and his second career gold bracelet. He is now the fourth player in Rozvadov to win their second bracelet during the 2018 WSOPE. Szecsi now sits with over $2.4 million in lifetime career earnings. Final Table Results: 1st: Norbert Szecsi - €86,596 2nd: Shaun Deeb - €63,731 3rd: Netanel Amedi - €36,705 4th: Julien Sitbon - €25,618 5th: Samuel Albeck - €18,276 6th: Jaroslav Peter - €13,334 7th: Vittorio Castro - €9,953 8th: Van Tiep Nguyen - €7,606
The World Poker Tour was back at Gardens Casino in Southern California for the second time in Season XVII, this time for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. Six players remain from the 253-entry field, and it was Frank Stepuchin who bagged the chip lead. Stepuchin was joined at the official final table by Shannon Shorr, Steve Sung, Brent Roberts, Ray Qartomy, and Jonathan Abdellatif. The $10,000 buy-in event was the first WPT Main Tour event to feature the delayed TV final table format. After playing down to the final six players on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the tournament was put on ice for what will be nearly two months before play resumes on Tuesday, March 12 - 55 days, to be exact. That is when the final six will compete for the $548,825 top prize at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Stepuchin, who hails from Park City, Utah, and entered this event with $354,625 in live tournament earnings, bagged the chip lead in a very large way, with 4.065 million in chips. The next closest was Shorr with 1.71 million. Belgian player Jonathan Abdellatif, who held nearly $1.7 million in live tournament earnings entering the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, finished as the short stack with 555,000. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Shannon Shorr - 1,710,000 Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin - 4,065,000 Seat 3: Brent Roberts - 1,385,000 Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif - 555,000 Seat 5: Ray Qartomy - 820,000 Seat 6: Steve Sung - 1,580,000 Road To the Final Table Stepuchin emerged as a big stack right out of the gate. He finished as the Day 1a chip leader and was second in chips entering Day 2. At the time, he was behind another player that reached the final table, Qartomy. Stepuchin finished sixth in chips after Day 2 when Shorr bagged the chip lead, then Stepuchin led the final 19 players after Day 3 before riding that chip lead into the final table. On Day 4, Stepuchin eliminated Toby Lewis in seventh place and Allen Pock in 15th place. Eliminating Lewis in seventh set the official WPT final table, and it came just before 10 p.m. PT on Wednesday when the tournament was in Level 24 with the blinds at 15,000-30,000 with a 30,000 big blind ante, according to WPT coverage. Shorr had opened with a raise from the cutoff seat to 60,000, Lewis called from the button, and Stepuchin called from the small blind. The flop was [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"] and action checked to Lewis. He bet 75,000 before Stepuchin check-raised to 190,000. Shorr folded, but Lewis made the call to see the [poker card="Kd"] land on the turn. Stepuchin fired 360,000 and Lewis called to see the [poker card="3d"] appear on the river. Stepuchin bet all in, having Lewis and his remaining 360,000 covered. Lewis called with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jh"] but saw the bad news when his two pair was second best to Stepuchin’s pocket fives - [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. For Shorr, Sung, and Roberts, they’re second, third, and fourth in chips, respectively. Shorr ended Day 2 with the chip lead, but it wasn’t without a couple of very eventful hands that saw Shorr with plenty of chips on the line. First, he was all in with pocket kings against the pocket queens of Dan Smith and earned a double up. After that, Shorr took out Mike Eskandari, but did so with an inferior hand when his pocket sevens came from behind against Eskandari’s queens. On that hand, all of the money went in preflop and Shorr flopped a set. Qartomy reached the final table as the second shortest stack remaining, but he could’ve been knocked out by the lowly [poker card="9c"][poker card="4d"] in seventh place had his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"] not held up. Qartomy three-bet jammed for 410,000 over a raise to 60,000 from Stepuchin. Stepuchin called, but Qartomy’s hand held strong to give him the double up. On Day 3 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, Qartomy was the player to send everyone into the money, doing so when he knocked out Raul Lozano in 33rd place. Qartomy held the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qs"] and was behind Lozano’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"], but a queen flopped and Lozano couldn’t come back from it. Some of the notable players to cash in the event but fall short of the final table were Garrett Greer (8th - $66,955), WPT Champions Club member Marvin Rettenmaier (11th - $43,220), Ricky 'RatedGTO' Guan (13th - $35,550), and Nicole Schwartz (20th - $25,225). Schwartz won her way into the event by winning a $100 charity event. She fired an additional $100 bullet in that event, so her $10,000 seat cost her $200, but she then turned that into more than $25,000 in prize money. Can Shorr, Sung, and Roberts Finally Break Into the WPT Champions Club? Shorr, Sung, and Roberts are no strangers to tournament poker. They’ve been around the game for a long time and have impressive career résumés. Entering this event, Shorr had nearly $6.7 million in live tournament earnings, Sung had more than $5.5 million, and Roberts was just over $2 million. All three have experienced podium finishes in WPT events, but none have won a WPT title. Shorr’s best WPT finish was a second-place result in the Season XII WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. In a field of 415 entries, Shorr finished runner-up to James Calderaro and took home $190,039. "I'm on cloud nine after reaching the Gardens final table," Shorr told PocketFives. "I've been putting a ton of work into my poker game and my mind and body lately, so to have a big result like this in a major tournament is really special, personally." Shorr also placed fourth in the Season IX WPT Southern Poker Championship and fifth in the Season VII WPT World Championship for $144,985 and $408,550, respectively. "Winning a WPT title would be incredible," Shorr added. "I've had tons of final tables in big events worldwide but haven't won a 'major.' Maybe this is the one." Sung has three official WPT final tables on record, with his best result coming in the Season VI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event when he took second to Brandon Cantu and won $585,000. "It feels amazing to have reached the Gardens final table, to be able to enjoy the next couple months knowing that the final table will always be there," Sung said. "I always wanted to experience making the 'November Nine,' and this is the next best thing, the 'March Six!'" Sung also has a pair of fourth-place finishes on the World Poker Tour, first in the Season VI WPT Spanish Championship for €117,400 ($164,943) and then in the Season VII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $396,205. “Winning a WPT title means that my goal has been finally accomplished,” Sung said when asked what a winning a WPT title would mean to him. “I've expected to win one over a decade ago and had to come back from self-inflicted setbacks in multiple aspects of my being.” Roberts does have a WPTDeepStacks title from back in 2016, but a WPT Main Tour title has eluded him. His best WPT Main Tour finish was in the Season XIV WPT Legends of Poker when he took third in a field of 786 entries to win $251,035. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications The final six have locked up 600 points in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, currently led by Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, and there are 1,200 points up top. The points could mean the most to Qartomy, who already has 650 points on the season and is in 40th place on the leaderboard. A win would vault him to the same 1,850 points as Ruberto, but Qartomy would hold the tiebreaker of most money won as he’d have $652,474 to Ruberto’s $530,692. Sung also stands to benefit well from the Hublot WPT Player of the Year points earned at this final table. Entering the event, Sung has 450 points and was in 57th place. He’s guaranteed to move to 1,050 points, which would put him in the top 15, and has upside to move into second place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with a victory. Sung now has five WPT Main Tour cashes in Season XVII, including a ninth-place finish in the WPT Gardens Poker Festival that kicked off the season. Stepuchin entered this event with 100 points, Shorr 100 points, Roberts 175 points, and Abdellatif 50 points. Champion To Be Crowned on March 12 The final six competitors have locked up $110,225 for reaching the final table and will be back in action on March 12 in Las Vegas to compete for the $548,825 top prize. First place includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. "It's a bizarre feeling traveling to LA for five days, playing nonstop in a tournament, and to not know my result upon leaving," Shorr said. "I really like the format, though, and am all for anything that helps grow the game." "I'm going to enjoy the next 55 days like no other!" Sung said.
For the penultimate 2020 World Series of Poker Online bracelet event on WSOP.com, Jonathan 'SugarJ' Lessin rolled back the years to win Event #30 ($500 Seniors Event). Lessin secured the victory for $64,411.20 and his first career bracelet. Allen 'Nucman' Pock started the final table as chip leader and did not waste anytime putting his 3 million strong chip stack to use. Following an early position all in of 234,618 by Al 'BigAl16' Riccobono, Pock called after looking down at [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"] which dominated his opponents [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Tc"]. The board ran out a safe [poker card="Jc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"] for Pock sending Riccobono to the rail in ninth. In unusual fashion for this year's final tables, it took another half hour for the next final table bust-out. Brian 'ggtdm' McGill opened to 150,00 in early position with [poker card="Td"][poker card="Th"] and then made the quick call when Carmen 'cjdstable' Dimaria moved all in for 371,944 from the hijack with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Js"]. Dimaria was looking at a certain double up but McGill moved ahead making a set on the [poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="7s"] flop. Only a jack would keep Dimaria in the tournament but he didn't find the help needed on the [poker card="4d"] turn and [poker card="5d"] river. Now in the usual fashion, the next elimination came 2 minutes later. The then chip leader 'muskrrr' raised to 150,000 from middle position and called the 343,198 button jam from 'bigfatpirate'. 'bigfatpirate': [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"] 'muskrrr': [poker card="Qs"][poker card="9d"] 'bigfatpirate' enjoyed seeing the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"] flop, the [poker card="Ts"] meant the at-risk player was still ahead but 'muskrrr' picked up additional outs with an open-ended straight draw. The [poker card="8d"] river completed the straight draw for 'muskrrr' and sunk the ship of 'bigfatpirate.' McGill picked up another victim shortly after the game turned six-handed. McGill had the easy decision to call 'dusty16's' all in for 161,644 after opening for 150,000 from under the gun. This time McGill, with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"], was the dominator pre-flop crushing the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="5h"] held by 'dusty16'. However a lifeline appeared for the short stack on the [poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5d"] flop, a safe [poker card="3c"] came on the turn but the [poker card="Qs"] river sealed the hand for McGill causing 'dusty16' to be eliminated in sixth. Shortly after losing a significant percentage of their stack to Pock, 'gwitsch' moved all in with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="3c"] for 132,402 from under the gun. Lessin, holding [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Th"], isolated the all-in player with a three-bet to 324,804. King high was enough on the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2h"] run-out to scoop the pot and cut the tournament short for 'gwitsch'. Four-handed play just lasted three minutes, Pock raised to 120,000 on the button and called the 879,054 three-bet jam from McGill in the small blind. McGill needed help after seeing his [poker card="Kc"][poker card="4c"] was behind Pock's [poker card="Ah"][poker card="5s"]. Both players didn't connect on the [poker card="Js"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8h"] flop and Pock's ace-high held on the [poker card="6h"] turn and the [poker card="Td"] river. Neither player wanted to miss out on a chance to play heads up for a bracelet and the $64K top prize but unfortunately for Pock it wasn't meant to be. Pock defended his big blind after 'muskrrr' opened to 320,000 on the button to see the [poker card="Ks"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"] flop. Pock called 'muskrrr's' continuation bet of 355,000 to then see the [poker card="5s"] peel off on the turn. All the chips went in on the turn as Pock check-jammed for 2,366,954 over 'muskrrr's' bet of 1,065,000 and they snap called. Despite holding top pair with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Js"], Pock needed help to over come the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5d"] held by 'muskrrr'. The [poker card="Ac"] river meant 'muskrrr' would have a commanding chip lead going into heads up play. By the next break Lessin had clawed back some chips to cut the lead held by 'muskrrr' to just 900,000. Going into the final hand Lessin, who now held a narrow chip lead himself, opened to 320,000 and called 'muskrrr's' 800,000 three-bet. The flop came [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"] and the 2,473,504 flop jam from 'muskrrr' was snap called by Lessin. 'Muskrrr': [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Tc"] Lessin: [poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"] Lessin sealed the victory after turning a full house with the [poker card="4h"] and the inconsequential [poker card="Jd"] gave the New Jersey native his first WSOP title. Final Table Payouts Jonathan 'SugarJ' Lessin - $64,411.20 'muskrrr' - $39,819.60 Allen 'Nucman' Pock - $27,864 Brian 'ggtdm' McGill - $19,796.40 'gwitsch' - $14,256 'dusty16' - $10,432.80 'bigfatpirate' - $7,743.60 Carmen 'cjdstable' Dimaria - $5,832 Al 'BigAl16' Riccobono - $4,471.20 Faces in the Crowd The Seniors Event attracted a few of notable names from the poker-sphere. Among those who fell short of the final table but managed to finish in the money were Roland Israelashvili (107th - $648) and Lena Evans (95th - $680.40). Phil Hellmuth couldn't secure bracelet #16 as he finished in 67th for $842.40 and both Greg Raymer (43rd - $1,263.60) and Terry Fleischer (17th - $2,203.20) picked up four-figure paydays.