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  1. Over the past 50 years, for many, the World Series of Poker has grown into more than just a poker series. It’s become a pilgrimage of sorts. Players from all over the world head to Las Vegas to take their shot at battling against the best, bringing home a bracelet and possibly be crowned a World Champion. With the WSOP regularly taking place in the U.S., it’s no surprise that American players, far and away, have amassed the most bracelets in WSOP history. It’s nearly 20 times that of the next nearest country. But this year is different and the tables have turned. After the month of July, the focus of the bracelet chase will be handed over to GGPoker where the rest of the world will have the edge on grabbing gold as American players continue to be shut out of the global online poker scene. On GGPoker, players from nations from around the world who wouldn’t otherwise make it to the Rio this summer will be looking to add to their own poker resume while contributing to the WSOP legacy of their country. Brazil It’s no secret Brazilians love their poker. They also love playing online. In the history of PocketFives, four Brazilian players have climbed to the #1 worldwide ranking. But when it comes to the World Series of Poker, Brazil isn’t even in the top 10 countries when it comes to taking down WSOP events. Through the end of 2019, six players have earned a bracelet including one of those former #1-ranked online players, Yuri Martins Dzivielevski. Dzivielevski grabbed his first WSOP win just last year after taking down the $2,500 Mixed Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Li 8 or Better event for over $213K. Dzivielevski, partypoker ambassador Joao Simeo, WSOP bracelet winner Andre Akkari, and GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos are just some of Brazil's top-flight talent that make it so it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Brazil’s total bracelet count to double in 2020. Canada The truth is, it’s been hard for Canada to compete for bracelets in the U.S. Not because of a lack of talent, there’s more than enough. But because of tax ramifications. When Canadians win at the WSOP they can lose as much as 30% to the US-Canada Tax Treaty, making it hard to be profitable in tournaments. That hasn’t stopped Canada from claiming the #2 spot with 60 total bracelets. Led by Daniel Negreanu and his six wins, Canada boasts numerous multi-time bracelet winners including Greg Mueller, Mark Radoja, Kristen Bicknell and 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, the first and only Canadian to hold that title. There’s a good chance for Canada to add to their legacy and strengthen their bracelet count in 2020. It’s well known that Negreanu, also a GGPoker ambassador, is going to charging hard for a bracelet with over $500,000 in bracelet bets on the line. Also online crushers like Bicknell, bracelet winner Mike Leah, former #1-ranked PocketFiver Sebastian ‘p0cket00’ Sikorski, and recent PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker winner Mike Watson all have full reign to win without getting punished in the wallet simply for being great. United Kingdom Some of the most colorful characters to grace the World Series of Poker stage have come from the UK. Many of which have contributed to the country’s 51 bracelets. David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, Luke Schwartz, Roland de Wolfe, Jake Cody, and Barny Boatman are just some of the legendary names that have posed for a WSOP winner’s photo and elevated the profile of poker in the UK. This year it will be a new crop of players who will lead the charge for England starting with the current #1 ranked online poker player in the world, Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. In fact, four of the top 20 online players in the world play from the UK including Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard and Tyler ‘Wonderboy222’ Goatcher. In the history of the UK, only seven players have earned multiple bracelets and if there’s one player who is a favorite to join that club it would be high roller savant Stephen Chidwick. Chidwick, who holds a bracelet of his own, is one of the most talented tournament players in both the live and online arena. Provided he has the time, he could even have a shot at catching Benny Glaser, who holds the UK’s record as a three-time bracelet winner. Russia Russia and France both have 22 bracelets, but when it comes to playing online Russia gets a definitive edge. It’s impossible to forget the impact that Russian players have had on the World Series of Poker from Ivan Demidov’s runner-up finish the original November Nine for over $5.8 million to Vitaly Lunkin taking down the 40th WSOP Anniversary event for his second gold bracelet. But while Russia is another talent-rich country, it takes a lot of effort to make it from Moscow to the middle of the Amazon Room. While Dennis ‘aDrENalin710’ Strebkov made the journey in 2019 and went home with a bracelet, many of the online crushers from Russia opt to grind online through the summer. It’s those players, like former #1-ranked ‘veeea’, who could break the tie with France this year and tack on to Russia’s total. That is unless Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier has anything to say about it. The truth is that for many countries, the series on GGPoker can really impact their gold bracelet standing. In China, there are four players who have won a bracelet. With GGPoker’s wide exposure to the Asian market, there’s a very good chance that that club will be adding some new members in 2020. There’s only one bracelet winner from Uruguay, Alex Komaromi, who won his at the WSOPE in 2015. Top-ranked players from Hungary, like ‘Wildace_hun’ have the chance to break a long-standing five-country tie of five bracelets. While none of these countries are going to make up much ground on the 1,1132 bracelets earned by Americans, the gold they take home this summer will be an important part of WSOP, and their countries, legacy in poker.
  2. [caption width="640"] The 2016 Americas Cup of Poker live final is heading to New Jersey[/caption] Some of the best online poker players from North and South America are converging on New Jersey later this summer for the PokerStars Americas Cup of Poker (ACP) live final - and for the first time since Black Friday, Team USA will be represented. The live final is the culmination of a series of ACP tournaments running on PokerStars.com from May 9 to June 6 that first puts players up against only players from their own country before moving on to battles between the 12 qualified countries. "The Americas Cup of Poker has been growing for the last seven years and this year will not be an exception," said Andre Akkari, Team PokerStars Pro. "This year not only sees an improved structure and more tournaments, but also a great live final in New Jersey to wrap up all the action. The question is will Brazil beat Argentina this time around or will it be the USA’s time to shine?" The Live Final is being held at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City for the first team after being part of the part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure schedule for the past seven years. The 12 teams are divided into three qualifying groups. GROUP 1 Argentina Chile Peru Uruguay GROUP 2 Brazil Colombia Rest of LATAM Ecuador GROUP 3 Canada Costa Rica Mexico Venezuela This marks the first time that Canada has competed in the ACP since 2010. Team USA will not compete in this stage of qualifying and will instead be comprised of players who do well during the upcoming NJSCOOP and a select few from a PokerStarsNJ.com freeroll on Sunday, May 29. The First Round The first round, which runs May 9 to 29, pits players against other players from only their own country in ACP tournaments with buy-ins from free up to $5.50 and awards players points based on their finishing position in each event. The top 50 point-earners from each country move on to the next stage. The Second Round Running May 30 to June 3, the second round is where national pride first enters the mix. Players compete in country vs. country matches, with the 50 players from each country earning points based solely on the number of players they eliminate. At the conclusion of each match, the country with the most bounties is awarded 10 points. Should the match end in a tie, each country is awarded five points. Each country plays a total of three matches and the top two teams in each group then advance to the Live Final. The five players from each country who collect the most bounties during this round will be selected to represent their country at the Live Final. The Live Final The live final, which runs June 23 to 27, is being held at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and is set to coincide with the COPA America finals in East Rutherford. There the players will be competing for their country’s share of $100,000 in prizes. Live Final Prizes $30,000 $25,000 $17,500 $12,500 $7,500 $5,000 $2,500 In 2015, Argentina came out on top with longtime football rival Brazil finishing as the runner-up.
  3. [caption width="680"] Sebastian Sorensson entered PSC Barcelona on a 0 satellite and turned that into over ,000,000.[/caption] The PokerStars Championship season continued at the familiar stomping grounds of Barcelona, home to many former European Poker Tour titles. The always massive and talented field played down to a final table over the course of nearly a week of play and was headlined by PokerStars Team Pro Andre Akkari along with PSC Monte Carlo Main Event champion Raffaele Sorrentino. As is the case many times in poker though, any player can win and that is what occurred as PokerStars online qualifier Sebastian Sorensson topped the field of 1,682 to win the title. It would be 21 hands before the first player hit the rail and that dubious honor went to Usman Siddique. Akkari opened to 550,000 with [poker card="js"][poker card="8s"] and Siddique shoved for 5,125,000 in the cutoff with [poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"]. Brian Kaufman reshoved for slightly more holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"] and Akkari dumped his hand. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"] board paired Kaufman’s king and Siddique was eliminated. Almost 80 hands later, it was Akkari’s turn to depart. Lachezar Petkov shoved the small blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"] and Akkari called for his last 15 blinds with [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"]. The [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"][poker card="5s"] flop put counterfeit outs in play and the [poker card="qs"] turn added to Petkov’s possibilities. The [poker card="5c"] river made Petkov’s ace-high the best hand and Akkari left the final table stage in fifth place. Shortly after Akkari busted, Kaufman followed him out the door. Kaufman moved all-in for 4,700,000 with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"] and Sorensson called for most of his stack with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"]. Sorensson survived the [poker card="js"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="ts"] runout and locked up the elimination. The final three players started negotiations following Kaufman’s elimination and did a save for the remaining €100,000 in prize money. In Hand 118, Sorensson raised to 3,900,000 with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3h"] in the small blind with the blinds at 400,000/800,000, and Sorrentino moved all in with two over cards [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"]. Sorensson called and held through the [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="jh"] board to secure the hand and bring a large advantage into heads up play. With the blinds at 800,000/1,600,000, Petkov shoved with [poker card="kc"][poker card="9h"] and Sorensson called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] flop locked up the hand for Sorensson and he claimed the title along with €987,043 for first place. Final Table Payouts Sebastian Sorensson - €987,043* Lachezar Plamenov Petkov - €917,347* Raffaele Sorrentino - €850,110* Brian Kaufman Esposito - €402,000 Andre Akkari - €317,960 Usman Siddique - €252,000 *Denotes three-way deal
  4. [caption width="640"] Jeff Gross and Andre Akkari made final tables on Wednesday.[/caption] The 2017 World Championship of Online Poker continued to draw massive fields on Wednesday as another three players earned WCOOP titles, along with massive paydays. The biggest winner of the day was Uruguay’s ‘IlDepredator’ who cashed in for $79,872.83 en route to his win in Event #37-High ($215 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max, Zoom). The final table included a number of PocketFivers including runner-up, former #2-ranked online player, Bjorn ‘kleath’ Kleathersson as well as Brazil’s Gustavo ‘PIUlimeira’ Ferreira and Romans ‘RovoDice’ Voitovs from Latvia. Newly minted PokerStars Online Pro, and host of the Flow Show on Twitch,Jeff Gross also made the final table, bowing out in 6th for just over $13,000. Event #33 High ($530 Four Max Progressive KO Pot Limit Omaha) also drew big numbers as 606 runners (plus their 482 re-entries) pushed the prize pool to well over $500,000, half of which was collected in bounties. Ukraine’s ‘Plspaythxbye’ took the lions share of the prize pool claiming $47,093.99 in a head-up deal with runner up ‘onlymtt748’ as well as another $30,752.22 in bounties. His healthy total of $77,846.21 was second best on a big day. Also of note, Team PokerStars Brazil’s Andre Akkarimade the final table of Event #36 High ($1,050 Limit Badugi) finishing in fourth place as Norway’s ‘paaskebaesen’ took the title and the $20,437.50 that went with it. Event #33 (High): $530 Pot Limit Omaha Four-Max (Progressive KO) Entries: 1088 Prize pool: $544,000 'plspaythxbye' - $47,093.99* + $30,752.22 in bounties 'onlymtt748' - $35,738.17* + $15,447.62 'cmontopdeck' - $18,161.44 + $8,257.54 'smir9david' - $11,081.28 + $1,875.00 Event #36 (High): $1,050 Fixed Limit Badugi Entries: 75 Prize pool: $75,000 'paaskebaesen' - $20,437.50 'sprocketsAA'- $13,875.00 'PSMozak'- $10,500.00 Andre 'aakari' Akkari- $7,125.00 'silna_rakia' - $5,250.00 'secky0222' - $3,187.50 Bernardo 'bedias' Dias - $3,187.50 'Fresh_oO_D' - $2,437.50 Event #37 (High): $215 6-Max No Limit Hold'em (Zoom) Entries: 2731 Prize pool: $546,200 'IlDepredator' - $79,872.83 Bjorn 'kleath' Kleathersson - $55,651.66 ['Korpieworm' - $38,776.54 [Gustavo 'PIUlimeira' Ferreira - $27,018.38 [Romans 'RovoDice' Voitovs - $18,825.65 Jeff 'JeffGross' Gross - $13,117.21 * denotes final table deal
  5. [caption width="641"] Brazilians like Andre Akkari could dominate the WSOP the way they did SCOOP.[/caption] Brazilians are a very passionate people. In everything they do there is a lot of energy and intensity. When professional poker started in Brazil in 2005, some thought that those characteristics could reflect in a negative way in their performance at the tables. Fortunately, they are also very open to adaptation. And when they learned that the game requires a lot of discipline, focus, study and concentration, they changed. This year, Brazil finished the Spring Championship of Online Poker with 21 titles, leading the Events Won by Country leaderboard ahead of United Kingdom (20), Canada (14), Germany (14) and Russia (11). In 2015, Brazil had just six titles in 2015, so an additional 15 titles is a vast improvement that goes beyond the expectations of even the biggest Brazilian supporter. BRAZIL’s 2016 SCOOP BY THE NUMBERS Entrants: 52,945 Winnings: $5,947,618.78 Cashes: 7,824 Average Cash: $760.18 Final Tables: 99 Titles: 21 One interesting fact: Brazil was only fourth overall in Players by Country. Less players, more titles, amazing efficiency. And the vast majorities of those titles came in Low events, showcasing Brazil’s new generation of disciplined and focused players that can compete in the highest levels in the near future. Years ago, a “Brazilian Storm” – as the success of the Brazilians was dubbed, happened in pro surfing and it appears something similar is happening at the poker tables. "I’m really happy to see my country doing so good in SCOOP", said André Akkari, member of Team PokerStars Pro and Brazil’s biggest poker ambassador. "Poker is experiencing a boom here in Brazil in the last few years and it’s really good to see the passion that Brazilians has for the game translate into big results in the tables. We had amazing victories this year and I’m looking forward to see what we can do at WCOOP next." The highlights of the 2016 SCOOP titles for Brazilians came from Leandro 'mmleandro' Macedo victory at the Main Event Low, where he won $196.058,77, and Rafael 'GM_VALTER' Moraes achievement in Event #4 (H), $2.100 No Limit Hold’em, where he pocketed $301.625,49 for first place. Interesting fact: in both events, the heads-ups finales were all “green and yellow” with two Brazilians battling it out each time. All those numbers in one of the most important online series of poker show Brazil’s progress at the tables. The big question now is will the success of Brazilian players continue during the 2016 World Series Of Poker? The WSOP schedule offers fewer events than SCOOP but much more pressure. Given the overwhelming success they showed by taking 21 of the 168 available SCOOP titles, a bracelet or two this summer doesn’t seem to be an impossible target.
  6. One of the things that make the World Series of Poker great is the coming together of players from all over the world to both compete in and celebrate the game of poker. For many players, not only is it the opportunity to win heaps of cash but also to represent their country at a final table and possibly have their national anthem played at a WSOP gold bracelet ceremony. Players from Brazil have a special zest for the game of poker. They have, time and again, lovingly draped their national flag over the shoulders of a home country champion. In 2018, there will be plenty of opportunities for Brazilians to celebrate their fellow countrymen, Here are five PocketFivers to watch this summer at the Rio. Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao A former three-time PocketFives Worldwide #1-ranked player, Simao is one of Brazil’s brightest stars. He has accumulated over $7 million in lifetime online earnings and parlayed his success into an ambassadorship role for partypoker. Lately, Simao has been splitting his time between the online tables and participating partypoker’s live events where he’s been a mainstay in the High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments. In 2018, Simeo has made six live final tables and earned over $1.1 million on the live circuit. Traditionally, the World Series of Poker hasn’t treated Simao as well as the partypoker events have. He’s made an appearance at the WSOP just about every year since 2012 and, while he’s cashed, he’s never gone deep in the Main Event. That said, Simao has never been on a heater like is right now either. Simao is in the midst of a career year and this may be his time to breakthrough at the WSOP. Andre ‘aakkari’ Akkari When it comes to the Brazilian’s at the World Series of Poker, you simply can’t take your eye off of Akkari. Akkari, a Team PokerStars Pro, may not grind the online sites like he used to but he still can make an impact when playing online. With over $3.5 million in online earnings, ‘aakkari’ recently added to that total with a third-place finish in the May 6 edition of the Sunday 500 for over $20,000. It was 2001 recorded online cash. When it comes to his live resume, Akkari is a true WSOP grinder. He’s made the money 29 times in WSOP events and took home a bracelet in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event in 2011. Akkari is also a student of all the poker varients - in 2017 he made the money in both a HORSE. and a Seven Card Stud event as well as cashing for over $30,000 in the Main Event. Diego ‘MrBittar’ Bittar Bittar does not have a lot of live results on his resume but his online prowess cannot be denied. Bittar is currently Brazil’s #3-ranked pro having just recently eclipsed over $4 million in lifetime online earnings. So far in the month of May, Bittar has accumulated over 60 cashes with 18 of them being worth four-figures or more. If he brings that grinder's mentality to Las Vegas this summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him replicate his online success and go deep in a number of events. In 2017, he only managed a pair of results. One was a small cash in the $888 Crazy Eights event and the other was a deep run in Event #66, a $1,500 NLHE event where he finished in 31st for just over $10,000. Perhaps 2018 is could be a breakout year for Mr. Bittar. Renato ‘renaton’ Nomura Hailing from Florianopolis, Nomura may be a player who comes out of nowhere to make a big splash at the 2018 World Series of Poker. A member of partypoker’s Team Online, Nomura is a student of the aforementioned Joao Simao and has been making an impact on poker both live and online. The one-time top 100 ranked player, Nomura is coming off a deep run at the partypoker MILLIONS North America Main Event where he bowed out in 24th for over $27,000. He’s shown he has what it takes to navigate large field tournaments as well, having won the 2013 Brazilian Series of Poker Main Event for over $108,000. Though he standardly plays mistakes online, should he make the trip to Las Vegas, as he did in 2017, he may be able to take his career to the next level. Renato ‘bauruzito’ Valentim Sao Paulo’s Valentim only has a single World Series of Poker recorded result to his name but it was a good one. Last year, he made the trek to play in the Main Event and left with a top 100 finish (83rd) for over $72,000, which was a career-high live result. As an online grinder, Valentim has earned over $3 million in career and currently stands as a top-5 ranked player in Brazil and the #46-ranked player in the world. If the success of his 2017 Main Event run entices Valentim to book the 14-hour flight from his hometown to Nevada, he may be a candidate to fly back with a bracelet.
  7. [caption width="640"] Andre Akkari represents Brazil in the GPL - but that doesn't mean he's only drafting his fellow countrymen.[/caption] Andre Akkari is a very proud Brazilian. He bleeds gold and green. So when the Global Poker League came calling for him to be the manager of the only Brazilian team – the Sao Paulo Metropolitans - in their inaugural season, Akkari was more than happy to answer. “I loved the idea since the first moment and I was looking for a way to be involved on this,” said Akkari. It was almost a year ago that Akkari first got wind of the GPL. Founder Alex Dreyfus was in Monaco for the European Poker Tour Grand Final and was gauging interest of players. Now, Akkari, who ranks third on Brazil’s all-time earnings list, is readying himself for the first season and knows the key to a great team starts with the GPL Draft this Thursday. “The draft is a really big moment. I have a lot of pressure in Brazil, so it will probably be impossible for me to please everyone,” said Akkari. “I am focused on drafting the best I can, whether I have Brazilians or not. I want the Sao Paolo Mets to be the first GPL champions.” The Brazilian poker scene is full of great tournament players and Akkari could easily draft just for nationalistic pride, but before he looks at passports, Akkari has some other requirements for what he’s looking for to make up his initial roster. “First of all I am looking for a great heads-up player. I have to think about the way that we are going to compete and a great heads-up player is really important,” said Akkari. “Then I am looking for a great six-max player. There are a lot of players that can take this position.” Filling his roster with skilled players is important, but thanks to the unique GPL team concept, Akkari recognizes he’ll need to make sure he’s got people willing to do more than just be a great individual player. “I want to try to get great players, but also get some great people. We will be a team, we will have to create relationships, talk strategies every day, share the energy and the game plan,” said Akkari. “It’s not easy to build it, but I think I can do that.” Since the list of 203 draft eligible players was released last week, Akkari has been in contact with some of them to see if they’d be interested in joining the Metropolitans. Spending a good chunk of his calendar year playing tournaments around the world, Akkari has been using recent trips, including EPT Dublin, to get some valuable face time with potential teammates. “Some people might be surprised because they don’t know a lot of Latin American players and maybe if I draft one or two of them, they will think that it’s because of where they’re from, but its not,” said Akkari. “We have some amazing players, online players, heads-up players, but obviously the names at the top of the Global Poker Index are the most valuable players right now.” While he’s been busy doing his draft homework, Akkari can’t get over the fact that he gets to be a part of something of new and represent his native Brazil in the process. In his mind, the GPL is set to take the game of poker to an entirely new level. “I truly believe that poker is a mind sport. After several years, we brought this concept to the Brazilian community and GPL is completely related with this spirit, the energy of the competition,” said Akkari. That energy and passion for poker is something that Akkari thinks will be an advantage for the Sao Paulo squad no matter who is on the team. “I am a genuine 'Paulista,' so it’s a blessing to be representing the city. The Brazilians are so excited for the draft and to support the SP Mets,” said Akkari. “And everybody that plays poker knows that when the Brazilians supporters are involved, it's trouble time for our opponents.” Akkari picks sixth overall on Thursday.
  8. Wednesday's action at the 2019 World Series of Poker included two more events wrapping up, the Colossus drawing over 5,000 runners, and the start of another $10,000 Championship event, but all eyes were squarely on the $50,000 Poker Players Championship as Phil Ivey finished with the chip lead for the second day in a row. Kainalu McCue-Unciano Takes Down Monster Stack The 2019 Monster Stack event might be the smallest one in the six-year history of the event, but that really doesn't bother Kainalu McCue-Unciano. The 25-year-old Hawaii native topped the 6,035-player field to win $1,008,850 and the first bracelet of his career. McCue-Unciano ended Day 2 with the chip lead and it started to feel like something special was about to happen. Wednesday night, that special feeling became reality. “Everyday I told myself that I would do it. It’s just an unreal feeling. It’s kicking in slowly, it’s crazy. It’s a crazy feeling,” he said. The final day of play saw six players return with McCue-Uncianos sitting second in chips. McCue-Unciano handled the first two eliminations and got to heads-up with a substantial chip lead. “Definitely a roller coaster of emotions. I thought the match was going to be over when I held with ace-king. He battled back to chip lead and it was tough, he was a very tough opponent. I just got there on him when I needed it,” he said. Vincent Chauve earned $623,211 for his runner-up performance. Final Table Payouts Kainalu McCue-Unciano - $1,008,850 Vincent Chauve - $623,211 Gregory Katayama - $461,369 Bart Hanson - $344,079 Benjamin Ector - $258,516 Igor Yaroshevskyy - $195,687 Bryan Kim - $149,247 Andre Haneberg - $114,694 Javier Zarco - $88,817 Israeli Trio Takes Down $1,000 Tag Team Title The number of Israeli bracelet winners at the 2019 WSOP doubled on Wednesday. Well, kind of. The team of Chad Geiger, Daniel Dayan, and Barak Wisbrod - all Israelis - took down the $1,000 Tag Team event for the fourth event won by their countrymen. The win came with $168,395 and a bracelet for each of them - and that hardware is what this team was all about once the final table started. “It was a different kind of final table. It’s really not about the money, it’s about the bracelet and I’m only 23. This is my first time in Vegas. I felt pretty good playing, but I did feel like there was more on the line when playing,” Wisbrod said. The team of Jerod Smith, Matthew Moreno, and Lawrence Chan earned $104,025 as the runner-up while Anthony Zinno and John Hinds finished third for $73,329. Pennsylvania online poker grinder Zachary Gruneberg and teammate Timothy Jurkiewicz finished fourth, taking home $52,390. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Steven van Zadelhoff and his teammate Kenny Hallaert picked up $15,674 for finishing eighth. Israeli's Yuval Bronshtein, Eli Elezra, and Asi Moshe all won bracelets earlier this year. Final Table Payouts Chad Geiger / Daniel Dayan / Barak Wisbrod - $168,395 Jerod Smith / Matthew Moreno / Lawrence Chan - $104,025 Anthony Zinno / John Hinds - $73,329 Timothy Jurkiewicz / Zach Gruneberg - $52,390 Fabio Coppola / Richard Washinsky - $37,944 Danny Wong / Steve Sung / Chahn Jung / Aaron Motoyama - $27,864 Daniel Marder / Michael Marder / Paul Steinberg - $20,750 Steven van Zadelhoff / Kenny Hallaert - $15,674 Jie Xu / Shaotong Chang - $12,011 Phil Ivey Leads $50K Poker Players Championship into Day 4 Just 11 players stand between Phil Ivey and a victory in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for what would be his 11th WSOP bracelet. Ivey finished Day 3 with 4,775,000 and the chip lead. Josh Arieh was the only other player to bag more than 3,000,000. The two-time bracelet winner finished the day with 4,029,000. Shaun Deeb ended with 2,450,000 for the third best stack. There are five more WSOP bracelet winners still in the field; Bryce Yockey, Phillip Hui, John Esposito, Christopher Vitch, and Andrew Brown. David Oppenheim, a 2019 Poker Hall of Fame finalist, has a third place and ninth place finish in this event to his credit. He made it through Day 3 with the fifth best stack. The bubble burst on Wednesday when Chris Klodnicki was eliminated by Arieh in 13th place. Daniel Cates, with only one previous WSOP cash to his credit, advanced to Day 4 with the second shortest stack. The final 12 players will be back in action beginning at 2 PM PT and will play until six players remain. Final 12 Chip Counts Phil Ivey - 4,775,000 Josh Arieh - 4,029,000 Shaun Deeb - 2,450,000 Bryce Yockey - 2,386,000 David Oppenheim - 2,108,000 Dario Sammartino - 1,721,000 Phillip Hui - 1,540,000 John Esposito - 1,200,000 Talal Shakerchi - 785,000 Christopher Vitch - 523,000 Daniel Cates - 369,000 Andrew Brown - 210,000 Lang Lee Leads $600 Deepstack Championship Just 83 players remain in the $600 Deepstack Championship and Lang Lee holds a narrow lead over Will Givens heading into the final day of play. Lee finished with 6,075,000 while Givens bagged up just 50,000 less. Steffen Logen ended with a third-best stack of 5,485,000. Day 2 started with 919 players. Included in the 836 players who were sent to the rail on Wednesday were Lexy Gavin, John Phan, Chris Moorman, Humberto Brenes, and Eric Baldwin. Action resumes at 2 PM PT and is scheduled to play down to a winner. Top Chip Counts Lang Lee - 6,075,000 Will Givens - 6,025,000 Steffen Logen - 5,485,000 Riccardo Trevisani - 5,475,000 Giovani Torre - 5,455,000 Carl Brewington - 5,130,000 Dan Matsuzuki - 4,630,000 Luke Martinelli - 4,380,000 Andres Jeckeln - 4,370,000 Gabor Molnar - 3,990,000 Grinder Lurking in $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Matt O'Donnell ended Day 2 of the $1,5000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event with the chip lead, but all eyes are on the third biggest stack. That stack belongs to Michael Mizrachi. The five-time bracelet winner ended with 1,196,000 with just 57 other players remaining. Sandwiched between them is James Chen, fresh off of his runner-up finish in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event. The rest of the top 10 includes a number of other notables. David Prociak, Jon Turner, Ray Henson, Ari Engel, and Scott Abrams all finished with a stack near the top of the chip counts. Connor Drinan, Anthony Zinno, Erik Seidel, Joao Vieira, and Chris Bjorin also advanced to Day 3. There were 459 players eliminated on Day 2 including 110 in the money. Jeff Lisandro, Daniel Negreanu, Shawn Buchanan, Barry Greenstein, Patrick Leonard, Joseph Cheong, Shannon Shorr, Frank Kassela, Robert Campbell, and David 'Bakes' Baker all picked up a cash but were unable to advance. Day 3 begins at 2 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Matt O'Donnell - 1,388,000 James Chen - 1,227,000 Michael Mizrachi - 1,196,000 David Prociak - 1,030,000 Jon Turner - 1,008,000 Jordan Spurlin - 1,004,000 Raymond Henson - 922,000 Ari Engel - 798,000 Thiago Macedo - 778,000 Scott Abrams - 774,000 Amador Trinidad Turns Colossus Day 1A into a Milly At just $400, the 2019 version of the Colossus has the lowest price point of any live event on the WSOP schedule. Amador Trinidad had a very successful Day 1A, using the 12 40-minute levels to turn his 40,000 starting stack into 1,012,000. No other player got to the seven-figure mark. Joseph Torres got close though. He ended with 992,000. Marc Korner bagged the third best stack with 937,000. Day 1A drew 5,238 entries with 770 of them advancing to Day 2. The bubble burst late on Day 1A giving Greg Raymer, Mark Seif, Amir Lehavot, and Ylon Schwartz a cash and a stack heading into Day 2. Top Chip Counts Amador Trinidad - 1,012,000 Joseph Torres - 992,000 Marc Korner - 937,000 William Blais - 934,000 Haoxiang Wang - 901,000 Arturs Daugis - 860,000 Carolyn Grad - 852,000 Greg Raymer - 850,000 Kunal Patni - 849,000 Matthew Beisner - 828,000 Andre Akkari Leads $10,000 Razz After Day 1 Andre Akkari spent a good amount of time on Wednesday making the worst hand. That worked out just fine for the Brazilian as he finished Day 1 of the $10,000 Razz Championship with 508,000 and the chip lead. He's nearly 200,000 ahead of the next closest player. David Bach finished with 308,500. Marco Johnson bagged up 254,000. Defending champion Calvin Anderson put himself in position to repeat after collecting 248,500 chips on Day 1. Day 1 drew 97 entries. Registration remains open until the start of Day 2 and 22 players will need to register to meet the 2018 field of 119. David 'ODB' Baker, Jason Mercier, Eli Elezra, Frank Kassela, Robert Mizrachi, Brandon Shack-Harris, were among the 55 players who busted on Day 1. Day 2 begins at 2 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Andre Akkari - 508,000 David Bach - 308,500 Marco Johnson - 254,000 Calvin Anderson - 248,500 Max Pescatori - 241,000 Daniel Zack - 240,500 Cary Katz - 228,000 John Monnette - 220,500 Julien Martini - 217,000 Michael McKenna - 210,500
  9. [caption width="640"] Daniel Negreanu is taking a new approach to tournaments after spending a few months working with coaches (WPT photo)[/caption] Daniel Negreanu's first tournament score was over 20 years ago. Since then he's become poker's all-time leading money earner with $35,269,814 in winnings and become one of the most widely recognized poker players in the world, if not the most. And yet the 42-year-old recently realized he needed to go back to school if he wanted to continue to consider himself elite. After posting just one cash - an eighth-place finish for $102,000 - in five PokerMasters events, Negreanu looked around the table and recognized that the high roller tournaments were being dominated by one group of players, and if he was going to continue to play in them, he needed to change some things about his approach. "I've been playing poker 20 years, so I know the difference between running bad and playing bad or being outclassed. I know I had been running bad in those things, there's no question, but there's no real value in focusing on that stuff because it's out of your control," said Negreanu. "What I can focus on, what about the little spots? I'm getting outplayed in those. And that was happening more than I'd like." The Poker Masters events allowed Negreanu to get a better-than-front-row view as to what the German players were doing and how they were dominating the high rollers. "It became pretty obvious to me that as a team, not in any collusive way, the Germans have worked together to become really, really good at this specific format and they're sharing information with each other," said Negreanu. "So I knew that in order for me to be able to compete that I needed to find some people that I could do that with today, that's more up to date on what's available in terms of learning tools." While trying to figure out what his approach should be or who he should start working with, Negreanu's agent, Brian Balsbaugh, mentioned that he knew of two players who were interested in taking on more coaching projects and might be right up his alley. Negreanu was skeptical at first, but agreed to meet with them and hear their pitch. "I really liked what they had to share. They showed me some data, and they showed me some flaws in other peoples systems and I said, 'Let's make this thing work'," said Negreanu. "I went into partnership with them to work hard for two to three months, three to four times a week at the house for five or six hours a day. It's been a combination of a lot of different things we're studying and I'd say we're probably 25-30% of the way down. There's a lot more to go." As Negreanu sat down with "Matt and MJ" for their first coaching session, Negreanu found himself intimidated by what they were coaching and wondered if he'd ever be able to pick it up and change his game. "Then a couple of hours in, I was like 'Wait - I get it!' I was starting to get it. For 20 years in poker, I've been thinking 100% exploitatively, just do things based on what your opponents perceive of you. So learning how to come from a more game theory baseline was totally alien to me. I didn't grow up with that. It was a little hard in the beginning, but it's really helped a lot of balance and aggression to my game," said Negreanu. German players such as Fedor Holz, Steffen Sontheimer and Stefan Schillhabel have turned the high roller poker world on its head over the past few years by emphasizing the game theory optimal approach to the game. While that's a big part of what Negreanu is learning now, it's not everything he's working on. "I love the way they teach things because they're essentially a hybrid. They're not teaching me how to play GTO, because GTO is not the best way to play, it's just not. Theoretically, exploitative play is better. The problem with exploitative play is you become exploitable," said Negreanu. "What I think about now is what would be the GTO line if I was playing a robot? Then I deviate by saying, well this guy's not a robot, he folds way too often, so I'm going to up my bluffing frequency an extra 20-30% or this guy never folds so I'm going to go down. So I'm deviating from what would be considered the correct play against a robot." After taking time off and focusing on re-tooling his game, Negreanu jumped back into action last week at the Bellagio for a $100,000 Super High Roller event, eventually finishing runner-up behind Dan Smith and earning $936,000 in the process. While he ultimately didn't win the event, Negreanu's quite happy with the outcome not only because it came with a huge cash score, but proved to him he's on the right path. "I like the results. The results are good. I essentially feel like I won that tournament. I got it in with 82% for all the chips and I did everything I could to win that tournament. I felt really, really good about a wide variety of things," said Negreanu.
  10. [caption width="640"] PokerStars returns Prague with a 43-event schedule over 12 days beginning on December 7[/caption] All the presents in the Twelve Days of Christmas are nice and all, but for poker players from around the world twelve days of non-stop poker action is what they really want for the holidays and the PokerStars Championship Series is more than happy to oblige. From December 7-18 the PokerStars Championship series returns to Prague, the largest city in the Czech Republic, for their final stop of the calendar year, PokerStars Championship Prague. The festival includes a little something for everyone in the 43-event schedule, including the €5,300 Main Event. The Hilton Prague Hotel will once again play host to the competition, as it has ever since PokerStars began bringing players to Prague back during the European Poker Tour Season 4 in 2007. One of the more popular winter destinations for players, both for the action and the city that surrounds it, many memorable moments have been made over the years in Prague for the PokerStars crew. In 2009, local grinder Jan Skampa won the main event for over $1 million and two years later the live poker world was introduced to German superstar Martin Finger when he won his EPT Main Event in Prague. Of course, just last year, Dutch player Jasper Meijer was crowned the final EPT champion and as he hoisted the trophy in Prague, the final stop of Season 13, it marked the final stop of the entire tour. It was the end of the EPT era. Now PokerStars is back in Prague for the first time since that emotional finale, ready to start new traditions and anoint new champions in the Golden City. To help with that, PokerStars is bringing out a number of their pros to both mingle with the players as well as test their mettle on the felt. Andre Akkari, Marcin Horecki, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, who makes his home in Prague, have all confirmed to be on hand. While there is plenty to do in the city of Prague like check out the city’s Christmas markets, stroll across the Charles Bridge or visit the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle, the tournament schedule PokerStars has put together is likely to keep dedicated grinders indoors and on the felt. The massive 43-event line-up hopes to have a number of events for players managing any type of bankroll. From the €330 multi-flight Prague Poker Cup for those looking for a big score on a modest buy-in to the €50,000 PokerStars Championship Super High Roller, which is likely to have big names vying for even bigger payouts and every buy-in level in between. Of course, all eyes will be on the €5,300 Main Event. Registering 1,192 runners in 2016, last years participants were the most the Prague stop had ever seen, making it a benchmark for comparison here at the start of the Championship years. The Main Event gets started on December 12 and has two starting days. Then, if one can't be in Prague, beginning on Day 2, would-be viewers can tune-in to all-star commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton as they host featured-table action from the event on PokerStars.tv. PokerStars also is continuing their PokerStars Championship Player of the Year leaderboard promotion awarding the winner of the Prague tournament leaderboard a chance to win a $17,000 VIP package to the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and a seat at a $100,000 free roll in the winner-take-all 2017 PokerStars Championship Player of the Year Sit & Go. If that sounds like an amazing opportunity, one had better be prepared to bring their “A” game as the list of players that have already qualified include some of the best in the game, including Koray Aledmir, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Daniel Dvoress, Nick Petrangelo, Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen and high roller regular Bryn Kenney. Online satellites to the Main Event are currently running on PokerStars and, just in case the tournaments scene doesn’t agrehoursth you, PokerStars will be running 24-hour a day cash games with all the action beginning on December 7.
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