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  1. No matter how you look at it, Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt is one of the most dominant online poker players in the history of online poker. The Swedish superstar has hit the top of the Online Poker Rankings ten different times and spent a record 97 weeks in total at #1. On top of that, he was the first player to break through the $20 million career earnings barrier and is the current Online All-Time Money List leader with $21,758,331in earnings. It’s more than the numbers though, ‘Lena900’ has a reputation as the type of grinder who, despite his enormous success, would prefer to never take a day off. It’s his drive that has put him (and kept him) at the top for so many years. As the #1 seed in the Spades bracket, one might think that such eye-popping numbers would ensure that he would have a smooth path to the later stages. But there’s not only some phenomenal talent represented in the Spades bracket, but a healthy mix of current crushers and popular personalities from online poker eras gone by. Players like Alex ‘AJKHoosier1’ Kamberis, Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi, and Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe are included here. Not to mention Brazilians Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon and Joao ‘jososimaobh’ Simao who have large fan bases. Then of course there’s Ari Engel, one of the most prolific MTT players of all-time. Enter the #1 Number One Contest Now! lena900 (#1) vs brianm15 (#16) As mentioned above, ‘Lena900’ holds the record for the number of weeks at the #1 spot with 97 and is the current leader on the Online All-Time Money List with nearly $22 million in earnings. While Brian ‘brianm15’ England may have only held down the #1 spot for one week back in 2014, he continues to grind and has amassed an impressive $6.85 million in career earnings. AJKHoosier1 (#2) vs theczar19 (#15) Back in August of 2008, Alex ‘AJKHoosier1’ Kamberis was in what seemed like a weekly battle for the top spot against Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman. Finally, in September of that year, after two short stints at #1, he claimed it and kept it for 18 weeks straight. Kamberis has a tough first-round opponent in Bryan ‘theczar19’ Piccioli who spent two weeks at #1 in May of 2011 but also went on to garner acclaim for his appearance at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2017. Sheater (#3) vs paulgees81 (#14) Sweden’s ‘Sheater’ first captured the #1 spot back in December 2013. He had two stints in the top spot for a total of eight weeks (one month each time) and picked up a total of five Triple Crowns. Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe took his turn at the top in March of 2011 and spent three weeks there. The longtime tournament grinder amassed more than $5.8 million in online earnings to go along with his more than $8.5 million in live results. LarsLuzak (#4) vs VnilaVader (#13) Well after establishing himself as a renowned nosebleed cash game grinder, Finland’s Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro hit the top of the rankings for the first time in 2019. He spent a total of nine weeks as #1 and he continues to be a presence in the upper echelons of the rankings having accumulated $16 million in tournament earnings. Anton ‘VnilaVader’ Herrman held on to the #1 spot for three weeks back in 2014 and has four Triple Crowns to go along with his more than $4.1 million in recorded career online earnings. BYE Ari (#12) Ari ‘Ari’ Engel is one of the most consistent tournament players in the world and just the third player in history to hold the #1 spot back in 2006, ending the reign of Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy who held the top spot for well over a year. Engel received the PocketFives Legacy Award back in 2018, recognizing his achievements in both the online and live poker arenas. NigDawG (#6) vs bbotteon (#11) The UK’s Christopher ‘NigDawG’ Brammer took two turns as the top-ranked pro in 2012 spending a total of six weeks at the top. A prolific online poker player, Brammer earned six Triple Crowns, seventh-best among the #1s. Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon took over the #1 spot in December of 2020 and held on to it for 11 weeks into 2021. Considered one of Brazil’s best, Botteon has more than $6.8 million in career earnings. probirs (#7) vs imper1um (#10) Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth not only won the PokerStars Sunday Millon back in 2016 but the high-roller tournament pro also sat atop the rankings two different times in 2019 for a total of nine weeks. The sometimes controversial Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi was a staple on the rankings back in 2007 when he spent 15 weeks at #1 over the course of three reigns and more than $3.6 million in career earnings. joaosimaobh (#8) vs Jymaster0011 (#9) Poker pro and partypoker ambassador Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao was one of the faces of Brazilian poker in 2016 when he spent four weeks at #1 over three different stints. He’s up against Jordan ‘Jymaster0011’ Young who also had three trips to the top for a total of 12 weeks. Young has accumulated more than $5.6 million in career online earnings. Make your picks in the PocketFives #1 Number One Contest - entries due by Midnight ET on April 2. Then make sure to follow @PocketFives on Twitter to get your votes in!"
  2. Though tens of thousands of players have made their way into the PocketFives Rankings since the website launched in 2005, just 60 different players have climbed to the top and held the #1 spot. This list of players who have been #1 includes some of the most respected and feared players in the game, spanning multiple eras of online poker. There’s no doubt that these 60 players are all great - but who is the greatest #1 of all time? It’s a question that’s never been asked. Until now. And the answer to that question is entirely up to you. Over the next 30 days, poker fans will have the opportunity to help determine who the #1 Number One is in our head-to-head bracket style competition - and can win their own share of more than $2,000 in prizes along the way. The PocketFives #1 Number One is a single elimination tournament with all 60 former #1s. All players were seeded and placed in the bracket based on how many times they hit #1, how long they held onto the top spot, their career online earnings, and how many Triple Crowns they have won. "We wanted to give poker players and fans the opportunity to have their say in who they think is the greatest online poker tournament player of all time," said PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. "The next month should be a lot of fun with some 60 former #1-ranked players vying for the title and the championship belt." With 60 players, the four winners of the Global Poker Awards PocketFives Legacy Award each received first round byes: Cliff ’JohnnyBax’ Josephy, Ari Engel, Shaun Deeb and Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman. Show me the bracket! Each day for the next 30 days, PocketFives will release two match-ups via Twitter for poker fans to vote on. Each poll is open for 24 hours with the player receiving the most votes moving on to the following round. This continues until the #1 Number One is determined on May 4, 2021. The player receiving the most votes in the final round earns the title of #1 Number One and the accompanying championship belt. Not only will poker fans around the world have the chance to vote, they'll also be able to win their share of more than $2,000 in prizes by entering a bracket with their predictions for how each match-up goes through all six rounds. Points are awarded for each accurate prediction with the points awarded each round doubling from 10 in the first round up to 320 in the final. ENTER NOW Prizes include a Run It Once Training Pads on Pads course, valued at $999, as well as prizes from D&B Poker, Faded Spade playing cards, and Run Good Gear. To be eligible for prizes, entrants must have a PocketFives account and must follow PocketFives on Twitter. Full details including rules, prizes, and all match-ups are available here.
  3. No, some of the best poker players in the world were not packed into the tables at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas chasing down World Series of Poker Circuit rings over the last two weeks. Players in Nevada and New Jersey were, in fact, playing on WSOP.com in the Planet Hollywood Circuit events with 12 rings on the line and the list of winners includes more than a handful of familiar faces including a pair of former #1-ranked online poker players. The 12-event series had a total guarantee of $1.125 million and all 12 tournaments easily cleared their individual guarantee to push the total prize pools to $1,791,499. Jared Jaffee Opens With a Win Jared Jaffee, who won his first WSOP Circuit ring at The Bicycle Club in Los Angeles in 2017, added another ring to his collection by outlasting 416 other entries in Event #1 ($250 NL Freezeout). Along with the win, Jaffee, playing under the screen name 'darrensrabbi', earned $23,804.44. Runner-up 'DaSurrealist' earned $13,359.63 while Zach 'ThePepster5' Epstein took third for $8,161.52. Ari Engel Breaks into Double Digits Ari Engel, who held the #1 spot on the PocketFives Rankings for five weeks in late 2006, became just the fourth player to win 10 WSOP Circuit rings when he bested the 151-entry field in Event #3 ($500 Big PLO $500). Engel banked $16,350.13 for the win. Daniel 'Bunzer07' Jordan, who won the WSOP Circuit Online $1,000 Six Max High Roller event back in January for his first career ring, fell one spot short of grabbing his second and had to settle for a $12,244 score. Seth 'weliketoprty' Anirudh finished in third for $9,186.87. Steve Gross Grabs First Ring Engel wasn't the only former #1 PocketFiver who grabbed some hardware. Steve Gross, who had four different reigns at the top for 55 total weeks, beat 469 other runners in Event #5 ($525 NL Monster Stack) for a $40,185 score and his first career Circuit ring. Michael 'miw201x' Wang finished one spot shy of the ring and added $29,727.50 to his bankroll. Jeff 'YanCanCook' Yanchek took third for $21,925.50. Daniel Buzgon Does Double Duty Daniel Buzgon, the #9-ranked online poker in the United States, emerged from the series with two rings. His first came in Event #8 ($300 NL Knockout Freezeout) where he worked his way through 280 other entries to win $14,896.92. Two days later, he beat 261 players in Event #10 ($500 NL BIG 500 8-Max) for a $24,840.57 score. The New Jersey resident now has six career Circuit rings with the last four all coming in the online arena. Derek Sudell Ships Main Event Title Derek 'rickyguan' Sudell made his way through 721 other entries in Event #12 ($525 Main Event) only to be left going heads-up against AJ 'jnja1719' Basselini-Truisi, the winner of the Main Event in the WSOP Circuit Super Series in January. There, Basselini-Truisi beat 892 other entries to capture his first career ring. This time however, the Howell, New Jersey resident had to settle for runner-up status. Sudell eliminated him in second place and earned the Connecticut native a career-best $57,623.10 score. Basselini-Truisi walked away with $42,657. James 'muskrrr' Moore wound up in third place and earned $31,450.50. WSOP.com Planet Hollywood Circuit Winners List [table id=179 /] The next WSOP Online Circuit series is the Silver Legacy Circuit which runs March 19 - 30 and offers 12 ring events.
  4. It's hard to believe that 2015 will mark the 10th year PocketFives has been around. One of the members of the poker world who signed up for our site in Year 1 was Ari Engel(pictured), known to many in our community as BodogAri. He has $2.3 million in tracked scores online plus another $1.4 million in the live arena, according to the Hendon Mob. In the last few weeks, Engel won a PokerStarsSpring Championship of Online Poker $109 No Limit Hold'em event for $187,000 after a four-way deal. Engel said, "I'm feeling good. It's always really good to get a big score. They don't come very often, so it's good to get them." A total of $2.1 million was handed out to 2,700 in the money finishers. "There was definitely a lot of money on the line," Engel said of his motivation to chop. "I am always open-minded to chops because I have gotten good deals over my career, but I'm not necessarily looking for one. There were two players who didn't seem as experienced, while another guy and I were co-chip leaders and he seemed experienced. The short stacks wanted to chop and we all agreed to look. I got a little more than ICM and, with so much money on the line, I had to deal." Interestingly enough, this was Engel's first six-figure tracked online score. He has 42 cashes of at least $10,000 and said of his performance over the last nine years, "I have run really well to get the results coming consistently. One of the things that has helped is I play lower buy-ins than people with my record would play. Even this tourney was a $109 buy-in tourney, so there weren't a lot of experienced players. It's a little easier to do better in those kinds of fields." Engel has been focused on lower buy-in tournaments ever since this author can remember meeting him. We asked where his approach came from and he responded, "I'm so nitty outside of the tables and it has definitely affected the choices I have made regarding tournament buy-ins." He added that he doesn't play nitty in tournaments themselves, however. Engel has also been heavily into poker training and famously ran a "Poker Batcave" of sorts in Las Vegas. "A challenge a lot of coaches get into is that being a good coach doesn't take the same skill set it takes to be a good player," BodogAri told us. "It's about condensing your thoughts into good sound bytes. If you asked a lot of great players, I don't think many of them could condense their plays and rationally explain them. A lot of them could, but there are plenty who couldn't." As you've probably guessed by now, Engel will be entering many of the $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events at the World Series of Poker at the Rio this year. He has 16 WSOP cashes for $100,000 total, but has made a name for himself on the WSOP Circuit, where he owns six rings, two shy of the most ever (Alex Masek, eight). His first ring came in 2007 in Atlantic City and his most recent was last year at Foxwoods (pictured). As we said at the top, almost 10 years have passed since Engel signed up for PocketFives, back then a quaint community that had just developed a system for ranking online poker players. On the changes over the years, he said, "The game has changed so much. Even if I took my mind now and went back in time, I wouldn't play the same way I do now or did back then." SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and deposit to get a 100% up to $600 bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Register your PokerStars account here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. Known to many on PocketFives as BodogAri, Ari Engelhas hit it big in the live poker world over the years. This week, Engel won his seventh World Series of Poker Circuit ring and moved into a tie for second all-time on that leaderboard behind only Alex Masek, who has eight. Also with seven Circuit rings is Chris Reslock. Engel's latest ring came after taking down a $580 HORSE event during the WSOP Circuit's stop in Hammond, Indiana, which drew 128 players. Engel told WSOP officials, "It definitely doesn't get old. It's nice to get a win. It's been a little bit of time. I spend a lot of time grinding and you only very occasionally actually get a win. I'm trying to savor the moment." Engel added that catching Masek has been driving him to buy into more Circuit events around the United States: "Definitely the main thing is making a living [playing poker]. One of the reasons I choose to play Circuit events is because I do have a lot of rings. I'm trying to catch [Masek]. I don't know if I would have played a $580 HORSE tournament if it weren't a ring event." Here's a look at Engel's Circuit wins over the years: 2007: $300 NLHE for $63,000 2009: $1,060 NLHE Heads-Up for $22,000 2012: $345 Mixed PLHE/PLO for $8,200 2012: $1,125 NLHE for $55,000 2013: $580 NLHE for $26,000 2013: $580 NLHE for $29,000 2014: $580 HORSE for $17,000 All told, Engel has 37 Circuit cashes totaling $405,000 and another 19 WSOP cashes in Las Vegas for $120,000. His seventh ring was his first in HORSE. Online, Engel has $2.3 million in tournament winnings in his PocketFives profile and won a SCOOP Main Event earlier this year for over $200,000 officially, his largest payday ever. The Canadian was ranked #1 on PocketFives in 2006, the same year he signed up for our site. Congrats to Ari Engel on his seventh WSOP Circuit ring! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. [caption width="640"] Ari Engel won the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event[/caption] Life-changing money was awarded at this year's Aussie Millions. The annual poker series Down Under ended with 732 entrants showing up for the Main Event. In the end, a former #1 ranked player on PocketFives, Ari Engel, took it down for USD $1.1 million. He joins the ranks of former Aussie Millions Main Event winners like Tyron Krost, Alexander Kostritsyn, Gus Hansen, Tony Bloom, and Ami Barer. Engel beat World Poker Tour host Tony 'Bond18' Dunst heads-up in a battle of longtime, accomplished online poker players. Dunst took $700,000 back to the US for his runner-up performance. "I'm not a partier," Engel said a few hours after his groundbreaking win. "I went out to dinner with friends and had a couple of drinks. I had to rearrange my flight schedule too, but luckily because of my status, I could change my ticket without a penalty." Engel headed back to the US two days later than he had planned, but $1.1 million probably made any travel headaches well worth it. Engel is no slouch in the live and online poker world, and success has been a staple of his career. However, playing in the Aussie Millions Main Event was a whole new animal. "The amount of money on the line made this experience totally different," Engel explained. "My biggest score before this was $190,000, so these were much bigger stakes and it was intimidating playing for that much money. I've never played for that much before." Despite jockeying for a seven-figure first place prize, Engel stayed composed, treating the tournament like any other, for the most part. "I've played millions of hands and tons of final tables, so you try to approach it like poker. But, there's no getting around that the stakes are too big for my bankroll. I wasn't at all comfortable with the stakes, but that's what happens." Engel approached the tournament one step at a time, eventually treating the final table like a seven-handed sit and go, albeit with a monstrous first place prize. No deal was made in the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event. Instead, according to Engel, Dunst's "investor wasn't interested in a chop." The former explained that he was practically begging to chop because the end game of the Main Event was "out of my comfort zone. Results-wise, it worked out, but I certainly would have wanted to split it." Heads-up play lasted almost four hours and both players held the chip lead on several occasions. Engel entered the final table with over one-third of the chips in play. Engel eliminated four players at the final table, ending with Dunst. Engel first recorded a live tournament score ten years ago in 2006, according to the Hendon Mob, and Dunst recorded his first one year before that. Both are longstanding members of both the live and online poker communities, making their encounter heads-up in Melbourne event entertaining for the entire industry. "Playing against Tony heads-up was pretty amazing," Engel admitted. "We have both been playing poker for years and years. We're friendly whenever we see each other. It was very interesting playing against a longtime poker pro and someone who had some of the best poker minds in the world on his rail and watching the stream. I also had a team working with me, but he had the best players in the world on his side. He is a very accomplished player himself and hangs out with these great players all the time." [caption width="640"] Tony Dunst finished second[/caption] Engel lived in Melbourne from age three to age 11 and still has plenty of friends in the Australian city, many of whom came out to see him battle against Dunst and company in the final stages of the Aussie Millions Main Event. "There's no place in the world I would have had a bigger rail," Engel admitted. "I had tons of friends there. A lot of them were into poker and a lot of them, not-so-much, but they came out anyway. I had family come see me. It was a really cool experience to have all of that support, especially given that the stakes were intimidating and my opponent was intimidating." Engel said that Melbourne was the first place he can remember living, way back at age three. "I grew up liking Australian sports and had an Australian accent and went to school here," he recalled. "It was a great place to be and I'd strongly consider living here. When I first got into poker, my parents moved to New Zealand, so there was a time when I was going to New Zealand a couple of times a year and visited Australia too. I went to the Aussie Millions in 2008 and 2009." Engel is well-known for his seven World Series of Poker Circuit rings, tied for second most all-time behind Alex Masek's nine. In 2014, the Aussie Millions champ won the Punta Cana Poker Classic Main Event for $177,000 and, one month later, took fifth in the Eureka High Roller for another $119,000. His first six-figure live cash was in 2008 in a $2,150 Borgata Deep Stack event in Atlantic City. Online, Engel was the third #1 player ever in the PocketFives Rankings, ascending the throne in September 2006 and holding it for five weeks. Two years ago, he won a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker $109 No Limit Hold'em event for $187,000 after a four-way deal. Engel has had plenty of wins and top-tier scores, yet is still trying to convince himself to move up in stakes and play higher. After he pays his backers, Engel said he'll "potentially continue to move up in stakes, although I've basically been playing some of the highest stakes already. I'm not sure how many more high roller events I'd want to enter. As I get more confident and get a bigger bankroll, what's considered good value and not-so-good value changes. There are some people in the world who have an edge in every tournament they play, but I'm not quite there yet." The Aussie Millions emanated from the Crown Casino in Melbourne, where it has resided since 1998, and consistently delivers a world-class experience to players. "Crown is one of the nicest casinos I've been to," Engel lauded. "I've spent a lot of time grinding in some places that aren't very nice. Crown is in a nice part of the city and there are restaurants and things to do around it. The poker room is great. They have professional staff, which is what you'd expect from a major tournament. The casino and atmosphere are really nice." It also doesn't hurt to get out of the path of a major winter storm. "The fact that it's summer here and winter in the Northern Hemisphere means the traveling pros aren't as bitter as they normally are, so there's a good vibe," Engel observed. "Australians are also really nice and have treated me well."
  7. [caption width="640"] Ari Engel won the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event.[/caption] Ari Engel, the former #1 ranked online poker player in the world, made big noise Sunday in Australia, beating Tony 'Bond18' Dunst heads-up to win the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event and A$1,600,000 ($1,133,650 US). The final table began with Engel holding 37% of the chips in play with just six other players between himself and the first major win of his career. It didn’t take long for the first elimination. On just the third hand of the day John Apostolidis raised from UTG to 205,000. Action folded to Samantha Abernathy in the small blind and she moved all in. Apostolidis called and turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found he was racing against the [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"] of Abernathy. The board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="7c"] to keep Abernathy ahead and send Apostolidis out in seventh place. It took nearly a full hour before another player was eliminated. Engel raised to 135,000 from the button and Kitty Kuo moved all in for 690,000. Engel called and flipped over [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"] while Kuo showed [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"]. After the [poker card="qc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4d"] flop Ari was still ahead. Neither the [poker card="qs"] turn or [poker card="6c"] river were any help for Kuo and she was eliminated in sixth. Despite starting the final table with the shortest stack Dylan Honeyman managed to make it past two pay jumps before his tourney came to an end. Dunst raised to 125,000 from UTG, Engel called from the button and Honeyman made it 380,000 to go. Dunst four-bet to 800,000 forcing Engel to fold. Honeyman then moved all in for 1,500,000 and Dunst called. Honeyman had [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"] and Dunst had [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="th"][poker card="3c"] flop was a good on for Honeyman. The [poker card="kc"] turn was of no help for Dunst but the [poker card="qs"] river gave Dunst Broadway and eliminated Honeyman in fifth place. Following Honeyman’s exit, Alexander Lynskey spent nearly 90 minutes as the short stack before running into a monster. Engel limped from UTG and Lynskey moved all in for 1,600,000. Engel called and turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"] while Lynskey was drawing thin wiht [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"]. The community cards provided absolutely no relief for Lynskey and he was out in fourth place. While Engel and Dunst continued to build their stacks it came at the expense of Abernathy. Dunst folded from the button and Abernathy moved all in from the small blind. Engel snap-called from the big blind and table [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"] while Abernathy showed [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"] flop gave Engel two pair but also gave Abernathy an open-ended straight draw. The [poker card="jh"] turn missed her as did the [poker card="8s"] river and Abernathy was eliminated, leaving Engel and Dunst to play heads-up for the title. Abernathy’s third place finish is the highest by a female in the history of the Aussie Millions. Engel and Dunst played heads up for nearly four hours with the chip lead swinging back and fort between the two players. On the last hand of the night Dunst raised to 325,000 from the button before Engel re-raised to 925,000. Dunst called and the two saw a flop of [poker card="ts"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"]. Engel bet 825,00 and Dunst called again. Engel bet again, 1,700,000 this time, after the the [poker card="jc"] turn. Dunst called to see the [poker card="9s"] river. Engel announced he was all in, sending Dunst into the tank. After a few minutes Dunst called all in and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"] only to see Engel turn over [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"] for top pair, good enough to take the the title and the A$1.6 million top prize. Final Table Payouts Ari Engel - A$1,600,000 Tony Dunst - A$1,000,000 Samantha Abernathy - A$625,000 Alexander Lynskey - A$445,000 Dylan Honeyman - A$340,000 Kitty Kuo - A$270,000 John Apostolidis - A$210,000
  8. [caption width="640"] The best of the best from the WSOP Circuit are in Cherokee, NC for the WSOP Circuit Global Casino Championship.[/caption] Later this week roughly 100 of the best players the WSOP Circuit has to offer will be in Cherokee, North Carolina for the $1,000,000 guaranteed WSOP Circuit Global Casino Championship. And they should have some company. The GCC, which replaced the WSOP Circuit National Championship, is open to three distinct groups of players and awards a WSOP bracelet to the winner. The first is the 100 players who earned a free seat based on their play in the 2015-16 WSOP Circuit season. The Main Event winner and Casino Champion from all domestic and international Circuit stops were each given automatic entry with another 50 spots going to the players who racked up the most Circuit Leaderboard points over the course of the season. This group includes Joe Kuether, Bernard Lee, Alex Masek and the top player on the Circuit this past season, Cody Pack. With 13 cashes and three rings, Pack finished atop the Leaderboard with 305 points. The second group is players who finished in the top 100 of the WSOP World Rankings - a combination of WSOP Player of the Year points for 2014 and 2015. Those players are eligible to buy in to the tournament for $10,000. This gives some of the best players on the planet a chance to get it on the action. Included in this group is Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, George Danzer, Paul Volpe, Mike Leah, Jason Mercier, Anthony Zinno and Phil Galfond. The third group is a new twist for 2016. Any player that won a WSOP Circuit ring in 2015-16 can also buy in to the event for $10,000. This makes players like Ari Engel, Valentin Vornicu, Alex Rocha, Antonio Esfandiari and Mukul Pahuja eligible. A number of them of them are already in Cherokee, playing in the first stop on the 2016-17 WSOP Circuit schedule. One additional GCC seat will be awarded at Cherokee this week. "We are thrilled to be able to return to Harrah’s Cherokee for our season-culminating championship," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "It’s only fitting that we end one season and start the next at Harrah’s Cherokee, a terrific host venue and locale for poker players far and wide." The event’s name was changed to reflect the growing international footprint of the WSOP Circuit. Players who qualified at events in Morocco, Georgia, Italy, the Czech Republic and Canada are eligible for the first time this year. A couple of eligible players have put packages up on YouStake.com to sell action for the event. David Aker, who finished 16th on the WSOP Circuit Leaderboard, is selling 14% of himself at 1.12 markup. Allen Kessler, who finished 88th on the WSOP World Rankings, is selling 50% of himself at 1.15 markup. Last year at the WSOP Circuit National Championship, Loni Harwood beat out 121 other players to win $341,599. Harwood did not qualify for this year's event. The 2016 GCC begins on August 9 and runs through August 11 with the final table being filmed for broadcast on ESPN later this year.
  9. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES The guest for Episode 3 is none other than World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions winner Daniel Weinman. He talks about his two WPT titles, rooming with Sam Panzica, and what's in store for him now that he's got a signature win (or two) on his resume. The guys also recap the action from the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and Finale, try to trademark "podcast run good" and talk Salomon Ponte, the AbsolutePoker refund process, the recent win by Carnegie Mellon's AI poker program and the greatness of Maurice Hawkins and Ari Engel. Remember to subscribe to The Fives on iTunes and give us a five-star rating!
  10. [caption width="640"] The third annual American Poker Awards go February 23 in Beverly Hills, California[/caption] Wednesday morning saw the announcement of all nominations for the third annual Global Poker Index American Poker Awards, which take place Thursday February 23 at the Sofitel Beverley Hills in Los Angeles. It’s World Poker Tour host and all-round legend of the game Mike Sexton who headlines the nominations with three. Sexton is up for Tournament Performance of the Year and Moment of the Year for his win at the WPT Montreal. Away from the tables, Sexton has also been recognized in the Best Media Content category for his book Life’s a Gamble. Joining Sexton in the Tournament Performance of the Year category are Ari Engel for his Aussie Millions Main Event win, Kristen Bicknell for her bracelet victory in the WSOP No Limit Hold'em Bounty event, and Maurice Hawkins for his WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event success. Engel and Hawkins are also both nominated for Breakout Performance of the Year, along with Ankush Mandavia and Sam Soverel. PocketFives’ very own President and Editor In Chief Lance Bradley is up for two awards: Best Media Content for his article Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey, and for Media Person of the Year. “It’s such an honor to be nominated for two American Poker Awards. In both categories I’m thrilled to find myself amongst people that are not only colleagues, but friends as well,” said Bradley. “The fact that my piece about Bob and Charlie has resonated with so many, both inside and outside of the poker world, means the world to me. Being able to write stories like that is one of the many, many reasons I love covering poker.” Up against Bradley for Media Person of the Year are Sarah Herring, Joe Stapleton and David Tuchman. Meanwhile, joining Sexton and Bradley in Media Content of the Year recognition are Matthew Showell for Stu Ungar’s Last Chance Gone Wrong and Jason Somerville for his Aussie Millions Twitch stream. The Moment of the Year category is sure to be an interesting one. You have Griffin Benger’s infamous AA vs KK clash with William Kassouf in the WSOP Main Event; Jason Mercier’s WSOP heater that saw him win two bracelets, come second in another event (and almost bank an extra $1.8 million from Vanessa Selbst); David Peters finishing third at EPT Prague to snatch the GPI Player of the Year title from Fedor Holz; and the aforementioned Sexton WPT victory. Two new awards have been introduced this year: Twitch Streamer of the Year and Podcast of the Year. The nominees for Twitch Streamer are a line-up of the usual suspects: Jason ‘jcarverpoker’ Somerville, Jaime ‘PokerStaples’ Staples, Kevin ‘KevinMartin987’ Martin and Parker ‘TonkaaaP’ Talbot. Daniel Negreanu (Full Contact Poker) is up against Joe Ingram (Poker Life Podcast), Matthew Parvis and Sarah Herring (PokerNews Podcast) and Adam Schwartz, Terrence Chan and Ross Henry (TwoPlusTwo PokerCast) in the Podcast of the Year category. The only awards that have already been decided go to David Peters and Cate Hall for GPI Player of the Year and GPI Female Player of the Year, respectively. For all nominations, see below. TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR Kristen Bicknell, WSOP No Limit Hold’em Bounty Ari Engel, Aussie Millions Main Event Maurice Hawkins, WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event Mike Sexton, WPT Montreal MOMENT OF THE YEAR Griffin Benger’s AA vs William Kassouf’s KK showdown in the WSOP Main Event Jason Mercier goes on historic one-week heater at the World Series of Poker David Peters, needing 3rd at EPT Prague to take GPI PoY from Fedor Holz, does exactly that Mike Sexton mounts incredible comeback to win first WPT title in Montreal BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR Ari Engel Maurice Hawkins Ankush Mandavia Sam Soverel EVENT OF THE YEAR Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, FL Super High Roller Bowl, ARIA, Las Vegas WSOP Main Event, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Bellagio, Las Vegas MID-MAJOR CIRCUIT OF THE YEAR Heartland Poker Tour Mid-States Poker Tour WPTDeepStacks WSOP Circuit INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR Tony Burns, Seminole Hard Rock Tournament Director Jack Effel, WSOP VP International Poker Operations & WSOP Director Sean McCormack, ARIA Director of Poker Operations Matt Savage, WPT Executive Tour Director & TDA Founder MEDIA PERSON OF THE YEAR Lance Bradley Sarah Herring Joseph Stapleton David Tuchman PODCAST OF THE YEAR Full Contact Poker (Daniel Negreanu) Poker Life Podcast (Joe Ingram) PokerNews Podcast (Sarah Herring, Matthew Parvis) TwoPlusTwo Podcast (Terrence Chan, Ross Henry, Adam Schwartz) MEDIA CONTENT OF THE YEAR Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey (Lance Bradley, PocketFives) Life’s a Gamble (Mike Sexton) Stu Ungar’s Last Chance Gone Wrong (Matthew Showell, PokerListings) Twitch coverage of the Aussie Millions (Jason Somerville) TWITCH STREAMER OF THE YEAR Kevin Martin 'KevinMartin987' Jason Somerville 'jcarverpoker' Jaime Staples 'PokerStaples' Parker Talbot 'tonkaaaP' *Finalists for Twitch Streamer of the Year were selected by Twitch, however the members of the GPI American Poker Awards Jury will select the winner of this year’s Award.
  11. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES PocketFives.com Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark discuss the recent rule change by the World Series of Poker meant to curtail stalling, the success of partypokerLIVE MILLION North America in Montreal, the recently released schedule for the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. They also discuss Jessica Welman's recent post on PlayUSA.com about Salomon Ponte and problem gambling.
  12. [caption width="640"] In its eighth year, the Punta Cana Poker Classic continues their rich tradition[/caption] The Punta Cana Poker Classic has established itself as one of the most inviting poker vacation tour stops of the calendar year. Since their inaugural tournament back in 2010, they have created a must-play event that has blended plentiful poker and beautiful beaches into a one-of-a-kind experience. Now in their, eighth year, PocketFives decided to take a look back at some of the highlights of the PCPC in years past. 2010 The Punta Cana Poker Classic more than doubling the initial $100,000 guarantee in its first year. Highlighted by the attendance of “The Godfather of Poker” Doyle Brunson the event was won by Canadian player, and PocketFiver, Peter 'peterhammer' Cross. Cross' victory was worth a career-best $65,000. 2011 In the shadow of Black Friday, the 2011 PCPC was a ray of light. On the heels of the success of 2010, organizers increased the guarantee to the modern-day mark of $500,000. Taking place at the Punta Cana Hard Rock Hotel, 415 runners took their shot at becoming the second ever champion. The event was won by professional poker player, 20-year-old Toronto native Demo Kiriopoulos. Kiriopoulos took home the $136,949 first place prize, only the second recorded tournament of his career. 2012 Matthew Weber became the first American to take down the PCPC Main Event as he defeated Canadian Kelly Kellner in a lightning fast heads-up match. Weber added over $135,000 to his bankroll for his efforts and it marked the second time in as many years that the Main Event crushed it's $500,000 guarantee and offered a six-figure score for first. 2013 In 2013, the player pool swelled to nearly 500 runners, pushing the prize pool higher than it had ever been to over $700,000. Mexico's Guillermo Olvera Acuna bested the packed field, which included World Poker Tour Champion Jonathan Roy, former November Niner Marc McLaughlin, prior PCPC Champion Kiriopoulos and Anthony Zinno, who would go on to become a three-time World Poker Tour Champion. Zinno made the final table but bowed out in fourth place. Acuna's score of $171,000 would be a career high for him. 2014 Once again the Main Event reached new heights attracting more runners and a larger prize pool than any previous years. One of those players would be former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel, the then, self-described “homeless” poker player was simply traveling the world from tournament to tournament when he arrived in Punta Cana to win the Main Event for over $177,000. 2015 By now, word of the value and experience in Punta Cana was well-known and players flocked to the poker destination to, yet again, make the Main Event the largest in its history. Returning PCPC Champion, Ari Engel, looked to defend his title, making an extremely deep run. Though Engel would make his way to the final table, he would fall in fourth place as Venezuela's Luis Yepez would score the victory this year, netting over $185,000 for the largest cash of his life. 2016 Organizers of the PCPC switched the location of the series from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to its new home at the Melia Caribe all-inclusive resort. In an effort to give poker players a more exclusive experience the resort carved out a special section, called The Level, where players would have access to more amenities than in previous years. In another first, the PCPC crowned its first European champion when Latvia's Eduards Kudrjavcevs took home the trophy and over $143,000 for first. Here in 2017, the Punta Cana Poker Classic continues to write history. Returning to the Melia Caribe all-inclusive resort for a week's worth of poker and palm trees from October 24-29, the PCPC is sure to bring with it both large prize pools and poolside memories. For more information visit PuntaCanaPokerClassic.com.
  13. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week's episode is full of World Series of Poker news, including Jack Effel's decision to introduce the Big Blind Ante to a limited number of events and the brand's decision to continue to host WSOP Europe at King's Casino despite the legal issues that owner Leon Tsoukernik continues to face. They also go toe-to-toe on the topic of whether or not former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel should be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame, only to discover there's not much to debate. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER
  14. Most people who play the World Series of Poker Main Event don't even think of bringing their work with them when they come to chase poker immortality. Ben Mintz isn't most people though. Mintz, who hosts a drive-time sports radio show in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana, is onto Day 3 of the Main Event but has also made time to get on air while in Las Vegas, even having former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel on as a guest. Mintz last played the Main Event in 2013, long before the radio show was something he'd even considered. Mintz, also a PocketFiver, used to make his living grinding online. After Black Friday he attempted to make the transition to live poker, but it didn't quite go as he'd hoped. "I was living down in New Orleans and travelling the circuit, just kind of wasn't managing it right. I don't think it was a question of me not having enought talent, it was more about living above my means after online went down," said Mintz, who decided to leave poker behind and return to college to finish off the finance degree he'd left behind to play poker. "Then I got a huge break, my buddy used to run ESPN radio in North Louisiana and I didn't have any experience and all and I hooked up with drive-time sports radio in Shreveport-Bossier," said Mintz, whose show is called Mixin' It Up with Mintz. That was three years ago. Mintz has been building the show's audience and business up ever since and in January decided that the show was in a place where he could start traveling the circuit for poker again. He picked up some decent scores early which boosted his confidence after time away from the tables. "I made the final table of the WSOP Circuit New Orleans Main Event, I got seventh, I made a deep run in Durant, cashed the Tunica main. It's been a steady build up on the comeback," said Mintz, who just turned 35 years old. "Getting back here to the Main Event, I used to not appreciate it in my late 20s. Now I'm just so grateful to be able to play again and I found a great balance in life and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world." While completing his finance degree, Mintz had taken on a part-time job and that experience as much as anything has allowed him to appreciate his return to poker even more. "It took five years to build it back, to get to this point. Now I'm back and I've got the radio show with me too," said Mintz. "Even though I haven't played this in five years I've fallen right back into poker like I never left, except I actually have an income now to sustain it." Mintz cashed in the 2011 Main Event, finishing 75th. His winnings from that event are almost secondary to his memory of running deep - including a spot where he got to outplay one of the game's best players. "I can't even believe I did this. (Patrik Antonius) sat down at our table and just didn't recognize anybody so he just started raising 90% of the hands and we had a hand that I'll never forget. At 1,200/2,400, he made it 7,200 in the cutoff and I had king-queen on the button and I made it 18,500 and he's like, 'Who the hell is this kid?' and makes it 63,000 - went real, real big," remembered Mintz. "I had around 200K and he had 160K and I was about to fold and I remember looking at him and thinking 'This dude just doesn't think I've got the heart to put it in without kings or aces' and I bombed king-queen and he folded. I showed it and everybody just laughed at the table." Even though most people will tell you that poker, in particula No Limit Hold'em, has changed dramatically since 2013, Mintz says he hasn't felt like he was behind at all, even though he expected to find some speed bumps. "I thought I was going to have more of an adjustment coming back, but a lot of these kids now, they didn't cut their teeth during the online heyday. When I was playing Full Tilt and Stars, it was against all the top guys in the world," said Mintz. "I think that these kids coming up now on the circuit - I'm not saying they're not good players - but they didn't cut their teeth like we did. So as I came back it wasn't as much of an adjustment as I thought it would be." No matter how the rest of the Main Event goes for Mintz, he knows he's in a much better position to enjoy the ride now than he's ever been. "If you had told 12-year-old me that I was going to get to do a sports radio show 15-20 hours a week and get to play poker 15-20 hours a week? That's unbelievable. I wake up skipping out of bed every day. I love it," said Mintz.
  15. When the poker industry gathers in Las Vegas Friday night to celebrate the best of 2018 at the Global Poker Awards, PocketFives.com will honor a player who has collected more accolades over the course of his online poker career than any player in the 15-year history of the site. Chris Moorman, one of the most successful players in online poker tournament history, is this year’s recipient of the PocketFives Legacy Award at the Global Poker Awards. “Chris’ success in the online poker world is nearly unmatched. When it came time to pick which player to recognize this year, there was never really any debate,” said PocketFives President & Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. “We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate one of the most well-respected members of our community on such an important night.” Between 2008 and 2011, Moorman reached the #1-ranking on PocketFives a record 13 times and has held that spot for a total of 24 weeks. He’s the all-time leader in PocketFives Triple Crowns earned with 29 and arguably most impressively, Moorman’s $15,851,900 in online earnings makes him the all-time leader. While he originally made a name for himself in the online poker world, Moorman has also had success in the live arena as well. In 2014, he won the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic Main Event for $1,015,460. He followed that up with a World Series of Poker bracelet win in 2017. His lifetime live earnings are nearly $5.7 million. “It’s a great honor to receive this award. Without PocketFives, I’m not sure I would've had the same drive for success,” said Moorman. “When I discovered the site 10 years ago it motivated me to put in the volume and try to be the best I could be during my early years as a tournament player.” Moorman is the third player to receive the PocketFives Legacy Award. In 2017, Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy received the first PocketFives Legacy Award at the American Poker Awards. The 2018 recipient was Ari Engel. The awards show will be streamed for free on PokerGO Friday at 5 pm PT.
  16. Just a few short minutes after accomplishing what most poker players dream of - winning a World Series of Poker bracelet - Ari Engel stood in front of the assembled poker media for the customary post-tournament scrum and spoke candidly about how his confidence was low. “So many people are doing work and improving their games and you get owned a time or two from people that you thought were worse than you. I'm the kind of person to lose my confidence real easily,” Engel said. “It's kind of a relative thing. It's not like I thought that I sucked, but maybe not the same level of confidence that I've had at other stages.” The former #1-ranked online poker player in the world, Engel then referred back to his last big win, his biggest in fact, the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event victory that earned him $1.12 million. Full of confidence after taking down one of the game’s biggest $10,000 buy-in events, Engel was ready to take on the world. “After Aussie Millions, I went to Ireland and played EPT Ireland and I didn't cash one time in Ireland. I think I went like 25 tournaments in a row without cashing after that one. So hopefully I'm not going to do that,” Engel said. In the 15 years that Engel has been coming to Vegas for the WSOP, he’s managed 43 cashes but has never been able to even make the top nine of any event. His only final table was in the $1,500 NLHE Shootout event in 2011 when he finished 10th after making the 10-handed final table. Finally getting to pose for a winner’s photo with a bracelet in hand brought about a few different emotions for the 35-year-old poker vagabond. “I think relief is the appropriate word. I've been playing a lot and I never did really well in the summer and never had a top-nine finish before,” Engel said. “So yeah, I can't say that I always was Mr. Positive about coming here and playing these, even though I keep showing up. I did have a pretty bad negative mindset about playing in Vegas.” A meticulous record-keeper, Engel knows that his record in Sin City, in particular during the summer when there’s plenty of opportunity for a big score, has been abysmal. So bad in fact, that he’s often wondered if there’s more to it than just an extended run of bad cards. “It was so insane. Like, what happened in Vegas? Is it the desert? Is it the hot weather? Is it the dry air? Everyone says variance because that's the easy answer, but realistically it's like something is probably up. I have a +140% ROI outside of June and July and then June and July I got a negative 15%. It's like the numbers were just so extreme between them that I still don't know, I'll never know,” Engel said. Those numbers are where Engel’s lack of confidence is rooted. With more than $6.6 million in lifetime earnings, a WSOP bracelet, the Aussie Millions title, and nine WSOP Circuit rings, Engel still doesn’t quite know where he rates in the game today. “Especially with my style, I'm very comfortable taking risks and kind of experimenting, I guess, compared to other people,” Engel said. “So it's a very fine line between doing something stupid and doing something that's just a well-thought-out, risky play, but that I think is positive in the long run. I often question myself and I have no idea, like how good am I? I just don't know at all.” Engel calls himself a ‘poker fanboy’ and knows that those in the poker community are going to give some weight to him being a bracelet winner now, but he’s not sure that it’s more important or prestigious than his Aussie Millions win. “Aussie Millions was double the amount of money and a main event kind of thing, but then there's some attachment, I guess, to the bracelet but I don't know about that prestige stuff,” Engel said. “That's more for the media to figure out what's more and what's less. From the scoreboard it's not as big, obviously.” The win comes with a small boost in confidence, but there are no delusions of grandeur with Engel. He’s not going to change his approach and attempt to become a regular on the super high roller scene anytime soon - if ever. “I could win a $2,500 World Series bracelet every day for the next 10 days and that doesn't mean that I'm ready to play $25K-plus high rollers. That's a different skill set. That's a different players set,” Engel said. “I like to test myself and do that occasionally, but it's not like I think I can play them every day and beat them. Definitely not.” There’s going to be little to no change in where Engel plies his trade. He’s always looking for the best value in each series that he treks to. He’s also planning on making the most of a changing United States online poker landscape. “There's so many live tournaments, online poker is returning to Pennsylvania, there's this compact with the legal New Jersey and Nevada sites which is pretty awesome and even international is not too bad. I enjoy playing that when I get the chance to.”
  17. On Friday at the 2019 World Series of Poker, Dan Zack finished off his 11th cash of the summer with a fourth-place result in the $10,000 Razz Championship. Not only did the run earn Zack another $94,305 in prize money, but it paid big dividends in keeping him in the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race. That same day, Phil Hui had finished off his ninth cash of the 2019 WSOP with a win in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. It was Hui’s third final table appearance of the summer and skyrocketed him to 2,830.68 points. Had Zack not earned at least a sixth-place finish, the race would have a new leader on Saturday morning and it would have been Hui. 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Top 10 *Leaderboard as of Saturday, June 29, at 9 a.m. PT. 1. Dan Zack - 2,920.76 2. Phil Hui - 2,830.68 3. Shaun Deeb - 2,393.50 4. Scott Clements - 2,368.02 5. Jason Gooch - 2,268.02 6. Anthony Zinno - 2,186.20 7. Upeshka De Silva - 2,162.02 8. Robert Campbell - 2,034.56 9. Daniel Strelitz - 2,032.04 10. Ari Engel - 1,997.03 Comparing the two players, Zack and Hui, both have a gold bracelet win and both have three final tables. To date, Zack has earned $338,490 from his 11 cashes and Hui has earned $1,277,104 from his nine cashes. The two players have also set their sights on winning the WSOP Player of the Year award. "My plan was always to chase Player of the Year," Zack said following his gold bracelet win a few weeks ago. "When I came in the last three years, I always came in the first week or so with the plan to do that and then if I didn’t do anything in the first week I usually ended up in cash games. This is the first year I’ve done anything in the first couple weeks, so I’m more committed to actually trying going forward." After he won gold this week, Hui echoed the same goal. "I want to win Player of the Year," Hui said. "That was my main goal going into this year. I was going to play everything I could and try to make deep runs, so Player of the Year is first on the list." Deeb, Clements, and Gooch Round Out Top Five Behind Zack and Hui is Shaun Deeb, the defending champion of the WSOP Player of the Year title. Deeb has 11 cashes at the 2019 WSOP, including a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship and a fifth-place finish in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Scott Clements, who is currently fourth in the race, nearly earned his fourth final table of the summer with a 14th-place finish in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event recently. For Clements, he has six cashes at the 2019 WSOP to date and won the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event at the beginning of June. Jason Gooch rounds out the top five at 2,268.02 points, and his place on this leaderboard is an interesting one in that the bulk of his points have come from two of the online gold bracelet events held on WSOP.com. Gooch took second in the $600 Online Six-Max Pot-Limit Omaha event for $85,560 and 474.4 points, then he won the $1,000 Online Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em event for $241,493 and 1,030 points. Gooch’s WSOP.com screen name is 'TheBigGift.' Zinno, Engel, Turner, and Negreanu Climb Anthony Zinno took down the aforementioned $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo that Clements ran deep in. The win pushed him to sixth on the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. Also in that event, Jon 'PearlJammer' Turner finished fourth and Ari Engel placed 10th. Those results allowed Engel to jump to 10th and Turner to 11th on the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. Daniel Negreanu finished fifth in the $10,000 Razz Championship to earn another 379.1 points and improve to 1,817.21 points overall. It was Negreanu’s 11th cash and third final table of the 2019 WSOP, and he’s now 12th in the WSOP Player of the Year race.
  18. By the time the 2019 World Series of Poker is over, the "Best Player Without a Bracelet" is going to be all new names. Three more players who have seen their names on the list in the past, pulled out a red marker on Saturday and crossed it off permanently. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel, Stephen Chidwick, and Luke Schwartz all won bracelets just a few hours apart on another busy Saturday at the WSOP Stephen Chidwick Ships $25K PLO High Roller for $1.6M Stephen Chidwick, one of the most well-respected players in poker, recently became a father and that life change meant he wouldn't be able to play a full WSOP schedule this summer. He showed up this week and entered his first tournament of the summer and then promptly won it for $1.6 million and the first bracelet of his career. “It’s super ironic. Usually, I play every single tournament. Usually, I play a final table, bust and then register a $1,500 Stud immediately. Just play everything," Chidwick said. "I come in here halfway through, haven’t played any of the others and then just win the first one I play. Pretty funny.” Prior to Saturday's win, Chidwick had 52 career WSOP cashes and just north of $2.2 million in WSOP earnings. He had no bracelet though. That all changed dramatically after Chidwick eliminated James Chen heads-up “It means a lot. It feels great. It’s obviously a good one to win it in," Chidwick said. "I’m in shock a little bit." Chen walked away without the win, but still ended up earning a seven-figure payday. Matthew Gonzales finished third for $699,364 representing a career-best score for each of the top three finishers. Final Table Payouts Stephen Chidwick - $1,618,417 James Chen - $1,000,253 Matthew Gonzales - $699,364 Robert Mizrachi - $497,112 Alex Epstein - $359,320 Erik Seidel - $264,186 Wasim Korkis - $197,637 Ka Kwan Lau - $150,483 Tu Dao Maintains Lead in Ladies Event with Six Left Tu Dao started Day 3 of the $1,000 Ladies Event with the chip lead and 42 players standing in her way. On Saturday, she maintained that chip lead while 36 players were sent to the cashier cage after busting out. Dao now has to outlast just five more players to claim victory. Dao bagged up 5,420,000 which puts here ahead of Jiyoung Kim by just 320,000. Nancy Matson sits third with 4,530,000. The final three players find themselves trailing by quite a bit. Lyly Vo, Lexy Gavin, and Sandrine Phan all have between 1.185 million and 1.7 million. Kathy Liebert, Ana Marquez, Jackie Glazer, Lisa Costello, and Vanessa Kade were among the 36 bustouts on Saturday. The final table begins at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Tu Dao - 5,420,000 Jiyoung Kim - 5,100,000 Nancy Matson - 4,530,000 Lyly Vo - 1,700,000 Lexy Gavin - 1,430,000 Sandrine Phan - 1,185,000 Ari Engel Takes Down $2,500 NLHE for First Bracelet Ari Engel, one of the most revered players in the history of PocketFives, can now call himself a WSOP bracelet winner. Engel topped a 996-player field to win the $2,500 No Limit Hold'em event for $427,399. “It’s more crazy that Stephen Chidwick hadn’t won one before. Us huge field no-limit players, there’s no real "due". You play these, you expect to win one in a lifetime, maybe. I expect to f*** it up somewhere along the line and just blow it up," Engel said after his win. "I did that, I’m sure, a few times and I got lucky instead of losing the tournament. It’s a relief to not mess it up whenever I win a tournament because most of the time I do end up messing it up.” Engel defeated Pablo Melogno heads-up to win the bracelet. The 35-year-old thinks the win might help him in the next event he plays. Maybe. “I’m very competitive and poker’s a game of losing a lot. I lose my confidence very easily so I should be good to go for tomorrow at least,” he said. David 'Bakes' Baker picked up his fifth cash of the summer with a fifth place finish. Final Table Payouts Ari Engel - $427,399 Pablo Melogno - $264,104 Wilbern Hoffman - $186,392 Ben Keeline - $133,306 David 'Bakes' Baker - $96,632 James Hughes - $71,010 Raylene Celaya - $52,909 Stephanie Hubbard - $39,980 Josh Arieh - $30,643 Luke Schwartz Wins $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Luke Schwartz is one of the best poker players on the planet. Just ask him. On Saturday, Schwartz proved his mettle by taking down the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw event for $273,336 and just his fifth WSOP cash. Schwartz was complimentary of the players he bested to win. “Everyone played great. Johannes – he was frustrating me so much, because I would stand pat with decent hands and he kept drawing and making it on the river. That happened so many times," Schwartz said. "Maybe the old me would have just got frustrated and tilted, but I took deep breaths and managed to see it through.” George Wolff, who held the chip lead at the start of the day, finished runner-up for $168,936. Johannes Becker, who Schwartz credited as being one of the best Triple Draw players in the world, ended up third for $116,236. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Calvin Anderson wound up sixth. Final Table Payouts Luke Schwartz - $273,336 George Wolff - $168,936 Johannes Becker - $116,236 Mark Gregorich - $81,635 Yueqi Zhu - $58,547 Calvin Anderson - $42,898 Monster Stack Sees Lowest Turnout in Six Year History Originally intended to give players perceived value through a larger starting stack, it appears the polish on the $1,500 Monster Stack is officially worn off. For the fifth consecutive year, the Monster Stack saw a year-over-year drop in attendance after 3,607 Day 1B players pushed the total field to just 6,035 players. The original Monster Stack, in 2014, had a 7,862-player field. YEAR ENTRIES Y/Y +/- 2019 6035 -3.59% 2018 6260 -6.79% 2017 6716 -3.05% 2016 6927 -3.68% 2015 7192 -8.52% 2014 7862 -- Pennsylvania poker player James Hundt finished Day 1B with 466,600 and the chip lead. A total of 1,778 survived 1B and will be part of the Day 2 restart beginning at 11 AM PT. Some of the notables moving on to Day 2 from 1B include John Racener, Tristan Wade, Ryan Hughes, Arash Ghaneian, Taylor Paur, and Greg Raymer. Top 10 Chip Counts James Hundt - 466,600 Kapila Garner - 464,100 Rick Alvarado - 443,600 Nishant Sharma - 429,000 John Gravagna - 415,000 Julian Manolio - 405,700 Michael Jagroo - 391,000 Venkata Chinta - 364,300 Terence Clee - 362,000 Matthew Kirby - 359,000 Michael Thompson Leads $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Final 12 Michael Thompson sits atop the final 12 players heading into the last day of play in the $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo but there's a WSOP Player of the Year contender still lurking around. Thompson bagged up 923,000 after Day 2, which puts him ahead of his closest competition, Daniel Ratigan, by just 24,000. Scroll down the second shortest stack and you see Dan Zack still chasing a second bracelet and those all-important WSOP POY points. Zack currently sits 15.82 points behind current leader Upeshka De Silva but will earn no fewer than 197.44 points on Sunday. A win would give him 987.22 points and a massive lead over the rest of the field. Included among the 49 players who busted after the bubble burst on Saturday were Jeffrey Lisandro, Yuval Bronshtein, Brett Richey, Eli Elezra, Simon Mattsson, Dzmitry Urbanovich, and Shaun Deeb. Action resumes Sunday at 2 PM PT. Final 12 Chip Counts Michael Thompson - 923,000 Daniel Ratigan - 899,000 Philip Long - 813,000 Denis Strebkob - 709,000 Yuri Dzivielevski - 594,000 Gerard Rechnitzer - 496,000 Andrey Zaichenko - 424,000 Michael Coombs - 387,000 Alex Livingston - 254,000 Nickolai Orlov - 230,000 Dan Zack - 214,000 Carlos Rodriguez - 103,000 Yi Li On Top of $10K Pot Limit Omaha Championship Day 1 Don't look now, but there's a chance that the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship could crack 500 entries for the first time in history. Day 1 saw 494 players enter and registration is open until the start of Day 2. Yi Li finished the 10 levels of play Saturday with 572,000 and was the only player to end with more than 500,000. Mohsin Virani ended with the second biggest stack at 401,000. Ben Lamb, who won this event in 2011 by beating 360 players, finished with 343,700. Longtime PocketFiver Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas finished with a top 10 stack. Other notables among the 253 players moving on to Day 2 include Kahle Burns, Ryan Laplante, Bryce Yockey, Phil Galfond, Chance Kornuth, Chris Hunichen, Brian Hastings, and Daniel Negreanu. Top 10 Chip Counts Yi Li - 572,000 Mohsin Virani - 401,000 Timothy Batow - 358,700 Ben Lamb - 343,700 Andrew Loomis - 329,300 Antonios Rouggeris - 310,300 Alexey Makarov - 300,300 Laszlo Bujtas - 297,900 Frank Koopmann - 294,900 Grzegorz Derkowski - 288,100
  19. In the illustrious history of the PocketFives Rankings, 55 different players have managed to hold down the #1 spot. This edition of the RANK & FILE focuses on how those players perform during the 2019 World Series of Poker. Calvin Anderson Hits Six Figures It continues to be a solid summer for Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson who continues to rack up impressive cashes in his pursuit of his third World Series of Poker gold bracelet. After a series of five-figure cashes, Anderson has quickly surpassed six-figures in total cashes so far in the series. Anderson just missed out on the final table of Event #42 ($600 Mixed No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack 8 Handed) falling in 11th place for $12,954. Just two days later on June 20, he did find a seat at the final table of Event #49 ($10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw) where he battled against the likes of Mike Gorodinsky, Mark Gregorich and eventual champion Luke Schwartz but ended up finishing in sixth place for $42,898. Less than a week later it looked like Anderson was yet again going to have a shot at a bracelet, however, he finished Event #62 ($10,000 Razz Championship) in 10th place picking up another $25,008 for his efforts. After tacking on a cash of just over $3,000 in Event #64 ($888 Crazy Eights), Anderson has over $135,000 in total WSOP cashes this year and from the looks of how hard he’s been grinding the schedule at the Rio, he doesn’t look to be finished yet. Ari Engel Gets It Done Ari Engel’s victory in Event #48 ($2,500 No Limit Hold’em) not only brought him his first WSOP gold bracelet and over $427,000, but it made him the first (but not the only) former #1-ranked PocketFiver to earn a bracelet in 2019. Engel took himself out of the ‘No Gold Club’ list as one of the best to go without a bracelet, but it also helped restore some of the confidence he’d been looking for at the WSOP. With that renewed confidence, additional results follow as he’s picked up cashes in three events since his bracelet win. Just days after his win, Engel basically bubbled the final table of Event #60 ($1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better) finishing in 10th place for $15,871. He subsequently picked up cashes in Event #64 ($888 Crazy Eights) and Event #69 ($1,000 Mini Main Event). So far Engel has collected eight cashes for a summer total of just over $465,000. Shaun Deeb Final Tables the PPC Shaun Deeb continues his pursuit the 2019 World Series of Poker Player of the Year with his campaign continuing to impress. Even though he has yet to win a bracelet this summer, Deeb currently has 12 cashes for a total of over $522,000. After taking home $8,656 in Event #51 ($2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo), Deeb added another five-figure cash to his summer with a 24th place finish in Event #52 ($10,000 PLO 8 Handed) for $30,532. The highlight of his summer though has to be his deep run in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, where he finished in fifth place for just over $232,000. This helped him rise to third place in the Player of the Year standings behind Dan Zack and Phil Hui. Deeb tacked on an in-the-money finish in Event #64 ($888 Crazy Eights) and sits in prime position to make the jump to the top of the POY leaderboard. Michael Wasserman Goes Three-For-Three Michael ‘StrungOut1’ Wasserman, who hit the #1 rank back in 2015, had a solid week at the WSOP after cashing in three consecutive events. First up, Wasserman finished in the money in Event #55 ($1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Double Stack) for $2,533. At the same time, he was likely playing live in Event #56 ($1,500 NL Super Turbo Bounty) where he finished in 257th place for $1,414. If that weren’t enough cashing for one day, he was also part of a team in Event #57 ($1,000 Tag Team Event) where he added another $778 to his bankroll. Three cashes in a 24-hour period is not a bad day at the Rio. Wasserman currently has six cashes this summer totaling just over $10,000 in earnings.
  20. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. On an all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast, your hosts Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters continue to bring you all of the action taking place at the 2019 World Series of Poker. World-class poker players Stephen Chidwick, Ari Engel and Luke Schwartz finally capture a WSOP gold bracelet - who are the best players still in the bracelet chase? Plus, the Poker Hall of Fame has announced their 10 finalists for the class of 2019. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  21. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In June, all eyes were on the 2019 WSOP, which kicked off with a bang that included the largest live poker tournament ever and Phil Ivey's return. WSOP Big 50’s Gigantic Turnout The first installment of the World Series of Poker $500 buy-in 'Big 50' tournament was one for the record books, literally. The tournament that was marketed to give comers from all levels a shot at WSOP glory did that and more, becoming the largest live poker tournament in history. The event attracted a field size of 28,474 entries, crushing the previous record of 22,374 entries set by the 2015 WSOP Colossus. Lance Bradley took a look at the record-breaking event to see how it stacks up against another monstrous tournaments, the number of unique entries versus reentries, and more. Nigerian-born Femi Fashakin turned a $500 entry into $1.147 million in the Big 50 and will forever be remembered for such an achievement. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Controversy at the WSOP The $50,000 High Roller tournament at the 2019 WSOP drew a lot of attention. Understandably so, given it’s huge buy-in and star-studded field. The resulting headlines were less than what was desired, though, as a bit of controversy came about. With four players left in the tournament, Sam Soverel opened with a raise, Dmitry Yurasov moved all in, Andrew Lichtenberger folded, and then Ben Heath asked for a count. While thinking, Heath tossed in a time bank card and Soverel, who might’ve thought the time bank card was Heath’s actual playing cards, quickly folded his hand. This allowed Heath to think through his decision without having to worry about what Soverel was going to do as the original raiser. Yurasov was not happy with Soverel’s play, as were many people on Twitter, including Isaac Haxton. Phil Ivey Returns Guess who’s back? Phil Ivey’s back! It seems that every summer the poker world is waiting to see if Phil Ivey will return to the WSOP tournament tables or not. In 2019, he returned a week into June, kicking things off with the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. The poker world was buzzing with his return to the series, but it’d have to until about a week later for him to get back on the WSOP scoreboard by cashing in the $800 NL Deep Stack. Ivey went on to cash five times at the WSOP in the summer and twice more at the 2019 WSOP Europe festival in Rozvadov. His best finish in Las Vegas was an eighth-place result in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $124,410. Biggest Win of Jason Young’s Life Jason Young has had his fair share of success on the poker felt, with more than $1.2 million in live tournament earnings and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet to his credit. Despite all of that, it was a victory off the felt that proved to be the biggest win of his life. After Young and his girlfriend welcomed their daughter, Kaeley, into the world, things took a turn for the worse. His girlfriend abruptly moved to Florida, away from their home in New York, and she took the daughter with her. Young’s restaurant was lost and he fell into big debt. Through it all, Young kept fighting. He was fighting for his daughter and fighting to get his life back in order. Along the way, poker helped Young get things back together, and the story on Young by Lance Bradley is an absolute must-read. Chidwick, Engel, Schwartz All Wins Bracelets The conversation of who is the best player without a WSOP gold bracelet lost three key figures in the summer of 2019. That’s when Stephen Chidwick, Ari Engel, and Luke Schwartz all claimed their first pieces of WSOP hardware and can no longer be referred to as the "Best Player Without a Bracelet." To make things even more exciting, all three won their first gold bracelet on the same day.

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