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  1. When the final six players in the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship bagged up their chips on January 13, 2020 they knew there was going to be a delay before they got the chance to crown a champion. They just didn't know it was going to last 422 days. Originally scheduled to be played on March 31, 2020 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the final table was ultimately postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With live poker slowly opening back up in Sin City, the six players, including chip leader Chance Kornuth, were brought into the PokerGo studio at the Aria Hotel & Casino to resume play on Wednesday night. It took just an hour of play to go from six players to five and it ended what could have been an historic night. From UTG, Tuan Phan raised to 60,000, Chance Kornuth called from the cutoff, and Qing Liu, who won the WPT Venetian on Tuesday night, defended his big blind. Liu then led for 100,000 after the [poker card="qs"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"] flop. Phan and Kornuth both called. The turn was the [poker card="2d"] and this time Liu checked. Phan bet 350,000 forcing Kornuth toss his hand into the muck before Liu moved all in for 755,000. Phan called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] for an overpair while Liu showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"] for bottom two pair. The river was the [poker card="qh"] to give Phan a better two pair and end Liu's run at winning WPT titles in back-to-back days with a sixth place finish. On the very next hand, Phan sent another player to the cashier. Straton Wilhelm moved all in from the cutoff for 430,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="th"] and Phan snap-called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"]. The [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3h"] runout offered Wilhelm no relief and he was eliminated in fifth. Kornuth started the final table with the chip lead but wasn't able to turn it into his first WPT title. After a little more than 2.5 hours of four-handed action and playing with the shortest stack, Kornuth came out on the wrong end of a battle of the blinds. Action folded to Kornuth in the small blind and he called with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. Markus Gonsalves moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"] and Kornuth called. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] flop moved Gonsalves ahead and left Kornuth drawing thin. The [poker card="2h"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river were both bricks for Kornuth and he was done in fourth place. Just 12 hands later, Gonsalves found another victim. Phan opened to 125,000 from the button before Jonathan Cohen moved all in for 1,465,000 from the small blind. Gonsalves re-shoved from the big blind and Phan quickly got out of the way. Cohen showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] but got bad news when Gonsalves showed [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop changed nothing and Cohen could only watch as the [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="8c"] completed the board to seal his fate with a third place finish. Gonzalves was ahead by a 5-1 margin when heads up play began. Phan seemingly refused to play any big pots with Gonsalves and three hours into heads up play, Phan wrestled the chip lead away. It turned out to be all for naught however as Gonsalves quickly took the lead back and then finished Phan off for good. Gonsalves completed his small blind and Phan checked to send both players to a [poker card="9h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] flop. Phan check-called Gonsalves' bet of 200,000. Phan checked again after the [poker card="qs"] fell on the turn. Gonsalves bet 600,000 and this time Phan moved all in for 3,075,000. Gonsalves called and showed [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"] for a flush while Phan had flopped bottom two pair with [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. The [poker card="js"] river failed to fill up Phan and he was eliminated in second place, leaving Gonsalves to collect the $554,495 first place prize and etch his name onto the WPT Champions Cup. "I feel like he ran really well against me heads up. I was getting frustrated, when he took the chip lead from me I started to get frustrated. I was more tired than anything," Gonsalves said. He also couldn't help but point out that the win gives him one more WPT title than a certain 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. “I think I’ve come close once or twice before so it feels nice to finally win one. All my friends have them. That’s going to be great to troll Phil [Hellmuth], that’s for sure,” Gonsalves said. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Payouts Matthew Gonsalves - $554,495 Tuan Phan - $359,650 Jonathan Cohen - $263,090 Chance Kornuth - $195,085 Straton Wilhelm - $146,655 Qing Liu - $111,795
  2. 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. A busy week in the poker world gives Lance and Donnie plenty to discuss on this episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast. For the first time in nearly a year, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion in a live venue with a nearly record-sized field turning up for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock. That wasn't the only headline that the World Poker Tour found itself in this week. The company was sold to an investment firm for more than $78 million and they also announced a new online series with a brand new partner. The Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge is nearly 80% complete with Polk bringing a new strategy to the table that seems to have tilted his opponent. Polk maintains his position as the leader but a big win by Negreanu has given his fans and backers some hope. The guys also discuss the ending of the Phil Galfond vs. Chance Kornuth match in the Galfond Challenge, the Winamax Team Pro who qualifies for dumbest multi-accounter of all time, and give American online poker players some hope for a brighter future. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  3. The latest Galfond Challenge came to an abrupt end over the weekend when challenger Chance Kornuth conceded the heads-up match roughly 10,000 hands shy of the finish, awarding Phil Galfond another challenge victory and a payday worth over $976,000. Kornuth booked the $100/$200 heads-up Pot Limit Omaha heads-up challenge with Galfond at the start of 2020 in what was expected to be a 35,000 hand event. In addition to the money on the table, the pair agreed to a side bet in which the favorite, Galfond laid four-to-one to Kornuth, risking $1 million to Kornuth’s $250,000. Over the past four months, the pair battled online each taking turns holding the lead. However, as the challenge approached the 25,000 hand mark, Galfond extended his lead up over $680,000. On Saturday, during session #50, Kornuth lost a pair of critical all-ins. Then, during a break in the action, Kornuth conceded the challenge. “It was a heck of a battle that didn’t really go my way down the stretch and Phil played great,” Kornuth said just moments after conceding. In a joint interview after the match, Kornuth was asked if he knew that he was going to call it early. He discussed the fact that he had sold a package that was based on $1 million. Once he had started the day on a downswing he took a look at the numbers which showed that his in-game loss of $726,500 plus the loss of the $250,000 side bet would put him critically close to his maximum loss amount. So, during the break he let Galfond know that he was ready to quit. “Even though I lost, I actually, surprisingly, enjoyed the battle,” Kornuth said. “I’d been grinding tournaments for the last few years and I really forgot how much I truly do enjoy the heads up battle.” Once again, Galfond was a gracious winner. Galfond joined the interview and praised Kornuth’s toughness as an opponent while discussing the strategies that did and didn’t work against him. “The beginning of the challenge was definitely, especially, mentally draining because Chance was playing so many spots that in ways that were very exploitative or my tendencies or population tendencies. And he was adjusting quickly,” Galfond said. “It funny when you’re playing an exploitative player and you’re one as well because I would imagine that, like, 70% of the things that I thought he was doing - he was. And then 30% was just in my head and I was counter-adjusting to things that weren’t even there,” Galfond said. Galfond is now three-for-three in his string of challenges. His first victory came in dramatic fashion when he battled back from a roughly $1,000,000 deficit to defeat online cash game pro ‘Venividi1993’ over 25,000 hands for the €100,000 side bet. In May 2020, he completed another 15,000 hand challenge against Greek grinder Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonstsios where he booked a €114,000 profit plus an additional €150,000 in side bet action. Over the course of the three challenges, Galfond has won more than $1.4 million in on-the-felt and side bet earnings. After his victory against Kornuth, Galfond talked about the differences in preparation and study against online specialists like ‘Venividi1993’ in comparison to a more exploitative player like Kornuth. “At first, I kind of approached it the same way but it was way, way different. Because I feel like when I found something that I could take advantage of against ‘Veni’ or ‘ActionFreak’, not that there were very many things, I felt like I could rely on it for weeks,” Galfond said. “But with Chance, that’s not the case. It kind of became almost a waste of energy to spend a ton of time looking back on hands and trying to figure out his range construction in different spots and a counter-strategy.” “So I started to, towards the end of the challenge, prioritize resting my mind because I felt just too burnt out trying to make all these reads and strategy adjustments and plans and I feel like I wasn’t performing as well and so in the second half of the challenge I feel like a lot more of my focus went to performance than specific strategic studying.” Galfond wasn’t alone in feeling burnt out as Kornuth expressed some relief at the challenge coming to an end. Additionally, in between the time that he accepted the challenge in early 2020 and the conclusion, Kornuth became a father for the first time. “It’s really weird, I almost feel better not that it’s over than I did yesterday,” Kornuth said. “It’s almost a relief that it’s over. Obviously, I gave it my all and tried to win but it’s kind of a weird feeling. I expected to be more dejected today than yesterday but I actually feel surprisingly good.” When discussing what’s next for him, Kornuth said he planned to “focus on being a dad” as well as marketing the latest programs of his online poker training site Chip Leader Coaching. Galfond also expressed that he planned on spending time with family and putting work in on his own Run It Once training site. Although the start of the next Galfond Challenge is still up in the air, Galfond did note that there are a number of battles left on the horizon. There’s a challenge with Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, a live challenge against Brandon Adams, and the resumption of his challenge against Bill Perkins but with no plans to travel out of the country, Galfond indicated that those will have to wait.
  4. [caption width="640"] Mustapha Kanit won the EPT Dublin €25,000 High Roller (Photo courtesy PokerStars/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] In the nine years since the European Poker Tour was last in Dublin, Ireland the Tour has changed quite a bit. One of the biggest changes is the addition of High Roller events to the stop in each EPT city. Sunday night in Dublin, Mustapha Kanit put on a show for the ages in winning the €25K High Roller for €501,640 ($563,172 US). Kanit, who is Italy's all-time leading money earner, now has over $6 million US in lifetime earnings. The €25,000 buy-in event, which attracted 70 entries, was the biggest buy-in event in the history of Irish poker. Kanit came to the final table with the chip lead and while he did briefly relinquish that lead to Chance Kornuth in heads-up play, the Italian poker pro basically went wire-to-wire for the win. Kornuth picked up the first elimination on just the second hand of play Sunday. From UTG Kornuth moved all in for 1,290,000 and a shortstacked Ivan Luca called from the button. Kornuth showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] while Luca had [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="th"] run out didn’t help Luca and he was out in eighth. On the very next hand Nick Petrangelo found himself on the way out of the tournament. Action folded to Petrangelo in the small blind and he moved all in for 480,000. Jeff Rossiter called from the big blind and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"], behind Petrangelo’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Rossiter second pair but left Petrangelo drawing to a bigger pair or broadway. the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river were bricks though and Petrangelo was out in seventh. While the first two eliminations took no time at all, it was 90 minutes of play before another player left the final table. Again it was a blind-vs-blind confrontation that lead to the bustout. Anton Bertilsson moved all in from the small blind and Keith Johnson called from the big. Bertilsson turned over [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] and Johnson, who was short when the hand began, needed help with [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"]. The board ran out [poker card="7c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"] leaving Bertilsson in front and sending Johnson out in sixth place. An hour later Kanit picked up his first elimination of the day. Kanit raised to 215,000 and Rossiter moved all in behind him. Kanit called and found himself in a dominating position with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] to the [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"] of Rossiter. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] flop kept Kanit in the lead but the [poker card="7h"] gave Rossiter back door flush outs. The river however was the [poker card="as"] and Rossiter was eliminated in fifth. Kanit held 54% of the chips in play with just four players remaining and pushed that advantage to as high as 70%. It took another blind-vs-blind confrontation to get down to three players. Kornuth shoved from the small blind and Bertilsson called off the rest of his stack from the big blind. Kornuth tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and Bertilsson showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. Bertilsson found no traction on the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8d"] board and was out in fourth. A three-way all in so no player bust out and left Kanit in the lead. Just a few minutes later Charlie Carrel found himself on the way out and Kanit was set for a heads-up battle with Kornuth. Again, it was blind-vs-blind. Kanit limped from the small blind, Carrel move all in from the big and Kanit quickly called. Carrel showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"] while Kanit was ahead with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4s"] to eliminate Carrel. Heads-up play last a little over two hours with Kornuth taking the lead for a little less than 20 minutes of play. Once Kanit had it back, he didn’t relinquish it. On the final hand of the night Kornuth opened to 500,000 and Kanit responded by moving all in. Kornuth took some time but eventually called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"]. Kanit was ahead with [poker card="3h"][poker card="3s"]. The board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jd"] giving Kanit his first win of 2016. Final Table Payouts Mustapha Kanit - €501,640 Chance Kornuth - €360,150 Charlie Carrel - €234,100 Anton Bertilsson - €176,640 Jeff Rossiter - €137,200 Keith Johnson - €106,330 Nick Petrangelo - €84,040 Ivan Luca - €65,170
  5. Most High Roller final tables involve a level of conflict. Chip leads go back and forth and eventually one player rises above the rest to win an insane amount of money. That's not quite what happened Thursday night at the final table of the $25,000 High Roller event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Nick 'FU_15' Maimone started the final table fourth in chips and, over the course of nine hours of play, eliminated nearly every single player who stood between him and the title to walk away nearly $1 million richer. "My plan was just be really solid and tight going in and hope a couple of the short stacks would bust. All the ladders were huge," said Maimone. Short stacks did indeed bust early on, but rather than sitting back and watching others do the work, Maimone took on the role of executioner. From early position, Maimone raised to 110,000 and Ben Heath moved all-in from the cutoff for 570,000. Action folded to Maimone, who called and tabled [poker card="ad"] [poker card="8d"]. Heath was ahead with [poker card="7d"] [poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="as"] [poker card="jd"] [poker card="5s"] flop put Maimone ahead and the [poker card="9d"] turn and [poker card="8c"] river kept him there, sending Heath to the rail in eighth place. From UTG, Chance 'Chances Cards' Kornuthmoved all-in for 495,000 and Brian Yoon moved all-in over the top from the cutoff. Maimone called from the small blind. Kornuth showed [poker card="ad"] [poker card="9s"], Yoon had [poker card="ah"] [poker card="jh"], and Maimone had [poker card="4c"] [poker card="4s"]. The [poker card="td"] [poker card="8s"] [poker card="7c"] flop gave Kornuth and Yoon straight draws but left Maimone in front. The [poker card="9c"] turn gave Yoon a straight. The [poker card="5d"] river changed nothing for Kornuth and he was out in seventh. Working with a relatively short stack, Andrey 'Zaya' Zaichenko moved all-in from the small blind for 830,000 and Maimone called from the big blind. Zaichenko showed [poker card="as"] [poker card="7c"], but found himself trailing Maimone, who showed [poker card="ah"] [poker card="jd"]. The [poker card="ks"] [poker card="6c"] [poker card="3d"] [poker card="9c"] [poker card="th"] runout did nothing for Zaichenko and he was eliminated in sixth. After Maimone raised to 140,000 from UTG, Yoon moved all-in from the big blind for just over 1,000,000. Maimone called and tabled [poker card="ks"] [poker card="qh"], while Yoon showed [poker card="5h"] [poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ah"] [poker card="ts"] [poker card="9h"] flop kept Yoon ahead but gave Maimone a straight draw. The [poker card="qs"] turn put Maimone ahead and the [poker card="kh"] river sealed Yoon's fate with a fifth place finish. November Niner Josh 'asdf26' Beckley was the next to go and his run ended in frustrating fashion. Winter raised to 180,000 from UTG, Maimone called from the button, and Beckley called from the small blind. The flop came [poker card="ad"] [poker card="ks"] [poker card="8s"] and all three players checked. After the [poker card="qs"] turn, Winter and Beckley checked before Maimone bet 300,000. Winter folded, but Beckley called. The [poker card="ts"] river got Beckley to check again. Maimone bet 525,000 before Beckley check-raised all-in for his last 1,225,000. Maimone called and watched as Beckley tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="5s"] for what he assumed was the nut flush, but Maimone - after taking some time - flipped over [poker card="js"] [poker card="9s"] for a straight flush to send Beckley home in fourth. "I'm not an asshole, but (Beckley) just kind of bothered me a couple of times with his demeanour. He really just rubbed me the wrong way," said Maimone. "This was a dream spot to not slow roll. So I said, 'This is a tough one.' I think I asked him how many chips he had - like a jerk and he called and confidently tabled his ace-five of spades and I was like, 'I have a straight flush, sorry.'" With three players remaining, Dario Sammartino moved all-in for 1,130,000 over Maimone's initial raise to 225,000. Maimone called and turned up [poker card="7h"] [poker card="7s"], while Sammartino needed help with [poker card="kc"] [poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="ah"] [poker card="8s"] [poker card="2h"] [poker card="2d"] [poker card="jc"] board did nothing for Sammartino and he was out in third, leaving Maimone and Winter to play for the title. When heads-up play began, Maimone held 6,495,000 chips to Winter's 4,855,000. The two made a deal that left both with $900,000+ cash and left $30,000 to play for. It didn't take long for Maimone to claim his sixth final table victim. Maimone raised his button to 250,000 and Winter followed that by moving all-in. Maimone snap-called and tabled [poker card="ac"] [poker card="kc"], while Winter was way behind with [poker card="kd"] [poker card="tc"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"] [poker card="3d"] [poker card="3c"] [poker card="qc"] [poker card="9c"] to give Maimone his first live win. Final Table Payouts Nick Maimone - $996,480 Sean Winter - $914,580 Dario Sammartino - $542,160 Josh Beckley - $439,560 Brian Yoon - $347,760 Andrey Zaichenko - $264,060 Chance Kornuth - $192,780 Ben Heath - $140,940
  6. [caption width="640"] Chance Kornuth was an integral part of "Team Bax" (Photo Credit: Allen Rash)[/caption] Cliff Josephy came into the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table with arguably more experience than anybody else at that table with him. That didn’t stop the man more commonly known by his online name, ‘JohnnyBax,’ from enlisting the help of a coach. With the implementation of the November Nine and the extended layoff between making the final table and playing the final table, players who have a chance at winning poker’s biggest prize generally hire another player to help improve their game during the layoff. Josephy, an online poker legend with now over $6.2 million in live winnings as well, made the decision to have Shaun Deeb and Chance Kornuth coach him during the downtime. They ultimately helped guide him to a third place finish for over $3.4 million, more than doubling his lifetime live earnings. “Bax approached Shaun and Shaun said that ‘Since this is a live tournament, we need Chance,’” said Kornuth about how he was brought onto the coaching team. “I’ve known Shaun a long time and it was very flattering. Shaun actually paid me out of pocket since him and Bax had already agreed upon an amount. It was really cool to be part of the team.” Deeb has two WSOP bracelets to his name already and nobody would argue Josephy’s decision to hire him, but Kornuth brought other abilities to the table that made the team stronger. “It was partially just live reads,” said Kornuth about why he was brought on. “But also, Shaun and I have talked poker for a really long time and we respect each other’s opinions on different situations. We work well together, we think about the game differently, and there were a lot of different spots where I was like ‘Well, what if we did this in this spot?’ And we were able to talk about all of those different options.” While Kornuth and Deeb were the official coaches, Josephy had plenty of other players and friends that helped. Josephy runs one of the most well-known staking operations in the game and has, at one time or another, staked many of the games bet players, including eventual Main Event runner-up Gordon Vayo. Kornuth and Deeb used the extra bodies and poker minds to run online simulations as to how the final table would play out. “It was mostly simulations and if there was a spot that we wanted to talk about, we would discuss it,” said Kornuth. “At first Shaun set up online sims on PokerStars home games and we would like dump stacks, so they would be close to where they need to be and we would kind of anticipate who the final six would be and stuff. We ran tons and tons of simulations.” The two coaches used the other players involved in the simulation to represent the other opponents at the table. They did their best to forecast how certain players would be playing in certain spots and had the players participating in the simulation to play that style, to create the most realistic scenarios. “We would just say ‘Hey, you’re Gordon Vayo’ or ‘You’re Qui [Nguyen]’ and we want you to do this in these spots with these hands,” said Kornuth. “Unfortunately, we mis-prepared for Qui. I doubt anyone prepared correctly for how he played. He actually played really well and deserved to win.” Josephy was one of the original grinders that was making a lot of money playing online poker tournaments. He was making millions online before either of his coaches had become an elite player. With that kind of background and pedigree, Kornuth was surprised at how easy he was to coach. “I was actually expecting him to be quite rigid in his approach since he has been playing for so long,” said Kornuth. “But I was really impressed with his willingness to do whatever we recommended. It was always ‘Great. Sounds good.’ It was great.” In terms of changing Josephy’s game, Kornuth and Deeb had one big adjustment for him – play more hands. “We were just trying to find spots to loosen him up,” said Kornuth. “Going into the Main Event final table with the chip lead, you should be playing a lot of hands. So, we were trying to help him defend certain combos from the big blind more and three-bet more hands. Basically, widening his ranges and playing more aggressive in those spots.” With regards to Josephy's execution of the strategy, Kornuth was pleased overall. “He’s kind of a momentum player and since he didn’t get off to a great start, losing the first hand,” said Kornuth said. “But towards the end of Day 1, he won a few pots and got a few bluffs through. He was doing exactly what we were looking for and it was fun to watch.” Josephy ended up getting cold-decked three-handed with set under set against Vayo to leave him short and eventually finish in third, but Kornuth hasn’t stopped coaching. Kornuth launched Chip Leader Coaching shortly after the Main Event finished and is continuing to help players get better through his own program. The idea of running his own coaching website was brought to him by his business partner, and fellow WSOP bracelet winner, John Beauprez. Beauprez has experience coaching online cash game and they developed the idea for coaching live tournament players. The two launched their website shortly after the Main Event finished, and they have begun taking on their first wave of students. Unlike other training sites and coaches, where players pay a fee to be trained, regardless of results, Kornuth’s new coaching site only takes on players that they screen and accept. They take a five percent freeroll of their students’ future tournaments in exchange for the coaching they receive. The difference in their business model is what keeps Kornuth and his other coaches invested in the students’ success. “If our players don’t succeed, then our five percent is worthless and we don’t really make anything,” said Kornuth. Kornuth can rival anybody when it comes to poker experience and results. He’s got over $4.8 million in live tournament earnings, a WSOP bracelet, was a consistent winner online, and beats high-stakes cash games as well. His new business venture is only dedicated to tournament poker, and there is a reason for that. Money. “Right now, all the money is in tournaments,” said Kornuth. “There is a reason that all the nosebleed cash guys play tournaments now. It’s because it’s the softest aspect of poker. It’s the spot where all the money is and we are just focusing on the market where we think the most money is.”
  7. In the lead-up to one of the busiest Sunday's of the year, Friday was a relatively standard day for the PokerStars Spring Poker Championship of Online Poker. A total of 12 events completed action with the world's top-ranked player earning a SCOOP title of his own. The largest prize pool of the day was in SCOOP Event #44 ($2,100 Progressive KO Thursday Thrill SE No Limit Hold'em). Between the prize pool and bounty pool, $861,000 was dispersed into each. 861 players entered and 'B1GL1P$$$'emerged victorious with over $191,000 earned between the prize pool and collected bounties. A heads up deal was made between B1GL1P$$$ and 'bagoch', with the latter earning a shade under $200,000 total. SCOOP Event #43 ($530 Deep Stacks NLHE) drew 1,124 runners and created a prize pool totaling $562,000. As a result of a three-player deal, 'juarnes' came out on top with $82,574 and 'que_te_crio' ($72,893) and 'bombuslol' ($67,534) both earned fine results for their place. The final SCOOP event on Friday came in the Five Card Draw variety as 88 players turned out for SCOOP Event #45 ($1,050 No Limit 5-Card Draw). Chance 'ChanceCU' Kornuth came into the final table looking for his second SCOOP title in as many days but was denied by 'u1ker', who earned $23,980 for the win. Also making the final table was current PocketFives #1 ranked player, 'lena900.' 'lena900' wasn't done there though. The Swede ended up on top of Event #48 Medium ($109 Five Card No Limit Omaha Eight or Better Six Max Zoom) for $22,457.13. SCOOP Event #43 (High): $530 Deep Stacks No Limit Hold'em Entries: 1,124 Prize pool: $562,000 juarnes - $82,574* que_te_crio - $72,893* bombuslol - $67,534* Reflects 3-way deal Secret_M0d3 - $39,902 thagrinda444 - $28,100 KornmeisterX - $22,480 LEB_BEL - $16,860 bernar.serra - $11,240 SCOOP Event #43 (Medium): $55 Deep Stacks No Limit Hold'em Entries: 5,499 Prize pool: $274,950 dodgethis12 - $43,006 Papszi17 - $32,032 gabrie1ju - $22,642 Grisha813 - $15,535 nikas3274 - $11,685 tokyotokyo - $8,936 AcePheres - $6,186 nafnaf_funny - $3,437 SCOOP Event #43 (Low): $5.50 Deep Stacks No Limit Hold'em Entries: 14,699 Prize pool: $73,495 CaptanPoker - $8,610 WESLEY104 - $6,247 patrisiyaT - $4,777 xenomorph101 - $3,307 Joilsons09 - $2,572 poker_arnooo - $1,837 b0ris18 - $1,249 Hansiboy88 - $662 detovisk - $441 SCOOP Event #44 (High): $2,100 Progressive KO Thursdays Thrill No Limit Hold'em Entries: 861 Prize pool: $861,000 ($861,000 in bounty pool) B1GL1P$$$ - $137,093* ($54,063 in bounties) bagoch - $130,679* Reflects Heads up Deal ($68,852 in bounties) Paris Dedes - $83,948 ($16,398 in bounties) Yakiddinme - $62,853 ($16,750 in bounties) kurt23x - $44,342 ($17,219 in bounties) merla888 - $35,732 ($12,156 in bounties) FourSixFour - $27,122 ($22,781 in bounties) citramon65 - $19,028 ($15,984 in bounties) MakaRRRevich - $11,021 ($8,156 in bounties) SCOOP Event #44 (Medium): $215 Progressive KO Thursdays Thrill No Limit Hold'em Entries: 3,780 Prize pool: $378,000 ($378,000 in bounty pool) pabritz - $59,346 ($15,353 in bounties) SoCloseCall - $44,226 ($10,860 in bounties) waterboy1921 - $31,185 ($9,236 in bounties) dartazzzz - $21,735 ($1,610 in bounties) mucatr - $16,605 ($3,103 in bounties) bedbou1de - $12,285 ($6,581 in bounties) LauksK1 - $8,505 (697 in bounties) Zsiffin - $4,725 ($1,205 in bounties) commablack - $3,024 ($856 in bounties) SCOOP Event #44 (Low): $27 Progressive KO Thursdays Thrill No Limit Hold'em Entries: 12,133 Prize pool: $149,236 ($148,629 in bounty pool) ShootTheSky - $19,783 ($4,546 in bounties) ukrainianfla - $13,648 ($1,175 in bounties) DArioguteK - $10,297 ($1,755 in bounties) Dowgh-Santos - $7,313 ($2,136 in bounties) ivoelemento - $5,820 ($1,012 in bounties) Stuvsta - $4,328 ($156 inn bounties) leow-l - $2,836 ($803 in bounties) CaptainGant - $1,343 ($924 in bounties) _RikkeBirch_ - $895 ($894 in bounties) SCOOP Event #45 (High): $1,050 No Limit 5-Card Draw Entries: 88 Prize pool: $88,000 u1ker - $23,980 Chance 'ChanceCU' Kornuth - $16,060 Mongano - $12,320 Lena900 - $8,360 PSMozak - $6,160 Chillolini - $4,620 SCOOP Event #45 (Medium): $109 No Limit 5-Card Draw Entries: 408 Prize pool: $40,800 Vensker - $6,618* louki1987 - $5,457* GeraldoCesar - $6,060* Reflects 3-Way Deal KaptianKush - $3,019 DazzleO - $2,162 MarkBang - $1,387 SCOOP Event #45 (Low): $11 No Limit 5-Card Draw Entries: 2,445 Prize pool: $24,450 Forian d2 - $3,852 nkeyno - $2,812 BigSerhard - $2,078 DJRUGO25 - $1,345 app1961 - $856 SISBAA - $437 Event #48 (High) $1,050 Five Card No Limit Omaha Eight or Better Six Max Zoom Entries: 296 Prize pool: $296,000 Antonio7 - $62,160 Adamyid - $45,288 zilbeee - $34,040 dynoalot - $23,680 SenorPokes - $17,760 Beeethoven87 - $11,840 Event #48 (Medium) $109 Five Card No Limit Omaha Eight or Better Six Max Zoom Entries: 296 Prize pool: $296,000 Lena900 - $22,457.13 GermanBraine - $16,808.35 isDatLekker? - $12,249 YacuTTi - $8,166 smiechu0808 - $5,444 Zanos_Goda - $3,402.50 Event #48 (Low) $11 Five Card No Limit Omaha Eight or Better Six Max Zoom Entries: 5,099 Prize pool: $50,900 RoztyCharly - $5,979.72* ESTRATEGA 18 - $4,935.33* ztarspop - $4,139.80* KirillK - $4,580.66* Belg_owner - $1,445.56 Wall131TCI-I - $764.85
  8. The PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker continues to draw in large fields for new events and that trend continued on Thursday. Fields in the hundreds and thousands turned out for tournaments such as the Total Knockout Bounty event and the No Limit Omaha Win The Button. A few familiar faces took down titles including Chance 'ChanceCU' Kornuth. Kornuth finished on top in Event #39 High ($1,050 Total Knockout Bounty) and earned $81,336, all from collecting bounties. Other players from the 832 who entered, included Andre 'aakkari' Akkari and top #3-ranked 'C. Darwin2'. Justin 'ZeeJustin' Bonomo almost claimed his second victory of SCOOP in the SCOOP Event #40 High ($10,300 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha) but fell to Ognjen 'psjebemvas' Sekularac, who earned $386,400 for the largest win of the day. Skeularac already had one PLO final table to his name from earlier in the series and denied Bonomo of his second SCOOP title of 2017. The Medium version of the PLO event was chopped three ways but it was 'BlackFourtuna' who when the tournament and over $109,000 adjusted first place prize. Event #41 High ($5,200 No Limit Hold'em Eight Max) brought in a field of 252 entries and '€urop€an' beat them all to earn $252,525 and the title. Jens 'Jeans89' Kyllönen and Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovsky made the final table but bowed out in fourth and fifth place, respectively. mikki696 came out on top in Event #42 ($530 No Limit Omaha Eight Max Win The Button) in a three-way deal for $31,207 at a final table that featured Mike 'SirWatts' Watson and Connor 'blanconegro' Drinan. SCOOP Event #39 (High): $1,050 Progressive Total Knockout Bounty No Limit Hold'em Entries: 832 Prize pool: $0 ($832,000 in bounty pool) Chance 'ChanceCU' Kornuth - $81,336 in bounties Andre 'aakkari' Akkari - $12,461 in bounties Greenstone25 - $11,906 in bounties iamivar - $21,938 in bounties C. Darwin2 - $17,906 in bounties q4kolino - $12,891 in bounties elmelogo4 - $11,344 in bounties prebz - $9,469 in bounties SCOOP Event #39 (Medium): $109 Progressive Total Knockout Bounty No Limit Hold'em Entries: 5,029 Prize pool: $0 ($502,900 in bounty pool) cataccc7 - $15,305 in bounties DanielLCUKY - $17,870 in bounties Godliker_ - $798 in bounties Paulharvey3 - $4,548 in bounties rytmusego - $2,077 in bounties bliiz - $2,149 in bounties All-In-Marek - $2,514 in bounties huangque_cn - $6,252 in bounties SCOOP Event #39 (Low): $11 Progressive Total Knockout Bounty No Limit Hold'em Entries: 19,797 Prize pool: $0 ($197,970 in bounty pool) Noodladonk - $3,268 in bounties IamY0u - $315 in bounties reckoner4 - $3,939 in bounties deyrzuited - $3,471 in bounties syava-mius - $693 in bounties tim_kenyon55 - $776 in bounties lion blow - $686 in bounties juy2308 - $825 in bounties ALSY8 - $752 in bounties SCOOP Event #40 (High): $10,300 Pot Limit Omaha Six Max High Roller Entries: 161 Prize pool: $1,610,000 Ognjen 'psjebemvas' Sekularac - $386,400 Justin 'ZeeJustin' Bonomo - $266,455 XD89lol
  9. Over the last five or six years, Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have each bought dozens upon dozens of pieces of players in the World Series of Poker Main Event. This year the pair have teamed up, not only to be able to put more money to work, but to bring some sort of organization and professionalism to a process that quite often lacks both. For the uninitiated, players entering the WSOP Main Event will sometimes look to other players to buy pieces of their Main Event entry in exchange for an equal percentage of any potential winnings. For example, before the tournament begins Player A sells Player B 10% of his Main Event winnings for $1,400. For investors, the Main Event is a very unique tournament given the overall size and makeup of the field. Hunichen sees it as an opportunity to get a decent return on an investment with a real chance at picking up a big score. "It's not often you get to chase prize pools with $8.8 million for first place. Also, this is kind of a tournament where there's just so many rec players where almost anybody has a shot to go deep," said Hunichen. "It's so easy to get a lot of cashes in this tournament, and if you can get just one or two or three people to break through and have one or two them final table, then a lot of big things can happen." The deals are usually consummated via text message, a direct message or maybe sometimes a handshake and often has players running around to collect $500 or $1,000 from various players all over Las Vegas. "Usually I just buy a few of my own pieces or I have a friend that will buy a bunch and I'll buy a piece of that. But over the years, it's pretty unorganized, it's kind of a pain dispersing the money and then chasing all your horses around and collecting the money when it's all done," said Hunichen. So Hunichen teamed up with Kornuth to get aggressive in investing some money in players. They spread the word that they were buying pieces and as players reached out, Hunichen and Kornuth started doing their homework. In cases where they didn't know the player, Hunichen would look for friends they had in common and do a bit of a reference check. "I'd go on Facebook and look what mutual contacts I had and I would message those people and ask 'Is this guy trustworthy? Can you vouch for him?'. I know most of the poker world, but there's also people that offer Main Event action that I've never heard of before," said Hunichen. "We would also look for Hendon Mob links. People would send in their Hendon Mob links so we could see how much live success they've had." Hunichen and Kornuth each took 33.3% of the action with Chip Leader Capital, a fund set up by Kornuth for his Chip Leader Coaching business, taking the remainder. They invested a total of $230,000. "We got contracts and we posted up at a certain spot here (at the Rio) for a couple of days in a row so that everyone could have easy access to us," said Hunichen. "So we sat down, had them show their ID and then the contract basically just says you were paid X amount of money and we get X percentage of this tournament." The contracts became a bit of necessity after some of Kornuth's investors who come from outside the poker world started asking questions and showing some discomfort with the idea of investing in people without some level of legal protection built in. "A lot of the business people and the non-poker demographic had a lot of concerns about that area, so we decided to do contracts," said Kornuth. "It was basically just trying to reassure our investors that their money was safe." As much as the contracts should serve as a natural deterrent for players doing something unethical, there was one player, who tried to pull a fast one on Kornuth and Hunichen. Austin Bursavich sold $1,100 worth of action to the pair but never entered the Main Event. "He degened it off and then went home, but we have him under contract and we've already been in touch with the lawyers," said Hunichen. Realizing he could be facing legal action, Bursavich reached out to Hunichen to figure out a way to settle up. "We've already been paid $500 and we're told we're being paid the rest, while everyone else without contracts hasn't even been responded to," said Kornuth. "I think that will be the future for buying action and in fact for next year when we do this again, I'll have my own Chip Leader Capital contracts in addition to a basic blank contract that other purchasers can use as well." Players were required to send a picture of their buy-in receipt from the table as well. Kornuth expected some resistance from players at such a formal process, but that wasn't the case at all. "I think we got a lot more appreciation for professionalism than the opposite," said Kornuth. Along with the investment, which was the only way some of the players would have been able to get into the event, the pair also plan on providing coaching to any of their pieces that continue to run deep into Day 5, 6, 7 and beyond. "It's going to be a combination of Huni and I and maybe other coaches that are part of CLC, but there's going to be livestreams for days and days of coverage and I will definitely go over all the tape if somebody makes a final table, give them all the live reads if they get deep enough," said Kornuth. "We definitely plan on helping people that go deep, we're looking forward to it."
  10. Tuesday was a record-setting day as Denis ‘aDrENalin710’ Strebkov claimed an unprecedented fifth World Championship of Online Poker title of the 2018 series after claiming victory in Event #34 (High): $1,050 Stud Hi/Lo for $29,145. It marks a sensational two weeks for Strebkov whose previous wins included victory in Event #21 High ($2,100 Eight Game) for $70,000 as well as the top spot in Event #20 Low ($11 No Limit 5 Card Draw). This time around Strebkov came through a 134-player field and defeated '0409479' heads-ups for the title, with the runner-up taking $20,770. The Russian has extended his lead at the top of the Overall and High leaderboards and currently sits second in the Medium leaderboard and sixth in the low. With seven days of the series left to run it remains to be seen how far Strebkov's hot streak can take him. In other events completed on Tuesday, September, 11, 'iacog4' won $11,449 after victory in Event #34 (Medium):$ 109 Stud Hi/Lo. 'I play 27Q5' took the bronze medal for $6,100 before 'lennart' lost out in the heads-up battle and claimed the $8,235 runner-up prize. 'iacog4', who has over $3m in online cashes, is a previous Sunday Million winner and achieved a silver medal in the Million in the same year also. Denmark's Simon 'Igorkarkarof' Pedersen just missed out on a WCOOP title after 'compris' got the better of the Dane in Event #35 (High):$2,100 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO]. 'BIack88' earnt $60,133.93 + $5,625 (in bounties) for their third-place finish before heads-up got underway. Pedersen, who has over $3.3m in online earnings, fell at the final hurdle and banked $82,279.29 + $20,476.56 (in bounties) as 'compris' took the title alongside a staggering $112,580.54 + $103,140.61 (in bounties). Romania's Nedelcu 'Narcisus90' Narcis claimed the win in Event #35 (Medium): $215 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO] for a $72,068.37 + $46,982.51 (in bounties) score. 'Fear1sWisdom' took the bronze medal for $35,490.35 + $2,067.97 (in bounties) before the two-time Super Tuesday winner Narcis defeated 'Flyawayfraca' heads-up, with the latter taking away $50,572.70 + $9,492.12 (in bounties) in second. American professional player Chance 'ChanceCU' Kornuth picked up his second bronze medal of the 2018 series in Event #36 (High): $530 NLHE/PLO [6-Max] before 'BockRamsch89' went on to take the title. Kornuth came third in Event #37 (High): $1,050 NLHE [Turbo] for $54,864 yesterday and added another $27,614 to his bankroll for finishing in the same spot once more. 'FreeLancerZZ' bagged $38,893 in second place before 'BockRamsch89' claimed victory for $54,779. Event #34 (High): $1,050 Stud Hi/Lo Entries: 134 Prize pool: $134,000 aDrENalin710 - $29,145.00 0409479 - $20,770.00 serkku21 - $16,080.00 Maicoshaa - $11,390.00 Ravenswood13 - $7,370.00 thehushpuppy - $6,030.00 Us_Alex - $4,690.00 Freddy[DM[3] -$3,685.00 Event #34 (Medium):$ 109 Stud Hi/Lo Entries: 610 Prize pool: $ 61,000 iacog4 - $11,449.70 lennart - $8,235.00 I play 27Q5 - $6,100.00 Dart Serg - $4,575.00 dolmren - $3,050.00 PearlJammer - $2,135.00 childers - $1,372.50 zilbeee - $915.00 Event #34 (Low):$11 Stud Hi/Lo Entries: 2,752 Prize pool: $26,969 shoeseller - $4,041.83* laddyshark - $3,781.23* zaza38 - $2,427.26 Bonzo6656 - $1,887.87 mari4ka9510 - $1,348.48 Izja kacman - $809.08 rosana108 - $512.42 mielimaczka - $255.67 Event #35 (High):$2,100 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 645 Prize pool: $645,000 compris - $112,580.54 + $103,140.61 (in bounties) IgorKarkarof - $82,279.29 + $20,476.56 (in bounties) BIack88 - $60,133.93 + $5,625 (in bounties) pampa27 - $43,948.94 + $30,945.32 (in bounties) pablotenisis - $32,120.09 + $28,796.87 (in bounties) probirs - $23,475.03 + $14,843.75 (in bounties) Ti0373 - $17,156.74 + $15,328.13 (in bounties) disquesi! - $12,539.05 + $10,531.25 (in bounties) Adrijan_S - $10,140.49 + $16,218.76 (in bounties) Event #35 (Medium): $215 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 5,065 Prize pool: $506,500 Narcisus90 - $72,068.37 + $46,982.51 (in bounties) Flyawayfraca - $50,572.70 + $9,492.12 (in bounties) Fear1sWisdom - $35,490.35 + $2,067.97 (in bounties) Lackoo87gcb - $24,906.07 + $3,609.36 (in bounties) iSlapUAround - $17,478.30 + $6,896.85 (in bounties) MoeSizlac93 - $12,265.70 + $3,862.11 (in bounties) gokveld - $8,607.71 + $481.25 (in bounties) AppelKruimel - $6,040.62 + $4,931.73 (in bounties) Illini213 - $4,239.15 + $1,817.96 (in bounties) Event #35 (Low): $22 NLHE [8-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 20,822 Prize pool: $208,220 murvl - $21,516.39 + $8,169.10 (in bounties) mysto20 - $15,322.32 + $1,367.05 (in bounties) LeoMattosAK - $10,922.28 + $3,095.20 (in bounties) JeCanoff - $7,785.80 $1,374.24 (in bounties) Macksim21 - $5,549.99 + $478.30 (in bounties) the_snail03 - $3,956.24 + $2,795.27 (in bounties) Netto3K - $2,820.15 + $660.41 (in bounties) romprv - $2,010.32 + $1,466.26 (in bounties) answer2k - $1,433.03 + $184.60 (in bounties) Event #36 (High): $530 NLHE/PLO [6-Max] Entries: 637 Prize pool: $ 318,500 BockRamsch89 - $54,779.21 FreeLancerZZ - $38,893.02 ChanceCU - $27,614.17 Keisuke-ace - $19,606.15 Erä_Koira - $13,920.42 p0cket00 - $9,883.56 Event #36 (Medium): $55 NLHE/PLO [6-Max] Entries: 2,314 Prize pool: $115,700 Gronî - $17,144.52 Kan1s - $11,944.45 antifulltilt - $8,322.55 Siergio17 - $5,798.91 IDOLLS - $4,040.52 FatboyShrek - $2,815.31 Event #36 (Low): $5.50 NLHE/PLO [6-Max] Entries: 6.942 Prize pool: $34,015 Mathias_ø - $4,838.84 Gamblore27 - $3,366.79 TellYourDad - $2,345.89 WTFOMFGOAO - $1,634.55 Slawas1 - $1,138.91 beccarr94 - $793.56 Event #41 (High): $530 PLO [4-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 817 Prize pool: $204,250 lissi stinkt - $27,526.72* + $22,191.34 luckyEVever - $28,190.33* + $11,031.24 blkcrow - $13,587.07 + $9,335.92 Maathematixx - $8,567.77 + $7,410.16 Event #41 (Medium): $55 PLO [4-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 3,325 Prize pool: $83,125 RussiaSurgut - $11,947.47 + $8,287.59 Little Kraut - $7,532.36 + $1,365.47 nsinger - $4,749.77 + $623.82 MakingM0 - $2,995.12 + $954.04 Event #41 (Low): $5.50 PLO [4-Max, Progressive KO] Entries: 8.232 Prize pool: $19,756 Manwlis45 - $2,780.91 + $1,623.43 Neo812 - $1,748.77 + $33.28 JETpoker18 - $1,102.74 + $242.40 jmitchell57 - $695.37 + $146.61    
  11. Throughout the course of the summer, the moves to the online poker’s rankings were subtle. Players took longer breaks, went on vacation or spent time grinding the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. All of that changed when the PokerStars 2018 World Championship of Online Poker began. The players flocked to the online tournament scene, generating a total prize pool of nearly $100 million, and got busy earning life-changing amounts of money. When the tournament swings can be big, so can the shifts in the PocketFives rankings. Some of the performances of top PocketFivers during WCOOP resulted in a lot of movement in the rankings. Back Into The Top 100 There were 16 players who, over the course of WCOOP’s two weeks, worked their way from outside the top 100 to sitting inside of it. Steve ‘MrTimCaum’ O’ Dwyer (+262, #33) Steve 'MrTimCaum' O’Dwyer, the regular high-roller with live earnings approaching $24 million, absolutely crushed the online scene during September. Playing out of his adopted home of Ireland, O’ Dwyer picked up his first WCOOP title in Event-57-H ($2,100 No Limit Hold’em Eight Max) for a massive $227,101 score and 1,154.99 PLB points. He also broke a career-high cash with his $896,610 victory during partypoker’s POWERFEST. O’Dwyer’s rankings shot up 262 places to #33 in the world, which is, surprisingly, a career-best for one of the most consistent crushers in the world. Sergio ‘zcedrick’ Aido (#30) Another easily recognizable name making major moves in the rankings was Sergio ‘zcedrick’ Aido. Originally from Spain, but playing out of the UK, Aido flew past $4 million in lifetime earnings with his September online play. Coming off a four-month online poker hiatus, Aido continually racked up the PLB points with 16 qualifying tournaments. He picked up two six-figure scores in September with his standout being his final table finish in WCOOP Event-62-H ($25,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller) for $156,224. Aldo returned to his online account ranked number #209 and by rising 179 spots, made it the furthest into the top 100, landing at #30, a career-best. ‘simon1471’ (+697, #76) Hailing from the UK, ‘simon1471’ made the largest leap from outside the top 100 to earning a spot inside of it. Since the start of September, ‘simon1471’ has accumulated 20 PLB qualifying cashes highlighted by a WCOOP victory in Event-37-H ($1,050 No Limit Hold’em Turbo) for $98,678 and 747.66 PLB points. In total, he rocketed 697 spots from #776 to a career-high ranking of #76. His stellar series makes him the #10-ranked grinder in the UK and he has now accumulated over $1.785 million in career earnings. Major Movers There were a number of players who made massive jumps in the rankings during WCOOP either due to a major score or simply due to increased online activity. Chance ‘Chances Cards’ Kornuth (+9,285) U.S. based Chance ‘Chances Cards’ Kornuth, is a well-known live tournament beast with over $5.9 million in live earnings. This WCOOP, he once again proved he can make moves both live and online. His string of WCOOP cashes is nothing less than impressive. He registered 31 PLB qualifying cashes in a row on PokerStars in September raising his ranking from #9752 to #476. How was Kornuth ranked close to 10,000? He essentially took an entire year off from the worldwide player pool between WCOOP’s. That's not to say he wasn't playing online as he did win the WSOP.com $3,200 High Roller Online Bracelet event. The question is will Kornuth disappear from the world online scene for another year now that WCOOP is over? Shaun ’shaundeeb’ Deeb (+1766) Another American superstar, Shaun ‘shaundeeb’ Deeb found success grinding WCOOP outside of his home country. Deeb booked two wins during the series. The first was in WCOOP Event-22-H ($1,050 PLO8 Eight Max) for over $38,000. Then he backed that up with his second victory in Event-59-H ($2,100 PLO8 Six Max) for another $69,011. In total, the former #1-ranked player earned over $176,000 for the series and shot up 1,766 places to his current rank of #284. Deeb now has over $6.7 million in career online earnings to go with his $6 million in live earnings. Big Names On The Rise Some of the biggest names in poker found themselves on the list of top rankings risers. Joseph ‘subiime’ Cheong (+903) Former WSOP final table participant and guy with zero interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joseph ‘subiime’ Cheong put together 25 PLB qualifying cashes to rise 903 spots, back into the top 500 at #436. A former top-20 ranked player, Cheong, like many Americans, hadn’t played in the worldwide player pool since last May’s SCOOP. Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro One of Finland’s most well-known online nosebleed grinders, Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro, may not be mixing it up with Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey in 'Rail Heaven' anymore but he did have himself a profitable WCOOP. He finished runner-up in Event-54-H ($10,300 8-Game High Roller) for $150,000. He also made a final table appearance in Event-16-H ($25,000 PLO Six Max) for $135,274. Kelopuro cashed for five-figures of better 8-times during the series and shot up 149 spots to his current ranking of #36 in the world, another career-high.
  12. The PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish. The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1078708641665073152 The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays. If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. Here's a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750 Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415) 2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250 Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165) 2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250 Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140) 2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000 Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150) 2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000 Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000) 2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000 Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356) 2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500 Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960) 2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852 Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059) 2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825 Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It's more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn't happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here's a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000 Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000) 2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800 Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000) 2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400 Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000) 2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400 Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000) 2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700 Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096) 2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900 Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000) 2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976 Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000) 2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200 Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580) 2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842 Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall. The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event. So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship's figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  13. After turning a Platinum Pass he won for $86 into a $35,000 score in the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship, Anthony 'tonydatiger' Maio now finds himself atop the PocketFives United States Online Poker Rankings. Maio currently has 5,134.21 points and is ahead of David 'bewater' Goodman in second and Michael 'Gags30' Gagliano in third. United States Online Poker Rankings Top 10 RANK PLAYER POINTS 1 Anthony 'tonydatiger' Maio 5,134.21 2 David 'bewater' Goodman 4,716.53 3 Michael 'Gags30' Gagliano 4,596.22 4 Jon 'itsmejon' Borenstein 4,497.39 5 Daniel 'centrfieldr' Lupo 4,196.83 6 Justin 'Lappy' Lapka 3,992.79 7 'Hurricane27' 3,978.63 8 David 'dehhhhh' Coleman 3,914.59 9 Chance 'Chances Cards' Kornuth 3,770.43 10 'jordanfrog' 3,665.53 Maio has a handful of recent four-figure scores, including a good number of those coming from WSOP.com and PokerStars NJ. Maio’s biggest score on WSOP.com recently was a first-place finish in the $20,000 Monthly Saturday [PLO, 6 Max] for $6,400 and 141.42 points on January 27, 2019. Just a few days before that, Maio took fourth in the WSOP.com Tuesday Showdown - $30,000 GTD [Re-entry] for $5,137 and 98.65 points on January 23. On PokerStars NJ, Maio recently finished runner-up in the Sunday Special - $200, $25,000 Gtd for $4,000 and 104.32 points on February 3. Also on PokerStars NJ, but back in the middle of January, Maio won the Winter Series 6: $1,000 NL Hold'em [High-Roller,6-Max], $25,000 Gtd for $11,020 and 165.98 points. Goodman’s recent results have all been on WSOP.com, highlighted by scores of $8,336 (146.09 points), $4,387 (98.09 points), and $6,893 (129.11 points) in the month of January. For Gagliano, all but one of his cashes in 2019 have come from WSOP.com or PokerStars NJ, and he already has five victories in online poker tournaments this year. He won the BorgataPoker.com Mega $535 Tuesday - $12,000 GTD Six-Max NLH [3x RE] for $6,975 and 150 points on January 23, the PokerStars NJ Winter Series 13: $200 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO,6-Max], $18,000 Gtd for $3,458 and 115.32 points on January 20, the PokerStars NJ Winter Series 4: $150 NL Hold'em [4-Max], $20,000 Gtd for $7,222 and 153 points on January 14, the PokerStars NJ Sunday High Roller [6-Max] - $500, $10,000 Gtd for $5,405 and 103.97 points on January 13, and the WSOP.com Tuesday Showdown - $30,000 GTD [Re-entry] for $11,357 and 188.39 points on January 2.
  14. 'Luigy666' came through a 10,306 field to win the PokerStars Sunday Million for $108,192. Brazil's 'Leo Borgheti' secured his biggest online cash to date with a third place finish for $55,929, before 'Luigy666' got the better of 'QTsN€v€rF0ld' heads-up, with the latter banking $77,787 as runner-up. Andras 'probirs' Nemeth won the PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $50,695. On a final table that featured the likes of 'anteen', Conor Beresford, Samuel '€urop€an' Vousden, and world ranked #1 'Lena900', 'WATnlos' took the bronze medal for $29,903.45. Nemeth then defeated 'yurasov1990' heads-up for the title, as the latter took away $38,935. 'huang33' banked over $64,000 for victory in the PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller. The prize pool was set at $483,500 after 967 entrants took part and when the field was reduced to the final three, it was 'Driekus888' who took the bronze medal for $21,402 + $2,851. 'compris' then departed in second place for $29,199 + $9,906, as 'huang33' took the win. 'Tobotheman' won the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $29,223 after besting an 832 player-field. Belgium's Kenny 'SpaceyFCB' Hallaert just missed out on a podium spot as he exited in fourth place for $10,862, with 'GM_VALTER' taking the third spot for $15,107. 'TTWIST' then fell at the final hurdle and settled for $21,011, which left 'Tobotheman' to take the glory. 'Chelsea72' took down the partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Deepstack title for $40,780, after a heads-up battle against Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom. Kenny 'Spacey1861' Hallaert took his second fourth-place finish of the day for $15,600 before 'HeavensEdge222' took third for $21,100. Sweden's Blom then fell at the final hurdle for $29,600, leaving 'Chelsea72' as the victor. Chance 'ChanceSeeYou' Kornuth added over $66,000 to their bankroll after they topped a 119 player-field in the partypoker $2,100 Sunday High Roller Gladiator. 'skitzo' took third place for $16,807 + $3,412, before Kornuth got the better of 'madgenius87' heads-up, and the latter took away $23,518 + $4,528. PokerStars $109 Sunday Million $1M Guaranteed 10,360 entrants, $1,036,000 prize pool Luigy666 - $108,192.73 QTsN€v€rF0ld - $77,787.43 Leo Borgheti - $55,929.80 danilo18_BR - $40,213.99 ShipitFTW911 - $28,914.13 waterboy1921 - $20,789.51 poker@luffyD - $14,947.82 DirtyTowel - $10,747.56 MkMyWishFish - $7,727.52 PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller, $150k Gtd 119 entrants, $220,000 prize pool probirs - $50,695.67 yurasov1990 - $38,935.53 WATnlos - $29,903.45 Lena900 - $22,966.59 DRONCHEK - $17,638.91 Lrslzk - $13,547.12 €urop€an - $10,404.52 1_conor_b_1 - $7,990.95 anteen - $6,137.25 PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller, $300k Gtd 967 entrants, $483,500 prize pool huang33 - $39,835.61 + $24,204.51 compris - $29,199.09 + $9,906.22 Driekus888 - $21,402.85 + $2,851.56 cocojamb0 - $15,688.22 + $7,759.27 GM_VALTER - $11,499.41 + $1,453.12 aetos2drama - $8,429.04 + $375 mmetsla - $6,178.47 + $6,581.05 JohnnieQ - $4,528.79 + $3,367.19 serggorelyi7 - $3,319.59 + $4,609.37 PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up $175k Gtd 832 entrants, $175,000 prize pool Tobotheman - $29,223.61 TTWIST - $21,011.65 GM_VALTER - $15,107.55 SpaceyFCB - $10,862.46 Patosplayer - $7,810.19 progre69 - $5,615.59 langace66 - $4,037.65 YJ98poker - $2,903.11 Tr!pleeeee - 2,087.34 partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Deepstack $200k Gtd 180 entrants, $200,000 prize pool Chelsea72 - $40,780 Isildur1 - $29,600 HeavensEdge222 - $21,100 Spacey1861 - $15,600 KPitts34 - $11,000 KERRMODE - $8,400 gb618 - $6,200 GewoonBoef - $4,600 partypoker $530 Sunday HR Clasico - $100k Gtd 195 entrants, $100,000 prize pool CanadianSanta - $20,390 iveybluffallin - $14,800 backdrunk - $10,550 KERRMODE - $7,800 MOTHERSMATTERS - $5,200 Heavensedge222 - $4,200 Sentapied99 - $3,100 Boy-George - $2,300 partypoker $2,100 Sunday High Roller Gladiator $250k Gtd 119 entrants, $243,950 prize pool Chance 'ChanceSeeYou' Kornuth - $23,543.53 + $43,279.70 madgenius87 - $23,518.40 + $4,528 skitzo - $16,807 + $3,412 algorhytm - $11,765 + $4,462 PokerBrothersTM - $8,740 + $5,250 ojanOmaha - $6,723 + $7,776.56 RovoDice - $5,378.49 + $5,446 onehundredeyes - $4,370 + $1,968 partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Bounty - $200k Gtd 194 entrants, $200,000 prize pool ATM_Mage - $15,980.44 + $24,064.23 BackDoorMat - $15,960,46 + $2,112.50 CopperKupp - $11,384 + $4,062 Dany_VK - $8,416 + $7,001 GewoonBeof - $5,934 + $4,367 A3APTEH - $4,532 + 4,647 jammermaat - $3,345 + $2,486 AussieOsbourne - $2,481 + $2,145 GGPoker Sunday Blade 59 entrants, $280,250 prize pool ImLividBuddy - $97,088 chan593 - $59,335 LlinusLLove - $42,834 FuTimReilly - $30,921 AlfredDelia - $22,322 ExclusiveA - $16,114 PokerBluff1 - $11,633 GGPoker Sunday Blade 46 entrants, $218,500 prize pool Picasso16 - $67,797* carsonwentz - $67,045* Shark Bait - $34,485 SasukeUchiha - $23,163 oviens22 - $15,558 ImLividBuddy - $10,450
  15. The 2019 World Series of Poker continued on Saturday with another massive field in the Big 50 as that event quickly hurtles toward a record for the largest WSOP event ever. Ben Heath Leads Talented Final 12 in $50K High Roller Players were able to register for the $50,000 No Limit Hold'em (Event #5) until the mid-way point of Day 2. This lead to a total of 110 entries and a final prize pool of $5,280,000. Just 12 players remain in contention for the bracelet and the first place prize of $1,484,085. Leading the way is Britain's Ben Heath. Finishing with 5,255,000, Heath managed to go from starting the day second in chips to sitting atop the chip counts. Russian Dmirty Yurasov spent a good amount of time as the chip leader and was only eclipsed in the last level of the night. Yurasov bagged up 4,800,000. Elio Fox sits third with 4,695,000. Chip Leader Coaching's Chance Kornuth ended up in fourth place with 4,510,000. Top 10 Chip Counts Jake Schwartz - 117,600 Julien Martini - 117,400 Jordan Siegel - 95,000 Brayden Gazlay - 91,000 John Racener - 83,100 Jason Daly - 81,300 Andrey Zhigalov - 77,500 Wes Self - 74,500 Layne Flack - 66,200
  16. "I need to win one of these now." Those were the words from Ben Heath in an interview at the beginning of May following his fourth-place finish in the EPT Monte Carlo €50,000 High Roller. At the time, the €298,240 ($333,013) he won for that result was the second largest in his live poker career and his comment was referencing that he's been close in big events and it's time to finally break through. Well, he got that breakthrough when he won the 2019 World Series of Poker $50,000 High Roller for a career-best $1.484 million. "The first three days I think I played really well, a few mistakes," Heath said in the moments after the win. "Today, definitely one or two mistakes but it just happens, I guess. Overall, I’m very happy. Compared to the last four years of my career, there’s a lot fewer mistakes than I’m used to." Coming into the final table, Heath had the chip lead with a stack of 7.63 million. He was only slightly ahead of Sam Soverel, but with Heath’s demeanor, you’d never know one way or another if his emotions were getting the best of him. Heath is a very centered and calm player, but even though he couldn’t fight off the smile the beamed from his face as he described how he felt at the final table. "I wasn’t sure at the start, because I had the exact same chips as Sam,” Heath said. “Then, I think at around one point I had around 16 million and dipped to 8 million four-handed and it was kind of tough to feel like it’s not slipping then. But then it just turned back around." He admitted to only having slept two and a half hours the night before and that he hadn’t slept much all tournament. The young Brit couldn’t pin the reason on jet lag, though, as he mentioned he was only coming over to Las Vegas from Montreal and not all the way across the pond. Armed with adrenaline and coffee and forced to play under the bright lights of the Amazon Room feature table that could keep anyone awake, Heath powered through and found his way to the winner’s circle. "I think it’s mainly the tournament," Heath said of his lack of sleep. "I only came from Montreal and I was surprised there was any jet lag, but there was for three days. Then, on the third day, when I expected it to end, I remembered from my Aussie Millions run that I only slept three hours the night before. I think I’m just not good at sleeping. I just had a lot of coffee today and probably won’t sleep for a while now." Not only did Heath have to fight off a lack of sleep, but he had to do it against some very tough competition. Andrew Lichtenberger was the player Heath had to defeat in heads-up play, and the final six also included the aforementioned Soverel along with Dmitry Yurasov, Nick Petrangelo, and Chance Kornuth. Heath's five opponents in the final six have more than $46 million in live tournament earnings Back in 2017, Heath took second in the Aussie Millions Main Event for a score of A$1 million ($755,229). Up until now, that score was the largest of his live tournament career. It's now taken a back seat to this mammoth gold bracelet victory. After he finished his post-win photos and interviews, Heath jumped in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em and bagged a stack for Day 2. No sleep, no problem.
  17. For the first time at the 2019 World Series of Poker, there were two bracelets awarded in a single day as Ben Heath and Dan Zack each picked up the first WSOP title of their careers on Monday. Those were just two of the seven events on the schedule that included another Day 2 in the Big 50, an influx of players in the $10,000 Short Deck, and another massive No Limit Hold'em tournament. And it just wouldn't be the WSOP if there wasn't a drama bomb in the first week. Ben Heath Avoids Controversial Ending, Wins $50K High Roller Ben Heath started the final table of the $50,000 High Roller event on Monday with the chip lead and while he didn't hold onto it the entire night, he had it when it mattered most; at the end. Heath beat a final table that included Chance Kornuth, Nick Petrangelo, Sam Soverel and finally Andrew Lichtenberger heads-up to claim the $1,484,085 first place prize and the first bracelet of his career. “It feels a lot better than I thought it would,” Heath said. “When I was younger, I was shy and didn't really want to win the bracelet. I would have rather just taken second place. But now that it has happened, it feels great!” The final table provided the first controversial moment of the WSOP though. Down to four players, Soverel folded out of turn while waiting for Heath to respond to an all-in shove for Yurasov. The moment soon caught the eye of high roller regular Isaac Haxton who took to Twitter. Haxton's tweet set off a firestorm of responses on both sides of the issues from players who have played against Soverel in tournaments around the world. Final Table Payouts Ben Heath $1,484,085 Andrew Lichtenberger - $917,232 Sam Soverel - $640,924 Dmitry Yurasov - $458,138 Nick Petrangelo - $335,181 Chance Kornuth - $251,128 Dan Zack Takes Down $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Experience pays off at the WSOP and as the final table of the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event played down to a winner, Dan Zack relied heavily on his experience playing a lot of short-handed Triple Draw games over the past few years. It paid off handsomely for the 26-year-old New Jersey poker player as he beat Sumir Mathur heads-up to win $160,447 and the first bracelet of his career. “Draw games are my favorite games and probably my best games. I’ve probably played more hands of three-handed and heads-up draw than I’ve played of anything else in the last couple of years. I’ve played a ton of short-handed triple draw and Badugi online, so this is a cool event to take down,” Zack said after his win. There were 13 players at the start of the day that felt like they had a shot at the bracelet. Bryce Yockey, Andrew Brown, Mark Gregorich and Mike Gorodinsky were just some of the talented players that busted before the final table. Jake Schwartz, who started Day 2 with the chip lead, busted in sixth. Final Table Payouts Dan Zack - $160,447 Sumir Mathur - $99,153 Brayden Gazlay - $65,217 Jon Turner - $43,984 Jesse Hampton - $30,437 Jake Schwartz - $21,625 Saya Ono Gets Through Big 50 Day 1C on Top Saya Ono, a Southern California cash game regular, went from all in on the bubble to end-of-day chip leader on Tuesday. Ono bagged up 3,810,000 and is one of just two players who finished with more than 3,000,000 in chips. The other is Britain's Benjamin Dobson (3,560,000). The day started with 1,504 players and ended with 404 players putting chips in a bag. Notables who are still alive include Isaac Baron, Asher Conniff, Men Nguyen, Rex Clinkscales, Ari Engel, Eric Baldwin, Matt Stout, and Jared Griener. Those players moving on to Day 3, will now wait until Wednesday to resume play as the Day 1D survivors get their shot to move on to Tuesday. Prize pool information for the Big 50 should be announced early Tuesday morning. Top 10 Chip Counts Saya Ono - 3,810,000 Benjamin Dobson - 3,560,000 Nelson Rose - 2,915,000 Ubaid Habib - 2,600,000 Danny Ehrenberger - 2,440,000 Catherine Valdes - 2,430,000 Renato Manalo - 2,360,000 Samuel Welbourne - 2,275,000 Janae Pham - 2,250,000 Jiehao Zhu - 2,230,000 $10,000 Short Deck No Limit Hold'em Gets Boost A lot of the talk on Day 1 of the $10,000 Short Deck event was centered around the lack of turnout. Just 61 players showed up on Sunday for the opening day but with two hours of late registration on Monday, another 53 entries boosted the field to 114 total players. Some of the players who took advantage of the late registration included Shaun Deeb, Ryan Riess, Ben Yu, Daniel Negreanu, Alex Foxen, Rainer Kempe, Andrew Robl, and Phil Hellmuth. Busting out of the $50,000 High Roller didn't seem to impact Chance Kornuth too much. He walked right over to this event and ran up his stack to 2,163,000 and heads into Wednesday's final table as the chip leader. Alex Epstein and Yong Wang sit second and third respectively and were the only other players to finish with a seven-figure stack. Pennsylvania poker pro Thai Ha has the shortest remaining stack and will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to spin it up on Tuesday. Players who cashed on Monday but failed to advance to Tuesday include Bill Perkins, Kane Kalas, Alex Foxen, Justin Bonomo, and Galen Hall. The event was originally scheduled to run four days but given the light Day 1 turnout and the rapid pace of eliminations on Day 2, tournament organizers decided to shorten the event by one day. The final table gets underway at 2 PM PT. Final Table Chip Counts Chance Kornuth - 2,163,000 Alex Epstein - 1,275,000 Yong Wang - 1,176,000 Anson Tsang - 975,000 Rene van Krevelen - 563,000 Andrew Robl - 406,000 Thai Ha - 283,000 Big Field Shows for $600 No Limit Hold'em Deepstack If you thought the days of long line-ups were going to be restricted to the Big 50, you'd be wrong. The first Deepstack event of the 2019 WSOP attracted 6,151 players, many of them coming from the Big 50 after busting out. The event, which features 20-minute levels, is scheduled to be a two-day event but with 581 players advancing to Day 2, it seems more likely that a third day will be added. Paul Dhaliwal finished as the chip leader with 1,612,000 chips going in the bag at the end of the night. Some of the notables who advanced to Day 2 include Jake Schwartz, Bart Lybaert, Daniel Negreanu, Maurice Hawkins, Matt Stout, Ylon Schwartz, and Erik Seidel. Action gets underway at Noon PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Paul Dhaliwal - 1,612,000 Michael Morhaime - 1,275,000 David Elet - 1,255,000 Mohammad Saadeghvazri - 1,215,000 Christopher Battenfield - 1,190,000 Zachary Vankeuren - 1,032,000 Kyle Dover - 951,000 Richard Smith - 922,000 Edvinas Gruzdas - 896,000 Roman Kroupa - 893,000 Jim Collopy Leads $1,500 Dealers Choice After Day 1 A lot of the focus at the WSOP over the past few days has been on No Limit Hold'em, but mixed game aficionados were out in full force Monday afternoon for the $1,500 Dealers Choice event. Jim Collopy bagged up 84,300 and leads the 178 players who managed to survive Day 1. The event drew 470 players. Other familiar faces who are moving on to Day 2 include Robert Mizrachi, Dan Shak, WSOP Circuit crusher Valentin Vornicu, Greg Mueller, Ryan Hughes, David 'ODB' Baker, Marco Johnson and Dzmitry Urbanovich. Top 10 Chip Counts Jim Collopy - 84,300 Danny Noam - 81,100 Jason Stockfish - 79,500 Al Barbieri - 65,800 Nikolai Yakovenko - 63,600 Ryan Leng - 62,800 Tamon Nakamura - 61,100 Cole Jackson - 56,800 Robert Campbell - 56,400 Todd Barlow - 54,900 Dan Smith Leads $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Straight forward No Limit Hold'em was on the menu as the final event to get underway on Monday. 343 players entered the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event and the high end of the Day 1 chip counts include a who's who of NLHE bosses. Dan Smith sits on top of that impressive list with 321,000. Simon Deadman, Darryll Fish, and Faraz Jaka take up the second - fourth place spots behind Smith. Online poker crusher Arsenii 'josef_shvejk' Karmatckii bagged up the fifth biggest stack. There's a plethora of well-known players outside of the top 10 chip counts. Dietrich Fast, Niall Farrell, Antoine Saout, Ali Imsirovic, Adrian Mateos, Chris Hunichen, Daniel Strelitz, Ian O'Hara, and Joao Vieira all still have chips and a shot at winning the bracelet. Registration remains open until the end of Level 12 on Tuesday. Top 10 Chip Counts Dan Smith - 321,100 Simon Deadman - 267,000 Darryll Fish - 254,400 Faraz Jaka - 224,600 Arsenii Karmatckii - 221,900 Andreas Eiler - 171,200 Emile Schiff - 170,200 Brett Bader - 158,400 Georgios Kitsios - 154,000 Pedro Oliveira - 137,900
  18. The 2019 Poker Masters kicked off this week and the first event is in the books. Winning Event #1: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em was Isaac Baron. Baron topped the field of 97 entries to take home $223,100. To win the title, Baron topped a final table that included Jeremy Ausmus, Sam Soverel, and Scott Blumstein, and he defeated Chance Kornuth in heads-up play. Kornuth earned $164,900 for his runner-up finish. Event 1 Final Table Results 1st: Isaac Baron - $223,100 2nd: Chance Kornuth - $164,900 3rd: Ralph Wong - $116,400 4th: Jeremy Ausmus - $97,000 5th: Sam Soverel - $77,600 6th: Scott Blumstein - $58,200 7th: Dan Shak - $48,500 8th: Thai Ha - $38,800 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Baron entered the final table of eight with the chip lead and it was Pennsylvania poker pro Thai Ha to bust first in eighth place. Ha went out at the hands of Ausmus when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"] lost to Ausmus’ [poker card="8s"][poker card="7s"] in all-in preflop action. Dan Shak was next to bust, and it was Baron who sent him packing. Ausmus had opened to 120,000 holding the [poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"] with the blinds at 30,000-60,000 with a 60,000 big blind ante, and Baron reraised to 330,000 with pocket fives. Shak, who was on a severe short stack, then called all in for 75,000 with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jd"]. Ausmus folded, and it was off to the races for Baron and Shak. No help came for Shak and he was out in seventh place. Although Soverel busted Blumstein in sixth place, he was the next one to bust, and it was once again Baron doing the deed. Baron’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"] held up against Soverel’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"] and Soverel was out fifth. After Ausmus was knocked out in fourth and Ralph Wong in third, both at the hands of Baron, it was time for the heads-up match between Baron and Kornuth. Entering the duel, Baron had 8.415 million in chips to Kornuth’s 1.29 million. The two wasted no time getting the money in, as Baron shoved with the [poker card="5c"][poker card="3c"] against Kornuth and his stack of 10 big blinds. Kornuth looked at the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"] and made the call. Unfortunately for Kornuth, the board ran out [poker card="Th"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="Qd"][poker card="Kc"] to give Baron the victory. With the win, Baron took the early lead in the race for the overall Poker Masters title with 300 points. The player to earn the most points over the course of the series will be crowned Poker Masters champion and receive a $100,000 bonus plus the trophy purple jacket.
  19. The top of the Spanish all-time money list on The Hendon Mob includes some easily recognizable names. Adrian Mateos, Carlos Mortensen, Sergio Aido, and 2019 PokerStars Players Championship winner Ramon Colillas occupy the top four positions, but the name now sitting in fifth is rising quickly. Sergi Reixach now has $5,027,636 in lifetime earnings after taking down the Poker Masters $25,000 No Limit Hold'em event on Tuesday for $369,000. He now sits just $184,000 behind Colillas. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] A battle of the blinds played a huge part in the first elimination of the day. Action folded to Reixach in the small blind and he called with [poker card="jd"][poker card="2c"]. Sean Winter checked with [poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"]. After the [poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] flop, Reixach check-called Winter's bet of 40,000. After the [poker card="8s"] turn, Reixach check-called again, this time after Winter bet 80,000. The [poker card="8d"] river saw Reixach check for a third time with Winter betting 190,000, leaving himself just 5,000 behind, and Reixach tank-calling with bottom pair to leave Winter short. Winter spent the next 10 hands turning that 5,000 into 210,000 before getting into a sticky spot. From UTG, Winter raised to 160,000 with [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"], Andras Nemeth moved all-in from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"] and Reixach called from the big blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="td"] and tabled his hand prematurely. Winter was left with a decision for his final 50,000. After using two time banks, Sam Soverel called. The board ran out [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="9h"][poker card="7c"] to eliminate Soverel in sixth place and Nemeth in fifth. After George Wolff and Orpen Kisacikoglu folded, Soverel moved all-in from the small blind for 390,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] and Reixach called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="th"][poker card="3d"] flop gave both players a pair but Soverel wasn't able to move ahead through the [poker card="6s"] turn or [poker card="ac"] river and was eliminated in fourth place. Along with the $102,500 payout, Soverel added 120 points towards the race for the Purple Jacket to pass Chance Kornuth and take over the lead. With Wolff holding the chip lead, Reixach and Kisacikoglu got into an all-in preflop situation that sent the tournament into heads-up play. Reixach called from the button with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"], Wolff folded his small blind before Kisacikoglu moved all-in for 1,280,000 from the big blind with [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]and Reixach called. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2s"] flop turned the tables on Kisacikoglu and he was unable to get back in front after the [poker card="as"] turn or [poker card="8h"] river and was sent home in third. That hand gave Reixach a small lead over Wolff at the start of heads-up play. The pair played for just 20 minutes before Reixach ended the tournament. Wolff called from the small blind with [poker card="6h"][poker card="4h"] and Reixach raised to 280,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] and Wolff called. After the [poker card="qh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6c"] flop, Reixach bet 160,000 and Wolff moved all in for 1,390,000 and Reixach called. The turn was the [poker card="5s"] and the [poker card="th"] river made Wolff's second place elimination official. Three of Reixach's last four cashes were wins. He previously won the European Poker Tour Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller in August and the British Poker Open £25,000 event in September. Final Table Payouts Sergi Reixach - $369,000 George Wolff - $246,000 Orpen Kisacikoglu - $164,000 Sam Soverel - $102,500 Andras Nemeth - $82,000 Sean Winter - $61,500 Purple Jacket Standings Sam Soverel - 690 Chance Kornuth - 630 George Wolff - 420 Sean Winter - 330 Kahle Burns - 330 Kristen Bicknell - 300 Sergi Reixach - 300 Isaac Baron - 300 Ryan Laplante - 300 Julien Martini - 300
  20. Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Kristen Bicknell made history by becoming the first woman to win a Poker Masters title after defeating a final table that included current Purple Jacket points leader Chance Kornuth and defending Purple Jacket champion Ali Imsirovic. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] “It feels incredible to win this event. I final tabled the World Poker Tour event last week and I did not feel happy with my final table play, so that run was kind of bittersweet. I wasn’t planning on playing this tournament but I felt the itch and in Las Vegas and I’m very happy with how it played out,” Bicknell said. A cooler just three minutes into the day sent one player to the rail. Ben Heath moved all-in from UTG for 125,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"]. Action folded to Ralph Wong in the small blind and he called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6c"] before Andras Nemeth moved all-in for 525,000 from the big blind [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"] forcing Wong to fold. The board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"] to bust Heath in sixth place. Less than 10 minutes, action folded to Wong on the button and he moved all in for 590,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. Nemeth folded his small blind but Kornuth called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"] flop kept Kornuth ahead and the [poker card="ah"] turn kept Wong drawing to a nine but the [poker card="7s"] failed to connect and he was out in fifth. Kornuth moved all-in from UTG with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] and Nemeth called from the big blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3h"]. Nemeth failed to connect on the [poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="th"] board and was eliminated in fourth place. Kornuth continued to be the aggressor and it resulted in finding yet another victim. Bicknell folded the button and Kornuth moved all in for 1,050,000 withh [poker card="jc"][poker card="3c"] and Ali Imsirovic called all-in with [poker card="ks"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4s"] flop was a safe one for Imsirovic, but the [poker card="js"] turn gave Kornuth the advantage before the [poker card="jd"] river finished Imsirovic off in third. Heads-up play began with Bicknell holding 3,470,000 of the 6,375,000 chips in play. Over the next two hours, Bicknell and Kornuth each took turns with the lead before Bicknell captured it for the final time and finished Kornuth off. Bicknell moved all-in with [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"] and Kornuth called all-in with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"] flop gave Bicknell a gutshot straight draw. The [poker card="ac"] turn was a brick but the [poker card="6c"] river completed her straight and gave her first Poker Masters title. This marked the third time in six Poker Masters events this year that Kornuth finished as the runner-up. He previously came second to Isaac Baron in Event #1 and Ryan Laplante in Event #2 and now leads the Purple Jacket championship standings by more than double any other player. Final Table Payouts Kristen Bicknell - $408,000 Chance Kornuth - $267,500 Ali Imsirovic - $178,500 Andras Nemeth - $127,000 Ralph Wong - $102,000 Ben Heath - $76,500 David Stamm - $63,750 Elio Fox - $51,000 Purple Jacket Standings Chance Kornuth - 630 Kristen Bicknell - 300 Isaac Baron - 300 Ryan Laplante - 300 Julien Martini - 300 Jared Bleznick - 300 Jonathan Depa - 300 Sam Soverel - 270 Jorryt van Hoof - 270 Alex Foxen - 270
  21. On Tuesday, Chance Kornuth final tabled the opening event of the Poker Masters before finishing second to Isaac Baron. On Wednesday, Kornuth once again took on the role of bridesmaid as Ryan Laplante eliminated the final four players to win the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event for $186,000. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] With blinds of 25,000/50,000, Tim McDermott was down to just 140,000 when he moved all in with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"] from early position. John Riordan made 545,000 from the button with [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"][poker card="2h"]. Thai Ha and Laplante folded their blinds. The board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] to give Riordan a flush and eliminate McDermott in sixth place. Five minutes later, defending Purple Jacket winner Ali Imsirovic went up against Laplante. From the cutoff, Laplante raised to 125,00 with -[poker card="as"][poker card="jh"][poker card="td"][poker card="2s"] before Imsirovic re-raised from the button to 450,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"][poker card="2h"] and Laplante called. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"] flop gave Laplante the nut flush. Laplante bet 190,000 - exactly what Imsirovic had left - and Imsirovic called. The [poker card="5c"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river combo were unable to save Imsirovic from a fifth place finish. Laplante found himself on the good end of a bustout an hour later. Riordan raised to 280,000 from the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3d"] and Laplante defended his big blind with [poker card="th"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2d"]. After the [poker card="qd"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3c"] flop, Riordan called Laplante's pot-sized bet with his tournament life on the line. The [poker card="8c"] turn moved Laplante ahead and the [poker card="jd"] river was no help for Riordan and he was eliminated in fourth place. While all the excitement in his home state of Pennsylvania has been focused on the launch of PokerStars PA, Thai Ha has been putting in the work at the Poker Masters. Following his eighth place finish in Event #1, Ha was guaranteed a better finish but couldn't manage to grab a win. After Kornuth folded his button, Ha called from the small blind with [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"] before Laplante raised to 240,000 from the big blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6d"] flop gave Ha a straight and he bet 560,000. Laplante instantly moved all in and Ha called. The [poker card="4d"] turn gave Laplante a flush and Ha could only shake hands and say goodbye as the [poker card="3h"] river completed the board. Heads-up play began with Laplante holding a better than 2-1 chip lead over Kornuth. It took just two hands of one-on-one play for Kornuth to put a wrap on his first live win since December 2016. Kornuth raised to 240,000 from the button with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3s"] and Laplante called with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"]. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"] flop gave Laplante a flopped full house and Kornuth lead out for 225,000. Laplante moved all in and Kornuth called. The [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river failed to give Kornuth any relief and he was eliminated in second place for the second time in two days. "I've been working a lot on my training site, Learn Pro Poker, it's a lot of GTO-based content. When you're working on stuff like that it really helps a lot of aspects of your game and I've just been running very, very well this year," Laplante said after the win. Final Table Payouts Ryan Laplante - $186,000 Chance Kornuth - $124,000 Thai Ha - $86,000 John Riordan - $62,000 Ali Imsirovic - $49,600 Tim McDermott - $37,200
  22. There are now seven 2019 Poker Masters events in the books and seven different players have won titles. Sam Soverel became the seventh different player to win a Poker Masters title on Monday when he beat Sean Winter heads-up to win the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Soverel is now a realistic contender for the Purple Jacket with just three events remaining on the schedule. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Down to just 16 big blinds, Anthony Zinno raised to 90,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="7s"] and Soverel called from the big blind with [poker card="jd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="9s"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"] flop gave both players a ten-high straight and Soverel called after Zinno moved all-in for 320,000. The [poker card="7d"] gave Soverel a jack-high straight and left Zinno drawing to a spade for a flush to stay alive. The [poker card="qh"] improved Soverel's unnecessarily to a queen-high straight and Zinno was eliminated in fifth place. Soverel raised to 65,000 from the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="tc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"] and Kahle Burns defended his big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"]. After the [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"][poker card="5c"] flop, Burns bet 175,000 and Soverel called. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Soverel called again after Burns bet his last 40,000. The [poker card="ah"] river gave Soverel top two pair and eliminated Burns in fourth. Sean Winter then took his turn in widdling down the field. Winter called from the button with [poker card="js"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"], Soverel completed from the small blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"] before Wolff raised from the big blind to 120,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="th"][poker card="9d"]. Winter called and Soverel stepped out of the way. The [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"][poker card="6h"] flop gave Wolff trip tens while Winter ended up with a wrap. Wolff bet his last 195,000 and Winter called. The [poker card="7s"] turn gave Winter a straight and when the [poker card="2s"] river failed to give Wolff a full house or better, he was eliminated in second place. Heads-up play began with Soverel holding 3,605,000 to Soverel's 1,495,000. It took Soverel nearly two hours to put a bow on his first Poker Masters title and fourth cash of the series. On the final hand, Winter raised to 240,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="8h"] and Soverel defended with [poker card="js"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4c"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"] and both players checked. The [poker card="2s"] fell on the turn and Winter bet 260,000. Soverel raised to 1,070,000 and Winter took some time before calling all-in. The [poker card="8d"] river completed the board to eliminate Winter as the runner-up. Final Table Payouts Sam Soverel - $340,000 Sean Winter - $221,000 George Wolff - $136,000 Kahle Burns - $85,000 Anthony Zinno - $68,000 Along with the $340,000 score, Soverel also picked up 300 points towards the Purple Jacket and now sits within striking distance of the current leader, Chance Kornuth. Purple Jacket Standings Chance Kornuth - 630 Sam Soverel - 570 Kahle Burns - 330 Kristen Bicknell - 300 Isaac Baron - 300 Ryan Laplante - 300 Julien Martini -300 Jared Bleznick - 300 Jonathan Depa - 300 Sean Winter - 270
  23. The first World Poker Tour event of 2020 reached its final table on Monday. Now, just six players remain in the Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, with Chance Kornuth leading the way. The final six will be on hiatus until Tuesday, March 31, when they will resume play at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The final six come from a 257-entry field and are guaranteed $111,795 in prize money. First place takes home $554,495, including a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a Hublot watch. Joining Kornuth at the final table are Markus Gonsalves, Tuan Phan, Jonathan Cohen, Qing Liu, and Straton Wilhelm. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Straton Wilhelm - 435,000 Seat 2: Markus Gonsalves - 2,370,000 Seat 3: Qing Liu - 795,000 Seat 4: Tuan Phan - 2,070,000 Seat 5: Jonathan Cohen - 1,615,000 Seat 6: Chance Kornuth - 2,995,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship had a field of 257 entries. It wasn't the largest turnout for a WPT Main Tour event, but the $10,000 buy-in attracted some of poker’s biggest names and generated a prize pool of $2.467 million. Among those to compete were Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, Maria Ho, and Phil Laak, but none of them made the money. Entering Day 3 of the tournament, 48 players remained. The top 33 places paid, which meant whoever finished in 34th place would win the unwanted title of 'bubble boy.' The player to fall in 34th was former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, who couldn't win a flip with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kd"] against the pocket queens of Gonsalves. After the money bubble burst, WPT Champions Club member Larry Greenberg was the first player to bust. Others followed him to the payout desk, including David Peters (30th - $18,825) and David 'ODB' Baker (18th - $25,130), before Day 3 ended with 14 competitors left. Among the final 14 returning for Day 4 was Jared Griener, who ultimately finished in 13th place for $35,720. Griener is no stranger to WPT success in the Southern California region. He’s cashed seven times in WPT Main Tour events in Southern California, and that’s the region where all of his WPT final tables have taken place. Additionally, Griener has a deep run in a WPTDeepStacks event in San Diego and two deep runs in WPT500 LA. On Day 4, Ali Imsirovic busted in ninth place to take home $53,950, and then Sebastiaan de Jonge finished in eighth for $67,790. One more player needed to be eliminated to set the official TV final table, and it happened when Phan knocked out Qi Hu in seventh place. Kornuth the One To Beat With a stack of 2.995 million, Kornuth is the player to catch at the final table. He's been one of the big stacks throughout the event, including finishing atop the field after Day 3. Kornuth came into this event with more than $7.4 million in live tournament earnings and one previous WPT final table under his belt. That previous final table was a sixth-place finish in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown for $247,954. Kornuth has several other deep runs in World Poker Tour events, including a handful that have come at the $10,000 buy-in level, but his first WPT title has eluded him. Closest to Kornuth on the leaderboard is Gonsalves, who bagged 2.37 million in chips for the final table. Like Kornuth, Gonsalves has been close to a WPT title before, but he's also yet to win one. Gonsalves' deepest run in a WPT event came in the Season XIV WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event, where he took fourth and picked up a payday of $91,616. Gonsalves also has a 10th-place finish in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond for $68,181. The final six will now wait until the end of March to play for the title in Las Vegas, as the event moves from the Gardens Casino to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. There is no former WPT champion in the final six, which means there will be a brand new member of the WPT Champions Club when this one is all said and done.
  24. As Phil Galfond prepares to embark on an ambitious series of heads-up Pot Limit Omaha challenges against six competitors, PocketFives Managing Editor Donnie Peters talked to the three-time WSOP bracelet winner. In the second of two features, Galfond discusses the motivation behind the challenge and what it's like for him to step back into the world of high stakes online cash. Read Part 1: One Year In, Phil Galfond’s Run It Once Poker Just Getting Started Phil Galfond loves a good challenge. He built a professional poker career on challenging himself against the best players in the world at limits most of us can only dream about. After he conquered that, Galfond took on the even greater challenge of starting a brand new online poker site, Run It Once Poker, in the post-Black Friday world. Although his latest challenge is far from complete, it hasn't stopped Galfond from dusting off the high-stakes boxing gloves and getting back into the ring. Recently, Galfond challenged the poker world to high-stakes, heads-up poker. He called out coaches not part of the Run It Once team and everyone else who wanted to battle. "The idea came together in a few stages," Galfond said. "First, I noticed that my RunItOnce.com video views were dropping, and I thought to myself, 'Well, that makes sense - I don't play much anymore so they probably don't think I have much to teach them.' I felt that I still had a lot to teach people and, moreover, that the way they're being taught elsewhere can in some ways be detrimental to their development, so I came up with the idea initially to 'prove' that to them. This is when I came up with the coach challenge of 3-1 odds on a 50,000-hand match. "After running that by some of the team, a couple of things became clear. First, that it was unlikely a coach would take me up on that. Second, that this could also be a great promotion for Run It Once Poker. From there, it turned into the more open challenge that you've seen." The Challenges Galfond now has at least six matches lined up to start and plans to start this month, with the possibility of more challengers to come. The players he’ll be taking on are Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, and two online poker players known as 'ActionFreak' and 'VeniVidi1993.' "I've missed it so, so much," Galfond said when asked if he misses playing poker as much as he used to. "I love playing, and I have absolutely been less fulfilled, professionally-speaking, since I stopped playing full-time. I can't wait to play again." All of these 'Galfond Challenges,' as they’re being called, will be played in Pot Limit Omaha, across various stakes and a set number of hands. Not only will the two sides be battling to win each other’s money, but there are side bets involved with huge sums of money on the line. Against Perkins, the two will be playing €100-€200 PLO over 50,000 hands and there is a $400,000 stop-loss in place. Galfond is laying 4-1 odds to Perkins, with his $800,000 on the line against Perkins’ $200,000. The match against Adams will be $100-$200 PLO and played in a live setting. Instead of playing a set number of hands, the two will play for 40 hours. Galfond has put up $150,000 to the $100,000 of Adams. For the duel against Kornuth, Galfond has the most side action on the line. The two will play 25,000 hands of €100-€200 PLO, with Galfond risking €1 million on the side to Kornuth’s €250,000. Against Cates, Galfond will play 7,500 hands at €100-€200 PLO, but the side action has still yet to be determined. Galfond will then play €150-€300 PLO for 15,000 hands against 'ActionFreak' and €100-€200 PLO against 'VeniVidi1993' for 25,000 hands. Against 'ActionFreak,' Galfond is wagering €150,000 to his opponent's €100,000. Against 'VeniVidi1993,' it's Galfond's €200,000 on the line against the €100,000 for 'VeniVidi1993.' "Losing to Chance or Bill Perkins and the Thirst Lounge will be the most costly, but I'd say I expect 'Jungleman' and 'ActionFreak' to be my toughest opponents," Galfond said. "I also think that a longer match is favorable to my skill set as a player, and 'Jungleman's' is the shortest, so I guess that's the one I feel I'm most likely to lose." All told, Galfond has around $2.4 million in side action on the line from these six matches already lined up. That’s in addition to whatever is at stake from playing the matches themselves. He’s giving 4-1 odds to Perkins and Kornuth, but then he’s playing for even side action against 'ActionFreak.' If he wins all of these matches, Galfond will win around $850,000 in side action. "In short, I think I laid odds appropriately for the most part," Galfond said. "Some of my challenges are at 1-1 odds - I'm less confident in those ones." Preparing for Battle Galfond told PocketFives that he had planned to study for these matches a lot but hasn’t had as much time as he had hoped. He has enlisted the help of some friends to learn how to use solvers, which he said was "long overdue for a high-stakes player like myself". But, time is running out and the challenges will be here very soon. "I'm trying to focus on areas where I'm playing the furthest from optimal and figuring out why that is - what I'm missing," Galfond said. Much like you see boxers make in-fight adjustments on the fly or in between rounds, Galfond knows there’s only so much he can do ahead of time to prepare and that he has to be willing to adapt throughout. It’s these in-game adjustments that Galfond’s views as a strength that he’ll look to lean on during the matches. "For the most part, I've always had a lot of success heads-up," he said. "I believe I do a very good job of adjusting to individual opponents, which is why I'm excited about some of the longer matches. I plan to spend a good amount of time breaking down my opponents in between sessions." He’ll also be juggling family life and work life in the middle of all of this. Galfond said he’s worked on a schedule with his wife, Farah, that should allow him to maintain a good balance. He also plans to take a step back from his Run It Once work while the challenges are running and is confident his team is well prepared to handle everything. "I'm going to try to take a step back from Run It Once work over the course of the challenges," Galfond said. "It remains to be seen if I can do that, but I think that realistically, the best thing I can do for the company is to go out there and be Phil the poker player and brand ambassador. We've got a fantastic team who can make decisions just as well as I can, but I'm the only one who can play the Galfond Challenges." The Stakes Galfond challenged the entire poker world after being away from playing full-time, he’s short on time to prepare, and there’s a lot of money on the line. Whenever someone puts him or herself out there like this, there’s going to be pressure. Additionally, the two challenges within the overall challenge present their own unique pressures. In one arena, Galfond challenged "anyone who currently makes training videos for a site other than Run It Once." As the person who built Run It Once into the premier poker training site that it is today, Galfond has, to some extent, risked the reputation of Run It Once. Is it really the best training site out there if a coach from a competitor takes down the commander-in-chief? In another arena where he challenged everyone else, Galfond has his own reputation as a poker player on the line. He joked that he was a “washed-up ex-pro” in his message to the poker world, but what if he really is washed-up? "If I had gotten more coaches to take me up on the coach challenge, I'd feel a lot more pressure,” Galfond said. "Chance is the only coach who took me up on it, and I ended up having to lay a bigger price for fewer hands. I'd say this is the only match that I feel reputational pressure to win - I'm playing on behalf of Run It Once Training. "The rest of the matches, I don't really think my result has much of an impact on RIO or my personal reputation. If I win or lose them all, sure, but if I beat Perkins, Chance, and ActionFreak and I lose to 'Jungleman,' Brandon Adams, and 'VeniVidi,' for example, I don't think people will view me much differently than they do now. "The dollar amounts are certainly high, especially in the long-odds matches. If I get swept, it's going to be very painful." It’s easy to understand how excited Galfond is about the challenges - how excited he is to get back into the ring with some very good poker players and have a lot at stake. He’s also hopeful that the challenges will lead to increased visibility for Run It Once Poker, especially once people get a peek at the fun, cutting-edge software Galfond and his team have built and are continuing to improve upon. Run It Once Poker and one of the sponsors of the challenge, MuchBetter, will be running multiple promotions throughout the challenge that give players a rooting interest in Galfond connected to their play on the site. Will the challenges lead to more traffic more Run It Once Poker? That’s "unclear," as Galfond put it. Will he be doing his damnedest to make it happen? You better believe it.
  25. "I'm gonna keep playing." Those were the words that Phil Galfond posted on Run It Once's website regarding the 'Galfond Challenge' against 'VeniVidi1993,' with the post coming just more than two weeks after Galfond suspended the match. That was it. Short and sweet. Although he is an extremely busy man these days, Galfond took some time to sit down with PocketFives ahead of the restart against 'VeniVidi1993,' which comes on Wednesday, March 4. "First, I spent some time with family and took a short poker break," Galfond said of what he's been doing to regroup. "For the last week or two, I've been practicing, mostly in $25-50 heads-up Zoom pools, against tough competition." [ptable zone=“GG Poker”][ptable zone=“Party Poker NJ”][ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”] Galfond and 'VeniVidi1993' are slated to play 25,000 hands of heads-up €100-€200 Pot Limit Omaha on Run It Once Poker. Through 9,927 hands of play, Galfond is down more than €900,000 to his opponent. While that's an astronomical sum to many, it's a downswing that Galfond has experienced before. "In terms of absolute dollar value, it's not anywhere near my biggest [downswing], as I used to play 3-5 times these stakes regularly," Galfond told PocketFives. "In terms of buy-ins, I think it's getting up there, but to be honest I don't know. I've jumped around games and stakes so much during my career that I never kept track of a downswing in terms of buy-ins. I suppose that might mean I haven't had too many bad ones!" In the time off, Galfond has been able to do a lot of thinking on the current challenge, and he's thought about where he would like it to go. As things stand, Galfond is down more than 45 buy-ins to 'VeniVidi1993' and all signs point to him losing the additional €200,000 side bet he put up against the €100,000 of 'VeniVidi1993.' As the match goes forward, Galfond's task is focused on cutting into the deficit some now that he’s regrouped. "I'd like to end around minus €400,000," Galfond said. "Obviously, that's ambitious and there's a lot out of my control, so I'll try to focus on playing my best and keeping my mindset strong." Throughout the play against 'VeniVidi1993,' Galfond has received a ton of support from the poker community. Galfond is certainly viewed as the hero by almost everyone watching. "It has felt great, but to be honest I would much rather they support and rally behind Run It Once Poker than me!" Galfond said. "I've played poker for a decade and a half. I've been through plenty of downswings and I'm going to be just fine no matter the outcome of these challenges. What we're trying to do with Run It Once is much more important than my short-term results at the tables." Despite the hit, Galfond's bankroll has taken from battling with 'VeniVidi1993,' he said the challenge has been performing well on the promotional and marketing side as it pertains to Run It Once Poker. "It's been great for Run It Once so far," Galfond said. "We've got a lot of momentum building in these last few months and traffic has been getting better and better. I'm hopeful that with the challenge continuing, so will the trend. More traffic leads to better experiences for our players, which leads to more traffic, and so on. I'm rooting for that as much as or more than myself in these challenges." Starting with Wednesday's session, the Galfond Challenge against 'VeniVidi1993' is back on. After it's complete, Galfond has a handful of other challengers lined up, including Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, and high-stakes online poker player 'ActionFreak.' There is even a challenge match on the table against Luke Schwartz, who has been quite vocal on social media, calling Galfond a "washed up nice guy" and saying that "it's clearly time to wave the white flag" about Galfond playing against 'VeniVidi1993.' Galfond said that he plans to play Schwartz as part of the Galfond Challenge, but that the details haven't been ironed out yet. Galfond said the match is likely to take place after the 2020 World Series of Poker. Although the challenge against 'VeniVidi1993' hasn’t gone in his favor, Galfond said that the toughness he has faced has only helped him and should put him in a better position for future challenge matches. "A difficult challenge like this to start has accelerated my learning curve, so I think that balances out the negatives (feeling less confident after losing so consistently)," Galfond said.

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