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  1. The World Series of Poker Colossus, which attracted over 22,000 entrants is, within a matter of days, already down to just 39. Nine PocketFivers are among the group and everyone is trailing the chip-leading stack of Raymond Henson, who has 7.4 million, 600,000 more than the next closest person. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Hensen reclaimed the chip lead late in the day on Monday after busting a player with Broadway. His opponent, Richard Mikesell, had top two pair and exited stage right from the Colossus. Mike GoLeafsGoEh also (pictured) spent the final moments of Monday's action chipping up. He bet 360,000 on a board showing 3-2-Q-K-7, got a call, and showed A-K to win the pot. He ended the day in 22nd place with a stack of 2.2 million and is one of three Canadians left. Then there's JJProdigy, aka Josh Field (pictured). The California resident who went down in infamy after dominating the online poker world while underage, is making waves in the Colossus. Field put the moves on Scott Gould on Monday, shoving all-in on a board of 7-10-K-3-4 with three spades. His opponent tanked and eventually called with 10-8, dominated by Field's set of kings. Field is in 31st place at 1.8 million in chips entering Tuesday's 2:00pm PT restart. Dan KingDan O'Brien was the chip leader of the Colossus when this author checked in on Monday night. However, O'Brien was relegated to the rails after a series of hands, including one where his pocket kings could not withstand pocket tens. The money went in pre-flop, but O'Brien's opponent rivered a flush. Here are the remaining 39 players in the Colossus along with the chip stacks for each. When play paused, the blinds were at 30,000-60,000-10,000: 1. Raymond Henson - 7,420,000 2. Aditya Prasetyo - 6,880,000 3. David Farber - 5,625,000 4. Ibrahim Naim - 5,290,000 5. Billy Graybeal - 5,005,000 6. Frank Williams - 4,360,000 7. Lance Garcia - 4,050,000 8. Shivanraif Abdine - 4,020,000 9. Jose Cavazos - 3,900,000 10. Paul Lentz - 3,750,000 11. Thuy Kawang - 3,150,000 12. Bradley Burns - 3,135,000 13. Kenny SpaceyFCB Hallaert - 2,990,000 14. Brandon shanetrain22 Shane - 2,760,000 15. Patrick Thompson - 2,695,000 16. Scott Yu - 2,665,000 17. Anthony Blanda - 2,600,000 18. Caufman caufmantalley3 Talley - 2,565,000 19. Ryan Protential Laplante - 2,555,000 20. Levi Phillips - 2,405,000 21. George Wong - 2,300,000 22. Mike GoLeafsGoEhLeah - 2,225,000 23. Garry Simms - 2,180,000 24. Adam Lamphere - 2,175,000 25. Stanley Krimerman - 2,140,000 26. David Yeazell - 2,130,000 27. Kenneth Hennum - 2,125,000 28. Mark RenRad 01 Darner - 2,125,000 29. Anthony holdplz Spinella - 2,020,000 30. William Byrnes - 1,840,000 31. Joshua JJProdigyField - 1,820,000 32. Bradley philivey123422 Mcfarland - 1,815,000 33. Danny Wong - 1,765,000 34. Eugene Lang - 1,755,000 35. Timothy Vukson - 1,695,000 36. Richard Robertson - 1,240,000 37. John Gorsuch - 1,235,000 38. Trevor Jones - 1,215,000 39. Janno Cazemier - 1,115,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  2. The World Series of Poker Colossus, which starts Friday with the first set of flights, will likely go down as the largest-field live tournament in history. Reportedly, we could see as many as 20,000 entrants at $565 a pop. The tournament has a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and, after seeing a ton of buzz on PocketFives, we caught up with Caesars Interactive Entertainment Vice President Seth Palansky to give you a leg up when it comes to navigating the melee. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- PocketFives: Can you share any pre-registration numbersand give us your expected field size? Seth Palansky: We're still loading pre-registrations in. Until that's all complete, we won't know. We need to marry people's payment with their paperwork. That'll take until Thursday and there are people who registered for multiple flights too, so it's not easy to give you an exact number. We're definitely confident this will be the largest live tournament ever held. Each flight is sort of its own animal. If you start with X people and you have a percentage of them bust in certain levels, we can add another 2,000 into that wave if it starts full. If it doesn't start full, it changes the number of entrants we can have. To reach the absolute largest field possible, we'd need to sell out every flight. PocketFives: When does registration at the Rio cage open? How about the WSOP cage? Seth Palansky: The Rio cage has been open since March 1. The WSOP cage opens on Wednesday at 9:00am. Starting Wednesday, you can only register for the Colossus at the WSOP cage. PocketFives: What can out of state players do to avoid long lines? Seth Palansky: My advice would be to try to get it done the day before you intend to play. The busiest times are going to be from 8:00am to 8:00pm. If you come during hours that are outside of those peak hours, it shouldn't be an issue. The pre-registered players are taken out of that equation as well. Your time in line is about coming prepared with the right buy-in amount in cash or casino chips, a Total Rewards card, and a valid ID. If you come to the window with all of those, the transaction itself will take 90 seconds. We're going to open the Pavilion windows for registration too. We'll have a lot of additional staff to manage lines and flow. We don't expect it to be that bad, though. If you think 50% of the field will have already pre-registered, they're all going to a will call line. That makes the registration process manageable. I think the Friday 10:00am flight will have the most people waiting for it and you'd expect the last flight to sell out. We will go online and say when a starting flight is sold out if it's selling out. We'll then say we're seating late wave 1 and give you the time that will occur. We will start these flights on time too. People should get themselves here early enough to be seated. PocketFives: Why was there a cutoff for online registration for the Colossus? Seth Palansky: You have to send your paperwork to one place and your finances to another. The finances have to go to a bank, get cleared, and then get married up with your paperwork. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't follow these instructions exactly. Also, the Memorial Day weekend meant banks weren't open, so we had to cut it off in time for Friday's start to the Colossus. PocketFives: We understand you're expecting a lot of newcomers? Seth Palansky: We're going to have more first-time players for this event than we've had in a long time. PocketFivers are versed in poker, so it'd be helpful to have your smiling faces on and support the newcomers we do get. Have a fun, jovial time at the tables. That will go a long way to help us operationally and help the game. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  3. We're still more than two months away from the first ever World Series of Poker Colossus event and the field size is already in the four-figures, according to WSOP officials. The tournament has a $565 buy-in, will award a bracelet, and could boast the largest field in the history of live poker. Four starting flights will take place. Flights A and B will take place on May 29, while Flights C and D will start one day later. Flights A and C begin bright and early at 10:00am, while Flights B and D begin at 6:00pm. Players eliminated from a flight may enter any of the other flights, which should help push attendance to record levels. The Colossus carries a guarantee of $5 million. WSOP officials estimate a total capacity of about 24,000 entrants, with two late waves of registrations scheduled during each flight to accommodate as many players as possible. The 10:00am flights are estimated to end at 5:45pm, while the 6:00pm flights are estimated to end at 1:45am. Day 2 is scheduled for May 31 and the Colossus is expected to end on June 2, although a large field could push that date back. WSOP officials are encouraging anyone who's interested in playing to preregister for the Colossus. You can do so online through May 12 or at the Rio cage through May 26, so there's still plenty of time to pony up the $565. If you preregister, WSOP officials explain what you should do once you arrive at the off-Strip casino: "For those that preregister in advance, once you are on site, you simply report to the specially designated Information Desk in the Rio Convention Center Rotunda across from the WSOP Retail Store to get your seat assignment and receipt. Photo ID required." The Rio's WSOP cage will open on May 27 and operate around-the-clock throughout the duration of the series. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  4. In a conference call on Tuesday, World Series of Poker officials outlined a variety of highlights and major changes for this year's tournament extravaganza, which is set to start in 15 days from the Rio in Las Vegas. Sorry, there are no Frisbee-catching dogs this year. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Pre-registration, in part driven by the opening $565 buy-in Colossus, is at an all-time high. In fact, it'sfive times higher than at this point last year. WSOP officials insinuated that the number of pre-registrations is already higher than the attendance of the 2006 WSOP Main Event (8,773), the largest live poker tournament to date. Hotel bookings are up twofold. There's an increase in starting chips across the board. Additionally, the WSOP is paying 1,000 players in the Main Event after backlash to the original decision to pay $10 million to first place. As we told you about earlier today on PocketFives, the live final table broadcast of the Main Event on ESPN and ESPN2 has been expanded to three nights"so the great majority of the coverage can appear in prime time," according to WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart. In the process, it'll go head-to-head with Sunday Night Football (Eagles/Cowboys) and Monday Night Football (Bears/Chargers). The WSOP has forged a variety of partnerships this year. 888 Poker will send more than 100 players to the Main Event by itself and 56 land-based casinos are licensed to send players as well. DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports site that takes US players, will have a lounge on the Pavilion Room's stage and the WSOP's marketing agreement with DraftKings has been extended into a multi-year agreement. Finally, the Global Poker Indexis now the title sponsor of WSOP Player of the Year award. In terms of structures, all $5,000 events and below will feature a 5x multiplier on starting chips instead of 3x. There is no change for $10,000 events. There's a 10x multiplier for the Colossus and Monster Stack. WiFiwill be available for players in all playing areas, and speaking of the internet (it's a series of tubes), there's an online bracelet event this year at WSOP.com. Normally, only one player can play in a cash game and tournament from the same IP address. However, the Rio is white-listed from that rule this year. Deposits for WSOP.com should be available at all Caesars properties. The majority of final tables will be live-streamed, typically two each day. The secondary stream will be available every day, but does not show hole cards (the primary stream does). The live stream only exists on WSOP.com, which will be handling all live reporting, chip counts, and update blogs in-house this year after separating from PokerNews. Some other highlights: Starting with the Colossus Stewart: "We're ready to put ourselves to the max on opening weekend." The Colossus will likely be the largest live poker tournament ever attendance-wise and caters to a first-time crowd. Stewart added, "If it's not, by a large margin, the largest event in the history of poker, it would be a disappointment." WSOP Betting The only betting on the WSOP is likely to be on the November Nine. Lines for other final tables are too difficult to set since they start immediately. Patch Restrictions There is no change to patch restrictions this year. WSOP.com Software Errors and Quirks Issues in Nevada were addressed in last software update to comply with gaming restrictions for the online bracelet event. WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel added, "We're not trying to say the online experience will be the exact same as a live event. There will be nuances with having an online event. It's an evolution. If there are difficulties, we'll deal with them." WSOP's Focus on Recreational Players Stewart: "We are aiming to get more recreational players involved. The poker customer at large is a value-based customer." Effel: "We have something for everyone. That's it, in a nutshell." WSOP Facilitating Deals Stewart: "There are a lot of the days during the year that someone will take variance away from the table. This is the World Championship of Poker… The general public doesn't want to see [deals]… For the five weeks of the WSOP, we believe cooperation isn't in the best interest of the game." Rules About Electronics There are no headphones allowed once you reach the money. If you're not in a hand, you can be on your device. If you're playing a hand online, the Tournament Directors will understand or you can use your time bank. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. It took until Sunday night, but the final numbers for the 2015 World Series of Poker Colossusare in. The result was as expected: the largest-field live poker tournament in history. This author said from the get-go that the Colossus, which had a $565 buy-in, would fetch over 20,000 entrants and was dead on. The final attendance figure: 22,374. Who says poker is dying? --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- The prize pool, which was guaranteed to be at least $5 million, ended up passing $11.1 million, which means the eventual winner will get $638,000. A total of 2,241 players will finish in the money, the most ever to cash in a live tournament. WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart commented in a press release, "We want to thank everyone who traveled from near and far to be part of this historic event, particularly the first-timers... We love to bring poker enthusiasts together and help build positive momentum for the game. I also want to acknowledge the thousands of event staff and volunteers who rallied together to make this weekend possible. In putting the WSOP together, we are lucky to lean on many great people whose passion goes beyond a paycheck." Flight 5C was the busiest at 6,283 entrants, while Flight A had 5,173, Flight B had 5,029, and Flight D had 5,889. Each flight had several late seating waves that helped push the attendance figures to record levels. According to WSOP officials, the Colossus broke a number of records: Most Total Entrants in a Live Event: 22,374 Largest Prize Pool for a Live Event Under $5,000 Buy-In: $11,187,000 Largest 1st Place Prize For a $500 Buy-In Event: $638,880 Best Single-Day Attendance Ever: Saturday, May 30 – 12,172 entries Most Players to Cash: 2,241 Largest Re-Entry Event: 22,374 Sunday marked Day 2 of the Colossus. A total of 2,300 entrants remained when this author sat down to write this article. Bulgaria's Yuliyan Kolev was the leader at almost 200,000 in chips. Each player began with a stack of 5,000. Other fun facts: A total of 982 dealers were needed for the event, which saw tables spread out across the Rio from Buzio's to the Poker Kitchen. There were 4,480 decks of cards needed along with 335,610 unique poker chips. The top prize represents an ROI of 1,130x. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. Throughout most of the weekend, PocketFives' WSOP coveragewill be focused on the Colossus, the massive $565 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guarantee. Word on the street is that this tournament, which is assured the title of the largest live poker tournament ever held, could break 20,000 entrants. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- After two-hour-plus pre-registration lines were reported on Thursday night, the scene was much more subdued on Friday morning. No line was reported at 7:00am and the tournament kicked off its first starting flight at 10:00am from the Rio in Las Vegas. Players began with 5,000 in chips. A veritable "who's who" of poker and the mainstream world took to the field for the first starting flight on Friday, including Fox Sports Director Alexis Gilbard, reigning WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno, former New England Patriots lineman Richard Seymour, businessman and high roller event guru Dan Shak, andGreg Mueller. Also playing the opening flight were former WSOP November Niners Bruno Foster and Jesse Sylvia, two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Baruch Thaler, JC Tran, TJ Cloutier, Susie Isaacs, Kevin Song, and more. Ben Yu, John Hennigan, and Dan Heimiller were the leaders very early on. One player was eliminated on the very first hand after flopping a set of kings. Rigged. As of earlier in the day on Friday, there were only a handful of seats left for Flight D on Saturday. Anyone else who wanted to register for the Colossus would need to do so through one of the many late waves on Friday and Saturday. Around Noon PT, Kevin Mathers reported that Flight D had sold out and only late wave registration was available. There were 14,000 pre-registrations. Players were seated across the Rio, from Buzio's to the Poker Kitchen, and reportedly began play 10-handed with a goal of working down to nine-handed as quickly as possible. According to PokerListings, there were 10,000 entries in Flights A and B combined. PocketFives was told that a final Flight A attendance number should be available around 6:00pm PT on Friday after late waves had ended. As of 2:00pm ET, Flight A had 5,300 entrants and rising. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge.
  7. The final numbers for the 2015 World Series of Poker Colossuswere unveiled on Sunday night and, although the tournament broke records across the board, a chunk of the community was outraged over the 5.7% of the prize pool allocated to first place. Meanwhile, 2,241 entrants of the 22,374 who entered will finish in the money, with a minimum cash of $1,096. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- WSOP's Seth Palansky told PocketFives on Sunday that the payouts for the $565 buy-in tournament that had an $11.1 million prize pool should come as no surprise: "It's the same standard payout we use. Just look at any other of our events and adjust for the number of players and spots paid... The mathematical formula is called the Golden Ratio. All correlate up and down in relation to other places." We did the math. Here are the first place prizes and the percent of the prize pool allocated to the winner for each of the four events to finish thus far at the 2015 WSOP. However, no event approached the 22,000-plus entrants the Colossus had: Event 1: $75,704 (22%) Event 2: $466,120 (23%) Event 3: $251,022 (20%) Event 4: $201,812 (24%) Twitter was ablaze with players saying the 5.7% to first place was too low and that too many places paid out. Take PocketFiver Blair blur5f6 Hinkle (pictured), for example, who Tweeted, "Some poker players were calling the #Colossus WSOP event the lottery. After payouts, it's been downgraded to scratchers tickets." Allen albari Bari added, "The 2,200 people that cash in the colossus should do the right thing and hand the winner $150." Bari and Hinkle are both WSOP bracelet winners. WSOP officials were responding via Twitter late into Sunday night. WSOP Vice President Ty Stewartwrote, "We like getting praise, but sometimes you have to do the right thing. Going top-heavy for PR value + short-changing thousands would have been worse… I think it's dangerous to look at one pay spot in isolation. Shouldn't look top down, gotta look bottom up all the way up the tiers." Another explanation from WSOP's Twitter account was released on Sunday: "It's the principle of what goes up, must come down.The more you pay (a record 2,241), the less for top. Winner gets 1,130 ROI, highest ever." Of each $565 entry into the Colossus, $500 was allocated to the prize pool, while $50 was withheld for tournament fees and $15 was withheld for tournament staff. Therefore, $65 of each $565 buy-in never reached the prize pool. Multiply that by 22,374 and you'll see that the WSOP raked $1.45 million, more than double what the winner will receive. WSOP officials told PocketFives that payout structures were posted ahead of time, but we were unable to locate any information. The conversation on Twitter seemed to insinuate that the payouts were being done on the fly given the number of entrants was unheard of in live poker. As Stewart put it, "There is no roadmap 4 paying 2,241 players." What do you think of the Colossus payouts? Comment here and let us know. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. [caption width="618"] The WSOP Colossus in 2015[/caption] Late last week, the dates for the 2016 World Series of Poker were announced. The tournament series runs from May 31 to July 18 and the details of several events were unveiled, including the second running of the Colossus. Dubbed Colossus II, the $565 buy-in tournament guarantees $7 million (up from $5 million in 2015) and offers a $1 million first place prize, up from $638,000 in 2015, which was tantamount to 5.7% of the prize pool. It starts June 2. Upping the Ante in the Colossus Caesars Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky told PocketFives that upping the ante in the Colossus was done because it was so successful the first time around: "[WSOP Executive Director]Ty Stewart always feels that if you do something successful, you need to outdo yourself the next year to give people a reason to come back, to get people into the fold that didn't attend the first version." Entrants in the 2015 Colossus were somewhat irate that the $565 buy-in tournament only had a first place prize of $638,000given that over 22,000 entries were recorded. The reason: the WSOP payout structure was based on the so-called Golden Ratio, but a WSOP tournament had never had that monstrous of a field before. Palansky said the data WSOP has shows that players don't prefer top-heavy prize pools. However, "We decided there's never been a $500 buy-in poker tournament with $1 million up top, so that's enticing. We didn't want to have a $1 million first place prize. We thought it would be competing with the Millionaire Maker, but we brought out so many new players to play the WSOP for the first time in 2015 because of the Colossus." At the same time, Palansky called the $7 million prize pool guarantee "safe," adding that guarantees are "sometimes scary" to offer as an operator of an event. However, players on the fence about whether to enter will know there's $1 million up top for the winner as well as a larger guaranteed prize pool than Colossus I. Those two factors will hopefully encourage them to enter. Fixing Colossus' Payout Issues Payouts in the Colossus were also an issue in 2015. Lines snaked around the Rio's convention center, which Palansky said was partly due to the WSOP's computer program freezing after a data center handled more information than it ever had before. The solution in 2016 is to implement the same structure as WSOP Europe's Oktoberfest where each starting fight plays into the money. Palansky explained, "You're going to get people to the payout window every starting day. On Day 2 and beyond, you'll have a lot of people left to pay, but it will be more staggered. It worked well at Oktoberfest. We'll have to put out some documentation to explain it more so players understand the structure and process." Big One for One Drop? Not mentioned in the initial press release announcing the 2016 WSOP details was whether the Big One for One Drop would return in 2016. Antonio Esfandiari won it in 2012and Daniel Colman took it down two years ago. "The intent is to have it every other year," Palansky said. "We need to find an appropriate time for ESPN if they're going to film it. We need to do more player outreach and make sure schedules work." [caption width="620"] WSOP Big One for One Drop TV set[/caption] WSOP November Nine The November Nine will return as well, although with 2016 being a Presidential election year, the finale of the 2016 WSOP Main Event may occur in October instead of November. WSOP officials were pleased with the three-night, near-live conclusion that aired on ESPN and ESPN2 this year. Palansky relayed, "We definitely like the fact that the three-night format kept us in primetime and seemed to work well. It meant shorter playing days for the players and more people watching." In 2012, the November Nine was pushed up to October to accommodate the last Presidential election. Player Feedback Each year, WSOP officials meet with a Player's Advisory Council and seek out opinions of others within the industry. One complaint that came up in 2015 was how long several tournaments took to get into the money. Possible solutions include starting events at 11:00am and 3:00pm instead of Noon and 4:00pm, respectively, and playing 40-minute levels on Day 1 and longer levels on other days. Palansky explained the dilemma WSOP officials face: "As we have given more starting chips and put more levels into these structures, these events are going longer than ever before. We had 41 events go 33 levels or more in 2015. That's going on to four playing days. What our analysis shows is that people have jobs and commitments. They don't have as much time. Speeding up play on Day 1 is ideal, in some sense, for an amateur, but others will tell you the shorter time benefits amateur players anyway." [caption width="618"] The Amazon Room at the Rio, site of the annual WSOP[/caption] What Percent of the Main Event Field to Pay Out? Also up for debate is how much of the field to pay in the Main Event. In 2015, 15% of the Main Event entrants were paid, but participation didn't increase. There were 6,420 entrants in 2015, which made it the eighth largest Main Event field ever, but it was still down from the 6,683 entrants in 2014. WSOP officials originally announced a $10 million first place prize in 2015, but replaced it with paying 1,000 places. Shot Clock Finally, following what seemed like excessive tanking down the stretch in the WSOP Main Event this year, some members of the poker community have called for a shot clock. However, don't expect the WSOP to implement it to more than one or two events, if at all. "We think it was an issue that related to the Main Event, the two hour levels, the bright lights, and the million-dollar payouts," Palansky asserted. "The only slow-play we see in general is near the money bubble. Otherwise, it hasn't been a factor in other events. We can't overreact to two nights of poker on the biggest stage, although none of us loves how that looks." WSOP officials have tested the concept of a shot clock, but the results showed that if a 30-second shot clock were implemented, many decisions would take the full 30 seconds. Palansky noted that players do not want to give off timing tells and act after three seconds or ten seconds, for example, and so instead will wait out the entire shot clock. "The idea of a shot clock sounds good for the purpose of speeding up the game, but we haven't been able to determine if it will actually speed up play," he said. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. [caption width="680"] Robert Mizrachi hunts for his fourth WSOP bracelet in the Stud Championship.[/caption]The 2016 World Series of Poker wrapped up its opening weekend with the Colossus II and the $1,000 Top Up Turbo for the No Limit Hold’em crowd and the Seven Card Stud Championship and the $1,500 Dealers Choice for mixed game junkies. Two events reached the final the table – Stud and Turbo, while the Colussus II heads into Day 3 loaded with talent and the Dealers Choice event returns with the money bubble in mind. Ben Lindenmulder Bags Huge Lead in Colossus II Day 2 of Colossus II had 846 returning players from six starting flights, all of which were in the money, and after eight levels of action just 77 players bagged up for Day 3. Ben Lindemulder finished with nearly 2 million more than second-in-chips Richard Carr. Jeff Fielder, Eugene Fouksman, Amir Lehavot, David Gutfreund, David “ODB” Baker, Ylon Schwartz and Marco Johnson are among the notables that survived the day. Dan O’Brien made a money jump along with 845 other players that advanced for Day 2 and made a deep run into the money after finishing 108th in 2015. Justin Zaki, Craig Varnell, Michael Mizrachi and Harrison Gimbel all finished in the top 300 players. Top Ten Chip Counts Ben Lindemulder – 5,325,000 Richard Carr – 3,550,000 Vincent Moscati – 3,300,000 Farhad Davoudzadeh – 2,845,000 Daniel Dizenzo – 2,560,000 Ben Keeline – 2,540,000 Jonathan Borenstein – 2,460,000 Marek Ohnisko – 2,430,000 Alex Benjamen – 2,390,000 Steven Nichols – 2,240,000 Karl Held Holds Lead in Turbo Final Table The $1,000 Top Up Turbo drew 667 players for the two-day event and the blistering pace of the tournament left just nine players returning for Day 2. Karl Held holds the overnight lead with Hugo Perez just behind him. Hugo Perez, Kyle Julius and Vinny Pahuja look for the first bracelet of their careers while Ben Yu looks for number two after taking down the Limit Hold’em Championship in 2015. The top 101 players cashed in the event out of the $681,300 prize pool but they’re all guaranteed at least $9,506 for their efforts. The second player out locks up five figures but the winner walks with $142,972. Mohsin Charania bubbled the final table in 10th place, while Tim Finne, Micah Raskin and Andy Bloch also made deep runs to final three tables but did not advance. A little further back were Liv Boeree, Kevin Eyster, Jordan Cristos and Benjamin Zamani. Final Table Chip Counts Karl Held – 1,175,000 Hugo Perez – 1,065,000 Bart Lybaert – 810,000 Ben Yu – 760,00 Kyle Julius – 530,000 Nitis Udornpim – 435,000 Christian Blech – 315,000 Vinny Pahuja – 310,000 George Dolofan – 160,000 Robert Mizrachi Leads Seven Card Stud Championship Day 2 of the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship returned 33 players to fight for the 14 spots that pay. After ten levels of action they made the money, the official final table and finished with six players remaining. Robert Mizrachi sits comfortably in first, while 2015 WSOP Player of the Year winner George Danzer returns as the short stack. Accomplished vets Ted Forrest and David Benyamine return and the six players have 14 bracelets between them. Final Table Chip Counts Robert Mizrachi – 1,371,000 Matt Grapenthien – 1,157,000 Steve Weiss – 682,000 Ted Forrest – 447,000 David Benyamine – 363,000 George Danzer – 340,000 Dealers Choice Loaded with Bracelet Winners The Dealers Choice event proved to be a popular event with players since it was introduced in 2014 with 19 games available for players to choose from. The event drew 389 entrants who built a prize pool $525,150 to pay out the top 59 finishers. Former WSOP Ladies champ Svetlana Gromenkova bagged up the lead just shy of the 100,000-chip mark. British bracelet winner Richard Ashby sits in second, New York cash game player Jared Bleznick sits in seventh and the guy that quite literally wrote the book on poker, David Sklansky, also finished inside the top ten. Further down the counts are Sorel Mizzi, Jeff Madsen, Eli Elezra, Aditya Prasetyo and Paul Volpe. Former Team Full Tilt players Andy Bloch and Mike Matusow look for their second cash of the summer while Chris Ferguson looks for his first cash since 2010. Top Ten Chip Counts Svetlana Gromenkova – 99,600 Richard Ashby – 82,300 Yueqi Zhu – 81,000 Michael Banducci – 74,000 Joshua Mullins – 71,900 Bryce Yockey – 67,800 Jared Bleznick – 65,000 David Sklansky – 62,000 Justin Gardenhire – 60,300 Clayton Mozden – 58,900 Bargain Monday for the WSOP The first Monday of the 2016 WSOP is a rare day on the schedule where both events kicking off have the same buy-in. The early event is the first $1,500 NLHE event of the summer and the 3 pm event is the single re-entry No Limit Deuce to Seven Single Draw. In addition to the bracelet events, there is a $1,000 satellite to Tuesday’s $10,000 Heads Up Championship in the Pavilion.
  10. [caption width="640"] The World Series of Poker has 74 events on the schedule but only five are considered "must play."[/caption] It’s almost here. The 2017 World Series of Poker edges closer on the poker horizon with each passing day. The excitement sticks to every player whether it is an amateur taking their chance or a tournament grinder trying to fight their way out of makeup. The WSOP schedule has a whopping 74 events on it but only five tournaments are worthy of “must play” status. #5 - The Millionaire Maker - $1,500 buy-in - June 10-14One omission that some might have a few gripes about is The Colossus. It is understandable that a $565 buy-in event with $1,000,000 guaranteed for first place is appealing, but why fight a through a field of 23,000 when you can play the Millionaire Maker? The crown jewel of WSOP novelty events, Millionaire Maker is entering its fifth year and has made dreams come true for players of all walks of life who just wanted to turn $1,500 into $1,000,000 in a span of four days. Why this event over Colossus? Well, for one, the structure is far superior. 7,500 chips and 60-minute levels are a far better value than the 5,000 and 30-minute Day 1 levels that the Colossus offers. Obviously, bankroll levels differ, but if you are already planning to invest three bullets into the Colossus, why not just play Millionaire Maker once? It’s a lottery ticket, either way you scratch it off. #4 - The Marathon - $2,620 buy-in - June 12-16In 2015, the World Series introduced the Extended Play event. The 90-minute levels proved to be a hit among the $1,500 price point crowd. Last year, the event was rebranded as the Summer Solstice and this summer, The Marathon will be upon us. $2,620 buy in. 26,200 starting stack. 100-minute levels for the full tournament. It’s about as close to a World Poker Tour structure as the WSOP gets and the mid-range buy in should attract a healthy mix of top pros looking to play a five-day tournament and recreational players trying to maximize their time away from the office. #3 - Dealers Choice - $1,500 buy-in - June 5-7Another event recently introduced to the WSOP this decade, the $1,500 Dealers Choice event is by far one of the most purely fun events the World Series puts on. With 20 games to choose from and a variety of players of unique backgrounds in the event, there is literally something for everyone. Among the champions of this event include Robert Mizrachi, Hollywood writer Carol Fuchs, and last year’s winner, former poker dealer Lawrence Berg. If you’re looking for an entertaining, but tremendously competitive event, this tournament, and this price point is the one for you. #2 - The Monster Stack - $1,500 buy-in - June 24-28There is no event at the World Series that is as revered for how much pure enjoyment it provides than the Monster Stack. While not officially branded as a “millionaire maker” tournament, the event has brought the winner at least that much in its three years of existence. You know the deal by now. $1,500 buy in. 15,000 starting stack. Over 6,500 runners. Let the games begin. Monster Stack also has done the job of introducing fans to new faces and reminding them of some of the game’s greats. Joe McKeehen burst onto the national stage when he finished second in 2014 (his first of three straight years with a score of at least $800,000). In the past two years, legends of the game like David Pham, Hoyt Corkins, and Poker Hall of Famer TJ Cloutier all made deep runs that made everyone realize their greatness once again. Monster Stack is the best $1,500 event for a reason. We’ll see what new adventures it provides this year. #1 - The Main Event - $10,000 buy-in - July 8-22There is literally zero question about what belongs here; the WSOP Main Event is the greatest event in poker for a reason. It’s the tournament that ignited the poker boom and remains a one-of-a-kind experience for all who pony up the $10,000 entry fee. In what was perhaps the most memorable Main Event since Michael Mizrachi chased down the Player of the Year title in 2010, an ocean of top-notch pros reached Day 6 but by the time the dust settled in November, it was an amateur who topped them all. Qui Nguyen is the best thing to happen to televised poker in years and there might be a new rush of raccoon hat wearing, back-raising newcomers ready to enter in their first Main Event in hopes of duplicating his feat. With a 50,000 starting stack in place, it is sure to be another reg-heavy field deep but as last year proved, all you need is a seat and a dream in order to be the next banner raised in the Amazon Room.
  11. [caption width="640"] A trip to the desert might be exactly what Mike Azzaro needed to turn his summer around.[/caption] The record heat in Las Vegas this week didn’t stop the masses from heading down the highway to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the annual Electric Daisy Carnival music festival. Mike Azzaro was among those participants who made the pilgrimage. Azzaro’s summer has lacked on the felt with only three cashes and a high point score of $1,178. That hasn’t waned his enthusiasm about his prospects for the remainder of the summer and Azzaro thinks his trip to EDC is just what he needs to turn things around. “I had an amazing time at EDC! I cleared my head and ready to finish the off the summer strong.” That finish line starts this week at the Venetian. The $1,600 buy in $2,000,000 guaranteed event has the attention of the No Limit crowd for this week and Azzaro championing the prospects for what he calls “best non-WSOP event of the summer.” Even if that event doesn’t pan out for Azzaro, he has the $1,500 Shootout to look forward to. Always a well-attended event, Azzaro believes his shorthanded experience gives him an edge over what is a consistently talented field. “The $1500 shootout on Thursday [June 22] should be a lot of fun. I like the SnG gameplay.” Overall, Azzaro is the first to admit that he hasn’t played his best this summer. The multiple distractions immediately at hand have hindered Azzaro’s play but he has a plan to change that. “I haven't played as well as I can so far this summer. I need to focus more on staying off my phone and paying attention to what's going on.” Azzaro says he doesn’t feel any immediate pressure to change his results and is confident the variance will balance out before all is said and done. The time away from the felt has been made the most of by Azzaro which has resulted in him not studying when he’s not playing. That might be a curse or a blessing depending on the point of view, but for all the time Azzaro spends reviewing hands when he is in New Jersey, some time away might be warranted. “I've played a decent amount of poker but I'm also out here enjoying my summer. I have no regrets about any hands this summer.” There have been countless stories of players who have struggled through the earlier to mid portions of the summer and then turned it around in one single event. That could easily be Azzaro should the right things break his way. Last year, Azzaro had only three cashes before making Day 5 of the WSOP Main Event. A few weeks remain before Azzaro’s full summer fate is realized but no matter how it turns out, he will have a smile on his face when it’s all said and done.
  12. [caption width="640"] Mike Azzaro's summer is off to a slow start but that hasn't dampened his confidence.[/caption] The first full week of the 2017 World Series of Poker is in the books and the wave of thousands who took their shot in the Colossus have come and gone from the Amazon Room. New Jersey's Mike Azzaro was among that group of hopefuls and he fired five times in pursuit of millionaire glory. Despite the volume put in, Azzaro came away with just a single min-cash to show for his efforts. Azzaro’s expectations were tempered coming into the event and he was realistic about his chances knowing how much of a crapshoot the event is. “My expectations weren't too high for the Colossus. 20,000 players and a shitty structure all I can do is put the chips in and pray.” His prayers may not have been answered during Colossus and they have yet to reach a higher calling during the first couple of events Azzaro has played in. In his second week of the summer, Azzaro is still yet to make a Day 2 of a bracelet event. Azzaro played three $1,500 buy-ins over the last few days but hasn’t found the bag just yet at the Rio. He made Day 2 of the Venetian $400K but busted short of the money there as well. Thankfully for Azzaro, there is plenty of time for him to get his summer back on track but not before he takes his first break away from the felt. Electric Daisy Carnival weekend is on the immediate horizon in Las Vegas and many of the players in town for the series will be making their way over to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three nights of electronic music bliss. Azzaro will be in attendance and hopes that the time away will clear his head for the next part of the summer. “EDC is halftime for my WSOP. I unwind for the weekend have a blast and don't think about poker at all. Come back for the second half and looking to finish strong.” When Azzaro returns from his three days of ecstasy, the Monster Stack will be the first major event on the schedule. The $1,500 event will put together another first place prize of over $1,000,000 and perhaps this is the one that Azzaro makes his first deep run of the summer in. Azzaro knows it’s a long grind before the finish line hits in mid-July and there is a long line of events waiting for him. Once the first opportunity comes, Azzaro will be bound to strike. “The thing I have to remind myself about every summer is that it's a long summer and there are a ton of events. Take your time don't panic and have fun.”
  13. [caption width="640"] Mike Azzaro is taking a leave from the online world this summer to battle in Las Vegas and prove his chops on poker's biggest stage.[/caption] New Jersey online poker is producing some of the best players on the East Coast and a few of them are out in Las Vegas this summer to take their shot at a full schedule. Among those players is Mike ‘MikeyCasino’ Azzaro. Currently, Azzaro is the #8-ranked player in New Jersey and has put together a live tournament resume of $310,000 in earnings. Azzaro has been on the precipice of his tournament breakthrough for a few years now and he plans on putting in a full schedule this summer in pursuit of live poker glory. Throughout this summer, PocketFives will provide readers with exclusive insight into Azzaro’s summer as he looks to capture treasure in the desert. Mike Azzaro’s summer starts as an unknown quantity. Everyone who comes to Las Vegas is full of optimism that this is “their year.” And why wouldn’t they be? Millions of dollars are up for grabs in properties across Sin City and the only way to win it, is to be in it. That is what Azzaro plans on doing as he starts his summer grind. The World Series of Poker bracelet remains the crown jewel for all poker players and this summer, the WSOP has 74 of them up for grabs. Azzaro knows the prestige of bracelet is worth quite a bit but he’s realistic about his chances of claiming poker’s top prize. “My goals for the summer is to play well and not do anything stupid with my money. I would love to win a bracelet and a million dollars but if I don't I won't be disappointed since it's extremely tough to do so.” The tough part for players who are in the midst of the grind each and every day is finding a life balance along with maintaining a sustainable healthy lifestyle. As he prepared himself for the Colossus, the largest tournament of the summer in terms of field size, Azzaro kept active in hopes that peak physical condition might lead to increased mental acuity. “I got to Vegas about two weeks ago and haven't played much. I'm taking a break until Colossus begins. The first two weeks all I've been doing is going to the gym, playing basketball, and swimming.” Along with maintaining himself physically, Azzaro also has the peace of mind of having a good relationship with his roommates for the summer. In fact, they are the same roommates he lives with in New Jersey. Chris Horter and Jamie Kerstetter made the trip out to Las Vegas in what has become an annual tradition in their RV. Azzaro drove back them across the country last summer and flew out to meet them in the desert this year. That comfort gives Azzaro an added level of mental stability knowing he can trust those living with him around his most valuable commodity this summer, money. “When I'm playing I know I can trust the people I live with to not steal or do anything crazy. I can't live with strangers [and] I don't trust most people.” Azzaro’s schedule is jam-packed and he feels like his previous years of experience and success already had in 2017 puts him in a great position to achieve glory this summer. “The last few summers I played a ton of SNGs and good value MTTs. I feel that I'm playing the best poker I've ever played and have a ton of momentum heading into the summer.”
  14. [CAPTION=98%]The Pavilion Room will be filled to capacity every weekend of the World Series of Poker as thousands of "Weekend Warriors" take their shot at a bracelet.[/CAPTION] Each year the World Series of Poker carefully plans its schedule around the lower buy-in No Limit Hold’em events that run every weekend of the series. This is done to cater to the “Weekend Warriors” who only have one or two weekends a year to play in a WSOP event. All of these events carry a catchy name and huge fields guaranteed to give all players the maximum bang for their buck. Here at PocketFives, as part of our 2017 WSOP Preview, we are happy to provide a list of all the novelty events running over the course of the summer to give every Weekend Warrior the information they need to go to Las Vegas and return with an experience of a lifetime - and maybe even a bracelet. The Colossus (June 2-June 7): The most attended event of the World Series is back for the third consecutive year with an $8,000,000 guarantee available for only a $565 buy-in. Both years of this event, the field has reached over 20,000 entrants and 2017 should be no different. The first of six starting flights kicks off on Friday, June 2 with two available each day through Sunday, June 4. The 5,000 chip starting stack is a deviation from the 5x starting stack per buy-in of most WSOP events and provides a relatively good bang for the buck. For the second straight year, $1,000,000 is guaranteed to first place and the largest lottery drawing in all of poker always provides an exciting start to the summer. Millionaire Maker (June 7-June 14): The novelty event that started them all, Millionaire Maker is a permanent staple of the WSOP schedule. Now its fifth year on the schedule, Millionaire Maker draws every hopeful in poker who is looking to turn $1,500 into a least $1,000,000. The first place guarantee is a relative rarity in poker and every year since the event was first introduced, that number has been exceeded. Two starting flights are available for Millionaire Maker with one on Friday, June 7 and the other on Saturday, June 8. At least 6,500 entrants are expected for this event and by the time it wraps on Day 4, another seven-figure winner will exit the Rio with all the glory along with a bracelet. Seniors Weekend (June 16-June 20): While most of the younger WSOP-going crowd is out attending Electric Daisy Carnival, the older generation takes center stage. For players age 50 and over, the $1,000 Seniors event starts on June 16 and wraps up on June 18. A few days later, those 65 and up are eligible to participate in the $1,000 Super Seniors tournament. Both events are among the most joyful and fun to participate in tournaments of the summer and this year should be no different come the middle of June. Monster Stack (June 24-28): Perhaps the most must play event of the entire Weekend Warrior schedule, Monster Stack IV starts on June 24 with another humongous field expected. All previous runnings of Monster Stack have featured a first place prize of over $1,000,000 and this year should be no different. As with every year of its existence, the $1,500 buy-in event provides all entrants with a starting stack of 15,000 and 60-minute levels for the full duration of the tournament. This tournament always has a special aura surrounding it and the World Series will crown another millionaire once the dust settles on June 28. Crazy $888 (July 1-4): The second annual Crazy $888 event provides something for everyone, from an affordable buy in to the eight-centric theme which features an $888,888 first place prize. There are four starting flights for this event, two on Saturday, July 1 and two on Sunday, July 2. The tournament starts with an 8,000 chip starting stack and plays eight-handed for its entirety. Last year’s Crazy $888 event drew a field of 6,761 and with the starting stack increasing this year from 5,000 to 8,000 and payouts starting on every Day 1 flight, there should be an increase in attendance for the final novelty event prior to the Main Event. The Giant: (June 9-July 8): The WSOP is known for their great structures but a month long event; that’s crazy, right? Well, not exactly. Similar to the format of the WPT 500 at Aria, The Giant offers five Day 1 starting flights beginning on June 9 and each subsequent Friday before all Day 2 qualifiers combine on Day 2. All Day 1 levels are 20 minutes and players start with 20,000 chips. Each starting flight will play until the end of 18 levels or until 10 players remain. Days 2 and 3 provide 40-minute levels and the unlimited re-entry event has payouts for each starting flight.
  15. [caption width="640"] Thomas Pomponio is poker's latest darling after winning the WSOP Colossus III[/caption] Thomas ‘pompyouup’ Pomponio walked into the Rio last week as just another face among the 18,054 entrants in Colossus III. Fast-forward a few days later, Pomponio is the newest millionaire at the WSOP after beating the field to collect the seven-figure first place prize. Pomponio’s name is will forever be remembered now among the winners of Colossus but his game is already reckoned with online in New Jersey. Playing on New Jersey’s regulated websites, Pomponio has racked up over $130,000 in tournament earnings despite not playing that consistent of a schedule. Going back to the days of PokerStars being available in the United States, Pomponio’s account was successful to the tune of over $300,000 in cashes including a final table finish in one of the last Sunday Millions before Black Friday. A “guy of principle” as he describes himself, Pomponio makes his primary living as a butcher and plays online in his spare time. “I try to play as much as I can. I have a girlfriend and a full-time job so I really don’t play as much as I would like to, but I try to play at least twice a week online and tournaments at night.” His deep run took four bullets to officially get going but once it did, Pomponio was off to the races in one of poker’s largest gold rushes. He bagged 295,000 to put himself in the top-50 heading into Day 2’s 634 player restart. From there, he ran his stack up to 4,265,000 to come into Day 3 in sixth place out of 41 remaining lottery participants. It was at that point where the first place prize became a distinct possibility for Pomponio. “I ran well at the start and it just evolved. At the start of Day 3, I was telling my parents and my girlfriend there’s only 40 players between me and a million bucks. In your life, you’re not going to have too many chances to win a million bucks now you only have to outlast 40 players. It became real, I outlasted 18,000, another 40…” The New Jersey community is always full of support when one of their own goes deep and Pomponio says he was receiving countless messages wishing him well as he made his deep run. Pomponio was spotted wearing a BorgataPoker.com patch during the final table and he found a way to sport the logo through the help of a friend and a BorgataPoker.com ambassador. “My friend, Tyler Rogers...he knows a few of the guys on the site. He asked me if I wanted him to reach out and see about getting the patch and I talked to him today [and then]received the patch from Jamie Kerstetter.” Now that he’s officially won the title and million dollars, the next phase of Pomponio’s life begins as he gets ready to head back to New Jersey. His job is waiting for him when he returns home but he might need one or two days to settle in before officially getting everything back to normal. “I’m supposed to fly home on Thursday [and then] I’m scheduled for work on Saturday. Now, I’m a guy of principle, I don’t really like to screw over my coworkers. I might ask my boss if I can just have off Saturday to give me more time to get home and relax.” Pomponio’s poker career might never hit a higher point than what it did on Wednesday. He lived the reality of every player who ever enters an event like Colossus and will need to keep pinching himself to make sure his life really is what it became overnight. “I’m just waiting to wake up from the dream but I don’t think I’m going to anytime soon.”
  16. [caption width="640"] Thomas Pomponio is a few months removed from winning Colossus and has undergone a few changes in his life in that time (WSOP Photo)[/caption] Thomas 'pompyouup Pomponio’slife changed forever on June 6 when he won the World Series of Poker Colossus event for $1 million. That type of score in poker’s biggest lottery would change anyone’s life and it’s done so for Pomponio, but not in the way that you would expect. When the 28-year-old Pomponio won Colossus, he said he would go back to work the next day and resume his profession as a butcher. Pomponio did just that and has basked in the spoils of victory in his own way. Pomponio claims to be a “regular” guy but he is starting to expand his lifestyle thanks to his windfall. A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Pomponio made his first pilgrimage to Lambeau Field on November 6 for the Packers game against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. The largest addition to his life is the house he recently closed a deal on to build in his hometown of Manahawkin, New Jersey. Pomponio has always wanted a home of his own and is now in the beginning stages of entering a new stage of his life with his girlfriend of five years, Samantha. Although he has these positive changes in his life, Pomponio’s close allies still look at him as the same person he always was and he feels he is emulating that depiction. “I’ve always been true to myself and tried to not let this score change it,” Pomponio said. “The biggest compliment I got, coming from a close friend of mine, was that one of the great things about me is I’m still the same person. If I never won this tournament, you would never know any different.” Pomponio credits the support of Samantha for his deep run and she maintained enthusiastic support for the full duration of the tournament. Now that he has his major win, Pomponio hopes his new house can provide a home base for the years to come. “Before the win, Samantha and I were looking for a home. Once the win happened, I was able to build. I leaned toward building new so I can do it the way I want it. I hope this home is our home for the next 30 years. The whole process has been smooth.” A glance at Pomponio’s Hendon Mob page shows that he does not have a single live tournament cash since his Colossus win. This is by design, as Pomponio has only played one event in that time. Pomponio played the Borgata Poker Open World Poker Tour Main Event in September and busted within the first three hours of play. Pomponio is busy with other part of his life like his day-to-day job working as a butcher and his newfound hobby of daily fantasy sports. The game piqued Pomponio’s interest and he recently hit a sizable score to justify his invested time. While traveling in San Diego a few weeks ago, Pomponio won roughly $200,000 in an online NFL tournament on FanDuel. The future for Pomponio doesn’t need to be decided tomorrow but he is in the early stages of planning out the next step in his life. His job as a butcher offers him stability but the allure of poker remains. Come next spring, Pomponio estimates he will know which direction he wants to head then. Among the choices he is considering are DFS, poker coaching, and perhaps staying on as a butcher. Pomponio entered the job after graduating with a background in business and accounting but found himself unable to find any worthwhile positions for him to utilize it. At the store where he works, Pomponio applied to be a clerk but made a transition to the world of meat once a position opened up. “I’ve always been a guy who loves meat. I picked up quickly and ever since then, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s not a hard job, but it takes time to master,” Pomponio said. With the future awaiting him and no rush to move on to anything permanent yet, Pomponio is taking things a day at a time. Pomponio’s ability to keep a level head after having his financial life change overnight is to be credited to his parents, according to him. “My parents have been the best. They’ve supported me my whole life. They raised me to be a good person and be true to who I am and not let money change me. When this happened, why should a win like this change who I am?” The holidays are near and Pomponio can look back fondly at a year of accomplishment. 2018 is going to present its own group of challenges but with his girlfriend by his side and a house being built, Pomponio stands on a strong foundation built on years being true to himself.
  17. [caption width="640"] Jon Borenstein has had many close final table calls and finally earned his breakthrough victory in the WPT500. (WPT photo)[/caption] The fine line between poker immortality and being just another player with a few close calls is rail thin and Jon 'itsmejon' Borenstein can firmly attest to that. In the last few years, Borenstein has put together a strong track record in tournaments with four-figure fields that reached a peak last summer when he finished eighth in the Colossus. The majority of Borenstein’s final table runs have ended in heartbreak as when the equity is at its highest, the deck has found a way to work against him. It looked like the same record was about to play for Borenstein last week at the final table of the WPT500 at Aria. In the first hand of play, Borenstein three-bet shoved over another all-in player with pocket jacks but ran into the aces of Aleksandr Gofman. Down to just five big blinds, Borenstein doubled up the next hand and only two hours later, was the champion in a field of 3,451. Borenstein earned $180,000 for his win and also officially removed the final table monkey from his back. “It didn’t even hit me until a few hours afterward. It feels confirming, it’s why we play the game. It’s what I’ve studied and trained to do for my whole career,” said Borenstein. The win was highly in question after Borenstein lost a large percentage of his stack in the first hand. He says the time that followed was the “longest 10 minutes of his life” and for a moment, it looked like the final table demons would never be exorcised. “It felt like an eternity in my mind, the next 10 minutes. I was saying to myself ‘how does this happen every time?’ I was laughing at that point, it was so unbelievable. It was hard to just not lose my mind and become really tilted. But I got a double up right away, and never looked back.” The WPT500 win is the first major victory for Borenstein and the six-figure score he earned for first place is the largest of his career. The deep tournament runs that Borenstein has made in the past only to fall short at the finish line have stuck with him over time. With all of the spots that have failed him before, Borenstein had some self-doubt but is officially beyond that point with his win. “It’s so easy to get in your own head in poker, especially when you’re going through a downswing or when you keep getting unlucky. You feel like it’s never going to turn around [and] you look at other people and you’re like ‘that just wasn’t meant for me, some people it was meant for’ and that’s not the case. It’s important to stay the course and keep hitting reg. It finally worked out and it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past.” One year ago, Borenstein’s Colossus final table finish was the best result he had ever achieved but the rest of his WSOP was all downhill from there as he only notched four four-figure payout receipts following then. That perspective gives Borenstein all the more joy in winning the WPT500 as his summer prior to the win was a constant uphill battle. “Last summer, I final tabled the Colossus early and then I had lost the rest of the summer. This time, I lost the entire beginning of the summer and won at the end. You put your body out here every day and it’s a combination of rewarding from everything that led up to it and putting in a full summer’s grind and not giving up, it t feels great.” The WSOP Main Event is already two Day 1 sessions in and Borenstein will be part of tomorrow’s Day 1C field. Borenstein says he is “on top of the world” coming into poker’s biggest event and with a field that will reach close to 7,000 entrants, he is a candidate to be a player who could potentially ride the wave of variance momentum to make a deep run.
  18. Four weeks after releasing the dates and a few select events for the 2019 World Series of Poker, WSOP organizers announced another 13 events that will make up the schedule including most of the signature branded events including the Colossus, Marathon, Little One for One Drop, and The Closer. The Colossus, which was immensely popular when it debuted in 2015 as a $565 buy-in, is now a $400 event after three straight years of declining attendance. In previous years, the Colossus has had upwards of eight starting flights. The 2019 version will feature just two, one of June 26, the second on June 27. Players will get 40,000 chips and levels will be 40 minutes long. Colossus Field Sizes Year Field Size 2015 22,374 2016 21,613 2017 18,054 2018 13,070 The newest addition to the schedule is the $1,000 Mini Main Event. Featuring the same starting stack as the $10,000 Main Event, the tournament will use the same blinds structure but with 30-minute levels. The Mini Main Event is slated to be a two-day long event leading directly into the Main Event. "Things are starting to come together on the rest of the 2019 WSOP playing schedule," said WSOP Vice President Jack Effel. "Being this is our 50th running, we are doing everything we can to make this year’s iteration bigger, better and more valuable for players." Other staple events that are now officially on the 2019 schedule are the Casino Employees event, the Ladies Event, the Seniors Event and the $1,000 version of the Tag Team event. DATE EVENT BUY-IN CHIPS LEVELS RE-ENTRY TIME 5/29 Casino Employees $500 25,000 40 minutes 1 11 a.m. 6/4 Super Turbo Bounty $1,000 20,000 20 minutes None 10 a.m. 6/9 Double Stack $1,000 40,000 30/40 minutes 1 11 a.m. 6/10 Marathon $2,620 26,200 100 minutes None 12 p.m. 6/17 Super Seniors 60+ $1,000 20,000 60 minutes 1 10 a.m. 6/20 Ladies $10,000/$1,000 20,000 60 minutes 1 11 a.m. 6/24 Super Turbo Bounty $1,500 25,000 20 minutes None 10 a.m. 6/24 Tag Team (2-4 person teams) $1,000/Team 20,000 60 minutes None 12 p.m. 6/26 Colossus - Flight A $400 40,000 40 minutes 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/27 Colossus - Flight B " " " " 10 a.m. 7/1 Mini Main Event $1,000 60,000 30 minutes None 11 a.m. 7/6 Little One for One Drop - Flight A $1,000+$111 40,000 60 minutes Unlimited 11 a.m. 7/7 Little One for One Drop - Flight B " " " " 11 a.m. 7 8 Little One for One Drop - Flight C " " " " 11 a.m. 7/11 Double Stack $1,500 50,000 30/40 minutes Unlimited 11 a.m. 7/12 The Closer - Flight A $1,500 25,000 30 minutes Unlimited 11 a.m. 7/13 The Closer - Flight B " " " " 11 a.m. 714 The Closer - Flight C " " " " 11 a.m.
  19. The 2019 edition of the World Series of Poker Colossus event has a bunch of changes when compared to the 2018 version of the event. In fact, almost everything other than the event's name has been changed for this year's WSOP, but players should very much enjoy the alterations that have been made, especially to the structure. Colossal Changes in 2019 Right off the bat, you'll notice the 2019 Colossus has a lot more starting chips than the 2018 version did. In 2019, players will get 40,000 in chips to start, whereas 2018 saw competitors begin with 5,000. In 2018, levels on the Day 1s were 30 minutes long before they were increased to 60 minutes for Day 2 and later. In 2019, levels are 40 minutes throughout, so they're 10 minutes longer on the Day 1s but 20 minutes shorter on the later days. For a $400 tournament, though, you can't really argue with 40-minute levels. Speaking of the buy-in, that's also changed for 2019. Previously a $565 buy-in event, the 2019 edition of this tournament has a price point of $400. The rake has increased by quite a bit, though. In 2018, $65 of the $565 buy-in was taken for entry fees ($50) and tournament dealers and Staff ($15). That same $65 applies for 2019, but coming out of a $400 buy-in is a much larger rake percentage. The 2018 rake was 11.5% of the buy-in, whereas in 2019 it's 16.25%. The event's starting date has shifted from the beginning of the WSOP to the back half. In 2018, the WSOP Colossus had six starting flights and players could re-enter once per flight. In 2019, there are just two starting flights and players can re-enter once per flight. Registration in 2018 lasted eight levels, but in 2019 it's been increased to 12 levels. Now, let's get a little deeper into the nitty-gritty of the structure. 2019 WSOP Colossus Structure Buy-In: $400 Starting Chips: 40,000 Level Duration: 40 minutes Late Registration Period: 12 levels Re-Entry: None Click here for structure sheet DATE EVENT DAY START TIME (PT) DAY LENGTH 6/26 Day 1a 10 a.m. 16 levels 6/27 Day 1b 10 a.m. 16 levels 6/28 Day 2 11 a.m. 15 levels 6/29 Day 3 11 a.m. To winner *Per WSOP structure sheet: In the event that the final table of this event gets selected for live streaming, management reserves rights to adjust the schedule as needed to accommodate. The 2019 WSOP Colossus will use a big blind ante format. On the table below, "BB depth" represents how many big blinds are in the starting stack if a player was to buy in during that level."M" represents a player's M ratio in regards to the starting stack. M can be calculated by dividing the starting stack by the sum of the small blind, big blind, and antes for a given round. Although M is a term that can get laughed at when it's brought up, using it provides a simple and informative comparative metric when looking at structure sheets. Also on the table below, levels during the registration period are shown, plus one additional level that you'd start playing if you registered right before registration closed. LEVEL ANTE BLINDS BB DEPTH M 1 - 100-100 400 200 2 - 100-200 200 133.33 3 200 100-200 200 80 4 300 100-300 133.33 57.14 5 400 200-400 100 40 6 500 300-500 80 30.80 7 600 300-600 66.67 26.67 8 800 400-800 50 20 9 1,000 500-1,000 40 16 10 1,200 600-1,200 33.33 13.33 11 1,600 800-1,600 25 10 12 2,000 1,000-2,000 20 8 13 2,500 1,000-2,500 16 6.67 Drawing from the table above, you can see that if you enter or re-enter right at the close of registration and head into Level 13 with a fresh 40,000-chip starting stack, you'll have 16 big blinds and an M of 6.67 to work with. That's a big improvement from the 8.33 big blinds and M of 2.78 you had in 2018 if you got in right when registration closed, but let's do a year-by-year comparison to really see if more value was added or not. The next table shows this comparison. Again, the starting stack for the 2018 WSOP Colossus was 5,000 and it's been upped to 40,000 for 2019. That's eight times more chips right from the jump. It's not just about the number of chips you start the tournament with, though. It's about the structure you play with those chips. We already pointed out how much more play you'll have with a fresh stack at the close of registration this year versus last year, so let's look at all of the early levels. For "ante," we took the standard ante from the 2018 structure and multiplied it by nine to show the cost of a full round of antes at a standard nine-handed table. This was done to align the comparisons better. 2018 Structure Compared To 2019 Structure LEVEL YEAR ANTE BLINDS BB DEPTH M 1 2018 0 25-50 100 66.67 2019 0 100-100 400 200 - - 2 2018 0 50-100 50 33.33 2019 0 100-200 200 133.33 - - 3 2018 0 75-150 33.33 22.22 2019 200 100-200 200 80 - - 4 2018 225 75-150 33.33 11.11 2019 300 100-300 133.33 57.14 - - 5 2018 225 100-200 25 9.52 2019 400 200-400 100 40 - - 6 2018 450 150-300 16.67 5.56 2019 500 300-500 80 30.80 - - 7 2018 450 200-400 12.5 4.76 2019 600 300-600 66.67 26.67 - - 8 2018 675 250-500 10 4.26 2019 800 400-800 50 20 - - 9 2018 900 300-600 8.33 2.78 2019 1,000 500-1,000 40 16 - - 10 2018 Reg. Closed 2019 1,200 600-1,200 33.33 13.33 - - 11 2018 Reg. Closed 2019 1,600 800-1,600 25 10 - - 12 2018 Reg. Closed 2019 2,000 1,000-2,000 20 8 - - 13 2018 Reg. Closed 2019 2,500 1,000-2,500 16 6.67 As previously mentioned, registration lasted through eight levels in 2018. In 2019, it's been upped to 12 levels. For comparison purposes, we'll refer to the first nine levels as the "overlapping registration periods." Furthermore, although you could not enter the WSOP Colossus in Level 9 in 2018, you could still do so in the break right before it, giving you a fresh stack of 5,000 in chips to begin Level 9. The same then applies for 2019 and Level 13, when you'd start with 40,000 in chips. Looking at the comparison table between 2018 and 2019, we can see that at any point during the overlapping registration periods, the 2019 structure gives you a colossal amount of more play than you had the year before. Players beginning the 2019 WSOP Colossus are greeted with a starting stack that is a whopping 300 big blinds deeper than what was received in 2018. The added depth is carried throughout the overlapping registration periods to provide much more play. A player's M ratio is also much better throughout, giving players more flexibility within his or her stack size. In fact, even though players can register four levels later in the structure in 2019 when compared to 2018, entering at the very last moment in the registration period still yields a deeper starting stack. In 2018, if you entered right at the close of registration, you'd start Level 9 with 5,000 in chips and the blinds at 300-600 with a 100 ante. That's a starting stack depth of 8.33 big blinds and an M of 2.78. That's just not much value at all. In 2019, if you enter right at the close of registration, you'll start Level 13 with 40,000 in chips and the blinds at 1,000-2,500 with a 2,500 big blind ante. That's a starting stack depth of 16 big blinds, which is just about double when registration closed in 2018. You'll also have an M of 6.67, which is more than double the M at the close of registration in 2018. What Happens in the Later Stages? The later stages of the 2019 WSOP Colossus look good from a structure standpoint. Of course, there are a few mismatches here and there due to the big blind ante format, but overall, all of the levels played in 2018 are there in 2019 so players don't have to worry about the structure skipping levels late. The one big difference will be what we already brought up, which is that the levels in the later stages are 20 minutes shorter than in 2018. That said, the tradeoff isn't bad given the deeper structure. How Deep Might the Final Table Be? Last year, the 2018 WSOP Colossus reached the final table with an average stack of 36.31 big blinds and an average M of 12.74. The blind level was 100,000-200,000 with a 30,000 ante. If the final table were to be reached at the same level in 2019 (100,000-200,000 with a 200,000 big blind ante) with the same field size of 13,070 entries, the average stack would be 290 big blinds and the average M would be 116.18. But, the 2018 WSOP Colossus had six starting flights. In 2019, there are only two starting flights. In 2018, the event averaged 2,178 entries across the six starting flights. Applying that average to 2019's two starting flights gives you a projected field size of 4,356. If that's the case, the average stack of the final table at the same level as 2018 would be 96.81 big blinds and an M of 38.73. That's still much better than in 2018. At the end of the day, the verdict is that, yes, more value has been added to the WSOP Colossus in 2019. Want to know more? Check out 'Everything You Need To Know About the 2019 WSOP.'
  20. For the last week, the poker world has been buzzing and the hallways at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino have been jam-packed all thanks to the $500 Big 50 event at the World Series of Poker. While big crowds and plenty of hype are nothing new for the opening week of the WSOP, the Big 50 was unprecedented in many ways. Largest All-Time Live Poker Tournament The 28,371-player field made the Big 50 the largest live tournament in poker history. The previous title holder in that category, The Colossus in 2015, which had a $565 buy-in and allowed players to enter each of the four starting flights once, drew 22,374 players, many of whom checked 'Play a WSOP event' off of their bucket list. The Big 50 is a staggering 26.8% bigger than the Colossus ever was. The Big 50 is now the big dog, but Colossus events hold down the next three spots on the all-time largest live poker tournament list. The 2011 Legends of Poker $1M Guaranteed, which had just a $150 buy-in and allowed for unlimited re-entries through 20 starting flights over 10 days, sits in the fifth spot with a 13,178-player field. Last year's Colossus is the sixth largest field of all time with 13,070. Year Event Players 2019 WSOP: The Big 50 28,474 2015 WSOP: $565 The Colossus No Limit Hold'em 22,374 2016 WSOP: $565 Colossus II No Limit Hold'em 21,613 2017 WSOP: $565 The Colossus III No Limit Hold'em 18,054 2011 $150 Legends of Poker $1M Guaranteed 13,178 2018 WSOP: $565 Colossus No Limit Hold'em 13,070 2012 $150 Winnin' o' the Green 11,704 2013 $150 Winnin' o' the Green Mega Millions 11,608 2012 $150 Mega Millions V 11,146 2014 $160 Mega Millions X 10,939 Just 13 events have ever had a field of 10,000 players or more. Six of them are WSOP events and the other seven are all from the Bicycle Casino events with upwards of 20 starting flights. Uniques vs. Re-entry Players were allowed to enter each of the four Big 50 flights once. There were 17,970 unique entries in the Big 50. Had that been its own event, it would have been the fifth-largest field of all-time just behind Colossus III. There were 10,401 re-entries in the Big 50, making up 36.2% of the total field. The number could have been much bigger had WSOP officials been better prepared for the massive Day 1A turnout. Just 990 players (15.4%) managed to navigate the long lines and waits to re-enter. The three days that followed say 2,188 (1B - 36.6%) 3,322 (1C - 46.3%), 3955 (1D - 43.4%) re-entries as WSOP officials improved the registration process. For comparison's sake, Colossus I had 6,987 re-entries to make up 31.2% of the field. Similar to the Big 50 re-entry rules, players could enter each flight one time. The only difference was there were six flights compared to four for the Big 50. Colossus II and Colossus III both saw an uptick in the % of the field that was re-entry. Colossus II had 9,900 players re-enter (45.8%) while Colossus III had 8,980 (49.7%). This can largely be attributed to an increase in the number of starting flights. Colossus I had just four, while II and III each had six. Flight-by-Flight Success of the Big 50 Flight 1D of the Big 50 was so huge that had it been its own event, it would have been the 14th largest tournament ever. The 9,121 players that packed the Rio and made for long lines on the final opening day actually outdrew the PokerStars Sunday Million this week. PokerStars' flagship event had just 8,984 runners. For events that have multiple starting days, Big 50 flights occupy the top two and four of the top five starting flights ever. The only other event in the top five is Flight C from the 2015 $565 Colossus. Year Event (Flight) Players 2019 $500 Big 50 (D) 9,121 2019 $500 Big 50 (C) 7,183 2015 $565 Colossus (C) 6,283 2019 $500 Big 50 (A) 6,095 2019 $500 Big 50 (B) 5,972 Even Day 2 Was Huge From the 28,371 players in the Big 50, 6,455 advanced to their respective Day 2. Had the combined Day 2 restarts been its own tournament, it would fall right between the 2009 and 2015 WSOP Main Event as the 37th largest tournament ever.
  21. Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier won his second career World Series of Poker gold bracelet on Monday, taking top honors in the 2019 WSOP Europe €550 Colossus. Grospellier topped a field of 2,738 entries to win €190,375 and with it came the close of WSOP Europe. The win gave Grospellier his second career gold bracelet. His first came in 2011 when he won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud event for $331,639. €550 Colossus Final Table Results 1st: Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier - €190,375 2nd: Avraham Dayan - €117,630 3rd: Marian Kubis - €86,172 4th: Mick Heder - €63,670 5th: Dieter Becker - €47,452 6th: Christoph Peper - €35,674 7th: Sergii Karpov - €27,057 8th: Alessandro Pezzoli - €20,703 9th: Francesco Candelari - €15,984 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Grospellier entered the final day of play in sixth place on the leaderboard with 11 players left. Among the group was Shaun Deeb, who needed to finish fifth or better to win the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year award. Deeb was ahead of Grospellier in chips to start, but he slid early and it led to a big clash between the two. On the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="Td"] board, Deeb and Grospellier got the money in. Deeb had the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9d"] for two pair and Grospellier had the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="8d"] for a flopped straight. The river was the [poker card="Ah"] and it was the end of the road for Deeb, who busted in 11th place. With Deeb’s bust, Daniel Negreanu was crowned the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. That hand helped Grospellier enter the final table of nine in third chip position, and then he watched as Avraham Dayan knocked out Francesco Candelari in ninth place and Alessandro Pezzoli in eighth. Next to go was Sergii Karpov in seventh place, after he busted to Marian Kubis, and then Mick Heder knocked out Christoph Peper in sixth. While the first bust outs of the final table were happening, Grospellier was getting shorter. He eventually found a double up against Dieter Becker, then he boosted his stack even more against Dayan during the same blind level. After the blinds ticked up, Grospellier clashed with Becker for what was a very pivotal hand. Becker had open-shoved with the [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Jc"] and ran into Grospellier’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"]. Grospellier’s hand held and Becker was left with only a handful of chips. He was eliminated shortly thereafter in fifth place. With the wind at his sails, Grospellier took his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8h"] up against the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="9s"] of Heder in preflop all-in action. Grospellier flopped an eight and held from there to send Heder to the rail in fourth. Grospellier then busted Kubis in third place to set up the heads-up battle with Dayan. Entering heads-up play, Grospellier had 42 million to Dayan’s 25.85 million. Dayan won the first pot, but it didn’t take long for Grospellier to extend his lead. Eventually, the money went in with Grospellier holding pocket tens to Dayan’s dominated [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Tc"]. No help came for Dayan and he was gone in second place.

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