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Found 26 results

  1. History was made over the weekend in San Remo, Italy, as Victoria Coren-Mitchell (pictured), a member of Team PokerStars Pro, became the first two-time European Poker Tour champion. Her reward was €476,100. Coren-Mitchell, who calls the United Kingdom home, formerly won the 16th EPT Main Event, which took place in London in 2006. This weekend, she took down the 98th EPT Main Event, which had a field of 556 players, after entering the final table as the short stack. Coren-Mitchell told EPT officials following her historic win, "I'm a natural pessimist. I never expect to win. My policy has always been to be happy with a profit and, most importantly, to enjoy myself. It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm incredibly grateful that so many people have gotten behind this." Coren was the first woman ever to win an EPT Main Event when she did so eight years ago. According to the Hendon Mob, Coren-Mitchell now has $2.4 million in lifetime live tournament cashes and is #9 on the ladies all-time money list. She is already #31 on this year's money list and has four six-figure scores to her credit in total. Heads-up play between Giacomo Fundaroand Coren-Mitchell lasted a brief 15 minutes. EPT President Edgar Stuchley said of the historic win, "The first two-time EPT champion is a huge milestone in the history of the tour and we are also very excited and proud that the challenge was won by a member of Team PokerStars Pro." Here's how the final eight cashed out in the EPT San Remo Main Event: 1. Victoria Coren-Mitchell: €476,100 2. Giacomo Fundaro: €298,700 3. Jordan JWPRODIGY Westmorland: €213,850 4. Andrea Benelli: €166,700 5. Andreas Goeller: €130,750 6. Bruno Stefanelli: €102,700 7. Andrija Martic: €76,650 8. Emmanuel Pariset: €53,100 We also wanted to single out Westmorland (pictured), who finished in third place for €213,000 in San Remo. Westmorland is just a few hundred dollars away from a $2 million cash badge here on PocketFives and won the PokerStars Super Tuesday in the middle of last year for $117,000. EPT San Remo was his first six-figure live score and Coren-Mitchell bucked him from the tournament in third place. The 10th season of the EPT wraps up starting this week in Monaco for the EPT Grand Final. Congrats to Coren-Mitchell on her record-breaking performance in Italy. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. For the uninitiated, multi-entry tournaments are exactly what they sound like: tournaments players can enter more than once. Typically, live tourneys that use a multi-entry format allow players who bust out of one starting flight to try again in a subsequent starting flight. So, get knocked out on Day 1A and you can try again on Day 1B, 1C, etc., for the price of another buy-in. Once in a while, at the Bellagio, for instance, you see unlimited re-entries allowed in the same day up until some deadline, often the end of the late registration period. Re-entry tournaments have been a source of controversy in the poker world, as many players of limited bankrolls don't like the idea that deep-pocketed players have an unnecessary, and perhaps unfair, advantage. In an unlimited re-entry tournament in particular, the richest players can just gamble it up, hoping to hit a huge hand without really worrying about busting out. For his part, despite his ability to buy the finest silks and furs, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) commented in a recent blog postthat he does not prefer multi-entry tournaments, saying, "I would rather play 'good poker' from the outset rather than gamble recklessly to increase my chances of winning the tournament." Negreanu specifically focused on the WPT. He said, though, that if multi-entry were allowed, he'd take full advantage of it in order to give himself the best chance to win. To him, winning is more important than making money at this point in his career. He sees the increase in multi-entry tournaments as simply a business decision by casinos and tournament organizers. The casinos need the tournament to make financial sense, so allowing people to re-enter and therefore pay another fee to the house increases the casino's revenue. On the WPT's end, it needs to convince a casino to host a tournament, so being okay with multi-entry might be the way to cement a deal. Negreanu, being an anti-multi-entry guy, totally understands why many players dislike these kinds of events. "A lot of players express concern that unlimited re-entry tournaments are bad for the game, discourage amateur players, and bleed player bankroll," he said in his blog. At the same time, he sees them as a potential positive for someone who travels from far away because it gives them the opportunity to play more poker if they bust out quickly. It is certainly no fun to travel for a full day, get knocked out within an hour, and then go home. Negreanu saw what the European Poker Tour does as a solution to make everyone happy, while at the same time getting rid of multi-entry tournaments. As he explained, "They create a festival after the Main Event begins. For ages, tournaments in the US would run two to four weeks of prelims, then have a week long Main Event. Bust the Main Event, and there is nothing left to play. You could play cash games, but as mentioned, that isn't happening. Negreanu concluded, "That setup makes it good for the players, as they will get to enjoy regular freezeout tourneys plus have more opportunities to play if they bust out, good for the venue, as it keeps people shelling out money to play, and good for the organizers, as it makes it easier to market the tour to potential casino hosts." Negreanu added that while many of his readers may hate multi-entry tournaments, they should look at the bright side and think of them as an opportunity to take some chips off of someone donking it up in a tournament with an inflated prize pool. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. A few days before Christmas, Santa visited Lee BWFCLEETaylor (pictured) in a big way. As part of Double Vision Sunday, Taylor was part of a four-way chop of the PokerStars Sunday Million and earned $84,000, officially taking second place. As a result, he has leapt over $1.6 million in career online tournament winnings. "Four-handed, the chip counts were 16 million, 15 million, 9 million, and me with 8 million," BWFCLEE said of the chop. "One of the big stacks suggested seeing the numbers and we all agreed. ICM came out to be $100K/$100K/$88K/$84K, while a chip-chop came out to $100K+/$100K+/$83K/$80K. The other shorter stack and I said we would do ICM only and the two big stacks agreed. It seemed like a good deal for me." As far as his plans for the cash, he said bolstering his bankroll is his primary goal right now. He told us, "I have started to play EPTs on a more regular basis, so I might tackle the Malta leg if I am feeling it at that time." EPT Malta is scheduled for March, so he has a while to decide. This isn't his first rodeo near the top of the Sunday Million leaderboard. Five years ago, the Brit finished fourth in the tournament for $78,000. "I tend to have two types of years," Taylor admitted. "Either lots of medium-type scores and steadily increasing profit over the year or a year where there is one bigger score and breakeven play for the rest. 2010 was that kind of year, as were 2012 and 2014." Getting back to EPTs for a minute, Taylor said big live tournaments "excite" him. Consequently, "When I am excited, I am more motivated and play better. Plus, I love playing against the very best players. I played one in 2011 in Copenhagen, but that was destroyed by nerve pain in my tooth, which culminated in emergency dental work out there." Ouch. Not a good way to start a tournament. Outside of dental hell, Taylor has attended EPTs in Barcelona, London, and Prague. He recalled, "In Barcelona, I played well on Day 1, but took a bad beat in a big pot and ended up with an average stack for Day 2. Then, Day 2 was a disaster. In London, I grinded through a traumatic Day 1 on fumes and busted early on Day 2. Prague was a lot better. I had tough tables, but made it through to the end of Day 3 where I busted with a play I wasn't overly happy about." Taylor is an IT Consultant by trade, but takes on very few jobs so he can concentrate on poker. He is also interested in history and politics and is in the process of getting a history degree, although he may switch to political science. He got started in poker after a friend went to work in Florida. When he returned, he was gabbing all about poker. At the time, Taylor had an account at Betfairand would make small bets on football, but decided to give poker a whirl. He said, "It involved numbers and understanding people, things I felt I was good at. I dived straight into what I now realize were relatively high-stakes sit and gos. While not completely out of my depth, I was down £10,000 by 2007." His poker career was turbulent from the get-go, as he noted, but he began to dabble in MTTs in March 2007. "I gave myself a target of winning £10,000 in April 2007," Taylor said of the rather lofty goal. "If that didn't happen, I was giving up on poker. I won £12k and it now had my attention. I continued to make progress and win more throughout 2007 and 2008." In January 2009, he left his job as an IT Project Manager with the intention of getting another gig in the same role. However, he ended up playing poker full-time to recharge his batteries. On just his third day of doing so, Taylor won the Big $55 for almost $40,000. As he recalled, "After that, there was no going back. I am still playing full-time or close to full-time now." He is the #2 ranked player in Bristol in the UK and #496 in the world, 96 spots off his all-time high set in 2013. Congrats to Taylor on his monumental score! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. Over the weekend, Mustapha Kanit (pictured, image courtesy EPT), who is known on PocketFives as lasagnaaammm, won the EPT Grand Final €50K Super High Roller, a one-day event, and banked €936,500. The Italian barreled through a 54-man field, which had 12 reentries and a prize pool of €3.2 million. Nine players made the money, including several brand name PocketFives members like former #1 ranked Fedor CrownUpGuyHolz, who can currently be found at #6 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings. Three of the top five finishers were from Germany: 1. Mustapha lasagnaaammmKanit (Italy): €936,500 2. Mike SirWatts Watson (Canada): €672,300 3. Martin Finger (Germany): €437,000 4. Fedor CrownUpGuyHolz (Germany): €329,800 5. Fabian Quoss (Germany): €256,100 6. Andrei Streltsou (Belarus): €198,500 7. Mark Teltscher (UK): €156,900 8. Ivan Luca (Argentina): €121,700 9. Scott Seiver (USA): €92,860 The entire Super High Roller took 13 hours to finish and Kanit edged out fellow PocketFiver Mike SirWattsWatson (pictured). He now has about $4 million in live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob. Kanit made a pair of final tables at last year's WSOP in Las Vegas and bubbled a third, just a few months after final tabling the 2014 PCA Super High Roller for $492,000. PocketFives has tracked another $2.8 million in online MTT winnings for Kanit, including an FTOPS Main Event title in March for $239,000. He has multiple WCOOP final tables to his credit, along with WCOOP, SCOOP, and FTOPS titles. He gleefully Tweeted when all was said and done, "Wonn the super HR montecarlo Like a boss!!! Sballiatoooooo!!!" Congrats to Kanit on his big EPT title! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. Here's something you don't see every day. Poland's Dzmitry Urbanovich (pictured, image courtesy EPT) became the first person ever to win four events at a single European Poker Tour festival. Four! It all went down at EPT Malta, where he won a €200 Crazy Pineapple event to secure his fourth title. He also won the series' €25,000 High Roller and, the same night as that title, bought into a €500 Midnight Turbo and lasted all the way until eighth place. He went on to win a €1,000 Deep-Stack Turbo Big Ante tournament as well as the EPT Malta €5,000 Rebuy. Here's how he has ransacked the competition at EPT Malta, according to the Hendon Mob: March 26: €200 Crazy Pineapple 1st place for €3,260 March 25: €1,100 EPT Limit Stud Championships 2nd place for €6,680 March 23: €5,200 No Limit Hold'em Turbo 1st place for €110,000 March 22: €1,100 No Limit Holdem Deep-Stack Turbo Big Ante 1st place for €35,200 March 20: €550 No Limit Hold'em Midnight Hyper-Turbo 8th place for €2,405 March 18: €25,500 No Limit Hold'em EPT High Roller 1st place for €572,300 The PokerStarsBlog added that his run at EPT Malta is not his first taste of victory; in fact, it's far from it: "The man known online as colisea, who has won SCOOP and WCOOP titles already on PokerStars and chopped the Sunday 500 eight days ago, is transferring online dominance to the live arena in the most emphatic style." Talk about a productive week. Prior to his recent run at EPT Malta, Urbanovich's largest live score was $37,000. Now, he is the #1 player in terms of the number of live cashes this year, according to the Hendon Mob, and is #20 on the 2015 worldwide money list. Urbanovich has already ascended to #4 on the money list for his native Poland. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. The EPT Barcelona Main Eventwrapped up on Sunday with poker pro John Juanda claiming the €1 million first place prize. The Main Event in Barcelona gained the title of the largest EPT Main Event ever held at 1,694 players, eclipsing the Season 7 PCA Main Event, which drew 1,560. --- 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. --- EPT President Edgar Stuchly commented in a press release, "It hardly seems any time since we were celebrating the record-breaking EPT100 here in Barcelona, but the turnout this season has surpassed all possible expectations. We offer a huge thank you to all 5,738 players who came here for this amazing festival, making it not only the biggest EPT ever held, but one of the biggest poker festivals in the world." Juanda defeated the UK's Steve Warburton heads-up and 247 players out of the 1,694 made the money. Here's how the final table looked: 1. John Juanda - €1,022,593 2. Steve Warburton - €941,613 3. Frederik Jensen - €810,294 4. Denys Shafikov - €405,100 5. Rainer Kempe - €320,400 6. Andreas Samuelsson - €253,900 7. Amir Touma - €194,100 8. Mario Sanchez - €137,080 As you'll notice from the payouts, there was a deal made three-handed that involved Juanda, Warburton, and Jensen, the latter of whom won the EPT Madrid Season 8 Main Event. Last year, 1,496 players turned out for the EPT Barcelona Main Event and Germany's Andre Lettau took it down for €794. Here's how the event has looked attendance-wise over the years: Season 1: 229 players Season 2: 327 players Season 3: 480 players Season 4: 543 players Season 5: 619 players Season 6: 479 players Season 7: 758 players Season 8: 811 players Season 9: 1,082 players Season 10: 1,234 players Season 11: 1,496 players Season 12: 1,694 players Juanda came into this year's EPT Main Event with over $16 million in live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, good for #10 on poker's all-time money list. He has two previous seven-figure scores all-time: $1.5 million for winning the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event and $1.6 million for taking fifth in the 2012 2012 Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  7. Four stops remain on Season 12 of the PokerStars-backed European Poker Tour. According to a press release PocketFives received on Tuesday, the buy-in of the EPT Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo will be reduced from €10,600 to €5,300, or 50%. PokerStars’ Director of Live Events Edgar Stuchly commented in the release, "We're making these changes to bring the Grand Final more in line with other stops such as Prague and Barcelona, which have created record-breaking fields over the last couple of years, by giving a large percentage of players what they've been asking for - the opportunity to play more tournaments within their bankroll, while also making the Main Event more accessible to a wider number of players around the world." He added, "The Grand Final schedule will continue to have a wide range of buy-ins, all the way up to the incredible €100,000 Super High Roller." The EPT Grand Final Main Event will take place from April 30 to May 6 in Monaco. Here are some of the highlights: FPS Main Event (April 27-May 1, 2016) - €1,000 + €100 Super High Roller (April 28 - 30, 2016) - €98,000 + €2,000 FPS High Roller (April 29-30, 2016) - €2,000 + €200 EPT Main Event (April 30-May 6, 2016) - €5,000 + €300 Single Day Super High Roller (May 1, 2016) - €49,000 + €1,000 EPT High Roller (May 4-6, 2016) - €25,000 + €750 The attendance of the EPT Grand Final reached an all-time high of 935 entries during Season 5, which ended in 2009. It dropped off to 531 within four years before rebounding slightly: Season 11: 564 entries Season 10: 650 entries Season 9: 531 entries Season 8: 665 entries Season 7: 686 entries Season 6: 848 entries Season 5: 935 entries Season 4: 842 entries Season 3: 706 entries Season 2: 298 entries Season 1: 211 entries Adrian Mateos won the 2015 EPT Grand Final Main Event for a little over €1 million. He's #2 on the all-time money list for Spain, according to the Hendon Mob. As PocketFives reported in August, the buy-in of the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event will be similarly cut from $10,000 to $5,300, which should help boost attendance in the Bahamas as well. Attendance at the PCA Main Event has been steadily declining since its high four years ago: 2015: 816 entries 2014: 1,031 entries 2013: 987 entries 2012: 1,072 entries 2011: 1,560 entries 2010: 1,529 entries 2009: 1,347 entries 2008: 1,136 entries 2007: 937 entries 2006: 724 entries 2005: 461 entries 2004: 211 entries Visit PokerStars for more details on the EPT Grand Final. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. When thousands of poker players from all over the globe converge on a relatively small casino, there are bound to be problems. That was certainly the case at the Barcelona stop of the European Poker Tour (EPT) earlier this week when a ruling at a nosebleed table left players fuming. --- 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. --- Poker Pro Danny ansky451 Stern (pictured) was sitting at a €100/€200 PLO game when the following hand went down, according to a post on 2+2: Two players limp in EP, I make it 1100 with KhKcJd9d in MP, Juha Helppi calls in the CO, Bullitos calls after him in the SB, and an older Spanish guy pots it to 5900 from the BB… Limpers fold, I call, Juha calls and Bullitos does as well. The pot is roughly 24k. The flop is Ks9s7x. Bullitos checks, BB shoves for slightly over 10k, I jam for around 40k, Juha folds, and Bullitos calls all-in for around 4k-5k. At this point, the active players asked the dealer to stop while they discussed running the board twice. Stern was adamant that he made it very clear they would run it twice for the entire pot and that everyone was in agreement. He repeated himself several times because he wanted to be very sure that everyone understood what was happening. The first board ran out Ks-9s-7x-As-4x, while the second came Ks-9s-7x-7x-6x. When all was said and done, Stern believed he should've been chopping the side pot and the main pot with the local Spanish player for around €18,000 each. But, the local player claimed the casino had a rule which states that running it twice is only allowed in heads-up pots; therefore, only he should claim the main pot and only have to chop the side pot. The table erupted with players screaming in English and Spanish until the floor manager was called. He ruled that because everyone at the table agreed to run it twice, the decision was valid for the entire pot. Just when Stern thought he would be receiving his share, a higher level poker room employee was called and overturned the ruling, deciding in favor of the Spanish player, whom the table claimed was blatantly lying about the agreement to run it twice. In the 2+2 thread, some thought that card room employees were somehow in on the scam, helping the local player to exploit an obscure ruling. But as others pointed out, in a large tournament such as the EPT, casinos are often forced to bring in dealers from other locations or ones who might have less experience. While the dealer in question should have known he wasn't allowed to run it twice in that situation, he might not have been completely clear on the rules for that card room. Other EPT players chimed in, noting that the dealers were not enforcing the rules to the letter during cash games at the event, sometimes allowing a play while other times prohibiting it. While the dealer and the first floor manager seemed to side with Stern, when the issue was escalated, the higher level employee had to refer back to the original written rule. "Once management does get involved, they will rule to the letter of the rules and often be forced to ignore the intent of the rule if a situation is not standard because they need to back up their ruling in the event it is taken to a higher authority," explained *TT*. "Is this wrong? Was Ansky angle shot? Yes... but it also helps to have an understanding why the ruling occurred the way it did even though I agree it's unfair." What do you think? Comment below and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. [caption width="640"] The European Poker Tour announced dates for its Season 13 stops in Barcelona, Malta, and Prague (photo: PokerStars)[/caption] The 12th season of the European Poker Tour is wrapping up this week in Monaco with the conclusion of the series' Main Event and EPT High Roller on Friday. But there's no rest for the weary, as EPT officials announced dates for the first three stops of Season 13. "Season 12 has been yet another record-breaker for the EPT with our biggest schedules ever and a record-breaking number of players," EPT President Edgar Stuchly said. "EPT Barcelona is always an astonishing festival and so we're really looking forward to heading back to Spain in August after our traditional summer break." EPT Barcelona is the first stop of the new season. The roving tournament series heads to the Spanish seaside city from August 16 to 28. Last year in Barcelona, longtime poker pro John Juanda took down the biggest EPT Main Event ever held for €1,022,593. All he had to do was outlast a mammoth 1,694-player field. All told, EPT Barcelona had 71 tournaments last year and a total prize pool that nearly hit €40 million. This time around, highlights include a €5,300 EPT Main Event, €1,100 Estrellas Main Event, €10,000 High Roller, €50,000 Super High Roller, and €25,000 High Roller. The latter event had over 100 entries last time it was held in Barcelona. Players who want to satellite into the €5,300 EPT Barcelona Main Event or €1,100 Estrellas Barcelona Main Event, can qualify on PokerStars beginning May 8. Two months after Barcelona ends, the EPT will head to Malta's Portomaso Casino from October 18 to 29. Niall 'firaldo' Farrell won the last EPT Malta Main Event held, barreling through a 651-entrant field for €534,330. October's stop will mark the third straight year the event has been held in Malta. Here are some of the highlights of EPT Malta: October 18, 2016 (3-day): NL Hold'em - €10,000 + €300 October 19, 2016 (5-day): IPT Main Event - €1,000 + €100 October 21, 2016 (3-day): €25K High Roller - €25,000 + €750 October 22, 2016 (2-day): IPT High Roller - €2,000 + €200 October 23, 2016 (7-day): EPT Main Event - €5,000 + €300 October 24, 2016 (1-day): NL Holdem - €10,000 + €200 October 27, 2016 (3-day): EPT High Roller - €10,000 + €300 And the tour moves to Prague just before the 2016 calendar year comes to a close. EPT Prague is scheduled for December 7 to 18 from the Hilton Prague. Last season's EPT Prague series was enormous and sported almost 100 events. According to PokerStars, over 3,400 players competed in the Season 12 EPT Prague festival with nearly 16,000 separate tournament entries and more than €24.5 million in prize money. Here are some of the highlights of EPT Prague: December 7, 2016 (3-day): NL Hold'em - €10,000 + €300 December 8, 2016 (5-day): Eureka Main Event - €1,000 + €100 December 10, 2016 (3-day): Super High Roller - €48,500 + €1,500 December 11, 2016 (2-day): Eureka High Roller - €2,000 + €200 December 12, 2016 (7-day): EPT Main Event - €5,000 + €300 December 13, 2016 (1-day): NL Holdem - €25,000 + €500 December 16, 2016 (3-day): EPT High Roller - €10,000 + €300
  10. [caption width="639"] Brazilian football legend Ronaldo Luis Nazario busted on Day 1 of the EPT Grand Final Main Event, but finished sixth in a charity event (photo: PokerStars)[/caption] Emerson called him "number one in everything." Alessandro Nesta called him "the hardest attacker I've ever had to face." Coach Bobby Robson said he was "the fastest thing I've ever seen running with the ball." Now, he wants to be called the next world champion of poker. Ronaldo Luis Nazario, more commonly known as just Ronaldo, was one of hundreds of poker pros, newbies, and celebs on-hand in Monaco for the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo Casino EPT Grand Final. His mission: win the Main Event and, failing that, leave an impression on the poker community. "I have a long relationship with PokerStars," Ronaldo said. "It has been three years with them now. I have a few tournaments a year I get to play in, and this one especially, I ask to go to. This place is amazing. It's incredible to play in. It's always difficult when you come to such a great event and play with professional players. It's tough." Brazil is almost 9,000 kilometers from Monaco, requiring a handful of flights or a really exhausting swim. Ronaldo is making the most of his time in the "Old World" no matter what happens poker-wise. "I was planning to do a lot of travels and we organized it to be able to come here because it's fun," the Brazilian said. "Next week, we're in Barcelona." Football (both types for you American readers) requires physical stamina, a high degree of grit, and a competitive spirit unlike any other. Poker is more of a mental game whose most successful players are highly competitive. "I really don't play football anymore, even with friends, but when I play poker, I'm very competitive," Ronaldo said. "Yesterday, I played in Day 1 of the Main Event and lost in the first hour. I was so sad because I had so many high expectations about playing the tournament. Last year, I went to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas and finished 26th in the Main Event out of 900 players. It was amazing. Now, every time I play, I want to go far. I want to win." For Ronaldo, busting the €5,300 buy-in EPT Grand Final Main Event didn't mean he was fleeing the principality in a shroud of disappointment. Instead, he entered a €150 rebuy Right to Play charity event on Saturday night. His persistence paid off, as he finished sixth out of almost 100 players. "It was very fun playing in the charity event," he said. "I saw so many good hands and difficult moments. I was almost without chips a few times and had to decide what to do. It was fun." On Monday night, rumor has it that he'll play in the €25 buy-in media tournament, which will take the form of a bounty event. Despite a buy-in that's 1/200th of the Main Event, if he plays it, he'll make it his mission to take it down. Ronaldo has two World Cup titles. He trails only the legend that is Pelein goals for the Brazilian national team. He's a member of both the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame and the Italian Football Hall of Fame. In media interviews in Monaco, he was even asked to sign a green and yellow jersey. No one bleeds Brazil quite like Ronaldo. But despite his country's successes, he's mindful of the struggles his nation faces. [caption width="450"] Ronaldo autographs a Brazilian flag at the PCA (photo: Neil Stoddart)[/caption] "It's good for Brazil to host the World Cup and the Olympics, but we are also having a difficult time. We are having an economic crisis and a political crisis," Ronaldo said. "I don't think we'll get a big advantage from having those two big events. We have so many problems in Brazil now. We have so many examples in other cities where the Olympics change things. I hope the same thing happens to Rio, but we'll see what happens in Brazil." Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014. It'll host the Summer Olympics three months from now. It also faces an unemployment rate of almost 11%. There are even calls to impeach its President. Despite unrest in his home nation, Ronaldo is steadfast in his passion for Brazil. He grins ear to ear when talking about it. "All Brazilians like Brazil," Ronaldo said. "They love to be Brazilian. We always talk about Brazil with pride everywhere. I am hopeful we can get out of this situation."
  11. [caption width="640"] Mike 'timex' McDonald won the EPT Season 12 Player of the Year race by less than a point over Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer[/caption] After six festivals across two continents and hundreds of tournaments, the European Poker Tour Season 12 Player of the Year was determined by less than a point. The race literally went down to the very last event at the EPT Grand Final in Monaco. Your winner: Mike 'timex' McDonald, who earned 3,747.38 points, winning the Player of the Year title by a razor-thin 0.96 points over Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer, who had 3,746.42. McDonald joins past winners such as Dzmitry Urbanovich, Ole Schemion, and EPT Grand Final Main Event winner Jan Bendik. McDonald had the lead by 184 points entering the EPT Grand Final, but O'Dwyer would not go quietly. He finished ninth in the prestigious €100K Super High Roller to move ahead of McDonald by a point. O'Dwyer continued to roll in high buy-in events, getting 31st in the €25K High Roller to push his lead to over 240 points. "At this stage, McDonald had only managed 45 points for cashing in a €500 No Limit Hyper-Turbo, so O'Dwyer might well have thought he was home and dry," EPT Media Coordinator Mad Harper wrote. "However, those pesky No Limit Turbos on the last day upset the apple cart." O'Dwyer whiffed on each of the No Limit Turbos held at the end of the EPT Grand Final, while McDonald finished seventh in the very last event of the festival, a €10K No Limit Turbo. His reward was almost €34,000, but perhaps more importantly, the Canadian earned 243.20 POY points, which put him ahead of O'Dwyer and sealed the win at the very last second. All told, McDonald cashed twice in Monaco and 18 times over the course of the season, which began last August in Barcelona. He won the EPT Malta High Roller for almost €500,000, his largest cash of the season, and placed fifth in the Barcelona High Roller for another €257,000. Here's how McDonald performed over the course of the season: Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Turbo Six Max 7th place for €33,990, 243.20 pts Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Hyper-Turbo 10th place for €1,580, 45.36 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo – Six Max 4th place for €18,405, 174.36 pts Dublin EPT Main Event 60th place for €10,270, 193.12 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo 5th place for €7,170, 107.39 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em Six Max Turbo 5th place for $23,460, 197.52 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em 23rd place for $3,880, 110.98 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em Deepstack 17th place for €4,105, 121.41 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em – Hyper-Turbo 28th place for €870, 29.52 pts Prague EPT Main Event 139th place for €9,220, 166.78 pts Prague #78 No Limit Hold'em – Hyper-Turbo 7th place for €13,750, 168.11 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - Eureka High Roller 58th place for €4,570, 143.53 pts Malta EPT Main Event 27th place for €17,840, 263.95 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for €498,575, 496.65 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 12th place for €60,900, 363.58 pts Barcelona EPT Main Event 43rd place for €22,840, 308.28 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 5th place for €257,000, 378.94 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 12th place for €87,900, 234.68 pts [caption width="640"] Steve O'Dwyer finished second in the EPT Season 12 Player of the Year race[/caption] O'Dwyer cashed twice in Monaco and made the money 14 times during Season 12. He won a High Roller event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas for a blistering $945,000, won the Prague Super High Roller for €746,000, won a High Roller in Malta for €327,000, and finished seventh in the Barcelona Super High Roller for €221,000. Here's how he performed over the course of EPT Season 12: Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 31st place for €49,800, 240.75 pts Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 9th place for €98,480, 231.34 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo – Six Max 4th place for €15,860, 170.22 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo 2nd place for €17,180, 140.69 pts PCA Main Event 89th place for $10,840, 187.62 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for $945,495, 525.28 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 11th place for €49,000, 237.84 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 1st place for €746,543, 458.95 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em Turbo Bounty 6th place for €8,750, 180.15 pts Malta EPT Main Event 57th place for €10,580, 201.98 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for €327,030, 471.34 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em IPT High Roller 43rd place for €3,835, 126.96 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 12th place for €63,300, 274.00 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 7th place for €221,000, 299.29 pts Final Top 10 EPT POY Standings Mike McDonald: 3,747.38 points Steve O'Dwyer: 3,746.42 points Ivan Luca: 3,097.93 points Adrian Mateos: 2,901.41 points Georgios Zisimopoulos: 2,803.04 points Isaac Haxton: 2,712.51 points Fedor Holz: 2,552.36 points Ole Schemion: 2,528.04 points Joao Vieira: 2,485.89 points Daniel Dvoress: 2,436.29 points
  12. [caption width="640"] EPT President Edgar Stuchly joined the tour in 2011[/caption] The European Poker Tour just wrapped up its 12th season. While it may seem like a relatively simple endeavor to put on six festivals, it's anything but. With an array of languages, local laws, customs, and player demands, running the EPT is a full-time job. The man who fills those shoes: EPT President Edgar Stuchly. Season 12 ended in luxurious and picturesque Monaco, home of the EPT Grand Final, which had a Main Event that saw its buy-in slashed from €10,600 to €5,300. The result: the Main Event's attendance hit almost 1,100 entries, almost doubling last season's count. "We made the decision to reduce the buy-ins of the Main Events at the PCA and Grand Final from €10K to €$5K," Stuchly said. "It's always a clear goal to make the Main Event more accessible for all of the recreational players and to qualify more people for it." There were over 300 Main Event qualifiers this year, a record for an EPT event, and many of the pros said the field was uncharacteristically soft as a result. One player who made the final table, Asan Umarov, won his way in via a €10 Spin & Go and cashed for a 3,000,000% ROI. When the EPT announced that the buy-ins of the PCA Main Event and Grand Final Main Event would be halved, it seemed questionable whether the move would be permanent. Using simple supply and demand, a lower buy-in would bring in more players, but would the tournament stops and the prestige of the EPT suffer as a result? "We have announced stops in 2016 that have a €5,300 Main Event buy-in already," Stuchly said. "We agreed that we would debrief the results and look at how the PCA and Grand Final played out before we made any more decisions. We haven't made a final decision at this point for next year, but if you look at the numbers, it makes a lot of sense, especially in Monaco, where it played out with a 97% increase in participation. At this point, it looks like we'll keep the buy-in at €5,300 for our Main Events." During the EPT Grand Final in Monaco, the dates for EPT Barcelona, Malta, and Prague were announced, the first three stops of Season 13, which begins in August. Still to come are the dates for more events in 2017. "We analyze everything," Stuchly said of the schedule-making process. "There are core boxes to tick, and if those boxes aren't ticked, we don't go to a certain place. Those main elements need to fit into the overall experience – that's not something we choose; it's what the players expect from us. If we can't tick them due to things like venue, compliance, laws, and capacity, we won't go somewhere." "It's not just tournaments either," said the EPT President. "It's also cash games. We have the lowest rake and provide the greatest experience. That's what we want to deliver. Of course we want to be balanced with costs, but we definitely do not want to enter into agreements with venues where players say we shouldn't have gone." Stuchly has been with PokerStars since 2011. Prior to that, he had 19 years of casino experience at Casinos Austria in his home country. He has the accent of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a swagger that screams confidence. He's come a long way since starting with Casinos Austria as a dealer. [caption width="640"] Stuchly became a poker dealer in 1992[/caption] "When I joined as a dealer in 1992, I was super interested in poker," he said. "I was playing home games with my friends. Then, we started introducing poker and I pretty much built poker in those 12 Casinos Austria venues. That went well and I was promoted to take care of poker in all 12 casinos in the five years before I joined PokerStars." Stuchly became part of the EPT family five years ago. Its media team has been around for many years, and its Media Coordinator, Mad Harper, has been with the tour since Season 1. You'll see plenty of repeat dealers, floor directors, and cashiers. It's like Thanksgiving, but six times a year. As such, the EPT sports stability in its staff that's virtually unheard of in a highly volatile industry like poker. "It's super important to have a strong team," Stuchly said. "I'm proud of what we've achieved, but it's a team effort. Players know what we have to deal with. Getting a bottle of water or WiFi for one person is a very easy exercise, but if you have 5,500 unique customers in Barcelona, for example, and everyone wants it 10 times a day in 20 different places, then it's a little more challenging. Our events are on a size where they are a huge challenge." Monaco, for example, featured a cavernous tournament room, a smaller cash game room, an upstairs media room, a downstairs staff prep area, and a stage where EPT Live made its home. When the internet went out in the media and player areas for a half-hour on the final day, it was as if the Apocalypse had occurred. "Everything plays together: PR, marketing, social media, photographers, an online qualifying process, compliance, partnerships with casinos, and dealers," Stuchly added. "Selecting the best 250 dealers in the world to work at EPT Prague, for example, was very challenging. It's a big project, but we have very strong teams in all the different areas." Monaco has specific labor laws the EPT needs to comply with. It also has strict gaming laws, ones that EPT officials helped craft in order to host the series in the two-square-mile cliff-side principality. Bringing in hundreds of dealers from places like the US, France, and UK is a monumental task, one that involves a web of work visas, housing, and travel, not to mention coordination in multiple languages and time zones. Once the series heads to Barcelona in August, the preparation that went into Monaco is out the window. It's a new set of gaming requirements, labor laws, and fiber-optic cables to wade through. Add production of hundreds of hours of television content seen by millions of people and it seems almost impossible that each stop runs as smoothly as it does. The EPT Grand Final featured a €100,000 Super High Roller, a €10,300 Single Entry High Roller, a €50,000 Single Day High Roller (which ironically took two days to complete), and a €25,575 EPT High Roller. There were 80 events in total spread out over two weeks, leaving Stuchly to explain that the EPT tries to offer a variety of cash games and tournaments in order to attract and retain the masses. "We want to have a broad variety, the right tournament for every single bankroll and every single customer," he said in a thick Austrian accent. "Regardless of whether it's a €100K or a €100 player, those are our customers. If a €100 customer comes to an event for the first time, he's blown away, and we want to deliver a great experience to that guy." "For the high rollers, we want to deliver a great experience on a similar level," he said. "They might be more used to the great destinations, so we try to focus more on poker for them and provide them with great service. We want to have all of those guys in one place. That's what makes the EPT what the EPT is today." Stuchly reiterated that the diversity the EPT provides in terms of both buy-ins and game mix is unlike any other tour in existence. "Looking at the schedules we are providing, the variance is really cool. On one day in Monaco, we had normal tournaments, the Main Event, a No Limit Hold'em Turbo, an Omaha Six-Handed event, Open-Face Chinese, a media tournament, and a Turbo Progressive Super Knockout Bounty, which was incredible and the players loved it." The backdrop of every event is dramatic as well. In Monaco, the tournament area overlooked the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea. Casino Barcelona in Spain is on the same body of water right next to the beach, port, zoo, and aquarium. Add in unique and historic destinations like the island of Malta and the architecturally-rich city of Prague and you have a distinct experience in each location. "Seeing celebrities, seeing our team pros, and hanging out with friends in a nice, safe, and secure area, that's what we understand to be a great experience," Stuchly, dressed in a casual but sophisticated-looking suit, said. "We will continue to work in that direction and always focus on innovation, fun, and making things better than they are." Long-term, the EPT is working on several initiatives, including going paperless. "One of the things we'd like to do long-term is go paperless," Stuchly said. "We tested it in Monaco. We have PSLive cards. Players can register online, but can also load money onto the card so they can buy in with that. We're looking into being able to do it for cash games too. We tested kiosks where you can register online and you can go to the kiosk and print your tournament ticket. At the end of the day, we want everything on mobile, which is a challenge. It's less stress for the staff and it's smoother for the players." Season 13 of the European Poker Tour begins August 16 in Barcelona, Spain.
  13. [caption width="640"] Jan Bendik won the EPT Grand Final Main Event (photo: PokerNews)[/caption] Slovakia's Jan Bendik won the European Poker Tour's Grand Final Main Event from the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel in Monaco. His reward: €961,800 and a spade-shaped trophy. After a grueling week of play, Bendik finally cracked a smile and multiple waves of confetti rained down. "Thank you to my wife. Thank you to my friends. Thank you to PokerStars. Thank you to myself. I've been doing this ten years," a happy Bendik said after the final river card was dealt. He was eventually draped in a Slovakian flag. "I see it as two separate things. One is a season-long reward and one is a single tournament," Bendik said when asked to compare his Season 9 EPT Player of the Year title to winning the EPT Grand Final. "I've been trying to win the Main Event for years." Bendik didn't want to make a deal; instead, he was confident he could take it down. "I trusted myself to beat my opponent heads-up," he said. "A lot of luck had to be involved to make that happen, but that's part of the game." A field that started with over 1,000 entrants was whittled down to just six by the time Friday rolled around. Joe Stapleton introduced each of the six survivors shortly before 1:30 pm on the stage of the main tournament room and play began immediately from there. Jimmy Guerrero and Adrien Allain both had over 100 big blinds when the action began, while everyone else held between 22 and 26. Fifteen hands into final table play, Israel's Oren Rosen pushed from the cutoff for 1.65 million with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"], but Jan Bendik, seated next to him on the button, woke up with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"] and shoved over the top. The rest of the table folded and neither player improved after the board came [poker card="td"][poker card="2h"][poker card="3h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="6d"]. An hour-and-a-half earlier, Rosen was introduced in front of a rail of about a dozen, including a flag sporting the colors of his home country. Winamax-sponsored player Pierre Calamusa was the next to fall. He shoved pre-flop for 3.3 million with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"] and got a quick call from chip leader Adrien Allain, who was in the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"]. Allain ducked chop outs on the river when a benign [poker card="5s"] fell to trim the table from five to four. Calamusa earned €233,800. The talk of the final table was Kazakhstan's Asan Umarov. He won his seat to the tournament via a €10 Spin & Go on PokerStars and began the final table guaranteed a 1,700,000% ROI even if he busted immediately. Instead, he lasted to fourth place and earned €305,660. Umarov, the first player from Kazakhstan to make an EPT Main Event final table, got it in before the flop, three-betting all-in [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"]. Jimmy Guerrero fourbet all-in with kings and the board ran out [poker card="qs"][poker card="qd"][poker card="js"][poker card="6h"][poker card="jd"], sending Umarov to the rail with a 3,000,000% ROI. Bullets weren't kind to France's Jimmy Guerrero, who was sent packing in third place. Just before he was eliminated, Bendik cracked his aces with [poker card="kd"][poker card="7h"]. The money went in on a flop of [poker card="4h"][poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"], with Guerrero holding aces and Bendik having top two. A deuce and a trey rounded out the board and Guerrero's stack sank to 6.83 million, trailing second place on the leaderboard by a million. Ducks weren't kind to Guerrero either. In his last stand, he raised to 425,000 pre-flop from the small blind with pocket twos and Adrien Allain popped it to 1.1 million with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] from the big blind. Guerrero five-bet all-in and Allain called. A flop of [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="3h"] put Allain in the lead for good with two pair, and the board finished out [poker card="6d"][poker card="tc"]. The Frenchman was paid €406,850 for his third place run. Allain began heads-up play from the stage in the main tournament room with a 2:1 edge over Bendik. Allain came out swinging too, almost universally betting to a level that seemed to throw Bendik off his game. At one point early on in heads-up play, Bendik turned to his rail, threw up one hand in disgust, and turned back and huffed. But Bendik wouldn't go quietly into the Monaco night. On the 100th hand of final table play, he called all-in with [poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"] after Allain initially just completed pre-flop with [poker card="8s"][poker card="8c"]. The flop was all clubs – [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"][poker card="4c"] – but another club on the turn gave Bendik a queen-high flush and the pot. Then there was more aggression by Allain, allowing him to build another 2:1 lead, but about 20 minutes before the dinner break, Bendik, who won his way into the Main Event via a live satellite, shoved for 9,000,000 before the flop with sixes against A-K in a race. Allain picked up a straight draw in addition to his two overs by the time the river hit, but a meaningless [poker card="3s"] fell, doubling Bendik up. That hand put the duo nearly even in chips. Allain continued to apply pressure despite doubling up Bendik twice. And the last hand was a memorable one. Allain raised to 525,000 before the flop with [poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"] and Bendik made it 1,650,000 with [poker card="ts"][poker card="td"]. The flop was [poker card="ah"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4s"] and Bendik bet 1,600,000. Allain just called behind with a set and a [poker card="th"] hit on the turn, giving Bendik a better set. Allain bet 1,500,000, Bendik bet 4,250,000, and Allain called. The river was the [poker card="3d"]. Bendik moved in, Allain called for his tournament life, and it was over. Final Table Payouts Jan Bendik - €961,800 Adrien Allain - €577,800 Jimmy Guerrero - €406,850 Asan Umarov - €305,660 Pierre Calamusa - €233,800 Oren Rosen - €170,950
  14. [caption width="640"] The European Poker Tour has launched the careers of some of the biggest and brightest stars in the game today (PokerStars photos)[/caption] Many of the world's best poker players are packed into a hotel in Prague right now, and the excitement in the air is irrefutable. You might say this is always the case when a big live tournament is about to take place, but this buzz is unique: EPT13 Prague is the last ever European Poker Tour festival, and will crown the final EPT champion before the series is re-branded. From January, the events will now be known as PokerStars Championships, and they won’t be limited to European soil, starting with thePokerStars Championship Bahamas (formerly PCA) on January 6, 2017. The EPT will always hold a special place in the hearts of many players, and winning one has catapulted dozens of careers. To mark the official end of the EPT, we’ve hand-picked ten of the biggest breakout stars of the EPT over the past 13 seasons. We start with five players who made a name for themselves in the early years of the Tour. Patrik AntoniusIt feels strange to kick off a list of breakout tournament stars with a man known primarily as a live and online cash game player, but there’s no denying that Patrik Antonius’ win back at the EPT2 Baden Classic in 2005 for €288,180 was the first introduction to the Fin for many. Antonius’ career post-EPT win is well documented; he’s played in the largest cash games around the world, including on sorely-missed TV shows High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, not to mention playing in many of the biggest online pots in history. Mike McDonaldThe Mike McDonald of EPT4 Dortmund is barely recognizable compared to the McDonald of today. When the man known as Timex won the event back in 2008 for €933,600, he was a rake-thin 18-year-old with a clear talent for the game, both live and online. Fast forward eight and a half years and McDonald is now considered one of tournament poker’s best, with more than $13 million in live earnings and an additional $3.1 million won online. As well as his many high roller results, Timex almost became a two-time EPT champ in January 2014 when he finished runner-up at the PCA, and he recently took down the first ever GPL Finals as part of the Montreal Nationals. Bertrand ‘ElkY' GrospellierAlready a celebrity in the gaming world (particularly in South Korea where he lived, worked, and played prior to his breakout poker success), ElkY burst onto the poker scene with his bright hair and big personality back in 2008. Having previously finished second at EPT3 Copenhagen, the Frenchman took down a massive $2 million when he won the 2008 PCA, and that led to a string of impressive results. In October 2008 he won a WPT for $1.41 million, followed by a $25K High Roller victory at the PCA a year after his win for $433,500. By this point ElkY was a dominant force in tournament poker, securing him a spot on Team PokerStars Pro which he holds to this day. He’d cement his legacy with two wins at EPT7 Madrid; one in the $25K High Roller for $779,221, and another in a $10K Turbo High Roller for $227,087. Liv BoereeIt would be impossible to create a list of EPT “stars” and not include Liv Boeree. She’s become one of the most popular and heavily marketed faces in all of poker, primarily due to her sponsorship deal with PokerStars. But Boeree can certainly play; she’d already racked up 23 live cashes before her breakout win at EPT6 San Remo in 2010 for $1.698 million. Since then Boeree has notched up a string of EPT main event cashes, as well as almost clinching a UKIPT title (2nd for $97,057) and finishing third in a $25K High Roller at EPT12 Barcelona for $449,383. She’s no slouch on the online felt either, with almost $600,000 in earnings. Jason MercierIt’s pretty impressive when you scroll down to the bottom a player’s Hendon Mob page and see that their first ever live cash was an EPT win. That’s the case for Jason Mercier, who took down EPT4 San Remo in 2008 for $1.37 million. Of course, Mercier was already known as an online grinder prior to that, and he’s since gone on to become one of the most esteemed and established players in all areas of poker. Five WSOP bracelets and a WSOP Player of the Year title; seven COOP titles (including three SCOOP wins in one year); win after win; final table after final table; deep run after deep run; to list all of Mercier’s accomplishments would take too long. Look for Part 2 of this piece on Thursday, which will focus on players who found fame and fortune from 2011-2016.
  15. [caption width="640"] Jasper Meijer van Putten outlasted a field of 1,192 to win the final European Poker Tour Main Event title (PokerStars photo)[/caption] There was a lot on the line coming into the final European Poker Tour Main Event. After 13 seasons, the PokerStars tour was making its final stop before the site-sponsored Championships and Festivals commence at the start of 2017. Headlining the storylines were David Peters and Sam Cohen. Peters was looking to capture his second leg of poker’s Triple Crown in 2016 after winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in June. Additionally, Peters could overtake Fedor Holz for the number one position on the GPI list with the end of 2016 right around the corner. For Cohen, she had a chance to become the first America women to win an EPT Main Event title. Despite the marquee names, it was Dutchman Jasper Meijer van Putten who stole the show on his way to victory. Cohen had her run at history cut down in only the third hand of play as Peters showed her to the rail in a huge pot. Marton Czuczor opened the action with [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"] to 280,000 and Peters called in the cutoff with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"]. Cohen defended her big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="8h"] and the three players saw a [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2h"] flop. Action checked to Peters, who bet 350,000. Cohen stuck in a raise to an even 1,000,000, which induced Czuczor into folding. Peters called and caught a third nine on the [poker card="9h"] turn. Cohen shoved all in for about 3,000,000 and Peters called immediately. Needing a queen or a heart, Cohen found neither on the [poker card="7s"] river and collected €145,900 for her final table finish. 19 hands passed after Cohen’s elimination beforeMarius Gierse was eliminated by Czuczor. The start of final table chip leader opened to 280,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and called the all in shove of 2,940,000 from Gierse, who was on the button. Holding an inferior pair [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"], Gierse had his work cut out for him heading to the flop. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4c"] and Gierse took his leave. Meijer van Putten was quiet for the earlier portion of the final table but made a major statement via his bustout of Sergei Petrushevskii. With the blinds at 80,000/160,000, Meijer van Putten opened under the gun for 400,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. Czuczor then stuck in a three-bet for 1,150,000 on the button with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"]. From the small blind, Pertushevskii moved all in for 3,770,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="7c"] which prompted Meijer van Putten to reshove for about 8,000,000 total. Czuczor folded a crucial pot at the final table was up for grabs. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="td"][poker card="9s"] flop gave Pertushevskii some backdoor equity but the [poker card="8s"] on the turn left him needing a queen on the river to chop. The two outer did not come and Meijer van Putten took the chip lead heading into three-handed play. Meijer van Putten, Czuczor and Peters were tightly bunched together and tried negotiating an ICM deal. After 40 minutes of discussion, the trio could not come to a final agreement and play resumed. Play went for about two full 90-minute levels as Meijer van Putten grew his chip lead over his opponents. It was Peters who was the short stack for the majority of play and eventually met his end at the hands of Czuczor. From the small blind, Czuczor raised all in with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qc"] having Peters covered. Following a few moments of thought, Peters called with [poker card="qs"][poker card="7d"] for his last 12 big blinds. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"] flop paired Peters to put him in the lead. The [poker card="4h"] was safe for Peters but the [poker card="ac"] on the river gave Czuczor the higher pair to send the new GPI number one to the rail. Meijer van Putten started heads up play with a nearly 3-1 chip advantage over Czuczor. The two went back and forth for 15 hands as Czuczor pulled nearly even with Meijer van Putten. A deal was struck between the finalists with Meijer van Putten taking €649,300 and Czuczor receiving €630,000, leaving €50,000 left to play for. On the 164th hand of the last EPT Main Event final table, Meijer van Putten finished Czuczor off to claim the title. With the blinds at 150,000/300,000, Meijer van Putten opened to 700,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] on the button and faced a shove of 8,025,000 from Czuczor [poker card="2c"][poker card="2d"]. Meijer van Putten called and was a flip away from the title. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="js"][poker card="3c"] flop gave Meijer van Putten the lead and left Czuczor needing a two, and a two only. The turn and river were blanks and Meijer van Putten clinched the title and his first career major title. Peters locked up the GPI number one spot with his third place finish and has all but sealed his place on top before the end of the year. Final Table Payouts Jasper Meijer van Putten - €699,300 Marton Czuczor - €630,000 David Peters - €397,300 Sergei Petrushevskii€284,550 Marius Gierse - €203,800 Sam Cohen - €145,900
  16. [caption width="640"] Over the last five years a number of poker superstars have been born on the European Poker Tour (photos PokerStars)[/caption] The European Poker Tour is coming to an end right now in Prague, as the last ever Main Event is underway. The tour has created many champions over the past 13 years, and here’s a look through just some of the more recent breakout stars. ICYMI read The Breakout Stars of the European Poker Tour: 2004-2010 Dominik PankaRemember how we said Mike McDonald almost became the first ever two-time EPT champ in January 2014? Well, the man who kept him from the top spot was Dominik Panka. The Polish player won a huge score of $1.42 million and became Poland’s all-time money winner…until a certain young wizard by the name of Dzimitry Urbanovich appeared (more on him later). When Panka took down the PCA Main Event in 2014 for $1.42 million, defeating McDonald heads-up, he became Poland’s all-time money winner. Panka followed up the PCA win later in the month with a €10K High Roller victory at EPT10 Deuville for €272,000, and in 2015 he placed third in the EPT11 Malta main event for €347,300. Panka was back to making final tables this year with a fifth-place finish in the IPT8 Malta Main event for €30,970, and taking ninth in the EPT13 Malta Main Event for €41,590. Adrian MateosTechnically, this Spanish whiz kid had already burst onto the scene long before his massive $1.21 million win in the EPT11 Grand Final Main Event in 2015. He’d already won an Estrellas Poker Tour title in 2013 ($137K), and a little-known tournament later that year called the WSOPE Main Event ($1.35 million). But there’s just no way we could have left Adrian Mateos off of this list. A glance through his live scores shows countless EPT side event cashes, including two wins at the same stop (EPT11 Deauville). Since his EPT win, Mateos has taken down his second WSOP bracelet ($409K) and become a high roller regular everywhere from the EPTs to the Las Vegas, where he’s won almost $400K in December 2016 alone. Niall FarrellThe man known as 'Firaldo87' was well-known on the poker circuit as a great online player and fun-loving guy before he took down EPT12 Malta for $588,592 in 2015 (he’d finished second in a $3K WSOP event, and made a few high roller final tables). But Farrell truly had his breakout moment with that huge score. It’s been a great catalyst for him too. He’s now a fixture in the biggest high roller tournaments on the EPT circuit, he finished eighth in the $111,111 high roller for One Drop at the 2016 WSOP, and just last month took down the WPT Punta Cana main event for $335,000. Dzmitry UrbanovichThe player who overtook Panka as Poland’s all-time money winner is Urbanovich, who seemed to burst onto the scene out of nowhere back in March and April 2015. At EPT11 Malta, the wunderkind won the €25K high roller for €572,300, followed by three more side event wins. The following month at the EPT11 Grand Final, he finished second in the €100K super high roller for €1.446 million. The man known online as ‘Colisea’ then went on to finish second in the €50K super high roller at EPT12 Barcelona for €841K, fourth in the EPT12 Prague super high roller for €285k, before finally capturing his first EPT main event title at EPT12 Dublin in February this year for €561K. An incredible run, considering in all this time he’s also notched up more than a million in online earnings, with two SCOOP and three WCOOP wins. Amazing. Sebastian MalecIf you missed the final hand of the EPT13 Barcelona main event, we suggest you go find it on YouTube. Sebastian Malec, a 21-year-old €27 PokerStars satellite winner, took down the title for €1,122,800, and a new star was born. It’s still a little early to see how Malec’s career will develop after the EPT is no more, but that’s exactly why we’ve included him on this list. Who knows what the future will hold? The PokerStars Championships kick off in the Bahamas in January, before heading to Panama and Macau in March. It’s time to find a whole new batch of breakout stars.
  17. [caption width="640"] The EPT wraps up its 13th season this week (Image c/o PokerStars)[/caption] It is hard to believe thirteen seasons of the European Poker Tour have passed. It is harder to believe the tour is no longer going to exist. Thankfully for the European poker scene, the newly created PokerStars Festival series will continue to deliver poker to the masses, just under a different moniker. With the EPT wrapping up its final season in Prague this week, we decided to look back at the highlights of more than a decade of tournaments in this edition of Number Crunch: 1 – Number of two-time EPT champions. It took until the tail end of Season 10 to crown the first two-time champion. Victoria Coren won EPT London in Season 3 and in seven seasons later took down EPT San Remo to become the first and, to date, only repeat winner. By contrast, the World Poker Tour had two repeat winners the first season it was on tour. 7 – Number of final tables for Luca Pagano, the all-time leader in that category of EPT stats. Pagano has not made a final table on the tour since 2012, he was one of the original big names on the EPT, final tabling the very first EPT event in Barcelona in 2005. In 2009, Pagano final tabled three EPT Main Events. He has also finished in-the-money of 21 EPT Main Events. 23 – Number of different cities which have hosted an EPT over the years. Only Barcelona has been a stop on all 13 of the seasons, while others like Loutraki were one-and-done stops. Germany is the most popular country for the tour with Baden, Dortmund, and Berlin all playing host to events. 23 - Number of Super High Roller events in EPT history. First introduced at Season 7’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the tour slowly added them to the largest stops on the tour with $50,000 and $100,000 buy-in price points (the exact amounts vary slightly based on the local currency). The list of champions reads like a who’s who of the poker circuit, but Steve O’Dwyer leads the pack with three separate Super High Roller titles. 27 – Number of countries which can lay claim to an EPT Champion. They come from every continent, save Antarctica and Australia. Champs have come from surprising places like Iran and Venezuela. The most successful countries are Great Britain and the United States. Both countries have 17 EPT titles to their credit, but you might consider giving a slight edge to the States, as John Juanda is credited as Indonesian, but has lived in the States since he was 19. 76 – Number of months Ibrahim Al Mousa was sentenced to prison for his role as the mastermind behind the 2010 EPT Berlin robbery. Al Mousa and four other men stormed the tournament area of the EPT Berlin Main Event brandishing guns and machetes. Scary, yes, but thankfully no one was hurt in the altercation. Eventually the tournament staff managed to reconstruct the tournament and play down to a winner. Kevin 'ImALuckSac' MacPhee won the tournament, but admitted in interviews he would have rather they did not play it out after the crime. 216 – Number of times EPT Live host Joe Stapleton estimates he and fellow host James Hartigan have sung their popular line “Everyone loves a chop pot!” The duo have worked together for the livestream and televised episodes of the tour for six years and have a number of running gags that have won over fans from all over the world. 1,785 – Number of entries in the largest-field EPT Main Event in history. That tournament, Season 13’s EPT Barcelona Main Event, featured a €5,300 buy-in and generated a prize pool in excess of €8.6 million. A hefty €1.1 million went to eventual champ Sebastian Malec of Poland, who bested the record field to take down the last-ever EPT Barcelona Main Event. 9,314,495– Dollars won by the EPT’s number-one earner Steve O'Dwyer. The American pro is $2.5 million ahead of his next-closest competitor, Ole Schemion. It is hard to single out just one accomplishment on O’Dwyer’s extensive EPT resume, but his biggest win is probably from Season 9, where he took down the Grand Final Main Event in Monaco for over $1.6 million. He actually earned more money for defeating a smaller field in the 2015 PCA Super High Roller for over $1.8 million in 2015 though. He has won two Super High Roller events, also taking down the one in Prague in Season 12. He has also final tabled the EPT London Main Event twice. Like we said, it is tough to pick just one accomplishment for this guy. 15,132,000 – Largest single prize pool in EPT history. Thanks to a turnout of 1,560 runners in Season 7’s PCA Main Event, the tour generated the eight-figure prize pool. While other events have generated bigger fields, the $10,000 buy-in resulted in a record-breaking sum. A cool $2.3 million went to winner Galen Hall, but the top four spots all netted seven-figure paydays.
  18. [caption width="650"] Dominik Nitsche was one of many 888poker ambassadors who put together a great year on the live tournament circuit.[/caption] The last 12 months have been prosperous ones for 888poker ambassadors. With a healthy roster of World Series of Poker bracelet winners and World Poker Tour champions, it is no surprise to see the team of professionals put together a combined total of over $2,100,000 in tournament earnings. With 2016 drawing to a close here is a look back at just how well the likes of Chris Moorman, Dominik Nitsche and Sofia Lövgren did. Dominik Nitsche 2016 cashes: 19 2016 total earnings: $1,491,914 It was another stellar year for Dominik ‘bounatirouIMO’ Nitsche, who put together his second consecutive year of over $1,000,000 in earnings. Nitsche picked up a win in the UKIPT High Roller at EPT Dublin in February and then followed that up with a runner-up finish in a $50,000 Super High Roller at the Aria. All told, those cashes earned Nitsche nearly over $800,000 alone. Chris Moorman 2016 cashes: 10 2016 total earnings: $423,247 Former PocketFives #1 ranked player, Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman, put together another stellar campaign in 2016. Moorman made five final tables with his biggest score coming in the final EPT Barcelona where he took home $271,187 for his third place finish in the Estrellas Main Event. Bruno Kawauti 2016 cashes: 18 2016 total earnings: $151,639 Headlining the Brazilian contingent of the 888poker team was Bruno Kawauti. Most of Kawauti’s damage was done in his native country as he racked up cash after cash. His biggest cash came as a result of his second place finish in July’s BSOP Main Event, which earned him a little over $92,000 Bruno Politano 2016 cashes: 15 2016 total earnings: $101,581 Two years after his November Nine appearance, Bruno Politano continued to put up solid results. The highlight of Politano’s year came in April when his final tabled the 888 Poker Festival Main Event, finishing fifth for a $38,618 score. 888poker and FlowEsports Form PartnershipSofia Lövgren 2016 cashes: 9 2016 total earnings: $100,503 Sofia Lovgren put together her finest year yet with over $100,000 in live earnings. Lovgren navigated her way through one of the largest fields of this year, when she finished 12th out of 7,190 in the World Series of Poker ‘Millionaire Maker’ event for a $75,109 score. Nicolau Villa-Lobos 2016 cashes: 7 2016 total earnings: $37,123 Nicolau Villa-Lobos continued his string of consistent results with a solid 2016 as he added to his over $1,000,000 in live tournament earnings. Villa-Lobos notched two final tables and made his second career cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Kara Scott 2016 cashes: 2 2016 total earnings: $18,040 One of the more familiar faces in all of poker put in another stellar year on ESPN’s World Series of Poker coverage along with her other hosting responsibilities. In her limited time spent on the felt, Scott put together a final table run at the 888 Live Local Series London Festival.
  19. [caption width="640"] Over the course of the next year PokerStars will give away million worth of seats to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship[/caption] One year ago, PokerStars officially said goodbye to the the beloved European Poker Tour as part of its global rebranding as PokerStars Live, but on Friday afternoon the online poker giant announced the EPT was coming back - but that's not all. The company also announced the creation of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship, a $25,000 buy-in event set for the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Over the course of the next year, PokerStars will give away an estimated $8,000,000 worth of "Platinum Passes" through promotions at live events and through the online product. Each Platinum Pass is worth roughly $30,000 and includes tournament buy-in and travel to the 2019 PCA. “We expect the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments,” said Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi. “We want to demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to the game, and give something back to the players by investing in our live events in a meaningful way. Our objective is to create an event that brings professionals and amateurs together, creating many winning moments and unforgettable stories.” PokerStars is also adding $1 million to the first place prize. Players can also buy-in to the event directly for $25,000. The first Platinum Pass was awarded as part of the announcement. Mihai Manole, one of two players to bust on the bubble of the PSC Prague Main Event, won his pass after winning a single hand against Andrzej Siemieniak. At least one Platinum Pass will be given away at each PokerStars live festival over the next year. “I’m super excited about the Players No Limit Hold’em Championship,” said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. “This is going to be an incredible experience for those who participate and everyone, no matter their skill level, has a chance to win a Platinum Pass. It will be a must play event with loads of added value.” Passes can be won online in tournaments, cash games, promotions and through the Stars Rewards program. The first online winners will come from the upcoming PokerStars Winter Series from December 25 - January 7. The EPT isn't the only brand coming back. PokerStars announced the return of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) and Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APT) for 2018. The move means the end of the PokerStars Championship tour.
  20. After its successful event in Sochi, Russia PokerStars’ European Poker Tour continues on to the more comfortable climate of Monte Carlo, Monaco. From April 24 - May 4, the EPT returns to the Sporting Monte Carlo Casino for EPT Monte Carlo, the sight of some their biggest events in the history of the tour. Main Event Makeover When PokerStars removed the European Poker Tour branding in 2017 they saw a steep decline in attendees to their Monte Carlo stop. In 2017, for the PokerStars Championship, 727 players entered as compared to the 1,098 runners that packed the field for the EPT stop in 2016. The result not only saw a first-place prize reduced by over 50% but also revealed some much-needed tweaking to both the branding and the Main Event itself. PokerStars fixed the branding issue with the much-celebrated return of the EPT moniker, but in addition, they are looking to return the field size to its former glory as well. The Main Event, which gets underway on April 28, is a €5,300 tournament but this year they are allowing players a single re-entry. Not only does this change give players who travel a long distance the security that they can have a second chance at a big-time tournament should things go sideways early, but it will likely ensure more total entries, resulting in a healthier prize pool and larger payouts. The EPT Monte Carlo Main Event is joining the wave of events that are implementing the big blind ante. With a single player paying the ante for the entire table, helping increase the speed of play. Also, adding to the idea of players getting more hands per hour is the addition of a shot clock in the Main Event. From Day 2 through the end of the tournament, players will be on the clock with 30 seconds to make their decisions. Fan Favorite Event Another relatively new development for the PokerStars team has been the expansion of the coverage of their major events. When we last saw the EPT in 2016, streaming coverage had not included “cards-up” coverage until the tournament reached the final table. More recently, fans have been able to tune into the PokerStars.tv stream to watch the Main Event, essentially from wire-to-wire, getting to see the players’ holdings at the feature table. The broadcast crew has also been expanded. EPT anchors Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan are still front and center to bring you the action, but, as was debuted at the 2018 PCA, the company continues to expand their team by bringing a regular rotation of professional analysis. More than “pop-in” commentary, at the 2018 PCA we saw the likes of Lex Veldhuis, Maria Ho, Jonathan Little and Griffen Benger have the privilege to provide color commentary for long stretches of time giving viewers exceptional insight into what’s happening at the table. More Than Just The Main While the Main Event will draw the most attention the EPT stop players will have plenty of reasons to forgo the beauty of the French Riviera in favor of the action on the casino floor. Thirty-nine total events span the 11 day festival with buy-in ranging from as little as €220 up to the €100,000 Super High Roller. In fact, there are no fewer than eight events that have a buy-in of €10,000 or more, which is sure to bring out the best players in the world to fight for what is likely to be massive prize pools. History has shown that the pros love to make it out to Monte Carlo. Past winners of the Main Event include poker superstars such as Adrian Mateos and Steve O’Dwyer while last year’s €100,000 Super High Roller was won by GPI North American Player of the Year Bryn Kenney where he defeated a final table of high rolling elite talent including David Peters, Ole Schemion, Poker Masters inaugural winner Steffen Sontheimer and partypoker LIVE Barcelona 5$0K Super High Roller Winner Sam ‘Pudge714’ Greenwood. For fans of the game, PokerStars EPT Monte Carlo is shaping up to be quite the spectacle. One doesn't even need to make it to Monte Carlo in order to win as one viewer of the PokerStars stream is going to win themselves a coveted $30,000 Platinum Pass package to the 2019 PCA to participate in the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. So set aside some time and enjoy the PokerStars EPT Monte Carlo, festivities kick off on April 24.
  21. The European Poker Tour officially returns in late-March with the first-ever EPT Sochi in Russia. It's not the first time that the former Winter Olympics host has played host to a big tour though. The Sochi Casino and Resort hosted both partypoker and PokerStars in 2017. The PokerStars Championship traveled to Russia in May and put a $2.6 million prize pool up for grabs via a $5,300 (RUB 318,000) buy-in. This year promises to be even larger. Main Event Takes Centerstage The party starts on Friday, March 23. A $2.5 million guaranteed prize pool (RUB 150 million) is up for grabs over three starting flights for the EPT Main Event. The buy-in is just over $3,200 (RUB 192,000). Day 1A and 1B play 10 60-minute levels and Day 1C is a turbo flight of 10 30-minute rounds. The turbo flight starts at 8:00 pm local time on March 24. The final prize pool will be known at the start of Day 2 on March 25. Levels from Day 2 all the way to the end of the event are 90 minutes apiece. The six-handed final table airs on PokerStars.tv on Thursday, March 29. All days of the EPT Main Event start at 12:00 pm local time. Last year’s PokerStars Championship Main Event in Sochi attracted 387 entries. Pavel Shirshikov walked away with first-place and $515,774. Quality Side Events PokerStars Sochi brings a strong schedule of side events to the table. The EPT National is a primary tournament listed. The approximately $1,100 buy-in (RUB66,000) opens on Tuesday, March 20 and offers three starting flights. The first starting flight is 13 levels each and move for 45 minutes. Day 1B and 1C are the same schedules with levels reduced to 30 minutes. The three flights combine on Thursday, March 22 and play hour levels until the end of the event on Day 3. Two events startup on March 27, just in time to catch the Main Event bustouts. The EPT High Roller and EPT Cup both run for three days. The High Roller is a buy-in of roughly $10,500 (RUB 617,000) and is a single re-entry. Day 1 levels are 45 minutes and are 60 for Day 2 and Day 3. Registration is open up until Level 11. For those looking for a faster-paced event, the EPT Cup is just that. All three starting flights are 20-minute levels before switching to 30 in Day 2. Other side events include Win The Button, Pot Limit Omaha, and other single-day No Limit Hold’em events. Complete EPT Sochi Main Event Schedule Date Event Number Name Buy-in (RUB) Buy-in (USD) March 20 1 NL Hold'em - EPT National (Three-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108 March 22 3 NL Hold'em Super Deep Stack 33,000 ₽ $554 March 23 5 NL Hold'em - EPT Sochi Main Event (Six-Day Event 192,000 ₽ $3,223 March 25 9 NL Hold'em - (Two-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 26 10 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 132,000 ₽ $2,216 March 26 11 NL Hold'em - Win the Button (One-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 27 12 Pot Limit Omaha - (One-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 27 13 NL Hold'em EPT High Roller (Three-Day Event) 630,000 ₽ $10,576 March 27 14 NL Hold'em (One-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108 March 27 15 NL Hold'em EPT Cup (Three-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 29 16 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 13,200 ₽ $222 March 29 17 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108
  22. The European Poker Tour is back and with it a stop at one of its most storied locations - Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. For 11 of the previous 13 EPT seasons, the PokerStars tour held its massive Grand Final in beautiful Monaco. It was there that some of the most recognizable names in poker stepped into the spotlight after winning the most prestigious Main Event on the tour. Names like Adrian Mateos, Steve O’ Dwyer, Gavin Griffin and Mohsin Charania all have their names etched into poker history as EPT Monte Carlo Main Event champions. Now, with the EPT reclaiming their branding after a year of trying something different, it’s back to their old Monte Carlo stomping grounds from April 24 - May 4 with a €5,300 Main Event. But while the tournament will be played under the old EPT name, organizers are bringing a host of new features to make this era of the EPT something new. Game Changers PokerStars has adopted two of the most talked about advancements to tournament play in the past year: the big blind ante and tournament shot clock. While the big blind ante has been the topic of much debate in the poker community there’s one thing everyone can agree on - it speeds up the game. Dealers will no longer have to harass a table full of players to post their antes at EPT Monte Carlo, now just big blind will post the antes for the entire table keeping the action moving. The big blind ante format will be implemented in all of the schedules No Limit Hold’em events including the €5,300 Main Event and all of the High Roller events. Keeping with the theme of speeding up the game, the Main Event will also be utilizing a shot clock from Day 2 forward. The shot clock gives players 30 seconds to make any given decision. For those extra tough spots, like when you are considering folding a set of Kings on the river, players are six 30-second time bank card that allows an additional 30 seconds. The Move To Re-Entry As the EPT continues to recover from what was perceived as a down year, they have opted to rethink their stance on the Main Event being a complete freezeout. Players who enjoy the purity of tournament poker may prefer the “single bullet” format of one-and-done entries, but PokerStars understands that it needs to be accommodating to those players who travel a great distance to participate. No one wants to pay thousands for a flight and hotel only to get cooled off on the first hand. This season, they have placed a single re-entry on the Main Event, allowing players a second chance should things not go their way with their first buy-in. The Monte Carlo Main Event has two starting flights and so players are given the option to either re-enter in the same flight or, should they bust on Day 1A, they can pay to enter Day 1B. Platinum Passes Up For Grabs The ongoing, year-long PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship Platinum Passes promotion will, of course, be in play during EPT Monte Carlo. Over the course of the series, PokerStars will hand out six $30,000 Platinum Passes, over the course of the 11 days. The winner of the Monte Carlo Main Event, the winner of the €1,100 EPT National Event and two random draws on Day 2 of both of those events will all get passes. There is a €1,650 live satellite to the PSPC taking place on May 1 and organizers will add an extra pass to that event. Lastly, one lucky home viewer of the live stream will also find their way into the PSPC for free. Live Streaming From The French Riviera That last Platinum Pass will be awarded to those who tune in to the PokerStars.tv live stream that will cover the both the Super High Roller Final Table as well as the Main Event from Day 2 until a champion is crowned. Anchored by James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton, the seven straight days of streaming is very likely to be joined by some of the Team PokerStars Pros that are expected to be in attendance including Jake Cody, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Andre Akkari and Fatima Moreira de Melo. After the success of the EPT Sochi, which saw attendance in the main event increase from 387 players in 2017 to 861 in 2018, hopes are high for EPT Monte Carlo. The festival kicks on April 24 and should players be looking for one more innovation to help them book their travel, organizers have arranged for discounts on the notoriously expensive food in Monte Carlo. There's a 10% reduction on food in the poker room and players who enter any event will be given food vouchers.
  23. The European Poker Tour's return to Monte Carlo certainly didn't disappoint and as the Main Event final table wrapped up on Friday, there were two former GPI #1-ranked players and Hungarian Cinderella that had almost everybody cheering for him. In the end though it was France's Nicolas Dumont who outlasted them all to win his first major title, over €700,000 and a Platinum Pass worth $30,000. Ole Schemion was once in full control of this tournament, but late Thursday things went awry for the German and he started the final table eighth in chips. He lasted exactly one hand on Friday. David Peters opened to 225,000 from UTG+2, Patrik Antonius called from the cutoff and Schemion moved all in from the button for 1,160,000. Peters folded but Antonius both called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"] while Schemion turned over [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"]. The board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="4s"] to give Antonius to pair and eliminate Schemion in eighth place. Just over 30 minutes later a blind-vs-blind battle. Javier Fernandez, down to just 12 big blinds, moved all in from the small blind and Tomas Jozonis defended from the big. Fernandez turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="4s"] but got bad news wehen Jozonis showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3d"] flop gave Fernandez some hope but neither the [poker card="9h"] turn or [poker card="th"] river was any help and he was out in seventh place. Antonius was arguably the biggest name at the final table. Having already won an EPT title once in his career, Antonius is more known for his high stakes cash game action now. Unfortunately, the Finn was unable to add another major tournament title to his resume. Antonius moved all in for 1,305,000 from the button and Dumont called from the small blind. Antonius showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] and Dumont showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"]. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] to eliminate Antonius in sixth. While Antonius was one of the big names at the final table, he wasn't the one stealing all the headlines in the lead up to the final table. Krisztian Gyorgyi, who qualified for this event in a €5 spin-n-go, had won the hearts and minds of viewers at home with a bluff on the livestream. Unfortunately, that moment didn't lead to a better one on Friday for the Hungarian. Gyorgyi raised to 280,000 from UTG, Dumont called from middle position before Honglin Jiang moved all-in from the button. Gyorgyi used one time extension before calling all in and Dumont folded. Gyorgyi turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found himself racing against Jiang's [poker card="4c"][poker card="4h"]. That race all but ended after the [poker card="qc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"] flop and then ended for good after the [poker card="6s"] turn. The [poker card="jc"] hit the river, making Gyorgyi's fifth place elimination official. It took an hour for another elimination to happen. Jozonis raised to 325,000 from UTG and Peters movedall in for 2,325,000 from the button. The blinds both folded and Jozonis called and turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. Peters grimaced after revealing [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="6c"][poker card="ts"] flop kept Jozonis ahead as did the [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="td"] river and Peters was eliminated in fourth. Even though he picked up Peters' chip, Jozonis only stuck around another 30 minutes. Down to just 12 big blinds, the #1-ranked online poker player in Lithuania moved all in from the button and was called by Jiang in the big blind. Jozonis turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="6h"] and found himself dominated by Jiang's [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"] flop made things ever worse for Jozonis and he was eliminated in third after the [poker card="5c"] and [poker card="2s"] completed the board. Jiang started heads up with 57.8% of the chips in play but over the next 90 minutes, all of that went away. On the final hand of the night, Dumont limped, Jiang raised to 650,000, and Dumont responded by re-raising to 2,200,000. Jiang continued the aggression, moving all in fro 10,075,000 total and Dumont called instantly. Jiang showed [poker card="6d"][poker card="6h"] and Dumont happily showed [d][poker card="qh"]. There was no bad beat in the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"] runout and Dumont eliminated Jiang to win his first major title and €712,000. Final Table Payouts Nicolas Dumont - €712,000 Honglin Jiang - €434,000 Tomas Jozonis - €308,000 David Peters - €232,000 Krisztian Gyorgyi - €184,000 Patrik Antonius - €139,050 Javier Fernandez - €99,900 Ole Schemion - €68,300
  24. The last European Poker Tour event of 2018 wrapped up Tuesday in Prague with Germany's Paul Michaelis beating a final table that included a few well-known PocketFivers on his way to picking up €840,000 ($954,677) and a trip to the Bahamas to play in the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship in January. The eight-handed final table began on Monday before stopping with six players left to return on Tuesday. It took just a few hands at the final table on Monday for the first elimination to happen. Diego Zeiter moved all in for 1,305,000 from middle position and Alexandr Merzhvinskii called. Zeiter tabled [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"] but got the worst news possible when Merzhvinskii turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="tc"][poker card="2h"][poker card="qh"][poker card="td"] runout wasn't good enough to save Zeiter from an eighth place finish. It took only an hour before the next player was sent to the rail. From middle position, Laurynas Levinskas raised to 250,000 before Liviu Ignat moved all in from the button. Levinskas called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] while Ignat needed help after turning over [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"][poker card="6d"] flop gave Ignat two extra outs but neither the [poker card="7c"] turn and [poker card="8s"] river were any help and he was sent out in seventh. The six remaining players bagged up their chips and returned on Tuesday to play down to a winner. A good night's rest didn't help Parker Talbot overcome his short stack though. Down to just 15 big blinds, Talbot moved all in from the cutoff only to have Levinskas call from the big blind and turn over [poker card="as"][poker card="9c"] while Talbot was left drawing with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"] The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"][poker card="2c"] flop all but ended Talbot's run. The [poker card="ts"] turn gave him four outs to Broadway but the [poker card="kd"] river was no help and Talbot was out in sixth. Play continued for nearly 90 minutes before the next elimination occurred. Michaelis raised to 400,000 from UTG and Carlos Branco moved all in for 3,575,000 from the button. Artem Kobylynskyi re-raised all in from the big blind forcing Michaelis to fold. Branco showed [poker card="7d"][poker card="7h"] but Kobylynskyi had [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The flop came [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"] to give Branco six more outs. The turn was the [poker card="9s"] and the [poker card="8h"] river sealed his fate with a fifth place finish. The first talk of a chop came up with four players remaining but Levinskas decided he wanted to keep playing. About 30 minutes later, the decision was made for him. Michaelis raised to 425,000 from the button and Levinskas defended from the big blind. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7d"] flop got both players to check. The [poker card="8h"] turn got another check from Levinskas before Michaelis bet 400,000. Levinskas responded by moving all in and Michaelis called instantly. Levinskas showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] for top pair but Michaelis tabled [poker card="8c"][8s for a turned set. The [poker card="9d"] river was a useless second pair for Levinskas and he was eliminated in fourth. Three-handed play last a little over an hour before the three players agreed to a deal. Michaelis took €770,000, Merzhvinskii pocketed €631,500 while the shortest stack, Kobylinskiy, settled for €571,910 and they left €70,000 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass to play for. It took almost 90 minutes to go from a deal to heads-up. Merzhvinskii moved all in for his last 12 big blinds from the button and Michaelis called from the big blind. Merzhvinskii tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="7d"] but found his hand dominated by Michaelis' [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7h"] flop improved both players. The [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="th"] river changed kept everything the same and gave Michaelis the pot and eliminated Merzhvinskii in third. When heads up play began, Michaelis was ahead 2-1 over Kobylynskyi. It took just 15 minutes for Michaelis to finish things off thanks to a cooler. Michaelis called from the button and then called again after Kobylynskyi moved all in for 5,600,000. Kobylynskyi showed [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] but Michaelis had him beat with [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"] to give Michaelis the win and leave Kobylynskyi as runner-up. Final Table Payouts Paul Michaelis - $954,677 Artem Kobylynskyi - $649,987 Alexandr Merzhvinskii - $717,712 Laurynas Levinskas - $359,140 Carlos Branco - $275,674 Parker Talbot - $203,846 Liviu Ignat - $155,385 Diego Zeiter - $110,720
  25. As the launch of Pennsylvania online poker nears, PocketFives takes a look at the top 10 of the Pennsylvania poker all-time money list. The list includes a World Series of Poker Main Event champion, one other WSOP gold bracelet winner, a couple of World Poker Tour winners, and a European Poker Tour champion. The leader falls under none of these categories, though, but he does top the list in a big way with more than $24 million in live tournament earnings. Pennsylvania Poker All-Time Money List Jake Schindler - $24,659,374 Joseph McKeehen - $16,224,026 John Hennigan - $8,472,252 Matt Glantz - $7,110,451 Daniel Ott - $4,726,701 Matt Berkey - $4,152,310 Russell Thomas - $3,770,309 Michael Martin - $3,305,970 Aaron Mermelstein - $3,246,815 Garry Gates - $3,243,129 Jake Schindler Jake Schindler and his career live tournament earnings of more than $24.6 million tops the PA poker all-time money list, and the gap between him and second place is quite large. Schindler is originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia. It’s a suburb of Philadelphia with a population of only few thousand people. Schindler’s largest live tournament score to date comes in at $3.6 million for when he finished second to Christoph Vogelsang in the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl in 2017. He also has scores of $1.192 million from winning the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller, $2.151 million for winning the 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller, and $1.332 million for winning the WPT Five Diamond $100,000 Super High Roller in 2018. Not only does Schindler’s more than $24.6 million put him on top of Pennsylvania’s all-time money list, but it has him ranked in the top 15 of the United States all-time money list and top 25 of the overall all-time money list. Joseph McKeehen Coming in at #2 on Pennsylvania’s all-time money list is 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joseph McKeehen with more than $16.2 million in live tournament earnings. Of those winnings, $7.683 million came when McKeehen topped a field of 6,420 entries in poker’s most prestigious event, the WSOP Main Event. McKeehen is originally from North Wales, Pennsylvania. It’s a small town in the southeast corner of the Keystone State. McKeehen proved his wasn’t just a one-hit wonder when, in 2017, he won his second WSOP gold bracelet in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, scoring $311,817. McKeehen also has a WSOP Circuit Main Event title to his name. McKeehen’s second biggest score came from the 2016 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller. In that event, he finished second to Bryn Kenney for $1.22 million. John Hennigan One of the most well-known poker players in the world, John Hennigan, comes in at #3 on Pennsylvania’s all-time money list. He has $8.472 million in live tournament earnings. Hennigan has loads of big scores and triumphant victories on his résumé, but it’s the six WSOP gold bracelets and one WPT title that really stick out. Hennigan’s largest career score is his World Poker Tour win, coming in 2007 at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open when he won $1.606 million. His second biggest score came in 2014 when he won the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship to the tune of $1.517 million. That WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship win came just one year after he finished third in the same event for $686,568. In 2018, Hennigan took second in the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $765,837. Hennigan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Matt Glantz Matt Glantz, from Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, comes in at #4 on the list with $7.11 million in live tournament earnings. His biggest live tournament score came from the European Poker Tour London £20,500 High Roller. He won that event for what converted to $862,837. In 2008, Glantz took fourth in the WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for $568,320, and in 2014 he finished fifth in the PCA $100,000 Super High Roller for $445,520. Glantz has a handful of WSOP final tables on record, but to date, he’s yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet. His closest was in 2005 when he took second in the WSOP $3,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament for $364,620. Daniel Ott Almost smack dead in the center of Pennsylvania is Altoona, where Daniel Ott is from. Ott comes in at #5 on PA’s all-time money list with $4.726 million in live tournament earnings. Nearly all of that, $4.7 million worth, comes from a single score. In 2017, Ott made the final table of the WSOP Main Event and finished second to Scott Blumstein for $4.7 million. Elsewhere on Ott’s résumé, you’ll find a bunch of WSOP cashes, all for small amounts, and an MSPT cash, but that’s it. Matt Berkey Originally from Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Matt Berkey is one of poker’s most popular players. He has more than $4.15 million in live tournament earnings, but that could change rather quickly for as big as he plays. Berkey is a regular in some of poker’s priciest tournaments, including the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl, which he took fifth in in 2016 for $1.1 million. That’s Berkey’s only seven-figure score to date, but he has several six-figures cashes and it seems like only a matter of time before he nets another cash of a million dollars or more. Russell Thomas Like Ott, the bulk of Russell Thomas’ career live tournament earnings come from a final table in the WSOP Main Event. Thomas has more than $3.77 million in earnings, which lands him #7 on the Pennsylvania poker all-time money list. More than $2.85 million of that comes from a fourth-place finish in the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Thomas is originally from Wallingford, Pennsylvania, which is located in the southeast corner of the state. Michael Martin You won’t see Michael Martin on the poker circuit much these days, but he did well to amass more than $3.3 million in live tournament earnings. Nearly all of Martin’s live tournament cashes come from 2006 to 2010, with one very small cash coming in each of 2013 and 2019. Martin’s biggest score came when he won the European Poker Tour London Main Event in 2008 for more than $1.8 million. Prior to that, earlier in the same year, he banked $666,171 for a fifth-place finish in the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Martin is originally from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Aaron Mermelstein Philadelphia’s Aaron Mermelstein is still very much grinding the tournament circuit, and with more than $3.25 million in live earnings, he’s #9 on the Pennsylvania all-time money list. Mermelstein doesn’t have a seven-figure score on record, to date, but he does hold two WPT titles. He won both in 2015, topping the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $712,305, his largest score ever, and then winning the WPT Maryland Live! tournament for $250,222. Another big score for Mermelstein came when he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $25,000 High Roller event in 2019 for $618,955. Garry Gates Titusville’s Garry Gates is a newcomer to the Pennsylvania poker all-time money list, thanks to his fourth-place finish in the 2019 WSOP Main Event for $3 million. Gates, a longtime member of the poker industry on both the media and corporate side, now has four WSOP Main Event cashes. Gates’ second-biggest score is a fourth-place finish in the 2012 WSOP Circuit Atlantic City Main Event for $64,530. Gates’ hometown of Titusville is home to notable football player and coach, John Heisman.

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