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Found 24 results

  1. The World Series of Poker’s ESPN era has come to an end and the world's longest running poker tournament has returned to its roots. On Monday, CBS Sports and PokerGO announced a brand new multi-year rights agreement that sees the WSOP leave ESPN, its television home for more than 20 years, and move to the the CBS family beginning in 2021. Beginning with this year's WSOP, CBS Sports Network becomes "the exclusive domestic television home of the WSOP" and will feature 15 hours of the 2021 WSOP Main Event as well as another 36 hours of 18 other bracelet events according to a press release issued by the network. "CBS Sports has long been a pioneer in covering a broad range of championship sports," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "We couldn’t be more excited to see increased television coverage of the WSOP in the coming years and benefit from growing media platforms." While the announcement marks the end of the WSOP's partnership with ESPN, which began in 1987 with the first of Johnny Chan's back-to-back titles, it also marks the return of the WSOP to their original broadcast home. In 1973, CBS broadcast an hour-long special as part of their CBS Sports Spectacular which featured highly edited recap-style show of the Main Event final table. In 2019, the WSOP, through PokerGO, partnered with CBS for 25 days of streaming of non-Main Event bracelet events on CBS All Access, the company's streaming product at the time. CBS Sports Network also aired 25 highlights of bracelet events on their network, while the Main Event stayed on ESPN. "Following our past success with PokerGO, we are excited to expand our relationship with the highest-profile and richest event in competitive tournament poker featuring the best players in the world,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President of Programming, CBS Sports. "This deal fits perfectly in our strategy to combine best-in-class events with our CBS Sports brand." CBS All Access was re-branded as Paramount+ earlier this year. The release indicated plans for the WSOP to be part of the Paramount+ product offering. More details, including the potential return of longtime broadcast team Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
  2. It’s been over six years since Brazil’s Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski was the #1-ranked online poker player in the world and this week he took another step closer to becoming it again. After weeks of hovering inside and out of the worldwide top five for the better part of two months, the tournament superstar unseated Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to assume the #2 spot and became the next player to make a run at fellow Brazilian Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, who has now held the #1 ranking for 11 weeks in a row. For many, Dzivieleski first stepped into the poker spotlight when he was featured on the ESPN broadcast during the 2019 Main Event. Ever since then, he has continued to pile up the accolades. He’s won two World Series of Poker gold bracelets, including one in 2020, as well as multiple partypoker POWERFEST events, and a total of four PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker titles. A regular in the online high roller scene, with over $10 million in total lifetime online earnings, Dzivielevski has become known as one of Brazil’s very best all-around players. But there are also plenty of poker players and fans who know that ‘Yuri Martins’ has been a must-respected tournament grinder years before his 2019 “breakout” year. In 2014, he soared to the top of the rankings and ended Nicolas ‘PokerKaiser’ Fierro’s first two-week run as #1. Dzivielevski held the top spot for three weeks, lost it, and then clawed his way back to the top three months later knocking Fedor ‘CrownUpGuy’ Holz out of the top spot. Now, he’s in a position to reach #1 again. He did this by maintaining a disciplined grind and continuing to rack up large scores. Of course, his runner-up finish in America's Cardroom Venom Main Event, which was covered last week, set the stage and pushed him back into the top five. But it was his work over the past week and a half that put him where he is now. A deep run in the February 15 edition of the Natural8 Sunday 500 High Roller brought him a $9,826 payday and 148.04 PLB points. Three days later he bested a field of 242 entries in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder for over $10,253 and another 245.97 PLB points. Finally, he tacked on another 310.92 PLB points with his sixth-place result in the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, High Roller) for $47,858. All of that said though, Dzivielevski has a tough task ahead of him if he’s going to reach #1. Botteon has not slowed down. He picked up three PLB qualifying scores of his own including a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder. Botteon currently holds a healthy lead on the field with a total of 13,963 total PLB points, 1,672 points above Dzivielevski. However, should Dzivielevski continues to pile on the results, as he did this week in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ where he finished in fourth place for $207,649, he has a real shot at becoming #1 in 2021. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • There were several notable jumps inside the top 100 this week including Dalton ‘daltonhb’ Hobold who soared 125 places from #160 to a career-high #36 by stringing together 11-PLB qualifying cashes so far this month including a ninth-place finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ where his final table finish brought him an $11,271 score. • ‘Olorion’ is Poland’s #1-ranked player thanks to his victory in the GGPoker Sunday Special $88 that brought him $21,572 and 416.82 PLB points. That spotlight score helped him leap from #217 in the world all the way to #58. However, it’s not a career-high for the longtime grinder who, back in 2013, reached as high as 28 in the world. • Alex ‘Veruz’ Butcher remains the #1-ranked player in the USA, landing at #64 worldwide. It’s hard for players in the USA to maintain high placements on the worldwide stage due to the limited offering of tournaments in America, but Butcher managed a pair of nice PLB scores one week ago and added to it this week with his win in the partypoker NJ Daily $10K GTD for $3,338 and 125.30 PLB points. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=178 /]
  3. We're dangerously close to the live conclusion of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event next Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime, the start of Day 7 aired on Sunday night on ESPN in the form of two one-hour episodes. Scott Palmermade headlines out of the gate, doubling through Dan Smith(pictured) with A-3 against queens after an ace hit on the river. Billy Pappas, who was also in the hand, folded jacks on the turn. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by William Hill Poker, one of the largest skins on the iPoker Network. The poker room offers a generous welcome package including a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000 and a superb VIP program. PocketFivers will love playing in the site's €1 million guaranteed iPOPS series, which runs through November 9. Visit William Hill today! --- After slow-playing pocket kings, Sean Dempsey bet 550,000 on a board of 6-4-Q-5-J. Mark Newhouse, who had 9-7 suited for a rivered flush, put Dempsey all-in and he called, busting from the Main Event. Also exiting was Brian Roberts, whose K-J could not draw out on Eddy Sabat's A-Q after all of the money went in before the flop. Thomas Sarracalled all-in before the flop with A-10 and ended up in a race against Andoni Larrabe's pocket eights. Sarra admitted, "I knew it was a terrible call, but I felt something wasn't right." Results-wise, Sarra made the right decision, hitting trip tens on the flop and doubling to nine million in chips. Larrabe (pictured) was the youngest player left in the field at age 22. Dan Sindelarcracked aces with nines to take the chip lead. Also trending up was New Jersey pokerplayer William Tonking, who called all-in against Pappas with aces against jacks on a ten-high flop and doubled up. Not as fortunate was rafting guide Bryan Devonshire, who had pocket tens and moved all-in before the flop against Max Senft, who had A-J. Senft came out on top of the race after hitting an ace on the flop and Devonshire turned in his second deep Main Event run in four years. One-time chip juggernaut Kyle Keranen5bet all-in before the flop with K-Q of hearts and got a taker in Bruno Politano (pictured), who had him crushed with kings. After a flop and turn of 6-10-7-3, Keranen was drawing dead and out. He took 38th place in 2012, making multiple deep runs like Devonshire. Also excelling in a follow-up Main Event performance was Leif Force, whose parents reportedly wanted to name him Life, but settled on Leif. In any case, he got his money in with K-Q against A-10, but could not suck out. It was his second time making the final three tables of the WSOP Main Event. To close out the first episode, Smith called all-in before the flop with A-K of spades against Jorryt Van Hoof, who had pocket fours. The action was 5bet before the flop, leading ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad to dub it the "facial hair showdown at the agro corral." Smith lost the flip in the end and Van Hoof shot up to fifth in chips. To open the second one-hour episode, which began at 10:00pm ET, Sarra 3bet bluffed with eight-high against Sindelar, who had top pair. Sindelar released his hand and Sarra continued to chip up. Then, Palmer bit the dust after running ducks into bullets. Newhouse (pictured), who finished ninth in the Main Event last year, was the talk of the town for much of the second hour of coverage on Sunday night. After all, amid fields numbering in the thousands, the chances of any player making back-to-back November Nine appearances are infinitesimal. In fact, eight players have made back-to-back final tables in the history of the WSOP, according to an ESPN infographic, the last being Dan Harrington in 2003 and 2004. It wasn't looking promising for Newhouse either, as he doubled up Felix Stephensenwith A-9 against A-K and shed half of his stack. Also trending downward was Scott Mahin, who called all-in on a flop of 6-10-8 with two diamonds holding 10-8 for top two pair. Larrabe had the nut flush draw, which hit on the river to send Mahin home. The final hand shown on Sunday night saw Andrey Zaichenko call all-in drawing dead after Van Hoof made a straight to end his Main Event run in 17th place. Van Hoof, meanwhile, jumped to second on the leaderboard. This week, you can catch the final two prepackaged episodes beginning at 9:00pm ET on Sunday on ESPN. The November Nine will air on Monday, November 10 and Tuesday, November 11 on a delay on the network's family of stations. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. The 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event resumed on Monday night on a 30-minute delay on ESPN2. As each member of the November Nine zoomed across the Rio's Voodoo Zip Line, the camera panned into the 1,200-seat Penn and Teller Theater, which was electric. As Bluff's Lance Bradley put it, "Three minutes in and Politano's rail is already the greatest of all time. It’s not even close." --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by William Hill Poker, one of the largest skins on the iPoker Network. The poker room offers a generous welcome package including a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000 and a superb VIP program. Visit William Hill today! --- Antonio Esfandiari, a former One Drop champion, joined Norman Chad and Lon McEachern in the announce booth and said that Newhouse's experience "would be a huge difference-maker tonight." He added that if he were at the final table, he'd be the elder statesman. Jorryt Van Hoof was the chip leader when play resumed and was stacked with 95 big blinds, while Bruno Politano, whom Bradley referred to, had more than 30 big blinds as the short stack. As many have pointed out, unlike years past, there's no dominant chip stack and desperate short stack. To that end, Esfandiari said, "It's going to take a while." Last year's final table lasted 261 hands. ESPN flashed to an interview with Mark Newhouse, who said, "In the last four months, I haven't been playing much poker. Mark Newhouse the poker player – I don't even remember." He added, "I finished ninth last year and who would have known I'd have another shot at it." Reigning Main Event champion Ryan Riess gave the ceremonial "Shuffle up and deal" command and Newhouse started with the button. The blinds began at 200,000-400,000 with an ante of 50,000. Patches included 888 Poker, the Commerce Casino, and DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports site. Neteller, Ruffles, and NJOY logos appeared on the table itself. Hole cards are being shown on every pot, so viewers at home can know exactly what players have. We'll continue to bring you updates throughout the evening in sync with the TV broadcast right here on PocketFives.
  5. Day 5 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event aired on Sunday night on ESPN, going up against the Philadelphia Eagles' beat down of the New York Giants. When the first of two hour-long episodes began at 9:00pm Eastern Time, there were 139 players left and former #1 ranked PocketFiver Griffin Flush_Entity Benger (pictured) was third in chips. As Greg Raymer put it in the opening montage, "The better you play, the less luck you're going to need." The first hand, for example, saw Tony Ruberto win a pot from Benger with just ace-high. Afterward, Benger talked to ESPN's cameras about making a living playing video games and mastering Counter-Strike. Speaking of Ruberto, an interview with the young gun aired in which he brushed off the notion that driving deep in the Main Event is buzz-worthy: "It's not a big deal. You want to know why? It's just another tournament. That's all it is. There's no glory. Yeah, it's the Main Event and there's a little more prestige, but it's still another day at the office." Meanwhile, Maria Ho, who would ultimately be the Last Woman Standing in the Main Event in 2014 for the second time in her career, called an all-in with pocket queens against an opponent with A-10. No bullet came and Ho continued to stack chips. Trending the opposite way was the boisterous Curtis Rystadt (pictured), who dropped 20% of his stack after his J-10 could not suck out on A-K of diamonds. Rystadt had gotten into it with California pokerpro Kyle Keranen earlier on Day 5, but the two had improved to "frenemies." Meanwhile, former "2 Months, $2 Million" star Brian Roberts bluffed all-in with Q-10 on a board of J-A-7-5-7, getting an opponent with A-10 to lay down his hand. Then, Roberts busted a player after his jacks stood tall against pocket tens. The latter hand caused Roberts' chip stack to swell by 70%. On a board of 9-Q-8-A, Dan KingDanSmith, holding queens, put Kane Kalas all-in. Kalas, who had Q-9 for two pair, stared down Smith, who coyly swallowed and looked nervous. ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad said of Smith's move, "Camp counselors shouldn't give off false tells." Smith was a camp counselor in high school, by the way, as I'm sure several people reading this article were. In any case, Kalas called and was eliminated. The second episode, which aired at 10:00pm Eastern Time, began with three players all-in pre-flop on the same hand. The holdings: 4-4, A-J, and A-K, with a player who had J-J having all of them covered. The board rolled out 10-4-9-8-9 and Billy Pappas, who had 4-4, quadrupled up. Rystadt continued to bleed chips, this time his entire remaining stack. On a board of K-6-Q-2-4 with three clubs, Rystadt, who had an offsuit K-4, bet 400,000 and Keranen, his new best bud, shoved all-in with A-10 of clubs for the flopped nut flush. Rystadt stewed over his decision and ultimately called, sending him away from the Main Event and leaving Keranen to breathe a sigh of relief. In one of the final hands of the night, Benger moved all-in before the flop with J-J and Chad evechad Eveslage called with Q-Q. The better hand held and Benger was eliminated in 90th place. Despite doubling up a player and dropping one-fifth of his stack, Mark Newhouse(pictured) ended Day 5 as the Main Event's chip leader, seeking to become the first two-time November Niner. As Chad put it, "If he makes back-to-back final tables, I will zip line across the Grand Canyon with Mike Matusow on my back." Have fun with that, Norm. You can catch Day 6 of the Main Event starting at 9:00pm Eastern Time on Sunday on ESPN. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. On Sunday night, going up against the nationally-televised New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals NFL game, the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event continued airing on ESPN. Two hours of action hit the small screen beginning at 9:00pm ET. This author tuned in at 10:00pm ET for an hour after the Sunday Night Football game ceased to be competitive. To start off the second hour of coverage, Kyle Keranen(pictured) won a pot to go over three million in chips at the feature table. After raking another pile of chips to pass 3.5 million, ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad quipped, "Kyle Keranen – winning another pot to make it look easy." Keranen and the flamboyant Curtis Rystadt were the two most heavily featured players during the hour; both had their chairs pulled around the feature table. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn busted in 173rd place, continuing his impressive showing in the Main Event. Einhorn finished 18th in the 2006 version and told ESPN, "To just hang in there, catch a few cards, and play like I did – I am really happy with this result." He finished third in the 2012 Big One for One Drop for a mind-numbing $4.3 million. Meanwhile, USC alum Eddy Sabat(pictured) made a call for 275,000 in chips with a pair of fours and ran into a flush. Sabat asked for the clock to be called on himself and seemed rather indecisive about whether to continue. To quote Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "He chose poorly." Elsewhere in the quickly-shrinking Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas, Andrew Liporace went all-in with Jc-10c on a board of 2-K-K-9. Dan KingDan Smith, holding A-A, insta-called and was 75% to win. The river was the 7h and Liporace was eliminated in 159th place. As a result, Smith boosted his stack to nearly three million. Following that hand, a piece about Smith and his passion for chess aired. Smith talked about starting to play the strategy-laced game at six years old and pointed out, "I wouldn't be the poker player I am today if it weren't for chess, and for that I am grateful." The 2014 Main Event marked Smith's 17th WSOP in the money finish. Back at the feature table, Keranen continued to roll, scooping a pot of almost 700,000 in chips with J-J after forcing a player with third pair to fold. Also at the feature table was Rystadt, who constantly opened his mouth and got under the skin of several of his opponents. Chad asked whether Rystadt had an off switch, to give you an idea of how bad it was. Following that comment, an interview with Rystadt aired in which he talked about the importance of seeing the world. Chad wondered, "I wonder if he trash-talks locals." Rystadt (pictured) then busted a player with 10-10 against Q-10 after ducking 15 outs on the river. He had cracked Keranen's aces with Q-4 on Day 5, then ran his mouth. Apparently Rystadt and Keranen are now BFFs despite the argument, as they were seen joking with each other several times during the hour. Meanwhile, Limit specialist Maria Ho raised to 53,000 pre-flop with J-10 of clubs. Jack Schanbacher, with Q-Q, popped it to 137,000 and Ho called. The flop came 9-10-K and the action went check-check. The turn was a four and Schanbacher check-called a bet of 160,000. After an ace hit on the river, Schanbacher check-folded to a bet of 350,000 with the board showing two overcards. Chad observed about the California poker player, "She plays Limit and No Limit Hold'em very well." When the curtain fell on the second episode on Sunday night, there were 142 players left. Bruno Politanowas on top at 5.6 million. You can see what happens this Sunday, with two new episodes starting at 9:00pm ET on ESPN. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. The last new, prepackaged episodes of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event aired on Sunday night on ESPN against some pretty stiff competition: the Kansas City Royals' Game 5 World Series win on Fox and a battle of 6-0 NFL teams between Green Bay and Denver on NBC. Nevertheless, PocketFives caught the action for an hour starting at 9:00pm ET. It was still Day 7 of the Main Event, the final day of action in July. The hour began with Justin Schwartzbusting out in a set-over-set situation. Then, Joseph dude904McKeehen, who had kings, bet 2 million on the river of a 10-J-4-6-4 board after betting the turn and checking the flop. Daniel Negreanu (pictured), who had Q-J for top pair, said, "You got it" upon flipping over his hand and shed two-thirds of his stack. ESPN poker commentator Lon McEachern said McKeehen was "running hotter than the sun." McKeehen was in the top four of the start-of-day chip counts on Days 4, 5, and 7 of the Main Event. After the hand against Negreanu, he was in second place with 13 left. Negreanu later doubled through McKeehen much to the delight of the crowd. Then, a segment about Max Steinberg(pictured) aired in which he preached his passion for daily fantasy sports. Steinberg explained, "It's sort of like a poker tournament in a sense that you have a bunch of players putting up the buy-in and then whoever does the best gets the money." Steinberg won his way into the Main Event via a satellite on DraftKings. Patrick Chan4bet all-in before the flop with A-Q of hearts and turned a flush to double up through Pierre Neuville, the oldest player left in the field. Also doubling was Federico Butteroni, who committed his chips with 8-7 on a board of K-7-8-4. Fellow European Alexander Turyansky insta-called with A-8 and Butteroni's hand held. Watching the play, Norman Chad asked, "An insta-call with that hand?" Matt Guan ran queens into aces to bust out in 13th. McKeehen, who didn't deliver the knockout blow but was seated at the same table, told Guan, "You played insanely well all those days." To close out the hour we caught, Zvi Sternraised to 675,000 before the flop with 10-8 of spades, George McDonald re-raised to 2.2 million with queens, and Stern bluff-shoved for 12.1 million. McDonald called all-in and tragically lost to a turned flush. A couple of days earlier, Stern had similarly cracked aces with 8-7 of spades and continued running hot. The November Nine resumes this Sunday, November 8 starting at 8:30pm ET. The action will be "live" on a 30-minute delay from Las Vegas and beamed around the US on ESPN. Coverage will continue on Monday at 8:00pm ET and Tuesday at 9:30pm ET. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. On Sunday night, the 2015 WSOP Main Event aired on ESPN for 2.5 hours. We checked in during the last hour, which aired at 10:00pm ET and began with 87 players left on Day 5. Daniel Negreanu was still camped out at the feature table. In the cavernous Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas, retired Wall Street trader Rick Barabino was sent packing courtesy of 72-year-old Pierre Neuville (pictured) with K-Q against A-A. The better hand held and the Main Event inched closer to a winner. Neuville would end Day 5 as the overall chip leader. Fedor Holz3bet all-in before the flop with kings and got a taker in Upeshka De Silva, who had nines. The online poker prodigy better known as CrownUpGuy doubled up after there was no drama on the flop, turn, or river and continued his solid live poker performance. Two women remained in the Main Event. One of them, Kelly Minkin, doubled with aces against the nines of Trevor Pearlman, a former owner of the Bourbon Street Casino in Las Vegas. The other woman in the field, Diana Svensk, who was voted Entrepreneur of the Year in her native Sweden, went busto after running A-10 into aces. Her opponent faded a flush draw and a 10 on the river, making Minkin the Last Woman Standing. In one of the most dramatic hands of the episode, Tai Nguyen moved all-in before the flop with sixes, Justin ZeeJustinBonomo called with sevens, Matt Waxman 3bet all-in with jacks, and Erasmus Morfe moved over the top with kings. Bonomo got out of the way and the board ran out 3-Q-K-10-7, giving Morfe top set and a double knockout. Incredibly, Waxman logged back-to-back top-100 finishes in the Main Event and told ESPN of getting knocked out with jacks, "It hurts… I had to go with it." In the last hand shown on Sunday night, former November Niner Matt Jarvis (pictured) check-raised on a flop of 8-6-Q holding bottom set and Neil Blumenfield called with kings. The two checked an ace on the turn to see a four on the river. Jarvis bet half-pot, Blumenfield called, and the former November Niner raked in a pot worth 3.4 million in chips. As the closing bell on Day 5 sounded, ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad asked, "Can Matt Jarvis make another Main Event final table?" You can find out when ESPN's coverage of the 2015 WSOP Main Event continues this Sunday at 10:30pm ET for 90 minutes. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. Amid all of the hoopla of PokerStars being granted a license to operate in New Jersey, we finally had a chance to catch up on this week's coverage of the WSOP Main Event on ESPN. We took in the second of two hours, which aired on Wednesday night in a special time slot. The action began on Day 5 with 162 players left and Max Steinberg holding the chip lead. John $JMONEY$Racener, a former November Niner, went busto to open the episode after coming out on the wrong end of a flip with queens against Joe dude904 McKeehen's A-K. McKeehen (pictured) spiked an ace on the river to win in dramatic fashion. At the feature table, Daniel Negreanu took center stage. Sporting a rather full beard, Negreanu was the second shortest stack at the table with 19 big blinds and 3bet all-in before the flop with A-K against 7-7. Negreanu told his opponent, "Wow, really? You thought I was bluffing," before hitting an ace to double up. It was his first time being all-in during the 2015 WSOP Main Event. McKeehen won a pot worth 1.4 million in chips with kings-full after an opponent bluffed with a busted straight draw and, as a result, took the overall chip lead. Then, Las Vegas cash game pro Lily Newhouse (pictured) 3bet all-in before the flop with pocket eights and ran into Federico Butteroni's aces. As ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad put it, "Her son is named Ace. She's not fond of any aces right now." After a flop of K-10-3, Chad added, "She should have named her kid Eight." The board rounded out 9-J and Newhouse was eliminated. Longtime PocketFiver Mark P0ker H0Kroon, with Phil Hellmuth perched on his rail, busted a player after his aces withstood eights. Kroon and Brian Stinger885 Hastings were both wearing black "What Would Phil Do?" shirts. On a board of K-5-3-2-Q with three hearts, Justin ZeeJustinBonomo (pictured) checked with pocket fives for a set and Matt Waxman checked behind with A-K for top pair. The dealer pushed Bonomo a pot worth 1.1 million and he was up to a healthy 145 big blinds. In the last pot shown during the second hour of coverage, Negreanu called all-in before the flop with kings after Salvatore DiCarlo 5bet with A-K. Negreanu tanked for a couple minutes before calling, at one point saying, "I've only done that twice in my life," referring to folding kings pre-flop. One time, his opponent held aces and Negreanu was right; the other time, his opponent had queens and he was wrong. Negreanu ultimately decided to call and the board ran out an innocuous 10-3-8-4-7. Negreanu doubled up to 2.6 million in chips and the screen faded to black. New WSOP on ESPN episodes air this Sunday from 8:30pm to 11:00pm Eastern Time. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  10. On Sunday, the World Series of Poker Main Event continued airing on ESPN. We checked in during the second episode, which lasted an hour. It was the end of Day 6 when 31 players remained. To start the coverage, David Peterswas all-in for his last eight big blinds with 2-2 against A-10. The poker gods smiled upon him, as he won the flip and doubled up. Then, Max Steinberg doubled up an opponent who had trip fives after calling with nines on an ace-high board. Steinberg shipped 19% of his stack to his tablemate. At the feature table, Daniel Negreanu(pictured) won a pot worth 3.1 million in chips after turning a straight. He took half of Neil Blumenfield's stack in the process. Then it was the demise of the last woman standing this year, malpractice attorney Kelly Minkin. She dropped a pot worth five million after calling with 4-4 on a board of 10-J-3-3-5. Her opponent had J-7 for a better two pair. Then, she 3bet all-in with 10-4 for trips on a flop of 6-10-10, but ran into Q-10. She was drawing dead by the turn and busted in 29th place. ESPN showed other players in the room shocked by Minkin's departure. Minkin (pictured) told ESPN, "I'll definitely be back. I'm going to still continue to play tournaments. You can't win all of them, so I'll be back." Back at the feature table, Negreanu, armed with pocket eights, raised to 275,000 before the flop and Wasim Ahmar shoved over the top with deuces. Negreanu called an extra 900,000 in chips and the better hand held, further trimming the Main Event field. Andrew Moreno, holding A-10, moved all-in before the flop and received a taker in Joseph dude904McKeehen, who had A-Q. The board ran out 5-Q-2-A-9 and Moreno was eliminated in 28th place, setting up the final 27 and Day 7. As ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad put it, "The only time 200 grand feels bad is right here." Thomas Kearneyheld the chip lead when 27 players remained at 14.4 million. You can catch Day 7 beginning this Sunday at 8:30pm ET on ESPN. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  11. On Monday night, going head-to-head with two Monday Night Football games on ESPN, the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event began airing on ESPN2. Like in recent years, the action started not on Day 1, but on Day 4, when 661 entrants remained. Amar Anand held the chip lead and Phil Hellmuth (pictured) graced the feature table. --- 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. --- To open the first hour of coverage, Daniel Negreanu, seated at an outer table, put in a raise, saying he didn't actually see three diamonds on the board until after he bet. Negreanu didn't have a flush and his opponent got out of the way, giving "Kid Poker" even more chips. Meanwhile, Michael Shanahan won a pot with K-J of diamonds against K-J offsuit after rivering a flush and delivering a bad beat. He became the new chip leader of the Main Event as a result. Trending the opposite way was former Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel, who ran K-Q into A-7 on his final hand. The first Main Event champion from Canada was drawing dead by the turn and busted out. Antonio Esfandiari, the inaugural Big One for One Drop winner, doubled up an opponent who flopped a pair of nines and rivered trips. Esfandiari held ace-high in the hand and dropped almost half his stack. Joe dude904McKeehen (pictured) busted a player who had pocket tens after hitting a set of aces. Then, William Wachter, the oldest player ever to cash in the Main Event at age 94, hit the rail after committing his chips with K-J on a flop of 3-7-A against an opponent who had A-J. The board filled out K-7 and Wachter was eliminated. Back at the feature table, it was Hellmuth being Hellmuth. ESPN showed a segment called "Mic Check" in which Hellmuth spouted off phrases like "Three times they re-pop; it's gonna be such a good day" and "It's so yummy." Yummy indeed. One of our favorites was, "You play the cards, Mukul [Pahuja]; I play the people… and the cards." To start the second one-hour episode, it was ice cream time. Hellmuth asked Tournament Director Jack Effel for rocky road ice cream for the table, but Effel ended up bringing out chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry instead. Who says the WSOP doesn't play favorites? In non-dairy matters, 2013 WSOP November Niner JC Tran was all-in with kings against jacks and watched as his opponent hit a jack on the flop. Tran busted as a result and the camera flashed to Negreanu moving to the feature table. Also at an outer table, 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess (pictured) moved all-in pre-flop with pocket sevens and ran into pocket queens. The board ran out 3-9-3-4-4 and Riess was done. Back to Hellmuth now. He shoved all-in with queens and got a taker in Negreanu, who had A-K. "Kid Poker" hit a king on the flop and never looked back, sending Hellmuth to the rail. As ESPN poker commentator Lon McEachern put it, "It all comes crashing down for Phil Hellmuth." In his post-game interview, Hellmuth appeared a tad vindictive, saying, "I made him call it off on a guess." He added that he had only been all-in twice during the 2015 WSOP Main Event and said he deserved to still be in the tournament. Poor Phil. You can catch new episodes of the WSOP on ESPN2 next Monday at 8:00pm ET. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  12. [caption width="640"] The WSOP Main Event returns to ESPN beginning September 11[/caption] The wait is almost over for poker fans waiting to get their annual fix of World Series of Poker Main Event coverage on ESPN. The 2016 WSOP Main Event begins airing on Sunday, September 11 and will run for seven straight weeks as a lead up to the annual November Nine coverage. The first six one-hour episodes will air on ESPN2 with coverage then switching to the ESPN main network. A total of 14 one-hour episodes will provide the lead-up to the 2016 November Nine allowing viewers at home the chance to get to know the players who make the final table before it airs live October 30 - November 1. The November Nine was moved to late October this year to avoid conflicting with the U.S. Presidential Election. This isn't the first time the network has moved the broadcast to avoid this conflict. In 2012 the November Nine was broadcast October 29 - 30 with Greg Merson emerging as World Championship. The final table will air nearly-live across ESPN and ESPN2 networks beginning Sunday, October 30 at 8:30 PM ET. The opening night will be going up directly against Sunday Night Football on NBC which features the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The next night the WSOP coverage moves to ESPN2 as ESPN will air the Monday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. Just like in past years, ESPN coverage begins on Day 4 to allow producers more time to showcase players who make deep runs, in particular the final nine players who comprise the 2016 November Nine. Long-time commentators Lon McEachern and Norman Chad return to the call the action as does roving reporter Kara Scott. Expert analysis will come from poker pros Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Fans will also notice the feature table has an updated look and feel compared to the set used the past few years. EPISODEDATETIME (ET)NETWORK Main Event - Episode 1September 118:30 PMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 2September 1110:00 PMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 3September 1810:30 PMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 4September 1912:00 AMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 5September 258:30 PMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 6September 2510:00 PMESPN2 Main Event - Episode 7October 028:30 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 8October 0210:00 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 9October 098:30 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 10October 0910:00 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 11October 168:30 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 12October 1610:00 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 13October 238:30 PMESPN Main Event - Episode 14October 2310:00 PMESPN Main Event - FINAL TABLE - LIVEOctober 308:30 PMESPN Main Event - FINAL TABLE - LIVEOctober 3011:00 PMESPN Main Event - FINAL TABLE - LIVEOctober 318:00 PMESPN2 Main Event - FINAL TABLE - LIVENovember 018:00 PMESPN2 Main Event - FINAL TABLE - RecapNovember 209:00 PMESPN The 2016 Global Casino Championship, which was taped in August, will kick off the 2016 WSOP season on ESPN. The final table will air over two one-hour episodes beginning at 8 PM ET on Tuesday, September 6 on ESPN2.
  13. Two weeks ago, inside the packed-to-capacity ballroom of a posh Beverly Hills hotel, a small-town Canadian girl stood in front of some of poker’s best players and most important movers and shakers and simply put, owned the room. As Kara Scott looked out at the crowd at the 2016 American Poker Awards, where she was serving as host, she can be forgiven if she took a moment or two to reflect on just far she’d come to get to this point. Literally. And figuratively. Scott was born and raised and Northern Alberta, but it hasn’t been home for some time now. She’s lived in London and Rome before moving to Ljubljana, Slovenia in early 2016. It made for 30-plus hours of travel to get to Los Angeles to oversee the third annual APAs. While her new hometown might be tough to spell, Scott feels right at home living in the city of just 280,000 with her husband, Giovanni Rizzo. “It’s got two l’s and two j’s in it, so it’s a little difficult, but it’s probably the best place I think I’ve ever lived in my life, and I love it unreservedly,” said Scott. ”For a Canadian kid, it’s the best place to live if you’re going to be outside of Canada.” [caption width="400" align="alignright"] Kara Scott has been an 888poker ambassador since 2016.[/caption] Having lived in cultural centers like London and Rome already, Scott is thrilled with the change of and has fallen in love with some of the things that make Slovenia so unique. “They just celebrated 25 years of independence from the former Yugoslavia, so as a country in itself, it’s really quite young,” said Scott. “You see a lot of all wooden bicycles, dudes with really ironic, but not ironic beards, and there’s lot of artists, and their music is super important.“ The Slovenian sense of culture comes from the government showing a willingness to let people live and let live, and that attitude impacts the people of Ljubljana in a positive way and that’s a big reason why Scott has come to love it. “They have these laws where buskers are really celebrated, and as long as they don’t do anything like get drunk or act disorderly while they’re performing, they can stay in Slovenia and make money, so there’s always music everywhere,” said Scott. “The people are just – I don’t know – there’s this real sense of freedom and optimism.” While the lifestyle it provides is something Scott really enjoys, at almost 6,000 miles from poker’s epicenter of Las Vegas, it’s not exactly ideal for somebody who spends a good amount of time working in Sin City or Los Angeles. Scott, an 888poker ambassador, works as the sideline reporter for ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event. In 2015, she also worked as the commentator for the Super High Roller Bowl and Celebrity Shootout – work that ultimately her win an American Poker Award. Last summer she returned to Super High Roller Bowl, this time to hold down the anchor desk of the live broadcast alongside Jesse Sylvia. “I loved working on the Super High Roller Bowl and Celebrity Shootout for PokerCentral It was amazing, but we did all of the voice stuff in post-(production). While they would edit three or four shows at a time, I would fly in to LA from Slovenia to do a voiceover for a couple of days, and then fly home and then a couple of weeks later fly back up,” said Scott. “It was a hell of a commute, but it was totally worth it." Standing in front of a room full of people is exactly where Scott thought her career was going to when she was younger, but it had nothing to do with Beverly Hills, ballrooms or award shows, but rather reading, writing and arithmetic. Scott graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in Education and Linguistics and immediately took off to England to begin her career as a teacher. Getting work wasn’t an issue for Scott at first, but finding something that she found fulfilling was. In between teaching gigs she found herself picking up other work in a totally different field – television. “I was a teacher in London, and I’d given that up a couple of times and gone back to it a couple of times. I’d done producing work in TV and film over there and I loved it,” said Scott. She eventually found herself in front of the camera, covering backgammon in 2005, but if you ask her, she thought her first attempted foray into broadcasting only guaranteed that she’d be a teacher forever. [caption width="640"] Working with Dominik Nitsche for 888poker, Scott ended up being on the other end of the questions[/caption] “I remember going for the audition. I’d read about it, and I didn’t know anything about backgammon, but I played a lot of games, so I was like ‘I’m going to go, I’m going to do my best, and you know what? If I don’t get this job, I give up, because I have a lot of debt, and I’m about to kind of lose my apartment, and this is really hard, and I’m just going to have to go back to teaching',” said Scott. Knowing nothing about the game probably didn’t help matters much, but Scott left the audition believing she had failed miserably, so much so that as soon as it was done, she found herself in a pub, trying to console herself. “I was convinced that I had botched it so badly, so I went outside to the bar across the street and I ordered a glass of whiskey, and I was shaking because I was so upset with myself and then I chipped the inside of my tooth with the glass,” said Scott. “I just burst into tears because I was like ‘gah, everything’s terrible’.” Two weeks later her phone rang and the producers told her she’d gotten the job. Scott was stunned. Not everything was terrible. “They were like, ‘It was a great interview. It was our favorite interview. You were so good,’ and I was like, Really?” said Scott. Next thing she knew, Scott was hosting High Stakes Backgammon and eventually the World Series of Backgammon for British television. Her work there eventually lead her to working in poker, including a stint on Poker Night Live, a British show. “I went through a phase of probably ten years of taking everything that was offered because I was like ‘I have to keep working, Don't know when it’s going to dry up.’,” said Scott. Along the way she’s been on-air talent for a myriad of productions including Sky Poker, the Super High Roller Bowl, the European Poker Tour, High Stakes Poker and probably most importantly, ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP. While the mid-summer work for ESPN gives Scott the chance to cover poker’s biggest event from Day 1, those episodes are taped and prepared after weeks of editing. Covering the WSOP Main Event final table means working live in front of potentially millions of viewers at home. At first, Scott dreaded the thought of being on live TV and not being perfect. Even with years of TV experience now under her belt, Scott got the butterflies even thinking about the idea. “I was really scared. I was excited though. I started to get a little bit of stage fright at that point, and so that scared me,” said Scott. “They used to call me ‘One Take Kara’ and it was important to me to maintain that, and I’d start to make mistakes because I was putting too much pressure on myself and my mind would go blank.” Scott worked with a friend of hers from London that helps actors deal with stage fright and it worked. She’s gone from worrying about being on live TV to enjoying it more than anything else she does. “The World Series in October or November really is my favorite because doing it live is amazing and you just have no room for error. I guess I don’t have time to over-think it. Whereas if I know it’s being recorded, and can do another take if I want to, then I have a tendency to sabotage myself a little bit and get it wrong,” said Scott. The November Nine broadcasts also gave Scott the chance to do something a little bit different from the sideline reporting. Like any poker tournament, the WSOP Main Event final table has extended breaks between each level. Scott is tasked with keeping the audience’s attention even when there were no cards being dealt by reviewing the previous level and going over hands with top pros like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. “I think the highlight for me is probably the first time I sat behind the anchor desk for the ESPN show. That was amazing. I was really proud that they kind of trusted me to carry a 10 or 15-minute segment. It felt like doing something like SportsCenter,” said Scott. ”I love my job being a sideline reporter as well, I do, but that just kind of felt like, oh, there is somewhere for me to continue moving and it’s nice to know that I had somewhere to expand into.“ [caption width="640"] Scott won a 2015 American Poker Award for her work as play-by-play commentator for the Super High Roller Bowl[/caption] She’s since expanded her roles again. In 2015, Scott became the first woman to do play-by-play for a North American poker broadcast when she called the action for the Super High Roller Bowl on NBC Sports Network. Scott sees it as a natural extension of everything she’s done in her career to date – even the stuff from before the TV work. “I love the play-by-play. I’ve never been the analyst, because I don’t want to be the analyst. That’s not my role. I’m not a poker expert. I’m a broadcaster who plays poker and loves the game and is around it all the time, so I can talk about in a certain way,” said Scott. “It’s part of the teacher in me. I like to make sure people are where they’re supposed to be, doing what they’re supposed to be, keeping them on track. It feels like a very natural role to me. I love that.” While she humbly shrugs off the “trailblazer” status of that role, Scott believes that the world of poker is changing – albeit slowly – to be more accepting and inviting of female players and she looks to Twitter and Facebook as a key part of that transition. “I think the advent of social media means that we’re hearing people say thing that they were always saying, but now it’s louder, because we can all read them. They’re there, which is both good and bad, but it’s kind of nice to have a voice for people who are in the minority,” said Scott. While females are vastly outnumbered on the live the tournament scene, Scott sees a day coming where that number is closer to the actual population representation, but don’t count on it happening overnight. “I’ve always thought that it was going to take a little while, like a slow build to that, because bringing women into the game was great, but they come in and they’re still amateurs when they’re playing the game, so it wasn’t going to be this boom of all of a sudden we’re winning all the bracelets and it’s going to be great,” said Scott. Looking back at the women who have come before her in poker, Scott marvels at how they’ve managed to constantly support each other, even if professional and personal differences exist and the struggle hasn’t always been easy. Sitting in the audience at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony last summer gave her some perspective. “I know Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher pretty well, and I adore them, but I don’t know a lot of the other women from the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and seeing how close they all are, it made sense,” said Scott. “I kind of want to see some of that for my generation, or even the women who are younger than me, I want to see that we kind of reach out and support each other. I think we do in a way that I didn’t see five years ago.” Looking at the generation of women playing the game today, Scott has no difficulty pointing to some she admires. “There are so many really interesting women that I really adore. Danielle Andersen, I’ve been friends with here for a few years now and we always meet up and have breakfast or lunch,” said Scott. “I am just starting to be friends with Julie Anna Cornelius, who I think is lovely. Jamie Kerstetter, because we’ve worked together (at partypoker), I always just had a real respect for her game and her commentary.” Looking ahead at what projects or challenges she wants to tackle next, Scott points to one day doing a show with an all-female play-by-play and commentary team, and she’s already got her partner in mind. “I want to do a show with Maria Ho as the analyst, and me leading it. I think that would be awesome,” said Scott. “I think we’re at the time where that’s okay. I don't think people would find it so weird, especially because she’s such a highly regarded player, and she proved it over and over again that this is who she is.” Scott has also proven herself multiple times in her career and no longer worries about having to go back to teaching geography. She’s reached a point in her career where she’s able to pick and choose what jobs she wants to work or projects she wants to be involved in. “My dad always used to tell me, and he told me this when I first started, when I was doing nothing but standing in the background of a mobile phone commercial, a 12-hour day of walking by while my shoulder showed in the shot, and he was like ‘One day you’re going to have to start turning down good jobs, because you’ve got other good jobs'.” “And it happened,” said Scott.
  14. What are you supposed to expect when the event you grew up watching is suddenly live and in front of your own eyes? Scott Blumstein saw Chris Moneymaker win the Main Event when he was a teenager but never thought he’d make it to the poker’s biggest stage in his first ever attempt. Neither did most of his closest friends, many of whom were on the rail at the start of Thursday’s final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. As a friend of Scott’s, I joined his team of investors, confidants and “Due Theorists” on the rail for all three days of his journey to immortality. The shirts (brought to you by the good folks of RunGoodGear) were a nice perk but we were all there for a moment in time we would never forget, regardless of the result. This isn’t supposed to happen. You don’t just “attend” Main Event final tables. But it did. And we were there for it. Day 1: "Is This Real?" Anyone who’s known Scott will tell you that they always knew he was capable of doing something special in the poker world, but who could expect this? $8.1 million dollars on the line and Scott is the chip leader? His father, Len Blumstein, certainly didn’t. Five minutes before cards are in the air, he tells me a story about 13-year-old Scott convincing his mother, Randee, to buy him a $270 Phil Hellmuth-branded poker set. The set came with chips and an instructional book. Len says he was not pleased with the purchase at the time but with his son about to play for life-changing money, he could only marvel and say, “look at him now.” You would think that with the Main Event title and millions of dollars on the line, there would be tension in the air that you could cut with a knife. It was the opposite, actually. Scott spent most of the time before the final table started talking to close friends on the rail about minor strategy details along with some casual ice-breaker discussion to keep his mind balanced before the biggest moment of his life. With Scott starting the final table as chip leader, our hopes were sky-high. He didn’t come this far to not finish the job. Scott likes to say “it’s still a poker tournament” and all of us were conscious of that fact. None of us would say it out loud but we were sure that the title was his to lose. The pageantry of the moment wasn’t lost on any of us. Last year’s Main Event Champion Qui Nguyen was in attendance to do “Shuffle Up and Deal” duties and made an effort to stop by and exchange a quick word with Scott. I didn’t catch any of their conversation and never bothered to ask Scott what was said between the two of them. The words were not relevant, but the scene was. It was finally time to play poker. The rail was filled with a combination of both coaches and “fans.” Asher Conniff, Chris Horter, and Jake Schwartz led the charge with relaying pertinent information to Scott from the stream, giving him all information on the hands his opponents were playing. On the other end, Anthony Garofolo, James 'Jimbo' Hundt, and Jason Brauda were in charge of keeping Scott’s “mentals” in check. It’s easy to get overwhelmed under the bright lights with everything at stake and that trio made sure Scott stayed focused on the task at hand, rather than let a bad hand or unlucky break stay with him. Brauda played a key role in Scott’s run to the final table for the latter part of play in the lead up to Thursday. He was on the rail for Days 5, 6, and 7, keeping Scott in check when it was necessary and putting everything into the right perspective. Scott played amazing poker, but if not for Jason keying Scott in on breaks and the occasional mindset adjustment, the run as we know it might not have materialized the way it did. The first few hours of the final table showed just how loose Scott was for this moment. As the only person eligible to order cocktails for the rail, Scott asked for “37 beers” when pressed for order details. Even after losing a small all-in to eventual fifth place finisher Antoine Saout, Scott and Saout exchanged a laugh after Scott paid off the loss. Scott’s ease at the table and around the rail kept us calm as we sweated out his battle for millions and our fight for tens or hundreds of thousands. Without specifically saying who or for how much, there were folks cheering for Scott who stood to win life-changing money of their own as a result of an investment paid to him before the start of the tournament. With that said, you can imagine our collective excitement when Scott won the largest pot of the entire tournament against fan favorite and then-chip leader, John Hesp. Hesp and Scott had been battling in small pots for the first 46 hands of the final table but on Hand 47, Scott’s equity and the equity of those who bought a piece changed forever. The legend has been etched in rock from Boulder Station to Stonehenge of the cooler Scott put on Hesp to claim 40% of the chips in play. With the ESPN microphones as my witness, I said to a friend and fellow railbird Eric Most, “this is the hand where Scott flops top set and gets it all from Hesp’s bottom two pair.” It didn’t quite happen that way, but the result was the same. Whatever subliminal nervousness we had about Scott pulling this off was gone. He was basically at heads up play, waiting to take the title that he tweeted he was going to win. Day 2: "Our Time" The tension that existed on Day 1 was gone when play started with seven left. Our guy had 150 million. All we had to do was not give away chips and a place on Saturday’s stage was ours. Scott played a hand discussed by many against runner-up Dan Ott at the end of Thursday night, in which Scott shoved the river with a pair of queens on an ace-high board. Prior to the start of Friday’s action, commentator Antonio Esfandiari asked Scott why he played the hand the way he did. In a two-minute burst of brilliance, Scott fully articulated his full thought process to Esfandiari and left Esfandiari doing that nod where you stick your bottom lip out a bit further than normal because you were not expecting what just happened in front of you but are impressed by it. Scott was sharp in explaining the hand and if there was any question about how well he knew his remaining opponents, it was answered there. We had some new additions to the rail on Friday. Scott is a proud alum of Temple University and a few of his fellow Owls flew out to support their guy. While the majority of the rail had on the blue/white t-shirt, these guys came clad in Temple maroon complete with flags and cheers. Nick, Aldo, Peter, etc., all great guys who made a lasting impression. Their story about how their small investment in Scott turned into gold was featured on ESPN, but even if there was no money involved, these guys still would have been there. Their friendship was strong like the faith they had in Scott. There were no consistent, organized cheers for Scott on the first day but these guys changed that. “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” rung out after Scott won the smallest of pots. It was great having that raw energy there from people not in the poker world. That exuberance carried over to the other dozen or so people on the rail for Day 2 as the party atmosphere picked up. Aside from Bryan Piccioli’s rail full of excitable Bitcoiners, we had the largest cheering section throughout the final table. I think the lack of stress among us helped out Scott as well. There was a point when Scott came up to me once the field was narrowed to down to five players and looked me dead in the eye asking, “Is this really happening?” Indeed, it was, and we knew just the meal to keep the party going. Jimbo had the bright idea to order multiple pizzas for our rail as we were more or less trapped inside the Brasilia room with no immediate food options at our disposal. It felt a little bit like the scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High as Len alluded to while mowing down a slice but when it’s your time, it’s your time. Len and Randee were the real stars of the rail. Neither of them had a solid sense of poker knowledge and we gladly supplied them with pertinent details about their son as big hands played out. The pair spent most of their time sitting in the stands as they tried to maintain their composure over what Scott was attempting to accomplish. Len joined the group near the rail on numerous occasions and it was a joy having him there. Going off of a sample size of a few hours, it appeared that Len was one of those “always a kid at heart” types of folks and that manifested in the zealous smile he had on his face for the whole final table. Overall, I think they loved seeing how much other people enjoyed being around their son. There was a moment midway through Friday where he walked up behind a group of us and marveled at the spectacle, saying “this is just great.” No one disagreed. Every time Scott lost ground at the final table, he found a way to gain it right back. The hand where he turned a full house against Benjamin Pollak’s trip nines was a prime example of this. Scott had lost an all-in right before then and suffered a few more small hits but when he needed to win a hand, he did. Being situated directly next to the French rail, we were careful about discussing the hand with Scott in the immediate aftermath as was he. He gave us a smirk and an “I’ll tell ya later” before heading back to the table. When the hand became available on the ESPN stream 30 minutes later, a strange moment took place. Standing adjacent to each other, Blumstein and Pollak watched the hand unfold on the same screen, with Pollak gazing over the fan side of the rail as his better trips were foiled by Blumstein’s turned full house. Scott complimented Pollak on his river fold and Pollack furrowed his brow and nodded in acknowledgment. The instant camaraderie among the final table participants was staggering. Hesp set a cheerful demeanor early on but I don’t think a similar situation would have unfolded the year before between Qui Nguyen and Cliff Josephy. The moment between Scott and Pollack that played out, though, is one of the most endearing minutes of the final table and I hope even a few years from now, those the two players are aptly recognized for their gamesmanship inside of that two minutes. The last couple dozen hands on Friday flew by. As Hesp grew more short, we all knew the day was going to be over soon enough. I had left to tend to my day job at the Venetian by the time Hesp hit the rail in fourth place but we were already making plans for Saturday. We didn’t come this far to not see this thing all the way through. Day 3: “Can We Just Win a Fucking All In Already?” The pressure had officially got to us. Scott possessed nearly all the chips coming into the last day of play and only time was separating him from his destined bracelet. The cards, however, knew of no such divine right. By leveraging his stack against Ott and Pollak, Scott won nearly every small pot but when the cards were turned up, our hair started falling out. The peak of this moment came when there was the first three-way all-in to potentially decide the title in Main Event history. Scott had AQ. Ott had K9. Pollak had Q10. It was all right there for the taking. Until a king flopped and then it wasn’t. We were heads up, at least, with a 2-1 advantage. One thing that did help us to forget the relatively dire situation we were in: In and Out Burger. That’s right. As the only one with a car who had the leeway to leave for a few minutes, I took Patrick Serda, a mutual friend of the group, over to the In and Out on Sahara and proceeded to order 12 burgers regular, 12 #AnimalStyle, along with 12 milkshakes. There was enough alcohol on the rail, we didn’t really need to worry about the liquid part of it but the ice cream base did its part to wash the onions down smooth. The burgers repressed our screams as the first part of heads up play between Scott and Ott played out. Without giving away all of the secrets, we had a last minute find for virtual coaching that helped Scott form a lot of his strategy. The large sizing he used when three-betting Ott’s opens was not an accident. Through the rapid communication of source to a phone to Scott, he was able to adjust on the fly and take advantage of Ott’s perceived weaknesses. It worked. Scott had an incredible advantage but there was one leak left to plug. We still couldn’t win an all in. Ott managed to wiggle out of trouble with K9 against Scott’s sixes when he flopped a better pair. There was a relative calm among us but it was a high-strung moment as the next hand was dealt out. Scott put the last opponent of the 7,220 he battled his way through all in on the very next hand. We thought our guy had it, he just wouldn’t give his chips away this easily right? Ott tanked for what felt like hours and called with A8. All we had was A2. The flop was no good. The turn left us with three outs. And then. It happened. By the grace of whatever poker god was listening, a deuce hit the river and the championship was ours. The celebration was on. Euphoria poured out of every one of us as Scott ran over to the rail and jumped into our arms. “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” That chant is still in my ears and won’t be leaving anytime soon. We all thought this moment would happen from the time play started on Thursday but how are you supposed to react when your wildest dreams come true? Scott Blumstein flew to Las Vegas to play one tournament and won it. And we were there for it.
  15. [caption width="640"] Heidi May won the Ladies Championship on Sunday (WSOP photo)[/caption] If the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event was going to have any chance of breaking 7,000 for the first time since 2010, it needed a great turnout on Sunday for Day 1B. That’s exactly what tournament organizers got as 2,164 players turned out to push the total number of entrants through the first few flights to just under 3,000. Sunday’s great turnout wasn’t what had everybody buzzing though. It was an exciting hand that aired live on ESPN between Vanessa Selbst and Gaelle Baumann that might end up being the most talked about hand in poker this year. Two preliminary events also played down to a winner on Sunday with all eyes squarely focused on Chris Ferguson. The Hand Heard ‘Round the World One of the benefits of having the 2017 Main Event broadcast live on ESPN and PokerGO is the ability to see the hands that everybody is talking about in real time. ESPN producers picked the table with Selbst and Baumann to serve as the feature table at the start of the day. It didn’t take long for the two to clash in a drama-filled hand. [video]https://www.espn.com/core/video/iframe?id=19947530[/video] Baumann ended the day with 87,100. Sitting atop the chip counts at the end of Day 1B is Argentinian Richard Dubini with 254,500. Hot on his tail is Britain’s Lawrence Bayley with 247,400. Serge Chechin, out of France, rounds out the top three with 229,800. Some of the notables moving on to Day 2B include Kenny Hallaert (168,700), Justin Young (168,100), Simon Mattsson (165,700), Matt Glantz (147,000), Ismael Bojang (142,800) and Nick Schulman (131,200). Selbst wasn’t the only notable name to be among the 521 players eliminated on Day 1B. Justin Bonomo, Jesse Sylvia and Greg Merson all busted out on Sunday. Four of the five players who were willed into the 2017 Main Event by Tim O'Meara made it through Day 1B. Keren Jackson - 97,200 Jonathan Nicol - 61,100 Miltiades Tzimourtas - 15,600 Stephen Pavlickek - 10,500 Day 1C is expected to be the largest starting flight by far with the potential for play to at least start with 10-handed tables as opposed to nine. Top 10 Chip Counts Richard Dubini - 254,500 Lawrence Bayley - 247,400 Serge Chechin - 229,800 Naoya Kihara - 220,700 Sergio Fernandez - 218,800 Alan Schein - 218,000 Brandon Meyers - 216,000 Tobias Ziegler - 215,300 Yisheng Cheng - 214,400 Brandon Adams - 203,500 Mike Wattel Beats Chris Ferguson for $10K Seven Card Stud Championship [caption width="640"] Mike Wattel now has two WSOP bracelets after beating Chris Ferguson heads-up in the K Stud Championship (WSOP photo)[/caption] It took six hours of heads up play for Mike Wattel to eliminate Chris Ferguson to win $245,451 and the second WSOP bracelet of his career. “I just feel relieved,” Wattel said. “I finally won one again.” Wattel’s last bracelet came in 1999. The heads-up battle with Ferguson had the poker community following closely from home, with most anti-sweating Ferguson, one of the founders of the failed Full Tilt Poker. Each players took more than one turn as the shortest stack before Wattel ended the tournament. “That was an epic battle. He plays great. I had him, and then he had me, and then I finally pulled it out at the end,” said Wattel. Ferguson got $151,700 for his runner-up finish. It was his 16th cash of the summer and moved into third place in the WSOP Player of the Year race. The current leader there is John Monnette who moved past John Racener for the lead thanks to his fifth place finish in this event. Perry Friedman finished third for $104,416. Final Table Payouts Mike Wattel - $245,451 Chris Ferguson - $151,700 Perry Friedman - $104,416 Amir Mirrasouli - $73,810 John Monnette - $53,621 Bryce Yockey - $40,066 Shaun Deeb - $30,817 David Benyamine - $24,419 Heidi May Wins Ladies Championship Australia’s Heidi May beat Deborah Worley-Roberts Sunday to win the $10,000 Ladies Championship, her first career bracelet and $135,098. The win was the fifth cash of the 2017 for May. May noticed a very different feel between the Ladies Championship and the other big field NLHE events she played this summer. “It's a welcoming environment,” she said. “Non-threatening. It's a bit more recreational than when you come to a tournament and it's all these guys that stare you down with hoodies and stuff – it's a bit too serious for some people. This was a really fun tournament." Final Table Payouts Heidi May - $135,098 Deborah Worley-Roberts - $83,459 Jana De La Cerra - $57,930 Julie Dang - $40,843 Katie Ansorge - $29,256 Alexis Sterner - $21,298 Tiffany Lee - $15,760 Meg Zampino - $11,858 Karen Hodge - $9,075
  16. ESPN and Poker Central have announced the preliminary schedule of the live coverage of the 2018 Main Event of the World Series of Poker. Beginning on July 2 and continuing every day through the conclusion of the event on July 14, ESPN will air no less than 40 total hours of live play across both their ESPN and ESPN2 channels. This year, ESPN is adding to their hours of poker coverage by showcasing the massive $1,000,000 buy-in Big One For One Drop tournament immediately following the Main Event on July 16-17. “ESPN has a long-running relationship with the World Series of Poker, and we are always looking for ways to bring viewers the most preeminent coverage,” said Doug White, ESPN senior director, Programming & Acquisitions. “By doubling down on our broadcast and digital platform coverage, we’re going to bring fans and viewers even closer to the sport’s biggest events from all aspects and angles.” For all of the action that ESPN doesn’t cover, Poker Central’s PokerGO paid streaming service will be providing hours of auxiliary action. While the PokerGO schedule for the World Series of Poker will be announced at a later time, fans can expect plenty of additional hours of in-depth coverage, as they provided in 2017. “Last year, both ESPN viewership and PokerGO subscriptions numbers were very strong throughout the WSOP Main Event,” said JR McCabe, chief digital officer for Poker Central. “This year, we’re doubling down on live coverage for the World Series of Poker by adding the Big One for One Drop and bring even more live poker to fans worldwide.” In addition to the live coverage, ESPN will continue to produce the more traditional episodic re-telling of how the Main Event unfolds. “We’re ecstatic that ESPN and Poker Central continue to raise the bad and deliver more live poker content to audiences across the globe,” said Executive Director of the World Series of Poker Ty Stewart. “Fans today demand immediacy and wall-to-wall coverage and this year’s offering delivers on that in spades.” The current contract between ESPN and the World Series of Poker is currently slated to continue through 2020. DATE TIME EVENT NETWORK July 2 8:00 PM - 1:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 1A ESPN2 July 3 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET Main Event: Day 1B ESPN2 July 4 8:30 PM - 12:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 1C ESPN2 July 5 10:00 PM - 12:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 2A/B ESPN2 July 6 8:30 PM - 12:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 2C ESPN2 July 7 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM ET Main Event: Day 3 ESPN2 July 8 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET Main Event: Day 4 ESPN July 9 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 5 ESPN2 July 10 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET Main Event: Day 6 ESPN July 11 12:30 AM - 2:00 AM ET Main Event: Day 7 ESPN2 July 12 9:00 PM - END ET Main Event: Day 8 ESPN July 13 9:00 PM - END ET Main Event: Day 9 ESPN July 14 9:00 PM - END ET Main Event: Day 10 ESPN July 17 12:00 AM - 2:00 AM ET Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Live) ESPN2 July 17 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ET Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Replay) ESPN2 July 17 9:00 PM - END ET Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Live) ESPN2 July 21 11:00 PM - 1:00 AM ET Big One for One Drop: ESPN2 (Replay) ESPN2
  17. The completion of the full second week of the 2018 World Series of Poker was a non-stop poker extravaganza. The summer series has reached full throttle as some of the biggest events on the schedule awarded huge sums of life-changing money. Social media surrounding the series had a few moments of sincerity as poker legend, Doyle Brunson, announced his retirement from tournament play. That said, poker Twitter’s trademark snark was in full form as grinders jumped into event after event, trying to capture gold. So if you are watching from afar, enjoy the view as here’s a little taste of life at the Rio in week 2. Brazilian Million Some of Brazil’s best and brightest talent celebrated Roberly Felicio’s victory in Event #7: $565 Colossus. Felicio defeated the over 13,000 players to take home the first place guaranteed prize of $1,000,000. On to Week 3!
  18. Poker Central, the online streaming broadcast partner of the World Series of Poker, has announced their complete streaming schedule for the 2018 summer series. Of the 78 bracelet events, a total of 16 final tables as well as wire-to-wire comprehensive coverage of the $10,000 Main Event and extensive viewing of the $1,000,000 Big One For One Drop will be able to be seen on the PokerGO platform. Mixing It Up “We’re eager to continue our live coverage of the WSOP on PokerGO for the second year running,” said Vice President of Content at Poker Central, Sam Simmons. “Our expanded coverage schedule including a wide array of poker variants will give our viewers even more opportunities to follow all the action of the world’s most prestigious tournament series.” Answering the call from their vocal viewership, Poker Central has clearly put a focus on expanding the variety of games that will be broadcast. Popular events like the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Heads Up and just about every $10,000 Championship Event - no matter the variant - has made it onto the schedule. Calling The Action When it comes to commentary during the events, the heavy lifting will be done by longtime poker commentator and the voice of Poker After Dark, Ali Nejad. Nejad will be handling the play-by-play with guest play-by-play from ESPN’s own Lon McEachern. Color commentary and strategic analysis will be handled by a rotating cast of players and personalities to be named on an event-by-event basis. One should also expect appearances by ESPN’s own color commentator, Norman Chad. In addition to having McEachern and Chad contribute to the PokerGO commentary team, the partnership between ESPN and Poker Central looks to bring viewers unparalleled coverage of two of the biggest events of the summer. “We’re looking forward to having Poker Central and ESPN tag team coverage for the WSOP again this year,” said the Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart. “Fans can expect stellar storylines and wall-to-wall coverage throughout the event and during the ‘Big One for One Drop.” ESPN had already announced their broadcasting schedule for the 2018 WSOP Main Event and One Drop, now the PokerGO streaming dates can help fans complete the picture of how to watch every second of the action. As is customary, all of the events will be streamed on a 30-60 minutes delay with hole cards displayed. If the content on both PokerGo and ESPN simply is not enough streaming poker, there will be additional World Series of Poker streaming coverage on a free-to-view partner site, the details of which will be announced before the start of the WSOP. The World Series of Poker is set to begin on May 29. The first event poker fans can watch on PokerGO will be Event #3, the $3,000 NLHE Shootout on June 2 at 4:00 p.m. ET. 2018 WSOP On PokerGO Streaming Schedule DATE TIME EVENT June 2 4:00 PM ET $3,000 NLHE Shootout Final Table June 4 4:00 PM ET $100,000 NLHE High Roller Final Table June 5 6:00 PM ET $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better Final Table June 7 4:00 PM ET $1,500 NLHE Final Table June 8 4:00 PM ET $10,000 NLHE Heads Up June 9 4:00 PM ET $1,500 NLHE 6-Handed Final Table June 11 6:00 PM ET $1,500 Eight Game Mix Final Table June 12 6:00 PM ET $10,000 No Limit Lowball Draw Final Table June 13 6:00 PM ET $1,500 Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Final Table June 14 6:00 PM ET $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Final Table June 16 6:00 PM ET $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table June 19 6:00 PM ET $50,000 Poker Players Championship Final Table June 20 6:00 PM ET $10,000 Seven Card Stud Final Table June 22 6:00 PM ET $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha Final Table June 23 6:00 PM ET $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Final Table June 25 6:00 PM ET $10,000 PLO 8-Handed Final Table July 3 1:00 AM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 1A July 3 11:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 1B July 5 12:00 AM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 1C July 5 8:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 2A/B (Part A) July 6 12:00 AM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day2A/B (Part B) July 7 12:00 AM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 2C July 7 9:30 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 3 July 8 7:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 4 July 9 8:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 5 (Part A) July 10 2:00 AM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 5 (Part B) July 10 2:30 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 6 (Part A) July 10 11:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 6 (Part B) July 11 2:30 PM ET $10,000 Main Event - Day 7 July 12 9:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event Final Table - Day 1 (ESPN) July 13 9:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event Final Table - Day 2 (ESPN) July 14 9:00 PM ET $10,000 Main Event Final Table - Day 3 (ESPN) July 16 2:30 PM ET $1M Big One For One Drop - Day 2 (Part A) July 17 12:30 AM ET $1M Big One For One Drop - Day 2 (ESPN 2) July 17 2:30 PM ET $1M Big One For One Drop - Day 2 (Part B) July 17 6:30 PM ET $1M Big One For One Drop - Day 3 July 17 9:00 PM ET $1M Big One For One Drop - Day 3 (ESPN 2)
  19. There’s nothing quite like the first time. For serious poker enthusiasts, there may be nothing more exciting than making your first trip to Las Vegas to participate in, or simply geek out to, the World Series of Poker. For those lucky people making their first trip to the series in 2018, we have some suggestions on how to fully embrace the WSOP experience. You won’t find any Cirque Du Soleil show recommendations or directions to the best sushi restaurants here, this is simply a guide to diving head first into a complete WSOP summer poker experience in Sin City. Hit The Hall The first time you head to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, tell your taxi or Uber driver to take you to the front entrance. Sure, they can drop you off at the “poker entrance” but you should experience the walk down the long hallway that leads to Rio convention area at least once. The closer you get to the action the more you’ll be inundated with banners of former WSOP Players of the Year and Main Event Champions. Doyle, Stu, Chris…Moneymaker. And, yes, Ferguson. They’re (almost) all there. Of the three major tournament areas, the Pavillion is the one you’ll see first. Go inside and take a deep breath in. Yes, some of the smells may be from players who have been up for days, unable or unwilling to shower, but everything in the Pavillion is pure poker. The cricket-like sound of shuffling chips, the floor at the big board announcing a new table of $10-20 Big O and single table satellites filling up and getting underway. The Pavillion houses cash games, satellites, the Daily Deepstack tournaments and occasionally overflow from WSOP bracelet events. For daily grinders, the Pavillion is where a ton of the action happens. Walk the hallway with the vendors, but be wary first-timers: try not to let someone attach a magnetic aura bracelet to your wrist or entice you with a whiff of orange colored oxygen. However, if you see Bart Hanson, Jonathan Little or even PocketFives' own Lance Bradley spending time in a booth, walk on over and see what's up. Interested in some “poker sunglasses”? They’ve got those too. It’s a mini poker market and just maybe you’ll find something you like. Finally, on your first pass check out both the Brazilia and the famed Amazon Room. In 2017 they had moved the televised "mothership" to the Brazilia so make sure you do a slow pass and get a behind the scenes look at what you watch on ESPN or PokerGO. Then hit the Amazon to see the room where so much WSOP history was made. Star Gazing When it comes to seeing stars, a trip to the WSOP is unlike a trip to Hollywood because poker celebrities are just about everywhere you look on any given day. The personalities you watch on TV like Negreanu, Greenstein, and Raymer are often times at the tables grinding it out to try to win another bracelet. There walkways in each of the tournament rooms where one can quite often spot a noted pro from the rail. Often times if you see one of your favorites in the hallway, they’d be happy to hear what a fan you are and pose for a shot for your Insta. Of course, use discretion. Quite often these guys are playing for many thousands of dollars, so use that keen poker instinct to pick an appropriate time to introduce yourself. Get Your Feet Wet, Splash Around If you came to the World Series to play, then it’s time to play. At the WSOP just about every poker experience is at your fingertips. Small stakes to nosebleed cash games are running 24/7. Want to win your way into a bracelet event? There’s an entire section dedicated to single table satellites that start as low as around $125 that can help you win entries to buy-in to bigger events. Tournament aficionados may choose to jump into one of the popular Daily Deepstacks. There’s four that fire daily - 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. They are all one-day events and have a buy-in ranging from $200 - $365. They are noted for having massive fields and pretty big paydays for those that can make it to the end. Take That (Gold Bracelet) Shot It should go without saying that when shot taking, never play with any money you can’t afford to lose. There’s little in the poker world that feels quite like taking a seat in a WSOP bracelet event for the first time. The WSOP gold bracelet has been one of the most enduring accolades in the game and anyone with the gumption and the buy-in can take a shot, make a run and potentially become a hometown hero, returning with a new piece of jewelry. Want to outsmart the masses when it comes to registering? It’s way too easy. Hit the cage when there’s no one around. Registration for every event is open around the clock, so take an unscheduled trip to the convention area at the end of the day or late into the night and register for any event days in advance. The lines can get extremely long for events like the Millionaire Maker and Monster Stack on the day of. Also available, online registering with a credit card via the WSOP’s partnership with Bravo. See Other People So you’ve seen the sights, watched the stars and taken a seat in a WSOP event. It’s been great, but you are sick of the Hash House and All American Bar & Grille. Perhaps, the Rio is wearing on you. Well, for many the entirety of their WSOP experience is actually far more than the series itself. Many major Las Vegas properties throw their own expansive summer poker series and there’s a ton of fun to be had there as well. The Aria poker room is one of the most acclaimed in the city and their Aria Poker Classic features two events daily (one at 11:00 a.m. one at 7:00 p.m.). If you bust in the tournaments at the Aria, you can hop in a cash game, get a pretty great grass-fed burger or slice of Forester pizza at Five50 Pizza Bar. The Wynn has a summer series of their own. Their poker room is one of luxury and their tournament area gives one the feeling like they are playing in an island resort. It doesn’t stop there: the Venetian, Golden Nugget, Binion’s and Planet Hollywood all have an extensive schedule of tournaments and cash game offering to go along with them. So when planning a schedule mix it up and see what’s out there. Whether you plan on heading to Las Vegas for two days or two weeks (or longer) there’s plenty to do for the complete poker fan.
  20. In 2018, there’s plenty of ways to sweat the World Series of Poker Main Event. You can follow the action with hand updates on WSOP.com and even watch hours of featured table coverage on both ESPN and PokerGO. But if you want to go deep into the Main Event social media adds that next level of excitement. Rather than 30-minute delays or select hand histories, the digital rail can get the very latest chip counts, double-up and bad beat stories direct from the players themselves. So for those looking to flood their Twitter timeline with all of the ups and downs of Day 6, here is a comprehensive list of accounts from players that are still in the hunt for the $8.8 million first-place prize in the WSOP Main Event. Brian Yoon: @byoonz Benjamin Pollak: @PollakB Barry Hutter: @barry_hutter Eric Froehlick: @efropoker Mason Barrell: @mason_barrell Jason Gooch: @YACHTDOOKIE Kuo Saechao: @saechaokw Laurynas Levinskas: @LaurisL91 Sylvain Loosli: @SylvainLoosli Joe Cada: @cada99 Shannon Shorr: @ShannonShorr Shaun Deeb: @shaundeeb Mike Lavenburg: @mlav151 Jordan Cristos: @jcinblue Ryan Phan: @TheJanit0r84 Hendrik Hecklen: @hhecklen Seth Foster: @foxlikeruse Ofir Mor: @_ofirmor Dan Wilson: @DanWilson86 Clayton Fletcher: @claytoncomic James Obst: @JamesObst Vicent Bosca Ramon: @VicentGordon Nicholas Cushman: @Cush572 Justin Harvell: @JFleezy615 Kelly Minkin: @The_Illist Jonathan Prested: @whollyflush Jamie Flynn: @Jam_Fly Hit us up on Twitter @pocketfives if we missed your favorite poker pro going deep in the Main.
  21. Fifteen years ago, the poker world was introduced to Chris Moneymaker. The accountant from Tennessee with an unthinkable last name earned his way into the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event via a satellite on PokerStars for a paltry $86. Moneymaker went on to win the event thanks to a storybook run in poker’s greatest tournament and recently was the subject of the acclaimed 30 For 30 Podcasts by ESPN. "They actually approached me about doing the TV series, 30 for 30, a while back and I thought that sounded really cool," Moneymaker said of the opportunity with ESPN. "Then I guess they didn’t think I was cool enough for the TV show, or they saw my face and said that I have a face for radio, and they moved it over to the podcast (laughs). A guy came to Memphis, where I live, and spent three days with my wife and I, just hanging out and being part of the family. I did a bunch of interviews and then basically did about a million follow-up questions. It was a cool process. I haven’t heard the podcast yet myself, but I’d be interested to hear what the others [on the podcast] said. I know kind of what I said because I've said it a few times, but it’d be interesting to hear what Matt Savage and some of the others guys said." Moneymaker’s story is the stuff dreams are made of. Even though his big win was 15 years ago, at times it still appears that the relationship Moneymaker has with poker is still going through the honeymoon period. Make no mistake about it, though, the man once very open about his amateur status in the game now comes with a win-first mentality. "My goal is that whenever I come into a room, I want to take everybody's money, but I want them to be really happy when I do," Moneymaker said. Since his WSOP Main Event victory, Moneymaker's been on the ride of a lifetime, and understandably so. Many would argue his win was the win in poker. It catapulted Moneymaker into poker stardom and since then he's been triumphantly serving as one of the game's most prominent ambassadors. "It's been pretty surreal," Moneymaker told PocketFives of the last 15 years. "There's been ups and downs like anything else. Mostly it’s been up, but obviously, there's downsides of it, too. At the end of the day, poker went through a very hard time around Black Friday, and I think that we’re coming out and we’re recovering. There are other things that are attracting the younger generation’s attention that we’re sort of competing against for the new players coming up, but I think Twitch and what everyone else is doing is helping get us some buzz. We have things like PokerGO putting out great content, too.” One of Moneymaker’s recent trips took him to Reno, Nevada, for Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno VII festival. He brought with him the Moneymaker Tour, his brightest ambassador costume, and fierce-but-fun-loving competitiveness. While there, Moneymaker, alongside PokerStars, helped dish out another Platinum Pass in the stop’s $86 buy-in Moneymaker Tour event, deemed the "Moneymaker Spectacular." That tournament attracted the largest turnout of Run It Up Reno VII, with 825 entries blasting away in hopes of winning the $30,000 Platinum Pass package. In the end, it was Nathan Manuel achieving a lofty goal he set out to complete months prior. "First of all, [PokerStars] gave all of the ambassadors one seat to give away and our goal was to send everybody here to Reno and give away that seat," Moneymaker said. "It morphed into giving away a Platinum Pass away at every single stop [on the Moneymaker Tour], which is just absolutely incredible. It’s huge for me because I give someone else the opportunity that I had 15 years ago to turn $86 into life-changing money. Even for people go down there and don’t make anything, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford to go to the Bahamas so it’s already life changing for them. Then they have the opportunity, if they work hard or they want to get better, that I’m offering resources to help them get better and give them a real shot at making something in this tournament. My hope is that one of the people that won one of my tournaments makes a deep run or wins the [PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship]. Actually, I hope I win it, let’s be real, so they can get second (laughs). Again, to me, it’s about giving someone else the opportunity that I had so many years ago. It’s been really the most enriching experience to go through and play at every one of these stops. We’ve had people come in that have never played poker before or haven’t played poker in 10 years or never been to casinos before." While in Reno, Moneymaker cashed in three events for a total of $8,015 and was one player away from taking home a Run It Up Reno trophy when he placed second in the $235 6-Max 8-Game tournament for $5,400. If he’d have won that event, Moneymaker could’ve added the trophy right next to his bevy of PokerStars NJCOOP titles, of which he scored two more earlier in the month of October. Ever since online poker became legal in New Jersey and PokerStars launched PokerStarsNJ, "Money800" has been a regular fixture in the Garden State's virtual streets, locking horns with the best the state has to offer and coming out on top. In April 2018, he won two NJCOOP titles and placed second and fourth in two other NJCOOP events during the series. In October, Moneymaker doubled the weight of his NJCOOP bag by adding two more titles in back-to-back days. "It's awesome," Moneymaker said of being able to play regulated online poker in New Jersey. "It’s been, what? Two, three years now? I’ve had really good results in NJCOOP since I moved up there to play, and it’s always good the time the series comes in. There are a couple games I like to focus on. I always focus on the 8-game and a couple of the other variants, and they have all those so I really enjoy playing that series because they have a lot of different variants to play." When playing regulated online poker in New Jersey, Moneymaker can often be found on Twitch streaming his grind when he’s there for some action. Back when Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event, and for much of the 15-year period between his win in 2003 and now, online poker streaming wasn’t a thing. Now, it’s everywhere, serving audiences in both entertainment and enhanced instruction. "Back when I won [the WSOP Main Event], there was Super/System and Mike Caro’s Book of Tells," Moneymaker said of poker’s new age involving Twitch and streaming. “I think those were the only two books, maybe a few more. There just wasn’t that much poker material out there. No one knew what they were doing, and now, you have all this free access. If you want to learn and get good at poker, you can do it for free, which is through time. All it takes is time, and energy to sit there and ask questions and watch a good streamer play. And there are so many different streamers to choose from. You can find one that fits your style, obviously, there are so many training sites and videos, there’s just so many resources now that poker is just so much more difficult now. The average player is just going to be better. That’s a tough thing for new players getting in the game, as they’re coming into a very knowledgable market that knows what they’re doing and it’s tough to just come in without trying to learn. To just be a recreational player, it’s difficult to sort of break through and be successful. But, the great thing about poker is that there is luck in the game and even people that aren’t as experienced are going to have good runs and maybe win a main event." *Photo courtesy of Run It Up.
  22. Start making room on your DVR because the World Series of Poker will once again be taking over your TV this summer. ESPN and Poker Central have released their preliminary schedule for their top-to-bottom live broadcast of the 2019 WSOP Main Event. The WSOP Main Event, which takes place July 3 - July 16, will be featured for over 37 hours on ESPN’s networks of channels leading up to the live televised final table. The coverage will capture action from every starting flight, beginning with Day 1A, and continue all the way through the conclusion of the final table. Additional, as yet unannounced, coverage of the Main Event will also be broadcast on Poker Central’s streaming service PokerGO. “For the third straight year, Poker Central and ESPN will deliver expansive coverage of the WSOP Main Event to a continually growing audience across multiple platforms,” said Chief Digital Officer of Poker Central, J.R. McCabe. “We again look forward to bringing poker’s pinnacle event to fans around the world.” “ESPN’s established relationship with the World Series of Poker and Poker Central always brings our audience the top content from this event,” said Senior Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions for ESPN, Rob Temple. “It is a consistent hit for ESPN and we take pride in the extensive broadcast coverage we provide the fans from this exciting, fan-favorite tournament.” In a year over year comparison, there will be an additional 3.5 hours of live coverage dedicated to the Main Event in 2019 over last year. In addition to the live broadcast schedule of the Main Event, including the start-to-finish airing of the final table, ESPN has plans to air an additional 90 hours of produced coverage of the WSOP. ESPN/ESPN 2 Broadcast Schedule for the 2019 WSOP Main Event DATE TIME NETWORK EVENT 07/03 8:30 PM - 2:00 AM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1A 07/04 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1B 07/05 8:00 PM - 12:30 AM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1C 07/06 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 2AB 07/07 2:30 PM - 6:00 PM ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 2C 07/08 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 3 07/09 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 4 07/10 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 5 07/11 12:30 AM - 2:00 AM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 6 07/12 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 7 07/12 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 7 (Play to Final Table) 07/14 10:00 PM - TBD ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 8 (Nine to Six Players) 07/15 10:00 PM - TBD ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 9 (Six to Three Players) 07/16 9:00 PM - TBD ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 10 (Three Players to Winner) * all times Eastern “Significant video coverage is one of our key cornerstones,” said Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart. “We’re grateful to Poker Central and ESPN for continuing to expand the reach of WSOP to today’s platforms and fueling the interest of tomorrow’s champions.” The World Series of Poker, headed into its 50th year, will feature 80 live gold bracelet events beginning on May 29. In recent years, many of the final table’s of bracelet events have been featured either on PokerGO or on a livestream available on the World Series of Poker website. A complete streaming schedule is expected to be announced at a later date. READ: Everything You Need To Know About The 2019 WSOP
  23. All good things must come to an end. And that end has come for the PCA. As PocketFives reported, when PokerStars announced the return of the PSPC in 2020 they also, unceremoniously, announced that the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure would not be back in 2020, ending its run of 16 years. For many, the PCA kicked off the yearly poker calendar with players making plans to escape their winter hardships for weeks of poker, sun and waterslides. At the height of the poker boom, the PCA was one of the most popular stops on the tour as winners of the Main Event added millions to their career earnings and a marquee victory to their resumes. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] However, as many tour stops experienced, the numbers began to decline after Black Friday and the fatigue of making the trip to the Atlantis Resort & Casino began to weigh on the players. Now, PokerStars has pulled the plug on one of the most enduring poker stops of the last two decades. But even though it’s gone, it certainly won’t be forgotten. With that, we’ve compiled nine of the most memorable moments in the history of the PCA. Gus Hansen’s On A Boat Before the PCA became the flagship stop for PokerStars, it has a very different look. In fact, in 2004, the first year it ever took place the PCA was then a World Poker Tour event. Also, it took place on a boat. The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas to be exact and just as poker was about to hit mainstream a young up-and-coming player from Denmark, Gus Hansen, was in the middle of making a reputation for himself, a reputation that lasts to this very day. Hansen bested the likes of Daniel Negreanu for the $455,780 first-place prize and his third WPT title. Right from the get-go, the PCA drew premier poker star power and eventually the PCA would be the engine to create that star power. Ryan Daut And Isaac Haxton Take It Outside In 2007, rising online phenom Isaac Haxton was in prime position to take down the 2007 PCA Main Event and it’s massive $1.5 million first-place prize. Ryan Daut had other ideas and the pair put on a famous heads up battle at the final table which took place…outside. The weather outside was nearly as volatile as the play on the felt. The winds whipped as evening fell and it looked like the sky was going to open up and pour at any moment. In the eye of the storm was Haxton and Daut who played an iconic hand where both players had “absolute Garfunkel!” Haxton won the famous battle of the bluffs but Daut took home the PCA title. ESPN Took The PCA Live The PCA made history in 2011 when PokerStars struck a deal with ESPN to bring ‘near-live’ coverage of the PCA final table to the network. The final table was shown on ESPN2 and online on ESPN3.com on a one-hour delay so viewers could see the hole cards. According to the PokerStars Blog, it was the first time that poker fans were able to see a final table, every hand, every decision completely unedited. “For the first time viewers at home will see a poker telecast from start to finish, with all the strategy of world class-poker players playing in real-time,” said ESPN’s Matt Volk back in 2010. Galen Hall Finds A Fold Not only did 2011 produce one of the first unedited accounts of a final table, but it also produced one of the finest folds every caught on camera. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver was cruising in the PCA Main Event and at the start of heads up play he had a 3:1 chip advantage over fellow online pro Galen Hall. On the third hand of play, the pair both make monster hands by the river. Hall rivered a straight while Oliver had just gone runner-runner to a full house. After being checked to by Oliver, Hall put out a bet and was check-raised for his tournament life. “If Hall calls it’s all over,” said commentator James Hartigan. “I don’t see Hall getting away from this hand,” declared Daniel Negreanu. After minutes in the tank, Hall makes the laydown of his poker life and ended up turning the tables on Oliver to become the 2011 PCA Main Event champion for $2.3 million. Antonio Esfandiari DQ’d From Main Event Antonio Esfandiari loves to prop bet. So does Bill Perkins. When the two of them got together at the 2016 PCA they agreed to a bet that had Esfandiari only able to perform lunges when moving for 48 hours. Sore and not wanting to lunge himself to the bathroom, Esfandiari made the unfortunate decision to go to the bathroom in a bottle…under the poker table. When officials caught wind of Esfandiari’s makeshift restroom he was quickly disqualified from the Main Event. However, the prop bet continued and he got up and lunged his way out of the tournament area. Read: Antonio Esfandiari Disqualified from PCA Main Event Vanessa Selbst’s Big Bet So the story goes…after a night of having (perhaps too much) fun in the Bahamas, Vanessa Selbst made a big bet against her friend Jason Mercier that he couldn’t win three WSOP bracelets the following summer. It’s hard enough for pros to count on winning one WSOP bracelet, much less three and so she ended up giving 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager. The bet was made in a bit of an 'altered state' and when Selbst woke up the next day, she tried to cancel it but according to Mercier, the bet was booked. She offered Mercier a $1K buy-out, he declined. Mercier went on to pick up two bracelets that summer and finish second in another tournament nearly completing the challenge that would have paid him $1.8 million. Christian Harder Battles Bax Long-time online and live pro Christian Harder became a bit of a footnote in PCA history in his 2017 Main Event win. That’s because, technically, it wasn’t the PCA. That year PokerStars shelved their popular PCA brand and tried to rebrand the tour stop the ‘PokerStars Championship Bahamas’. That is the year Harder fought through the field of 738 entries to find himself heads up for the title. When he looked up he saw he sitting across from him was his former backer (and PocketFives Legacy Award winner) Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Josephy was a bit of a mentor to Harder and had put him in the PCA in the past so when they got heads up, a deal was quickly struck between the two friends with Harder going on to take home the extra $10K and the first (and last) PSC Bahamas trophy. Maria Lampropulos First Woman Winner of PCA Argentina’s Maria Lampropulos made PCA history in 2018 by becoming the first-ever female to capture a PCA Main Event title. She overcame a 2:1 heads up chip deficit to defeat Canadian crusher Shawn Buchanan and take home the $1,081,100 first-place prize, her second seven-figure score in under 12 months. The Main Event final table was not only notable for who won the title but how she won it. Lampropulos was quite visibly extremely sick throughout the final day, having fits of coughing and seemingly struggling to stay focused. This also led to her taking a long time on many decisions, which prompted other players to call the clock on her on a number of occasions. In the end, she fought through the sickness, made the right decision and won some crucial flips to become the first (and now last) female PCA champion. The PSPC Breaks Records In 2019 PokerStars has a plan to revitalize the PCA and that was by hosting the largest ever $25,000 buy-in tournament - the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. The PSPC was the culmination of a year-long marketing campaign. One that doled out over 320 Platinum Passes, a ticket worth $30,000 that allowed players from all over the world to live their dream of playing in a tournament with life-changing money on the line. When the event got underway, the tournament room was electric with players of every skill level giddy with excitement over such a special event. The tournament exceeded all expectations with 1,039 players registering for the event creating a prize pool of $26,455,500. In fairytale fashion, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas from Spain ended up as the winner and took home the massive $5.1 million first-place prize.
  24. The cheating allegations against California professional poker player Mike Postle while playing on the Stones Gambling Hall live-streamed cash game is attracting the attention of news outlets outside of the poker world. Last Update: Sunday, October 6, 2019 On Thursday night, Scott Van Pelt, one of ESPN's most popular personalities, highlighted the story during the midnight (ET) edition of SportsCenter on his ‘1 Big Thing’ segment. “If a guy were able to cheat his way to six-figure gains playing cards and it goes solved by a bunch of poker sleuths on the internet, is that a story that interests you? Because it did me,” Van Pelt said. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Over the next three minutes, Van Pelt masterfully summarized the current state of the Mike Postle controversy. He starts from the very beginning of the initial suspicions by Veronica Brill and into Joey Ingram’s in-depth hand breakdowns on his YouTube channel. “Accusations of cheating are taken very seriously in the poker community, and I credit Ingram for taking great caution to give a guy, who is apparently very well-liked, the benefit of the doubt. But the more than Ingram and others combed through the video, the harder that has become to do.” Van Pelt hits all the major points of the story from theories about Postle having a man-on-the-inside partnership with someone who runs the stream, a possible listening device being stuffed into Postle’s hat, and Stones, after issuing a statement that they had already investigated, being forced to re-investigate as the story got bigger. Van Pelt wrapped up the segment with this analogy. “If you’re the equivalent of a guy who shows up to play pick-up basketball and you never, ever missed a shot for a couple of years…wouldn’t you go play in the NBA? If you’re some kind of poker god who almost never lost, who made the right call or fold virtually every single time - if you were this good - why would you be playing in games only with a video feed and a 1-3 table at Stones Poker Room. Why wouldn’t you be in Vegas winning all the money in the world?” The Ringer Finds Fascination In Postle Controversy Bill Simmons’ sport/pop culture website The Ringer published a headline story on Friday entitled ‘The Cheating Scandal Rocking the Poker World’ as writer David Hill not only breaks down the fundamentals of the story but finds himself “trapped in the wormhole this week, unable to focus on anything else.” The article summarizes the facts but while capturing the feelings of a poker community gripped with the biggest story of 2019. Hill injects himself into the story wondering how so many missed the signs for so long. “But then I start to see things that seem so obvious, but I wonder whether they aren’t just paranoia after hours and hours of digging into the mystery, Like the fact that he starts wearing a hat that has a strange bulge around the brim - one that vanishes after the game when he’s doing an interview in the booth. Is it a bone-conducting headset, as some online have suggested, sending him messages directly into his inner ear by vibrating on his skull? Of course it is! How could it be anything else? It’s so obvious!” CNBC Reaches Out For Comment On October 5, financial news network CNBC published a story on their website which also summarized the entire situation. The story was updated after Postle appeared on Mike Matusow’s podcast where he voiced his side of the argument. "Postle has not yet responded to CNBC’s request for comment. He has defended himself on Twitter as well as on a poker podcast, ‘The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow,’ saying 'it is absolutely impossible for me to be doing what they’re claiming. It is 1000% impossible.'" The article also pulled from information provided by Matt Berkey on the nature of RFID playing cards. "Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played ‘as if he had perfect information.’" Local Television Jumps On Story While Joey Ingram was name-checked on the ESPN national broadcast, Doug Polk’s investigation of the allegations was highlighted in Sacramento’s FOX40 televised coverage of the incident. “It’s really hypothetical at this point, it’s just the most logical conclusion,” Polk told Fox40 reporter Eric Rucker.” Somebody in the back was working with one of the players to transmit that information in the middle of the hand to a player at the table so that he knew the exact two cards you would have.” Another local news broadcast, KCRA3 (NBC affiliate) also touched on the news giving a broad overview of the current state of the situation without going into too much detail. The report mentioned that the station had reached out to the California Bureau of Gambling Control for comment, but had not heard back by airtime.

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