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  1. The poker dream is alive in all of us. At the 2019 World Series of Poker, Femi Fashakin enjoyed living out his dream as he turned $500 into $1.147 million in a single poker tournament. This wasn't just any poker tournament, though. Fashakin won the world's largest-ever live poker tournament, the WSOP Big 50, from which he topped a record-setting field of 28,371 entries to earn a life-changing payday and his first WSOP gold bracelet. "It's huge," Fashakin said. "I've always felt I could play a lot of poker, and I have room for improvement and I have some skills, but obviously this will help with a lot of buy-ins. My goal would be to play more main events where I can actually develop my skills and keep playing." Born in Nigeria, Fashakin came to the United States in 2001 for college. He attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, on scholarship and studied computer science. After graduating, Fashakin went to work as a software engineer for a handful of different companies, some of them Fortune 500 companies. He eventually became a consultant and that opened the door for him to play a bit of poker. Fashakin used to play a lot of chess and became pretty good at it, but there came a point in time when Fashakin would either have to start studying chess a lot in order to get to the next level or accept that he wasn't going to advance his ability. That's when Fashakin drifted, he said. That's also when he found poker. "When I found poker, I couldn't believe it," Fashakin said. "This was a game where I could analyze it and use my mind. So I got a little more interested in the game, started watching WSOPs and WPTs." Bitten by the poker bug in 2010, Fashakin began playing in his wife's cousin's home game, mostly for fun, and graduated from there. "I started playing at local bars where they had hold'em games, and I played those for about six months to one year," Fashakin said. "I thought I had graduated, so I started going to Hard Rock in Tampa because it's just a short drive. I was playing $150 buy-in tournaments. In the first one, I cashed. I had a few little runs here and there, then I started going to South Florida and playing $360 buy-ins, then $570 ones. I had very modest cashes that I don't think speak well to my skillset. I like to think that I'm a little more skilled than that." Most recently, Fashakin took some time away from his career to truly focus on the game. "It's been a side thing, but for three months I kind of took off from my work and I've just been playing poker, cash games, just to build some bankroll," Fashakin said. "I've always played tournaments and usually I satellite into main events. Late last year, I had a few good runs but couldn't just close it, so this is amazing, words can't describe it." In 2018, Fashakin cashed in 60th place in the WPTDeepStacks Tampa Main Event and in 41st place in the WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open Main Event. He also had a 28th-place result in the $360 opener from that same WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open series. Back in Tampa in December, Fashakin finished 39th in a $570 buy-in 2018 Winter Poker Open tournament. Those were solid runs but nothing quite like what Fashakin experienced in the Big 50. He also previously cashed in the 2016 WSOP Colossus, which could likely best compare to the Big 50 in that it was at the same buy-in level with an enormous field of players - 21,613 entries. According to Fashakin, though, the Big 50 and the Colossus were much different because of the structures. "It can't compare," Fashakin said. "Colossus, I think any poker player would agree, there was less skill to prevail because you're so short. With a 50K stack, there's room to stay alive. My whole strategy, different from Colossus, was just to stay alive." Fashakin ran up his starting stack of 50,000 in chips to 350,000 on Day 1c. He turned those chips into 950,000 at the end of Day 2c and headed into Day 3 a little ahead of the average with 1,597 players remaining. Day 3 is really when Fashakin made some big moves, and this was also the day he really began to feel like he just might have a shot. "I remember two or three incidents," Fashakin said. "Even though I wasn't at risk to bust, another regular from South Florida had queens and I had ace-jack of hearts. I three-bet him with my ace-jack suited, he shoved, and I called. I spiked the ace, so that was the first one. Then, somebody had kings, this was Day 3. I spiked an ace with ace-king. So now I'm like, 'Woah, what's going on here?' And it happened a third time and I thought, 'I'm running really good, so I might have a shot.' I just wasn’t sure if it was going to stall, because that happens all the time, right? You get a little boost and then it just stalls and you're like 'Ugh!'" Fashakin ended Day 3 with 21.825 million and was 11th on the leaderboard with 126 players remaining. Already guaranteed $7,169, Fashakin was quickly pushing towards earning the largest live score of his career. Ahead of the Big 50, his largest live score stood at $11,250 and Fashakin needed to reach the top 81 places to earn a new career best. With such good chip position entering Day 4, he was a favorite to do so. Not only did Fashakin reached the top 81 and earn a new career high score, but he climbed into the chip lead that day. Fashakin finished Day 4 atop the final seven players with 314 million. On Day 5, the day Phil Ivey arrived at the 2019 WSOP by hopping into an event across the room, Fashakin maintained his chip lead at the final table while he watched other players take one another out. But then, with five players left, he started to slip back to the pack. That was followed by a slide down to the bottom. The next thing Fashakin knew, he was the short stack. As the short stack with four players left, Fashakin found a double and worked his way back up the leaderboard. He eventually reclaimed the lead and began to put distance between himself and the others. Fashakin knocked out Nick Chow in fourth place and Rafi Elharar in third place to set up the heads-up match with Paul Cullen. Nine hands later, it was all over and Fashakin was a millionaire. With a seven-figure poker score added to his bankroll, Fashakin looks forward to putting his skills to the test in bigger events. Other than that, he doesn't plan on doing too much with the money for six months or so and said he'll see how it goes. "My wife is going to beg me to go play now," Fashakin said with a big smile. "I told her that my goal was to cash for $50,000 and she let me go. Now, I have more than that."
  2. What could possibly overshadow the conclusion of the largest poker tournament of all time where one player walked away with $1 million at the 2019 World Series of Poker? The unexpected and unannounced return of Phil Ivey. While the Big 50 was playing down to a winner on the ESPN main stage Friday afternoon, the 10-time bracelet winner casually entered the Rio through a back entrance and was one of the last players to register for the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship event. Femi Fashakin Wins Largest Tournament Ever, Turns $500 in $1.15M Femi Fashakin started the Big 50 final table with the chip lead on Friday afternoon and when all was said and done he was posing for pictures with the bracelet as poker's newest millionaire. Fashakin topped the record-setting 28,371-player field to win $1,159,620. He eliminated Nicholas Chow in fourth, Rafi Elharar in third, and then bested Canadian Paul Cullen heads-up to win the prize. The 37-year-old Florida resident and father of two came to the United States from Nigeria in 2001 to study computer science at Bethune-Cookman University. He started playing poker in 2010. "When I found poker, I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'This is a game I can analyze and use my mind on.'," Fashakin said. "So I got a little more interested in the game and started watching WSOPs and WPTs." He started playing bar poker near his home in Orlando before graduating into smaller buy-in events in local casinos. Prior to this win, Fashakin's live earnings totalled just a hair over $59,000 and his single biggest score was $11,250 in the WPT Seminole Rock n Roll Poker Open last November. Final Table Payouts Femi Fashakin - $1,147,449 Paul Cullen - $709,183 Rafi Elharar - $534,574 Nicholas Chow - $405,132 Walter Atwood - $308,701 Danny Ghobrial - $237,609 Adrian Curry - $182,192 Morten Christensen - $141,126 David Rasmussen - $109,922 Jason Stockfish and Murilo Souza Make Event #14 a Two-Horse Race In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Jason Stockfish and Murilo Souza bagged up chips in the $1,500 HORSE event as the only two players remaining. There were 28 players still in contention at the start of the day but through over 13 hours of play, just two remain. Stockfish and Souza attempted to finish things on Friday night but agreed to come back Saturday to play down to a winner. Earlier in the day, Andre Akkari busted in 26th, WSOP Circuit crusher Valentin Vornicu finished 19th, and 2018 WSOP bracelet winner Rich Zhu went home in 15th place. The final table included Chris Klodnicki going out in fifth and Phillip Hui following him to the rail in fourth. Chip Counts Jason Stockfish - 4,095,000 Murilo Souza - 3,425,000 Isaac Baron Heads Up for First WSOP Bracelet Isaac Baron reached as high as #2 in the PocketFives Rankings in his online poker career. He's hoping for anything but second best on Saturday when he and Ong Dingxiang return to finish off the $1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event. The pair bagged up early Saturday morning after outlasting 19 other players on Day 3. With 53.8% of the chips in play, Baron has a slight lead over Dingxiang. Both players are looking for their first career WSOP bracelet. Baron's previous best finish came in 2014 when he finished fourth in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship event. Dingxiang meanwhile has never cashed in a WSOP event. Romain Nussmann, who started the day in the chip lead, busted in ninth Chip Counts Isaac Baron-24,475,000 Ong Dingxiang - 21,025,000 $1,500 Shootout Down to Final Table Cary Katz is one of the regulars on the High Roller and Super High Roller circuit. He's one of 10 players who has managed to navigate their way through two tables to advance to the final table of the $1,500 Shootout event. Despite having $19.5 million in lifetime earnings, mostly from those big buy-in events he frequents, Katz has never won a WSOP bracelet. He has two runner-up finishes, first 2013 in a $5,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event and then in 2017 when he finished one spot behind Mohsin Charania in a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. The final table also marks the return of Kenna James. He last made a WSOP final table in 2009 when he finished 6th in a $2,500 Razz event. He has 36 WSOP cashes but has yet to secure a bracelet. Brett Apter starts the final table with a slight chip lead. Some of the players who made Day 2 but were unable to advance included Joe Cada, Erik Seidel, Daniel Ott, Dillon Ott, Jonathan Proudfoot, Qui Nguyen, Felipe Ramos, Kelly Minkin, Loni Harwood, and Maurice Hawkins. Final table action begins at Noon PT and Final Table Chip Counts Brett Apter - 2,258,000 Anatolii Zyrin - 2,306,000 Marko Maher - 2,240,000 Shintaro Baba - 2,237,000 Adrian Scarpa - 2,286,000 Michael O'Grady - 2,298,000 Kenna James - 2,203,000 Cary Katz - 2,266,000 Manuel Ruivo - 2,245,000 Tommy Nguyen - 2,213,000 Phil Ivey Return Highlights $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Day 1 The $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship usually brings out a cross-section of the best poker players in the world and players who specialize in this variant. Day 2 of the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship certainly lived up to that reputation and even brought about the return of Phil Ivey. Ivey was one of a handful of players who took advantage of the late registration extending into Day 2 and his return to the WSOP for the first time this year set the poker world abuzz. Unfortunately for poker fans, Ivey wasn't one of the 23 players who were able to bag up chips at the end of the day. Ken Aldridge leads the final 23 players with 1,178,000, but Owais Ahmed is hot on his heels with 1,078,000. Robert Mizrachi sits third with 703,000. Shaun Deeb picked up his third cash of the 2019 WSOP and will begin Day 3 with 652,000 in chips. Other notables still chasing the bracelet and $443,641 first place prize money include David Benyamine, Jake Schwartz, Mike Wattel, Mike Matusow, and David 'Bakes' Baker. Action resumes at 2 PM PT and will play down to six players. Top 10 Chip Counts Ken Aldridge - 1,178,000 Owais Ahmed - 1,074,000 Robert Mizrachi - 703,000 Frankie O'Dell - 692,000 Andrew Yeh - 677,000 Nick Guagenti - 667,000 Shaun Deeb - 652,000 Yarron Bendor - 647,000 David Benyamine - 605,000 Richard Ashby - 587,500 Millionaire Maker Opening Flight Draws Nearly 4,000 Players Amidst all of the hype for the Big 50, other smaller buy-in gimmick tournaments could have suffered. That doesn't appear to be the case for the $1,500 Millionaire Maker though. Day 1A drew 3,930 players, a 29% increase over 2018 Day 1A. Topping the 968 who managed to bag up chips at the end of the day was Garrett Greer with 570,600. Two former #1-ranked players also bagged top 10 stacks. Calvin Anderson finished with the second-best stack of the day, right behind Greer, with 563,600. Chris Hunichen rounded out the top 10 with 366,800. Chance Kornuth, Jack Sinclair, Daniel Strelitz, Joe McKeehen, David Pham, Asher Conniff, Scott Clements, and Jared Jaffee were just some of the notable players who managed to put chips in a bag at the end of Day 1A. Day 1B begins at 10 AM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Garrett Greer - 570,600 Calvin Anderson - 563,600 Eder Murata - 506,000 Orson Young - 417,300 Soheb Porbandarwala - 406,000 Keith Lehr - 383,000 Susannah Altman - 381,200 Luis Pinho - 373,800 Jacob Naumann - 372,500 Chris Hunichen - 366,800 Daniel Negreanu Among Leaders $1,500 Seven Card Stud Day 1 of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event drew 285 players and Daniel Negreanu, Julien Martini, Andre Akkari, Scott Seiver, and Joao Simao were a handful of the notables who moved on to Day 2. Negreanu built his 10,000 starting stack into 56,900 for the sixth best moving on to Day 2. Martini is right behind him with 56,100. Action resumes at 2 PM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Constantine Moustakis - 76,600 David Singer - 69,000 Joshua Mountain - 60,500 Joachim Sanejstra - 57,500 Pawel Andrzejewski - 57,500 Daniel Negreanu - 56,900 Julien Martini - 56,100 Perry Friedman - 54,400 Kyle Hinnerichs - 52,500 Jose Paz-Gutierrez - 52,100
  3. In the lead up to the World Series of Poker every year, there always ends up being a discussion about who the best player without a WSOP bracelet is. Two players whose names have come up in those conversations each permanently removed themselves from contention on Thursday by winning one of poker's most highly coveted trophies. Daniel Strelitz topped a final table that included Shannon Shorr, Maria Ho, and Ali Imsirovic to win the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event while Yuval Brohnstein maneuvered his way to victory in the $1,500 NO Limit Deuce-to-Seven event. Those were just two of the eight events on Thursday's schedule that also included the Big 50 nearing its conclusion. Daniel Strelitz Wins $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Daniel Strelitz has a World Poker Tour title to his name along with a few high profile runner-up finishes. What he was missing was a WSOP bracelet. That was until Thursday. Strelitz beat Shannon Shorr heads up to win the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em event for $442,385. The 29-year-old poker pro admitted to feeling some relief after going 38 WSOP cashes without a win. “I finally got it off my back,” Strelitz said. “I came close a few times, and it’s kind of disappointing. But it wasn’t like I was desperate. But it’s still just a massive relief. I’m super happy.” The final table started six-handed, but one of those players was missing. Ali Imsirovic, who started third in chips, misunderstood the final table start time and was late arriving to the table. He overcame that slight mishap to finish fourth. Maria Ho, fresh off of her third place finish in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, couldn't overcome a short stack and finished fifth. Arsenii Karmatckii finished sixth. The win moved Strelitz past $4 million in lifetime earnings. Final Table Payouts Daniel Strelitz - $442,385 Shannon Shorr - $273,416 Ognjen Sekularac - $186,050 Ali Imsirovic - $129,018 Maria Ho - $91,211 Arsenii Karmatckii - $65,764 Maria Mcalpin - $48,377 Pauli Ayras - $36,323 Michael O'Grady - $27,848 Yuval Bronshtein Grabs $1,500 No Limit Deuce Bracelet Over the last 12 years, Yuval Bronshtein has earned 67 WSOP cashes and a little more than $1.1 million in earnings. Nine times he's been at a final table. Yet prior to Thursday, the 34-year-old had never been heads-up for a bracelet. He finally got that opportunity on Thursday and made the absolute most of it. Bronshtein beat Ajay Chabra, who started the day with the chip lead, once play reached heads up to win the $1,500 No Limit Deuce event for $96,278. “Ajay is a great player. I got to play with him yesterday and I couldn’t beat him in a pot. I had a feeling he was going to go deep in this tournament, be one of the last three at least," Bronshtein said. "However, I have a lot of experience playing heads up, not particularly in this game, I only play this game once a year, but I’m very good at heads up.” Despite not being able to close out a WSOP event prior to Thursday, Bronshtein knew if he was patient and kept working, he'd eventually find an opportunity to do it. “It feels amazing. It’s exactly what I thought it would be like. I’m not surprised I’ve always felt I could win one of these tournaments," Bronshtein said. "Glad to finally wrap one up, I’m definitely really happy about it. This has been a really big goal of mine since I started playing poker. It’s been my number one goal.” Chabra, who finished 22nd in this event last summer, earned $59,591 to nearly double his lifetime WSOP cashes to $148,107. Jerry Wong finished third for $39,986. Final Table Payouts Yuval Bronshtein - $96,278 Ajay Chabra - $59,491 Jerry Wong - $39,986 Steven Tabb - $27,477 Michael Sortino - $19,313 Bjorn Geissert - $13,892 Craig Chait - $10,232 Frank Kassela - $7,722 Femi Fashakin Leads Big 50 Final Table From 28,371 entries, just seven players remain in contention for the $1,147,449 first place prize in the largest live poker tournament ever. Florida native Femi Fashakin heads into the final day of play with the chip lead of the Big 50 and just six other players stand in his way. Fashakin will be in unfamiliar territory on Friday. He's never made a final table and has just $59,706 in lifetime earnings. The minimum he's guaranteed now is $182,192. By the time play wraps up on Friday, one player will have accumulated 1.427 billion chips. Action resumes at Noon PT and will be streamed live on CBS All Access. Final Table Chip Counts Femi Fashakin - 314,000,000 Walter Atwood - 297,000,000 Rafi Elharar - 227,500,000 Paul Cullen - 191,500,000 Nicholas Chow - 170,000,000 Adrian Curry - 126,000,000 Daniel Ghobrial - 101,000,000 Only Swingruber, Garcia, Yu, Lehr Remain in $10,000 Heads Up Championship Friday is Final Four day in the $10,000 Heads Up Championship event with three previous bracelet winners still in contention. Colossus I winner Cord Garcia, three-time bracelet winner Ben Yu, and two-time bracelet winner Keith Lehr are joined by relatively unknown Sean Swingruber. Garcia beat Ricky Guan and Matthias Eibinger to advance to the final day of play. He'll face Swingruber in the semi-finals. Swingruber, a Los Angeles poker pro, defeated Jan Lakota and Jimmy D'Ambrosio on Thursday. D'Ambrosio did what many in this event have failed to do over the years. He beat John Smith. The pair met up in Round of 16 at the start of Day 2 with D'Ambrosio coming out on top of the two-time runner-up. Yu worked his way through Richard Tuhrim and Kristen Bicknell on his way to the semi-finals. Lehr beat Simon Bruns and Jake Schindler to advance. Play resumes on Saturday at Noon and will be streamed live on PokerGO. Jason Acosta Leads Final 28 in $1,500 HORSE Day 2 of the $1,500 HORSE event saw the field shrink from 291 players to just 28. New Jersey poker player Jason Acosta ended Day 2 on a heater and bagged up the chip lead with 754,000. WSOP Circuit crusher Valentin Vornicu sits fifth in chips and Chris Klodnicki and Phillip Hui also finished with top 10 stacks. Mark Gregorich, Andre Akkari, and Tony Ma, also managed to advance to Day 3. Some of the notables that busted out in the money on Thursday included Anthony Zinno, David Bach, Daniel Zack, Jim Collopy, Chris Wallace, David 'ODB' Baker, and Chris Ferguson. Action resumes at Noon and is scheduled to play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Jason Acosta - 754,000 Jason Stockfish - 646,000 Sergey Altbregin - 485,000 Danny Woolard - 434,000 Valentin Vornicu - 421,000 Gary Kosakowski - 417,000 Ashish Gupta - 367,000 Raul Paez - 333,000 Chris Klodnicki - 323,000 Phillip Hui - 316,000 Romain Nussmann Leads $1,500 Six Max Final 26 Day 2 of the $1,500 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event continued with fast and furious action with 263 players being sent to the rail. France's Romain Nussmann finished on top of the final 26 players with 8,095,000. He's more than 1 million chips ahead of Singapore's Ong Dingxiang, who finished with 7,080,000. There's then a significant gap before the third biggest stack, Pierce Mckellar with 4,990,000. Isaac Baron and Day 1 chip leader Richard Hasnip both finished with top 10 chip stacks. Play resumes at 2 PM on Friday and will play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Romain Nussmann - 8,095,000 Ong Dingxiang - 7,080,000 Pierce Mckellar - 4,990,000 Kainalu Mccue-Unciano - 2,760,000 Nicolas Careme - 2,400,000 Henry Lu - 2,175,000 Isaac Baron - 2,050,000 Stephen Graner - 2,045,000 Vadim Shlez - 1,730,000 Richard Hasnip - 1,615,000 Ott Brothers Advance to Day 2 of $1,500 Shootout The $1,500 NLHE Shootout, the first shootout of the 2019 WSOP, drew 917 players with 100 of them making it through their first table to advanced to Day 2. Some of the notables to advance to Day 2 include Maurice Hawkins, Jennifer Tilly, Qui Nguyen, Kelly Minkin, Loni Harwood, Joe Cada and Pennsylvania poker playing twins Daniel and Dillon Ott. There is no chance that the Ott brothers will both make the final table though. Both ended up on the same Day 2 table. Day 2 will feature ten 10-handed tables each playing down to a winner. Those 10 will make up the official final table which will play on Saturday. Deeb, McMaster, Foxen Bag Top 10 Day 1 Stacks in $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 Yarron Bendor leads the 90 players who survived Day 1 of the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship event but there's a star-studded group chasing him. David Benyamine, Shaun Deeb, Alex Foxen, and Derek McMaster, who won the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event earlier this week, all finished with top 10 stacks. John Racener, Mike Wattel, Mike Matusow, Benny Glaser, and Nick Schulman are also still alive with better-than-average stacks. The first day of play drew 173 players, up from the 169 who played this same event last year, and registration remains open until the start of Day 2. Top 10 Chip Counts Yarron Bendor - 375,500 David Benyamine - 291,500 Shaun Deeb - 263,000 Delmiro Toledo - 258,000 Derek McMaster - 240,000 Robert Stevanovski - 227,000 David "Bakes" Baker - 221,000 Alex Foxen - 218,000 Tom Koral - 216,500 Ken Aldridge - 201,500
  4. Dates for the 2020 World Series of Poker were announced on Wednesday, and the 51st WSOP is scheduled for May 26 through July 15, 2020. The 2020 WSOP will once again be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, with 51 action-packed days of poker planned, despite the recent sale of the property. Although the full schedule of events is yet to be released, the WSOP did give the dates for the WSOP Main Event, the BIG 50, and the Seniors Championship. Main Event Scheduled for July 1-14 The 2020 WSOP Main Event runs July 1-14. It kicks off on Wednesday, July 1, for the first of three starting flights. The second and third flights are scheduled for Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3, respectively. Competitors to advance from either of the first two flights will resume action on Saturday, July 4, and those to advance from the third flight will play their Day 2 on Sunday, July 5. All remaining entrants will combine into one field on Monday, July 6. Play is scheduled to continue each day through Friday, July 10, when it is anticipated that the final table will be reached. The final players will have an off day on Saturday, July 11, before resuming the competition on Sunday, July 12. A winner is expected to be crowned on Tuesday, July 14. The 2020 WSOP Main Event will look to draw off the success that was delivered in 2019, when it attracted the second largest field size in the event’s history at 8,569 entries. It was only the second time ever that the field size for the WSOP Main Event topped 8,000 entries, and it was the fourth consecutive year that the Main Event field size increased. The 2019 WSOP Main Event winner was Hossein Ensan, who took home the mammoth $10 million first-place prize. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] BIG 50 Scheduled for May 28-June 4 The beginning of the 2020 World Series of Poker will feature the incredibly popular $500 buy-in BIG 50 tournament. It’s the second year for this event and big things are expected after the 2019 edition absolutely shattered the record books with 28,371 entries. The 2020 WSOP BIG 50 is scheduled to start on Thursday, May 28, and wrap up on Thursday, June 4. In 2019, it was Femi Fashakin finishing in first place from the enormous field. Fashakin took home the lion’s share of the $13.509 million prize pool, winning $1.147 million. Seniors Champions Scheduled for June 18-21 The third event that WSOP officials did confirm in the announcement is the $1,000 buy-in, single reentry Seniors Championship. Scheduled to take place June 18-21, the WSOP Seniors Championship is open to all participants age 50 or older. In 2019, the WSOP Seniors Championship drew 5,916 entries. Howard Mash, a 50-year-old financial advisor from Florida was triumphant, scoring $662,594. Online Satellites Already Running At the time of the announcement, the start of the 2020 WSOP was five and a half months away, so there’s plenty of time to get ready for what should be another record-setting series. The 2019 WSOP was the biggest ever, with 187,298 total entries and more than $293 million in prize pool money generated. The 2020 edition is likely going to set new records, and part of the reason why is because online satellites are already running on WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey. Will Pennsylvania Be Involved? Pennsylvania could certainly be involved with the 2020 WSOP, at least to some capacity. With regulated online poker now up and running in Pennsylvania, the Keystone State could become a player when WSOP.com is up and running, although there is no WSOP.com online client available in Pennsylvania at the time of this announcement. When WSOP.com becomes available in Pennsylvania, we should expect there to be online satellites running that will function to qualify players for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. What we shouldn’t expect is for PA online poker players to be able to play in online gold bracelet events with players from Nevada and New Jersey from within Pennsylvania state lines. Although Nevada and New Jersey share player pools, Pennsylvania is not yet involved in any interstate compacts, so they’ll likely have to wait to compete for an online gold bracelet from within the State of Pennsylvania.
  5. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In June, all eyes were on the 2019 WSOP, which kicked off with a bang that included the largest live poker tournament ever and Phil Ivey's return. WSOP Big 50’s Gigantic Turnout The first installment of the World Series of Poker $500 buy-in 'Big 50' tournament was one for the record books, literally. The tournament that was marketed to give comers from all levels a shot at WSOP glory did that and more, becoming the largest live poker tournament in history. The event attracted a field size of 28,474 entries, crushing the previous record of 22,374 entries set by the 2015 WSOP Colossus. Lance Bradley took a look at the record-breaking event to see how it stacks up against another monstrous tournaments, the number of unique entries versus reentries, and more. Nigerian-born Femi Fashakin turned a $500 entry into $1.147 million in the Big 50 and will forever be remembered for such an achievement. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Controversy at the WSOP The $50,000 High Roller tournament at the 2019 WSOP drew a lot of attention. Understandably so, given it’s huge buy-in and star-studded field. The resulting headlines were less than what was desired, though, as a bit of controversy came about. With four players left in the tournament, Sam Soverel opened with a raise, Dmitry Yurasov moved all in, Andrew Lichtenberger folded, and then Ben Heath asked for a count. While thinking, Heath tossed in a time bank card and Soverel, who might’ve thought the time bank card was Heath’s actual playing cards, quickly folded his hand. This allowed Heath to think through his decision without having to worry about what Soverel was going to do as the original raiser. Yurasov was not happy with Soverel’s play, as were many people on Twitter, including Isaac Haxton. Phil Ivey Returns Guess who’s back? Phil Ivey’s back! It seems that every summer the poker world is waiting to see if Phil Ivey will return to the WSOP tournament tables or not. In 2019, he returned a week into June, kicking things off with the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. The poker world was buzzing with his return to the series, but it’d have to until about a week later for him to get back on the WSOP scoreboard by cashing in the $800 NL Deep Stack. Ivey went on to cash five times at the WSOP in the summer and twice more at the 2019 WSOP Europe festival in Rozvadov. His best finish in Las Vegas was an eighth-place result in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $124,410. Biggest Win of Jason Young’s Life Jason Young has had his fair share of success on the poker felt, with more than $1.2 million in live tournament earnings and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet to his credit. Despite all of that, it was a victory off the felt that proved to be the biggest win of his life. After Young and his girlfriend welcomed their daughter, Kaeley, into the world, things took a turn for the worse. His girlfriend abruptly moved to Florida, away from their home in New York, and she took the daughter with her. Young’s restaurant was lost and he fell into big debt. Through it all, Young kept fighting. He was fighting for his daughter and fighting to get his life back in order. Along the way, poker helped Young get things back together, and the story on Young by Lance Bradley is an absolute must-read. Chidwick, Engel, Schwartz All Wins Bracelets The conversation of who is the best player without a WSOP gold bracelet lost three key figures in the summer of 2019. That’s when Stephen Chidwick, Ari Engel, and Luke Schwartz all claimed their first pieces of WSOP hardware and can no longer be referred to as the "Best Player Without a Bracelet." To make things even more exciting, all three won their first gold bracelet on the same day.
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