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  1. The PocketFives Online Poker Rankingswere recalculated on Wednesday and for the eighth time this year, we have a new #1 ranked player. This week, it's Griffin Flush_Entity Benger (pictured), who has been on a tear as of late and assumes the #1 spot for the first time since mid-2012. We caught up with Benger shortly after the Rankings were released. Here are the top 10 players this week along with the PLB score for each: 1. Flush_Entity - 7,853 points 2. VnilaVader - 7,552 points 3. lukethafluke - 7,304 points 4. moorman1 - 7,221 points 5. r4ndomr4gs - 7,217 points 6. Sheater - 7,137 points 7. huiiiiiiiiii - 7,083 points 8. blanconegro - 7,017 points 9. lena900 - 6,828 points 10. Yaya24 - 6,816 points PocketFives: Congrats! Tell us how you're feeling about being back at #1 in the world. Griffin Benger: I knew it was a matter of time with the heater I've been on recently and figured after my Hot $55 win on Sunday, this would be the week it happened. I stayed up a bit last night to wait for the Rankings to change. It's hard not to get a good night's sleep after you find out you're #1 at anything, let alone something as competitive as poker. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- PocketFives: Do the Rankings mean a lot to you? Are they a motivator or how do they affect your mindset while playing? Griffin Benger: PocketFives has always been an incredible tool for me to track my progress, compare my success to my peers, and give me goals outside of just making money. It can get a bit monotonous to play MTT poker day after day trying to make money. It's fun when you see you're in contention for a Monthly or Yearly PLB or need one more win for a PocketFives Triple Crown. Dan Cypra: What do you attribute your recent success to? You've had a PokerStarsSunday 500 win, Sunday Supersonic final table, and Super Tuesday final table in the last few months, just to name a few key scores. Griffin Benger: I've been very fortunate in the sense that if I have ever felt like I might be hitting a bit of a lull in my game, I'm exposed to someone who's having a lot of success at the time who has been able to help me get to the next level. First it was Shyam s_dot111Srinivasan, then Calvin cal42688Anderson (pictured), then Paul paulgees81Volpe, then Simon pokerbrat13Charette, then Evan Jarvis of Gripsed.com, and most recently I attribute a great deal of my success to working with Connor blanconegro Drinan. Connor and I spent nearly a month-and-a-half together in Europe and were constantly grinding together and bouncing ideas off each other about different ways to approach hands and spots. It has done wonders for my game. It's really important to have a broad network of friends and colleagues in poker. Even if you might be considered better than a certain player, they are definitely doing something better than you, and if you're not going out of your way to find out what that is and then implementing it into your game, you're just being lazy. Laziness is the biggest problem in online MTT culture. We have so many tools out there to be successful, but people would rather moan and groan about how badly they run than work harder. The game is constantly evolving and becoming more challenging. If you're not evolving with it, you're either being lazy or don't want it as badly as I do. PocketFives: You're still with Phil Ivey's training site, right? Griffin Benger: Yes, I am. I share a great deal of insight in my first training video series of my Sunday 500 final table at IveyLeague.com. I genuinely feel the Masters membership is worth the money. Congrats to all of our ranked players this week! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. We're four days through the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. There are 291 players remaining and coming armed to Day 5 on Saturday with the third highest chip count is Griffin Flush_Entity Benger (pictured). The former #1 player on PocketFives is making his fifth cash of the 2014 WSOP in the Main Event. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- Benger went toe-to-toe with fellow longtime PocketFiver Mark dipthrong Herm late during play on Friday. On a board of 4-7-6-2-8 with three spades, Benger pushed out a bet of 90,000 and Herm, after tanking, folded. That hand pushed Benger's stack up by 340,000 and he ended the day at 2.32 million. Herm, who was near the top of the pack around dinnertime, sits at 482,000 entering Day 5, 177th on the leaderboard. Benger had 1.68 million in chips at the last break of the day before building his roll in the final two hours. He Tweeted, "Ended Day 4 of #WSOPMainEvent with 2.3m. #LFG." Jon PearlJammer Turner (pictured) was all-in before the flop with 4-4, but ran square into J-J. The board ran out 10-Q-10-A-10 and Turner, despite making a full house, was eliminated in 318th place for $33,000. Like Benger, Turner had five cashes at this year's WSOP, including three top-15 finishes. The bubble burst on Friday with three eliminations taking place simultaneously across the Amazon Room. Surviving through the bubble, and setting a new WSOP Main Event record in the process, was Ronnie Bardah, who has now cashed in five straight Main Events (2010 to 2014). As outlined by WSOP.com, "In the four prior years, Bardah has played in an average Main Event field size of 6,783.5 players with an average finish of 285.25. In total, his previous Main Event cashes have earned him $416,723." He finished in 475th this year. Bryan badbeatninja Devonshire doubled up around 10:30pm Pacific Time on Friday with A-K of hearts against A-J of diamonds. The money went in on an ace-high flop and Devonshire ducked a straight draw on the river to survive. He Tweeted at the end of the day, "Happy to bag 667k at the end of Day 4. 297 remain on the board, resume tomorrow at Noon playing 6-12/2k." End of Day 2 chip leader Phil Ivey (pictured) was eliminated on Day 4. Ivey, who won his 10th braceletearlier this year at the WSOP, moved all-in over the top of a bet from John Kabbaj on a board showing 9-9-2-2. Kabbaj and flipped over J-J and Ivey showed A-K. The river was a blank and Ivey was cast away from the Main Event in 430th place. Here's how the top 10 chip stacks look after Day 4: 1. Matthew Haugen - 2,808,000 2. Zach Jiganti - 2,364,000 3. Griffin Flush_Entity Benger - 2,329,000 4. Michael Finstein - 2,316,000 5. Bruno Politano - 2,289,000 6. Dan KingDan Smith - 2,229,000 7. Andoni Larrabe - 2,195,000 8. Kyle Keranen - 2,157,000 9. Farid farid1221x Jattin - 2,122,000 10. Pakinai Lisawad - 2,088,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen walked away with a little bit more than ,000,000 but that wasn't the only interesting number coming out of the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table (WSOP photo/Jayne Furman)[/caption] You know the headlines, you know the bustouts, you saw what happened on TV. But there were many untold and unexplored stories of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, so we decided to break some down and crunch some numbers. -45: Average temperature in the regions of Antarctica inhabited by polar bears. The bears are built for the cold, which is perhaps why Kenny Halleart’s rail chose to have someone dress as one to cheer their friend on at the notoriously cold Rio. 4: Number of players lost on the first day of November Nine play. While the plan was originally to play from nine down to six, the producers and tournament staff elected to play a little longer, perhaps because it did not take long to lose three players and, as a result, the table did not get far along in the structure. Because of the extended play, Halleart exited in sixth place on the first day of action. Then, on the second day of play, the table played three-handed for a little while because it took so little time to get from five players to three. 9: Number of years since an Asian player has won the WSOP Main Event. Laos-born Jerry Yang won in 2007, but since then the list of winners has been exclusively Caucasian and exclusively under the age of 30. Nguyen, who is 39, bucked both trends. 16: Number of hands it took before losing a player. Fernando Pons didn’t quite make it twice around the table before exiting in ninth place. 58: Number of hands it took at the final table before Griffin Benger managed to win a pot. The Canadian struggled at the final table and blinded off much of his stack. He also failed to flop much of anything, resulting in the very long stretch without dragging chips in his direction. The celebration was short-lived though. He busted in seventh place nine hands later. 60: Going rate in dollars for four pints of ice cream from the boutique Tin Pot Creamery, a Palo Alto ice cream provider Gordon Vayo promoted with a patch at the final table. Boasting flavors like Earl Grey and Sweet Barbeque, the creamery produces small batches of ice cream at quite the price, which also doesn’t include tax or shipping and handling. 69: Starting bid on eBay for the New Era brand Rocket Raccoon ball cap similar to the one wore by Qui Nguyen throughout the final table. The Guardians of the Galaxy hat was one of the more memorable pieces of headgear in Main Event memory. Now the hat is difficult to come by, but that is largely because of the popularity of the now two-year-old movie as opposed to Nguyen’s ability to influence style. 182: Number of hands heads-up play lasted. It is also the number of hands it took for the final table to get from nine down to two players. By comparison, last year the entire final table took 184 hands, with Joe McKeehen besting Josh Beckley after 13 hands. 1,046,965: Difference between $4.5 million and what Cliff Josephy collected for finishing in third place. Much has been made of the fact Josephy staked Joe Cada when he won the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Though the number was never confirmed, most assume Josephy took home half the $9 million payday. If that is the case, turns out this wasn’t his most profitable WSOP Main Event after all.
  4. [caption width="640"] William Kassouf is interviewed by ESPN's Kara Scott just moments after being eliminated from the 2016 WSOP Main Event by Griffin Benger.[/caption] “It’s going to be fucking famous,” said Griffin Benger, 2016 November Niner, former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, of the hand that saw him eliminate possibly the most talked about and maybe even most-disliked player of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, William Kassouf. To many of the poker fans who have been tuning in to the 2016 WSOP on ESPN broadcasts over the last several weeks, Benger is the hero. To others, he’s the heel. Kassouf was the focal point of coverage over the final four weeks of 2016 WSOP coverage on ESPN. Beginning with his one round penalty for taunting Stacy Matuson and continuing through to his endless table talk and needling before having an entire table turn on the one-time lawyer, Kassouf had drawn the ire of a good number of viewers at home while some found him an entertaining part of the broadcasts. All of that came to a head on Sunday night during ESPN’s final WSOP broadcast before the final table. THE HAND Down to just two tables remaining in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, Benger and Kassouf found themselves seated together at the feature table on the ESPN main stage inside the Amazon Room. From UTG Benger raised to 875,000. Action folded to Kassouf in the hijack and, as he was prone to doing on seemingly every hand he was in, he took his time with his decision before he re-raised to 2,300,000. Once action was back on Benger, Kassouf began the table chatter that helped make him one of the most unforgettable characters in WSOP Main Event history. Benger remained quiet, ignoring Kassouf and instead responded with another raise, this time making it 5,600,000. At this point Kassouf went into the tank and again, began talking. “It’s one of these coolers again, really? Back to back? If you got it, you got it, right? A big hand here. I don’t think I can pass. If you got me beat, you got me beat. It’s poker isn’t it?,” Kassouf said. “I can’t call; it’s either all in or I pass. What do you want me to do? You want me to go all in or fold? Talk to me. You don’t say anything, I might have to ship it here.” Kassouf continued, “Do you want to gamble? I’m not into that. I’m here to win it. I’m not laddering. Play for the win, right? You doing the same? Or you’re going to wait for the next pay jump at 15? $90K is $90K, right? That’s the Main Event for the next nine years.” At this point Jerry Wong called clock on the talkative British pro. This finally caused Benger to stir and speak for the first time in the hand. “You’re just an abusive person, man. It’s not funny. It’s not a game. You’re being abusive to me,” said Benger. “You’re being abusive. It’s called verbal abuse. What you’re doing to me is verbal abuse.” Kassouf, with action on him, attempted to defend himself, but Benger had heard and seen enough. “You’re a bully. It’s rude, it’s mean,” Benger said. “It’s not called speech play. It’s being called a bad person. You should really check yourself. Check your privilege.” Kassouf looked to the floor person for some assistance and again Benger stepped in. “He’s not your dad. He’s not going to help you. Stop, no one is going to help you,” Benger said. “The bet is 5.6 million chips. That is what the bet is.” This seemed to give Kassouf the information he needed and the talkative British pro moved all in for 13,450,000. Griffin snap-called and happily turned over his hand. Griffin: [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"] Kassouf: [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] The board ran out [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="td"]. Kassouf was eliminated in 17th place. Benger went on to make the November Nine. THE AFTERMATH The confrontation wasn't a long time coming as Griffin hadn’t played much with Kassouf prior to Day 7, but he had heard stories about his behavior at the table and his treatment of other players, most notably Matuson on Day 5. “I’d never played with him before. I’d heard peripherally and overheard some of the controversies towards the feature table about what he was doing it was just, it really sickened me,” said Benger. “The thing that made him so dangerous as far as what kind of person he was at least pretending to be, was that he’s someone that is really, really good at bullying. When he suddenly feels any bullying back, he creates this victim mentality kind of barrier where he’s just like, ‘Why are they freaking out? I’m just doing my table talk thing.” Benger may not have known that the hand was coming, but he was preparing for a bigger confrontation with Kassouf from the moment they were seated together. “I needled him at one point, when he first got to the table because I wanted to be combative. I felt really sort of like, there’s this expression that I always hear that I always like to say, ‘Demons run, when good men to go war’. That’s what I felt,” said Benger. “When I got to the table, I wasn’t going to let him run amok with his thing.“ “He was counting out chips, and then looking like he wanted to four-bet and he was taking his time over it, ‘I really have got a big hand here’ and everything. I was looking at the TD and said, ‘you know how many miles from here to Hollywood?’,” said Kassouf. “I knew he was Hollywooding, he’s not really going to four-bet me or come over the top. He’s only pretending that he has got a big hand, but he hasn’t. I know he’s going to four bet, I know he’s got a big hand. I’ve got a monster hand. I’m hoping he’s got ace-king or queens, one of the two.” Kassouf’s read was incorrect and Benger was more than thrilled to show his hand on poker’s biggest stage. “It felt really good (to turn the aces over). I don’t like this expression, I feel like it triggers a very vitriolic thing, but he got what was coming to him. I really feel that way, I genuinely do,” said Benger. “I really hope that’s not the way he lives his life normally, because he’s really fucking good at, pretending to be at least, a bad person and I sincerely hope that’s not the way that he lives his life. I’m sure he said ‘That’s not the way I normally am’ or whatever and that it’s his schtick, but it’s not okay.” Benger’s read on Kassouf apparently extends beyond the table as Kassouf, moments after busting, defended his actions not only in that hand, but also throughout the 2016 WSOP Main Event. “He kept on saying I was being abusive. I was just doing my standard speech play to get a read off him, to give off tells for myself that I was weak, that I only had jacks or queens which I want him to think I have,” said Kassouf. “ Benger realized his actions in the hand may have also shown a side of him that many aren’t used to seeing, one that might not make him any fans. “Yeah, my dark side came out a little bit. My friends call my dark side ‘Gator’. So they said Gator got out of the cage there, out of the swamp a little bit,” said Benger. “It’s not really something I like to do very often.” Benger also knew that this hand would be the highlight of the broadcasts and be something that poker fans and fellow players are talking about for a long time, even if, absent the table talk, the hands really just played themselves. “I think it might become the most famous World Series hand ever. Think of one that’s more famous? Connor (Drinan) running aces into aces? Shit happens. This one, with the context and the build up…,” said Benger. “I don’t think I outplayed him. I think he got coolered.” Kassouf left the Rio, knowing full well that the coverage of his play and this hand was going to be something that left the poker world talking and while he obviulsy would have loved a run into November, he was comfortable with the way it ended. “I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s the way I play. I play within the rules. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I’ve been here pretty much ever year,” said Kassouf. “It’s my first cash in the WSOP, so I’ll take that. I’m the one who’s going home laughing, rather than all these other Americans. I say, ‘Well played. Thanks for coming to all the 6,720 out that have parted their way with $10,000. Thanks for that, to boost the prize pool’.”
  5. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen has 8 million reasons to smile after winning the 2016 WSOP Main Event (WSOP Photo / Jayne Furman0[/caption] When the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table began on Sunday night, nobody thought Qui Nguyen had a chance at overcoming a field that included two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a talented European poker pro, a former PokerStars SuperNova Elite and two young American poker pros who cut their poker teeth online. On Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Nguyen beat Gordon Vayo after a lengthy heads up battle to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event and the accompanying $8 million. Just like they did on the first night, when Nguyen and Cliff Josephy went at each other, things got crazy on the first hand Tuesday night. Nguyen started things off by raising to 2,700,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"] from the button. Josephy re-raised to 8,500,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Gordon Vayo got out of the way before Nguyen four-bet to 20,900,000. Josephy immediately moved all and after getting a count, Nguyen called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7c"] flop gave Josephy top two pair. The [poker card="3s"] turn clinched the pot for Josephy with the [poker card="qs"] falling on the river. Nguyen’s stack dropped to 147,600,000 while Josephy more than doubled to 101,400,000. He also had momentum that proved to be short lived. Just four hands later the three players clashed in the biggest pot of the tournament to date and it nearly meant the end of the road for Josephy, the longest reigning #1-ranked player in PocketFives history. Josephy raised to 2,500,000 with [poker card="2d"][poker card="2c"] from the button, Vayo called from the small blind with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] before Nguyen made 7,700,000 from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. Josephy and Vayo both called to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"]. Nguyen bet 9,900,000 and both Josephy and Vayo called. After the [poker card="4d"] turn, Vayo and Nguyen both checked and Josephy bet 21,000,000. Vayo eventually moved all in for 75,100,000. Nguyen folded and Josephy called. The river was the [poker card="6d"] and Vayo doubled up while Josephy was left with just eight big blinds. Josephy doubled up through Nguyen on the very next hand and then again four hands later through Nguyen to get his stack back to 46,200,000 - just 3,800,000 less than he started the final day with. Josephy’s roller coaster ride continued five hands later when Nguyen took half of his stack and officially ended on the very next hand. Nguyen folded the button, Josephy moved all in for 18,700,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"] and Vayo called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Josephy in third place. After his elimination, Josephy discussed the set-vs-set confrontation with Vayo. “If he had played a small pair out of the small blind yesterday, I would’ve easily folded, due to his image, his reputation and my perception of him” said Josephy. “But he had folded a small pair against cutoff open against me, so it was easy to pull small pairs out of his range,” said Josephy. “The way he played the hand, he had to have a set of threes, but I don’t have him on threes, so it’s so hard because I couldn’t figure out what he could have.” When heads up play began Vayo had 200,300,000 chips to Nguyen’s 136,300,000. The two players exchanged the chip lead back and forth six times over the next 25 hands before Nguyen took the lead for the final time. Over the next seven hours of play, Vayo did everything he could to stave off elimination from the hard-charging Nguyen, but in the end, Nguyen’s aggression and unique approach that left his opponents dazed and confused over the final three days of play, ended up leading him to victory. After leaving Vayo shaking his head after numerous folds, the tournament ended in anti-climatic fashion. Nguyen opened to 8,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and Vayo shipped in his 53,000,000 stack with [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"] and Nguyen called. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Nguyen top pair and Vayo a boatful of extra outs but the [poker card="2s"] turn and [poker card="3h"] river were complete bricks for Vayo and after 181 hands of heads up play, Nguyen eliminated Vayo in second place to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Nguyen eliminated four of the final five players on his way to the win. Final Table Payouts Qui Nguyen - $8,005,310 Gordon Vayo - $4,661,228 Cliff Josephy - $3,453,035 Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  6. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka could become the first Czech winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] You get the impression from 2016 November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka that he really loves poker. He's already promised that he won't be retiring if he wins the Main Event and that he would continue to play high buy-in tournaments all around the world. But since the end of this year’s World Series of Poker, and the final table eventually getting underway, Ruzicka has been spotted playing in a variety of different destinations. The Czech pro has certainly been honing his game ahead of the most important final table of his life, not only in tournaments! Ruzicka admitted over the summer that he wasn’t much of a cash game player, but that certainly didn’t stop him from heading to Rozvadov for the King’s Casino Cash Game. After a rough couple of days playing against the likes of Tony G and Igor Kurganov, he managed to turn it back around in the final session and finish the trip as a winner. Since then King’s Casino have announced that they intend to build a new hotel, spa and a new huge poker room. Ruzicka was quick to praise Leon Tsoukernik and the recent expansion plans at King’s. “I couldn’t be more excited about it! It looks like King’s could become the biggest European poker room really soon and the plans look awesome,” said Ruzicka of the host casino for WSOP Europe in 2017 and 2019. “King’s has some special memories for me. I actually played my first big live tournaments there, and I have won the German Championship of Poker there twice.” “I am really excited to represent Rozvadov in November." READ: Five Questions with Vojtech Ruzicka As well as playing at King’s, Ruzicka also headed to the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona where not only did he finish 18th in the €25,000 High Roller, but managed a deep run in the Main Event only to finish 24th. Ruzicka said that it was great to have the experience of running deep in another tournament so soon. “When I was deep in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, I was really excited, but not nervous at all. It felt great,” said Ruzicka. “I’ve never thought self-confidence makes much of a difference, but the fact that you will play a final table in a much bigger tournament in three months’ time made me much more relaxed.” “I definitely felt much better at the table and I was just like ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to win the EPT while waiting for the November Nine?’” In Barcelona it was announced that the EPT is soon to rebrand into PokerStars Championships. Ruzicka’s poker resume is littered with cashes, as well as a High Roller win at EPT Deauville in 2013 for €313,000. Ruzicka says that he hoped that the new format will work as well as the EPTs have done. “I honestly think that the EPT had a great name around the poker world, and I personally would never have renamed those tournaments. But we will see. I will definitely give them a shot,” said Ruzicka. This year there are three Europeans at the Main event final table, with Ruzicka joined by Spain's Fernando Pons and the Netherlands' Kenny Hallaert. This is an increase from 2015 where just Federico Butteroni and Pierre Neuville were from the other side of the pond. In 2014, however, there were four Europeans at a final table which was eventually won by Swede Martin Jacobson. And with four of the last eight Main Event Champions being European, does Ruzicka think that it would mean anything special to become yet another European Main Event winner? “I think everyone wants to win the Main Event really bad, but I think that people care more about how the winner plays and behaves. I don’t think that nationality is that important," said Ruzicka. “However, I do feel that following these results American players are starting to respect us Europeans much more at the tables and when we come to the World Series of Poker.” And with the November Nine right around the corner, Ruzicka will have a gang of rowdy Czechs railing him at the final table. “Now that I’m a November Niner, everybody has been really nice to me. It’s been actually quite pleasant so far,” admitted Ruzicka. “I would like to thank the entire Czech poker community. Everyone has been so supportive to me and I hope that I will make them proud!”
  7. [caption width="640"] There are more numbers in play at the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table that just the November Nine (WSOP Photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] You’ve seen plenty of numbers related to the November Nine. You’ve seen ages and chip counts, number of bracelets and final tables. Let’s not forget lifetime tournament earnings and number of big blinds. Rather than examine the obvious stats, let’s get to know this final table by the not-so-apparent numbers in this edition of The Number Crunch. 0 – This number applies to quite a bit of Fernando Pons’ resume. Prior to this Main Event, he had never played a World Series of Poker tournament, he had never even been to Vegas. He also has zero players behind him on the leaderboard, as the Spaniard is coming in with just a handful of big blinds amounting to 6.15 million. 2 – Spot on the Czech Republic all-time money list for Vojtech Ruzicka, who has already been credited with at least ninth place money. If he wins, he can take the top spot away from Martin Staszko, who finished second to Pius Heinz in 2011. 3 – This is the third career WSOP final table for Gordon Vayo. While he may not be a household name to casual poker fans, he actually came up just shy of a bracelet in 2014, finishing second to Davidi Kitai in a $3,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event. 25 – Position of Qui Nguyen in the counts with 27 players remaining. He began near the bottom of the counts, but after doubling through Michael Ruane early, he went on to eliminate Tom Marchese, James Obst, and Mike Shin to take the chip lead and go on to bag the second-biggest stack going into November. 407 – Total number of runners in the 2016 Unibet Belgium Poker Championship in September of 2016. Kenny Hallaert was on hand as the Unibet tournament director for the event, and does not appear interested in quitting his full-time day job after making the final table. 519 – Number of days chip leader Cliff Josephy was ranked #1 on the PocketFives Rankings. One of the OGs of online poker, the man known as 'JohnnyBax online joined P5s in 2005 and quickly ascended the ranks of online poker to take the number one spot. He is not the only top PocketFiver in the pack though. Griffin Benger was also ranked #1 in P5s World Rankings. Bax isn’t just a token member either. He has posted over 1,300 times in the forums as well as backed numerous other P5ers, including a former Main Event winner, Joe Cada. 26,158 – Total dollars confiscated by US Customs when Michael Ruane tried to fly back into the States after the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Then 23, Ruane and his brother and cousin did not properly declare the amount of money they were returning with, so officials confiscated it at the Nassau Airport. 98,683 – Dollars in earnings for Griffin Benger in his career as a professional Counter-Strike player. His career-high score came in 2007 when he and four teammates won a Competitive Gaming Series (CGS) event for $250,000 total, amounting to $50,000 apiece. 1,380,000 – Number of chips Jerry Wong lost over the course of two days of play as the field winnowed down from 80 to the November Nine. He was chip leader at the end of Day 5 with over 11 million, but lost steam late in play, bagging just over 10 million and coming into November eighth out of nine in the chip counts.
  8. [caption width="640"] Griffin Benger is suddenly among the chip leaders of the WSOP Main Event.[/caption] Griffin Benger, one of the most decorated players in PocketFives history, had no intentions of playing even a single event at the 2016 World Series of Poker. He’d been in Malta working as one of two commentators for the Global Poker League and playing a little bit on online, mostly on Sunday. It was on one of those Sundays, six weeks ago, that Benger was clicking buttons when he saw a WSOP Main Event satellite on 888 poker and he decided to take a shot. Only problem was that with the tournaments he was already playing, he didn’t have enough in his account to cover the $1,060 buy-in. “I just decided to play a satellite last minute on 888 poker, just deposited just to play it,” said Benger, who has $6,491,997 in lifetime online earnings. “I had a good feeling about the $1K satellite and I played it and won it.” Benger, who has held the #1 spot in the PocketFives Rankings five times in his career, suddenly had to make plans to come to Las Vegas and play. “I didn’t come out for any other part of the Series, just came out for the Main Event and so far, it’s working out,” said Benger. With less than 150 players still in the field, Benger is able to draw on some experience he’s had in past Main Events that saw him run deep. “I’ve kinda been here before, which is really rare, people say it’s a once in a lifetime thing. It doesn’t feel too surprising that I’m here again. I’m just extremely grateful and I just want to make sure I don’t make any mistakes and that i stay focused,” said Benger, who finished 304th in 2012 and 90th in 2014. “It’s hard though, it’s a lot of pressure once you actually have this kind of stack. You don’t want to get too happy and you don’t want to get too ‘impending boom’, but things happen. So I’m just expecting the worst and praying for the best pretty much.” The six-time PocketFives Triple Crown winner is also relying heavily on his online poker acumen and looks at poker’s most prestigious live series as a variation on something every online poker grinder is very familiar with. “If you really think about it, the World Series of Poker is just one glorified Sunday with the amount of tournaments you’re playing and sometimes you brick Sundays, and when you brick Sundays you’re probably not going to be doing that great in the last tournament,” said Benger. “I think a lot of Main Event success is bred from having some time off. A lot of the people that just come out here for a few events at the end, I think they are going to have more success in the Main Event, unless they’ve had a really good summer, which not a lot of people.” Two 888poker Qualifiers Make 2016 WSOP Main Event November Nine
  9. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Michael Ruane sits fifth in chips as the 2016 WSOP Main Event gets underway, but there's more to the New Jersey native than just poker (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Michael Ruane. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? I don't really gamble or bet outside of poker so I'd probably make the fish bet and just bet on whoever has the most ridiculous odds, who happens to be Fernando - so I'd probably throw a 20 ball on Fernando to win. * PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? This is a good one that I've put a lot of thought into and tried to come at from a very practical angle.*So growing up the first show I was absolutely obsessed with was LOST.*It was the first show that I (and I think a lot of people) totally immersed myself in 100%.*This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but if you haven't watched LOST at this point, you've probably missed the boat - but in later seasons Locke's mortality is sort of up in the air, so technically I think he'd qualify as non-living.*So my first "thing" I'd bring to this island is the character of John Locke.*I honestly don't think I'd need anything else after that to survive, but to round out my three I'd probably bring a knife (for practical purposes) and an iPod (for when Locke gets too annoying rambling on about said deserted island's meaning). PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? I don't think it would be one extravagant single purchase.*I'm a pretty big music nut and try to go to as many concerts and music festivals as possible.*I also really love to travel.*I think I would try to combine these two passions and plot a really awesome (and expensive) trip that included different places I've been wanting to visit that had a cool music festival or band playing at the same time. * PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? I've been told that I resemble anywhere from Michael Shannon to Robert Pattinson to Leo, himself.*To answer the question, if a Hollywood studio was serious about this idea, I'd embark on a global journey to find this mystical creature who looks like a combination of all three of these actors.*I'd then offer this person an exorbitant amount of money (so this actually might be my most extravagant purchase) to portray me in a major motion picture. * PocketFives: If you and your brother Sean (also a professional poker player) had to play heads-up against each other in a winner-take-all scenario, who wins and why? Depends when this match takes place. If it takes place before the Final Table, Sean would for sure let me win to give me a nice confidence boost. If it's after the Final Table, it's a real toss up.*Sean is huge lightweight though, so my strategy would be to act as if this heads-up match was a fun, light-hearted brotherly match where we'd have a few beers and have a good time.* I'd then get Sean absolutely bombed, rendering him incapable of defeating me.*In theory, I think it'd be virtually impossible for the poor guy to win.
  10. [caption width="640"] Cliff Josephy is the 2016 November Nine chip leader.[/caption] This was supposed to be the final installment of Rank & File for the 2016 World Series of Poker. It was supposed to show the final tally for how the former #1-ranked players on PocketFives did this summer but it turns out there’s going to be at least one more Rank & File needed after two members of this elite fraternity, Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy and Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger, made the final table of the Main Event. Josephy and Griffin were actually two of 10 former #1-ranked players to cash in the Main Event this year. While both will have to wait until November to find out their final payout, they are each guaranteed at least $1,000,000. Paul Volpe had the next biggest Main Event score, walking away with $216,211 for finishing 29th. All told the ten players walked away with at least $2,498,657. Former #1-ranked Players in the WSOP Main Event Cliff Josephy - $1,000,000* Griffin Benger - $1,000,000* Paul Volpe - $216,211 Bryan Piccioli - $67,855 Sorel Mizzi - $49,108 Chris Hunichen - $49,108 Tim West - $28,356 Kevin Saul - $25,235 Dan Kelly - $20,499 While the Main Event was clearly the focus of the final days of the WSOP, there was one other event on the schedule and a former #1-ranked player almost walked away with the bracelet. Calvin ‘Cal42688’ Anderson finished runner-up to Michael Tureniec in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop event, earning $324,597 in the process. Bracelet WinnersThree former #1-ranked players managed to win bracelets this summer – with Josephy and Benger still having a shot at adding fourth in November. Paul Volpe won the $1,500 Eight Game Mix in early June to grab the second WSOP bracelet of his career. It was a little over two weeks later when Shaun Deeb won the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event for his second career bracelet. It was a first-time winner that stole the headlines just as the Main Event was getting underway. Fedor Holz beat Dan Smith heads up for his first ever WSOP bracelet in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event. It was the fourth cash of his summer and earned him $4,981,775. The 22 year old German poker pro is just the 10th former #1-ranked player to win a WSOP bracelet. Holz surprised many by announcing he was taking a long-term break from poker immediately following the Main Event. Biggest ScoresObviously Josephy and Benger already have a seven-figure score, but there were a few other players that put up big numbers in individual events. So far Holz’s win in the One Drop High Roller is the single biggest score by a former #1-ranked player this summer and the only way it gets surpassed is if either Josephy or Benger goes on to win the Main Event. Volpe actually owns the two next biggest scores. He won $149,943 for his bracelet win and $216,211 for his deep Main Event run. Deeb’s bracelet win earned him $111,101. There were no other six-figure cashes but there was 27 cashes of between $10,000 and $100,000. Most CashesWhile Dan Kelly had the smallest Main Event cash of this group, he did have the most 2016 WSOP cashes of any former #1-ranked player. Kelly finished with 12 cashes – one off the record set this year by Ronald Israelashivil - for a total of $89,639 earned this summer. Kelly now has 47 career WSOP cashes and two WSOP bracelets. The next highest number of cashes was nine from Volpe. Along with his win and deep Main Event run, Volpe cashed in seven other events and posted top-20 finishes in four of them. Just one cash behind Volpe was Jordan ‘Jymaster0011’ Young with eight. While the closest Young got to a final table was a 16th place finish in a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em, the eight total cashes double his previous best WSOP performance. He finished up his summer by holding true to his online poker roots with a 138th place finish in the Online Bracelet event for $2,013. The (not quite) Final NumbersWhile the poker world waits to see just where Josephy and Benger finish in the Main Event, the numbers put up by the group of former #1-ranked players is impressive on its own. Total Cashes: 110 Total Bracelets: 3* Total Earnings: $9,025,917* *includes only $1,000,000 each from Cliff Josephy and Griffin Benger (ninth place pay out).
  11. [caption width="640"] Winning your way into the 2017 WSOP Main Event is a lot more lucrative now thanks to 888poker.[/caption] Over the last ten years, winning theWorld Series of Poker Main Event has been worth between $7.6 million and $10 million to the eventual champion. It's life-changing money for sure, but now the folks over at 888poker want to make you even richer. As part of their Supersize ME promotion, any player that qualifies for the 2017 WSOP Main Event through 888poker will be eligible to win $10,000,000 if they go on to win the Main Event. That's because 888poker will make up the difference between the standard WSOP payout for first and $10,000,000. "This makes an already exciting tournament even bigger and more incredible. Imagine getting to the final table of the WSOP Main Event with the possibility of winning a full 10 million dollars," said Kara Scott, 888poker Ambassador. "The prize money for the champion is already huge but this takes it one step further and gives all the 888poker qualifiers an even bigger prize to shoot for." Martin Jacobson is the only WSOP Main Event winner to walk away with $10,000,000 in the last 10 years. YEARCHAMPWINNINGSENTRANTS 2007Jerry Yang$8,250,0006,358 2008Peter Eastgate$9,152,4166,844 2009Joe Cada$8,547,0426,494 2010Jonathan Duhamel$8,944,3107,319 2011Pius Heinz$8,715,6386,865 2012Greg Merson$8,531,8536,598 2013Ryan Riess$8,361,5706,352 2014Martin Jacobson$10,000,0006,683 2015Joe McKeehen$7,683,3466,420 2016Qui Nguyen$8,005,3106,737 The promotion is open to anybody who wins their way to the WSOP Main Event through 888poker. The online poker operator ran a similar promotion in 2016, but it was only for a limited number of satellites and guaranteed an additional $5 million to the winner. Only 30 players were eligible, but Romanian Joldis Cosmin gave the company a real sweat by making it to Day 5 before busting out in 85th place. There were two 888poker qualifiers who made it to the November Nine though. Former PocketFives #1-ranked Griffin Benger and amateur Fernando Pons both won their seats online and turned that into a seven-figure score. Players who qualify for the WSOP Main Event through 888poker get a package worth $12,500 that includes the $10,000 Main Event buy-in, $1,200 travel and expenses allowance, five nights at the Vdara Hotel Las Vegas and an 888live poker kit. Winning your way to the 2017 WSOP Main Event starts with satellites for just one cent. Work your way through six steps to get into the $1,050 WSOP satellite. To help, PocketFives has put together a comprehensive guide on how to play each step. How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $0.01 How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $0.10 How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $1 How To Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event For Just $5 How To Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event For Just $30 How To Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event For Just $160 If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, sign up through this link and you’ll get a 100% bonus up to a maximum of $700. You'll also get a free $10 on top of the first $10 you deposit available to you right away!
  12. Top 100 ranked online poker tournament player Doug 'OU_dlanger610' Lang of Canada took down the PokerStars Sunday Million weekly flagship event this weekend for a cash prize of $165,344 following a three-way final table negotiation. 'Pavlov101' received $125,041 for third place while 'marcelo v121' was awarded $117,044 for an official runner-up performance. Brazilian 'Lorenzo Bazei' finished fourth for $62,208 and 'j3h3k3' cashed for $43,053 in fifth place. Alisson 'heyalisson' Piekazewicz of Brazil could regain his Top 100 ranking this week thanks to an outright victory in the Stars Sunday Warm-Up for $47,714. Scandinavian online poker tournament star 'Lena900' (ranked #3 worldwide) earned the largest payout in the No Limit Hold'em Sunday Grand; finishing in third for an even $35,000 in a three-way chop. Poker player 'sk2ll_m0dR' reached a heads-up deal in the Pot Limit Omaha version of that event and walked away with $22,937. There was also a three-way chop in the six-max Sunday Supersonic event, as 'MoshiMoshi84' finished third but managed to take home the largest tournament payment of $25,479. In the Sunday Storm 'iozeto' outlasted a massive field of more than 27,000 opponents to walk away with a cash prize of $27,063. The $2,600 buy-in "Super High Roller" event on Partypoker was won by 'helicopterben82' for a cash reward of $46,363 as third-ranked 'lena900' made another final table appearance and received $28,973 for second place. Tenth-ranked 'Sheater' of Sweden topped the leaderboard of the $530 buy-in version of that tournament and took home $29,116. The "Baby Whale" tournament at 888 Poker boasted a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool this past weekend, and was won by 'RichardGere' for $22,086. 'En|1ght' received an even $19,000 for winning the "Mega Deep" event, which had a slight overlay after its guarantee was increased to $100,000. PokerStars Sunday Million($200 + 15 NLHE) *$1M Guaranteed - 6,262 entrants - $1,252,400 paid out to 1,007 spots dlanger610 - $165,343.65 (Doug 'OU_dlanger610' Lang) marcelo v121 - $117,044.35 Pavlov101 - $125,042.17 *3-way deal charlie580 - $62,207.70 (Lorenzo Bazei) j3h3k3 - $43,052.75 elcoysa - $29,795.97 King_geoden - $20,621.26 nana9192 - $14,271.47 Griffin 'Flush_Entity' Benger - $9,877.05 PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up ($200 + $15 NLHE) *$275K Guaranteed - 1,570 entrants - $314,000 paid out to 269 spots Alisson 'heyalisson' Piekazewicz - $47,713.79 n3xD - $34,306.00 final rival - $24,666.30 FshnIsMyPrfn - $17,735.28 wisopekeño! - $12,751.82 (wisoooo) uk_stomper - $9,168.67 mitata27 - $6,592.36 jonwayne69 - $4,739.95 Javier 'Ofbravetight' Swett - $3,408.06 PokerStars Sunday Grand ($1,000 + $50 NLHE) *$150K Guaranteed - 224 entrants - $224,000 paid out to 31 spots MikeyGG3 - $32,094.45 IAmSoSo - $33,469.91 Lena900 - $35,000.00 *3-way deal bartek901 - $18,191.30 DEX888 - $13,590.79 mrAndreeew - $10,153.71 (Andreas 'r4ndomr4gs' Berggren) IneedMassari - $7,585.87 (Juan Paulo 'joaosimaobh' Simao) Anton 'antesvante' Wigg - $5,667.44 riverplaten - $4,234.16 PokerStars Sunday Grand PLO ($1,000 + $50 PLO Six-Max) *$75K Guaranteed - 116 entrants - $116,000 paid out to 14 spots Tobi0513 - $22,673.68 sk2ll_m0dR - $22,936.56 *2-way deal robinho - $14,629.40 (inhoo) Anton 'antesvante' Wigg - $10,957.29 gorodski - $8,206.90 Chris 'Big Huni' Hunichen - $6,146.89 PokerStars Sunday Supersonic ($200 + $15 NLHE 6-Max Hyper Turbo) *$125K Guaranteed - 992 entrants - $203,122 paid out to 143 spots ikkedus - $20,209.18 trugbild65 - $23,382.48 MoshiMoshi84 - $25,478.93 *3-way deal Ramiro 'rayastar88' Petrone - $9,270.54 EPNR - $6,059.89 J0hnny_Dr@m@ - $3,961.18 (Alexis 'alexzervos' Zervos) PokerStars Sunday Storm ($10 + $1 NLHE) *$225k Guaranteed - 27,462 entrants - $274,620 paid out to 9,620 spots iozeto - $27,063.33 Hinrekas - $19,276.78 LFX_POKER - $13,741.18 sillybeef - $9,795.17 LadysManQQ - $6,982.35 faaduplayer - $4,977.26 Ko1ya777 - $3,547.98 (Pustota) Libertinn - $2,529.14 ZAGA888 - $1,802.88 partypoker Super High Roller ($2,500 + $100 NLHE) *$75K Guaranteed - 52 entrants - $130,000 paid out to 9 spots helicopterben82 - $46,363 Drulitooo - $28,973 (lena900) skitzo793 - $18,105 chadi6969 - $11,314 largopoker1 - $7,070 Patrick_Leonard - $5,121 Ad_Finem - $4,641 partypoker High Roller ($500 + $30 NLHE) *$150K Guaranteed - 306 entrants - $153,000 paid out to 55 spots Doyle_B - $29,116 (Sheater) Dos_Cervezas - $21,194 TDurdenWAR - $15,535 (joaomathias) EnlightQ - $11,387 STORTjavlaGL - $8,347 x_zola25 - $6,118 Anatoly 'NL_Profit' Filatov - $4,485 888 Poker Baby WHALE ($300 + 20 NLHE) *$100K Guaranteed - 240 entrants - $108,000 paid out to 36 spots RichardGere - $22,086 hubbare - $16,200 germaxil - $12,204 Kenny 'SpaceyFCB' Hallaert - $9,180 Jerry 'Perrymejsen' Ödeen - $6,264 sonmodedass - $4,860 Kurple - $3,780 (blueskyguy) BOLAGET.NU - $2,700 MathiesonC - $2,052 888 Poker Mega Deep ($200 + $15 NLHE) *$100K Guaranteed - 491 entrants - $100,000 paid out to 64 spots En|1ght - $19,000 D0nkeyKong - $14,000 (blazinchron) OneH1tWonder - $10,260 (bubblebwoy) mustbez - $7,500 jt7bl2f - $5,000 KarachoKarl - $3,500 WhosToClaim - $2,500 (Rick 'TheClaimeer' Trigg) Get_Deep - $2,000 (soobvious) Mozgolom26 - $1,490
  13. In the illustrious history of the PocketFives Rankings, 55 different players have managed to hold down the #1 spot. This edition of the RANK & FILE focuses on how those players did during the 2018 World Series of Poker. The World Series of Poker Main Event starts this week and former PocketFives #1 will get to work on trying to become the first player to have reached the mountaintop in both online and live poker. While this has yet to happen, there have been plenty of former #1-ranked online poker players that have made their mark on the biggest live poker tournament of the year. Here are just a few of the elite online player looking to make history here in 2018. Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Earnings: $3,496,985 New York family man, and one-time poker staking kingpin, Cliff Josephy has produced the best results in the Main Event when it comes to pure profit. Josephy has made the money three times dating back to 2008 when he cashed for the first time, finishing in 386th place for just over $28,000. In 2015, he found his second Main Event score as he min-cashed for another $15,000. His breakthrough cash in the Main Event came in 2016 when he battled poker pros Gordon Vayo and, the eventual winner, Qui Nguyen in three-handed play at the end of the tournament. Falling in third, Josephy took home a career-high cash of over $3.4 million and , in the process, ended up earning himself the American Poker Awards PocketFives Legacy Award for contributions to both the live and online arenas. Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi Main Event Cashes: 5 Total Main Event Earnings: $245,224 Sorel Mizzi’s poker legacy may be a controversial one, having been involved in a number of poker controversies over the years, but his success in the Main Event is incontrovertible. Mizzi has cashed in the Main Event five times going all the way back to 2007. His best result was in 2011 when he breached the top 100, finishing in 95th place, for $64,531. Mizzi currently sits with over $11.9 million in lifetime live career earnings so should he find a way to add a sixth WSOP Main Event cash to his resume, he may propel himself up over the $12 million mark. Bryan ‘theczar19’ Piccioli Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $1,757,855 Second only to Josephy in terms of pure cash, bracelet winner Bryan Piccoli has been a portrait of consistency in the Main Event in recent years. Piccoli has cashed in each of the last three Main Events, including his sixth-place finish in 2017 for $1.675 million. Headed into the 2018 Main, Piccoli has picked up four cashes in the 2018 WSOP highlighted by a relatively deep run in Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack for $9,758. He’ll be looking to cash in his fourth straight Main Event and, if that happens, he’ll be in line to make a run at Ronnie Bardah’s standing record of five straight Main Event cashes. Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $1,361,012 Another PocketFiver that always has a shot at going deep in the Main is Griffin Benger. One of 10 former #1-ranked PocketFivers to have cashed in the Main three times or more, Benger’s deepest run came in 2016. It was during that televised deep run that Benger’s verbal altercation with William Kassouf turned Toronto’s Benger from a pro's pro into a name known by recreational poker players all over the world. He wrapped up his run in seventh place that year, earning a career-high cash of over $1.25 million. Banger’s has a pattern of cashing the Main Event in every even year since 2012. In each of his results, he improved on the last time he cashed. If the pattern stays true, Benger should not only make the money this July but make a real run at becoming the World Champion. Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $557,919 Hitting the nail on the head, one of Paul Volpe’s nicknames is “The Main Event.” If Volpe is in the field and focused, you’re likely to see him make a deep run. Volpe already has six cashes in the 2018 WSOP series, including a bracelet win in Event #9: $10,000 Omaha H/L 8 or Better for $417,921. Volpe has come extremely close to making the final table of the Main Event on two of his three results. In 2012, Volpe’s deep run ended in the 20th spot for $294,601. Again in 2016, Volpe was poised to make it to the end, bowing out in 29th place for over $216,000. In total, the Pennsylvania pro has accumulated three bracelets and over $3 million in WSOP earnings alone. Perhaps this is the year he breaks through the 20th place threshold and makes his way to the final nine.
  14. The final table for the PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship is set. On Thursday, the final eight players will take their seats to play for a massive $5.1 million first-place prize in what is the largest $25,000 tournament of all time. New York tournament professional Scott Baumstein once again finished the day as the overnight chip leader with 10,725,000 chips. Baumstein, had a roller coaster ride on Day 4, even finding himself all in, at risk and behind only to survive and go on an incredible heater. “It’s a little surreal at the moment, with all of the chips, getting lucky,” said Baumstein in an interview with PocketFives. Two Platinum Pass winners have made the final table including Marc Rivera, who sits right behind Baumstein in terms of chips (10,350,000). Rivera won his Platinum Pass by winning the APPT Manila National in August 2018 and is representing the Philippines at the final table. Rivera and Baumstein are the only two players of the final eight to have more than 10 million in chips which equates to more than 40 big blinds. France’s Julien Martini (8,600,000) continues to find himself towards the top of the end of day chip counts as he has since the completion of Day 2. Colombian pro Farid Jattin (8,525,000), the Day 2 chip leader, also had a very swingy day. He started Day 3 with his chip stack 36th out of 38. However, and with his well-timed aggression and plenty of rungood he, at one point, soared into the chip lead. Jattin finishes the day fourth in chips. The second of the Platinum Pass winners, Ramon Colillas (8,300,000) along with the U.S's Jason Koonce (7,125,000), Day 1 chip leader Talal Shakerchi and Canada’s Marc Perrault (2,275,000) fill out what looks to be an entertaining final table. Those players that were unable to make it through the day but still secured very healthy paydays by making the final two tables include Florian Duta (9th for $405,000), PocketFiver Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha (10th, $328,500), Kristen ‘krissyb24’ Bicknell (11th, $328,500), Jake Schwartz (12th, $261,750) and Former PocketFives #1-ranked Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger (14th, $229,700). Other notable names who made it to Day 4 but were knocked out throughout the day include Scott Stewart ($202,400), Platinum Pass winner Michael Robionek ($150,600), Marvin Rettenmaier ($126,000), Dan O’Brien ($105,000), Mikita Badziakouski ($88,600), Tony Gregg ($86,400) and Platinum Pass winner from Boring, Oregon Jackie Burkhart who finished in 38th place for a career-high score of $86,400. There is still $15.4 million of the over $26.4 million prize pool to be fought over. Six of the top eight will earn themselves no less than $1 million. The final day of play in the PSPC resumes on Thursday a noon ET. 2019 PSPC Final Table Chip Counts 1. Scott Baumstein - 10,725,000 2. Marc Rivera - 10,350,000 3. Julien Martini - 8,600,000 4. Farid Jattin - 8,525,000 5. Ramon Colillas - 8,3000,000 6. Jason Koonce - 7,125,000 7. Talal Shakerchi - 5,500,000 8. Marc Perrault - 2,275,000
  15. There are only 38 players left to pursue the $5.1 million first-place prize of the $25,000 PokerStars NL Hold’em Championship. Day 3 of the record-setting tournament started with 207 players of which only 181 would make the money. By the end of the day, New York tournament pro Scott Baumstein flew into the chip lead with 4.24 million in chips, followed closely by Yiannis Liperis (4.21 million). However, before the stacks could reach such heights, there was a money bubble that needed popping. As one might expect in a tournament where there were over 300 players who gifted their $25K entry, plenty of players were hanging tough to pick up the $25,450 min-cash. With four players left to the actual bubble, the remaining 185 players went hand for hand. It took roughly an hour, plus a 20-minute break in the middle, but eventually, Team Ireland’s Paul Leckey ran pocket kings into Tianle Wang’s pocket aces. Leckey didn’t go home empty-handed though, as the official bubble boy received an EPT package worth over $11,000. After that, the bustouts were fast and furious, with the next pay ladder happening faster than tournament officials could break and rebalance tables. At the conclusion of Day 3, only Baumstein and Liperis have eclipsed the 4 million chip mark, but there’s plenty of top-flight competition left in the field. France’s Julien Martini (3,250,000), Canada’s Louis Boutin (3,040,000) and Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas (2,895,000) from Spain complete the top 5 chip leaders. Other notables still left in the field include Mikita Badziakouski (1,910,000), Dan O’Brien (1,765,000), Griffin Benger (1,560,000), Day 1 chip leader Talal Shakerchi (1,330,000), Brazil’s Pedro Padilha (1,315,000), Kristen Bicknell (1,115,000), Tony Gregg (905,000), Platinum Pass winner Jackie Burkhart (660,000) and Day 2 chipleader Farid Jattin (640,000). By the end of the day, 143 players found their way to the cashier to pick up their earnings. Including Felix Schneiders ($69,100), Max and Sam Greenwood ($69,100), Mustapha Kanit ($56,800), Christoph Vogelsang ($56,800), Ryan Reiss ($56,800), former PocketFives #1-ranked Bryan Piccioli ($56,800), Blair Hinkle ($56,800), Athanasios Polychronopoulos ($45,700), Victor Ramdin ($45,700), Benjamin Pollak ($45,700), Dan Shak ($45,700), Brandon Adams ($39,500), Darren Elias ($39,500), Christian Harder ($39,500), Dylan Linde ($39,500) and Matt Affleck ($35,000). Three of the winners of the $86 Moneymaker PSPC Tour made the money, however, all three failed to bag at the end of the day. Clifford Ellefson ($39,500), Anthony Maio ($35,000) and Ori Kossonogi ($35,000) all found a way to turn their Platinum Passes into five-figure scores. Additionally, there were plenty of big name pros who made the money but were unable to ladder up. Parker Talbot, Sam Grafton, JC Alvarado, Frank Kassel, and Sean Winter were just a few of the roughly 30 players to settle for the min-cash of $25,450. Play in the PSPC resumes when 38 players will play down to the final table at noon ET.
  16. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. Over 500 players saw their PokerStars Players Championship dream die on Day 2. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters bring you a complete recap including interviews with Julien Martini, Griffin Benger and Brandon Adams. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  17. Three players won bracelets on Day 15 of the 2019 World Series of Poker and a couple of four-time champions put themselves in position to win their fifth. John Gorsuch, Rami Boukai, and Andrew Donabedian all ended their day by posing for winner photos. John Gorsuch Rallies to Win Millionaire Maker John Gorsuch was in a position that a lot of poker players have been in. Down to just two big blinds in a tournament and expecting the inevitable bust out. It never came for Gorsuch though. He went from two big blinds to WSOP bracelet winner and millionaire a few hours later after rallying to win the $1,500 Millionaire Maker Wednesday night. The 42-year-old from Florida has been at a WSOP final table before, finishing fifth a $3,000 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event in 2017. On Wednesday night, Gorsuch left nobody in his wake, including runner-up Kazuki Ikeuchi who started heads-up play with a 3-2 chip lead. Along with the $1.34 million score and WSOP gold bracelet, Korsuch was coveting something even simpler - the victory. “I haven’t won a tournament outright since maybe 2013 and it was a little bar tournament,” Korsuch said. Having recently sold his company, Korsuch seems to be set on simply playing cards for now and seeing where that takes him. “I’m a poker player for right now. I’ve talked to other people who’ve bought companies, sold companies. You always have that itch to figure out what’s next," Korsuch said. "Poker is awesome. I can play poker all day and all night long. This kind of helps figure out whether I want to keep doing it. Which I think I do.” Final Table Payouts John Gorsuch - $1,344,930 Kazuki Ikeuchi - $830,783 Lokesh Garg - $619,017 Vincas Tamasauskas - $464,375 Joshua Thibodaux - $350,758 Cory Albertson - $266,771 Bob Shao - $204,306 Fabian Gumz - $157,565 Joshua Reichard - $122,375 Rami Boukai Wins $1,500 Eight Game Mix After bagging up chips on Tuesday night, Rami Boukai and John Evans returned Wednesday to finish off the $1,500 Eight Game Mix event. Boukai wasted little time, taking Evans' final chips after just 45 minutes of play to capture his second bracelet and $177,294. “I don’t sleep too well in this city, I just didn’t want to fuck things up, I had a big chip lead," Boukai said of the need to play a fourth day. "It was as good of a spot as I could see myself in.” Boukai's first win came in 2009. Evan earned $109,553 as the runner-up for his largest career score and just second WSOP cash. His first came last week when he min-cashed the $1,500 HORSE event. Chris Klodnicki finished third for $72,933. Final Table Payouts Rami Boukai - $177,294 John Evans - $109,553 Chris Klodnicki - $72,933 Philip Long - $49,531 Allen Kessler - $34,329 Donny Rubinstein - $24,292 Andrew Donabedian Ships $600 PLO Deepstack Andrew Donabedian outlasted 2,576 other players to win the $600 Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack bracelet and $205,605. He finished the job on Wednesday night, beating Todd Dreyer heads up for the third live tournament win of his career. A WSOP Circuit regular, Donabedian has yet to win a WSOP Circuit event. His two previous wins also came in PLO events on the Las Vegas Strip. His previous biggest score came last summer when he won $22,723. "Winning a bracelet is awesome honestly. I got a bracelet before I got a ring, I play a lot of circuit events and got a lot of second and thirds, but no win yet," Donabedian said. "I guess I was saving the win for the bracelet. I don’t feel like I need to win a ring now, because I have one better." Final Table Payouts Andrew Donabedian - $205,605 Todd Dreyer - $126,948 Robert Valden - $92,672 Corey Wright - $68,258 Mihai Niste - $50,732 Alexandru Ivan - $38,051 Tom Franklin - $28,803 Florian Fuchs - $22,006 Alexander Condon - $16,971 52 Players Left in the Running in Marathon Event Day 3 of the $2,620 Marathon No Limit Hold'em event was a busy one. The day began with 188 players still in contention and after 25 players were eliminated, the bubble burst leaving 163 players in the money in one of the longest tournaments on the WSOP schedule. At the end of the day just 52 players were left with Matt Russell bagging up the chip lead. His lead is a narrow one, however, as Peter Hong ended with 1,205,000 and Johan Guilbert finished with 1,204,000. Five other players finished with a stack of at least 1,000,000. Joseph Cheong, TK Miles, Mohsin Charania, Anatoly Filatov, Day 2 chip leader David Coleman, and reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year Erkut Yilmaz all moved on to Day 4. Some of the notables who cashed on Wednesday but weren't able to stay in the tournament included Andre Akkari, Joao Vieira, Maria Lampropulos, Kane Kalas, Matt Berkey, Ian O'Hara, Bertrand Grospellier, Cliff Josephy, Olivier Busquet, and Ole Schemion. Players return to action at 1 PM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Matt Russell - 1,260,000 Peter Hong - 1,205,000 Johan Guilbert - 1,204,000 Vladimir Alexandrov - 1,107,000 Tuan Phan - 1,041,000 Joseph Liberta - 1,030,000 Jason Wandling - 1,007,000 Sergio Fernandez - 1,000,005 Francis Anderson - 900,000 Preston Lee - 796,000 Michael Mizrachi Grinds His Way to $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Final Table Lead Michael Mizrachi, recently named the ninth greatest player in WSOP history, has just five more players to outlast in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo to claim his fifth career bracelet. Mizrachi, who started the day with the chip lead with 22 left, ended in the same position with just six players left. Mizrachi bagged up 1,355,000. Michael Sopko and Robert Gray are in the chase group, with 1,184,000 and 1,028,000 respectively. Mizrachi is the only player at the final table with a WSOP bracelet already to his credit. Yuval Bronshtein, fresh off of winning his first bracelet, busted in 13th place. The final table gets underway at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Michael Mizrachi - 1,355,000 Michael Sopko - 1,184,000 Robert Gray - 1,028,000 Elias Hourani - 425,000 Jose Paz-Gutierrez - 300,000 Jan Stein - 264,000 Stephen Song Leads $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Final Table From 346 players that started Day 2 of the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event, just six remain and Stephen Song sits with an overwhelming chip lead. Song finished with 24,655,000 and only one other player, Sevak Mikaeil, finished with more than 6,000,000. Ryan Laplante finished with the fourth biggest stack at 4,885,000. Phil Hellmuth picked up his fourth cash of the 2019 WSOP with a 16th place finish for $13,830. Daniel Alaei, Rich Zhu, and Phillip Hui all managed to find a cash before busting late on Day 2. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Paul Volpe and defending champion John Hennigan were among the players who busted before the money bubble burst. Day 3 begins at 3 PM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Brian Hastings - 1,125,000 Dario Sammartino - 1,120,000 Daniel Ospina - 1,112,000 Greg Mueller - 734,000 Phil Galfond - 734,000 Marco Johnson - 631,000 David Brookshire - 611,000 Matthew Gonzales - 551,000 Nick Guagenti - 537,000 Tom Koral - 425,000 $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha Draws 1,526 Players One of just two events to get underway on Wednesday, the $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha event attracted 1,526 and through 10 levels of play, Bulgaria's Stefan Ivanov finished with the chip lead. Ivanov was one of 309 players who survived Day 1. Right behind Ivanov is Luis Zedan with 374,000. The third biggest stack belongs to Joseph Sabe with 330,000. JC Tran, Pim de Goede, Dan Shak, Ismael Bojang, Chris Moorman, Joao Simao, Eoghan O'Dea, Erik Seidel, Joao Vieira, and John Racener all managed to move on to Day 2. Day 2 begins at 2 PM PT and will see the money bubble burst after 80 more players are eliminated. Top 10 Chip Counts Stefan Ivanov - 386,000 Luis Zedan - 374,000 Joseph Sabe - 330,000 Szymon Wysocki - 306,500 Neil Yekell - 277,000 Andrew Whitaker - 274,000 Joshua Gibson - 261,500 Jon Turner - 258,000 Christopher Aiello - 251,500 Anatolii Zyrin - 248,000 Former #1 Griffin Benger Tops $3K Six Max NLHE Day 1 Griffin Benger is no stranger to the spotlight at the World Series of Poker. Benger, a former #1-ranked player on PocketFives, finished seventh in the 2016 WSOP Main Event. On Wednesday, Benger finished on top of the 140 players who survived Day 1 of the $3,000 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event. Benger ended the day with 427,000. The next biggest stack belongs to Upeshka De Silva with 306,000 chips in the bag. 2018 WSOP Main Event runner-up Tony Miles, Joe Cada, Jonathan Proudfoot, Ben Heath, Adrian Mateos, Dan Ott, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Ferguson all moved on to Day 2. The tournament attracted a field of 754 players, down from the 868 that played in 2018. Top 10 Chip Counts Griffin Benger - 427,500 Upeshka De Silva - 306,000 Michael Tureniec - 263,000 Onur Unsal - 258,000 Manig Loeser - 245,000 James Obst - 242,000 Aleksandr Shevliakov - 222,000 Robert Bickley - 221,500 Kunuk Shin - 221,000 Francisco Torrecillas - 219,500 Thursday Schedule
  18. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak becomes more and more of a concern, the poker world, specifically the live poker world, is being affected. Several major tournaments and brands have canceled or postponed operations, and there will likely be more changes coming. One of the changes is the famed Irish Poker Open moving to be played online at partypoker. On March 10, the Irish Poker Open announced that the event would be postponed. Less than a week later, it was announced that partypoker and the Irish Poker Open had partnered to make the event still happen, only now it will take place online at partypoker and is scheduled for April 6-12, 2020. [ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"][ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] "Since our announcement last week regarding the postponement of Irish Open 2020, considerable efforts have been made to find an alternative date to run Irish Open 2020," said JP McCann of the Irish Poker Open. "However, as the uncertainty surrounding live poker events continues, we feel that the best decision to take at this point is to cancel the live festival for 2020. "We would like to thank partypoker for taking the initiative to help ensure Europe's oldest running poker festival goes ahead during these very challenging times. We hope to see you for the first time ever on the virtual tables for the 40th Anniversary of the Irish Open." Tom Waters, partypoker Managing Director, added: "We are delighted to be associated with Europe’s oldest Poker Festival. The Irish Open is a truly unique event and following the disappointment of its cancellation this year, an online Irish Open series looks a perfect fit for both event organizers and partypoker.” The Irish Poker Open features a €1 million guaranteed main event that will begin on April 6. The Irish Poker Open Main Event remains a multi-day tournament. The 2020 Irish Poker Open scheduled will have some revisions, but both sides said that the majority of the slate will remain intact. Full details on the schedule of the online version of the Irish Poker Open have yet to be released. When those are revealed, PocketFives will provide an update. The Irish Poker Open is the longest running poker tournament in Europe and the second longest running poker tournament in the world, behind only the World Series of Poker. It was first organized in 1980 by Terry Rogers and has been a staple of the poker calendar ever since. Past winners include Griffin Benger (2017), Neil Channing (2008), Joe Beevers (2003), Liam Flood (1996, 1990), and Noel Furlong (1989, 1987). In 2019, the Irish Poker Open €1,150 Main Event drew a field of 1,807 entries. Weijie Zheng topped all competitors to take home the €300,000 first-place prize.
  19. On Wednesday, Britain's Jareth East topped a record field in the WPTDeepStacks Online event at partypoker to win $557,658.14. East's triumph came from besting a 3,554-entry field. The $1,050 buy-in event proved the largest field size in WPTDeepStacks history. The win also proved to be the largest score of East's poker career. Prior to this WPTDeepStacks Online win, East's largest online score was for $132,200. His largest live tournament score was for $35,940. East, a PocketFives member since 2013 who has been ranked as high as 12th in the world, defeated Jon Van Fleet in heads-up play. Van Fleet earned $392,717 for his runner-up performance. East entered the final day of the event in ninth chip position with 15 players remaining. When it was all said and done, East was the last man standing to win the $557,658.14 first-place prize. Notable deep runs were had by Ludovic Gelich (12th - $27,259.18), Govert Metaal (19th - $15,282.20), Connor Drinan (29th - $11,052.94), and Julien Martini (41st - $8,636.22). Event #40 $1,050 WPTDeepStacks Entries: 3,554 Prize pool: $3,554,000 Jareth East - $557,658.14 Jon Van Fleet - $392,717 Dimitrios Farmakoulis - $253,755.60 Maksim Bukreev - $167,748.80 Phillip Mighall - $116,215.80 Rimantas Petras Boguzas - $79,431.90 Mihail Zavoloka - $55,087 Sergei Denisov - $35,113.52 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] Maksim Bukreev, who entered the final day as the chip leader, placed fourth for $167,748.80. On his final hand, Bukreev opened from under the gun to 3.52 million with the blinds at 400,000/800,000 with a 100,000 ante. Bukreev left himself with 420,628 behind after the raise. On the button, Van Fleet called and the two took a flop of [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"]. Bukreev moved all in and Van Fleet called, to reveal that it was Bukreev's [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Tc"] up against the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qs"] for Van Fleet. The turn was the [poker card="5d"] and the river was the [poker card="2c"] to bust Bukreev. Farmakoulis fell in third place. East raised to 1.68 million from under the gun and Farmakoulis called out of the big blind to leave himself with 3.85 million behind. On the [poker card="Ts"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2c"] flop, Farmakoulis moved all in and East made the call with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qd"]. Farmakoulis had the [poker card="Js"][poker card="8s"] and bricked out with the [poker card="6d"] and [poker card="4h"] hitting the board. Van Fleet had the lead to start heads-up play, with 65.54 million to East's 40.75 million. The two battled for about 40 minutes before the final hand was played. On the final hand, East limped the button for 1.2 million and Van Fleet checked his option in the big blind. The flop was [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6s"] and Van Fleet checked. East bet 1.2 million and Van Fleet raised to 3 million. East then made it 5.4 million and Van Fleet shoved for 18.73 million. East called with the [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qc"] and Van Fleet had the [poker card="Ks"][poker card="3s"]. The turn was the [poker card="5c"] and the river was the [poker card="2h"] to give Van Fleet the win. Anton Yakuba Wins Mini WPTDeepStacks Online As with the entire WPT Online Series at partypoker, there was a mini version of the WPTDeepStacks event. The Mini WPTDeepStacks Online had a $109 buy-in and drew a field of 10,400 entries for a $1.04 million prize pool. The winner was Anton Yakuba for $137,396.29 after a deal was made with Luiz Antonio Duarte Ferreira Filho. Filho took home $129,311.72 Michael Tureniec finished third in the Mini WPTDeepStacks Online for $70,262.40, and Griffin Benger took fifth for $31,116.80. Event #40 $109 Mini WPTDeepStacks Entries: 10,400 Prize pool: $1,040,000 Anton Yakuba - 137,396.29* Luiz Antonio Duarte Ferreira Filho - 129,311.72* Michael Tureniec - 70,262.40 Rodrigo Semeghini - $45,552 Griffin Benger - $31,116.80 Peter Haden - $21,008 Ivan Tononi - $14,622.40 Bernardo Soares - $9,287.20 *Denotes a deal. Also running deep were Shawn Buchanan (12th - $7,134.40), Jan-Eric Schwippert (21st - $3,723.20), Paul Vas Nunes (26th - $2,506.40), and Kenneth Hicks (36th - $2,121.60).

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