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  1. [caption width="640"] Daniel Strelitz beat out a stacked final table to win the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Former World Poker Tour One to Watch Daniel Strelitz lived up to the billing Thursday night in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old overcame a final table that included a poker living legend and two other WSOP bracelet winners to take down theWorld Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with just over $1,000,000 in prize money. It took just seven hands to go from six players to five. The action opened with Strelitz raising to 85,000 from the button. Action folded to Richard Tuhrim in the big blind and he moved all in for 545,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"] but was behind Tuhrim's [poker card="as"][poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"] flop didn't change anything and neither did the [poker card="9h"] turn but the [poker card="kh"] river gave Strelitz top pair and sent chess prodigy Tuhrim to the rail in sixth. The next elimination came in a blind vs blind battle almost 60 hands later. Action folded to Jesse Martin in the small blind and he moved all in for 745,000 and Jared Griener called from the big blind. Martin showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="6c"] and Griener tabled [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="ah"] to eliminate Martin. Coming in to the final table all eyes were on WPT commentator Mike Sexton. Just a few short months after winning his first WPT title in Montreal, Sexton was at the LAPC final table seeking a second victory but it was snuffed out by Strelitz. Sexton moved all in from the button for 670,000 and action folded to Strelitz in the big blind. He called and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="7s"] while Sexton showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"][poker card="7c"] flop was bad news for Sexton though and neither the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="as"] river were any help and Sexton was out in fourth. Three-handed play lasted 65 hands. Strelitz opened to 225,000, Simeon Naydenov called from the small blind but Jared Griener moved all in from the big blind for 1,755,000. Strelitz got out of the way before Naydenov called and showed [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"]. Griener had [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and needed help. The [poker card="as"][[poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"] flop paired Griener's ace but gave Naydenov a set of eights. The [poker card="js"] turn gave Griener extra outs to a straight but the river was the [poker card="qc"] and he was out in third place. When heads-up play began Naydenov had 8,475,000 in chips to Strelitz's 7,150,000 but a key full house over flush hand early on changed the dynamic and paved the way for Strelitz's win. On the 38th hand of heads-up action, Strelitz raised to 260,000 and Naydenov called. After the [poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"] flop, Naydenov check-raised to 975,000. The [poker card="8h"] turn got Naydenov to check, Strelitz bet 1,350,000 and Naydenov raised all-in to 3,860,000. Strelitz called and showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"] tor a turned straight while Naydenov had [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"] for top pair. The [poker card="4d"] river changed nothing and Strelitz picked up his third elimination of the final table to win the first major title of his career. Final Table Payouts Daniel Streliz - $1,001,110 Simeon Naydenov - $672,190 Jared Griener - $431,340 Mike Sexton - $300,690 Jesse Martin - $230,380 Richard Tuhrim - $191,490
  2. The World Poker Tour Gardens Main Event came to a conclusion on Thursday when Simon Lam turned in a fantastic final table performance to secure his first WPT title. Lam defeated the 584 player field, taking home the $565,000 first place prize, a brand new Mercedes and claiming a spot in the WPT Champions Club. The event, the first held at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles, generated a prize pool of over $2.9 million. The final table was flush with talent including high roller phenom Jake Schindler, controversy magnet Men “The Master” Nguyen, poker pro Jared Griener, Los Angeles local Saya Ono, recent World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig Varnell as well as Lam himself. Lam held a comfortable lead at the start of the Day 5. He started the final table with over 100 big blinds but with so many experienced players vying for the trophy, it was still anybody’s tournament to win. It took nearly four hours for the first player of the final table to fall. Decked out in his New England Patriots attire, Griener, the California based pro, shipped his stack of just over 10bb in while under the gun. Varnell, having him slightly covered reshoved holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Griener was a slight favorite showing down [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"]. The red jacks, however, did not hold as Varnell spiked an ace on the flop and one on the river for good measure. Griener finished his tournament in sixth place for $115,885. Roughly 40 minutes later, after having slipped down to under 10 big blinds, Ono made her last stand. Folder to Ono on the button she shipped her short stack holding [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"]. Nguyen peered down at [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"] and isolated Ono by reshipping. The turn completed a club flush for “The Master” sending Ono to the rail. Her fifth-place finish for $151,995 is a career-high score for Californian, nearly quintupling her previous highest cash. After losing a large pot to Nguyen (which resulted in Nguyen shouting “All you can eat, baby!”), Varnell dropped into the 10bb range. In a blind versus blind confrontation with Schindler, Varnell moved all in with the [poker card="as"][poker card="js"]. Schindler made the call with his [poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"]. Schindler out flopped Varnell on the [poker card="td"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] flop. Needing some help for his tournament life, Varnell watched as two bricks completed the board. It has been an incredible couple of months for Varnell who earned his first bracelet in Event #19: $565 Pot Limit Omaha during the WSOP and now earns another $201,615 for his fourth place finished at WPT Gardens. With the elimination of Varnell, the stacks evened out between Lam, Schindler, and Nguyen. Play continued three-handed for another hour and a half before the next elimination took place. Simon Lam picked up [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"] and raised the button. Nguyen then, looking down at the [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"] shipped his roughly 30bb stack. Lam took his time but eventually made the call. Men “The Master’s” tournament life was at stake on a 62/38 flip. Lam took an even bigger lead on the [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"][poker card="8h"] flop. However, Nguyen still had a gutshot straight draw, The [poker card="5c"] turned and when the [poker card="6c"] completed the board, the Nguyen show came to an end. Men Nguyen finished his run in third place for $270,430. Heads-up play began between Lam and Schindler with Schindler a 4.5-1 chip underdog. It only took 10 hands of heads-up play for Lam to find his winning moment. In a bit of a cooler hand, Lam raised and Schindler made the call. Lam held [poker card="jc"][poker card="9s"] barely out-pipping Schindlers [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"]. When the flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"] the writing was on the wall. Neither could get away from top pair. The action unfolded as Schindler checked, Lam bet, Schindler check-raised and Lam applied maximum pressure by moving all in. Schindler, with roughly 10 big blinds remaining quickly made the call. The board ran low and clean for Lam, allowing his nine kicker to play. Schindler ended the evening in second place for $366,740. The score pushes his to over $20 million in lifetime earnings. Lam takes home $565,055 for first, a career-high cash. He also secured a $15,000 entry into the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions and a brand new Mercedes to take him there. The World Poker Tour's next stop begins on August 3 in Oklahoma for WPT Choctaw.
  3. August is the time to go 'Big' or go home. The 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL and will run from August 1-13 with a 27-event schedule culminating in the return of their four featured tournaments, dubbed ‘The Big 4’. The schedule gets off to a fast start with a multi-flight $1 million guaranteed $600 DeepStack and is followed by a full slate of tournaments with wide-ranging variants and buy-ins that will attract every level of player, leading up to the starting dates of The Big 4. The Big 4 Since 2015, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open has hosted The Big 4, four individual tournaments that all play down to a final table together so they can be live-streamed on the same day at the same time. This year the Big 4 include: $5,250 SHRPO Championship - $3 million guarantee $2,650 NLHE - $1 million guarantee $1,100 NLHE - $500,000 guarantee $25,500 High Rollers - $2 million guarantee. Since 2013, SHRPO has been a favorite destination for poker pros from all over the world. Headed into their fifth year of the The Big 4 promotion, organizers are looking forward to making 2019 the biggest Big 4 yet with all eyes on the $5,250 Main Event. $5,250 SHRPO Championship In 2014, the year before SHRPO Championship was a part of The Big 4, Daniel Colman took down the $5,300 tournament for $1.44 million. The $5 million guaranteed SHRPO Championship event drew 907 runners in 2015 and the big story was that Colman returned to the final table, looking to go back-to-back and defend his 2014 SHRPO Championship title. In the end Colman couldn’t get there, falling in third place for $310,000 as Omar Zazay went on to win the $1,000,000 first-place prize for a career-high score. Pennsylvania’s Paul Volpe also made an appearance at this final table, but he ended up hitting the rail in eighth place for $100,000. Even though registration dipped in 2016, the tournament still held a $5 million guarantee. That meant there was a healthy overlay for the field of top-tier players who made the trip. Ryan Fair and Joe Serock joined regular high rollers Seth Davies and Jason Koon at the final table where Koon ended up taking home the title and his very first seven-figure score of $1 million. In 2017, the tournament reduced the guarantee to $3 million when Australia’s Martin Kozlov picked up the largest cash of his career by winning the $754,083 first-place prize. Matt Berkey finished in third place this year while Aaron Mermelstein, Adam Levy, and Joe Kuether all also had a seat at the final table. Then, just last year, Brandon Eisen denied Jeremy Ausmus the title in 2018, taking home $771,444 for the win. Familiar faces Joseph Cheong, Jared Griener and Ryan D’Angelo also made the final table in what was the largest SHRPO Championship field in The Big 4 era with 914 runners. Big Buy-In, Big Moments The Big 4 have had plenty of standout performances outside of the Main Event over the years. As one might expect, the $25K High Roller has always been flush with big-name pros looking to take home six-figure scores. In 2015, Florida’s All-Time Money List leader, Jason Mercier, took down the $25K High Roller for over $517K in his own backyard, surviving an all-star final table that included runner-up Ian O’Hara, Sean Winter, Ankush Mandavia, Barry Hutter, David ‘Doc’ Sands, and Phil Laak. One year later, Marvin Rettenmaier denied Daniel Colman another SHRPO title by taking first place and over $787K. John Andress took home the High Roller title in 2017 and then in 2018, Jake Schindler topped the 123 player field for a score of over $800K after defeating Shaun Deeb heads up. Another amazing Big 4 feat has been the performance of the GPI #1-ranked player Alex Foxen who, in 2017 took down the $2,650 NLHE for $204,600 and then followed that up by defending his title in that even in 2018 for another $208,452. All the action from the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open begins on August 1 with all four of the Big 4 set to be live-streamed on August 13. 2019 SHRPO Schedule of Events DATE EVENT # EVENT TIME BUY-IN 8/1 1A Deep Stack NLH Flight A (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/1 1B Deep Stack NLH Flight B (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/2 1C Deep Stack NLH Flight C (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/2 1D Deep Stack NLH Flight D (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/3 1E Deep Stack NLH Flight E (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/3 1F Deep Stack NLH Flight F (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/4 1 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/1 2 Omaha 8 Or Better (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/2 3 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/3 4 PLO 8 (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 5 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 6 Purple Chip Bounty (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD 3:00 PM $1,700 8/5 6 Day 2 2:00 PM -- 8/5 7 Seniors 50+ (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/5 8 Big Stack Black Chip Bounty NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/5 9 PLO (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/5 10 Big Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - $5,250 Championship Seat Added - One Day Event 6:00 PM $150 8/6 11 Six-Max NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 11:00 AM $600 8/6 12 Big O (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/6 13 Omaha 8/Stud 8 (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/6 14 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out) - One Day Event 5:00 PM $1,100 8/7 15 Eight-Handed NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $200,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $2,200 8/7 16 Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic - One Day Charity Event 7:00 PM $300 8/8 17 Six-Max Big Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $1,100 8/8 18 Super High Roller NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 1:00 PM $50,000 8/9 18 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/8 19 Six-Max PLO (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400.00 8/9 20A SHRPO Championship Day 1A (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/10 20B SHRPO Championship Day 1B (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/11 20 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/12 20 Day 3 12:00 PM -- 8/13 20 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 21 NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 2:00 PM $2,650 8/12 21 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/13 21 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 22 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD 11:00 AM $1,100 8/13 22 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 23 High Roller (Re-Entry) - $2,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 12:00 PM $25,500 8/13 23 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 24A NLH Day 1A (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/12 24B NLH Day 1B (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/13 24 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 5:00 PM -- 8/12 25 PLO (Re-Entry) 6:00 PM $2,650 8/13 25 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 3:00 PM -- 8/13 26 Deep Stack Turbo (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/13 27 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 12:00 PM $10,000
  4. The World Poker Tour has a new champion and his name is Aaron Van Blarcum. Van Blarcum was victorious in the Season XVIII WPT Legends of Poker Main Event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, topping the field of 520 entries to score the tournament’s $474,390 first-place prize. The win proved the largest live tournament score for the Dallas, Texas, native, crushing his previous best of nearly $51,000. Included in the prize for Van Blarcum was a $15,000 entry to the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. "It feels great," Van Blarcum told the WPT afterwards. "I planned on playing in six of these [WPTs] this year and this was the first one, so it's pretty awesome." Van Blarcum defeated Gueorgui Gantchev in heads-up play, with Gantchev taking home $306,265. WPT regular Jared Griener finished third for $226,040. WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Results 1st: Aaron Van Blarcum - $474,390* 2nd: Gueorgui Gantchev - $306,265 3rd: Jared Griener - $226,040 4th: Vahan Sudzhyan - $168,630 5th: Jisup Hwang - $127,165 6th: Antonios Roungeris - $96,955 *First place includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] Van Blarcum entered Wednesday’s finale in last place on the leaderboard with six players remaining. He started climbing up from the bottom almost immediately and then eliminated Antonios Roungeris in sixth place on Hand #23 with the [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jd"] against Roungeris' [poker card="7s"][poker card="7c"]. One hand later, Van Blarcum made a royal flush to pick up even more chips. Van Blarcum continued to stay active and chip up, but he was a bystander when Gantchev knocked out Jisup Hwang in fifth. For the second elimination, it was a pair-versus-pair confrontation, with Gantchev's [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qh"] holding up against Hwang’s [poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"]. Hwang went out on Hand #76, then Hand #81 saw Van Blarcum bust Vahan Sudzhyan in fourth place. Van Blarcum had checked the [poker card="Qs"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="Ts"] board to his opponent. Sudzhyan moved all in and Van Blarcum called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ks"]. Sudzhyan was drawing dead with the [poker card="6h"][poker card="5h"]. In another pair-versus-pair clash, Van Blarcum knocked out Griener in third place, this time when his [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"] held up against Griener's [poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"]. That gave Van Blarcum a stack of nearly 16.5 million in chips heading into heads-up play against Gantchev, who had a stack of just more than 4.3 million. On the 29th hand of the duel, it was all over. On the final hand, Van Blarcum's [poker card="Ts"][poker card="Tc"] were up against the [poker card="5s"][poker card="5d"] for Gantchev. The pocket fives didn’t come from behind on the [poker card="Qs"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"] board and Van Blarcum was crowned the winner. The final day of play lasted 128 hands. The top 65 finishers reached the money, with deep runs had by Kitty Kuo (8th - $58,265), WPT Champions Club members Brian Altman (10th - $45,940) and Aaron Mermelstein (16th - $24,130), and Cord Garcia (30th - $14,100). Van Blarcum Takes WPT Player of the Year Lead Through two events in Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour, Van Blarcum sits atop the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings for the new season. His 1,200 points for winning the WPT Legends of Poker title were enough to surpass the 1,000 points won by Roger Teska when he took the opening title of Season XVIII in the WPT Gardens Poker Festival. Gantchev, the WPT Legends of Poker runner-up, earned 1,000 points for his finish and sits third in the race. 1st: Aaron Van Blarcum - 1,200 points 2nd: Roger Teska - 1,000 points 3rd: Gueorgui Gantchev - 1,000 points 4th: Jared Griener - 900 points 5th: Laszlo Molnar - 800 points 6th: Vahan Sudzhyan - 800 points 7th: Lior Ohel - 700 points 8th: Jisup Hwang - 700 points 9th: Lars Kamphues - 600 points 10th: Antonios Roungeris - 600 points Just outside of the top 10 is Garcia with 450 points. Garcia finished sixth at WPT Gardens and 30th at WPT Legends. His finishes are noteworthy because Garcia made it known that he was willing to bet on himself in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. Garcia stated that he did book one $5,000 wager with two-time WPT champ and one of winningest players out of Pennsylvania, Mermelstein, who is currently 28th in this season’s race with 100 points. Borgata Poker Open Next for WPT Main Tour The next stop on the WPT Main Tour for Season XVIII is the WPT Borgata Poker Open. The event takes place at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, running September 15-20, 2019. The tournament has a $3,500 buy-in and $3 million prize pool guarantee.
  5. The first World Poker Tour event of 2020 reached its final table on Monday. Now, just six players remain in the Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, with Chance Kornuth leading the way. The final six will be on hiatus until Tuesday, March 31, when they will resume play at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The final six come from a 257-entry field and are guaranteed $111,795 in prize money. First place takes home $554,495, including a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a Hublot watch. Joining Kornuth at the final table are Markus Gonsalves, Tuan Phan, Jonathan Cohen, Qing Liu, and Straton Wilhelm. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Straton Wilhelm - 435,000 Seat 2: Markus Gonsalves - 2,370,000 Seat 3: Qing Liu - 795,000 Seat 4: Tuan Phan - 2,070,000 Seat 5: Jonathan Cohen - 1,615,000 Seat 6: Chance Kornuth - 2,995,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship had a field of 257 entries. It wasn't the largest turnout for a WPT Main Tour event, but the $10,000 buy-in attracted some of poker’s biggest names and generated a prize pool of $2.467 million. Among those to compete were Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, Maria Ho, and Phil Laak, but none of them made the money. Entering Day 3 of the tournament, 48 players remained. The top 33 places paid, which meant whoever finished in 34th place would win the unwanted title of 'bubble boy.' The player to fall in 34th was former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, who couldn't win a flip with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kd"] against the pocket queens of Gonsalves. After the money bubble burst, WPT Champions Club member Larry Greenberg was the first player to bust. Others followed him to the payout desk, including David Peters (30th - $18,825) and David 'ODB' Baker (18th - $25,130), before Day 3 ended with 14 competitors left. Among the final 14 returning for Day 4 was Jared Griener, who ultimately finished in 13th place for $35,720. Griener is no stranger to WPT success in the Southern California region. He’s cashed seven times in WPT Main Tour events in Southern California, and that’s the region where all of his WPT final tables have taken place. Additionally, Griener has a deep run in a WPTDeepStacks event in San Diego and two deep runs in WPT500 LA. On Day 4, Ali Imsirovic busted in ninth place to take home $53,950, and then Sebastiaan de Jonge finished in eighth for $67,790. One more player needed to be eliminated to set the official TV final table, and it happened when Phan knocked out Qi Hu in seventh place. Kornuth the One To Beat With a stack of 2.995 million, Kornuth is the player to catch at the final table. He's been one of the big stacks throughout the event, including finishing atop the field after Day 3. Kornuth came into this event with more than $7.4 million in live tournament earnings and one previous WPT final table under his belt. That previous final table was a sixth-place finish in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown for $247,954. Kornuth has several other deep runs in World Poker Tour events, including a handful that have come at the $10,000 buy-in level, but his first WPT title has eluded him. Closest to Kornuth on the leaderboard is Gonsalves, who bagged 2.37 million in chips for the final table. Like Kornuth, Gonsalves has been close to a WPT title before, but he's also yet to win one. Gonsalves' deepest run in a WPT event came in the Season XIV WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event, where he took fourth and picked up a payday of $91,616. Gonsalves also has a 10th-place finish in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond for $68,181. The final six will now wait until the end of March to play for the title in Las Vegas, as the event moves from the Gardens Casino to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. There is no former WPT champion in the final six, which means there will be a brand new member of the WPT Champions Club when this one is all said and done.
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