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  1. The record-setting WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic wrapped up at Bellagio in Las Vegas, with the $10,400 Main Event attracting a huge field of 1,001 entries and featuring some of poker's biggest names. In addition to the Main Event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule featured several events with five-figure buy-ins and one with a six-figure price of entry. Here are the winners from a tremendous week of poker in Sin City. The biggest winners overall from these high buy-in events, excluding the $10,400 Main Event, were Jake Schindler, Jason Koon, Seth Davies, Chris Hunichen, and Dominik Nitsche. Although he didn't earn the most money, it's certainly worth noting that Sam Soverel cashed in four of these events for a total of $314,500. No one else cashed in more than two. Ladines Wins First $10,000 PLO Event The first two high roller events on the schedule were both $10,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournaments. The first one attracted 35 entries for a $350,000 prize pool and saw the top five places make the money. Joshua Ladines took the event’s title and $128,090 top prize, with both Brian Rast and Sam Soverel finishing in the money. Joshua Ladines - $128,090 John Riordan - $102,910 Jonathan Abdellatif - $56,000 Brian Rast - $35,000 Sam Soverel - $28,000 Soverel Takes Second $10,000 PLO Event In the second $10,000 PLO event, a group of familiar faces was back in the money. Soverel topped the field of 29 entries to win the title and $116,000, Ladines finished third for $46,400, and WPT Five Diamond wonder boy Ryan Tosoc scored fifth for $23,200. Tosoc notably finished second in the Season XV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.134 million before going on to win the event in Season XVI for $1.958 million. Sam Soverel - $116,000 Jonathan Depa - $75,400 Joshua Ladines- $46,400 Michael Song - $29,000 Ryan Tosoc - $23,200 Hennigan Captures $10,000 8-Game Mixed Title If you know Bellagio, you know it’s home to the most iconic high-stakes poker room in the world, Bobby’s Room. It’s where the game’s elite compete for astronomical cash-game stakes, but during WPT Five Diamond some of those players shifted their focus to tournament play, specifically in the $10,000 buy-in 8-Game Mixed High Roller. The tournament generated 24 entries, and it was none other than five-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and WPT Champions Club member John Hennigan taking home the top prize of $110,400. John Hennigan - $110,400 Ben Yu - $67,200 Randy Ohel - $38,400 John Racener - $24,000 Loeser and Fox Chop First $25,000 High Roller In the first of three $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments on this year’s WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic slate, 42 entries were generated to create a prize pool of $1.05 million. The top six places paid, and the top two spots went to Manig Loeser and Elio Fox in a chop that earned each player more than $300,000. Loeser scored first place for $321,300, and Fox took second for $308,700. Manig Loeser- $321,300 Elio Fox - $308,700 Jake Schindler - $168,000 Dan Smith - $105,000 Cary Katz - $84,000 Nick Petrangelo - $63,000 Petrangelo Wins Second $25,000 High Roller The second $25,000 buy-in tournament attracted 47 entries and generated a $1.175 million prize pool. The top seven places reached the money, with several notables cashing. None earned more than Nick Petrangelo, though, who chopped the event heads up with Sergio Aido to take home the winning prize of $289,944. Aido scored $287,634 for second. Petrangelo was coming off a sixth-place result for $63,000 in the first $25,000 event of this series. Soverel, who finished in the money of the first two high rollers on the schedule, including winning one for $116,000, finished sixth in this event for $70,500. Nick Petrangelo - $289,944 Sergio Aido - $287,634 Seth Davies - $256,672 Ben Yu - $117,500 Kazuhiko Yotsushika - $94,000 Sam Soverel - $70,500 Rainer Kempe - $58,750 Davies Victorious in Third $25,000 High Roller The third and final $25,000 high roller tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule drew 50 entries for a $1.25 million prize pool. The top eight places reached the money, and it was Seth Davies taking the title and $341,920 in first-place prize money. The win came just days after Davies took third in the previous $25,000 high roller event during the series of $256,672, as you can see above. Davies did a deal with Isaac Haxton in second place, who earned $320,580. The money was filled with notable high rollers, including Alex Foxen taking third for $175,000. Foxen has had himself quite a 2018 and is closing it strong both on the live felt and the virtual felt. In the online world, Foxen recently achieved a new all-time high in the top 100 of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings. You'll also notice Soverel's name appearing in the in-the-money places once again, this time for fifth place, worth $100,000. Seth Davies - $341,920 Isaac Haxton - $320,580 Alex Foxen - $175,000 David Peters - $125,000 Sam Soverel - $100,000 Christoph Vogelsang - $75,000 Rainer Kempe - $62,500 Elio Fox: $50,000 Schindler Defeats Koon for $100,000 Super High Roller Victory The final big buy-in event from the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule this year was the $100,000 Super High Roller. The event drew 37 entries to Bellagio for a $3.7 million prize pool and the top six spots reached the money. Earning the $1.332 million first-place prize was Jake Schindler. Adding that score to the $168,000 he won earlier in the series for taking third place in one of the $25,000 high rollers, Schindler scored $1.5 million in prize money at Bellagio this December. Schindler beat out Jason Koon for the win, and Koon took home $888,000 for his second-place finish. Jake Schindler - $1,332,000 Jason Koon - $888,000 Chris Hunichen - $592,000 Dominik Nitsche - $370,000 Ben Tollerene - $296,000 Talal Shakerchi - $222,000
  2. The Season XVII World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic final table was set on Wednesday evening, with the tournament reaching its final six players from a field of 546 entries. The $10,000 buy-in event is now on a short break from action before the final table plays out on March 11, 2019, in Las Vegas. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias topped the leaderboard entering the hiatus, with a first-place prize of $1.015 million awaiting the winner. The final six players were guaranteed $201,650. When action resumes on March 11, Elias will have a sizable lead on the other five. His stack of 9.07 million in chips in 41.5% of the chips in play and nearly double anyone else. Not only with Elias’ opponents have to battle with his powerful chip stack, but they’ll have to go up against a chip leader with an incredible amount of WPT experience. Elias holds the record for most World Poker Tour titles with four. Of the $6.628 million in live tournaments he had to enter this event, Elias had won more than $3.2 million in WPT events. He’s making his 33rd cash and 12th final table on the WPT Main Tour and is in line to earn an unprecedented fifth title. The reason for the delay is so that the event can move to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That’s where the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s Season XVII television schedule alongside the WPT Gardens Poker Championship and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship will play to a winner on March 12, and the final six of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will grind to a champion on March 13. WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Seat 1: Jean-Claude Moussa - 1,250,000 Seat 2: Matas Cimbolas - 4,675,000 Seat 3: John Smith - 895,000 Seat 4: Darren Elias - 9,070,000 Seat 5: David Baker - 4,760,000 Seat 6: Steve Yea - 1,205,000 The Grind To the Final Table The WPT L.A. Poker Classic remains one of the few $10,000 buy-in tournaments with a freezeout format. Blake Bohn emerged as the Day 1 chip leader, and Andrey Zaichenko was atop the pack after Day 2. Day 3 brought about the money bubble, as 69 players of the 546-entry field would reach the money. On Day 3, 108 players returned to action and began to work their way towards a payday. Eventually, Andy Park busted in 70th place when he found the last of his chips in the middle on the flop of [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kh"][poker card=“5h"] holding the [poker card="Ad"][poker card=“Jd"] for top pair. He was up against the [poker card="Ah"][poker card=“7h"] of Oscar Carrasco. Park had the lead on the flop due to his kicker, but Carrasco had plenty of outs thanks to holding a flush draw. The turn and river were the [poker card=“4h"] and [poker card=“Qh”], respectively, giving Carrasco his flush and busting Park on the bubble. From there, players began to pile up in the payouts, including Bohn going out in 68th, Billy Baxter bowing out in 51st, Adam Levy busting in 49th, Mike Del Vecchio falling in 41st, and Gordon Vayo hitting the rail in 36th place. Vayo, who famously dropped his lawsuit against PokerStars, was the final elimination to take place on Day 3 and he scored $26,830 for his finish. With 35 players remaining, David Baker headed the charge into Day 4. Baker entered the event with only one WPT Main Tour final table on his résumé and just more than $4.4 million in live tournament earnings. On Day 4, Baker busted Brock Wilson in 34th, Douglas Smith in 22nd, Carrasco in 19th, and Zaichenko in 18th en route to leading the final 12 players heading into Day 5. Elias came into Day 5 second in chips behind Baker. He stumbled out of the gate when Mike Meskin doubled through him, but Elias was back in form after taking a big pot from Tony Tran before busting the fellow WPT Champions Club member a short while later in 11th place. After Jeffrey Colpitts was eliminated by Matas Cimbolas in 10th place, Elias sought revenge on Meskin by busting him in ninth. Paul Fontan would later fall in eighth place to Baker, and after that, it was a series of double ups that tried to derail Elias. First, Jean-Claude Moussa doubled through Elias, not once but twice. Then, it was Steve Yea’s turn to double through Elias. The four-time WPT champion steadied the ship each time and would go on to bust James Carroll in seventh place and set the official final table. On the final hand of Day 5, Elias opened to 100,000 from the hijack seat with the blinds at 25,000-50,000 with a 50,000 ante. Carroll reraised all in for 800,000 from the cutoff position and Elias called with the [poker card="Ks"][poker card=“Qs”]. Carroll had the dominated [poker card="Kc"][poker card=“Jh”]. The flop, turn, and river came [poker card="8h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="9d"][poker card=“3s”] to eliminate Carroll in seventh position. He took home $155,900 in prize money and Elias soared into the final table with the chip lead. Elias Continues To Shine as "Mr. WPT" If there was a player to be named “Mr. WPT,” it would be Darren Elias. His run on the World Poker Tour is tremendous and he now has a chance to claim a record fifth WPT title. Elias’ first WPT title came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open, when Elias topped a field of 1,226 entries to win $843,744 and his first World Poker Tour title. Less than a month later, Elias topped a small but tough field of 118 entries in the WPT Caribbean for a score of $127,680. Elias’ third WPT title came in Season XV when he scored first place in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $346,776. He then won the final event of Season XI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, for $387,580. Not only would a victory be Elias’ fifth World Poker Tour trophy, but he’d earned the largest payday of his live tournament career. Right now, the result is the eighth largest score of Elias’ live tournament career. [caption id="attachment_623019" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Matas Cimbolas looking for second WPT title (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Cimbolas Also Looking for Another WPT Title Matas Cimbolas, a Lithuanian player who won the Season XIII WPT Nottingham title for €313,327, is also looking to add another WPT Champions Cup to his trophy case. He’ll enter the final table third in chips with 4.675 million. Interestingly, this won’t be the first time Cimbolas and Elias share the stage at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. To close Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, both Cimbolas and Elias reached the WPT Tournament of Champions final table. Cimbolas finished second to Matt Waxman for $265,590, and Elias took third for $177,060. Waxman won that event for $463,375. [caption id="attachment_623020" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] David Baker is chasing his first WPT title and a career-best score (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Baker Chasing First WPT Title and Career-Best Result David Baker has put countless hours into poker. In 2012, he finally won the elusive WSOP gold bracelet. Now he has a chance to win his first WPT title and comes into the final table second in chips with 4.76 million. Baker has one previous WPT final table on record, coming back in Season V when he took fifth in the WPT Festa Al Lago tournament for $125,240. Money-wise, this is his best WPT result, but he’ll need to jump up two more places to make it his top finish. Second place or better will give Baker the largest tournament score of his live poker career. A win would mean his first World Poker Tour title and first million dollar tournament payday. Final Table Takes Place On March 11 The final table for the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic takes place March 11 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events, plus the live stream can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
  3. The World Poker Tour heads back to fabulous Las Vegas on Monday, March 11, for the first of three consecutive final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The three final tables to play out are, in order, the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Gardens Poker Championship, and WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The WPT L.A. Poker Classic is headlined by four-time WPT champion Darren Elias and has a $1.015 million first-place prize up for grabs. What Are They Playing For? The winner of the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic will take home $1.015 million in first-place prize money. That includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. As this event is a televised WPT event, the winner will also score a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $1,015,000 2nd Place: $646,930 3rd Place: $473,280 4th Place: $346,550 5th Place: $267,400 6th Place: $201,650 Click here to read about how the final table was set. [caption id="attachment_623033" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] HyperX Esports Arena (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] How To Watch the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic takes place March 11 starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Now, let’s meet the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table. [caption id="attachment_623037" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jean-Claude Moussa (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Jean-Claude Moussa - 1,250,000 Jean-Claude Moussa is a 36-year-old player from Massachusetts, who entered this event with $516,544 in live tournament earnings. He has two prior WPT Main Tour cashes on record, including his career-best live tournament score of $321,840 when he finished fifth in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic back in Season VIII. Other notable results for Moussa included a deep run in the 2011 PCA Main Event for $45,000 and two cashes in the World Series of Poker Main Event for $25,027 and $24,808. Moussa enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table in fourth chip position with 1.25 million. [caption id="attachment_623039" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Matas Cimbolas (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Matas Cimbolas - 4,675,000 Lithuania’s Matas Cimbolas seems to be becoming more and more of a fixture on the World Poker Tour by the day. The 25-year-old already has one WPT title to his credit thanks to winning WPT Nottingham in Season XIII for $313,327. At the end of last season, he made his way to the WPT Tournament of Champions final table and ultimately finished second for $265,590. Those are the two biggest scores of his live tournament career. Interestingly enough, when Cimbolas made the WPT Tournament of Champions final table, it was played out at the HyperX Esports Arena in Vegas. Whereas the enormity of the arena might cause some players to feel a little less comfortable, Cimbolas has the experience of playing there already under his belt. Another interesting note is that Darren Elias, who leads the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, finished third in the WPT Tournament of Champions event that Cimbolas took second in, so these two have a bit of history on the very stage they’ll be competing on come Monday. Cimbolas entered the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic with just shy of $2 million in live tournament earnings. A third-place finish or higher would move Cimbolas ahead of Dominykas Karmazinas and into second on Lithuania’s all-time money list. Cimbolas enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table second in chips with 4.675 million. [caption id="attachment_623038" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] John Smith (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: John Smith - 895,000 John Smith is by far the oldest player at the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic. He’s also the shortest stack remaining. Don’t let those two things fool you, though. Smith packs plenty of game that’s received a popular following in recent years due to his success in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship at the WSOP. In that event, Smith has results of 11th place in 2014 for $26,584, second place in 2016 for $198,192, and second place again in 2017 for $208,154. As Sean Chaffin wrote for the WPT, Smith served in the U.S. Army when he was younger. He was in Vietnam in the 1960s when a tank he was in hit a landmine. Everyone in the tank died, but Smith survived. He would later receive a Purple Heart for his service. Ahead of this event, Smith had $1.256 million in live tournament earnings. He has five prior WPT Main Tour cashes, with his best being a 20th-place result in the $25,000 buy-in WPT World Championship in Season III for $75,485. Smith enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table as the shortest stack with 850,000. [caption id="attachment_623034" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Darren Elias (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Darren Elias - 9,070,000 A four-time World Poker Tour champion, Darren Elias is "Mr. WPT." No one has won more WPT titles than Elias and on Monday he could better his record by scoring an unprecedented fifth. Elias’ first WPT title came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Poker Open. There, he topped a field of 1,226 entries to win $843,744. Less than a month later, Elias beat a small but tough field of 118 entries in the WPT Caribbean for a score of $127,680. Elias’ third WPT win came in Season XV when he scored first place in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic for $346,776. He then won the final event of Season XI, the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, for $387,580. In addition to a victory on Monday being Elias’ fifth World Poker Tour trophy, he’d earn the largest live tournament score of his career. As mentioned above, the 32-year-old Elias has experience playing at the HyperX Esports Arena. On Monday, he’ll start the final table with a sizable lead on the other five. His stack of 9.07 million in chips in 41.5% of the chips in play and nearly double anyone else. [caption id="attachment_623035" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] David Baker (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: David Baker - 4,760,000 David Baker, better known as "ODB" to many in the poker world, has put countless hours into poker. In 2012, he finally won the elusive WSOP gold bracelet. Now he has a chance to win his first WPT title and a huge score of $1.015 million. https://twitter.com/audavidb/status/1103776743091953665 Baker has one previous WPT final table on record, coming back in Season V when he took fifth in the WPT Festa Al Lago tournament for $125,240. Money-wise, this is his best WPT result, but he’ll need to jump up two more places to make it his top finish. Second place or better will give Baker the largest tournament score of his live poker career. A win would mean his first World Poker Tour title and first million dollar tournament payday. Baker comes into the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table second in chips with 4.76 million. [caption id="attachment_623040" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Steve Yea (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Steve Yea - 1,205,000 If you’re a diehard follower of poker, you’ve heard the name Steve Yea. For casual fans, his name might not be so common, but Yea has been around for quite some time. Yea has live tournament results dating back to 2007 and he’s amassed more than $630,000 in live tournament winnings entering this event. He hails from South Korea and is making his first WPT Main Tour cash. Yea’s largest live tournament score came from a second-place finish on the Asian Poker Tour in 2008 when he won $250,000 in an event in Macau. He also placed second in an APT event in 2009 in Manila for $100,000 as the second biggest live tournament score of his career. Yea enters the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table fifth in chips with 1.205 million. [caption id="attachment_623036" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Hublot WPT Player of the Year and Baccarat Crystal (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of more than $5.1 million, the maximum amount of points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race are up for grabs in the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic. The winner gets 1,400 points, with the rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,400 points 2nd Place: 1,200 points 3rd Place: 1,100 points 4th Place: 1,000 points 5th Place: 900 points 6th Place: 800 points As it stands, Ping Liu is the man to catch at the top of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year leaderboard. He has 1,900 points thanks to six cashes and two final tables in Season XVII. For the six players at this final table, the points would mean the most for Elias, as he’s the only competitor remaining with points entering this event. Elias has 150 points on the season and could shoot up to 1,550 with a win. That would put him in fourth place overall on the Hublot WPT Player of the Year leaderboard. For the other five, a victory would place them in sixth place on the leaderboard. Despite all of his success on the World Poker Tour over the years, Elias has never been crowned WPT Player of the Year. He has had some close calls, though. Last season, Elias finished third in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. In Season XV, he finished sixth. In Season XIV, he ended up in 12th. In Season XIII, he finished second to Anthony Zinno, who also won two WPT titles that season. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event and a Hublot watch. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
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