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  1. Over a year ago, Qing Liu made the final table of the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship. That final table was meant to be played in Las Vegas last March but the coronavirus pandemic put an extended delay on that event. This week, Liu traveled to Las Vegas to play the WPT Venetian event before finally getting to play the Gardens Championship final table on Wednesday. Now he's suddenly in position to win two WPT titles - and more than $1.3 million - in a 24 hour span. On Tuesday night Liu beat 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen heads up to win the WPT Venetian event for more than $750,000. Before the final table began there was some drama surrounding the player second in chips, Roland Rokita. Fedor Holz, who has worked with Rokita, tweeted that the young Austrian was in medical distress and might not be able to play the final table. Despite Holz subsequently tweeting that he believed Rokita would require surgery, Rokita made it to the Venetian in time to play the final table. It took 36 hands for the first elimination to happen. With blinds at 75,000/150,000, Liu raised to 300,000 with [poker card="qh"][poker card="ts"] on the button. Trace Henderson moved all in from the small blind for 1,525,000 with [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] and Liu called. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop changed nothing but Liu connected on the [poker card="th"] turn to make top pair. Henderson was unable to catch either one of the two remaining nines as the [poker card="6d"] river and was eliminated in sixth place. That hand moved Liu up the chip counts, but McKeehen did most of the heavy lifting the rest of the way. From the cutoff, McKeehen min-raised to 400,000 with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"]. Kou Vang shoved from the big blind for 4,250,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"] gave McKeehen middle set and left Vang needing runner-runner help. The [poker card="3s"] turn made Vang's fifth place elimination all but official as the [poker card="ad"] river completed the board. McKeehen found another victim just 15 minutes later in a blind against blind spot. Action folded to McKeehen in the small blind and he moved all in with [poker card="ks"][poker card="td"] and Jack Hardcastle called all in from the big blind with [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="4s"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4c"] to completed miss Hardcastle and the 2021 WPT Montreal Online champion was eliminated in fourth. That pot gave McKeehen 63% of the chips in play. It took nearly two hours to go from three-handed to heads-up and once again it was McKeehen taking charge and adding to his chip lead. McKeehen moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="jc"][poker card="8d"] and Rokita called from the big blind putting his tournament at risk with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. McKeehen picked up a gunshot straight draw on the [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"][poker card="7s"] flop and then made that draw on the [poker card="9c"] turn. The river was the meanings [poker card="8c"] and Rokita was done in third place. Heads-up play began with McKeehen holding a nearly 2-1 lead over Liu. It took Liu just five hands to wrestle that lead away from McKeehen. With the board showing [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] and 12,500,000 in the pot, Liu moved all in for 10,100,000 forcing McKeehen to fold. Liu took a 3-2 chip lead thanks to that pot. Just 30 minutes later, Liu collected every last chip. Down to just 11 big blinds, McKeehen moved all in with [poker card="kh"][poker card="7d"] and Liu called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="4s"]. Liu made second pair on the [poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"] flop and McKeehen was unable to improve as the [poker card="9d"] and [poker card="6c"] completed the board to give Liu his first WPT title and a $752,880 payday. Liu, who has had his last 20 cashes come at the Venetian dating back to last September, will spend Tuesday night resting up before making his way to the PokerGO Studio at Aria to play the final table of the Gardens Poker Championship where is fifth in chips. WPT Venetian Final Table Payouts Qing Liu - $752,880 Joe McKeehen - $491,960 Roland Rokita - $363,235 Jack Hardcastle - $271,050 Kou Vang - $204,430 Trace Henderson - $155,865
  2. Talk about a tune-up. PocketFiver Joseph dude904McKeehen (pictured) won the Wynn Fall Classic Main Event this week and earned $90,000. Sure, it wasn't the largest score you'll see on the live circuit, but for a man about to play for a $7.6 million first prize in the World Series of Poker Main Event in two weeks, we're pretty sure the win is far more meaningful. The Wynn Fall Classic Main Event had a $1,600 buy-in and a field of 267. Twenty-seven players finished in the money and, interestingly enough, making the final table alongside McKeehen was another November Niner, Dennis Phillips, who took fourth place for $27,000. It was McKeehen's first top-eight finish in a live MTT this year outside of the WSOP Main Event. McKeehen Tweeted his progress in the Wynn Classic Main Event, starting it off with, "Haven't done this in a long time, but here's an update for the fans. Got 390k at 6k with 18 left in this Wynn Byrd." When six players remained, McKeehen was in first, but he dropped to fourth out of four before mounting a comeback. McKeehen has a commanding chip lead entering the conclusion of the WSOP Main Event, which restarts on Sunday, November 8. Here are this year's WSOP November Nine members: 1. Joseph dude904McKeehen - 63,100,000 2. Zvi Stern - 29,800,000 3. Neil Blumenfield - 22,000,000 4. Pierre Neuville - 21,075,000 5. Max Steinberg - 20,200,000 6. Thomas Cannuli - 12,250,000 7. Joshua asdf26 Beckley - 11,800,000 8. Patrick Chan - 6,225,000 9. Federico Butteroni - 6,200,000 Yes, when we said "commanding chip lead," we weren't kidding. He has an impressive live tournament resume already, having amassed over $3 million in winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, which includes $1 million from the WSOP Main Event. He is #7 on the all-time money list for Pennsylvania. McKeehen has been a member of PocketFives since 2006 and has $1.1 million in tracked online scores, the largest of which was worth $52,000 and came by virtue of winning the Full Tilt $150,000 Guarantee in 2010. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  3. When the November Nine finally reconvened at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Sunday night in Las Vegas, all eyes were on overwhelming chip leader Joe dude904 McKeehen. The 24-year-old poker pro did nothing to disappoint. McKeehen eliminated Patrick Chan, Federico Butteroni, and Pierre Neuville to get the table down to just six players before play ended for the night. Sure, other players were active and there were some memorables on the broadcast, but the show belonged to McKeehen. It was the second hand of the night that saw Chan eliminated, having to call off the rest of his stack with Ks Qc after McKeehen had moved all-in from the button with Ad 4h. The board ran out dry for both players and McKeehen increased his chip lead. The second elimination took a little longer, but again it was a case of McKeehen having the chip stack to pick on the shorter stacks. McKeehen opened to 1,000,000 from the button with As Ks and Federico Butteroni moved all-in for 2,400,000 with Ah Jc. McKeehen called and again the board ran out with no help for him or his opponent and McKeehen was now sitting on a stack over 70,000,000, while Italy's hope at a Main Event champion to call their own was gone in eighth. The final elimination of the night took a few more hours. After needing no help from the dealer in the first two eliminations, McKeehen got a bit of luck to end the night. The shortest remaining stack, Neuville, moved all-in over the top of McKeehen's open for his final 3,000,000 and McKeehen called. Neuville was ahead with Ac Jc to the Jh 6h of McKeehen, but the Qd Td 3h Qh Th board gave McKeehen a flush and sent Neuville home in seventh. While McKeehen's performance on Sunday night will garner him his fair share of praise, his fellow tablemate Zvi Ofer Stern was widely criticized for the amount of time he spent in the tank in numerous spots throughout the night. According to Phil Hellmuth, who is providing analysis for ESPN, the Israeli amateur was given a warning by tournament director Jack Effelabout the amount of time he was taking on nearly every decision. Play resumes Monday night at 7:30 pm ET with the "live" broadcast on ESPN2 beginning at 8:00 pm ET. Chip Counts Joe McKeehen – 91,450,000 Ofer Zvi Stern – 32,400,000 Neil Blumenfield – 31,500,000 Max Steinberg – 16,000,000 Josh Beckley – 10,875,000 Thomas Cannuli – 10,425,000
  4. Coming into Sunday night, all eyes were on the short stacks. The shortest of those stacks, Patrick Chan, had his work cut out for him if he were going to make a final table run. After over three months of waiting, Chan's World Series of Poker Main Event final table run lasted just two hands, as he was quickly dispatched by chip leader Joe McKeehen. On the second hand of the night, the table folded around to the big stack, who moved all-in from the button. Chan and Federico Butteroni, the two shortest stacks at the table, were in the blinds and after the former called to put himself at risk from the small blind, while Butteroni folded in the big. McKeehen held Ad 4h to Chan's Ks Qc and the short stack had to hit to stay alive. He didn't, as McKeehen’s ace-high held through the 10c 6h 5s 3h 9c runout, confirming Chan's 9th place elimination and extending his chip lead on this Main Event final table. Chan makes $1,001,020 and his elimination means the eliminations from here on out will initiate individual pay jumps. The next player eliminated earns $1,097,056.
  5. After the nearly immediate elimination of final table short stack Patrick Chan, the torch was passed to Federico Butteroni. While seemingly everyone else played some pretty sizable pots, with big stacks mixing in three-bets, four-bets, and even some all-in shoves, Butteroni remained quiet and patient, looking for opportunities to get his short stack in the middle. The Italian couldn't find any of those opportunities through the rest of Level 35, but a few hands into Level 36, he did. The table folded to Butteroni, who moved all-in for 3,200,000 from the cutoff with Qc 9c. With the big blind being worth 500,000, the shove was for just over six big blinds, but despite the relatively small all-in amount, Pierre Neuville, who was in the big blind, eventually folded Ah 7h. That gave Butteroni a pass and a much needed bump to his short stack. That pass helped, but after another full orbit of folds, Butteroni found himself even shorter than he was at the start of the level. Midway through Level 36, Joe McKeehen added to his final table kill list. McKeehen opened to 1,000,000 from the button and, with just 2,400,000 left in front of him in the small blind, Butteroni moved all-in. The big blind folded and McKeehen called, having the Italian dominated with As Ks to Ah Jc. McKeehen scored the first final table elimination with ace-high and ace-king-high was good enough for the second knockout as well, with McKeehen’s kicker sealing Butteroni’s eighth place finish on a runout of 10c 6d 3d 9s 7d. The Italian took home $1,097,056 and McKeehen is now up and over the 70,000,000 chip mark, hovering near 150 big blinds.
  6. For the last 116 days, Joe McKeehen and the rest of the 2015 WSOP November Ninehave been waiting patiently for the World Series of Poker Main Event final table to resume. Sunday night, live on ESPN, the cards are back in the air with the final nine players all chasing the $7.68 million first place prize money and the highly coveted bracelet. The Chip Counts Name Country Chip Count Big Blinds % of chips Seat # Joe McKeehen USA 63,100,000 157.75 32.75% 6 Ofer Zvi Stern Israel 29,800,000 74.50 15.47% 1 Neil Blumenfield USA 22,000,000 55.00 11.42% 9 Pierre Neuville Belgium 21,075,000 52.69 10.94% 2 Max Steinberg USA 20,200,000 50.50 10.49% 4 Thomas Cannuli USA 12,250,000 30.63 6.36% 5 Joshua Beckley USA 11,800,000 29.50 6.13% 3 Patrick Chan USA 6,225,000 15.56 3.23% 7 Federico Butteroni Italy 6,200,000 15.50 3.22% 8 The Players The Chip Leader Joe McKeehen The 24-year-old poker pro from Pennsylvania, known on PocketFives as dude904, has spent nearly four months patiently waiting for the chance to get back to work. He hasn't been sitting idly by, though. In October, McKeehen won the $1,500 Wynn Fall Classic for $90,125. Already an accomplished player, McKeehen starts the final table with more chips than the next two players combined. The Chaser Ofer Zvi Stern At a final table that includes some accomplished tournament pros, the man in best position to take down McKeehen is the one who almost didn't play the Main Event this year at all. Ofer Zvi Stern only played after finding a sale that would get him from his native Isreal to Las Vegas at a discount. The amateur poker enthusiast has had WSOP success before, making two final tables in 2006 in smaller buy-in events. The Peloton Neil Blumenfield Amateurs at home looking for a potential hero need look no further than 61-year-old Neil Blumenfield. As the COO of a San Francisco software company, Blumenfield isn't able to play a full schedule, but he did have just over $130,000, including a previous Main Event cash, in earnings before this summer. But making the November Nine allowed Bluemenfield to retire and make the transition to playing poker full-time. Pierre Neuville In most years, Blumenfield would have been the oldest player at the final table, but he's a good 11 years younger than former Hasbro executive Pierre Neuville. It's also nearly impossible to give Neuville the amateur label. Since retiring from his job with Hasbro, the Belgium grandfather has become a mainstay on the European Poker Tour and in early 2015, he was given the Lifetime Achievement award at the European Poker Awards. Max Steinberg If any of the November Niners are already used to the spotlight provided by the WSOP Main Event on ESPN, it's 27-year-old poker pro Max Steinberg. Just a few years ago, Steinberg eliminated Phil Ivey from the Main Event on the feature table in one of the most talked-about hands in recent memory. Now, Steinberg, a professional poker and daily fantasy sports player, is hoping to turn his middle-of-the-pack stack into a bracelet and a brighter spotlight. Joshua Beckley McKeehen isn’t the only November Niner to book a win during the break. Joshua Beckley, known on PocketFives as asdf26, won his first WSOP Circuit ring in September at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, beating out 317 players in the $365 Monster Stack. He's going to need some of the magic if he hopes to win this bracelet, though. Sitting seventh in chips, the 25-year-old finds himself surrounded by bigger stacks, with Steinberg and Cannuli on his left and Stern and Neuville on his right. The Short Stacks Patrick Chan Patrick Chan is the smallest stack of the four East Coasters at the final table (McKeehen, Cannuli, Beckley), but might just have the most upside of them all. The cash game grinder is reportedly playing on his own dime, meaning he could have a high percentage of himself depending on any swaps he made after play started. He's already had a fairly successful tournament run this year, previously highlighted by a second place finish to Loni Harwood at the Parx Casino Big Stax $2,500 Championship in January. Federico Butteroni A week before the 2015 Main Event began, Federico Butteroni got his first taste of victory inside the walls of the Rio. It wasn't a WSOP bracelet event, though; it was a $235 Daily Deepstack with 857 players. The 25-year-old Butteroni traveled all the way from his hometown of Rome, Italy back to Las Vegas to play the shortest stack in hopes of spinning it up to another win. The Structure Level Small Blind Big Blind Ante 35* 200,000 400,000 50,000 36 250,000 500,000 50,000 37 300,000 600,000 75,000 38 400,000 800,000 100,000 39 500,000 1,000,000 150,000 40 600,000 1,200,000 200,000 41 800,000 1,600,000 200,000 42 1,000,000 2,000,000 300,000 43 1,200,000 2,400,000 400,000 44 1,500,000 3,000,000 500,000 45 2,000,000 4,000,000 500,000 46 2,500,000 5,000,000 500,000 47 3,000,000 6,000,000 1,000,000 *There are 57 minutes and 36 seconds remaining in Level 35. Action resumes on ESPN in the United States at 5:30 pm PT. If you're outside of the United States, check out the complete WSOP Main Event international broadcast schedule.
  7. Rumor has it that poker is a young man's game and the run of 20-something WSOP Main Event champions just might be proof of that. But, 72-year-old Pierre Neuville came into the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table hoping to win one for the older crowd. Unfortunately, a few key hands - and of course a final confrontation with chip leader Joe McKeehen - ended any hope of Neuville taking the bracelet back to the Belgium. On the fourth hand of the night, Neuville opened to 850,000 from UTG with Td Ts. Neil Blumenfield three-bet from the small blind with Q Q to 2,500,000. Neuville took a minute to consider his options and eventually found a fold to leave himself with just over 20,000,000. The oldest November Niner ever found himself in a dream scenario on the 30th hand of the night. Blumenfield raised to 1,100,000 from the cutoff with As Qs before Ofer Zvi Stern made it 3,150,000 to go with Kh Jh. Neuville took a moment to consider his options again. This time, he came out with a cold four-bet to 7,750,000 with Ac Ah. Both Blumenfield and Stern folded their hands and Neuville was suddenly fourth in chips with just over 24,000,000. Trouble found Neuville later on thanks to a made Broadway straight. From the cutoff, Neuville raised to 1,275,000 with Qc Qs and Tom Cannulicalled from the big blind with Kh 9h. The flop came Ah Jd Th and both players checked. Cannuli made his flush with the 4h turn, bet 1,000,000, and Neuville called. The river was the Kd, completing Broadway for Neuville. Cannuli bet 3,200,000 of his remaining 5,900,000 and Neuville called to see the bad news. That was only the beginning of the horror show that was Neuville's night. Blumenfield raised to 1,200,000 from UTG with 4c 4h and Neuville called with Ac Kh to see a flop of Ks Qs 4d. Blumenfield bet 1,600,000 with his flopped bottom set and Neuville called. The Qd on the turn gave Blumenfield a full house and both players checked. The 3s fell on the river and Blumenfield resumed the aggression, betting 4,000,000. Neuville called and mucked when Blumenfield tabled his hand. The Belgian was down to just 7,500,000, or 15 big blinds. After being responsible for finishing off Chan and Butteroni, it's no surprise that McKeehen had a hand in ending Neuville's run. McKeehen opened to 1,200,000 with Jh 6h and Neuville fired his final 3,000,000 into the middle with Ac Jc. With everybody else out of the way, McKeehen called. The board ran out Qd Td 3h Qh Th to give McKeehen runner-runner flush and eliminate Neuville in seventh, earning him $1,203,293.
  8. Daniel Negreanucalled what Joe 'dude904' McKeehen did the past three days the most lopsided performance at a Main Event final table since Stu Ungar won his third title in 1997. And it's easy to understand why. McKeehen was personally responsible for six of the eight eliminations at the final table on his way to winning the 2015 WSOP Main Event, $7,683,346, and the first WSOP bracelet of his career. "I was just focused and I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, I have been that way the whole tournament because it was working," said McKeehen. "I feel pretty good now of course." With over two-thirds of the chips in play when action resumed on Tuesday, McKeehen made quick work of the third and final day of play, needing only 41 hands to eliminate Neil Blumenfield in third and Joshua Beckley in second. Blumenfield fell on the 28th hand of the night when he ran his pocket twos in McKeehen's pocket queens. The final hand of the night was just 12 hands later when Buckley, facing an 8-1 chip deficit, pushed all-in with pocket fours. McKeehen called with Ah Td and watched the dealer spread out a Qs Tc 5s flop, giving McKeehen middle pair. The 5d turn and Jc river were both blanks and McKeehen's impressive run to the title was complete. The only two final table players that McKeehen didn't eliminate were Tom Cannuli and Zvi Stern. Max Steinberg, who was busted by McKeehen in fourth place, eliminated Cannuli in sixth and Blumenfield busted Stern in fifth. Before those two eliminations, McKeehen eliminated Patrick Chan in ninth, Federico Butteroni in eighth, and Pierre Neuville in seventh. If you want to trace his run back even further, he eliminated Alexander Turyansky in tenth and famously ended the run of Negreanu in 11th. WSOP Main Event Final Table Payouts Joe McKeehen- USA - $7,683,346 Joshua Beckley - USA - $4,470,896 Neil Blumenfield - USA - $3,398,298 Max Steinberg - USA - $2,615,361 Ofer Zvi Stern - Israel - $1,911,423 Tom Cannuli - USA - $1,426,283 Pierre Neuville - Belgium - $1,203,293 Federico Butteroni - Italy - $1,097,056 Patrick Chan - USA - $1,001,020
  9. [caption width="640"] Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort is playing host to the WSOP Global Casino Championship.[/caption] This August, after making stops across the US and beyond, the WSOP Circuit returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina, where the season’s top players face off for the 2015-2016 WSOP Global Casino Championship and their shot at the minimum $1 million prize pool. The event, formerly known as the WSOP National Championship, runs August 9-11 and awards at least $1 million in prize money along with a coveted WSOP bracelet. This season marks the first time that International Circuit players are eligible to play for the championship. Winners from stops in Italy, Georgia, Morocco, the Czech Republic and others will be among the event’s qualifiers. Who’s Invited WSOP Circuit Main Event winners from each of the 2015-2016 stops earned a free seat into the tournament. The Casino Champion, or overall leaderboard points winner, of each venue also scores a free entry. The top 50 players on the Circuit leaderboard who did not win a Main Event seat or Casino Championship also receive free entry to the event. Those lucky enough to lock up a free seat will be treated to three nights' lodging at Harrah’s Cherokee and receive $500 for travel expenses. International qualifiers will automatically get four nights in the hotel, with an extra night being awarded to players who make the final table. There are still some automatic seats available. The 2015-16 WSOP Circuit schedule has four stops remaining; Council Bluffs, Cherokee, Montreal and New Orleans. Players can also continue to accumulate leaderboard points through the end of the New Orleans event. The top 100 players on the WSOP world ranking leaderboard - based on points earned during 2014 and 2015 World Series of Poker, WSOP Europe and WSOP APAC - can buy into the event for $10,000. Some of the players who are eligible to buy in are 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and former #1 ranked online player Paul Volpe. For the first time in the event's history, it's also allowing players who won a Circuit ring during the season to buy into the event as well. Each $10,000 entry fee is added on top of the $1 million prize pool put up by the WSOP. 2016-2017 Season Launch While the Global Casino Championship signals the end of the 12th WSOP Circuit season, it also coincides with the launch of the 2016-2017 season. Harrah’s Cherokee is hosting the first stop of the new season from August 4-16, while it simultaneously plays out the previous year’s championship. The Harrah’s stop features 12 ring events and includes a $1,675 Main Event and a $2,200 High Roller tournament. "The 2015 National Championship was a blast for us and we’re excited that the World Series of Poker is ramping up the game this year," said Brooks Robinson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee. "Not only do we get to welcome in players from around the world, but we also get to help kick off the 2016-17 Circuit season. It really is a fantastic opportunity for our employees to help showcase the resort." Last year, Loni Harwood took the top spot in the 2015 National Championship, banking the $341,599 first-place prize. German grinder Dominik Nitsche took first in the 2014 championship for $335,659, with Jonathan Hilton taking home a $355,599 payday for his 2013 win.
  10. Leading up to this Main Event final table in July, Ofer Zvi Stern was one of the more aggressive players late on Day 7, using a "kill or be killed" strategy that saw him accumulate a nearly 30,000,000-chip second place stack coming into Sunday night's November Nine restart. Stern kept up his aggression Sunday, playing a few sizable pots with some of the other big-stacked players, including Neil Blumenfield, who was involved in a few pre-flop leveling wars with Stern. None of those hands altered Stern's standing coming into Monday's six-handed restart, though, as he more or less stayed near the 30,000,000 mark and returned for Day 2 of the final table still second in chips. After the elimination of Tom Cannuli on the second hand of the night, the pressure of the short stack shifted to Josh Beckley, as Stern, Blumenfield, and Max Steinberg were all hovering near the 40 big blind mark. That logjam didn't last long, though, as the 98th hand at this final table brought the first all-in and double, as the previous all-in encounters resulted in short-stack eliminations. In a blind-versus-blind encounter, Stern announced himself all-in from the small blind and after he re-checked his cards, Beckley snap-called in the big blind and tabled As Ah. Stern held Ts 9s and, for the second time, someone was at risk for their tournament life with pocket aces. Pocket aces didn't hold the first time, but they did the second, as Beckley held through the 7d 5d 2c flop and then locked up his double when the 3s fell on the turn. The river bricked out and Beckley, who had been patiently working a short stack for the better part of the last two days, was suddenly playing just shy of 30,000,000. Stern, on the other hand, was cut down to just 18,225,000, his lowest standing in recent memory. With the high blinds and antes costing players just over 1,500,000 per orbit, Stern went card dead after that double-up, dropping below the 20 big blind mark over the next few hands and eventually getting down to just 15 big blinds. Those 15 bigs more or less got into the middle in the 121st hand, when Stern bet 11,500,000 from under the gun, leaving himself just 425,000 behind. Blumenfield moved all-in after the table folded to him and Stern called for the rest of his stack only to see that he was in big trouble, as Blumenfield held Ac Ks to Stern's Ac Jh. The 7h 5s 3d flop kept Blumenfield's Big Slick in the lead and Stern was officially drawing dead after the Kd spiked on the turn. The Qd completed the board and Stern's elimination was confirmed. After being one of the more talked-about players leading up to this final table with his aggressive and unconventional play, and the most talked about player during Sunday’s ESPN broadcast where he tanked time and time again, Stern bowed out in 5th place, making $1,911,423 for his WSOP Main Event run.
  11. The first day of play at the 2015 WSOP Main Event is in the books and Joe 'dude904' McKeehen continues to lead. While his chip count - over 90,000,000 - is the probably the most important number heading into Monday night's action, there are a number of other stats from Day 1 that are worth taking a deeper look at. The hottest topic of conversation on Sunday night was the seemingly slow pace of play. Most people were focusing on just how much time Zvi Stern seemed to be taking with every decision. Here's how the numbers look for the hands played on Sunday night. Total Hands Played: 72 Total Time Played: 4:10:10 Average Time/Hand: 3:28 Not surprisingly, the majority of the hands were decided pre-flop. Here is how hands were won on Sunday night: Hands won preflop: 45 (62.5%) Hands won on flop: 10 (13.9%) Hands won on turn: 3 (4.2%) Hands won on river: 3 (4.2%) Hands won at showdown: 11 (15.3%) Joe McKeehen To the surprise of nobody, the chip leader of the WSOP Main Event with six players remaining had himself a very good first day back at the tables. McKeehen, who came into the final table with the biggest chip lead in November Nine history, never once got close to losing the lead and added nearly 50% to his stack in just over four hours. Chip Count 91,450,000 Increase 28,350,000 (44.93%) Hands Won Preflop 10 Flop 3 Turn 1 River 1 Showdown 6* Total 21 (29.2%) Zvi Stern The man who seems to have developed a strong dislike among the home viewers and on social media still managed to win the second most hands on Sunday night (13) but didn't add too much to his stack. Most of Stern's work came in pots he took down before even seeing a flop. Chip Count 32,400,000 Increase 2,600,000 (8.72%) Hands Won Preflop 5 Flop 5 Turn 2 River 0 Showdown 1 Total 13 (18.1%) Neil Blumenfield At 61 years old it's safe to assume that a number of people never even considered Blumenfield, an amateur, to be any sort of threat. The self-described "hipster uncle" put that to rest early though and outside of McKeehen, he easily had the best night out of any of the remaining six players and now finds himself with a much bigger stack as a result. Chip Count 31,500,000 Increase 9,500,000 (43.18%) Hands Won Preflop 12 Flop 0 Turn 0 River 0 Showdown 1 Total 13 (18.1%) Max Steinberg There were a number of people who expected Steinberg to vastly improve his position on Sunday night. Having been in the ESPN spotlight before, being the only WSOP bracelet winner amongst the November Nine and being the only Las Vegas resident, many though Steinberg would position himself as a threat to McKeehen. That's not quite what happened though as Steinberg won just seven hands on Sunday night. Chip Count 16,000,000 Increase -4,200,000 (-20.79%) Hands Won Preflop 5 Flop 0 Turn 0 River 1 Showdown 1 Total 7 (9.7%) Josh Beckley Beckley was the third shortest stack when play resumed and while Chan and Butteroni, the only two players who started with less than him, both busted, Beckley managed to hang around and at the very least, moved himself up one pay spot with the elimination of Neuville in seventh. Beckley won more hands than Steinberg, but still wasn't able to keep his stack above what he started the day with. Chip Count 10,875,000 Increase -925,000 (-7.84%) Hands Won Preflop 6 Flop 1 Turn 0 River 1 Showdown 0 Total 8 (11.1%) Thomas Cannuli Cannuli might have won himself some fans during the Sunday night broadcast with this ESPN interview where the 23-year-old spoke about being able to live out a dream of his by being at the final table but if he wants that to come true, he's going to have to get to work. Cannuli dropped almost 15% of his stack and won the least number of hands (six) on Sunday night. Chip Count 10,425,000 Increase -1,825,000 (-14.9%) Hands Won Preflop 5 Flop 0 Turn 0 River 0 Showdown 1 Total 6 (8.3%) *denotes chopped pot.
  12. [caption width="640"] After two third place finishes, Bryn Kenney finally got his hands on the PCA SHR Championship trophy Friday[/caption] Before the final table of the $100,000 buy-in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller began on Friday afternoon there were a number of storylines in play. Joe McKeehen, just two months from winning the WSOP Main Event was third in chips. Isaac Haxton, just weeks after leaving Team PokerStars Online, was fifth in chips at PokerStars’ marquee live event. Mustapha Kanit, who won the €50,000 buy-in Super High Roller at the EPT Grand Final last May, was looking for another title and seven figure score to add to his impressive resume. And then there was Bryn Kenney. Five years ago Kenney finished third in this event. He did that again in 2015, finishing third behind runner-up Roger Sippl and champion Steve O’Dwyer. But on Friday Kenney exorcised the demons and came through with a victory - and a $1,687,800 payday - against the stacked field. McKeehen got the party started in all in preflop confrontation with Haxton. With just over 14 big blinds left, Haxton moved all-in with [poker card="ts"] [poker card="9s"] on the button and McKeehen called from the big blind with [poker card="as"] [poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="ac"] [poker card="jd"] [poker card="4h"] [poker card="td"] [poker card="5s"] to give McKeehen top pair and eliminate Haxton in sixth place. Almost 90 minutes later David Peters was shown the door. Working with just over 10 big blinds, Peters moved all-in holding [poker card="ad"] [poker card="9s"], Kenney called from the big blind with [poker card="as"] [poker card="td"]. The [poker card="ks"] [poker card="qd"] [poker card="3c"] flop was no help for Peters but the [poker card="qh"] turn gave Peters some chops outs. The [poker card="ts"] river however sealed Peters’ fate with a fifth place finish. Ankush Mandavia completed from the small blind before Mustapha Kanit raised to 290,000 from the big blind. Mandavia responded by moving all-in and Kanit called. Mandavia was racing with his [poker card="ah"] [poker card="jh"] against Kanti’s [poker card="7c"] [poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="td"] [poker card="9h"] [poker card="8d"] flop gave both players straight draws. The [poker card="4h"] turn changed nothing the but the [poker card="qs"] river completed Mandavia’s straight and sent Kanit to the rail in fourth. Despite the chips he picked up by busting Kanit, Mandavia’s run ended not long after that hand. Mandavia moved all-in from the small blind for 2,135,000 and Kenney called from the big blind. Mandavia had kicker issues after turning over [poker card="ks"] [poker card="4h"] and seeing Kenney held [poker card="kd"] [poker card="9d"]. After the [poker card="jc"] [poker card="th"] [poker card="6s"] [poker card="3d"] [poker card="7d"] board Mandavia was out in third and Kenney was left to play heads-up with reigning WSOP Main Event champ McKeehen. When heads-up play began Kenney had the chip lead, holding 7,945,000 chips to McKeehen’s 6,550,000. The two played 46 hands of heads-up poker with both players taking turns with an overwhelming chip lead. On the final hand of the night McKeehen raised his button to 480,000 before Kenney moved all-in. McKeehen called and tabled [poker card="5d"] [poker card="5h"] while Kenney turned up [poker card="kh"] [poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="7d"] [poker card="7h"] [poker card="4c"] flop put Kenney ahead with trips and when the [poker card="3s"] turn and [poker card="js"] river failed to give McKeehen a full house, he was out in second place leaving Kenney as the champion. The event attracted a total of 58 entries - down slightly from the 66 that played last year. Final Table Payouts Bryn Kenney - $1,687,800 Joe McKeehen - $1,220,480 Ankush Mandavia - $787,640 Mustapha Kanit - $596,360 David Peters - $461,340 Isaac Haxton - $360,060 Daniel Dvoress - $286,920 Kathy Lehne- $225,040
  13. When the World Series of Poker Main Event final table reconvened on Sunday night, the buzz around nine-handed play was a new Neil Blumenfield. The amateur from San Fransisco, California came out firing, putting in multiple preflop raises, three-bets and four-bets, easily announcing himself as the most aggressive member of the November Nine. That aggression kept Blumenfield near the top of the leaderboard heading into Monday’s six-handed restart and while he returned Tuesday second in chips, a few early hands left him handcuffed throughout the next few orbits. The first of those hands involved Blumenfield’s first mis-timed act at this final table, as he bluffed off nearly half his stack, increasing Joe McKeehen’s chip lead in the process. With the blinds at 500,000/1,000,000/150,000, McKeehen completed the small blind and then called after Blumenfield raised to 3,000,000 from the big blind. McKeehen then check-called a bet of 2,200,000 after the Td 6c 3c flop fell, with McKeehen checking for a second time after the 7d came on the turn. Blumenfield didn’t slow down, as he continued for 3,500,000. McKeehen called again to see the 5c complete the board. A third check brought a trip to the tank from Blumenfield, who returned to bet 7,000,000. It was then McKeehen’s turn to go into the tank and when he emerged, he did with a call. It was the correct decision, as he caught Blumenfield in the act, bluffing with Qh8d. McKeehen turned over Kc 10s for top pair, good enough to win the pot and knock Blumenfield down to just a 20 big blind stack. He then hovered as the short stack for a few orbits but he did manage to claw some chips back from McKeehen. On a board of 4s 3s 2c Tc Qc, McKeehen rivered a pair with Qd 8d but Blumenfield held a king-high flush, picking up a small pot after his river raise forced a fold from the big stack and moved Blumenfield up near the 30 big blind mark. Blumenfield and McKeehen have had a bit of a dynamic at this final table but Blumenfield and Josh Beckley hand’t gotten involved over the last two nights. That all changed just a few hands later, as Beckley’s four-bet shove with KsJc dropped Blumenfield back down to a 20 big blind stack. That action was picked up with Beckley opening the button to 2,300,000 and Blumenfield, from the big blind, three-betting to 6,000,000. Almost immediately, Beckley announced himself “all-in” and almost just as quickly, Blumenfield folded, electing to not call off for his Main Event life with Ah 7h. A 20 big blind stack is short but anything lower can be considered the danger zone and after another encounter with chip leader Joe McKeehen, Blumenfield found himself in that danger zone. After McKeehen completed the small blind and Blumenfield checked his option in the big, McKeehen bet 1,000,000 on the Ad 8s 4s flop. Blumenfield called and then both players checked the Js turn card. The 3c fell on the river and McKeehen quickly bet 1,800,000. Blumenfield called with 9d 4c but his pair was no good, as McKeehen held Ac 5s for top pair. Blumenfield was more or less in fit or fold mode after getting dropped down to a 15 big blind stack and after more big stack bully play from McKeehen, the short stack finally found a hand to get his 12,000,000 chips in. Unfortunately, that big stack was waiting with a better hand, as Joe McKeehen notched another final table knockout. Antonio Esfandiari called Blumenfield ‘The Legend’ throughout the ESPN final table telecast and his legend came to an end in the 172nd hand, after Josh Beckley opened to 2,000,000 from the button and McKeehen three-bet to 5,400,000 from the small blind. Blumenfield four-bet shoved for 12,000,000 from the big and after Beckley folded, McKeehen snap called. He tabled Qh Qs and Blumenfield was drawing to just two outs with 2d 2h. There was no live saving deuce for Blumenfield, as the board ran out Th 7h 4c 4s Ks, scoring McKeehen another knockout and officially elimination Neil Blumenfield in 3rd place. He’ll make $3,398,298 for his podium finish and Joe McKeehen and Josh Beckley are now heads up for the 2015 WSOP Main Event title, with McKeehen holding a nearly 5:1 chip advantage.
  14. On Sunday, Joe McKeehen played textbook chip leader poker in eliminating three more players at theWSOP Main Event final table. On Monday, he was still the clear chip leader at the table, but he let some of the other players handle the eliminations - but not all of them. Max Steinberg eliminated Tom Cannuli on the second hand of the night. Cannuli, the short stack when play began on Monday, got exactly what he needed, getting his stack all-in with pocket aces and finding a caller in Steinberg, who held pocket tens. Unfortunately for Cannuli, the flop included a ten and when the turn and river bricked, Cannuli was out in sixth. Almost three hours later, Neil Blumenfield, the amateur that Antonio Esfandiari has taken to calling "Legend," eliminated Zvi Stern in fifth place. Stern, who was once as high as second in chips, was short-stacked, called a pre-flop all-in from Blumenfield, and found himself in a world of hurt. Stern held Ac Jh, but was trailing Blumenfield's As Kc. The flop missed Stern, but the turn paired Blumenfield's king, ending Stern's chances with a fifth place finish. That's when McKeehen got the opportunity to play executioner once more, sending Steinberg home in fourth place. After moving as high as third in chips earlier in the night, Steinberg found himself as the shortest stack with four players left. Just like Stern, Steinberg got the last of his chips in with Ah Jd against a bigger ace, as McKeehen held Ad Qc. The board ran out 9d 7c 5s 8c 3d, Steinberg was out in fourth, and play was done for the night. McKeehen finished the night with over two-thirds of the chips in play and will be an overwhelming favorite to win the bracelet and the $7.6 million first place money on Tuesday night. Blumenfield sits second with Josh Beckley playing the role of short stack. Action gets underway on ESPN Tuesday at 9:30 pm ET and will play down to a winner. Official Chip Counts Joe McKeehen – 128,825,000 Neil Blumenfield – 40,125,000 Josh Beckley – 23,700,000
  15. Max Steinberg came into the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table with the fourth biggest stack, but struggled on Sunday night and with just six players left on Monday, he was still fourth, but actually had fewer chips than when he started play. Steinberg's Monday roller-coaster got off to a bit of a rocky start, but was saved by a fortunate flop. Thomas Cannuli raised to 1,400,000 from UTG with Ac As and Steinberg moved all-in over the top with Td Th. Cannuli called and then watched in horror as the flop came Jc Ts 6c to give Steinberg a set. The Qd turn and 8s river kept Steinberg in front, eliminated Cannuli, and propelled Steinberg to 31,225,000. Not long after that hand, Steinberg tangled with chip leader Joe McKeehen and came out on the winning end. Steinberg raised to 1,600,000 with Ac Ks and McKeehen called with Kh Qh. The flop came 6c 6s 4d, Steinberg bet 1,900,000, and McKeehen folded. The first decent size pot that didn't go Steinberg's way on Monday came in a hand with Josh Beckley. The action folded to Beckley in the small blind and he raised to 1,900,000 with Js 6d. Steinberg called from the big blind with 4d 2d and then called Beckley's 2,100,000 bet after the Qd Jd 6s flop. The Ts turn produced a 3,800,000 bet from Beckley and a call from Steinberg. The Jh river missed Steinberg's flush draw and filled Beckley's full house. Beckley bet 10,100,000, forcing Steinberg to fold, leaving him with 23,250,000. Steinberg failed to get any real traction and a failed bluff against Neil Blumenfield spelled the beginning of his demise. Holding Qd Qh, Blumenfield raised to 1,900,000 from UTG and Steinberg re-raised to 5,000,000 from the big blind with 3s 2c. Blumenfield called to see a flop of Th 8d 3d. Steinberg checked, Blumenfield bet 4,000,000, and after a long time to consider his options, Steinberg folded and was left with 18,250,000. A few minutes later, Steinberg's run was over and it was none other than chip leader McKeehen who did the honors. McKeehen raised to 2,000,000 from UTG with Ad Qc and Steinberg moved all-in for 16,500,000 with Ah Jd. McKeehen called and the board ran out 9d 7c 5s 8c 3d to eliminate Steinberg in fourth place and end play for the night.
  16. [caption width="640"] Joe McKeehen added a second bracelet to his list of poker accomplishments on Wednesday (WSOP photo)[/caption] Three more bracelet winners to tell you about from Wednesday at the 2017 World Series of Poker. Two of them have broken through and taken down their first WSOP gold, while the other broke through in the biggest way back in 2015 by winning the Main Event. That, and more, in today’s round-up. 2015 World Champ Adds Second WSOP Gold Remember Joe McKeehen from the TV two years ago? You should, because since he took down the Main Event for $7.68 million, McKeehen hasn’t stopped crushing. He finished runner-up in a $100K PCA High Roller for $1.2 million, final tabled a WPT (3rd for $249K), final tabled the $111K Little One for One Drop (6th for $829K), and has won a bunch in Aria $25Ks. The crushing continued last night as McKeehen took down the $10K Limit Hold’em Championship (Event #38) for $311,817. Unlike the Main Event where he had the chip lead and rode it to the title, McKeehen came into the final table as the shortstack. It was a tough final table too, with the likes of Sorel Mizzi, recent bracelet winner Ben Yu, JC Tran, and Terrence Chan in the mix. Eventually though, McKeehen got three-handed with Jared Talarico and Mizzi. He won a huge pot off the latter when he rivered a better full house after Mizzi had flopped a set, and that gave him a huge chip lead heads up against Talarico. "It's limit hold’em. You can get really short but if you win some hands you'll have all the chips," said McKeehen. "I had a great run.” Players who went deep in this event but busted before the final table include the defending champIan Johns (11th - $21,318), Shaun Deeb (12th - $21,318), Daniel Negreanu (13th -$17,894), and Phil Hellmuth (16th - $15,385). Final table payouts Joe McKeehen - $311,817 Jared Talarico - $192,717 Sorel Mizzi - $135,985 Ben Yu - $97,904 JC Tran - $71,949 Robert Campbell - $53,995 Ray Henson - $41,399 Terrence Chan - $32,443 Aaron Sacks - $26,000 Nadar Kakhmazov defeats Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen heads-up for $5K Six Max title [caption width="640"] It's been a busy - and profitable - month for Nadar Kazhmazov (WSOP photo)[/caption] It’s always great when we see a perennial PocketFives all star get a big score out on the live felt. But while former PocketFives #1 player Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen ended up runner up in the $5K Six-Max (Event #35), he also collected $358,677 for his efforts. The man he couldn’t get past was Nadar Kakhmazov, who wins his first gold bracelet and Russia’s second of the series. Oh, and let’s forget about the $580,338 first-place prize. Kakhmazov was up against a tough final table, featuring start-of-day chip leader Faraz Jaka, high roller regular Sam Soverel, 2016 November Niner and2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker winner Kenny Hallert, and Hunichen himself. When the two got heads up, Kakhmazov had a huge chip lead and would never be caught. This is Kakhmazov’s second big score of the summer, after he also won a Venetian event for $440,029. "I am very happy," Kakhmazov said after the win. "I have wanted to do this for three years but every time I lose two big pots deep in the tournament. I like it. I’m happy.” "I try all the time to play better and better. It’s great for Russian poker. I'm going to play the 10K 6-Max now, and then the 25K PLO, the Main Event. I’m feeling too good!” Final table payouts: Nadar Kakhmazov - $580,338 Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen - $358,677 Kenny Hallaert - $238,855 Sam Soverel - $162,257 Faraz Jaka - $112,585 Christian Rudolph - $79,611 Thomas Reynolds overcomes huge $1K field to win first bracelet [caption width="640"] Thomas Reynolds beat out 2,019 other players to win the first bracelet of his career (WSOP photo)[/caption] More than 2,000 players (2,020 to be exact) took their shot in the $1K No Limit Hold’em (Event #37), but after a grueling Day 3 and two long days before that, we now have a champ: Thomas Reynolds. Prior to this event, Reynolds’ biggest poker win was $2,255. You can multiply that by more than 100, as yesterday Reynolds won $292,880, his first bracelet, and his first tournament victory. He made his way through a final table line-up that included Romania’s Vlad Darie (6th - $52,932), Germany’s Michael Gathy(5th - $70,884), and his eventual heads-up opponent, James Hughes of the USA. Their duel went on for some time, which might explain the somewhat loose call Reynolds made in the final hand. On a [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"] board, Hughes jammed with the [poker card="9s"][poker card="9d"] and Reynolds called with the bigger stack and the [poker card="jd"][poker card="6d"] for straight and flush draws. The river came the [poker card="2d"] to give him the win. "I love playing poker. My wife's very understanding.” Reynolds said. "It feels kinda unreal to tell you the truth, but you know, it's something I wanted to try to do. It's an amazing feeling.” "I'm glad I didn't know there were that many pros. It probably would've put more pressure on me.” A few notables who cashed in this one include Anthony Spinella (23rd place - $9,209), defending champion Chase Bianchi (28th place - $7,492), Mark Seif (48th place - $5,131), Ryan Laplante (52nd place - $5,131), and Barry Greenstein (61st place - $4,319). Final table payouts: Thomas Reynolds - $292,880 James Hughes - $180,919 Reginald Hampton - $131,061 Eric Blair - $95,899 Michael Gathy - $70,884 Vlad Darie - $52,932 Chris Johnson - $39,937 Chad Eveslage - $30,448 Joep Raemaekers - $23,460 Multi-bracelet Winners Deep in $1,500 Seven Card Stud With just 16 remaining in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better (Event #40), there’s no shortage of decent story lines. Steve Jelinek has the overnight chip lead, but you’ve also got six-time bracelet winner Ted Forrest sitting third on the counts, plus four-time bracelet winner Max Pescatorisitting in seventh. Pescatori’s fellow Italian Walter Trecarichiis also still alive, as is Justin Bonomo, and ‘Theory of Poker’ author and two-time bracelet winner David Sklansky. He’ll be looking to take down the $173,228 winner’s prize for some additional Sklansky dollars. Play resumes on Thursday. Final 16 Chip Counts Steve Jelinek - 481,000 Hal Rotholz - 445,000 Ted Forrest - 416,000 Don Zewin - 408,000 Barbara Lewis - 407,000 William Kohler - 330,000 Max Pescatori - 324,000 Walter Treccarichi - 285,000 Eric Pratt - 269,000 Tim Finne - 234,000 Justin Bonomo - 210,000 Ernest Bohn - 169,000 Shannon Petluck - 159,000 Dimitrios Magdalinos - 136,000 David Sklansky - 117,000 Jack Rosenfeldt - 73,000 Day 1 of $1,500 PLO and $10K Six-Max in The Books Two tournaments kicked off yesterday: the $1,500 PLO (Event #41), and one of the more prestigious tournaments on the schedule, the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship (Event #42). The 870-strong field in the PLO was whittled down to 138, and with the bubble bursting at 131 they’re just seven from the money. A min-cash is worth $2,249, while there’s $231,483 for the eventual winner. The man on top of the counts overnight is Chun Lawwith 179,100, joined by Kyle Knecht(148,400) and Philip Hayes(139,000). Other notables returning tomorrow include Toby Lewis (125,200), David Williams (71,700), TJ Cloutier (52,500), Joe Cada (29,900), Jeff Lisandro(25,000) and defending champion Jiaqi Xu(10,200). Not everyone could make it through of course. Phil Hellmuth, John Racener, Benny Glaser, Anthony Zinno, Michael Mizrachi, Barry Greenstein, Brandon Shack-Harris, Jonathan Duhamel, Joe Serock and Jason Mercier all took a shot but busted before the day ended. Play resumes at 12pm Thursday. Top 10 chip counts: Chun Law - 179,100 Kyle Knecht - 148,400 Philip Hayes - 139,000 Judah Bolser - 137,800 Toby Lewis - 125,200 Shankar Pillai - 120,400 Willy Ding - 105,200 Jason Stockfish - 105,100 Christopher Delgrande - 101,000 Cesar Garcia - 100,300 Meanwhile, over in Event #42, the $10K Six-Max Championship, it’s Grayson ‘Gray31’ Ramagewho bagged the chip lead with 527,700. Just 129 of the 332 starters remain, and joining Ramage in the big stack club include Sam Stein (364,500) and two-time bracelet winner Cliff ‘Johnny Bax’ Josephy (330,300). There’s $775,923 up top for the winner of this event, with 50 players cashing. Some more big stacks for your list include Ryan Leng (298,400), Goran Mandic(258,800), Rainer Kempe(254,400), Matt Berkey (253,000), Kristen Bicknell(239,400), Andrew Lichtenberger (214,100), Olivier Busquet(201,400), and Charlie ‘Epiphany77’ Carrel (197,700). All the big names return at 2pm Thursday. Grayson Ramage - 527,700 Sam Stein - 364,500 William Stevenson - 355,100 Cliff Josephy - 330,300 Ryan Leng - 298,400 Goran Mandic - 258,500 Rainer Kempe - 254,400 Matt Berkey - 253,000 Mohsin Charania - 246,900 Matt O’Donnell - 245,600
  17. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Gjergj Sinistaj is playing on Day 3 of the Main Event and has pieces of action spread across the Amazon Room.[/caption] If you look in the Brasilia Room at Joe McKeehen’s Main Event title banner, you see a man holding up the championship bracelet with a $7.6 million smile on his face. Behind the pile of money and glory are another man who helped to finance McKeehen’s buy in and the entry fee for at least a dozen more players that year. Gjergj Sinishtaj has grown from the preeminent online cash game prodigy of his generation to piece buyer extraordinaire. Sinishtaj played in some of the highest-stakes games as a teenager and was featured as an adversary against the “2 Months 2 Million” team under the screen name of “Blewjob.” Online poker is obviously not a prevalent option across the United States and as a result, Sinishtaj has turned his attention toward the occasional live game and piece buying with the Main Event serving as his personal trust fund. In 2015 and 2016, Sinishtaj says there were 15 players of whom he had a piece of. Not all of the buys panned out by the ones that did, earned Sinishtaj a fortune. Sinishtaj had 30 percent of McKeehen’s action when he won and then had approximately 65 percent of Gordon Vayo’s$4.6 million score for taking second place last year. There isn’t a specific method to Sinishtaj’s brilliance but he does his due diligence to make sure the pieces he’s buying are worth the full investment. “A lot of it has to do with luck. I’m not going to say I’m a skillful picker because I’ve obviously run way above EV in buying pieces. What I look at first is the markup and then I do a little bit of history on the player, get some references and interview them to see what type of person they are. I go with my gut, some people come approach me or I approach them, I might not stake them in the tournament even if I approach them. It depends on my feel.” In 2015, Sinishtaj cashed for the first time in the Main Event, bowing out at the end of Day 4. Sinishtaj was preoccupied with his own play as he is this year with 200,000 in his stack as of Level 13. There are 30 players, according to Sinishtaj, that he has action on this year but he doesn’t keep tabs on how they are doing until the end of the day while he is playing. It makes sense for Sinishtaj to have more players in this year’s field based on his previous success and after putting out a tweet along with some word of mouth, Sinishtaj had players reach out to him to have their action bought. “I have more players this year. The reason is, people have heard that I’ve had so much success staking and they think it’s a lucky thing. A lot of people approached me and had fair markups. I’m able to negotiate the markups too, I’m like ‘I’m super lucky, how about 1.4 instead of 1.6?’ and they’re like, ‘alright!’” Along with the $10,000 he spent on himself to enter the Main Event, Sinishtaj has $100,000 invested in the field within his pieces. Sinishtaj says that both last year and this year were a struggle in terms of ROI prior to the Main Event. Vayo was able to save Sinishtaj’s summer in 2016 and with about 1,800 players currently remaining, chances are that there are few horses still in who can carry Sinishtaj to the finish line for the third straight year.
  18. [caption width="640"] Before he was the Main Event Champion, Joe McKeehen was part of the lucrative Pennsylvania online community. (WPT photo)[/caption] Prior to Black Friday, Pennsylvania was a powerhouse in the online poker scene with multiple players sporting over $3 million in lifetime earnings. The all-time money list in the Keystone State stars a few familiar faces who have done well in the live arena. With online poker set to officially come back to the state in 2018, we’re taking a look at the top 10 on Pennsylvania’s online money list. The #1 and #2 spots on the list are separated by $51,000 with Ryan ‘ryanbluf’ Karp holding a slight lead over Joe ‘hoodini10’ Udine. Karp and Udine have both been inactive since Black Friday and earned a relatively equal amount of their over $3.8 million in earnings on Full Tilt and PokerStars. Karp reached an all-time high worldwide ranking of #13 in 2010 which is the same year Udine peaked at #9. At #3 with $3.33 million in earnings is Jesse ‘JMaster130’ Cohen. Since Black Friday, Cohen has transitioned into a live tournament professional with over $1.3 million in earnings in that arena but still plays occasionally on New Jersey’s regulated sites. Down the list in the fourth position is Brandon ‘AreTheseUtz’ Hall, who has a shade over $2 million in winnings. Hall carries a mix of large scores between Full Tilt and PokerStars with almost $900,000 in cashes on the two sites. The most consistent post-Black Friday player on the top 10 is Anthony ‘tonydatiger’ Maio, who is active on a daily basis between unregulated sites and New Jersey online operators. ‘Dude904’ needs almost no introduction and Joe McKeehen has gone on to great live tournament success in his post-Black Friday live playing days. Prior to Black Friday, McKeehen racked up $1.17 million online and has over 10 times that amount in live earnings highlighted by his win in the 2015 WSOP Main Event. Joe ‘jpmetalman’ Patrick is in seventh place all-time in Pennsylvania. Patrick was once featured on ESPN during a WSOP episode noted for his passion for buying big screen TVs. He could afford plenty of them after finishing in eighth in the 2010 SCOOP Main Event for $138,375. Coming in at #8 is Josh ‘professorpeanut’ Will, the first player from Pittsburgh to be featured on the list. Will has been occasionally active on unregulated sites since Black Friday and is likely to see an increase in volume once online is officially open in PA. Rounding out the list are Jonathan ‘jpyeahs’ Paul and Daniel ‘Dw2006’ Woolson. The two players are on either side of the $1 million mark with no progress made since Black Friday. Once the button-clicking begins in Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see how this list changes. PLAYEREARNINGS ryanbluf$3,866,987 hoodini10$3,815,146 JMaster130$3,332,245 AreTheseUtz$2,013,086 tonydatiger$1,710,905 dude904$1,173,693 jpmetalman$1,124,260 professorpeanut$1,117,277 jpeahs$1,035,356 Dw2006$983,444
  19. [caption width="640"] Zachary Gruneberg is among the players looking forward to the return of online poker to Pennsylvania (WPT Photo)[/caption] Poker players in Pennsylvania rejoiced when the state formally signed online gaming into legislation, making years of waiting finally a reality. From his home in Boalsburg, PA, Zachary ‘hustlergrune’ Gruneberg was among those celebrating as the recent homeowner is now able to go back to his roots in online poker. A lot has changed for Gruneberg since Black Friday, and he looks forward to seeing what the future holds for his home state once button clicking commences in 2018. In his heyday, the Season XV World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open runner-up was playing, in his estimation, 60-70 hours per week grinding online MTTs. Those hours added up to roughly $3 million in online earnings for Gruneberg. Today, the 28-year-old Gruneberg travels to the occasional live tournament and plays in home games in the State College, Pennsylvania area where he has lived his entire life. Online poker is something Gruneberg is happy to have back in his life but says he will not be devoting a full-time effort to it the way he once did. After Black Friday, Gruneberg bounced around between Costa Rica and Canada as moved forward with his online career. Eventually, a substance abuse addiction forced Gruneberg home where he was able to clean up his life through rehabilitation. Since 2014, Gruneberg has maintained his sobriety and credits the change for the ascension in his poker career. That summer, Gruneberg made three World Series of Poker final tables and fully immersed himself in the live scene. Gruneberg never planned on fully giving up his life as a Pennsylvanian and coincidentally closed on his new home only a few weeks prior to the recent news. Having familiarity with Pennsylvania’s player pool gives Gruneberg a unique perspective on what expectations should be for when play begins in the nation’s sixth-most populated state. “Online poker should be one of the greatest things that have ever happened to the state,” Gruneberg said. “All the people I see around the state, they love gambling and playing poker. There’s a lot of farmers in the area. What better than working out in the field and playing online poker to end the day?” The numbers that Gruneberg speaks of bear out, especially at Parx Casino. Located just outside of Philadelphia, the acclaimed Big Stax series runs five times per year and draws tens of thousands entries for 14 total tournaments. Gruneberg thinks those numbers will carry over to the online side of things. In terms of drawing new players, Gruneberg is looking more toward the younger market for how sites should be attracting that audience. A trend that Gruneberg has noticed in his home games is most of the players he is up against are in their 40s and 50s. When Gruneberg first came up in the online ranks, he played primarily on Full Tilt Poker due to his preference for the more appealing software choice. Given the popularity of video games for the early 20s demographic, Gruneberg senses they might be willing to try poker if, similiar to Full Tilt, there’s a video game design element to it. “I think there’s a good chance of a boom happening. The sites need to adjust their interface to attract people who play e-sports and hit them in the right way. If you hit the younger generation, there could be a poker boom in the state.” Gruneberg estimates that adding online poker to his day-to-day routine will help improve his overall bottom line. Playing cash games rather instead of tournaments also gives him the freedom to enjoy more of a social life with his fiance and spend time with friends in the area. When he came up in his late-teens and early-20s, Gruneberg burnt out from playing in front his computer for the dozens of hours each week. Once online comes back, Gruneberg admits he will have a long way to go to catch up to the technology he thinks his opponents will be using to try and gain any edge they can. “I’m behind the times. I’ve never used a HUD or watched a training video. As a whole, online is getting harder and harder. The great thing is, you can always get better at poker.” Another major question on the plate of the state’s poker development is the addition of primary online brands. Pennsylvania is one of the richest states of homegrown poker talent with 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, Paul Volpe, and Mark Herm earning their stripes online before moving on to the live game. The trio are current residents of the state and Gruneberg is curious about how much volume top players who also play live cash games will put in as the games get started. There are also potential expectations of players moving from other states to play in Pennsylvania, regardless of whether or not the state joins the joint player pool coalition forged by Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. Gruneberg, for one, is utilizing a “wait and see” approach. “Right away, that could happen. Word of mouth is pretty important. You hear about Jake Toole crushing games [in New Jersey] and how easy it is. If you can get that type of hype, people will move there. Grinders will move where their ROI is the highest. I’m more about balance.” There are many stories roaming through Pennsylvania of players whose lives have changed or may change with online poker available. Gruneberg’s is one of many and when the first hand is dealt in 2018, the next chapter of his poker career will officially begin.
  20. [caption width="640"] Who are five gaming providers who might be setting up shop in Pennsylvania?[/caption] Last week’s announcement of regulated online poker in Pennsylvania was met with a great cheer from those within the state. The march to clicking buttons in the Keystone State is in its next phase and there are major steps to come. One of the primary parts of the process is for gaming providers to become licensed to operate within the state. Given the size of the Pennsylvania market, there are sure to be plenty of service providers looking to get in on the action with 12 licenses up for grabs. With that in mind, below is a look at five potential companies who are likely to be among the list of potential operators when the first hand of online poker is dealt in the state. 1. PokerStars This one is an obvious choice. The world’s largest online poker site has had a large impact in New Jersey since being licensed there in 2016. The first step for PokerStars to officially be in Pennsylvania is to find a property to partner with. There are a few potential options for PokerStars to partner with and perhaps that news will make itself known in the near future. Additionally, with the recent agreement of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware to combine player pools, PokerStars would have a strong financial interest in the having both New Jersey and Pennsylvania players operating on the same network. 2. 888 Poker When Joe McKeehen made his way to the November Nine in 2015, he arrived at the final table wearing an 888 patch. Patching up McKeehen was part of 888’s efforts to gain entry into Pennsylvania when the state first appeared ready to legalize online gambling. With regulation now in place, expect 888 to be a primary place of play once the doors formally open. In addition to its online presence, 888Live has given the company an entry point for live tournaments. Given the location of a Harrah's property in Philadelphia, it would make sense for 888 to join forces there and with WSOP.com. 3. Rush Street Gaming The poker company that is the parent of Poker Night in America has many interests in being a potential gaming provider in Pennsylvania. On opposite sides of the state sit Rivers Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. The sister properties are under the Rush Street umbrella and have been utilized for events such as King of the Hill. Rush Street already has a core audience of consumers and allowing consumers access to virtual poker rooms would provide another stream of revenue for the company. Armed with Matt Glantz already onboard as a brand ambassador, the likelihood of Rush Street tying their live and online market into one seems high. 4. partypoker Like 888, partypoker has grown their live brand immensely in the past year and has the chance to grow even higher in Pennsylvania. partypoker’s shared partnership with the Borgata in Atlantic City allows for them to offer online satellites for their live host. The Borgata runs five major series each calendar year and many of the thousands who enter live in Pennsylvania. Once Pennsylvania jumps into the shared player pool, partypoker is sure to be among the first to want to grab as many players as possible. If enough scenarios break the right way, the first partypoker Millions event in the United States might be in Pennsylvania. 5. Pala Poker One of the newest additions to the New Jersey market might be trying to make moves into another state. Should Pala secure themselves a live partner, there doesn't seem to be anything standing in its way in terms of aggressive expansion into Pennsylvania. A little bit of fresh blood never hurt the waters.
  21. In the days leading up to the World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder event at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, David Larson was playing mega-satellites trying to get into the Main Event. He stone-bubbled one, walking away with $2,000 in cash. He decided to use that money to buy-in directly to the $3,500 buy-in event. Good decision. Larson outlasted 439 other players to win the WPT Rolling Thunder event for $295,128 and now finds himself preparing to play the WPT Tournament of Champions this May in Las Vegas. Larson took care of the first elimination at the final table. Down to just 12 big blinds, D.J. Alexander moved all in from UTG and Larson called from the button. Alexander showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] while Larson turned over [poker card="td"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qd"] to eliminate Alexander in sixth place. Five-handed play continued for over 3.5 hours but during that time, Ian Steinman and Joe McKeehen, the two biggest stacks at the time, clashed in a hand that left many fans watching at home shaking their head in disbelief. Action folded to Steinman in the small blind and he raised to 160,000 with [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] and McKeehen called from the big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"]. After the [poker card="ah"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5h"] flop, Steinman bet 150,000 and McKeehen called again. The turn was the [poker card="jc"] and Steinman check-called McKeehen's bet of 370,000. The river was the [poker card="kc"] and Steinman bet 800,000. McKeehen announced he was all in for 2,940,000. Steinman used six of his time banks before folding. Steinman regained some of those chips when he eliminated Rayo Kniep some 30 hands later. McKeehen raised to 200,000 from UTG, Kniep called from the small blind and Steinman called from the big blind. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="th"][poker card="5c"] flop got all three players to check. The [poker card="tc"] turn got Kniep to check, Stienman bet 255,000 and McKeehen folded. Kniep moved all in for 1,100,000 and Steinman called. Kniep showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] but got bad news when Steinman tabled [poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"] for trip tens. The river was the [poker card="jh"] and Kniep was sent to the rail. Five hands later, Steinman busted another one. Ping Liu moved all in from the button for 1,415,000 and Steinman called from the small blind. Liu showed [poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"] but found himself dominated when Steinman showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4h"] flop changed nothing and Liu could only watch as the [poker card="5s"] turnand [poker card="6h"] river sealed his fate. Despite having held the chip lead at multiple times during the final table, McKeehen couldn't carry that momentum to his first WPT title. McKeehen raised to 250,000 from the button, Larson called from the small blind and Steinman folded his big. After the [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4h"] flop, Larson fired 400,000 into the middle only to have McKeehen move all in for 1,320,000. Larson called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] for the nut flush draw while McKeehen tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. The two-time WSOP bracelet winner picked up extra outs on the [poker card="kc"] turn but was eliminated after the [poker card="4s"] river failed to connect. Heads-up play began with Steinman holding 8,500,000 million of the 13,100,000 million chips in play. Larson took the chip lead for the first time just five hands into heads-up play though and after 24 hands of play between the two, he finished Steinman off. Larson raised to 375,000 from the button before Steinman made it 1,100,000 to go. Larson called to see a [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"][poker card="6c"] flop. Steinman check-called Larson's bet of 400,000. The turn was the [poker card="ah"] and both players checked. The [poker card="qs"] river got Steinman to bet 500,000 and Larson responded by moving all in. Steinamn called off his last 1,000,0000 and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] but got the bad news as Larson tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="6d"] for a full house. Final Table Payouts David Larson – $295,128 Ian Steinman – $201,428 Joe McKeehen – $131,081 Ping Liu – $97,510 Rayo Kniep – $69,650 D.J. Alexander – $56,417
  22. When the final table of the inaugural World Poker Tour Bobby Baldwin Classic started Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas there was no shortage of star power or storylines. Darren Elias was going for his record fourth WPT title. Jonathan Little and Sam Panzica were attempting to become the sixth player with three titles. Dietrich Fast was hoping to etch his name onto the Champions Cup for the second time. Joe McKeehen was hoping to put an exclamation point on a WPT Player of the Year season. Kitty Kuo was hoping to become just the second woman to ever win an open WPT event. Elias rose above all of those to etch his name in the WPT history books yet again. Little's run at his first WPT title since 2008 ended just 13 hands after the final table began. Action folded to Little in the small blind and he completed the bet. Sam Panzica moved all in from the big blind and Little called. Panzica tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"] which put him behind Little's [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"] flop put Panzica ahead and all Little could do was watch as the [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river failed to help him out, eliminating him in sixth place. Despite picking up Little's stack, Panzica didn't stick around much longer. One hour later Panzica clashed with Elias and was unable to survive. Panzica raised to 35,000 from UTG and Elias made it 110,000 to go from UTG+1. Panzica moved all in for 385,000 and Elias called. Panzica turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"] and was racing against Elias' [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"] to send Panzica packing in fifth. It was another later when Kuo raised to 125,000 from the big blind after Fast limped his button and Elias defended his small blind. Fast called Kuo's bet and Elias got out of the way sending the two players to a [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] flop. Kuo moved all in for 980,0000 and Fast called all in. Kuo showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] while Fast had [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"]. The drama ended on the [poker card="qd"] turn as Kuo completed her flush and Fast was eliminated in fourth place as the [poker card="3h"] river completed the board. Ten hands later McKeehen, who needed a win in this event to pass Art Papazyan for WPT Player of the Year, found himself on the ugly side of variance and headed out the door. Elias raised to 45,000 from the button before McKeehen re-raised to 180,000 from the big blind. Elias responded by moving all in for 2,078,000 and McKeehen quickly called all in and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"]. Elias turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"] but got great news on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"] flop. The [poker card="5c"] turn left McKeehen with just two outs and the [poker card="8s"] river wasn't one of them, eliminating the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion in third. Elias started heads up play with a nearly 3-1 chip lead over Kuo but it took him 103 hands and just over three hours to put a cap on his fourth title. Down to just 7.5 big blinds, Kuo moved all in from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="5d"] and Elias called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. The board ran out [poker card="js"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Kuo and give Elias $387,580 and his fourth WPT title. Elias' previous WPT titles came at the Borgata Poker Open (2014), WPT Caribbean (2014), and the Fallsview Poker Classic (2017). Final Table Payouts Darren Elias - $387,580 Kitty Kuo - $248,380 Joe McKeehen - $178,610 Dietrich Fast - $130,895 Sam Panzica - $97,795 Jonathan Little - $74,520
  23. Busting out of a World Poker Tour event usually means a miserable end to one's poker trip. Aaron Mermelstein was having none of that. After busting in 53rd place in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown on Tuesday, Mermelstein jumped into the $25,000 High Roller event and the Pennsylvania poker player beat a final table that included the reigning GPI Player of the Year, a former WSOP Main Event champ and a WSOP Europe Main Event champ to pick up the second biggest score of his career. Ben Yu didn't come to the final table with the shortest stack, but with just six big blinds to work with, the three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner didn't have a lot of decisions to make. On the first hand of play, he moved all in for 295,000 with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] only to have James Calderaro called with [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] flop left Yu drawing to perfect-perfect running fours. The [poker card="qs"] turn gave him outs to a chop but the [poker card="jd"] river sealed his fate with a ninth place finish. Just a few minutes later, Brandon Adams ended up on the wrong side of an unavoidable preflop all in situation. Adams and Joe McKeehen got all the money in with Adams holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] and McKeehen well ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. The ace-high flop gave McKeehen top set and left Adams drawing dead through the turn and river on his way to an eighth place finish. The player who did start the final table with the shortest stack, Alan Schein, laddered up two spots inside of the first 10 minutes before finally busting. Calderaro raised to 110,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"] and Schein moved all in for 435,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. Calderaro called and then stayed ahead through the [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"] flop. The [poker card="kc"] turn was also safe but the [poker card="jd"] river give Calderaro a pair to win the pot and eliminate Schein in seventh. Niall Farrell raised to 100,000 from the button holding [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"] before Mermelstein moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"]. Farrell called all in and moved ahead on the [poker card="qd"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5s"] flop. The [poker card="7d"] turn gave Mermelstein a gutshot which the [poker card="6c"] river completed to give Farrell a sixth place result. McKeehen, who started the final table with the chip lead, got into a hand with Shannon Shorr that resulted in Shorr's departure. On a flop of [poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6d"], McKeehen bet 160,000 only to have Shorr check-raise all in for a little over 1,000,000. McKeehen called and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"] which put him ahead of Shorr's [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] holding. Shorr was unable to improve after the [poker card="as"] turn and [poker card="jh"] river and was out in fifth. The former WSOP Main Event champ wasn't done there. McKeehen raised to 150,000 from UTG with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] and Calderaro moved all in for 425,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"] and McKeehen called. The board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"] to send Shorr home with a fourth place finish. Unfortunately for McKeehen, the next hour wasn't as kind to him and he wound up busting in third. Mermelstein raised to 175,000 from the button, McKeehen moved all in from the small blind for 1,555,000. Foxen moved all in from the big blind and Mermelstein folded. McKeehen tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] and was in rough shape after Foxen turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="3c"][poker card="js"][poker card="5h"] wasn't good enough to save McKeehen from elimination. Heads up play started with Mermelstein holding 55% of the chips in play. Over the next hour, Mermelstein never surrendered the chip lead and eventually found a spot to pick off Foxen. From the button, Foxen raised to 350,000 and Mermelstein called. The flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"] and Mermelstein check-raised all in and Foxen called and then got bad news after Mermelstein turned over [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] for top set while Foxen showed [poker card="js"][poker card="td"] for top pair and a runner-runner straight draw. The [poker card="ac"] turn crushed any hope Foxen had, giving Mermelstein the title and a $618,955 payday. Final Table Payouts Aaron Mermelstein – $618,955 Alex Foxen – $545,000 Joe McKeehen – $305,665 James Calderaro – $210,295 Shannon Shorr – $136,935 Niall Farrell – $100,255 Alan Schein – $83,140 Brandon Adams – $70,915 Ben Yu – $68,470
  24.   Frankie O'Dell Wins Third Omaha Hi-Lo Bracelet Frankie O'Dell just might be the best Omaha Hi-Lo tournament player ever. On Sunday he beat out a final table that included Robert Mizrachi and Owais Ahmed to win his third bracelet in that variation and if you're still unsure about his place in the game, just ask him. "Well if you don't know, there's only one person who has three limit Omaha eight bracelets and you're talking to him," O'Dell said after his win. "So until someone passes me or catches me, I'm not going to say nothing. I'm just going to leave it right there." O'Dell's first bracelet came in 2003 when he outlasted 258 other players to win a $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Four years later he beat Thang Luu heads-up to win a $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event. He's also adept at other games. Last summer he finished second in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event and that performance has stuck with him since. "I thought about it the whole year. I came back this year and my mentality was to do better," O'Dell said. "I had an opportunity here today, I had chips, we had the best Omaha players in the world in this tournament and I ended up on top. So that was my motivation." Ahmed earned $443,641 for his win while Ahmed, who won his sole bracelet in a $1,500 Seven Card Stud/Omaha Hi-Lo event in 2011, earned $274,192 as the runner-up. Final Table Payouts Frankie O'Dell - $443,641 Owais Ahmed - $274,192 Robert Mizrachi- $194,850 Nick Guagenti - $140,522 Robert Campbell - $102,868 Jake Schwartz - $76,456 David Benyamine - $57,709 Edmond Vartughian - $44,245 Shaun Deeb - $34,467 Joe McKeehen Amongst Millionaire Maker Day 2 Leaders Joe McKeehen is mostly known for winning the 2015 WSOP Main Event, but it's impossible to ignore the success he's had at the WSOP in massive No Limit Hold'em fields. In 2014, he finished runner-up out of 7,862 entries in the $1,500 Monster Stack. In 2017, he managed to outlast all but 25 other players in the 6,716-player $1,500 Monster Stack. Last summer, he finished third out of 7,361 players in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker. Now he's in position to do it again. McKeehen finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Millionaire Maker with the fourth largest stack. The day started with 2,263 players all hoping for a seven-figure score but just 309 players made it through Day 2. Samuel Cosby leads the way with 3,023,000 while McKeehen bagged up 2,416,000. Former #1-ranked Joao Simao finished in the top 10 with 1,891,000. Other notables moving on to Day 2 include Calvin Anderson, Steven van Zadelhoff, Scott Clements, Shawn Buchanan, Ramon Colillas, Olivier Busquet, JC Tran, Chris Hunichen, and Daniel Strelitz. There were 941 players who started the day with the chips, but failed to make it past the money bubble. Vitaly Lunkin, Jim McManus, Phil Hellmuth, Faraz Jaka, Elio Fox, Eric Baldwin, Bryan Piccioli, Adrian Mateos, and Dzmitry Urbanovich were among the players who did manage to sneak into the money but not survive the day. Action resumes Monday at Noon. Top 10 Chip Counts Samuel Cosby - 3,023,000 Unknown Player - 2,521,000 Nathan Russler - 2,443,000 Joe McKeehen - 2,416,000 Renato Kaneoya - 2,351,000 Ryan Leng - 2,277,000 Vincas Tamasauskas - 2,265,000 Ricky Welch - 1,920,000 Joao Simao - 1,891,000 Joshua Reichard - 1,854,000 Eli Elezra Leads $1,500 Seven Card Stud Final Table Sunday's action in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event started with just 10 players left and finished after three hours of play with six players. Action was stopped with six players left to accommodate streaming of the final table on CBS All Access/PokerGO. Eli Elezra started the day in the middle of the pack, but made the most of those three hours and finished with the chip lead. Elezra ended with 1,221,000 which puts him just 2,000 ahead of Anthony Zinno. He bagged up 1,219,000. Those two are comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Valentin Vornicu is third with 262,000 and the three remaining players all have 61,000 or less. Rodney Pardey Jr., Tim Frazin, Scott Seiver, and Joshua Mountain were the players eliminated on Sunday. The final six players resume play at Noon PT and will be streamed on CBS All Access/PokerGO at 1 PM PT. Final Table Chip Counts Eli Elezra - 1,221,000 Anthony Zinno - 1,219,000 Valentin Vornicu - 262,000 Rep Porter - 61,000 Tab Thiptinnakon - 60,000 David Singer - 30,000 Jean-Robert Bellande On Top of $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Final Table To the surprise of nobody, the final table of the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship is a star-studded group. Jean-Robert Bellande ended Day 2 action with 1,231,000 and the chip lead. For Bellande to pick up the second bracelet of his career, he'll need to outwit, outsmart, and outplay Prahlad Friedman, Paul Volpe, Darren Elias, Jim Bechtel, Day 1 chip leader Pedro Bromfman, and Vincent Musso. Friedman was the only other player to end Day 2 with a seven-figure stack. The former online prodigy finished with 1,019,000. Right behind him is former #1-ranked Paul Volpe with 938,000. Elias, who has a third and ninth place finish in this event on his resume, sits fourth with 887,000. There were 29 Day 1 survivors who were joined before registration closed at the start of Day 2 by Mike Watson, Per Hildebrand, Jake Schwartz, Kane Kalas, Chris Klodnicki, Matt Glantz, and Dan Smith. The remaining seven players are now being forced to take a day off before returning to play on Tuesday. The day off is to allow for the event to be streamed on PokerGO. Final Table Chip Counts Jean-Robert Bellande - 1,231,000 Prahlad Friedman - 1,019,000 Paul Volpe - 938,000 Darren Elias - 887,000 Jim Bechtel - 665,000 Pedro Bromfman - 395,000 Vincent Musso - 360,000 Massive Fields Continue: $1,000 Double Stack Event Draws 3,253 First, there was the Big 50, then the $600 Deepstack, and the Millionaire Maker. Huge fields in some of the more recreational player-focused events are becoming the norm at the 2019 WSOP. The $1,000 Double Stack event started Sunday and 3,253 players packed the tables to the max with just 430 of them making their way through 20 levels of play and onto Day 2. Bulgaria's Ivan Uzunov bagged up the Day 1 chip lead after amassing 1,912,000 in chips. Only five other players ended the day with a million chips in the bag. Israel's Timur Margolin is the closest challenger to Uzunov, finishing with 1,333,000. Some of the notable names moving on to Day 2 include WPT Player of the Year Erkut Yilmaz, Adam Levy, British boxer Audley Harrison, Blair Hinkle, Jennifer Tilly, Maria Ho, Maria Konnikova, and Dan Ott. Day 2 begins at Noon and is scheduled to play down to a champion. Top 10 Chip Counts Ivan Uzunov - 1,912,000 Timur Margolin - 1,333,000 Jose Carlos Brito - 1,147,000 Sridhar Natarajan - 1,096,000 Jorden Fox - 1,075,000 Christopher Andler - 1,062,000 Eugenio Pernia - 901,000 Sven Reichardt - 852,000 Philip Wang - 830,000 Zachary Donovan - 824,000 Michael Mizrachi Bags Top 5 Stack in $1,500 Eight Game Mix A year after drawing 481 players, the $1,500 Eight Game event saw a huge uptick in attendance with 612 players sitting down to play the mix game event. Aleksandr Gofman finished with 95,800 to top the 225 players who managed to move on to Day 2. Mihails Morozovs sits second with 77,100 and Michael Mizrachi is right behind him in third with 74,500. John Cernuto, Matt Glantz, and WPT Aria Summer Poker Championship winner Matthew Wantman all finished with top 10 stacks. Other notables who are moving on to Day 2 include Andrey Zaichenko, Ian O'Hara, Jen Harman, Matt Grapenthien, Patrick Leonard, Dan Smith, Mike Sexton, and David 'ODB' Baker. Top 10 Chip Counts Aleksandr Gofman - 95,800 Mihails Morozovs - 77,100 Michael Mizrachi - 74,500 John Cernuto - 74,000 Keeth Beharrell - 73,500 Ashish Gupta - 72,600 Matt Glantz - 66,300 Isaac Crow - 63,900 Ben Ponzio - 62,600 Matthew Wantman - 60,400 'loofa ' Wins $600 Online Pot Limit Omaha Championship It took 13 hours, but 'loofa' wasn't complaining as he beat out 1,215 other players to win the $600 Online PLO Championship early Monday morning. The win came with a WSOP bracelet and $139,470.33. Runner-up 'TheBigGift' earned $85,560.10. Phil Galfond, who had the chip lead with five left, finished fifth for $29,680.12. This is the second online event of the 2019 WSOP. Yong 'LuckySpewy1' Kwon won the $400 No Limit Hold'em event in the opening week. Final Table Payouts loofa - $139,470.33 TheBigGift - $85,560.19 jebronlames1 - $59,163.26 bathroomline - $41,565.31 Phil 'heyguys' Galfond - $29,680.12 babycow - $21,537.79 FlushStr8ted - $15,956.35 Tane. - $12,016.51 Daval_17 - $9,192.96
  25. There’s a reason that summer in Las Vegas is often called ‘poker player summer camp’ and it’s not just because the World Series of Poker is going on. During the summer bracelet chasing takes center stage in Sin City but over the past decade, many other Las Vegas poker rooms have battled with the WSOP for the hearts and minds of the poker playing public by consistently scheduling competing summer series that offer players excellent value through great structures and big guarantees. Here's a quick look around the city at some of those non-WSOP tournaments keeping poker players in action. ARIA Poker Classic and High Roller Series There are basically two tournament series happening at the same time inside the ARIA. The first is for the everyday player. It's filled with buy-ins right around the $400 and $240 buy-in level, The ARIA Poker Classic. The second is home to the high rollers - small fields, high buy-in, and elite competition - The ARIA Summer High Roller Series. Even though the Rio has offered some big buy-in tournaments early in the WSOP schedule, many of the biggest names in the game have been spending more time in the ARIA this summer simply because it’s where the biggest games are. Before he was embroiled in controversy for folding out of order at the WSOP, Sam Soverel bested the 23 player field in Aria High Roller 11 on May 30 for a $235,880 payday. He was joined in the money by David Peters (runner-up, $189.620), Jake Schindler (3rd, $92,000) and Poker Central founder Cary Katz (4th, $57,500). Australia’s Michael Addamo won the $10,000 buy-in ARIA High Roller 12 on June 4 for $136,000, defeating Germany’s Manig Loeser heads up. Loeser finished in second place taking home $88,400 for his efforts while fellow countryman Rainer Kempe finished in third for $54,400. Spain’s Juan Dominguez is having a nice start to his summer as he went back-to-back at the ARIA. First, he topped the 45 player field of the $10,000 ARIA High Roller 13 for $153,000 and the very next day he won the $10,000 ARIA High Roller 14 for another $126,682. Ben Yu was the official runner-up, taking home $125,318 while the familiar faces of Jake Schindler (3rd, $67,500), Manig Loeser (4th, $45,000) and Ali Imsirovic (5th, $36,000) also made final table appearances. The 2019 Wynn Poker Classic One of the nicer properties on the Las Vegas strip, the Wynn/Encore hosts the Wynn Poker Classic and through the first week and a half, players have been turning up en masse to play in their daily offerings. The Wynn has been offering multiple $1K+ buy-in tournaments and some well-known names have been showing up for them. On June 3, 484 runners showed up for the $1,100 in which the UK’s Louis Salter took home the $98.452 first-place prize and defeated a final table that included Connor Drinan (runner-up, $64,295) and Lily Kiletto (7th, $13,907). The next day 432 players jumped into the $1,600 buy-in which saw Florida’s Evan Teitelbaum hold off one-time WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen to take down the $138,209 first place prize. McKeehen settled for $89,018 as the runner-up. Other notable final table players included Mark Radoja (5th, $31,068) as well as Entourage and Ballers music supervisor Scott Vener (9th, $12,468). Keven Stammen bested the 618 runners of the $550 daily on June 6 for a $50,940 payday while Justin Liberto defeated Germany’s Bart Lybaert on June 8 to win a $1,100 tournament for $94,659. Lybaert’s $61,412 runner-up prize helped push him to over $3M in career earnings. The DeepStack Championship Poker Series at The Venetian The Venetian continues to provide large field tournaments for players looking for action outside the Rio. They have a partnership with the Mid-States Poker Tour for some of their larger events but also provide daily tournaments for players looking for buy-ins under $1,600. Although the Deepstack Series starts in the middle of May, the $1,100 ‘Summer Kickoff ‘ Event from May 27-29 brought out 518 runners where World Poker Tour Champion Brian Altman took home the $90,905 first-place prize. He defeated Robert Kuhn who ended up with $84,390 as the runner-up. The final table included popular Twitch Poker streamer Ricky ‘RatedGTO’ Guan who finished in fourth for $36,364, a top-3 score for his young career. Pot Limit Omaha cash game grinder Sasha Liu outlasted the 144 runners in the $800 Pot Limit Omaha 8-Max Bounty to take down the $20,161 first-place prize. Canadian Kevin Barton fell in second place for a $11,995 payday.

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