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  1. The World Poker Tour will close out 2018 action with the prestigious WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The tournament, held at the iconic Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be the eighth WPT Main Tour stop of Season XVII. It’s an event that comes with a $10,400 buy-in and has been a part of the World Poker Tour schedule since the very first season. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,400 Main Event kicks off Tuesday, December 11, 2018, and runs through Saturday, December 15. The format calls for 40,000 in starting chips, big blind ante, registration until the start of the 12th level, and unlimited reentry until the close of registration. Levels will be 60 minutes long on Day 1 and 90 minutes long on Day 2, 3, and 4. The final table will be played with 60-minute levels until heads-up play. The full tournament festival begins Thursday, November 29. Rich Prizes, Storied History, and Legendary Champions The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic was the very first event on the World Poker Tour, held all the way back in 2002 when the WPT got its start. In that inaugural event, 146 players ponied up the $10,000. The one and only Gus Hansen emerged victorious to claim the $556,460 top prize and his first of three WPT titles. In Season III, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic had a $15,300 buy-in and an incredible first-place prize of more than $1.77 million. Winner the event was none other than Daniel Negreanu after he defeated the popular Humberto Brenes in heads-up play. Season V of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic attracted 583 entries and awarded a first prize of more than $2.2 million. Walking away with the title was Joe Hachem, who had just won the World Series of Poker Main Event one year prior. With the WPT Five Diamond victory, Hachem became the fourth player in poker history to own both WSOP Main Event and WPT titles, alongside Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen, and Carlos Mortensen. More stars of the game captured WPT Five Diamond titles in Season VI, Season VII, and Season VIII of the World Poker Tour. First, it was Eugene Katchalov winning in Season VI for $2.482 million. In Season VII, Chino Rheem took the title and $1.538 million. For Rheem, it was his first of three WPT titles. In Season VIII, Daniel Alaei scored first place for $1.428 million. As if the likes of Hansen, Negreanu, Hachem, Katchalov, Rheem, and Alaei weren’t enough, Antonio Esfandiari earned his second WPT title when he won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Season IX for $870,124. Esfandiari returned to the final table the following season and earned a sixth-place finish worth $119,418. Then in Season XI, Esfandiari was back at the final table, taking fourth for $329,339. To date, Esfandiari has cashed six times in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio, earning more than $1.4 million in total from the event through its first 16 editions. Dan Smith earned the WPT Five Diamond title for $1.161 million in Season XII. Then in Season XIII and Season XIV, both Mohsin Charania and Kevin Eyster won WPT Five Diamond for their second World Poker Tour titles. Charania won for $1.177 million, and Eyster won for $1.587 million. Record-Breaking Turnouts and Tosoc’s Back-To-Back Success In Season XV, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic drew a mammoth field of 791 entries, setting a new record for the WPT Five Diamond tournament and tying the all-time record for a $10,000 buy-in event in WPT history. That tournament created an enormous prize pool of more than $7.67 million and saw the top two places walk away with seven-figures scores - first place earned $1.938 million and second place won $1.124 million. James Romero defeated Ryan Tosoc in heads-up play to win the event. The following season, an even larger field turned out for the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, with 812 entries setting new records for the largest turnout in the WPT Five Diamond event and a $10,000 buy-in WPT event. Nearly $7.9 million was up for grabs, and once again the top two places earned seven figures - first place took home $1.958 million and second place earned $1.134 million. In a jaw-dropping back-to-back run, Tosoc, who placed second the year before for $1.124 million, won the event for $1.1958 million. From the two-season WPT Five Diamond run, Tosoc earned $3.082 million in total prize money. Big Buy-In Events Galore In addition to the $10,400 Main Event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule features several big buy-in tournaments. Included in the Season XVII schedule are seven other events with buy-ins of $10,000 or more. They are, as follows. - Wednesday, December 5, at 2 p.m.: $10,000 buy-in Bellagio 10K PLO 02 - Thursday, December 6, at 2 p.m.: $10,000 buy-in Bellagio 10K PLO 03 - Friday, December 7, at 2 p.m.: $15,000 buy-in Bellagio 15K 8-Game 01 - Saturday, December 8, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 01 - Monday, December 10, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 02 - Friday, December 14, at 2 p.m.: $25,000 buy-in Bellagio 25K 03 - Saturday, December 15, at 2 p.m.: $100,000 buy-in Bellagio 100K 01 There are also two $5,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments on the schedule. The first starts on Sunday, December 9, at 1 p.m., and the second starts on Thursday, December 13, at 1 p.m. *Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
  2. The 2019 U.S. Poker Open got underway on Wednesday with 90 players flocking to the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to take part in Event #1: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em. Even though it’s a brand new year and a brand new series, at least one thing remains the same: Stephen Chidwick plans on dominating at the USPO. Chidwick, the defending USPO champion bested a stacked final table, which included regular high roller Sean Winter and former November Niner Joseph Cheong. Chidwick eliminated four of his final five opponents in under three and half hours, earning $216,000 for his efforts. Final Table Results 1. Stephen Chidwick - $216,000 2. Sean Winter - $157,500 3. Joseph Cheong - $112,500 4. Joseph Cappello - $90,000 5. Lazaro Hernandez - $72,000 6. Joseph Orsino - $54,000 About an hour into the final table, the first player hit the rail when Joseph Orsino clashed with Cheong. Cheong raised from the cutoff holding the [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"] and Orsino made the call from the big blind with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="tc"]. The flop of [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"][poker card="ts"] almost guaranteed action as both players flopped two pair. Orsino checked his bottom two pair over to Cheong. Cheong fired a bet and Orsino promptly check-raised. With the action back to Cheong, he moved all in and Orsino, who was covered, made the call with his tournament life on the line. The turn was the [poker card="7c"] and the river was the [poker card="9s"], ending Orsino’s USPO run in sixth place for $54,000. Lazaro Hernandez was the next player to fall. After losing a big hand to Chidwick, where Chidwick flopped a straight and doubled through him, Hernandez was crippled to under 10 big blinds. Holding the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] on the button, Hernandez pushed all in and was called by Chidwick in the small blind with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"]. Dominated, Hernandez was going to need some help to survive but the [poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"][poker card="6h"] provided very little. The turn was the [poker card="qh"], leaving Hernandez looking for one of the remaining tens. The river was the [poker card="3c"] to give the hand to Chidwick and send Hernandez home in fifth place for $72,000. Joseph Cappello and Cheong played a big pot where Capello’s pocket sevens flipped against Cheong’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. Cheong flopped two pair and held in the hand, sending Cappello to the bottom of the chip counts. Ten minutes later, he found a hand to move his final three big blinds in with. From the button, Cappello shipped it in with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="2h"] and, once again, Chidwick was there in the small blind, making a call with the dominating hand of the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"]. Although many boards might facilitate a chop, the [poker card="6h"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"] flop put Chidwick way ahead. The [poker card="8c"] turn gave Cappello flush outs, but the [poker card="kh"] river was no help. Cappello hit the rail in fourth place for $90,000, helping him to more than $2.4 million in lifetime earnings. After that elimination, the tournament sped to a conclusion with Chidwick continuing his dominance and taking out his final two dangerous opponents in short order. First, it was Cheong. Chidwick opened from the button with the [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and Cheong three-bet shipped all in with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="2h"]. Chidwick made the call, again dominating his opponent. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"][poker card="6c"], the [poker card="3c"] turn took away any chance of running hearts for Cheong, and the [poker card="5c"] river ended Cheong’s tournament in third place. He collected $112,500 for his seventh recorded cash of 2019. Finally, Sean Winter and Chidwick, a pair of regulars on the high-roller circuit, got down to the business of playing heads-up. It was not a long battle, however, as the pair got all the chips in the middle in short order. Chidwick limped holding the [poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"] and Winter put in a raise with the [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"]. Chidwick made the call and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="9s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="ks"]. Winter continued and Chidwick, with a gutshot straight draw, made the call. Then the [poker card="8s"] hit the turn. Winter bet his new set, Chidwick, with the chip lead, shipped over the top with his made straight. Winter made the call but needed the board to pair in order to continue the tournament. The [poker card="3h"] river did not improve Winter’s hand and he finished the event in second place, taking home $157,500 for his efforts. Stephen Chidwick, the reigning, defending USPO Champion, took down Event #1 for $216,000. It was his third career USPO tournament title and, with the win, he took the early lead in the race to repeat as USPO champion and take home the additional $100,000 prize. USPO Top 10 After Event #1 PLAYER CASHES PRIZE MONEY POINTS 1. Stephen Chidwick 1 $216,000 200 2. Sean Winter 1 $157,000 140 3. Joseph Cheong 1 $112,500 100 4. Joseph Cappello 1 $90,000 80 5. Lazaro Hernandez 1 $72,000 60 6. Joseph Orsino 1 $54,000 40 7. Jerry Robinson 1 $45,000 40 8. Maxx Coleman 1 $36,000 40 9. Jake Schindler 1 $27,000 40 10. Bryn Kenney 1 $27,000 40 The final table for Event #2: $10,000 PLO will take place on Friday. USPO Streaming Schedule On PokerGO DATE EVENT TIME (ET) 02/14/19 Event #1: #10,000 No-Limit Hold'em 5 p.m. 02/15/19 Event #2: #10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 5 p.m. 02/16/19 Event #3: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em 5 p.m. 02/17/19 Event #4: $10,000 Short Deck 5 p.m. 02/18/19 Event #5: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em 5 p.m. 02/19/19 Event #6: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 5 p.m. 02/20/19 Event #7: $25,000 No Limit Hold'em 5 p.m. 02/21/19 Event #8: $25,000 8-Game 5 p.m. 02/21/19 Event #9: $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em Early 8 p.m. 02/22/19 Event #9: $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em Final 5 p.m. 02/22/19 Event #10: $100,000 No-Limit Hold'em Early 7:30 p.m. 02/23/19 Event #10: $100,000 No-Limit Hold'em Final 5 p.m. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
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