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Found 6 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Art Papazyan claimed victory in his second WPT event of Season XVI by winning WPT Maryland. (Joe Giron/WPT photo)[/caption] Art Papazyan came out of relatively nowhere to win the WPT Legends of Poker event to start Season XVI and claim the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. Papazyan traveled to Maryland to play the WPT event at Live! Casino in an effort to chase points and is now a two-time WPT champion as a result. After a tough final table that saw Papazyan go up and down on his way to victory, he emerged victorious with his second WPT win in as many attempts. Timothy Chang was the first player eliminated with start of final table chip leader Tom Reynolds getting lucky to send him out. On Hand #15 of final table play, Chang was all in for 1,445,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"] against the [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4c"] flop was good for Chang as was the [poker card="7d"] turn but the [poker card="9s"] river gave Reynolds a full house to eliminate Chang. On Hand #71, Papazyan doubled up through Grigoriy Shvarts to pick up some much-needed chips. Shvarts raised to 210,000 and Papazyan defended his big blind. Papazyan check-called for 260,000 on the [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"][poker card="8d"] flop and Shvarts bet 500,000 on the [poker card="2s"] turn. Papazyan shoved for 1,240,000 and Shvarts called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="tc"]. Papazyan flopped two pair [poker card="jc"][poker card="8s"] and faded the river to double. Shvarts was left with under 10 big blinds and was eliminated in Hand #77 by Papazyan when his [poker card="as"][poker card="5s"] lost to Papazyan’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"] as a six hit the river. Papazyan took the lead for good a few hands later when he eliminated former WSOP bracelet winner Randal Heeb in fourth place. Zachary Donovan opened to 180,000 under the gun and Papazyan made it 600,000 in the small blind. Heeb four-bet to 1,500,000 in the big blind and only Papazyan called to the [poker card="qh"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"] flop. Papazyan checked and Heeb shoved for slightly over 3,000,000. Papazyan called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] and led the [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"] of Heeb. The last two cards bricked and Papazyan owned over half the chips in play heading into three-handed play. Donovan picked up some steam heading into heads up play by eliminating Reynolds. Donovan limped the button and Reynolds raised to 225,000. Donovan called and the flop came down [poker card="9d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3c"]. Reynolds bet 400,000 and Donovan called to the [poker card="5h"] turn. Reynolds shoved for 2,090,000 and Donovan called with [poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"]. His pair led the [poker card="as"][poker card="td"] of Reynolds and the [poker card="6c"] sent out the 2017 bracelet winner in third place. Papazyan held the chip lead for all of heads up play and on the 56th hand, finished off Donovan to claim victory. With the blinds at 75,000/150,000, Donovan shoved for 2,925,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4s"] and Papazyan woke up with [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="jc"] board was good for Papazyan and he claimed victory. Papazyan earns $15,000 additional for winning the event having already locked up a seat for the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. In only his second ever World Poker Tour event, the 25-year-old Papazyan earns a special place in poker history. Final Table Payouts Art Papazyan - $389,405 Zachary Donovan - $262,930 Tom Reynolds - $168,900 Randal Heeb - $120,165 Grigoriy Shvarts - $92,015 Timothy Chang - $76,620
  2. [caption width="640"] JC Tran might have been focusing on family the last few years, but he's still got the chops to play (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] There once was a time where JC Tran one of the most feared players at every World Poker Tour stop. And he was at every WPT stop. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Atlantic City to Mashantucket, if there was a WPT event going on, Tran was there, usually building stacks on his way to a deep run. Between 2004 and 2007, Tran made five official WPT final tables, winning once and finishing runner-up once. He also narrowly missed out on three other final tables, posting seventh place finishes three times. In 2007 he was named WPT Player of the Year and he sits sixth on the tour’s all-time money list. These days? Tran’s more interested in free kicks and ground balls than combo draws and bluff catchers. He didn’t pivot to daily fantasy sports during the boom like some poker players did and he’s not running some sports betting syndicate out of his home just outside of Sacramento, California. “My week is usually soccer practice, soccer games, baseball practice, baseball games, getting the kids to school,” said Tran, who has two kids, a six year old and a three year old. “Believe it or not, I’d rather be out watching my kids play soccer than sweating my friend at a final table. It’s awesome. I’m that dad out there that’s screaming for my kids, “go go go”. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything.” When Tran got married in 2009, he knew that becoming a parent was the next logical step and that would mean playing far less poker and traveling much less. “Before we had kids, I’d go on the tour and see a lot of dads out from stop to stop to stop. I did it because I didn’t have any kids,” said Tran. “I’m okay with that, but I see a lot of father’s doing it and I’d scratch my head, ‘when do you spend time with your kids?’ and I told my wife that if we’re ever going to have kids, this is not going to happen. Poker will always be a thing for me, but I’m not going to do it on full time.” He now limits himself to events on the West Coast so that he can get back home quickly and spend more time being a father. He still plays a lot of the World Series of Poker schedule each year, but he’s managed to make that a family-friendly event. “Vegas we always rent a house, bring the family out and keep us together for a little bit out there. As far as travelling, I try to stay mostly on the West Coast. From LA or Vegas. Anything that has a connecting flight, no thank you,” said Tran. “ I love to see my kids grow up. It’s sad when you see a lot of these “poker dads”, that are out there and they blink and they’re kids are a year or two older.” This past five days he’s been in Los Angeles playing the WPT Legends of Poker event and it’s clear he hasn’t lost a step at all. Tran carried the overnight chip lead into Day 3 on Wednesday and credits his experience in playing live poker. While a number of the world’s best players have begun utilizing a game theory optimal approach to the game, Tran plans on sticking to what’s always worked for him. “I’m a live poker player, that’s what I’ve been doing for over ten years. So I stick to my live reads and my feelse,” said Tran. “It’s hard to play GTO when there’s an amateur opening for 6X or a guy that’s overbetting pot. How do you adjust to that? For live players with the live feels, you can make big laydowns or big calls that doesn’t happen with math involved.”
  3. [caption width="640"] Jordan Cristos has a reputation for taking his time with every decision but he doesn't hate the shot clock conept any more (WPT photo)[/caption] That was WPT Champions Club member Jordan Cristos on the day that the World Poker Tour announced all of their events would feature the Action Clock after reaching the money. The clock gives players 30 seconds to act when it's their turn. The clock debuted at Choctaw in early August and it appears Cristos, easily the most vocal opponent of clock, has pulled a 180 and completely changed his tune after having played with it. “I actually liked it. Surprisingly, I liked it a lot. It was really nice to be at peace for the full 30 seconds, nobody complaining,” said Cristos, who has a reputation for taking his time on every decision. “Normally I take 5-10 seconds, most people who get mad at me, get mad in that time frame. So it was nice to just to have everyone calmly allow me to do my thing for however long it took.” Cristos eventually busted the Choctaw event in 20th place and now says he believes there is some value in having the clock in play - even if it may have cost him some equity. “I thought it was cool. There was definitely some drawbacks to it for me. I didn’t play as many hands to the best of my ability as I could have, but it kept me out of trouble in other spots. So maybe it was good,” said Cristo. “I think it’s a blessing in disguise, for me personally, and for poker.” The hand that eliminated Cristos from the Choctaw event saw him and his opponent use a combined six time extensions. Cristos had [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] and Josh Kay had [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] and the board showed [poker card="js"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="7h"]. Cristos used one 30-second extension before moving all in for 1,125,000. Kay then threw all five of his 30-second extensions forward to give himself as much time as possible with his decision. He eventually called and was rewarded with the [poker card="kd"] on the river. Had the clock not been in play, Cristos thinks Kay could have found a fold. “We have a lot of history so there’s still a chance that he does call. I feel like Josh has seen enough from me in the past to know. Most other people would fold. I’m so polarized there to either a hand that does have him and a ton of combo draws,” said Cristos. “I support his call, I don’t mind it at all. I just had the blade. I had one of the hands he doesn’t see coming. I think if he had 12 minutes he could fold there, but I still think he’s going to put it in there a decent amount.” With a reputation for being slow, and having been a vocal opponent of the concept of any kind of clock, Cristos knows he’s turned himself into the villain in the argument and he’s okay with that. “I can’t blame them because I completely understand their frustrations. I just think I’m part of the minority, I’m outnumbered. I can never win the fight,” said Cristos. ”I respect their opinion and understand it and I understand I’ve gotten on a lot of people’s nerves over the years. It is what it is. I’m happy that (the clock) is here, it’s cool; I think it’s great.”
  4. [caption width="640"] Art Papazyan won the 2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Thursday night at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] The final table of the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Thursday night in Los Angeles was a star-studded affair highlighted by Phil Hellmuth chasing his first WPT title. In the end though it was local cash game pro Art Papazyan who emerged victorious, beating Hellmuth heads up to capture his first WPT title and $668,692. Joining Hellmuth at the final table were two two-time WPT champions J.C Tran and Marvin Rettenmaier. Hellmuth started the six-handed TV final table third in chips and it took just eight hands for him to get some momentum going. He raised to 200,000 from the cutoff, Adam Swan moved all in from the small blind for 1,280,000 and Hellmuth called instantly. Swan showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"] and Hellmuth tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="js"][poker card="3h"] flop kept Hellmuth in front and neither the [poker card="6d"] turn or [poker card="4h"] were any help for Swan and he was out in sixth. Just 30 minutes later, one of the two-time WPT champions at the final table was eliminated. Rettenmaier moved all in from the button for 895,000 and both Art Papazyan and JC Tran defended their blinds. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3c"], Papazyan checked, Tran bet 650,000 and Papazyan folded. Rettenmaier turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="tc"] and Tran showed [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] for top set. Rettenmaier could only collect his things after the [poker card="jd"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river failed to keep him alive. The first two eliminations came within the first hour, but the remaining four players wanted no part of continuing the fast bustout trend. It took nearly six hours before another player hit the rail. Hellmuth limped from the button, DJ Alexander called from the small blind before Papazyan shoved from the big blind. Hellmuth folded and Alexander called. Papazyan turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"] and Alexander showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="td"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6c"] flop made a chopped pot an unlikely scenario and left Alexander drawing to running diamonds, deuces or ten-eight. The [poker card="jh"] turn ended all drama and Alexander was eliminated in fourth place. The meaningless river was the [poker card="9c"]. One hour later the other two-time champion at the table saw his run end early. JC Tran came into the day with the chip lead but after surrendering it to Papazyan, found himself shaking hands on his way out the door a few hands later. Tran moved all in from the button for his last 3,000,000, Hellmuth called from the small blind and Papazyan folded the big. Tran showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] and found himself ahead of Hellmuth’s [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"] flop put Hellmuth ahead, but gave Tran a Broadway draw to go with his ace. The turn was the [poker card="4h"] to take away two of Tran’s outs. The [poker card="2d"] river was a complete blank and Tran was eliminated in third place. The two players were nearly dead-even in chips when heads up play began. Papazyan had just two more big blinds than Hellmuth but that didn’t make for a long battle between the two. It took just 13 hands for Papazyan, who makes his living playing high stakes cash games in the L.A. area, to finish Hellmuth off. On the final hand, facing a 3.5-1 chip deficit, Hellmuth opened to 600,000 and then called when Papazyan moved all in. Hellmuth found himself in great shape with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] against Papazyan’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="th"][poker card="8c"] flop changed everything though as Papazyan moved ahead with a pair of queens. The [poker card="5h"] turn gave Hellmuth a flush draw to go with his straight draw and ace. The river though was the [poker card="3s"] and Hellmuth simply stared at the board for a minute, realizing he was out in second place and denied his first WPT title. Papazyan’s win earned him $668,692 and his first WPT title. Final Table Payouts Art Papazyan - $668,692 Phil Hellmuth - $364,370 J.C. Tran - $217,040 D.J. Alexander - $161,490 Marvin Rettenmaier - $120,775 Adam Swan - $91,825
  5. [caption width="640"] Scott Stewart on Day 1C of the 2017 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event[/caption] Just six weeks ago, Scott Stewart was at the center of the poker universe, playing Day 7 of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Now he’s one of 300+ players packed into a ballroom at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles on Day 1C of theWorld Poker Tour Legends of Poker. It’s a stark contrast that isn’t lost on the five-time WSOP Circuit ring winner. “This table hasn’t been the most fun, but it’s starting to lighten up,” said Stewart, who lives just 15 minutes away in Long Beach. “This is the first time I’ve ever played this WPT specifically, I seem to always have something going on, even last year I was excited to play it and I got so sick I couldn’t get out of bed.” Stewart eventually busted the WSOP Main Event in 13th place for a career-best $535,000 score. Looking back on the whole experience, Stewart just remembers the fun he had getting that deep. “I remember most the final three tables, that was when things were really starting to pick up. My dad and my sister flew out, some of my friends came and I just had a blast,” said Stewart. “Adrenaline took over, because I was fatigued, it was true, but it wasn’t affecting my cards or anything.” Even with life-changing money on the line, Stewart says the fun came from the other players not taking the moment too seriously. Or maybe it was the beer. Or some combination of those two things. “Nobody was too serious yet, even the last couple of levels of Day 5. We all ended up drinking beer, having fun,” said Stewart. “I always had a good time at my tables, it was never the serious tables, even going down from 27 to 18, everyone was playful.” Playing the final two tables of the Main Event is something every poker player dreams of having the opportunity to do. Falling just four spots short of the final table though is the inverse nightmare. With some time to review everything that happened, Stewart does have some things he wish he could do over. “There is one hand where I do regret bluffing off a bunch of my chips. I made a big call with A-4 and then I moved tables and the first hand I played, I bluffed off a bunch. I went back to 3 million instead of 12 million, so that was maybe the only regret,” said Stewart. Thanks to a combination of his fun approach to the game and his USA headband he wore on the ESPN broadcasts, Stewart became a bit of a fan favorite and he knows when the hour-long episodes begin airing on ESPN in the coming weeks, people are going to be reminded of exactly how much fun he was. “When the coverage comes out, I played some funky hands, a couple were kind of crazy, I don’t regret that, that’s kind of how I play - I try to acquire a lot (of chips),” said Stewart. “I don’t think I’ve had more fun in a tournament that you always a hundred big blinds plus. I got a little creative and then I got caught a couple of times.” After the WSOP Main Event wrapped up, Stewart found himself headed to Cherokee, North Carolina for the WSOP Circuit Global Casino Championship. “The top 50 (Circuit) players make it and was 49th, so I just got in there,” said Stewart, who failed to cash in that event. He did play to $365 buy-in ring events while he was there and picked up a couple of smaller cashes before taking down the $2,200 High Roller event for $63,399 and his fifth ring. The ring events weren’t the only thing that made Cherokee an appealing stop for him though. “I have a lot of friends that go out to that, that I’ve made over the years and it seems like, everyone that makes that tournament. A couple of people that I travel with, we all go out there and it all turns into one big fun part,” said Stewart, who found some extra-curricular activites to do when he wasn’t at the tabels. “We did tubing out there, the pool at Cherokee is really nice, we had some activities from somebody who lives up in Asheville, went to a couple of breweries, did a lot of fun stuff.”
  6. [caption width="640"] William Kassouf is in Los Angeles for the first time, playing the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker event (WPT photo)[/caption] Eighteen months ago William Kassouf was still some random, relatively unknown British poker player who’d gotten a bit of poker fame after a hand with Vanessa Selbst. Now though, the 35 year old is a poker celebrity, playing on Poker After Dark and posing for selfies with international rock stars that wanted HIS photo. “This is how I seem to roll these days. Straight from London to Vegas, as you do, to play the Poker After Dark, $25,000 buy-in with the likes of Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, David Williams and couple of other heroes. It was a good lineup, fun table,” said Kassouf. Kassouf was part of the lineup for PAD’s ‘Voices Carry’ week that featured other loud and brash poker players. Kassouf of course rose to this level of poker celebrity during the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. Kassouf’s “speech play” drew the ire of other players and earned him warnings and penalties on his way to a 17th place finish. “From two years ago to now, it’s been phenomenal. Since last year’s Main Event coverage, people talked about (my) 15 minutes of fame, ‘Oh it won’t last, we’re not going to hear about him in six months’ … a year later, ‘Oh we won’t hear about him another few months’. I’ve gone a year and a half since then and here I am right now mixing it up with all the superstars, the rock stars, the celebrities, the poker heroes,” said Kassouf. Now Kassouf is onto Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker. While it’s his first time in Los Angeles, it’s also his first time visiting somewhere in the United States other than Las Vegas. “Thought I’d make the short trip over to LA while I’m in this neck of the woods and come play the WPT Legends of Poker,” said Kassouf. “Believe it or not, I’ve been to the US seven times, Las Vegas seven times - never been anywhere outside of Nevada. So I thought I’ve got to give this tournament a spin, Legends of Poker, I’ve heard lots of good things.” Playing on Poker After Dark afforded him the opportunity to play with some of poker’s biggest stars, a trend that continued with the Legends of Poker. Kassouf rattles off names like Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth before talking about possibly the biggest name in the tournament. - even if the poker world doesn’t know much about him. “GACKT, Japan’s #1 rock star is here. He wanted to have a photo with me. He said he watched me in the WSOP. He didn’t know I’m actually half-Japanese, half-Lebanese, and he was taken aback by that and he was buzzing,” said Kassouf. “The fact that he watched me in the WSOP last year and wanted to have a photo with me, it’s great. I put a photo with him up on Twitter and so many people are re-tweeting it all over Japan. It’s gone crazy.” Even though he’s the one being asked for photos with fans and other players, Kassouf still has a little bit of recreational player / poker fan in him. Having become a household name for poker fans around the world meant a different experience for him when he returned to the RIo this past summer. “I couldn't’ step like two minutes in the Rio without someone shouting ‘Nine high like a boss!’ or ‘The coconuts, mate! Can we have a selfie?’ So it’s great, it does get tiring after a while, but I enjoy it,” admitted Kassouf.
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