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Last August, Art Papazyan entered and won the first World Poker Tour event he ever played when he beat Phil Hellmuth heads-up to win the Legends of Poker event. That scenario repeated itself Thursday night as Dennis Blieden, playing in his first WPT event, beat Toby Lewis heads-up to win the L.A. Poker Classic and walk away with $1,000,000. When the final table began, Manuel Martinez was at the bottom of the chip counts looking up. That situation didn't last long - but not in the way that Martinez had hoped. From UTG, Martinez raised to 60,000 and Blieden defended the big blind. After the [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2h"] flop, Blieden check-raised Martinez's 50,000 bet to 175,000 and Martinez called. The turn was the [poker card="6c"] and Blieden lead out this time for 230,000 before Martinez moved all in for 675,000. Blieden called and tabled [poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] for a turned full house while Martinez was left looking for two outs with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"]. The river was the [poker card="6s"] to eliminate Martinez in sixth place. Blieden continued to build his stack and picked up another elimination just eight hands later. Blieden raised to 65,000 from the cutoff before Peter Hengsakul moved all in from the big blind for 560,000 total. Blieden called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] which had him ahead of Hengsakul's [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6d"][t2] to miss Hengsakul and send him out in fifth place. The first two eliminations came quickly, but the third took some time. 43 hands after Hengsakul was eliminated, Marc Macdonnell clashed with Toby Lewis and saw his run end early. Macdonnell moved all in for 1,105,000 from the button and Lewis called from the big blind. Macdonnell showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="7h"] while Lewis showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Lewis middle set and as the [poker card="5d"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river were dealt, all Macdonnell could do was watch as he was eliminated in fourth place. Blieden continued his push towards the title just 20 hands later when he sent yet another player to the rail. Lewis folded the button before Derek Wolters moved all in for his last 355,000 and Blieden called from the big blind. Wolters was behind but drawing live after tabling [poker card="qc"][poker card="7c"] and seeing Blieden show [poker card="ks"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4s"] flop moved Blieden even further ahead and the [poker card="2s"] turn [poker card="as"] river actually gave Blieden an unneeded flush as Wolters busted in third place. When heads-up play started, Blieden had Lewis out-chipped by a nearly 4-1 margin. It took only two hands for Blieden to end the tournament. Lewis raised to 120,000, Blieden made it 300,000 and Lewis clicked back to 750,000. Blieden called and then checked the [poker card="6d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"] flop. Lewis bet 400,000 and Blieden called. The turn was the [poker card="qh"] and Blieden checked again. This time, Lewis moved all in for 2,200,000 and Blieden called after asking for a count. Blieden showed [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"] and Lewis could only watch in disbelief after tabling [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The river was the [poker card="6h"] to eliminate Lewis and give Blieden his first major live win and $1,000,000 and entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions this May in Las Vegas. Final Table Payouts Dennis Blieden - $1,000,000 Toby Lewis - $600,630 Derek Wolters - $430,210 Marc Macdonnell - $319,310 Peter Hengsakul - $244,430 Manuel Martinez - $186,325
South Florida has been the hot spot for poker over the past few weeks with the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open attracting some of the best players in the world and an impressive amount of local players. All of that action wrapped up on Tuesday with the Big 4 final tables all streamed live on Twitch thanks to Poker Night in America. Brandon Eisen Takes Down Championship Event Brandon Eisen topped the 914 entries in the $5,250 Championship event to win $771,444 and his first live win since taking down a $200 Deep Stack Extravaganza event in February 2013. He beat out a final table that included Joseph Cheong, Jared Griener, Ryan D'Angelo and eventual runner-up Jeremy Ausmus. $5,250 Championship Event Final Table Payouts Brandon Eisen - $771,444 Jeremy Ausmus - $540,459 Stoyan Obreshkov - $349,889 Ryan D’Angelo - $258,615 Adam Adler - $195,491 Ido Ashkenazi - $156,215 Jared Griener - $129,308 Joseph Cheong - $102,843 Marcos Exterkotter - $77,132 Alex Foxen Defends $2,650 NLHE Title One of the hottest tournament players on the planet, Alex Foxen, successfully defended his title in the $2,650 No Limit Hold'em event by beating Blair Hinkle heads-up. Along with Hinkle, the final table included Jake Schwartz, Brandon Hall and Michael Esposito. The win earned Foxen $208,452 - just $3,852 more than he earned for winning the same event last August. In 2018 alone, Foxen has now picked up four wins and just over $2.3 million in earnings. $2,650 No Limit Hold’em Final Table Payouts Alex Foxen – $208,452 Blair Hinkle – $146,042 Jake Schwartz – $93,892 Tom Nguyen – $62,936 Brandon Hall – $48,404 Matthew Kuba – $40,115 Rick Alvarado – $33,668 Matt O’Donnell – $27,242 Michael Esposito – $20,846 Marc MacDonnell Picks Up Second Career Title Marc MacDonnell beat Joey Coudon heads-up to win the smallest buy-in event of the Big 4, the $1,100 No Limit Hold’em event, earning $119,465 in the process. The event drew 640 players including Maria Ho, Chance Kornuth, Marvin Rettenmaier, former #1-ranked Kevin Saul, Phillip Hui and Mike Leah. $1,100 No Limit Hold’em Final Table Payouts Marc MacDonnell – $119,465 Joey Couden – $83,750 Michael Graffeo – $53,939 James Salmon – $39.008 Paul Balzano– $29,933 Dennis Rodriguez – $24,045 Maria Ho – $19,981 Adam Zeltser – $15,923 Jake Schindler Denies Shaun Deeb in High Roller The biggest winner of the day was Jake Schindler. The Pennsylvania poker pro picked up $800,758 for beating Shaun Deeb heads-up in the $25,500 High Roller event. There were 123 entries in the event and among the 16 players who made it into the money were Ryan Riess, Darren Elias, Chris Hunichen, David Peters and Tom Marchese. Schindler’s win is his seventh of 2018 and moved him within past Sam Trickett for 17th on poker’s all-time earnings list. Deeb meanwhile crossed the $3,000,000 earnings mark for the year after bringing home $534,989 for his second-place result. $25,500 High Roller Final Table Payouts Jake Schindler – $800,758 Shaun Deeb – $534,989 Tom Marchese – $371,183 Omar Zazay – $265,311 Mark Fisher – $195,570 Barry Hutter – $148,769 Ory Hen – $116,942 Paul Hofer – $95,110
On the heels of the 2018 World Series of Poker, the month of August is usually a reset for many in the poker world after they take some time to recharge from the strenuous Vegas grind. That doesn't mean the news slows down, though. Here are PocketFives’ top stories from August. Former CardPlayer Employee Charged With Theft of $1.1M from Company August closed with a bang as far as news headlines were concerned, after it was made known that Shelby "Anna" McCann, a former employee of poker media outlet CardPlayer, was charged with the theft of $1.1 million from the company. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, McCann had been stealing from the company for quite some time, writing checks to herself, increasing her own salary without approval, and paying off personal debt with company money. READ: Former CardPlayer Employee Charged With Theft of $1.1M from Company Badziakouski Wins EPT Barcelona €100K Super High Roller for €1.65M Mikita Badziakouski has had himself quite the 2018. Entering the December Super High Roller Bowl, Badziakouski had already earned more than $14.5 million on the live felt, including four seven-figure scores. One of those huge scores came in August when Badziakouski won the EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller. Badziakouski topped a field of 54 entries in the six-figure buy-in tournament to continue his incredible pace in 2018. He won the event for the third-largest score of his live tournament career, €1.65 million, and did so in one of the toughest high-stakes tournaments in the world. READ: Badziakouski Wins EPT Barcelona €100K Super High Roller for €1.65M SHRPO Big 4: Eisen Wins Championship, Foxen Goes Back-to-Back Seminole Hard Rock's 'Big 4' group of poker events has quickly risen the ranks as one of the best tournament festivals in the world. This year's event saw Brandon Eisen, Alex Foxen, Marc MacDonnell, and Jake Schindler earn the four major victories. Foxen's win stuck out in particular, and it’s because the event he won, the $2,650 No-Limit Hold'em event, was the same one he won the year before. In 2018, he took home $208,452 for topping a field of 422 entries. In 2017, he bested a field of 395 entries to win $204,600. READ: Eisen Wins Championship, Foxen Goes Back-to-Back The Year of the Fox: Alex Foxen Now Living the Poker Dream Sticking with Foxen, PocketFives' Jeff Walsh sat down with the poker pro in August to discuss the year he was having, bookended by the two SHRPO wins in South Florida. At the time, Foxen stated that he was "aiming to reach #1 in the GPI rankings." He reached that goal in October and remained #1 on the GPI for the rest of the year. READ: Alex Foxen Now Living the Poker Dream SUNDAY MAJORS: Sunday Million DDoS’d; Moorman, Leonard Win Elsewhere Although the names of Chris Moorman and Patrick Leonard are included in the headline on this story, the big story from Sunday, August 12, was that PokerStars had to cancel many of its tournaments due to a DDoS attack across its network that caused outages in events such as the Sunday Million, Sunday Warm-Up, High Roller, and Bounty Builder High Roller, with refunds and prize money distributed. In more positive news from this Sunday, Moorman and Leonard both scored sizable victories on the platforms of their sponsors. READ: Sunday Million DDoS’d; Moorman, Leonard Win Elsewhere ‘hellohellohello’ Wins August Monthly PLB Title PocketFiver 'hellohellohello' claimed the Monthly PLB title for August with 3,062.21 points. His biggest score came on August 19 when he won the PokerStars Sunday Million for $160,888 and 1,091.60 points. He also won the PokerStars $1,050 Thursday Thrill [Progressive KO], $175K Gtd for $27,270 and 378.15 points during August.
Las Vegas poker pro Jeffrey Dobrin’s persistence has paid off. After weeks of grinding the 2020 World Series of Poker, he not only made his first final table but ended up winning Event #80 ($600 Six-Max People’s Choice Event - Pros Vote) for $189,666 and his first career gold bracelet. One look at Dobrin’s Hendon Mob profile will tell you that he’s been on the WSOP grind all summer long. Prior to his gold bracelet run, Dobrin, a two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner, racked up fifteen total 2020 WSOP results both on WSOP.com and GGPoker. Although he had been cashing regularly, all of the results only accounted for just under $25,000 in earnings, an average of roughly $1,600 per event. While Dobrin hadn’t really even been close to making the big money this summer (his deepest result was a 31st place finish), when it counted he made all the right moves to capture what is one of the biggest cashes of his career. The action of the final table kicked off with one of poker’s most notable names hitting the rail in short order. After making an incorrect hero call just minutes before, six-time WSOP bracelet winner Chris Ferguson shipped his short stack in from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="2h"] only to run into the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] of Joao Santos in the small blind. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="qh"][poker card="6h"][poker card="js"][poker card="qc"] board ran out clean for Joao’s pocket aces and the former Full Tilt Pro hit the rail in ninth place for $14,404. Nearly thirty minutes later, Japan’s Hiroki Morishita, with less than five big blinds left in his stack, moved in from the small blind with [poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"]. He was called by Marc MacDonnell in the big blind holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] brought Morishita some additional straight outs which he smashed on the [poker card="3s"] turn. However, the river brought the [poker card="6h"] giving MacDonnell a higher straight and eliminating Morishita in eighth place for $20,034. Next, it was Arvhin Malinab’s turn to ship from the small blind as he moved his short stack all in with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"] and was called by Sergio Veloso in the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="js"][poker card="8h"] flop kept Malinab ahead but gave Veloso some additional backdoor outs. The [poker card="ts"] turn helped Veloso by opening up both flush and open-ended straight outs. The [poker card="qd"] completed the backdoor possibilities bringing Veloso the straight and sending Malinab and his pocket sixes out the door in seventh for $27,863. Even with the knockout, Veloso was still one of the short stacks. He found his spot to pick up chips when, after a Vahe Martirosyan open, Dobrin three-bet shipped on the button holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] which allowed Veloso to move all in for less with the [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"]. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="7d"] giving Dobrin top pair and leaving Veloso looking for help. The [poker card="kd"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] fell on the river sending Veloso out in sixth place for $38,752. Minutes later MacDonnell moved his eight big blind stack all in from under the gun holding [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"]. It folded around to Joao Santos in the big blind who snap-called with his [poker card="jc"][poker card="jd"]. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"][poker card="9s"] giving Joao a set and leaving MacDonnell looking for a gutshot straight or some backdoor help. All of that was put to rest though when the [poker card="jh"] hit the turn, giving Joao quads and leaving MacDonnell drawing dead to the [poker card="2c"] river. MacDonnell finished in fifth place for $53,897. Santos’ stack slipped for the better part of thirty minutes when he found himself all in and at risk. Idris Ambraisse shipped roughly fourteen big blinds from the button holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"] and Santos decided to make the call for less with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. The board ran out [poker card="6d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8d"] giving the hand to Ambraisse’s ace-high and sending Santos out in fourth place for $74,960. It was anyone’s tournament at three-handed with stack sizes all running close together. Eventually, after a big hand that left Martiosyan short, he moved all in from the button holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"] and was called by Dobrin in the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"] flop put Martiosyan in bad shape, looking for runner-runner outs. The [poker card="4h"] turn was not one of them, leaving Martiosyan drawing dead before the [poker card="3s"] hit the river. Martiosyan settled for third place and $104,255. Ambraisse held a slight chip lead over Dobrin at the start of heads-up play, however a few key hands turned the tide in Dobrin’s favor. Ambraisse found a late-game double but on the very next hand, Dobrin was able to close it out when both players woke up with premium heads up hands. Ambraisse called on the button with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] and Dobrin raised holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"]. Ambraisse shipped and Dobrin snap-called with the chip lead. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="5d"] board gave the hand and the bracelet to Dobrin. Ambraisse ended up as the runner up and walked away with $144,998. Jeffrey Dobrin earned the $189,666 first-place prize, a $12,000 package to participate in the World Series of Europe, and his first career gold bracelet. Final Table Payouts Jeffrey Dobrin - $189,666 Idris Ambraisse - $144,998 Vahe Martirosyan - $104,255 Joao Santos - $74,960 Marc MacDonnell - $53,897 Sergio Veloso - $38,752 Arvhin Malinab - $27,863 Hiroki Morishita - $20,034 Chris Ferguson - $14,404