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  1. PocketFives had the opportunity to sit down with Scott Sblum2711Blumstein, who plays under the handle Sblast2711on New Jersey regulated sites. He recently finished in first place in the Garden State Super Series Leaderboard, earning himself $3,000. Hailing from Morristown, New Jersey, Blumstein has over $85,000 in recorded online and live cashes combined. He won two GSSS events, both with $20,000 guarantees, within a week's span for a combined $8,122. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community today! PocketFives: Congrats on winning the Garden State Super Series Leaderboard. Tell us how you are feeling. Scott Blumstein: I had a sweat there on that last Sunday, September 21, as there were a couple of people in both the $95,000 Guaranteed and the $50,000 Guaranteed who could have actually passed me if they had won. Thankfully, none of them got first and I was able to hold. It feels really good though to have won the GSSS leaderboard and it is kind of the bow on the past two months where my hard work has paid off. It was awesome that PartyPoker, Borgata Poker, and PocketFives came together to hold a contest like that where there is incentive to put in volume and give a little money back to the community that drives the site and I'm thankful to have taken down the top spot. PocketFives: You won two GSSS events on Borgata Poker within a one-week span. Do any hands stick out from either win? Scott Blumstein: The first win I don't really recall any specific hands. I'm pretty sure I just ran really good that whole tournament judging by the needling I got from Tommy Kittens and Tonyloco about me locating the Borgata "God Mode" button. The second one was a six-max and I played a pot where I got it in on the turn on an A-10-4-K board with A-K blind versus blind in a 3bet pot and had four outs somehow (villain had 4-4); one of them came on the river. That was a brutal final table, but again I ran good and was able to get the victory. PocketFives: Give us your thoughts and experiences of regulated online poker in New Jersey. Scott Blumstein: I think it's doing the job that it needs to do for online poker to get back to what it was pre-Black Friday. Before online poker can be open to all 50 states, it had to start with one or two states and there was no better place to start than Nevada and New Jersey. Eventually, the dominoes will fall and we will have a nationally regulated online poker network and the few states that have online poker now will be looked at as the catalysts. As far as my experiences with online poker so far, I am pleasantly surprised that they have mostly been positive. We need to enjoy that we can play poker at all right now and just hang on tight until the other states start to get on board. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker originally? Why was it appealing? Scott Blumstein: Chris Moneymaker, TV, home games, etc. I got really into it in high school when I started playing in a home game with a bunch of kids who were older than I was. I quickly grew a passion for the game and then, like everyone else, started watching any video on the internet with poker I could find. I basically taught myself the game, as I never really played online pre-Black Friday, through videos and forum threads. Poker is appealing to me because it involves three things I enjoy doing; math, gambling, and thinking. In his famous ESPY speech, Jim Valvano said, "There are three things you should do every day: laugh, cry, and think." I try to live by this mantra, so poker kind of takes care of the thinking part (and the two other parts sometimes too). PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sites to play and why? Scott Blumstein: I basically only play on Borgata and WSOP.com. I like Borgata because it's where I am able to put the most volume in and I like the software for the most part. WSOP also has some good MTTs, but its structures are not as good as Borgata/Party's. I also am in favor of Borgata adjusting their payout structures, but I understand why they have it the way it is. PocketFives: To what do you attribute your current online success? Scott Blumstein: I would attribute my success to a perfect storm of events. I have dedicated numerous hours to the game of poker and taught myself the intricacies of the game from scratch. Now that online poker exists again, I have been able to put in the volume, get more comfortable with spots, and finally use the skills I have developed. I always felt I was at a disadvantage since I never really played online, but the more hands I see, the better I feel like I'm getting. I also have had a supportive group of poker friends who have helped me improve drastically over the past two years since I turned 21. I also had someone give me a chance and take me under his wing. Not to mention it helps to be ridiculously due all the time.
  2. This weekend in New Jersey, the Garden State Super Series II concluded on PartyPoker/Borgata Poker. This big winner this weekend was Scott Sblum2711 Blumstein (pictured, ranked 17th in New Jersey), who shipped the $150,000 Guaranteed Main Event, outlasting a field of 755 runners for a cool $20,805 after a three-way deal at the final table. Blumstein is no stranger to big wins, as he won the network's $100,000 Guarantee back in December for $15,486. Meanwhile, winning the 888 PokerBig Sunday $10,000 Guarantee was Paul rimmer27 Scaturro, who earned a total of $3,108. Congrats to all PocketFivers who cashed this weekend. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. ------------------------------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #19 Low - $1,500 GTD PLO 6Max for Friday, January 23rd had 163 runners for a prize pool of $1,467 ($33 overly). 18 spots were paid with 1st place paying $320. The final 6 finishers were: 1 Papo353 - $320 2 mixedfish - $218 3 TonyL0c0 - $164 4 AAWildCardAA - $135 5 Tropicana - $116 6 hags021 - $99 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #19 Mid - $5,000 GTD PLO 6Max for Friday, January 23rd had 107 runners buying in for $50 for a prize pool of $4,815 ($185 overlay). 15 spots were paid with 1st place paying $1,095. The final 6 finishers were: 1 bcmtap99 - $1,095 2 ORANGE13 - $745 3 Snowball99 - $575 4 pure_reason - $475 (pure_reason) 5 bradmac10489 - $400 6 JNP09123 - $340 (JPetch01) ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #19 High - $10,000 GTD PLO 6Max for Friday, January 23rd had 219 runners buy in for $100 for a prize pool of $11,011. 15 spots were paid with 1st place paying $2,411. The final 6 finishers were: 1 nowitsover - $2,411 2 heynow1025 - $1,641 (heynow1025) 3 CharlieBrown - $1,266 (money4bacon) 4 Theluckyriver - $1,046 5 moefarah99 - $881 6 mixedfish - $749 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #20 Low - $2,500 GTD NLH Deepstack for Saturday, January 24th had 233 runners buying in for $20 for a prize pool of $4,194. 36 spots were paid with 1st place paying $763. The final 9 finishers were: 1 Mr.Polo - $763 2 rapgod - $590 3 Borgata66699 - $411 4 dp0330 - $340 (dp0330) 5 moneyINtheAYERS - $285 6 lolfishaments - $243 (mikewebb68) 7 TOENEE - $201 8 bradmac10489 - $159 9 sjbat - $117 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #20 Mid - $5,000 GTD NLH Deepstack for Saturday, January 24thhad 199 runners buying in for $50 a prize pool of $7,290. 27 spots were paid with 1st place paying $1,553. The final 9 finishers were: 1 Manhat10ite - $1,553 (Manhat10ite) 2 Zimm24 - $1,057 3 fudgie - $795 (jgard) 4 latata - $656 5 SHOOTurFACE187 - $561 6 wolverine1017 - $481 (1timewonder) 7 ExiledLegend - $401 (ExiledLegend) 8 THAKID04 - $328 9 DavosSeaworth - $255 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #20 High - $10,000 GTD NLH Deepstack for Saturday, January 24th had 164 runners buying in for $100 for a prize pool of $14,196. 18 spots were paid with 1st place paying $3,024. The final 9 finishers were: 1 sharkslayer - $3,024 (ninjaGO) 2 MikeyCasino - $2,058 (MikeyCasino) 3 jimmyice99 - $1,547 (jimmyice99) 4 kutaykalkan - $1,278 5 debtoverload8d - $1,093 6 NorinnRadd - $937 (NorinnRadd) 7 Skynet - $781 8 riskaversive - $639 9 PokerChick - $497 (LifeGr1nder) ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #21 Low - $1,000 GTD NLH Speed Down for Saturday, January 24th had 141 runners buying in for $10 for a prize pool of $1,269. 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $254. The top 9 finishers were: 1 NoXcape - $254 (No_Xcape) 2 deep21 - $200 (deep21) 3 thelinker123 - $138 4 minnow58 - $114 5 feeluckyday - $98 6 monkey_wise - $84 7 nml666 - $70 8 ExiledLegend - $57 (ExiledLegend) 9 Captain_Trips - $44 (Captain_Trips) ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #21 Mid - $5,000 GTD NLH Speed Down for Saturday, January 24th had 118 runners buying in for $50 for a prize pool of $5,310. 15 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,054. The top 9 finishers were: 1 hotcards08873 - $1,054 2 riskaversive - $900 3 joe_b_3 - $611 (joe_b_3 ) 4 feeluckyday - $504 5 brownmagic - $425 6 La_Flama_Blan27 - $361 (rimmer27) 7 ExiledLegend - $303 (ExiledLegend) 8 v7.000 - $244 9 jerseyjosh - $191 (jerseyjosh) ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #21 High - $10,000 GTD NLH Speed Down for Saturday, January 24th had 123 runners buying in for $100 for a prize pool of $11,1. 15 spots were paid with 1st place being $2,451. The top 9 finishers were: 1 MrKamikaze - $2,451 2 TommyKittens - $1,668 3 Deuxexmachina - $1,287 (WillisNYC) 4 TyrionLannister - $1,063 5 ratboy33 - $895 6 Billson - $761 7 Bairzerker8877 - $638 8 martillo78 - $515 9 notrabber - $403 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #22 Low - $25,000 GTD NLH Main Event for Sunday, January 25th had 640 runners buying in for $50 for a prize pool of $28,800. 90 spots were paid with 1st place being $4,343. The top 9 finishers were: 1 ohguyana - $4,343* 2 fnasty97 - $4,117* (fnasty97) 3 zdibevad13 - $2,448 4 WhatDayIsIt - $1,944 5 hags021 - $1,570 6 t0rn4d0 - $1,282 (t0rn4d0) 7 RCM77 - $994 8 rudine7 - $734 9 JMangs224 - $547 (JMangs) *Final Tabe Chop ------------------------------ PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #22 Mid - $150,000 GTD NLH Main Event for Sunday, January 25th had 755 runners buying in for $200 for a prize pool of $200,000. 108 spots were paid with 1st place being $20,805. The top 9 finishers were: 1 TooDue4U - $20,805 (Sblum2711) 2 Dabullz - $17,250 3 Thatgood45 - $17,250 4 PokerChic102 - $9,750 5 WarriorPrincess - $7,890 6 Jvicious84 - $6,390 (Jvicious) 7 AbNORMalities - $4,890 (slystyle012) 8 shadowonthesun - $3,585 9 designateddiver - $2,745 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #22 High - $75,000 GTD for Sunday, January 25th had 113 runners buying in for $1,000 for a prize pool of $107,350. 15 spots were paid with 1st place being $23,509. The top 9 finishers were: 1 Dondraper - $23,509 2 hordorhordorhordor - $15,995 3 Jananghalib - $12,345 4 SuperKing - $10,198 5 spinach_khale - $8,588 6 TheGlyph278 - $7,299 7 Flalessbinkage - $6,118 8 conman - $4,938 9 IMJUSTTHEMAN - $3,864 ------------------------------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #23 Low - $15,000 GTD NLH for Sunday, January 25th had 324 runners buying in for $50 for a prize pool of $15,000. 90 spots were paid with 1st place being $2,778. The top 9 finishers were: 1 JohnnyDrama - $2,778 (JohnnnyDrama) 2 seedload - $1,952 (seedload) 3 Billson - $1,395 4 joe_b_3 - $1,140 (joe_b_3) 5 RedsoxNets5 - $975 (RedsoxNets5) 6 wheels4920 - $825 7 odo23 - $675 8 Kanish29 - $525 9 KevinRACKS - $375 (EXILEDLEGEND) ------------------------------ PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #23 Mid - $30,000 GTD NLH for Sunday, January 25th had 368 runners buying in for $100 for a prize pool of $33,488. 54 spots were paid with 1st place being $6,035. The top 9 finishers were: 1 NYCBJonez - $6,035 2 zenbones40 - $4,276 3 DeadWrong - $3,014 4 Everytime - $2,478 5 TyForDaChips - $2,126 6 feeluckyday - $1,792 7 BOBBY76 - $1,457 8 rjsk0531 - $1,122 9 Hyperion - $790 ------------------------------- PartyPoker/Borgata Poker GSSS #23 High - $50,000 GTD NLH for Sunday, January 25th had 149 runners buying in for $500 for a prize pool of $69,285. 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $13,808. The top 9 finishers were: 1 NILKNARF - $13,808 2 EDESS - $9,441 3 JamieKerstetter - $9,107 (mmmWaWa) 4 Scruffixing - $6,236 5 KunalPatel - $5,335 6 Jonuzi - $4,573 7 solidrock - $3,811 8 misclick - $3,118 (anothnymason) 9 jakep474 - $2,425 (jtsnakes) ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker "NJ High Roller" $2,500 Guarantee - $100 buy in for Saturday,January 24th had 21 runners for a prize pool totaling $2,500. 5 spots were paid with 1st place $925. The top 5 finishers were: 1 jerseyjosh $925 (jerseyjosh) 2 Crackhead $625 3 PlantLeaf $375 (BiggDaddy) 4 Dweezy78 $300 5 gresmaul $275 (Mergulas) ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker "NJ High Roller" $2,500 Guarantee - $100 buy in for Sunday, January 25th had 39 runners for a prize pool totaling $3,666. 6 spots were paid with 1st place $1,283. The top 6 finishers were: 1 Computer $1,283 2 rahwaypoker1 - $807 3 kingroman $550 4 secretfish $403 5 l0lflawless $330 6 thejeff4444 - $293 ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker Big Sunday $10,000 Guarantee - $200 buy in for Sunday, January 25th had 56 runners. 9 spots were paid with 1st place $3,108. The top 9 finishers were: 1 Flama_Blanca $3,108 (rimmer27) 2 centrfieldr5 $1,813 (centrfieldr) 3 owens87 $1,264 4 Jordankickz $1,057 5 Confluence $839 6 AnthonyMason $736 (AnthonyMason ) 7 Bigcakes1111 $632 (Bigcakes) 8 CharlesSmith $528 (MikeyCasino) 9 buriedpeak $383 ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker/WSOP.com the $5,000 Nightly Guarantee R&A for Friday, January 23rd had 306 runners buying in for $11 ($10+$1) each, 321 re-buys for $10 and 197 add-ons for $10, for a prize pool totaling $7,498. 35 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,432. The top 9 finishers were: 1 barkzdale - $1,912 (AvonBarkz) 2 str8_flushes - $1,106 3 JaGnUtS22 - $705 4 MrArthurDent - $555 5 Serious - $480 6 gcubed - $330 7 Frankayank - $255 8 RocketManDan - $180 9 Thesnake1 - $146 ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker/WSOP.com $10,000 Guarantee for Friday, January 23rd had 171 runners buying in for $30 ($27.50 + $2.50) R&A, 202 re-buys for $27.50, 133 add-ons for $27.50, totaling $13,814. 30 spots were paid with 1st place being $3,730. The top 9 finishers were: 1 JayRiv - $3,730 2 pst34 - $2,176 (petey3412) 3 dimaiv82 - $1,243 4 ElGuapo77 - $967 (ElGuapo77) 5 pure__reason - $829 (pure__reason) 6 chewster - $691 (Hairballs21) 7 CharlesSmith - $525 (MikeyCasino) 8 boom81boom - $332 9 cmazz0314 - $235 ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker/WSOP.com $40,000 GTD for Sunday, January 25th had 230 runners buying in for $200 ($185 + $15) for a prize pool of $42,550. 35 spots were paid with 1st place being $11,276. The top 9 finishers were: 1 DcircaC07 $11,276 2 Jakep474 $6,595 (jtsnakes) 3 JaGnUtS22 $3,766 4 markdube $2,893 (markdube) 5 RLMmachine $2,468 6 ShoveNpray $2,042 7 Honkerism $1,532 (Honkerism) 8 exocomet $1,021 9 liquidTLO $723 ------------------------------------------------------- 888 Poker/WSOP.com $10,000 GTD Weekly Sunday for January 25th had 170 runners for a prize pool of $15,397. 35 spots were paid with 1st place $4,080. The top 9 finishers were: 1 Robo_cop77 $4,080 2 LuckySpewy $2,387 (Ykwon17) 3 jamdizzi777 $1,363 4 GangstaGrilz $1,047 5 GoFeltAfiSh $893 6 miketherake $739 7 CookE $554 8 The_Tuz14 $370 9 BruceLeroy $262
  3. [caption width="640"] Scott Blumstein is ready to enter a new stage in his poker career with a little help from Jimmy V.[/caption] “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day.” Those words were spoken by famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano during the 1993 ESPY awards and his speech has lived long past his death to inspire many. A fan of Valvano’s, Scott ‘Sblum2711’ Blumstein is hoping to use those words to embolden him and his soon to be captive audience. If everyone is fighting a struggle, Blumstein would be the first to say that his is weight, which stems from a compulsive eating habit. As a tournament player, Blumstein has for years fought to overcome the allure of “comfort food” when busting out of an event or just eating what is most convenient. Inspired by fellow pro Jesse Cohen’s no-carb weight loss success, Blumstein is starting his own venture for the whole world to see. Scheduled to start on May 1, Blumstein is initiating the “$30k, 30 pounds” challenge, which he plans to stream on Twitch. The crux of the challenge is Blumstein attempting to win $30,000 by playing tournaments on New Jersey sites while also trying to lose 30 pounds at the same time. If Blumstein is to succeed in winning the $30,000 before shedding the corresponding weight, he will donate a percentage of those earnings to the Jimmy V Foundation. “My weight has always been an issue and struggling to deal with being able to have a healthy lifestyle. It's tough dealing with my vice, which tends to be food. The main part of the challenge is to give me an incentive to fix my own issues in life while hopefully giving other people the ability to improve their lives as well.” As part of the challenge, Blumstein says he will effectively be giving up live poker until he loses the weight he needs to in order to be healthy. “Playing poker and twitching might be a huge distraction to avoid the addiction in the outside world. There are bad food choices everywhere you go. It’s tough to be a poker player and go out. A part of the reason I eat so much is because it makes me feel better. That combined with poker, a game where you lose constantly, doesn’t help.” Blumstein notes that by playing exclusively online, he will be able to have more control over his diet by only eating what he voluntarily puts inside his home. The timing of the challenge comes at peak busy season on the poker calendar as the World Series of Poker and all coinciding events are hitting full swing in Las Vegas parallel to when Blumstein will be in the middle of his challenge. Blumstein acknowledges that missing a full summer of live poker is not an easy decision, but it’s the one he has to make in order to get his life firmly back on track. “I plan to play less live and take the summer off. If it means not going to Vegas, that’s fine. My health is more important than any tournament series. The plan is to play exclusively online and get a routine going for staying home.” At only 25 years old, Blumstein realizes this challenge is a great opportunity for him to get into the shape he needs in order to create a long-term healthy lifestyle. The many hours spent inside a casino can blind players from the personal issues they need to face and Blumstein knows he is a case for that happening. Since he’s made his issue public, it’s now or never. “My focus is in the wrong place a lot of times and it’s easy to fall into a trap where that is the case. Poker and making money are necessities to being a professional but I have this challenge and burden to overcome. It needs to be the focal point in my life. This is a way to combine my love for poker and my need to fix one of the huge negatives in my life. It’s probably my best chance to do it.” The full schedule of the stream is yet to be determined but Blumstein hopes to Twitch on most weekdays and every Sunday, once he gets his routine organized. Blumstein is tremendously self-aware of his personal demons and knows that there are people watching the stream who might be facing a battle of their own. Overall, Blumstein is trying not to just lose weight or win money, but also to inspire someone else. “The stream in general is going to be a multitude of things. Could be a good to place to come and feel special. If people have similar issues, it will be like an AA meeting. You’re going to learn, like Jimmy V says, ‘think, cry, laugh.’ Those three things are the goal of the stream.”
  4. [caption width="640"] Scott Blumstein won the 2017 WSOP Main Event championship and .15 million (Joe Giron/WSOP photo)[/caption] Scott Blumstein capped off a dominating wire-to-wire final table performance to win the 2017World Series of Poker Main Event late Saturday night in Las Vegas. The 25-year-old New Jersey native started the final table with the chip lead and over three days of play never once let go of it. Saturday night, Blumstein consistently chipped away at Dan Ott's stack before finally eliminating him in second place to capture the title and win $8,150,000. "I'm still in shock. I thought I would actually get a little bit even more emotional in real time. It's just the best feeling, I can't even put it into words," said Blumstein. Blumstein, known to PocketFivers as 'SBlum2711', gave his time spent working his way up in the NJ online poker scene credit for his ability to maneuver his way through the final table. "The best way to get better at anything is to do repetition and practice. When you play online in New Jersey, it's hard for any live pro to see even close to the amount of hands I've probably seen in the last two years," said Blumstein. "It's no coincidence. I've said it before. The guy who won the Colossus is an NJ grinder, Michael Gagliano plays online in New Jersey and he's had success. The list goes on and on." Saturday night's action started three-handed with Blumstein holding 62.7% of the chips in play and Ott and Benjamin Pollak looking to make up ground. Ott Chips Up Early On the second hand of the night, Ott raised to 4,400,000 from the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="9h"], Blumstein called from the small blind with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7h"] and Pollak folded from the big. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"][poker card="2d"] and both players checked. The turn was the [poker card="jc"] Ott called Blumstein's bet of 5,500,000. The river was the [poker card="2c"] and Blumstein bet 8,800,000. Ott called and took the pot to move over 120,000,000 for the first time. Blumstein Bluffs Ott Off Best Hand Ott raised to 4,400,000 from the button with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"] before Blumstein made it 13,500,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kc"][poker card="td"]. Pollak folded and Ott called. After the [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"] flop, Blumstein bet 16,000,000 and Ott called. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] and Blumstein led out again, this time for 20,000,000 and Ott called. The river was the [poker card="2s"] and Blumstein moved all in. Ott tanked for about 90 seconds before folding the best hand. "Before today started, Doug Polk came up to me and was ribbing me, saying that he wasn't seeing much bluffing going on. So I had to put that to bed pretty fast. I told him, 'Be careful what you wish for', because he might have cost his buddy the pot," said Blumstein. "I had the king of clubs, pretty good card to bluff with and when you get to the river with king-high and there was all of those chips in the middle, and Ben was kinda short, so I went for it and got the fold. I was very happy with that result in that hand." Blumstein Makes Massive Laydown Against Pollak Blumstein completed from the small blind with [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"] and Ben Pollak checked with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"] to see a flop of [poker card="kh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3h"]. Blumstein and Pollak checked. The turn was the [poker card="5h"] and Blumstein bet 5,000,000 and Pollak called. The river was the [poker card="td"] abd Blumstein fired 9,700,000. Pollak tanked before raising to 21,500,000. Blumstein talked through multiple possible holdings Pollak could have before eventually folding. Three Way All In Ends Pollak's Run For what is believed to be the first time in WSOP history, the final three players were all in on a single hand. Pollak moved all in for 35,200,000 from the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"], Ott came over the top for 45,800,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kc"][poker card="9d"] and Blumstein asked for a count before calling with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="js"][poker card="3d"] flop gave Ott top pair but left the other two drawing to straights. The turn was the [poker card="4c"] and the river was the [poker card="6s"], eliminating Pollak in third and tripling Ott up heading into heads-up play. Heads-Up Marathon Finally Ends Blumstein and Ott played heads-up for 65 hands over the course of 3.5 hours before Blumstein's overwhelming chip lead simply became too much for Ott. Shortly after doubling Ott up to 64,000,000, Blumstein limped his button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="2d"] before Ott raised to 8,000,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"]. Blumstein moved all in and after tanking for 2.5 minutes, Ott called. The [poker card="js"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5h"] flop kept Ott safe as did the [poker card="7h"] turn, but the [poker card="2h"] river was one of Blumstein's three outs and he eliminated Ott to win the 2017 WSOP Main Event. "Is there a better way to win the Main Event than hitting a three-outer on the river?," said Blumstein. "A normally inconsequential deuce just changed my life." Final Table Payouts Scott Blumstein - $8,150,000 Dan Ott - $4,700,000 Benjamin Pollak - $3,500,000 John Hesp - $2,600,000 Antoine Saout - $2,000,000 Bryan Piccioli - $1,675,000 Damian Salas - $1,425,000 Jack Sinclair - $1,200,000 Ben Lamb - $1,000,000
  5. [caption width="640"] The 2017 WSOP Main Event final table includes Ben Lamb, Antoine Saout and New Jersey's own Scott Blumstein (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Scott Blumstein came out to Las Vegas to play the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event because he felt like he was ready. He had hopes of cashing. Instead, the New Jersey native finds himself as the chip leader heading into the final table. “Surreal. I don’t even know how it happened. It’s been a crazy ride,” said Blumstein. “Seven days I’ve somehow bagged more chips than I’ve started with every day by a significant amount. I just keep going up in chips.” Blumstein started Day 7 with the eighth largest stack but worked his way up to the chip lead. The biggest hand came against Jack Sinclair at the unofficial final table. John Hesp raised to 1,600,000 from the hijack, Blumstein called from the cutoff and Sinclair made it 5,400,000 from the big blind. Hesp got out of the way, but Blumstein called. Sinclair bet 4,000,000 after the [poker card="9d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3s"] flop and Blumstein called. Sinclair then bet 7,500,000 after the [poker card="6s"] turn and Blumstein called again. The river was the [poker card="ac"] and Sinclair bet 13,000,000. Blumstein thought over his options and eventually called, tabling [poker card="tc"][poker card="td"] while Sinclair mucked [poker card="jd"][poker card="4h"]. That pot put Blumstein into the lead, while Sinclair dropped all the way from third to seventh. Every Main Event final table seems to have one “everyman” that fans at home can cheer. Filling that role this year is England’s John Hesp. The 64 year old sits second in chips with 85,700,000 after spending a good chunk of Day 7 as the chip leader. The final table features four Americans, two Brits, two Frenchmen and for the first time in history, an Argentinian. It also includes two former November Niners and, for the second consecutive year, a former #1-ranked player on PocketFives. Joining Blumstein as the American representation are former Bryan Piccioli, Dan Ott and Ben Lamb. France is represented by Benjamin Pollak and Antoine Saout while Damian Salas is the Argentinian. For Lamb and Saout, this marks a return to the final table for the second time in their career. Lamb finished third in 2011 while Saout also finished, two years earlier. Piccioli, who was #1 on PocketFives in May 2011, doubled through and all but eliminated his good friend, Michael Ruane. Action folded to Ruane and he moved all in for 17,300,000 before Piccioli tank-called all in from the button. Ruane showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] while Piccioli tabled [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The board rand out [poker card="jh"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"][6][poker card="7h"] to give Piccioli 34,000,000. Ruane was eliminated by Salas two hands later. Christian Pham started the day as the chip leader but was one of the earliest eliminations on Sunday. On his final hand of the night, Pham raised to 900,000 from UTG, Pollak raised to 2,350,000 from the cutoff. Pham called and then checked the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"][poker card="td"] flop. Pollak bet 2,600,000 and Pham called. The turn was the [poker card="7h"], Pham checked again and Pollak moved all in. Pham eventually called and tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] and watched his chips disappear as Pollak showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. Pham’s 19th place finish earned him $263,532. Other notable Day 6 eliminations included Jake Bazeley (25th - $263,532), Marcel Luske (23rd - $263,532), Jonas Mackoff (21st - $263,532), and Scott Stewart (13th - $535,000). The nine players now take the next two days off before resuming action at 5:30 pm PT on Thursday. The ESPN2 broadcast begins at 6 pm. The plan is to play through three eliminations on Thursday and Friday before playing to a champion on Saturday night. Final Table Chip Counts Scott Blumstein - 97,250,000 John Hesp - 85,700,000 Benjamin Pollak - 35,175,000 Bryan Piccioli - 33,800,000 Dan Ott - 26,475,000 Damian Salas - 22,175,000 Antoine Saout - 21,750,000 Jack Sinclair - 20,200,000 Ben Lamb - 18,050,000
  6. What are you supposed to expect when the event you grew up watching is suddenly live and in front of your own eyes? Scott Blumstein saw Chris Moneymaker win the Main Event when he was a teenager but never thought he’d make it to the poker’s biggest stage in his first ever attempt. Neither did most of his closest friends, many of whom were on the rail at the start of Thursday’s final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. As a friend of Scott’s, I joined his team of investors, confidants and “Due Theorists” on the rail for all three days of his journey to immortality. The shirts (brought to you by the good folks of RunGoodGear) were a nice perk but we were all there for a moment in time we would never forget, regardless of the result. This isn’t supposed to happen. You don’t just “attend” Main Event final tables. But it did. And we were there for it. Day 1: "Is This Real?" Anyone who’s known Scott will tell you that they always knew he was capable of doing something special in the poker world, but who could expect this? $8.1 million dollars on the line and Scott is the chip leader? His father, Len Blumstein, certainly didn’t. Five minutes before cards are in the air, he tells me a story about 13-year-old Scott convincing his mother, Randee, to buy him a $270 Phil Hellmuth-branded poker set. The set came with chips and an instructional book. Len says he was not pleased with the purchase at the time but with his son about to play for life-changing money, he could only marvel and say, “look at him now.” You would think that with the Main Event title and millions of dollars on the line, there would be tension in the air that you could cut with a knife. It was the opposite, actually. Scott spent most of the time before the final table started talking to close friends on the rail about minor strategy details along with some casual ice-breaker discussion to keep his mind balanced before the biggest moment of his life. With Scott starting the final table as chip leader, our hopes were sky-high. He didn’t come this far to not finish the job. Scott likes to say “it’s still a poker tournament” and all of us were conscious of that fact. None of us would say it out loud but we were sure that the title was his to lose. The pageantry of the moment wasn’t lost on any of us. Last year’s Main Event Champion Qui Nguyen was in attendance to do “Shuffle Up and Deal” duties and made an effort to stop by and exchange a quick word with Scott. I didn’t catch any of their conversation and never bothered to ask Scott what was said between the two of them. The words were not relevant, but the scene was. It was finally time to play poker. The rail was filled with a combination of both coaches and “fans.” Asher Conniff, Chris Horter, and Jake Schwartz led the charge with relaying pertinent information to Scott from the stream, giving him all information on the hands his opponents were playing. On the other end, Anthony Garofolo, James 'Jimbo' Hundt, and Jason Brauda were in charge of keeping Scott’s “mentals” in check. It’s easy to get overwhelmed under the bright lights with everything at stake and that trio made sure Scott stayed focused on the task at hand, rather than let a bad hand or unlucky break stay with him. Brauda played a key role in Scott’s run to the final table for the latter part of play in the lead up to Thursday. He was on the rail for Days 5, 6, and 7, keeping Scott in check when it was necessary and putting everything into the right perspective. Scott played amazing poker, but if not for Jason keying Scott in on breaks and the occasional mindset adjustment, the run as we know it might not have materialized the way it did. The first few hours of the final table showed just how loose Scott was for this moment. As the only person eligible to order cocktails for the rail, Scott asked for “37 beers” when pressed for order details. Even after losing a small all-in to eventual fifth place finisher Antoine Saout, Scott and Saout exchanged a laugh after Scott paid off the loss. Scott’s ease at the table and around the rail kept us calm as we sweated out his battle for millions and our fight for tens or hundreds of thousands. Without specifically saying who or for how much, there were folks cheering for Scott who stood to win life-changing money of their own as a result of an investment paid to him before the start of the tournament. With that said, you can imagine our collective excitement when Scott won the largest pot of the entire tournament against fan favorite and then-chip leader, John Hesp. Hesp and Scott had been battling in small pots for the first 46 hands of the final table but on Hand 47, Scott’s equity and the equity of those who bought a piece changed forever. The legend has been etched in rock from Boulder Station to Stonehenge of the cooler Scott put on Hesp to claim 40% of the chips in play. With the ESPN microphones as my witness, I said to a friend and fellow railbird Eric Most, “this is the hand where Scott flops top set and gets it all from Hesp’s bottom two pair.” It didn’t quite happen that way, but the result was the same. Whatever subliminal nervousness we had about Scott pulling this off was gone. He was basically at heads up play, waiting to take the title that he tweeted he was going to win. Day 2: "Our Time" The tension that existed on Day 1 was gone when play started with seven left. Our guy had 150 million. All we had to do was not give away chips and a place on Saturday’s stage was ours. Scott played a hand discussed by many against runner-up Dan Ott at the end of Thursday night, in which Scott shoved the river with a pair of queens on an ace-high board. Prior to the start of Friday’s action, commentator Antonio Esfandiari asked Scott why he played the hand the way he did. In a two-minute burst of brilliance, Scott fully articulated his full thought process to Esfandiari and left Esfandiari doing that nod where you stick your bottom lip out a bit further than normal because you were not expecting what just happened in front of you but are impressed by it. Scott was sharp in explaining the hand and if there was any question about how well he knew his remaining opponents, it was answered there. We had some new additions to the rail on Friday. Scott is a proud alum of Temple University and a few of his fellow Owls flew out to support their guy. While the majority of the rail had on the blue/white t-shirt, these guys came clad in Temple maroon complete with flags and cheers. Nick, Aldo, Peter, etc., all great guys who made a lasting impression. Their story about how their small investment in Scott turned into gold was featured on ESPN, but even if there was no money involved, these guys still would have been there. Their friendship was strong like the faith they had in Scott. There were no consistent, organized cheers for Scott on the first day but these guys changed that. “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” rung out after Scott won the smallest of pots. It was great having that raw energy there from people not in the poker world. That exuberance carried over to the other dozen or so people on the rail for Day 2 as the party atmosphere picked up. Aside from Bryan Piccioli’s rail full of excitable Bitcoiners, we had the largest cheering section throughout the final table. I think the lack of stress among us helped out Scott as well. There was a point when Scott came up to me once the field was narrowed to down to five players and looked me dead in the eye asking, “Is this really happening?” Indeed, it was, and we knew just the meal to keep the party going. Jimbo had the bright idea to order multiple pizzas for our rail as we were more or less trapped inside the Brasilia room with no immediate food options at our disposal. It felt a little bit like the scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High as Len alluded to while mowing down a slice but when it’s your time, it’s your time. Len and Randee were the real stars of the rail. Neither of them had a solid sense of poker knowledge and we gladly supplied them with pertinent details about their son as big hands played out. The pair spent most of their time sitting in the stands as they tried to maintain their composure over what Scott was attempting to accomplish. Len joined the group near the rail on numerous occasions and it was a joy having him there. Going off of a sample size of a few hours, it appeared that Len was one of those “always a kid at heart” types of folks and that manifested in the zealous smile he had on his face for the whole final table. Overall, I think they loved seeing how much other people enjoyed being around their son. There was a moment midway through Friday where he walked up behind a group of us and marveled at the spectacle, saying “this is just great.” No one disagreed. Every time Scott lost ground at the final table, he found a way to gain it right back. The hand where he turned a full house against Benjamin Pollak’s trip nines was a prime example of this. Scott had lost an all-in right before then and suffered a few more small hits but when he needed to win a hand, he did. Being situated directly next to the French rail, we were careful about discussing the hand with Scott in the immediate aftermath as was he. He gave us a smirk and an “I’ll tell ya later” before heading back to the table. When the hand became available on the ESPN stream 30 minutes later, a strange moment took place. Standing adjacent to each other, Blumstein and Pollak watched the hand unfold on the same screen, with Pollak gazing over the fan side of the rail as his better trips were foiled by Blumstein’s turned full house. Scott complimented Pollak on his river fold and Pollack furrowed his brow and nodded in acknowledgment. The instant camaraderie among the final table participants was staggering. Hesp set a cheerful demeanor early on but I don’t think a similar situation would have unfolded the year before between Qui Nguyen and Cliff Josephy. The moment between Scott and Pollack that played out, though, is one of the most endearing minutes of the final table and I hope even a few years from now, those the two players are aptly recognized for their gamesmanship inside of that two minutes. The last couple dozen hands on Friday flew by. As Hesp grew more short, we all knew the day was going to be over soon enough. I had left to tend to my day job at the Venetian by the time Hesp hit the rail in fourth place but we were already making plans for Saturday. We didn’t come this far to not see this thing all the way through. Day 3: “Can We Just Win a Fucking All In Already?” The pressure had officially got to us. Scott possessed nearly all the chips coming into the last day of play and only time was separating him from his destined bracelet. The cards, however, knew of no such divine right. By leveraging his stack against Ott and Pollak, Scott won nearly every small pot but when the cards were turned up, our hair started falling out. The peak of this moment came when there was the first three-way all-in to potentially decide the title in Main Event history. Scott had AQ. Ott had K9. Pollak had Q10. It was all right there for the taking. Until a king flopped and then it wasn’t. We were heads up, at least, with a 2-1 advantage. One thing that did help us to forget the relatively dire situation we were in: In and Out Burger. That’s right. As the only one with a car who had the leeway to leave for a few minutes, I took Patrick Serda, a mutual friend of the group, over to the In and Out on Sahara and proceeded to order 12 burgers regular, 12 #AnimalStyle, along with 12 milkshakes. There was enough alcohol on the rail, we didn’t really need to worry about the liquid part of it but the ice cream base did its part to wash the onions down smooth. The burgers repressed our screams as the first part of heads up play between Scott and Ott played out. Without giving away all of the secrets, we had a last minute find for virtual coaching that helped Scott form a lot of his strategy. The large sizing he used when three-betting Ott’s opens was not an accident. Through the rapid communication of source to a phone to Scott, he was able to adjust on the fly and take advantage of Ott’s perceived weaknesses. It worked. Scott had an incredible advantage but there was one leak left to plug. We still couldn’t win an all in. Ott managed to wiggle out of trouble with K9 against Scott’s sixes when he flopped a better pair. There was a relative calm among us but it was a high-strung moment as the next hand was dealt out. Scott put the last opponent of the 7,220 he battled his way through all in on the very next hand. We thought our guy had it, he just wouldn’t give his chips away this easily right? Ott tanked for what felt like hours and called with A8. All we had was A2. The flop was no good. The turn left us with three outs. And then. It happened. By the grace of whatever poker god was listening, a deuce hit the river and the championship was ours. The celebration was on. Euphoria poured out of every one of us as Scott ran over to the rail and jumped into our arms. “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE, FOR THE CHERRY AND THE WHITE” That chant is still in my ears and won’t be leaving anytime soon. We all thought this moment would happen from the time play started on Thursday but how are you supposed to react when your wildest dreams come true? Scott Blumstein flew to Las Vegas to play one tournament and won it. And we were there for it.
  7. [caption width="640"] Scott Blumstein, Benjamin Pollak and Dan Ott are the final three players left in the 2017 WSOP Main Event (Joe Giron photo/WSOP)[/caption] Scott Blumstein started Day 9 action at the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final table with nearly half of the chips in play. In just over four hours of play he managed to increase his overall lead and now just has two opponents standing between himself and the world championship. While most assumed that the number of short stacks in play would lead to a quick bust outs, early play was dominated by double ups. Antoine Saout and John Hesp both doubled before the first elimination of the night. Damian Salas Dwindles and Busts Damian Salas' hopes at becoming the first Argentinean Main Event champ were dashed early. Salas continued to fold hand-after-hand for two straight hours before finally having to get his chips in. Dan Ott raised to 3,400,000 and action folded to Salas in the big blind. Salas called and the flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2h"], Salas checked and Ott bet enough to put Salas all in. Salas called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"] for top pair while Ott showed [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"]. The turn was the [poker card="6d"], keeping Salas ahead, but the river was the [poker card="5s"] giving Ott a wheel and sending Salas to the floor in despair. His fifth place finish earned him $1,425,000. Antoine Saout Doubles Up Again Antoine Saout had fallen to the second shortest stack behind only John Hesp. Action folded to Blumstein on the button and he raised to 3,400,000 before Saout moved all in from the small blind for 23,900,000. Blumstein snap-called and flipped over [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"] and Saout showed [poker card="4c"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="9s"] to give Saout a double-up to 50,400,000 - good enough for the second biggest stack at the time. Bryan Piccioli Runs Into Kings, Finishes Sixth After action folded to him in the small blind, Bryan Piccioli looked down at [poker card="ac"][poker card="7h"] and moved all in for 14,950,000 only to have Ott call from the big blind with [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"] flop was no help for Piccioli and after the [poker card="8c"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river he was eliminated in sixth place. Antoine Saout Goes Homes in Fifth Despite his earlier double up, Saout was unable to avoid the locomotive that was Blumstein. Saout called Blumstein's button raise to 4,200,000. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6c"] flop was followed by checks from both players. The [poker card="4c"] turn got Saout to check, but Blumstein fired 5,600,000 and Saout called. The river was the [poker card="jh"], Saout checked again, Blumstein went all in. Saout thought for about a minute before calling and showing [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"] but Blumstein turned over [poker card="5s"][poker card="3s"] for a turned straight, sending Saout home in fifth place. After that hand Blumstein had 217,450,000 of the 360,675,000 chips in play. The Run of John Hesp Finally Ends Over the course of the live coverage on ESPN and PokerGO, fans around the world came to adore 64-year-old John Hesp. That love affair ended on the last hand of Friday's action though. Down to just 11,950,000, Hesp moved all in from the cutoff before Benjamin Pollak moved all in over the top from the small blind. Hesp tabled [poker card="9c"][poker card="7c"] while Pollak was ahead with [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"][poker card="6h"] flop kept Pollak in front and when the turn and river came [poker card="4c"] and [poker card="4h"] he stayed there, sending Hesp home in fourth place and wrapping up play for the night. The final three players, Blumstein, Ott and Pollak, will return to action Saturday night at 5:30 pm PT and will play down to a winner. Action begins airing on ESPN at 6 pm PT. Chip Counts Scott Blumstein - 226,450,000 Dan Ott - 88,375,000 Benjamin Pollak - 45,850,000
  8. [caption width="640"] Scott Blumstein has almost half the chips at the 2017 WSOP Main Event final table (Fabian Gruber/888 photo)[/caption] The final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event began Thursday night in Las Vegas with Scott Blumstein sitting on the biggest stack. After 5.5 hours of play, two players were sent to the rail early but Blumstein? He remained on top throughout the night and ended with 49.4% of the chips in play with seven players left. John Hesp, the 64-year-old Brit that had endeared himself to poker fans and players alike, was in fine form early on and managed to end the night in the middle of the pack after cooler against Blumstein. Ben Lamb Busts Early Ben Lamb began the final table with just 18,050,000 and was looking for an early hand to double up with. On the fourth hand of the night, Jack Sinclair raised to 1,600,000 from the button and Ben Lamb moved all in from the big blind. Sinclair called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"], which put ahead of Lamb's [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. The board ran out [poker card="6c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="th"] to eliminate Lamb in ninth place for a $1,000,000 payout. Scott Blumstein Doubles Up Dan Ott It took almost two hours for the next key hand to come up. Dan Ott made it 2,200,000 from the button and Hesp and Blumstein defended their blinds. Both checked to Ott after the [poker card="jh"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2h"] flop and he bet 3,500,000. Hesp folded but Blumstein moved all in and Ott called off his last 14,525,000 and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] for top pair, top kicker while Blumstein showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="tc"] for an inside straight draw and overcard. The [poker card="6h"] turn kept Ott ahead and the [poker card="as"] river gave him an unnecessary two pair and doubled him up to 36,850,000 while Blumstein dropped to 82,825,000. Scott Blumstein Takes Massive Pot from John Hesp The day started with Blumstein and Hesp as the top two stacks and though they swapped positions with Hesp on top, the two clashed in the biggest pot of the tournament just 47 hands in. Blumstein made it 2,200,000 from UTG and Hesp defended from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5h"] and both players checked. The turn was the [poker card="ts"] and Hesp check-raised to 7,000,000 after Blumstein bet 3,000,000. Blumstein announced a re-raise, putting a total of 17,000,000 in the middle. Hesp announced he was all in and Blumstein called. Hesp showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="th"] for top two pair but Blumstein showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] for top set. The river was the [poker card="3c"] allowing the dealer to officially push the 156,050,000 chip pot to Blumstein. Hesp was left with just 24,225,000. Jack Sinclair Eliminated in Eighth Left with just 15,600,000, Sinclair moved all in from middle position before Bryan Piccioli also announced he was all in. Ott took a minute to think over his options before folding. Sinclair showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"] while Piccioli did the Beth Shak "aces" signal to his rail and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"].The [poker card="kh"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3h"] flop gave Sinclair half of what he needed but the [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river were both bricks, sending the Englishman home in eighth place. "Didn't make any mistakes, I think. The cards were not in my favor," said Sinclair. "Got a double up, which earned me $200K, so that was good." Early End to Action The original plan was to play until just six players remained, but with the five shortest stacks all playing to ladder up, action was halted after 5.5 hours with seven remaining. The final table resumes Friday at 5:30 PM PT with action airing on ESPN beginning at 6 PM PT. Chip Counts Scott Blumstein - 178,300,000 Benjamin Pollak - 77,525,000 Bryan Piccioli - 35,750,000 John Hesp - 22,475,000 Dan Ott - 16,350,000 Damian Salas - 15,625,000 Antoine Saout - 14,550,000
  9. [caption width="640"] Dan DiZenzo rose above the rest of New Jersey to close out NJCOOP with a win in the main event. (Borgata photo)[/caption] The PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Online Poker series wrapped up on Monday with the last of $1,200,000 in guarantees handed out. A total of 46 events made it onto the NJCOOP calendar with the $200,000 guaranteed Main Event bringing in 420 entries, leaving a slight overlay. Dan ‘R@zzleDazz1e’ DiZenzo emerged victorious Monday night to win the $36,015 first place prize. The Main Event field was filled with PocketFivers and other notable players who made deep runs. Ryan ‘ACpoker027’ Lee finished runner-up and 2017 World Series Of Poker Colossus Champion Thomas ‘PompYouUp’ Pomponio took seventh. Two former World Series of Poker Main Event winners cashed as well with Scott Blumstein and Chris Moneymaker both earning a payday. Moneymaker also earned a win in Event #28 ($500 Pot Limit Omaha) and collected $9,000, beating Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano heads up. The NJCOOP Main Event was not the highest buy-in event on the schedule with a $1,000 Six Max that carried an $80,000 guaranteed taking that honor. This event had a small overlay as well and ended in a three-way deal. The only PocketFiver to finish in the deal was Greg ‘MissAnnthr0pe’ Donatelli, who earned $15,000 for his eventual third place finish. David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman took fifth place along with $5,600. Coleman recently moved back into the #1 spot in the New Jersey rankings at the start of October and picked up nine cashes during the NJCOOP series. The month isn’t quite over yet and for now, Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon is in first place in New Jersey. Kwon put in a tremendous volume during the series and came away with 21 cashes. Two of those cashes were wins and Kwon picked up victories on both October 8 and 9. He won Event 25 ($200 Progressive KO) for $5,245 along with nearly $1,872 in bounties. Kwon followed that win up by taking down Event 27 ($300 4-Max) for $15,426 more. There was movement at the bottom of the NJ Online Rankings top 10 on PocketFives with Keith ‘donnysack’ Donovan moving back in after a few months out and ‘senorstinks’ climbing up to #8. Donovan cashed six times in NJCOOP highlighted by his win in Event #14 ($200 Limit Hold’em 6-Max) where he won $4,156. Other PocketFivers who picked up wins include 'OceansO7' in Event #5 ($85,000 guaranteed Sunday Special SE) for $15,904, Chris ‘zootsuit101’ Bilinsky in Event 10 ($30,000 guaranteed Super Tuesday SE) to win $8,980, and Andrew ‘mergulas’ Glauberg in Event #11 ($300 Heads Up), who earned $6,000. The BorgataPoker.com Garden State Super Series is underway and runs through October 22. That series combined with the rest of the standard PokerStarsNJ schedule will have plenty of say in how the rankings pan out once November hits.
  10. [caption width="298" align="alignleft"] Robert Hwang doesn't meet the criteria of most NJ Online players but his playing days dating back to the 1990's serve him well.[/caption] The general assessment of most New Jersey online poker players is they are of a younger age and started playing a few years on either side of Black Friday. Robert ‘ActionBob’ Hwang first started playing online before most of his NJ opponents ever clicked a mouse. As it goes in poker, Hwang’s nickname is of the ironic variety. Over 20 years ago at Foxwoods, Hwang says he had folded for two hours straight then picked up seven callers the next time he opened, leading a player to sarcastically refer to as him “Action Bob” and the nickname has remained since. In 1998, Hwang was competing in Limit Hold’em on PlanetPoker, Delta Poker, and a few other websites during the infancy of the online game. Even before Black Friday took place in 2011, Hwang was one step ahead of the game in deciding what his next move would be as a professional player. Prior to Black Friday, Hwang moved from Northern New Jersey to his current home of Barnegat in order to play in the live limit games available in Atlantic City and has a unique perspective on the downfall of online poker, based on his early start in the game. “‘Black Friday’ in my book was the UIGEA back in 2006. This was a big turning point where the games when from being very soft with everybody having easy access to depositing and withdrawing funds, to gradually getting much tougher,” said Hwang. “I was never the big online tournament grinder back then. I played some tournaments online but my focus was more on limit games online and live as well as live tournaments. I had always enjoyed playing live tournaments and still do.” The 46-year-old Hwang occasionally pops his head up in the New Jersey online streets and tends to find success when he does. Last week, Hwang finished second in the NJ Summer Series 4-Max event and earned over $5,000 for the result. The peak of Hwang’s live tournament volume was toward 2010 and he has cut that time out in recent years to spend more times with his twin children, Laura and Matthew. This has led Hwang to increase his online volume when he has the available time. “Over the last few years, I've had to really scale back my live tournaments as I am very involved with my twins Matthew and Laura especially with my son's baseball where I do a lot of coaching and volunteering. This rarely leaves me two days in a row free. This along with the slowdown of limit games during the week is what got me playing more online tournaments. But even with the easy access of online poker I still struggle to find the hours during baseball season.” The growth of online poker in New Jersey and available resources for players to develop their game in less time than if they were playing live. The results are showing up for the state with Thomas Pomponioand Scott Blumsteinwinning the Colossusand Main Event, respectively, at the World Series of Poker this summer. Hwang recognizes the talent that surrounds him when he sits down to play in NJ and has an appreciation for how hard they are working to stay ahead of players like him. “I'm not sure if the NJ players winning these big events at the WSOP was a result of the level of play they see here, but I do know there are a lot of great young players like Scott here in New Jersey. It’s hard for an old man like me to keep up with them. They seem to keep getting better as many of them are a tight knit group (and are all great players in their own right) and they just get to talk strategy with so many great poker minds.” Players with Hwang’s experience who have stayed in the game for numerous decades are a dying breed and he is utilizing the availability of online to sharpen his game whenever possible. Hwang’s game remains in good form as he continues to live life as a New Jersey dad while representing the old guard every time he logs on.
  11. [caption width="640"] Scott Blumstein heads to the final table of the 2017 WSOP Main Event with the chip lead.[/caption] If you’re an online grinder working your way up from the microstakes, or maybe you make a 45-minute drive to your local casino once a week to play the $75 nightly tournament, then you should be cheering for Scott Blumstein when the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final table begins on Thursday night. He’s representing you. Just over two years ago, he was working as a blogger, writing updates for the Parx Big Stax event. And a few months after that, he was posting on the PocketFives forums, trying sell pieces of himself in the Borgata Summer Poker Open Main Event. Back then, he just wanted a chance. Now, Blumstein begins the final table with the chip lead and a shot at winning $8.1 million. It’s a scenario that the Main Event rookie and New Jersey native didn’t envision when he plunked down the $10,000. “I’m not going to lie, I had no expectations of making the final table, I’m not going to beat around the bush, I just came out and I thought if I played my best I could cash, see what happens, but I’ve never played in a four-day tournament, let alone an eight-day tournament. So it’s a gauntlet, long long days,” said Blumstein. While a lot of the 25-year-old’s friends headed to Las Vegas in early June to play as many WSOP events as possible, Blumstein stayed home to focus on his health and turn his attention to the online games. “The NJ online tournaments, there’s not a lot of money at stake, but they’re tournaments, they’re the same principals, just because the money is different doesn’t really change much about what the situation is,” said Blumstein. “While everyone was out here grinding large field I was playing smaller ones back home, knowing the whole time just knowing I was coming out for the Main and that was my goal was to play the tournament for the first time in my life. Somehow it just resulted in this.” Before coming out to Las Vegas, Blumstein again looked to sell off some action and turned to Twitter to find people looking to buy as little as 1% of him. He’s certainly made those who took a piece of his action happy, but Blumstein still found himself pinching himself in the moments after bagging up with just nine players remaining. “I don’t even know how it happened. It’s been a crazy ride, seven days, I somehow I bagged more chips than I started with every day by a significant amount,” said Blumstein. “I just keep going up in chips and that’s been my goal. Today I started with 18 million and ended up with 97, I don’t even know how it happened but here we are.” Scott Blumstein’s Main Event Ride DAYCHIPSPOSITION 1C86,200799/3,300 2C375,10034/1,459 31,340,0008/1,084 42,016,00044/297 56,845,00014/85 618,125,0008/27 797,250,0001/9 With two days off between Day 7 and the final table, flights from the East Coast to Las Vegas have been packed with Blumstein’s family and friends. “I briefly would check my phone and would see a lot of people wanting to come out to support me, which means the world. I don’t know where they’re all going to sit,” said Blumstein. While he admits that there is the potential for a huge group of supporters being a bit of a distraction, he also knows that having them there to share in his once in a lifetime opportunity is going to make the, hopefully, three days of play all the more special - no matter the result. “At the end of the day, money doesn’t really drive me, as cliche as that is,” said Blumstein. “But having all of these people here rooting me on, that’s what honestly is going to make my dream come true; playing the dream I love on the biggest stage.”
  12. [caption width="640"] The Main Event final table starts on Thursday with Scott Blumstein in the lead.[/caption] The third largest Main Event in World Series of Poker history reached a final table in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in Las Vegas and for the first time in ten years, will restart in July as a result of the termination of the “November Nine.” Following seven exciting and simultaneously grueling days of poker, New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein comes in Thursday’s first day of final table play as the chip leader. Blumstein is mostly an online player and made the trip out to Las Vegas last week to play in his first career Main Event. Day 7 was a boon for Blumstein as he started 8th out of 27 players with 18,125,000 and by the time the final table was reached, built himself all the way up to over 97,000,000. "I feel amazing, I can't believe it's real. I have a great group of guys and we're going to get to work and prepare for Thursday. This is one of the biggest moments of my life. And I'm super excited,” said Blumstein. Right behind Blumstein is 64-year-old Englishman John Hesp (85,700,000), who crossed an item off of his bucket list by playing in the Main Event and has been having the time of his life making a run to the final table. This year’s final table is a bit different than most as not one, but two, former November Niners are among the remaining contenders for poker’s biggest prize. Fellow third place finishers Ben Lamb (18,050,000) and Antoine Saout (21,750,000) are two of the shortest stacks left in play but have plenty of experience on their side as they attempt to capture the title that was nearly within reach once before. “You play a 7,000-player field; to make the final table, obviously, the odds are staggering. I don't care if you're ten times better than the second best player in the world, the odds are staggering to make the final table once, let alone twice, with six years in between,” said Lamb about his remarkable achievement. The rank of established professionals is well represented outside of Lamb and Saout with Benjamin Pollak (35,175,000) and Bryan Piccioli (33,800,000) sitting in the middle of the final table pack. This year was Pollak’s second time making it to Day 7, after doing so in 2013, and he along with Saout are attempting to become the first player from France to win the Main Event title. Piccioli won perhaps the most memorable pot of the tournament when he rivered a full house to beat the trip aces of Saout to stay alive on the brink of the final table. After coming into Day 5 in 2016 as the chip leader and falling short of making Day 6, Piccioli made it to the finish line this time around. One of the online poker world’s most respected tournament players, Piccioli has a chance to cement his legacy among the game’s greats this weekend. Speaking of online players, Dan Ott (26,475,000) and Jack Sinclair (20,200,000) fit the bill there. Ott is from Pennsylvania, and Sinclair from England, but both make their primary living playing online and are closing on the best piece of live tournament glory there is. Hailing from Argentina is Damian Salas (22,175,000), who started Day 4 as the chip leader and continued to build from there on the way to the final table. Salas has one previous WSOP final table to his name from 2016 ($1,500 No Limit Shootout) and brings an unconventional game with him into Thursday. As with recent years, the final table will be played down to a winner over the course of three consecutive days. All final table coverage will be on ESPN starting at 6:00 pm PT each day. On Thursday, July 20, the field will play from nine to six followed by six to three on Friday, July 21. On Saturday, July 22, the final three players will battle until only the newest Main Event Champion remains. Final Table Payouts 1st - $8,150,000 2nd - $4,700,000 3rd - $3,500,000 4th - $2,600,000 5th - $2,000,000 6th - $1,675,000 7th - $1,425,000 8th - $1,200,000 9th - $1,000,000 Seating Assignments Seat 1 - John Hesp (85,700,000) Seat 2 - Scott Blumstein (97,250,000) Seat 3 - Antoine Saout (21,750,000) Seat 4 - Benjamin Pollak (35,175,000) Seat 5 - Jack Sinclair (20,200,000) Seat 6 - Damian Salas (22,175,000) Seat 7 - Ben Lamb (18,050,000) Seat 8 - Bryan Piccioli (33,800,000) Seat 9 - Dan Ott (26,475,000)
  13. [caption width="658"] Scott Blumstein has been among the chip leaders for most of the Main Event and is coming into Day 5 mentally ready for a deep run.[/caption] Day 4 of the WSOP Main Event proved to be a moving day of sorts as less than 300 of the 1,084 players who entered the day moved on to Day 5. Scott ‘Sblum2711’ Blumstein started Day 4 top-10 in chips and maintained his stack around the 2,000,000 mark all day and will bring approximately that amount into today’s restart. Blumstein is a contrast to most of the Day 5 as most of the field is either a recreational player who is in Las Vegas taking a shot in this event or a pro playing out the string of a long summer. Rather than grinding out a live summer, Blumstein has been at home in New Jersey honing his craft online and improving his fitness which has paid dividends through the steep days of the Main Event. “More than my physical health, my mental health has been pretty good. I’m in a good state of mind these days. I can’t stress it enough, mental health is the be all-end all for poker and anything else. If you train your brain to act a certain way, anything is possible. I’m fresh and [I have] putting in the work online while everyone has been out here grinding live tournaments. All that combined is why I’m here on Day 5 with a chance to win this thing.” The Main Event is famous for some of poker’s most infamous blowups and the pressure of the moment getting to players when the equity is at its peak. Blumstein isn’t worried about that just yet but admits a place on the feature table might create some nerves that didn’t exist before. “I’m still in the moment and there are 300 people left. There’s a long way to go. I don’t want to start getting overwhelmed yet. If I were to ever find myself at one of these streamed tables, that might change just because I’ve never played on one before. For right now, I’m happy to fade that because I’m not sure I’m ready for it [laughs]. I don’t think it’s going to hit me until when I bust or I’m sitting at the final table because I’m just treating it like any other tournament.” Blumstein started to peak on Day 3 after the dinner break when he was one of the chip leaders on the bubble and has continued to accumulate since that point. Some players by this stage of the tournament have a hand or two that they can point to that got them to this point but Blumstein says nothing specific stands out at this point. There’s over 360,000,000 in chips in play and Blumstein realizes that he has a long way to go before the finish line comes close to being here. “I don’t know how I have 2,000,000 chips. 360,000,000 chips in this thing and I have 2,000,000. How can I even start worrying about [the final table]? There’s so much poker left. Sure, Day 5 is cool and the pay jumps are starting to accumulate, but there’s still a long way to go until the final table.” Tomorrow is a new day and Blumstein brings an edge that most players don’t have with him into one of the most important days of the poker year. By the end of play, the payouts will have gone from $35,267 to close to $100,000. Blumstein says he is not worried about the dollar factor and is focused on playing the best poker he can to win the tournament. “I’m just trying to accumulate and put myself in a position to make a run in this thing. I came here to win, I’m not here to worry about the money. I also think at the end of the day, it allows you to play the best poker when you can put the money aside and worry about getting all the chips. Honestly, I’m still waiting for my heater.”
  14. The Global Poker Index and PokerStars presented the 4th Annual American Poker Awards on Thursday night in Los Angeles, CA. The collection of the best in the poker world offered a year’s worth of awards handed out to players, media, and everything else encompassing the game. Poker Central Wins Big Cary Katz and Poker Central lead the unofficial group category for most winners. “Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story” took home honors for Media Content of the year. Matt Berkey’s story of his road to playing the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl captured the voting audience’s attention. Katz himself took down the title of Poker’s Biggest Influencer. The development of Poker Central and PokerGO all happened under the watch as Katz as the businessman continues to grow the game through is new ventures. Poker Central wrapped up its trio of wins with the Best Podcast award. Host Remko Rinkema accepted on behalf of his co-hosts, Brent Hanks, and Will O’Connor. Young Talent Gets Their Due The new generation of poker received their fair share of accolades from the APA voting body. A pair of 25-year-old received hard-earned awards. Two-time WPT Season XVI Champion Art Papazyan collected the Breakout Player award. Papazyan’s wins came in his first two WPT events ever played. Scott Blumstein beat an elite group to score the Tournament Performance trophy. Blumstein’s win in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event defeated Darren Elias, 2018 GPI American Player of the Year Bryn Kenney, and Doug Polk. Other members of poker’s new generation also did well for themselves. Ema Zajmovic’s win at WPT Montreal last February to become the first female champion in an open event in WPT history was recognized for Moment of the Year. Jaime Staples notched a tough group of nominees to emerge with the Streamer of the Year honors. Kristen Bicknell was formally awarded the 2017 GPI Female Player of the Year. Andrew Neeme Cleans up The new age of poker is here and Andrew Neeme is in the center of it. The vlogger shipped two wins to further certify himself as one of poker’s new-age godfathers. Neeme won the award for Video Blogger and the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality. Over 10,000 turned out to vote for the latter award and Joe Ingram accepted on behalf of Neeme on both occasions. Telling it like it is PocketFives held their own at the American Poker Awards with site Editor-in-Chief Lance Bradley walking away with Journalist of the Year. Bradley was also nominated for Media Content of the Year for “Resilience Defined: Sheddy Siddiqui Raising His Two Boys #ForCathy.” Nick Schulman’s rousing rise to the top of the poker broadcasting ranks was made official with his win for Broadcaster of the Year. Longtime ESPN poker commentators Norman Chad and Lon McEachern received the award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker. Good day for the World Poker Tour The World Poker Tour had themselves a day with Matt Savage and WPTDeepStacks receiving hardware. The WPT’s Executive Tour Director triumphed in the Industry Person of the Year category. WPTDeepStacks completed their rise from the U.S. circuit to the global stage by taking down the Mid-Major Circuit award. Special Awards and Prizes The venerable Jury Prize went to long-time poker media member and contributor Eric Danis. Joining Danis in the achievement award section was fellow Canadian Ari Engel, who shipped the PocketFives Legacy Award. In a category where literally all nominees are a winner, Jacob Zalewski won the prize for Charitable Initiative for the One Step Closer Foundation. The foundation is a charity whose main goal is to positively impact the lives of those who suffer from cerebral palsy. To date, Zalewski's foundation has raised over $1 million. The American Poker Awards put a bow on 2017 and gave a look ahead at what's to come this year. If the this year's awards are any indication, the poker world is in for a great 2018.
  15. It’s finally time for the World Series of Poker Main Event. This week, thousands of players will flock to the Rio to post their $10,000 buy-in and register for Event #65, The Main Event. It's the tournament that every recreational player aspires to play, every pro must play and everyone dreams of winning. With three starting flights this year, including one on July 4, the Main Event will take the better part of two weeks to complete. However, thanks to some new scheduling ideas this year, including a full slate of “post-lims”, the Rio will keep rocking with non-stop action well after registration for the Main Event has closed. The Main Event Come Monday, all eyes in the poker world will be focused on Day 1A of the Main Event, which kicks off on Monday, July 2. The entire poker tournament calendar revolves around this event and there’s no doubt, like every year since Moneymaker won it all back in 2003, it’s going to be huge. But how big will it really be? There is a modicum of concern for the numbers that the 2018 WSOP Main Event may draw. While there have been plenty of successful NLHE tournaments this season (see: The Double Stack), many of the regular branded tournaments including the Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, and the Giant have seen slight downticks in attendance. The Colossus saw a much-discussed sharp decline in registration this year. Some believe that the scheduling of the Main Event isn’t going to help much. All of the three starting flights are on a weekday and the third of which is on the US holiday of July 4. In 2017 Days 1A and 1B were both landed on a weekend. In addition, it wasn’t until the 11th hour that WSOP officials decided to hold a $1,100 Mega satellite on the Sunday evening before Day 1A. So, one may take all of that into account, and assume that the numbers may be down from the 7,221 runner that defending champion Scott Blumstein defeated en route to his $8,150,000 payday. However, in 2018 WSOP schedule makers have taken the chance that some people may want to start their WSOP experience at the beginning of the Main Event. Instead of letting players bleed into the other Vegas properties once they bust out of the Main, WSOP officials have scheduled a whole back-end of 13 additional tournaments where people can still vie for a bracelet. So, this week will answer the question: will recreational players step up and spend the first half of their July 4 weekend taking a shot at the Main Event or will the current scheduling experiment lead to a drop in Main Event attendance? More Than The Main As mentioned, the bracelet chase doesn’t end once a player experiences the pain of busting the Main. While the bulk of the Amazon and Brazilia rooms will be packed with players in the Main, once the starting flights have consolidated, new tournaments will be fired up. Beginning on Thursday, players will be able to find their way into a number of lower buy-in NLHE and PLO tournaments including the popular Little One For One Drop, which allows players to participate in a charity-raising effort for Guy Laliberte’s clean water initiative One Drop. Last year, the $1,111 Little One For One Drop was the only post-Main Event tournament and it drew 4,391 runners. California’s Adrian Moreno took the top spot and over $528,000 in first place money. Not a bad consolation prize for not making it deep in the Main Event. 2018 WSOP Week 6 Schedule Monday 65A $10,000 WSOP Main Event Day 1A Scott Blumstein Tuesday 65B $10,000 WSOP Main Event Day 1B Wednesday 65C $10,000 WSOP Main Event Day 1C Thursday 66 $1,500 NL Hold'em Chris Klodnicki Friday 67 $1,500 PLO Bounty NONE Saturday 68A $1,111 NL Little One for One Drop Adrian Moreno Sunday 68B $1,111 NL Little One for One Drop Sunday 69 $3,000 PLO 6-Handed Luis Calvo The Main Event Start To Finish The streaming coverage of the WSOP from PokerCentral has been incredible this year. Now, the Main Event is when the service will really shine. Teaming up with ESPN, the broadcast is set to give the Main Event's virtual rail just about all the action it can handle. Also, if the FOMO of the Main Event is simply too much, viewers will be able to find auxiliary action available on PokerCentral's Twitch channel. Cancel any plans you may have made, it's going to be a wild week of poker on TV. July 2 8:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 1A ESPN2 July 3 1:00 AM WSOP Main Event Day 1A PokerGO July 3 6:00 PM $888 NL Crazy Eights FT Twitch July 3 8:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 1B ESPN2 July 3 11:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 1B PokerGO July 4 8:30 PM WSOP Main Event Day 1C ESPN2 July 5 12:00 AM WSOP Main Event Day 1C PokerGO July 5 8:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 2AB PokerGO July 5 10:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 2AB ESPN2 July 6 12:00 AM WSOP Main Event Day 2AB PokerGO July 6 8:30 PM WSOP Main Event Day 2C ESPN2 July 7 12:00 AM WSOP Main Event Day 2C PokerGO July 7 6:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 3 ESPN2 July 7 6:00 PM $1,500 NL FT Twitch July 7 9:30 PM WSOP Main Event Day 3 PokerGO July 8 2:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 4 ESPN July 8 6:00 PM $1,500 PLO Bounty FT Twitch July 8 7:00 PM WSOP Main Event Day 4 PokerGO All times are ET. News and Notes Players who are jumping into Event #68: The Little One For One Drop can get an extra 5K in chips with their $111 donation to the charity. Note: the tournament is unlimited re-entry in both starting flights through the end of registration. Take note of the starting times for continuing coverage of the Main Event when PokerGo picks up where ESPN leaves off. There are a number of days when the broadcast resumes at midnight Eastern, which is technically the next day.
  16. It’s hard to believe that the World Series of Poker Main Event is already upon us. With the expansive coverage of the event on ESPN and PokerGo, the hopes and dreams of thousands of poker players rise and fall with every hand that is dealt. But that's not the only place we’ve seen some compelling content as photos of starting stacks and tales of the worst bad beat stories ever told have continually spilled onto #pokertwitter and the social media feeds of poker fans around the world. So, while it’s impossible to catch it all, here are a few of some of our favorite social moments from the past week that at the WSOP. GIANT Lines Before the start of the Main Event, players were looking to take their last shot in the $365 GIANT. As poker players are wont to do, many waited until the last minute to purchase their seat, thus making the lines to register for the event befitting of the name. Selfie Stack Spend enough time in Las Vegas and you’ll quickly find out that much of what you see is a mirage. The World Series of Poker is no exception where what you see is not always what you get. (Investors beware!) Hey Ladies! One of the few snafus by WSOP organizers this year occurred at the start of the final table for the Ladies Event. Rather than being the featured table on PokerGo or Twitch, the event was regulated to the back of the room while Razz…yes Razz…got the initial spotlight. Credit to those in charge, the situation was quickly rectified and Jessica Dawley’s victory was broadcast and seen by thousands. Main Event Mascot Joe Camel’s roommate, Chippy, is the new mascot for the World Series of Poker. Not saying Chippy’s not adorable but perhaps he's promoting everything that the WSOP actually doesn’t want at the table: headphones, sunglasses and a bottom row of teeth so yellow it’s clear he’s taken one too many smoke breaks in the 100 degree heat. Look close: Kevmath is about to knock Chippy out of the tournament. Main Event Mania The excitement of playing the Main Event is simply too much for some. They get there, pay their $10K and simply can’t wait to get it in… Max pain for Max Steinberg. The Bank Of Timex is back in action.   Hellmuth gunna Hellmuth. Ausmus showed THEM! Bay to the Bay Area for Blumenfield. Former PocketFives #1-ranked player Jordan Young keeps building...   Stacks on stacks. Class Act The defending WSOP Main Event Champion, upon being eliminated from the event on Day 1 while on a feature table, responds to an online critic with the same class and thoughtful voice that he used throughout his year as the reigning champion. Finally, Ferguson Faces The Truth Hellmuth may be the hero we get, Uncle Ron is the hero we deserve.
  17. The improbable story of John Hesp, the eccentric Englishman that took the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event by storm, is being given the Hollywood treatment. According to The Daily Mail, Hesp’s inspiring fourth place finish in the Main Event for $2.6 million dollars has been optioned by “two renowned movie producers.” This means that in the not-so-distant future Hesp’s trademark colorful coat will be able to be seen in actual technicolor. Fans who followed the Main Event in 2017 will be familiar with his story: a grandfather from East Yorkshire who had played poker about once a month for $10 went on the heater of a lifetime. Hesp battling some of the best young players the game has to offer and, in the process, he reminded a legion of poker players what it means to bring the fun back to the game of poker. “I feel blessed to have achieved this great success and truly hope my story will inspire others to have fun playing poker as that was my mood throughout my amazing run last year,” Hesp said. “Thought my run in Vegas last year I was playing in Party Mood and I often commented ‘let’s make poker fun!’” With his fastidious flare and colorful wardrobe which matched his personality, it didn’t take long for word of his incredible run made it into the mainstream. Film producer Marc Ambrose knew that this was just the kind of feel good story that could transcend poker itself. “Most poker movies are about the dark and seedy side to the game,” Ambrose told The Daily Mail. “This story flips that right on its head.” “Saying this movie is about poker is like saying The Full Monty is about stripping. This is really a story about living life to its fullest but realizing that the grass isn’t always greener.” For Hesp, he’s surprised at the interest. “I have been completely overwhelmed and humbled with the large number of people who have reached out to me from all parts of the world and told me how much they had enjoyed watching me on TV and how inspiring it was," Hesp said. As for who will play Hesp in the movie, nothing is concrete but Hesp has an idea or two. “George Clooney or Tom Hanks is acceptable.” While it’s unlikely that either of these actors have the chops to play the energetic Hesp, we would like to offer a few suggestions of fantasy casting for the upcoming movie. Here are some options for Ambrose as to who we think would make for a fantastic cast for the climatic WSOP Main Event Final Table scene. John Hesp as played by Michael Caine. Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine can likely capture Hesp's English essence. WSOP Champ Scott Blumstein as played by young Seth Rogan. Sure, we may have to go back in time a few years, but Rogan's jovial nature and charisma would suit the likable personality of the 2017 champ. Dan Ott as played by Keanu Reeves. The scruffy silent type, Keanu Reeves would jump at the chance to play the runner-up. Benjamin Pollak as played by Bobby Cannavale. Bobby Cannavale, the star of Martin Scorcese's HBO show Vinyl would be a perfect fit for third-place finisher Pollak. Antoine Saout as played by Bradley Cooper. Is there another actor in Hollywood that wears a backward hat as well as Bradley Cooper? Bryan Piccoli as played by Emile Hirsch. Emile Hirsch would use what he learned playing the lead in Into The Wild to navigate Piccoli's Main Event journey. Damian Salas as played by Jon Stewart. C'mon, check this out! It's perfect! Jack Sinclair as played by Daniel Radcliff. British wizard as played by a British wizard. Ben Lamb as played by Matt Damon. The return of Mike McDermott. Have a better casting option for the John Hesp film? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter: @pocketfives
  18. It’s finally here! After more than a month of awesome action and anticipation, the $10,000 Main Event is upon us at the 2018 World Series of Poker. Monday saw Day 1A kick off, but it also saw some other events begin to wind down. It’ll by no means be a quiet end to the PLO Giant, Crazy Eights, or $10K Stud 8 though, as they all have big names still remaining. Here’s all the news from July 2. $10,000 Main Event Kicks Off, Defending Champ Blumstein Out Well, one thing’s for sure right off the bat: we’re going to see a new champion this year. It was always going to be a super long shot that Scott Blumstein could go back-to-back (like, super long), but his elimination today means a new Main Event champ will be crowned in 13 days. The day saw 925 runners take their seats, and when all was said and done after five two-hour levels just 661 remained. Timothy Lau bagged up the chip lead, spinning his 50,000 starting up to 338,700 by the time the bags were brought out. He’s joined at the top by fellow American Truyen Nguyen with 324,800, and the UK’s Chris Fraser with 316,100. Matt Berkey had a good opening day, ending with 185,600, just behind Kevin ‘Phwap’ Boudreau with 186,300. Alexandru Papazian (147,100), Gordon Vayo (87,100), former Main Event champions Joe Hachem (84,700), Scotty Nguyen (84,400) and Joe McKeehen (36,200), as well as Erik Seidel (72,100) will all be back for Day 2. Alas, Blumstein won’t. He check-called all the way on a low board with pocket tens, only for Brian Yoon to hit running spades giving him the nut flush. He wasn’t the only former Main Event winner to bust though, with Qui Nguyen and Jerry Yang also hitting the rail, alongside the likes of Brian Rast, Christopher Andler, Felipe Ramos, Stephen Chidwick, Chance Kornuth, former football star Richard Seymour and Jonathan Little. Seymour repped the celebrity world away from the felt, and was joined by actor Kevin Pollak (71,300) and comedian Ray Romano (61,100). WSOP commentator David Tuchman (111,000) also advanced. Attention now turns to setting up for Day 1B tomorrow, which kicks off at 11am. Check back with PocketFives tomorrow for all the latest on that one. Top 10 Day 1A Stacks: Timothy Lau - 338,700 Truyen Nguyen - 324,800 Chris Fraser - 316,100 David McCaw - 220,400 John Vossoughi - 220,300 Matthew Davidow - 216,600 Frank Crivello - 215,000 Casey McCarrel - 206,200 Eric Hicks - 204,000 Tristan Bain - 193,200 Mizrachi Headlines PLO Giant Finale, Seeks 2nd Bracelet of Summer Whether the buy-in is $50K or $365, it doesn’t seem to stop Michael Mizrachi from playing his best. The Grinder ended Day 2 in Event #11: $365 PLO GIANT Pot-Limit Omaha fifth in chips out of the remaining nine, and will therefore headline Tuesday’s final table. Mizrachi came into the day as chip leader, and added to his big stack early in the day. He’d end with 10,150,000, putting him in the middle of the pack. It’s Srinivas Balasubramanian who holds a big chip lead though. His 18,325,000 is comfortably out in front of his closest competitor, Robert Cicchelli with 11,055,000. All players are now guaranteed $10,25, but there’s $116,015 up top for the winner. Can Mizrachi win his fifth bracelet and second of the summer? We’ll find out tomorrow when play resumes on the final table at 2pm. Final Table Stacks: Srinivas Balasubramanian - 18,325,000 Robert Cicchelli - 11,055,000 Pete Arroyos - 10,550,000 Tim Andrew - 10,425,000 Michael Mizrachi - 10,150,000 Kevin Nomberto - 7,700,000 James Sievers - 5,450,000 Sandeep Pulusani - 4,375,000 Raymond Walton - 3,075,000 Moorman Among Final 29 in Crazy Eights There was another big name headlining the 29 survivors over in Event #62: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed. Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman ended Day 2 bagging chips, and will return tomorrow with 2,620,000. It’s Galen ‘Turk Malloy’ Hall who chip leads overnight though, ending the day with 6,595,000. He’s followed by Paul ‘pvas2’ Vas Nunes with 6,410,000, Hunter Frey with 5,730,000, and Men Nguyen with 3,350,000. There were a bunch of notable bust-outs today, including Martin Jacobson, Jeff Madsen, Eric Baldwin, Jeremy Ausmus, Mike Leah, and Ryan Riess. Day 3 begins at 2pm with blinds at 30K/60K. There’s $888,888 up top, and they’re all guaranteed $22,292 right now. Top 10 Stacks: Galen Hall - 6,595,000 Paul Vas Nunes - 6,410,000 Hunter Frey - 5,730,000 Men Nguyen - 3,350,000 Arthur Conan - 3,140,000 Alexandre Novaes - 2,835,000 Franz-Xaver Ditz - 2,745,000 Eduards Kudrjavcevs - 2,730,000 Chris Moorman - 2,620,000 Michael Barlow - 2,600,000 Vitch Leads Again With 14 Left in $10K Stud8 Defending champion Chris Vitch is once again the overnight chip leader in Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. He’s putting up an incredible title defence, and leads the 14 Day 2 survivors with a 1,014,000 stack. Other notables through to tomorrow include Scott Bohlman (883,000), Bryce Yockey (539,000), and Ken Aldridge (538,000), Andrew Kelsall (506,000), Jesse Martin (506,000), Tom Koral (392,000), and Mike Watson (348,000). Vitch won $320,193 for his win in this one last year, and if he can take it down again he’ll bank more than that, with $364,387 up top. A few notables who cashed in this one today include Andrew Yeh (22nd - $14,739), Tim Finne (21st - $14,739), Daniel Negreanu (20th - $14,739), Yuval Bronshtein (19th - $14,739), Jose Paz-Gutierrez (18th - $14,739), Tim Marsters (17th - $14,739), and Richard Sklar (16th - $16,439). The same can’t be said for Benny Glaser, Adam Friedman, Shirley Rosario, Shaun Deeb, David Benyamine, and bubble boy Chris Klodnicki, who all busted prior to the money. Final 14 Stacks: Chris Vitch - 1,014,000 Scott Bohlman - 883,000 Bryce Yockey - 539,000 Ken Aldridge - 538,000 Andrew Kelsall - 506,000 Jesse Martin - 506,000 Dan Matsuzuki - 418,000 Tom Koral - 392,000 Mike Watson - 348,000 Jack Duong - 343,000 Jerry Wong - 340,000 Andrew Rennhack - 338,000 Daham Wang - 284,000 Joseph Michael - 250,000 Roland Israelashvili - 231,000
  19. 888poker LIVE makes their return to the Aspers Casino in London from November 22 to December 3 with a 12-day festival full of tournaments that every poker player can get involved with. The 10-event series provides a wide variety of buy-ins, including the Main Event that has a $500,000 guarantee and will feature appearances by former World Series of Poker Main Event Champions. It will be over a week of non-stop poker action. Whether you are looking to mix it up in some small stakes tournaments or play for the big bucks, 888poker LIVE has a tournament on the schedule worth jumping into. The Opening Event The first event on the schedule is aptly named the Opening Event. It is a ₤220 buy-in event that, if history is an indicator, will provide maximum bang for the buck. The structure is solid for his level of buy-in as it starts with 30,000 in chips and 30-minute levels. There are four flights for players to choose from beginning on November 22. Last year at this time 888poker held a similar tournament called the 888Live Local London tournament. The buy-in was identical and even without a full festival surrounding the event, the tournament drew 529 entries generating a prize pool of ₤155,825. The top five players all turned their ₤220 into five-figure scores with local grinder Christopher Vernon taking home the first place prize of ₤19,670 (over $26,000 USD). The tournament should see no fewer than 500 entries over the four flights and with the support of a full festival could even exceed the numbers posted in 2017. The Swordfish Taking place on the first Monday of the festival, November 26, The Swordfish is a tournament for anybody and everybody. It starts with the smalled buy-in of the entire schedule at only ₤60. Even for that small of an entry fee, the structure should appeal to players of every experience level with 15,000 chips and 25-minute levels. This provides players who may not have as much live experience a chance to get involved, make a move or two and fire away without having to put up the buy-in of a major Main Event. Now, the prize pool isn’t going to be anywhere near that of the Opening Event but neither is the time commitment. The Swordfish is a one-day tournament and will likely be one of the small fields. If a player is looking to have a little fun and fade fewer players, they could always splash around with The Swordfish. In addition to The Swordfish, the schedule offers The Hurricane, The Whale and a Turbo Deepstack all of which have buy-ins less than the Opener. The High Roller On the other end of the tournament spectrum is the High Roller which comes with a buy-in of ₤2,200. Along with the increased price point comes a deeper structure. The two-day tournament provides 100,000 in chips and 40-minute levels. There’s going to be some big money at stake here. In October 2017, during a previous London Festival, 69 players ponied up the buy-in and the prize pool swelled to ₤136,626, well over double its ₤50,000 guarantee. The UK’s Jamie Lunt ended up as the official winner after a heads-up deal was agreed upon. Lunt walked with ₤34,985 ($46,130 USD) for first place. If the ₤2,200 High Roller isn’t enough to get your blood flowing, there’s a ₤5,000 Super High Roller slated to run on the final two days of the schedule. Pot Limit Omaha Sick of No Limit Hold'em? The Pot Limit Omaha event is the only chance on the schedule for players to compete in a game other than NLHE. Traditionally, during the 888LIVE events, the PLO event isn’t one of the better-attended events. This year it takes place on the same day at the final two starting flights of the Main Event. So, if you have already made Day 2 in the Main Event but still have the urge to play, try playing the great game of PLO. The tournament starts with 30,000 in chips and 25-minute levels, however with some much Main Event action going on the field will likely be slightly easier to navigate than one of the other featured events. The Main Event Of course, it should be no surprise that the Main Event is the must-play event of the series. It comes with a $500,000 guarantee and promises to be a star-studded affair. Plenty of 888poker ambassadors like Chris Moorman, Dominik Nitsche, Parker ’tonkaaaa’ Talbot and more are likely to be on hand. In addition, 888poker will be importing a host of former World Series of Poker champions. Joe Cada, Scott Blumstein, and 888poker ambassador Martin Jacobson are all expected to be on hand. Last year, the Main Event of the London Festival paid out the largest first place prize of the series. UK pro Tom Hall bested the 427 player field and brought home 78,888 ($104,170 USD) for first place. 888poker is hoping that this year will be even bigger and have already begun running qualifiers and handing out packages for the Main Event which include extra cash to assist with travel and lodging. Full Schedule of Events Date Event Buy-In 11/22 888Live London Opening Event - 1A ₤220 11/23 888Live London Opening Event - 1B ₤220 11/24 888Live London Opening Event - 1C ₤220 888Live London Opening Event - 1D ₤220 11/25 888Live London Opening Event - Final The Hurricane ₤110 11/26 The Swordfish ₤60 11/27 The Turbo Deepstack ₤80 11/28 High Roller - Day 1 ₤2200 11/29 High Roller - Final 888Live London Main Event - 1A ₤1100 11/30 888Live London Main Event - 1B ₤1100 888Live London Main Event - 1C ₤1100 12/01 888Live London Main Event - 1D ₤1100 888Live London Main Event - 1E ₤1100 Pot Limit Omaha ₤125 12/02 888 London Festival Main Event- Day 2 The Whale ₤150 Super High Roller Day 1 ₤5000 Ladies Event ₤100 12/03 888 London Festival Main Event- Final Day Super High Roller Final Day
  20. Perhaps the only thing more fun than throwing some clothes in a duffle bag and hopping on a flight for a highly anticipated poker vacation is to do exactly that but with a couple of your best friends in tow. In their new promotion, 888poker is giving their players a chance to win a special trip to the UK to participate in the 888poker LIVE London Festival. More specifically, the package includes a stake to splash around in an exclusive “Bros vs. Pros” cash game as well as tickets to hit the pitch and watch a football match. Get Qualified First things first: on November 14 and 17 at 21:00 GMT (4:00 PM ET) players need to log-in and play in either (or both) of the two $1 buy-in Bros vs. Pros online qualifying events. The tournaments have an $888 guarantee, however - and this is important - they are password protected. It’s easy to discover the password though, players simply need to follow along with 888poker’s social media feeds where they will be given out. Once players uncover the password, register for the tournaments and survive to make the top five in either of the qualifiers. Then, the ten players who make it to the end will compete in the final 10-person Sit & Go on November 18, again taking place at 21:00 GMT (4:00 PM ET). The winner of that contest takes home the Bros vs Pros grand prize as well as gets to surprise two of their best friends with a VIP trip to London. The package is a fun one. It grants a seat into the £1,100 $500,000 GTD 888poker LIVE London Main Event, tickets to the upcoming football (soccer) match between the London Arsenal and the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and £1,000 stake for the Bros vs Pros cash game. Battle The Pros The Bros vs Pros cash game is an invite-only cash game featuring some of the game’s top names. 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Scott Blumstein, three-time WSOP Poker Players Championship Winner Michael ‘the Grinder’ Mizrachi, 888poker ambassadors Dominik Nitsche, Parker ‘tonkaaaa’ Talbot and Vivian Saliba will all be taking a seat and looking to battle with the Bros. The Bros vs Pros promotion is all part of the upcoming 888poker LIVE London Festival taking place at the Aspers Casino in London. The 24/7 poker action features 10 events over 12 days with $1 million in total guarantees. The festival boasts a schedule with the perfect events to satisfy everyone from the novice to the high roller. In addition to the Main Event, value seekers can hop into any of the five starting flights of the £220 Opening Event, which promises a five-figure score for the winner. For the shot takers, there is a £2,200 High Roller and a £5,000 Super High Roller. On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of low buy-in events for those who are looking to splash around or simply get their feet wet in a live environment. Qualifiers for the Bros vs Pros package are found under the Tournaments - Live Events tab in the 888poker client. Additionally, satellites for 888poker LIVE London Main Event packages are still taking place. 888poker LIVE London Festival takes place from November 22 - December 3. Full Schedule of Events Date Event Buy-In 11/22 888Live London Opening Event - 1A ₤220 11/23 888Live London Opening Event - 1B ₤220 11/24 888Live London Opening Event - 1C ₤220 888Live London Opening Event - 1D ₤220 11/25 888Live London Opening Event - Final The Hurricane ₤110 11/26 The Swordfish ₤60 11/27 The Turbo Deepstack ₤80 11/28 High Roller - Day 1 ₤2200 11/29 High Roller - Final 888Live London Main Event - 1A ₤1100 11/30 888Live London Main Event - 1B ₤1100 888Live London Main Event - 1C ₤1100 12/01 888Live London Main Event - 1D ₤1100 888Live London Main Event - 1E ₤1100 Pot Limit Omaha ₤125 12/02 888 London Festival Main Event- Day 2 The Whale ₤150 Super High Roller Day 1 ₤5000 Ladies Event ₤100 12/03 888 London Festival Main Event- Final Day Super High Roller Final Day
  21. A little over a year and a half ago, the marketing manager of an online poker room emailed Scott Baumstein in the middle of the night to offer him a lucrative deal to be a brand ambassador. Unfortunately for Baumstein, it was a case of mistaken identity. They were actually looking for Scott Blumstein, who had just made the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Search for "Scott Baumstein" on Google and even they ask you, 'Did you mean Scott Blumstein?'. Now, with 15 players left in the PokerStars Players Championship, Baumstein has the chip lead and is in position to win $5.1 million and make sure nobody gets the two Scott's mixed up again. "It's a little surreal at the moment, with all of the chips, getting lucky," said Baumstein. "It's definitely stressful, but I'm just trying to focus and I'll worry about all of that stuff when we're done." Throughout Day 4 it's been nearly impossible for Baumstein to ignore the TV cameras that are hovering around, even from one of the secondary feature tables. The New York native believes the power of the spotlight he's under now is second only to poker's most prestigious event. "Nothing can match this except for the WSOP Main Event. This is the biggest tournament of the year outside of that," said Baumstein, who cashed in the WSOP Main Event in 2009, 2010, and 2015. The quality of players Baumstein has had to tangle with in the PSPC has changed each and every day. The Platinum Pass winners that accounted for 30% of the field on Day 1 are now mostly gone and Baumstein recognizes it's getting harder and harder to navigate through the pros that are now left. "The field, every day, in this tournament, got continually tougher. The first day I had two really great table draws," said Baumstein. "I thought it was really easy, especially for a $25K, but even for a smaller buy-in tournament. As this tournament progressed, the better players sort of stuck in there and I've had very difficult tables from Day 2 on." The elimination of Louis Boutin in 16th place also secured Baumstein a career-best cash, even if the unthinkable happens. His previous top score in January 2018 when he took down the opening event of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $220,238. Having people no longer confuse him for the 2017 WSOP Main Event champ isn't something Baumstein is concerned about, even if it felt like a bit of an unintentional needle at the time. He's just focused on maximizing the opportunity that's now in front of him. "I'm definitely playing for the money," said Baumstein. "In terms of respect, everybody knows that any idiot can get lucky in one poker tournament."
  22. The 2019 Poker Masters kicked off this week and the first event is in the books. Winning Event #1: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em was Isaac Baron. Baron topped the field of 97 entries to take home $223,100. To win the title, Baron topped a final table that included Jeremy Ausmus, Sam Soverel, and Scott Blumstein, and he defeated Chance Kornuth in heads-up play. Kornuth earned $164,900 for his runner-up finish. Event 1 Final Table Results 1st: Isaac Baron - $223,100 2nd: Chance Kornuth - $164,900 3rd: Ralph Wong - $116,400 4th: Jeremy Ausmus - $97,000 5th: Sam Soverel - $77,600 6th: Scott Blumstein - $58,200 7th: Dan Shak - $48,500 8th: Thai Ha - $38,800 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Baron entered the final table of eight with the chip lead and it was Pennsylvania poker pro Thai Ha to bust first in eighth place. Ha went out at the hands of Ausmus when his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"] lost to Ausmus’ [poker card="8s"][poker card="7s"] in all-in preflop action. Dan Shak was next to bust, and it was Baron who sent him packing. Ausmus had opened to 120,000 holding the [poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"] with the blinds at 30,000-60,000 with a 60,000 big blind ante, and Baron reraised to 330,000 with pocket fives. Shak, who was on a severe short stack, then called all in for 75,000 with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jd"]. Ausmus folded, and it was off to the races for Baron and Shak. No help came for Shak and he was out in seventh place. Although Soverel busted Blumstein in sixth place, he was the next one to bust, and it was once again Baron doing the deed. Baron’s [poker card="As"][poker card="Ac"] held up against Soverel’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"] and Soverel was out fifth. After Ausmus was knocked out in fourth and Ralph Wong in third, both at the hands of Baron, it was time for the heads-up match between Baron and Kornuth. Entering the duel, Baron had 8.415 million in chips to Kornuth’s 1.29 million. The two wasted no time getting the money in, as Baron shoved with the [poker card="5c"][poker card="3c"] against Kornuth and his stack of 10 big blinds. Kornuth looked at the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="9h"] and made the call. Unfortunately for Kornuth, the board ran out [poker card="Th"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="Qd"][poker card="Kc"] to give Baron the victory. With the win, Baron took the early lead in the race for the overall Poker Masters title with 300 points. The player to earn the most points over the course of the series will be crowned Poker Masters champion and receive a $100,000 bonus plus the trophy purple jacket.

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