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  1. The Main Event of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open starts on August 28. Although it's a US-based event that takes place in South Florida, the tournament will see a number of players buy directly in through the PokerStars client. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsson Poker, a leading global online gaming provider. Betsson Poker is available on Mobile and offers regular promotions to live events around the world along with great bonuses and competitions. Play nowfor a chance to win the a Dream Holiday with the Grand Poker Adventures throughout 2014! --- There are three starting days of the tournament (August 28, 29, and 30) and the $5,300 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event guarantees $10 million. According to PokerStars officials, "PokerStars players (.com / .eu only) wishing to DBI themselves into the event can go to 'Events' - 'More' – 'Special' and look for the tournaments listed as 'Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Day 1A, 1B, or 1C.' While this event is unlimited re-entry, players are only allowed to enter a single Day 1 through PokerStars and they are not able to utilize the client for any re-entries." The link between PokerStars and Seminole is unclear. PokerStars has no online presence in the US market and hasn't since Black Friday. Therefore, its entire user base is located outside of the US, meaning that anyone who heads to South Florida will likely have travel costs associated with the trip. Speaking of the absence of PokerStars in the US, text on the site notes, "Real money play on PokerStars is not allowed while physically located within the United States of America under any circumstances. Players who attempt to play for real money while they are physically located in the USA will lose their playing privileges and/or funds in their account." A PokerStars representative told PocketFives on Tuesday, "We understand that there may be a number of players who will want to play both EPT Barcelona and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event and we are happy to help them do so. We've done this because we think it will be good for players." Anyone who buys into the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event through PokerStars will get direct entry into the tournament, not cash on site. Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas was pleased with the news that Seminole and PokerStars had teamed up, telling PocketFives, "This is an industry where competition seems to get the better of everything, often to the detriment of the players. So, it is very refreshing to see cooperation between two gaming companies. It is a good development for the players and, given the size and reach of these two brands, further cooperation could be a huge development for the growth of the game." Last year's Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event drew 2,384 entrants and had a prize pool that nearly lapped $12 million. The end of the tournament was a PocketFiver versus PocketFiver showdown, as Blair blur5f6Hinkle (pictured) edged out Justin ZeeJustin Bonomo in a battle of World Series of Poker bracelet winners. If you don't have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of PocketFives Training with no signup fee. Click here to create your account. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. In addition to the $10 million guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event that will play down to a champion on Wednesday, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida held a $100,000 Super High Roller tournament. While there haven't been any controversies in the Main Event, the Super High Roller was marred by a payout controversy. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- The controversy began on Monday with only nine players putting up a $100,000 buy-in to build a prize pool of $877,500. As the tournament offered late registration and a re-entry option, there wasn't a set payout structure announced. In the middle of the event, however, Seminole officials stated that if the field were under 10 entries, two players would be paid out. They also said that instead of playing through to a champion, the action would be halted for the day once five players remained to allow for streaming of the final table by PokerStars.tv. This didn't seem to sit well with the chip leader at the time, Scott Seiver (pictured above), who argued for a 70/30 split of the prize money instead of the stated 65/35. The situation escalated once five players remained when Seminole officials announced that three players would be receiving a payout. According to Jason Mo, who was among those five players remaining, this is where the story took an intriguing turn. Writing in a post on TwoPlusTwo, Mo recounted, "After we get down to five and bag and tag, the floor comes back and says that three people pay according to their structure sheet. Before this point, I assumed this was correct since nothing was set in stone before because the registration and rebuy period was still open. The floor insists that it's three, Scott starts yelling and threatening the floor, and the rest of the players leave." Mo continued, "An hour later after Scott was left alone with the floor, they changed their decision and paid two. I ask them about this later, they said they didn't change based on Scott's complaining, which I believe to be a complete lie. Scott basically got the tournament floor to change the payouts mid-tournament to make them more top-heavy, adding about $70,000 in ICM value to his stack." Seiver put his side of the story in the same thread. After talking with another player, Dan Perper, and learning that there wasn't a payout schedule prior to the start of the event, Seiver brought the issue up. A floorman admitted discussing the payout percentages for two players and, after hearing Seiver's arguments, the floorman said the casino wouldn't deviate from the 65/35 split. "We continue to play poker and are told we will stop play for the day whenever we reach five players so there is a live stream the next day," Seiver said in his post. "We hit five players about 15 minutes into Level 5. When we do, the TD's boss, the head of tournaments, comes into the room with bags for us and as he puts the bags down says, 'By the way, there was a mistake… We said the wrong information we are now paying three spots.'" Seiver once again voiced his displeasure with this to Seminole officials. "I was upset, as was Dan, as this is a terrible precedent for tournament poker to set where over halfway through a tournament a stated and announced setting of the tournament is changed." After almost an hour of discussion, Seminole officials decided to revert to the two players paid format, which failed to settle the issue among the remaining five players. In the end, Seminole officials stuck to paying two players, but added a $50,000 payout to whomever finished in third place. According to reports from the Seminole Hard Rock floor, that third place finisher was ironically Seiver. After getting his final chips in against Ryan Fee with an A-Q against Fee's A-8, Fee was able to make two pair on a J-6-10-A-8 board to eliminate Seiver. Fee would fall as the runner-up in the tournament to Jake Schindler. What do you make of the controversy? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. [caption width="639"] Military veteran Jeremy Linville is one of the King of the Club WPT qualifiers for the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. (Submitted photo)[/caption] The latest ClubWPT promotion offers players the chance to become the 'King of the Club' and head to Hollywood, FL to play at a televised table for a shot at $37,000 in prizes. By qualifying through tournaments available on ClubWPT.com, 16 players earn a seat to play in an invitational tournament under the bright lights of the WPT final table at the last event of the WPT season. One of the first players to claim his seat as part of the promotion was Delaware’s Jeremy Linville. The 33-year-old Linville happened to be watching the WPT on TV one night earlier this winter when he saw the promotion and took advantage of a free trial initial sign-up. To win his seat, Linville was one of eight players to outlast the field of 336 in the first KOTC Finale. He plays poker at local casinos in Delaware and his trip to Florida will be his first time playing on television. While some players might feel some pressure being on TV, the atmosphere will be far from intimidating for Linville, who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. Linville served as part of the 82nd Airborne from 2006 to 2012 and earned a Purple Heart for his service. While overseas, Linville first learned poker while playing with fellow troops using snacks as chips. A self-described “adrenaline junkie,” Linville looks forward to the challenge of playing against the best and was in shock when he earned his seat. “When I won, I was like ‘these things don’t happen to me.’ It’s going to be a one of a kind experience to play in this event and a nice getaway. I’m excited to be in Florida,” said Linville. Sign up to ClubWPT today for a chance at making your poker dream a reality. After returning home from deployment, Linville enrolled at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the Biology program and is concentrating in pre-medical studies. Linville is a full-time student there and has less than 30 credits left to finish before graduation. He says he hopes to become a Physician’s Assistant once he graduates and would like to eventually achieve his Doctorate in the medical field. Linville’s interest in medicine stems from his time enlisted in the military. As part of the Combat Triage unit, Linville was responsible for performing immediate medical procedures on soldiers injured in battle and realized those skills could translate into a career outside of the military. “I first learned how to treat combat injuries at Fort Bragg and I gained triage experience from the military. My job was a ‘Combat Lifesaver’ and the situations were to do your job or somebody is going to die,” said Linville. Being a part of the military brotherhood is something that Linville values greatly. In 2008, Linville was injured two months before the end of his tour and thought for months on end about rejoining his “family” back in Afghanistan. Less than eight months later, Linville was back overseas and served another tour that ended in 2010 and served one more tour before joining civilian life in May 2012. “The adrenaline rush kicks in once you know you’re in the money. Once you get it down the money, it’s a matter of being smarter to get the max dollar. I’m excited to play in something of this magnitude. At the end of the day, it’s just a poker match. Nobody is going to be shooting at me at the table,” said Linville, with a laugh. The subscription-based ClubWPT.com offers players the opportunity to play tons of online poker tournaments for a yearly fee of $19.95/month. Prizes on the site include seats into WPT Main Tour events, cash, and other prizes.
  4. [caption width="640"] Jason Koon won last year's SHRPO Championship as part of The Big 4. (Card Player photo)[/caption] Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL is one of the premier poker destinations in the United States and its largest series of the year is currently underway. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) is firmly established as can’t-miss for any player, whether recreational or professional. In 2015, The Big 4 premiered at SHRPO to great fanfare and is back for the third straight year this series. The Big 4 is four tournaments of different buy ins and structures that will have their respective final table live streamed over Twitch simultaneously on Tuesday, August 15. The tournaments are as follows in order of buy in size: $1,100 entry, $500,000 guaranteed $2,650 entry, $1,000,000 guaranteed $5,250 entry, $3,000,000 guaranteed (SHRPO Championship) $25,500 entry, $2,000,000 guaranteed (SHRPO High Roller) The buy-ins are the same from the previous two years but feature a few structure adjustments, with the SHRPO Championship seeing the biggest facelift. The $1,100 event starts on Wednesday, August 9 and will reach the final table in one day. All levels on Day 1 are 30 minutes with players starting with 15,000 chips. All final table levels are 90 minutes, with the exception of heads up play, where the levels are reduced to 60 minutes. The former SHRPO Championship that was once a freezeout, is now re-entry for this year. The $5,250 buy in that has had guarantees of $5,000,000 and $10,000,000 in previous years is now $3,000,000. The main event of the SHRPO series has a starting flight on Friday, August 11 and Saturday, August 12. The SHRPO Championship is a four-day event and Day 3 will be played until the nine-handed final table is reached. At the price point of $2,650, the $1,000,000 guaranteed event is the only freezeout on the 2017 schedule. The three-day event starts on Sunday, August 13 and will play out over consecutive days to the Big 4 final table. Finally, the $25,500 High Roller is the second-highest buy in of SHRPO, behind the two-day $50,000 Super High Roller on August 8-9. The High Roller is also two days with Day 1 starting on August 14. The SHRPO Championship has crowned high profile winners in recent years with Dan Colman and Jason Koon taking down the title in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Seminole Hard Rock is on every list of great tournament series and the 2017 edition of SHRPO should put together another elite grouping of final tables that will play out at once for the whole world to see.
  5. [caption id="attachment_617455" align="alignnone" width="640"] The World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Championship Event starts on January 19.[/caption] After a two year absence, the World Poker Tour brings a Championship Event back to the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Set to take place from January 19-24, the $3,500 Main Event buy-in comes with a $2,000,000 guarantee. Do You Feel Lucky? For those who are looking to find shade from the South Florida sun and take a seat at the tables, here is everything you need to know about the big event. The Lucky Hearts Main Event offers two starting days, the first of which begins on January 19 at noon local time. While there is no re-entry during each individual day, players who opt to play Day 1A and bust are eligible to give it a second shot on Day 1B. Additionally, if players have a stack at the end of Day 1A, but they are unhappy with their stack size, they would need to forfeit that in order to register Day 1B. Days one and two have 60-minute levels, after that the time increases to 90 minutes until a final table of six is reached. Once your there, the levels drop back to 60 minutes and should you be lucky enough to make it heads-up, 30-minute levels are enacted. The WPT Action Clock will be active one the tournament reaches one table outside the money. The Action Clock, which has been touted as a positive addition to the WPT’s major tournaments, gives players 30 seconds in which to make decisions, cutting back on excessive tanking and allowing players to get more hands in per hour. A Look Back At Lucky Hearts The $2,000,000 guarantee is very likely to be crushed when all is said and done but it’s no sure thing. Of all the previous years in which the WPT brought a Championship Event to the Lucky Hearts Poker open only 2015's Season XIII event eclipsed that large of a prize pool. That year, Brian Altman bested a field of 1,027 to take home $723,008 from a total prize pool of over $3.2 million. In Season X, the WPT Main Event was a part of the Lucky Hearts Showdown and the $3,500 buy-in only saw 295 runners. The next year in Season XI, attendance rose and the Lucky Hearts Main Event received a large PR boost with a star-studded final table. Darryl Fish and Matt Salsberg made the final table that saw Matt Giannetti defeat Lily Kiletto heads-up to win $323,804 and the title of WPT Champion. Attendance jumped again to 415 in 2014 when James Calderaro won out over Shannon Shorr and Keven Stammen for over $270,000. WPTDeepStacks Adds Some More Action Expectations are high for this year and much of that is due to the popularity and involvement of the WPTDeepStacks brand. During the multi-year hiatus of the WPT main tour at the Lucky Hearts, the WPTDeepStacks have run one of their Main Events during the festival. The past two years have seen a pair of notable names take down the Lucky Hearts WPTDeepStacks with Salomon Ponte’s win in 2016 and Jerry Wong’s victory in 2017. This year the WPTDeepStacks teams up with the main tour for and opens the Lucky Hearts Poker Open with their $1,000,000 guarantee on January 11. In addition to the WPTDeepStacks event, there are plenty of chances for players satellite into the $3,500 Main Event. Eighteen different Mega Satellites will take place starting as early as January 14. In total, the schedule guarantees over 85 seats to the Championship event with buy-ins ranging from $140-$390. Finally, if that wasn’t enough action to pull you into the land of poker and palm trees there are a number of scheduled post-lims including a $25,500 High Roller and a $50,000 High Roller both with a $1,000,000 guarantee. The Lucky Hearts Poker Open festival kicks off on January 11. The $3,500 World Poker Tour Championship event, a five-day affair with a live-streamed final table, starts on January 19.
  6. Season XVI of the World Poker Tour is in the homestretch and on its way to sunny Hollywood, FL for a $3 million guaranteed event. Seminole Hard Rock is the home to the largest field in World Poker Tour history and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is expected to draw at least 1,000 entrants. From April 13-18, all eyes in North America are on one of the annual marquee WPT events. The Season XV version of Showdown brought in 1,207 entrants in only a single starting flight for a $2 million guaranteed prize pool. Tony Sinishtaj drove into the winner’s circle with $661,283 of the $3.862 million prize pool after defeating a final table of Dan Colman, Robert Mizrachi, and Darryll Fish. Millions In The Middle The current WPT season has been busy from the moment it started in August and the pace is still in fifth-gear coming into the final East Coast event of the campaign. Seminole hosted the World Poker Tour in January for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open and drew a field of 911 runners for a $2 million guarantee. The prize pool for that event brushed against the barriers of the $3 million and a four-figure amount of players at Showdown creates one of the highest pots of Season XVI. In Season XII, Seminole placed a whopping $5 million up for grabs and attracted 1,795 entrants for what still stands as the largest WPT field of all-time. Eric Afriat walked away with first-place and $1.08 million against a final table that included WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja, future Champions Club Member James Mackey, and bracelet winner Chance Kornuth. Expect to see Afriat back at the Hard Rock in a few weeks for more reasons than just another title. Player of the Year Hits Octane Mode Art Papazyan’s Season XVI Player of the Year lead decreases with every stop. Papazyan opened up a giant gap between him and the field after winning his second title of the season at WPT Maryland in October. The 2,400 points Papazyan holds are from his two titles, which are his only cashes of the season. Papazyan’s selective schedule means he may not show up to Florida and attempt to increase his overall total. Afriat is one of a few players who can overtake Papazyan with at least a final table finish. January’s Borgata Winter Poker Open featured a win from Afriat for his second career WPT victory along with 1,200 Player of the Year points. Coupled with his fifth-place result at WPT Montreal, Afriat stands with 1,700 points. In second place on the leaderboard is Derek Wolters, who has recorded two final table finishes along with three cashes in total. Wolters recently took third at the L.A. Poker Classic. That bronze medal sits next to the one he earned at WPT Montreal. Overall, Wolters is playing with 1,850 points heading down the stretch. The final member of the chase committee behind Papazyan is 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Joe McKeehen. Through a fourth-place result at Borgata and third-place at WPT Rolling Thunder in March along with two other cashes, McKeehen keeps pace with 1,600 points. A few others lurking who need at least 1,200 points to hit Papazyan’s mark are D.J. Alexander, Phil Hellmuth, and Lucky Hearts victory Darryll Fish. Structure Details Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown features two starting flights and unlimited re-entry across both Day 1s. The total prize pool makes itself known after Level 9 on Day 1B. Levels on Day 1 and 2 are 60 minutes before ticking up to 90 minutes for Day 3 and Day 4. Final table levels are 60 minutes on Day 5 for the six remaining players. The final table airs on the PokerGO live stream on April 18 and plays down to the 16th champion of Season XVI.
  7. It’s about to get even hotter in South Florida as the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event gets underway this week. Beginning on Friday, August 10, the popular Hollywood, Florida poker stop will kick off its Championship Event - a $5,250 buy-in tournament with a $3 million guarantee. Take A Shot The Main Event is a four-day affair and the structure is solid. Players will receive a 40,000 chip starting stack (400bb) and 60-minute levels to work with. When play reaches 27 players, the levels will extend to 90 minutes. The tournament has two starting flights for players to choose from and a single re-entry for those who are unable to find their way into Day 2 on their first bullet. The single re-entry is not on a per day basis though, it’s one re-entry per player total. So, a player can fire Day 1A or Day 1B, bust and re-enter the same day or enter once on Day 1A and then on Day 1B. Every day has a noon start (with the exception of the final table) and, much to the delight of most players, play features the big blind ante. The Big Four The final table, which kicks off at 1 pm on August 14, is part of SHRPO’s The Big 4. This is the fourth annual Big 4, where four different tournaments all play to a final table, all of which are filmed for broadcast at the same time. This year The Big 4 tournaments include the Main Event, a $25,000 High Roller with $2 million guaranteed, a $1,100 $500K GTD NLHE tournament and a single re-entry $2,650 $1 million GTD NLHE tournament. Each of the tournament has their own starting days and structures. But on August 14 players from all four final tables will take their seats at the same time and those following along will be able to keep tabs on all simultaneously. The Stars Come Out The history of the SHRPO Main Event has included some of the biggest names in the poker world performing in top form. Back in 2014, tournament organizers got aggressive and put a $10 million guarantee on the Main Event - one they missed by over $2 million. The bulk of that overlay was picked up by high stakes phenom Daniel Coleman who won $1,446,716 when he defeated Canadian superstar Mike Leah heads up for the title. The next year, SHRPO scaled back a bit, offering a $5 million guarantee. Daniel Colman went deep once again, finishing in third of the 907 runners. However, it was Texas' Omar Zazay that took home the $1 million first-place prize for his career-best score. In 2016, it was a battle of high rolling regulars as Jason Koon bested Seth Davies for the $1,000,000 victory. Then, just last year, Australia’s Martin Kozlov bested a field of 887 runners, and a final table that included Matt Berkey, Adam Levy, and Joe Kuether, for over $750,000. Added Value Not only does SHRPO offer million dollar prize pools, this year they are offering up one of PokerStars’ coveted Platinum Passes. Players that enter any SHRPO event, including all of the pre and post-lims, will be entered in a drawing. The winner which will win themselves a Platinum Pass. The pass is valued at $30,000 which includes the $25,000 entry into PokerStars PSPC, which takes place in the Bahamas in January, as well as $5,000 in expenses. Satellites to the Main Event are running all week prior to the Main Event in the Seminole Hard Rock poker room. There are over 80 guaranteed seats into the Championship available over the course of the week, most of which come at a $570 buy-in. Day 1A of the SHRPO $5,250 Main Event kicks off on August 10 at 12:00 noon ET. SHRPO Schedule of Events Event # Day Date Time Buy-In Event 7 Mon 6-Aug 11:00AM $300.00 Seniors 50+ (Re-Entry) - One-Day Event 8 Mon 6-Aug 12:00PM $360.00 Big Stack Black Chip Bounty NLH (Re-Entry) - $30K GTD - One Day Event 9 Mon 6-Aug 3:00PM $360.00 PLO (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 10 Mon 6-Aug 6:00PM $150.00 Big Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $20K GTD - $5,250 Championship Seat Added 11 Tue 7-Aug 11:00AM $570.00 Six-Max NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $50K GTD - One Day Event 12 Tue 7-Aug 3:00PM $360.00 Big O (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 13 Tue 7-Aug 5:00PM $1,100.00 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out) - One Day Event 14 Wed 8-Aug 12:00PM $50,000.00 Super High Roller NLH (Re-Entry) - $1M GTD - Held In Salon East 14 Thu 9-Aug 12:00PM -- Day 2 15 Wed 8-Aug 12:00PM $1,100.00 Six-Max Big Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100K GTD - One Day Event 16 Wed 8-Aug 3:00PM $360.00 Six-Max PLO (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 17 Thu 9-Aug 12:00PM $2,200.00 Eight-Handed NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $200K GTD - One Day Event 18 Thu 9-Aug 7:00PM $300.00 Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic Presented By CSOP 19A Fri 10-Aug 12:00PM $5,250.00 SHRPO Championship Day 1A (Single Re-Entry) - $3M GTD 19B Sat 11-Aug 12:00PM $5,250.00 SHRPO Championship Day 1B (Single Re-Entry) - $3M GTD 19 Sun 12-Aug 12:00PM -- Day 2 19 Mon 13-Aug 12:00PM -- Day 3 19 Tue 14-Aug 1:00PM -- Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of Big 4 20 Sun 12-Aug 2:00PM $2,650.00 NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1M GTD 20 Mon 13-Aug 12:00PM -- Day 2 20 Tue 14-Aug 1:00PM -- Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of Big 4 21 Mon 13-Aug 11:00AM $1,100.00 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500K GTD 21 Tue 14-Aug 1:00PM -- Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of Big 4 22 Mon 13-Aug 12:00PM $25,500.00 High Roller (Re-Entry) - $2M GTD - Held In Salon East 22 Tue 14-Aug 1:00PM -- Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of Big 4 23A Sun 12-Aug 5:00PM $150.00 NLH Day 1A (Re-Entry) - $50K GTD 23B Mon 13-Aug 5:00PM $150.00 NLH Day 1B (Re-Entry) - $50K GTD 23 Tue 14-Aug 5:00PM -- Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 24 Mon 13-Aug 6:00PM $2,650.00 PLO (Re-Entry) 24 Tue 14-Aug 3:00PM -- Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 25 Tue 14-Aug 11:00AM $10,000.00 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500K GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 26 Tue 14-Aug 12:00PM $300.00 Deep Stack Turbo (Re-Entry) - $25K GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event
  8. The World Poker Tour continues Season XVII of the WPT Main Tour on Friday, November 23, with the start of the WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The venue is home to the largest WPT Main Tour event in history, and this season’s event comes with a $2 million guarantee on the prize pool. The WPT RRPO $3,500 Championship runs November 23-28 and features two starting flights and unlimited reentry is allowed through the first nine levels. Per standard WPT Main Tour structure, players begin with 40,000 in chips, a big blind ante will be used, and the Action Clock will be entered into play once the field is one table off the money. Players will play 60-minute levels on Day 1 and Day 2 before the levels are kicked up to 90 minutes on Day 3 and Day 4. The final table of the event will be live streamed on WPT.com on Wednesday, November 28. WPT Events at Seminole Known for Huge Fields and Big Payouts The addition of the Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open to the World Poker Tour schedule is new, but the WPT has plenty of history with the host property, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, especially when it comes to $3,500 buy-in events. In addition to being home to the largest WPT Main Tour field in history, $3,500 buy-in WPT events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino have an average field size of 1,278 entries over the last seven. In those seven events, nearly $29 million in total prize money has been awarded, for an average prize pool of more than $4.1 million. The winner of that largest WPT Main Tour event in history was Eric Afriat, who topped an enormous field of 1,795 entries in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. The now two-time WPT champion Afriat won $1.081 million in that event. Other past champions of World Poker Tour events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino include Darryll Fish, Ryan Riess, Justin Young, Chino Rheem, and Taylor von Kriegenbergh. Von Kriegenbergh won the WPT event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with the largest first-place prize in history. He took down the Season IX WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1.122 million. Ruberto Leads Hublot WPT Player of the Year Race Heading In With a large field anticipated for the event, one of the storylines heading in is that of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race for Season XVII. Two-time WPT champion Tony Ruberto currently leads with 1,800 points. Ruberto won his second World Poker Tour title this season when he captured the WPT Maryland at Live! Casino crown. He also made the final table of WPT Choctaw, placing fourth. In second place behind Ruberto is Erkut Yilmaz with 1,250 points, and then it’s Patrick Serda, Simon Lam, and Brady Holiman rounding out the top five with 1,200 points each. As the WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 Championship has a $2 million guarantee on the prize pool, a minimum of 1,200 points will be awarded to the winner. Minimums of 1,000 points and 900 points will go to second and third places, respectively. The winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVII will earn a $15,000 WPT Passport for buy-ins across the tour and a special Hublot watch. Appetizing Side Events During Championship During the dates of the Season XVII WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 Championship, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has three side events with buy-ins above $1,650. First is the $1,650 Deep Stack Purple Chip Bounty tournament that comes with a $100,000 guarantee. This event runs November 25-26. On November 26, the $5,000 Eight-Handed tournament kicks off. It is scheduled as a one-day tournament with a $250,000 guarantee. Also starting on November 26 is the $2,200 Deep Stack PLO tournament that is scheduled for two days and allows reentry. Thousands Already Showing Up This year’s Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open is already off to an impressive start. The opening event of the series, the $360 Deep Stack Reentry tournament that boasted a $1 million guarantee, attracted 4,558 entries and generated a guarantee-busting prize pool of $1.367 million. The event was won by Texas’ Trung Pham for $123,364 after a seven-way deal at the final table.
  9. On the heels of the 2018 World Series of Poker, the month of August is usually a reset for many in the poker world after they take some time to recharge from the strenuous Vegas grind. That doesn't mean the news slows down, though. Here are PocketFives’ top stories from August. Former CardPlayer Employee Charged With Theft of $1.1M from Company August closed with a bang as far as news headlines were concerned, after it was made known that Shelby "Anna" McCann, a former employee of poker media outlet CardPlayer, was charged with the theft of $1.1 million from the company. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, McCann had been stealing from the company for quite some time, writing checks to herself, increasing her own salary without approval, and paying off personal debt with company money. READ: Former CardPlayer Employee Charged With Theft of $1.1M from Company Badziakouski Wins EPT Barcelona €100K Super High Roller for €1.65M Mikita Badziakouski has had himself quite the 2018. Entering the December Super High Roller Bowl, Badziakouski had already earned more than $14.5 million on the live felt, including four seven-figure scores. One of those huge scores came in August when Badziakouski won the EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller. Badziakouski topped a field of 54 entries in the six-figure buy-in tournament to continue his incredible pace in 2018. He won the event for the third-largest score of his live tournament career, €1.65 million, and did so in one of the toughest high-stakes tournaments in the world. READ: Badziakouski Wins EPT Barcelona €100K Super High Roller for €1.65M SHRPO Big 4: Eisen Wins Championship, Foxen Goes Back-to-Back Seminole Hard Rock's 'Big 4' group of poker events has quickly risen the ranks as one of the best tournament festivals in the world. This year's event saw Brandon Eisen, Alex Foxen, Marc MacDonnell, and Jake Schindler earn the four major victories. Foxen's win stuck out in particular, and it’s because the event he won, the $2,650 No-Limit Hold'em event, was the same one he won the year before. In 2018, he took home $208,452 for topping a field of 422 entries. In 2017, he bested a field of 395 entries to win $204,600. READ: Eisen Wins Championship, Foxen Goes Back-to-Back The Year of the Fox: Alex Foxen Now Living the Poker Dream Sticking with Foxen, PocketFives' Jeff Walsh sat down with the poker pro in August to discuss the year he was having, bookended by the two SHRPO wins in South Florida. At the time, Foxen stated that he was "aiming to reach #1 in the GPI rankings." He reached that goal in October and remained #1 on the GPI for the rest of the year. READ: Alex Foxen Now Living the Poker Dream SUNDAY MAJORS: Sunday Million DDoS’d; Moorman, Leonard Win Elsewhere Although the names of Chris Moorman and Patrick Leonard are included in the headline on this story, the big story from Sunday, August 12, was that PokerStars had to cancel many of its tournaments due to a DDoS attack across its network that caused outages in events such as the Sunday Million, Sunday Warm-Up, High Roller, and Bounty Builder High Roller, with refunds and prize money distributed. In more positive news from this Sunday, Moorman and Leonard both scored sizable victories on the platforms of their sponsors. READ: Sunday Million DDoS’d; Moorman, Leonard Win Elsewhere ‘hellohellohello’ Wins August Monthly PLB Title PocketFiver 'hellohellohello' claimed the Monthly PLB title for August with 3,062.21 points. His biggest score came on August 19 when he won the PokerStars Sunday Million for $160,888 and 1,091.60 points. He also won the PokerStars $1,050 Thursday Thrill [Progressive KO], $175K Gtd for $27,270 and 378.15 points during August.
  10. Busting out of a World Poker Tour event usually means a miserable end to one's poker trip. Aaron Mermelstein was having none of that. After busting in 53rd place in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown on Tuesday, Mermelstein jumped into the $25,000 High Roller event and the Pennsylvania poker player beat a final table that included the reigning GPI Player of the Year, a former WSOP Main Event champ and a WSOP Europe Main Event champ to pick up the second biggest score of his career. Ben Yu didn't come to the final table with the shortest stack, but with just six big blinds to work with, the three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner didn't have a lot of decisions to make. On the first hand of play, he moved all in for 295,000 with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] only to have James Calderaro called with [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] flop left Yu drawing to perfect-perfect running fours. The [poker card="qs"] turn gave him outs to a chop but the [poker card="jd"] river sealed his fate with a ninth place finish. Just a few minutes later, Brandon Adams ended up on the wrong side of an unavoidable preflop all in situation. Adams and Joe McKeehen got all the money in with Adams holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] and McKeehen well ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. The ace-high flop gave McKeehen top set and left Adams drawing dead through the turn and river on his way to an eighth place finish. The player who did start the final table with the shortest stack, Alan Schein, laddered up two spots inside of the first 10 minutes before finally busting. Calderaro raised to 110,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"] and Schein moved all in for 435,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. Calderaro called and then stayed ahead through the [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"] flop. The [poker card="kc"] turn was also safe but the [poker card="jd"] river give Calderaro a pair to win the pot and eliminate Schein in seventh. Niall Farrell raised to 100,000 from the button holding [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"] before Mermelstein moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"]. Farrell called all in and moved ahead on the [poker card="qd"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5s"] flop. The [poker card="7d"] turn gave Mermelstein a gutshot which the [poker card="6c"] river completed to give Farrell a sixth place result. McKeehen, who started the final table with the chip lead, got into a hand with Shannon Shorr that resulted in Shorr's departure. On a flop of [poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6d"], McKeehen bet 160,000 only to have Shorr check-raise all in for a little over 1,000,000. McKeehen called and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"] which put him ahead of Shorr's [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] holding. Shorr was unable to improve after the [poker card="as"] turn and [poker card="jh"] river and was out in fifth. The former WSOP Main Event champ wasn't done there. McKeehen raised to 150,000 from UTG with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] and Calderaro moved all in for 425,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"] and McKeehen called. The board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"] to send Shorr home with a fourth place finish. Unfortunately for McKeehen, the next hour wasn't as kind to him and he wound up busting in third. Mermelstein raised to 175,000 from the button, McKeehen moved all in from the small blind for 1,555,000. Foxen moved all in from the big blind and Mermelstein folded. McKeehen tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] and was in rough shape after Foxen turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="3c"][poker card="js"][poker card="5h"] wasn't good enough to save McKeehen from elimination. Heads up play started with Mermelstein holding 55% of the chips in play. Over the next hour, Mermelstein never surrendered the chip lead and eventually found a spot to pick off Foxen. From the button, Foxen raised to 350,000 and Mermelstein called. The flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"] and Mermelstein check-raised all in and Foxen called and then got bad news after Mermelstein turned over [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] for top set while Foxen showed [poker card="js"][poker card="td"] for top pair and a runner-runner straight draw. The [poker card="ac"] turn crushed any hope Foxen had, giving Mermelstein the title and a $618,955 payday. Final Table Payouts Aaron Mermelstein – $618,955 Alex Foxen – $545,000 Joe McKeehen – $305,665 James Calderaro – $210,295 Shannon Shorr – $136,935 Niall Farrell – $100,255 Alan Schein – $83,140 Brandon Adams – $70,915 Ben Yu – $68,470
  11. For the third straight year, the World Series of Poker is setting up shop at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the Czech Republic for their post-summer bracelet series in Europe. For the better part of 23 days, starting on October 13, poker players will be battling in 15 gold bracelet events with a select few making a run at becoming the 2019 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. The stakes are high and the rewards will be huge giving the WSOPE nearly everything one could want in a destination poker trip. Except, maybe, one thing. It’s in Rozvadov. Looking for sun and sand? Looking for exciting nightlife? Looking for…a Big Mac? You’re going to have to look outside of Rozvadov. No offense to Rozvadov, or its population of just over 800, but 23 days in a small resort centered village is a long time. No one is questioning the action that takes place at Leon Tsoukernik’s massive European poker room and the 24-hour buffet is likely delicious but after three years, perhaps its time for the WSOP to give players a new destination for their post-summer series bracelet events … maybe not even in Europe. Barcelona, Spain There’s no doubt about it, Barcelona continues to be a hot commodity market in poker. The enthusiasm for poker in Barcelona continues to grow and the World Series of Poker can certainly piggyback off the success shown by PokerStars most recent EPT Barcelona stop where, with the ability to re-enter, their €5,300 Main Event topped out at 1,988 runners. In addition to having plenty of local support for poker, the city has an amazing amount of gifts to offer players who find themselves prematurely on the rail from any given tournament. The seaside city offers top-notch options for dining and day-trips. By all accounts, a poker trip to Barcelona certainly won’t leave players bored. Montreal, Canada When it comes to poker, Montreal has one of the nicest rooms in the world when it comes to the Playground Poker Club. Playground knows how to handle huge events as they routinely host the likes of the World Poker Tour and partypoker, so they would know how to make poker players feel right at home when battling for a bracelet. With 75 poker tables on the floor, Playground likely has the capacity to serve all of the WSOP’s needs. Outside of the card room, Montreal is a world-class city. A destination for foodies, Montreal competes with the best cities in the world when it comes to culinary experiences. Additionally, the city’s architecture and sights, like the view from Mont-Royal, is what keeps tourists returning to the Canadian city time and time again. Macau Macau’s poker credentials are already legendary. Some of the top names in the game of poker seemingly have evaporated from the U.S. scene to get their grind on in the biggest games in the world - many of which take place in the “Las Vegas of Asia.” The thirst for poker is there and should the WSOP wish to plant a flag in the high roller game, perhaps a post-summer series in Macau is a good place to start. The WSOP recently added a €250,000 buy-in Super High Roller to their schedule in Rozvadov with the hopes of luring the nosebleed players into making the trip. By many accounts, the appetite for those stakes already exist in Macau. Plus, a high profile WSOP series could help expand poker in Macau, where admittedly there may not currently be enough active tables to host an event like a Mini Main Event. It could also pull back the curtain a little bit on the mystery of Macau poker and give fans a glimpse into it’s growing scene. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Brazil has it all: beaches, nightlife and a rabid fanbase for the game of poker. Just take a look at the PocketFives Total PLB rankings - Brazil blasts every other country out of the water nearly doubling the total of the next closest country, the UK. Brazilian’s love their poker and they have produced some of the best players in the world including bracelet winners Andre Akkari and former #1-ranked PocketFiver Yuri Dzivielevski. As a city, Rio is considered one of the most beautiful in the world surrounded by both the massive mountains and the golden sand beaches. It’s close to nature on every front and allows for tourists to be encompassed by beauty wherever they go. It’s been called a ‘laid-back’ city with a beach vibe, something that poker players who don’t particularly like adhering to a schedule can easily embrace. While it may be hard to find the same amount of space as the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, one thing for sure is that at this Rio the food is going to be better than the standard fare in the poker kitchen. Hollywood, Florida, USA Perhaps you think we’re reaching here, as Hollywood, Florida is not only not an exotic city it’s not even outside of the U.S. Here’s the idea: push back the timeline on the additional bracelet events to January and have a WSOP Winter Series. Florida may not have everything you are looking for in terms of classic architecture, world-class restaurants and bucket-list sights but in January the weather is amazing. That alone could get players hopping flights to The Sunshine State if for no other reason than to escape their own winter conditions. Plus, the Seminole Hard Rock has plenty of space for players to grind with an even larger expanded second bracelet series. The Florida poker scene is noted for being a vibrant, enthusiastic community for tournament players and it seems like a slam dunk for secondary WSOP bracelet success.

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