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Found 5 results

  1. "I'd love to be a poker player forever. I would love to do what Doyle Brunson did, obviously who wouldn't?" You may not recognize him now that he chopped off all of his hair, trimmed his bushy beard, and has a swollen black eye from a bike-riding adventure gone wrong, but Arlie Shaban is showing up everywhere in poker right now. The Big Brother Canada contestant turned Enterprise Rent-A-Car 9-5er has a new role as a Herculean. His rise has been fast and it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon, especially now that Shaban has the likes of Jason Somerville, the Twitch Poker community, and PokerStars adding fuel to the fire. "My biggest thing was, after Big Brother Canada I had gone and traveled and partied for a few years," Shaban said. "I had got myself into a bit of debt and then I had to go work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a job I hated. I just wanted to not do a job I hated. I didn't care if I was making amazing money. At the beginning, it was strictly just that I hated waking up every day, wearing a shirt and tie, going in rain, shine, winter, sun, doesn't matter — you go in, you work. I was outside a lot. I hated it. I just wanted to not do that. That was pretty much what it came down to." Shaban’s run on Big Brother Canada 2 ended in eighth place. Kevin Martin, fellow poker player, and also a Big Brother Canada contestant, had a similar result when he took ninth place on Big Brother Canada 3. Martin eventually went on to conquer Big Brother Canada 5 and he's someone Shaban credits for showing him how to conquer poker. "I'm a very highly motivated person, and I realized that the vast majority of people that play poker are losing players and you can learn how to be a winning player if you want to put in more work than your opponents," Shaban said. "I was willing to do that. I was willing to study. I just figured out the blueprint to success, by talking to Kevin. If you just put in hard work, you study, you game select, and you do things the right way — you have to have proper bankroll management — and I was doing all of those things incorrectly, which most people are. I just fixed those things, and once those were completely fixed, I realized I was making money and that started making me more confident. Once I got the confidence, I was like, 'OK, I'm going to give it a shot.' I started making a pretty consistent amount [of money] and I just realized if I combine this start of income that I'm getting from poker with Twitch — and hopefully, I can build a channel as well — I can create a little bit of supplemental income and it will take the stress off it. I did go for both of them at the same time, which I think is hard but helped because my channel did start growing and I did get a little bit of supplemental income and confidence from people watching. That's what did it for me. I knew I had the ability if I really just tried and I thought it was worth giving it a shot." In back-to-back months of August and September, Shaban was announced as an addition to Team RIU as a streaming ambassador and given a mega challenge deemed the "12 Labors of Arlie." With the 12 Labors, Shaban must complete various tasks given to him by PokerStars, with each task more difficult than the last. If he completes all 12 by the end of 2018, Shaban will earn a Platinum Pass to compete in the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship in the Bahamas. The Platinum Pass is worth $25,000 and entry into one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in poker. "The 12 Labors have been absolutely incredible," Shaban said. "I got challenged by PokerStars a few months back and I just accepted it, not knowing at all what this was going to be about. They choose me because I did my 125-day streaming streak. I had streamed 1,000 hours for my very first time streaming, so for over four months straight. Then, I also streamed for 43 hours in a row. So they reached out to me and they were like, 'Oh, you think you’re good at challenges? We challenge you to these 12 labors.' I was like, 'OK, let's do it.' I didn’t know what the prize was going to be for, I just had my pride on the line. When PokerStars challenges you, you don’t really say no. At least I’m not going to." One of the challenges Shaban was to complete involved "capturing poker's most mythological creature," according to PokerStars, and it was to be done while attending Run It Up Reno. Alongside fellow reality TV contestant Tyson Apostol, Shaban was to capture Chris Moneymaker while racing down a mountain on a bike in Northern Nevada. https://youtu.be/vcHO2mEAodc With his capture of Moneymaker complete, Shaban had completed seven of the 12 Labors of Arlie and was that much closer to winning a Platinum Pass. "It would just be unbelievable if I did go to the Bahamas and play in the PSPC, so if that happened I would just keep trying to go on the trajectory that I'm on," Shaban said. "Everything has been going very well with my poker, with my Twitch channel, and so I wouldn't want to take any momentum away from that. This is feeding all of the momentum into it. It’s a really cool challenge, the viewers are really enjoying it. I just want to carry the momentum, continue doing this as a full-time career, make sure the Twitch channel very consistently getting content out on there, and make sure I'm studying off stream and growing as a poker player." Part of growing as a poker player means playing more live poker events, hopefully in preparation for his trip to the big dance that is the PSPC. During the recent Run It Up Reno event, Shaban earned three cashes on the live felt, including a 15th-place result in the Main Event. In such a short period of time in poker's spotlight, Shaban has done a lot. He broke into the streaming world with a bang, landed a place on one of poker's most popular squads, and it appears nothing more than a formality for him to earn an exclusive Platinum Pass. Where does he go from here and what's Shaban's ultimate career goal? "I would just love to be a part of the poker community my whole life," Shaban said. "I'd love to be a poker player forever. I would love to do what Doyle Brunson did, obviously who wouldn't? Play a game you love until you’re old and you’re still playing at the highest stakes against the best players. That's so cool. For me, I just want to make a living off of poker my whole life. If that involves putting out content with Twitch, or if that involves just playing, I just want to be a part of the community. I love poker so much. I love the community. I’ve made a bunch of amazing friends here [in Reno]. Run It Up Reno is just amazing. Jason Somerville and the team, everyone is so cool, and I just got to be a part of the team. I just want to keep representing amazing companies that I love and watch the community grow for the rest of my life." *Photo courtesy of Run It Up.
  2. Years ago, Randi Hilsercop gave her husband, Jeremy, an official deck of cards from the World Series of Poker and an autographed 8X10 of his favorite poker player, Daniel Negreanu, as a Christmas gift. Since then, the couple has moved five or six times around the country for Jeremy's job. Throughout all of that, the couple has played poker four or five nights a week using that same deck of cards. The Negreanu picture was lost in one of the moves. So as Randi and Jeremy were opening their Christmas gifts with the rest of their family this year, Jeremy had a feeling that his wife had somehow replaced the autographed photo with a new one. He'd seen the box under the tree and picked it up and felt it. When it came time for Jeremy to unwrap the gift from his wife, he was unaware that one of his life's dreams was about to come true and that his world was about to get turned upside down in the best way possible. In a video likely now seen by the entire poker community, Jeremy unwrapped his present to find out that he was half-right. There were some autographed photos from some of his favorite poker players, but those were really just decoys. Randi had purchased airfare and hotel and put aside enough money for Jeremy to travel to Las Vegas and play in the opening event of the 2019 World Series of Poker, the Big 50. "After I got all the kids’ presents and still had some extra money, I had bought him some autographed photos on eBay. It was Daniel (Negreanu) and Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, and Antonio Esfandiari, and then we still had money left over," Randi said. "I follow the WSOP on Twitter, and they had just released their tournament schedule, and then I saw at the end of May, first week of June, they had this Big 50 tournament, and I thought, 'Okay, we could do that. That's affordable'. It was $500. I was like, 'Okay, we have $500. We don't have much, but we have $500.'" She started searching for the cheapest flights possible from Nashville to Las Vegas and found a few within her budget. Then she saw that the Rio Hotel had some good rates for the dates she needed and she knew Jeremy would want to stay there because he'd seen it on TV so many times while watching the WSOP. Before she booked everything though, she called Jeremy's dad to see if he would be able to take care of their two kids, Michael, 9, and Madison, 10. "I got a sitter, and then I was able to buy everything and still have enough money without overdrafting - but just barely," said Randi, a stay-at-home mom. She wrapped up the new autographs together with a poker chip from the Rio and a note that read, "We're going to Vegas WSOP". [caption id="attachment_621932" align="aligncenter" width="720"] The Negreanu autograph and the travel information for Jeremy’s Las Vegas trip.[/caption] The video first made its way to Facebook, where friends and family were commenting on how great of a moment it was. Wanting to share it with even more people, Randi first took it to the poker subreddit on Reddit before posting it on her Twitter account. In the video, Jeremy showed emotion that even Randi was surprised by. "He doesn't really cry. I mean, when it comes to our kids and stuff, but he doesn't really cry. I knew he'd be really excited, but I didn't know he'd be so emotional, but it's been his dream since he was so young," Randi said. "It was just a really real moment, which was amazing." The video went viral in a heartbeat as some of the world's most famous poker players started sharing the video. Joey Ingram shared the video and wanted to find a way to do something more for Jeremy. PokerStars didn't waste much time in agreeing to Ingram's terms and conditions and suddenly Jeremy was not only going to be playing in the 2019 WSOP, but he was going to be on his way to the Bahamas to play in a $25,000 buy-in tournament against some of the best players in the world. Jeremy couldn’t believe it. "It wasn't real at first. I mean, my wife had shown me the post and I kept reading it and kept reading it, and it's like you just sit there and think, 'Well, this can't happen. That's not real,’ and then suddenly it just sank in, like, 'Oh, my God. This is real ... and it's crazy,’ and it was just a whole bunch of emotions," Jeremy said. "At first, it was definitely nerves, and then when everything started settling in, it definitely became excitement. I'm still very, very excited, but now I'm starting to try to focus on playing cards, trying to get myself ready for the events to take place, and get myself prepared and in a spot where I need to be." While Jeremy is a huge fan of poker and studies as much as possible, he doesn't have a great wealth of live poker experience to rely on when he sits down to play on January 6. The biggest buy-in tournament he's ever played was a $170 buy-in event back in Ohio. He didn't make the final table that day, but he did cash and instead of adding to his bankroll or playing another tournament, Jeremy put the extra money where he knew it would have the biggest impact - his family. "We took that money and used it for things we needed," said Jeremy. While playing on some of poker's biggest stages is a dream come true for Jeremy, the couple is also well aware of what even a min-cash would mean for their family of four. "I can't even imagine. I don't even wanna put it out there 'cause that'll jinx it, but that would be great," Randi said. "That would change our lives so much because to put money down on actually owning a home and maybe towards Jeremy and my kids, my kids could do so much with that. Put money away for them to go to school, and there are so many things that would open doors for my children alone would be amazing." Growing up in Ohio, Jeremy was introduced to poker at a very young age. Hanging out at his Grandpa Earl's house, poker - played for pennies - was what brought the family together. Six-year-old Jeremy watched in awe as his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all battled throughout the night. It was in those moments that Jeremy came to love the game. "(Poker) just brought our family together and it was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget. It made me just want to pursue poker and try to obtain that happiness," Jeremy said. "Since I was a child, this has been a dream of mine, to play poker in a bigger environment and I was never able to do that. Me and my wife met when we were very young. We've been together for 13 years, have two beautiful, amazing kids, and I've always put them first in anything, and I just never really had the time or the money to do anything like this." Jeremy and Randi have been together for over 18 years and during that time, Randi has come to love poker as well. Three or four nights a week, once the kids are in bed, Jeremy and Randi play against each other, usually with some poker playing on the TV. Sometimes it's a WSOP broadcast or an episode of two of Poker After Dark or even some High Stakes Poker. The legends who played on those shows are some of the players Jeremy idolizes now. His favorite, by far, is Negreanu. "I've studied his play and just how he acts at the table, how he treats people - amazing guy," said Jeremy. "He's always positive, always a positive poker player. I mean, everybody has their bad beats and everything. I was watching him play on The Big Game, and I mean, I've seen it over and over again where he would just flop the nuts and then turn, river, and lose, and even though that happened to him, he still maintained a positive attitude and kept going and just the way he approaches everything makes me love the guy." He also admires some of the biggest legends in the game: Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, and Phil Laak. Jeremy knows there's a good chance he might find himself sitting at the same table as one of the players he admires so much and he's prepared to make the most of the moment, first as a fan and then as a fellow combatant. "At first, I'm going to be in awe. I'm gonna shake their hand and tell them what a pleasure it is, and then when they sit down and they have chips in front of them and I have chips in front of me, it's definitely poker one hundred percent," said Jeremy said. There's also a few other people Jeremy and Randi are hoping to meet once they get to the Bahamas. Along with some other legends of the game, they both know they need to find one person in particular, Joey Ingram. "I'd never heard of Joey. Amazing guy. I can't thank Joey enough for what he's done for somebody that he doesn't even know, never even met. I'd never even heard of him, and I know he for sure hasn't ever heard of me, and it's just wild that somebody that you don't know would do something like that for you," said Jeremy. "Chris Moneymaker has been absolutely amazing. He's offered to pay for things, he's taking us out for dinner in the Bahamas when we get there, absolutely amazing guy. Phil Galfond has reached out to us. Just absolutely amazing." [caption id="attachment_621920" align="alignleft" width="1024"] The Hilsercop Family (L to R): Michael, Madison, Randi and Jeremy.[/caption]
  3. Season XVII of the World Poker Tour saw the WPT head to the cold Northeast for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. A whopper of a field turned out for the $3,500 buy-in event, as 1,415 entries were generated to make it the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field size of all time. When play wrapped up on Thursday night, just six players remained. Those six were led by Dave Farah and will now enjoy a 41-day break before playing for the title in Las Vegas on March 13, 2019. Each of the remaining six players is guaranteed $154,734 for reaching the final table, with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the eventual champion. The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be televised as part of the WPT's broadcast schedule for Season XVII, and it’s the second final table undergoing a delay before its played out in Las Vegas. The first final table to hit a delay was the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. That event will see the final six compete on March 12, one day before the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table plays out. Farah is from New Jersey and entered the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. That means this result is the largest of his live tournament career. Farah finished atop the final six with 18.85 million and was nearly 5 million ahead of Brandon Hall's second-place stack of 14.1 million. WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table Seat 1: Ian O'Hara - 5,100,000 Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open began with 1,415 entries. Entering Day 2, 662 players remained, with the registration and re-entry period open for another couple of hours. When Day 2 was all said and done, 177 players remained. They were all in the money, as the top 177 places paid. Chris Tryba was eliminated on the money bubble at the hand of Dylan Gang. Tryba's pocket nines could hold up against the [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"] of Gang thanks to an ace on the flop, sending Tryba home in 178th place. That's when Day 2 ended and it was Alex Aqel on top with 1.26 million in chips. On Day 3, WPT Champions Club members Mike Linster (74th), Brian Altman (92nd), David Paredes (134th), Victor Ramdin (152nd), Daniel Strelitz (164th), Taylor Paur (168th), and Anthony Zinno (175th) all his the rail. Aqel's run came to an end in 69th place. A little later, the last of the WPT champions fell. Matt Waxman busted in 49th, Bobby Oboodi went out in 39th, and then Olivier Busquet was bounced in 32nd. Busquet, a former WPT winner at Borgata, was the final WPT champion standing. Day 3 ended with 29 players left and Nick Schwarmann out in front. To start things off on Day 4, Ian O'Hara knocked out Taylor Wilson in 29th place. A little bit after that, Daniel Buzgon, who is currently the 13th-ranked online player in New Jersey and 19th-ranked player in the United States, took the chip lead from Schwarmann. Schwarmann stayed strong, though, and eventually busted Chase Bianchi in 22nd place. Farah knocked out A.J. Kelsall in 20th place, Buzgon sent Joseph Liberta out the door in 19th, and Hall KO'd Ariel Albilia in 18th position. Buzgon then took care of Elilton Gouveia in 17th, Vinicius Lima sent Melad Marji home in 16th, and Ping Liu was eliminated in 15th. Liu's elimination was significant because by reaching the top 15, Liu earned enough points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race to sit atop the leaderboard. Although tied with Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, Liu holds the tiebreaker of most money won. After a dinner break, Raul Martinez busted in 14th and Lucas Braga went out in 13th. Braga was knocked out by Buzgon. Steven Sarmiento, who won a huge pot earlier in the day with aces over Brandon Shane's kings, the knocked out Dave Peay in 12th place. Schwarmann's run would come to an end in 11th place and Gang busted in 10th, both falling to Hall. The final nine players then joined to one table. From there, Michael Cannon went out ninth, Shane hit the rail in eighth, and Sarmiento fell in seventh. Sarmiento was busted by Farah. On that final hand of Day 4, Sarmiento was all in with pocket nines against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"] of Farah. Sarmiento's nines held until the river, but that's when a ten appeared to knock Sarmiento out. Is the Third Time the Charm for Farah? Although this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table may lack a big name such as Phil Hellmuth, who busted in 102nd place for $7,176, or a WPT Champions Club member looking to earn another title, what we can look forward to is a new name etched on the WPT Champions Cup. As mentioned, Farah is making the largest cash of his live tournament career. In fact, it's only his ninth live tournament cash ever. His previous best was a 344th-place finish in the 2016 WSOP Main Event when he took home $32,130. He does have two prior WPT Main Tour cashes on record, and both came from previous editions of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. In Season XV, Farah placed 41st for $13,607. In Season XVI, he finished 75th for $8,623. As the saying goes, the third time is the charm, and Farah's third cash in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open could very well be the charm he is looking for, and it'd be worth $728,430. [caption id="attachment_622498" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Brandon Hall Back On the Big Stage Hall will enter the final table second in chips. If you were to stroll through the field of 1,400-plus players at Borgata, you might walk right past Hall, as he has a modest appearance that can truly blend into any tournament field. That said, Hall has been on the big stage before, evidenced by his more than $1.46 million in live tournament earnings. Hall's first big splash came in 2009 when he won the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330, defeating Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. [caption id="attachment_622499" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Daniel Buzgon (left) and Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Buzgon and O'Hara Eye First Major Title Both Daniel Buzgon, third in chips, and O'Hara, fifth in chips, have plenty of poker success ahead of this deep run in the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Both had more than $2 million in live tournament earnings and multiple six-figure scores ahead of this event, but neither had won a major poker title. Both have also come close in WPT Main Tour events before. Buzgon has previously reached a WPT final table twice, finishing third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, both in Season X. O'Hara's closest call to winning a WPT title was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Di Rosa Rojas and Lima Making the Most of First WPT Cashes The other two players to reach the final table were Joseph Di Rosa Rojas and Lima. Combined, the two have just more than $1 million in live tournament earnings. Di Rosa Rojas entered the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with $770,366 in live earnings, and Lima had $263,186. You may know Di Rosa Rojas for his finish in the 2017 WSOP Marathon event, which he won for $690,469. Lima's best result comes from a $102,149 score in Las Vegas. Both Di Rosa Rojas and Lima are making their first World Poker Tour final table with this run. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications As already mentioned, Liu moved into first place in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with his 15th-place finish in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Each of the remaining six players will earn at least 800 points in the race, and there are 1,400 points up for grabs to the winner of this event. Those are a lot of points for the winner, but no player to reach this final table has cashed in Season XVII yet, so everyone is starting from scratch. That said, 1,400 points would jump the winner into fourth place, right behind this season's WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic winner, Dylan Linde. Next Stop, Las Vegas On March 13 After reaching the final table, the final six players were sent on a 41-day hiatus. They’ll pick up the action on March 13, 2019, in Las Vegas at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. That’s when they'll compete for the $728,430 top prize, which includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
  4. When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open started on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Viny Lima was the shortest stack of the six players remaining. Over the course of the next 10 hours, Lima refused to go into the night quietly and eliminated his final four opponents to take home $728,430 and his first World Poker Tour title. Ian O'Hara waited 41 days for his shot at WPT title but only managed to get to play for a little over 30 minutes on Wednesday night before busting. Brandon Hall raised to 350,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"] and action folded to O'Hara in the big blind and he moved all in for 5,125,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. Hall called instantly and then watched the board run out [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="td"][poker card="9d"] to eliminate O'Hara in sixth place. While the first elimination of the night came quickly, fans inside the HyperX Esports Arena had to wait another six hours for the next one. Action folded to Lima in the small blind and he moved all in for 11,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"] and Daniel Buzgon called all in for 5,400,000 from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="7c"] flop put Lima comfortably ahead and after the [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river failed to save him, Buzgon was eliminated in fifth place. The BorgataPoker.com ambassador tweeted following his elimination. Brandon Hall spent some time at the top of the chip counts on Wednesday but ultimately couldn't stay there. From UTG, Lima raised to 1,500,000 with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Hall called from the big blind with [poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="kd"][poker card="7s"] to send Hall packing in fourth place. Down to just eight big blinds, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="4c"] and Lima called from the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Lima two pair and neither the [poker card="3d"] turn or [poker card="th"] river improved Rojas and he was eliminated in third. Farah started heads up play with a 5-3 chip lead over Lima, but the early stages of heads up play saw Lima flip the script and eventually take a 4.5-1 lead of his own. After an hour of play, Lima and Farah clashed one final time. Farah moved all in from the button with [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"] and Lima called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="js"][poker card="5h"] flop gave both players a pair but kept Lima ahead. The [poker card="2c"] was no help and the [poker card="ks"] river gave Lima an unneeded second pair to eliminate Farah, who started the day with the chip lead, in second place. Final Table Payouts Viny Lima - $728,430 Dave Farah - $485,611 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - $359,555 Brandon Hall - $268,810 Daniel Buzgon - $202,942 Ian O'Hara - $154,734
  5. The World Poker Tour’s third Las Vegas final table next week will be the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six from the booming 1,415-entry field will look to crown a champion on Wednesday, following the conclusion of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic on Monday and WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday. Dave Farah is leading the final six with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the winner. Joining Farah and his chip-leading stack of 18.85 million will be Brandon Hall, Daniel Buzgon, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas, Ian O’Hara, and Vinicius Lima. Come Wednesday’s return to action, the players will have been on a 41-day hiatus. If you’d like to relive the action leading up to the final table, you can do so by reading our extensive recap right here. What Are They Playing For? With 1,415 entries, the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open generated the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field in history. The prize pool topped $4.5 million to easily surpass the $3 million guarantee and up top is a juicy $728,430, which includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $728,430 2nd Place: $485,611 3rd Place: $359,555 4th Place: $268,810 5th Place: $202,942 6th Place: $154,734 [caption id="attachment_623071" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] WPT Champions Cup at Borgata (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] How To Watch the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will play out on March 13, starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event started at the end of January at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and reached the final table just before the calendar rolled over into February. The final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Let’s meet the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. [caption id="attachment_623074" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Ian O’Hara - 5,100,000 Ian O’Hara is often a name that rolls off fellow players’ tongues when asked who the best young player is in the game today, especially if you’re looking for upcoming talent in the United States. With more than $2.2 million in live tournament earnings and a respected reputation from his peers, O’Hara packs a big punch coming into the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open finale. He’s never reached a WPT Main Tour final table, though. O’Hara’s closest call was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic worth $89,875. The most prominent live tournament victory of O’Hara’s young career came during the 2016 Coco Poker Open in Coconut Creek, Florida. He won the $2,500 Championship Event for $212,830. The largest live tournament score for O’Hara, to date, is a runner-up result in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $25,400 High Roller in 2015, when he chopped the event with Jason Mercier. O’Hara actually got more prize money than Mercier, winning $527,313, but Mercier officially scored first place. O’Hara has 5.1 million in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, which is good for fifth overall. [caption id="attachment_623073" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Dave Farah (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Dave Farah is from New Jersey and came into the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. His run in this event is now the largest of his live tournament career, but it isn’t the first time he’s made the money in a World Poker Tour event at Borgata. In the Season XV WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah placed 41st from a field of 1,312 entries to win $13,607. In Season XVI, also in the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah finished 75th from a field of 1,244 to score $8,623. This season’s run is now his third consecutive deep run in this event and he could truly make his third time a charm by capping it off with a WPT title. Farah doesn’t quite have the huge chip lead that Darren Elias has at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table or Frank Stepuchin has at the WPT Gardens Poker Classic final table, but he does have 18.85 million of the 56.5 million in play, which is 33.3%. He’s also got a good chunk more than Hall’s second-place stack of 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623075" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas is the first of two players at this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table who is making his first WPT Main Tour cash. The other is Vinicius Lima. Di Rosa Rojas, a Venezuelan, does have a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, though, so it’s not as though he hasn’t been to the winner’s circle before in a marquee event. Di Rosa Rojas won the 2017 WSOP Marathon tournament, topping a field of 1,759 entries to score $690,469. Entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, Di Rosa Rojas is fourth in chips with 5.8 million and fourth on the Venezuelan all-time money list. A finish in second place or better would move Di Rosa Rojas to second on that list, and a finish in third would jump him to third. [caption id="attachment_623070" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Brandon Hall has had some quiet years recently when it comes to poker, but he’s back on the big stage and looking for another big trophy to add to his trophy case. This time, it’d be the WPT Champions Cup. Hall’s first big live poker score came in 2009 when he took first place in the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330. In that tournament, Hall defeated Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play to win the title. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. Hall has had some success on the felt during the hiatus in this event. In late February, he finished third in the Parx Big Stax 1100 event for $55,241. Hall enters the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table second in chips with 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623076" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Vinicius Lima (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 In similar fashion to Di Rosa Rojas, Vinicius Lima is making his first WPT Main Tour cash with his run in this event. Reaching the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table and already earning $154,734 is Lima’s largest live tournament score, and he’ll be the shortest stack returning for the final table. Overall, he boasts $263,186 in live tournament earnings ahead of his finish in this one. Lima only has one prior six-figure result on record, which came from a $1,600 buy-in tournament in Las Vegas when he won $102,149 with a third-place finish. In 2016, Lima won the Poker Night in America Grand Poker Series Main Event for $56,366. Lima’s stack to start the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be 3.55 million. [caption id="attachment_623072" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Daniel Buzgon (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 Like O’Hara, Daniel Buzgon has enjoyed a close call on the World Poker Tour. In fact, Buzgon’s reached a WPT Main Tour final table twice before in his career. Both came in Season X when Buzgon finished third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, winning $335,433 and $94,624, respectively. The Borgata score is, to date, the largest live tournament score of Buzgon’s career. Buzgon is sponsored by BorgataPoker.com, so he’s representing the home team in his trip to the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. Entering the final table, Buzgon, a New Jersey native, has $2.035 million in live tournament earnings. Buzgon is third in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table with 9.1 million. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of more than $4.5 million, the maximum amount of Hublot WPT Player of the Year points will be up for grabs in this one, with the winner getting 1,400 points. The rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,400 points 2nd Place: 1,200 points 3rd Place: 1,100 points 4th Place: 1,000 points 5th Place: 900 points 6th Place: 800 points No player in the final six has previously accumulated Hublot WPT Player of the Year points in Season XVII. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
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