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Found 260 results

  1. The World Poker Tour and Theta Labs, a decentralized video delivery network, have announced an exclusive partnership aimed at giving poker fans the ability to own WPT digital collectibles in what the companies are calling “the world’s first real-time NFT marketplace.” The World Poker Tour is following in the footsteps of the pop-culture trail blazed by NBA Top Shot, which takes officially licensed digital collectable clips (commonly referred to as “moments”) and then sells and distributes them in varying quantities to fans as NFT (non-fungible tokens). In short, it’s like digital trading cards, but its video and its ownership are backed by blockchain. “Our exclusive NFT launch with Theta Network is one of our biggest digital initiatives to date and, for the first time ever, we’re combining our global reach of live televised poker with an NFT marketplace, giving our fans an interactive, real-time opportunity to collect a piece of the WPT poker action,” said World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska. “We are thrilled to bring some of our top poker pros, players, and celebrities to the NFT world, featuring rare and legendary WPT packs in weekly drops and running exclusive one-of-a-kind auctions for sure rare poker moments.” The launch of the new marketplace is set to take place in conjunction with the World Poker Tour televised Season XVIII premiere on Sunday, April 18 on the Bally Sports Network. The new televised season will start with a four-part co-branded cash game, the Theta Network WPT Cash Game, and will run each Sunday through May 9. During the programming, through in-show advertising and promotional segments, viewers will be directed to grab a spot in the digital line at the wpt.thetadrop.com website to possibly pick up and pack of digital moments. Out of the gate, the World Poker Tour will be paying tribute to poker ambassador and former announcer for the WPT, the late Mike Sexton. The Sexton moment, dubbed “Mike Sexton: The Legend Hand” will be extremely rare with just three in total created and will be put up for auction. In addition, the launch will offer the ability to purchase limited quantities of Base, Rare and Legendary poker packs which are likely to be designated as such by how many are minted. “We’re excited to launch the next-generation NFT marketplace with WPT, a unique opportunity to bring digital collectibles synchronized to live TV and cable broadcast to an audience of millions worldwide,” said Theta Labs CEO and co-founder Mitch Liu. “ThetaDrop maximizes earning to brand partners and creators by bringing the interactivity, real-time engagement, and personality possible only through a live stream when doing NFT drops and auctions. Theta’s proof-of-stake native blockchain means creators can be assured that minting and transacting NFTs are 100% eco-friendly, fast, and inexpensive.” The Theta Network looks to differentiate itself from the more commonly known Ethereum platform by being built with media and entertainment in mind. They claim that the speed of minting (creating) NFTs on Theta is 100x faster than on Ethereum and the cost is less than a fraction of a cent. But despite being its own network, the upside of NFT’s is the verified ownership of a digital asset and that means the ability to take/move it anywhere the owner pleases and the Theta Network assures for “seamless NFT transfer and transactions across networks” will allow fans to take their moments wherever they wish. The launch is right around the corner, at which time more details about the marketplace will become apparent. Everything from the cost of a pack, what kind of moments are included, how much the World Poker Tour might rake when trying to resell a moment, and how players featured in those moments will be compensated will all be a part of the story if the World Poker Tour’s venture carries with it the kind of excitement that has surrounded the current NFT movement. Fans who want to get in line early can do so at wpt.thetadrop.com.
  2. In a few short weeks, players on the European and global networks of 888poker will be battling it out for a slice of mouth-watering guarantees, prestigious titles and online poker glory with three WPTDeepStacks online series coming to the virtual felts of 888poker in April. The online poker platform has had a massive makeover in the last few months. Their new Made to Play platform and online tournament revamp has been at the heart of these changes. And now 888poker players around the world will have the opportunity to play for massive cash prizes and a WPTDeepStacks title on the site. WPTDS London Online (Worldwide), WPTDS Iberia Online (Portugal and Spain), and WPTDS Italy Online (Italian network) will offer players the opportunity to compete versus their respective network. This is a special occasion as it is first time ever that 888poker’s three networks will be synced for a major online poker series. The WPTDS series begins April 18 and concludes on April 26. Across the events, more than $3 million in prizes is guaranteed. There will be 16 flagship online poker tournaments across all three networks. In addition to an online payday to remember, all tournament winners being recipients of the lauded after WPTDeepStacks trophy. Those that reside and ply their trade in Italy will be vying for a piece of the €350,000 available to them. With €400,000 in prizes available to Portuguese and Spanish based poker players. The main event for both the WPTDS Italy and WPTDS Iberia networks feature a single starting flight on April 25. Both Main Events have a €125 entry fee as well as having a prize pool of at least €150,000. Poker players on the worldwide network will be the happiest of the bunch. These players will have the chance to compete for a lion’s share of the $3 million up for grabs in the WPTDS London Online. With over $2 million in guaranteed prizes and a $1 million guaranteed Main Event, there will be plenty of happy smiles from those who are eligible to play. The WPTDS London Main Event is a multi-flight event with satellite tournaments already underway. Flights will run daily from April 18 through April 25. Day 2 will be played on April 26 until a winner is crowned. Players can buy-in to the WPTDS London Online main event for $1,050. Players will have the chance to lock horns with some of their poker heroes as 888poker ambassadors and WPT® Champions Chris Moorman and Dominik Nitsche will be taking part in the festival along with the rest of the 888poker pros. Four streaming days are scheduled for the series across major streaming platforms and will feature commentary from David Tuchman, Nick Wealthall and Matt Savage. Entering the WPTDS London Main Event on a Budget Getting into high stakes tournaments via satellite tournaments is a great way for recreational players, with modest bankrolls, to win life-changing scores. Those eligible to play the WPTDS London Main event can save a small fortune by securing their seat from as little as 1¢. Those that want to achieve this feat will have to navigate through three separate tournaments. If that sounds like too much work, playerscan skip the ‘pennybuy’ and register to sub-satellites for $11. There is also the option to bypass the first two steps by participating in direct satellites for $109.
  3. When the final six players in the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship bagged up their chips on January 13, 2020 they knew there was going to be a delay before they got the chance to crown a champion. They just didn't know it was going to last 422 days. Originally scheduled to be played on March 31, 2020 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the final table was ultimately postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With live poker slowly opening back up in Sin City, the six players, including chip leader Chance Kornuth, were brought into the PokerGo studio at the Aria Hotel & Casino to resume play on Wednesday night. It took just an hour of play to go from six players to five and it ended what could have been an historic night. From UTG, Tuan Phan raised to 60,000, Chance Kornuth called from the cutoff, and Qing Liu, who won the WPT Venetian on Tuesday night, defended his big blind. Liu then led for 100,000 after the [poker card="qs"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"] flop. Phan and Kornuth both called. The turn was the [poker card="2d"] and this time Liu checked. Phan bet 350,000 forcing Kornuth toss his hand into the muck before Liu moved all in for 755,000. Phan called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] for an overpair while Liu showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"] for bottom two pair. The river was the [poker card="qh"] to give Phan a better two pair and end Liu's run at winning WPT titles in back-to-back days with a sixth place finish. On the very next hand, Phan sent another player to the cashier. Straton Wilhelm moved all in from the cutoff for 430,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="th"] and Phan snap-called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"]. The [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3h"] runout offered Wilhelm no relief and he was eliminated in fifth. Kornuth started the final table with the chip lead but wasn't able to turn it into his first WPT title. After a little more than 2.5 hours of four-handed action and playing with the shortest stack, Kornuth came out on the wrong end of a battle of the blinds. Action folded to Kornuth in the small blind and he called with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. Markus Gonsalves moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"] and Kornuth called. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] flop moved Gonsalves ahead and left Kornuth drawing thin. The [poker card="2h"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river were both bricks for Kornuth and he was done in fourth place. Just 12 hands later, Gonsalves found another victim. Phan opened to 125,000 from the button before Jonathan Cohen moved all in for 1,465,000 from the small blind. Gonsalves re-shoved from the big blind and Phan quickly got out of the way. Cohen showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] but got bad news when Gonsalves showed [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop changed nothing and Cohen could only watch as the [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="8c"] completed the board to seal his fate with a third place finish. Gonzalves was ahead by a 5-1 margin when heads up play began. Phan seemingly refused to play any big pots with Gonsalves and three hours into heads up play, Phan wrestled the chip lead away. It turned out to be all for naught however as Gonsalves quickly took the lead back and then finished Phan off for good. Gonsalves completed his small blind and Phan checked to send both players to a [poker card="9h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] flop. Phan check-called Gonsalves' bet of 200,000. Phan checked again after the [poker card="qs"] fell on the turn. Gonsalves bet 600,000 and this time Phan moved all in for 3,075,000. Gonsalves called and showed [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"] for a flush while Phan had flopped bottom two pair with [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. The [poker card="js"] river failed to fill up Phan and he was eliminated in second place, leaving Gonsalves to collect the $554,495 first place prize and etch his name onto the WPT Champions Cup. "I feel like he ran really well against me heads up. I was getting frustrated, when he took the chip lead from me I started to get frustrated. I was more tired than anything," Gonsalves said. He also couldn't help but point out that the win gives him one more WPT title than a certain 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. “I think I’ve come close once or twice before so it feels nice to finally win one. All my friends have them. That’s going to be great to troll Phil [Hellmuth], that’s for sure,” Gonsalves said. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Payouts Matthew Gonsalves - $554,495 Tuan Phan - $359,650 Jonathan Cohen - $263,090 Chance Kornuth - $195,085 Straton Wilhelm - $146,655 Qing Liu - $111,795
  4. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. On this week's episode of The Fives Poker Podcast, Lance and Donnie talk about the World Poker Tour's return to Las Vegas and the amazing run that Qing Liu is on right now and his shot at making WPT history. They also discuss the complaints aired by WPT Venetian eighth place finisher Jared Jaffee about how the final stages of the tournament were handled. Following Michael Addamo's win in the partypoker MILLIONS $100,000 Mega High Roller, the hosts try and figure what the future of live poker looks like after a year of having marquee events moved online. They wrap up the show by discussing the PokerStars Players Championship broadcasts and how they accurately reflect the energy of the live event and should be a template for how poker should be portrayed to bring in more casual viewers. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  5. Over a year ago, Qing Liu made the final table of the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship. That final table was meant to be played in Las Vegas last March but the coronavirus pandemic put an extended delay on that event. This week, Liu traveled to Las Vegas to play the WPT Venetian event before finally getting to play the Gardens Championship final table on Wednesday. Now he's suddenly in position to win two WPT titles - and more than $1.3 million - in a 24 hour span. On Tuesday night Liu beat 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen heads up to win the WPT Venetian event for more than $750,000. Before the final table began there was some drama surrounding the player second in chips, Roland Rokita. Fedor Holz, who has worked with Rokita, tweeted that the young Austrian was in medical distress and might not be able to play the final table. Despite Holz subsequently tweeting that he believed Rokita would require surgery, Rokita made it to the Venetian in time to play the final table. It took 36 hands for the first elimination to happen. With blinds at 75,000/150,000, Liu raised to 300,000 with [poker card="qh"][poker card="ts"] on the button. Trace Henderson moved all in from the small blind for 1,525,000 with [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] and Liu called. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop changed nothing but Liu connected on the [poker card="th"] turn to make top pair. Henderson was unable to catch either one of the two remaining nines as the [poker card="6d"] river and was eliminated in sixth place. That hand moved Liu up the chip counts, but McKeehen did most of the heavy lifting the rest of the way. From the cutoff, McKeehen min-raised to 400,000 with [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"]. Kou Vang shoved from the big blind for 4,250,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"] gave McKeehen middle set and left Vang needing runner-runner help. The [poker card="3s"] turn made Vang's fifth place elimination all but official as the [poker card="ad"] river completed the board. McKeehen found another victim just 15 minutes later in a blind against blind spot. Action folded to McKeehen in the small blind and he moved all in with [poker card="ks"][poker card="td"] and Jack Hardcastle called all in from the big blind with [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="4s"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4c"] to completed miss Hardcastle and the 2021 WPT Montreal Online champion was eliminated in fourth. That pot gave McKeehen 63% of the chips in play. It took nearly two hours to go from three-handed to heads-up and once again it was McKeehen taking charge and adding to his chip lead. McKeehen moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="jc"][poker card="8d"] and Rokita called from the big blind putting his tournament at risk with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. McKeehen picked up a gunshot straight draw on the [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"][poker card="7s"] flop and then made that draw on the [poker card="9c"] turn. The river was the meanings [poker card="8c"] and Rokita was done in third place. Heads-up play began with McKeehen holding a nearly 2-1 lead over Liu. It took Liu just five hands to wrestle that lead away from McKeehen. With the board showing [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] and 12,500,000 in the pot, Liu moved all in for 10,100,000 forcing McKeehen to fold. Liu took a 3-2 chip lead thanks to that pot. Just 30 minutes later, Liu collected every last chip. Down to just 11 big blinds, McKeehen moved all in with [poker card="kh"][poker card="7d"] and Liu called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="4s"]. Liu made second pair on the [poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"] flop and McKeehen was unable to improve as the [poker card="9d"] and [poker card="6c"] completed the board to give Liu his first WPT title and a $752,880 payday. Liu, who has had his last 20 cashes come at the Venetian dating back to last September, will spend Tuesday night resting up before making his way to the PokerGO Studio at Aria to play the final table of the Gardens Poker Championship where is fifth in chips. WPT Venetian Final Table Payouts Qing Liu - $752,880 Joe McKeehen - $491,960 Roland Rokita - $363,235 Jack Hardcastle - $271,050 Kou Vang - $204,430 Trace Henderson - $155,865
  6. In honor of International Women’s Day, PocketFives is shining the light on some of the women in poker who have made poker their lives and their careers and are an integral part of moving the game to new heights. Any poker player who entered a World Poker Tour event over the last few years has likely run into Cathy Zhao at some point or another. The soft-spoken Zhao has quickly become a highly respected, very influential member of the poker world. She came to the United States for education, and ended up using her years of worldwide experience to bring a refreshing voice to a poker industry that is constantly evolving. “I was born and raised in a small city in central China. I was pretty sure my parents’ wish was for me to get into the best college in China and then go back to that little town to find a stable 9 to 6 job. I’ve always known that it was not going to happen, but I also didn’t expect to work and live here in the (United) States when I was in my 20s,” Zhao said. Zhao came to the United States for college, and it didn’t take her long to earn an undergrad and Master’s degree. She admits she did not have much interest in poker before she came to America, but that she quickly gained an appreciation for it when she explored her career options. “Where I am from, poker is not encouraged by the government, and I didn't step foot in a casino until when I was 21 while visiting the US. I’ve always had interest in business and honestly, poker was not my passion to begin with but because of the people in this industry it has grown on me.” With Chinese being her first language, it only made sense that Zhao started her work for the WPT in China. As soon as she started working there, Zhao realized that she might have found her calling. “I mainly worked at WPT Sanya and WPT Beijing and a few other events in the Asia region. I have to say those were great memories, especially the ones at Sanya and Beijing. It really was like a festival for everyone, where you can just feel the pure excitement and satisfaction in the air.” From there, she branched out to start working events in Europe and the United States. Her roles gradually expanded, until she was offered a great opportunity to take the lead for the WPT's mid-major tour, WPTDeepStacks. “I eventually moved to the US and took the lead on all events, including televised events and live streamed events. I was in a great position experiencing an industry in different stages in different markets and that’s when I started to believe I can do something in this path. In 2019, there was an opportunity for me to take over the WPTDeepStacks tour and I have been here ever since.” Zhao might have made it look easy, but her success was far from that. Zhao had to navigate the challenge of learning a second language while adapting to her new life stateside. Zhao said that learning poker and talking to poker players actually helped her English a great deal. “There were a lot of challenges when I stepped in this industry and even now. English being my second language did not help at the beginning as I was always doubting if I said the right thing or if I spoke in the best way. I am still learning the language. One funny thing is that because of my (interaction) with poker players, my poker lingo has grown so fast and sometimes non-poker players may not quite get what I am speaking. I find it quite amusing,” Zhao said. When Zhao is not focused on work, she says that she likes to keep things low key, mostly enjoying private time with her husband, Ping Liu, a professional poker player. The couple met at a WPT event and were married soon after, with WPT CEO Adam Pliska serving as a witness. Zhao also enjoys one particular hobby that has helped her with learning her second language. “I am definitely a private person outside my work. I like outdoor activities like hiking deep in the mountains or simply strolling by the beach. I absolutely love stand-up comedy, both in English and Chinese (in Chinese it's called "cross-talk"). It’s hilarious and brilliant and I am still constantly amazed by how ‘boundless’ western comedians are in their shows.” As far as what the future holds for this rising star, Zhao expressed her simple desires while touching a bit on the broad strokes that she hopes to implement in her position of power in poker. “For poker, I want to do my work well. My hope is for everyone who plays at our events to enjoy it and feel special, and maybe go back home with a story to tell. Being in my position, I also want to be a good business partner to those who brought us to their property,” said Zhao. Zhao continued, talking about the need to grow poker in America still. “I also realize the needs for new players in the North American market. Poker needs increased globalization too as it would benefit every party. There is a limited amount I can do, but I want to take the advantage where I am now, to do my part, however small it is.” She may have grand visions for the WPT and the poker world, but Zhao also revealed something that she really wants at the moment. “I want to have many new experiences and cannot wait for Covid to be over so we can travel more, go to concerts, etc," Zhao said. "Also, I am looking to adopt a goldendoodle puppy.”
  7. After more than a year away from one of the world’s premier poker destinations, the World Poker Tour’s live Main Tour returns to Las Vegas from March 5-9 for the $5,000 buy-in, $1.5 million guaranteed WPT Venetian Main Event. For the WPT, the event in Sin City represents the next step in the company's recovery when it comes to resuming its live event operations. The WPT had not held a Main Event in Las Vegas since the 2019 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, a tournament that set a record for the organization for the largest $10,000 buy-in tournament prize pool in its history. It was shortly thereafter that live poker events nearly came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in postponements and cancellations of much of the WPT’s live schedule, including a 2020 stop at the Venetian and a number of live final tables that were set to take place in Las Vegas. Now, the WPT hopes to bring the momentum from an incredibly successful Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida to their 2021 Main Tour tournament at the Venetian. The Main Event features everything players remember from a classic WPT event. Two starting flights of eight-handed play with players receiving 40,000 in chips (200 bbs). Day 1A, 1B, and Day 2 levels are all 60 minutes with the big blind ante helping speed up play. Levels get extended to 90 minutes when the field reaches 24 players and returns to 60 minutes for the six-handed final table. The eventual winner of WPT Venetian will not only take home what is likely to be a healthy six-figure first-place prize money but will also receive a ticket into the 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions and have their name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Also worth noting about the Main Event is that both starting flights feature unlimited re-entry as well as late registration through the start of Level 9. The last time the World Poker Tour stopped at the Venetian was also the first time they ever held a tournament there. In 2019, Ben Palmer topped a field of 734 runners in the $3,500 Main Event to capture the $335,397 first-place prize. The WPT and Venetian have stressed the safety of their players as the pandemic continues. According to the World Poker Tour, the Venetian is operating under their own "Venetian Clean Commitment" which has "more than 800 initiatives to enhance safety and minimize risk for guests, players, and team members." Sanitization is a big key for a major event like the WPT Venetian to go off without a hitch. Players will be required to sanitize their hands and wear a mask at the table at all times. The staff will focus on keeping the transparent dividers, cards, chips, and the like sanitized. "We are excited for the return of the World Poker Tour to The Venetian," said Tommy LaRosa, tournament director for The Venetian Poker Room back in December when the event was originally announced. "We strive to provide our players with as many options as possible and have been working throughout the last year to deliver the great poker experience our players have come to expect, but in a Venetian Clean way." The Venetian has been at the forefront of keeping large poker tournaments alive in Las Vegas during the pandemic. For example, the Mid-States Poker Tour held three Main Events at the Venetian in the past four months. All three tournaments saw massive turnouts with the smallest of the three, the $1,100 event in January 2021, brining out a total of 1,009 entries. The largest, the MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event drew a field of 1,239 players and created a prize pool of over $1.7 million in November 2020. At the end of January, WPTDeepstacks held its first live event of 2021 at the Venetian when 812 players participated in the $1,600 Main Event. The World Poker Tour resuming operations in Las Vegas may also be a sign that the company is closer to settling some unfinished business. In late March/early April 2020, three WPT final tables - the 2020 WPT Gardens Poker Championship, the 2020 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, and the 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic - were slated to be filmed for TV at the Hyper X Esports Arena. All three were postponed for obvious safety reasons. Nearly one year after the conclusion of the 2020 LAPC those final tables have yet to be rescheduled. Another successful live event under the WPT's belt may bring those players waiting to play out their final tables closer to determining a winner. In the meantime, the WPT Venetian will crown a new champion on March 9. “The World Poker Tour returns to live WPT Main Tour events in Las Vegas at The Venetian and to add another member to the WPT Champions Club,” said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour. “All parties expect a strong turnout…We look forward to a safe playing environment thanks to the hard work from the Venetian team.”
  8. For many poker players, January is a time to get a fresh start. It's a time to reset the stats, dedicate oneself to study, and hope that in the new year the work pays off and the results go to the moon. But for Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, a “fresh start” is not on the agenda. For the world’s #1-ranked online pro, the continuation of his heater that started one year ago is what he wanted. That's what happened and what brought him the title of Online Poker Player of the Month for January. One might think that after earning a career-high seven-figure score in the international leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker at the end of 2020, Botteon might take some time off. But within a week he was back to picking up PLB-qualified cashes en masse. He found success in the first week of January on GGPoker with deep runs in the WSOPC Series $525 Bounty Hunters for $22,304 plus 321.09 PLB points and weekly $10K Super MILLION$ for another $41,934 and 374.26 PLB points. His first outright win arrived on January 10 when he topped the 279-entry field of the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR for $57,263 and 547.72 PLB points. The middle of the month was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the GGPoker High Rollers Marathon for $12,542. It was right around this time when Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic pushed to within just 5 PLB points of overtaking Botteon as the top-ranked player in the world. But when Croatia’s Zufic traveled to the United States to make a deep run in the World Poker Tour’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Botteon booked his first six-figure score of the new year with a win in the January 25 edition of the GGPoker High Rollers Sunday 500 for $126,544 and 738.24 PLB points. His spotlight score of the month brought more than enough PLB points to pull away from the pack and keep the #1-spot for the seventh week in a row. In total, Botteon racked up 3,893 PLB points on 59 total cashes for a total of $391,988. January also marked his third time as Player of the Month. Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson finished out January just 150 points behind Botteon to end up in second place with 3,734 points. Watson, who is Canada’s #1-ranked pro and sitting at an all-time high ranking of #3 in the world, put in significantly less volume than Botteon but made up the difference with nine PLB-qualifying cashes and seven five-figure cashes for a total of $526,078. Watson kicked off the month with a string of victories including a PokerStars Blowout Series title in Event #25-H ($1,050 NLHE Sunday Warm-up) for $75,462 and 648.85 PLB points. The very next day, on January 4, he was in the winner’s circle again in the Natural8 WSOPC $1,500 Deepstack, winning $36,040 and another 404.81 PLB points. Watson picked up big-time scores on just about every online operator he played on including a runner-up finish in the partypoker High Roller Big Game for $54,958 and a win in the World Poker Tour Montreal Online Event #18 for $39,007. But his biggest result of the month came on Natural8 when he finished in fourth place in the January 26 edition of the Super MILLION$ for $187,255 and 618.64. His Super MILLION$ score was big enough to land in Watson’s all-time top 5. Estonia’s Markku ‘markovitsus’ Koplimaa rounded out the top three in January with 3,590 PLB points. Koplimaa has been rocketing up the worldwide rankings, reaching a new career-high rank of #12 in the world. While both Botteon and Watson put up impressive results, Koplimaa outdid them both when it came to volume by racking up 229 in-the-money finishes. He embraced the grind, playing every tournament he could enter from mid-stakes and higher. He was rewarded with over $390,000 in earnings including a runner-up finish in the January 18 edition of the GGPoker High Roller MILLION$ for $187,272. It was the second-largest online cash of his career and included a massive 908.09 PLB bump. In total, Koplimaa notched five results of five-figures or better with 11 PLB-qualified scores. Should he continue to have results even half of what he posted in January, he’ll eclipse the career $10 million mark before the end of the year. January 2021 Player of the Month Results [table id=167 /]
  9. It’s not often that one gets a second shot at greatness. Very few have been afforded that opportunity when it comes to becoming the World Series of Poker Main Event champion. So when Damian Salas, who just three years ago finished in seventh place at the WSOP Main Event, found himself in a position to win the championship bracelet that eluded him in 2017, he leaned into his passion for the game and his desire to be known as one of the very best finally reach his championship goal. “Taking into account my experience in 2017, I didn’t see it as a rematch, I took it as a new opportunity granted by this beautiful mind sport so that I could win the World Championship,” said Salas. “I felt great and highly motivated. I’ve worked with tons of persistence during these last eight or nine years of my professional career, so I can give my very best in times of extreme pressure. I felt like I could make it and that was a determining factor to becoming the champion.” It may be that Salas, the Argentinian lawyer turned poker pro, made a name for himself in poker with his seventh-place finish 2017 Main Event when he won $1.425 million but as he mentioned, it was by no means the start of his poker journey. Salas has made the trip to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker for over a decade and prior to his first Main Event, final table appearance had posted a string of impressive results on the biggest poker tours in Latin America including the LAPT and BSOP. If Salas’ journey had essentially ended with his seven-figure score on ESPN it would be a poker success story by nearly every metric. However, for Salas, a few minutes in the spotlight was not what he was after. It still isn’t. “I don’t play for the money, that’s not my goal. It’s not what drives me,” Salas said. “It is great, taking those results into account, as it is paramount to meeting other ambitions in my life. But my basic motivation is to become better and better every day and remain a member of the world-class poker elite.” “As I’ve mentioned many times before, I don’t think winning [the Main Event] makes me the best player in the world, but I am worthy of the achievement since I believe I could compete for many years now with the world-class poker elite. That’s an honor I’ve earned, and it is my greatest challenge and motivation day in and day out - to remain a member of the world-class poker elite.” To get to where he is, Salas has embraced the grind. With live poker events essentially put on hold in 2020, Salas dove into online poker and quickly became the #1-ranked player in his native Argentina. He broke through into the worldwide top-20 with the help of a pair of impressive scores in some of the year’s biggest tournament series. First, he took third place in the first-ever WPT World Championship Main Event on partypoker which came with an $814,664 payday. Then he took home a PokerStars EPT Online title with a victory in Event #20 ($1,050 NLHE) for another $117,475. The success was paving the way to a run in the WSOP Main Event. “Honestly, I was having a great year,” he said. “So I wasn’t surprised by the [WSOP win] because I felt in great shape, I was really prepared. Obviously, it was incredible and even spectacular to close the year this way.” The path to the WSOP Main Event title was unlike any in years past. First Salas has to navigate the field of online entrants on GGPoker, then travel to the Czech Republic to play down the final table at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, and finally make his way to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to compete against Joseph Hebert, the winner of the domestic leg of the WSOP Main Event, in a for-broadcast heads-up match. “I can say that the online elements against international players at GGPoker were impressive. The poker world’s elite played in that tournament and I had to face them all,” he said, looking back on the tournament as a whole. “It was highly difficult. The clash was really hard from the beginning.” When he made the live final table he was third in chips but one of the toughest challenges awaited. Brazil’s Brunno Botteon, the current #1-ranked player in the world, held the chip lead and was also having a career year. “At the final table were at least five elite representatives of poker including Bruno Botteon, whose quality is extraordinary. And, well, the confrontation demanded my very best,” he said. “I was really inspired at the final table, where I took certain creative lines which I could capitalize in my favor. In the end, while I believe I also benefited from some good cards and good luck, I think those creative hands were responsible for my success.” Salas walked away with the win after defeating Botteon heads-up, which brought him a new career-high score of $1.55 million. It also put him in line to battle heads up for the championship bracelet. “Then came the heads up with Joseph [Hebert]. Either one of us could have won, really,” Salas said. But even after losing some key pots and being on the brink of finishing in second, Salas fought back. “I think I played with discipline, with concentration, with metered quantities of matured aggressiveness that was very efficient,” he said. “It is a great privilege because I understand I was very lucky. However, I also know I have done all I could so that I could meet my goal and that fills me with joy.” In the aftermath of reaching his goal, one might expect Salas to take some time off, perhaps enjoy a few of the finer things with his bonus $1 million payday he received for winning the bracelet. While some new doors are opening for the new World Champion, Salas insists that the main goal of being elite never stops. “Being totally honest, my daily routine has not changed much. As I always say, I’m not driven by money. There is another motivation, that’s to belong to the world elite. Added to the fact that I truly enjoy what I do and I do love playing poker, so my routine remains practically the same…I’m the World Champion, and that’s great, but understanding I’m the same person I was before the tournament.”
  10. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. A busy week in the poker world gives Lance and Donnie plenty to discuss on this episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast. For the first time in nearly a year, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion in a live venue with a nearly record-sized field turning up for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock. That wasn't the only headline that the World Poker Tour found itself in this week. The company was sold to an investment firm for more than $78 million and they also announced a new online series with a brand new partner. The Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge is nearly 80% complete with Polk bringing a new strategy to the table that seems to have tilted his opponent. Polk maintains his position as the leader but a big win by Negreanu has given his fans and backers some hope. The guys also discuss the ending of the Phil Galfond vs. Chance Kornuth match in the Galfond Challenge, the Winamax Team Pro who qualifies for dumbest multi-accounter of all time, and give American online poker players some hope for a brighter future. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  11. Jack Hardcastle became the second World Poker Tour champion crowned this week after the UK-based online pro won the $3,200 WPT Montreal Online Main Event on partypoker for a career-high score of $447,859 as well as a seat in the $15,000 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions. The WPT has been firing on all cylinders in the past 24 hours, with two Main Tour titles up for grabs. On Tuesday night, Ilyas Muradi took down the first WPT live event of the year after winning $605,000 at the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida. Now, Hardcastle will join him in having his name etched on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup after outlasting the 888-player field of the WPT Montreal Online Main Event. It didn’t take long after cards were “in the air” before the fireworks to begin. Upeshka De Silva was recently in the news for making the final table of the U.S.-based 2020 World Series of Poker. However, after testing positive for COVID-19 the day before play was set to take place, he was disqualified and paid out ninth place money. It didn’t take him long to bounce back and make another major final table and this time, with it being online, he was guaranteed to get to play. But De Silva started the day as the short stack and after an open by Rayan Chamas with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"], De Silva three-bet jammed with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. While often a chop, the board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3s"] giving Chamas the flush and ending De Silva’s day early in another ninth-place finish for $37,024. After an open by Hardcastle, Germany's Andrei Kriazhev three-bet with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. Next to act, Marcel Kunze four-bet shipped his short stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"]. Action folded back to Kriazhev who made the quick call and the duo watched as the flop came [poker card="3s"][poker card="th"][poker card="qc"] keeping Kriazhev in the lead but giving both a gutshot straight draw. The [poker card="jh"] hit the turn, giving Kriazhev the straight and leaving Kunze drawing dead to the [poker card="5c"] river. Kunze was eliminated in eighth place for $46,684. Jakob Meigel had managed to ladder up from his eighth-place starting position, but an hour into the final table, was still grinding a short stack. He raised with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="3d"], leaving himself a few big blinds behind. Hardcastle three-bet with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"] and when folded to, Meigel put the rest of his chips in the middle. The board ran out [poker card="th"][poker card="8c"][poker card="ts"][poker card="4s"][poker card="tc"] allowing Hardcastle’s king kicker to play and sending Meigel out in seventh place for $58,650. The final six played for nearly another hour before Charles Chattha raised on the button with [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. Out of the blinds, Hardcastle three-bet with [poker card="ks"][poker card="kh"] and Chattha pushed nearly 40 big blinds all-in. Hardcastle snap-called and the flop came [poker card="8h"][poker card="9s"][poker card="jd"], giving Chattha some straight outs. However, the turn came the [poker card="7d"] and the river was the [poker card="4d"] sending Chattha to the rail in sixth place for $74,119. Kraizhev found himself short and in need to make a move. Leaving himself just a few chips behind, Kraizhev raised with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="th"]. Felix Schulze then raised with [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] and when folded back to him, Kraizhev put his remaining stack in the middle. Schulze hit his ace right away on the [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"] flop and when the [poker card="4d"] hit the turn, Kraizhev was drawing dead. The [poker card="qc"] river hit and Kraizhev was ousted in fifth place for $95,672. Just minutes after a break, a big hand took out another player. Dan Shak raised with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] and Schulze flat called with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. From the small blind, Chamas three-bet holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and after Shak folded Schulze made the call. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5c"] and Chamas, hitting second pair, open-shipped his big stack. Schulze snap-called with top pair, top kicker and the [poker card="4d"] hit the turn. Schulze was in great shape to double up but the river was the [poker card="kd"] awarding the hand to Chamas and sending Schulze out in fourth place for $139,163. Shak, who started the day as the chip leader, had been active and steady. But with three players left, he found himself as the short stack when his bluff was picked off by Hardcastle. Just minutes later, Hardcastle shipped his stack holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"] into Shak who had [poker card="kc"][poker card="js"] in the big blind. Shak made the call. The flop came [poker card="6s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"] giving Shak plenty of additional flush outs. But the [poker card="8h"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river were of no help and Shak added $212,458 to his extensive bankroll for finishing in third place. When heads up play began, Hardcastle held a significant chip lead over Chamas and he continually applied pressure. But Chamas hung around and evened out the stacks at one point. But some key calls and strong bluffs by Hardcastle allowed him to again grab a large lead. On the final hand of the tournament, Chamas opened with [poker card="jc"][poker card="3s"] and Hardcastle called in the big blind with [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"]. Hardcastle paired his nine on the flop and made the call when Chamas put out a bet on the flop. The [poker card="ks"] came on the turn and Chamas fired again, which Hardcastle called. The river was the [poker card="8d"], giving Hardcastle two pair and when Chamas shipped the rest of his small stack, Hardcastle made the quick call ending the tournament. Chamas finished as the runner-up and took home $308.703 while Hardcastle collected the $447,859 first-place prize and became the latest member of the WPT Champions Club. WPT Montreal Online Main Event Final Table Payouts 1. Jack Hardcastle - $447,859.32 2. Rayan Chamas - $308,703.22 3. Dan Shak - $212,458.57 4. Felix Schulze - $139,163.79 5. Andrei Kraizhev - $95,672.65 6. Charles Chattha - $74,119.22 7. Jakob Miegel - $58,650.26 8. Marcek Kunze - $46,684.79 9. Upeshka De Silva - $37,024.08
  12. After a ten-month hiatus, the live World Poker Tour Main Tour returned to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. After a long day of play and a three-handed deal, Ilyas Muradi took home $605,000, a ticket to the 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions, and his first career WPT title. For anyone questioning if live poker players were eager to get back in the action, the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open had the answer. Despite the state of the pandemic, playing behind plexiglass barriers, and the requirement to wear masks the tournament’s 1,753-entry field became the third-largest in the WPT’s eighteen-year history. It wasn’t just an outpouring of local players that made their way to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as players traveled from all parts of the globe to participate in the first WPT Main Tour live event since the conclusion of WPT Rolling Thunder in March 2020. There were plenty of notable names who made a deep run in the event but fell short of the final table. World Poker Tour champions Sam Panzica (189th, $6,150) and Kevin Eyster (167th, $6,300) made Day 3 as did Athanasios Polychronopoulous (125th, $7,025), Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (103rd, $7,880), and well-known vlogger Johnnie Moreno (93rd, $8,230). Among those joining them in the money were Jerry Wong (90th, $8,230), Alex Keating (77th, $9,885), and worldwide current #2-ranked online pro from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic (31st, $23,110). The final three tables included some of the World Poker Tour’s biggest names including WPT winner Aaron Mermelstein (25th, $23,110), Scott Baumstein (24th, $27,660), WPT Deepstack Champion Justin Liberto (22nd, $27,660), and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias who finished in tenth place and earned $79,455 which brought his career WPT total to just under $3.9 million. Day four started with the final seven players grinding for two 90-minute levels before reaching the official final table of six. Andy Hwang, the final WPT Champion Club member left in the field, started the day third in chips, however, a few hours into play he found himself grinding a short stack of fewer than 20 big blinds. After a raise from Francis Margaglione in early position with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7c"], Hwang three-bet shipped his stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Folded back around to Margaglione, he made the call. The board ran out [poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="qd"] ensuring that a new WPT champion would be crowned as Hwang exited in seventh place for $115,630. Roughly twenty minutes later, after an early position raise, Tsz Shing shipped his 22 big blind stack holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"] from the button. Ronnie Bardah made the call from the small blind with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and the early position raiser folded. The [poker card="th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5d"] ran clean for the pocket queens and eliminated Brooklyn’s Shing in sixth place for a career-high recorded live cash of $168,990. At five-handed, Jesse Lonis put in a raise from late position with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. After it folded to Bardah in the big blind, Bardah put in a three-bet with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"]. With the action back on Lonis and 30 big blinds behind, Lonis four-bet shipped with Bardah snap-called. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] flop left Lonis looking for one of two outs to save him. The [poker card="3d"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] completed the board and ended Lonis’ tournament in fifth place for $223,895. Margaglione started the day with the chip lead but his stack slowly dwindled during the day. Eventually, he made his move by raising from the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"] only to be shoved on by the big stack of Bardah in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"]. With just over 10 big blinds behind, Margaglione opted to make the call. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7s"] giving Bardah top pair and leaving Margaglione looking for runner-runner help. The [poker card="2h"] was of no use to Margaglione who was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Margaglione finished in fourth place for $293,510. During a break, the final three players negotiated a deal for the remaining prize pool. Ilyas Muradi locked up $580,000 as the chip leader and Bardah, sitting in second, agreed to $566,135. Robel Andemichael secured $545,500 and all three agreed to leave $25,000 and a ticket to the WPT Tournament of Champions on the table for the eventual winner. Even though a deal was in place, the pace of play stayed deliberate. After roughly two hours, Andemichael put in a raise on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="9d"] and Bardah pushed his final twelve big blinds in the middle with [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Bardah the lead, which held through the [poker card="ts"] turn. But the [poker card="9s"] river gave the hand to Andemichael which eliminated Bardah in third place for his agreed-upon career-high score of $566,135. Heads up play started with both Andemichael and Muradi practically even in chips. Another two hours passed without either player holding a significant lead. Finally, Andemichael moved all-in for his final 15 big blinds with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and was called by Muradi holding [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"] giving Muradi’s pocket fours the pot and his first WPT title. Andemichael finished as the runner-up, taking home the$545,500 he locked up in the deal. Ilyas Muradi added the $25,000 to his $580,000 portion of the deal for a total cash score of $605,000 plus a $15K ticket to the Tournament of Champions, and a date to have his name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Ilyas Muradi - $605,000* + WPT Tournament of Champions seat 2. Robel Andemichael - $545,000* 3. Ronnie Bardah - $566,135* 4. Francis Margaglione - $293,510 5. Jesse Lonis - $223,895 6. Tsz Shing - $168,990
  13. For the fourth time in 12 years, the World Poker Tour has new ownership. The WPT made the announcement on Tuesday that a private investment firm had purchased the company from Allied Esports Entertainment for more than $78 million. The purchasing company, Element Partners, LLC, will pay Allied $68,250,000 upfront and then a guaranteed 5% of tournament entry fees on company-owned platforms to a maximum of $10 million. The deal, which includes only the WPT brand and associated assets, is expected to close later this month or early next. "We think this deal will allow the World Poker Tour to do a number of things that it's always wanted to do. Unfortunately, I'm being told that until the deal closes I can't really say much about the transaction," said Adam Pliska, WPT CEO. "What I can say, however, is that for myself and my management team, we're still here and it's business as usual and we look forward to this exciting and this next chapter of the World Poker Tour." Very little is known about Element Partners and what they have in mind for the nearly 19 year old poker brand, but the press releasing announcing the acquisition hinted at real money gaming being a revenue driver for the new owners. The challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic allowed the WPT to shift their business focus to online revenue generating opportunities in 2020. ClubWPT, the subscription-based online poker platform available to American players, saw a 61% increase in new registrations through the third quarter of 2020 while revenue for the same period was up 59%. The shift online also fostered WPT’s largest event in its 18-year history with 2,130 entries for the WPT Online Championship on partypoker and the company’s largest series, also on partypoker, the WPT World Online Championships featuring a $100 million guaranteed prize pool. "Despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WPT business has delivered substantial, impactful results, specifically through its online platforms and services, and has made meaningful contributions for the Company," said Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment. Ng also indicated that Allied will look for a buyer for their existing eSports business, which includes the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, which has played host to a number of WPT final tables over the last three years. "I want to thank Frank Ng and the entire AESE management team for its support in allowing WPT to flourish during this period," Pliska added. In 2009, Bwin paid $12.3 million to acquire the WPT. They turned around and sold it in 2015 for $35 million to OurGame. Just 3.5 years later, OurGame sold the WPT to Lyle Berman's Black Ridge Acquisition Group which also purchased Allied Esports International, Inc. as part of that deal. Black Ridge re-branded the new company as Allied Esports Entertainment Inc.  
  14. After surviving three days of play and fighting through a field of 395 runners, Soheb Porbandarwala finished 2020 as the last player standing in New Jersey’s WPT Online Poker Open taking home the $239,820 first-place prize and admission into the WPT Champions Club. The $3,500 buy-in tournament generated a prize pool of $1,264,000, shattering the $1 million guarantee and making it one of the largest events ever to take place on the partypoker US Network. It also made history as the first time that players in the United States could battle for a WPT Main Tour title by playing online. Porbandarwala entered the final day as the chip leader and while he didn’t hold on to it for the entire final table, he won the day in convincing fashion by eliminating four of his final seven opponents and battling back from a short stack to defeat WPT LAPC final table chip leader Balakrishna Patur heads up for the trophy. The day started with just eight players left, including Daniel Buzgon who was playing in his fourth WPT final table. Buzgon started the final table as the short stack and less than ten minutes in, found himself at risk. With the blinds at 350k/700k, Alex Farin opened on the button to 1.6 million holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Buzgon, in the big blind with [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"] made the call. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] and Buzgon checked it over to Farin who bet another 1.6 million. Buzgon check-raised to 3.9 million and Farin responded by raising enough to put Buzgon all in. Buzgon made the call, way ahead, but the [poker card="ac"] hit the turn leaving Buzgon looking for one of his two outs to hit the river. It wasn’t to be as the [poker card="6d"] completed the board and Buzgon exited in eighth place for $28,727. After Buzgon’s exit, the remaining seven players battled for nearly another hour before the next bust out. With the blinds at 500k/1M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2 million in early position with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"]. Tim Kuder made the call from the small blind holding [poker card="3h"][poker card="3d"]. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] and Kuder checked it over to Porbandarwala who continued for 1.9 million. Kuder then check-raised with his flopped set to 5.2 million, prompting Porbandarwala to ship with his nut flush draw. Kuder called, and with his tournament on the line, the [poker card="9d"] hit the turn. However, the [poker card="jh"] came on the river giving Porbandarwala his flush and sending Kuder out the door in seventh place for $41,217. The better part of another hour passed before Porbandarwala was back at it. With the blinds up to 600k/1.2M, Porbandarwala put in a raise to 2.6 million with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"]. Farin three-bet to 6.8 million holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jh"], leading to a four-bet shove from Porbandarwala. Farin made the call and the duo was off to the races. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"] flopped looked good for Farin’s pocket jacks, but when the [poker card="kh"] spiked on the turn, he was down to just two outs. The [poker card="3s"] on the river wasn’t one of them and Farin was knocked out in sixth place for $56,830. Just after the blinds increased to 1M/2M, Obli Prabu completed the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"] only to be shoved on by the bigger stack of Matt Iles in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. Prabu made the quick call with the pocket pair and his tournament life on the line. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"], giving Iles the lead he wouldn’t lose through the [poker card="qc"] turn and the [poker card="3c"] river. His pocket kings cracked, Prabu collected $75,564 for a fifth-place finish. ‘anomalous’ was the next to fall at the hands of Porbandarwala. With the blinds up to 1.2M/2.4M, Porbandarwala raised holding the [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] and ‘anomalous’ shoved his final 20bb stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9s"]. Porbandarwala made the call with the dominating hand and the two watched as the board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="ac"][poker card="td"], giving both players two pair but Porbandarwala out kicking his opponent. ‘anomalous’ fell in fourth place which was good for $95,948. Three-handed play lasted roughly forty minutes when at 1.4M/2.8M blinds, Iles shoved his 17bb stack from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"]. Patur, who had taken over the chip lead, made the call holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. The flop [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="8c"] gave Patur top pair and left Iles searching for help. The turn was the [poker card="5h"], leaving Iles looking for an ace on the river. Instead, it was the [poker card="2c"], which ended his tournament in third place for $127,398. Even though he’d headed into the final table as the chip leader and held on to it for most of the day, Porbandarwala entered heads up play against Patur as the shorter of the two stacks. Patur kept his foot on the gas, continually chipping up, and at one point held a roughly 4-1 chip advantage. But Porbandarwala battled back. He took back the lead by securing a couple of key double ups and picking off a big bluff. On the final hand of the tournament, with fewer than ten big blinds, Patur shoved from the small blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"]. Porbandarwala made the easy call holding [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="td"][poker card="7s"] board missed both players and Porbandarwala took the hand and the WPT title with ace high. Patur settled for second place and a $164,868 payday but still has a chance to take home a title when the delayed LAPC live final table takes place at a future date. Porbandarwala takes home $224,820 as the winner plus a $15,000 entry into the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions, a Hublot Big Band E Titanium watch, a set of Baccarat Crystal Beluga Highball Glasses as well as the honor of having his name added to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Soheb Porbandarwala - $224,820 + $15,000 WPT TOC ticket 2. Balakrishna Patur - $164,868 3. Matt Iles - $127,398 4. anomalous - $95,948 5. Obil Prabu - $75,565 6. Alex Farin - $56,830 7. Tim Kuder - $41,217 8. Daniel Buzgon - $28,727
  15. It’s not easy to crack into online poker’s worldwide top-100 rankings. But for Americans who play inside U.S. borders on regulated sites, it’s even tougher. United States-based players don’t have access to the massive player pools and huge guarantees that some of the top players grind in order to rack up leaderboard points. For these pros, it takes a doubling-down of volume and effort in order to earn their spot and recognition among online poker’s best. And this week, four of America's best have succeeded in doing just that. Frank ‘thewholefunk’ Funaro Jr. (#52) New Jersey’s Frank Funaro is the current #1-ranked player in the United States and currently sits at #52 in the world. Funaro is in the midst of a career run, sitting just one spot off his career-high ranking and speed toward $1 million in total online poker earnings. Funaro has been stockpiling PLB points all summer including 19 PLB-qualifying scores in August. However, he really heated up after he took down the September 14 edition of the WSOP.com $100,000 Player Appreciation tournament for $19,741 and 325.69 PLB points. Just two weeks later, Funaro grabbed gold again by winning the WSOP.com $2,000 buy-in $150,000 guaranteed NLH High Roller for another $44,489 and 446.65 points. For the entire month, Funaro pulled in 38 cashes for a total of just over $102,000 in earnings. After a solid two-month grind, Funaro has been taking it easy. With just 11 cashes in October and, as of yet, no major recorded scores in November, he’ll find himself slipping down the rankings soon. But after all his hard work, he’s still likely to have a spot in the top-100 for a little while longer. David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman (#62) David Coleman has just added to his long list of accomplishments, which includes a win in the New Jersey WPT Online Poker Open earlier this year, by reaching a career-high worldwide ranking of #62. Coleman, who is perpetually in the conversation when one talks about the best U.S. online poker players, has been steadily picking up PLB points throughout September and October. However, on October 28 he really received a boost with a pair of five-figure scores. Coleman just narrowly missed out on picking up a WSOP Circuit ring with a third-place finish in the WSOP Circuit Event #13 ($100,000 NLH High Roller, 6-Max) for $25,183 and 273.63 PLB points. The same day, he took down the WSOP Tuesday Showdown for another $17,302 and 246.39 PLB points. Coleman has continued his grind into November, already picking up some key PLB points including a win in the PokerStars NJ $250 Super Tuesday for $5,318. As more results come in, Coleman has a clear shot at cracking the top 50. Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon (#90) World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Yong Kwon currently sits at #90 in the world having been ranked as high as #47 just last year. Known for his dedication to grinding, Kwon has spent years being known as one of the most dominant players from the Garden State racking up accolades and often times holding the #1 U.S. ranking for months at a time. After taking the first two weeks off in October, Kwon racked up 47 in-the-money finishes with 15 scores of four-figures or higher. His heavy PLB point push came as the month was coming to a close with back-to-back victories on WSOP.com. First, he took down the $20,000 Weekly Thursday for $7,162 and 157.16 PLB points. Then he added a win in the $10,000 Weekly Friday for another $2,800 plus 100.00 PLB points. His spotlight score took place in the WSOP.com PLO Mania Event #13 ($25,000 PLO) for $9,770 and 193.29 points. Kwon kicked November off with a fast start taking third place in the PokerStars NJ Sunday Special for another $4,721 adding to his more than $3.75 million in lifetime online earnings. Angel ‘ChromeKing’ Lopez (#92) Angel Lopez broke through into the top 100 this week for the first time, rising 16 spots to a career-high ranking of #92. Lopez used a flurry of PLB-qualifying cashes in recent weeks to propel himself up the rankings. It got started with a third-place finish in the October 21 edition of the WSOP.com Tuesday Showdown for $6,398. He followed that up with a run in the WSOP Circuit Event #11 ($250,000 NLH Main Event) for $1,319. Then, he went on a three-tournament tear in earl November picking up points in bulk. First, a deep run in the November 2 WSOP.com $100,000 GTD Sunday brought him $2,707. He followed that up two days later with a third-place finish in the PokerStars NJ $250 Super Tuesday for $2,707. Finally, he capped it all off with a victory in the BorgataPoker.com Mega $535 Tuesday and taking home the $5,759 first-place prize. Players qualify for the online poker worldwide rankings by adding their screen names to their PocketFives profile.
  16. Poker players in Asian markets are about to get the opportunity to play for their share of World Poker Tour glory - and $100 million HKD in guaranteed prize pools - thanks to the tour's partnership with Natural8. WPT Asia Online is a 22-event series, running from October 3 - 22 featuring tournaments which are restricted to players in Asian markets and includes various game formats, multiple leaderboards, and the single biggest online poker tournament guarantee in the region's history. The WPT Asia Main Event has a $10 million HKD guarantee and a $10,000 HKD buy-in. There are 22 starting flights beginning on October 18 with the final day scheduled for October 25. There are also National Championship events for Vietnam, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Cambodia, Japan, and Macau. The buy-in and guarantee for each of these events is in the host country's currency and the eventual champion of each event also earns a WPT Passport valued at HK$23,000. Three separate leaderboards, each covering a single week of play, will give players the opportunity to earn points for their home country. The top 10 players for each country have their total count towards the leaderboard and players who earn at least one leaderboard point for the top-performing country will then play in freeroll tournaments with prizes of $50,000 HKD, $50,000 HKD, and $100,000 HKD. [table id=109 /]
  17. On Saturday night, Keven StamdoggStammen (pictured) took down the World Poker Tour Championship for $1.3 million. The season finale had a brand new location at Borgata in Atlantic City this year with a more affordable buy-in of $15,400 and 328 entrants turned out. In the end, PocketFivers ruled the day, as Stammen brought home his first WPT title and will have his name engraved in the tour's Championship Cup. Stammen led the way entering the WPT Championship six-handed final table, holding 113 big blinds, or 50 more than the next closest player. It took 34 hands for the first player to be knocked out, as Abe Korotki ran A-7 into PocketFiver Ryan g0lfa D'Angelo's A-J. The 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure final tablist was ahead the whole way, rivering a jack to boot, and Korotki exited in sixth place for $235,000. Curt Kohlberg doubled through Stammen to trim the latter's death grip on the final table after A-10 out-raced pocket fives. Then, Stammen took a pot worth 3.15 million in chips off D'Angelo after the latter called a bet on the river with top pair, but Stammen showed the nut flush. Stammen continued to dominate, opening 19% of pots through the first 100 hands, the second most of any player. Kohlberg, meanwhile, busted in fifth place at the hands of Byron Kaverman after he came out on the losing end of a flip. D'Angelo hit the rail in fourth place after shoving for his final seven big blinds and coming up short. One hand before that, Tony Bond18 Dunst (pictured), a WPT host, doubled up through D'Angelo. However, Dunst still sat on a dangerously short stack and busted shortly thereafter in third place for $452,000. It was Dunst's third WPT final table. Stammen had a 2:1 chip lead entering heads-up play against Kaverman, who has had six WPT cashes since November and ultimately took the chip lead before ceding it back for good. On the 151st hand of final table play, Kaverman 3bet all-in with pocket fours and Stammen snap-called with A-8. Kaverman was ahead until an ace on the river sealed the deal, giving Stammen his first WPT title in his third WPT final table: 1st Place: Keven StamdoggStammen - $1,350,000 2nd Place: Byron Kaverman - $727,860 3rd Place: Tony Bond18Dunst - $452,729 4th Place: Ryan g0lfaD'Angelo - $363,930 5th Place: Curt Kohlberg - $286,292 6th Place: Abe Korotki - $235,341 Stammen joins a solid group of past WPT Championship winners: Season I: Alan Goehring - $1,036,886 (111 entries) Season II: Martin de Knijff - $2,728,356 (343 entries) Season III: Tuan Le - $2,856,150 (647 entries) Season IV: Joe Bartholdi - $3,760,165 (605 entries) Season V: Carlos Mortensen - $3,970,415 (639 entries) Season VI: David Chiu - $3,389,140 (545 entries) Season VII: Yevgeniy Jovial Gent Timoshenko (pictured) - $2,149,960 (338 entries) Season VIII: David Williams - $1,530,537 (195 entries) Season IX: Scott Seiver - $1,618,344 (220 entries) Season X: Marvin Rettenmaier - $1,196,858 (152 entries) Season XI: Chino Rheem - $1,150,297 (146 entries) Season XII: Keven StamdoggStammen - $1,350,000 (328 entries) Congrats to Stammen on his WPT win! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  18. In 2013, David "Chino" Rheem (pictured) won the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $1.1 million, defeating a field of 146 entrants in the $25,000 buy-in tournament. This year, the WPT's season finale moved east to Borgata in Atlantic City, where, according to F5 Poker, Rheem had a free entry waiting for him. On Monday, Rheem Tweeted, "Wanna wish all my homies best of luck at Borgata @WPT Championship event! I won't be there to defend last year's title, so play well!" Day 1 of the WPT Championship was held on Monday and Rheem's Tweet sparked a response from Robert Mizrachi, who Tweeted back, "@ChinoRheem I think you have a free roll since u won last year. I would find out." Rheem's final comment on the matter was simply the two-word phrase "What freeroll?" The buy-in this year was dropped to $15,000 for the WPT Championship and the tournament's organizers guaranteed a prize pool of $5 million. First place will earn $1.3 million and a field of 328 players turned out, more than doubling last year's attendance. F5 confirmed with WPT President Adam Pliska that Rheem had been gifted a seat and the news site explained, "The World Poker Tour Championship event is one of the very few events, on any tour, where the previous year's champion gets a free seat the following year. Rheem had a seat just waiting for him… The seat is/was non-transferable or convertible." A PokerListings article insinuated that Rheem may have skipped the WPT Championship on purpose, even if he didn't know he had a free seat: "Rheem… decided to skip the tournament and was instead doing 'choice' (which we'll assume is Choice Leadership Program, of which Daniel Negreanu is a huge proponent)." Whatever the case may be, at the start of the day on Friday, 18 players remain in the WPT Championship, each guaranteed a payout of at least $41,000. Here are the chip counts along with the number of big blinds each player is stacked with, according to WPT's website: Eric Afriat - 2,029,000 (126 bb) Abe Korotki - 1,616,000 (101 bb) Anthony Gregg - 1,499,000 (93 bb) Ryan g0lfa D'Angelo - 1,369,000 (85 bb) Curt Kohlberg - 1,097,000 (68 bb) Justin Young - 993,000 (62 bb) Byron Kaverman - 974,000 (60 bb) Ray Qartomy - 955,000 (59 bb) Brock t soprano Parker - 918,000 (57 bb) Keven Stamdogg Stammen - 867,000 (54 bb) Tom Dobrilovic - 786,000 (49 bb) Chris O'Rourke - 670,000 (41 bb) Tony bond18 Dunst - 622,000 (38 bb) Corey Hochman - 598,000 (37 bb) Bobby Oboodi - 525,000 (32 bb) Glenn Lafaye - 395,000 (24 bb) Hans Winzeler - 320,000 (20 bb) David Grandieri - 209,000 (13 bb) The WPT Championship concludes on Saturday. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  19. If you haven't heard, Greg Merson (pictured), two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, was not at all happy with the World Poker Tour's decision to run a $500 buy-in, $1 million Guarantee at Aria in Las Vegas at the same time as this year's WSOP Main Event at the Rio. --- 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! --- "Can't breathe on PartyPoker/WPT trying to step on the toes of the WSOP Main Event. Of course you can play both, but very disrespectful IMO," he Tweeted to his 34,000 followers. The comparatively low buy-in WPT500 was an effort by organizers to take advantage of the many grinders hanging around town for the WSOP who could not afford the $10,000 Main Event. But Merson was having none of it and continued to voice his displeasure on Twitter: "Just a desperate attempt by a company trying to hold onto a glimmer of the spotlight as they have continued to slide since 2006 #showers." At that point, Matt Savage (pictured), Executive Tour Director of the WPT and organizer of the WPT500, tried to calm down the 2012 Main Event winner, replying, "Sorry for upsetting you, no one is more supportive of the WSOP than I am and wouldn't expect a single player to skip the ME for this." He also added, "In addition, we moved our dates from the 1-6th out of 'respect' for the 'Little One Drop,' as a $1K buy-in is too close to $500." On the forums, most agreed with Savage that the $500 event was unlikely to draw any players away from the prestigious five-figure buy-in Main Event and welcomed more competition for the WSOP. "Some people prefer a tourney where they can win $200k in 2 days instead of an entry to a $10k, 2 week+ tournament," chimed in Andy Bloch. "WPT is a competitor. Who really cares if there is a $500 at the Aria? Nice for people who fly in and want to play every day," said Russell Thomas. Merson was unmoved and kept up his tirade, calling the Main Event "our Super Bowl" and telling WPT execs to "save your five-day reentry money grab for another date." The pro's comments might have been spurred by a new sponsorship alliance with the WSOP, as pointed out by F5 Poker. In the middle of this year's Series, Merson was photographed wearing a WSOP.compatch after leaving Phil Ivey's training site. One Twitter observer was not impressed with the bracelet winner's behavior: "Astounded @WSOPcom would still consider @GregMerson as potential ambassador after tirade against #WPT500 @ARIAPoker event! #GreatValueEvent." Merson's Main Event run came to an end on Day 2AB, with the pro Tweeting, "I have been eliminated from this tournament." That didn't stop him from keeping up the jabs, though: "Debating going to play Day 1P of the [WPT500] tournament," he said facetiously. At that point, the WPT500 was already turning out to be a rousing success, smashing its guarantee with 3,599 entrants and generating a prize pool of $1.8 million. In the end, Sean Yu bested the field, defeating Kareem Marshall for a $260,000 first place prize. On Twitter, poker industry professionals were quick to complement Savage on the tournament. "Pretty impressive vision and even better execution. Congrats," said Parx Poker Ambassador Matt Glantz (pictured). "Congrats to @ARIAPoker @WPT for a hugely successful #WPT500," agreed Bellagio Poker Room Manager Sean McCormack. Merson seems to be standing by his remarks, but he made clear that the criticism wasn't directed toward Savage himself. "@SavagePoker wanted to let you know those comments were in no way directed toward you. You are one of the best in the business and we are lucky to have you in the poker world," he said. "They were my views stemming from frustration of poker companies not working together to schedule stuff that doesn't hurt numbers for major events." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  20. History was made in the Caribbean on Friday, as longtime PocketFiver Darren darrenelias Elias (pictured) became the first person ever to win back-to-back World Poker Tour Main Events in the same season. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by William Hill Poker, one of the largest skins on the iPoker Network. The poker room offers a generous welcome package including a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000 and a superb VIP program. PocketFivers will love playing in the site's €1 million guaranteed iPOPS series, which runs through November 9. Visit William Hill today! --- Elias won the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September in Atlantic City and followed that up with a victory in the WPT Caribbean event in St. Maarten on Friday. According to WPT officials, "Elias [also]becomes the first player to win multiple WPT Main Events in the same season since Season III. Both Tuan Le and Daniel Negreanu won a pair of events in Season III and Negreanu was crowned WPT Player of the Year." The first person ever to win back-to-back WPT Main Events was Marvin Rettenmaier (pictured), who took down the Season X WPT World Championship and the Season XI WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, but failed to secure both titles in the same season. The Caribbean event marked Elias' seventh WPT in the money finish. Incredibly, four of those are final tables. He finished fifth in the 2011 Borgata Poker Open Main Event for $230,000 and followed that up a few months later with a third place showing in Jacksonville for $147,000. Elias' Borgata Poker Open Main Event win in September was worth $843,000, bringing his all-time live earnings to north of $2.5 million, according to the Hendon Mob. Elias was nearly a 5:1 dog entering heads-up play in St. Maarten against Christophe Rosso, but doubled up twice to claim the chip lead. Rosso turned in two double-ups of his own and on the final hand, he moved all-in before the flop with 7-6, but ran into Elias' aces. Rosso actually made two pair on the turn, but the river paired the board, giving Elias aces-up for the record-setting title. Here were the WPT Caribbean final table results: 1st Place: Darren darreneliasElias - $127,680 2nd Place: Christophe Rosso - $64,900 3rd Place: George Griffith - $42,100 4th Place: Mike Linster - $28,950 5th Place: Ziga Jamnikar - $22,280 6th Place: Dan Agentu Murariu - $17,370 Online, Elias has $3.4 million in career tournament winnings and won the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance two weeks ago for $49,000. He has two monster wins online: a WCOOP High Roller victory in 2012 for $574,000 officially and a WCOOP Main Event final table two years prior for $396,000. Elias has five six-figure scores in his PocketFives profile. Congrats to Elias for his historical finish in St. Maarten. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  21. According to a press release sent out on Friday by bwin.party, WPTPoker.com, a site on the PartyPoker network branded to the World Poker Tour, will shut down on June 3. Officials cited an "ongoing company strategy" as the reason for the closure, adding, "bwin.party has made the decision to focus our online poker efforts entirely on our lead brands: PartyPoker and bwin Poker." Players will still be able to log into their WPTPoker.com accounts and request withdrawals for three months after June 3. The maximum withdrawal limit will be lifted between now and June 3; however, standard withdrawal fees will continue to apply. As of June 6, no new registrations will be permitted on WPTPoker.com. All pending tournament registrations will be reversed, no new deposits will be accepted, and no games will exist on the site. If you have tournament dollars and tournament tickets, these will be refunded to you. Tournament entries with no cash value will not be refunded, however. As the press release added, "If player qualifies for live events before the website's closure, his invitation remains valid." Any unused points will be forfeited, so start using them if you still have any banked away. Similarly, any part of a bonus that has not been released before June 3 will be forfeited. There are no plans to re-open WPT Poker and balances cannot be moved to PartyPoker. The WPT Poker skin was launched in 2009 after PartyPoker's acquisition of the World Poker Tour. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  22. In recent days, the World Poker Tour wrapped up its annual end-of-season Championship event from the Borgata in Atlantic City. This year, the tournament attracted 239 entries, down 27% from the 328 recorded last year. PokerNews' Donnie Peters (pictured) called the development "worrisome," so PocketFives took to Twitter to figure out why attendance slid so much. Peters gave his take on why the WPT Championship headcount dropped, Tweeting, "5% no High Roller and Super High Roller, 20% timing on schedule, 75% location." The European Poker Tour's Grand Final was taking place concurrently across "The Pond," meaning many poker pros were camped out there rather than in aging Atlantic City, the site of the WPT Championship. Kevin Mathersadded on Twitter, "Also no re-entry, second Day 1 flight, and no guaranteed prize pool." The 2014 WPT Championship had a $5 million guarantee, while no guarantee existed this year. Getting to Atlantic City is no easy feat. A small airport exists about 10 miles away, but is largely just served by Spirit Airlines. Instead, most players fly into cities like Philadelphia and then drive over an hour. Speaking to that, Online Poker Report's Chris GroveTweeted, "Lot harder to get to via plane than some other places." Contrast Atlantic City with a place like Las Vegas, where the airport, which is served by dozens of carriers, is a stone's throw from the Strip. United Airlines formerly served Atlantic City's airport, but discontinued service in December. Thus, only three airlines serve 13 destinations. Compare that with McCarren Airport in Las Vegas, which has over 30 airlines and is one of the busiest hubs in the entire world. We had a few high-profile players lend their thoughts on the declining WPT Championship attendance. Mike Gags30Gagliano, who is from New Jersey, commented, "Lack of guarantee versus last year, also timing made it tougher to do this and Monte Carlo." Christian charder Harder (pictured), who made the WPT Championship final table in 2009, added, "It was reentry last year and not this year." Peters said on Twitter that there were only 12 reentries last year. "Poker Life Podcast" host Chicago Joey said the cab ride to and from the Atlantic City airport put him on life tilt: "Last time I was out there, the ride to and from airport was so tilting." The WPT Championship moved from Las Vegas to Atlantic City for the first time in 2014, but as the team from Pokerfusechimed in on Twitter, "WPT Championship attendance declined for six of the last last years before it moved to AC." With that in mind, here are the attendance numbers for the WPT Championship each year it has been held. The event switched from a $25,000 buy-in to a $15,000 buy-in last year (Season 12): Season 1: 111 Season 2: 343 Season 3: 453 Season 4: 605 Season 5: 649 Season 6: 545 Season 7: 338 Season 8: 195 Season 9: 220 Season 10: 152 Season 11: 146 Season 12: 328 Season 13: 239 What do you think? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  23. "The last month of my life has been the craziest month of my life. The last week of my life has been the craziest week of my life. Today has been the craziest day. Everything is just so surreal. I'm happy my dad got to be here. I couldn't have ever imagined this." Those were the words of Asher Conniff (pictured), who is known in the New Jersey poker world as misclick, after taking down the World Poker Tour Championship on Monday for almost $1 million. There were 239 entrants in this year's WPT Championship and the six-handed final table featured a gauntlet of talent that included WPT host Tony Bond18Dunst and former WPT Championship and World Series of Poker Main Event winner Carlos Mortensen. Dunst hit the deck in sixth place after Mortensen sucked out on kings with tens. That hand crippled Dunst, who was eliminated shortly thereafter. If you missed it, Dunst recently sat down with PocketFives and talked a little daily fantasy sports. Mortensen exited in fourth place after his pocket tens weren't so fortunate against A-6. Mortensen is up to $6.7 million in career WPT winnings and leads the all-time money list for the longstanding tour, which is now in its 13th season. Conniff beat out Alexander Lakhov heads-up. Lakhov re-raised all-in before the flop with 10-6 and Conniff snap-called with A-Q, which held for the win. Lakhov won the Season XIII WPT Merit North Cyprus Classic. Conniff has been on a tear as of late. He took down the opening event of the Borgata Spring Poker Open for over $200,000 and won a $1,600 satellite for the WPT Championship online. Speaking of online, Conniff has $76,000 in winnings on Borgata Poker in New Jersey in his PocketFives profile and owns three GSSS titles. The attendance at this year's WPT Championship (239) was down sharply from 2014, when 328 players turned out. 2014 was the first year the tournament featured a $15,000 buy-in, down from $25,000. This year was the second that the season-ending WPT Championship has been held in Atlantic City. Here's how the WPT Championship final table cashed out: 1. Asher Conniff - $973,683 2. Alexander Lakhov - $573,779 3. Brian Yoon - $330,358 4. Carlos Mortensen - $267,764 5. Ray Qartomy - $208,647 6. Tony Dunst - $173,873 Congrats to Conniff on his WPT title! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  24. On Sunday night, it was announced that Ourgame International Holdings has acquired the World Poker Tour for $35 million. It's an all cash transaction with no debt. Since 2009, bwin.party has owned WPT, which is renowned for its worldwide live tournaments and events. WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska commented in a press release, "Having already established an exciting partnership with Ourgame, a high growth company led by an enthusiastic group that is fully invested in the global growth of the sport of poker, we are delighted to now become a fully-integrated member of the Ourgame family. I want to thank bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger and bwin.party CFO Martin Weigold for all of their support over the last six years and for helping facilitate this agreement." Last year, Ourgame began licensing products and services related to the WPT in Asian countries. Now, it owns the tour outright. Ourgame has a market cap of over $700 million and is one of Asia's leading social gaming firms. In fact, it has over500 million usersand, according to the same release, "For three years, Ourgame has helped facilitate WPT National China at MGM Grand Sanya Resort, bringing together hundreds of social gamers with some of the biggest professional poker players in the world." Ourgame CEO Frank Ng commented in the same press release, "World Poker Tour is unquestionably the global leader in organizing world-class poker events and we are very proud to acquire one of the world's greatest brands. WPT, with Ourgame as its new owner, will continue to expand its already impressive global presence, bringing poker and gaming entertainment to cities and homes around the world via television broadcasts, mobile devices, card tables, and more." Ourgame is publicly traded and was founded in 1998. According to Online Poker Report, ClubWPT is also part of the sale. The same source added that the closing date was June 25. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  25. The schedule for the final World Poker Tour events of Season XIV was unveiled on Wednesday and included one major change. The WPT Championship as we know it is no more. In its place is the WPT Tournament of Champions, an invite-only event to be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in mid-April. Only Season XIV champions and WPT Champions Club members can participate in the Tournament of Champions, which has a buy-in of $15,400. The event won't come cheap for WPT officials either, as every Season XIV Major Champion is automatically entered into the Tournament of Champions and will have their airfare and hotel accommodations covered. Champions Club members can buy in. WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska (pictured) commented in a press release, "By combining Season XIV winners and WPT Champions Club members, the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions will truly be a championship event. We will promote the 'champion of champions' to our millions of television viewers and to the thousands of players in the community for seasons to come, solidifying the winner's place in the World Poker Tour's rich history." Several PocketFivers have made the WPT Champions Clubthis year, including Taylor taypaurPaur, Asher yasmellmeConniff, and Aaron aaronmermel Mermelstein. The new Tournament of Champions begins on April 21. Here's a look at the tournaments leading up to it: January 4 to 8 WPT National Philippines Solaire Resort & Casino Manila, Philippines $1,500 + $150 January 8 to 11 WPT DeepStacks Hustler Hustler Casino Gardena, California $1,000 + $100 January 14 to 18 WPT DeepStacks Hollywood Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $1,000 + $100 January 29 to February 1 WPT DeepStacks Malta Dragonara Casino St. Julian's, Malta €500 + €50 January 31 to February 5 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Atlantic City, NJ $3,300 + $200 February 21 to 24 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort Ontario, Canada CAD $4,700 + CAD $300 February 25 to 28 bwin.be WPT National Brussels Grand Casino Brussels Viage, Belgium €1,100 + €100 February 26 to 29 WPT DeepStacks - BigStax Parx Casino Bensalem, Pennsylvania $1,500 + $100 February 27 to March 3 WPT LA Poker Classic Commerce Casino Commerce, California $9,600 + $400 March 7 to 11 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Bay 101 Casino San Jose, California $7,150 + $350 March 8 to 13 partypoker WPT Vienna Montesino Vienna Vienna, Austria €3,000 + €300 March 12 to 16 WPT Rolling Thunder Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, California $3,200 + $300 April 8 to 11 Gioco Digitale WPT National San Remo Casino San Remo San Remo, Italy €900 + €90 April 15 to 17 WPT National Johannesburg Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Johannesburg, South Africa R10,000 + R1,000 April 14 to 20 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $3,200 + $200 + $100 April 21 to 23 WPT Tournament of Champions Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $15,000 + $400 The WPT Championship's attendance dropped 27% from 2014 to 2015, so the writing was on the wall for a major change to the event. Here's a look at the WPT Championship attendance each year it has been held. Season XIII ended in April 2015: Season I: 111 entrants Season II: 343 entrants Season III: 453 entrants Season IV: 605 entrants Season V: 649 entrants Season VI: 545 entrants Season VII: 338 entrants Season VIII: 195 entrants Season IX: 220 entrants Season X: 152 entrants Season XI: 146 entrants Season XII: 328 entrants Season XIII: 239 entrants Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
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