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  1. [caption width="640"] The 2016 November Nine (Joe Giron/WSOP photo)[/caption] To many online poker players, Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy is already a legend. Monday night at the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, Josephy found the most incredible way to add to that status by making the November Nine with the chip lead. The 50-year-old Josephy is looking forward to coming back to the Rio in October for the November Nine festivities and he’s hoping to have a big rail cheering for him. “If I don’t bring back a better rail than I had here today - because my rail was non-existant - which is understandable. I have a bunch of 50 year old friends in New York with jobs. Judging from the advanced or premature texts that I’ve gotten over the past few days, they’re all looking forward and threatening to come here. We won’t be the most raucous rail. We’re not British. We’re not drunks anymore,“ joked Josephy, whos also going to lean heavily on his previous trips to the November Nine. “I was in the audience the first two years of the November Nine with Ylon Schwartz in 2008 and with Joe Cada in 2009 so I will know what to expect and it will not intimidate me one iota.” But Josephy, who spent a record 74 weeks straight as the #1-ranked online poker player in the world from April 2005 to September 2006, isn’t the only former #1-ranked player coming back in October. Griffin Benger, who was ranked #1 a total of five times in his career, is also going. Benger, who wasn’t going to play the Main Event until winning a 888 poker satellite two months ago, finished with 26,175,000 - the seventh best stack. Benger will be a staple of ESPN coverage once broadcasts begin including what is likely to become one of the most talked about hands in WSOP history. Benger raised to 875,000 from UTG and British poker pro William Kassouf bet 2,300,000 from the hijack only to have Benger make it 5,600,000. This sent Kassouf into the tank for several minutes where he talked - as he has been doing for most of the past few days - trying to get information from Benger. Kassouf eventually moved all in for 13,450,000 and Benger snap-called, tabling [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. Kassouf showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out with no help for Kassouf and he was eliminated in 17th place. During and after the hand the pair exchanged verbal barbs that apparently resulted in WSOP tournament director Jack Effel giving Benger a warning. The player closest to Josephy is Qui Nguyen. The Las Vegas low stakes grinder, ended with 67,925,000. Nguyen has just 28 live cahes and only two of them came in a tournament with a buy-in greater than $1,000. The only previous win on his record came in a $125 nightly tournament at the Aria Casino in 2013. Gordon Vayo, who turned 27 earlier this week, is ecstatic to make the final table after nearly being eliminated on Day 6 when he risked his tournament life with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] against Jonas Lauck who held [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The board ran out [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="3d"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] to give Vayo Broadway and keep him alive. “I was out of the tournament. In my head that was it, it was over, it was done, I was gone. There was no chance I was going to remain in this tournament,” said Vayo, who is third with 49,375,000. “I was stunned. Obviously I was thrilled, but I couldn’t believe it happened and even though it happened, I was looking at it and my brain couldn’t process that it actually happened.” After hovering near the chip lead over the last two days of play, Kenny Hallaert managed to make the November Nine with 43,325,000. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve never been at this stage and probably never will be again. Probably going to have a beer now and let everything sink in,” said Hallaert. “I have some friends made it to the November Nine and I can ask what their experience was and if they have any tips for me.” Michael Ruane, an online grinder from Hoboken, NJ, sits sixth with 31,600,000. Ruane is an online grinder who has moved around the world with his brother to continue to play online poker. He and his brother now live and play on regulated sites in New Jersey. Czech poker pro Vojtech Ruzicka, who started Day 7 with the chip lead, ended the day with 27,300,000 - just ahead of Benger. Sittting in eighth is Day 5 chip leader Jerry Wong. He has 10,175,00. The shortest stack when play resumes in October will be Fernando Pons. He’ll be returning to just 6,150,000 - just over 12 big blinds. The day began with 27 players all hoping to survive the day and be part of the November Nine. Amongst the 18 players that were eliminated on Monday were former November Niner Antoine Saout, Jared Bleznick, online poker legend James Obst and former CardPlayer Player of the Year Thomas Marchese. Due to the U.S Presidential Election in the first week of November, this year’s November Nine is actually spread over three days beginning on October 30. All three days will be broadcast live on ESPN. November Nine Chip Counts Cliff Josephy - 74,600,000 Qui Nguyen - 67,925,000 Gordon Vayo - 49,375,000 Kenny Hallaert - 43,325,000 Michael Ruane - 31,600,000 Vojtech Ruzicka - 27,300,000 Griffin Benger - 26,175,000 Jerry Wong - 10,175,000 Fernando Pons - 6,150,000
  2. [caption width="640"] The eventual Main Event winner walks away with this special Main Event Champion bracelet.[/caption] Czech poker pro Vojtech Ruzicka ended an abbreviated Day 6 of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event with the chip lead after eliminating two players on two separate hands in the last few minutes of play. Ruzicka ended the day with 26,415,000 which puts him ahead of Michael Ruane and former PocketFives #1 ranked player Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Ruane started the day with 5,605,000 and built it up to 24,565,000. Josephy managed to finish the day with 23,860,000 though he can’t seem to recall too many big spots. “I really didn’t do much today. I mean I really did not do much today. I don’t even remember the all in pots that I won,” said Josephy. “I didn’t play any big pots, I didn’t get any controversy. I hit flops, if I defended my big blind I hit the flop.“ Heading into the last day of the summer with a top four stack, the 50 year old Josephy is enjoying the moment and claims he’s able to stay loose and have fun. “Do you see the smile on my face?” said Josephy, the last player in the field who already has a WSOP bracelet. “I don’t feel any pressure. I never feel pressure playing. I always love playing. I don’t know how it affects other people, I don’t know if they blow up. I’m not going to blow up. I’m not going to tilt. If I lose a hand, I lose a hand.” While Josephy is the only WSOP bracelet winner still in the field, he’s not the only one with experience. Antoine Saout, who made the 2009 November Nine, has a shot at joining Mark Newhouse as the only players to make multiple trips to the November Nine. He sees a lot of differences between this year and his first run. “Very different because now I’m a professional. I played a lot during the seven years. I know how to do it during the tournament. I was deep since Day 2,” said Saout. “This is my worst ending with like 26 or 27 (big) blinds for tomorrow. I played great this tournament. I’ve had a good run. I’m confident I can do it.” He’s the fourth smallest stack heading into Day 7, but again recalls his 2009 experience as a reason to be patient. “Even with the short stack you can spin it up and be deep. When I made the final table I was one of the shorter (stacks),” said Saout. “I doubled up once, twice, after I was the chip leader. I almost won it. If I win the first hand (Monday) maybe I can be deep again.” There is one other former #1-ranked PocketFiver still in the hunt for a November Nine berth. Griffin Benger bounced around the Day 6 chip counts and ended with 6,530,000 - the 20th biggest stack. Other notables still in include James Obst, Valentin Vornicu and Tom Marchese. There were 53 players eliminated on Monday including Paul Volpe (29th), Dan Colman (31st), Max Silver (33rd), Chris Klodnicki (45th), Tony Gregg (50th), Dietrich Fast (55th) and Tom Middleton (56th). The final 27 players return at Noon PT on Monday and will play down until only the 2016 November Nine remain. Main Event Top 10 Chip Counts Vojtech Ruzicka - 26,415,000 Michael Ruane - 24,565,000 Cliff Josephy - 23,860,000 James Obst - 19,560,000 Mike Shin - 19,345,000 Valentin Vornicu - 17,450,000 Fernando Pons - 17,270,000 Thomas Miller - 17,185,000 Kenny Hallaert - 15,465,000 Tom Marchese - 15,420,000 Event 69: Michael Tureniec Wins The Little One for One Drop [caption width="640"] Michael Tureniec beat Calvin Anderson heads up to win his first WSOP bracelet[/caption] Sweden’s Michael Tureniec beat out former PocketFives #1-ranked Calvin Anderson to win the $1,111 Little One for One Drop and take home his first WSOP bracelet - the last one available this summer. Tureniec earned $525,520 for the win, the third largest score of his career. “It’s overwhelming to win. It’s the biggest thing you can accomplish in poker,” Tureniec said of the WSOP bracelet. Anderson walked away with $324,597. Another player who made his name online before turning to live poker, Ryan D’Angelo, finished third. The event attracted 4,360 players meaning $483,960 was raised for the One Drop charity. Final Table Payouts Michael Tureniec - $525,520 Calvin Anderson - $324,597 Ryan D'Angelo - $239,232 Sam Ho - $177,695 Thai Tolly - $133,028 Lucas Blanco - $100,380 Samer Al-Shurieki - $76,351 Shai Zurr - $58,543 Guillaume Diaz - $45,254
  3. [caption width="640"] Jerry Wong might be the biggest unknown heading into the November Nine. Get to know him a bit here. (WPT photo)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Jerry Wong. Jerry Wong comes into the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table as the short stack, but the New York native isn’t short on experience. Wong has been playing poker full-time since 2008 and earned over $1.3 million in live tournaments before locking up his first seven figure score in this year’s Main Event. Outside of his live success, Wong has earned over $3.3 million online including a WCOOP bracelet in 2014. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet and why? Jerry Wong: I’d definitely put all my money on Joey Couden. I think he is one of the best players in South Florida and I think he has a really good shot. Of the other nine, I would put my money on Qui Nguyen. I think there would be a nice little poker boom if he wins. PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what you bring and why? Wong: Stranded on a desert island for one year? Obviously, my iPhone would be the first thing. The second thing would be probably my laptop and then the third thing would be my passport. Not that I would need that if I was stranded. Let’s see, a generator. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Wong: Well, I’m already going to Japan after the World Series. I’d definitely upgrade. I’d go from Gyro Sun to Gyro himself and go to his restaurant. PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Wong: I think Chad Eveslage [poker player] is a really good actor. He would just be a really good emotive and I think he would capture my spirit pretty well. PocketFives: Everybody at the final table gets to choose a walk-out song. What song did you choose? What was your thought process and what were the final choices? Wong: I haven’t given it any thought. Nothing yet. I don’t know, I have time I think.
  4. Martin Jacobson's 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event win confirmed him as one of the best live tournament players of his generation. In the time since his $10 million victory, Jacobson's results suggest his game has remained sharp. Jacobson made three final tables last summer including a sixth-place result in the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop. The process for preparing for the summer grind does not wane for Jacobson. He is ready for the chance to win a second bracelet. Jacobson, who recently became an 888poker ambassador, jumps at the bit to map out his summer plans upon the release of the WSOP calendar. "As soon as the schedule gets released I start getting excited as I plan on which event I'm looking to play," Jacobson said. "My favorite part is obviously the Main event but I also love the feeling of playing in the first event each year. It gives me a short flashback of the very first time I played a WSOP event before every day rapidly becomes very repetitive." The plan for Jacobson is to play as many No Limit Hold'em events as possible. Those events are usually at the Rio but Jacobson took his show to the strip and the Venetian a few times in 2017. Jacobson wrapped up last year's campaign with a second-place finish in a chop deal in the Card Player Poker Tour $5,000 Main Event for $398,303. Overall, Jacobson racked up six cashes. This summer fills with more anticipation than usual for Jacobson. The four-year time-span since his Main Event triumph coincides with another major global tournament. "I will say that for some reason I feel extra motivated this year. Perhaps it's because it was now four years ago I won and it was also the year of the World Cup, which brings back memories and sparks some additional excitement." Jacobson notes that the monotony of the daily grind becomes cumbersome early on. Once the redundancy kicks in, the "excitement" reduces. When the endgame arrives, Jacobson is able to leverage his experience and work ethic. "It's all part of the game though and it's also what makes the reward so much sweeter, knowing that all that hard work and grind paid off in the end." How does Jacobson keep himself fresh for the summer? The Swede says he tries to set up as many mini-vacations as possible to remove himself from the casino environment. The destinations Jacobson prefers are Lake Mead, Los Angeles, and Red Rock. Finally, Jacobson tries to simulate a culture similar to where he lives in London. Cashes in four countries so far in 2018 equal weeks on the road. The one-city nature of the summer in Las Vegas means different routines. "I try to create some sort of home environment," Jacobson said. "A huge part of it is staying in a hotel or apartment complex without a casino and having the ability to cook my own meals." Jacobson's play sets him apart from his peers along with the banner that hangs in the Rio. Four years is a long time for poker players and the 30-year-old Jacobson is looking forward to the opportunity to cash big once again with another major title in his sight.
  5. After all the madness that was a record-setting Day 1C of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, a rather modest 2,453 players made their way back to the Rio for Day 2AB. Just a little more than half - 1,244 to be exact - of those players managed to find a bag with chips in it at the end of the night after another five levels of play. Leading the way is California's Shawn Daniels who built his stack from 84,200 to a 532,000. Daniels was one of just five players to end the day with more than a half-million chips. Sean Ruane, younger brother of former November Niner and last year's 10th place finisher Michael Ruane, ended the day with 361,400. Some of the more well-known players to bag chips on Thursday incldued Ben Yu (311,000), Jason Strasser (283,900), Darryll Fish (278,800), Chris Klodnicki (266,900), Marvin Rettenmaier (256,400), Darren Elias (240,700), Mustapha Kanit (235,800) and Shaun Deeb (218,300). Michael Mizrachi Rides Roller Coaster All Day Long Over the first two days of play, poker fans at home have been tuning in to watch Michael Mizrachi play his aggressive style and he's rewarded them. Mizrachi finished Day 2AB with 62,500 after a day that the four-time WSOP bracelet winner described as frustrating. "I was playing a lot of pots, but I couldn't get anything going. All my big starting hands lost, which I didn't have many but every one I had couldn't hold or I got out-flopped," said Mizrachi. Mizrachi, who has cashed in the Main Event three times over the course of his career, knows that his strategy needs to change when he comes back for Day 3. "The first two days I'll play a lot more hands as I get a feel for the table and I can take those risks. The blinds are so small, so you try to flop hands and bust people and build a big, huge stack, so I'm prepared for Day 3, Day 4, Day 5," said Mizrachi. "Now, Day 3 is a totally different gameplan. I've got to just sit back and wait for good spots, look for the weaker players and attack them when you're in position. I've got to be patient." Not Everybody Found a Bag - Some Found the Exit There were some players who unfortunately saw their run at hte $8.8 million first place prize money come to an end on Day 2AB. Included in that group were David Tuchman, Dan Smith, Justin Bonomo, John Hesp, Erik Seidel, Joe Hachem, Tony Dunst, Andre Akkari, and Antoine Saout, Top 10 Day 2AB Chip Counts Shawn Daniels - 532,500 Eric Liebeler - 531,000 Samuel Bernabeu - 524,000 Michael Dyer - 502,400 Casey McCarrel - 501,800 Brian Borne - 496,000 Frank Bonacci - 486,300 David Cabrera Polop - 483,800 Smain Mamouni - 481,500 Mohamed Mokrani - 480,000 Galen Hall Goes from Retiree to Bracelet Winner The $888 Crazy Eights event was supposed to end on Tuesday, but the final three players decided to bag up their chips and return to play on Thursday to give each of them a chance to play Main Event Day 1C. Turned out to be a pretty good decision for Galen Hall. The now-retired poker pro started with the chip lead and finished off his final two competitors to win the first bracelet of his career. “I thought I definitely had an edge today. On Tuesday, after a whole long day of play, it's just harder to switch things up. People are a little tired, and I thought I had a good read on what was going on," said Hall. "Today, I had to scale it back for the first 30 minutes or so to see – a lot of times players will get coaching, or they get rest, they change their style a little bit if there's time off. Luckily, I ran hot, so it didn't matter.” Hall added $888,888 to his lifetime earnings which now pushes him past the $5,000,000 mark. It took a little bit more than 90 minutes for Hall to best Niels Herregodts in third and Eduards Kudrjavcevs in second. Hall won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2011 but has spent less and less time playing poker over the last few years, focusing on his career as a hedge fund manager. Final Table Payouts Galen Hall - $888,888 Eduards Kudrjavcevs - $476,888 Niels Herregodts - $355,888 Andrey Zaichenko - $266,888 Alexander Kuzmin - $201,888 Jeremiah Miesen - $153,888 Martin Stausholm - $117,888 Philip Tom - $90,888
  6. The moments immediately after the World Series of Poker Main Event reaches a final table are all kinds chaotic for the nine players who have just become millionaires. ESPN needs some interviews on live television and WSOP executives are giving instructions how the next day will go and photographers are trying to coordinate a group shot and the media on hand are trying to grab quick interviews and the players have to confirm their chip count with the dealer and bag up their chips. It can be, to say the least, overwhelming. On Wednesday night, after all of that madness subsided, after the railbirds had left and the camera crew had turned off the lights on the ESPN mothership, Tony Miles, the last of the nine 2018 final tablists to leave, sat in the five seat while Jenn Gene, a friend of eight years, sat next to him in the six seat. The conversation between the two lasted two, maybe three minutes and ended with a hug. “We just took a moment,” Gene says. Gene met Miles at a poker tournament at Isle Casino at Pompano Beach, Florida. Just a recreational player, Gene ended up seated at the same table as Miles, who was just starting to play professionally at the time. “We just had one of those connections where you just meet someone cool and there's a lot of great people in poker, but when you find someone super special, you just connect,” Gene says. “I came home and told my husband, ‘I met this really great guy tonight’. He said, ‘Invite him over for dinner’. Tony came and grilled with us and here we are eight years later.” Miles remembers that first meeting as well and was taken aback by a random act of kindness from this stranger sitting across the table from him. “She offered me a scarf for my legs because it was so cold in the room,” Miles says. “I’m pretty good at reading people, I knew she was a good person and then she invited me over for dinner and offered to do my laundry and she’s great.” Gene’s kids, age 3 and 5, have also taken to Miles and made him an unofficial member of the family. “My kids call him Uncle Tony,” Gene says. “He's been Facetiming with them. He Facetimed with them tonight and my five-year-old said, ‘Why are you still playing so long?’ He just kind of laughed and said, ‘We'll be home soon. I'll send Mom home.’” Since that day at Pompano, Miles and Gene have shared a lot of moments, some good, some bad. Anybody who has tuned into the ESPN broadcast over the past several days has heard a little bit about the personal struggles Miles has faced. The 32-year-old has beaten drug and alcohol addictions and throughout all of that, Miles’s family and friends stayed by his side and supported the fight, Gene included. “I mean it's a very challenging thing to go through as a friend, especially when you know someone whose heart is as good as his is and what an incredible person he is. And just to see him struggle is challenging,” Gene admits. “It's really hard to show someone your core and be okay with it, but his core is so good that he just needed to see that in himself. He needed to be reminded and I'm lucky that he was surrounded by a great family and some really awesome friends that stuck by him through that and knew that it was just a period and that he would beat it.” Gene made her way out to Las Vegas after a phone call with Miles on Monday night. Miles, who was one of 25 qualifiers that bestbet Jacksonville sent to the Main Event this year, told her that he had a feeling that he was about to go on a really deep run and he asked her if there was any way she could come and support him from the rail. Gene didn’t think she’d be able to pull it off with two young kids at home and a full-time job. “The next day my husband said, ‘You're leaving today, Tony needs you there. Get on the plane’,” Gene says. She flew out and joined Miles’ rail along with his mom, step-dad, brother, and grandparents. At that point, there was still over 100 players in the Main Event and while that might seem like it’s close to the end, it’s actually just the halfway point of the 10-day tournament. The final table was still days away but Miles realized he was playing well and wanted those closest to him to be there. “I think it was just a feeling that I was just kind of seeing things in a different light. I had a broader perspective when I was playing hands with my strategy. So that feeling was just a feeling of confidence,” Miles says. After arriving in Las Vegas, Gene understood what Miles meant about that feeling he had, but it had less to do with any strategic adjustments he was making and more to do with the attitude and the manner in which he approached every day. “His skill isn't what's got him here. I'm happy putting that in writing because it's true. I think it's his heart. I think it's his determination, his courage, his strength,” Gene says. “He's playing from a place of gratitude. He's playing from a place of, ‘I'm blessed just to be here another day. I'm thankful to be here. I am appreciative of these amazing players around me’. I mean who says that at the final table?” This isn’t the first time Gene has been in Las Vegas supporting Miles during the WSOP. She was in town last year and a quick search for Miles’ 2017 results shows no tournament success. He took the time after the summer wrapped up to take a vacation and once he got back, Gene saw that the trip gave him new energy and maybe a different perspective. “He had gone through a tough period and he went on this incredible trip to Australia and had some really cool life moments and I remember having a conversation with him like ‘This is it. Things have changed. This is it, this is the year’,” Gene says. “I don't think either of us knew what that meant poker-wise, I think it was just ‘Wow, look where we've been, look where we're going, put the past behind us, and take everything one day at a time.” Miles took the chip lead on Friday night and returns to the table with just two opponents standing between himself and the $8.8 million first-place prize money and the title of World Champion. His rail, which swelled to include other family and friends who flew out on Thursday, the day the final table started, is decked out in shirts with #TeamMiles on the back and ‘One Day at a Time’ on the front. Miles asked Gene to help him pick the slogan for the front of the shirt and rejected the first couple of suggestions before throwing out ‘One Day at a Time’. “He said, ‘That's it. That's it. This tournament has been one day at a time. Every day of my life is one day at a time and if I don't take this opportunity to start opening up the platform to people to show them that you can get knocked down seven times and get back up on the eighth, then I wouldn't be doing myself justice’,” Gene says. Miles, who is now two years clean, is conscious of and has embraced that idea that other people that have dealt with or are dealing with the throes of addiction are finding inspiration in what he’s managed to accomplish, no matter how Saturday night turns out. “Any time you’re struggling, you just have to take life one day at a time. Especially when you’re down in the depths of despair. You just have to keep that mindset that you just have to get through that day and focus on that,” Miles says. “I’ve been meditating a lot and a big focus of the meditation is to be present and not stress about the future, not worry about the past and I think that our shirts are a reflection of that.” Even as Miles has recently faced even more adversity, including the passing of his step-mother in June, he’s rejected any notion of being angry at the world. Instead, he’s turned his energy to becoming a better person, but even that is a process. “Love wins. Love conquers. If someone's being mean to you, kill them with kindness. It's just been an epiphany that I've had in the last six months that I just want to be kind to everyone,” Miles says. “It's been a combination of different factors, but I had to be humble enough to realize that I wanted to be a better person.” Even before Miles wrapped up play Friday night with almost 61% of the chips in play, Gene believed that everything her friend had gone through in life and the way the tournament had progressed for him was leading up to something special. “Honestly, I think it was written in the stars for him,” Gene says. “I just think it is. I think it's his time. I think these were some incredible players. I think he's met some great people, in the last few days and I just think it's his time.”
  7. Over the last five or six years, Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have each bought dozens upon dozens of pieces of players in the World Series of Poker Main Event. This year the pair have teamed up, not only to be able to put more money to work, but to bring some sort of organization and professionalism to a process that quite often lacks both. For the uninitiated, players entering the WSOP Main Event will sometimes look to other players to buy pieces of their Main Event entry in exchange for an equal percentage of any potential winnings. For example, before the tournament begins Player A sells Player B 10% of his Main Event winnings for $1,400. For investors, the Main Event is a very unique tournament given the overall size and makeup of the field. Hunichen sees it as an opportunity to get a decent return on an investment with a real chance at picking up a big score. "It's not often you get to chase prize pools with $8.8 million for first place. Also, this is kind of a tournament where there's just so many rec players where almost anybody has a shot to go deep," said Hunichen. "It's so easy to get a lot of cashes in this tournament, and if you can get just one or two or three people to break through and have one or two them final table, then a lot of big things can happen." The deals are usually consummated via text message, a direct message or maybe sometimes a handshake and often has players running around to collect $500 or $1,000 from various players all over Las Vegas. "Usually I just buy a few of my own pieces or I have a friend that will buy a bunch and I'll buy a piece of that. But over the years, it's pretty unorganized, it's kind of a pain dispersing the money and then chasing all your horses around and collecting the money when it's all done," said Hunichen. So Hunichen teamed up with Kornuth to get aggressive in investing some money in players. They spread the word that they were buying pieces and as players reached out, Hunichen and Kornuth started doing their homework. In cases where they didn't know the player, Hunichen would look for friends they had in common and do a bit of a reference check. "I'd go on Facebook and look what mutual contacts I had and I would message those people and ask 'Is this guy trustworthy? Can you vouch for him?'. I know most of the poker world, but there's also people that offer Main Event action that I've never heard of before," said Hunichen. "We would also look for Hendon Mob links. People would send in their Hendon Mob links so we could see how much live success they've had." Hunichen and Kornuth each took 33.3% of the action with Chip Leader Capital, a fund set up by Kornuth for his Chip Leader Coaching business, taking the remainder. They invested a total of $230,000. "We got contracts and we posted up at a certain spot here (at the Rio) for a couple of days in a row so that everyone could have easy access to us," said Hunichen. "So we sat down, had them show their ID and then the contract basically just says you were paid X amount of money and we get X percentage of this tournament." The contracts became a bit of necessity after some of Kornuth's investors who come from outside the poker world started asking questions and showing some discomfort with the idea of investing in people without some level of legal protection built in. "A lot of the business people and the non-poker demographic had a lot of concerns about that area, so we decided to do contracts," said Kornuth. "It was basically just trying to reassure our investors that their money was safe." As much as the contracts should serve as a natural deterrent for players doing something unethical, there was one player, who tried to pull a fast one on Kornuth and Hunichen. Austin Bursavich sold $1,100 worth of action to the pair but never entered the Main Event. "He degened it off and then went home, but we have him under contract and we've already been in touch with the lawyers," said Hunichen. Realizing he could be facing legal action, Bursavich reached out to Hunichen to figure out a way to settle up. "We've already been paid $500 and we're told we're being paid the rest, while everyone else without contracts hasn't even been responded to," said Kornuth. "I think that will be the future for buying action and in fact for next year when we do this again, I'll have my own Chip Leader Capital contracts in addition to a basic blank contract that other purchasers can use as well." Players were required to send a picture of their buy-in receipt from the table as well. Kornuth expected some resistance from players at such a formal process, but that wasn't the case at all. "I think we got a lot more appreciation for professionalism than the opposite," said Kornuth. Along with the investment, which was the only way some of the players would have been able to get into the event, the pair also plan on providing coaching to any of their pieces that continue to run deep into Day 5, 6, 7 and beyond. "It's going to be a combination of Huni and I and maybe other coaches that are part of CLC, but there's going to be livestreams for days and days of coverage and I will definitely go over all the tape if somebody makes a final table, give them all the live reads if they get deep enough," said Kornuth. "We definitely plan on helping people that go deep, we're looking forward to it."
  8. As the 2019 World Series of Poker draws closer, the dream of taking down the biggest tournament of the year grows stronger. For many, the ultimate poker ‘bucket list’ item is to take a seat in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Testing their skills against 8,000 other players in an effort to take home life-changing money and write their name in the poker history books. However, in order to even have a shot, you have to get in the game. 888poker is an official partner of the 2019 World Series of Poker and they have plenty of ways for low-rollers, value hunters and tournament grinders to book their ticket to Las Vegas and enter the Main, for far less than ten grand. We've already talked about working your way up from the $5 levels, but if you have a little larger of a bankroll to work with here’s how you can check the biggest item off your bucket list for under $20 ($16.50 to be exact.) The Buy-In By no means are the $16.50 sub-satellites to the WSOP 2019 Main Event Package the very bottom of the satellite chain. Players can start at the very bottom of the Step Satellite system for as little as $0.01. That’s right, one penny. However, we’re taking a closer look at the $16.50 super satellites. For under $20, you can start a three-step journey to winning a $12,600 package to the WSOP that includes six nights stay at the Vdara Hotel, your $10K seat into the tournament and a bonus $1,000 to help you pay for a flight, food, and other expenses. If you do want to take a single step back and win your way into the $16.50 super satellite, that can be arranged. Any tournament that offers a $16.50 ticket can be used as a qualifier into the $16.50, including the $1.50 buy-in tournament that guarantees 50 tickets to the BIG Fish tournament. Instead of playing the BIG Fish, simply take that $16.50 ticket and apply it to your WSOP adventure. Get In The Game The $16.50 satellites are currently running every day on 888poker. Simply go to the Live Events > Tournaments tab to register. There are multiple events running daily. Like the $5 Step Four satellites, the $16.50 is not an ‘on-demand’ super satellite. It runs less often than some of the earlier steps, however, at most times of the day, there is one open for registration and another in the near future. RELATED: Win Your Way Into The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event For $5 What You Win Those who make it to the end of the $16.50 satellite will pick up a $109 tournament ticket. The ticket can be used for any equally priced 888poker tournament or satellite. Of course, players grinding their way to Las Vegas for the summer are going to want to parlay that into taking a shot in the $109 super satellite to the WSOP Main Event, which can be registered for in the same tournament lobby. Tournament Info Players who are used to playing some of the lower buy-in satellites will see a marked improvement in the structure mostly due to the starting stack being increased to 5,000 chips with the same 8-minute levels. This tournament is a pure freezeout with no re-entries or add-ons. If you bust this satellite, you’ll need to take another shot in the next one. The tournament needs at least five players in order for the 1-seat guaranteed event to take place. If there are at least that many players to start, there is 75 minutes of late registration to help players battle for more than a ‘winner-take-all’ seat. Sometimes, this level satellite can have a hard time getting enough players to actually take place, but more often than not (especially as the WSOP gets closer) there will be enough for the tournament to run. Next Step Once you have taken down the $16.50, it’s time to battle in the $109. At that point, you’re just two victories from having to change the dream from playing the Main Event to winning a bracelet.

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