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Imagine playing for the title in the PokerStars Sunday 500, a $530 buy-in tournament with one of the largest top prizes of the week, and being forced out of your hotel room because it's checkout time. Such was the nightmare of Alex lynskey99 Lynskey (pictured), who was in Hong Kong for the tournament, but had to play the final table from the corner of a bustling hotel lobby. Oops. Fortunately for Lynskey, who is from Queensland, Australia, the Sunday Major ended in a heads-up chop for $67,000. PocketFives: Awesome job in the Sunday 500. How are you feeling about it? Alex Lynskey: It feels great to get my first Sunday Major win under my belt. I've had a bunch of final tables, but never managed to close one out. I had been playing the Sunday session in my hotel room in Hong Kong, running off very little sleep, but managed to make a run in the 500. The final table rolled around and I had to check out of my hotel room and so ended up playing the whole final table in the hotel lobby. Once we got down to heads-up, both of us were pretty tired, so we decided to do a chip-chop and play for an extra $6,000. It lasted about 30 minutes and was pretty even, but I managed to get hands at the right time and closed it out. PocketFives: You chopped with Roman Romanovskyi (pictured), aka Romeopro, a longtime PocketFiver. Talk about his play. Alex Lynskey: I play with Romeopro a lot in the daily tournaments. He's a very tough player and played really well. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? Alex Lynskey: I've been traveling the live circuit, so I'll probably keep doing that for the next few months. I will be heading to PCA and then the Aussie Millions. PocketFives: How crazy was playing in the hotel lobby? Alex Lynskey: It was pretty crazy. I had to pack all of my stuff while trying to play short-handed with 12 left and then race down to the lobby and switch between the different WIFIs at the five-minute break. They set me up with a little desk in the corner and luckily I managed to take it down. PocketFives: You're near your all-time high in the PocketFives Rankingsat #20. Alex Lynskey: Yeah, it feels really good. I also became #1 in Australia for the first time, which feels great as well. I am hoping to crack the top ten worldwide in the next few months. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? What else interests you? Alex Lynskey: I love to travel, so when I'm away for poker tournaments, I love to get away from the casino and see the cities and try all the food. I also play a lot of sports, soccer mainly, and enjoy getting to the gym. PocketFives: What's your favorite city, casino, and restaurant thus far? Alex Lynskey: My favorite city would have to be London. My favorite casino is the Crown in Melbourne. I have far too many favorite restaurants to just choose one. I love to eat. I really enjoyed the Mexican food and beer pong bar in Macau. It's super random, but it's a cool place. PocketFives: Finally, tell us about your WCOOP $700 NLHE final table this year for $74,000. Did that change anything about your career? Alex Lynskey: That was my first WCOOP final table and my biggest cash ever, so it obviously felt really good. It was a bit bittersweet at the time getting sixth with such a large amount of money on the line, but when I look back on it, I ran really well to get that far and am happy with the result. That result, coupled with some lucky action-buying, allowed me to get out of being staked and onto my own dime, which was a really big achievement as well. The Sunday 500 runs weekly on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here.
Somehow, Wednesday night at the 2018 World Series of Poker will probably go down as one of the most surreal in the 49-year history of the event. Not only did the Main Event reach a final table in a dramatic fashion, but the most decorated player in WSOP history, Phil Hellmuth, added to his legend with yet another bracelet. This is the Main Event There were 26 players at the start of Day 7 of the WSOP Main Event but over a 12-hour span, 17 players were eliminated leaving just the nine players to make up the final table. Shortstacks Jeffrey Trudeau, Barry Hutter and Bart Lybaert all fell early with Eric Froehlich, who started Day 6 with the 10th biggest stack, getting coolered with pocket queens against Alex Lynskey's pocket kings to join them on the rail. Ivan Luca, former November Niner Sylvain Loosli, Frederik Brink and Ryan Phan all busted to leave the unofficial final table of 10 players waiting for one more elimination before stopping play for the night. The final hand was one for the ages. Nicolas Manion raised to 1,500,000 from UTG. Antoine Labat called from middle before Yueqi Zhu came over the top, moving all in for 24,700,000 from late position. Manion responded by moving all in for 43,100,000. Labat, the biggest stack of the three, took some time before eventually calling. Zhu revealed [kh][ks], Manion tabled [ah][as] and Labata turned over [kc][kd]. The board ran out [jd][7c][4c][3s][jc] to eliminate Zhu in tenth place, leaving Labata with just 8,050,000 and boosting Manion into the chip lead with a nearly full triple up. "Somehow this is real life," said Manion, who finished with 112,775,000. "When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand, I went straight to my rail and looked up at the TV and saw they both had pocket kings to my aces." Michael Dyer, who spent most of the day Wednesday in the chip lead, finished just behind Manion with 112,775,000. Remarkably, the final table includes repeat appearance from a Main Event champion from the November Nine era for the first time in history. Joe Cada, who won the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finished with 23,675,000, good enough for the sixth biggest stack. "It was a lot more of a grind this time. I respect the tournament more," said Cada, who was down to 9,000 on Day 1 before rebuilding his stack. " The final table resumes at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast starting at 6:00 pm PT. The current schedule calls for play to continue Thursday until six players remain. Final Table Chip Counts Nicolas Manion - 112,775,000 Michael Dyer - 109,175,000 Tony Miles - 42,750,000 John Cynn - 37,075,000 Alex Lynskey - 25,925,000 Joe Cada - 23,675,000 Aram Zobian - 18,875,000 Artem Metalidi - 15,475,000 Antoine Labat - 8,050,000 Phil Hellmuth Wins Bracelet #15 [caption id="attachment_619988" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Phil Hellmuth continues to silence his critics, winning a 15 WSOP bracelet on Wednesday night.[/caption] It's been an interesting summer for Phil Hellmuth. Seemingly mired in some sort of controversy from the very first week, Hellmuth spent two days earlier this week defending, and eventually apologizing for, his actions late on Day 2 of the Main Event that may have cost another player their tournament life. On Thursday night, with the Main Event playing down to a final table in another room, Hellmuth overcame the 2.5-1 chip lead of Steven Wolansky to win the 15th bracelet of his career. Faced with the possibility of yet another runner-up finish, Hellmuth gave himself a little pep talk. "I said, ... 'When's the next time you're going to have an opportunity like this where you're heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong', and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards," said Hellmuth. Hellmuth, who holds the WSOP records for wins and cashes, gave Wolansky credit for making the final table a difficult one for him. "He wouldn't give an inch, so I had to start thinking about, okay how do I want to handle this? And I thought alright, I'm going to have to try to steal more pots against him, to give myself a chance because he's just not giving a chip away, he's making it really tough, and I can't blink first either," said Hellmuth. "I just have to like just keep playing my best poker until the end and maybe something great will happen." Hellmuth's last bracelet came in 2015, when he won the $10,000 Razz Championship event.
With the successful season-opening WPT Gardens Poker Festival in their rearview mirror, the World Poker Tour rolls into Oklahoma for WPT Choctaw. Taking place from August 3-7 at the Choctaw Casino & Resort, it’s the fourth year in a row that the WPT has traveled to the Sooner State as a part of their main tour. The Main Event The 5-day Main Event is a $3500 + $200 buy-in, the same as it has been in years past. This year, it comes with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, which happens to be the lowest guarantee on the Main Tour. But take note, unless something goes drastically wrong, that guarantee is merely a marketing tool. In the three previous years, WPT Choctaw has never had a prize pool less than $3 million. Every player to make ever make a WPT Choctaw six-handed final table have earned themselves a six-figure payday. Even though attendance for this event has been drifting slightly lower year-over-year, with 2017’s field dropping below 1,000 runners for the first time since they started holding it, they are still very likely to see a multi-million dollar prize pool. To get a piece of that prize pool players can choose from two starting flights. The first flight kicks off at 12:00 pm CT on Friday, August 3 and the second the next day at the same time. This tournament is unlimited re-entry and players can play both flights and fire away as many times as they need to. The catch is, this is not a best stack forward tournament so participants that bag at the end go Day 1A but would rather take a shot the next day would need to forfeit their stack. As players have come to expect from the WPT, the structure is deep. Players start with 40,000 in chips (400bb) and 60-minute levels. New To Choctaw While the buy-in and structure may be familiar to those who have played in the past there are a couple new wrinkles to enhance the Oklahoman experience. The wildly popular big blind ante format is in play. The big blind pays the antes for the entire table, helping speed up the rate of play and taking a little bit of the burden off the dealer. Additionally, once the tournament is one table out of the money a 30-second shot clock will be adopted. Players have 30 seconds to act on their hand, with four "time extension" chips that can be used for those tough spots. Once a player is out of time extension chips and the clock runs out, if the player has not declared an action they will be forced to check their hand, or, if facing a bet, fold. A Look Back Choctaw has been an early-season stop on the WPT since Season 14. In its first year, 1,175 runners helped create a prize pool of nearly $4 million. Jason Brin won it all and walked with $682,975 for a career-high cash. Brin’s final table featured some of poker’s top talent including Andy Hwang, WPT Garden's runner-up Jake Schindler, WSOP 2018 Final Tablist Alex Lynskey and 4-time WPT Champion Darren Elias. In Season 15, poker pro James Mackey took the Choctaw title for his first WPT victory. The $666,758 was second largest payday of his esteemed career helping him to $4.1 million in lifetime earnings. Then, just last year, it was the recreational player from Austin, Texas Jay Lee who won $593,173 for just his third career recorded cash. Are You Qualified? For those looking to take a shot at getting into the Main Event for the minimum, Choctaw offers plenty of opportunities to satellite into the Championship Event. Beginning on July 28, there are $100 Super Satellites into any of the $300 tournaments. Then on starting on Tuesday, July 31 the casino offers as many as 15 opportunities for players to win a seat into the $3500 + $200 Main Event. Most are of the Mega Sattliest are of the $300 variety, with a few $500 Megas to ensure that as many qualifiers as possible can grab a seat in the field. WPT Choctaw Main Event gets underway on August 3 with daily live updates provided by the World Poker Tour.
Ole Schemion, Matthew Ashton, and Artur 'mararthur1' Martirosyan highlighted the 18 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker winners on a jam-packed Monday of action. Fresh off of a Poker Masters series where he had the fifth-highest net winnings, Artur 'mararthur1' Martirosyan went toe-to-toe with Fedor Holz in Event #17 High ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller) and came out on top. The win earned Martirosyan $271,790.44 while Holz picked up $210,580.76. Jorryt 'TheCleaner11' van Hoof continues to post results, this time walking away with $163,156.10 after coming in third. Schemion earned the third SCOOP title of his career and $111,853.75 by topping the 293-player field in Event #16 High ($2,100 Six Max PLO). The final player Schemion eliminated was one of the best PLO tournament players in the world, Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas. The Hungarian poker pro earned $82,910.03 for his runner-up finish and 'boerni21' picked up $61,455.98 as the third-place finisher. '3DTemujiN' took down $40,506.35 plus another $34,658.94 in bounties for winning Event #13-High ($530 NLHE 8-Max Progressive KO). 'Succeeed' finished in second for $40,505.43 and another $18,989.09 worth of bounties while Alex 'lynskey99' Lynskey finished in third and walked away with $24,032.87 from the prize pool plus $5,834.72 in bounties. Austrian 'Körrinho' won Event #14-High ($1,050 NLHE 8-Max Sunday Warm-Up SE) for a $131,421.26 score. Finishing one spot behind them gave FreeLancerZZ a $96,396.82 bankroll boost and 'j_peso4' finished third for $70,706.87. 'Leqenden' won the second SCOOP title of their career by outlasting 556 other entries in Event #15 High ($2,100 NLHE Sunday High Roller SE). The victory earned 'Leqenden' $196,648.22. Francisco 'chicalltreta' Correia finished as the runner-up and pocketed $146,630.91 while 'serggorelyi17' snuck into six-figure cash territory by finishing in third place for $109,335.64. Ashton's win, the fourth SCOOP victory of his career, came in Event #19 High ($1,050 Six Max Limit Hold'em), where he navigated his way through a 110-player field. Ashton earned $24,729.17 for the win. The eventual runner-up, 'krakura' pocketed $18,966.00 as the third place finisher while 'bencb789' rounded out the podium finishers and secured the bag on a $14,545.97 payday. The Sunday Million - Event #15 Medium ($215 Sunday Million SE) - also played down to a winner on Monday with the final three players agreeing to chop up a touch more than $589,000. 'LuCasino' wound up in first place and earned $189,347.95 while the runner-up, 'Andy005', actually earned a bigger score thanks to the deal, pocketing $219,010.57. Third-place finisher 'lildani9' banked $180,700.44. Other winners on Monday included 'catam18' (Event #13-Low), 'Gelaman' (Event #13-Medium), 'fromKapshino' (Event #14-Low), 'acespice' (Event #14-Medium), 'Bomsis' (Event #15-Low), 'pistolp99' (Event #16-Low), 'Kaggis' (Event #16-Medium), 'compris' (Event #17-Low), 'aJarov' (Event #17-Medium), 'monopol' (Event #19-Low), 'SM4RTASS' (Event #19-Medium). Event #13-H: $530 NLHE 8-Max Progressive KO Entries: 1,203 Prize pool: $601,500 3DTemujiN - $40,506.35 + $34,658.94 in bounties Succeeed - $40,505.43 + $18,989.09 in bounties lynskey99 - $24,032.87 + $5,834.72 in bounties 42ayay - $17,131.47 + $2,890.63 in bounties dujo123 - $12,211.92 + $5,638.66 in bounties mandza17 - $8,705.08 + $5,289.06 in bounties GDZ4hotwings - $6,205.31 + $3,929.68 in bounties GM_VALTER - $4,423.37 + $2,140.63 in bounties Event #14-H: $1,050 NLHE 8-Max Sunday Warm-Up SE Entries: 782 Prize pool: $782,000 Körrinho - $131,421.26 FreeLancerZZ - $96,396.82 j_peso4 - $70,706.87 RunLkMercier - $51,863.41 RUMUKULUS - $38,041.71 fattypants22 - $27,903.55 Vakio¤Ässä - $20,467.20 Fold Machiii - $15,012.60 Event #15-H: $2,100 NLHE Sunday High Roller SE Entries: 557 Prize pool: $1,114,000 Leqenden - $196,648.22 chicalltreta - $146,630.91 serggorelyi17 - $109,335.64 PapeDeuce - $81,526.30 Om3rta - $60,790.20 Jorryt 'TheCleaner11' van Hoof - $45,328.32 Lackoo87gcb - $33,799.09 flippetyflop - $25,202.35 Isidinho - $18,792.17 Event #16-H: $2,100 Six Max PLO Entries: 293 Prize pool: $586,000 Ole 'wizowizo' Schemion - $111,853.75 Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas - $82,910.03 boerni21 - $61,455.98 pkrbt - $45,553.47 goodeh99 - $33,765.84 munkkis - $25,028.52 Event #17-H: $10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller Entries: 124 Prize pool: $1,240,000 Artur 'mararthur1' Martirosyan - $271,790.44 Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz - $210,580.76 Jorryt 'TheCleaner11' van Hoof - $163,156.10 allin2bluff - $126,411.92 vicenfish - $97,942.88 Rui 'RuiNF' Ferreira - $75,885.27 Grisha813 - $58,795.22 Andras 'probirs' Nemeth - $45,554.00 Event #19-H: $1,050 Six Max Limit Hold'em Entries: 110 Prize pool: $110,000 Matthew 'MUSTAFABET' Ashton - $24,729.17 krakura - $18,966.00 bencb789 - $14,545.97 XD89lol<3 - $11,156.02 LifeisagameX - $8,556.10 totti1992100 - $6,562.10