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  1. Recently, one of the more vocal members of the poker community, Allen Kessler (pictured), stood up to one of the up-and-coming poker rooms in North America regarding tournament entry fees, which erupted into a full-scale, public battle on a few fronts. --- 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. Visit William Hill today! --- On Tuesday, Kessler issued a post on his Facebook page that pointed out a difference in what Montreal's Playground Poker Club, the host for the upcoming World Poker Tour Montrealtournament, charges for "juice" versus other casinos and card rooms. In a Twitter discussion with Playground, Kessler pointed out that the standard in the casino industry was a $3,200 tournament entry fee with $300 in "juice." Since last year, Playground, Kessler stated, has been charging $3,395 and $455. "Exactly what does the player get for that extra $155 that Playground completely pockets (and don't say the muffin buffet)," Kessler queried. This is where the conversation took a turn for the worse. In response, the Twitter representative for the Playground Poker Club wrote that it wasn't the "same event" and went on to say that the "quality of service and amenities is unlike any other poker room. Everyone who has been here (aside from you) agrees that Playground provides an experience unlike the 'standard' poker room." The final straw came with the finishing comments to Kessler from Playground: "People realize the fees are higher. However, they all understand why… except for you. No one is asking you to come and I assure you that your presence is not missed." As to be expected, a flood of support came in for Kessler across his Facebook page. One person noted, "Nothing special about that room, certainly not worth an extra $155 per entry." Another poster pointed out that the WPT should have an issue with a host casino raising its "juice" by more than 50%. Playground Poker Club honchos, realizing there was an issue brewing here, not only over the tournament fees but also the treatment of Kessler by its customer service staff, quickly put the PR machine into overdrive. While not mentioning Kessler directly, a press release from Playground stated, "Earlier today, the official Playground Poker Club Twitter account sent out a regrettable Tweet directed at one of the poker community's best-known characters. Playground's top priority… [is] to provide the best customer service in the industry… Today's Tweet was completely contrary to that ongoing mission." Playground went on to "assure the poker community that the words directed towards Mr. Kessler do not represent our brand or our values. The opinion of one passionate employee managed to get the better of him and he was held accountable." The release apologized to the poker community for "one person's lack of judgment that publicly jeopardizes our reputation." This isn't Kessler's first run-in with Playground. In 2012, Kessler questioned the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar and the US Dollar and, at that time, stated he would never return. Kessler is also one of the most vocal players in the game on such issues as tournament structures and the amount of rake and, through his efforts, some changes have come about. Because of Kessler's open nature in discussing these subjects, however, he has rubbed some people the wrong way. As of Wednesday, Kessler hasn't stated publicly that he will be in Montreal for the tournament. Whether he is or isn't, the discussion of tournament poker fees is one that poker players will continue to keep an eye on as they continually increase. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. [caption width="640"] Lukas Zaskodny beat Allen Kessler heads up to win his first career bracelet on Monday (WSOP photo)[/caption] When the final table of Event #4 (€2,200 Pot Limit Omaha) at 2017 WSOP Europe began, Allen Kessler was looking for his first career bracelet. The player affectionately known as “the Chainsaw” had cashed 53 times at the WSOP, but has never won an event. Three times in his career he has been the bridesmaid, finishing second to Brian Rast, Frank Kassela and Todd Brunson. And now a fourth time, to Lukas Zaskodny. Zaskodny beat out 190 other players, including runner-up Kessler, to win €93,677 ($109,015 US) and his first career bracelet. "It’s an amazing feeling," Zaskodny said. "I’m really happy. It’s special for every poker player to win a bracelet, and I have it now." It took just 45 minutes to go from eight players to seven. Georgios Koliofotis raised to 55,000 from UTG, the next two players to act. Willm Engelke and Liran Twito, both called. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="td"][poker card="3s"], Koliofotis checked, Engelke moved all in for 61,000 and the other two called. Koliofotis and Twito checked through the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="jc"] river. Engelke showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8c"], Koliofotis tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"] but Twito showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"][poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"] to win the pot with two pair and eliminate Engelke. Twito and Koliofotis clashed again almost 90 minutes later. Koliofotis raised to 75,000 from UTG+1, Twito raised 261,000 and Koliofotis called from the hijack After the [poker card="jd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] flop, Twito bet 400,000 and Koliofotis called all in. Twito was ahead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"] to Koliofotis’ [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"]. Neither the [poker card="7d"] turn or [poker card="5s"] river improved Koliofotis’ hand and he was out in seventh. Just over 20 minutes later, Twito was involved in yet another elimination - his own. Twito raised from the button to 75,000 and Kessler and Zaskodny both defended their blinds. After the [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"][poker card="tc"] flop, Twito bet 145,000, Kessler moved all in for 407,000, Zaskodny called before Twito re-jammed 1,709,000. Zaskodny called and tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"], Twito showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3h"] for a straight while Kessler showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="8h"]. The [poker card="7s"] turn gave Zaskodny the nut flush, but the [poker card="jh"] gave Kessler a full house and eliminated Twito in sixth. On the very next hand Sergej Barbarez was all in on a [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"][poker card="4h"] flop with [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="9c"] against Krasimir Yankov’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"]. Neither the [poker card="3s"] turn or [poker card="8s"] were any help for Barbarez and he was out in fifth place. The quick pace of eliminations claimed another victim just 20 minutes later. From UTG, Pim van Holsteyn raised to 80,000, Zaskodny re-raised to 270,000 from the small blind and van Holsteyn moved all in for 834,000 total. Zaskodny called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"] which put him behind van Holsteyn’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"][poker card="2h"]. However, the board ran out [poker card="js"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="td"][poker card="7s"] to give Zaskodny Broadway and eliminate Holsteyn in fourth. Three-handed play lasted nearly six hours before Kessler picked up another elimination to get heads up for a bracelet again. Kessler button-raised to 200,000 and Yankov called from the big blind to see a [poker card="jd"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] flop. Yankov checked, Kessler bet 200,000 and Yankov re-raised to 1,040,000 before Kessler moved all in for 2,100,000. Yankov called and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"][poker card="js"][poker card="5d"] for two pair while Kessler was behind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2c"]. The [poker card="9s"] turn changed nothing but the [poker card="3d"] river gave Kessler a better two pair and eliminated Yankov in second. Heads-up play began with Kessler holding a 3-2 chip lead over Zaskodny, but it took just 90 minutes for Zaskodny to take that lead and eventually eliminate Kessler to win his first career bracelet. Final Table Payouts Lukas Zaskodny - €93,677 Allen Kessler - €57,897 Krasimir Yankov - €40,353 Pim van Holsteyn - €28,702 Sergej Barbarez - €20,842 Liran Twito - €15,458 Georgios Koliofotis - €11,715 Willm Engelke - €9,076
  3. It's Christmas Eve for poker players. Or, if you want to borrow from the more contemporary metaphor, it's the day before Poker Summer Camp officially kicks off. Poker players from around the world have been flooding into Las Vegas over the past week to get settled and ready for the 2018 World Series of Poker. So, as the tables are getting set up at the Rio and dealers are getting last minute instructions on how to deal Triple Draw, the staff here at PocketFives take their turn at predicting exactly how some of the things at the 2018 WSOP will go down. The Panel Editor in Chief - Lance Bradley Community Manager - Kevin Mathers Writer & The Fives Co-Host - Matt Clark Writer - Jeff Walsh [caption id="attachment_619256" align="alignnone" width="800"] PocketFives Staff (L to R) Lance Bradley, Kevin Mathers, Matt Clark, Jeff Walsh.[/caption] JUST HOW BIG CAN THIS THING GET? There are a record-setting 78 bracelet events on the 2018 WSOP schedule, including 13 events that being after the Main Event does. Our esteemed panel dove deep into some heavy math and analytics to break down eight key events. EVENT #7 - $565 Colossus Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 16,133 17,425 17,653 16,960 There’s been a steady decline in attendance over the past few years (roughly a 20% drop in runners from year one to year three), potentially due to a small cannibalization of the lower buy-in player pool from the $365 GIANT (which gets underway the same weekend as the Colossus) and also possibly because there may just be so much offered at any given time at the start of the series, the star event that is the Colossus may have just faded a little. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #20 - $5,000 Big Blind Ante Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 659 603 622 645 The Big Blind Ante is all the rage in tournament poker right now and 2018 marks its debut at the WSOP. The price point for this one is definitely going to draw out a certain group of players, many of whom have already played with the big blind ante before and have come to enjoy it more than the traditional ante system. There were two $5,000 full ring NLHE events on the schedule last year drawing 505 and 623 players respectively. I think the hype of BBA puts this one over the top and we end up with over 650. -Lance Bradley EVENT #21 - $1,500 Millionaire Maker Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7.483 8,049 6,541 7,644 One of the most popular events on the 'Weekend Warrior' schedule, the enticement of a $1,000,000+ guaranteed reward for first brings the droves to the Rio. After a couple of flat years, allowing players to re-enter each flight (for a maximum of four total) brought the field to 7,761 entries, up almost 600 from 2016. I expect another increase, passing the record number from 2014's 7,977 entries, with 8,049 entries after late registration closes. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #33 - $50,000 Players Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 107 110 110 106 Each year, the $50,000 Players Championship attracts a select field of players, all eager to play some eight-game mix. Last year's field drew 100 players and has hovered around that number in recent years after bottoming out to 84 in 2015. This year, I'm predicting another modest increase, to 110 players. -Kevin Mathers EVENT #42 - $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha Eight Max High Roller Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 203 180 210 213 The $25K PLO is one of the true elite field tournaments of the summer. Not only will it attract a regular slate of high rollers but it’s one of those tournaments when $10K regs may stretch into shot taking mode. The last three years this event has been offered there’s been a nice uptick in registration, including a massive 21 player jump from 2016 to 2017. The 2018 Aria Summer High Roller has an event a couple days before and after WSOP’s $25K PLO and I’m going to err on the side of this helping push the PLO player pool up as players may want a break from NLHE but want to play the same stakes. Plus, this event will very likely provide a seven-figure score for the winner and for the players who can afford the buy-in and handle the swings, that’s very enticing. -Jeff Walsh EVENT #61 - $1,000 WSOP.com Online Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 2,729 2,400 2,005 1,802 Last year's number of 1,312 is going to be shattered. The player pool combination is already seeing increases across all WSOP.com tournaments and the bracelet "Main Event" is a great test for the platform. The influx of players in Nevada for the WSOP combined with New Jersey grinders equals 2,005 runners in 2018. - Matt Clark EVENT #74 - $10,000 Six Max NLHE Championship Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 299 340 294 308 In years past, the $10,000 Six Max NLHE event has drawn out the elite short-handed players, many of whom cut their teeth online. It's all been afforded a decent spot in the schedule. That's not the case this year though as it was moved to one of the "post-lim" events on the schedule and will share Rio floorspace with Day 7 of the Main Event. For a lot of players, the end of their Main Event means their WSOP is over. Fatigue - physical, mental and bankroll - comes into play and players look to get out of Vegas. A number of players who normally play this event might decide to skip it out and get a head-start on the post-WSOP detox. -Lance Bradley EVENT #65 - The Main Event Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh 7,765 7,294 7,460 7,184 Go ahead and call me crazy, but I think the WSOP Main Event enjoys a big bump this year. I'm going to chalk a lot of it up to the crypto market. On July 8, 2017, Bitcoin was worth roughly $2,500. As of May 28, 2018, it's worth roughly three times that. Yeah, the market is volatile, but so many poker players were invested in crypto markets early. Poker is also in a better place than it has been in years. The bruises from 2011 are starting to heal and the live coverage from 2017 on ESPN/PokerGO will show some dividends. Seeing similar year/year growth this year that we did last doesn't seem out of the question. -Lance Bradley THE SUPERSTARS [caption id="attachment_619251" align="alignnone" width="1024"] This time last year nobody was picking Alex Foxen to do anything at the WSOP. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Every year a few players emerge from relative obscurity to win a bracelet and launch themselves into the world of poker celebrity. That being said, poker's biggest stage is also where the game's best players want to shine brightest. Our esteemed panel picked seven of the biggest names in poker right now and took a stab at predicting just well each of them will do this summer. Note: the table indicates if each panelist thinks that player will win a bracelet or not. Alex Foxen Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No Yes Frankly, I hate taking the position that any player will win a bracelet in any given year, but by taking a "NO" stance that would be asking me to essentially bet against Foxen. That's not a position I'm willing to take. In 2017, he fired up and down the WSOP schedule resulting in cashing 13 times. Foxen made the final table three times, including taking a 3rd place in a NLHE $1K. Headed into the 2018 WSOP he's got high-roller experience under his belt and he's red hot having earned four six-figure scores in 2018. If he has the same drive he had in 2017 and is playing all the games, it's going to be very difficult to deny Foxen from leveling up his poker career with a WSOP bracelet. -Jeff Walsh Chris Ferguson Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No No No No Ferguson has made numerous final tables since his 2016 return but carries only a win in Europe to show for it. Expect Ferguson to reach two final tables this summer but finish no higher than third. -Matt Clark Phil Ivey Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No It was a pretty big deal when Phil Ivey announced he would be returning to the WSOP this year. There's a lot of opportunities for Ivey to be distracted in Las Vegas. The cash game scene during the WSOP is amazing, the high rollers offered at Aria and King's Lounge might take some of Ivey's attention, but many don't know that when Ivey went on his November Nine run in 2009, he would leave the Rio and head to Bobby's Room and play all night. He's wired for this. -Lance Bradley Daniel Negreanu Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh No Yes No Yes A revamped WSOP Player of the Year system gives Daniel Negreanu the motivation to play a full WSOP schedule to chase his third POY title. With the battering he's taken for his representing PokerStars in recent years, Negreanu wants to redeem himself in the eyes of the poker community and winning a bracelet, which he hasn't done since 2013, is his way of doing so. I predict Negreanu wins one bracelet and has at least two other top-three finishes, all in non-Hold'em events. -Kevin Mathers Adrian Mateos Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes Yes Yes This is the only player that everybody on the panel agrees is leaving the Rio with new jewelry this year. It's not surprising. He's been one of the top-ranked players in the GPI for a while now and already has three WSOP bracelets to his credit and at 23 years old, fatigues just isn't going to be a factor for him. He'll also play every NLHE event on the schedule. -Lance Bradley Phil Hellmuth Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes No No No The all-time leader in bracelets is on a cold streak since his last win in 2015. Two final tables in the last two years for Hellmuth do not bode well for improvement in 2018. If there were 10 Razz events on the schedule, that would bolster his chances. -Matt Clark Stephen Chidwick Lance Bradley Kevin Mathers Matt Clark Jeff Walsh Yes Yes No No High Rollers have Chidwick's attention now and his paltry five cashes last year prove his preference. Winning bracelets takes volume and Chidwick won't be putting in enough to make consistent deep runs. -Matt Clark BIGGEST SURPRISE [caption id="attachment_619250" align="alignnone" width="1024"] He's baaaaaa-aacckkkk. Phil Ivey is set to return to the WSOP felt. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] At the end of every summer camp, there's always a player who two that pulled off something really special or left poker fans wondering what happened. Each member of our esteemed panel took one player who might provide the poker world with a surprise performance - good or bad - this summer. Phil Ivey Phil Ivey's grand return in Montenegro gave poker fans a reason to believe Ivey might play this summer at the WSOP. Ivey confirmed as much when interviewed after the win. Poker fans teased themselves for years with a "Summer of Ivey." Sadly, this summer will not be that year. Cash games in Asia along with legal issues in the United States have Ivey's primary attention now for different monetary reasons. If the right bracelet bet comes along, maybe then Ivey will put in the volume to satisfy the masses. -Matt Clark Allen Kessler I'm going out on a very long limb here, but I'm going to predict than Kessler will win his first WSOP bracelet this year. The Chainsaw is quite the polarizing figure, especially if you're on #PokerTwitter, and I've surely had my war of words with him. He almost took down a bracelet during WSOP Europe in Rozvadov, Czech Republic finishing runner-up in the €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha. The last time he made a WSOP final table in Vegas was back in 2011, so that means he's gotta be due, right? When you play as many events as he does, eventually he'll be on the right side of variance for once, and I think it's time for him to win some gold. After his win, he'll go on a Twitter rant about the bracelet or some other trivial matter and everyone will turn on him once again #Drama. -Kevin Mathers Connor Drinan Every year since 2013 Connor Drinan has attended the WSOP and every year he's left without a single "trinket." This is the year I think he truly breaks through and not only wins himself a bracelet but perhaps takes down the biggest tournament of the summer - The $1 million Big One For One Drop. Drinan, the current PocketFives Worldwide #17-ranked online player is a consummate grinder, crushing just about any tournament series he dedicates himself to. Over the course of PokerStars' 2018 SCOOP series, Drinan made the money an impressive 32 times, putting him in the upper echelon of the series overall leaderboard. His WSOP resume consists of 25 cashes and nearly $1 million in total earnings, including in-the-money finishes in the $111,111 High Roller For One Drop in both 2017 and 2013. Should he find his way into the $1 million One Drop tournament, he's my pick to take it down. Should he not have the chance I see him taking his 2018 online success and translating it into multiple deep runs during the WSOP, including the Main Event, resulting in him being a player whose success won't be able to keep him out of the headlines. -Jeff Walsh Adam Owen So many people like to pigeonhole Adam Owen as a mixed game specialist. And while he's fantastic at games other than Hold'em (16 non-Hold'em cashes in SCOOP this year), he's also had some deep runs in bigger buy-in NLHE events. He finished second at the partypoker MILLIONS Barcelona Main Event for $1.6 million. He has 22 WSOP cashes over the last three years and given his recent big score, we could see him playing even more bracelet events this year. -Lance Bradley PLAYER OF THE YEAR [caption id="attachment_619252" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Mike Leah could finally capture WSOP Player of the Year this year. (WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Outside of Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and apparently Phil Hellmuth, nobody was thrilled to see Chris Ferguson win Player of the Year last year. There were just as many people disappointed in the new system WSOP brass put in place which rewarded min-cashes in big fields with more points than runner-up finishes in Championship events. That same brass has promised the poker community that they fixed the POY issue, so the race is once again wide open. Our esteemed panel each made their pick for who reigns supreme this summer and through the end of WSOP Europe this fall. Mike Leah When you try to answer the ultimate poker question of "Who Loves It More?", you can't go wrong by answering Mike Leah. He loves everything about poker: the cash, the competition, and, yes, the awards. He's not shy about wanting it all and one would have to assume that the WSOP Player of the Year would be high on his list of wanted accolades. As a Canadian, he's faced with stiff tax laws on anything he wins in Las Vegas, but that has not stopped him from racking up 99-lifetime WSOP cashes and a bracelet. He plays everything at every buy-in level and in 2017, he cashed for 14 times in Las Vegas and another six time during the World Series of Poker Europe. His efforts left him in fifth place of the 2017 WSOP POY race but his determination did not go unnoticed. Leah is comfortable playing just about any buy-in level and has plenty of non-NLHE results in WSOP events. Should he get off to a fast start in 2018 or perhaps when capture his second bracelet, expect him to dive headlong into the WSOP Player of the Year race. -Jeff Walsh James Obst James Obst earned his first WSOP bracelet in 2017 and is a force in all games offered at the Rio. Since 2014, Obst has cashes in 10 events with a buy-in of at least $5,000. The Australian's consistency in 2017 put him in the running for POY despite the flawed scoring system. Four top-10 finishes and two podium results equal even more for Obst this summer. Two bracelets plus five total final tables equal a banner in 2019. -Matt Clark Daniel Negreanu The 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race was the most controversial edition yet, as Chris Ferguson took down the title after cashing a record 23 times in Vegas and Rozvadov. Many critiqued the criteria as others decided to not put in the volume to try and chase Ferguson. This year's POY criteria appears to be vastly approved, rewarding deep finishes over cashing. With plenty of events at a $10,000 or higher price point, it's likely someone who goes on a heater in those events will likely win (Ex. Jason Mercier in 2016, Phil Ivey in 2012). Negreanu was the most vocal critic last year, and he heartily approved the changes and I expect him to win WSOP POY for the third time. -Kevin Mathers John Monnette Avid readers will remember that I predicted Monnette would win Player of the Year last year. That was before the 2017 WSOP POY scoring system was discovered to be as ugly as it was. Monnette still managed to finish fifth, but probably put more emphasis on smaller buy-in No Limit Hold'em events than he wanted to. With the new system rewarding bigger buy-in events and mixed games, Monnette might be the odds-on favorite to win. He excels at mixed games and will play nearly every $10,000 or bigger buy-in event.
  4. The march towards a record-breaking World Series of Poker Main Event field continued on Thursday, with 1,914 players playing Day 1B to push the total field to 3,250 with Day 1C yet to come. That pace is actually slightly behind 2018 when 3,303 players sat during the opening two flights. WSOP officials are expecting a massive Day 1C and registration is open until the start of Day 2C, giving plenty of opportunity for the record of 8,773 to fall. Adam Owen Climbs to Top of Chip Counts Adam Owen finished with 351,800 at the end of Day 1B, which landed him squarely atop the biggest counts from Thursday, but behind Day 1A big stack Bryan Camponello. Gary Blackwood and Asi Moshe rounded out the top three with 330,200 each. With a bag full of chips, Owen is looking to make plans for his off day Friday. Kevin Roster Headed to Day 2 Kevin Roster knows this is likely his last chance to play the WSOP Main Event. Suffering from sarcoma, Roster has played a steady schedule of events this summer with the goal of raising awareness for the disease that will take his life before the year is over. Greg Merson heard his story and offered to put him in the Main Event and the former New Jersey poker player is making the most of it. Roster finished Day 1 with 153,300 to end up just outside of the top 100 stacks. A handful of Main Event Champs Advance to Day 2A Having made their way through a massive Main Event field once before, five former Main Event champions survived their opening day of play on Thursday. The biggest stack belongs to Ryan Riess with 89,300. Greg Raymer (73,100), Joe Hachem (61,000), Chris Ferguson (36,100), and Greg Merson (25,000) also advanced to Day 2. Yuri Dzivielevski Leads Former #1s Yuri Dzivielevski, who rose to the #1 spot on the PocketFives Rankings in 2015, won his first WSOP bracelet this summer and now he appears ready to conquer the Main Event. The Brazilian finished Day 1B with 221,900 for the 14th biggest stack overall. He wasn't the only former #1 player who managed to bag and tag on Thursday. Taylor Paur finished with 139,000, just ahead of Ari Engel and his 128,000. Paul Volpe, who has cashed in the Main Event four times in his career, survived with a 70,300 stack. Joao Simao was not as fortunate and busted on Day 1B. Pennsylvania Contingent Grows on Day 1B After 17 players from Pennsylvania made it through Day 1A, more than double that worked their way through 1B. The top Pennsylvania poker player on Thursday was Arthur Schiavo with 149,400. The rest of the top five Keystone State stacks belong to Leon Foong (137,900), David Meschel (137,000), Aaron Overton (128,400), and Kelly Jones (125,700). Daniel Negreanu Headlines Notable Day 1B Survivors With 1,417 players making it through the day on Thursday, there was bound to be more than a handful of familiar faces among them. None bigger though than Daniel Negreanu, who spent the entire day playing on the ESPN feature table. The six-time WSOP bracelet winner finished with 71,800. Olivier Busquet ended the day with 180,300 to sneak into the top 50 stacks. Maria Ho somehow managed to pull off double duty on Thursday. She bagged up 60,100 despite spending some of her day working the ESPN break desk analysing hands and providing commentary on the day's events. Other notables who survived the day include Christoph Vogelsang (172,100), Kenny Hallaert (159,900), Jonathan Little (110,400), Prahlad Friedman (152,400), Brian Yoon (151,500), Darryll Fish (151,400), Eric Baldwin (132,600), Antoine Saout (117,300), Phil Hui (113,600), Mike Watson (109,500), Andre Akkari (103,600), Conor Beresford (101,400), Scott Seiver (89,600), and Arsenii Karmatckii (53,500). It wasn't all smiles and bags for some of the game's best though. Anthony Zinno, Craig Varnell, Cord Garcia, Dan Shak, Max Pescatori, Frank Stepuchin, John Hesp, Valentin Vornicu, Kane Kalas, Mike Sexton, Pierre Neuville, and Sam Grafton were all among the players who busted on Day 1B. Top 10 Day 1B Chip Counts Adam Owen - 351,800 Gary Blackwood - 330,200 Asi Moshe - 330,200 Tyler Gaston - 329,200 Allen Kessler - 301,800 Brandon Fraizer - 298,400 Galen Hall - 295,700 Gerald Claunch - 252,900 Gregory Tyer - 236,600 Yue Du - 236,300
  5. Nicholas 'mrfinalt' Kiley navigated through 1,483 other players on Saturday night to the early hours of Sunday morning to win the 2020 World Series of Poker Online Event #25 ($500 NLHE Summer Saver) for $149K and his first career bracelet. Matt 'Berkey11_S4Y' Berkey made his second WSOP final table appearance in as many nights and started as chip leader. Looking to improve on his seventh place finish from Event #24, Berkey was also on the hunt for his first career bracelet. The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl champion also got the first final table elimination of the day. Raising all-in on the button to 9,149,831 with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="3c"], Ofir 'panda15' Mor called off his 2,941,919 stack with [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Qs"]. Despite Mor flopping middle set on the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qc"][poker card="6d"] flop, he still had to evade the flush draw. The [poker card="8c"] turn completed the flush for Berkey and the [poker card="3s"] river ended the tournament for Mor. Four minutes later Nicholas 'mrfinalt' Kiley opened to 345,678 from late position and Michael 'ha8me' Policastro called from the small blind. Policastro took the initiative on the [poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Qc"] flop, betting 758,517 which was called by Kiley. Policastro jammed for 3,526,398 on the [poker card="8s"] turn and was snap-called by his opponent. Policastro flopped two pair with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qd"] but was behind as Kiley rolled over [poker card="Ac"][poker card="3d"] for the stronger holding. The [poker card="Tc"] river wasn't one the two outs Policastro needed and finished the day in eighth. The next bust-out came seven minutes later when 'Daddyp69' open-jammed from the cutoff looking to get the walk. Unfortunately, Berkey woke up with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ah"] and called from the small blind looking for another elimination. 'Daddyp69' was drawing to two immediate outs with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] and was sent to the rail failing to connect with the [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="Tc"] runout. Six-handed play lasted for less than ten minutes when Berkey was again leading the action as he opened from UTG for 480,000. Kevin 'Specialk333' Calenzo moved all-in for 3,330,936 from the cutoff, Weiyi 'wymoney' Mo then four-bet jammed her 5,780,224 from the small looking to isolate Calenzo. The pre-flop action caused Berkey to fold and Calenzo with [poker card="As"][poker card="Qc"] was dominated by Mo's [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kd"]. Both players paired their ace on the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="5d"] and both made two-pair with the [poker card="5h"] turn. The at -isk Calenzo was looking for another ace, queen or five to preserve his tournament status but the [poker card="6h"] river meant Mo took all the chips. Berkey's bracelet hunt was dented after being on the wrong side of a cooler against Guo Liang 'Ct188' Chen. In blind versus blind action, Chen limped-called from the small when Berkey raised to 689,999 to see the [poker card="As"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3d"] flop. Berkey bet 1,166,248 after Chen checked his option, Chen made the call to see the [poker card="Jd"] turn. Chen again checked and Berkey put his opponent all in and was snap-called. Berkey, holding [poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"] connected hard, making two pair on the flop but was drawing dead as Chen flopped top set with his [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ad"]. The [poker card="5d"] river meant nothing and left Berkey hanging in there by a thread. Two hands later Berkey was out in fifth, moving all in from the button for 3,237,065. Kiley called in the small blind. Kiley: [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Ts"] Berkey: [poker card="Jc"][poker card="9s"] Kiley made trips on the [poker card="Tc"][poker card="Th"][poker card="6s"] flop, the [poker card="5d"] turn and [poker card="Js"] river denied the storybook ending Berkey was looking for. Kiley quickly scored another final table knockout four minutes later. Stephen 'S.Dott22' Russo raised to 1,040,000 from UTG with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qd"] and called off his remaining 4,723,216 stack after Kiley three-bet jammed for 16,993,456 from the big blind with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8d"]. Both players missed the [poker card="5s"][poker card="9d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7s"] board but Kiley's ace-high was good enough to send Russo out in fourth. Mo, who is one of many female poker players who had deep runs in this year's WSOP, called Chen's 800,000 button raise from the big blind. Mo with [poker card="3s"][poker card="3d"] decided to ship her short stack on the [poker card="7h"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="6d"] flop, Chen holding [poker card="9s"][poker card="6s"] quickly called with third pair. The [poker card="5d"] turn meant Mo picked up a gutshot straight draw but the [poker card="As"] river ended Mo's chances of becoming the first female winner of 2020 WSOP Online event. That left Chen and Kiley both looking to win their first WSOP bracelet event and claim the $149K first place cash prize. Chen three-bet to 2,475,000 after Kiley opened 800,000 and the latter called to see the [poker card="Ks"][poker card="4s"][poker card="4c"] flop. Chen fired a continuation bet, downsizing to 2,125,000, Kiley called again to see the [poker card="8c"] turn. Chen then decided to check-call after Kiley fired for 5,050,000, the [poker card="Jh"] completed the board and Chen checked again. Kiley, who had the chip lead, put Chen to the test for all his chips and he made the crying call with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jc"] but Kiley's [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Th"] was best and enough for him to scoop a six-figure payday and secure his maiden WSOP gold bracelet. Final Table Payouts Nicholas 'mrfinalt' Kiley - $149,244.52 Guo Liang 'Ct188' Chen - $92,223.22 Weiyi 'wymoney' Mo - $67,300.65 Stephen 'S.Dott22' Russo - $49,554.22 Matt 'Berkey11_S4Y' Berkey - $36,850.50 Kevin 'Specialk333' Calenzo - $27,637.87 'Daddyp69' - $20,849.62 Michael 'Ha8me' Policastro - $15,903.90 Ofir 'panda15' Mor - $12,315.82 Faces in the Crowd Event #25 brought saw a plethora of familiar faces getting into the money while chasing for WSOP glory. Daniel 'RedSoxNets5' Sewnig finished 49th for $2,618.32 while Anthony 'heheh' Zinno (71st - $1,842.52), Brian Rast (87th - $1,454.62), and Chris Moorman (92nd - $1,357.65) also worked their way into the money. After spending part of the night at the same table, Daniel Negreanu (183rd - $969) and Phil Hellmuth (216th - $873) both added another WSOP cash to their long list of achievements.

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