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  1. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic and the televised WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas both wrapped up in recent days, with two members of the PocketFives community taking home titles. We'll start with the larger payday, $2.1 million, which went to Andrew luckychewy Lichtenberger (pictured) for taking down the Alpha8 event. In fact, it was the largest Alpha8 ever. The tournament attracted 55 entries and generated a prize pool that passed $5.3 million. In the end, Lichtenberger took home his first career seven-figure tournament score and outlasted Tom Marchese heads-up. It was his third WPT final table and amazingly all three have come in Las Vegas; he added to a fifth place finish in the Season XI WPT Five Diamond and a fourth place run in the Season X WPT Five Diamond. Lichtenberger has $2.1 million in online tournament cashes, highlighted by a $172,000 SCOOP victory in 2009. That came one year after final tabling the Sunday Million for $127,000. This year, "Chewy" final tabled SCOOP and WCOOP Cubed events for $126,000 total. Marchese, meanwhile, took home $1.2 million after getting second place, his third seven-figure score of 2014. He finished third in a $100,000 Super High Roller event in Las Vegas in June for $1.4 million and won the Aria Super High Roller in September for $1.3 million. He is over $4 million in live tournament winnings this year alone and approaching $9 million all-time. Here were the results of the Alpha8 Las Vegas event: 1st Place: Andrew luckychewyLichtenberger - $2,104,245 2nd Place: Tom Marchese - $1,240,965 3rd Place: Brian tsarrast Rast - $755,370 4th Place: Noah Schwartz - $539,550 5th Place: Jason Les - $431,630 6th Place: Bryn BrynKenney Kenney - $323,730 Mohsin chicagocards1Charania (pictured) won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.4 million and his second WPT title. Charania was down 4:1 in chips against Garrett gdub2003 Greer entering heads-up play and fell to just six big blinds before a wild comeback that saw him double up five times. Charania's first WPT title came in the Season XII WPT Grand Prix de Paris, where he earned $449,000. There were 586 entries in the Five Diamond, which meant a prize pool of $5.6 million. Here's how the final six cashed out: 1st Place: Mohsin chicagocards1Charania - $1,477,890 2nd Place: Garrett gdub2003Greer - $869,683 3rd Place: Brett Shaffer - $562,736 4th Place: Ryan RJules12 Julius - $383,684 5th Place: Ryan Fee - $272,842 6th Place: Tobias Reinkemeier - $218,842 Congrats to Charania and Lichtenberger on their WPT titles! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. The 2016 WorldSeries of Poker hosted three final tables Saturday, though only one finished, alongside Day 1 of perhaps the most prestigious tournament of the year and the final two flights of the $888 Crazy Eights wrapped up. Brandon Shack-Harris Wins Second Bracelet in $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship [caption width="640"] Brandon Shack-Harris won his second bracelet in the Pot Limit Omaha Championship for 4,300.[/caption]The $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship played its fourth and final day on Saturdya day with six players returning to the final table. Brandon Shack-Harris returned with the lead, defeated Loren Klein heads-up and won his second career gold bracelet at his second final table of the Series. “This is definitely the most gratifying moment for me in my poker career,” Shack-Harris said after winning. “I had really tough people on my left all the time and they would play back at me. I was having to play out of position all the time.” Klein won the PLO/NLH Mixed event a week ago and challenged Shack-Harris. “I didn’t want to play Loren heads-up,” he said. “He plays a very unorthodox style. We played some street PLO, he plays great.” Experience played a factor with the three least experienced players hitting the rail first. Harley Stoffmaker collected just his second WSOP cash ever with his final table run. Mattew Parry nearly tripled his career earnings with his finish and Melad Marji's cash was almost ten times the largest cash of his career. Final Table Payouts Brandon Shack-Harris - $894,300 Loren Klein - $552,713 Tommy Le - $376,667 Melad Marji - $261,652 Matthew Parry - $183,337 Harley Stoffmaker - $133,918 Junayed Khan - $98,748 Dominique Mosley - $74,339 Andrew Lichtenberger and Craig Blight Return Heads-Up in $3,000 No Limit Hold’em The 31 players returning for Day 3 of the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event knew they had a tall order in front of them to play to a winner. Ten levels of action left Andrew Lichtenberger a 3-1 chip lead over Craig Blight. Lichtenberger bagged up 12,765,00 and Blight with 4,100,000 after Chris Johnson busted on the final hand of the night in third place. The pair had the option to play an additional level after Johnson’s bust but they declined to play on. A trio of former November Niners began Day 3 in the top ten counts but Pierre Neuville (19th), James Akenhead (18th) and Jay Farber (15th) fell short of the final table. Tristan Wade was the first player eliminated on Day 3 and soon John Racener, John Hennigan and Simon Deadman followed him to the rail. Final Table Payouts TBD - $569,158 TBD - $351,721 Chris Johnson - $249,336 Mac Shorabhi - $179,015 Linglin Zeng - $130,191 Erhan Iscan - $95,925 Thomas Miller - $71,617 Roger Teska - $54,190 Daniel Wagner - $41,563 Five Players Remain with Gavin Smith Leading $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Mix The $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Mixproved to be popular enough that the structure wasn’t quite enough to finish as scheduled. Day 3 saw ten levels of action with 27 players returning and five remained at the end of play with Gavin Smith holding the lead. Smith holds a considerable lead over Philipp Eirisch and Allan Le – all over one million chips. Cody Crouch and Keith Ferrera return as the short stacks. The field reached official final table past midnight with Gary Bolden, David Bach and Yuval Bronshtein earning at least $15,059 each but fell short. John Monnette bubbled the final table for his seventh cash of the Series. Final Five Chip Counts Gavin Smith – 1,800,000 Philipp Eirisch – 1,175,000 Allan Le – 1,125,000 Cody Crouch – 565,000 Keith Ferrera – 320,000 Scott Seiver Leads $50,000 Poker Players Championship Many in poker believe the $50,000 Poker Players Championship to be the toughest and most prestigious tournament of the year and 87 of the world’s best entered the event. Registration remains open until the start of Day 2 but for now the prize pool sits at $4.176 million and Scott Seiver leads the field of 84 survivors. Robert and Michael Mizrachi both finished in the top ten counts, Robert won the Seven Card Stud Championship earlier in the Series and Michael is the only player to win this event twice. Just outside the top stacks are Jason Mercier, Todd Brunson and Dan Smith. Paul Volpe, Daniel Negreanu, Jesse Martin and Justin Bonomo return with above average stacks. Brian Hastings, George Danzer and Dzmitry Urbanovich return as the short stacks. Howard Lederer entered the event and bagged up to advance while Stephen Chidwick, Keith Gipson and Abe Mosseri were the three eliminated players on Day 1. Top Ten Chip Counts Scott Seiver – 593,000 Timofey Kuznetsov – 557,600 Robert Mizrachi – 500,200 Brian Rast – 463,900 Erik Sagstrom – 457,700 John Monnette – 454,300 Michael Mizrachi – 433,000 William O’Neil – 427,600 Anthony Zinno – 418,000 Talal Shakerchi – 395,100 Flights C & D Push $888 Crazy Eights Field to 6,761 Total Entrants The final two flights of the $888 Crazy Eights event drew 1,715 for Flight 1C and 2,230 for Flight 1D – bringing the total entrants to 6,761. The early flight advanced 62 survivors, the late flight brings 58 players forward and Day 2 has a total of 206 returning players. Vlad Darie bagged up 454,000 for the lead in Flight 1C but is second overall behind Andy Spears’ 499,000 form Day 1B. Six players from the final flight snuck into the top ten overall with Steven Tabb and Brandon Ienn both breaking the 400,000-chip mark. Notables from the 10 am flight include Steve Sung, Darren Rabinowitz, Greg Raymer and John Gale. From the late flight are Sam Stein, Brent Roberts, Matt Vengrin, Vinny Pahuja and Chris Ferguson. Top Ten Chip Counts, Flights ABCD Combined Andy Spears – 499,000 Vlad Darie – 454,000 Steven Tabb – 446,000 Brandon Ienn – 429,000 Muhammed Rahim – 395,000 Fabrizio Gonzalez – 383,000 Aaron Johnson – 375,000 Chase Johnson – 368,000 Daniel Fried – 366,000 Joseph Mussat – 362,000 Big Bet Sunday After a week stretch that included a few new events the WSOP shifts back into more familiar gears on Sunday. A $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event kicks off at 11 am and the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha HiLo event gets cards in the air at 3 pm.
  3. Sunday at the 2016 World Series of Poker included a couple of players winning their first WSOP bracelets and a couple of brothers continuing to crush one of poker’s most prestigious events. Andrew ‘luckychewy’ Lichtenberger and Allan Le each won an event on Sunday while Michael and Robert Mizrachi are both in hot pursuit of $50,000 Poker Player Championship chip leader Justin Bonomo. Event #52: Andrew Lichtenberger Wins $3,000 No Limit Hold'em [caption width="640"] Andrew Lichtenberger now has a WSOP bracelet after winning the ,000 NLHE event (WSPO photo)[/caption] Andrew Lichtenberger credited a healthy lifestyle to helping him win his first WSOP bracelet Sunday in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Lichtenberger beat Craig Blight heads-up to win the bracelet and $569,158. “Nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive attitude were all integral factors in my victory today,” Lichtenberger said. “Without adopting these choices, I wouldn’t be here. The human body is simple, but also very deep in its workings. To sit for so many hours and not nourish it, you’re going give yourself more difficulty when the crucial moments come. So, just by doing what I do, I was able to make good decisions that really mattered today.” Lichtenberger and Blight returned on Sunday to finish the event after being unable to get to a winner on Saturday night. Lichtenberger now has a WSOP bracelet to go along with his WSOP Circuit ring and Alpha8 title. “It feels amazing to win this,” Lichtenberger said. “I’ve been playing the World Series since 2009 and I’ve been watching it since I was a kid when I saw Chris Moneymaker win his.” Other notables to cash in this event include Jay Farber (15th - $25,485), James Akenhead (18th - $20,382), Pierre Neuville (19th - $16,536), John Hennigan (27th - $16,536), Tristan Wade (31st - $13,612), Kevin ‘BeL0WaB0Ve’ Saul (63rd - $8,304). Final Table Payouts Andrew Lichtenberger - $569,158 Craig Blight - $351,721 Chris Johnson - $249,336 Mac Sohrabi - $179,015 Linglin Zeng - $130,191 Erhan Iscan - $95,925 Thomas Miller - $71,617 Roger Teska - $54,190 Daniel Wagner - $41,563 Event #53: Allan Le Wins Inaugural Running of Omaha HI-Lo Trio [CAPTION=100%] One of the new events on the 2016 WSOP schedule was the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Trio – the game included Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Big O Hi-Lo and nobody mastered the rotation of those three games better than Allan Le. He walked away with the first bracelet of his career and $189,223. Germany’s Phillipp Elrisch finished as runner-up, earning $116,915. The event also featured another 2016 WSOP final table appearance Gavin Smith. The Canadian poker pro came into Day 4 with the chip lead and eventually finished fourth for $54,889. Smith, who made the final table of the $1,500 Eight Game Mix earlier in the Series, hadn’t been at a WSOP final table since 2013. Other notables to cash in John Monnette (9th - $11431), Bart Hanson (14th - $8,850), Jason Somerville (26th - $5,639) and Ted Forrest (63rd - $2,663). Final Table Payouts Allan Le - $189,223 Philipp Eirisch - $116,915 Cody Crouch - $79,403 Gavin Smith - $54,889 Keith Ferrera - $38,634 Yuval Bronshtein - $27,696 David Bach - $20,229 Gary Bolden - $15,059 John Monnette - $11,431 Event #54: Just 12 Remain in $888 Crazy Eights Chase Johnson leads the final 12 players in pursuit of the $888,888 first place prize money and bracelet in the $888 buy-in Crazy Eights event. Johnson bagged up 4,405,000 to put himself just ahead of Michael Lech who finished with 4,250,000. 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event winner Dimitar Danchev sits fifth with 3,165,000. The only WSOP bracelet winner still in contention is Loni Harwood – she ended Day 2 with 2,060,000 and seems confident heading into the final day.2 fuckin million in the bag going to 80kbb tomorrow with 12 people left
  4. Dylan 'ImaLucSac' Linde entered the Season XVII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic final table second in chips among the last six competitors. A dominating performance from Linde followed that earned him his first World Poker Tour title and a $1.631 million payday. "Incredible… I'm stunned, I'm stunned," Linde said after the victory, noticeably searching for the right words in the winning moment. "I was in for a lot of bullets in this tournament - I was in for five bullets - and all I wanted to do was get even. I was like, 'OK, I need to get 24th place and then I make like 8K, that’s great.' Then I got to there and it just felt like freerolling. I just was confident, I played my game - I mean, I'm still… I’m still in shock." Linde entered the final table of the record-setting event with just more than $2 million in live tournament earnings to his name. He nearly doubled that total thanks to scoring the largest live tournament score of his career. Not only did Linde earn a $1.631 million payday, but he claimed the title in one of poker’s most prestigious events, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. Linde now goes down in history alongside players such as Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Joe Hachem as a champion of this event. "Incredible!" Linde said once again, more emphatically. "Besides having played a lot of poker for the past 10 or 11 years, I’m a gargantuan poker fan. I watch every single everything on PokerGO, I watch all broadcasts. Even weird cash games that have been televised, I consume it all. I love poker. To be there, to be here playing in the studio, it’s incredible. It's just incredible. I watched the Super High Roller Bowl Cash Game this morning before I came to play." What's more is that Linde topped a record-breaking field in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The event attracted a field of 1,001 entries, nearly 200 more than the previous record of 812, and generated a prize pool of $9.709 million. "It was like a roller coaster," Linde said of firing multiple $10,000 bullets in the event. "The first one or two, it was like, 'Ehhh, OK.' And then when I busted bullet three, I was pretty sad and I kind of tilted. Then when I busted bullet four, I was just like, 'Ya know? Whatever, this tournament is really good and I need to fire.' At that point, I've already passed my pain threshold so now it doesn’t matter. I just try and it almost helped me to be in for five." WPT Five Diamond Final Table Results 1st: Dylan Linde - $1,631,468* 2nd: Milos Skrbic - $1,087,603 3rd: Andrew Lichtenberger - $802,973 4th: Ping Liu - $599,147 5th: Lisa Hamilton - $451,880 6th: Barry Hutter - $344,529 *First place includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. Barry Hutter was first knocked out at the final table when his top pair ran into the bottom two pair of Milos Skrbic on the [poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"] flop. Hutter's [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8d"] couldn’t come from behind against the [poker card="6h"][poker card="5d"] of Skrbic, leaving Hutter with a sixth-place result worth $344,529. Next to go was Lisa Hamilton in fifth place, and she was eliminated when her pocket fives couldn't hold up against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Td"] of Linde. The money went in preflop and Linde flopped top pair, turned trips, and rivered a full house to send Hamilton to the payout desk to collect her $451,880 in winnings. Eliminating Hamilton in fifth place gave Linde the chip lead. This is when he really began to press on the gas in order to put distance between himself and his opponents. It also helped when Linde busted Ping Liu in fourth place with the [poker card="Jc"][poker card="2c"]. Action folded to Linde in the small blind, and he moved all in against Liu's big blind. Liu was short stacked and called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out[poker card="Kh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="Kd"] to eliminate Liu in fourth place for a career-best $599,147. Andrew Lichtenberger was the shortest stack entering three-handed play. He fought as hard as he could to get himself back into the match against Linde and Skrbic, but ultimately it wouldn’t be in the cards for the player so widely known as "LuckyChewy." Lichtenberger flopped top pair with the [poker card="Kd"][poker card="5h"] on the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="3c"] flop against Skrbic holding the [poker card="Tc"][poker card="6c"] for a flush draw. The two bet and raised back and forth to get all the money in, leaving Lichtenberger needing to fade the draw to stay alive. Skrbic quickly completed his flush on the turn with the [poker card="8c"] and the river completed the board with the [poker card="4d"]. For his efforts, Lichtenberger scored $802,973. Linde held the chip lead entering heads-up play, with his 22.375 million to Skrbic’s 17.675 million. Linde dominated the duel and took just 35 hands to dispose of Skrbic. On the final hand, Linde's pocket jacks held up against the pocket fives for Skrbic after all the money went in preflop and that was all she wrote. Skrbic, who entered the event with less than $500,000 in live tournament winnings, took home $1.087 million for his runner-up result, and Linde was crowned champion. "I'm pretty much going to keep doing the same thing I've been doing," Linde said when asked where he takes his poker career from here. "I'm a big believer in the amount of money that I have doesn’t really dictate the games that I should be playing. I’ll have some more action of myself in tournaments rather than selling more. I’m not going to start playing super high rollers or anything. I’ll just play the cash games I normally play here (in Las Vegas) and play tournaments. I’m pretty happy with my life at the moment, as far as poker. I play fairly high stakes normally anyway, and I don’t really need to go battle against my friends in the 25Ks and 100Ks who I know are slightly better than me or a lot better than me. At one point, maybe I will, but for now, I just want to keep improving, use this to make my life more comfortable, and hopefully make it so that I feel more confident and can just play my A-game more consistently." With the victory, Linde earned a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. He also picked up 1,400 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, although that only puts him in third behind Tony Ruberto's 1,850 points and Liu's 1,550 points. Next up on the WPT Main Tour is the $10,000 buy-in WPT Gardens Poker Championship in January at the Gardens Casino in Southern California. That tournament runs January 12-16, 2019.
  5. One might think that with the holidays on the horizon December would be a quiet month of people spending time with their family. Not for the world of poker. December 2018 was full of record-breaking tournaments and huge headlines. Here are some of the names that made the news in December. Dan Smith Makes A Difference For the past five years, regular high-roller Dan Smith has been collecting donations for various charities at Christmas time. This year, Smith and his collaborators amassed $1.29M for the Double Up Drive and that they would use to match donations to spread to 10 carefully cultivated charities. They nearly got that amount in a single day when DFS champion Tom Crowley promised to give 50% of any winnings he might make from the DraftKings World Championship Final. Crowley, known as ‘ChipotleAddict’, went on to win the event for $2 million and over the weekend hauled in a total of $2.254 - half of which was donated to the Double Up Drive. The donation was ‘surreal’ but Smith wants to make sure people knew that donations of any size are welcome. “I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference,” Smith told PocketFives. “People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all.” READ: Dan Smith Charity Drive Gets “Surreal” $1.1M Donation via DFS Champ Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V The fifth edition of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl saw Isaac Haxton best the field of 36 elite players to earn a career-high cash of $3.672 million dollars. “This is easily the best tournament result I’ve ever had and it’s an event I love. It feels great to win here at ARIA. This is the highlight of my tournament career, no doubt,” said Haxton after the win. The final table was replete with talent including Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic, Igor Kurganov, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Stephen Chidwick, and eventual runner-up Alex Foxen. Foxen took home a career-best $2.1 million for his second-place finish. This capped off an amazing year that saw him earn 12 cashes of six-figures or better as well as rise to become the #1-ranked player on the GPI. READ: Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl for $3.672 Million READ: Alex Foxen’s Drive Takes Him to the Super High Roller Bowl The World Series of Poker Releases 2019 Dates Just before Christmas the World Series of Poker delivered players an early present by announcing a partial schedule of the 2019 WSOP. This summer will be the 50th anniversary for the longest-running tournament series and to help commemorate the occasion the WSOP is planning a number of special events for the players. The schedule included the announcement of the ‘Big 50’, a $500 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and a $1 million guarantee for first place. Additionally, in an extra effort to “make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around” many of the marquee events of the summer have an increased starting stack. This includes the WSOP Main Event which is increasing their starting stack to 60,000. READ: WSOP Releases 2019 Dates, New ‘Big 50’ Event - $500 Buy-in, $5M GTD Dylan Linde Wins WPT Five Diamond for $1.6 Million The crypto crash of 2018 has some in the industry fearing that the numbers for the World Poker Tour’s highlight event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, might see a dip in registration. However, just the opposite happened as players flocked to the Bellagio in record-setting numbers. The event attracted 1001 runners and generated a prize pool of $9.7 million. In the end, longtime poker pro Dylan ‘ImaLucSac’ Linde (who re-entered five times in the event) dominated a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Ping Liu, Lisa Hamilton, Barry Hutter and runner-up Milos Skrbic. Linde won a career-high $1.6 million and earned the title of WPT Champion. READ: Dylan Line Wins Record-Shattering WPT Five Diamond Title for $1.6 Million Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio, Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online. partypoker’s 2018 $20M GTD MILLIONS Online did not disappoint. The incredible online tournament surpassed its posted guarantee and set the record for the largest single online tournament in history with players vying for a first place prize of over $2.6M. In the end, after one hand of heads-up play, Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and PocketFiver Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede settled on a lightning-fast chop that awarded both players over $2.3M. Rubio, technically, earned the victory, taking home $20K more than De Goede and now owns the record for the single largest online payday in history. READ: Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop partypoker MILLIONS Online A December To Remember December was just one of those month’s where huge news seemed to break every day. Here are some of the other must-read major headlines in December. Michigan opens its doors to online poker. READ: Michigan Becomes Fifth State to Regulate Online Poker The poker world loses a legend in the passing of Thor Hansen. READ: Thor Hansen Passes Away at 71 The pitch black bathroom bet comes to an abrupt end. READ: The $100K Bathroom Prop Ends Early; Alati, Young Agree on $62K Buyout Bay 101’s Shooting Star returns without the WPT behind it. READ: After a Year Away, Bay 101 Shooting Star Returns With New Look
  6. "I need to win one of these now." Those were the words from Ben Heath in an interview at the beginning of May following his fourth-place finish in the EPT Monte Carlo €50,000 High Roller. At the time, the €298,240 ($333,013) he won for that result was the second largest in his live poker career and his comment was referencing that he's been close in big events and it's time to finally break through. Well, he got that breakthrough when he won the 2019 World Series of Poker $50,000 High Roller for a career-best $1.484 million. "The first three days I think I played really well, a few mistakes," Heath said in the moments after the win. "Today, definitely one or two mistakes but it just happens, I guess. Overall, I’m very happy. Compared to the last four years of my career, there’s a lot fewer mistakes than I’m used to." Coming into the final table, Heath had the chip lead with a stack of 7.63 million. He was only slightly ahead of Sam Soverel, but with Heath’s demeanor, you’d never know one way or another if his emotions were getting the best of him. Heath is a very centered and calm player, but even though he couldn’t fight off the smile the beamed from his face as he described how he felt at the final table. "I wasn’t sure at the start, because I had the exact same chips as Sam,” Heath said. “Then, I think at around one point I had around 16 million and dipped to 8 million four-handed and it was kind of tough to feel like it’s not slipping then. But then it just turned back around." He admitted to only having slept two and a half hours the night before and that he hadn’t slept much all tournament. The young Brit couldn’t pin the reason on jet lag, though, as he mentioned he was only coming over to Las Vegas from Montreal and not all the way across the pond. Armed with adrenaline and coffee and forced to play under the bright lights of the Amazon Room feature table that could keep anyone awake, Heath powered through and found his way to the winner’s circle. "I think it’s mainly the tournament," Heath said of his lack of sleep. "I only came from Montreal and I was surprised there was any jet lag, but there was for three days. Then, on the third day, when I expected it to end, I remembered from my Aussie Millions run that I only slept three hours the night before. I think I’m just not good at sleeping. I just had a lot of coffee today and probably won’t sleep for a while now." Not only did Heath have to fight off a lack of sleep, but he had to do it against some very tough competition. Andrew Lichtenberger was the player Heath had to defeat in heads-up play, and the final six also included the aforementioned Soverel along with Dmitry Yurasov, Nick Petrangelo, and Chance Kornuth. Heath's five opponents in the final six have more than $46 million in live tournament earnings Back in 2017, Heath took second in the Aussie Millions Main Event for a score of A$1 million ($755,229). Up until now, that score was the largest of his live tournament career. It's now taken a back seat to this mammoth gold bracelet victory. After he finished his post-win photos and interviews, Heath jumped in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em and bagged a stack for Day 2. No sleep, no problem.
  7. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In June, all eyes were on the 2019 WSOP, which kicked off with a bang that included the largest live poker tournament ever and Phil Ivey's return. WSOP Big 50’s Gigantic Turnout The first installment of the World Series of Poker $500 buy-in 'Big 50' tournament was one for the record books, literally. The tournament that was marketed to give comers from all levels a shot at WSOP glory did that and more, becoming the largest live poker tournament in history. The event attracted a field size of 28,474 entries, crushing the previous record of 22,374 entries set by the 2015 WSOP Colossus. Lance Bradley took a look at the record-breaking event to see how it stacks up against another monstrous tournaments, the number of unique entries versus reentries, and more. Nigerian-born Femi Fashakin turned a $500 entry into $1.147 million in the Big 50 and will forever be remembered for such an achievement. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Controversy at the WSOP The $50,000 High Roller tournament at the 2019 WSOP drew a lot of attention. Understandably so, given it’s huge buy-in and star-studded field. The resulting headlines were less than what was desired, though, as a bit of controversy came about. With four players left in the tournament, Sam Soverel opened with a raise, Dmitry Yurasov moved all in, Andrew Lichtenberger folded, and then Ben Heath asked for a count. While thinking, Heath tossed in a time bank card and Soverel, who might’ve thought the time bank card was Heath’s actual playing cards, quickly folded his hand. This allowed Heath to think through his decision without having to worry about what Soverel was going to do as the original raiser. Yurasov was not happy with Soverel’s play, as were many people on Twitter, including Isaac Haxton. Phil Ivey Returns Guess who’s back? Phil Ivey’s back! It seems that every summer the poker world is waiting to see if Phil Ivey will return to the WSOP tournament tables or not. In 2019, he returned a week into June, kicking things off with the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. The poker world was buzzing with his return to the series, but it’d have to until about a week later for him to get back on the WSOP scoreboard by cashing in the $800 NL Deep Stack. Ivey went on to cash five times at the WSOP in the summer and twice more at the 2019 WSOP Europe festival in Rozvadov. His best finish in Las Vegas was an eighth-place result in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $124,410. Biggest Win of Jason Young’s Life Jason Young has had his fair share of success on the poker felt, with more than $1.2 million in live tournament earnings and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet to his credit. Despite all of that, it was a victory off the felt that proved to be the biggest win of his life. After Young and his girlfriend welcomed their daughter, Kaeley, into the world, things took a turn for the worse. His girlfriend abruptly moved to Florida, away from their home in New York, and she took the daughter with her. Young’s restaurant was lost and he fell into big debt. Through it all, Young kept fighting. He was fighting for his daughter and fighting to get his life back in order. Along the way, poker helped Young get things back together, and the story on Young by Lance Bradley is an absolute must-read. Chidwick, Engel, Schwartz All Wins Bracelets The conversation of who is the best player without a WSOP gold bracelet lost three key figures in the summer of 2019. That’s when Stephen Chidwick, Ari Engel, and Luke Schwartz all claimed their first pieces of WSOP hardware and can no longer be referred to as the "Best Player Without a Bracelet." To make things even more exciting, all three won their first gold bracelet on the same day.

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