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November was a big month for attention-grabbing poker headlines. There was a hard-to-believe $100,000 prop bet that generated incredible buzz, the return of a high-profile lawsuit between a WSOP Main Event runner-up and the largest online poker site in the world, and the conclusion of a handful of prominent live poker tournaments that found winners. Here are PocketFives' top five stories from November 2018, plus a look at who won the PocketFives Monthly PLB title. Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch-Black Bathroom Prop Bet Poker players can be known to make wild prop bets, and that was certainly the case for Rory Young and Rich Alati. The two grabbed more than just poker headlines in November when their $100,000 bathroom prop bet was featured in headlines from several mainstream media outlets. It was one of the craziest prop bets we've ever heard of and will be one that is remembered for years and years to come. The bet was made to see if Alati could live in a pitch-black bathroom with no human contact and no electronics, among several other stipulations, for 30 days straight. Soon after the bet was made and began making its way around the poker world, PocketFives spoke with Young about the details of the bet and how it came to fruition. READ: Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch Black Bathroom Prop Bet Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Back in May, it was made known that Gordon Vayo, runner-up in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, was suing PokerStars for the winnings the online poker site withheld from him from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament that was worth nearly $700,000. That story made headlines everywhere within the poker world, but it made even bigger news in November when a November 12 California court filing revealed that Vayo had voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. What really kicked things up a notch, though, were two things. First that the lawsuit was dropped amid accusations of forgery committed by Vayo. Second, PokerStars was seeking repayment of their attorney fees for nearly $300,000 - quite the tipping of the scales. READ: Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event A former eighth-place finisher in the WSOP Main Event in 2017 for $1.2 million, Jack Sinclair was back in the World Series of Poker spotlight in November 2018, only this time in Europe. Sinclair made his way to the 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event final table and emerged victorious atop the 534-entry field to win the €1.222 million ($1.277 million) first-place prize. To claim victory, Sinclair had to defeat one of online poker's toughest players in heads-up play, Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas. The victory earned Sinclair the largest payday of his poker career and first WSOP gold bracelet. READ: Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 The World Poker Tour was in action in Canada in November for the Season XVII WPT Montreal. The event attracted 792 entries, and it was Patrick 'prepprepprep' Serda who came out on top after entering the final table with the chip lead. Serda defeated the first female winner of an open WPT Main Tour event, Ema Zajmovic, in heads-up play to take home the C$855,000 ($652,801) first-place prize, denying Zajmovic her second World Poker Tour title. READ: Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 Big Titles Won at partypoker Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas While the WSOP and WPT were busy dishing out titles in colder climates, partypoker LIVE was down in the Bahamas for the much-anticipated partypoker Caribbean Poker Party tournament festival. The series was full of big buy-in events, notables faces capturing huge sums of cash, and nine seven-figure prizes awarded. The first big tournament of the series to find its winner was the $25,500 buy-in partypoker MILLIONS World. The event generated 394 entries and fell just short of its $10 million guarantee, but enormous prizes were still to be had, including the $2 million first-place prize that Roger Teska took home after he defeated Steve O'Dwyer in second place. O'Dwyer scored $1.3 million for the runner-up result, and third-place finisher Charles La Boissonniere also took home seven figures, winning $1 million. READ: Roger Teska Battles Back to Win partypoker MILLIONS World for $2M We then saw a $3.685 million winner come from the partypoker $250,000 Super High Roller Championships event, and it was Steffan Sontheimer earning a new career-best score. The event generated a field size of 34 entries for a prize pool of $8.235 million. Sontheimer beat out Sean Winter in heads-up play, and David Peters finished in third place. Winter and Peters took home $2.43 million and $1.42 million, respectively. READ: Steffan Sontheimer Wins partypoker $250K SHR Championships For $3.68M In the $5,300 buy-in Main Event, another $10 million prize pool guarantee was on the line. The event fell short of the guarantee with just 1,815 entries, but the top three spots still gave out a million dollars or more each. Winning the event was Portugal's Filipe Oliveira, taking home the $1.5 million top prize. Craig Mason finished second for $1.2 million, and Marc MacDonnell took third for $1 million. READ: Filipe Oliveira Wins 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event Sweden's 'lena900' Wins Another Monthly PLB Title in November Sweden's 'lena900' stayed hot and won another PocketFives Monthly PLB title in November after cashing 191 times for a total of $585,250. It was a dominating performance for 'lena900,' who racked up more than 4,900 points. The closest competitor was 'girafganger7' with a monthly point total of less than 3,900. A couple of the notable November scores for 'lena900' included a third-place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million on November 25 for $80,555 and 569.39 points and a win in the partypoker Sunday Super High Roller: $100K Gtd on November 18 for $41,480 and 387.30 points. READ: Top-Ranked ‘lena900’ Wins November Monthly PLB Title
When the poker industry gathers in Las Vegas Friday night to celebrate the best of 2018 at the Global Poker Awards, PocketFives.com will honor a player who has collected more accolades over the course of his online poker career than any player in the 15-year history of the site. Chris Moorman, one of the most successful players in online poker tournament history, is this year’s recipient of the PocketFives Legacy Award at the Global Poker Awards. “Chris’ success in the online poker world is nearly unmatched. When it came time to pick which player to recognize this year, there was never really any debate,” said PocketFives President & Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. “We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate one of the most well-respected members of our community on such an important night.” Between 2008 and 2011, Moorman reached the #1-ranking on PocketFives a record 13 times and has held that spot for a total of 24 weeks. He’s the all-time leader in PocketFives Triple Crowns earned with 29 and arguably most impressively, Moorman’s $15,851,900 in online earnings makes him the all-time leader. While he originally made a name for himself in the online poker world, Moorman has also had success in the live arena as well. In 2014, he won the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic Main Event for $1,015,460. He followed that up with a World Series of Poker bracelet win in 2017. His lifetime live earnings are nearly $5.7 million. “It’s a great honor to receive this award. Without PocketFives, I’m not sure I would've had the same drive for success,” said Moorman. “When I discovered the site 10 years ago it motivated me to put in the volume and try to be the best I could be during my early years as a tournament player.” Moorman is the third player to receive the PocketFives Legacy Award. In 2017, Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy received the first PocketFives Legacy Award at the American Poker Awards. The 2018 recipient was Ari Engel. The awards show will be streamed for free on PokerGO Friday at 5 pm PT.
Just a few short minutes after accomplishing what most poker players dream of - winning a World Series of Poker bracelet - Ari Engel stood in front of the assembled poker media for the customary post-tournament scrum and spoke candidly about how his confidence was low. “So many people are doing work and improving their games and you get owned a time or two from people that you thought were worse than you. I'm the kind of person to lose my confidence real easily,” Engel said. “It's kind of a relative thing. It's not like I thought that I sucked, but maybe not the same level of confidence that I've had at other stages.” The former #1-ranked online poker player in the world, Engel then referred back to his last big win, his biggest in fact, the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event victory that earned him $1.12 million. Full of confidence after taking down one of the game’s biggest $10,000 buy-in events, Engel was ready to take on the world. “After Aussie Millions, I went to Ireland and played EPT Ireland and I didn't cash one time in Ireland. I think I went like 25 tournaments in a row without cashing after that one. So hopefully I'm not going to do that,” Engel said. In the 15 years that Engel has been coming to Vegas for the WSOP, he’s managed 43 cashes but has never been able to even make the top nine of any event. His only final table was in the $1,500 NLHE Shootout event in 2011 when he finished 10th after making the 10-handed final table. Finally getting to pose for a winner’s photo with a bracelet in hand brought about a few different emotions for the 35-year-old poker vagabond. “I think relief is the appropriate word. I've been playing a lot and I never did really well in the summer and never had a top-nine finish before,” Engel said. “So yeah, I can't say that I always was Mr. Positive about coming here and playing these, even though I keep showing up. I did have a pretty bad negative mindset about playing in Vegas.” A meticulous record-keeper, Engel knows that his record in Sin City, in particular during the summer when there’s plenty of opportunity for a big score, has been abysmal. So bad in fact, that he’s often wondered if there’s more to it than just an extended run of bad cards. “It was so insane. Like, what happened in Vegas? Is it the desert? Is it the hot weather? Is it the dry air? Everyone says variance because that's the easy answer, but realistically it's like something is probably up. I have a +140% ROI outside of June and July and then June and July I got a negative 15%. It's like the numbers were just so extreme between them that I still don't know, I'll never know,” Engel said. Those numbers are where Engel’s lack of confidence is rooted. With more than $6.6 million in lifetime earnings, a WSOP bracelet, the Aussie Millions title, and nine WSOP Circuit rings, Engel still doesn’t quite know where he rates in the game today. “Especially with my style, I'm very comfortable taking risks and kind of experimenting, I guess, compared to other people,” Engel said. “So it's a very fine line between doing something stupid and doing something that's just a well-thought-out, risky play, but that I think is positive in the long run. I often question myself and I have no idea, like how good am I? I just don't know at all.” Engel calls himself a ‘poker fanboy’ and knows that those in the poker community are going to give some weight to him being a bracelet winner now, but he’s not sure that it’s more important or prestigious than his Aussie Millions win. “Aussie Millions was double the amount of money and a main event kind of thing, but then there's some attachment, I guess, to the bracelet but I don't know about that prestige stuff,” Engel said. “That's more for the media to figure out what's more and what's less. From the scoreboard it's not as big, obviously.” The win comes with a small boost in confidence, but there are no delusions of grandeur with Engel. He’s not going to change his approach and attempt to become a regular on the super high roller scene anytime soon - if ever. “I could win a $2,500 World Series bracelet every day for the next 10 days and that doesn't mean that I'm ready to play $25K-plus high rollers. That's a different skill set. That's a different players set,” Engel said. “I like to test myself and do that occasionally, but it's not like I think I can play them every day and beat them. Definitely not.” There’s going to be little to no change in where Engel plies his trade. He’s always looking for the best value in each series that he treks to. He’s also planning on making the most of a changing United States online poker landscape. “There's so many live tournaments, online poker is returning to Pennsylvania, there's this compact with the legal New Jersey and Nevada sites which is pretty awesome and even international is not too bad. I enjoy playing that when I get the chance to.”