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  1. [caption width="640"] James Mackey won his first World Poker Tour title in Choctaw, Oklahoma (Photo courtesy Joe Giron/WPT)[/caption] Just over nine years ago James Mackey joined the rare group of 21-year-old players to win a WSOP bracelet. On Tuesday night in Choctaw, Oklahoma, he joined another exclusive group when he won the World Poker Tour Choctaw event, earning $666,758 in the process. Mackey began the final table third in chips but thanks to an early double-up, found himself in the driver’s seat for most of the night. Matthew Smith came into the final table with the shortest stack and barely made through the first hour of play before busting. Benjamin Zamani opened to 350,000, Jack Duong called from the cutoff before Smith moved all in for 1,725,000. Zamani folded but Duong called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] while Smith showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop offered Smith no relief and after the [poker card="3h"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river he was out in sixth place. Duong’s run didn’t last much longer after a big clash with Mackey. Action folded to Duong in the small blind and he raised to 400,000 and Mackey defended his big blind. After the [poker card="kc"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop Duong bet 425,000 and Mackey raised to 900,000. Duong moved all in for 3,555,000 total and Mackey called all in. Duong tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="jd"] for the nut flush draw and Mackey showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="jc"] for top pair. The [poker card="6s"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river both missed Duong and he was left with just 275,000 while Mackey doubled-up. Duong was eliminated on the next hand by Craig Varnell. Varnell claimed another victim just an hour later when he opened to 450,000 from the button and then called Bastian Fischer’s small blind shove for 3,500,000. Varnell showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] which put him ahead of Fischer, who showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8s"][poker card="tc"] to eliminate Fischer in fourth and send Varnell back into the chip lead. His spot at the top of the chip counts didn’t even last a full level though and Varnell found himself on the outside looking in when heads-up play began. Varnell’s fate was sealed in an all in preflop confrontation with Mackey. After a raised to 600,000 from Mackey, Varnell made it 1,825,000. Mackey announced he was all in and Varnell called all in for just under 9,000,000. Mackey showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and Varnell was behind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="7s"] The [poker card="kc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6s"] flop didn’t help Varnell and neither did the [poker card="jh"] turn or [poker card="2s"] river and the former WPT500 champ was out in third place. That hand propelled Mackey into a better than 3-1 chip lead over Zamani when heads-up play began. It took 37 hands of play over less than an hour for Mackey to emerge victorious. On the final hand of the night Zamani limped fore 300,000 before Mackey raised to 1,000,000. Zamani responded by putting his entire stack of 7,400,000 at risk and Mackey called. Zamani tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] but found himself behind the [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] of Mackey. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Zamani more outs for a win, but neither the [poker card="js"] turn or [poker card="6h"] river were of any help for Zamani and he was out in second place. The win pushed Mackey’s lifetime earnings to $3,575,959 and the $666,758 first place payout is the second largest of his career behind only the $730,740 he earned for winning his WSOP bracelet. The closest he had come to winning a WPT prior to this was a third place finish at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in April 2014. He’s also won $3,874,095 online and won a PocketFives Triple Crown in 2006. Final Table Payouts James Mackey - $666,758 Benjamin Zamani - $412,234 Craig Varnell - $306,346 Bastian Fischer - $230,300 Jack Duong - $175,122 Matthew Smith - $134,720
  2. [caption width="640"] Upeshka De Silva was one of three WSOP bracelet winners on Saturday (WSOP photo)[/caption] Weekends at the World Series of Poker are always busy, and the first Saturday of the 2017 WSOP was no exception with six events running at once, including two flights of Colossus and the first of three online events on the schedule. Before the day wrapped up, three players walked away with bracelets including a former WPT Player of the Year, and Bertrand Grospellier bluffed 14-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth to get himself to the top of the chip counts in the One Drop High Roller. Upeshka De Silva Wins Second Bracelet in Event #3 ($3,000 NLHE Shootout) The final 10 players returned to Event #3 ($3,000 NLHE Shootout) on Saturday to play down to a winner and after little more than eight hours of play, Upeshka De Silva walked away with the second WSOP bracelet of his career. De Silva beat Louis Helm heads-up to walk away with the win and $229,923. Helm earned $142,115. De Silva’s first bracelet came in 2015 when he won a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $424,577. “(Helm) played very well. He played a lot better than I anticipated. He played a limp / re-raise-all-in strategy. I kept trying to isolate his weak hands and he kept going all in. He stayed alive for quite a while,” said De Silva. “I felt like my end game was a little bit better. I thought I'd take a lower-variance style and grind him down. He gets a double-up and it's anybody's game.” Jan Schwippert finished fourth at his second final table of the 2017 WSOP. He was part of the team that finished ninth in Event #2 ($10,000 Tag Team Championship) earlier in the week. Olivier Busquet wound up fifth. Taylor Paur, one of 39 former #1-ranked players on PocketFives that we’re tracking all summer long, was the first player eliminated from the final table. Final Table Payouts Upeshka De Silva - $229,923 Louis Helm - $142,115 Linglin Zeng - $103,449 Jan Schwippert - $76,018 Olivier Busquet - $56,397 Casey Carroll - $42,246 John Richards - $31,955 Mark McMillin - $24,410 Jean Gaspard - $18,832 Taylor Paur - $14,675 Reigning WPT POY Can Also Play Non-Hold’em Games Well, Too [caption width="640"] Benjamin Zamani now has two WSOP bracelets to go with his WPT Player of the Year award (WSOP photo)[/caption] Fresh off of winning World Poker Tour Player of the Year, Benjamin Zamani added “two-time WSOP bracelet winner” to his growing list of accomplishments. Zamani beat out 904 other players to win Event #4 ($1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or better) and the second bracelet of his career. He also earned $238,620. Zamani’s final opponent was Jared Hemingway. The pair only played heads-up for a little over an hour after having played for almost 11.5 hours to get to that point. There were 29 players at the start of Day 3 with Christopher Logue leading the way. Logue eventually busted just shy of the final table, in 11th place. Final Table Payouts Benjamin Zamani - $238,620 Jared Hemingway - $147,428 Alex Ferrari - $103,471 Ryan Paluf - $73,647 Gary Vick - $53,171 Forrest Auel - $38,946 Scott Buller - $28,948 Martin Corpuz - $21,839 Dustin Sitar - $16,726 Irish Players Top Flight C and D Chip Counts; Field Size Struggling The second day of Colossus saw a combined 5,426 players enter, bringing the two-day total to 10,828 with just two starting flights left to go on Sunday. There’s a familiar face near the top of the chip counts though. Cord Garcia, who won the inaugural Colossus in 2015, bagged up the second biggest chip stack in Flight D, with 415,000. He’s just 35,000 behind Toby Joyce, the #1-ranked online poker player out of Ireland. Gavin O’Rourke, another Irish player, finished Flight C with 374,000, good enough for the biggest stack from that flight. Unless flights E and F average 5,000 players or more, this will be the smallest Colossus field in the three-year run of the event. In 2015, 22,374 players entered with that number dropping to 21,613 last year. The event is currently 10,785 short of the 2016 field size. Day 1C Top 5 Chip Counts Gavin O'Rourke - 374,000 Mark Johnson Jr. - 368,000 Alexander Borteh - 365,000 Matt Holtzman - 356,000 Haixia Zhang - 330,000 Day 1D Top 5 Chip Counts Toby Joyce - 440,000 Cord Garcia - 415,000 Dan Healey - 341,000 Asher Conniff - 314,000 James Manganaro - 310,000 Grospellier Bluffs Hellmuth to Take Chip Lead into Day 3 To the surprise of nobody, big names continue to populate the One Drop High Roller chip counts through Day 2. Scott Seiver, Dan Colman, Antonio Esfandiari, Doug Polk and Rainer Kempe are just a handful of the players in the top 10 with just 23 left, but after Day 2 action, most people were talking about two players in particular; Bertrand Grospellier and 14-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Grospellier ended Day 2 on top of the chip counts with 7,040,000 and Hellmuth ended up with the 10th largest stack at 2,870,000 but the two clashed on Saturday in a hand that could have seen Hellmuth end up as chip leader and Grospellier on the outside looking in. With blinds of 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante), Hellmuth raised to 135,000 from the cutoff and Grospellier defended his big blind. Grospellier then checked after the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"][poker card="qd"] flop, Hellmuth bet 100,000, Grospellier raised to 215,000 and Hellmuth responded with another raise, this time to 470,000. Grospellier called and then check-raised again after the [poker card="3h"] turn, this time to 1,200,000. Hellmuth, left with 2,930,000, decided to fold his [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"] while Elky showed the [poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"] for an incomplete straight draw. Grospellier ended the hand with more than 9,000,000. Day 3 action will begin with play almost on the bubble. Just 20 of the 23 remaining players will cash. Other notables still in the field include Phil Galfond, Igor Kurganov, Connor Drinan and Charlie Carrel. The three shortest stacks at the start of Day 3 belong to Salman Behbehani (835,000), Nick Petrangelo (800,000) and Moritz Dietrich (710,000). Action resumes at 2 pm PT and will be streamed on the PokerGo app. Top 10 Chip Counts Bertrand Grospellier - 7,040,000 Dario Sammartino - 6,080,000 Scott Seiver - 4,920,000 Chris Moore - 4,315,000 Dan Colman - 4,100,000 Andrew Robl - 4,080,000 Rainer Kempe - 3,950,000 Martin Jacobson - 3,805,000 Doug Polk - 3,500,000 Phil Hellmuth - 2,870,000 Sampo Ryynanen On Top of $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw It might not be the most popular game on the WSOP schedule, but Event #7 ($2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball) attracted some of that variations best players on Saturday. Leading the way after the 10 levels of Day 1 is Finland’s Sampo Ryynanen. Ryynanen was the only player to turn their 7,500 chip starting stack into a six-figure stack. Ryynanen bagged up 102,200 while his next closest competitor, Wes Self, finished with 97,000. Jared Bleznick finished third with 91,300. Just 57 of the 225-player field advanced to Day 2. Among the notables to move on were Martin Staszko (70,800), Brandon Shack-Harris (68,800), James Obst (48,000), Paul Volpe (46,000), Jason Mercier (36,000), David ‘ODB’ Baker (34,600 and Jon Turner (26,600). Top 10 Chip Counts Sampo Ryynanen - 102,200 Wes Self - 97,000 Jared Bleznick - 91,300 Joe Wagner - 85,300 Joseph Wagganer - 85,300 James Kwon - 81,400 Matt Schrieber - 79,000 Eric Wasserson - 78,000 Yosuke Sekiya - 75,200 Jason Gola - 72,800 Joseph Mitchell Wins First Online Bracelet Event of 2017 The first online event on the 2017 WSOP schedule, Event #8 ($333 Online NLHE) drew 1,780 players and wrapped up in just a single day. At the end it was Joseph ’ul_gg’ Mitchell coming out on top to win the bracelet and $122,323. Runner-up Mark ‘PLODonkey17’ Scacewater ended up with $73,538.79, but might feel a tad sore after suffering a disconnect during heads-up play that saw most of his chips sent to his opponent. The only non-American to make the final table was Michael 'ooookillthem' Addamo, who finished third for just over $54,000. Final Table Payouts Joseph 'ul_gg' Mitchell - $122,313.75 Mark 'PLODonkey17' Scacewater - $73,538.79 Michael 'ooookillthem' Addamo - $54,043.86 Hao 'Sandongcpa' Sun - $39,592.02 Bobby 'bcmclawh' McLawhorn - $29,204.76 Michael 'TonyPerkis1' Jacoby - $21,828.30 Kevin 'SEQUENCE' Sheetz - $16,559 Casey 'rhin0' Long - $12,645 William 'nomoneyloser' Pan - $9,710
  3. [caption width="640"] Zachary Smiley has one career live cash - a World Poker Tour win (Joe Giron/WPT photo)[/caption] At a final table that included current World Poker Tour Player of the Year frontrunner Benjamin Zamani, Season XIV breakout star Cate Hall and two-time WPT champion Darren Elias it was a relative unknown that was left standing on Wednesday night as WPT Maryland Live played down to a winner. Zachary Smiley, who dropped out of medical school last week, beat out that group of players to win WPT Maryland Live and $356,536 for his first career live cash. Cate Hall began the final table as the shortest stack and wasn’t able to improve her position before being eliminated in sixth place. Ryan Belz raised to 230,000 from UTG and Hall shipped her last 800,000 from the big blind and Belz called. Hall tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"] and was racing against Belz’s [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2s"] to eliminate Hall. She now has eight career WPT cashes including two fifth place finishes, a ninth place and a sixth. While it took 73 hands for the first elimination, it took just 11 more hands to get the second. Smiley moved all in from UTG, Zamani called from the small blind and Belz called from the big blind. When the hands were table Smiley was behind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"], Belz held [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and Zamani had [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. Fortunately for Smiley the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="3c"] to put him ahead. The [poker card="9d"] turn and [poker card="9c"] river were no help for his opponents and Smiley tripled up while Zamani was eliminated in fifth place. Zamani now has three WPT final table appearances this season and has twice as many WPT Player of the Year points as his nearest competitor. Just 20 minutes later the only former WPT champion at the final table was eliminated. Left with just over six big blinds, Darren Elias moved all in from the UTG and Mario Silvestri called from the big blind. Elias got bad news after turning over [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"] and discovering Silvestri had him dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. It only got worse for Elias as the board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="5c"] to give Silvestri a flush and end Elias’ run in fourth place. Despite picking up the extra chips, Silvestri didn’t stick around much longer. Just eight hands later Silvestri raised to 240,000 from the button, only to have Smiley make it 525,000. Silvestri moved all in and Smiley called. This time it was Silvestri who was dominated; Smiley showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] while Silvestri had [poker card="ah"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"] run out couldn’t save Silvestri and he was out in third. When heads up play began Smiley had a better-than 3-2 chip lead over Belz. Over the next 42 hands of play Smiley only increased his lead before finally finishing Belz off. Smiley opened to 300,000, Belz raised to 800,000 and Smiley moved all in. Belz called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] while Smiley showed [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6d"] flop was no help for Belz but the [poker card="jh"] turn gave him eight extra outs for a straight. The [poker card="4s"] river was not one of those outs and Smiley eliminated Belz to capture the title, the $356,536 first place prize, including a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Zachary Smiley - $356,536 Ryan Belz - $239,412 Mario Silvestri - $153,983 Darren Elias – $113,905 Benjamin Zamani – $85,429 Cate Hall - $68,554
  4. [CAPTION=100%]Pat Lyons wins the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event, earning over $615,000. (Photo credit Joe Giron/WPT)[/CAPTION] Hours after making the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker final table at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, Pat Lyonstweeted: A professional poker player from Hillsborough, California, Lyons' prediction came true, winning $615,346 and a seat into the 2017 WPT Tournament of Champions. The $4,000 Main Event drew a field of 687 entries for a prize pool of almost $2,500,000 paid out to the top 72 players. WPT Champions Club members finishing in the money were Andy Frankenberger, Olivier Busquet, Seth Davies, defending champion Mike Shariati, Chino Rheem, James Mackey and Taylor Paur. The final table was led by 77-year-old William Vo, hoping to pass Doyle Brunson as the oldest player to win a WPT title. Second in chips was Lyons, winner of the Arizona State Poker Championship for over $240,000 in August. A pair of 2015 WSOP bracelet winners – Upeshka De Silva and Benjamin Zamani – held down third and fourth place respectively. Todd Peterson and Rafael ‘Mahalael’ Oliveira rounded out the lineup, as they started with the following chips: Seat 1: William Vo – 5,260,000 Seat 2: Pat Lyons – 4,980,000 Seat 3: Benjamin Zamani – 3,215,000 Seat 4: Todd Peterson – 1,930,000 Seat 5: Upeshka De Silva – 4,475,000 Seat 6: Rafael Oliveira – 780,000 It was a short stay at the final table for Rafael Oliveira, eliminated on the seventh hand. Facing a limp from Benjamin Zamani and a raise from Upeshka De Silva, Oliveira looked down at [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and moved his short stack all in. Zamani folded and De Silva called with [poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] as De Silva made runner-runner trips to end Oliveira’s tournament. Early action at the final table featured a couple of events one would find in a cash game. The players agreed to show one card every time they won a pot. When Pat Lyons wasn't active with his table talk, he wandered away from the table for several hands at a time, even as the chip leader. William Vo had the support of many spectators railing him at the Bike, but he couldn’t maintain his success from earlier in the tournament, finishing in fifth place. Vo lost a huge pot to Todd Peterson, attempting a huge bluff on the river with nine-high as Peterson eventually called, showing two pair. A few hands later, Vo attempted another bluff on the river, shoving with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] on a [poker card="jc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"] board. Zamani called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"] and his pair of jacks left Vo taking home a six-figure payday. Finishing in fourth place was Peterson, knocked out in dramatic fashion by Lyons. The hand started with a raise from De Silva, a three-bet from Lyons and a four-bet shove from Peterson. De Silva folded and Lyons called with [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"], promising the crowd free drinks if he won the hand, as Peterson revealed [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4s"] flop put Peterson in front with nothing changing on the [poker card="5c"] turn. The [poker card="th"] on the river gave Lyons the winning hand and a round of drinks for the spectators as three remained. Three-handed play featured plenty of action as Zamani doubled through Lyons, then De Silva doubled through Lyons to take the chip lead. Zamani then doubled through De Silva by flopping quads to tighten up the chip counts. Lyons would retake the chip lead on the 139th hand of the tournament and never relinquish it again. Upeshka De Silva was now the short stack and was in a good spot to double up, calling with [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] against Lyons' shove with [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2h"][poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] as the river once again doomed a player as De Silva finished in third place. Benjamin Zamani already had a runner-up finish earlier in the season at Choctaw, hoping to finish one spot higher but facing an over two-to-one chip deficit against Pat Lyons. Heads-up play lasted less than 20 hands when Zamani shoved with [poker card="ah"][poker card="2c"] as Lyons called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"]. The dealer dealt the final five cards: [poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"], giving Lyons the winning straight and the title. Lyons also receives the WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King Power watch and a pair of gold Monster 24k headphones. Zamani settles once again for second place this season to take over the WPT Player of the Year lead with 2,000 points, 750 ahead of James Mackey. The next stop for the WPT takes players to Atlantic City for the Borgata Poker Open. The $3,500 Main Event with a $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool runs from September 18-23. On September 19th, the WPT Players Forum takes place at 8:30pm as players can provide feedback and suggestions. WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Results: 1st: Pat Lyons - $615,346 2nd: Benjamin Zamani - $341,412 3rd: Upeshka De Silva - $198,720 4th: Todd Peterson - $149,715 5th: William Vo - $113,105 6th: Rafael Oliveira - $85,760

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