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  1. In a recent blog that appeared on FullContactPoker, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) ran down a list of six people who some have argued should be forever barred from the World Series of Poker. As he put it, "I've always been of the position that unless people have been found to actually cheat at poker, they should be allowed to attend." That's the main criteria you'll see Negreanu use throughout his piece. First up for Negreanu were Russ Hamilton and Mansour Matloubi, whom Negreanu reminded us were singled out for being able to see players' hole cards, commonly known as "God mode." Negreanu said of the Ultimate Bet perpetrators, "The evidence is overwhelmingly one-sided that at the very least, these two men were involved in cheating players out of millions." Both are former WSOP Main Event winners and Negreanu said they should be barred from the WSOP for life. Next up for Negreanu was former Full Tilt Board member Chris Ferguson, whom "Kid Poker" had some pretty harsh words for: "He was essentially MIA when FTP was trying to find a buyer so they could pay back the players… He essentially hid under the covers hoping it would all just go away." However, Negreanu concluded that Ferguson should not be banned from the WSOP since he never cheated anyone at the tables. Negreanu then turned to former Epic Poker League heads Annie Duke and Jeffrey Pollack. The former was also involved in UB, but Negreanu didn't argue that point. Instead, he honed in on the failed Epic Poker League $1 Million Freeroll, but did not advocate for a ban: "As wrong as I think it is to not even acknowledge this debt or make any strides towards making the players whole, I still don't think it warrants a WSOP ban." Howard Lederer (pictured) was Negreanu's final case. Despite some Full Tilt players still being separated from their funds, Negreanu would be accepting of Lederer playing in a future WSOP. The PokerStars pro stated, "I think it's clear that he should have every right to play in WSOP events. Aside from players having been paid now, to my knowledge he has never cheated at poker, nor have there ever been rumors about him doing so." There you have it. Do you agree with Negreanu? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  2. [caption width="640"] Fedor Holz had many millions of numbers to crunch in 2016[/caption] Many are reflecting back on the year and suggesting 2016 is a year we might want to forget. Do not let the celebrity deaths or endless talk of politics keep you from remembering some of the happier storylines the past year had to offer though. It was a memorable year in poker with countless tournaments, feuds, prop bets, cash games, and big stories. We can’t count all of big headlines of 2016, but we can relive a few of the biggest stories in this year-end edition of Number Crunch. 10 - Number of cashes for Chris Ferguson at the 2016 WSOP. The Full Tilt Poker co-founder had been absent from poker’s biggest stage since 2011, but both he and Howard Lederer decided it was time to return to the tables this summer. Not only did Ferguson return, he cashed every couple of days. Extra security appeared to be added when he final tabled one event, but other than some verbal barbs, there were no serious altercations for the man many consider to be partially responsible for the downfall of what was once one of the biggest online sites in poker. Ferguson won over $250,000 over the course of the summer, while Lederer failed to cash at all. 15 - Number of seasons Poker Hall of FamerMike Sextonhas co-hosted the World Poker Tour alongside Vince Van Patten. Sexton’s list of WPT accomplishments are not just behind the commentator’s desk. He is now a member of the WPT Champion’s Club too, taking down this season’s fall Montreal event for over $450,000. Sexton final tabled the Bay 101 Main Event in 2011, but exited in sixth place. This time around, he was around to the very end, but instead of toasting the champ, it was the Champ getting toasted. 17 - Finishing position in the WSOP Main Event for William Kassouf. The Brit may not have made the November Nine but, like a boss, his personality loomed large over the ESPN coverage of the tournament this year thanks to his endless table banter and altercation with Canadian pro Griffin Benger. His table talking sparked many online debates about table etiquette, with top pros both condemning and commending the behavior. Kassouf did not go quietly into the night after his finish though. He was back in the news in December after agreeing to chop the European Poker Tour Prague High Roller event, taking less money than second place, but taking home the trophy and posing for the winner photo. 28 - Number of High Roller tournaments hosted by the Aria Casino in 2016. With buy-ins ranging from $25,000 to $350,000, the Aria offered a steady supply of big buy-in small-field events for the poker elite. Not only did the events, which were frequently packaged back-to-back over a single weekend, bankroll boosters to some of the biggest names in the game, they also made Las Vegas a destination for live high stakes action again. If there were questions about whether or not the High Roller circuit was oversaturated, based on the success of the Aria’s scheduling, the answer appears to be no, at least for now 345 - Combined number of @ mentions on Twitter in the month of December for Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. In a year of many Twitter beefs, theirs took the cake, with Dentale sending 274 Tweets with her handle it and Hall sending 71 with his in a back and forth exchange that began with Dentale critiquing how Hall played a hand in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Main Event. The trash talk escalated enough for Poker Night in America to turn it into a heads-up battle to be played out in March at Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia. 52,986 - Dollars in career tournament earnings for Qui Nguyen before winning the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. Once he won the biggest tournament of the year, that number rocketed to over $8 million. He is the first amateur since Jerry Yang in 2007 to win the Main Event. 1,800,000 - Dollars Jason Merciersupposedly stood to earn after a hotly debated bracelet bet with Vanessa Selbst. As the story goes, Selbst offered Mercier 180-1 odds he could not win three bracelets in a single summer. The eventual WSOP Player of the Year certainly gave Selbst a sweat, winning two bracelets and making four final tables. He got oh-so close, finishing second in the $10,000 Razz event, but failed to cash in on many lucrative bets he would not threepeat. 4,360,000 - Approximate number of viewers who tuned in to watch David Williams compete in the MasterCheffinale on Fox. A foodie in addition to a poker pro, Williams made quite a run on the Gordon Ramsay reality show, making it all the way to the very end. Much like the 2004 Main Event though, he was a bridesmaid, not the bride, and had to settle for finishing as one of the two runners-up. 4,981,775 - Dollars won by Fedor Holz in the $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller at the WSOP. Shortly after accepting his bracelet, Holz announced his retirement. After all, he had a busy six weeks crushing just about everything he played and raking in over $10 million, starting with a second-place showing in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl for $3.5 million and ending with a bracelet. So far, retirement looks an awful lot like the working world for the young German though. In August he won the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller for almost $1.5 million. 10,100,000 - Dollars Phil Ivey and his friend Cheung Yin Soo have to pay the Borgata Resort and Casino according to a December ruling from a federal judge. The sum is the total of his winnings across four sessions of baccarat in 2012 and the money he took to a craps table and ran up into $500,000. Ivey and Soo were “edge-sorting”, which means they used imperfections in the manufacturer’s design of a deck of cards to determine which cards were which. While not explicitly cheating, the judge did deem the actions to be a violation of the agreement between gambler and casino and ordered the eight-figure judgment.
  3. [caption width="640"] Chris Ferguson earned WSOP Player of the Year honors, benefiting from the controversial scoring system. (WSOP photo)[/caption] The system was doomed before the 2017 World Series of Pokeropened up in May and six months later, with the conclusion of WSOP Europe, the WSOP Player of the Year race wrapped up. Say what you will about him, but there is no denying the year Chris Ferguson put together to earn top honors. Ferguson racked up 23 total cashes, three final tables (two in $10,000 events) and capped off his run by earning his sixth bracelet. When the WSOP departed for King's Casino in October, Ferguson held a precarious lead over John Racener and Ryan Hughes. Those two opponents were the top contenders to travel over to the Czech Republic to battle for the title. Among those who built up a solid resume and had a chance to catch Ferguson were Daniel Negreanu, Ray Henson, and Ben Yu. All three decided to not travel to chase one of the most elite titles in poker. Early in the summer, players took to social media to voice their opinions on what they viewed to be a system full of flaws. Points were awarded on a scale that rewarded players who constantly min-cashed in smaller buy-in, large field events. One player who was notably held back by the system was David Bach. Bach won two bracelets, one in a $1,500 event and the other in a $10K, and cashed three more times before the end of the summer. Bach wound up finishing in 87th place in the POY standings The only other player to win two bracelets, Nipun Java, didn’t even crack the top 100. So what does this mean for Ferguson’s year and overall accomplishment? Well, it’s hard to fully put it into context. Ferguson performed the best out of any player within the given system and no matter how bad the rules, you still must play by them in order to win. Although Ferguson’s win is out of the ordinary for a variety of circumstances, his stats are more or less in line with previous Player of the Year winners. Of the 13 previous years the POY was awarded, five of the honorees had one bracelet to their name. And among that baker’s dozen, another five had three or less final tables. The number that obviously stands out for Ferguson is his 23 cashes. The most ever prior to him was Jason Mercier in 2016, who made 11 trips to the payout cage. Twice before then, a player cashed 10 times with George Danzer and Negreanu doing so there. Based on the overwhelmingly negative player feedback, the POY system is likely going revamped for 2018 and a year like Ferguson’s is unlikely to be rewarded the same way. In a year of many highs and lows for the WSOP, it seems appropriate that Ferguson is the POY winner and is indirectly recognized for his accomplishment in what was an incredible year. Even with the 15 percent payout structure in place, it is unlikely that any player will match Ferguson’s magic 23 in the immediate future. For now, all that’s left is to wonder what Ferguson’s acceptance speech might entail. Regardless of what the public opinion, there is no taking away his second banner inside the Rio.
  4. [caption width="640"] Ferguson elicits a polarizing range of emotions as he steps back into the spotlight[/caption] Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson won his sixth World Series of Poker bracelet on Wednesday when he took down WSOPE Event #7 (€1,650 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better) for €39,289. With the victory, Ferguson, the current WSOP Player of Year points leader, extended his first place margin over both Ryan Hughes and John Racener, the players nearest to him in the race. Shedding his traditional urban cowboy garb, Ferguson took to the table with a navy T-shirt with a single word silkscreened in the center chest reading “love.” While Ferguson clearly loved the result, not everyone who received word of his victory was feeling what his shirt was preaching. Ferguson, a central figure in the Full Tilt Poker financial collapse, has yet to publicly comment on the fiscal disaster that left thousands of poker players funds trapped in limbo for years. His silence has led to resentment by some members of the poker community, while others have opted not to hold a grudge against Ferguson since he’s returned from his self-imposed exile. Both sides took to social media to comment on the bracelet win for the controversial champion. Comments directed at Ferguson himself were at a minimum early on. It was actually 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth’s congratulatory tweet that seemed to generate the most buzz. Ferguson continues to march to the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year as the final points will be tallied at the conclusion of the WSOPE Main Event which begins on November 4.
  5. [caption width="640"] Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson feeling the Player Of The Year the pressure[/caption] This year's World Series of Poker Europe begins Thursday at King's Casino in Rosvadov, Czech Republic and along with it the race for the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year is enters its final lap. Players have 11 bracelet events left in which they can rack up cashes and add-on to their current point totals from this past summer. The player who finishes in first will be crowned the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year, get free entry into the 2018 WSOP Main Event, and have a banner of themselves draped in rooms of the Rio for 2018 and years to come. Former Full Tilt Poker officer Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson has returned to the spotlight and this time he's looking to get away with the WSOP Player of the Year award. After an impressive summer of results, having cashed in 17 events and posting 898.46 points, Ferguson sits atop the current leaderboard putting him in the driver's seat to take the title. Giving Ferguson an extra leg up on those that would overtake him is a free entry into the €10,350 WSOPE Main Event, one of the benefits of being the points leader after the summer in Las Vegas. Right behind Ferguson sits two-time WSOP bracelet Winner, Ryan Hughes (876.35). Hughes is only 22.11 points out of first and after a stellar summer of his own, making three final tables in the midst of 16 cashes, the Arizona grinder find himself in the best position to make a move on first place. Capturing his third WSOP gold bracelet in 2017 in Event #22 ($10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship) helped put well-rounded poker pro John Monnette (865.21) in third place in the POY race. Only 33.25 points out of first, should Monnette decide at the last minute to make the trip to Rozvadov rather than stay in the States to root on his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, he would be one to watch down the stretch. Former November Niner John Racener (853.16) also won a bracelet, his first, in 2017. His victory in Event #17 ($10,000 Dealers Choice Championship), along with a monster summer, complete with 17 scores at the Rio, catapulted Racener into fourth place – 45.3 points behind Ferguson. The recently-married Racener is currently on honeymoon in Europe, perhaps planning to wrap up the celebration of love with a stop at King's Casino. Over the course of two weeks, Raymond Henson (768.49) sat at 4 final tables and posted a string of five-figure scores allowing him to round out the POY Top 5. His nearly 130 point gap is by no means insurmountable. Using the 2015 WSOP as a barometer, it would require something akin a deep run in the Main Event or an outright victory in a side event, while those above him stay static, in order to make the leap. It seems unlikely though that the Houston resident will make the trip abroad to take a crack at getting the banner. The second half of the top 10 is littered with top-tier pros, all who could make a real run at the crown if the right amount of heat is applied. Two-time bracelet winner Ben Yu (766.49) sits right behind Henson in sixth and poker pro Alex Foxen (754.36) has already confirmed that he'll be in Rozvadov trying to finish strong. Two-time WSOP Player of the Year winner Daniel Negreanu (717.26) has never made any pretenses that he would like to win it yet again. To get there the six-time bracelet winner would need to post some serious results, perhaps even adding a seventh bracelet to his collection could do it. Despite his previous intentions, Negreanu has confirmed that he plans on skipping the WSOPE this year. Italy's Dario Sammartino (710.96) and tournament director turned poker crusherKenny Hallert (686.81) complete the top 10. The fact is, as the formula to determine points this year is based on ROI, taking into account buy-in and amount won, if any of these players, or even some further down on the list, make amazing strides and win all the money they may find themselves earning the prestigious title of World Series of Poker Player of the Year. The sprint to the finish begins when those who make the trek to Leon Tsoukernik's King's Casino take their seats on October 19.
  6. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. GREAT NEWS: The Fives is now available on GooglePlay and Stitcher. Check out the links below to get listening on your favorite podcast app. In this episode, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark put a bow on WSOP Europe, including Maria Ho's close call and Chris Ferguson's POY win. They also dive into the latest from the Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Clark legal mess and begin to wonder why players and companies continue to do business with him. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES CHECK OUT THE FIVES ON GOOGLE PLAY GET THE FIVES ON STITCHER
  7. [caption width="640"] Martin Kabrhel couldn't be happier to capture the bracelet in WSOPE Event #3[/caption] With over $3,000,000 in recorded lifetime earnings and a pair of World Series of Poker Circuit rings, Czech Republic poker pro Martin Kabrhel has had much to celebrate in his extensive poker career. On early Thursday morning though Kabrhel reached a new high as he emerged victorious in the WSOPE Event #3 (€1,100 Super Bounty Turbo) on his home turf of the King’s Casino in Rozvadov for €53,557 and his first WSOP gold bracelet. The one-day turbo tournament featured a healthy 325-entry turnout (92 re-entries) and a prize pool of over €214,000. With 20-minute levels and every player carrying a €300 bounty, bustouts were fast and furious throughout the day as the field looked to accumulate enough to take a seat at the final table. Plenty of notable names made the money but fell along the wayside including Kristen Bicknell (32nd), Brandon Cantu (24th), Felipe Ramos (23rd), 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (11th) and Mike Leah (10th) who was knocked out by Kabrhel to bubble the final table. Additionally, current World Series of Poker Player of the Year points leader Chris Ferguson (36th) notched another cash to extend his current lead for the award. Kabrhel had a rocky start to the final table, relinquishing the chip lead for a short amount of time on a failed bluff, but would find his back in control by hunting down his fellow tablemates and putting together a string of knockouts that would take him to the winner's photo. After the elimination of Viktor Kovachev (9th) and Georgios Koliofotis (8th), Kabrhel would call and cover the short stack shove of Bernd Gleissner. Gleissner, all in and behind holding [poker card="8s"][poker card="ts"] against Kabrhel's [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"] found no help on the runout and Gleissner fell in seventh. The newly married former November Niner, John Racener, who is looking to gain ground on Ferguson in the WSOP Player of the Year race, was the next to fall to Kabrhel. In fact, he and Yves Kupfermunz would bow out on the same hand. Kupfermunz shoved his suited [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"] and Racener, who was covered, called off with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. When it came around to Kabrhel in the big blind, with the chance for the double knockout, also called holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. Though Racener had the best of it preflop by a small margin, the flop ran out [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"], putting Kabrhel way in front. The case [poker card="as"] turned, drawing Racener dead and with only three outs left, Kupfermunz's bracelet quest ended in fifth place with the river [poker card="kd"]. Racener's sixth place finish, helped him surge to thrid position on the Player Of The Year leaderboard, now only roughly 50 points behind Ferguson. Only three hands later Kabrhel was at it again. After raising with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] Kabrhel was shoved on by Liran Twito who held [poker card="qc"][poker card="jd"]. Kabrhel snap-calls and while the duo paired their queens, Twito's kicker problems put him on the rail in fourth. Salvatore Camarda later found himself entangled in a pot with Kabrhel. In the big blind three-handed Carmarda held [poker card="9d"][poker card="4s"] on a [poker card="ac"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4d"] flop. Bottom pair though was not good enough as the red-hot Kabrhel had the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4c"] in the hole. After they checked around, the [poker card="kd"] turned and Kabrhel had yet another opponent drawing dead. Camarda proceeded to get all of his chips in on the next two streets, finishing in third. The first seven eliminations at the final table took all of 31 hands. The heads-up battle between Kabrhel and Germany's Philipp Caranica would take another 58 more. The back and forth battle saw a number of lead changes as both battled for the bracelet. Early in the morning, the first hand after a break, the end finally came as the chip leader Kabrhel and Caranica put all the chips in the middle preflop . Caranica slightly ahead, holding the suited [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] was up against Kabrhel's [poker card="th"][poker card="7h"]. A fortuitous runout of [poker card="jd"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8h"] brought in the double-gutter backdoor straight draw for Kabrhel, awarding him his seventh knockout of the final table and his first WSOP bracelet. FINAL TABLE PAYOUTS Martin Kabrhel - €53,557 Philipp Caranica - €33,094 Salavatore Camarda - €22,159 Liran Twito - €15,168 Yves Kupfermunz - €10,620 John Racener - €7,609 Bernd Gleissner - €5,582 Georgios Koliofotis - €4,195
  8. As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. To date we've gone over the top five off-the-felt news stories of 2017, the top heaters of the year, covered the game's newest characters, breakout stars, grudges, and WTF Moments. Keeping with the theme of wacky and weird, up next is the Year in Flops. and Fails. #5 - No Shot Clock during the World Series of Poker The WSOP added new clock rules to their 2017 campaign but missed the boat on the clock players were really looking for. Whether you call it a shot clock or an action clock, the timer used in events like Super High Roller Bowl and the World Poker Tour was a hit in 2017. The outcry for it to be used in World Series events fell on deaf ears as the biggest tournament series in poker declined to add it for 2017. The lack of such a product hurt the WSOP Europe One Drop event immensely. The tanking reached a fever pitch and reigning Poker Master Steffen Sontheimer spoke out on behalf of the High Roller community. Joining him were businessmen Bill Perkins and Dan Shak, who said they would boycott any future events that do not have a shot clock. With the Big One For One Drop coming back to next year’s WSOP schedule, those in charge have some major decisions to make over the next few months. https://twitter.com/RunGo0seRun/status/927224889660071937? #4 - WSOP Streaming Schedule The old world of all WSOP final tables streaming for free on the World Series website became a thing of the past. Just before the 2017 WSOP began, PokerGO took hold of the ownership rights to stream WSOP final tables. The paid subscription service provided high-quality content, but left fans wanting more and the feeling of they weren’t getting enough bang for their buck. “Only” 16 events were broadcast but that total does not include all days of Main Event coverage that streamed live. Notably lacking were mixed game events and perhaps they will be added back into the rotation next year. In an industry where free content has long been the norm, the adjustment period to PokerGO’s new age business model is still being digested. #3 - PokerStars Live Rebrand Fizzles The largest change to the PokerStars Live series in 2017 came in the form of a name change. Out with the tour brands players grew to love and in with PokerStars Championships and Festivals. The first step of this process was poorly executed in the beholden Bahamas and the former but now brought back PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event drew only 738 entrants and was met with lackluster reviews from the professional and recreational ranks. That lack of enthusiasm carried over for the full year as numbers fell for the larger portion of PokerStars Live events. The company brought back the name brands of European Poker Tour and PCA to start 2018 in an attempt to spark new interest in the worldwide live tour. #2 - Gardens Casino Punts a $1 Million Guarantee Lofty guarantees drive players to casinos where they might not play otherwise. In September, the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles put a $565 buy-in with a $1 million guarantee on the schedule. Players showed up for the 14 flights initially listed but the guarantee was not met. So what did the Gardens Casino do instead of pay out the difference? They added more flights. Three more, in fact. A move such as this was unprecedented among the community and players took notice. The social media airwaves were unkind to Gardens for their decision to alter the schedule of the tournament. Most notably, complaints were made about the property overstepping the bounds of player trust and changing the starting days listed. All of this lead to a public relations disaster for the property. The tournament wound up overlaying anyway and the Gardens Casino poker team will have a lot on their hands should they end up running a similar event in the future. #1 - WSOP Player of the Year Formula In the end, the World Series and its much-maligned points formula for Player of the Year got what it deserved. From the moment this summer’s WSOP kicked off, players were displeased with the new formula put in place to decide one of poker’s most highly coveted awards. Ostensibly, no player feedback was asked for by the WSOP brass before they inputted a system that rewarded Colossus min-cashers more than $10,000 mixed game event ITM finishers. Players who were accustomed to having a linear path to making a run in the POY race found themselves having to reevaluate. Take David Bach, for example. ‘The Gunslinger’ won two bracelets and finished 87th in the final POY standings. In most years, Bach’s two bracelets alone would have him in contention for most of the summer. The result of the broken formula is the soon to be hung banner of 2017 winner Chris Ferguson, who min-cashed his way to the title. A fitting finale to a system everyone would rather forget as soon as possible.
  9. Last summer, poker players at the World Series of Poker were boisterous in the dislike of the newly implemented Player of the Year scoring system. It appears that the suits that run the WSOP heard the complaints loud and clear and have made significant changes for 2018. The new system rewards more points for wins and deep runs according to a statement released Thursday. A win is now worth approximately 20 times what a min-cash is whereas in 2017 the win was worth between three and eight times as much as a min-cash. The formula used to calculate WSOP POY points has not been made public, but players can use a calculator on the website to calculate approximate points earned for any event provided they know buy-in, field size and finishing position. Here is a comparison of the difference between 2017 and 2018 for some of the marquee events on the WSOP schedule using identical field sizes from 2017. 2018 2017 Event Win Min-Cash Win Min-Cash The Colossus ($565 NLHE) 1,317 66 347.6 32.7 $10K Heads-Up Championship 1,024 51 147.9 62.9 The Millionaire Maker ($1,500 NLHE) 1,341 67 315.7 38.7 $10K Razz 989 49 138.3 53.1 $50K Players Championship 1,338 67 184 70.1 $25K PLO High Roller 1,219 61 201.1 62 $10K Main Event 1,694 85 433.2 53.1 As in years past, events that aren't classified as "open" will not count towards POY point totals. That means the Casino Employees, Seniors, Super Seniors and Ladies Event will not allow players to earn points. Two other events will also not count towards POY: the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop and the $1,000 Tag Team event. The remaining events, plus the open events at WSOP Europe will count towards the POY race. Under the new system, Chris Ferguson would still have won the 2017 WSOP POY race thanks to a record-breaking 23 cashes which included a bracelet in the €1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event. The 2018 WSOP begins May 30.
  10. Seven years after Black Friday shut down Full Tilt Poker, Chris Ferguson wants you to now he's sorry. In a 42-second video posted by Ferguson to Vimeo on late Wednesday night, the reigning World Series of Poker Player of the Year and former Full Tilt Poker executive thanked his fans and the poker community for their "patience and support". The 55-year-old claims that he "worked relentlessly to ensure that all players got paid back" and apologizes that it took as long as it did." Most players with a balance on Full Tilt Poker on April 15, 2011 were made whole by the U.S. Government with funds from their settlement with PokerStars starting in 2014. Many "red pros" were unable to collect their full balance. As has been the case with a number of high-ranking Full Tilt Poker executives, Ferguson claims there is more to the story than they are able to tell and one day players and fans will get the truth. "One day the Full Tilt Poker story will be told, and like many of you, I look forward to that day," Ferguson said. The video comes just seven days before the 2018 WSOP begins. While this may have been an attempt to turn the tide of public opinion that currently casts Ferguson as a villain, the poker community's response to the video was far from sympathetic. Not surprisingly, Daniel Negreanu was one of the first to comment. After Black Friday, Ferguson stayed out of the poker spotlight, completely avoiding the WSOP from 2011 until deciding to return in 2016. When Ferguson returned to the WSOP in 2016, he refused to comment on or apologize for his role in Black Friday despite requests from many players. At the 2017 WSOP in Las Vegas, Ferguson cashed 17 times and was in contention for WSOP POY. He then cashed another seven times, including his sixth career bracelet win, at WSOP Europe to take home WSOP POY. As part of his win, a banner with his picture will be raised at the 2018 WSOP next week.  
  11. One look at #WSOP gives even those with the slightest interest in poker a severe case of FOMO. The first week of the 49th Annual World Series of Poker had it all. Big names fighting for multimillion-dollar scores and players mixing it up both on and off-the-felt. It’s impossible to catch everything that’s happening at the Rio in Las Vegas but here are some of the highlights we enjoyed that will make you feel like you’re in the thick of the action yourself. So Many Rings When you want to stretch your bankroll, perhaps a single table satellite is the way to go. Just beat a soft field of 9 other players and next thing you know you’re vying for a gold bracelet. Well, maybe the field isn’t that soft. On to week two!
  12. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week's show kicks off with Chris Ferguson wasting everybody's time with an apology and ends with Lance and Matt picking their teams for the PocketFives Super High Roller Bowl Fantasy Contest. Good times. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER GET THIS EPISODE ON GOOGLE PLAY
  13. Another busy day! Three more bracelets were won on Saturday at the 2018 World Series of Poker, one of which went to a former PocketFives no.1 player. Meanwhile, a final table was set, with a controversial figure in the poker world holding the chip lead over the final six. Here’s all the news from June 23. Shaun Deeb Wins Third Bracelet In $25K PLO High Roller ($1.4M) Last year, Shaun Deeb got heads-up versus Ben Yu in the $10K Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship. Yu got the best of it that day, forcing Deeb to settle for second place. Former no.1-ranked player Deeb got his revenge on Saturday though, denying Yu his third bracelet. He won the heads-up to win Event #42: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller for his third WSOP bracelet, and a massive score of $1,402,683. With six players returning on the day, the two had battled through a tough line-up which included Ryan Tosoc (6th), Jason Koon (5th), defending champion James Calderaro (4th), and Poker Hall of Famer Scotty Nguyen (3rd). Nguyen held the chip lead coming into the day, but Deeb grabbed the chip lead early. Tosoc stuck around for just four hands before making an exit, getting it in with middle pair and a flush draw versus Yu’s top pair, which held. Koon fell next, jamming with top pair but getting called by Deeb with two pair and failing to catch up. Calderaro put up a great title defence, but ultimately fell in fourth. He got unlucky to do so, with him and Deeb both getting it all in with the same top two, but Deeb hit a runner-runner backdoor straight for the KO. Three-handed, Yu doubled Nguyen to leave the 1998 Main Event champ short. Nguyen them jammed with two kings and a ten-nine, which Yu called with two queens and an ace-three. An ace hit the flop, and that proved enough. Heads-up, Deeb and Yu swapped the chip lead a couple of times, but in the end the match was short. Yu got it all-in on a low board with an overpair, straight draw and flush draw, while Deeb had a bigger overpair and a gutshot. The board bricked for Yu, giving Deeb the win. “No one really ever put me in a bad spot,” Deeb said after his victory. “I was able to control the pot sizes the way I wanted to almost every hand. That really helps, to not get in an inflated pot with a marginal hand. Everyone played their best game, I just ran the best. “I think I have a great shot at Player of the Year right now so I think I’m gonna battle, hop in every event I can and just enjoy myself.” Final Table Results: Shaun Deeb - $1,402,683 Ben Yu - $866,924 Scotty Nguyen - $592,875 James Calderaro - $414,134 Jason Koon - $295,606 Ryan Tosoc - $215,718 Spain’s Mario Prats Garcia Wins First Bracelet ($1K NLHE Turbo) Another super fast day played out in Event #45: Big Blind Antes $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels), with 41 players getting down to a winner in less than seven hours. Mario Prats Garcia ended up victorious, taking down his first bracelet and the $258,255 first-place prize. Garcia has had close calls in the past, including a runner-up finish last year, but now has a piece of WSOP jewellery. [caption id="attachment_619661" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Mario Prats Garcia Wins First Bracelet[/caption] He defeated PocketFiver Matthew ‘theginger45’ Hunt heads-up for the title, securing the win after just three hands. Hunt took the first pot, then managed to double-up in the second. But the third would end it all, when Hunt made a straight only for Prats Garcia to have a flush. You can find the rest of the final table results below, while some of 1,712 entries who went deep in this one include Justin Oliver (37th - $5,376), Manig Loeser (33rd - $6,505), Conor Beresford (32nd - $6,505), Esther Taylor (21st - $7,967), Joseph Cheong (19th - $7,967), Kathy Liebert (18th - $9,877), and Athanasios Polychronopoulos (11th - $15,730). After his win, Prats Garcia said: "Super excited, I'm super happy. I thought I could never get back here and the FT was hard. I sucked out a couple of guys and I got all the chips! I'm super excited and nervous." Final Table Results: Mario Prats Garcia - $258,255 Matthew Hunt - $159,532 Sebastian Dornbracht - $114,909 Michael Wang - $83,663 Mark Schluter - $61,580 Gregory Worner - $45,828 DJ MacKinnon - $34,486 Martin Staszko - $26,245 Lander Lijo - $20,202 Nicholas Seiken Wins Bracelet in First Ever 2-7 Tournament Here’s one for the books: Nicholas Seiken, normally a NLHE player, had never played a stand-alone 2-7 Triple Draw tournament before entering Event #44: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship. Three days later, he’s a bracelet winner and $287,987 better off. [caption id="attachment_619663" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Nicholas Seiken Wins First Bracelet[/caption] Seiken first played the game in an 8-game mixed event, and clearly took to it like a deuce to water as he defeated a tough final table today which included bracelet winner Randy Ohel, three-time bracelet winner Farzad Bonyadi, one-time bracelet winner Hanh Tran, Christopher ‘Apotheosis’ Kruk, Matt Glantz, and start-of-day chip leader Michael Noori. "I played the 2-7 Triple Draw in the 8-Game and I was like, 'I like triple draw, I want to play some triple draw,” Seiken said after his win. "The only thing that gave me a shot was having so many chips because I was playing against such good players. I had a big stack and I wanted to sit on it for a while. I didn't want to take marginal spots. I folded hands that I should be playing because I didn't want to get out of line, getting in massive pots with guys like Randy." Ohel would be his heads-up opponent, and in the final hand Ohel made a jack-nine but that was crushed by Seiken’s seventy-six. Final Table Results: Nicholas Seiken - $287,987 Randy Ohel - $177,992 Kristijonas Andrulis - $125,190 Farzad Bonyadi - $89,078 Matt Glantz - $64,131 Jason Gray - $46,722 Hanh Tran - $34,450 Christopher Kruk - $34,450 Michael Noori - $25,712 MattEMenz Wins First Ever Online PLO Bracelet Yesterday we told you how a bracelet in Event #47: $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed was awarded, making it the first online PLO bracelet handed out. However, the tournament went deep into the early morning hours Friday night, so we didn’t have a winner when we went to publish. We can now tell you that it was Matthew ‘MattEMenz’ Mendez who took it down for a $135,077 score, defeating a tough final table which included Anthony Zinno and Ankush ‘pistons87’ Mandavia. Mendez is also the first bracelet winner to play outside of Nevada. Mendez took this one down from the comfort of his New Jersey home. Final Table Results: Matthew 'mendey' Mendez - $135,077 Marton 'GS.GURU' Czuczor - $82,865 Anthony 'heheh' Zinno - $57,299 Alex '3shotwonder' Smith - $40,256 Ankush 'rickrosstheb' Mandavia - $28,745 Ao 'Maimai1990' Chen - $20,859 Chris Ferguson Leads Final 6 in $2,500 NLHE After 1,071 players took a shot, a final table of six has now been set in Event #43: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em. The player holding the chip lead is none other than 2017 Player of the Year Chris Ferguson. Ferguson is seeking his sixth bracelet, and is in good shape with a massive 5,680,000 stack. He’ll be joined by Timur Margolin (3,520,000), Ismael Bojang (2,610,000), Michael Marder (1,765,000), Dylan Linde (1,330,000), and bracelet winner Ryan Laplante (700,000). A huge pot gave Ferguson the big lead. Seth Davies was all-in with pocket fives and Bojang called with ace-king. Ferguson then woke up with pocket kings, busting Davies and getting a big double through Bojang. There’s $507,274 up top in this one, while all six are currently guaranteed $87,189. The finale kicks off at 12pm Sunday. Final Table Stacks: Chris Ferguson - 5,680,000 Timur Margolin - 3,520,000 Ismael Bojang - 2,610,000 Michael Marder - 1,765,000 Dylan Linde - 1,330,000 Ryan Laplante - 700,000 MONSTER STACK Kicks Off Event #48: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK got going with Day 1A on Saturday, with 2,246 players taking part. Ten levels later and just 723 advanced. There are multiple notable PocketFivers who bagged top 10 stacks, including Jon ‘PearlJammer’ Turner, Marc ‘sluglife’ MacDonnell, Shyam ’s_dot111’ Srinivasan, and Kenny ‘SpaceyFCB’ Hallaert. It’s James Karamanis who leads the field though, bagging up 163,600 when the bags were brought out. Others who made it through include Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson (116,600), Daniel Strelitz (90,600), Bart Lybaert (77,400), and Annette Obrestad (68,500). Some of those who failed to find a bag today include Phil ivey, Phil Laak, Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, Scott Blumstein, Arkadiy Tsinis, Dara O'Kearney, Kenna James, Mike Leah, Parker Talbot, and Antoine Saout. Day 1B begins at 10am tomorrow. Top 10 Stacks: James Karamanis - 163,600 Jonathan Turner - 156,500 Jerome Tan - 153,300 Colin McHugh - 149,400 Marc MacDonnell - 148,200 Shyam Srinivasan - 146,000 Kazuhiko Yotsushika - 135,300 Francesco Zollo - 132,000 Kenny Hallaert - 124,600 Almedin Imsirovic - 119,200 Final 15 in Mixed Hi-Lo 8 Out of the 402 players who took a shot in Event #46: $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, only 15 remain after another ten levels on Day 2. There are three players in contention for their second bracelets: Eric Rodawig, Cyndy Violette, and Hani Awad. However, it’s Ian Shaw who holds the overnight chip lead. The bubble burst today at 61 players, and a few who failed to reach the cash include Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Shanon Petluck, Nicholas Derke, Tommy Hang, Robert Campbell, John Hennigan, Barry Greenstein, Jeff Lisandro, Phil Hui, Marco Johnson, Kate Hoang, and Jesse Martin. Some of those who did make a profit include Scott Abrams (60th for $3,736), Joe Hachem (49th for $3,891), Konstantin Puchkov (47th for $4,165), Robert Mizrachi (45th for $4,165), Ian Johns (38th for $4,577), Scott Clements (33rd for $4,577), Jameson Painter (23rd for $5,969), and Ron Ware (21st for $5,969). Action gets going again at 2pm tomorrow, and they’ll play down to a winner. Whoever that ends up being will bank $214,291, while they’re all currently guaranteed $7,074. Final 15 Stacks: Ian Shaw - 575,000 Tyler Groth - 540,000 Daniel Ospina - 530,000 Brendan Taylor - 488,000 William Shelton - 458,000 Paul Tedeschi - 361,000 Levon Torosyan - 320,000 Eric Rodawig - 301,000 David Brookshire - 297,000 Carl Restifo - 294,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 272,000 Cyndy Violette - 223,000 Delmiro Toledo - 139,000 Hani Awad - 117,000 Jeffrey Mitseff - 115,000 Hughes, Lamb, Ingram Advance in 10K PLO As the $25K High Roller came to an end, Event #49: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed Championship got going, attracting 439 runners. Ten levels later and 175 players will be returning for tomorrow’s Day 2, all led by chip leader Ryan Hughes who ended with 475,400. He’s joined at the top of the counts by Veselin Karakitukov (350,800) and Ben Lamb (314,100). A few notables who made it through include poker Youtuber Joey Ingram (258,500), Michael Kamran (290,000), four-time bracelet winner Michael Mizrachi (275,100), Stephen Chidwick (245,300) and six-time bracelet winner Layne Flack (206,400). They’ll all be back at 2pm Sunday for Day 2. Top 10 Stacks: Ryan Hughes - 475,400 Veselin Karakitukov - 350,800 Ben Lamb - 314,100 Lautaro Guerra - 296,600 Hok Yiu Lee - 292,600 Michael Kamran - 290,000 Matthew Schreiber - 280,000 Michael Mizrachi - 275,100 Orlando Romero - 273,500 Jonathan Kamhazi - 270,000 Tomorrow’s Action (June 24) Sunday June 24 is mostly a day of additional Day 1s. At 10am you’ve got Day 1B of the Monster Stack, while at 7pm it’s Day 1D of the PLO Giant. The only new event to begin kicks off at 3pm: Event #50: $1,500 Razz. However, we should have at least two new bracelet winners to tell you about, so make sure you come back tomorrow for all the news.
  14. The 2019 World Series of Poker is almost here. It's the 50th annual WSOP and there's a lot of anticipation of what's to come this summer. One player who always looks forward to the summer is Phil Hellmuth. He's the poker player with the most WSOP gold bracelets (15) and most WSOP cashes (134), plus it's 30 years since he won the 1989 WSOP Main Event. "I love it!" Hellmuth told PocketFives when asked how it feels to have the WSOP right around the corner once again. "It's 30 years since my win in the WSOP Main Event." In 1989, a 24-year-old Hellmuth shocked the gambling world when he defeated two-time defending champion Johnny Chan to win the WSOP Main Event for $755,000. Hellmuth topped a field of 178 entries and launched himself into poker stardom. It was the first of his 15 gold bracelets, one of which was the WSOP Europe Main Event title in 2012, and 30 years later he's still hungry for more. "It would be nice to win a no-limit 2-7 tournament - I have two second-place finishes - as I've always seen myself winning one," Hellmuth said when asked what he's most looking forward to this summer, other than the Main Event. "It would be nice to win another razz tourney. That would solidify me as the best razz tourney player in the world, based on WSOP results. I would love to win a seven-card stud eight-or-better tourney or an eight-game mix or 10-game mix. Finally, winning a huge buy-in or field size no-limit hold’em tournament or heads-up tourney would be spectacular." In addition to those events, Hellmuth recently took to social media to proclaim, "I want to win a WSOP PLO bracelet in the next few years!" Of all the bracelets he's won, he has yet to earn one in the great game of pot-limit Omaha. His best WSOP performance in this exciting, four-card variant was a fourth-place finish at the 2000 WSOP. "I'm behind the curve in two tourney games: pot-limit Omaha and 2-7 triple draw," Hellmuth said. "I keep improving, which is wonderful, and who knows where that will lead. No one thought I would become the best razz tourney player in the world, and yet, I have shredded the WSOP razz tourneys since 2012 like no other. It's been a historic run, with two firsts, a second, a fifth, and a 13th. So, I need to improve at PLO tourneys. I need to learn something from Jason Mercier and Shaun Deeb." Speaking of Mercier and Deeb, Hellmuth included these two players, who hold five and four bracelets, respectively, when mentioning who might be able to catch him in the great bracelet race. "Daniel Negreanu says he will catch me in cashes," Hellmuth said. "A little known fact is that Negreanu has actually played more WSOP tourneys than I have. Others have said they will catch me in bracelets. Phil Ivey says his goal is to win 30. I was shooting for 24, until Ivey went public going for 30, then I changed my goal to 30. But 24 would still be amazing. Let me get there first. So, Ivey. Maybe Negreanu, Deeb, Mercier, John Monnette, or John Hennigan. In hold'em, of which I have 13 so far, maybe Joe Cada, Dominik Nitsche, or Adrian Mateos." Hellmuth is currently top of the charts in most WSOP gold bracelets and most WSOP cashes, two records that he holds by quite wide margins. In the bracelets category, the next closest are Ivey, Chan, and Doyle Brunson, who each have 10. For cashes, Hellmuth is first with 137 and then Chris Ferguson is second with 120. Negreanu currently sits third entering the 2019 WSOP with 108. "Let's not forget that I hold the record for most WSOP final tables," Hellmuth added. "It would be nice to own the money list title, but to me, it's all about the bracelets." Hellmuth's last gold bracelet win came last year when he won the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 30-Minute Levels tournament for $485,082. For final tables, the last time he didn't make one at the WSOP was in 2013. Having played the WSOP for so long and racked up so many accolades, it wouldn't be out of the question for Hellmuth to slow down and take it easy a bit, just as most athletes can get their titles and then take it a little easier. But every WSOP, whether in Las Vegas during the summer or elsewhere in the world some other time of the year, Hellmuth is grinding away and looking to add another few lines to the record books that are already littered with his name. "It's in my nature, it's in my DNA," Hellmuth said when asked what continues to drive him. "I'm super competitive, and I'm competing against the best players in the world, in this era, and last and future eras, for greatest poker player of all time. Right now, I have all of the records, but 15 WSOP bracelets is not enough to keep the record. So I stay focused, I stay determined, I pay attention, and keep abreast of new strategies. I stay away from drugs, away from drinking too much, and I take care of myself; watching my weight and sleeping in almost every single day. Long-term health is a factor in this race." With decades of experience at the WSOP, Hellmuth has undoubtedly seen a lot over the years. For that reason, there are few better to ask what the biggest differences are between then and now. "The numbers," Hellmuth said. "The WSOP was special back then, and a lot more like a convention for all of the best poker players in the world. But now, it's out of control with huge numbers, and I love it. Also, back in 1988 and 1989, we had a lot of one-day tournaments." While excited for what's to come poker-wise, Hellmuth has been quite busy as of late, but not necessarily in the poker realm. If you follow him on social media, then you're likely aware of some of the off-the-felt moves he's been making. "I'm doing a lot of business deals right now, both as an investor and as someone that's honored to be joining advisory boards (just joined LassoGear.com advisory board). In the last six months, I have invested in b spot (online slot machines), TravelSmarter.com (direct-to-consumer hotel room rates, airfare, and a lot more), End Game Talent Agency (esports talent agency), and STEAM Role (mentoring site). "I love business, but all of the founders understand that I will disappear into poker on May 25," Hellmuth said. "I really need to cut off all communication for a few months and focus on playing great poker. For the 2019 WSOP, I'm adding back mediation." Lastly, with the WSOP Main Event seeing a rise in attendance over the previous year in each of the last three years, Hellmuth needed to be asked to give a prediction for the 2019 WSOP Main Event. "I think we will crack 10,000 players!" Hellmuth said. "The ESPN coverage, thanks to PokerGO and Cary Katz, has been spectacular, with 14 days of coverage, and the economy is crushing!"
  15. 2019 marks the 50th annual World Series of Poker. The most prestigious poker festival in history has played a pivotal role in creating many of the legends and superstars of the game. To commemorate the occasion, PocketFives editorial staff each ranked the top 50 players in WSOP history in an effort to define and rank the most important, influential, and greatest WSOP players of all time. Chris Ferguson BRACELETS CASHES WINNINGS TOP 10s 6 120 $5,065,854 40 Chris Ferguson is one of just 15 players with six or more WSOP gold bracelets. He’s twice won multiple bracelets in the same year, and he’s also the winner of the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year award. Entering the 50th annual WSOP in 2019, Ferguson had 120 WSOP cashes and more than $5 million won. If it wasn't for the Full Tilt Poker debacle that became widely publicized following Black Friday, Ferguson would be held in much higher regard within the poker community. Even so, there's simply no denying that one of the greatest players in World Series of Poker history. Ferguson's first WSOP gold bracelet came in 2000. Actually, his first two bracelets came in 2000, but it wasn’t as though he hadn’t found some success in years before that. In fact, Ferguson had been knocking on the doorstep of winning a bracelet a few different times. Before 2000, he had six WSOP final table appearances. His first bracelet came in the $2,500 Seven Card Stud event in 2000 when Ferguson won $151,000. That same Series, he also made the final table of the $1,500 Razz and $5,000 Omaha Hi-Low events, but the real shine came when he won the $10,000 Main Event to the tune of $1.5 million. It was quite the championship final table he topped, too. Ferguson defeated TJ Cloutier in heads-up play, plus Hasan Habib, James McManus, Jeff Schulman, Tom Franklin, and Mickey Appleman were all there. In 2001, Ferguson picked up right where he left off, winning his third gold bracelet right out of the gate. He took first place in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low event for $164,735, denying Men 'The Master' Nguyen another taste of victory. Ferguson also had a fifth-place finish and three 12th-place finishes that summer in Las Vegas. We guess 2002 was a down year for Ferguson because he only had two WSOP cashes and didn’t win a bracelet. He did finish second in one event and sixth in another, though. In 2003, he returned to the WSOP winner’s circle twice. First, he won the $2,000 Omaha Hi-Low event for $123,680, and then he won the $2,000 Limit Hold’em/Seven Card Stud event for $66,220. He also added six WSOP cashes in addition to those wins. There’s a nice, big gap in Ferguson’s WSOP résumé between 2011 and 2015, a result of him staying well out of the poker spotlight in the aftermath of the Full Tilt scandal. He returned to the WSOP felt in 2016, though, and did so in the form 10 cashes and one final table. In 2017, Ferguson cashed 17 times at the WSOP in Las Vegas and another six times at WSOP Europe. It was in Europe that he won his sixth gold bracelet when he took down the €1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event for €39,289. With all of the success in 2017, Ferguson won the WSOP Player of the Year award. In 2018, he cashed another 17 times at the WSOP and six times at WSOP Europe, with two fourth-place finishes in the mix. Ferguson's number of WSOP cashes have him second all-time behind only Phil Hellmuth, and even without his six gold bracelets he has 30 WSOP final tables to his credit. If Ferguson continues to put in the volume he has been recently, his track record shows that he’ll continue to rack up cashes and final tables, all while being a threat to win more bracelets and another WSOP Player of the Year title. He’s still nine bracelets off of Hellmuth's record of 15, but don’t be surprised to see Ferguson be the biggest challenger to Hellmuth over the next decade or so.
  16. Sunday at the 2019 World Series of Poker saw three players from three different countries win the first bracelets of their careers including an American pro taking down the largest Online Championship event in history. Sejin Park Takes Down Colossus for $451K For the second time in a week, a South Korean player has won a WSOP bracelet. Sejin Park started the final table with the third shortest stack and battled his way to having the chip lead heads-up before eliminating Georgios Kapalas to win the bracelet. Park, a 37-year-old poker pro, had never cashed a WSOP event before. Along with sending Kapalas to the rail, Park also eliminated Norson Saho in sixth and Juan Lopez in fourth. Park banked a career-best $451,272 score for the win. Kapalas, who started the day with the biggest stack, took home $278,881 for his second-place finish. Kapalas was also responsible for three eliminations at the final table. Final Table Payouts Sejin Park - $451,272 Georgios Kapalas - $278,881 Ryan Depaulo - $208,643 Juan Lopez - $157,106 Andrew Barber - $119,072 Norson Saho - $90,838 Patrick Miller - $69,757 Maksim Kalman - $53,925 Diego Lima - $41,965 Russian Anatolii Zyrin Binks $1,500 Omaha Mix Rich Zhu almost defended his title. The only player who prevented was Russian poker streamer Anatolii Zyrin. The 29-year-old Zyrin actually trailed Zhu when heads-up play began. It took a little more than an hour for Zyrin to flip the script and eventually eliminate Zhu in second place. This is Zyrin's eighth cash of the 2019 WSOP. He finished runner-up to Brett Apter in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Shootout event in early June. Zhu, who won this event last summer, took home $123,466 for his runner-up finish. This is Zhu's 10th cash this summer and 88th of his career. James Van Alstyne finished third for $84,106. Final Table Payouts Anatolii Zyrin - $199,838 Yueqi Zhu - $123,466 James Van Alstyne - $84,106 Mesbah Guerfi - $58,289 Aron Dermer - $41,112 Iori Yogo - $29,518 Alan Sternberg - $21,582 Ivo Donev - $16,075 Nicholas 'Illari' Baris Takes Down $1,000 Online Championship Nicholas 'Illari' Baris beat out a record-setting field to win $303,738.75 and the first WSOP bracelet of his career. Baris beat Tara 'bertperton' Cain heads-up to win the title. Cain ended up with a $187,530 payday. William 'TheBurrSir' Lamb rounded out the podium finishers with a third-place result and won $113,332.50. Chris Ferguson finished seventh. This is the largest field in the history of the $1,000 Online Championship. The 1,750 runners beat the 2018 field by 115 players. Final Table Payouts Nicholas 'Illari' Baris - $303,738.75 Tara 'bertperton' Cain - $187,530 William 'TheBurrSir' Lamb - $113,332.50 David 'YoungPitts' Baker - $96,092.50 Jason 'LuckDuck' Lawhun - $69,991.25 Jack 'Mr. Yang' Maskill - $51,703.75 Chris 'Camdi' Ferguson - $38,736.25 Ryan 'PlzCumAgain' Jones - $29,260 Antonio 'karma007' Guerrero - $22,443.75 Massive Day 1D Field in $888 Crazy Eights The $888 Crazy Eights event kept the hallways at the Rio packed on Sunday with 4,494 players pushing the four-day total to 10,188. Just 561 players survived Day 1D with Luis Pinho bagging up 1,419,000 for the biggest stack through all four starting flights. Gal Erlichman finished with 1,275,000 for the second-best stack while Vlad Darie rounded out the top three with 1,200,000. Everybody in the top 10 from Day 1D finished with more than 1,000,000 in chips. Some of the notables who managed to make it through Day 1D include Chance Kornuth, Andrew Brokos, Ryan Leng, Mark Radoja, Greg Merson, Anatoly Filatov, William Kassouf, Greg Raymer, Jay Farber, and Ryan Riess. The 1,223 players who survived the four opening flights will be back in action on Monday beginning at Noon PT. Top Day 1D Chip Counts Luis Pinho - 1,419,000 Gal Erlichman - 1,275,000 Vlad Darie - 1,200,000 Muhammad Abdel Rahim - 1,118,000 Pierre Merlin - 1,085,000 Nino Ullman - 1,074,000 Artem Metalidi - 1,052,000 Kee Fredkove - 1,041,000 Soukha Kachittavong - 1,030,000 Grayson Ramage - 1,030,000 Nick Schulman Leads $10K Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Final Table Just seven players are still standing after three days of play in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Nick Schulman stands tallest among them all. Schulman bagged up 3,355,000 and leads Brian Hastings by 620,000. Hastings, who has four bracelets including two $10,000 Championship events, bagged up 2,735,000. Right behind him is 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem with 2,430,000. 2018 World Championship of Online Poker leaderboard winner Denis Strebkov finished with 885,000 for the fifth-biggest stack. The day started with 43 players and after 14 players busted without cashing to burst the bubble, Steven Wolansky busted in 29th place to 13th cash of the summer. He's now tied with four other players for the most cashes this year. Other players who busted in the money include Randy Ohel, Dylan Wilkerson, Leif Force, Darryll Fish, Matt Vengrin, Connor Drinan, and Bryce Yockey. The final table begins at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Nick Schulman - 3,355,000 Brian Hastings - 2,735,000 Joe Hachem - 2,430,000 Christopher Vitch - 1,940,000 Denis Strebkov - 885,000 Corey Hochman - 170,000 Michael McKenna - 65,000 David 'ODB' Baker Leads Final 21 in $1,500 Limit Hold'em David Baker already won a World Poker Tour title this year. On Sunday, he took a step towards adding a WSOP bracelet to his list of 2019 accomplishments. Baker, who won his only WSOP bracelet in 2012, finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Limit Hold'em event with 1,275,000 and a massive lead over the rest of the field. Ron Carmona bagged the second largest stack with 488,000. Right behind him is Ruiko Mamiya with 486,000. Chris Ferguson, who finished seventh in the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Online Championship, bagged up the sixth biggest stack in this event. Other familiar faces who advanced to Day 3 include Greg Mueller, Matt Glantz, and Daniel Negreanu. The final 21 return to action at 2 PM PT and will play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts David 'ODB' Baker - 1,275,000 Ron Carmona - 488,000 Ruiko Mamiya - 486,000 Nicholas Pupillo - 403,000 Brian Kim - 373,000 Chris Ferguson - 361,000 Dominzo Love - 360,000 Kenneth Donoghue - 324,000 Greg Mueller - 262,000 Matt Glantz - 247,000 Ali Eslami Leads Day 1 of $10K Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Ali Eslami hasn't cashed in a WSOP event in five years, but he finished Day 1 of the $10,00 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event atop the 68 players who made it through the day. Eslami finished with 275,000 to edge out Rich Zhu, who registered only after busting the $1,500 Mixed Omaha event in second-place. The event drew 134 runners with registration open until the start of Day 2. Eli Elezra, Jon Turner, Anthony Zinno, Jason Mercier, Randy Ohel, Jeff Lisandro, Jake Schwartz, Brandon Shack-Harris, Erik Seidel, Chris Bjorin, and Dan Zack also bagged up chips to advance to Day 2. Play resumes at 2 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Ali Eslami - 275,500 Yueqi Zhu - 272,000 Andres Norbe - 266,500 Eli Elezra - 264,000 Harvey Goldstein - 242,500 Jon Turner - 229,500 Anthony Zinno - 223,000 Jason Mercier - 216,500 Randy Ohel - 195,500 Perry Friedman - 191,000
  17. 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 May, the poker world was surprised when it was announced that Daniel Negreanu, the face of PokerStars, was no longer going to be an ambassador for the online site. Daniel Negreanu And PokerStars Part Ways One of the most stable relationships in the poker world ended in May as Daniel Negreanu and PokerStars announced that they would be going their separate ways. Right before the World Series of Poker and only days after his high-profile wedding to Amanda Leatherman, Negreanu took to Twitter and posted a short video that announced that he would no longer be patched up for the online poker giant. Negreanu began representing the PokerStars brand in 2007 and quickly became the face of the company, including taking on plenty of criticism during PokerStars' controversial termination of the SuperNova Elite program in late 2015. “Daniel has been one of the most influential faces of poker and indeed PokerStars for 12 years,” said Stars Group Public Relations associate director Rebecca McAdam. “It has been wonderful to have his passion, support, and insights throughout our relationship. We wish Daniel the very best for the future, as well as wedded bliss and tons of run good this summer.” Six months after the end of his deal with PokerStars, Negreanu announced he would now be representing upcoming online poker site GGPoker in a deal that is believed to be worth even more than his contract with PokerStars. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] PocketFives Counts Down Top 50 Ahead of the 50th Annual World Series of Poker, the PocketFives editorial staff released their list of the 50 Greatest Players in World Series of Poker History. From old-school legends to internet grinders, the list is a snapshot of not just the history of the WSOP, but also of poker itself. Take a look back at our top 10 list of the players who made their name on the World Series of Poker stage. 10. Jason Mercier 9. Michael Mizrachi 8. Chris Ferguson 7. Erik Seidel 6. Daniel Negreanu 5. Johnny Chan 4. Phil Ivey 3. Stu Ungar 2. Doyle Brunson 1. Phil Hellmuth Phil Hellmuth Is Not Satisfied, Never Will Be With the 2019 World Series of Poker right around the corner, 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth spoke with PocketFives about what it means for him to hold all the records and what the 1989 Main Event winner was hoping would happen at the series, 30 years after his career-defining victory. “It’s in my nature, it’s in my DNA,” Hellmuth said of his drive to be the best. “I'm super competitive, and I’m competing against the best players in the world, in this era, and past and future eras, for greatest poker player of all time.” partypoker Invades Sin City Summer in Las Vegas belongs to the World Series of Poker. But in 2019, partypoker decided to get in on the action and announced that their partypoker MILLIONS series would be headed to the ARIA Hotel & Casino, marking the first time they’ve held a tournament in America. “We’re looking forward to MILLIONS making its debut this summer at the record,” said ARIA Director of Poker Operations Sean McCormack. “Our team is excited to add an event of this magnitude to our extensive summer schedule.” The partypoker MILLIONS had a $10,300 buy-in and a $5 million guarantee. The tournament ended up crushing the guarantee with Thomas Marchese taking home the $1,000,000 first-place prize of the over $5.36 million prize pool. Alex ‘SploogeLuge’ Foxen Wins May PLB Live or online, when it comes to poker Alex ‘SploogeLuge’ Foxen has proved he can do it all. In May, he took down the PocketFives Leaderboard for the first time. The former GPI #1-ranked player spent plenty of time in Canada this year, grinding some of the biggest online poker tournaments which helped him reach a career-high ranking of #4 in the world and soar past $5 million in lifetime online earnings.
  18. Las Vegas poker pro Jeffrey Dobrin’s persistence has paid off. After weeks of grinding the 2020 World Series of Poker, he not only made his first final table but ended up winning Event #80 ($600 Six-Max People’s Choice Event - Pros Vote) for $189,666 and his first career gold bracelet. One look at Dobrin’s Hendon Mob profile will tell you that he’s been on the WSOP grind all summer long. Prior to his gold bracelet run, Dobrin, a two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner, racked up fifteen total 2020 WSOP results both on WSOP.com and GGPoker. Although he had been cashing regularly, all of the results only accounted for just under $25,000 in earnings, an average of roughly $1,600 per event. While Dobrin hadn’t really even been close to making the big money this summer (his deepest result was a 31st place finish), when it counted he made all the right moves to capture what is one of the biggest cashes of his career. The action of the final table kicked off with one of poker’s most notable names hitting the rail in short order. After making an incorrect hero call just minutes before, six-time WSOP bracelet winner Chris Ferguson shipped his short stack in from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="2h"] only to run into the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] of Joao Santos in the small blind. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="qh"][poker card="6h"][poker card="js"][poker card="qc"] board ran out clean for Joao’s pocket aces and the former Full Tilt Pro hit the rail in ninth place for $14,404. Nearly thirty minutes later, Japan’s Hiroki Morishita, with less than five big blinds left in his stack, moved in from the small blind with [poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"]. He was called by Marc MacDonnell in the big blind holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] brought Morishita some additional straight outs which he smashed on the [poker card="3s"] turn. However, the river brought the [poker card="6h"] giving MacDonnell a higher straight and eliminating Morishita in eighth place for $20,034. Next, it was Arvhin Malinab’s turn to ship from the small blind as he moved his short stack all in with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"] and was called by Sergio Veloso in the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="js"][poker card="8h"] flop kept Malinab ahead but gave Veloso some additional backdoor outs. The [poker card="ts"] turn helped Veloso by opening up both flush and open-ended straight outs. The [poker card="qd"] completed the backdoor possibilities bringing Veloso the straight and sending Malinab and his pocket sixes out the door in seventh for $27,863. Even with the knockout, Veloso was still one of the short stacks. He found his spot to pick up chips when, after a Vahe Martirosyan open, Dobrin three-bet shipped on the button holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] which allowed Veloso to move all in for less with the [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"]. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="7d"][66] giving Dobrin top pair and leaving Veloso looking for help. The [poker card="kd"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] fell on the river sending Veloso out in sixth place for $38,752. Minutes later MacDonnell moved his eight big blind stack all in from under the gun holding [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"]. It folded around to Joao Santos in the big blind who snap-called with his [poker card="jc"][poker card="jd"]. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"][poker card="9s"] giving Joao a set and leaving MacDonnell looking for a gutshot straight or some backdoor help. All of that was put to rest though when the [poker card="jh"] hit the turn, giving Joao quads and leaving MacDonnell drawing dead to the [poker card="2c"] river. MacDonnell finished in fifth place for $53,897. Santos’ stack slipped for the better part of thirty minutes when he found himself all in and at risk. Idris Ambraisse shipped roughly fourteen big blinds from the button holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"] and Santos decided to make the call for less with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. The board ran out [poker card="6d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8d"] giving the hand to Ambraisse’s ace-high and sending Santos out in fourth place for $74,960. It was anyone’s tournament at three-handed with stack sizes all running close together. Eventually, after a big hand that left Martiosyan short, he moved all in from the button holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"] and was called by Dobrin in the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4d"] flop put Martiosyan in bad shape, looking for runner-runner outs. The [poker card="4h"] turn was not one of them, leaving Martiosyan drawing dead before the [poker card="3s"] hit the river. Martiosyan settled for third place and $104,255. Ambraisse held a slight chip lead over Dobrin at the start of heads-up play, however a few key hands turned the tide in Dobrin’s favor. Ambraisse found a late-game double but on the very next hand, Dobrin was able to close it out when both players woke up with premium heads up hands. Ambraisse called on the button with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"] and Dobrin raised holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"]. Ambraisse shipped and Dobrin snap-called with the chip lead. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="5d"] board gave the hand and the bracelet to Dobrin. Ambraisse ended up as the runner up and walked away with $144,998. Jeffrey Dobrin earned the $189,666 first-place prize, a $12,000 package to participate in the World Series of Europe, and his first career gold bracelet. Final Table Payouts Jeffrey Dobrin - $189,666 Idris Ambraisse - $144,998 Vahe Martirosyan - $104,255 Joao Santos - $74,960 Marc MacDonnell - $53,897 Sergio Veloso - $38,752 Arvhin Malinab - $27,863 Hiroki Morishita - $20,034 Chris Ferguson - $14,404

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