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Found 30 results

  1. ClubWPT, the sweepstakes-based online poker membership club of the World Poker Tour, is upping its game for 2020. If a ClubWPT VIP member qualifies for a WPT Main Tour event and then goes on to win that WPT Main Tour event that they qualified, the qualifier will win an additional $1,000,000. The ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus comes in addition to any money won from the event itself. "Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of players have honed their skills on ClubWPT, and we’re proud to kick off a new decade with the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus," Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, said. "With millions of dollars at stake in every WPT event, and now a $1,000,000 bonus on the line, ClubWPT is clearly the most rewarding way for players to qualify for a seat on the World Poker Tour." The WPT Gardens Poker Championship is the first event eligible for the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus. Scheduled to start Thursday, January 9, 2020, this event takes place at the Gardens Casino in Southern California and features a $10,000 buy-in. It is the first televised WPT event of Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour, with the TV final table to play out on Tuesday, March 31, at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. Additional events with eligibility for the ClubWPT $1,000,000 Bonus are the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, and WPT Choctaw. A full list of qualifying events will be available soon. In recent seasons of the World Poker Tour, Bruce Collado is the ClubWPT VIP member to run the deepest in a WPT Main Tour event that he qualified for on ClubWPT.com. Collado won his way to the Season XVII WPT Borgata Poker Open Championship and finished in 56th place from the 1,075 entries. Running deep in a big-field event wasn’t something that Collado was new to, as he beat a field of 2,400 entries to win his way to the Borgata event. Collado turned his qualifying ticket into $11,123 for his 56th-place result. The season before, ClubWPT qualifier James McLaughlin also won his way to the WPT Borgata Poker Open. In a field of 1,132 entries, McLaughlin finished in 100th place for $6,993. During his run, McLaughlin got to play with Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy, winner of the first-ever PocketFives Legacy Award. McLaughlin’s in-the-money finish broke a dry streak for ClubWPT qualifiers. Before him, Ernest Evans was the last ClubWPT qualifier to cash in a WPT Main Tour event when he took 62nd from a field 1,476 entries in the Season XIII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $12,000. What Is ClubWPT? ClubWPT is the official subscription online poker game of the World Poker Tour. VIP users pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access to full episodes from every past season of the WPT television show, plus magazine subscriptions, and coupons. Plus, ClubWPT VIP members can play poker to win a share of $100,000 in cash and prizes each month, including seats to World Poker Tour events. It is the seats to those WPT events that can turn into a seven-figure bonus for ClubWPT VIP members. ClubWPT is online poker that operates under sweepstakes rules where allowed. Included in the 36 eligible territories is Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The full list is available on ClubWPT.com. According to ClubWPT.com, starting Wednesday, January 15, 2020, ClubWPT’s VIP membership costs $27.95 monthly, $74.95 quarterly, and $264.95 annually.
  2. The Season XVIII World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic crowned its winner on Saturday, with Alex Foxen topping the record-breaking field of 1,035 entries to win the $1.694 million first-place prize. "It feels, I don't know… surreal," Foxen said in the moments following the win. "It’s kind of hard to put into words, but it feels amazing. The last time I got to this spot, I was a little bit disappointed in the way that I played heads up. It’s just incredible to get the opportunity again and be fortunate enough to pull out the win. I don’t have words." Back in Season XVI, Foxen found himself heads up with Ryan Tosoc in this very event. Tosoc had finished runner-up the year before and was back in heads-up play with a chance to better his previous result. Back then, Foxen couldn’t overcome Tosoc in what was a very lighthearted heads-up battle with plenty of fun had between the two and he had to settle for a second-place payout of $1.134 million. "I do feel like I was so excited about having that opportunity," Foxen said of the difference between his two WPT Five Diamond heads-up appearances. "I think that score I locked up was already five or six times my biggest score to date at that point, so there was an element of me feeling like I lost a little bit of focus and maybe didn’t take it as seriously as I should have because, regardless of the outcome of heads-up play, it was such an amazing result that in the moment I didn’t see the severity of that situation. I definitely didn’t make that same mistake twice." Much like Tosoc had redeemed his second-place finish with a victory the following season, Foxen came back two seasons after his runner-up finish to get the job done and capture the WPT Five Diamond throne. The victory gave Foxen his first WPT title. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Final Table Results 1st: Alex Foxen - $1,694,995 2nd: Toby Joyce - $1,120,040 3rd: Seth Davies - $827,285 4th: Peter Neff - $617,480 5th: Danny Park - $465,780 6th: Jonathan Jaffe - $355,125 Foxen came into Saturday’s final table in second position on the leaderboard with six players remaining. In fewer than 30 hands, Foxen had improved to the chip lead. Shortly after gaining the top spot, he knocked out WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Jaffe in sixth place. Although others did some damage of their own, such as Toby Joyce knocking out start-of-day chip leader Danny Park in fifth place and Seth Davies busting Peter Neff in fourth place, Foxen never gave up the lead once he had it. Three-handed play between Foxen, Joyce, and Davies lasted for quite some time. Even though both Joyce and Davies scored double ups during the battle, things never appeared to get away from Foxen as he stayed strong behind the wall of chips he built. Eventually, Davies’ stack shrunk and he got the last of his money in against Foxen in a dominated position. Foxen had the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"] to Davies’ [poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"]. Davies, a WPT Champions Club member, did flop some outs to a chop but he was ultimately done in thanks to the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] board. Entering heads-up play with Joyce, Foxen had the chip lead with 29.5 million to Joyce’s 11.9 million, and the match was never really close. Joyce narrowed the gap ever so slightly at the beginning of the duel, but Foxen’s dominance was too much and he quickly started to distance himself. On the final hand, Foxen had limped on the button with the blinds at 200,000/400,000 with a 400,000 big blind ante. Joyce checked and the dealer fanned the [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop. Joyce checked, Foxen bet 400,000, and then Joyce check-raised to 1.1 million. Foxen put in a raise of his own and made it 2 million to go. Joyce called to see the [poker card="Kc"] land on fourth street. Joyce checked and Foxen shoved all in, for what was effectively 4.5 million because he had Joyce covered. Joyce tanked and used four 30-second time extensions to think things through. Joyce eventually made the call with the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9c"] for a pair of jacks, but Foxen had him out-kicked with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Js"]. The river was the [poker card="4c"] to seal the deal for Foxen. For his runner-up finish, Joyce scored $1.12 million in prize money. Fourth Consecutive Record Turnout for Five Diamond It was the fourth consecutive record-setting turnout for WPT Five Diamond, and this season’s 1,035 entries topped last season’s 1,001. The seasons prior to that were 812 entries for Season XVI and 791 entries for Season XV. In this event, the top 130 finished reached the money. Included in those to cash were Eric Afriat (9th - $168,005), Darren Elias (14th - $107,840), Chino Rheem (22nd - $60,435), Cary Katz (44th - $37,670), Kitty Kuo (67th - $26,220), Cliff Josephy (74th - $23,830), and Maria Ho (116th - $19,345). Also running deep was Timo Kamphues, who placed seventh in the Season XVIII WPT Five Diamond for $273,695. He has had quite the week of poker in Las Vegas, as just a few days prior to his run at Bellagio, Kamphues won the Wynn Poker Winter Classic $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournament for $202,787. Foxen Takes Player of the Year Lead With the victory, Foxen moved to first place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings. Both Foxen and Joyce have the same amount of points, 1,400, but Foxen holds the tiebreaker of most money won. Joyce earned his second cash of the season and is currently second in the race. 1st: Alex Foxen - 1,400 points 2nd: Toby Joyce - 1,400 points 3rd: Donald Maloney - 1,300 points 4th: Aaron Van Blarcum - 1,275 points 5th: Geoffrey Hum - 1,250 points 6th: Milen Stefanov - 1,200 points 7th: Kevin Albers - 1,200 points 8th: Simon Brandstrom - 1,200 points 9th: Peter Neff - 1,150 points 10th: Seth Davies - 1,100 points WPT Gardens Poker Championship Up Next Up next for the WPT Main Tour is the WPT Gardens Poker Championship at the Gardens Casino in Southern California. The $10,000 buy-in event kicks off January 9, 2020, and runs through January 13.
  3. The Wynn Las Vegas poker room stepped up its holiday game this year with the first-ever Wynn Winter Classic. Anchoring the schedule was the $5,300 Championship and it attracted a field of 557 entries to generate a prize pool of $2.74 million. Taking home the inaugural title was Michael Rocco, who earned $540,800 in first-place prize money. Rocco defeated Michael Dyer in heads-up play to win the title. Dyer gained notoriety from his third-place finish in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, when he took home $3.75 million in prize money. For his runner-up finish in the Wynn Poker Winter Classic Championship, Dyer earned $353,242. Also placing at the final table were Louis Salter (4th - $168,312), Joe Kuether (5th- $124,690), and Adam Hendrix (8th - $63,852). Bubbling the final table was Galen Hall, who took home $45,987 for his 10th-place finish. Right behind him were notables Ankush Mandavia and Kahle Burns in 11th and 12th places, respectively. Mandavia also earned $45,987 and then Burns took home $39,474. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Final Table Results 1st: Michael Rocco - $540,800 2nd: Michael Dyer - $353,242 3rd: Ben Farrell - $239,789 4th: Louis Salter - $168,312 5th: Joe Kuether - $124,690 6th: Matt Yarra - $96,738 7th: Tomas Soderstrom - $77,006 8th: Adam Hendrix - $63,852 9th: Josh Bergman - $53,987 According to live reporting provided by PokerNews, the final hand between Rocco and Dyer saw Dyer open with a raise to 1 million and Rocco call to see the flop come down [poker card="Ks"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"]. Both players checked and the dealer landed the [poker card="Td"] on the turn. Rocco led for 2 million, Dyer called, and the river was the [poker card="2h"]. Rocco, having Dyer covered, shoved for effectively 9 million. Dyer called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qc"] for ace high. Rocco had him beat with the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="6h"] for two pair and won the tournament. Others to cash in the event were Shannon Shorr (15th - $34,325), Justin Bonomo (25th - $19,797), Matt Glantz (31st - $17,290), Maria Ho (39th - $15,101), and Cliff Josephy (54th - $11,619). Gerhart and Kamphues Also Score Big at Wynn The $5,300 Championship wasn’t the only big event as part of the 2019 Wynn Winter Classic schedule. Two events that stood out were the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee and $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournaments. In the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee, a field of 727 entries generated a prize pool of $380,366. The top 80 places paid, and it was Kevin Gerhart walking away with the lion’s share of the prize pool. Gerhart won the event for a score of $69,561. In the $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee, a field of 1,230 entries created a prize pool of $1.204 million. Germany's Timo Kamphues emerged victorious to win $202,787. After this result, Kamphues went over to Bellagio and finished seventh in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $273,695.
  4. [caption width="640"] Guo Liang Chen won 9,058 for taking down the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event Friday in Atlantic City (WPT Photo)[/caption] In yet another exciting final table in Season XVI of the World Poker Tour, Guo Liang Chen outlasted a final table that included Cliff Josephy and 2017 Winter Poker Open WPT final tablist Jia Liu. Final table play lasted for 10 hours and when the dust settled, it was Chen who earned the title after a hard fought battle. In Hand #50 of the final table, Thomas Paul was the first player eliminated of the six. Paul was short after doubling up Chen in a previous hand, and was eliminated by Chen a few hands later. Chen opened to 260,000 and Paul defended out of the big blind. Paul checked the [poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] flop and Chen went all in. Paul called for a few blinds more with [poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"] for a pair against the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] of Chen. The [poker card="js"] turn was clean but the [poker card="kc"] sent Paul out the door. In the first hand of 75,000/150,000, Josephy was eliminated by Greg Weber. Josephy started the final table as the shortest stack in play. Weber shoved with [poker card="qs"][poker card="js"] in the small blind and Josephy called of with [poker card="ad"][poker card="3h"] in the big blind for 2,175,000. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9h"] flop put Weber in the lead and although Josephy picked up flush outs on the [poker card="jh"] turn, he was dead on the [poker card="3s"] river. It was 36 more hands before Matt Parry, who came into the final table as chip leader, was sent out by Weber. Parry opened the button to 450,000 and Weber three-bet from the big blind to 1,200,000. Parry jammed for 5,225,000 total and Weber called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] of Parry was in huge trouble. A king hit the flop and Parry was dead on the turn. Three-handed play lasted for over 60 hands as Weber, Chen, and Liu traded the chip lead before Liu finally succumbed. With the blinds up to 150,000/300,000, Liu shoved the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"] for 4,175,000 and Chen called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="9d"] board proved no good and Chen was heads up for the title against Weber. Chen started heads up with a deficit but battled back after calling for his tournament life on the river. Weber opened the button to 1,000,000 and Chen defended. Chen checked the [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"] flop and then called the bet of 1,000,000 from Weber. Chen bet 1,500,000 on the [poker card="3d"] turn and Weber called to the [poker card="as"] river. Chen checked and Weber put him all in for 5,750,000. It took a moment, but Chen called with [poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] to pick off the bluff of Weber [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"]. Only a dozen hands later, Chen sealed the title. Weber shoved for 5,050,000 holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="9s"] and Chen looked him up with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qh"] board gave Chen the title and the $789,058 first place prize and a seat in April’s WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Guo Liang Chen - $789,058 Greg Weber - $471,059 Jia Liu - $288,071 Matt Parry - $240,965 Cliff Josephy - $199,294 Thomas Paul-$161,247
  5. Sunday at the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event saw 344 last-minute registrations put an exclamation point on the second-largest WSOP Main Event of all-time. The 8,569-player field means that sometime next week, one player will walk away with $10,000,000 and the title of World Champion. Day 2C saw the highly-anticipated arrival of Phil Hellmuth and the emergence of a fresh batch of names atop the end-of-day chip counts. Julien Milliard Inches Toward 1 Million Chips, Leads Day 2C Survivors Florida's Julien Milliard almost cracked the seven-figure stack code on Sunday. Milliard finished Day 2C with 947,900 to edge out Czech player Vlastimil Pustina, who ended up with 930,700. Andrew Brokos, co-host of the Thinking Poker podcast, rounded out the top three Day 2C stacks after ending the day with 895,400. The day started with 344 players taking advantage of the last chance to register to push the total Day 2C field to 4,008 players. Just 1,793 of those players made it through the five two-hour levels of play on Saturday. That group will combine on Monday with the 1,087 players who got through Day 2AB as the entire remaining field of 2,880 players will play on the same day for the first time. Eventual Champion Will Earn $10,000,000 Registration closed as the first card was dealt on Sunday and the final numbers show another year of growth for the Main Event and made this year's Main Event the second largest of all-time. A total of 8,569 players generated a total prize pool of $80,548,600. The eventual champion will win $10,000,000 and every player at the final table will earn at least $1,000,000. READ: 2019 WSOP Main Event Second Largest of All-Time, $10M to Champ Phil Hellmuth Arrives, Departs One of the 344 players who registered on Sunday morning was 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Just back from his vacation to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, Hellmuth didn't take his seat until well into the first level of play. He didn't sit long. Hellmuth was part of one of the secondary feature tables on the ESPN broadcast and gave fans at home and his tablemates a little taste of The Poker Brat before busting at the hands of Timothy Stanczak's pocket fives. Familiar Faces Stay Alive on Day 2C Three-time bracelet winner Adam Friedman bagged up 549,600 on Sunday to advance to Day 3 with a top 50 stack. Sam Greenwood snuck into that top 50 with 535,800. Mike McDonald continues to apply pressure to those who bet against him, finishing Day 2C with 516,700. Other notables still in include Dario Sammartino (522,700), Jeff Madsen (488,600), Bertrand Grospellier (428,200), David 'ODB' Baker (418,700), Joseph Cheong (354,500), Chino Rheem (286,500) and Nick Schulman (278,000). Defending champ John Cynn battled back from just 24,800 chips to finish with 248,900 at day's end. All-time online poker tournament earnings leader Peter Traply finished with 234,800. Holz, Antonius, Imsirovic Headline Big Names Busting Hellmuth wasn't the only big name who didn't make it through Day 2C. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Fedor Holz, Patrik Antonius, James Obst, Ali Imsirovic, and Adrian Mateos were all sent to the rail on Sunday. They were joined by John Racener, Ismael Bojang, Matt Berkey, John Monette, John Juanda, Denis Strebkov, Ben Heath, Jonathan Little, Shawn Buchanan, Sam Soverel, Joe McKeehen, Niall Farrell, Maurice Hawkins, and Sam Trickett. Nate Silver was also one of the Day 2C casualties. A Half Dozen Former #1s March On Kevin Saul leads a group of talented poker players who once held onto the #1 ranking on PocketFives.com. The Illinois native finished Day 2C with 623,900. Saul has cashed three times in the WSOP Main Event, most recently in 2016 when he wound up 466th. Saul is joined by fraternity brothers Calvin Anderson (459,400), Cliff Josephy (402,000), Fabrizio Gonzalez (328,800), Chris Hunichen (307,500) and Tim West (130,400). 34 Keystone State Players Survive Day 2C Chad Power leads 34 Pennsylvania poker players who managed to find a bag at the end of Day 2C. Power finished with 401,300 for the 97th-best stack on Sunday. Ralph Wong finished with 344,300 for the second-best PA stack. Kenneth Smaron, Jason Loehrs, and David Vasil round out the top five. Top 10 Chip Counts Julian Milliard - 947,900 Vlastimil Pustina - 930,700 Andrew Brokos - 895,400 Aleksa Pavicevic - 867,700 Nai Hu - 798,300 Kainalu McCue-Unciano - 765,600 Dapeng Mu - 762,700 Hugo Torres - 720,400 Cody Brinn - 708,800 Tom Cannuli - 667,000
  6. Shaun Deeb and Brandon Adams both bagged up chip leads in "post-lim" events in the shadows of the Main Event at the 2019 World Series of Poker on Tuesday. Those two were the headliners in two of the five events outside of the Main Event on the calendar but Dan Zack also put on a show in his pursuit of WSOP Player of the Year honors. Brandon Adams Leads $50,000 Final Fifty Final Table Brandon Adams has already won one WSOP bracelet this summer and on Tuesday he took a gigantic step towards winning a second one. Adams finished Day 2 of the $50,000 Final Fifty event with the chip lead and just six players standing between himself and that second victory. Adams bagged up 11,970,000 and sits well ahead of the rest of the field. 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event champion Adrian Mateos has the second biggest stack with 7,375,000. Michael Addamo sits third with 5,765,000. Daniel Tang, Sam Soverel, Ali Imsirovic, and Keith Tilston round out the final table. There were 14 players who registered on Day 2, including Cary Katz. This presented the PokerGO owner with a challenge. He started the day with a healthy chip stack in the Main Event and was forced to actually multi-table between the two events. Katz managed to survive past the bubble of the Final Fifty before busting in 12th for $112,357. Final Table Chip Counts Brandon Adams - 11,970,000 Adrian Mateos - 7,375,000 Michael Addamo - 5,765,000 Daniel Tang - 4,550,000 Sam Soverel - 3,600,000 Ali Imsirovic - 2,190,000 Keith Tilston - 1,500,000 Shaun Deeb Tops Little One for One Drop After Day 2 Shaun Deeb continues to chase down Player of the Year points and a fifth career bracelet. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver soared to the top of the chip counts after the $1,111 Little One for One Drop after Day 2 with 412 players still remaining. Deeb ended the day with 2,892,000 and holds a 526,000 chip lead over the next biggest stack belonging to Matt Souza. This is Deeb's 14th cash this summer and he sits just over 620 points behind WSOP Player of the Year leader Robert Campbell. There's a number of notables still in contention including Loni Harwood (1,121,000), Mike Sexton - (1,030,000), Ryan Laplante (747,000), and Day 4 Main Event casualty Cliff Josephy (676,000). An additional 787 players joined the field on Day 2 to push the final number of entries to 6,248 and the prize pool to $5,623,200. The eventual champion will earn $690,686. Top 10 Chip Counts Shaun Deeb - 2,892,000 Matt Souza - 2,366,000 Jeremy Dresch - 2,300,000 Naor Slobodskoy - 2,109,000 Jaime Lewin - 1,980,000 Ian Simpson - 1,961,000 Dustin Goff - 1,751,000 Keith Carter - 1,700,000 Alan Schein - 1,637,000 Nick Shkolnik - 1,620,000 Tu Dao On Top of $3,000 Six Max Limit Hold'em Final Table Tu Dao finished fourth in the Ladies Championship event in late June, but now she's in position to improve on that after finishing Day 2 of the $3,000 Six Max Limit Hold'em event with 954,000 and the lead. Right behind Dao is Alain Alinat with 805,000. The two middle-of-the-pack stacks, Oleg Chebotarev and Jan Suchanek have 672,000 and 599,000 respectively. Chade Eveslage sits fifth 431,000 and Ian O'Hara rounds out the final six with 410,000. Among those who cashed on Tuesday include Patrick Leonard (15th - $6,748), Greg Mueller (23rd - $5,484), Joao Vieira (27th - $4,571) and Daniel Zack (28th - $4,571). Zach also picked up 46.1 POY points to move just 112.46 points behind current POY leader Robert Campbell. The day started with 57 players and needed just 11 hours to get down to a final table. The players will now take Wednesday off before returning to action on Thursday to play down to a winner. Final Table Chip Counts Tu Dao - 954,000 Alain Alinat - 805,000 Oleg Chebotarev - 672,000 Jan Suchanek - 599,000 Chad Eveslage - 431,000 Ian O'Hara - 410,000 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Bounty Event Draws 1,130 Runners A year after 833 players entered the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Bounty event, 1,130 players gave the event a decent-sized boost in entries and prize pool and so far nobody can be happier about that than Tobias Schwecht. The Austrian finished Day 1 with 419,200 and the chip lead. Richard Kellett is right on his heels though. The Brit finished with 414,600 and is just 4,600 behind Schwecht. China's Yingui Li and Kazuhiko Yotsushika wound up third and fourth respectively. The top American, Jason Young, bagged up the fifth biggest stack with 356,300. READ: A FIGHT FOR FATHERHOOD: THE BIGGEST WIN OF JASON YOUNG’S LIFE Some of the familiar faces that made it to Day 2 include Jesse Sylvia (205,800), Christian Harder (147,300), Connor Drinan (124,300), JC Tran (95,800), Gordon Vayo (90,600), Daniel Negreanu (64,800), Robin Ylitalo (62,800), and Daniel Zack (51,300). Just 247 players made it to Day 2 and the bubble will burst on Wednesday after 77 more players are sent to the rail. Top 10 Chip Counts Tobias Schwecht - 419,200 Richard Kellett - 414,600 Yingui Li - 379,400 Kazuhiko Yotsushika - 359,600 Jason Young - 356,300 Jan-Peter Jachtmann - 354,100 Bradley Butcher - 341,200 Denis Strebkov - 331,700 Senovio Ramirez III - 302,400 Jonathan Depa - 300,400 Vlad Darie Edges out Andras Nemeth for $3K NLHE Lead Vlad Darie finished Day 1 of the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event with the chip lead, just ahead of former #1-ranked PocketFiver Andras Nemeth. Darie wound up with 284,000 while Nemeth accumulated 264,500. Darie and Nemeth are just two of the 148 players who advanced to Day 2. Other notables who bagged and tagged include Kristen Bicknell (192,000), Justin Bonomo (170,500), Patrick Leonard (103,500), Asher Conniff (92,500), Rainer Kempe (80,500), and Paul Volpe (46,500). Remarkably, Dan Zack managed to finish with chips in this event as well. Daniel Zack will have a busy day on Wednesday as he plays his stack in the $1,500 PLO Bounty event adn this one. Top 10 Chip Counts Vlad Darie - 284,000 Andras Nemeth - 264,500 David Margi - 263,500 Guillaume Nolet - 230,000 Peter Walsworth - 222,000 Athanasios Polychronopoulos - 221,000 Jay Sharon - 218,000 Dennis Brand - 216,500 Ronald Paolucci - 210,500 Michael Tureniec - 209,000  
  7. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen walked away with a little bit more than ,000,000 but that wasn't the only interesting number coming out of the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table (WSOP photo/Jayne Furman)[/caption] You know the headlines, you know the bustouts, you saw what happened on TV. But there were many untold and unexplored stories of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, so we decided to break some down and crunch some numbers. -45: Average temperature in the regions of Antarctica inhabited by polar bears. The bears are built for the cold, which is perhaps why Kenny Halleart’s rail chose to have someone dress as one to cheer their friend on at the notoriously cold Rio. 4: Number of players lost on the first day of November Nine play. While the plan was originally to play from nine down to six, the producers and tournament staff elected to play a little longer, perhaps because it did not take long to lose three players and, as a result, the table did not get far along in the structure. Because of the extended play, Halleart exited in sixth place on the first day of action. Then, on the second day of play, the table played three-handed for a little while because it took so little time to get from five players to three. 9: Number of years since an Asian player has won the WSOP Main Event. Laos-born Jerry Yang won in 2007, but since then the list of winners has been exclusively Caucasian and exclusively under the age of 30. Nguyen, who is 39, bucked both trends. 16: Number of hands it took before losing a player. Fernando Pons didn’t quite make it twice around the table before exiting in ninth place. 58: Number of hands it took at the final table before Griffin Benger managed to win a pot. The Canadian struggled at the final table and blinded off much of his stack. He also failed to flop much of anything, resulting in the very long stretch without dragging chips in his direction. The celebration was short-lived though. He busted in seventh place nine hands later. 60: Going rate in dollars for four pints of ice cream from the boutique Tin Pot Creamery, a Palo Alto ice cream provider Gordon Vayo promoted with a patch at the final table. Boasting flavors like Earl Grey and Sweet Barbeque, the creamery produces small batches of ice cream at quite the price, which also doesn’t include tax or shipping and handling. 69: Starting bid on eBay for the New Era brand Rocket Raccoon ball cap similar to the one wore by Qui Nguyen throughout the final table. The Guardians of the Galaxy hat was one of the more memorable pieces of headgear in Main Event memory. Now the hat is difficult to come by, but that is largely because of the popularity of the now two-year-old movie as opposed to Nguyen’s ability to influence style. 182: Number of hands heads-up play lasted. It is also the number of hands it took for the final table to get from nine down to two players. By comparison, last year the entire final table took 184 hands, with Joe McKeehen besting Josh Beckley after 13 hands. 1,046,965: Difference between $4.5 million and what Cliff Josephy collected for finishing in third place. Much has been made of the fact Josephy staked Joe Cada when he won the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Though the number was never confirmed, most assume Josephy took home half the $9 million payday. If that is the case, turns out this wasn’t his most profitable WSOP Main Event after all.
  8. [caption width="640"] Paul Volpe, Cliff Josephy, Ari Engel, Chris Moorman, Patrick Leonard and Shaun Deeb are among the group of elite players to have been ranked #1 on PocketFives at some time in their careers.[/caption] In 2016, we chronicled the adventures of all of the former #1-ranked players in PocketFives history as they chased down World Series of Poker glory. We followed Fedor Holz winning his first bracelet and the November Nine runs of Griffin Benger and Cliff Josephy. We're back this year, to follow 39 former #1 players throughout the 2017 WSOP. The Big Winners No other former #1-ranked player has more WSOP earnings than Holz. Thanks almost entirely to the $4,981,775 he took home for winning the $111,111 One Drop event last summer. In 2015, he won a combined $531,037 for deep runs in the $10,000 Six Max NLHE Championship and the Main Event. All told, the German has $5,675,543 in lifetime WSOP earnings. Josephy, who has two WSOP bracelets, is second with $4,263,393. The lifetime WSOP earnings for all 39 former #1-ranked players whose real name is confirmed is $32,388,502. All-Time Earnings for Former #1-ranked Players 1Fedor Holz$5,675,543 2Cliff Josephy$4,263,393 3Daniel Kelly$2,638,393 4Chris Moorman$2,426,563 5Annette Obrestad$2,166,575 The Most Decorated Josephy is one of four players in this group that have won two WSOP bracelets. The other three are Paul Volpe, Shaun Deeb and Dan Kelly. Another six players have one bracelet each, bringing the total number of bracelets won by this group to 14. The Kings of Cashes With over $33 million in cashes, it's no surprise to learn that former #1-ranked players have made their way to the cashier's cage at the Rio a grand total of 608 times. Nobody has done it more than Dan Kelly though. The two-time bracelet winner has cashed 47 times, including 12 times last year. Eleven cashes behind Kelly, Deeb and Sorel Mizzi are tied with 36 cashes each. All-Time Cashes for Former #1-ranked Players 1Daniel Kelly47 2Shaun Deeb36 2Sorel Mizzi36 4Steve Gross35 5Paul Volpe34 5Taylor Paur34 Can They Top Their 2016 Performance? It's hard not to look at what the group did in 2016 and think it just won't ever be topped. A total of 110 cashes, three players (Holz, Volpe and Deeb) each took home a bracelet, and the group walked away with $11,729,142 in cash - 34% of their all-time earnings. Two players, Josephy and Benger, made the Main Event final table, earning $3,453,035 and $1,250,190 respectively. Topping that is going to require a very special summer from at least two former #1-ranked players and we'll be tracking this group here on PocketFives throughout the summer.
  9. [caption width="640"] Ryan Riess captured his first World Poker Tour title on Thursday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale (WPT photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] The final table of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale had an amazing group of players with storylines galore; Two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a World Series of Poker Main Event champion, a WPT Champions Club member, one of the hottest players on the planet, and a relative unknown. In the end though it was 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess who outlasted the likes of Cliff Josephy, Tim West, Alan Sternberg and Jason Koon to win his first WPT title and $716,088, including a seat in the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions. “It feels amazing. The final table was so hard, it feels really good to beat a final table with Cliff Josephy, Jason Koon and Alan (Sternberg) played great. He's very tough, very aggressive and put me in a lot of hard spots. It feels really good,” Riess said. The win marks the first for Riess since 2015 when he won a side event at Seminole Hard Rock and his first six-figure or bigger cash since taking down the WSOP Main Event. While comparing anything to that win might sound crazy, earning his first WPT title was still special for Riess. "I didn't start crying this time but I got very close. It just feels great, because I've been playing a lot of them,” said Riess. “I run really good in 10Ks and it brings all the best players out so to win the tournament with such a stacked field where all the best players in the world, minus a few that are in Macau, are all here, it feels really good.” Josephy started the final table with the third smallest stack but ended up as the first one to hit the rail. West raised to 150,000 from UTG and Josephy moved all in from the button for 1,290,000 before Alan Sternberg called from the big blind. West folded and Josephy turned over [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"] and Sternberg showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3c"] and failed to save Josephy, eliminating him in sixth place. Just 20 minutes later another player found himself out of the tournament. Jason Koon raised to 70,000 from the button and Terry Schumacher called from the big blind. Schumacher then check-called Koon’s 45,000 bet after the [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="4c"] flop and then check-called another 225,000 bet from Koon after the [poker card="7h"] turn. The river was the [poker card="8h"] and Schumacher checked for a third time. Koon moved all in for 715,000 and Schumacher tank-called. Koon showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="td"] for a missed straight draw and Schumacher showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"] for top pair to eliminate Koon in fifth. The next elimination took almost two hours and it meant the end of the line for the former #1-ranked players at the final table. With blinds of 25,000/50,000 (5,000), action folded to West in the small blind and he moved all in for 505,000 and Riess called from the big blind. West showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"] and Riess showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"][poker card="2s"] flop put West ahead before the [poker card="kd"] turn gave Riess broadway. The [poker card="7h"] river didn’t fill West up and he was out in fourth place. Riess claimed another victim just 30 minutes later. Sternberg raised to 120,000 from the button, Riess called from the small blind before Terry Schumacher moved all in from the big blind for 1,355,000. Sternberg folded, but Riess called and showed [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. Schumacher needed help with [poker card="jh"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="kd"][poker card="4h"] runout did nothing for Schumacher and he was out in third place, leaving Sternberg and Riess to play heads up for the title. Sternberg began heads up play with a 5-4 chip lead over Reiss, but over the course of the next three hours of play, the chip lead changed five times before Riess was finally able to end it. Riess raised to 450,000 and Sternberg re-raised to 1,150,000 before Riess move all in. Sternberg called and showed [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and found out he was racing against Riess’ [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="6s"] flop put Riess ahead and the the [poker card="kd"] turn ended it all before the meaningless [poker card="tc"] river. Final Table Payouts Ryan Riess - $716,088 Alan Sternberg - $491,081 Terry Schumacher - $315,726 Tim West - $204,466 Jason Koon - $157,599 Cliff Josephy - $130,370
  10. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Fernando Pons returns to the 2016 WSOP Main Event as the shortest stack (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Fernando Pons. Fernando Pons, a native of Palma, Spain, has spent the past 3.5 months knowing he's returning the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event as the shortest stack. He's working with a stack of just over 12 big blinds but after qualifying for €30 on 888poker, Pons is living the dream and hoping to become a Spanish version of Chris Moneymaker as he defies the odds and ends up as World Champion. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? Pons: If I had to bet on someone, would be Cliff Josephy, due to the experience he has and the number of big blinds with which he will begin the final table. PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? Pons: I would take a boat, a very big barrel of gasoline and a box full of food and drink. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Pons: I would give my wife a closet full of "Manolos" (expensive shoes). PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Pons: I have no idea because I am not a big fan of movies, but my wife likes Justin Timberlake, so I would probably choose him. PocketFives: What feature of your game or your personality helped you most to be where you are today? Why? Pons: I am a person with cool head, very concentrated in my game, and don't usually get nervous. I am very observative and intuitive, and all that helps me to stay calm at key moments and adverse circumstances, trying to make the best decision.
  11. [caption width="640"] Former #1-ranked PocketFivers had a pretty good overall summer.[/caption] The 2017 World Series of Poker is over and once again, former #1 PocketFivers had a summer to remember, including two bracelet wins and another Main Event final table appearance. Bryan 'theczar19' Piccioli is Last #1 Standing Bryan 'theczar19' Piccioli managed to make it through 7,215 other players in the Main Event before busting in sixth place. He walked away with $1,675,000 - by far the biggest live or online score of his career. There were five other former #1-ranked players who managed to score a Main Event cash. The best of that five was Brian 'brianm15' England, who finished 208th for $46,096. Doc Sands, Taylor Paur, Aaron Gustavson and Alex Kamberis also managed to find the cashier cage in poker's most prestigious event. Only British Grinders Named Chris Win Bracelets Chris Moorman and Christopher Brammer were the only former #1-ranked players to grab WSOP gold this summer. Moorman kicked things off by winning the $3,000 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event in mid-June for the first bracelet of his career. It also came with a $498,682 payday. Just one week later, Brammer won the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo event for $527,555 and the first bracelet of his career. After winning, Brammer reflected on the only other time he'd gotten close to winning a bracelet. "That one hurt for a long time. I made a final table at World Series of Europe that same year, but there hasn't been any since, and I've been coming here every year. It's been a while,” said Brammer. The Cash Master: Shaun Deeb There were 25 former #1s that managed to record at least one WSOP cash this year, but none managed to record as many as Shaun Deeb. Ten times over the course of the seven weeks, Deeb managed to make it into the money. He got close to adding his name to the bracelet winners list, finishing runner-up to Ben Yu in the $10,000 Triple Draw Lowball Championship for $143,842. He also made the final table of the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, eventually finishing seventh. Deeb's total earnings for the summer were $394,497. The Six Figure Club Piccioli was the only player to make more than $1,000,000 this summer, but there were nine other players with winnings of at least $100,000. Moorman, Brammer and Deeb are all on the list as are Chris Hunichen and Jordan Young - both of whom finished runner-up in a bracelet event. PLAYEREARNINGS Bryan Piccioli$1,707,981.00 Chris Moorman$549,026.00 Chris Brammer$528,799.00 Shaun Deeb$394,497.00 Chris Hunichen$381,976.00 Paul Volpe$265,558.00 Jordan Young$262,663.00 Yevgeniy Timoshenko$234,948.00 Tim West$147,192.00 Sorel Mizzi$144,156.00 The Totals This group managed to put up 106 total cashes and two bracelet wins this summer with $5,053,524 in earnings. Last year the same group had 110 cashes, three bracelet wins and $11,729,142 in earnings, bolstered by the Main Event final table appearances from Cliff Josephy and Griffin Benger.
  12. Joao Simao had an incredible 2018 on both the live and online MTT scene. He finished the year as both the #1-ranked online and live player in his native Brazil. On Friday he started 2019 off by outlasting a stacked final table to win the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for a $184,420 score. Simao, who was once the #1-ranked online player in the world, outlasted a pair of PocketFives legends and former #1-ranked players in Cliff Josephy and Shaun Deeb to take down the event. Simao was thrilled to start his year by posing for a winner's photo. "It was incredible. I love to play PLO tournaments but I don't usually play too many live PLO tournaments because there's not too many with big buy-ins. I was really happy when I saw they were running a $10K PLO," Simao said. "I was expecting a lot of good players, but to be honest the first tables I got I had really good seats and then the final table was really tough and I ran really well." Deeb, the reigning World Series of Poker Player of the Year, finished third while Josephy ended up as the runner up. Closing out a tough tournament this early in the year is a drastic change from how things went for Simao in 2018. He earned $1,329,087 off of 15 cashes but only managed to find the winner's circle once. His lone victory came in a Brazil Series of Poker event in November for $37,530. Even though he only picked up the one win, Simao has enough to perspective to understand he shouldn't be beating himself up at all. "I can't complain at all. I had great results live (in 2018). I didn't win until December. I made 12 final tables if I'm not wrong, some big ones like the $25K and Main Event of MILLIONS Rozvadov," said Simao, held the #1 spot in the world on three separate occasions in 2016. "When you play 50,000 tournaments online like I did in the last 10 years, you know how it works. So I think that the background that I have from the online tournaments makes me feel comfortable to not finish in first place. I've arrived at final tables in first place and finished ninth, and I've arrived in every single starting situation for any final table; soft final tables, tough final tables." With a win already locked up for this trip, Simao is hoping to continue his winning ways in the 816-person PCA Main Event with more than $1.5 million going to the eventual champion. Simao thinks that momentum can be a real positive force in poker as long as you're not expecting it comes from doing the same thing over and over again. "I think it exists for sure. Even more when you don't play the same things. If you just play the $109 online, then I don't believe too much in momentum," Simao said. "But if you play online, then live, then main events, then high rollers, big difference in buy-ins, then I think the momentum is really important. It's not too often you can play for more than $1 million. It was good to win the $10K PLO before this tournament. I feel like I have real momentum now." As Day 2 of the Main Event continues towards the money bubble, Simao just might be proving his theory on momentum. He's one of the top five stacks in the tournament and feeling like he could pull off something special to cap his week. He's not as focused now on the Rankings as he used to be. While it was certainly a great accomplishment to do what he did in 2018, climbing back to the #1 spot in the world - a place he hasn't been since mid-2016, isn't something he's interested in pursuing anymore. "I used to #1 in the world in 2016, then I had a really big problem in my family, then I stopped playing a little bit and I went down. From that, I never grinded to be #1. I was #1 for live and online (in Brazil) so at the end of the year I was looking for the rankings because it would be nice to finish #1 in both, live and online rankings," Simao said. "I think it's really good to have rankings like PocketFives to motivate and make people grind and study more and more. I used to look for it, but now I'd rather get the compensation to be the #1. I'd rather get the great feeling to be the #1. Now I just want to play to make money."
  13. [caption width="640"] Former #1-ranked Chris Moorman hit a five-figure score this past week at the 2016 WSOP[/caption] The fate of former PocketFives #1-ranked players hasn’t changed much through the third week of the 2016 World Series of Poker. Paul Volpe continues to be the class of the group and is the only one to grab a bracelet this summer, but there were a few who managed to make a bit of noise in the past week including two of the most respected players in PocketFives history. Chris Moorman2016 WSOP cashes: 2 2016 WSOP earnings: $21,434 Just two weeks after signing as the newest 888poker ambassador, Chris ‘Moorman1’ Moorman finally got his first cash flying under that banner. Moorman made a deep run in the $1,500 buy-in Summer Solstice event, finishing 13th for $19,943. It’s only his second cash of the summer but, as he showed at the 2015 WSOP, Moorman is capable of turning one good score into a bunch of good results and possibly the first WSOP bracelet of his career. Cliff Josephy2016 WSOP cashes: 1 2016 WSOP earnings: $3,613 Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy is one of the most revered players in PocketFives history. He’s already got two WSOP bracelets but had come up empty at the 2016 WSOP until this week when he finished 114th in the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event for $3,613. He also found himself playing in the Seniors Event, which turned out to have some unique aspects to it. Aaron Gustavson2016 WSOP cashes: 4 2016 WSOP earnings: $16,662 Aaron ‘Aguskb‘ Gustavson tied for the most cashes of all former #1-ranked players in the last week with three, but was unable to turn any of them into a deep run. Gustavson finished 163rd in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event, 93rd in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event and then 73rd in the Summer Solstice for a total of $10,960. Yevgeniy Timoshenko2016 WSOP cashes: 6 2016 WSOP earnings: $26,793 Yevgeniy 'Jovial Gent' Timoshenko is one of just two former #1-ranked players to have secured six cashes so far at the 2016 WSOP along with Dan ‘djk123’ Kelly. Timoshenko posted three cashes in the last week for just over $12,000 in earnings. He finished 104th in the $2,000 No Limit Hold’em, 111th in the $2,500 No Limit Hold’em and then cracked the top 100 in the $3,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha event for $4,573, his second biggest score of the Series.
  14. [caption width="640"] It's hard to look back at the 2016 WSOP as anything but the Summer of Jason Mercier[/caption] The 2016 World Series of Poker is a wrap. Okay, yes there’s still the matter of playing down the final table of the Main Event beginning in October, but 68 of the 69 bracelets have been awarded, the Amazon Room is devoid of any poker tables and poker players have scattered around the world to rebuild their bankrolls just in time to do it all over again next summer. But this past WSOP was packed with storylines and themes including heroes, villains and of course, money – lots of money. Don’t Bet Against Jason MercierIn the days leading up to the 2016 WSOP, Vanessa Selbst gave Jason Mercier 180-1 odds on winning three bracelets this summer. Mercier accepted and put $10,000 on himself. While he bricked the first 15 events of the Series, starting with the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship, Mercier made it interesting. Mercier won that event and then immediately jumped into the $10,000 Razz Championship, only to lose heads-up to Ray Dehkharghani. Rather than dwell on a missed opportunity, Mercier then jumped into the $10,000 HORSE event and won that. In the span of five days Mercier finished first, second and first in $10,000 Championship events. Controversy erupted during that amazing five-day span after Selbst claimed that she had asked Mercier for a buyout the morning after making the bet and her fellow Team PokerStars Pro declined, leaving Selbst on the hook for $1.8 million should Mercier win three bracelets. Selbst eventually sold off most of her action on the bet to Mike McDonald. Throughout it all, Mercier remained focused. Three days later Mercier finished eighth in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship, the closest he would get to a third bracelet. But he wasn’t done with final tables and jewelry. Fellow poker pro Natasha Barbour, Mercier’s girlfriend, made the final table of a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event and after she busted out in third place, Mercier greeted her on stage and proposed to her. Barbour accepted. Mercier ended the summer by winning the WSOP Player of the Year award, beating out Paul Volpe by almost 272 points. Gimmick Tournaments Might Have Run Their CourseOver the last few years the WSOP schedule has featured an increasing number of lower-buy-in tournaments aimed towards recreational players that have had a marketing hook – a gimmick – attached to them. The 2016 schedule returned four of these tournaments and a quick glance at the numbers suggest that it might be time to go back to the drawing board. All four of these events saw a slight downturn in attendance this summer over 2015. The biggest disappointment of the summer has to be Colossus II. After fixing the payout issue – in 2015 winner only got $638,880 after outlasting over 22,000 players – with a $1 million guarantee to first and fixing registration and payout line issues, the event drew just 21,613 – and this is with two additional starting flights added to the schedule this year. [poker card="TD"]Year [poker card="TD"]2015 [poker card="TD"]2016 [poker card="TD"]Growth [poker card="TD"]Colossus [poker card="TD"]22,374 [poker card="TD"]21,613 [poker card="TD"]-3.401% [poker card="TD"]Millionaire Maker [poker card="TD"]7,275 [poker card="TD"]7,190 [poker card="TD"]-1.168% [poker card="TD"]Little One for One Drop [poker card="TD"]4,555 [poker card="TD"]4,360 [poker card="TD"]-4.281% [poker card="TD"]Summer Solstice [poker card="TD"]1,914 [poker card="TD"]1,840 [poker card="TD"]-3.866% While the marketing gimmicks have shown to be successful in years past, the 2016 schedule may have relied too heavily on them and players appear to have shied away from playing multiple events. On the plus side, the Main Event field size actually showed year-over-year growth, going from 6,420 to 6,737 - a nearly 5% increase. Former PocketFives #1-Ranked Players Are No JokePaul Volpe, Shaun Deeb, Fedor Holz and possibly Cliff Josephy or Griffin Benger joined an elite group of players who have held the #1 spot on PocketFives Rankings and won a WSOP bracelet during their career. Volpe and Deeb both won their second career bracelet while Holz, the 22-year-old German poker pro who has won $18 million over the past 14 months, won his first bracelet in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller. Josephy and Benger are another story altogether. Both made the November Nine and will be looking to become the 11th former #1-ranked player to win a WSOP bracelet. Josephy heads to the final table with the chip lead while Benger, who wasn’t going to play any WSOP events until he won a satellite on 888, has the third shortest stack. Former #1-ranked players cashed a total of 110 times this summer, earning $9,025,917 - with more to come after the Main Event final table is finished on November 1. The busiest of this group was Dan Kelly. He cashed 12 times this summer and pocketed $89,639. People Still Hate Howard Lederer – And Probably Always WillIn the days leading up to the start of the 2016 WSOP, Howard Lederer released a statement accepting responsibility for his role in the Black Friday fallout of Full Tilt Poker. Everybody recognized what Lederer was doing – setting the table for his return to the WSOP after not playing in a single event since 2010 – before April 15, 2011. The question was, how would Lederer be greeted at the tables and would players have any animosity toward him? While Lederer made it through the first 67 events of the summer without any real incident, the Main Event was a different story. Late on Day 1, Lederer was moved to a table with Danielle Andersen. She took the opportunity to let the former Full Tilt exec know that his mere presence in poker’s most prestigious event was not welcomed, at least by her. “To be honest, at first, I was just like speechless. It took me a little. Then I was like ‘I have to say something’. And I’m not the type to be like you’re a scumbag and you’re .. whatever … that’s not my style. Other people can be angry, but like it just brought me a profound sadness and I felt like I had to say something.” Read: Danielle Andersen Confronts Howard Lederer Over WSOP Return The WSOP is Still About the People Who Play the GameThe World Series of Poker is where the game’s biggest stars go to cement their legacy. Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Negreanu have all made their names while playing for, and winning, a WSOP bracelet. Still, the WSOP is also where recreational players get to do something that you can’t do in any other arena – play against the best. While Mercier dominated the early part of the summer and Josephy will have the headlines leading up to the Main Event final table, the WSOP is still about players from all walks of life trying to prove they belong. That was never more apparent than in the Millionaire Maker this summer when Lisa Meredith, a kindergarten teacher from the Pacific Northwest, made the final table and had a shot at winning life-changing money. While she ended up finishing third, one spot shy of a seven figure score, Meredith left the WSOP with $500,000 and had legions of fans cheering her on as the final table played out on livestream. And then there was Bob Brundige. While he didn’t make the Main Event final table, his story captured the attention of people from all over the world. Brundige is dying from cancer and had it on his bucket list to play the Main Event. A good friend of his, Charlie Weis, made it all happen and then got to sit and watch as Brundige not only played the event, but cashed. Read: Bob, Charlie and a Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey
  15. [caption width="640"] Bryan “theczar19” Piccioli leads the 2016 WSOP Main Event after Day 4[/caption] Just 251 players remain in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event and the chip leader is a very familiar name to anybody familiar with the PocketFives Rankings over the years. Bryan ‘theczar19’ Piccioli ended Day 4 with 4,026,000 and is the only player above 4 million. “So much fun. I had a short stack to my left to start the day but he ended up busting and his seat was taken by Brendon Rubie and Jon Turner was on his left,” said Piccioli. “So I had those two on my immediate left for almost the whole day, so I was kind of being more selective knowing that they’re prone to playing back and what not. It just seemed like everything I was going was working. Right behind him is former Big One for One Drop winner Dan Colman with 3,711,000. Melanie Weisner held the chip lead at one point on Friday and ended up bagging a top 10 stack. Other notables still in the hunt for a trip to the 2016 November Nine include Jared Bleznick (2,568,000), Tom Marchese (2,108,000), Tony Gregg (2,013,000), Max Silver (1,810,000), Gaelle Baumann (1,724,000) and reigning WSOP Player of the Year Mike Gorodinsky (1,612,000). Former #1s Making Moves There are seven former #1-ranked PocketFives players still in the Main Event. Piccioli leads the way but he’s joined by the likes of Griffen Benger, Chris Hunichen and Cliff Josephy. Day 4 actually began with 11 former #1-ranked PocketFives players but Dan Kelly, Eisenhower1, Tim West and Kevin Saul all found themselves out sometime on Friday. Remaining Former #1-Ranked PocketFives Bryan Piccioli - 4,026,000 Griffin Benger - 2,409,000 Chris Hunichen - 2,241,000 Cliff Josephy - 1,554,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,089,000 Sorel Mizzi - 1,000,000 Paul Volpe - 640,000 Seven Ladies Continue Chasing History Not since Barbara Enright finished fifth has a female made the WSOP Main Event final table. Weisner leads a group of seven players looking to change that and put a female into the November Nine for the first time ever. Right behind Weisner is Louise Francoeur. Gaell Baumann who famously finished 10th in the 2012 WSOP Main Event finsiehd with 1,791,000. Maria Ho, who has cashed in the Main Event three other times in her career, finished with 691,000 after hanging around the chip lead during the early part of the day. Melanie Weisner - 3,078,000 Louise Francoeur - 2,107,000 Gaelle Baumann - 1,791,000 Stacy Matuson - 1,186,000 Dee Friedman - 1,038,000 Jennifer Shahade - 976,000 Maria Ho - 691,000 The remaining players return Saturday at Noon. Top 10 Chip Counts Bryan Piccioli - 4,026,000 Dan Colman - 3,711,000 Thomas Miller - 3,684,000 Pierre Merlin - 3,396,000 Farhad Jamasi - 3,380,000 Goran Mandic - 3,216,000 Adi Abugazal - 3,180,000 Daniel Zack - 3,085,000 Melanie Weisner - 3,078,000 Tom Middleton - 3,025,000
  16. [caption width="640"] Chance Kornuth was an integral part of "Team Bax" (Photo Credit: Allen Rash)[/caption] Cliff Josephy came into the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table with arguably more experience than anybody else at that table with him. That didn’t stop the man more commonly known by his online name, ‘JohnnyBax,’ from enlisting the help of a coach. With the implementation of the November Nine and the extended layoff between making the final table and playing the final table, players who have a chance at winning poker’s biggest prize generally hire another player to help improve their game during the layoff. Josephy, an online poker legend with now over $6.2 million in live winnings as well, made the decision to have Shaun Deeb and Chance Kornuth coach him during the downtime. They ultimately helped guide him to a third place finish for over $3.4 million, more than doubling his lifetime live earnings. “Bax approached Shaun and Shaun said that ‘Since this is a live tournament, we need Chance,’” said Kornuth about how he was brought onto the coaching team. “I’ve known Shaun a long time and it was very flattering. Shaun actually paid me out of pocket since him and Bax had already agreed upon an amount. It was really cool to be part of the team.” Deeb has two WSOP bracelets to his name already and nobody would argue Josephy’s decision to hire him, but Kornuth brought other abilities to the table that made the team stronger. “It was partially just live reads,” said Kornuth about why he was brought on. “But also, Shaun and I have talked poker for a really long time and we respect each other’s opinions on different situations. We work well together, we think about the game differently, and there were a lot of different spots where I was like ‘Well, what if we did this in this spot?’ And we were able to talk about all of those different options.” While Kornuth and Deeb were the official coaches, Josephy had plenty of other players and friends that helped. Josephy runs one of the most well-known staking operations in the game and has, at one time or another, staked many of the games bet players, including eventual Main Event runner-up Gordon Vayo. Kornuth and Deeb used the extra bodies and poker minds to run online simulations as to how the final table would play out. “It was mostly simulations and if there was a spot that we wanted to talk about, we would discuss it,” said Kornuth. “At first Shaun set up online sims on PokerStars home games and we would like dump stacks, so they would be close to where they need to be and we would kind of anticipate who the final six would be and stuff. We ran tons and tons of simulations.” The two coaches used the other players involved in the simulation to represent the other opponents at the table. They did their best to forecast how certain players would be playing in certain spots and had the players participating in the simulation to play that style, to create the most realistic scenarios. “We would just say ‘Hey, you’re Gordon Vayo’ or ‘You’re Qui [Nguyen]’ and we want you to do this in these spots with these hands,” said Kornuth. “Unfortunately, we mis-prepared for Qui. I doubt anyone prepared correctly for how he played. He actually played really well and deserved to win.” Josephy was one of the original grinders that was making a lot of money playing online poker tournaments. He was making millions online before either of his coaches had become an elite player. With that kind of background and pedigree, Kornuth was surprised at how easy he was to coach. “I was actually expecting him to be quite rigid in his approach since he has been playing for so long,” said Kornuth. “But I was really impressed with his willingness to do whatever we recommended. It was always ‘Great. Sounds good.’ It was great.” In terms of changing Josephy’s game, Kornuth and Deeb had one big adjustment for him – play more hands. “We were just trying to find spots to loosen him up,” said Kornuth. “Going into the Main Event final table with the chip lead, you should be playing a lot of hands. So, we were trying to help him defend certain combos from the big blind more and three-bet more hands. Basically, widening his ranges and playing more aggressive in those spots.” With regards to Josephy's execution of the strategy, Kornuth was pleased overall. “He’s kind of a momentum player and since he didn’t get off to a great start, losing the first hand,” said Kornuth said. “But towards the end of Day 1, he won a few pots and got a few bluffs through. He was doing exactly what we were looking for and it was fun to watch.” Josephy ended up getting cold-decked three-handed with set under set against Vayo to leave him short and eventually finish in third, but Kornuth hasn’t stopped coaching. Kornuth launched Chip Leader Coaching shortly after the Main Event finished and is continuing to help players get better through his own program. The idea of running his own coaching website was brought to him by his business partner, and fellow WSOP bracelet winner, John Beauprez. Beauprez has experience coaching online cash game and they developed the idea for coaching live tournament players. The two launched their website shortly after the Main Event finished, and they have begun taking on their first wave of students. Unlike other training sites and coaches, where players pay a fee to be trained, regardless of results, Kornuth’s new coaching site only takes on players that they screen and accept. They take a five percent freeroll of their students’ future tournaments in exchange for the coaching they receive. The difference in their business model is what keeps Kornuth and his other coaches invested in the students’ success. “If our players don’t succeed, then our five percent is worthless and we don’t really make anything,” said Kornuth. Kornuth can rival anybody when it comes to poker experience and results. He’s got over $4.8 million in live tournament earnings, a WSOP bracelet, was a consistent winner online, and beats high-stakes cash games as well. His new business venture is only dedicated to tournament poker, and there is a reason for that. Money. “Right now, all the money is in tournaments,” said Kornuth. “There is a reason that all the nosebleed cash guys play tournaments now. It’s because it’s the softest aspect of poker. It’s the spot where all the money is and we are just focusing on the market where we think the most money is.”
  17. [caption width="640"] The PokerStars Championship Bahamas had some highs and some lows (PokerStars photo/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] In August 2016 PokerStars announced a massive change to their live offering that saw all of their tour operations rebranded under the PokerStars Live name. The European Poker Tour, Latin American Poker Tour, Asia-Pacific Poker Tour and other smaller, regional tours were now PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival events. With all due respect to the EPT Grand Final, no PokerStars-branded event was more iconic than the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. That too was part of the re-branding project and became the first ever PokerStars Championship event. Here's what we learned over nine days of poker action in the Bahamas. 1. The Glory Days of the PCA are GoneIn the early days of the online poker boom, the PCA was a must-attend event for amateurs and pros alike. Amateurs loved the fact that they could qualify online for a tiny investment and get to go to a world-class poker tournament in an exotic locale. Pros loved that the event had so many amateur qualifiers building a soft field in what was then a $10,000 buy-in event. They also didn't hate the fact it was in the Bahamas at a time when most of America was going through its coldest period of the year. That sentiment seems to be gone now though. With only a handful of American qualifiers and just 250 overall, the field for the Main Event this year was 738 - the lowest total since 2006 when 724 showed up for the $10,000 buy-in event. That's a year-over-year drop of 20.5% and not something that is sustainable. Combine the Atlantis-fatigue with some of the changes PokerStars recently made to their live products (20% payouts being a part of that) and a jam-packed schedule (92 scheduled events over nine days) and you've got a number of possible reasons for the drop in attendance. There were whispers last year that 2017 would be the final PokerStars-branded event held at the Bahamas and the Main Event numbers, along with the lower-than-expected turnout in some of the side events, doesn't do anything to hush that chatter.2. Bryn Kenney Should Run for President of the BahamasIf the event doesn't return to the Bahamas next year, nobody will be more disappointed than Bryn Kenney. He cashed six times including a wins in a $25,000 and $50,000 High Roller event to push his lifetime earnings on the island to $5,558,151. All told he's cashed 14 times with four of those coming in the $100,000 High Roller where he's finished third twice (2011 & 2015), first (2016) and seventh (2017). 3. The pre-Black Friday American Online Players Can Still HangBefore Black Friday shut down online poker in the United States, there was a generation of American players that had cut their teeth playing online poker and were just starting to make names for themselves in the live arena. Christian Harder and Cliff Josephy, the final two players in the Championship Main Event, were two players who were part of that group. Josephy was famously ranked #1 on PocketFives for 74 weeks at one point and Harder made it as high as #14. It's something that other players who came up at the same time have noticed: 4. The Poker Shot Clock is Going to Become a ThingOver the last few years a number of players have made it known that one of the issues facing the game today is other players taking too long to play a hand. In their eyes, the “tanking epidemic” has made the game unplayable to some and the solution put forth has been a shot clock. Last April, at the Tournament of Champions, the World Poker Tour introduced the Action Clock, a device that sat on the table and allowed the dealer to give each player a pre-set amount of time to act on each decision. Players were then given additional time buttons they could use to extend their time. One of the most vocal on this issue has been Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. After Negreanu and a few other high stakes regulars, asked PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson and his staff to at least consider experimenting with a shot clock in the Bahamas, Johnson agreed and, despite having no real technology to work with, made it happen. While it was just one event of the 90+ events on the schedule, it indicated that if the technology can be made affordably and easy to use, the likelihood that more events have a shot clock in the near future is pretty high.
  18. [caption width="640"] The eventual Main Event winner walks away with this special Main Event Champion bracelet.[/caption] Czech poker pro Vojtech Ruzicka ended an abbreviated Day 6 of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event with the chip lead after eliminating two players on two separate hands in the last few minutes of play. Ruzicka ended the day with 26,415,000 which puts him ahead of Michael Ruane and former PocketFives #1 ranked player Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Ruane started the day with 5,605,000 and built it up to 24,565,000. Josephy managed to finish the day with 23,860,000 though he can’t seem to recall too many big spots. “I really didn’t do much today. I mean I really did not do much today. I don’t even remember the all in pots that I won,” said Josephy. “I didn’t play any big pots, I didn’t get any controversy. I hit flops, if I defended my big blind I hit the flop.“ Heading into the last day of the summer with a top four stack, the 50 year old Josephy is enjoying the moment and claims he’s able to stay loose and have fun. “Do you see the smile on my face?” said Josephy, the last player in the field who already has a WSOP bracelet. “I don’t feel any pressure. I never feel pressure playing. I always love playing. I don’t know how it affects other people, I don’t know if they blow up. I’m not going to blow up. I’m not going to tilt. If I lose a hand, I lose a hand.” While Josephy is the only WSOP bracelet winner still in the field, he’s not the only one with experience. Antoine Saout, who made the 2009 November Nine, has a shot at joining Mark Newhouse as the only players to make multiple trips to the November Nine. He sees a lot of differences between this year and his first run. “Very different because now I’m a professional. I played a lot during the seven years. I know how to do it during the tournament. I was deep since Day 2,” said Saout. “This is my worst ending with like 26 or 27 (big) blinds for tomorrow. I played great this tournament. I’ve had a good run. I’m confident I can do it.” He’s the fourth smallest stack heading into Day 7, but again recalls his 2009 experience as a reason to be patient. “Even with the short stack you can spin it up and be deep. When I made the final table I was one of the shorter (stacks),” said Saout. “I doubled up once, twice, after I was the chip leader. I almost won it. If I win the first hand (Monday) maybe I can be deep again.” There is one other former #1-ranked PocketFiver still in the hunt for a November Nine berth. Griffin Benger bounced around the Day 6 chip counts and ended with 6,530,000 - the 20th biggest stack. Other notables still in include James Obst, Valentin Vornicu and Tom Marchese. There were 53 players eliminated on Monday including Paul Volpe (29th), Dan Colman (31st), Max Silver (33rd), Chris Klodnicki (45th), Tony Gregg (50th), Dietrich Fast (55th) and Tom Middleton (56th). The final 27 players return at Noon PT on Monday and will play down until only the 2016 November Nine remain. Main Event Top 10 Chip Counts Vojtech Ruzicka - 26,415,000 Michael Ruane - 24,565,000 Cliff Josephy - 23,860,000 James Obst - 19,560,000 Mike Shin - 19,345,000 Valentin Vornicu - 17,450,000 Fernando Pons - 17,270,000 Thomas Miller - 17,185,000 Kenny Hallaert - 15,465,000 Tom Marchese - 15,420,000 Event 69: Michael Tureniec Wins The Little One for One Drop [caption width="640"] Michael Tureniec beat Calvin Anderson heads up to win his first WSOP bracelet[/caption] Sweden’s Michael Tureniec beat out former PocketFives #1-ranked Calvin Anderson to win the $1,111 Little One for One Drop and take home his first WSOP bracelet - the last one available this summer. Tureniec earned $525,520 for the win, the third largest score of his career. “It’s overwhelming to win. It’s the biggest thing you can accomplish in poker,” Tureniec said of the WSOP bracelet. Anderson walked away with $324,597. Another player who made his name online before turning to live poker, Ryan D’Angelo, finished third. The event attracted 4,360 players meaning $483,960 was raised for the One Drop charity. Final Table Payouts Michael Tureniec - $525,520 Calvin Anderson - $324,597 Ryan D'Angelo - $239,232 Sam Ho - $177,695 Thai Tolly - $133,028 Lucas Blanco - $100,380 Samer Al-Shurieki - $76,351 Shai Zurr - $58,543 Guillaume Diaz - $45,254
  19. [caption width="640"] The 2016 November Nine (Joe Giron/WSOP photo)[/caption] To many online poker players, Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy is already a legend. Monday night at the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, Josephy found the most incredible way to add to that status by making the November Nine with the chip lead. The 50-year-old Josephy is looking forward to coming back to the Rio in October for the November Nine festivities and he’s hoping to have a big rail cheering for him. “If I don’t bring back a better rail than I had here today - because my rail was non-existant - which is understandable. I have a bunch of 50 year old friends in New York with jobs. Judging from the advanced or premature texts that I’ve gotten over the past few days, they’re all looking forward and threatening to come here. We won’t be the most raucous rail. We’re not British. We’re not drunks anymore,“ joked Josephy, whos also going to lean heavily on his previous trips to the November Nine. “I was in the audience the first two years of the November Nine with Ylon Schwartz in 2008 and with Joe Cada in 2009 so I will know what to expect and it will not intimidate me one iota.” But Josephy, who spent a record 74 weeks straight as the #1-ranked online poker player in the world from April 2005 to September 2006, isn’t the only former #1-ranked player coming back in October. Griffin Benger, who was ranked #1 a total of five times in his career, is also going. Benger, who wasn’t going to play the Main Event until winning a 888 poker satellite two months ago, finished with 26,175,000 - the seventh best stack. Benger will be a staple of ESPN coverage once broadcasts begin including what is likely to become one of the most talked about hands in WSOP history. Benger raised to 875,000 from UTG and British poker pro William Kassouf bet 2,300,000 from the hijack only to have Benger make it 5,600,000. This sent Kassouf into the tank for several minutes where he talked - as he has been doing for most of the past few days - trying to get information from Benger. Kassouf eventually moved all in for 13,450,000 and Benger snap-called, tabling [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. Kassouf showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out with no help for Kassouf and he was eliminated in 17th place. During and after the hand the pair exchanged verbal barbs that apparently resulted in WSOP tournament director Jack Effel giving Benger a warning. The player closest to Josephy is Qui Nguyen. The Las Vegas low stakes grinder, ended with 67,925,000. Nguyen has just 28 live cahes and only two of them came in a tournament with a buy-in greater than $1,000. The only previous win on his record came in a $125 nightly tournament at the Aria Casino in 2013. Gordon Vayo, who turned 27 earlier this week, is ecstatic to make the final table after nearly being eliminated on Day 6 when he risked his tournament life with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] against Jonas Lauck who held [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The board ran out [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="3d"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] to give Vayo Broadway and keep him alive. “I was out of the tournament. In my head that was it, it was over, it was done, I was gone. There was no chance I was going to remain in this tournament,” said Vayo, who is third with 49,375,000. “I was stunned. Obviously I was thrilled, but I couldn’t believe it happened and even though it happened, I was looking at it and my brain couldn’t process that it actually happened.” After hovering near the chip lead over the last two days of play, Kenny Hallaert managed to make the November Nine with 43,325,000. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve never been at this stage and probably never will be again. Probably going to have a beer now and let everything sink in,” said Hallaert. “I have some friends made it to the November Nine and I can ask what their experience was and if they have any tips for me.” Michael Ruane, an online grinder from Hoboken, NJ, sits sixth with 31,600,000. Ruane is an online grinder who has moved around the world with his brother to continue to play online poker. He and his brother now live and play on regulated sites in New Jersey. Czech poker pro Vojtech Ruzicka, who started Day 7 with the chip lead, ended the day with 27,300,000 - just ahead of Benger. Sittting in eighth is Day 5 chip leader Jerry Wong. He has 10,175,00. The shortest stack when play resumes in October will be Fernando Pons. He’ll be returning to just 6,150,000 - just over 12 big blinds. The day began with 27 players all hoping to survive the day and be part of the November Nine. Amongst the 18 players that were eliminated on Monday were former November Niner Antoine Saout, Jared Bleznick, online poker legend James Obst and former CardPlayer Player of the Year Thomas Marchese. Due to the U.S Presidential Election in the first week of November, this year’s November Nine is actually spread over three days beginning on October 30. All three days will be broadcast live on ESPN. November Nine Chip Counts Cliff Josephy - 74,600,000 Qui Nguyen - 67,925,000 Gordon Vayo - 49,375,000 Kenny Hallaert - 43,325,000 Michael Ruane - 31,600,000 Vojtech Ruzicka - 27,300,000 Griffin Benger - 26,175,000 Jerry Wong - 10,175,000 Fernando Pons - 6,150,000
  20. [caption width="640"] There are more numbers in play at the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table that just the November Nine (WSOP Photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] You’ve seen plenty of numbers related to the November Nine. You’ve seen ages and chip counts, number of bracelets and final tables. Let’s not forget lifetime tournament earnings and number of big blinds. Rather than examine the obvious stats, let’s get to know this final table by the not-so-apparent numbers in this edition of The Number Crunch. 0 – This number applies to quite a bit of Fernando Pons’ resume. Prior to this Main Event, he had never played a World Series of Poker tournament, he had never even been to Vegas. He also has zero players behind him on the leaderboard, as the Spaniard is coming in with just a handful of big blinds amounting to 6.15 million. 2 – Spot on the Czech Republic all-time money list for Vojtech Ruzicka, who has already been credited with at least ninth place money. If he wins, he can take the top spot away from Martin Staszko, who finished second to Pius Heinz in 2011. 3 – This is the third career WSOP final table for Gordon Vayo. While he may not be a household name to casual poker fans, he actually came up just shy of a bracelet in 2014, finishing second to Davidi Kitai in a $3,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event. 25 – Position of Qui Nguyen in the counts with 27 players remaining. He began near the bottom of the counts, but after doubling through Michael Ruane early, he went on to eliminate Tom Marchese, James Obst, and Mike Shin to take the chip lead and go on to bag the second-biggest stack going into November. 407 – Total number of runners in the 2016 Unibet Belgium Poker Championship in September of 2016. Kenny Hallaert was on hand as the Unibet tournament director for the event, and does not appear interested in quitting his full-time day job after making the final table. 519 – Number of days chip leader Cliff Josephy was ranked #1 on the PocketFives Rankings. One of the OGs of online poker, the man known as 'JohnnyBax online joined P5s in 2005 and quickly ascended the ranks of online poker to take the number one spot. He is not the only top PocketFiver in the pack though. Griffin Benger was also ranked #1 in P5s World Rankings. Bax isn’t just a token member either. He has posted over 1,300 times in the forums as well as backed numerous other P5ers, including a former Main Event winner, Joe Cada. 26,158 – Total dollars confiscated by US Customs when Michael Ruane tried to fly back into the States after the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Then 23, Ruane and his brother and cousin did not properly declare the amount of money they were returning with, so officials confiscated it at the Nassau Airport. 98,683 – Dollars in earnings for Griffin Benger in his career as a professional Counter-Strike player. His career-high score came in 2007 when he and four teammates won a Competitive Gaming Series (CGS) event for $250,000 total, amounting to $50,000 apiece. 1,380,000 – Number of chips Jerry Wong lost over the course of two days of play as the field winnowed down from 80 to the November Nine. He was chip leader at the end of Day 5 with over 11 million, but lost steam late in play, bagging just over 10 million and coming into November eighth out of nine in the chip counts.
  21. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka could become the first Czech winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] You get the impression from 2016 November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka that he really loves poker. He's already promised that he won't be retiring if he wins the Main Event and that he would continue to play high buy-in tournaments all around the world. But since the end of this year’s World Series of Poker, and the final table eventually getting underway, Ruzicka has been spotted playing in a variety of different destinations. The Czech pro has certainly been honing his game ahead of the most important final table of his life, not only in tournaments! Ruzicka admitted over the summer that he wasn’t much of a cash game player, but that certainly didn’t stop him from heading to Rozvadov for the King’s Casino Cash Game. After a rough couple of days playing against the likes of Tony G and Igor Kurganov, he managed to turn it back around in the final session and finish the trip as a winner. Since then King’s Casino have announced that they intend to build a new hotel, spa and a new huge poker room. Ruzicka was quick to praise Leon Tsoukernik and the recent expansion plans at King’s. “I couldn’t be more excited about it! It looks like King’s could become the biggest European poker room really soon and the plans look awesome,” said Ruzicka of the host casino for WSOP Europe in 2017 and 2019. “King’s has some special memories for me. I actually played my first big live tournaments there, and I have won the German Championship of Poker there twice.” “I am really excited to represent Rozvadov in November." READ: Five Questions with Vojtech Ruzicka As well as playing at King’s, Ruzicka also headed to the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona where not only did he finish 18th in the €25,000 High Roller, but managed a deep run in the Main Event only to finish 24th. Ruzicka said that it was great to have the experience of running deep in another tournament so soon. “When I was deep in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, I was really excited, but not nervous at all. It felt great,” said Ruzicka. “I’ve never thought self-confidence makes much of a difference, but the fact that you will play a final table in a much bigger tournament in three months’ time made me much more relaxed.” “I definitely felt much better at the table and I was just like ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to win the EPT while waiting for the November Nine?’” In Barcelona it was announced that the EPT is soon to rebrand into PokerStars Championships. Ruzicka’s poker resume is littered with cashes, as well as a High Roller win at EPT Deauville in 2013 for €313,000. Ruzicka says that he hoped that the new format will work as well as the EPTs have done. “I honestly think that the EPT had a great name around the poker world, and I personally would never have renamed those tournaments. But we will see. I will definitely give them a shot,” said Ruzicka. This year there are three Europeans at the Main event final table, with Ruzicka joined by Spain's Fernando Pons and the Netherlands' Kenny Hallaert. This is an increase from 2015 where just Federico Butteroni and Pierre Neuville were from the other side of the pond. In 2014, however, there were four Europeans at a final table which was eventually won by Swede Martin Jacobson. And with four of the last eight Main Event Champions being European, does Ruzicka think that it would mean anything special to become yet another European Main Event winner? “I think everyone wants to win the Main Event really bad, but I think that people care more about how the winner plays and behaves. I don’t think that nationality is that important," said Ruzicka. “However, I do feel that following these results American players are starting to respect us Europeans much more at the tables and when we come to the World Series of Poker.” And with the November Nine right around the corner, Ruzicka will have a gang of rowdy Czechs railing him at the final table. “Now that I’m a November Niner, everybody has been really nice to me. It’s been actually quite pleasant so far,” admitted Ruzicka. “I would like to thank the entire Czech poker community. Everyone has been so supportive to me and I hope that I will make them proud!”
  22. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen has 8 million reasons to smile after winning the 2016 WSOP Main Event (WSOP Photo / Jayne Furman0[/caption] When the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table began on Sunday night, nobody thought Qui Nguyen had a chance at overcoming a field that included two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a talented European poker pro, a former PokerStars SuperNova Elite and two young American poker pros who cut their poker teeth online. On Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Nguyen beat Gordon Vayo after a lengthy heads up battle to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event and the accompanying $8 million. Just like they did on the first night, when Nguyen and Cliff Josephy went at each other, things got crazy on the first hand Tuesday night. Nguyen started things off by raising to 2,700,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"] from the button. Josephy re-raised to 8,500,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Gordon Vayo got out of the way before Nguyen four-bet to 20,900,000. Josephy immediately moved all and after getting a count, Nguyen called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7c"] flop gave Josephy top two pair. The [poker card="3s"] turn clinched the pot for Josephy with the [poker card="qs"] falling on the river. Nguyen’s stack dropped to 147,600,000 while Josephy more than doubled to 101,400,000. He also had momentum that proved to be short lived. Just four hands later the three players clashed in the biggest pot of the tournament to date and it nearly meant the end of the road for Josephy, the longest reigning #1-ranked player in PocketFives history. Josephy raised to 2,500,000 with [poker card="2d"][poker card="2c"] from the button, Vayo called from the small blind with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] before Nguyen made 7,700,000 from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. Josephy and Vayo both called to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"]. Nguyen bet 9,900,000 and both Josephy and Vayo called. After the [poker card="4d"] turn, Vayo and Nguyen both checked and Josephy bet 21,000,000. Vayo eventually moved all in for 75,100,000. Nguyen folded and Josephy called. The river was the [poker card="6d"] and Vayo doubled up while Josephy was left with just eight big blinds. Josephy doubled up through Nguyen on the very next hand and then again four hands later through Nguyen to get his stack back to 46,200,000 - just 3,800,000 less than he started the final day with. Josephy’s roller coaster ride continued five hands later when Nguyen took half of his stack and officially ended on the very next hand. Nguyen folded the button, Josephy moved all in for 18,700,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"] and Vayo called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Josephy in third place. After his elimination, Josephy discussed the set-vs-set confrontation with Vayo. “If he had played a small pair out of the small blind yesterday, I would’ve easily folded, due to his image, his reputation and my perception of him” said Josephy. “But he had folded a small pair against cutoff open against me, so it was easy to pull small pairs out of his range,” said Josephy. “The way he played the hand, he had to have a set of threes, but I don’t have him on threes, so it’s so hard because I couldn’t figure out what he could have.” When heads up play began Vayo had 200,300,000 chips to Nguyen’s 136,300,000. The two players exchanged the chip lead back and forth six times over the next 25 hands before Nguyen took the lead for the final time. Over the next seven hours of play, Vayo did everything he could to stave off elimination from the hard-charging Nguyen, but in the end, Nguyen’s aggression and unique approach that left his opponents dazed and confused over the final three days of play, ended up leading him to victory. After leaving Vayo shaking his head after numerous folds, the tournament ended in anti-climatic fashion. Nguyen opened to 8,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and Vayo shipped in his 53,000,000 stack with [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"] and Nguyen called. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Nguyen top pair and Vayo a boatful of extra outs but the [poker card="2s"] turn and [poker card="3h"] river were complete bricks for Vayo and after 181 hands of heads up play, Nguyen eliminated Vayo in second place to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Nguyen eliminated four of the final five players on his way to the win. Final Table Payouts Qui Nguyen - $8,005,310 Gordon Vayo - $4,661,228 Cliff Josephy - $3,453,035 Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  23. In the illustrious history of the PocketFives Rankings, 55 different players have managed to hold down the #1 spot. This edition of the RANK & FILE focuses on how those players did during the 2018 World Series of Poker. The World Series of Poker Main Event starts this week and former PocketFives #1 will get to work on trying to become the first player to have reached the mountaintop in both online and live poker. While this has yet to happen, there have been plenty of former #1-ranked online poker players that have made their mark on the biggest live poker tournament of the year. Here are just a few of the elite online player looking to make history here in 2018. Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Earnings: $3,496,985 New York family man, and one-time poker staking kingpin, Cliff Josephy has produced the best results in the Main Event when it comes to pure profit. Josephy has made the money three times dating back to 2008 when he cashed for the first time, finishing in 386th place for just over $28,000. In 2015, he found his second Main Event score as he min-cashed for another $15,000. His breakthrough cash in the Main Event came in 2016 when he battled poker pros Gordon Vayo and, the eventual winner, Qui Nguyen in three-handed play at the end of the tournament. Falling in third, Josephy took home a career-high cash of over $3.4 million and , in the process, ended up earning himself the American Poker Awards PocketFives Legacy Award for contributions to both the live and online arenas. Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi Main Event Cashes: 5 Total Main Event Earnings: $245,224 Sorel Mizzi’s poker legacy may be a controversial one, having been involved in a number of poker controversies over the years, but his success in the Main Event is incontrovertible. Mizzi has cashed in the Main Event five times going all the way back to 2007. His best result was in 2011 when he breached the top 100, finishing in 95th place, for $64,531. Mizzi currently sits with over $11.9 million in lifetime live career earnings so should he find a way to add a sixth WSOP Main Event cash to his resume, he may propel himself up over the $12 million mark. Bryan ‘theczar19’ Piccioli Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $1,757,855 Second only to Josephy in terms of pure cash, bracelet winner Bryan Piccoli has been a portrait of consistency in the Main Event in recent years. Piccoli has cashed in each of the last three Main Events, including his sixth-place finish in 2017 for $1.675 million. Headed into the 2018 Main, Piccoli has picked up four cashes in the 2018 WSOP highlighted by a relatively deep run in Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack for $9,758. He’ll be looking to cash in his fourth straight Main Event and, if that happens, he’ll be in line to make a run at Ronnie Bardah’s standing record of five straight Main Event cashes. Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $1,361,012 Another PocketFiver that always has a shot at going deep in the Main is Griffin Benger. One of 10 former #1-ranked PocketFivers to have cashed in the Main three times or more, Benger’s deepest run came in 2016. It was during that televised deep run that Benger’s verbal altercation with William Kassouf turned Toronto’s Benger from a pro's pro into a name known by recreational poker players all over the world. He wrapped up his run in seventh place that year, earning a career-high cash of over $1.25 million. Banger’s has a pattern of cashing the Main Event in every even year since 2012. In each of his results, he improved on the last time he cashed. If the pattern stays true, Benger should not only make the money this July but make a real run at becoming the World Champion. Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe Main Event Cashes: 3 Total Main Event Earnings: $557,919 Hitting the nail on the head, one of Paul Volpe’s nicknames is “The Main Event.” If Volpe is in the field and focused, you’re likely to see him make a deep run. Volpe already has six cashes in the 2018 WSOP series, including a bracelet win in Event #9: $10,000 Omaha H/L 8 or Better for $417,921. Volpe has come extremely close to making the final table of the Main Event on two of his three results. In 2012, Volpe’s deep run ended in the 20th spot for $294,601. Again in 2016, Volpe was poised to make it to the end, bowing out in 29th place for over $216,000. In total, the Pennsylvania pro has accumulated three bracelets and over $3 million in WSOP earnings alone. Perhaps this is the year he breaks through the 20th place threshold and makes his way to the final nine.
  24. When PocketFives announced the 50 Greatest Players in WSOP History project, Eli Elezra narrowly made the cut, coming in at #50. On Monday, the 58-year-old made a case for an improved ranking the next time around by becoming the 47th player to win at least four bracelets. Elezra's win was the only bracelet victory on Monday as three other events on the schedule dwindled down and two more kicked off. Eli Elezra Wins $1,500 Seven Card Stud Eli Elezra started the final day of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event with the chip lead and though it wasn't a wire-to-wire win, he did eventually beat out Anthony Zinno heads-up to win the fourth bracelet of his career and $93,766. "I'm from the old school. I've still got it here, I've still got a feeling about hands. That's when I know when to fold," Elezra said after his win. "I think in the end though I was lucky because Anthony is a really good player." Elezra and Zinno came into the final table with over 85% of the chips in play and it was simply academic for David Singer, Rep Porter, Tab Thiptinnakon, and Valentin Vornicu to bust in front of them to lead to the seemingly inevitable heads up battle. The pair played for nearly four hours before Elezra prevailed. This is the second time Elezra has won the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event. He won the previous one in 2015. Elezra's other two bracelets are in Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo (2007) and Limit Deuce to Seven (2013). Final Table Payouts Eli Elezra - $93,766 Anthony Zinno - $57,951 Valentin Vornicu - $39,830 Tab Thiptinnakon - $27,933 Rep Porter - $19,996 David Singer - $14,619 Joshua Mountain - $10,920 Scott Seiver - $8,337 Josh Reichard Leads Final 34 in Millionaire Maker There are just 34 players left in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and one of them is going to win $1,000,000 this week - well, $1,344,930 to be exact. Josh Reichard, winner of 11 WSOP Circuit rings, leads the final 34 players with 20,645,000. He's the only player with at least 20,000,000 and one of only six with 10,000,000. Included in that second group is Andrew Hinrichsen with 18,700,000 and Cory Albertson with 15,150,000. There are two former #1-ranked PocketFivers in the top 10. Steven van Zadelhoff sits fifth with 10,600,000 and Joao Simao ended up ninth with 9,050,000. Another former #1, Calvin Anderson, finished with the shortest stack at 1,875,000. Samuel Cosby, who started the day with the chip lead, is still alive with 4,085,000. There were 275 players who saw their shot at the seven-figure windfall end on Monday. Some of the notables to bust included Anthony Spinella (41st - $31,224), Jonathan Karamalikis (45th - $31,224), Bruno Politano (48th - $25,511), Joe McKeehen (65th - $17,416) Olivier Busquet (93rd - $10,399), Justin Young (102nd - $8,893), JC Tran (128th -$8,893), Daniel Buzgon (136th - $8,893), Ramon Colillas (145th - $8,893), and 2019 bracelet winner Daniel Strelitz (146th - $8,893). The remaining players return to action Tuesday at Noon and will play down to six players. The final table is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Top 10 Chip Counts Josh Reichard - 20,645,000 Andrew Hinrichsen - 18,700,000 Cory Albertson - 15,150,000 Fabian Gumz - 11,675,000 Steven van Zadelhoff - 10,600,000 Jacob Naumann - 10,565,000 Stephen Nussrallah - 9,960,000 Joao Simao - 9,050,000 Nathan Russler - 7,060,000 Damon Musgrave - 7,045,000 $1,000 Double Stack Needs Third Day; 11 Remain The $1,000 Double Stack event was supposed to be a two-day event, but a larger-than-expected field made that nearly impossible but that's just fine with Jorden Fox and 10 other players still chasing the $420,693 first place prize money. The top three stacks heading into Day 3 all belong to players who call California home. Fox leads with 26,150,000 ahead of Jeffrey Smith with 21,775,000. Scott Vener, a Hollywood music supervisor, sits third with 17,600,000. Reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year Erkut Yilmaz was the final player to bust on Monday, finishing 12th for $28,443. Other notables that were sent to the rail on Monday included Adam Levy, Maria Ho, Dylan Linde, former #1-ranked Tim West, Pennsylvani poker pro Zach Gruneberg, Andrew Lichtenberger, Ryan Laplante, and Kelly Minkin. The final 11 players will play down to a winner beginning at Noon. Final 11 Chip Counts Jorden Fox - 26,150,000 Jeffrey Smith - 21,775,000 Scott Vener - 17,600,000 Christopher Andler - 12,675,000 Jayachandra Gangaiah - 12,625,000 Sridhar Natarajan - 10,675,000 Ryan Teves - 8,725,000 Simon Legat - 7,950,000 Andrew Glauberg - 6,025,000 Atrayon Trevino - 4,550,000 Marco Garcia - 4,000,000 Alexander Livingston in Command in $1,500 Eight Game Alexander Livingston almost bagged up 600,000 chips at the end of Day 2 of the $1,500 Eight Game event. He finished with 587,000 and is the only player over 500,000 and the only one over 400,000. Chris Vitch finished with 395,000 for the second best stack on the day. Murilo Souza, who won the $1,500 HORSE event last week, sits third with 383,000. Only 28 of the 225 players who started the day managed to move on to Day 2. Pennsylvania poker is well represented with Chris Klodnicki and Matt Glantz both finding bags at the end of the night. Chris Bjorin, Allen Kessler, and Toby Lewis also stayed alive through the 10 levels of play. There were more than a few notable names that busted on Day 2. Ismael Bojang, Jeff Madsen, Mike Watson, Brian Yoon, Phil Hellmuth, Yuval Bronshtein, David 'ODB' Baker, Phillip Hui, Marco Johnson, Dan Smith, Shaun Deeb, Patrick Leonard, Alex Foxen, and Ian O'Hara didn't move on to Day 2 but did pick up a cash. Day 3 starts at 2 PM PT is scheduled to play down to a champion. Top 10 Chip Counts Alexander Livingston - 587,000 Chris Vitch - 395,500 Murilo Souza - 383,000 Philip Long - 353,000 John Trumbul - 348,500 Chris Klodnicki - 348,000 Matt Glantz - 342,000 Frederik Brink - 285,500 John Evans - 262,000 Rami Boukai - 257,500 Cliff Josephy Among $600 PLO Deepstack Top 10 Day 1 of the $600 Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack event, a new event for 2019, drew 2,577 players with 215 making it through the day. Corey Wright finished as the chip leader with 1,726,000. Former #1-ranked Cliff Josephy made his 2019 WSOP debut on Monday and seems to have made the absolute most of it, finishing in the top 10 Day 1 chip stacks. There were 171 players who busted on Day 1, but still managed to make it into the money. Daniel Negreanu picked up his fifth cash of the 2019 WSOP, finishing 381st for $875. Other notables to pick up a score on Monday included Joseph Cheong, Chris Ferguson, Greg Raymer, Kenny Hallaert, Joao Vieira, and Jesse Sylvia. The event is scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday, with cards in the air beginning at Noon. Top 10 Chip Counts Corey Wright - 1,726,000 Robert Valden - 1,275,000 Ryan Bambrick - 1,159,000 Peter Linton - 1,130,000 Peter Eichhardt - 1,100,000 Rafael Lebron - 1,059,000 Cliff Josephy - 1,009,000 Alex Feiner - 1,003,000 Darko Stojanovic - 987,000 Ioannis Angelou - 970,000 Fewer Runners in $2,620 Marathon Event While most of the No Limit Hold'em events in the early part of the 2019 WSOP schedule have seen an uptick in attendance, the $2,620 buy-in Marathon appears to be the exception. Just 947 players bought in on Day 1, down from the 1,479 who did the same last summer. Registration is open for two more levels on Tuesday (just like 2018). Peter Hong bagged up the chip lead, finishing the six 100-minute levels with 179,000 from a starting stack of 26,200. There's a close group right behind with Christopher Godfrey, Scott Menard, and Thong Ho all finishing with 170,000 or more. There were 466 players who finished Day 1 with chips as 481 were sent to the rail. Matt Berkey, Dietrich Fast, Tristan Wade, Andre Akkari, Jonathan Proudfoot, and Live at the Bike's Ryan Feldman, were just a handful of the notables moving on to Day 2. The event is scheduled to run until Saturday. Top 10 Chip Counts Peter Hong - 179,000 Christopher Godfrey - 177,100 Scott Menard - 171,700 Thong Ho - 170,700 Uri Reichenstein - 163,400 Vladimir Alexandrov - 163,000 Vladimir Revniaga - 156,000 Xi Yang - 155,100 Zu Zhou - 149,000 Roman Korenev - 147,400 Dave Alfa Leads $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Day 1 Dave Alfa might be leading $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event, but poker fans around the world could be rejoicing as ESPN commentator Norman Chad finished Day 1 with a top 10 stack. Alfa bagged up 87,900 while Chad finished with 48,600. Longtime PocketFiver Andrew Kelsall finished with 69,700 for the second best stack. Poker Hall of Famer Barbara Enright finished right behind Kelsall with 68,800. The opening day drew 460 runners, down from the 596 last year. Some of the notables among the 195 players to advance to Day 2 include Eric Rodawig, Yuval Bronshtein, Daniel Negreanu, John Racener, Michael Mizrachi, Brian Hastings, and Daniel Zack. Top 10 Chip Counts Dave Alfa - 87,900 Andrew Kelsall - 69,700 Barbara Enright - 68,800 Gregory Yohn - 65,900 Allen Green - 53,600 Bryan Pimlott - 52,100 Eugene Parenti - 51,400 Stephen Clough - 51,200 Anna Wroblewski - 50,200 Norman Chad - 48,600 WSOP PLAYER OF THE YEAR UPDATE Dan Zack won his first bracelet in the opening days of the 2019 WSOP and has made it quite clear he intends to chase down the WSOP Player of the Year title. He now has five cashes this summer, including two since his win, and leads the POY race by Rank Player Points 1 Dan Zack 1,754.40 2 Isaac Baron 1,396.76 3 Femi Fashakin 1,384.62 4 Brett Apter 1,356.43 5 Daniel Strelitz 1,353.20 6 Ben Heath 1,339.27 7 Jeremy Pekarek 1,278.95 8 Frankie O'Dell 1,259.10 9 Ben Yu 1,219.61 10 Scott Clements 1,217.26 STREAMING SCHEDULE The $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven final table featuring Jean-Robert Belland, Prahlad Friedman, Paul Volpe, Darren Elias, and Jim Bechtel gets underway at NOON PT and will be streamed on both PokerGO and CBS All Access. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code “POCKET5S” for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. TUESDAY at the WSOP
  25. All good things must come to an end. And that end has come for the PCA. As PocketFives reported, when PokerStars announced the return of the PSPC in 2020 they also, unceremoniously, announced that the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure would not be back in 2020, ending its run of 16 years. For many, the PCA kicked off the yearly poker calendar with players making plans to escape their winter hardships for weeks of poker, sun and waterslides. At the height of the poker boom, the PCA was one of the most popular stops on the tour as winners of the Main Event added millions to their career earnings and a marquee victory to their resumes. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] However, as many tour stops experienced, the numbers began to decline after Black Friday and the fatigue of making the trip to the Atlantis Resort & Casino began to weigh on the players. Now, PokerStars has pulled the plug on one of the most enduring poker stops of the last two decades. But even though it’s gone, it certainly won’t be forgotten. With that, we’ve compiled nine of the most memorable moments in the history of the PCA. Gus Hansen’s On A Boat Before the PCA became the flagship stop for PokerStars, it has a very different look. In fact, in 2004, the first year it ever took place the PCA was then a World Poker Tour event. Also, it took place on a boat. The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas to be exact and just as poker was about to hit mainstream a young up-and-coming player from Denmark, Gus Hansen, was in the middle of making a reputation for himself, a reputation that lasts to this very day. Hansen bested the likes of Daniel Negreanu for the $455,780 first-place prize and his third WPT title. Right from the get-go, the PCA drew premier poker star power and eventually the PCA would be the engine to create that star power. Ryan Daut And Isaac Haxton Take It Outside In 2007, rising online phenom Isaac Haxton was in prime position to take down the 2007 PCA Main Event and it’s massive $1.5 million first-place prize. Ryan Daut had other ideas and the pair put on a famous heads up battle at the final table which took place…outside. The weather outside was nearly as volatile as the play on the felt. The winds whipped as evening fell and it looked like the sky was going to open up and pour at any moment. In the eye of the storm was Haxton and Daut who played an iconic hand where both players had “absolute Garfunkel!” Haxton won the famous battle of the bluffs but Daut took home the PCA title. ESPN Took The PCA Live The PCA made history in 2011 when PokerStars struck a deal with ESPN to bring ‘near-live’ coverage of the PCA final table to the network. The final table was shown on ESPN2 and online on ESPN3.com on a one-hour delay so viewers could see the hole cards. According to the PokerStars Blog, it was the first time that poker fans were able to see a final table, every hand, every decision completely unedited. “For the first time viewers at home will see a poker telecast from start to finish, with all the strategy of world class-poker players playing in real-time,” said ESPN’s Matt Volk back in 2010. Galen Hall Finds A Fold Not only did 2011 produce one of the first unedited accounts of a final table, but it also produced one of the finest folds every caught on camera. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver was cruising in the PCA Main Event and at the start of heads up play he had a 3:1 chip advantage over fellow online pro Galen Hall. On the third hand of play, the pair both make monster hands by the river. Hall rivered a straight while Oliver had just gone runner-runner to a full house. After being checked to by Oliver, Hall put out a bet and was check-raised for his tournament life. “If Hall calls it’s all over,” said commentator James Hartigan. “I don’t see Hall getting away from this hand,” declared Daniel Negreanu. After minutes in the tank, Hall makes the laydown of his poker life and ended up turning the tables on Oliver to become the 2011 PCA Main Event champion for $2.3 million. Antonio Esfandiari DQ’d From Main Event Antonio Esfandiari loves to prop bet. So does Bill Perkins. When the two of them got together at the 2016 PCA they agreed to a bet that had Esfandiari only able to perform lunges when moving for 48 hours. Sore and not wanting to lunge himself to the bathroom, Esfandiari made the unfortunate decision to go to the bathroom in a bottle…under the poker table. When officials caught wind of Esfandiari’s makeshift restroom he was quickly disqualified from the Main Event. However, the prop bet continued and he got up and lunged his way out of the tournament area. Read: Antonio Esfandiari Disqualified from PCA Main Event Vanessa Selbst’s Big Bet So the story goes…after a night of having (perhaps too much) fun in the Bahamas, Vanessa Selbst made a big bet against her friend Jason Mercier that he couldn’t win three WSOP bracelets the following summer. It’s hard enough for pros to count on winning one WSOP bracelet, much less three and so she ended up giving 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager. The bet was made in a bit of an 'altered state' and when Selbst woke up the next day, she tried to cancel it but according to Mercier, the bet was booked. She offered Mercier a $1K buy-out, he declined. Mercier went on to pick up two bracelets that summer and finish second in another tournament nearly completing the challenge that would have paid him $1.8 million. Christian Harder Battles Bax Long-time online and live pro Christian Harder became a bit of a footnote in PCA history in his 2017 Main Event win. That’s because, technically, it wasn’t the PCA. That year PokerStars shelved their popular PCA brand and tried to rebrand the tour stop the ‘PokerStars Championship Bahamas’. That is the year Harder fought through the field of 738 entries to find himself heads up for the title. When he looked up he saw he sitting across from him was his former backer (and PocketFives Legacy Award winner) Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Josephy was a bit of a mentor to Harder and had put him in the PCA in the past so when they got heads up, a deal was quickly struck between the two friends with Harder going on to take home the extra $10K and the first (and last) PSC Bahamas trophy. Maria Lampropulos First Woman Winner of PCA Argentina’s Maria Lampropulos made PCA history in 2018 by becoming the first-ever female to capture a PCA Main Event title. She overcame a 2:1 heads up chip deficit to defeat Canadian crusher Shawn Buchanan and take home the $1,081,100 first-place prize, her second seven-figure score in under 12 months. The Main Event final table was not only notable for who won the title but how she won it. Lampropulos was quite visibly extremely sick throughout the final day, having fits of coughing and seemingly struggling to stay focused. This also led to her taking a long time on many decisions, which prompted other players to call the clock on her on a number of occasions. In the end, she fought through the sickness, made the right decision and won some crucial flips to become the first (and now last) female PCA champion. The PSPC Breaks Records In 2019 PokerStars has a plan to revitalize the PCA and that was by hosting the largest ever $25,000 buy-in tournament - the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. The PSPC was the culmination of a year-long marketing campaign. One that doled out over 320 Platinum Passes, a ticket worth $30,000 that allowed players from all over the world to live their dream of playing in a tournament with life-changing money on the line. When the event got underway, the tournament room was electric with players of every skill level giddy with excitement over such a special event. The tournament exceeded all expectations with 1,039 players registering for the event creating a prize pool of $26,455,500. In fairytale fashion, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas from Spain ended up as the winner and took home the massive $5.1 million first-place prize.
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