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  1. Only one player has held the #1 spot for more weeks than Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy, but while 'lena900' has had 10 turns as the #1-ranked player for 97 weeks, Josephy had one run that lasted an astonishing 74 weeks. That level of success has made Josephy a longstanding favorite of the PocketFives community and his PocketFives Legacy Award, which he won at the 2016 American Poker Awards, earned him the #7 seed in the Clubs bracket and an automatic bye into the second round. If Josephy wants to continue to add to his growing list of accolades, he'll need to survive a Clubs bracket that includes the likes of #1 seed Sebastian 'p0cket00' Sikorski, Fabrizio 'SixthSenSe19' Gonzalez, Fedor Holz, and his former protege Kevin 'BeL0WaB0Ve' Saul. Enter the #1 Number One Contest Now! p0cket00 (#1) vs StrungOut1 (#16) Sebastian 'p0cket00' Sikorski earned the #1 seed in this bracket thanks to being one of just six players to have worked their way into the #1 ranking on six different occasions. Those six reigns, turned into 28 weeks at #1 for Sikorski which, in addition to his seven Triple Crowns (good for 10th all-time), makes him one of the most accomplished players in PocketFives history. Michael 'StrungOut1' Wasserman held the #1 spot for one week in September 2015. He won two Triple Crowns before having his results no longer tracked by PocketFives. SixthSenSe19 (#2) vs Doc Sands (#15) Fabrizio 'SixthSenSe19' Gonzalez was ranked #1 on PocketFives on three separate occasions for a combined 21 weeks between October 2016 and March 2017. The Uruguayan has accumulated more than $10 million in lifetime online earnings thanks to PokerStars WCOOP and SCOOP titles as well as partypoker Powerfest wins. His path to Round 2 isn't an easy one though. David 'Doc Sands' Sands might have held the #1 ranking only one time, but his six-week reign and $3 million in online earnings, combined with his status as a popular member of PocketFives, make him a threat to advance. gboro780 (#3) vs SvZff (#14) It somehow feels like Steve 'gboro780' Gross might be a tad underrated as the #3 seed. Gross reached #1 on four separate occasions and has the fourth-longest combined time at #1 at 55 weeks. A majority of Gross' $6.2 million in lifetime earnings came before Black Friday as did his two Triple Crowns. Steven van Zadelhoff is the player standing in Gross' way of a first-round win. The Dutchman earned the #1 ranking in December 2017, just two months after he won the PokerStars WCOOP Main Event for $1.6 million. He held the top spot for a single week and has $11.4 million in earnings plus a Triple Crown to his credit. r4ndomr4gs (#4) vs aguskb (#13) Andreas 'r4ndomr4gs' Berggren is part of the army of Swedish superstars who have held the #1 spot. Berggren first took the top spot in May 2014 and held onto it for one week before losing it to fellow Swede Lukas 'lukethafluke' Berglund. He grabbed it back two weeks later for a final two weeks on top. He's also one of just 13 players with at least $14 Million in earnings. Aaron 'aguskb' Gustavson could be in line for an upset here. Gustavson spent one more week on top than Berggren over his two reigns. djk123 (#5) vs Greenstone25 (#12) With three times on top of the PocketFives Rankings and a pair of WSOP bracelets, Dan 'djk123' Kelly is one of the most decorated players in the field. He no longer plays professionally, but during his time at the top of the Rankings, Kelly was one of the most respected MTT grinders on the planet. His first-round opponent, Johannes 'Greenstone25' Korsar is another member of the Swedish contingent in the field. Korsar was #1 for three weeks in December 2019 and was only displaced by fellow Swede 'lena900'. 1_conor_b_1 (#6) vs BeL0WaB0Ve (#11) This matchup is going to be one to keep an eye on and could come down to a battle of American and British voters. Kevin 'BeL0WaB0Ve' Saul is a legendary figure to most long-time PocketFivers and his seven-week run at #1 in 2006-2007 helped solidify that position. His longtime popularity makes him a threat to upset the #6 seed, Conor '1_conor_b_1' Beresford who brings a 29 straight week reign at #1 as his leading credential. He also has $15 Million in earnings and a trophy case full of some of online poker's most prestigious hardware. Tmay420 (#8) vs CrownUpGuy (#9) Some voters may consider live poker success and that makes Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz a threat to upset Tim 'Tmay420' West. Holz became #1 on three occasions, each time holding onto it for a single week. He won the 2014 PokerStars WCOOP Main Event and then went onto win more than $32 Million in live tournaments. West was #1 for seven weeks straight beginning in late 2006. He's won more than $4 Million online and nearly the same event in live events. Make your picks in the PocketFives #1 Number One Contest - entries due by Midnight ET on April 2. Then make sure to follow @PocketFives on Twitter to get your votes in!"
  2. Though tens of thousands of players have made their way into the PocketFives Rankings since the website launched in 2005, just 60 different players have climbed to the top and held the #1 spot. This list of players who have been #1 includes some of the most respected and feared players in the game, spanning multiple eras of online poker. There’s no doubt that these 60 players are all great - but who is the greatest #1 of all time? It’s a question that’s never been asked. Until now. And the answer to that question is entirely up to you. Over the next 30 days, poker fans will have the opportunity to help determine who the #1 Number One is in our head-to-head bracket style competition - and can win their own share of more than $2,000 in prizes along the way. The PocketFives #1 Number One is a single elimination tournament with all 60 former #1s. All players were seeded and placed in the bracket based on how many times they hit #1, how long they held onto the top spot, their career online earnings, and how many Triple Crowns they have won. "We wanted to give poker players and fans the opportunity to have their say in who they think is the greatest online poker tournament player of all time," said PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. "The next month should be a lot of fun with some 60 former #1-ranked players vying for the title and the championship belt." With 60 players, the four winners of the Global Poker Awards PocketFives Legacy Award each received first round byes: Cliff ’JohnnyBax’ Josephy, Ari Engel, Shaun Deeb and Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman. Show me the bracket! Each day for the next 30 days, PocketFives will release two match-ups via Twitter for poker fans to vote on. Each poll is open for 24 hours with the player receiving the most votes moving on to the following round. This continues until the #1 Number One is determined on May 4, 2021. The player receiving the most votes in the final round earns the title of #1 Number One and the accompanying championship belt. Not only will poker fans around the world have the chance to vote, they'll also be able to win their share of more than $2,000 in prizes by entering a bracket with their predictions for how each match-up goes through all six rounds. Points are awarded for each accurate prediction with the points awarded each round doubling from 10 in the first round up to 320 in the final. ENTER NOW Prizes include a Run It Once Training Pads on Pads course, valued at $999, as well as prizes from D&B Poker, Faded Spade playing cards, and Run Good Gear. To be eligible for prizes, entrants must have a PocketFives account and must follow PocketFives on Twitter. Full details including rules, prizes, and all match-ups are available here.
  3. [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.
  4. [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.
  5. [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.
  6. [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.”
  7. [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
  8. [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
  9. [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
  10. [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!”
  11. [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.
  12. [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
  13. [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
  14. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Michael Ruane sits fifth in chips as the 2016 WSOP Main Event gets underway, but there's more to the New Jersey native than just poker (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, 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 Michael Ruane. 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? I don't really gamble or bet outside of poker so I'd probably make the fish bet and just bet on whoever has the most ridiculous odds, who happens to be Fernando - so I'd probably throw a 20 ball on Fernando to win. * 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? This is a good one that I've put a lot of thought into and tried to come at from a very practical angle.*So growing up the first show I was absolutely obsessed with was LOST.*It was the first show that I (and I think a lot of people) totally immersed myself in 100%.*This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but if you haven't watched LOST at this point, you've probably missed the boat - but in later seasons Locke's mortality is sort of up in the air, so technically I think he'd qualify as non-living.*So my first "thing" I'd bring to this island is the character of John Locke.*I honestly don't think I'd need anything else after that to survive, but to round out my three I'd probably bring a knife (for practical purposes) and an iPod (for when Locke gets too annoying rambling on about said deserted island's meaning). PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? I don't think it would be one extravagant single purchase.*I'm a pretty big music nut and try to go to as many concerts and music festivals as possible.*I also really love to travel.*I think I would try to combine these two passions and plot a really awesome (and expensive) trip that included different places I've been wanting to visit that had a cool music festival or band playing at the same time. * PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? I've been told that I resemble anywhere from Michael Shannon to Robert Pattinson to Leo, himself.*To answer the question, if a Hollywood studio was serious about this idea, I'd embark on a global journey to find this mystical creature who looks like a combination of all three of these actors.*I'd then offer this person an exorbitant amount of money (so this actually might be my most extravagant purchase) to portray me in a major motion picture. * PocketFives: If you and your brother Sean (also a professional poker player) had to play heads-up against each other in a winner-take-all scenario, who wins and why? Depends when this match takes place. If it takes place before the Final Table, Sean would for sure let me win to give me a nice confidence boost. If it's after the Final Table, it's a real toss up.*Sean is huge lightweight though, so my strategy would be to act as if this heads-up match was a fun, light-hearted brotherly match where we'd have a few beers and have a good time.* I'd then get Sean absolutely bombed, rendering him incapable of defeating me.*In theory, I think it'd be virtually impossible for the poor guy to win.
  15. [caption width="640"] Cliff Josephy is the 2016 November Nine chip leader.[/caption] This was supposed to be the final installment of Rank & File for the 2016 World Series of Poker. It was supposed to show the final tally for how the former #1-ranked players on PocketFives did this summer but it turns out there’s going to be at least one more Rank & File needed after two members of this elite fraternity, Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy and Griffin ‘Flush_Entity’ Benger, made the final table of the Main Event. Josephy and Griffin were actually two of 10 former #1-ranked players to cash in the Main Event this year. While both will have to wait until November to find out their final payout, they are each guaranteed at least $1,000,000. Paul Volpe had the next biggest Main Event score, walking away with $216,211 for finishing 29th. All told the ten players walked away with at least $2,498,657. Former #1-ranked Players in the WSOP Main Event Cliff Josephy - $1,000,000* Griffin Benger - $1,000,000* Paul Volpe - $216,211 Bryan Piccioli - $67,855 Sorel Mizzi - $49,108 Chris Hunichen - $49,108 Tim West - $28,356 Kevin Saul - $25,235 Dan Kelly - $20,499 While the Main Event was clearly the focus of the final days of the WSOP, there was one other event on the schedule and a former #1-ranked player almost walked away with the bracelet. Calvin ‘Cal42688’ Anderson finished runner-up to Michael Tureniec in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop event, earning $324,597 in the process. Bracelet WinnersThree former #1-ranked players managed to win bracelets this summer – with Josephy and Benger still having a shot at adding fourth in November. Paul Volpe won the $1,500 Eight Game Mix in early June to grab the second WSOP bracelet of his career. It was a little over two weeks later when Shaun Deeb won the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event for his second career bracelet. It was a first-time winner that stole the headlines just as the Main Event was getting underway. Fedor Holz beat Dan Smith heads up for his first ever WSOP bracelet in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event. It was the fourth cash of his summer and earned him $4,981,775. The 22 year old German poker pro is just the 10th former #1-ranked player to win a WSOP bracelet. Holz surprised many by announcing he was taking a long-term break from poker immediately following the Main Event. Biggest ScoresObviously Josephy and Benger already have a seven-figure score, but there were a few other players that put up big numbers in individual events. So far Holz’s win in the One Drop High Roller is the single biggest score by a former #1-ranked player this summer and the only way it gets surpassed is if either Josephy or Benger goes on to win the Main Event. Volpe actually owns the two next biggest scores. He won $149,943 for his bracelet win and $216,211 for his deep Main Event run. Deeb’s bracelet win earned him $111,101. There were no other six-figure cashes but there was 27 cashes of between $10,000 and $100,000. Most CashesWhile Dan Kelly had the smallest Main Event cash of this group, he did have the most 2016 WSOP cashes of any former #1-ranked player. Kelly finished with 12 cashes – one off the record set this year by Ronald Israelashivil - for a total of $89,639 earned this summer. Kelly now has 47 career WSOP cashes and two WSOP bracelets. The next highest number of cashes was nine from Volpe. Along with his win and deep Main Event run, Volpe cashed in seven other events and posted top-20 finishes in four of them. Just one cash behind Volpe was Jordan ‘Jymaster0011’ Young with eight. While the closest Young got to a final table was a 16th place finish in a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em, the eight total cashes double his previous best WSOP performance. He finished up his summer by holding true to his online poker roots with a 138th place finish in the Online Bracelet event for $2,013. The (not quite) Final NumbersWhile the poker world waits to see just where Josephy and Benger finish in the Main Event, the numbers put up by the group of former #1-ranked players is impressive on its own. Total Cashes: 110 Total Bracelets: 3* Total Earnings: $9,025,917* *includes only $1,000,000 each from Cliff Josephy and Griffin Benger (ninth place pay out).
  16. [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.
  17. [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
  18. [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.
  19. [caption width="640"] Christian Harder won the first ever PokerStars Championship event on Saturday, defeating Cliff Josephy heads-up to win PokerStars Championship Bahamas (PokerStars photo)[/caption] Just 2.5 months ago Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy was at the final table of the WSOP Main Event with a player he once backed in the pre-Black Friday era of online poker. Josephy eventually finished eventually busted in third while his one-time horse, Gordon Vayo, finished second. Christian Harder improved that narrative on Sunday night at the final table of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event. Josephy finished runner-up while Harder, once also backed by Josephy, took home the title and just over $400,000. It took just seven hands for the first elimination on the night and much to the delight of his legions of fans on PocketFives, it wasn’t Josephy. Harder opened the action, raising to 140,000 from UTG. Rasmus Glaesel moved all in UTG+1 and Harder called. Glaesel showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found himself racing against Harder’s [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] to give Harder a full house and eliminated Glaesel in sixth. That handed seemed to provide some momentum for Harder, but it also seemed to spell the beginning of the end for Michael Gentili, who started the final day with the chip lead. Over the course of the next five hours, Gentili saw his chip stack evaporate mostly at the hands of Aleksei Opalikhin. Josephy eventually finished him off. After Harder opened to 275,000, Josephy moved all in for 1,785,000 before Gentil called off the last of his stack from the small blind. Harder folded and Josephy showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"] while Gentili had two live cards, [poker card="9s"][poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop put Josephy ahead and he stayed there through the [poker card="js"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river to eliminate Gentili in fifth place. At this point Harder had almost 2/3 of the chips in play but again he sat back as another player was eliminated. Josephy opened to 240,000 before Michael Vela re-raised to 1,000,000. Opalikhin called his last 295,000 before Josephy folded. Vela showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] and Opalikhin tabled [poker card="tc"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] flop left Opalikhin drawing thin and while the [poker card="th"] turn and [poker card="9c"] river gave the Russian two full houses, they weren’t big enough and he was out in fourth place. Another 90 minutes of play passed with Harder still in command before the next elimination. Harder raised from the button to 350,000, Josephy called from the small blind but Vela moved all in for 1,485,000. Harder and Josephy both called. Harder and Josephy both checked through the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4d"] board. Harder showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"] for ace-high while Josephy tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"] for a king-high flush and Vela tabled and mucked [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"] to be eliminated in third place. When heads-up play began Harder held 12,130,000 chips to Josephy’s 9,175,000. Play was paused to allow Harder and Josephy to discuss a chop and after just a few minutes the Americans agreed to a deal that saw Harder take $419,664 and Josephy $403,448 with an additional $10,000 going to the eventual champion. Just 20 minutes later Harder finished Josephy after a preflop all in spot. Josephy raised to 400,00, Harder raised to 1,100,000 and Josephy move all in for just over 6,000,000. Harder called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"] which had Josephy’s [poker card="as"][poker card="8h"] dominated. The [poker card="9s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="ks"][poker card="9c"] board was no help for Josephy and he was eliminated in second place leaving Harder standing tall with the first major title of his career. The $5,000 buy-in event, which replaced the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, attracted 738 entries. Last year the $5,300 buy-in PCA had a field of 928 and Mike Watson took home $728,325 for first. The next PokerStars Championship event is in Panama, March 10 - 20. In the meantime, the PokerStars Festival event hits London, England January 22 - 29. Final Table Payouts Christian Harder - $429,664* Cliff Josephy - $403,448* Michael Vela - $259,980 Aleksei Opalikhin - $191,420 Michael Gentili - $140,940 Rasmus Glaesel - $103,780 Brock Allison - $76,400 John Dibella - $56,260
  20. [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
  21. [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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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."
  24. When the poker industry gathers in Las Vegas Friday night to celebrate the best of 2018 at the Global Poker Awards, PocketFives.com will honor a player who has collected more accolades over the course of his online poker career than any player in the 15-year history of the site. Chris Moorman, one of the most successful players in online poker tournament history, is this year’s recipient of the PocketFives Legacy Award at the Global Poker Awards. “Chris’ success in the online poker world is nearly unmatched. When it came time to pick which player to recognize this year, there was never really any debate,” said PocketFives President & Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley. “We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate one of the most well-respected members of our community on such an important night.” Between 2008 and 2011, Moorman reached the #1-ranking on PocketFives a record 13 times and has held that spot for a total of 24 weeks. He’s the all-time leader in PocketFives Triple Crowns earned with 29 and arguably most impressively, Moorman’s $15,851,900 in online earnings makes him the all-time leader. While he originally made a name for himself in the online poker world, Moorman has also had success in the live arena as well. In 2014, he won the World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic Main Event for $1,015,460. He followed that up with a World Series of Poker bracelet win in 2017. His lifetime live earnings are nearly $5.7 million. “It’s a great honor to receive this award. Without PocketFives, I’m not sure I would've had the same drive for success,” said Moorman. “When I discovered the site 10 years ago it motivated me to put in the volume and try to be the best I could be during my early years as a tournament player.” Moorman is the third player to receive the PocketFives Legacy Award. In 2017, Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy received the first PocketFives Legacy Award at the American Poker Awards. The 2018 recipient was Ari Engel. The awards show will be streamed for free on PokerGO Friday at 5 pm PT.
  25. 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

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