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  1. We're down to two players in Event #15 of the World Series of Poker, a $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max tournament. What started as a field of 810 is now down to two PocketFivers, Gordon stlouis6Vayo and Davidi legrouzin Kitai (pictured). The two are about equal in chips. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- First place in the tournament will pocket $508,000, while the runner-up will get $314,000. The two had the option to play even more on Saturday night at the Rio in Las Vegas, but according to WSOP coverage, "When Level 30 ended at almost 2:10am on Sunday morning, the players were given the option to play one more level or pause the tournament and return to their seats once they had managed to get some sleep. They agreed to do the latter." Kitai, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, delivered the death blow to Tony Ruberto, who started Saturday's play as the short stack, to trim the field to two. Ruberto 4bet all-in with A-6, but Kitai had him beat with A-K. Kitai ducked a flush draw to hold on and Ruberto exited in third place. As a scouting report, Vayo has $1 million in tracked online MTT scores in his PocketFives profile. He plays on PokerStarsas Holla@yoboy and his largest cash came in 2009 in a SCOOP $2,100 PLO tournament for $83,000 after a third place finish. Belgium's Kitai, a Winamax pro, won bracelets in 2013 and 2008; both of them came in Pot Limit Hold'em events. All eyes in the tournament were fixated on Phil Hellmuth (pictured), who was in pursuit of his 14th WSOP bracelet, but came up short and ended the day in eighth place after starting in sixth. After raising under the gun, Hellmuth called all-in with A-2, but could not survive against Vayo's A-7. He recorded his 102nd career WSOP cash, 20 more than the next closest player in that department (Erik Seidel, 82). Here are the chip stacks entering the finale of Event #15: 1. Gordon stlouis6Vayo - 3,750,000 2. Davidi legrouzinKitai - 3,545,000 Also on Sunday, Event #18, the first ever $10,000 Seven Card Razz tournament, will fire back up with a dozen players out of a starting field of 112. Daniel Negreanu (pictured), who along with Phil Ivey extended a 1:1 bracelet bet, is in third place entering Sunday's scheduled conclusion. After accepting action on his bet, Negreanu has already finished second in a $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament for $156,000. We smell another sweat on Sunday for those who picked against Negreanu and Ivey. Here's how the field looks in Event #18: 1. David Bach - 565,000 2. Brandon Shack-Harris - 369,000 3. Daniel Negreanu - 340,000 4. Dan Irisheyes64 O'Brien - 337,000 5. Todd Dakake - 317,000 6. George Danzer - 286,000 7. Todd Barlow - 261,000 8. Yuval yuvee04 Bronshtein - 221,000 9. Brian Stinger885 Hastings - 194,000 10. Naoya Kihara - 179,000 11. Thomas Butzhammer - 171,000 12. Roland Israelashvili - 121,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, sponsored by Real Gaming. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. [caption width="640"] Gordon Vayo's journey to the November Nine is a familiar tale (WSOP photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] There have been plenty of documented cases of poker players lying about their age to play in cardrooms before they turned 21. Gordon Vayo, however, was lying about his age so that he could play online before he turned 18. At just 27 years old, the Illinois native cut his teeth on the virtual felt and has been playing poker professionally for over a decade. After earning over $1.4 million in online tournament earnings under the screen name “holla@yoboy,” Vayo comes into this year’s November Nine third in chips and has a chance to etch his name into live poker’s history books. Vayo found his love for the game during his time in high school. He was only 15 years old when the Moneymaker boom happened, but his core group of friends were a few years older and they got him involved. It started with a group of around 30 students from the three local high schools playing a regular game at rotating homes, but soon, Vayo found himself taking it much more seriously and putting in a ton of time honing his craft online. “I had another friend who started taking it seriously,” said Vayo. “He was playing online and everybody would go through that phase when you start playing poker that you think online poker is rigged or whatever. Then I saw him play and I was like ‘Okay, maybe it’s not rigged.’” After Vayo took down one of the home games, he gave one of his friends some cash to have it transferred online. Vayo took the deposit and ran up the stakes online. He was hooked and never looked back. As a 15 and 16-year-old playing online poker, Vayo met some resistance from his family when they found out what he was doing in his spare time. “I was hiding it as much as possible from my family,” said Vayo. “But I mean, when I started to actually have success at it, it was impossible to hide. I didn’t really try to hide it from people besides my parents, but once it kind of got out, there was no putting it back.” Despite his parents’ objection to his online poker playing, Vayo found ways to play and continue his success. From online winnings alone, Vayo was able to buy a car and rent an apartment before he was out of high school. “At that time, I was not going to not do It,” said Vayo. “I was too motivated to do so and it wasn’t that difficult for me to find places to play. It just wasn’t that difficult.” Like many young players at the time with little financial responsibility, Vayo’s main goals were to continue to play higher and higher and be the best he could be. The money and the gambling aspect of poker were not what was attractive to him. It was the strategy behind the game and the drive to get better. “For me, it was never about running up a bunch of money,” said Vayo. “When I was younger, I was barely cashing out. I was just trying to see how high my account could go. It was like a high score or something. “I was really active on PocketFives and stuff when I was really really young. The ratings and getting the respect of my peers and the people on the forums and the people that I was playing tournaments with, that was my motivation.” At one point during the early stages of his poker career, variance got the better of Vayo and he went on a prolonged downswing. One of his first poker friends, Jared Hamby, convinced him to reach out to a backer. Hamby suggested Vayo get in contact with the current chip leader of this year’s November Nine, Cliff Josephy. Josephy, better known as 'JohnnyBax' online, was well-known for his stable of successful tournament grinders. "I reached out to him on PocketFives and he gave me an email address,” said Vayo. “I sent him a hand history and he was very enthusiastic about wanting to back me. He said that this was the fastest he’s ever wanted to back someone. But I was like 16 at the time and he was like a king to me. That meant a lot and it boosted my confidence for sure." Vayo contends that Josephy had no idea he was underage and he told everybody that he was 18 and in college. After about a year of being backed by Josephy, Vayo went back out on his own and continued to crush online tournaments. Now, more than a decade later, they will be sitting across from each other playing for poker’s biggest prize. Even with some history between the two, Vayo tends to laugh the situation off, almost chalking it up to variance. “I don’t think there is going to be huge implications or anything emotionally,” said Vayo. “Cliff and I were always friendly and when he was backing me, we would like chat and stuff on a much more personal level. “We’ve been friendly ever since, but it’s not like this deep student meets master or anything. We almost never talk poker strategy really. I mean this endearingly, but he’s almost like a poker dad to me. Especially for me because I met him at a really young age. It was never really like a student-teacher relationship. It was more like a friendly relationship.” Like almost all online players of that era, Vayo was heavily affected by Black Friday. Vayo opted to stay in the country and start playing more live poker. Initially after Black Friday, Vayo, in his own words, was not very good at live poker. He left Illinois the following winter after Black Friday and headed out to the San Francisco area. He was able to play more live poker in both Northern and Southern California, which helped his growth as a live pro, eventually leading him to the 2016 November Nine. With over $2.5 million in live tournament earnings following a successful online career, Vayo has just as much poker experience as anybody else at the table. But dealing with emotions while playing for $8 million is the one question mark he has when cards get in the air. “I think that’s the thing I’m most anxious about because that is the one thing you can’t prepare for,” said Vayo. “At the end of the day, the one thing you can’t prepare for is the moment. I think it’s something I’m going to have to live and adapt to in the moment. You’re going to have to experience it and do your best to not let it be overwhelming.”
  3. [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.
  4. [caption width="640"] Cliff Josephy has an advantage heading into the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table - he's the chip leader - but how has that played out over the years? (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy has the chips and the experience on his side when he returns to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker Main Event, but is that enough to guarantee him a seat at heads-up action for the bracelet? Josephy was on hand to see chips don’t always matter, like in 2009 when small stack Joe Cada rallied to beat the Goliath stack of Darvin Moon and win the title, but last year Joe McKeehen gave a dominating performance which reminds how dominant players can be when skills and stacks collide. So, in order to better suss out Josephy’s chances, let’s take a look at the past decade of final table chip leaders Number Crunch: 2: Number of chip leaders who had bracelets going into the final table. Both leaders, JC Tran and Cliff Josephy, each had two to their name and were (or in Josephy’s case are) going for a third in November. 3: The average finishing position of the November Nine start of play chip leaders. There have been three champions, three runners-up, two third-place finishers, one fifth, and one ninth. 4: Number of non-American chip leaders over the past decade.Philip Hilm, Jonathan Duhamel, Martin Staszko, and Jorryt van Hoof are the quartet of big stacks who help contribute to the distinctly international flair of the November Nine. Interestingly, that time period has produced four non-American champions as well, but the only player on both lists is Duhamel. 5: Consecutive days Jamie Gold reigned as chip leader, taking the top spot on Day 4 and never relinquishing it. Only Darvin Moon and Dennis Phillips also held the chip lead with 27 left as well as once the final table was set. 6: Number of Main Event chip leaders who have yet to cash in the Main Event again. Jamie Gold, Philip Hilm, Darvin Moon, Martin Staszko, Jesse Sylvia, and Jorryt van Hoof have failed to make the money again since their deep runs. The player who got closest to a return to the November Nine was Phillips, who took 45th place in 2009. 17.3: The smallest stack in percentage of chips in play of chip leaders of the past decade. That player? Philip Hilm, who came in first and went out first, busting in ninth place in 2007. 30: The percentage of chips in play that seems to make heads-up play a foregone conclusion. In the past four years, there have been four monster chip stacks of this size, Jamie Gold, Darvin Moon, Jonathan Duhamel, and reigning champ Joe McKeehen. All for made it to heads-up and only Moon failed to win the bracelet. 117: Number of days Dennis Phillips got to spend as the first final table chip leader of the November Nine era. As a result of the novelty of the concept and a recurring joke on Wicked Chops Poker that he actually won the 2008 Main Event, Phillips is arguably the most recognizable non-champion on the chip leader list. 2,525,000: The total number of chips Martin Staszko accumulated after beginning the 2011 final table as chip leader. He made it to the final three as the low man on the totem pole, while eventual winner Pius Heinz accumulated tens of millions of chips as he played his way from seventh to first in the counts. 33,300,000: The difference in first and second place stacks in last year’s Main Event. Joe McKeehen’s lead was so substantial, the difference between his 68 million-chip stack and the next closest player in the field, Zvi Stern, was greater than the chip stacks themselves of the2006, 2007, and 2008 big stacks. The smallest difference in the standings was 2007, where Hilm outpaced Tuan Lam by a mere 775,000 chips.
  5. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka has concerns about the after party should he win the 2016 WSOP Main Event (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 Vojtech Ruzicka. Vojtech Ruzicka finds himself sixth in chips going into the November Nine, but one of the biggest things on his mind is how he is going to control his gang of rowdy Czech railbirds. In this Q&A he gave to PocketFives he explores all that and more as the countdown to the final table gets underway. 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? Ruzicka: I would put it on Gordon Vayo. There are several reasons for this, but the main ones are experience, stack, and position. That together makes him very dangerous. But I also like my chances. 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? Ruzicka: I am actually a big Survivorfan, so that one is easy for me. I’d bring a knife, some fishing gear, and the third one is probably a lighter or something else to start a fire. If I knew beforehand that I could start a fire without that, I would take a book of local flora and fauna instead, so as to know what I can eat there. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Ruzicka: To be honest, I am kind of worried that it could be the reconstruction of the suite that the Rio gives the winner to celebrate the victory. I promise you, Czech people can party really hard! PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Ruzicka: I honestly have no idea. But it definitely should be someone who is able to drink a lot of Czech beer. That way it makes the movie more realistic. PocketFives: If you were to win the Main Event what type of champion do you think you will be, and why? Ruzicka: I suppose I’d be the first Czech champion! I promise that I am not going to retire from poker if I win. I want to play as many high buy-in tournaments as possible in the future, and of course, represent my home poker room King’s Casino in Rozvadov as well.
  6. [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
  7. [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!”
  8. [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.
  9. [caption width="640"] Gordon Vayo sits third in chips at the final table of the 2016 WSOP Main Event (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 Gordon Vayo. Gordon Vayo was one of the most feared online tournament player on the planet pre-Black Friday. Known as “holla@yoboy” online, the Illinois native racked up over $1.4 million in online earnings before Black Friday forced him to the live arena. After moving to San Francisco, Vayo began honing his skills playing more live tournaments. Including the $1 million he has taken home already for making the 2016 November Nine, Vayo amassed over $2.5 million live tournament earnings. The 27-year-old poker pro infamously started playing online at the age of 16 and was one of the most successfully players on the internet before he was of age to play. He comes into the Main Event final table third in chips, behind Quy Nguyen and the man who has previously backed him online, Cliff Josephy. 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 and why? Gordon Vayo: I’d either take the obvious choice with Bax or take the price on Jerry Wong who I know will play with no fear and can easily run up his stack. 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 you bring and why? Gordon Vayo: According to the movies, there’s going to be an evil ex-pat somewhere on the island who hunts humans for sport, so probably a gun. But also two jet skis just in case we become best friends. PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? Gordon Vayo: The notion of winning the Main Event is still so surreal I can’t even imagine. But we’ll be in Vegas so probably not exactly something dignified. PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? Gordon Vayo: Definitely Matt Damon so I could pretend it was Rounders 2. PocketFives: Everybody at the final table gets to choose a walk-out song. What song did you choose? What was your thought process and what were the final choices? Gordon Vayo: Haven’t fully made up my mind yet, but probably something from Run The Jewels.
  10. [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.
  11. Gordon Vayo, most famously known for finishing as the runner-up in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, has filed a lawsuit against PokerStars, alleging that the online poker site confiscated his winnings from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament after determining Vayo had been playing from the United States. Vayo, a poker pro with over $6.2 million in lifetime earnings, is claiming that PokerStars has denied him his winnings from his victory in Event #1 of PokerStars 2017 SCOOP. It was a score worth nearly $700,000. Vayo, who makes his primary residence in California, asserts that despite having played the event at his part-time Canadian residence, is being denied his earnings based on PokerStars suspicions he was actually breaking the Terms Of Service and playing the event from the United States. The lawsuit brought by Vayo against Rational Entertainment, the parent company of PokerStars, claims Fraud & Deceit, False Advertising and Money Had and Received, among other charges. All of the complaints are in an effort to recover the amount of $692,460 (plus 10% annual interest), which Vayo has been denied. In the post-Back Friday poker landscape, Vayo claims to have established a number of part-time residences outside of the U.S., both in Canada and Mexico beginning in 2013. These residences were submitted to PokerStars and accepted by the online site and, like many poker expats, Vayo would relocate when he wanted to play online poker. In 2017 Vayo won Event #1 of the 2017 edition of SCOOP, the annual online series which has just once again begun this week. After Vayo won, PokerStars put the money in his account and he even claims to have “engaged in interviews and other publicity regarding the SCOOP win.” The lawsuit goes on to claim that “PokerStars.com touted Mr. Vayo’s victory on its blog and website.” After SCOOP, Vayo continued to play on PokerStars. The trouble began when Vayo opted to cash out his online balance on July 25, 2017. When he did, his account was allegedly frozen for investigation of suspicious activity. PokerStars suspected that Vayo’s victory was completed while he was playing from the U.S. via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a connection that masks the true location of the player. Vayo then states that a year-long investigation took place that had him forced to provide retroactive prove he was in Canada at the time of his SCOOP win. To complicate matters, Vayo states that he was using a VPN earlier in the spring to visit different websites and a problem with that VPN may have caused confusion with the poker site. PokerStars then accused Vayo of using that VPN to “repeatedly” access his PokerStars account from the U.S. At the end of the investigation, Vayo states that PokerStars rejected his submitted proof of being in Canada at the time of the victory and stated that it was “not inconceivable” that Vayo was in the U.S. during his tournament run. On April 7, 2018 Vayo received a letter from the attorneys for PokerStars “stating that its investigation has concluded and that Mr. Vayo fad failed to produce evidence sufficient to ‘rebut’ [PokerStars] suspicion that Mr. Vayo was in the U.S. during a portion of the SCOOP tournament, and, as a result, Mr. Vayo would not be paid.” Vayo’s lawsuit seeks relief in the form of no less than the $692,460 he won in the event as well as punitive and exemplary damages he looks to be awarded during a trial. Additionally, Vayo is seeking potential interest, cost of suit and attorney’s fees.
  12. Upon first blush, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of sympathy for 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Gordon Vayo and his current predicament with online poker giant PokerStars. It was revealed this week that Vayo unconditionally dropped his $600,000 lawsuit against PokerStars for withholding the bulk of his winnings from Event #1 of the 2017 SCOOP. PokerStars did so after evidence that Vayo broke the terms of service and played the event from inside the U.S. Vayo provided documents alleging that he was actually in Canada, as he claimed, but after a “third party” provided PokerStars proof that those documents were forged, Vayo is now being countersued for PokerStars legal fees of over $279,000. In other words: One of the players who chimed in was top-flight Belgian tournament pro 'Girafganger7' (aka 'Giraf'). Giraf, who we spoke to about this just weeks ago, technically finished as the runner-up in the event that Vayo won, even though he took home the bulk of the prize pool in a final table deal. The notion of using forged documents in a lawsuit, especially against a company with as many resources as PokerStars struck people as not the brightest thing to do. For instance here's Luke Vrabel's take:
  13. “If you ask: ‘Is it still beatable?’, ‘Can you make a lot of money?’, ‘Can you start low and grind it up?’, The answer is yes.” Five years into his online poker career as a member of the PocketFives community, high-stakes online poker professional ‘Girafganger7’ still believes in the poker dream. The well-known Belgium pro, who goes by ‘Giraf’, is a fixture in the online tournament scene. He’s a consistent threat to take down any tournament he enters and, in 2018, he has been a mainstay in the top 25 of the PocketFives Rankings. Of course, like most, it wasn’t always easy for Giraf, he recalls his early years when he was trying to figure out the game and was basically “clicking buttons.” It wasn’t until he hooked up with a staking stable and received coaching that a whole world opened up for him. Nowadays, he insists that with the wealth of available online training sites and hard work, the poker dream is still there for the taking for everybody. “(The dream) is just a bit smaller. You can’t really win a million every year, but you can still win more than a normal job. And it’s fun, you know? I wouldn’t advise people to quit a good job to try online poker but if you just got your degree or something and want to give it a shot, I think it’s a viable thing to do,” he said. “You can still do it playing MTT’s online because there is so much good information out there. It’s actually not that hard, basically, anybody can do it, it just takes work…and grinding out the variance.” Giraf has done just that. He’s put in the work and his results prove it. He’s rapidly approaching $7 million in career earnings and currently sits as the #15-ranked player in the world. This fall he took home a World Championship of Online Poker title in Event #55 (Medium - $530 NLHE 8-Max PKO Turbo) for over $106,000 in a month where he racked up over $400,000 in earnings. While he says he’s not concerned with reaching money milestones, the former #1-ranked player in the world is looking to make a return to the top of the list. “I would like to be number one again. I think that’s pretty special because the Swedes are really good,” Giraf said. “So, just getting there would be great again. I’m going to get to $10 million in cashes anyway if I keep playing. Profit is still more important than overall cashes.” A good portion of his lifetime earnings occurred in the first half of 2017. Giraf’s results for the beginning of that year had an occasional five-figure score but nothing that was going to separate him from the pack. Then in April, he soared to a fifth place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million 11th Anniversary for a massive $292,000 score. That propelled him into a spring season he’ll likely never forget. He notched a pair of five-figure scores and then took tenth in the $10,000 Spring Championship (High) Main Event for $72,567. All of that paled in comparison to what would be a career-high score for Giraf. At the end of the 2017 SCOOP $1,050 NLHE Phase Tournament, he struck a deal that had him take home the lions share of the prize pool of $745,000. “That whole period, that whole six months was kind of insane. It was just the massive heater that people dream of happened right then.” As it turns out, Giraf’s deal in the SCOOP tournament is both one of his fondest career moments and it is also the sidebar for a larger story. This is the very tournament that Gordon ‘holla@yoboy’ Vayo ended up winning, earning $692,460 after the deal. This amount was then withheld from Vayo on suspicions of Vayo playing against site's Terms of Service and using a VPN to play from the United States. The situation has prompted Vayo to file a lawsuit against PokerStars to try and recover the money. With Giraf finishing as the runner-up, he reached out to see what happens in this case. “The guy who used to work at PokerStars, (Michael) Josem replied to me on Twitter and he said that in cases like (Vayo’s) where there wasn’t real cheating, it goes to charity,” Giraf said. “I would be fine with that but of course I’d rather just have Gordon Vayo keep his money. I think it’s pretty ridiculous. There’s so much shady stuff going on and then a guy who plays on his own account and can kind of prove that he was in Canada at the time, but maybe not completely, like maybe one day or another he can’t prove it and then PokerStars decides to go after that. For me, that’s ridiculous.” Giraf has recently relocated himself in order to continue to play poker a little more freely. He’s been living in the UK for over a year, getting settled and keeping the grind alive. He’s been exploring new ways to keep the game fun, even dipping his toes into the world of poker streaming. “I was doing it for my Facebook group just to try it out. I enjoy it, but it’s not like an educational thing. I don’t want to become a Twitch streamer, that seems like way too much hard work. But I do like it,” he said. “I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to keep streaming, I would like to. But, like I said, it’s kind of a lot of work. If I do it, I want it to be decent, you know? I want people to enjoy themselves so I would have to take it kind of seriously.” This all goes back to his original thought. He believes poker is still a world where fun and profit can be had at the same time. “I want to do it because you can still make it in online poker. You can still do it. I think for a while it used to be all crazy gamblers before Black Friday. Everybody was a ‘degen’, spending all their money on coke and hookers. After that was kind of the backlash where everybody was doing yoga, being healthy and doing boring, serious stuff. I think there is some kind of middle ground where you can just enjoy playing online poker. Like, really enjoy it. I feel like people forget that it’s really a lot of fun. I mean, it’s a game, you know?” Outside of his love of the game, his goals have little to do with the game of poker. For years now he and his girlfriend have been caring for farm animals in Belgium. He has been splitting his time between online poker in the UK and traveling to Belgium. “The goal, mid-to-long term, is to have my own sanctuary for animals. Mostly farm animals, maybe some stray dogs,” he said. But in the meantime, to help continue his efforts in helping the animals he loves, he plans on continuing to grind. Also, finding his way back into the top-5 and letting people watch while he goes on the rider. Or not. “I just kinda want to do something fun. I haven’t figured it out what it is yet but I’m trying stuff. We’ll see where it lands.” You can follow along with Giraf's poker journey via Twitter: @Girafganger7.
  14. According to a November 12 California court filing, poker pro Gordon Vayo has voluntarily dismissed his $600,000 lawsuit against online poker giant PokerStars amid accusations of forgery. Vayo had been pursuing a lawsuit against PokerStars for withholding the bulk of his victory in Event #1 of the 2017 PokerStars SCOOP series under allegations that he had been playing on the site from the United States, which is well-known to be against the terms of service for the website. However, Vayo surrendering the lawsuit by no means marks the end of the issue as the parent company of PokerStars, Rational Entertainment Enterprises Limited (aka “REEL”) has filed their own motion against Vayo seeking reimbursement for lawyer fees in the amount of over $279,000 citing his original lawsuit and evidence was based on forged documents. Accusations of Forgery REELs filing suggests that the company had discovered the forgery, confronted Vayo and this is what prompted him to “voluntarily and unconditionally” dismiss his lawsuit. At the same time they confronted him, Vayo’s own counsel withdrew from the case. During what is described as a “routine security review” by PokerStars, it was determined that Vayo had, essentially, been using a VPN to simulate a Canadian IP in order to play SCOOP. Vayo claimed that he was physically in Canada and when pressed for proof, he provided a pair of documents - a bill from his Internet Service Provider in Canada (Bell Canada) and bank account statement from the time in question. REEL states that these documents were forged and Vayo’s lawsuit was based upon these forgeries. “REEL received a ‘tip’ from a third party that Vayo’s bank and internet records were altered by a document forger Vayo hired (the ‘Forger’), specifically in order to create the false impression that Vayo was in Canada during the SCOOP tournament so he could fraudulently demand payment from REEL,” the motion states. REEL contacted Vayo’s attorneys on a Friday with the information and by Monday, Vayo had dismissed the case. REEL also states that the “Forger” had also supplied the third party with the original documents, giving REEL the proof they were looking for. PokerStars Seeks Reparations The document continues to ask the court for the repayment of their attorney fees. It states that Vayo, playing on PokerStars from inside the US, breached their End User License Agreement and are entitled to “costs and expenses, including legal fees.” The legal fees are substantial by most metrics. “REEL seems to recover for 345.80 hours of time spent by Quinn Emanuel on this matter, in the total amount of $279,347.49, plus whatever sums it spends on this motion, the reply tried and attend the hearing.” In addition the attorney fees, REEL is looking for an additional $8,641.08 in costs, including administrative costs, couriers and research. With Vayo out of options for recovering the balance of his account, according to PokerStars policy, the amount of his victory that was unable to be recovered will be donated to charity. Vayo is perhaps best known as the runner-up in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event where he earned over $4.6 million.
  15. May was a jam-packed month in the poker world and there were plenty of major headlines that grabbed our attention. Here are PocketFives' top five stories from May 2018, including a regulated online poker milestone, a lawsuit against PokerStars, and a handful of record-breaking performances. Interstate Online Poker Now Live in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware It's a new era for online poker in the United States, and the regulated online poker market has been growing slowly and continues to gain momentum. In May 2018, it received another big boost when Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware went live with interstate online poker on WSOP.com, allowing players from the three states to play against players in other states for the first time in the history of regulated online poker in the United States. The game-changing development paved the way for more robust interstate online poker series and online gold bracelets events available to those in New Jersey and Delaware. READ: Interstate Online Poker Now Live in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware Gordon Vayo Suing PokerStars for Confiscating 2017 SCOOP Winnings Gordon Vayo went on an incredible ride in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing second for $4.66 million, but his roller coaster 2018 was even more dramatic. It started when news dropped in May that Vayo was suing PokerStars for confiscated winnings from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament. Vayo's score was worth nearly $700,000, but PokerStars denied payment of the funds based on suspicions he violated the site's terms of service and played from the United States. READ: Gordon Vayo Suing PokerStars for Confiscating 2017 SCOOP Winnings SCOOP: Calvin Anderson Does It Again, Wins 10th SCOOP Title We're going to cheat a little bit here and roll two stories into one, but they both involve the record-breaking success of Calvin 'cal42688' Anderson in the PokerStars SCOOP. Anderson, a former #1-ranked online poker player, won his ninth and 10th SCOOP titles in 2018, both of which set records, and he did it in back-to-back days. Anderson first won Event #19 (High): $2,100 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em for $126,659 and then he captured the Event #26 (High): $1,050 Omaha Eight-or-Better (Eight-Max) title for $26,305. READ: Calvin Anderson Does It Again, Wins 10th SCOOP Title WPT: Darren Elias Wins Bobby Baldwin Classic, Record 4th WPT Title Anderson wasn’t the only high-profile player to have a record-setting victory in May, but this next player did it in the live realm. Darren Elias, one of the World Poker Tour's most successful competitors, earned his record-setting fourth WPT title when he took down the WPT $10,000 Bobby Baldwin Classic in May. Elias topped a field of 162 entries to win $387,580. At the final table, Elias battled with an elite group that included Kitty Kuo, Joe McKeehen, Dietrich Fast, Sam Panzica, and Jonathan Little. READ: Darren Elias Wins Bobby Baldwin Classic, Record 4th WPT Title Justin Bonomo Beats Daniel Negreanu to Win Super High Roller Bowl Justin Bonomo had himself an absolutely tremendous 2018 and the month of May was huge for him. Just two months after winning the Super High Roller Bowl China for more than $4.8 million, Bonomo won the Super High Roller Bowl IV title in Las Vegas for $5 million. Bonomo topped the field of 48 entries in the $300,000 buy-in tournament and defeated Daniel Negreanu in heads-up play. The score was part of Bonomo's $25.4 million year that became the most winningest year in poker history and vaulted Bonomo to the top spot on poker's all-time money list. READ: Justin Bonomo Beats Daniel Negreanu to Win Super High Roller Bowl Sweden’s ‘lena900’ Wins May Monthly PLB Title From a PocketFives Monthly PLB perspective, Sweden’s 'lena900' had the best month ever for an online poker player, earning 7,135.57 points. His largest Monthly PLB point win was worth 1,414.21 when he won the $10,300 buy-in Powerfest #53-SHR: $2M Gtd [Championship Event - PKO] for $430,047. 'Lena900' also won not one but two SCOOP titles in May. His first was a victory in the SCOOP-25-H: $530+R NLHE, $400K Gtd $102,115 and 748.70 points. His second came in the SCOOP-39-H: $1,050 NLO8 [6-Max], $175K Gtd for $50,391 and 513.81 points. *Photos courtesy of the World Poker Tour.
  16. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week's episode includes a full recap of all of the big winners at the partypoker Caribbean Poker Party including Filipe Oliveira's big win in the Main Event and Roger Teska conquering the $25K MILLIONS World. Lance and Donnie also discuss Gordon Vayo's decision to drop his lawsuit against PokerStars and what the accusations of forgery might mean for the former Main Event runner-up moving forward. They wrap up the show with another edition of Five Questions, this time with Donnie on the hot seat talking pizza, prop bets, Survivor Series and more. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  17. November was a big month for attention-grabbing poker headlines. There was a hard-to-believe $100,000 prop bet that generated incredible buzz, the return of a high-profile lawsuit between a WSOP Main Event runner-up and the largest online poker site in the world, and the conclusion of a handful of prominent live poker tournaments that found winners. Here are PocketFives' top five stories from November 2018, plus a look at who won the PocketFives Monthly PLB title. Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch-Black Bathroom Prop Bet Poker players can be known to make wild prop bets, and that was certainly the case for Rory Young and Rich Alati. The two grabbed more than just poker headlines in November when their $100,000 bathroom prop bet was featured in headlines from several mainstream media outlets. It was one of the craziest prop bets we've ever heard of and will be one that is remembered for years and years to come. The bet was made to see if Alati could live in a pitch-black bathroom with no human contact and no electronics, among several other stipulations, for 30 days straight. Soon after the bet was made and began making its way around the poker world, PocketFives spoke with Young about the details of the bet and how it came to fruition. READ: Rory Young Reveals Details of $100K Pitch Black Bathroom Prop Bet Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Back in May, it was made known that Gordon Vayo, runner-up in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, was suing PokerStars for the winnings the online poker site withheld from him from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament that was worth nearly $700,000. That story made headlines everywhere within the poker world, but it made even bigger news in November when a November 12 California court filing revealed that Vayo had voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. What really kicked things up a notch, though, were two things. First that the lawsuit was dropped amid accusations of forgery committed by Vayo. Second, PokerStars was seeking repayment of their attorney fees for nearly $300,000 - quite the tipping of the scales. READ: Vayo Dismisses PokerStars Lawsuit; Stars Counters Alleging Forgery Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event A former eighth-place finisher in the WSOP Main Event in 2017 for $1.2 million, Jack Sinclair was back in the World Series of Poker spotlight in November 2018, only this time in Europe. Sinclair made his way to the 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event final table and emerged victorious atop the 534-entry field to win the €1.222 million ($1.277 million) first-place prize. To claim victory, Sinclair had to defeat one of online poker's toughest players in heads-up play, Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas. The victory earned Sinclair the largest payday of his poker career and first WSOP gold bracelet. READ: Jack Sinclair Beats Laszlo Bujtas to Win WSOP Europe Main Event Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 The World Poker Tour was in action in Canada in November for the Season XVII WPT Montreal. The event attracted 792 entries, and it was Patrick 'prepprepprep' Serda who came out on top after entering the final table with the chip lead. Serda defeated the first female winner of an open WPT Main Tour event, Ema Zajmovic, in heads-up play to take home the C$855,000 ($652,801) first-place prize, denying Zajmovic her second World Poker Tour title. READ: Patrick Serda Wins WPT Montreal for C$855,000 Big Titles Won at partypoker Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas While the WSOP and WPT were busy dishing out titles in colder climates, partypoker LIVE was down in the Bahamas for the much-anticipated partypoker Caribbean Poker Party tournament festival. The series was full of big buy-in events, notables faces capturing huge sums of cash, and nine seven-figure prizes awarded. The first big tournament of the series to find its winner was the $25,500 buy-in partypoker MILLIONS World. The event generated 394 entries and fell just short of its $10 million guarantee, but enormous prizes were still to be had, including the $2 million first-place prize that Roger Teska took home after he defeated Steve O'Dwyer in second place. O'Dwyer scored $1.3 million for the runner-up result, and third-place finisher Charles La Boissonniere also took home seven figures, winning $1 million. READ: Roger Teska Battles Back to Win partypoker MILLIONS World for $2M We then saw a $3.685 million winner come from the partypoker $250,000 Super High Roller Championships event, and it was Steffan Sontheimer earning a new career-best score. The event generated a field size of 34 entries for a prize pool of $8.235 million. Sontheimer beat out Sean Winter in heads-up play, and David Peters finished in third place. Winter and Peters took home $2.43 million and $1.42 million, respectively. READ: Steffan Sontheimer Wins partypoker $250K SHR Championships For $3.68M In the $5,300 buy-in Main Event, another $10 million prize pool guarantee was on the line. The event fell short of the guarantee with just 1,815 entries, but the top three spots still gave out a million dollars or more each. Winning the event was Portugal's Filipe Oliveira, taking home the $1.5 million top prize. Craig Mason finished second for $1.2 million, and Marc MacDonnell took third for $1 million. READ: Filipe Oliveira Wins 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event Sweden's 'lena900' Wins Another Monthly PLB Title in November Sweden's 'lena900' stayed hot and won another PocketFives Monthly PLB title in November after cashing 191 times for a total of $585,250. It was a dominating performance for 'lena900,' who racked up more than 4,900 points. The closest competitor was 'girafganger7' with a monthly point total of less than 3,900. A couple of the notable November scores for 'lena900' included a third-place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million on November 25 for $80,555 and 569.39 points and a win in the partypoker Sunday Super High Roller: $100K Gtd on November 18 for $41,480 and 387.30 points. READ: Top-Ranked ‘lena900’ Wins November Monthly PLB Title
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