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Found 4 results

  1. PokerArena recently reported on a series of articles by the Czech newspaper Pravo that detailed a number of kidnappings committed by an organized crime gang. Seven members of a gang were recently arrested and face numerous charges for their roles in the alleged crimes. The boss of said group is allegedly Michael Svab, who was also charged with kidnapping in 2005, but was eventually acquitted. Before we get to the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Martin Staszko's (pictured) role in this bizarre tale, let's illustrate how this gang works. In July 2011, the gang got in touch with a wealthy philanthropist and yachting enthusiast and convinced him to meet a man named Robert Kelner in Valencia. Kelner's family was supposedly experiencing a great tragedy, the emotion of which spurred him to want to donate a sizable amount of money to charity. Of course, the story was a ruse and Kelner was actually Michael Svab. Rather than meeting in Valencia, the victim was somehow convinced to meet at an apartment, where he was held hostage for six days before coughing up $2 million. That's the gang's modus operandi. It tugs at the heartstrings of rich people and persuades them to meet at some fancy, exciting location where another rich person is ready to cut them a large check. The meeting ends up getting diverted to somewhere else the gang can control and the mark gets kidnapped and held for ransom. Enter Martin Staszko, who became a hero in the Czech Republic after bursting into the poker spotlight with a $5.4 million score in the WSOP Main Event in November 2011. Svab certainly took notice of Staszko's success and contacted Milan Slama, then Chairman of the Czech Poker Association, apparently to get an introduction to Staszko. The yarn this time was that Svab, as Kelner,wanted to give his father the special birthday gift of a private poker game with the Czech star. A trip on a private jet and a healthy appearance fee were offered to sweeten the deal. Slama, though, smelled a rat. The offer was declined and Staszko unknowingly avoided potential disaster. Unfortunately, not all of the group's marks were so lucky. As mentioned, some were kidnapped and released after a ransom was paid. Two, though, are suspected to have been murdered. This is one of the more amazing tales of a poker player being the target of a crime as the result of his notoriety, but it was not the first and not likely to be the last. Here are some other notable incidents involving poker players: 2004 – That year's WSOP Main Event champ,Greg Raymer (pictured), was attacked by two men outside his hotel room at the Bellagio while he was carrying $150,000. They attempted to force him into his room, but he fought them off and forced them to run away. They were apprehended a few months later. 2006 - "Amarillo Slim" Preston was shot at while on his way home one night. A man cut him off with his car and demanded money at gunpoint. After refusing, Preston floored it in reverse, only to be shot at three times. He escaped unharmed, though his car did catch a couple of bullets. 2007 – Just a few months after the car incident, Preston was ambushed in his home by two armed men. He was stripped, tied up, and had a gun stuck into his belly. In classic cowboy style, Preston told him, "Pull the trigger on that damn thing or put it down." The trigger was not pulled, but the men got away with guns, cash, and a valuable belt buckle. 2010 – WSOP bracelet winner and 2008 WSOP Main Event fifth place finisher Scott Montgomerywas mugged in the bathroom of the Bellagio. A man wielding a knife absconded with $2,000. 2011 – Jonathan Duhamel was tied up and beatenin his home by two men who stole thousands of Dollars and Euros in cash, his 2010 WSOP Main Event bracelet, and a custom Rolex given to him by PokerStars. His ex-girlfriend was later found to have been the mastermind behind the plot. Duhamel is pictured shortly after the incident. 2012 – Sam Trickett was attacked after leaving a Las Vegas club hours after placing second in the Big One for One Drop at the WSOP, where he won $10 million. 2012 – In another home invasion, Theo Jorgensen was shot three times in the leg by men looking to relieve him of any gambling winnings he had in his house. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Another week into the Las Vegas summer and more prize pools outside the Rio are building into seven-figure territory. Last week's individual performances of Antoine Saout and Chris Moorman were replaced by big fields and huge numbers. The Venetian Sets a New Record The Mid-States Poker Tour $1,100 $3.5 million guaranteed event set a record for entries in a tournament at The Venetian. A total of 4,411 entries took part in the tournament to compete for a prize pool of $4.3 million. 451 players made the money and a few notable names found themselves deep to play for the $548,341 first-place prize. Two-time WPT Season XVI final tablist Derek Wolters placed eight to collect $64,511. Former WSOP final tablist Owen Crowe was the last Canadian standing and earned $150,525 for sixth. David Levine emerged victoriously and earned the over half-million prize for first. Levine's largest tournament cash before the MSTP was $16,910 for an event at the 2018 L.A. Poker Classic. Other relevant players to reach the top-50 include Iaron Lightbourne (12th), Nick Pupillo (29th), Joe Elpayaa (30th), and Mike Del Vecchio (32nd). The second MSPT seven-figure event is currently on Day 2 at The Venetian. 2,779 runners crushed the $1 million guarantee for the $600 entry to put a $1.425 million pot up for grabs. Three more events are left on the MSPT/Venetian schedule with the $5,000 $1 million guarantee up next on Friday, June 15. Familiar Names Come Close at Wynn In the final days before the first multi-day event at the Wynn Summer Classic, a few well-regarded players almost made it to the finish line in a single day of work. Christian Harder formally got on the board by placing third in the $1,100 $200,000 guarantee. Harder collected $29,876 with Andrew Hills winning the event and $72,799. A few days later, Greg Raymer took second in the $550 Seniors Event. Raymer withdrew $34,416 from the prize pool and Nicole Honour earned first place along with $52,718. The first multi-day event kicks off on June 14 when the first of two $1,100 $1 million guarantee opens up. Three starting flights are available for the tournament which is expected to draw close to 2,000 runners. Michael Wang Almost Repeats The choice between events can be a conflict at times and that was the case for bracelet winner Michael Wang. Stuck between Planet Hollywood and the Rio, Wang decided to defend his title in the $600 $1 million guaranteed clash he won in 2017. https://twitter.com/miw210/status/1005360505198768128 In a field of 2,238, Wang placed seventh for $29,909 and is sure to be back in the final table mix again this summer. Other final tablists included Marshall White and Marvin Rettenmaier. The 2017 version featured a field of 2,721 and Wang's share for first place was $205,165.
  3. Summer in Sin City is in full effect as poker players continue to make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to take part in some the biggest poker festivals of the entire year. While the World Series of Poker bracelet events at the Rio may be the summer's main attraction, players are finding plenty of action at other venues all over the city with buy-ins ranging from a couple hundred to tens of thousands in the high rollers and everything in between. Here’s a look at some of the tournaments and prize pools of non-WSOP events that attracted players over the past week. ARIA Poker Classic and High Roller Series The ARIA continues to be the premier destination for some of the biggest names in the game who want to play at the highest stakes. The ARIA High Roller Series fired off two more events this week with recent headline-maker Sam Soverel taking down the $10,000 ARIA High Roller 15 on June 10. It’s Soverel’s third victory of the series, adding $119,600 to his over $9.3M in career earnings. Denmark’s Henrik Hecklen finished as the runner-up, pulling down over $72,000. Rainer Kempe (3rd, $41,600) and Jake Schindler (4th, $26,000) also finished in the money in this 26-entry tournament. The field of the June 13 $10,000 ARIA High Roller 16 nearly doubled, topping out at 45 entries when registration ended. Barry Hutter took this one down for $153,000 in his third cash of the ARIA High Roller Series. Georgics Kitsios from Greece finished as the runner up, adding $99,000 to his bankroll while Rainer Kempe made it back-to-back bronze medal finishes, falling in third place for $67,500. Poker Central founder Cary Katz fell in fourth place picking up $45,000. Just outside of the poker room area, the ARIA’s tournament tables have been hosting daily tournaments, one during the day for roughly $400 and another at night for $240. The popularity of these have continued to grow throughout the summer however none have been as popular as their $470 Seniors tournament, which coincided with the WSOP’s Seniors events. Perhaps some of the bracelet chasing Seniors that busted at the Rio made their way to the ARIA where a field of 565 packed the tournament floor. In the end, the UK’s Mark Bramley took home the majority of the prize pool, walking with $36,295 while Willem De Jong from the Netherlands booked a career-high cash of $30,602 as the runner up. Goliath Phamous Poker Series at Planet Hollywood The Goliath Poker Series at Planet Hollywood continually offers players the opportunity to play for big bucks at a dramatically lower buy-in than a bracelet event. The line to register for last week’s $250 Goliath Quarter Milly seemed to never end as players fired again and again into this multi-flight tournament that guaranteed $250,000 and $50,000 for first. This iteration of the tournament, which is run multiple times throughout the summer, drew 3,167 entries and annihilated the guarantee with its $655,569 prize pool. The entire final table turned their $250 bullet into five-figure scores with Kladji Lika taking home $60,884 for first place. As a part of a deal, David Attride finished in second place for $47,900 with Neal Corcoran taking home slightly less for third with his career-high score of $46,138. Planet Hollywood also got in on the Seniors action as 505 players hopped in their $600 Seniors event. Remarkably, Mark Bramley, the same player who took down the ARIA Seniors event, won this tournament as well. He defeated World Series of Poker Main Event champion Greg Raymer in heads up battle. Bramley added another $43,503 to his Seniors Week total while Greg Raymer took home $31,843 for his largest score in a year. The DeepStack Championship Poker Series at The Venetian For players looking to play slightly bigger buy-ins from Planet Hollywood and the daily tournaments at the ARIA, the Venetian has that covered. Regularly offering tournaments for mid-stakes grinders, this week there were plenty of six-figure guaranteed tournaments to choose from. Keeping with the Seniors theme, the Venetian’s $800 buy-in Seniors tournament drew big numbers with 1,449 players battling for a piece of the one $1M prize pool. Las Vegas local Daniel Lacourse added another Seniors title to his resume taking home the $126,619 first-place prize, the second largest score of his career. His largest score? Lacourse is also the winner of the 2008 World Series of Poker Seniors Championship where he won $368,832. Mark Estes took home a career-high cash as the runner up, walking away with $122,881. One of the Venetian’s largest tournaments this week was their $600 No Limit Hold’em Epic Stack a four-day, mutli-flight affair that had 1,634 entries. In only his seventh recorded cash, Massachusetts resident Cameron Walker booked a career-high cash of $90,000 for first place. Runner up Richard Vielhak parlayed his $921 cash in the WSOP’s Big 50 into a $60,109 score in the Epic Stack. Finally, Australia’s Jenny Ding picked up $58,600 for third place.
  4. For the penultimate 2020 World Series of Poker Online bracelet event on WSOP.com, Jonathan 'SugarJ' Lessin rolled back the years to win Event #30 ($500 Seniors Event). Lessin secured the victory for $64,411.20 and his first career bracelet. Allen 'Nucman' Pock started the final table as chip leader and did not waste anytime putting his 3 million strong chip stack to use. Following an early position all in of 234,618 by Al 'BigAl16' Riccobono, Pock called after looking down at [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"] which dominated his opponents [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Tc"]. The board ran out a safe [poker card="Jc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8d"] for Pock sending Riccobono to the rail in ninth. In unusual fashion for this year's final tables, it took another half hour for the next final table bust-out. Brian 'ggtdm' McGill opened to 150,00 in early position with [poker card="Td"][poker card="Th"] and then made the quick call when Carmen 'cjdstable' Dimaria moved all in for 371,944 from the hijack with [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Js"]. Dimaria was looking at a certain double up but McGill moved ahead making a set on the [poker card="As"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="7s"] flop. Only a jack would keep Dimaria in the tournament but he didn't find the help needed on the [poker card="4d"] turn and [poker card="5d"] river. Now in the usual fashion, the next elimination came 2 minutes later. The then chip leader 'muskrrr' raised to 150,000 from middle position and called the 343,198 button jam from 'bigfatpirate'. 'bigfatpirate': [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"] 'muskrrr': [poker card="Qs"][poker card="9d"] 'bigfatpirate' enjoyed seeing the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"] flop, the [poker card="Ts"] meant the at-risk player was still ahead but 'muskrrr' picked up additional outs with an open-ended straight draw. The [poker card="8d"] river completed the straight draw for 'muskrrr' and sunk the ship of 'bigfatpirate.' McGill picked up another victim shortly after the game turned six-handed. McGill had the easy decision to call 'dusty16's' all in for 161,644 after opening for 150,000 from under the gun. This time McGill, with [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"], was the dominator pre-flop crushing the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="5h"] held by 'dusty16'. However a lifeline appeared for the short stack on the [poker card="8c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5d"] flop, a safe [poker card="3c"] came on the turn but the [poker card="Qs"] river sealed the hand for McGill causing 'dusty16' to be eliminated in sixth. Shortly after losing a significant percentage of their stack to Pock, 'gwitsch' moved all in with [poker card="Qc"][poker card="3c"] for 132,402 from under the gun. Lessin, holding [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Th"], isolated the all-in player with a three-bet to 324,804. King high was enough on the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2h"] run-out to scoop the pot and cut the tournament short for 'gwitsch'. Four-handed play just lasted three minutes, Pock raised to 120,000 on the button and called the 879,054 three-bet jam from McGill in the small blind. McGill needed help after seeing his [poker card="Kc"][poker card="4c"] was behind Pock's [poker card="Ah"][poker card="5s"]. Both players didn't connect on the [poker card="Js"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8h"] flop and Pock's ace-high held on the [poker card="6h"] turn and the [poker card="Td"] river. Neither player wanted to miss out on a chance to play heads up for a bracelet and the $64K top prize but unfortunately for Pock it wasn't meant to be. Pock defended his big blind after 'muskrrr' opened to 320,000 on the button to see the [poker card="Ks"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"] flop. Pock called 'muskrrr's' continuation bet of 355,000 to then see the [poker card="5s"] peel off on the turn. All the chips went in on the turn as Pock check-jammed for 2,366,954 over 'muskrrr's' bet of 1,065,000 and they snap called. Despite holding top pair with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Js"], Pock needed help to over come the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5d"] held by 'muskrrr'. The [poker card="Ac"] river meant 'muskrrr' would have a commanding chip lead going into heads up play. By the next break Lessin had clawed back some chips to cut the lead held by 'muskrrr' to just 900,000. Going into the final hand Lessin, who now held a narrow chip lead himself, opened to 320,000 and called 'muskrrr's' 800,000 three-bet. The flop came [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2h"] and the 2,473,504 flop jam from 'muskrrr' was snap called by Lessin. 'Muskrrr': [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Tc"] Lessin: [poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"] Lessin sealed the victory after turning a full house with the [poker card="4h"] and the inconsequential [poker card="Jd"] gave the New Jersey native his first WSOP title. Final Table Payouts Jonathan 'SugarJ' Lessin - $64,411.20 'muskrrr' - $39,819.60 Allen 'Nucman' Pock - $27,864 Brian 'ggtdm' McGill - $19,796.40 'gwitsch' - $14,256 'dusty16' - $10,432.80 'bigfatpirate' - $7,743.60 Carmen 'cjdstable' Dimaria - $5,832 Al 'BigAl16' Riccobono - $4,471.20 Faces in the Crowd The Seniors Event attracted a few of notable names from the poker-sphere. Among those who fell short of the final table but managed to finish in the money were Roland Israelashvili (107th - $648) and Lena Evans (95th - $680.40). Phil Hellmuth couldn't secure bracelet #16 as he finished in 67th for $842.40 and both Greg Raymer (43rd - $1,263.60) and Terry Fleischer (17th - $2,203.20) picked up four-figure paydays.
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