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Found 7 results

  1. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES Once again Lance Bradley and Matt Clark get together to talk about the amazingly impressive career of Adrian Mateos and the lack of American superstars under the age of 25 while discussing whether or not Bryn Kenney might just be under-appreciated after his big win in the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Super High Roller. They also review the Commerce Casino’s Social Experiment, the final table of the Borgata Spring Poker Open Main Event and somehow end up talking about World Star Hip Hop.
  2. Season XVII of the World Poker Tour saw the WPT head to the cold Northeast for the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. A whopper of a field turned out for the $3,500 buy-in event, as 1,415 entries were generated to make it the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field size of all time. When play wrapped up on Thursday night, just six players remained. Those six were led by Dave Farah and will now enjoy a 41-day before playing for the title in Las Vegas on March 13, 2019. Each of the remaining six players is guaranteed $154,734 for reaching the final table, with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the eventual champion. The WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be televised as part of the WPT's broadcast schedule for Season XVII, and it’s the second final table undergoing a delay before its played out in Las Vegas. The first final table to hit a delay was the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. That event will see the final six compete on March 12, one day before the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table plays out. Farah is from New Jersey and entered the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. That means this result is the largest of his live tournament career. Farah finished atop the final six with 18.85 million and was nearly 5 million ahead of Brandon Hall's second-place stack of 14.1 million. WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table Seat 1: Ian O'Hara - 5,100,000 Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open began with 1,415 entries. Entering Day 2, 662 players remained, with the registration and re-entry period open for another couple of hours. When Day 2 was all said and done, 177 players remained. They were all in the money, as the top 177 places paid. Chris Tryba was eliminated on the money bubble at the hand of Dylan Gang. Tryba's pocket nines could hold up against the [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"] of Gang thanks to an ace on the flop, sending Tryba home in 178th place. That's when Day 2 ended and it was Alex Aqel on top with 1.26 million in chips. On Day 3, WPT Champions Club members Mike Linster (74th), Brian Altman (92nd), David Paredes (134th), Victor Ramdin (152nd), Daniel Strelitz (164th), Taylor Paur (168th), and Anthony Zinno (175th) all his the rail. Aqel's run came to an end in 69th place. A little later, the last of the WPT champions fell. Matt Waxman busted in 49th, Bobby Oboodi went out in 39th, and then Olivier Busquet was bounced in 32nd. Busquet, a former WPT winner at Borgata, was the final WPT champion standing. Day 3 ended with 29 players left and Nick Schwarmann out in front. To start things off on Day 4, Ian O'Hara knocked out Taylor Wilson in 29th place. A little bit after that, Daniel Buzgon, who is currently the 13th-ranked online player in New Jersey and 19th-ranked player in the United States, took the chip lead from Schwarmann. Schwarmann stayed strong, though, and eventually busted Chase Bianchi in 22nd place. Farah knocked out A.J. Kelsall in 20th place, Buzgon sent Joseph Liberta out the door in 19th, and Hall KO'd Ariel Albilia in 18th position. Buzgon then took care of Elilton Gouveia in 17th, Vinicius Lima sent Melad Marji home in 16th, and Ping Liu was eliminated in 15th. Liu's elimination was significant because by reaching the top 15, Liu earned enough points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race to sit atop the leaderboard. Although tied with Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, Liu holds the tiebreaker of most money won. After a dinner break, Raul Martinez busted in 14th and Lucas Braga went out in 13th. Braga was knocked out by Buzgon. Steven Sarmiento, who won a huge pot earlier in the day with aces over Brandon Shane's kings, the knocked out Dave Peay in 12th place. Schwarmann's run would come to an end in 11th place and Gang busted in 10th, both falling to Hall. The final nine players then joined to one table. From there, Michael Cannon went out ninth, Shane hit the rail in eighth, and Sarmiento fell in seventh. Sarmiento was busted by Farah. On that final hand of Day 4, Sarmiento was all in with pocket nines against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"] of Farah. Sarmiento's nines held until the river, but that's when a ten appeared to knock Sarmiento out. Is the Third Time the Charm for Farah? Although this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table may lack a big name such as Phil Hellmuth, who busted in 102nd place for $7,176, or a WPT Champions Club member looking to earn another title, what we can look forward to is a new name etched on the WPT Champions Cup. As mentioned, Farah is making the largest cash of his live tournament career. In fact, it's only his ninth live tournament cash ever. His previous best was a 344th-place finish in the 2016 WSOP Main Event when he took home $32,130. He does have two prior WPT Main Tour cashes on record, and both came from previous editions of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. In Season XV, Farah placed 41st for $13,607. In Season XVI, he finished 75th for $8,623. As the saying goes, the third time is the charm, and Farah's third cash in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open could very well be the charm he is looking for, and it'd be worth $728,430. [caption id="attachment_622498" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Brandon Hall Back On the Big Stage Hall will enter the final table second in chips. If you were to stroll through the field of 1,400-plus players at Borgata, you might walk right past Hall, as he has a modest appearance that can truly blend into any tournament field. That said, Hall has been on the big stage before, evidenced by his more than $1.46 million in live tournament earnings. Hall's first big splash came in 2009 when he won the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330, defeating Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. [caption id="attachment_622499" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Daniel Buzgon (left) and Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Buzgon and O'Hara Eye First Major Title Both Daniel Buzgon, third in chips, and O'Hara, fifth in chips, have plenty of poker success ahead of this deep run in the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Both had more than $2 million in live tournament earnings and multiple six-figure scores ahead of this event, but neither had won a major poker title. Both have also come close in WPT Main Tour events before. Buzgon has previously reached a WPT final table twice, finishing third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, both in Season X. O'Hara's closest call to winning a WPT title was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Di Rosa Rojas and Lima Making the Most of First WPT Cashes The other two players to reach the final table were Joseph Di Rosa Rojas and Lima. Combined, the two have just more than $1 million in live tournament earnings. Di Rosa Rojas entered the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with $770,366 in live earnings, and Lima had $263,186. You may know Di Rosa Rojas for his finish in the 2017 WSOP Marathon event, which he won for $690,469. Lima's best result comes from a $102,149 score in Las Vegas. Both Di Rosa Rojas and Lima are making their first World Poker Tour final table with this run. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications As already mentioned, Liu moved into first place in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with his 15th-place finish in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Each of the remaining six players will earn at least 800 points in the race, and there are 1,400 points up for grabs to the winner of this event. Those are a lot of points for the winner, but no player to reach this final table has cashed in Season XVII yet, so everyone is starting from scratch. That said, 1,400 points would jump the winner into fourth place, right behind this season's WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic winner, Dylan Linde. Next Stop, Las Vegas On March 13 After reaching the final table, the final six players were sent on a 41-day hiatus. They’ll pick up the action on March 13, 2019, in Las Vegas at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. That’s when they'll compete for the $728,430 top prize, which includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
  3. When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open started on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Viny Lima was the shortest stack of the six players remaining. Over the course of the next 10 hours, Lima refused to go into the night quietly and eliminated his final four opponents to take home $728,430 and his first World Poker Tour title. Ian O'Hara waited 41 days for his shot at WPT title but only managed to get to play for a little over 30 minutes on Wednesday night before busting. Brandon Hall raised to 350,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"] and action folded to O'Hara in the big blind and he moved all in for 5,125,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. Hall called instantly and then watched the board run out [poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="td"][poker card="9d"] to eliminate O'Hara in sixth place. While the first elimination of the night came quickly, fans inside the HyperX Esports Arena had to wait another six hours for the next one. Action folded to Lima in the small blind and he moved all in for 11,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"] and Daniel Buzgon called all in for 5,400,000 from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="7c"] flop put Lima comfortably ahead and after the [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="8d"] river failed to save him, Buzgon was eliminated in fifth place. The BorgataPoker.com ambassador tweeted following his elimination. Brandon Hall spent some time at the top of the chip counts on Wednesday but ultimately couldn't stay there. From UTG, Lima raised to 1,500,000 with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Hall called from the big blind with [poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="kd"][poker card="7s"] to send Hall packing in fourth place. Down to just eight big blinds, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="4c"] and Lima called from the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Lima two pair and neither the [poker card="3d"] turn or [poker card="th"] river improved Rojas and he was eliminated in third. Farah started heads up play with a 5-3 chip lead over Lima, but the early stages of heads up play saw Lima flip the script and eventually take a 4.5-1 lead of his own. After an hour of play, Lima and Farah clashed one final time. Farah moved all in from the button with [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"] and Lima called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="js"][poker card="5h"] flop gave both players a pair but kept Lima ahead. The [poker card="2c"] was no help and the [poker card="ks"] river gave Lima an unneeded second pair to eliminate Farah, who started the day with the chip lead, in second place. Final Table Payouts Viny Lima - $728,430 Dave Farah - $485,611 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - $359,555 Brandon Hall - $268,810 Daniel Buzgon - $202,942 Ian O'Hara - $154,734
  4. August is the time to go 'Big' or go home. The 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL and will run from August 1-13 with a 27-event schedule culminating in the return of their four featured tournaments, dubbed ‘The Big 4’. The schedule gets off to a fast start with a multi-flight $1 million guaranteed $600 DeepStack and is followed by a full slate of tournaments with wide-ranging variants and buy-ins that will attract every level of player, leading up to the starting dates of The Big 4. The Big 4 Since 2015, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open has hosted The Big 4, four individual tournaments that all play down to a final table together so they can be live-streamed on the same day at the same time. This year the Big 4 include: $5,250 SHRPO Championship - $3 million guarantee $2,650 NLHE - $1 million guarantee $1,100 NLHE - $500,000 guarantee $25,500 High Rollers - $2 million guarantee. Since 2013, SHRPO has been a favorite destination for poker pros from all over the world. Headed into their fifth year of the The Big 4 promotion, organizers are looking forward to making 2019 the biggest Big 4 yet with all eyes on the $5,250 Main Event. $5,250 SHRPO Championship In 2014, the year before SHRPO Championship was a part of The Big 4, Daniel Colman took down the $5,300 tournament for $1.44 million. The $5 million guaranteed SHRPO Championship event drew 907 runners in 2015 and the big story was that Colman returned to the final table, looking to go back-to-back and defend his 2014 SHRPO Championship title. In the end Colman couldn’t get there, falling in third place for $310,000 as Omar Zazay went on to win the $1,000,000 first-place prize for a career-high score. Pennsylvania’s Paul Volpe also made an appearance at this final table, but he ended up hitting the rail in eighth place for $100,000. Even though registration dipped in 2016, the tournament still held a $5 million guarantee. That meant there was a healthy overlay for the field of top-tier players who made the trip. Ryan Fair and Joe Serock joined regular high rollers Seth Davies and Jason Koon at the final table where Koon ended up taking home the title and his very first seven-figure score of $1 million. In 2017, the tournament reduced the guarantee to $3 million when Australia’s Martin Kozlov picked up the largest cash of his career by winning the $754,083 first-place prize. Matt Berkey finished in third place this year while Aaron Mermelstein, Adam Levy, and Joe Kuether all also had a seat at the final table. Then, just last year, Brandon Eisen denied Jeremy Ausmus the title in 2018, taking home $771,444 for the win. Familiar faces Joseph Cheong, Jared Griener and Ryan D’Angelo also made the final table in what was the largest SHRPO Championship field in The Big 4 era with 914 runners. Big Buy-In, Big Moments The Big 4 have had plenty of standout performances outside of the Main Event over the years. As one might expect, the $25K High Roller has always been flush with big-name pros looking to take home six-figure scores. In 2015, Florida’s All-Time Money List leader, Jason Mercier, took down the $25K High Roller for over $517K in his own backyard, surviving an all-star final table that included runner-up Ian O’Hara, Sean Winter, Ankush Mandavia, Barry Hutter, David ‘Doc’ Sands, and Phil Laak. One year later, Marvin Rettenmaier denied Daniel Colman another SHRPO title by taking first place and over $787K. John Andress took home the High Roller title in 2017 and then in 2018, Jake Schindler topped the 123 player field for a score of over $800K after defeating Shaun Deeb heads up. Another amazing Big 4 feat has been the performance of the GPI #1-ranked player Alex Foxen who, in 2017 took down the $2,650 NLHE for $204,600 and then followed that up by defending his title in that even in 2018 for another $208,452. All the action from the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open begins on August 1 with all four of the Big 4 set to be live-streamed on August 13. 2019 SHRPO Schedule of Events DATE EVENT # EVENT TIME BUY-IN 8/1 1A Deep Stack NLH Flight A (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/1 1B Deep Stack NLH Flight B (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/2 1C Deep Stack NLH Flight C (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/2 1D Deep Stack NLH Flight D (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/3 1E Deep Stack NLH Flight E (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/3 1F Deep Stack NLH Flight F (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/4 1 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/1 2 Omaha 8 Or Better (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/2 3 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/3 4 PLO 8 (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 5 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 6 Purple Chip Bounty (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD 3:00 PM $1,700 8/5 6 Day 2 2:00 PM -- 8/5 7 Seniors 50+ (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/5 8 Big Stack Black Chip Bounty NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/5 9 PLO (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/5 10 Big Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - $5,250 Championship Seat Added - One Day Event 6:00 PM $150 8/6 11 Six-Max NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 11:00 AM $600 8/6 12 Big O (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/6 13 Omaha 8/Stud 8 (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/6 14 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out) - One Day Event 5:00 PM $1,100 8/7 15 Eight-Handed NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $200,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $2,200 8/7 16 Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic - One Day Charity Event 7:00 PM $300 8/8 17 Six-Max Big Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $1,100 8/8 18 Super High Roller NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 1:00 PM $50,000 8/9 18 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/8 19 Six-Max PLO (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400.00 8/9 20A SHRPO Championship Day 1A (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/10 20B SHRPO Championship Day 1B (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/11 20 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/12 20 Day 3 12:00 PM -- 8/13 20 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 21 NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 2:00 PM $2,650 8/12 21 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/13 21 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 22 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD 11:00 AM $1,100 8/13 22 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 23 High Roller (Re-Entry) - $2,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 12:00 PM $25,500 8/13 23 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 24A NLH Day 1A (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/12 24B NLH Day 1B (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/13 24 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 5:00 PM -- 8/12 25 PLO (Re-Entry) 6:00 PM $2,650 8/13 25 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 3:00 PM -- 8/13 26 Deep Stack Turbo (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/13 27 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 12:00 PM $10,000
  5. The World Poker Tour’s third Las Vegas final table next week will be the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final six from the booming 1,415-entry field will look to crown a champion on Wednesday, following the conclusion of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic on Monday and WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday. Dave Farah is leading the final six with a first-place prize of $728,430 awaiting the winner. Joining Farah and his chip-leading stack of 18.85 million will be Brandon Hall, Daniel Buzgon, Joseph Di Rosa Rojas, Ian O’Hara, and Vinicius Lima. Come Wednesday’s return to action, the players will have been on a 41-day hiatus. If you’d like to relive the action leading up to the final table, you can do so by reading our extensive recap right here. What Are They Playing For? With 1,415 entries, the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open generated the largest WPT Main Tour event at Borgata and the third-largest WPT Main Tour field in history. The prize pool topped $4.5 million to easily surpass the $3 million guarantee and up top is a juicy $728,430, which includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $728,430 2nd Place: $485,611 3rd Place: $359,555 4th Place: $268,810 5th Place: $202,942 6th Place: $154,734 [caption id="attachment_623071" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] WPT Champions Cup at Borgata (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] How To Watch the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will play out on March 13, starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event started at the end of January at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and reached the final table just before the calendar rolled over into February. The final table will be filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events. You can wait for that airing on FOX Sports Regional Networks, or you could tune in live to the stream of the events that can be viewed on PokerGO. If you don’t have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan. Let’s meet the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. [caption id="attachment_623074" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ian O'Hara (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Ian O’Hara - 5,100,000 Ian O’Hara is often a name that rolls off fellow players’ tongues when asked who the best young player is in the game today, especially if you’re looking for upcoming talent in the United States. With more than $2.2 million in live tournament earnings and a respected reputation from his peers, O’Hara packs a big punch coming into the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open finale. He’s never reached a WPT Main Tour final table, though. O’Hara’s closest call was a ninth-place result in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic worth $89,875. The most prominent live tournament victory of O’Hara’s young career came during the 2016 Coco Poker Open in Coconut Creek, Florida. He won the $2,500 Championship Event for $212,830. The largest live tournament score for O’Hara, to date, is a runner-up result in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $25,400 High Roller in 2015, when he chopped the event with Jason Mercier. O’Hara actually got more prize money than Mercier, winning $527,313, but Mercier officially scored first place. O’Hara has 5.1 million in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, which is good for fifth overall. [caption id="attachment_623073" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Dave Farah (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Dave Farah - 18,850,000 Dave Farah is from New Jersey and came into the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with just more than $80,000 in live tournament earnings. His run in this event is now the largest of his live tournament career, but it isn’t the first time he’s made the money in a World Poker Tour event at Borgata. In the Season XV WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah placed 41st from a field of 1,312 entries to win $13,607. In Season XVI, also in the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Farah finished 75th from a field of 1,244 to score $8,623. This season’s run is now his third consecutive deep run in this event and he could truly make his third time a charm by capping it off with a WPT title. Farah doesn’t quite have the huge chip lead that Darren Elias has at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table or Frank Stepuchin has at the WPT Gardens Poker Classic final table, but he does have 18.85 million of the 56.5 million in play, which is 33.3%. He’s also got a good chunk more than Hall’s second-place stack of 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623075" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Joseph Di Rosa Rojas - 5,800,000 Joseph Di Rosa Rojas is the first of two players at this WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table who is making his first WPT Main Tour cash. The other is Vinicius Lima. Di Rosa Rojas, a Venezuelan, does have a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, though, so it’s not as though he hasn’t been to the winner’s circle before in a marquee event. Di Rosa Rojas won the 2017 WSOP Marathon tournament, topping a field of 1,759 entries to score $690,469. Entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table, Di Rosa Rojas is fourth in chips with 5.8 million and fourth on the Venezuelan all-time money list. A finish in second place or better would move Di Rosa Rojas to second on that list, and a finish in third would jump him to third. [caption id="attachment_623070" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Brandon Hall (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Brandon Hall - 14,100,000 Brandon Hall has had some quiet years recently when it comes to poker, but he’s back on the big stage and looking for another big trophy to add to his trophy case. This time, it’d be the WPT Champions Cup. Hall’s first big live poker score came in 2009 when he took first place in the Aruba Poker Classic for $753,330. In that tournament, Hall defeated Robert Mizrachi in heads-up play to win the title. A handful of years later, Hall finished runner-up in a $1,500 buy-in WSOP event for $381,885. Hall has had some success on the felt during the hiatus in this event. In late February, he finished third in the Parx Big Stax 1100 event for $55,241. Hall enters the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table second in chips with 14.1 million. [caption id="attachment_623076" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Vinicius Lima (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Vinicius Lima - 3,550,000 In similar fashion to Di Rosa Rojas, Vinicius Lima is making his first WPT Main Tour cash with his run in this event. Reaching the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table and already earning $154,734 is Lima’s largest live tournament score, and he’ll be the shortest stack returning for the final table. Overall, he boasts $263,186 in live tournament earnings ahead of his finish in this one. Lima only has one prior six-figure result on record, which came from a $1,600 buy-in tournament in Las Vegas when he won $102,149 with a third-place finish. In 2016, Lima won the Poker Night in America Grand Poker Series Main Event for $56,366. Lima’s stack to start the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table will be 3.55 million. [caption id="attachment_623072" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Daniel Buzgon (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Daniel Buzgon - 9,100,000 Like O’Hara, Daniel Buzgon has enjoyed a close call on the World Poker Tour. In fact, Buzgon’s reached a WPT Main Tour final table twice before in his career. Both came in Season X when Buzgon finished third in the WPT Borgata Poker Open and fourth at WPT Jacksonville, winning $335,433 and $94,624, respectively. The Borgata score is, to date, the largest live tournament score of Buzgon’s career. Buzgon is sponsored by BorgataPoker.com, so he’s representing the home team in his trip to the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table. Entering the final table, Buzgon, a New Jersey native, has $2.035 million in live tournament earnings. Buzgon is third in chips entering the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open final table with 9.1 million. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of more than $4.5 million, the maximum amount of Hublot WPT Player of the Year points will be up for grabs in this one, with the winner getting 1,400 points. The rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,400 points 2nd Place: 1,200 points 3rd Place: 1,100 points 4th Place: 1,000 points 5th Place: 900 points 6th Place: 800 points No player in the final six has previously accumulated Hublot WPT Player of the Year points in Season XVII. At the end of Season XVII, the Hublot WPT Player of the Year will win a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-ins to any Season XVIII global WPT event. Second place in the race earns a $7,500 WPT Passport and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.
  6. [caption width="640"] Ian O'Hara is just 23 years old, but already has the respect of some of the game's best (Seminole photo)[/caption] It all started with a tweet from PocketFives Community Manager Kevin Mathers in early May asking who the best American player under the age of 25 was. Of those that responded, the overwhelming opinion was one player: Ian O’Hara. And Mercier would know. Two summers ago, Mercier and O’Hara battled heads-up in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open High Roller before chopping up over $1,000,000. Mercier won the tournament, but O’Hara, who wasn’t even 21 at the time, walked away with a slightly bigger score. “He’s one of the only Americans that are really young but plays at the highest stakes. He plays all of the high roller events,” said Jason Mercier. “I think he’s very good. He has a very sound game and the few times that I’ve been at his table I’ve been impressed with how he’s played.” O’Hara represents a paradigm shift in American poker. From 2003 until April 15, 2011, Americans were playing online poker and the number of world class players under the age of 25 would have made Mathers’ original question a lot harder to answer. O’Hara could almost be a throwback to the generation of players who came up before button mashing became a thing. “I don’t really play online, ever. Just mostly play live tournaments and cash games,” said O’Hara, on Day 1 of the $10,000 Six Max event at the 2017 World Series of Poker. Mercier looks at the pace at which O’Hara has risen in the world of tournament poker without being able to put in the volume and learn the lessons he did online, and isn’t sure he could have done the same. “I think it’s possible, but unlikely. I started playing live with my friends and stuff before ever discovering online poker but I think that playing online as much as I did helped me develop not only my game but also learning how to not tilt and understanding the swings of the game and that’s stuff that’s just takes so long when you’re playing live,” said Mercier. Still only 23 years old, O’Hara also first started playing the game in middle school with friends and neighbors and while they were playing mostly for fun, O’Hara took a keen interest in getting better right away. “Pretty much just watched a lot of poker, watched what people did over time, trends and stuff, just played and picked it up a little easier than other people,” said O’Hara. His results speak for themselves. He’s cashed for $1,712,709 in the first years of his career. The Florida native had the benefit of being able to legally play in casinos since he was 18 years old. When he was 18 he was playing smaller buy-in tournaments in Florida, winning his first tournament at the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida for $29,530. “Well, four years ago I was only 19, so I could only play in Florida pretty much. I ran hot to start, won some lower buy-in tournaments, played more cash and built up that way,” said O’Hara. Having the respect of Mercier, another born-and-raised Floridian, is something O’Hara doesn’t take lightly. “I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a huge (sign of) respect from people like Jason Mercier who have $20-25 million in earnings and have been playing for ten years and have won a bunch of stuff,” said O’Hara, who plans on playing as many of the No Limit Hold’em events as possible during the WSOP.
  7. 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. The World Poker Tour has taken over Las Vegas this week with three final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel and Casino. The LA Poker Classic, the Gardens Poker Classic, and the Borgata Winter Poker Open are all going to crown champions this week and Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters preview all three final tables in the first of four podcasts from the city of Las Vegas. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
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