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Found 8 results

  1. The $1 million buy-in World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop is just a month-and-a-half away and the limited seats on offer are quickly starting to fill. Adding to the 23 participants confirmed in March, WSOP officials have revealed that 10 more players will battle it out for what could be the biggest first place prize in sports history, bringing the total to 33. WSOP officials announced on Thursday that the total attendance is now nearing 40. The recent additions to the list include Anthony Gregg, last year's winner of the One Drop High Roller Event; Igor Kurganov, the top Russian money winner; and five German poker pros. Joining that group are the notable entries of Vanessa Selbst, the first female participant in the tourney, and Jean-Robert Bellande (pictured), a one-time contestant in the reality show "Survivor." Selbst, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, has over $9.6 million in live tournament earnings and is considered one of the best female players in the game. "I'm so excited to be taking part in the Big One for One Drop this year," she said. "I didn't get to play in 2012, but after seeing how much fun everyone had with the event as well as how profound an impact it had on One Drop, I knew I had to be a part of it this time around." Bellande, who has developed a social media following with his high-stakes poker antics, surprised and delighted his followers by posting a picture of himself on his Instagram feed holding bricks of cash while buying into the event. "There goes a milly! I just bought into the 1-Drop. If I win this, it'll be brokeliving no more," he posted. Conspicuously absent from the list is six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu (pictured). The PokerStars pro isn't keen on putting up 100% of the massive buy-in himself and has been soliciting investors on Twitter. "I'll be selling 50% of my action for the One Drop $1 million buy-in this year. Get at me if you want to buy a piece. $5k minimum," he posted. "Oh, and I'm gonna win and all that," he added. Phil Hellmuth is another big name who hasn't made the decision to risk the seven-figure chunk of his bankroll, reportedly saying that he would see how he was playing before he commits. The inaugural Big One for One Drop event was held at the 2012 WSOP and won by Antonio Esfandiari. The 35-year-old bested a field of 48 players and took home a massive $18.3 million payday, bumping his total live tournament winnings to over $26 million, becoming tournament poker's all-time money leader. In 2013, he came close to another One Drop win, taking fourth place and $1.4 million in the $100,000 version. While some players are still searching for backers, organizers believe that all 56 seats that are available will eventually be claimed. If participation reaches its cap, they boast that the first prize payout will be in excess of $20 million. Of the 33 seats that have been locked up, three have been reserved for the winners of high-stakes satellites. On June 28, the Rio will hold a $25,300 satellite and give players several opportunities to "step" their way up with buy-ins as low as $200. Here were the first 23 entrants. As part of its charitable offering to the One Drop Foundation, the WSOP will not collect any fee from the tournament and, instead, $111,111 will be donated from each player's buy-in. Tournament money winners will also be given the chance to make donations at the end of the event if they choose to do so. Guy Laliberte (pictured), the billionaire creator of Cirque du Soleil and former space tourist, founded One Drop. The organization's mission is to stamp out poverty by providing access to clean drinking water around the world. Laliberte is an avid poker player who enjoys playing the highest stakes available and has reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars through his various Full Tilt Poker accounts. The Big One for One Drop will kick off on June 29 and run until July 1 as part of the 45th annual World Series of Poker. ESPN will film the entire event and broadcast the footage to the world in three-day blocks on July 29, August 5, and August 12. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Jean-Robert Bellande(pictured) recently surprised the poker community when he Tweeted a picture of himself holding bricks of cash, buying into the $1 million WSOP Big One for One Drop. Many wondered how someone who has built a social media following by styling himself as being perpetually broke could come up with the astronomical sum necessary to enter such an event. Luckily for his fans, Bellande isn't a man prone to mystery and in a candid interview with Bluff Europe gave more details on how the whole thing came about. "I wanted to play last time a couple of years ago. I raised about 60% of the money and then it didn't happen," he explained. "Recently I've had a couple things go my way and had a few people say they were interested in partnering with me for the One Drop. So, I decided to give it a go." Bellande has reportedly been on a hot streak at the high-stakes games hosted at notorious Instagramer Dan Bilzerian's house. "I had a pretty good score recently at my buddy [Dan's]house," he said. "That gave me a chance to put a decent portion away. I'm not going to be broke living anymore!" In a seven-figure buy-in tournament, even the most well bankrolled pros are wary of putting up the entire amount themselves. Even PokerStarssponsored pro Daniel Negreanu (pictured) has taken to selling 50% of himself for a seat. So how much of a stake does Bellande have in himself? "I can say I have less than 30% of myself," he revealed. "I can't say much more than that." But he did dish more on his relationship with Bilzerian, saying that the high-stakes gambler had staked him, but lost around $1 million and jumped ship. Even so, he said, the two remain friends and constantly needle one another at the tables. "He loves to give me a hard time and loves busting my balls and I do the same to him," he said. "I'm a fan of his; I'm not going to say he's a fan of mine, but he's definitely in my corner." Bellande claims that much of Bilzerian's social media success stemmed from the popularity of his own Twitter following. "He saw my broke living thing and said, 'Let me give the world a taste of some rich living," he said. For someone who will soon play in a million-dollar tournament, Bellande is surprisingly relaxed about the whole experience. While many would take the opportunity to hone their skills, the 43-year-old revealed that he has only played "something like 2-3 tournaments in the past six months." Even so, Bellande thinks he is underrated by his peers and has a unique advantage due to his experience in private high-stakes games. "I know how to play against fellow pros and I know how to play against business guys," he claimed. "In the cash games, I play against both groups all the time," he said. "There's a difference: you can't play against the two the same and I'm somebody who understands that difference. I think that's going to give me an edge." There are some, though, whom he would rather avoid, calling Brian Rast, Andrew Robl, Scott Seiver, and defending champion Antonio Esfandiari (pictured) "super tough." "I'm not fearing anybody, though, but obviously I'd rather be up against less tough opponents," he admitted. Bellande, known for being charismatic and down to earth, thinks that a One Drop win for him would also be a win for the entire poker community. "Me winning this One Drop would be akin to when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event. It's something that would be great for poker." Seats for the Big One for One Drop are filling fast, with the event set to run from June 29 to July 1. The One Drop foundation, created by Guy Laliberte, will receive $111,111 from each buy-in as a charitable donation. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. [caption width="640"] Anna Khait is hoping her poker skills help her win Survivor Kaôh Rōng[/caption] Cash game grinders at Atlantic City casinos have a history of going on to great things. Phil Ivey went from an underaged kid sleeping under the Boardwalk to the best player in the game. Three-time World Poker Tour champ Anthony Zinno built his bankroll playing in cash games at the Borgata. Starting Wednesday night Anna Khait is hoping to rise to stardom, albeit through a very different path. The 26-year-old Brooklyn native is one of 18 contestants on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. A lifelong fan of the show, Khait first applied by sending in a video application in 2014. When she didn’t hear back, she figured it wasn’t going to happen. “I told one of my friends and he said there was a live casting call tomorrow at Caesars. I’m already at Borgata all the time and he said ‘why don’t you go to Caesars?’,” said Khait. Being new to the entire casting process, Khait had no idea what she was in for when she got in line. Others that were waiting with her hit her with a harsh dose of reality pretty quick. “I made friends with the people around me and they were telling me they’ve tried out for six years … eight years … four years and have never gotten a phone call, never gotten an email, nothing,” said Khait. “I was like ‘that’s great, I’m just going to waste my time right now’ but I just said whatever. I got really nervous in front of the camera and thought I’d messed it up that interview.” That was late 2014. CBS was casting for two seasons of the show at the time. Over the next few months producers kept in touch with Khait. “It was a six or seven month long process of paperwork, interviews, doctor visits and more interviews and then they flew me out to finals in December,” said Khait. “I had interviews there and stuff and met Jeff (Probst) and CBS executives and it still wasn’t a done deal.” In those meetings producers asked Khait what she did for a living. When she told them she was a professional poker player, they pushed back a little bit. “They were like ‘well we’ve never heard of you’ and I was like, yeah I don’t really play in the public eye,” said Khait. “I play mostly cash, I don’t really play tournaments, I don’t play WPTs.” Khait eventually got the call that she had been cast for Season 32 of the hit reality show. The theme for the season is Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty and Khait is a member of the “Beauty” tribe. Once she got to Cambodia, where the show was being filmed, she decided to keep her poker playing identity hidden. “I didn’t tell anyone that I play a strategy game for a living, I thought that would be a good move. There were poker players that did. I mean, Jean-Robert (Bellande) couldn’t really get away form it because he was in the public eye and somebody might have known,” said Khait, who instead told her fellow competitors that she was a medical school student who worked as a cocktail waitress at The Borgata. “Not exactly a lie, but it is, whatever. But I didn’t tell them what I did because I didn’t want them to know I play a strategy game, that I’m very analytical and can read body language,” said Khait. As a Survivor superfan, Khait felt she had a pretty good understanding of what to expect once the game began. She quickly learned she was wrong. “You don’t really realize how much rain there is and how much down time there is. There’s so much down time in between challenges, sometimes two to three days where you’re just sitting around camp, finding food, cooking food, getting water,” said Khait. “You don’t realize how tough it is until you’re out there and you have to fend for yourself.” Dealing with the constant buzz of mosquitos, the 130 degree temperatures all while sleeping on hard, uneven bamboo beds can be a mental challenge as much as physical. Through all of that, and the physical and mental nature of the game, Khait feels like she discovered some things about herself she didn’t know going in, including something that will come in hand as she resumes her poker career. “I learned that I’m pretty tough, that I can handle any situation that’s thrown my way,” said Khait. “I also realized how competitive I am.”
  4. We left you with a bit of a cliffhanger yesterday, as a former PocketFives no.1 player was heads-up for his second bracelet. The two players returned on Saturday to finish things off, and in just five hands Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson had secured the jewellery. Saturday was an action-packed day at the 2018 World Series of Poker, both in and outside of the Rio. Two online bracelet winners were crowned, as well as the champion of the Ladies Event. Here’s all the info from June 30. Anderson Finishes The Job, Wins $10K Razz Championship When we last spoke, we told you that Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson had a huge chip lead against three-time bracelet winner Frank Kassela in Event #56: $10,000 Razz Championship. The two had paused play at the end of Friday night, and when they resumed action on Saturday the whole thing was over in just five hands. In the last hand, Kassela had a ten-low draw while Anderson, who was already ahead in the hand, had a seven-low draw. He peeled over a five to complete a seven-five, and Kassela could only muck. Anderson reflected on his success in his winner’s interview, telling WSOP reporters: "I spend a lot of time studying the Law of Attraction and a lot of other universal and spiritual truths from various people, and basically, I think it's important to keep a positive attitude because then you attract a lot of positive things in your life. “Whenever you do complain and get frustrated, you're losing a lot of power and giving it to someone else. Not only in the game, but anywhere else. Things like this happen all the time, and a big reason why I like poker is because it's so relatable to life in so many areas." Final Table Results: Calvin Anderson - $309,220 Frank Kassela - $191,111 Julien Martini - $134,587 Mike Leah - $96,744 Jerry Wong - $71,014 Alex Balandin - $53,253 John Hennigan - $40,817 Dzmitry Urbanovich - $31,992 Jessica Dawley Takes Down Ladies Event for $130,230 One woman has outlasted 695 others to become a WSOP bracelet winner: Jessica Dawley. She’s banked $130,230 for her efforts over the past three days of play in Event #57: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em Championship. [caption id="attachment_619773" align="aligncenter" width="579"] Jessica Dawley Becomes a Bracelet Winner[/caption] Jill Pike led the final table coming into play on Saturday, and she would ultimately meet Dawley heads-up. Pike had doubled up Dawley early on in the finale, and Dawley took those chips and used them to eliminate Tara Cain in sixth. Pike still held the chip lead though, but when things got three-handed Dawley went on a run that saw her collect 50% of the chips in play. Lisa Fong then crashed out in third, running her ace-six into Dawley’s pocket kings, before a short, four-hand heads-up battle ended when Pike shoved five big blinds with king-four and was called by eight-five suited. A five on the flop was all it took to end it. ''I can't even put into words," Dawley said after securing victory. "It has not hit me yet. I kept picturing myself as I was sitting here, I kept looking at these boxes of everyone in their bracelet photos, and I honestly kept trying to get my head straight with that. Looking at those pictures, I was like: 'I just really hope that that's me at the end of the day'. I'm just really happy. It's been a grind for the past ten years so I'm happy to have something to kind of commemorate that.” Final Table Results: Jessica Dawley - $130,230 Jill Pike - $80,444 Lisa Fong - $55,812 Mesha James - $39,334 Jacqueline Burkhart - $28,167 Tara Cain - $20,499 Weiyi Mo - $15,167 Molly Mossey - $11,411 Tara Snow - $8,732 Chance ‘BingShui’ Kornuth and Ryan Tosoc Win Online Bracelets The first online bracelet event to end on Saturday actually began on Friday, continuing into the early hours of the morning. Event #61: $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em Championship finally ended with Ryan ‘Toosick' Tosoc holding all the virtual chips, winning $238,778 in the process. Tosoc outlasted 1,635 entries to win his first bracelet, defeating Anthony 'Flawlessbink' Maio heads-up. Final Table Results: Ryan 'Toosick' Tosoc - $238,778 Anthony 'Flawlessbink' Maio - $175,206 Joel 'AjaWilson22' Feldman - $124,570 James '5.56cal.' Robinson - $89,777 Justin 'lappypoker' Lapka - $65,391 Markus 'thegreatrise' Gonsalves - $48,306 Russell 'AntonChigurh' Powers - $36,190 Aurelian 'Winamax' Guiglini - $27,337 Aditya 'pokerpop76' Sushant - $20,968 Later on Saturday, Event #63: $3,200 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em High Roller kicked off, attracting 480 entries. When all was said and done, it was Chance ‘BingShui’ Kornuth who took it down for his second bracelet and $341,598. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1013364416853655553 The entire tournament was wrapped up in just 12 hours, with ‘bewater' finishing runner-up. Final Table Results: Chance 'BingShui' Kornuth - $341,598 'bewater' - $212,021 'poker.' - $144,168 'ThePunter' - $99,809 'flcrivello' - $70,625 'ReadyGambo' - $50,926 'kingfortune' - $37,355 'LobyPewis' - $28,016 'petechen' - $21,596 THE GIANT Reaches Final Table They’re down to just nine in Event #6: $365 GIANT No-Limit Hold’em, as the massive 8,920 field has been whittled down over six days of play (five starting flights, and Saturday’s Day 2). Only 527 players returned today, with Alexander Lakhov holding the chip lead. He’d manage to ride that stack to the finale, coming in third in chips (38.3 million). However, it’s Renato Kaneoya (56.1 million) and Luis Vasquez (42.7 million) who top the counts. All nine are guaranteed $24,353 when play kicks off at 2pm Sunday, but there’s $250,000 up top, plus the bracelet and the glory. Final Table Stacks: Renato Kaneoya - 56,100,000 Luis Vazquez - 42,700,000 Alexander Lakhov - 38,300,000 Kevin Rines - 21,500,000 Jeremy Perrin - 19,000,000 Daniel Fuhs - 18,300,000 Svetlozar Nestorov - 13,100,000 Lawrence Chan - 7,900,000 Matthew Smith - 7,100,000 John-Robert Bellande Tops Final Six in $5K 6-Max Could this be the one in which ‘JRB’ wins his first WSOP bracelet? Things are certainly set up perfectly for John-Robert Bellande, as he holds the lead in Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed with a final table set. Bellande has almost double his closest competitor, with 5.05 million to Dean Lyall’s 2.7 million. JRB has never managed to secure a bracelet despite racking up $2.2 million in WSOP career cashes. Throughout the day we lost 21 players, including the likes of Greg Merson (19th - $21,018), Jimmy Guerrero (12th Place - $34,545), Dave Stefanski (11th Place - $34,545), Arsenii Karmatakii (10th Place - $45,764), Sergio Aido (9th Place - $45,764), James Mackey (8th Place - $61,931), and Arthur Morris (7th Place - $61,931). A sixth-place finish is worth $85,570, but there’s $616,302 up top when action resumes at 2pm Sunday. Final Table Stacks: Jean-Robert Bellande - 5,050,000 Dean Lyall - 2,700,000 Kacper Pyzara - 2,605,000 Andrew Graham - 2,430,000 Tay Nguyen - 1,485,000 Eric Blair - 1,310,000 Day 2 Done in $10K PLO 8 Championship Michael McKenna has ended Day 2 of Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship as chip leader, with just 24 players remaining. McKenna, eyeing up his second final table of the summer, bagged up 1,048,000 and is the only player above a million. He’s followed by Ali Abduljabbar with 804,000, and Michael Abecassis with 699,000. There were plenty of casualties throughout the day, including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Allen Kessler, Brian Rast, Ben Yu, Robert Mizrachi, Jesse Martin, Rep Porter, and defending champion Bryce Yockey. A few notables who went deep and cashed include Nick Schulman (35th for $15,000), Andrew Kelsall (34th for $15,000), Ryan Laplante (32nd for $16,494) and Ian O'Hara (29th for $16,494). There are still plenty of big names in the hand for this one, with Nathan Gamble (640,000), Jim Collopy (582,000), Cliff Josephy (480,000), Randy Ohel, (476,000), Brandon Shack-Harris (417,000), Chris Ferguson (344,000), David ‘ODB’ Baker (319,000), Phil Galfond (308,000) and Eli Elezra (146,000) all returning tomorrow. Play gets going again at 2pm, with $567,788 awaiting the winner. Top 10 Stacks: Michael McKenna - 1,048,000 Ali Abduljabbar - 804,000 Michel Abecassis - 699,000 Benjamin Eilers - 686,000 Chris Lee - 673,000 Nathan Gamble - 640,000 Chase Steely - 633,000 Chad Power - 628,000 Andreas Klatt - 628,000 Jim Collopy - 582,000 Crazy Eights $888 Event Down to 90 After Day 1 Event #62: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em Eight-Handed got a big turnout Saturday, with 1,908 players taking part over two starting flights, all hoping to win the guaranteed $888,888 first-place prize. After 24 levels of play, that field is down to just 90, and it’s Christian Liel who tops them all with 793,000. A few notables to advance include Nissar Quraishi (377,000), Jiri Horak (199,000), Mike Leah (155,000), Shai Zurr (87,000), and Galen Hall (64,000). It wasn’t such a good day for Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, Joseph Cheong, Shaun Deeb, Faraz Jaka, Alex Foxen, and DJ MacKinnon, as they all hit the rail. There will be two other starting flights tomorrow, starting at 10am and 5pm. Top 10 Stacks: Christian Liel - 793,000 DID NOT REPORT - 685,000 Matthew Schreiber - 662,000 Troy Southerland - 519,000 Vismantas Marijosius - 433,000 Jed Hoffman - 378,000 Nissar Quraishi - 377,000 Chad Mizner - 356,000 Brett Apter - 356,000 Orestis Kanakopoulos - 348,000
  5. Two big names in the poker world picked up their first and third bracelets on Sunday at the 2018 World Series of Poker. Both are regulars in Bobby’s Room, playing the highest stakes mixed games going. They’re both pretty good at tournaments too, as they proved today. Meanwhile, the Crazy Eights event played through another two starting flights, while the $365 PLO Giant starting flights end with a four-time bracelet winner as overall chip leader. Another $10K Championship kicked off too. Here’s everything you need to know from July 1. Phil Galfond Claims Bracelet #3 in $10K PLO 8 ($567,788) Legendary online cash game player and Run It Once founder Phil Galfond picked up his third WSOP bracelet on Sunday, taking down Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for a massive $567,788 score. Galfond has had quite a few weeks, what with the upcoming launch of his online site, the announcement that he’s expecting his first child with his wife Farah, and now another WSOP win for his incredible CV. "There's nothing like the first [bracelet], so that stands ahead," Galfond said afterwards. "It still feels really good, on par with the second. I just ran really hot at the right time. I ran bad all summer, so I was saving it up for now. Now, it's even.” Galfond defeated Michael McKenna heads-up for the title, after hitting a pair in all-in-pre pot. McKenna racks up another close call, having finished fourth in a $1,500 Razz event earlier this summer. Other notables to final table this one include Chad Power (4th - $168,725), Chris Lee (5th - $120,263), Marco Johnson (6th - $87,830), and David ‘ODB’ Baker (7th - $65,579). Galfond was facing a 2:1 chip deficit versus McKenna, but found a way to get it done. Galfond said he’ll now turn his attention back to the launch of Run It Once Poker. "It feels like we're almost there and finally I'll be free," he said. "But, I can only imagine there's going to be more work once we launch the poker site. I'd like to find a way to play more poker because I really miss it. But, Run it Once poker is going to be the first priority." Final Table Results: Phil Galfond - $567,788 Michael McKenna - $350,922 Ali Abduljabbar - $240,497 Chad Power - $168,275 Chris Lee - $120,263 Marco Johnson - $87,830 David “ODB” Baker - $65,579 Chase Steely - $50,086 Jean-Robert Bellande Wins First Bracelet in $5K 6-Max ($616,302) [caption id="attachment_619806" align="aligncenter" width="648"] JRB Wines and Dines with First Bracelet[/caption] Sunday started with a six-handed final table set in Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed. Jean-Robert Bellande led the survivors (see what we did there?), and he had a strategy coming in: https://twitter.com/BrokeLivingJRB/status/1013515157513781248 It wasn’t an outrageous call that ended it though. More like an easy one, when Dean Lyall shoved with ace-three off heads-up, and Bellande woke up with pocket queens which held. A similar story saw him bust Kacper Pyzara in sixth (ace-seven into Bellande’s pocket jacks). Eric Blair fell in fifth, followed by Tan Nguyen in fourth and Andrew Graham in third. Bellande began heads-up play with a 2:1 chip lead, and kept the pressure on before taking it down. “I had a blast,” Bellande said after his win. “I had so much fun during this tournament, not just winning but mixing it up. Six-handed is cool because you’re always in action. The guys were all fun. We just had a good time. Every day we just had a blast.” Final Table Results: Jean-Robert Bellande - $616,302 Dean Lyall - $380,595 Andrew Graham - $254,684 Tan Nguyen - $173,598 Eric Blair - $120,669 Kacper Pyzara - $85,570 Michael Mizrachi Leads PLO GIANT Well whaddaya know? After five starting flights in Event #11: $365 PLO GIANT Pot-Limit Omaha, it’s none other than Michael Mizrachi who tops the overall chip counts. Day 1E played out today with 1,247 players taking a shot. Play ended with just 79 survivors, with Mizrachi topping tonight’s counts with 1,845,000 - more than any other end-of-day leader. Other notables to advance today include Robert Dukes (1,530,000), Srinivas Balasubramanian (1,245,000), Mark Darner (1,165,000), Nick Guagenti (1,125,000), four-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche (360,000), and bracelet winners Robert Cheung (345,000) and Arne Kern (370,000). Day 2 begins at 2pm Monday, with everyone guaranteed $843. Michael Mizrachi - 1,845,000 Robert Dukes - 1,530,000 Srinivas Balasubramanian - 1,245,000 Mark Darner - 1,165,000 Nick Guagenti - 1,125,000 Cherie Baber - 530,000 James Hoppner - 435,000 Arne Kern - 370,000 Dominik Nitsche - 360,000 Robert Cheung - 345,000 Moorman, Salsberg Top Final Starting Flights in CRAZY EIGHTS All four starting flights have now ended in Event #62: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed, with two notables bagging up the biggest stacks. Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman topped the 2,492 runners in Day 1C, bagging up 511,000. The former PocketFives #1 and all-time money leader was the only player to eclipse 400Km, with 140 players advancing. Other notables to get through that flight included Eric Baldwin (250,000), Mohsin Charania (307,000), and Kevin Eyster (287,000). Day 1C Top 10 Stacks: Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman - 511,000 Franz Ditz - 381,000 Christophe De Meulder - 321,000 Mohsin Charania - 307,000 Kevin Eyster - 287,000 Mark McGovern - 276,000 Fabrice Casano - 275,000 Marvin Rettenmaier - 242,000 Champie Douglas - 229,000 David Jackson - 151,000 Later in the day saw an additional 2,495 entries add to the overall prize pool. Matt Salsbarg would lead the 138 survivors on 1D, bagging 483,000. Joining him at the top of the counts include Ami ‘UhhMee’ Barer (254,000) and Ashton Griffin (170,000). All survivors will now join together at 2pm Monday for Day 2. Everyone is guaranteed $1,331. Day 1D Top 10 Stacks: Matt Salsberg - 483,000 Han WoolJang - 356,000 Au Ngo - 318,000 Ami Barer - 254,000 Dylan Wilkerson - 249,000 James Alexander - 183,000 Maurice Hawkins - 175,000 Ashton Griffin - 170,000 Andy Spears - 164,000 Alexander Kuzmin - 155,000 Chris Vitch Looks to Defend Title, Chip Leads $10K Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Yet another Championship event kicked off on Sunday, with Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship attracting 133 runners. After ten levels of play on Day 1, the chip leader is none other than defending champion Chris Vitch. Vitch bagged up 279,500, topping the 63 who made it through. He’s followed by Daham Wang (276,500), Stuart Rutter (236,000), Terrence Hastoo (220,000), and Ryan Miller (207,500). It might be early days, but if Vitch can continue the way he’s started and take this one down, he’ll join Matt Matros and Loren Klein as the only players to win a bracelet in three consecutive years. Daniel Negreanu will also be back tomorrow, bagging up 76,500. David Benyamine (166,500), Jesse Martin (158,500), Eric Rodawig (79,500), Mike Sexton (72,000), Tom Koral (189,000), Scott Bohlman (156,000), Max Pescatori (85,500), Adam Friedman (79,000), James Obst (68,000), and Robert Mizrachi (35,500) will also return. The same can’t be said for Eli Elezra, Esther Taylor, Frank Kassela, Scott Seiver, Brandon Shack-Harris, Erik Seidel, Allen Kessler, Mike Matusow, John Hennigan, Jeff Lisandro, and Brian Hastings, all of whom hit the rail today. Registration is still open until the beginning of Day 2 at 2pm tomrorow, so there’s a chance those who busted could re-enter. Top 10 Stacks: Chris Vitch - 279,500 Daham Wang - 276,500 Stuart Rutter - 236,000 Terrence Hastoo - 220,000 Ryan Miller - 207,500 Soner Osman - 202,000 Jose Paz - 195,000 Tom Koral - 189,000 David Prociak - 177,500 Tim Finne - 168,500 Tomorrow’s Action (July 2) We’ve reached that point, guys. It’s here. Monday sees only one event kick off, but it’s a big one. The biggest one of all. Day 1A of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship begins at 11am, with Day 1s following for the following two days after.
  6.   Frankie O'Dell Wins Third Omaha Hi-Lo Bracelet Frankie O'Dell just might be the best Omaha Hi-Lo tournament player ever. On Sunday he beat out a final table that included Robert Mizrachi and Owais Ahmed to win his third bracelet in that variation and if you're still unsure about his place in the game, just ask him. "Well if you don't know, there's only one person who has three limit Omaha eight bracelets and you're talking to him," O'Dell said after his win. "So until someone passes me or catches me, I'm not going to say nothing. I'm just going to leave it right there." O'Dell's first bracelet came in 2003 when he outlasted 258 other players to win a $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo event. Four years later he beat Thang Luu heads-up to win a $2,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event. He's also adept at other games. Last summer he finished second in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event and that performance has stuck with him since. "I thought about it the whole year. I came back this year and my mentality was to do better," O'Dell said. "I had an opportunity here today, I had chips, we had the best Omaha players in the world in this tournament and I ended up on top. So that was my motivation." Ahmed earned $443,641 for his win while Ahmed, who won his sole bracelet in a $1,500 Seven Card Stud/Omaha Hi-Lo event in 2011, earned $274,192 as the runner-up. Final Table Payouts Frankie O'Dell - $443,641 Owais Ahmed - $274,192 Robert Mizrachi- $194,850 Nick Guagenti - $140,522 Robert Campbell - $102,868 Jake Schwartz - $76,456 David Benyamine - $57,709 Edmond Vartughian - $44,245 Shaun Deeb - $34,467 Joe McKeehen Amongst Millionaire Maker Day 2 Leaders Joe McKeehen is mostly known for winning the 2015 WSOP Main Event, but it's impossible to ignore the success he's had at the WSOP in massive No Limit Hold'em fields. In 2014, he finished runner-up out of 7,862 entries in the $1,500 Monster Stack. In 2017, he managed to outlast all but 25 other players in the 6,716-player $1,500 Monster Stack. Last summer, he finished third out of 7,361 players in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker. Now he's in position to do it again. McKeehen finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Millionaire Maker with the fourth largest stack. The day started with 2,263 players all hoping for a seven-figure score but just 309 players made it through Day 2. Samuel Cosby leads the way with 3,023,000 while McKeehen bagged up 2,416,000. Former #1-ranked Joao Simao finished in the top 10 with 1,891,000. Other notables moving on to Day 2 include Calvin Anderson, Steven van Zadelhoff, Scott Clements, Shawn Buchanan, Ramon Colillas, Olivier Busquet, JC Tran, Chris Hunichen, and Daniel Strelitz. There were 941 players who started the day with the chips, but failed to make it past the money bubble. Vitaly Lunkin, Jim McManus, Phil Hellmuth, Faraz Jaka, Elio Fox, Eric Baldwin, Bryan Piccioli, Adrian Mateos, and Dzmitry Urbanovich were among the players who did manage to sneak into the money but not survive the day. Action resumes Monday at Noon. Top 10 Chip Counts Samuel Cosby - 3,023,000 Unknown Player - 2,521,000 Nathan Russler - 2,443,000 Joe McKeehen - 2,416,000 Renato Kaneoya - 2,351,000 Ryan Leng - 2,277,000 Vincas Tamasauskas - 2,265,000 Ricky Welch - 1,920,000 Joao Simao - 1,891,000 Joshua Reichard - 1,854,000 Eli Elezra Leads $1,500 Seven Card Stud Final Table Sunday's action in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event started with just 10 players left and finished after three hours of play with six players. Action was stopped with six players left to accommodate streaming of the final table on CBS All Access/PokerGO. Eli Elezra started the day in the middle of the pack, but made the most of those three hours and finished with the chip lead. Elezra ended with 1,221,000 which puts him just 2,000 ahead of Anthony Zinno. He bagged up 1,219,000. Those two are comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Valentin Vornicu is third with 262,000 and the three remaining players all have 61,000 or less. Rodney Pardey Jr., Tim Frazin, Scott Seiver, and Joshua Mountain were the players eliminated on Sunday. The final six players resume play at Noon PT and will be streamed on CBS All Access/PokerGO at 1 PM PT. Final Table Chip Counts Eli Elezra - 1,221,000 Anthony Zinno - 1,219,000 Valentin Vornicu - 262,000 Rep Porter - 61,000 Tab Thiptinnakon - 60,000 David Singer - 30,000 Jean-Robert Bellande On Top of $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Final Table To the surprise of nobody, the final table of the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship is a star-studded group. Jean-Robert Bellande ended Day 2 action with 1,231,000 and the chip lead. For Bellande to pick up the second bracelet of his career, he'll need to outwit, outsmart, and outplay Prahlad Friedman, Paul Volpe, Darren Elias, Jim Bechtel, Day 1 chip leader Pedro Bromfman, and Vincent Musso. Friedman was the only other player to end Day 2 with a seven-figure stack. The former online prodigy finished with 1,019,000. Right behind him is former #1-ranked Paul Volpe with 938,000. Elias, who has a third and ninth place finish in this event on his resume, sits fourth with 887,000. There were 29 Day 1 survivors who were joined before registration closed at the start of Day 2 by Mike Watson, Per Hildebrand, Jake Schwartz, Kane Kalas, Chris Klodnicki, Matt Glantz, and Dan Smith. The remaining seven players are now being forced to take a day off before returning to play on Tuesday. The day off is to allow for the event to be streamed on PokerGO. Final Table Chip Counts Jean-Robert Bellande - 1,231,000 Prahlad Friedman - 1,019,000 Paul Volpe - 938,000 Darren Elias - 887,000 Jim Bechtel - 665,000 Pedro Bromfman - 395,000 Vincent Musso - 360,000 Massive Fields Continue: $1,000 Double Stack Event Draws 3,253 First, there was the Big 50, then the $600 Deepstack, and the Millionaire Maker. Huge fields in some of the more recreational player-focused events are becoming the norm at the 2019 WSOP. The $1,000 Double Stack event started Sunday and 3,253 players packed the tables to the max with just 430 of them making their way through 20 levels of play and onto Day 2. Bulgaria's Ivan Uzunov bagged up the Day 1 chip lead after amassing 1,912,000 in chips. Only five other players ended the day with a million chips in the bag. Israel's Timur Margolin is the closest challenger to Uzunov, finishing with 1,333,000. Some of the notable names moving on to Day 2 include WPT Player of the Year Erkut Yilmaz, Adam Levy, British boxer Audley Harrison, Blair Hinkle, Jennifer Tilly, Maria Ho, Maria Konnikova, and Dan Ott. Day 2 begins at Noon and is scheduled to play down to a champion. Top 10 Chip Counts Ivan Uzunov - 1,912,000 Timur Margolin - 1,333,000 Jose Carlos Brito - 1,147,000 Sridhar Natarajan - 1,096,000 Jorden Fox - 1,075,000 Christopher Andler - 1,062,000 Eugenio Pernia - 901,000 Sven Reichardt - 852,000 Philip Wang - 830,000 Zachary Donovan - 824,000 Michael Mizrachi Bags Top 5 Stack in $1,500 Eight Game Mix A year after drawing 481 players, the $1,500 Eight Game event saw a huge uptick in attendance with 612 players sitting down to play the mix game event. Aleksandr Gofman finished with 95,800 to top the 225 players who managed to move on to Day 2. Mihails Morozovs sits second with 77,100 and Michael Mizrachi is right behind him in third with 74,500. John Cernuto, Matt Glantz, and WPT Aria Summer Poker Championship winner Matthew Wantman all finished with top 10 stacks. Other notables who are moving on to Day 2 include Andrey Zaichenko, Ian O'Hara, Jen Harman, Matt Grapenthien, Patrick Leonard, Dan Smith, Mike Sexton, and David 'ODB' Baker. Top 10 Chip Counts Aleksandr Gofman - 95,800 Mihails Morozovs - 77,100 Michael Mizrachi - 74,500 John Cernuto - 74,000 Keeth Beharrell - 73,500 Ashish Gupta - 72,600 Matt Glantz - 66,300 Isaac Crow - 63,900 Ben Ponzio - 62,600 Matthew Wantman - 60,400 'loofa ' Wins $600 Online Pot Limit Omaha Championship It took 13 hours, but 'loofa' wasn't complaining as he beat out 1,215 other players to win the $600 Online PLO Championship early Monday morning. The win came with a WSOP bracelet and $139,470.33. Runner-up 'TheBigGift' earned $85,560.10. Phil Galfond, who had the chip lead with five left, finished fifth for $29,680.12. This is the second online event of the 2019 WSOP. Yong 'LuckySpewy1' Kwon won the $400 No Limit Hold'em event in the opening week. Final Table Payouts loofa - $139,470.33 TheBigGift - $85,560.19 jebronlames1 - $59,163.26 bathroomline - $41,565.31 Phil 'heyguys' Galfond - $29,680.12 babycow - $21,537.79 FlushStr8ted - $15,956.35 Tane. - $12,016.51 Daval_17 - $9,192.96
  7. The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event went from 1,286 players down to 354 on Tuesday Those left are deep in the money and guaranteed $34,845, and it’s Dean Morrone holding the chip lead entering Day 5. Former NFL star Richard Seymour was one of the big stacks to advance. Morrone Leads the Way Morrone is a Canadian player and a qualifier from 888poker. He’s making his first career WSOP cash with his run in this year’s WSOP Main Event and it’s also his largest live tournament score to date as he entered the tournament with just $10,138 in live earnings. Morrone entered Day 4 with 365,000 before he went on to finish with 4.98 million and the lead. Other big stacks in the group behind Morrone on the leaderboard were Lars Bonding (4.04 million), Michael Messick (3.925 million), Warwick Mirzikinian (3.9 million), and Henrik Hecklen (3.862 million) to round out the top five. Morrone’s fellow 888poker qualifier Mihai Manole finished the day with a very healthy 3.781 million. Top 10 Chip Counts Dean Morrone - 4,980,000 Lars Bonding - 4,040,000 Michael Messick - 3,925,000 Warwick Mirzikinian - 3,900,000 Henrik Hecklen - 3,862,000 Mihai Manole - 3,781,000 Robert Heidorn - 3,700,000 Sean Mills - 3,692,000 Christopher Wynkoop - 3,563,000 Andrew Brokos - 3,518,000 Former NFL Star Richard Seymour On the Rush Former NFL star and three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour was among those to advance to Day 5. He spoke with The Fives Poker Podcast at the end of Day 3 about his sixth time playing the WSOP Main Event being a charm and things only got sweeter on Tuesday. Seymour came into the day with 275,000 and quickly got his stack up to 400,000. It wasn’t long before he reached 1 million in chips and then the progression only continued after he was moved to one of the secondary features tables. Seymour bagged up 2.75 million in chips, but he wasn’t the only former NFL player to move on. Eric Stocz, who spent time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, reached the money in the WSOP Main Event for the second time in his poker career. He’s already outperformed the 402nd-place finish he netted in 2011 that earned him $30,974 and will only be looking for more. Stocz bagged 350,000 for Day 5. Former PocketFives #1 Players Performing Well A handful of former PocketFives #1 players are performing well and have advanced to Day 4 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event. Fabrizio Gonzalez bagged 2.916 million, Chris Hunichen finished with 2.617 million, and Yuri Dzivielevski ended with 1.79 million. Hunichen bagged those chips despite losing one of the biggest pots of the tournament so far. He got involved in a big one with David Guay and Guay flopped a set of tens against Hunichen’s pocket kings. The hand resulted in a full double for Guay and took a dent of about 1.2 million out of Hunichen’s stack. Eight from Pennsylvania Still Alive Pennsylvania online poker has been legalized and the launch date is coming up soon. When sites do go live there will be a handful of players with some extra money to deposit thanks to deep runs in this WSOP Main Event. Eight players from Pennsylvania remain, with Thomas Parkes of Alburtis finishing Day 4 with the most chips at 3.172 million. Pittsburgh’s Chad Power is next with 2.78 million, and then it’s Matthew Sabia (1.81 million), Kenneth Smaron (1.806 million), Edward Pham (1.43 million), Jake Schindler (1.168 million), Donald Dombach (799,000), and Matt Glantz (690,000). Yoon, Esfandiari, Cheong Among Bracelet Winners Remaining In addition to all the names that have been mentioned, Brian Yoon (2.622 million), Antonio Esfandiari (2.583 million), Craig McCorkell (2.5 million), Chris Wallace (1.98 million), and Joseph Cheong (1.958 million) represent some of the WSOP gold bracelet winners still in the field. Yoon and Esfandiari are both three-time gold bracelet winners who have had some deep runs in the WSOP Main Event before. Yoon has finished in the top 60 on three separate occasions (2018, 2016, and 2011), and Esfandiari finished 24th in 2009. McCorkell took 13th in 2014, and Wallace finished 32nd in 2017. We also know very much about Cheong’s third-place finish behind Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener in 2010 that earned him $4.13 million. All Former Main Event Champs Gone Of course, not every player could advance. Three former WSOP Main Event champions began the day, with Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, and Qui Nguyen still in the field, but all three of them busted out on Day 4. Moneymaker finished 687th for $20,200, Chan took 560th for $24,560, and Nguyen went out 455th for $30,780. Nguyen’s bust came when he got the last of his chips in with pocket fives only to lose out to an opponent’s two sixes. With no former WSOP Main Event champions in the field, we will see a brand new winner in 2019. Others to bust on Day 4 were Ricky Guan (362nd - $34,845), Scott Lazar (388th - $34,845), Jean-Robert Bellande (415th - $30,780), Bryan Campanello (435th - $30,780), Josh Arieh (485th - $27,390), Adam Owen (570th - $24,560), and Cliff Josephy (759th - $20,200). Day 5 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event starts at 12 pm PT on Wednesday, July 10 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino.
  8. Ronnie Bardah gained a lot of notoriety with his deep run in the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. A longtime professional poker player and favorite amongst the community, Bardah finished 24th that year for a career-best $317,161 in prize money. Two years later, Bardah won his first WSOP gold bracelet and the $182,088 that came with it. Starting September 25, when Season 39 of the famed reality TV competition Survivor kicks off, Bardah will be welcoming in a whole new world of notoriety as he goes for the $1 million first prize in Survivor: Island Of The Idols. Bardah was recently announced as one of the show’s 20 castaways, and he’s now the latest poker player to get the chance to compete in one of TV’s most popular competitions. Although he was not allowed to reveal any results of what's to come on this season of Survivor, Bardah had plenty to say about what life has been like for him through the auditioning process and in lead up to the premiere. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] Getting the Call “When I got that phone call, I was in L.A. and I was just walking having ice cream and it was just like a dream,” Bardah said of the moment he found out he had been cast. “I fell on my knees. There was so much joy. I was so happy. Here we go, is this real life? It was that type thing, you know what I mean? I'm about to play the greatest game ever created, in my opinion, in terms of reality TV. It's as real as it gets. It's no joke and I was really happy to go. It was a dream come true.” After the excitement wears off a little bit, because it likely never fully wore off, reality started to sink in. Even though this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there are some concerns that come with it. After all, Survivor contestants have to go away for a lengthy period of time without the ability to contact friends and family back home. One of the reasons that Bardah is so popular in the poker community is because of his caring, loving personality. Naturally, Bardah had a little worry about being away from his family for so long. Specifically his dad, who he moved out to Las Vegas in recent years so he could take care of him and spend more time with him. “I just worried about my dad,” Bardah said. “You know what I mean? I had to tell people that was going away for a yoga retreat, a silent retreat, and that I wasn't going to be on my phone. I had a couple of friends in Vegas, my friends Mike Ziemba and Garry Gates, check on my dad. That was only my concern.” It may not have been his only concern, though. Bardah talked about how his constant willingness to help others can sometimes take a big toll on his own wellbeing. With Survivor and having been selected to compete on the show, it was time to put himself first. “I do things for everyone else and I'm a very, very selfless person. It actually takes a toll on me, because I look for everybody's happiness before mine. It's really left me in a place where I'm unhappy and I don't know what I'm doing with life, and I'm just worried about my dad and all this. I said to myself, ‘I'm doing this for myself, first of all.’ This is the one thing I finally did for me, playing the game of Survivor." Representing Poker Bardah has been a Survivor fan for as long as he can remember, although he’ll be the first to tell you that his interest fell off for some time when he was younger. “Like a lot of people, I've seen the first season with Richard Hatch, back in the day when I was 18 or 19 years old,” Bardah said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, this is really, really, really cool.’ And then I have the same story a lot of people have, where that they kind of watched the second season a little and fell off.” He’s been hooked to the show in more recent seasons and especially became aware of the performances of some of the other poker players to have been contestants. In the past, Jean-Robert Bellande, Garrett Adelstein, and Anna Khait were on Survivor, although not in the same season. Bellande was on Season 15, Survivor: China, Adelstein was on Season 28, Survivor: Cagayan, and Khait was on Season 32, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. It was Khait’s appearance that was what Bardah says pushed him to want to be more than just a fan of the show. “When Anna Khait got on the show, that's what basically put the fire under my ass,” Bardah said. “When she came out as a poker player, and nothing against Anna, but in the poker world, she was in there for a small stint. I said, ‘Look, I really want to be the representation of a true poker player.’ I really, really wanted to be that true representation, and I feel like I am. I know I am - someone who's been grinding his whole life, who's been travelling the tours, the circuits, who really, really plays poker, I mean, in the live realm.” Wanting to be “the representation of a true poker player” can come with a lot of added pressure. It’s pressure that Bardah put on himself, but nonetheless it’s pressure that he felt given how he wanted to approach the journey. “I want to prove to the world, that's a poker player.,” Bardah emphasized. “I want to go out there and prove to the world that a poker player can do great. Of course, it is an added pressure. So, first for me, then my family, and then for the poker world. Most of my friends are in the poker world, so I'm going to go out there and kick ass for them and represent a certain world.” Keeping His Mouth Shut Now that the cat is out of the bag, Bardah has been able to exhale a bit. Prior to the announcement that he was one of 20 castaways on the new season of Survivor, it was mum’s the word for Bardah. Plenty of rumors had circulated and the heat had turned up during the summer’s WSOP, but Bardah wasn’t able to say anything. Even to his close friends, Bardah had kept the secret to himself. “Everywhere I go, every corner, and all I can do is look at them and go, ‘I don't know what you're talking about,’ and just keep walking or just smile,” Bardah said of having to walk through Vegas during the height of poker season in the summer. “I can't deny it, I can't say anything. It was really, really hard and it sucked. But now, being able to talk about it, it's amazing. I have a million phone calls and text messages I haven't answered yet, to be honest, and Facebook posts and Twitter and Instagram and social media platforms, people are going crazy. It was really hard to keep a secret. It really was.” [caption id="attachment_626627" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Ronnie Bardah and some of his fellow castaways for Season 39 of Survivor[/caption] Preparation and Poker’s Similarities Having recently turned 37 years old, although he was 36 when he went off to film, Bardah is impressed with how the game has evolved. This evolution added fuel to Bardah’s fire to compete, and ultimately the combination of love for the game’s evolution and desire to be a true representation of a professional poker player are what motivated him to audition. In regards to the game’s evolution, Bardah discussed how he felt Survivor used to be much more of a social game than it is in its current state. “In today's game, it's a little different,” Bardah said. “There's a lot of luck involved, but I would say it's still mostly skill. But, the game spoke to me. Basically, everything that I've done so far in my life to get me to where I am today is the reason why I wanted to play Survivor. Everything that I've done as a human, in terms of the neighborhood I grew up in, the different people from different walks of life that I've hung out with, going from the kid who is working at SpaceX, to the kid who dances in a step-dance hip-hop club, from the nerd all the way to the kid that grew into who I am today. “I'm sorry if I'm all over the place here, but I'm just really excited about talking about this. When I watch the show, I get goosebumps. I've cried watching the show sometimes, as sad as that may sound, because it really, really hits home for me, and it hits hard, deep, when I see what people go throughout there and I see the mistakes they make. I love it.” Being a professional poker player, mistakes are something Bardah deals with every day on the felt, and it’s these mistakes that can have a direct financial effect of his life. He’s built up a wealth of experience that allows him to capitalize on the mistakes of others while leaning on that same experience to hopefully minimize the mistakes he makes. Bardah is very much a live poker player, and many would even describe him as a feel player. Although he has dabbled a bit with online poker, it’s in the live arena where has cut his teeth, mostly in the world of limit hold’em. The background of being a live poker player and someone who relies on a lot on the feel of the game are things Bardah believes will only help him through a competition such as Survivor. “There's a lot of comparison that goes side by side when it comes to poker and Survivor,” Bardah said. “It's basically that you’ve got to figure out what people think of you, right? If somebody's looking at me a certain way, I try to distinguish what that look means. What do they feel about me? How do they think about me? I felt like I had to play the players, obviously. I had to develop relationships with certain people, and you’ve got to trust somebody. You have to trust somebody for a certain amount of time. Can I trust you for this long, and when am I going to be able to flip on you at this time? You just have to think so far ahead. In poker, you can do certain things to advertise how you're playing, you show a few bluffs and then set your opponent up really well. There are so many similarities. It's just all game flow.” Another aspect in which poker and Survivor are similar, according to Bardah, comes with the prize money. Like many poker tournaments around the world, the payouts are top-heavy. In Survivor, it’s $1 million to first place and then an extreme drop-off to the other prizes. Having experience in events where all of the money is up top, or up top in the top three places, is another advantage Bardah hopes to draw on from poker. “Realistically, which a lot of Survivor players don't know, is when you get down to five or six, you just have to go guns blazing,” Bardah said. “So, it’s not a bad idea to play that under-the-radar game and don't ruffle any feathers. Try to get into a tight-knit alliance, and then when you get five-, six-handed, go for the gusto. You go back to an old season, you see these people get six-handed, six players left, and they let their emotions and their relationships get in the way. That's what effs them. That's what messes them up at the end of the day, because it's real out there.” Understanding the similarities to poker and having those to lean on, Bardah made an effort to prepare in areas he felt would help him once he got to the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. He spent a lot of time working with flint and practising how to make a fire and also worked on his skills with a machete. He took a survival camp in Florida where he learned how to make shelter, different types of ways to start a fire, and best practices for sleeping outside. He went fishing and made spears and fishing poles from scare supplies. He even participating in an eight-day water-only fast to better prepare himself for life without food for extended periods of time. Bardah also did a bit of studying, watching almost every season of Survivor that he could in the five or six weeks of lead-up time he had. He took notes, made observations of different strategies, and even toyed with the idea of taking an acting class in California before he ultimately decided that it would be better to do the eight-day water fast instead. “You only have so much time,” Bardah said. Looking ahead to the premiere on September 25, Bardah said he plans on a small gathering with friends and then he’ll likely do some bigger parties for future episodes. Although we’re not sure how many episodes Bardah will last, we can be sure that the poker world will be pulling for Bardah to win his first seven-figure career score.
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