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  1. When the World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship reached their final table 55 days ago, the poker world was given a chance to get to know a little bit about chip leader Frank Stepuchin. On Tuesday night, Stepuchin put on quite a show, eliminating four of his opponents while devouring tandoori chicken wings at the table on his way to winning the title and $548,825. The final six players played for 90 minutes before finally seeing an elimination. From the hijack, Jonathan Abdellatif moved all in for 590,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"]. Action folded to Stepuchin in the big blind and he called with [poker card="8h"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop gave Stepuchin the lead and the [poker card="6d"] turn gave him a boat. The [poker card="ac"] river provided nothing but a needle for Abdellatif as he was eliminated in sixth place. It took less than an hour before the next player was sent to the rail and once again, it was Stepuchin doing the work. Ray Qartomy moved all in from UTG for his last 335,000 with [poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"] and Stepuchin called from the small blind with [poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] and Qartomy was out in fifth place. Shannon Shorr then took over the role of executioner. From UTG Shorr raised to 105,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] before Brent Roberts moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"] and Shorr insta-called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"] flop changed nothing and neither did the [poker card="6c"] turn before the [poker card="kd"] river gave Shorr an unneeded set to bust Roberts in fourth place. A blind versus blind battle set up the next elimination. Shorr folded his button, Stepuchin bet 1,530,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] and Sung called off his last 775,000 with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"] flop gave Stepuchin all kinds of outs. The [poker card="ac"] turn gave Stepuchin Broadway but Sung still had four outs to a full house. The [poker card="as"] river was not one of them and Sung was out in third place. Heads up play began with Stepuchin holding 85% of the chips in play. Shorr was able to chip up a little bit, but Stepuchin wasn't going to be denied his victory. Shorr raised to 160,000 from the button and Stepuchin called and then check-called Shorr's bet of 210,000 after the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5c"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="as"] and Stepuchin checked again. Shorr bet 650,000 before Stepuchin moved all in for 7,165,000. Shorr called and turned over [poker card="8h"][poker card="5s"] for two pair while Stepuchin showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="4c"] for top pair with a straight draw. The river was the [poker card="4c"] to give Stepuchin a better two pair and $548,825 along with his first WPT title. Final Table Payouts Frank Stepuchin - $548,825 Shannon Shorr - $355,885 Steve Sung - $259,880 Brent Roberts - $192,465 Ray Qartomy - $144,595 Jonathan Abdellatif - $110,225
  2. The record-setting WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic wrapped up at Bellagio in Las Vegas, with the $10,400 Main Event attracting a huge field of 1,001 entries and featuring some of poker's biggest names. In addition to the Main Event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule featured several events with five-figure buy-ins and one with a six-figure price of entry. Here are the winners from a tremendous week of poker in Sin City. The biggest winners overall from these high buy-in events, excluding the $10,400 Main Event, were Jake Schindler, Jason Koon, Seth Davies, Chris Hunichen, and Dominik Nitsche. Although he didn't earn the most money, it's certainly worth noting that Sam Soverel cashed in four of these events for a total of $314,500. No one else cashed in more than two. Ladines Wins First $10,000 PLO Event The first two high roller events on the schedule were both $10,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournaments. The first one attracted 35 entries for a $350,000 prize pool and saw the top five places make the money. Joshua Ladines took the event’s title and $128,090 top prize, with both Brian Rast and Sam Soverel finishing in the money. Joshua Ladines - $128,090 John Riordan - $102,910 Jonathan Abdellatif - $56,000 Brian Rast - $35,000 Sam Soverel - $28,000 Soverel Takes Second $10,000 PLO Event In the second $10,000 PLO event, a group of familiar faces was back in the money. Soverel topped the field of 29 entries to win the title and $116,000, Ladines finished third for $46,400, and WPT Five Diamond wonder boy Ryan Tosoc scored fifth for $23,200. Tosoc notably finished second in the Season XV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1.134 million before going on to win the event in Season XVI for $1.958 million. Sam Soverel - $116,000 Jonathan Depa - $75,400 Joshua Ladines- $46,400 Michael Song - $29,000 Ryan Tosoc - $23,200 Hennigan Captures $10,000 8-Game Mixed Title If you know Bellagio, you know it’s home to the most iconic high-stakes poker room in the world, Bobby’s Room. It’s where the game’s elite compete for astronomical cash-game stakes, but during WPT Five Diamond some of those players shifted their focus to tournament play, specifically in the $10,000 buy-in 8-Game Mixed High Roller. The tournament generated 24 entries, and it was none other than five-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and WPT Champions Club member John Hennigan taking home the top prize of $110,400. John Hennigan - $110,400 Ben Yu - $67,200 Randy Ohel - $38,400 John Racener - $24,000 Loeser and Fox Chop First $25,000 High Roller In the first of three $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments on this year’s WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic slate, 42 entries were generated to create a prize pool of $1.05 million. The top six places paid, and the top two spots went to Manig Loeser and Elio Fox in a chop that earned each player more than $300,000. Loeser scored first place for $321,300, and Fox took second for $308,700. Manig Loeser- $321,300 Elio Fox - $308,700 Jake Schindler - $168,000 Dan Smith - $105,000 Cary Katz - $84,000 Nick Petrangelo - $63,000 Petrangelo Wins Second $25,000 High Roller The second $25,000 buy-in tournament attracted 47 entries and generated a $1.175 million prize pool. The top seven places reached the money, with several notables cashing. None earned more than Nick Petrangelo, though, who chopped the event heads up with Sergio Aido to take home the winning prize of $289,944. Aido scored $287,634 for second. Petrangelo was coming off a sixth-place result for $63,000 in the first $25,000 event of this series. Soverel, who finished in the money of the first two high rollers on the schedule, including winning one for $116,000, finished sixth in this event for $70,500. Nick Petrangelo - $289,944 Sergio Aido - $287,634 Seth Davies - $256,672 Ben Yu - $117,500 Kazuhiko Yotsushika - $94,000 Sam Soverel - $70,500 Rainer Kempe - $58,750 Davies Victorious in Third $25,000 High Roller The third and final $25,000 high roller tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule drew 50 entries for a $1.25 million prize pool. The top eight places reached the money, and it was Seth Davies taking the title and $341,920 in first-place prize money. The win came just days after Davies took third in the previous $25,000 high roller event during the series of $256,672, as you can see above. Davies did a deal with Isaac Haxton in second place, who earned $320,580. The money was filled with notable high rollers, including Alex Foxen taking third for $175,000. Foxen has had himself quite a 2018 and is closing it strong both on the live felt and the virtual felt. In the online world, Foxen recently achieved a new all-time high in the top 100 of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings. You'll also notice Soverel's name appearing in the in-the-money places once again, this time for fifth place, worth $100,000. Seth Davies - $341,920 Isaac Haxton - $320,580 Alex Foxen - $175,000 David Peters - $125,000 Sam Soverel - $100,000 Christoph Vogelsang - $75,000 Rainer Kempe - $62,500 Elio Fox: $50,000 Schindler Defeats Koon for $100,000 Super High Roller Victory The final big buy-in event from the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic schedule this year was the $100,000 Super High Roller. The event drew 37 entries to Bellagio for a $3.7 million prize pool and the top six spots reached the money. Earning the $1.332 million first-place prize was Jake Schindler. Adding that score to the $168,000 he won earlier in the series for taking third place in one of the $25,000 high rollers, Schindler scored $1.5 million in prize money at Bellagio this December. Schindler beat out Jason Koon for the win, and Koon took home $888,000 for his second-place finish. Jake Schindler - $1,332,000 Jason Koon - $888,000 Chris Hunichen - $592,000 Dominik Nitsche - $370,000 Ben Tollerene - $296,000 Talal Shakerchi - $222,000
  3. The World Poker Tour will be in Las Vegas on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for three consecutive final tables at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The first is the finale of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic on Monday, and it will be followed by the conclusion to the WPT Gardens Poker Championship on Tuesday. We previously previewed the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, and now we’ll do the same for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship that features Shannon Shorr, Steve Sung, and Brent Roberts. This inaugural event featured a $10,000 buy-in and took place back in January. When the final six from a 253-entry field return to action on Tuesday, it will have been 55 days since they last played. Frank Stepuchin has the chip lead, and along with Shorr, Sung, and Roberts, Ray Qartomy and Jonathan Abdellatif make up the final six. Click here to read how the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table was reached. What Are They Playing For? Up top is a $548,825 top prize that includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. The final six are guaranteed at least $110,225. As this event is also a televised WPT event, the winner will also score a luxurious Hublot Big Bang timepiece. 1st Place: $548,825 2nd Place: $355,885 3rd Place: $259,880 4th Place: $192,465 5th Place: $144,595 6th Place: $110,225 How To Watch the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table The final table for the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship will play out on March 12, starting at 4 p.m. PT at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event originated at the Gardens Casino in Southern California and 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 Gardens Poker Championship final table. [caption id="attachment_623054" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Shannon Shorr (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Shannon Shorr - 1,710,000 Shannon Shorr recently moved to Las Vegas and will now get to play for this first World Poker Tour title in the comfort of his new hometown. Shorr’s career had him at $6.744 million in live tournament earnings entering the final table, but that’s really $6.854 million with the sixth-place payday worked in. Shorr has been on the cusp of joining the WPT Champions Club before. His best WPT finish was a second-place result in the Season XII WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. In a field of 415 entries, Shorr finished runner-up to James Calderaro and took home $190,039. Shorr also placed fourth in the Season IX WPT Southern Poker Championship and fifth in the Season VII WPT World Championship for $144,985 and $408,550, respectively. “Winning a WPT title would be incredible,” Shorr previously told PocketFives. “I’ve had tons of final tables in big events worldwide but haven’t won a ‘major.’ Maybe this is the one.” Shorr comes into the WPT Gardens Poker Championship second in chips with 1.71 million. [caption id="attachment_623050" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Frank Stepuchin (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin - 4,065,000 Frank Stepuchin is the final table chip leader. Much like Darren Elias’ chip lead entering the WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table, Stepuchin’s lead is sizable. He holds just more than 40% of the chips in play entering the finale and has more than 2.3 times the second-biggest stack held by Shorr. Stepuchin hails from Park City, Utah, and entered this event with $354,625 in live tournament earnings. He was the big stack of the tournament right out of the gate, finishing atop Day 1a with the chip lead, and is now in line for his first WPT title. The largest live tournament score of Stepuchin’s career isn’t too far off either. Previously, his best cash was for $149,220. Finishing fifth will be less than $5,000 short of that and finishing fourth or better will give him a new career high. Stepuchin enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table with 4.065 million in chips and is the chip leader. [caption id="attachment_623049" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Brent Roberts (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Brent Roberts - 1,385,000 Brent Roberts comes into this final table with just more than $2 million in live tournaments earnings. Like Shorr, he’s been close to a WPT title before. His best WPT Main Tour finish was in the Season XIV WPT Legends of Poker. In that event, he placed third from a field of 786 entries to win $251,035. Roberts does have a WPTDeepStacks title that he won in 2016. In the WPTDeepStacks event he won, Roberts topped a field of 696 entries at Parx Casino to win $205,944. Also on Roberts’ record is a WSOP Circuit gold ring when he won the $5,150 Championship Event in Atlantic City in 2008. That win was the largest live tournament score of Roberts’ career, but he does have a chance to better that at the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. Roberts enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table fourth in chips with 1.385 million. [caption id="attachment_623052" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jonathan Abdellatif (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif - 555,000 Jonathan Abdellatif hails from Belgium and will bring some international flavor to the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. He’s the shortest stack left, though, so he’ll have some work to do when play resumes on March 12. Ahead of his run in this event, Abdellatif had three WPT Main Tour cashes. His highest result of those three was a 17th-place finish in the Season XV WPT Montreal Main Event. He also has a pair of fourth-place finishes that came from a WSOP event in 2018 and the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event in 2017. Those finishes netted Abdellatif $163,404 and $119,480, respectively. The largest live tournament score of the young Belgian’s career is a victory from 2017 when he won the £2,700 8-Max tournament at the partypoker MILLIONS in Nottingham. For that victory, Abdellatif earned $275,655. Again, he’s the shortest stack returning for this final table with 555,000 in chips. [caption id="attachment_623053" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ray Qartomy (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Ray Qartomy - 820,000 Ray Qartomy is a fixture on the World Poker Tour. He can be seen at almost every stop on tour, but he’s yet to win a WPT title. That could all chance on Tuesday, but, like Abdellatif, Qartomy is going to have a bit of an uphill battle ahead of him as he enters the final six in fifth chip position. Qartomy has 12 cashes and three final tables on the WPT Main Tour. His three final tables came in the Season XIII WPT Borgata Open, the Season XIII WPT World Championship, and the Season XVII WPT bestbet Jacksonville. However, his largest live tournament score doesn’t come from one of those events. His largest live tournament score of $639,925 came when Qartomy took fourth place in the $5,300 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in 2013. Qartomy will almost never be found without a smile on his face. Come Tuesday, that smile will be behind 820,000 in chips to start the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table. [caption id="attachment_623055" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Steve Sung (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: Steve Sung - 1,580,000 Steve Sung has more than $5.5 million in live tournament earnings, two WSOP gold bracelets, and three WPT Main Tour final table appearances. He’s never won a WPT event, though, but that could all change on Tuesday. Sung’s best WPT result coming in the Season VI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event when he took second to Brandon Cantu and won $585,000. Sung also has a pair of fourth-place finishes on the World Poker Tour, first in the Season VI WPT Spanish Championship for €117,400 ($164,943) and then in the Season VII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $396,205. The largest live tournament score for Sung came in 2013 when he won the $25,000 Six-Max Championship at the WSOP for more than $1.2 million. His other bracelet came in 2009 when Sung topped a huge field of 6,012 entries in a $1,000 event for $771,338. “Winning a WPT title means that my goal has been finally accomplished,” Sung said when asked what a winning a WPT title would mean to him. “I’ve expected to win one over a decade ago and had to come back from self-inflicted setbacks in multiple aspects of my being.” Sung enters the WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table third in chips with 1.58 million. [caption id="attachment_623036" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Hublot WPT Player of the Year and Baccarat Crystal (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications With a prize pool of $2.428 million, the winner gets 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, with the rest of the point earnings for the final table as follows. 1st Place: 1,200 points 2nd Place: 1,000 points 3rd Place: 900 points 4th Place: 800 points 5th Place: 700 points 6th Place: 600 points The points could mean the most to Qartomy, who already has 650 points on the season. Sung also stands to benefit well from the Hublot WPT Player of the Year points earned at this final table. Entering the final table, Sung has 500 points. Roberts enters this final table with 175 points, Stepuchin 100 points, Shorr 100 points, and Abdellatif 50 points. 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.
  4. The World Poker Tour was back at Gardens Casino in Southern California for the second time in Season XVII, this time for the WPT Gardens Poker Championship. Six players remain from the 253-entry field, and it was Frank Stepuchin who bagged the chip lead. Stepuchin was joined at the official final table by Shannon Shorr, Steve Sung, Brent Roberts, Ray Qartomy, and Jonathan Abdellatif. The $10,000 buy-in event was the first WPT Main Tour event to feature the delayed TV final table format. After playing down to the final six players on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the tournament was put on ice for what will be nearly two months before play resumes on Tuesday, March 12 - 55 days, to be exact. That is when the final six will compete for the $548,825 top prize at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Stepuchin, who hails from Park City, Utah, and entered this event with $354,625 in live tournament earnings, bagged the chip lead in a very large way, with 4.065 million in chips. The next closest was Shorr with 1.71 million. Belgian player Jonathan Abdellatif, who held nearly $1.7 million in live tournament earnings entering the Season XVII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, finished as the short stack with 555,000. WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Shannon Shorr - 1,710,000 Seat 2: Frank Stepuchin - 4,065,000 Seat 3: Brent Roberts - 1,385,000 Seat 4: Jonathan Abdellatif - 555,000 Seat 5: Ray Qartomy - 820,000 Seat 6: Steve Sung - 1,580,000 Road To the Final Table Stepuchin emerged as a big stack right out of the gate. He finished as the Day 1a chip leader and was second in chips entering Day 2. At the time, he was behind another player that reached the final table, Qartomy. Stepuchin finished sixth in chips after Day 2 when Shorr bagged the chip lead, then Stepuchin led the final 19 players after Day 3 before riding that chip lead into the final table. On Day 4, Stepuchin eliminated Toby Lewis in seventh place and Allen Pock in 15th place. Eliminating Lewis in seventh set the official WPT final table, and it came just before 10 p.m. PT on Wednesday when the tournament was in Level 24 with the blinds at 15,000-30,000 with a 30,000 big blind ante, according to WPT coverage. Shorr had opened with a raise from the cutoff seat to 60,000, Lewis called from the button, and Stepuchin called from the small blind. The flop was [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"] and action checked to Lewis. He bet 75,000 before Stepuchin check-raised to 190,000. Shorr folded, but Lewis made the call to see the [poker card="Kd"] land on the turn. Stepuchin fired 360,000 and Lewis called to see the [poker card="3d"] appear on the river. Stepuchin bet all in, having Lewis and his remaining 360,000 covered. Lewis called with the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Jh"] but saw the bad news when his two pair was second best to Stepuchin’s pocket fives - [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. For Shorr, Sung, and Roberts, they’re second, third, and fourth in chips, respectively. Shorr ended Day 2 with the chip lead, but it wasn’t without a couple of very eventful hands that saw Shorr with plenty of chips on the line. First, he was all in with pocket kings against the pocket queens of Dan Smith and earned a double up. After that, Shorr took out Mike Eskandari, but did so with an inferior hand when his pocket sevens came from behind against Eskandari’s queens. On that hand, all of the money went in preflop and Shorr flopped a set. Qartomy reached the final table as the second shortest stack remaining, but he could’ve been knocked out by the lowly [poker card="9c"][poker card="4d"] in seventh place had his [poker card="Kd"][poker card="Qd"] not held up. Qartomy three-bet jammed for 410,000 over a raise to 60,000 from Stepuchin. Stepuchin called, but Qartomy’s hand held strong to give him the double up. On Day 3 of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, Qartomy was the player to send everyone into the money, doing so when he knocked out Raul Lozano in 33rd place. Qartomy held the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qs"] and was behind Lozano’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Ks"], but a queen flopped and Lozano couldn’t come back from it. Some of the notable players to cash in the event but fall short of the final table were Garrett Greer (8th - $66,955), WPT Champions Club member Marvin Rettenmaier (11th - $43,220), Ricky 'RatedGTO' Guan (13th - $35,550), and Nicole Schwartz (20th - $25,225). Schwartz won her way into the event by winning a $100 charity event. She fired an additional $100 bullet in that event, so her $10,000 seat cost her $200, but she then turned that into more than $25,000 in prize money. Can Shorr, Sung, and Roberts Finally Break Into the WPT Champions Club? Shorr, Sung, and Roberts are no strangers to tournament poker. They’ve been around the game for a long time and have impressive career résumés. Entering this event, Shorr had nearly $6.7 million in live tournament earnings, Sung had more than $5.5 million, and Roberts was just over $2 million. All three have experienced podium finishes in WPT events, but none have won a WPT title. Shorr’s best WPT finish was a second-place result in the Season XII WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. In a field of 415 entries, Shorr finished runner-up to James Calderaro and took home $190,039. "I'm on cloud nine after reaching the Gardens final table," Shorr told PocketFives. "I've been putting a ton of work into my poker game and my mind and body lately, so to have a big result like this in a major tournament is really special, personally." Shorr also placed fourth in the Season IX WPT Southern Poker Championship and fifth in the Season VII WPT World Championship for $144,985 and $408,550, respectively. "Winning a WPT title would be incredible," Shorr added. "I've had tons of final tables in big events worldwide but haven't won a 'major.' Maybe this is the one." Sung has three official WPT final tables on record, with his best result coming in the Season VI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event when he took second to Brandon Cantu and won $585,000. "It feels amazing to have reached the Gardens final table, to be able to enjoy the next couple months knowing that the final table will always be there," Sung said. "I always wanted to experience making the 'November Nine,' and this is the next best thing, the 'March Six!'" Sung also has a pair of fourth-place finishes on the World Poker Tour, first in the Season VI WPT Spanish Championship for €117,400 ($164,943) and then in the Season VII WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $396,205. “Winning a WPT title means that my goal has been finally accomplished,” Sung said when asked what a winning a WPT title would mean to him. “I've expected to win one over a decade ago and had to come back from self-inflicted setbacks in multiple aspects of my being.” Roberts does have a WPTDeepStacks title from back in 2016, but a WPT Main Tour title has eluded him. His best WPT Main Tour finish was in the Season XIV WPT Legends of Poker when he took third in a field of 786 entries to win $251,035. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Implications The final six have locked up 600 points in the Season XVII Hublot WPT Player of the Year race, currently led by Tony Ruberto with 1,850 points, and there are 1,200 points up top. The points could mean the most to Qartomy, who already has 650 points on the season and is in 40th place on the leaderboard. A win would vault him to the same 1,850 points as Ruberto, but Qartomy would hold the tiebreaker of most money won as he’d have $652,474 to Ruberto’s $530,692. Sung also stands to benefit well from the Hublot WPT Player of the Year points earned at this final table. Entering the event, Sung has 450 points and was in 57th place. He’s guaranteed to move to 1,050 points, which would put him in the top 15, and has upside to move into second place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race with a victory. Sung now has five WPT Main Tour cashes in Season XVII, including a ninth-place finish in the WPT Gardens Poker Festival that kicked off the season. Stepuchin entered this event with 100 points, Shorr 100 points, Roberts 175 points, and Abdellatif 50 points. Champion To Be Crowned on March 12 The final six competitors have locked up $110,225 for reaching the final table and will be back in action on March 12 in Las Vegas to compete for the $548,825 top prize. First place includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. "It's a bizarre feeling traveling to LA for five days, playing nonstop in a tournament, and to not know my result upon leaving," Shorr said. "I really like the format, though, and am all for anything that helps grow the game." "I'm going to enjoy the next 55 days like no other!" Sung said.
  5. [caption width="640"] Kenneth Smaron took down the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event Monday (PokerStars photo)[/caption] The second PokerStars Championship Main Eventwrapped up Monday night in Panama with Kenneth Smaron navigating his way through a tough final table on his way to winning $293,860. When the final six players bagged up their chips on Sunday night, Russia’s Denis Timofeev had the chip lead and Anthony Diotte, one of two Canadians still in contention, was the shortest. Starting the final day with just 16 big blinds, Diotte was in search of a hand to push with and he found one on just the third hand. Robin Luca Wozniczek raised to 70,000 before Diotte move all in for 450,000 from the big blind. Wozniczek called and turned over [poker card="2d"][poker card="2s"] while Diotte had [poker card="ah"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Wozniczek bottom set and all but sealed Diotte’s fate. The [poker card="ac"] turn was no help and the [poker card="8c"] river was a formality as Diotte was sent packing in sixth. Despite the momentum that came with picking up that elimination, Wozniczek was the next to go, a little over 90 minutes later. Jonathan Abdellatif raised to 100,000 from UTG and Wozniczek and Timofeev called from the small and big blinds respectively. The flop was [poker card="6c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] and both Wozniczek and Timofeev checked, allowing Abdellatif to bet 160,000. Wozniczek raised to 380,000 and Timofeev folded. Abdellatif moved all in for 1,760,000 and Wozniczek called all in. Abdellatif turned up [poker card="9h"][poker card="7h"] for a flush draw and double-gutter while Wozniczek turned over [poker card="kh"][poker card="6h"] for top pair and a better flush draw. The [poker card="jc"] turn changed nothing but the [poker card="4s"] river gave Abdellatif a straight to eliminate Wozniczek. However, almost two hours later Abdellatif suffered the same fate. Smaron opened to 125,00 from the button and Abdellatif called from the big blind. The flop was [poker card="ad"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4d"], Abdellatif check-raised to 650,000 after Smaron bet 100,000. Smaron called and showed down [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] for top pair while Abdellatif had a flush draw with [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="8c"] turn and [poker card="8h"] river failed to complete that draw and he was out in fourth. It took over four hours and 101 hands to go from three-handed to heads-up. Smaron raised to 160,000 from the button before Timofeev re-raised to 475,000 from the small blind. Smaron eventually four-bet to 1,100,000, Timofeev moved all in for 2,910,000 and Smaron called. Timofeev showed [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] and Smaron was racing with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4s"] flop kept Timofeev ahead. The [poker card="2c"] turn did too but gave Smaron wheel outs. The [poker card="3c"] river gave Smaron a runner-runner straight and eliminated Timofeev in third. Smaron started heads up play with the chip lead and needed only nine hands to finish off Harpreet Gill. On the final hand Gill limped his button, Smaron raised to 350,000 and Gill moved all in for 2,615,000. After some delibieration, Smaron called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] and Gill showed [poker card="td"][poker card="8c"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"][poker card="9h"] flop kept Smaron firmly ahead. The [poker card="9d"] turn and [poker card="5s"] rier changed nothing, eliminating Gill, who started the day with the second smallest stack, in second place and giving Smaron the Championship. The next PokerStars Championship event is scheduled for March 30 - April 9, 2017 at the City of Dreams in Macau. Final Table Payouts Kenneth Smaron - $293,860 Harpreet Gill - $217,860 Denis Timofeev - $161,340 Jonathan Abdellatif - $119,480 Robin Luca Wozniczek - $88,480 Anthony Diotte - $65,520 James Salmon - $48,520 Byron Kaverman - $35,920
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