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  1. On Thursday, Kevin KevMathMathers (pictured) had the honor of issuing the ceremonial "Shuffle up and deal" command at the World Series of Poker Main Event. The tournament had its Day 2C on Thursday and, for Mathers, it was a much-deserved honor. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- He was introduced as follows: "We at the World Series of Poker, on behalf of all our staff, want to acknowledge and thank Kevin Mathers for all he does surrounding our event. He truly is a bright light and great friend to everyone in the game. We applaud his efforts and his selfless giving of time and information to help the cogs of the game continue to roll forward." Mathers has been a staple on Twitter of anything and everything related to the WSOP, including questions about event start times, structures, and live streams. He hit 70,000 Tweets lifetime during the WSOP this year and ultimately busted out of the Main Event on Day 2C. He works at Bluff– not for the WSOP – and lives in Atlanta. After his elimination, Mathers posted a few comments on Twitter, saying in part, "They say the saddest day of the year is when you bust out of the WSOP Main Event, and I'll admit to feeling that way at the moment. A huge thank you to everyone that bought pieces of my action and to those rooting me on." He candidly added, "Five years ago, the level of fame among the poker community was surpassed by my level of reclusiveness. Today, I did the 'Shuffle up and deal' for over 2,700 players in the Main Event. Guess that means it's not the saddest day of my year after all." A total of 1,796 players remain in contention in the 2015 WSOP Main Event entering Day 3; 654 survived Day 2AB on Wednesday, while 1,142 survived Day 2C on Thursday. Six former Main Event champions are still in: Ryan Riess (pictured), Phil Hellmuth, Jim Bechtel, Scotty Nguyen, and Joe Hachem. Riess, who won the Main Event in 2013, is in 37th place with a stack of 291,700. The top four players on the leaderboard entering Friday's combined Day 3 all are from Day 2AB. Massachusetts' Amar Anand leads the way with a stack of 603,500, the lone player to cross 600,000 and one of only two players to pass 500,000. Day 3 takes place on Friday at Noon PT with the field combined for the first time. Here's how the top 10 in chips looks right now: 1. Amar Anand - 603,500 2. Calvin Lee - 500,700 3. Luther Tran - 479,700 4. Charles Chattha - 423,300 5. David Jackson - 408,800 6. Zach Jiganti - 401,900 7. Alan Mastic - 400,000 8. Sotirios Koutoupas - 393,000 9. Shawn Van Asdale - 388,000 10. Joe Lu - 387,400 Click here for the full leaderboard. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  2. Last week, the 10 nominees for this year's Poker Hall of Fame class were announced. The selection process now moves on to the living Hall of Fame members plus a blue-ribbon media panel, of which PocketFives' Kevin KevmathMathers and Dan Cypra are members. We have 10 votes to allocate to up to three nominees based on a set of criteria. With that, we wanted to share our thoughts on each one. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- The theme of this year's list of Poker Hall of Fame finalists is the attempt to add a non-US based member of the poker community, one of the biggest critiques about the Poker Hall of Fame. Chris Bjorin Kevmath's Take: One of a select group of players with a WSOP bracelet won in Vegas and Europe, Bjorin is considered the "godfather" of poker in Scandinavia. A problem Bjorin and other Poker Hall of Fame nominees have is a lack of desire to promote themselves for election into the PHOF, something others had no problem doing to get inducted. Dan's Take: I agree with a lot of what Kevmath said. Bjorn is #2 on the all-time money list for Sweden and was once ranked #22 worldwide. He has cashes dating back to before many people reading this were born. He has helped grow poker in Scandinavia, a vital market to the poker world, but needs to be vocal among the Hall of Famers and media. David Chiu (pictured) Kevmath's Take: A five-time WSOP bracelet winner and WPT World Champion, Chiu is also one of the most prolific cashers in WSOP history. Dan's Take: Chiu has been unstoppable on the felts. He won the WPT Championship in 2008 and has almost $8 million in live tournament winnings. But, can he convince the panel he's worthy given very stiff competition? I don't know. Bruno Fitoussi Kevmath's Take: One of the most influential members of the French poker community, Fitoussi helped get Hold'em into the Aviation Club de France in Paris and played a huge role in getting poker on French television. Dan's Take: I like his chances of getting in despite the talented nominee pool. Like Kevmath said, he helped pioneer poker in Europe. I'm not sure what the makeup of the media panel is, but hopefully it includes Europeans and not just Americans so guys like Fitoussi can get serious consideration. Jennifer Harman (pictured) Kevmath's Take: A longtime veteran of the biggest cash games in Las Vegas, it's interesting that she hasn't been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame earlier. In a recent blog, recent PHOF member Daniel Negreanu encouraged fellow voters to induct her based on results, not gender. Dan's Take: There are only two female Poker Hall of Fame members: Linda Johnson and Barbara Enright. Harman has two bracelets, but only has seven live cashes since 2010. Has she stood the test of time, one of the requirements for entry? I'm not so sure. John Juanda Kevmath's Take: His recent win at the European Poker Tour event in Barcelona gives voters another look at his impressive tournament resume with over $17 million in live tournament earnings. Juanda has been on the ballot before, but his low-key persona may have hurt his chances in the past. Dan's Take: Juanda certainly has friends in the poker world, like all of the nominees do, but it's about being vocal. If you're going by poker merits alone, though, he's one of the top candidates this year. I question how much the close association of Juanda, Harman, Mortensen, and others on this list with the old Full Tilt Poker will factor in, if at all. Carlos Mortensen (pictured) Kevmath's Take: The only player to win the highest profile events at the WSOP and WPT, Mortensen also has an extensive list of tournament results. His chances of getting in are unlikely this year, though, among the list of nominees with similar profiles. Dan's Take: I think Mortensen should have been in by now. He has helped grow poker throughout Europe, won the WSOP Main Event and WPT Championship, and has resoundingly stood the test of time. Max Pescatori Kevmath's Take: The biggest name in Italian poker, Pescatori earned his fourth WSOP bracelet earlier this year. His chances are also diminished among a group of European players vying for the voters' attention. Dan's Take: Another incredibly influential European player. As Kevmath said, though, there are a lot of players from Europe up for contention this year. And only two people total will make it into the Poker Hall of Fame. Is Pescatori more worthy than Ulliott and Mortensen? I'm not so sure. Terry Rogers Kevmath's Take: The individual with the least name recognition among the poker community. Rogers' visits to the WSOP in the 70s and 80s, serving as an unofficial odds-maker for the Main Event, helped bring some of the biggest names in poker (Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, and Amarillo Slim) to Ireland to promote the Irish Open, the longest-running tournament held outside the United States. Dan's Take: I'm not sure Rogers' impact on the game measures up to Matt Savage, who is in the same boat as a non-player. He's well-known in Ireland, but has little name recognition. I wonder whether Brunson's influence on the current Hall of Fame voters will come into play. Matt Savage Kevmath's Take: The most popular tournament director in the poker community. Savage is a worthy inductee, but a recent run on tournament organizers (Eric Drache, Linda Johnson, and Jack McLelland) likely hurt his chances of induction this year. Dan's Take: Savage and Devilfish are my two favorites on this year's ballot. He's a founder of the Tournament Directors Association, a go-to resource for many poker players and fellow TDs, the tournament director at Bay 101 and Commerce, and the Executive Tour Director of the WPT. He has had more of an impact on the game today than anyone else on this list. David "Devilfish" Ulliott (pictured) Kevmath's Take: One of the biggest characters in poker, his passing earlier this year sparked an effort from his friends to get him inducted into the PHOF this year. It will be interesting to see how that translates into votes among the media members and the PHOF's living members. Dan's Take: I like Devilfish a lot. Would I be liking him as much if he didn't recently pass away? I don't know. But, I do know his friends and the poker community were extremely vocal on backing his nomination, which speaks to his impact on the game. He's #2 on the all-time money list for England. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  3. Ten years ago, PocketFives.com was created to give people in the poker world who were making a name for themselves online a place to call home. That might never be truer than it is now, as PocketFives has hired Kevin "@Kevmath" Mathers (pictured) to be Community Manager for the site. "As soon as we heard Kevin was available we reached out," said PocketFives co-founder Adam Small. "We didn't have an opening at the time, but knew that Kevin would be a great addition to the PocketFives team. It was a no-brainer for us to create a position that made Kevin part of the team." With just over 26,000 Twitter followers, Mathers is considered the go-to resource for poker players, operators, and media like. Beginning Tuesday, Mathers will be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations at PocketFives and will be active in leading and moderating discussion in the PocketFives forums. "PocketFives is one of the most established brands out there. When they contacted me, I was excited to hear what they had in mind," said Mathers. "After talking with them, I was excited about coming on board and becoming part of the team." Prior to joining PocketFives, Mathers served as the Poker Information Manager for BLUFF.com, where he was responsible for building and maintaining the live results database. He was also a moderator on TwoPlusTwo for 10 years, overseeing various forums. This hiring is the first in a series of announcements PocketFives will make over the coming weeks. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  4. The poker world's elite will gather Thursday night in Beverly Hills at a swank $500-per-night hotel to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of some of their own. The second annual GPI American Poker Awards are designed to recognize the people who have made an impact on the poker industry in 2015. PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley, Managing Editor Dan Cypra and Community Manager Kevin Mathers were part of the nominating committee that was responsible for helping put together a list of four nominees in each of the 11 categories this year. Picking a winner in each category is extremely difficult but Bradley, Cypra and Mathers have put together their picks and thoughts on each category this year. CATEGORY: Media Person of the Year The Nominees: Joey Ingram, Kevin Mathers, Donnie Peters, Jason Somerville Mathers: Personally, this is a tough category to predict, even if I'm one of the nominees. The idea of "media" has certainly changed in the past few years with the rapid growth of Twitch. Jason Somerville will be the king of poker on Twitch for as long as he likes, and for that, he's my pick to win this year. CATEGORY: Industry Person of the Year The Nominees: Jack Effel, William Mason, John Pappas, Matt Savage Mathers: This is really a two-horse race between Effel and Savage. While Effel has done an admirable job with the WSOP in the US and Europe, Savage remains a favorite among the poker community. If you've got a question about tournament rulings, nearly everyone turns to Savage for the answer. CATEGORY: Breakout Player of the Year The Nominees:Joshua Beckley, Asher Conniff, Cate Hall, Kelly Minkin Bradley: Some great nominees here including Beckley who went from small buy-in event grinder to Main Event runner-up, but Cate Hall really stands out for me. With no recorded cashes prior to 2015, she really came from nowhere. She finished 2015 by cashing in every World Poker Tour event that she played, four in total, including two final tables. CATEGORY: Tournament Performance of the Year The Nominees: Jonathan Duhamel (WSOP One Drop High Roller), Mike Gorodinsky (WSOP Poker Players’ Championship), Joseph McKeehen (WSOP Main Event), Anthony Zinno (WPT L.A. Poker Classic) Cypra: Anthony Zinno's run through the L.A. Poker Classic, the second of back-to-back victories, was impressive. The final table was stacked with guys like Chris Klodnicki, Mike Leah, and Peter Neff - and zinno started the final table fifth out of six. CATEGORY: Event of the Year (Buy-in up to $2,000) The Nominees: WSOP Colossus, WPT500 at ARIA, WSOP Millionaire Maker, WPTDeepStacks – DSPT Championship Mathers: A tournament that draws a field of 22,373 total players seems like the easy choice. If you were at a casino that had a poker room, the crowds flocked to play when they weren't part of the Colossus. Issues did come up in regards to payouts and pre-registration, but the stunning success warranted a return for 2016. CATEGORY: Event of the Year (Buy-in over $2,000) The Nominees: Super High Roller Bowl, ARIA, WSOP Main Event, WSOP One Drop High Roller, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Bradley: This one is a little tougher. The Main Event is its own spectacle for sure, but not sure this year stands out over any of the last four or five. The Super High Roller Bowl was shiny and new but the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown had almost 1,500 entries thanks to a booming poker market in Florida and the great work of the Seminole staff. It's probably the underdog in this category, but it gets my vote. CATEGORY: Poker Innovation or Initiative The Nominees: Poker Central launches 24/7 television network, SHRPO (in conjunction with PNIA) livestreams four FT’s in same room at same time, WSOP adds online bracelet event (with live final table), WSOP introduces ‘The Colossus’ Cypra: Any time the Colossus is an option, I'm going to pick it. 22,000+ entrants. one of the biggest live poker tournaments ever held. Yes, a lower buy-in tournament attracting plenty of players isn't exactly new, but the fact that WSOP staff were able to pull it off, and bring it back for 2016, speaks volumes about just how innovative the idea and execution of the Colossus were. CATEGORY: Charitable Initiative of the Year The Nominees: Chad Brown Memorial Tournament (Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso), Charity Series of Poker (Matthew Stout), Tiger’s Poker Night (hosted by Tiger Woods, WPT Foundation), WSOP One Drop High Roller / Litte One for One Drop Bradley: Hate having to say one of these is better than the other, so let me just pick the Chad Brown Memorial Tournament since I was honored to be a part of it this year. All great initiatives here and all worthy of the award. CATEGORY: Poker Presenter of the Year The Nominees: Sarah Herring, Kara Scott, Joe Stapleton, David Tuchman Mathers: Four nominees who do great work in vastly different ways, so it's hard to make a choice. However, my vote goes to David Tuchman. From humble beginnings on Live at the Bike!, Tuchman put in hundreds of hours into the World Series of Poker live streams, along with his tireless efforts for Poker Night in America has served as the voice of poker. CATEGORY: Poker Moment of the Year The Nominees: Anthony Zinno goes back-to-back winning WPT Fallsview and WPT L.A. Poker Classic, Over 22,000 players enter WSOP Colossus for chance at a gold bracelet, Phil Hellmuth wins bracelet #14, Daniel Negreanu busts 11th in the WSOP Main Event Cypra: This is a tough choice between Anthony Zinno and The Colossus. Zinno's run was incredible, one like we haven't seen for a while on the WPT. I said I would auto-pick Colossus if it were an option and I'm going to continue to do that. 22,000 players entering a live event that ended in a reasonable amount of time and with few major hiccups and is being brought back this year. CATEGORY: Poker Content of the Year The Nominees: BUST, an Insider’s Account of Greenville’s Underground Poker Scene (Brad Willis), Faraz Jaka Homeless Poker Millionaire, CNN Money (Jaka, Gayles, Carson), Jason Somerville’s record Twitch Broadcast during WCOOP in September 2015, Joe Giron shoots photo of Negreanu crumbled on the floor after ME elimination Bradley: Brad Willis won this last year and may have topped himself this year with BUST, but longtime photog Joe Giron captured one of the most iconic poker photos of all time when he got Negreanu crumpled on the floor after being eliminated in 11th place from the WSOP Main Event. Give it to Joe.
  5. [caption width="640"] The 2nd Annual American Poker Awards are February 25 in Beverly Hills[/caption] After collecting votes from over 80 industry heavyweights, the Global Poker Index has chosen the nominees for its 2nd Annual American Poker Awards. The event returns to the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 25, and will recognize North America’s standout poker players, industry professionals and tournaments of 2015. Here is the full list of this year’s nominees by category: Tournament Performance of the Year Vying for the tournament performance award are four pros with over $35 million in total live cashes between them. Jonathan Duhamel, Mike Gorodinsky and Joe McKeehen were nominated for their showing during the 2015 WSOP, while Anthony Zinno joins the list for his win at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic. Jonathan Duhamel, WSOP One Drop High Roller Mike Gorodinsky, WSOP Poker Players’ Championship Joseph McKeehen, WSOP Main Event Anthony Zinno, WPT L.A. Poker Classic Moment of the Year Zinno’s spectacular back-to-back WPT title wins in February and March also puts him in the running for the Moment of the Year award. The smashing success of the inaugural WSOP Colossus tournament is also recognized, along with Phil Hellmuth’s bracelet win #14. Daniel Negreanu’s 11th place finish in the WSOP Main Event could be considered both impressive and heartbreaking at the same time, and takes the fourth nomination for the category. Breakout Performance of the Year Joshua Beckley (2015 earnings: $4,612,957) Asher Conniff (2015 earnings: $1,317,619) Kelly Minkin (2015 earnings: $603,680) Cate Hall (2015 earnings: $396,686) Event of the Year (Buy-In up to $2,000) WSOP The Colossus, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas WPT500 at ARIA, Las Vegas WSOP Millionaire Maker, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas WPTDeepStacks – DSPT Championship, Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Calgary Event of the Year (Buy-In over $2,000) Super High Roller Bowl, ARIA, Las Vegas WSOP Main Event, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas WSOP One Drop High Roller, Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Hollywood, FL Industry Person of the Year Jack Effel, WSOP Vice President and Tournament Director William Mason, Seminole Hard Rock Director of Poker John Pappas, Poker Players Alliance Executive Director Matt Savage, TDA Founder, WPT Executive Director Charitable Initiative of the Year Chad Brown Memorial Tournament (Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso) Charity Series of Poker (Matthew Stout) Tiger’s Poker Night (hosted by Tiger Woods, WPT Foundation) WSOP One Drop High Roller / Little One for One Drop Media Person of the Year PocketFives’ own Kevin Mathers, Twitch pioneer Jason Somerville, poker podcaster Joey ‘Chicago Joey’ Ingram and PokerNews Editor-In-Chief Donnie Peters are all up for the Media Person of the Year award. Poker Presenter of the Year Sarah Herring Kara Scott Joe Stapleton David Tuchman Poker Innovation or Initiative of the Year Poker Central launches 24/7 television network SHRPO (in conjunction with PNIA) livestreams four FTs in same room/at same time WSOP adds online bracelet event (with live final table) WSOP introduces ‘The Colossus’ Media Content of the Year BUST, an Insider’s Account of Greenville’s Underground Poker Scene (Brad Willis) Faraz Jaka Homeless Poker Millionaire, CNN Money (Jaka, Gayles, Carson) Jason Somerville’s record Twitch Broadcast during WCOOP in September 2015 Joe Giron shoots photo of Negreanu crumbled on the floor after ME elimination Last but not least, Kelly Minkin will receive the award for the 2015 GPI Female Player of the Year, while Byron Kaverman will take home the honor of the overall 2015 GPI Player of the Year. GPI’s American Poker Conference will be held earlier in the day and will feature discussions on Poker Media, Women in Poker and eSports. Also scheduled for that day is the inaugural Global Poker League draft, in which managers from the league’s 12 teams will choose players to fill out their 2016 season rosters. A jury will convene one day before the awards to decide the winners of each category. Visit the American Poker Awards website to find out more information or to register for the event.
  6. [caption width="640"] The WSOP made some player-friendly improvements for 2016.[/caption] Always looking to improve the World Series of Poker experience, organizers of the prestigious event have announced several changes in the digital realm, which they hope will streamline and enhance the experience for participants this summer. With 15% of the field in each event being paid out for the first time during the 2016 Series, organizers have been proactive and created a solution designed to avoid long lines at the cage. The new system, dubbed the eQueue Payout Process, allows players to get in line digitally by providing their phone number and filling out the necessary documentation. Players can then leave the area and will receive a text message when their cashout is ready to be picked up. The WSOP has developed its own social chip tracking application called ChipIn, which gives players the ability to share their chip counts with anyone they choose, and update their chip count on WSOP.com in real time. To sign up, players need to navigate to the website and provide your name, Total Rewards number and date of birth. The whole process is encrypted, but the system will verify your name with its backend database so you can’t, for example, pretend to be Phil Ivey. The WSOP live streaming experience has been revamped for this year. David Tuchman will return this year as lead commentator and will be assisted by Tatjana Pasalic, whose role will be expanded to include more on-camera time. Unlike previous years, when multiple final table streams were available, the WSOP will this year put all of its focus into a single stream each day. Announcers will bring in key players for interviews during play, while occasionally looking in at final tables in other events. In addition, organizers will take the previous day’s final table, trim the fat, and broadcast it in a quick-view format. Last year, PocketFives’ own Kevin Mathers manned one of the most useful Twitter accounts throughout the Series - his own. This year, in an attempt to improve their social media outreach, organizers have hired Mathers to man the @WSOP and @WSOPcom Twitter handles, and to monitor the @WSOPChipIn account. "We are very excited to have Mr. Mathers out in Las Vegas for the entire WSOP, and you will be able to find him in the WSOP media Center if you want to say hello or buy him a drink," the company said in a press release. But even the indefatigable Mathers needs a break. "We have to give him some days off and manageable hours,” the release continued. “So if you get some smarmy response, rest assured, Kevin is off duty getting some rest." Mathers will continue his duties as PocketFives Community Manager throughout the summer. For many, the trip to Nevada will also give them the chance to play legal online poker at one of the state’s licensed iGaming websites. WSOP.com has created an online schedule which complements the live series. The site promises more than 500 events, schedule between May 25 and July 10, with $2 million in guarantees and plenty of chances to win seats into live WSOP events. Finally, unlike last year, when grinders were forced to remove their headphones as soon as the field reached the money, the WSOP has received approval from Nevada Gaming to allow players to wear headphones up until the final table is set. Even so, organizers cautioned that players must always be alert and follow the rules and verbal commands from the dealers.

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