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  1. In an interview with PokerNewspublished this week, Maria Ho posed the question, "What if we just got rid of the ladies events? What if we made it so that if a woman wants to play poker, she has to play poker with everybody else? I think we underestimate the will of a woman; I think that if you make them choose between playing in an open event or not playing at all, they will come." Ho clarified on Twitter that her comments were meant as a "What if" scenario. This author remembers writing an article a few years back when men like David Sesso and Shaun Deeb (pictured below) were entering Ladies Events at the World Series of Poker dressed in drag and getting resoundingly booed. I asked myself, "Do we really need ladies' events? Should we have a men-only event instead? What about a Blue Collar Championship?" Ho added, "Maybe we could consider making the buy-ins a little bit smaller, even if it would be important to make sure that the events would still be prestigious enough to attract people. Besides this, I also think that the casinos could do more. They could host seminars geared toward women and have women come in." PocketFives caught up with Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, "The First Lady of Poker," to get her take on Ho's comments. After reminding us that Ho is a "role model" for men and women alike, Johnson said, "I do agree with her as far as the fact that if ladies events were eliminated, some of the women who currently play in ladies-only tournaments would play in open events. Where I disagree, however, is that I think there are women who would choose not to play at all if their only options were open events." What are the benefits to female-only events? Johnson explained, "Many women prefer to play with other women because they enjoy the atmosphere better. The conversation is more about topics that interest them. Ladies-only events tend to be a bit more social, and that is what a lot of women are looking for. I also think many women like the tradition of the ladies-only events. Ladies-only events are stepping stones to open events. Women can play and become comfortable with poker and then they will be more likely to enter open events." Would Johnson favor more group-specific events like a men's-only tournament? She told us, "As long as there are women who want ladies-only events, I am okay with them being offered. I would also be agreeable if they had men's-only events or any event geared toward a particular group of people. I agree with Maria that we should do whatever we can do to bring more people into the game." The WSOP has been offering a ladies event every year since 1977. In the past, the tournament had a $1,000 price tag for everyone – even entrants who weren't ladies – until recently when it went up to $10,000 for men. The game of choice was originally Seven Card Stud. In 2000, it changed to half Stud, half Hold'em. In 2004, the Ladies Event was a Limit Hold'em event and in 2005, it changed to No Limit, which it has been ever since. From 2006 to 2011, the WSOP Ladies Event attracted over 1,000 entrants each year. In 2014, that number was 793, 150 fewer people than in 2013. Jonathan Epstein, definitely not a lady, made the final table in 2011. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. [caption width="640"] Stefan Schillhabel outlasted Adam Geyer to win WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star (Joe Giron photo)[/caption] German poker players have had so much success on the international poker circuit the past three to four years that it's really no surprise when another German star emerges to take down a major title. That's exactly what happened Friday night in San Jose as Stefan Schillhabel came out on top of the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star event to win $1,298,000. Schillhabel started the final table with the chip lead, but watched as Adam Geyer was the most active player early, picking up three eliminations in the first two hours of play. Maria Ho entered the final table third in chips with a shot at becoming the first female player to win an open WPT event. Ho lost a significant pot early on to Adam Geyer only to have her tournament come to an end an hour later. After Geyer opened to 175,000 from the cutoff and Schillhabel re-raised to 460,000 from the button, Ho, the last remaining Shooting Star left in the field, cold four-bet all in for 1,735,000. Geyer tank-called and Schillhabel folded. Geyer was in control with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"] against Ho's [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="qs"] to send Ho out in sixth. After losing over 2,600,000 in a hand with Bryan Piccioli, Season XIII Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown champ Griffin Paul was left short-stacked and in need of an opportunity to double-up. Paul moved all in from UTG for 610,000, Geyer called from the button, but Andjelko Andrejevic announced he was all in for 1,130,000. Geyer called and turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"] and found himself way behind Andrejevic's [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and Griffin's [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"] flop changed everything though and gave Geyer top two pair with two cards to come. The [poker card="6s"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river were blanks for Andrejevic and Griffin and both players were eliminated, Griffin in fifth place and Andrejevic in fourth. Having been responsible for the first three eliminations, Geyer was in full control with just three players remaining and over 50% of the chips in play. Things got close to even, though, after Schillhabel clashed with Piccioli. From the button, Geyer opened to 240,000. Schillhabel made it 73,000 from the small blind before Piccioli moved all in from the big blind. Geyer folded, but Schillhabel called and got great news when he found out his [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"] had Piccioli's [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] dominated. Neither player connected on the [poker card="th"][poker card="td"][poker card="5s"][poker card="js"][poker card="6c"] run out and Piccioli was eliminated in third place. That hand moved Schillhabel to within 350,000 of Geyer, but as heads-up play began, both players had more than 90 big blinds. Heads-up play took nearly three hours and 54 hands. Schillhabel took down a 6,750,000 chip pot early on to take a nearly 2-1 chip lead, but Geyer battled back to take even and took a small chip lead himself. Schillhabel then took down a 9,000,000 chip pot without showdown to put himself clearly ahead of Geyer for the final time. On the 102nd hand of play, Geyer, left with just 1,850,000, moved all-in and Schillhabel called. Geyer showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="9s"] and Schillhabel needed help with [poker card="8s"][poker card="7d"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3c"] flop moved Geyer even further ahead with top pair, but the [poker card="8h"] turn and [poker card="8c"] river gave Schillhabel running trips to eliminate Geyer and take down the title. Along with $1,283,000 in prize money, Schillhabel also earned a $15,000 seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions next month at Seminole Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The WPT now heads north to Sacramento for the WPT Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino with the Main Event beginning Saturday. Final Table Payouts Stefan Schillhabel - $1,298,000 Adam Geyer - $752,800 Bryan Piccioli - $493,350 Andjelko Andrejevic - $331,500 Griffin Paul - $231,310 Maria Ho - $179,930
  3. [caption width="640"] "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul has been drafted by the Global Poker League's LA Sunset.[/caption] Last week, "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul was a guest on the "Late Late Show with James Corden." This week, he's the newest member of the Global Poker League's LA Sunset, the second and final wild card pick from team manager Maria Ho. "I love poker as a game and mind sport, so I'm excited to be part of this new eSports league," Paul said. "Representing the LA Sunset together with some of the best players in the world should be a blast." A blast indeed. Paul joins a Sunset team that includes Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz, Olivier Busquet, Eugene Katchalov, and Chance Kornuth, a veritable gauntlet of poker talent. The Sunset's players have a combined career winnings north of $30 million, according to the league. Paul may be best known for playing Jesse Pinkman on the hit AMC show "Breaking Bad." He's also a lead on the ongoing Hulu show "The Path" and played Joshua in the 2014 movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. He has been acting ever since the late 1990s, according to IMDB. "Poker as we know it has existed for decades, but with the eSports boom, the GPL is creating a new competitive format very similar to what conventional sports have done in the US," Ho said. "We've had a lot of opportunities to include celebrities who happen to also be talented players, but in my experience Aaron is one of the most committed to the sport of poker right now. He wants to learn and beat the best. He's an amazing addition to the LA Sunset and I'm hoping he’ll end up being a pivotal part of our team being a winning hand." GPL President Alex Dreyfus, who is guiding the league into its second week of matches, added, "We created GPL to engage with the game's global fan base. Having Aaron Paul joining the league with a wild card spot on the LA Sunset is an amazing milestone for us, especially because he himself is a real fan. I can't wait to see him learn, play, and I hope he does well." After Week 1, Ho's team is in fourth place in the GPL Americas Standings out of six teams with nine points and one win. Busquet beat the Sao Paulo Mets' Darren Elias in the opening week of the league, defeating Elias in the first two games before Elias took the third match. The team is back in action on Thursday of this week, facing off against the Las Vegas Moneymakers, captained by 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Chris Moneymaker. The Global Poker League consists of a dozen franchises. Its first-ever draft was held in February alongside the American Poker Awards in the Sunset's home city of Los Angeles. The regular season of the league, which seeks to "sportify" poker, culminates in the playoffs this fall and the GPL Finals in London in November. According to the league, there are over 51 million poker fans in US and over 100 million around the world.
  4. The 2016 World Series of Poker featured a single Shootout final table, the Monster Stack field assembled as one for the first time and two big bet action games kicked off on Sunday. Phillip McAllister Claims Gold in $3,000 Shootout Final Table [caption width="640"] Phillip McAllister outlasted a final table of accomplished pros looking for first bracelet.[/caption]Sit & Go final tables are like NASCAR events where all contestants have an even playing field and it’s up to the driver to win. Ten players on their third round of Shootout tables started with even stacks and Phillip McAllister was the last player standing to win his first bracelet and $267,720. The 22 year-old British pro final tabled the 2016 PCA Main Event for a huge score and partly credited that experience factoring into his bracelet win. “That gave me a fair amount of money doing so well in January,” he said. “Coming in third allowed me to play a heavier schedule at the Series this summer.” “It’s really an unusual tournament since you just have to win three Sit & Gos,” he added. “It’s not at all easy, but there is some luck involved. I got lucky with my table and seat draws… the last two tables are more difficult, but I also ran very well with the table draws.” Maria Ho pushed her WSOP earnings past $1.2 million with her fourth place finish. Faraz Jaka, Stephen Chidwick and Jesse Yaginuma also missed out on a chance to claim their first WSOP bracelet. Final Table Payouts Phillip McAllister - $267,720 Kyle Montgomery - $165,450 Christopher Kruk - $119,686 Maria Ho - $87,487 Andreas Freund - $64,628 Marcos Antunes - $48,252 Jesse Yaginuma - $36,416 Rhys Jones - $27,783 Faraz Jaka - $27,783 Stephen Chidwick - $16,617 Nabil Mohamed Leads Monster Stack with 267 Survivors Day 2 of the Monster Stack event was the first time the field assembled as one with 2,001 players and after a long day of action the field was trimmed to 276 survivors. Nabil Mohamed finished way out in front with 1.9 million in the bag. Andrew Moreno finished 28th in the 2015 WSOP Main Event and is second in chips, poker media veteran Chad Holloway sits 6th and Biloxi pro Tim Burt rounds out the top ten. Matt Stout, Brandon Meyers, Justin Liberto, Barny Boatman and Matt Affleck all finished with above average stacks. Top Ten Chip Counts Nabil Mohamed – 1,928,000 Andrew Moreno – 1,341,000 Donghai Wu – 1,334,000 Fabrizio Gonzalez – 1,084,000 Daniel Dipasquale – 958,000 Chad Holloway – 937,000 Alexandru Iliescu – 936,000 Andrew Brown – 908,000 Vincent Bartello – 900,000 Timothy Burt – 896,000 Justin Bonomo Leads Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship to Day 3 Day 2 of the Seven Card Stud HiLo Championship saw 51 players return to play and after ten levels of action a dozen players remain. It was a long, slow march of a day to hit the money at 21 players and Justin Bonomo leads the charge to the final table. On Saturday Bonomo spent most of the day at the final table of the Six Max No Limit Hold’em Championship. He finished third in a blockbuster double elimination, shook hands with his opponents and was one of the last players to buy-in. Adam Friedman, Per Hildebrand, Phillip Hui and Dan Shak cashed in the event but didn’t finish the day. Dzmitry Urbanovich, Mike Gorodinsky and Brian Rast began the day and busted before the money. Top Ten Chip Counts Justin Bonomo – 1,287,000 George Danzer – 1,049,000 Todd Brunson – 743,000 Scott Clements – 701,000 Esther Taylor-Brady – 680,000 Eli Elezra – 582,000 Randy Ohel – 550,000 David Benyamine – 406,000 Jack Duong – 336,000 Roland Israelashvili – 277,000 Event 44: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em The 11 AM $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event drew 2,076 entries and after nearly 12 hours on the felt only 225 players remain. The field made the money at 312 players and Iliodoros Kamatakis ended with the largest stack. Justin Zaki, Jennifer Shahade, Cord Garcia, David “ODB” Baker and Asher Conniff all finished in the top half of the counts. Kory Kilpatrick, Victor Ramdin and Tom Cannuli also advanced but have short stacks. Top Ten Chip Counts Iliodoros Kamatakis – 178,900 Dejan Boskovic – 169,100 Wenlong Jin – 142,400 Ugarte Rodriguez – 136,200 Stoyanov Plamen – 135,300 Nathan Sheeran – 125,600 Eric Rivkin – 124,600 Uri Reichenstein – 119,000 Young Sik Eum – 117,300 Michael Shanahan – 115,700 Event 45: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Mix Most Mixed Game events lean towards the Limit side of things but big bet poker fans were in for a treat on Sunday with the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Mix. The tournament drew 919 entries and 138 players advance to Day 2 with Loren Klein leading the field. The entrants combined for a $1,240,650 prize pool for the 138 players advancing. The top 15 players make five-figures, a trip to the final table guarantees $16,980 and the winner walks with $241,427. Top Ten Chip Counts Loren Klein – 215,600 David Callaghan – 180,000 Shawn Rice – 176,200 Craig Varnell – 166,600 Martin Finger – 160,800 Aaron Rogers – 156,000 Niall Farrell – 150,200 John Racener – 149,100 Marko Neumann – 138,400 Brandon Shack-Harris – 135,200 Monster Moving Day, Bounties and Triple Draw Championship. Granted, the players alive in the Monster Stack are in the money, but the payouts will climb and the jovial tone should be much more serious. The early event is the $1,500 Bounty No Limit Hold’em event and the WSOP wants players to make a single trip to the cage to cash out bounty chips. The late event is the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Championship.
  5. [caption width="640"] Chris Moorman highlights Season 2 of Poker Central's Pokerography.[/caption] The true measure of whether or not a TV show is popular is whether or not the network decides to pick it up for a second season. That doesn’t explain why NBC never renewed Freaks and Geeks after its inaugural season, but thankfully that same fate isn’t following Pokerography to the one season graveyard. Poker Central, the self-described only 24/7 poker network, announced this week that the documentary-style show is coming back for a second season and they’re again they’re taking on some of the biggest names in poker, including one that is one of the most revered in online poker history. Chris Moorman, the only player in PocketFives history to have surpassed $10 million in online winnings, is one of 13 players that will be featured in Season 2. With $13,417,291 in winnings to his credit, Moorman is head and shoulders above the rest of the field. He’s also won 25 PocketFives Triple Crowns in his career, also more than any other player. Each episode focuses on one player and includes interviews with the player, friends, family as well as poker journalists, including PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley. Also included in Season 2 are episodes on Jason Mercier, Jennifer Tilly, Brian Rast, Maria Ho and Johnny Chan. Each episode is 30 minutes long and will be released on Poker Central beginning in the fall. The Jason Mercier episode promises to be one of the more interesting of Season 2. Interviews for this episode began in June, before he began his amazing World Series of Poker run, and weren’t completed after he won his second bracelet of the summer giving producers unprecedented access to the WSOP Player of the Year and his friends and family during his incredible run. While Chan, Mercier, Tilly and Moorman are some of the more well-known players chosen for Season 2, producers have added some lesser known, highly successful players as well including the likes of Byron Kaverman, Celina Lin and Nick Schulman. Complete List of Season 2 Episodes Jennifer Tilly Jason Mercier Brian Rast Maria Ho Liv Boeree Johnny Chan Jonathan Little Nick Schulman Chris Moorman Jason Koon Isaac Haxton Byron Kaverman Celina Lin The show is produced by Squad 47 Films with Steve Greenstein and Jane Bloom as Executive Directors. Season 1 of Pokeragraphy is available on demand on Poker Central. That season also included 13 episodes including Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Somerville and Vanessa Selbst. Poker Central is available as a streaming network on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, XBOX One, PlayStation Vue and Roku TV as well as other streaming sources.
  6. [caption width="640"] Maria Ho is now front and center in the eSports world after signing on with Amazon as part of their coverage of the booming industry.[/caption] With more than $2 million in live earnings, multiple World Series Of Poker final tables, online poker titles, and a bustling broadcasting career, Maria Ho has been very busy throughout her time in the poker spotlight. But now, having agreed to a new partnership with Amazon that will see her present the online retail giant’s Mobile Masters eSports events, she’ll be branching out in front of a whole new audience. “When I was contacted by Amazon with this opportunity for their mobile eSports brand and the events they had planned throughout the year, it seemed like a no-brainer,” Ho says. “Obviously they’re an amazing brand to be a part of, but it also ties in with everything that I’ve done in the past 10 years in poker.” Ho’s hosting duties with Amazon put her front and center during a series of invitational tournaments comprised of top players and streamers competing across Com2uS' Summoners War, Blizzard's Hearthstone and Super Evil Megacorp's Vainglory. Players battle for a share of the $65K prize pool, with $25K going to the winner of the Summoners War and Vainglory events, and $15K set aside for the Hearthstone champ. “I know what it’s like to compete on these big stages, and now eSports have become this big stage, and there’s a lot of money they’re playing for. So I like taking some of the similarities between my experience with poker, to start bridging the gap for people in the eSports world.” Ho acts as on-screen host, interviewing players before and after matches. The first event in New Jersey (June 23-24) was a big success, and the next event takes place in Los Angeles in August. “It was great,” she says. “I’m a bit of a recreational gamer; growing up I was always into video games. Obviously a lot of people watching are hardcore gamers, but there are also plenty of people watching who might not know the games too well, but they can understand the competition aspect of it, and I think that’s what I’m there for. “Amazon has just given me a really good opportunity to be a part of that and the eSports world is definitely something that I’d like to get more into.” Ho has already had plenty of experience in front of the cameras, having done strategic commentary and hosting duties for shows like Heartland Poker Tour and PokerGo’s Super High Roller Bowl. But when it comes to time away from the poker tables, Ho thinks it’ll be learning the eSports games that will prove to be her biggest poker distraction. “That’s the funny thing; it’s not going to be hard balancing hosting with poker, but more that I want to become more knowledgable and immerse myself in the eSports world, and I think that will mean more time away from poker. But I’m actually looking forward to doing that because I’m really interested in these games. I’ll never be as good as the people that started playing these games with similar hours to those I put into poker, but I want to get more of a feel for what it’s like for these gamers so I can relate and connect to them more.” Ho is currently in Las Vegas grinding the WSOP. She has six cashes to her name so far, including a deep run in the Marathon event. But for a player like Ho, who can play all the games and thus has fired in a large number of events, that still equates to being down on the summer. “Unfortunately a lot of my favorite events have already passed,” she says. “Like, the $10K Dealer’s Choiceis definitely one of my favorite events outside of the Main Event. I haven’t been able to much [of the mixed-games] this year because I keep getting deep in the No Limit Hold’em events.” The biggest No Limit Hold’em event of them all is of course the Main Event, and it’s an event that Ho has proved rather astute in. After finishing 38th back in 2007 for $237K, she has since placed 322nd (2012), 77th (2014), and 242nd (2016). What is it about this event that suits her game so well? “I think it’s a combination of being more comfortable playing a deeper slower structure, and also knowing how to navigate big fields,” she says. “Obviously, there’s a high number of recreational players in events like the Main and the Marathon, because they really want to get their value. And I think I have a very good strategy against recreational players who aren’t very comfortable playing with a deep stack structure.” And finally, with so much going on, will Ho have time for some online poker throughout the rest of 2017? “I don’t play online as much as I used to,” she says. “I relocated to Vancouver back after Black Friday, but I recently moved back to LA, so that’s my home-base now. I will travel to Vancouver or to Mexico for an online poker series though. “When the WSOP is over I have a pretty full schedule. After the LA Mobile Masters event I’ll be at Winstar, which is a casino I’m a spokesperson for, and they have a great tournament series every September called The River. From there I have a new poker show which I’ll be doing strategic commentary for, but that hasn’t been announced yet. So I’ll be filming those, and then with my partnership with Amazon we’ll actually be filming some of the eSports competitions for a TV show. “So the rest of my year is more heavily leant on the broadcasting side of things, but that’s also why I’m really enjoying my time here in Vegas because this is probably going to be the only time I have where I can just focus on poker.”
  7. [caption width="640"] Marti Roca De Torres takes down the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for €1,115,207. Photo: Alin Ivanov[/caption] Former economics teacher turned poker professional, Marti Roca De Torres, outlasted the 529 runners and marathon final table to become the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Champion, taking home his first WSOP bracelet and a massive €1,115,207 ($1,297,552) first place prize. Roca De Torres’ “dream come true” was made in part by winning his way into the €10,350 Main Event through a €220 satellite on 888poker. From there the Spaniard seized the opportunity, showed incredible resolve, and grinded his way through a grueling final table to end up with a career score that will be tough to top. The Final Table After the elimination of Stepan Osinovski in ninth place on Day 5 the official final table of eight players was set to begin. The remaining field included popular UK pro Jack Salter, live poker Triple Crown winner Niall Farrelland one of the most recognizable names in poker, Maria Ho, holding the chip lead and looking for her first World Series of Poker bracelet. Just after the dinner break, on the 10th hand of the official final table, Spaniard Luis Rodriguez, having had his stack crippled on a previous hand, was forced to push his remaining four big blinds in holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="6d"]. Farrell, holding [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"], reshoved, isolating the short stack. The board came clean for the aces, [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="th"][poker card="3s"], and Rodriguez walked with €97,344. Roughly 30 minutes later, a classic flip helped decide the fate of Jack Salter. With similar sized stacks, Salter and Gianluca Speranza would find themselves all in. Salter, covering Speranza, had the slightest of leads holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jc"] against the Italian’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="kc"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2d"] flop put Speranza in great position to double through. Salter would get no help from the [poker card="4d"] turn or [poker card="6s"] river, leaving him with just a few blinds to try and grind back. The very next hand would be the end of Salter as his shipped [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"] would fall to Roca De Torres’ [poker card="ac"][poker card="7c"]. Salter books a €129,121 cash in seventh place, his second six-figure score of the week after min-cashing the €111,111 High Roller For One Drop earlier in the series. With Salter’s exit, play was suspended for the night. The remaining six returned on Saturday for Day 6 to play down to a winner with Maria Ho still in the chip lead. Unfortunately for Ho, after running hot and playing well over the course of five days, her fortunes changed dramatically on the final day. A couple of key hands made major dents in her chip lead, including a hand in which she shipped [poker card="2h"][poker card="2s"] from the big blind against a Niall Farrell open raise. He snapped with [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"], which held, and allowed him to double up and Ho to sink down to the bottom of the chip counts. While this seemed to send Farrell and Ho's future at the table in opposite directions, the fate of both would be decided just ten hands later. The short-stacked Ho, open shipped roughly 10 big blinds, holding [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"]. The largest stack at the table, now belonging Roca De Torres, made the call in the small blind. Farrell, second in chips and in the big blind, peered down at [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"]. Farrell reshipped. Roca De Torres snapped. Both Farrell and Ho saw the bad news as the online qualifier tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] for a three-way set-up hand. No one improved as the innocuous board of [poker card="9d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"] gave Roca De Torres the double knockout and a massive chipl ead with four remaining. Ho and Farrell, the two most prominent players of the final table were eliminated on the same hand. Ho took home €174,365 in sixth and Farrell finished in fifth for €239,639, just shy of his second WSOP bracelet. Play evened out four-handed and Roca De Torres lost multiple bids to knock out his fellow competitors as his stack fall back to the pack. Hours passed with all four men jockeying for position. Then, finally, over 80 hands later, the next elimination would take place. Finding himself short once again, after being at the bottom of the chip counts for much of the final table, the UK’s Robert Bickley made his last stand by shipping his [poker card="3d"][poker card="2c"] from the small blind. Mathijs Jonkers quickly called showing down the [poker card="as"][poker card="7s"]. Bickley, behind but with two live cards, found no help on the flop of [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"][poker card="9d"]. When the [poker card="2s"] fell on the turn, it looked like Bickley would survive his seventh all in of the final table. But with spades and two overs as river outs, Jonkers ended Bickley’s gritty run when the [poker card="9s"] completed the board. Bickley finished in fourth for €335,089. After a short break, Jonkers own time would come. Speranza, holding a commanding chip lead at this point, put in a raise with [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"], Jonkers, who had folded a suited ace to him in the big blind just a few hands prior, decided that he could not fold a second time. Jonkers put in a re-raise with a dominated [poker card="ah"][poker card="7c"], effectively committing his short stack to the hand. Speranza put Jonkers all in and the Dutchman placed his few remaining chips in the middle. After seeing the situation, Jonkers began to beg for a seven to keep his dream alive. The flop of [poker card="js"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4c"] not only didn’t provide any help to Jonkers, but it pulled an out away. When the [poker card="7s"] dropped on the turn, Jonkers, drawing dead, tapped the table, congratulated his fellow competitors and moved to his rail for comfort, collecting €476,585 for his efforts. Nine and a half hours after the six-handed final table started, heads-up play began between Speranza and Roca De Torres. Speranza began the heads-up battle holding the chip lead, but the tides turned in favor of the Roca De Torres as what looked like could be a quick finish turned into a four-hour heads-up battle. The final hand came down to, essentially, a coin flip, as the pair were nearly equal in chips when Roca De Torres shoved with the almighty [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] and Speranza called hoping to close it out called with two overs, [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"]. The [ah[p9d][poker card="3c"] put the Italian way in front but the [poker card="5h"] turn sealed the deal for Roca De Torres and the [poker card="9s"] completed the board. Speranza, with less than two blinds left, stuck it in with [poker card="ts"][poker card="8d"] the very next hand. Roca De Torres’ [poker card="qh"][poker card="5d"] held as the final board of the tournament read [poker card="ks"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"][poker card="ad"][poker card="3s"]. Speranza’s consolation prize is a hefty €689,246 while Roca De Torres, who won his way into the tournament for €220, wins €1,115,207 and the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event gold bracelet. Final Table Payouts Marti Roca De Torres - €1,115,207 Gianluca Speranza - €689,248 Mathijs Jonkers - €476,585 Robert Bickley - €335,089 Niall Farrell - €239,639 Maria Ho - €174,365 Jack Salter - €129,121 Luis Rodriguez - €97,344
  8. [caption width="640"] Marti Roca de Torres hit the ultimate parlay by turning an online satellite into a WSOPE Main Event win.[/caption] The final few tables of the World Series of Poker Europe final table carried some of the biggest names in poker and numerous storylines. Maria Ho, Niall Farrell, and 2015 WSOPE Main Event champion Kevin MacPhee dominated the marquee leaving players like 888poker.comsatellite qualifier Marti Roca de Torres to fight for their own piece of history. The former economics teacher left his position two years ago to pursue poker on a full-time basis. Roca de Torres makes his primary living on online cash games and mid-stakes tournaments. As a Spanish resident, he is only able to compete against his countrymen online and this tournament served as the largest buy-in ever played by him. Roca de Torres managed to claim victory in a memorable final table and complete his journey from noticing some overlay to walking out of Kings Casino with over €1 million. “It was something strange," Roca de Torres said on how he won his seat “I was not planning to play the satellite. It was a normal Sunday. I played tournaments like I sometimes do and I saw the satellite and played just because I didn’t see many players in. I thought there might be an overlay and then I won.” This satellite attempt was the third for Roca de Torres, who prefers to stay close to his family in Spain and not travel relatively far for live events. With that mindset, Roca de Torres rarely plays satellites but this opportunity was too good to pass up. The 36-year-old Spaniard looked at the WSOPE Main Event as a chance to rectify what had been a subpar few months for him. Roca de Torres was winning for the first half of 2017 and then hit a downswing in August and September. His mindset shifted more toward putting himself in a spot to make a deep run and then go from there. “To make the money in this event would be a thing to make a good year. 20-30,000 Euros would be good for me. I wanted to make the money because it hasn’t been a good year.” On the bubble, Roca de Torres eliminated Ole Schemion with a straight-over-straight cooler and then proceeded to run his stack up from there. It wasn’t until the bubble burst and Roca de Torres found himself among the chip leaders did he think he might have a chance to at least make the final table. Once there, the confidence of Roca de Torres grew with every elimination. “At that point, I figured I could think about more than making the money. After, when we were down to nine players and I busted the [Stepan Osinovskii] with aces against ace-king. I was thinking at that point I could win.” Shorthanded play became an arduous process for Roca de Torres. The chip lead escaped his fingertips on a few occasions but when it mattered most, he managed to hold on in all-ins and claim an unlikely win. The mental impact of winning didn’t hit Roca de Torres until he celebrated with friends and family. The ‘wow’ moment did not arrive immediately as, after six days of poker, Roca de Torres found himself exhausted. “At the beginning, I was very excited. Not physically but mentally. It was strange because I was playing poker for six days. When the tournament finished, there’s no music, no ‘wow’ or noise or singing,” Roca de Torres said. “When I met my friends and we celebrated together, it was the first time I was thinking it was so good. When I saw my cousin, Miguel, crying, I understand it was something really big for me. When I met my friends, it was the first moment that I realized I had won a big tournament.” The bankroll boost for Roca de Torres allows him to invest more in his family and increase stakes online. He says his new goal is to be a consistent NL500 player online and maintain the limited live poker schedule he kept before the win. With his second child soon to be born, Roca de Torres looks forward to spending more time with his children and use his win as a nest egg rather than a means to live off of immediately. “I want to improve my poker and cash game online to maybe reach high stakes. If I finally reach NL500, I will be happy playing those levels.” 888poker.com produced yet another satellite success story from Spain from Roca de Torres in what is a growing market. With a new year of major events ready to start in a few weeks, the next Marti Roca de Torres is sitting behind a computer waiting for the chance to be discovered.
  9. [caption width="640"] Maria Ho and Sam Abernathy are ready to help launch Rivals of Poker with a Las Vegas party and want you to join them![/caption] You've arrived in Las Vegas, ready to play the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event sometime over the next three days but before that, you wanna get a little bit of Las Vegas in. Well, Rivals of Poker - the newest social poker product, are hosting a launch party Saturday night with Maria Ho and Sam Abernathy serving as hosts. The party, being held at the Downtown Grand Casino Citrus Pool Deck, gets underway at 8 PM and you're invited! Rivals of Poker, produced by Nobot Games, is a free-to-play app currently available in the iTunes store for download. The game combines some of the best aspects of online poker, social gaming and esports. “Poker hasn’t had much product innovation in recent years,” said Ray Ting, co-founder of Rivals of Poker. “Our Rivals of Poker game fosters competitive communities and rewards them for their participation. So it’s only natural to bring the poker community together for an event like this as we officially launch the product.” Instead of being a standard online poker experience where the only rewards are more chips, Rivals of Poker has developed what they're calling the first poker game that rewards and rates players based on their skill. Playing the game allows players to earn real life rewards including Amazon gift cards, XBox gift cards as well as land-based casino rewards including free hotel stays. The game is being heralded as a perfect merger between poker, social gaming and the booming world of esports. “As Downtown Grand grows our esports and tech sector presence, we’re positioned to host the best launch events in Las Vegas,” said Max Curtis, Esports Director at Downtown Grand. “Rivals of Poker is taking a fresh approach to a traditional gaming product, which fits perfectly with our evolving vision of our venue’s position in the Las Vegas community.” For more information visit www.RivalsOfPoker.com.
  10. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. GREAT NEWS: The Fives is now available on GooglePlay and Stitcher. Check out the links below to get listening on your favorite podcast app. In this episode, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark put a bow on WSOP Europe, including Maria Ho's close call and Chris Ferguson's POY win. They also dive into the latest from the Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Clark legal mess and begin to wonder why players and companies continue to do business with him. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES CHECK OUT THE FIVES ON GOOGLE PLAY GET THE FIVES ON STITCHER
  11. It's a big week in Las Vegas with the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event starting, but there's also another reason to have Saturday, July 8 circled on your calendar. Some of poker's brightest stars are heading Downtown Las Vegas to help launch the latest social poker product, Rivals of Poker. The Downtown Grand Casino Citrus Pool Deck will host the Rivals of Poker launch party, beginning at 8pm. Both Sam Abernathy and Maria Ho are both scheduled to be in attendance. There will also be other top poker pros, a live DJ and games for all attendees to play. Rivals of Poker, produced by Nobot Games, is a free-to-play app currently available in the iTunes store for download. The game combines some of the best aspects of online poker, social gaming and esports. “Poker hasn’t had much product innovation in recent years,” said Ray Ting, co-founder of Rivals of Poker. “Our Rivals of Poker game fosters competitive communities and rewards them for their participation. So it’s only natural to bring the poker community together for an event like this as we officially launch the product.” As players play Rivals of Poker, they begin to get ranked based on their overall skill level. Each and every hand played by a player is rated as compared to optimal play. When players sign-up for Rivals of Poker, they'll choose a team to play for and each team will be tied to a land-based casino. Along with moving up the rankings, players can earn loyalty points which can be redeemed at the land-based casino they chose to represent. The convergence of esports and poker is something that the Downtown Grand had little trouble getting behind. “As Downtown Grand grows our esports and tech sector presence, we’re positioned to host the best launch events in Las Vegas,” said Max Curtis, Esports Director at Downtown Grand. “Rivals of Poker is taking a fresh approach to a traditional gaming product, which fits perfectly with our evolving vision of our venue’s position in the Las Vegas community.” The party is open to anybody wishing to attend.
  12. Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. It’s that special time of year and what better way to get in the festive spirit than to take a look around the poker world at some of the favorite holidays' traditions players celebrate with. This holiday season, we spoke with Phil Hellmuth, Mike Sexton, Maria Ho, Jonathan Little, and Jeff Gross. For Phil Hellmuth's holiday tradition, poker takes center stage. There's even a gold bracelet involved, according to the 15-time World Series of Poker champion, and it sounds as though the entire Hellmuth family knows how to win on the felt. "In the Hellmuth Family, all five of us (one brother and three sisters) would bring our families to Madison, Wisconsin, for Christmas," Hellmuth said. "We did this for 25 years! Then we would have the family poker championship, usually on the evening of the 24th. We even have a gold bracelet (pictured), with all of the winners’ names engraved. Nowadays, the family is too far flung to meet in Madison, but we still have the tourney whenever we get together. "My sister Kerry won it this year, in August, in Chicago. My son Phillip won it, I won it, my wife Kat won it. And my son Nick has three second-place finishes - ouch!" For Mike Sexton, longtime poker commentator, Poker Hall of Fame member, and now chairman of partypoker, he keeps it simple with the family. "My favorite tradition is the day we get the tree, put on Christmas music, and decorate the house," Sexton said. Sexton won’t be the only poker player celebrating the holidays in Las Vegas. Maria Ho and her family traditionally travel for the holidays to spend it together in a new place, but this year that place is Las Vegas. "My family has never been too into traditional gift giving for the holidays, but in our adult years we always make time to take a family vacation together," Ho said. "The destination changes, but this year the only place that really worked for all of us happens to be Las Vegas!" We’re sure that with all of the poker happening in Vegas during the first couple weeks of December, Ho will be in the mix quite a bit, so look for her to put up some poker results this holiday season in between time with her loved ones. Jonathan Little has a handful of reasons to celebrate this holiday season, and it’s more than just celebrating this wonderful time of the year. Little’s birthday and his son’s birthday both fall close to Christmas, and he and his wife are currently expecting another child. "Our tradition is to celebrate birthdays," Little said. "My birthday is December 22 and my son James' is December 24. I am having my second child any day now, so he will be born in December as well. I should go ahead and forget about celebrating mine from now on!" Lastly, Jeff Gross said his holiday tradition also involves a bit of travel, as he heads down to Brazil every year to visit with his wife’s side of the family. It comes with a special holiday twist, though, and Gross was introduced to a new meaning of "sweating" his first trip. "A holiday tradition has been to go to visit my wife’s family in Brazil," Gross said. "Each year, someone dresses up as Santa Claus for the nephews and nieces. In 2014, it was my first time there, which meant it was me! I was a bit nervous being the first time I met Emilia’s large family and I didn’t speak much Portuguese. I remember being in Brazil during Christmas (their summer) sweating in this Santa suit in front of what is now my Brazilian family and my youngest niece at the time crying when I came out (laughs)! It felt like a Southwest Wanna-Get-Away commercial at the time, but we had a good laugh after!" Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweet to us at @PocketFives. Happy Holidays! *Photos courtesy of the WPT.
  13. If you’ve seen the likes of Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, NBA great Paul Pierce, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, 90210 star Jennie Garth, former UFC champ Tito Ortiz, or Star Wars star John Boyega at a major poker event over the last few years, you’ve seen the result of the hard work of Traci Szymanski. Unlike those celebs, Szymanski isn’t a household name but that’s mostly by design. She’s spent the better part of the last decade working behind the scenes, matching up Hollywood heavyweights with poker tournaments and expanding the reach of charity poker tournaments at the same time. She was working in Hollywood managing talent when one day her phone rang. “By chance ten or eleven years ago, I got called to work on a couple poker events, celebrity charity poker events, and I had absolutely no idea about poker or how the game was played or any connection to poker at that time,” Szymanski remembers. “Now I understand the game and now I know how to play. I think it's just a perfect match." It was 2008, Szymanski was working for a talent agency in Los Angeles and PokerStars was hosting a party at the World Series of Poker and wanted to have some celebrities in attendance. She booked that event and has held on to PokerStars as one of her core clients ever since. She’s become the go-to person that can bridge the gap between the poker world and celebrities for anybody looking to do it. Black Friday created a period of uncertainty with one of her biggest clients, PokerStars, but she saw actually saw it as an opportunity to increase the amount of time she was spending working with poker events. “There was that lull with the poker companies and I thought, ‘Wait, I like this and I think poker's a great tool to combine with the different charities I support and helping them to raise money’,” Szymanski says. Over the next few years, she coordinated numerous charity poker events for some of her clients, including one with Sopranos star James Gandolfini. Now she says she’s busy answering calls instead of making them. “I'm in a really good place in my career where I'm not really contacting anybody,” Szymanski says. “The majority of the time companies are coming to me looking for partnerships with celebrities or looking to bring attention to something or build their brand or whatever and then I'm pairing the celebrities with it.” Her time working behind the scenes has also introduced her to some of her closest friends and opened up business opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. She’s working with Kevin Hart on a TV poker product that she thinks could debut later this year. Being able to consistently deliver a quality product to the companies or charities that hire her, while also keeping celebrities happy, is one reason Szymanski believes she’s been so successful. “People just like to work with people they can trust, for one, and two, that they enjoy being around, Szymanski says. “It's about the experience and the people you're around and being positive and being fun. And there are so many heavy things going on in the world, the last thing you wanna do is bring somebody out to anything that's not gonna be enjoyable” That’s not to say there aren’t challenges though. Often times Szymanski will hear from a company or event with unrealistic expectations about what’s possible. “There are very few, at this point, A-list celebrities that are passionate about poker, that absolutely love the game, that are willing to put their name and face on it and promote the game,” Szymanski says. “So that's one obstacle when people are coming to me and everybody wants Brad Pitt to play poker and I'm like, ‘Brad Pitt's not gonna come out, he's just not, he's not unless there's a reason for him to come out’." Another issue is budget. Celebrities always come with a cost attached and Szymanski finds people often don’t realize that there’s more to getting talent out to an event that just an appearance fee. Making sure her clients are happy makes it easy for her to book them again and again. Then there’s the issue of making sure the celebrity can actually play poker. “I have had celebrities that are just worried about making a fool out of themselves because they aren't that strong of a player and it's new to them,” Szymanski says. “So I think it’s just confidence level, somebody feeling comfortable to go and sit down, especially if there's gonna be press covering it, nobody wants to look dumb.” After working in the industry for over a decade, Szymanski believes she can help the game grow by allowing her celebrities to introduce the game to as wide of an audience as possible. “I do think poker does have room to grow,” Szymanski says. “I still see the doors opening to a wider demographic and that's something I think the poker world needs to work on.”
  14. After tabulating the votes of over 130 Nomination Panel members, the Global Poker Index, along with their partner PokerCentral, has unveiled the nominations in thirteen of the 20 categories of the first ever Global Poker Awards. The awards are set to take place on April 5 at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas where poker players and industry members from 10 different nations will be represented in a wide variety of categories that aims to celebrate all aspects of the poker community. PocketFives is well represented within the nominees. The Fives Podcast is one of five nominees for Podcast of the Year and PocketFives' President & Editor in Chief Lance Bradley's book, The Pursuit of Poker Success, Here are the nominees, presented in alphabetical order: Tournament Performance of the Year Justin Bonomo (Super High Roller Bowl IV) John Cynn (2018 World Series of Poker Main Event) Maria Lampropulos (2018 PCA Main Event) Dylan Linde (WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic) Breakout Player of the Year Almedin ‘Ali’ Imsirovic Maria Konnikova Ping Liu Christopher Michael Soyza Streamer of the Year Jeff Gross Jason Somerville Jaime Staples Lex Veldhuis Vlogger of the Year Marle Cordeiro Joe Ingram Andrew Neeme Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk Podcast LFG Podcast PokerCentral Podcast PokerNews Podcast The Chip Race The Fives Poker Podcast Broadcaster Maria Ho Lon McEachern Nick Schulman Lex Veldhuis Poker Journalist Drew Amato Sarah Herring Remko Rinkema Christian Zetzsche Media Content Drew Amato (photo: Brunson bids farewell to WSOP) Lance Bradley (book: The Pursuit of Poker Success) Haley Hintze (article: Vayo v. PokerStars) PokerCentral/PokerGO (Super High Roller Club: Schulman featuring Nejad) Industry Person Angelical Hael (World Poker Tour) Cary Katz (Poker Central) Matt Savage (WPT, TDA) Ty Stewart (World Series of Poker) Rob Yong (Dusk Till Dawn, partypoker) Tournament Director Tony Burns (Seminole Hard Rock) Paul Campbell (ARIA) Jack Effel (World Series of Poker) Kenny Hallaert (Unibet Open) Mid-Major Tour/Circuit 888poker LIVE RUNGOOD Poker Series Unibet Open WPTDeepStacks WSOP Circuit Event of the Year partypoker Caribbean Poker Party Main Event Super High Roller Bowl IV WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic WSOP Main Event Moment of the Year Jeremy Hilsercop received PSPC Platinum Pass via Christmas Day viral video Joe Cada wins The Closer after finishing 5th in WSOP Main Event Doyle Brunson plays his final WSOP event Justin Bonomo wins Big One for One Drop, completing Super High Roller Streak In addition to the above categories, there are seven other awards that will be given out during the ceremony. Due to their results in 2018, Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell will each be receiving awards for the 2018 GPI Player of the Year and the 2018 Female Player of the Year respectively. Along with trophies for Foxen and Bicknell the following categories will be determined by the Global Poker Awards Jury: - Lifetime Achievement in Poker Award - Charitable Initiative - Jury Prize As has been the case in previous GPI award shows, the “people” will have a voice and will vote to award the People’s Choice Award for Poker Personality of the Year. Also, PocketFives will be handing out the PocketFives Legacy Award acknowledging a player who has come from the world of online poker to make major contributions to poker’s live tournament scene. The Global Poker Awards can be watched live on PokerGO on April 5.
  15. Season XVII of the World Poker Tour has reached another final table on Tuesday, this time down in South Florida for the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. From a booming field of 1,360 entries, just six competitors remain, and they’re on break until playing out the final table on May 30 in Las Vegas. Leading the way is WPT Champions Club member James Carroll. The final six players have each locked up $148,380. When they return to action in a month and a half, they’ll be chasing the $715,175 first-place prize and seat into the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. Joining Carroll at the final table was Maria Ho, Ami Alibay, Eric Afriat, Chad Eveslage, and Jerry Wong. Carroll boasts a stack of 18.525 million, which is just about 2 million ahead of Ho’s second-place stack of 16.65 million. WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Seat 1: Maria Ho - 16,650,000 Seat 2: Chad Eveslage - 3,350,000 Seat 3: Jerry Wong - 3,225,000 Seat 4: Eric Afriat - 4,425,000 Seat 5: Ami Alibay - 8,175,000 Seat 6: James Carroll - 18,525,000 Numbers Never Lie With 1,360 entries, the Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown generated a prize pool of $4.352 million and produced the fourth largest WPT Main Tour field size in history. The event with the largest turnout was the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown that attracted 1,795 entries. In second is the Season XIII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, and then it’s this season’s WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open with 1,415 entries. Interestingly, the winner of the largest-ever WPT Main Tour event was Afriat and he’s now reached this final table. Reaching the Final Table The money line was set at 170 players, and entering Day 2 of the tournament there were 524 remaining. After a few hours of play, 171 players remained and the money bubble had come. Brandon Hall, who recently took fourth in the Season XVII WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, found himself all in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="Ks"] against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ah"] of Alibay, according to the WPT coverage. The board ran out clean for Alibay’s aces which meant Hall was out the door as the "bubble boy." From there, players began filling up the payout line. Busting before the end of Day 2 were Anthony Zinno (96th), Faraz Jaka (103rd), Victor Ramdin (112th), Tyler Patterson (118th), David Baker (122nd), Scotty Nguyen (125th), Dylan Wilkerson (132nd), Sam Panzica (133rd), and Dylan Linde (134th). When the day was all said and done, 90 players remained with Keith Ferrera leading the pack. Day 3 saw the returning field of 90 players whittled down to 18. Darren Elias and Frank Stepuchin when out early, Aaron Mermelstein, Erik Seidel, and Will Failla fell later, and then Ferrera’s run came to an end in 19th place. On Ferrera’s final hand, he, like Hall before him, ran ace-king into the pocket aces of an opponent. Ferrera’s opponent was Eveslage who went on to bag the chip lead entering Day 4. [caption id="attachment_623684" align="alignnone" width="800"] Former NFL star Richard Seymour had a deep run that resulted in a 15th-place finish (photo: WPT)[/caption] On Day 4, the goal was to play down to the official WPT final table of six. Former NFL star Richard Seymour was still in the field, but his time ran out with a 15th-place finish for $29,690. On his final hand, Seymour was all in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="6s"] against the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Td"] for Alibay. The board ran out [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Tc"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"] and Seymour was eliminated. With 11 players left, Carroll won a big pot off Afriat that gave him a stack that was right up there with Alibay’s for the chip lead. After raising and calling a three-bet in position, Carroll was faced with a bet of 400,000 on the [poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3h"] flop. He called and the turn was the [poker card="2s"]. Afriat fired 750,000 this time, but Carroll stuck around with a call. The river completed the board with the [poker card="5h"] and Afriat checked. Carroll fired 1.45 million and Afriat eventually folded. Carroll showed the [poker card="Js"][poker card="Tc"] for jack high. From there, Carroll continued to build his stack as players busted out. On the final hand of Day 4, Jason Marshman went out in seventh place when Ho made trip jacks against him with the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jd"] versus the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8h"]. WPT Champion Carroll in Dominating Position James Carroll is no stranger to the WPT winner’s circle and he’s now in a dominating position to score his second World Poker Tour title. Back in Season XII, Carroll won the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars event for a huge score of $1.256 million. In that event, he topped a field of 718 entries. The final table included fellow WPT Champions Club members Dylan Wilkerson and Nam Lee, who finished in second and fifth places, respectively, and Season XII WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja. Carroll boasts career live tournament earnings of more than $3.2 million, of which he’s won $1.556 million on the World Poker Tour. He has six WPT cashes, including this one, and three other top 10 finishes outside of his Bay 101 victory and this event. This season, Carroll finished seventh in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $155,900. With a 18.525 million, Carroll has 34% of the chips in play entering the final table. [caption id="attachment_623681" align="alignnone" width="800"] Eric Afriat seeks a third WPT title (photo: WPT)[/caption] Afriat Seeks Third WPT Title Eric Afriat could be the story of the whole event. The two-time WPT Champions Club member won the largest-ever WPT Main Tour event in Season XII, which was this very event that attracted a massive 1,795 entries. Afriat entered that final table fourth in chips, and that’s the position he’ll come in this time around, too. He scored $1.081 million for that victory, but his WPT success didn’t end there. In fact, it was only just beginning really. Afriat has racked up 12 WPT Main Tour cashes, including this one, and in Season XVI he won his second World Poker Tour title when he topped another huge field at Borgata in Atlantic City. In the Season XVI WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, Afriat finished in first place above a field of 1,244 entries to win $651,928. Needless to say, Afriat knows a thing or two about winning large-field WPT events. In addition to that success, Afriat has three additional trips to WPT final tables in previous events. He came sixth in the Season IX WPT Bellagio Cup for $118,950, third in the Season XV WPT Playground for $82,716, and fifth in the Season XVI WPT Montreal for $75,043. A third WPT title would tie Afriat with the likes of Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Chino Rheem, and Anthony Zinno, who each have three titles and are one behind the leader, Darren Elias, who has four. [caption id="attachment_623683" align="alignnone" width="800"] Maria Ho has her eyes on his first major tournament title (photo: WPT)[/caption] Ho Seeking First Major Title For all of the success Maria Ho has enjoyed in the poker world, both on the felt as a player and off it as a broadcaster and personality, she’s yet to snag herself a major tournament title. Ho is second in chips entering this final table and it could very well be the one that allows her to grab that first major victory. Ho has had deep runs on the World Poker Tour before. She reached the Season XIV WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars final table and finished in sixth place for $179,930. She also finished 10th in the Season IX WPT Bellagio Cup that Afriat took sixth in, earning $40,783 for that finish. She also has two World Series of Poker final tables under her belt, including a runner-up finish to Allen Bari in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2011 WSOP. “It would mean so much,” Ho told WPT.com when asked what it would mean to win a WPT title. “I’ve been playing poker professionally for 14 years now, and unfortunately I’m still lacking that one major win. I know that it doesn’t define my career, but the World Poker Tour is very prestigious so it would mean a lot.” In October of 2018, she did win the WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg Main Event for $69,166. Ho had more than $3.2 million in live tournament earnings ahead of this event. Don’t Sleep On Wong Jerry Wong may be the shortest stack at the final table to start, but he’s been on the biggest of stages before. In 2016, Wong reached the WSOP Main Event final table and finished eighth for $1.1 million. For Wong, he’s yet to win a WPT title and it’s his first World Poker Tour final table. His position on the leaderboard isn’t an advantageous one, but if Wong’s able to generate some momentum early then he could really put some pressure on his opponents given the experience he has. We’ve seen a short stack come back to win many times, so don’t be surprised if Wong maneuvers his way to a victory. The Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will resume action on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.
  16. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. After nearly 18 months, Pennsylvania online poker now has a launch date. Join Lance and Donnie as they breakdown what's next in the Keystone State and how it still might serve as a key domino to bring for United States online poker regulation efforts. They also talk about the five-way chop that ended the PokerStars Sunday Million 13th Anniversary event. They provide a quick recap of partypoker POWERFEST, compare it to PokerStars' Spring Championship of Online Poker and then deliver a way-too-early eulogy for the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  17. Some of the biggest names in the game of poker along with prominent members of the poker industry gathered at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas on Friday night to celebrate the first ever Global Poker Awards presented by PokerStars. The ceremony acknowledged and celebrated the feats and achievements of members of the poker community in 2018 with 20 awards handed out in a wide range of subjects. PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis, who was nominated in two categories, walked away with the Streamer of the Year Award for his popular Twitch Poker channel. He was joined by another popular digital content creator Andrew Neeme, who picked up his second award as Vlogger of the Year. Maria Ho made her way to the stage to pick up the award for Broadcaster of the Year as did PokerNews' Sarah Herring who took home the Journalist of the Year award. Almedin ‘Ali’ Imsirovic was in attendance and picked up the trophy for the Breakout Player of the Year after appearing on the high roller scene and taking down the title of Poker Central’s Poker Masters champion. Fellow high roller Justin Bonomo’s outstanding 2018 campaign brought him the award for Moment Of The Year by winning the Big One For One Drop at the World Series of Poker. Once again the World Series of Poker Main Event received the award for the Event of the Year. The tournament that is widely considered to be the best-structured tournament of the year also brought its 2018 winner, John Cynn the award for Tournament Performance of the Year. PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley, who was also nominated for two awards on the evening, received an award for Media Content of the Year for his book The Pursuit of Poker Success. Another PocketFiver, Chris Moorman, was chosen to be awarded the PocketFives Legacy Award, given to an online legend who has made significant contributions to the live poker arena. Speaking of contributions to the game of poker, the Godfather of Poker himself, Doyle Brunson was celebrated with the Lifetime Achievement in Poker award which was not awarded during the broadcast. Complete List of Global Poker Award Winners Vlogger of the Year - Andrew Neeme Podcast of the Year - The Chip Race Poker Podcast Broadcaster of the Year - Maria Ho Breakout Player of the Year - Ali Imsirovic Journalist of the Year - Sarah Herring Mid-Major Tour/Circuit of the Year - RUNGOOD Poker Series Streamer of the Year - Lex Veldhuis Charitable Initiative Award - Robbie Strazynski, Run Well Series Tournament Director of the Year - Paul Campbell, ARIA PocketFives Legacy Award Winner - Chris Moorman Tournament Performance of the Year - John Cynn, WSOP Main Event Poker Media Content of the Year - Lance Bradley, The Pursuit of Poker Success Tournament of the Year - World Series of Poker Main Event Tournament Industry Person of the Year - Angelica Hael Poker Moment of the Year - Justin Bonomo Wins Big One For One Drop Jury Prize - Drew Amato People’s Choice Award Winner - Brad Owen 2018 GPI Poker Player of the Year - Alex Foxen 2018 GPI Female Poker Player of the Year - Kristen Bicknell Lifetime Achievement in Poker - Doyle Brunson
  18. Back on April 16, the Season XVII World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown reached its final table of six. WPT Champions Club member James Carroll led the group, with Maria Ho firmly in second place. Eric Afriat, another WPT Champions Club member, also reached the final table. On May 30, the final six hit Las Vegas at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino to compete for the $715,175 top prize. What’s Up for Grabs? The winner of the Season XVII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown gets $715,175, a seat into the season-ending Baccarat WPT Tournament of Champions, and a luxurious Hublot Big Bang watch. As things stand, each of the final six have already locked up $148,380 for reaching the final table from the field of 1,360 entries. 1st Place: $715,175 2nd Place: $465,120 3rd Place: $344,960 4th Place: $257,815 5th Place: $194,610 6th Place: $148,380 READ: How the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table was set. How To Watch the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table If you’re in Las Vegas on May 30, you’re able to head over to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to view the conclusion of the event in person, but of course, not everyone is within reach of Sin City. For those looking to tune in as it’s happening, the final table 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. You can also follow along with written coverage on WPT.com. The event is also being filmed for broadcast as part of the WPT’s televised schedule of events that you’ll be able to catch later on FOX Sports Regional Networks. [caption id="attachment_624382" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Maria Ho (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 1: Maria Ho - 16,650,000 For all of the success that Maria Ho has enjoyed over the course of her poker career, she’s still yet to win her first major title. She has second-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishes in World Series of Poker events, and she’s twice finished in sixth place in a WPT Main Tour event. She did win the WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg title in October 2018. With the second-largest stack entering the final table, it’s all eyes on Ho. She’s not too far behind the chip leader, Carroll, and looks to be in fairly top form. Ho scored first place in the L.A. Poker Classic $25,000 High Roller for $276,690 in March, and she just placed fourth in the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North America High Roller for another chunk of change around $70,000. Sprinkle in another handful of cashes and Ho is having one of the best years she’s ever had on the live felt. Her previous best year was in 2011 when she won nearly $660,000 in prizes. She’s already up to more than $550,000 in 2019 with a chance to go much higher with some pay jumps in this event. A victory would not only give Ho her first-ever WPT title, but she’d have earned more than $1 million from live tournament poker in a calendar year for the first time in her career. [caption id="attachment_624383" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Chad Eveslage (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 2: Chad Eveslage - 3,350,000 Chad Eveslage enters the final table second-to-last in chips, just ahead of Jerry Wong. Eveslage is already enjoying the best year of his live tournament career and this result is already the most money he’s ever cashed for in a single live tournament. Eveslage’s results track back to January 2011 when he cashed in the PCA Main Event for $23,500. This run marks his fourth WPT Main Tour cash and deepest run, besting his eighth-place result from the Season XII WPT Rolling Thunder event that was won by JC Tran. [caption id="attachment_624384" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Jerry Wong (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 3: Jerry Wong - 3,225,000 Jerry Wong has been on the big stage before. In 2016, he made the final table of the WSOP Main Event and finished in eighth place for more than $1.1 million. In 2017, he won the opening event of the WPTDeepStacks Hollywood stop down at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. In that $360 buy-in event, he topped a mammoth field of 4,756 entries to win $250,000. Wong hadn’t reached a WPT Main Tour final table before reaching this one, but he has had a handful of deep runs to the last few tables. He wasn’t able to break through in those events and he’ll again have his work cut out for him in this one as he’s the shortest stack left in the field. Still, Wong has more than 20 big blinds to work with and one double up can get the seasoned pro right back into the mix. [caption id="attachment_624385" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Eric Afriat (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 4: Eric Afriat - 4,425,000 If you follow the World Poker Tour, then the name Eric Afriat is one you know. He’s a two-time WPT champion looking for his third trip to the winner’s circle, and he has plenty of experience winning these large-field WPT events. Afriat’s first WPT title came when he won the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1.081 million. In that event, he topped an enormous field of 1,795 entries. Afriat won his second WPT title in Season XVI at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. There, he topped a field of 1,244 entries to win more than $650,000. A victory in this one would give Afriat a third WPT title and move him into the ranks of Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem, and Anthony Zinno, all of whom have three WPT titles and are one behind the leader, Darren Elias. [caption id="attachment_624386" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] Ami Alibay (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 5: Ami Alibay - 8,175,000 Ami Alibay has been around the WPT scene quite a bit and he’s making his fifth WPT Main Tour cash to show for it. It’s his first time at a WPT Main Tour final table, though, and it’s also the largest live tournament score of his career. Alibay’s previous best WPT finish came in March when he took 11th in the Season XVII WPT at Venetian. That finish earned Alibay more than $33,000. All told, when you include the $148,380 he’s earned for no worse than sixth place, Alibay has more than $630,000 in live tournament earnings. Like Afriat, he’s a Canadian player, but he’ll have about twice as many chips to work with to start the final table as Afriat does. [caption id="attachment_624387" align="aligncenter" width="1354"] James Carroll (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Seat 6: James Carroll - 18,525,000 James Carroll has already experienced winning a World Poker Tour event once. Back in Season XII, Carroll topped a field of 718 entries in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars event to win $1.256 million. He came close to winning a second WPT title not too long ago, when in March he took seventh in the Season XVII WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $155,900. One more place up and Carroll would have found himself at the HyperX Esports Arena playing for the title. He’ll get his shot this time around, though, and he’ll come into play with the biggest stack left. Carroll boasts a career of nearly $3.4 million in earnings when you include the almost $150,000 he’s already scored here. A couple jumps up the payout list will give Carroll his second-best year on the live tournament felt when it comes to earnings, but a second WPT title is really what he’s chasing. Carroll should have one of the biggest rails of supporters at the HyperX Esports Arena on May 30. He has plenty of friends in the community who will be around to sweat him with the WSOP kicking off, and he’s from Las Vegas. If we were to guess, Ho will have the biggest group of supporters and then Carroll will be a close second. Seeing as those two are one-two in chips, it should make for a very fun day of action.
  19. James Carroll came into the final table of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown with the chip lead and something to prove. Having already won one WPT title, Carroll still had the bitter memory of a seventh place finish at the LA Poker Classic in February to overcome. Over the course of eight hours of play, Carroll outlasted five other opponents to pick up his second WPT titles and $715,175. "This one is actually somewhat sweeter. The first one felt good, but I've been through some super tough times in the last five years, this feels good," Carroll said, after eliminating Eric Afriat on the last hand. Carroll and Afriat were the two players at the final table to already have a WPT title to their credit. Carroll won the Bay 101 Shooting Stars event in 2014 while Afriat took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in 2014 and the Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2018. The final table also included Mario Ho, Jerry Wong, and Chad Eveslage. Maria Ho raised to 500,000 from early position before Chad Eveslage moved all in for 3,400,000 from the cutoff and Ho called. Eveslage turned over [ad][jd] and found out he was racing against Ho's [tc][td]. The board ran out [8h][7h][5h][7s][2c] to give Ho the pot and eliminate Eveslage in sixth place. Just 15 hands later, Ami Alibay and Jerry Wong got into an all-in preflop confrontation that ended Alibay's run. From the button, Wong raised to 700,000, Eric Afriat called from the small blind before Alibay moved all in for 3,275,000 from the big blind. Wong called before Afriat folded. Alibay got great news when he turned over [9c][9d] and Wong showed [8c][8h]. The [ah][tc][7h] flop kept Alibay ahead, but the [kh] turn gave Wong extra outs with a flush draw and the [5h] river completed it to eliminate Alibay in fifth. Four-handed play continued for 51 hands before another player was sent to the rail after a preflop all-in battle. Afriat raised to 1,000,000 from UTG and Wong shoved all in from the big blind for 3,900,000. Afriat called and tabled [4c][4d] and Wong showed [ad][9h]. The board ran out [jc][hj][6h][3c][5d] and Afriat's pocket fours held up to bust Wong in fourth place. Down to just 16 big blinds, Ho moved all in from the button for 8,100,000 and Carroll called from the big blind. Ho was slightly ahead with [ac][5d] to Carroll's [ks][qc]. The flop came [as][qh][jd] to leave Ho in front, but the [kc] turn flipped the script and left Ho drawing to any ace, jack, or five for the win. The river was the [4s] leaving Ho as the third place finisher. Afriat started heads up play with a 2-1 advantage over Carroll but the two players traded the lead multiple times before Carroll took a formidable lead before finishing the job. Afriat raised from the button to 2,000,000 and Carroll three-bet jammed. Afriat moved all in and Carroll called and flipped over [ks][8h] while Afriat showed [6d][6h]. The [kc][kd][qc] flop gave Carroll a commanding lead. Neither the [3h] turn or [qs] river saved Afriat and he was eliminated in second place, giving Carroll the title. "He's very tricky. He's won two of these before and now he's got a second. I'd say he's doing a whole lot of things right," Carroll said of Afriat. "This is the first tournament I played with him. I probably played with him for three or four hours total before the final table. From what I've seen, he's very good." Final Table Payouts James Carroll - $715,175 Eric Afriat - $465,120 Maria Ho - $344,960 Jerry Wong - $257,815 Ami Alibay - $194,610 Chad Eveslage - $148,380
  20. Not only was the World Series of Poker ‘Big 50’ the talk of the town for those in Las Vegas, but it quickly became the talk of the entire global poker community as the 2019 WSOP kicked off. With the event now firmly in the rearview mirror, PocketFives spoke to a few players to get their take on the record-setting 28,371-player field. “This event was unbelievable. The way the WSOP handled everything, just hats off to them. To see everybody come out here, the numbers, the turnout it got - poker is definitely not dead. It’s just a great tournament and I’m very happy to be able to participate in it.” - Ronnie Bardah “I think for a first event, it’s understandable that some of it was unorganized because I’m sure that they didn’t expect the amount of players that they had. I think that if they did it again and it was more organized, that they would probably have an even larger field than the one they already have because people who have may reentered were deterred because of the amount of time they had to wait to reenter to sit again. I think structure-wise it was excellent. I think the players were from all over the world, you have the best and you have people who were here recreationally. For the most part, I think it was a really good tournament.” - Judith Bielan “The event was great. This is what brings everyone back to the world of poker. I don’t think any other organization can orchestrate this particular event except for the WSOP. Maybe they can even do a bigger and better one next year in 2020. This was great for everybody.” - Robert Cheung “I think the turnout for the Big 50 was fantastic. I actually think it’s crazy how many people were complaining. At the end of the day, to run a tournament of this magnitude, it’s unprecedented, and I don’t know what else you could possibly ask for. There are always going to be little hiccups, but everybody at my table was so nice and so many people expressed to me that this event was something that they were looking forward to. For a lot of them, it’s their first time in Vegas. Forget about live poker tournaments, it’s their first time in Vegas. I think that’s what this kind of tournament does. It brings out the real poker fans who have likely saved up to come out here and play this event. I think that’s amazing for poker, obviously.” - Maria Ho “The Big 50 had a ‘Main Event’ like feel to it. I met countless people who came out to the Series specifically for that event or are playing their first live tournament ever. For a lot of recreational players, they saw the improved structure as a good return on their investment and a great chance to make a Day 2, and most people seemed to be having a blast. Despite all the difficulties of managing 6,000-plus players simultaneously playing the same tournament in the same building, you can't deny how special this event was, and it's pretty cool regardless of results to say that you participated in the biggest live tournament of all time.” - Ben Ludlow “Anybody who complains about the opportunity to get everybody in the poker world together to play an event seems insane to me. This is exactly what you should want. What could be better for poker? This is what ‘good for poker’ looks like.” - Nathan Manuel “I spend a lot of time in the trenches of the mid-stakes poker scene and based on all the conversations I was hearing at the tables these past few months, I had a feeling it was going to be massive. I’m honestly blown away that one venue can seat 28,000 players over the course of four days, so when problems were rumored I wasn’t surprised, nor was I upset. I probably waited in line a total of three hours over the course of registering two flights, but I understood it was a small price to pay to be part of the biggest live poker tournament in history. Once I got my seat, it was a blast. The buzz, banter, and fun at the tables was everything I hoped.” - Johnnie Moreno “This is like a dream for players who can’t afford to play bigger tournaments. Like your average guy from his home game, like people who play the smaller events like the deep stacks and the smaller events. Here, they have a chance to come out to the big dance and a chance to win a bracelet. It’s a wonderful event. I don’t care about all the crap you’re hearing about lines and this and that. Listen, for $500 you can win $1 million. How often do you get a chance to do that? I stood in line for four and a half hours. I said, ‘Wow, this is crazy!’ But here I am, playing for $1 million for $500, so it’s all a plus. It’s great for the game.” - Victor Ramdin “Nowhere else could you find a group of people who could run something like this. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the different 5Ks and 25Ks, but it’s great. It’s really great.” - Eddy Sabat “I played Day 1a and made it to Day 3 on my first bullet, so I didn’t have any experience waiting forever to register after busting. The event has been a lot of fun so far! I’ve played at three total tables and two of them had almost all recreational players. Lots of loose and fast play.” - Max Steinberg
  21. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. The opening week of the 2019 World Series of Poker has had a bit of madness in the opening week. Lance and Donnie are joined by Maria Ho, Victor Ramdin, and Nathan Manuel to get player reaction to the record-sized field in the Big 50. They also recap the bracelets awarded to Nicholas Haynes and Derek McMaster and talk about the somewhat disappointing turnout for the debut of Short Deck on the WSOP schedule. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  22. Winning a World Series of Poker gold bracelet is widely considered by many to be poker’s ultimate achievement. For some players, it defines his or her career. For others, it’s the one prize eluding some of the game’s best. For years, Stephen Chidwick was considered the best poker player without a WSOP gold bracelet. At the 2019 WSOP, Chidwick bucked that monkey off his back like the most turbulent bull does to a rider at a rodeo when he won the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller for $1.618 million. Shawn Buchanan was another player in the "best without a bracelet conversation," but, like Chidwick, he broke through at the 2019 WSOP, winning the $800 buy-in WSOP.com Online NL Six-Handed. Now that Chidwick and Buchanan have each won an elusive gold bracelet, let's take a look at who are the best players remaining without a bracelet entering the 2020 WSOP. Patrick Antonius CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 15 2 0 $929,518 Widely considered one of the best all-around players in poker for quite some time, Patrik Antonius is still missing a WSOP gold bracelet from his résumé. He's come close a couple of times, finishing in the top 10 on four occasions and placing at the final table twice, but he's never scored better than third place. Antonius has been known to pass on tournaments for cash games these days, but he's still a threat to win a bracelet in the bigger buy-in WSOP events when he does compete. Niklas Astedt CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 6 0 0 $110,645 Sweden's Niklas Astedt is one of the top-ranked online poker players in the world, but his live success hasn’t been too plentiful, especially at the WSOP. Astedt’s skills should not be overlooked, though. His first WSOP cash came in 2014 and his highest WSOP finish was a 26th-place result in the 2019 WSOP $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. He's also cashed in the WSOP Main Event on two occasions, with a 182nd-place finish in 2016 and a 899th-place finish in 2019. Mikita Badziakouski CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 4 4 1 $3,161,362 Mikita Badziakouski plays some of the biggest buy-in events around the world, and his career to date includes more than $26.1 million in live tournament earnings. At the WSOP, Badziakouski has four cashes. Each cash has been a final table appearance and each has come at WSOP Europe. If there's a high roller event on the WSOP schedule, Badziakouski will likely be in the field and a threat to win the gold bracelet. Darren Elias CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 28 3 0 $645,659 With four World Poker Tour titles and more than $7.5 million in live tournament earnings, it’s a matter of when, not if, Darren Elias will finally win WSOP gold. His first WSOP cash came in 2009. He has three WSOP final table appearances and two finishes in third place, although he’s never made it to heads-up play. The two times Elias finished in third came from the same event, the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship in 2017 and 2019. Alex Foxen CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 39 4 0 $808,918 Alex Foxen has been around the WSOP for a much shorter time than some of the players on this list, with his first WSOP cash coming in 2015. He has, however, built up quite the reputation as one of the best tournament poker players in the game today and it seems very much just a matter of time before he finds himself in the WSOP winner’s circle with his first gold bracelet. Already, Foxen has racked up 39 WSOP cashes and four final tables ahead of 2020. His highest finish to date was a third-place finish at the 2017 WSOP in a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Matt Glantz CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 61 13 1 $3,232.669 Pennsylvania's Matt Glantz has been around the WSOP block a few times, but he’s still looking for that first gold bracelet. Glantz first cashed in a WSOP in 2000 and he’s been producing everything but wins since, including 13 final table appearances. Glantz has reached heads-up play once and finished third on three occasions. At the 2019 WSOP, Glantz picked up his third WSOP Main Event cash. Mark Gregorich CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 69 11 1 $1,168,497 Mark Gregorich is another player on this list who has been around for quite some time, earning his first WSOP cash back in 1999. He has 69 cashes and 11 final table appearances at the WSOP, with one runner-up finish that came in the 2003 WSOP $5,000 Limit Hold’em event. Gregorich also has a trio of third-place finishes at the WSOP to date. Nick Guagenti CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 37 3 0 $583,181 Ohio's Nick Guagenti has 37 WSOP cashes with the first coming in 2006. He has three final table appearances. Guagenti's highest WSOP result came in 2019 when he took third in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for $85,265. His best finish in terms of money won came from his 46th-place finish in the 2017 WSOP Main Event, for which Guagenti won $145,733. Guagenti is a regular in mid- and high-stakes cash games in his region, and he also has 15 cashes on the WSOP Circuit. Christian Harder CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 53 2 0 $1,050,784 Christian Harder’s first WSOP cash came in 2009. He’s won titles elsewhere in the poker world, just not at the WSOP just yet. He’s been close before with a pair of fourth-place finishes and is known to put in a high amount of volume in the big bet games of No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. Maurice Hawkins CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 29 3 0 $623,240 Maurice Hawkins has been a longtime grinder of the WSOP and WSOP Circuit, racking up 29 WSOP cashes and 110 WSOP Circuit cashes. He has a whopping 14 WSOP Circuit gold rings, but Hawkins has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet. Hawkins has three WSOP final tables and they've come in big-field NL tournaments. With as many big-field NL events that are on the WSOP schedule these days, one has to figure that Hawkins is going to break through and win one at some point. Isaac Haxton CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 27 7 1 $2,923,424 Isaac Haxton is widely considered as one of the best minds in poker, and he’s certainly lived up to that with more than $27.6 million in live tournament earnings, millions more won in cash games, and who knows how much won online. The one thing he doesn’t have is a WSOP gold bracelet. Haxton has seven WSOP final table appearances and one runner-up result. The second-place finish came to Vitaly Lunkin in the 2009 WSOP $40,000 No Limit Hold’em. Maria Ho CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 55 5 1 $1,644,554 Maria Ho is another long-time regular at the WSOP, with cashes dating back to 2005. She has five final table appearances and one runner-up finish in WSOP events, and she’s known to mix it up in most of the games. Ho’s runner-up finish came to Allen Bari in the 2011 WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold’em. Ho has been the last woman standing in the WSOP Main Event on two occasions, 2007 and 2014, and she finished sixth in the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event. Ali Imsirovic CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 10 3 1 $583,986 Ali Imsirovic is one of the newest kids on the block in all of poker, not just the WSOP, and he’s quickly acquired a reputation of one of the game’s best when it comes to No Limit Hold’em tournaments. Imsirovic’s first WSOP cash came in 2017, so there isn’t a ton of sample to draw from, but he’s already made three WSOP final tables in top-level events and has one runner-up finish. Given his success in his young poker career, Imsirovic is considered one of the favorites any time he enters a high buy-in, No Limit Hold’em event. Rainer Kempe CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 31 3 0 $1,142,997 Rainer Kempe has won more than $21.3 million in his poker career and he’s been in the winner’s circle many times, but he’s yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet. His WSOP career is still pretty young, though. His first WSOP cash came in 2015, but over a short period of time he’s already earned 31 in-the-money finishes and more than $1.1 million in earnings. Kempe has been to a WSOP final table three times to date. Jason Koon CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 42 7 1 $1,789,462 For all of the poker success that Jason Koon has enjoyed over the course of his career, he’s still searching for his first WSOP gold bracelet. Koon has more than $31.1 million in live tournament earnings to date and his first WSOP cash came back in 2009. He has seven WSOP final table appearances and one runner-up result. Koon is similar to Haxton and Imsirovic in the sense that he’ll almost always be one of the favorites any time he enters a high buy-in, No Limit hold’em tournament. Timofey Kuznetsov CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 0 0 0 $0 Timofey Kuznetsov, also known as ‘Trueteller,’ is highly regarded in the poker community as one of the best, especially within the high-stakes community. He has zero WSOP cashes to date, but he simply doesn’t play a lot of tournaments. That said, Kuznetsov is still one of the best players in poker without a WSOP gold bracelet. Maria Lampropulos CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 27 0 0 $136,731 Maria Lampropulos first cashed a WSOP event in 2016 and that first year she walked away with five WSOP cashes in total. She followed that up with six cashes in 2017 and seven cashes in 2018. At the 2019 WSOP and WSOP Europe festivals, she cashed nine time. With partypoker MILLIONS and PCA Main Event wins on her résumé, both for seven-figure paydays, Lampropulos has shown she has the chops to compete in some of the biggest events in the world. Toby Lewis CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 24 0 0 $409,171 Toby Lewis’ first WSOP cash came in 2011 when he took 11th in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship. He’s racked up 24 WSOP cashes to date, but he’s never reached a WSOP final table. Tom Marchese CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 26 4 1 $1,295,638 A player with more than $19.1 million in live tournament earnings, Tom Marchese is often considered one of the better tournament players poker has to offer. He's yet to score a WSOP gold bracelet, though, but he has come close a few times, with four WSOP final tables and one runner-up finish. The time Marchese finished second was at the 2015 WSOP in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em tournament. Steve O‘Dwyer CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 18 2 0 $675,717 Like Haxton and like Koon, Steve O’Dwyer has a ton of live tournament winnings. O’Dwyer has scored more than $30.4 million from the live felt, plus plenty more online, and his first WSOP cash came in 2007. O’Dwyer is a player who put in more WSOP volume at the beginning of his career compared to what he does now, which could be holding him back in terms of winning his first gold bracelet. At this point in his career, it seems that if O'Dwyer does win a gold bracelet, it will come at WSOP Europe or a similar international WSOP stop. Adam Owen CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 34 5 0 $570,961 Adam Owen is another one of the younger guns on this list, but he’s widely regarded as one of the best all-around players in the game these days. Having earned his first WSOP cash in 2014, Owen has racked up 34 WSOP cashes to date, including five final tables and three third-place finishes. Owen has shown a propensity to perform well in the $10,000 buy-in championship events at the WSOP and many think that’s where he’ll earn his first gold bracelet from. Felipe Ramos CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 31 4 0 $526,047 One of best poker players to come out of Brazil is Felipe Ramos, with 31 WSOP cashes dating back to his first in 2009. Ramos is known as a solid player who can compete across all variants, and the more tools you have in your shed, the better when it comes to chasing gold bracelets. Ramos has four WSOP final tables and they've all come in Omaha. Three of those four final tables were in Pot Limit Omaha. Dario Sammartino CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 41 10 0 $9,927,947 Italy’s Dario Sammartino first cashed in a WSOP event in 2011 and he’s been performing very well ever since, except winning a WSOP gold bracelet is something he’s yet to achieve. Sammartino has found the money in WSOP events 41 times to date. Of those, he’s reached the final table on 10 occasions. Sammartino's biggest claim to World Series of Poker fame was a runner-up finish in the 2019 WSOP Main Event for $6 million. He's also one of the few players to have made the final table of both the WSOP Main Event and WSOP Europe Main Event in his career. Sammartino has learned how to play all the games and play them well, so don’t be surprised to see him finally win WSOP gold much sooner than later. Ole Schemion CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 6 1 0 $469,735 Although his WSOP results don’t pop off the page, Ole Schemion is one of the best players out there and an absolute force when it comes to poker tournaments. He’s amassed more than $16.3 million in live tournament earnings, numerous high roller victories, and one World Poker Tour title. He’s still in search of his first WSOP gold bracelet, though. In terms of winning WSOP gold, it’s very likely just a volume game for Schemion. If he puts in the volume, he’ll get it eventually and probably in the near future. It also works to his benefit that WSOP Europe looks as though it will remain at King’s Casino in Rozvadov where Schemion has shown success before, including a sixth-place finish in the 2019 WSOP Europe €100,000 Diamond High Roller for €341,510. Jake Schindler CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 33 4 0 $1,050,644 The first of two players named Jake on this list, Jake Schindler has 33 entries and four final tables at the WSOP entering 2020. His best finish was a third-place result in the 2014 WSOP $3,000 No Limit Hold'em for $212,373. Over his entire poker career, Schindler has more than $25 million in live tournament earnings. Jake Schwartz CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 60 3 1 $658,477 Jake Schwartz earned his first WSOP cash in 2012 and has built up 60 in-the-money finishes since. He was first widely known as a No Limit hold'em player but he's since branched out and has been playing more of the games. In 2013, Schwartz earned the top WSOP finish of his career when he took second in the $1,500 NL Shootout, earning $202,035. To date, he has two other WSOP final table appearances in addition to that one. Shannon Shorr CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 79 9 2 $2,217,846 When is Shannon Shorr going to finally win a WSOP gold bracelet? Shorr first cashed in a WSOP event back in 2006, which seems like ages ago when you consider he’s still very much on the younger side of poker players. Ever since that first WSOP cash, not a year has gone by that Shorr hasn’t racked up multiple WSOP cashes. Plus, he’s been very close on several occasions with nine final table appearances and two runner-up finishes. He also has a pair of third-place finishes. Shorr can play all of the games very well. Before Chidwick winning his bracelet, Shorr was right there at the top of this list with Chidwick. Dan Smith CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 36 10 1 $9,884,615 Another high roller with a knack for all the games, Dan Smith has been close to winning WSOP gold before but it just hasn’t happened for him yet. His first WSOP cash came in 2010. Since then, he’s earned 36 total WSOP cashes and won more than $9.8 million at the WSOP. He has 10 final table appearances, six third-place finishes, and one second-place finish in WSOP events. Like some of the other high rollers on this list, with Smith it feels like more of a volume game than anything. Christoph Vogelsang CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 13 6 0 $8,668,735 Christoph Vogelsang has come close at the WSOP on a handful of occasions, including two third-place finishes in a pair of the biggest events the WSOP has ever offered. In 2014, Vogelsang placed third in the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop for $4.48 million. In 2019, he took third in the WSOP Europe €250,000 Super High Roller for more than $1.3 million. If there's a big buy-in event at the WSOP, Vogelsang is considered a threat to win it. Mike Watson CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 63 11 4 $2,917,143 Mike Watson has been knocking at the WSOP gold bracelet door for several years now. His first WSOP cash came in 2007 and he’s put up more than 60 cashes to date since. Of the 11 WSOP final table appearances Watson has on record, four of the times he’s finished runner-up. Interestingly, Watson did win the €50,000 Majestic High Roller at the 2012 WSOP Europe, but it was an added non-bracelet event for the high rollers. Had that event been in a later year, it very likely would have been for a gold bracelet. Watson usually plays a high volume of events and can play all the games, much like Shorr, and it’s only a matter of time before he finally scores a WSOP gold bracelet. Jerry Wong CASHES FINAL TABLES RUNNER-UPS WINNINGS 38 7 0 $1,899,225 Jerry Wong may be most well known for reaching the now-defunct WSOP November Nine in 2016, when he finished eighth for more than $1.1 million, but he has plenty of other success at the WSOP. With 38 total WSOP cashes and seven final table appearances, the only thing left for Wong to do is win a gold bracelet. One would think that has to be on the horizon soon for Wong, who has the ability to compete highly in all of the games. His WSOP final table appearances have come in No Limit Deuce to Seven, Pot Limit Omaha, Big Bet Mix, Razz, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, H.O.R.S.E., and No Limit Hold'em.
  23. The Season XVIII World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic crowned its winner on Saturday, with Alex Foxen topping the record-breaking field of 1,035 entries to win the $1.694 million first-place prize. "It feels, I don't know… surreal," Foxen said in the moments following the win. "It’s kind of hard to put into words, but it feels amazing. The last time I got to this spot, I was a little bit disappointed in the way that I played heads up. It’s just incredible to get the opportunity again and be fortunate enough to pull out the win. I don’t have words." Back in Season XVI, Foxen found himself heads up with Ryan Tosoc in this very event. Tosoc had finished runner-up the year before and was back in heads-up play with a chance to better his previous result. Back then, Foxen couldn’t overcome Tosoc in what was a very lighthearted heads-up battle with plenty of fun had between the two and he had to settle for a second-place payout of $1.134 million. "I do feel like I was so excited about having that opportunity," Foxen said of the difference between his two WPT Five Diamond heads-up appearances. "I think that score I locked up was already five or six times my biggest score to date at that point, so there was an element of me feeling like I lost a little bit of focus and maybe didn’t take it as seriously as I should have because, regardless of the outcome of heads-up play, it was such an amazing result that in the moment I didn’t see the severity of that situation. I definitely didn’t make that same mistake twice." Much like Tosoc had redeemed his second-place finish with a victory the following season, Foxen came back two seasons after his runner-up finish to get the job done and capture the WPT Five Diamond throne. The victory gave Foxen his first WPT title. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Final Table Results 1st: Alex Foxen - $1,694,995 2nd: Toby Joyce - $1,120,040 3rd: Seth Davies - $827,285 4th: Peter Neff - $617,480 5th: Danny Park - $465,780 6th: Jonathan Jaffe - $355,125 Foxen came into Saturday’s final table in second position on the leaderboard with six players remaining. In fewer than 30 hands, Foxen had improved to the chip lead. Shortly after gaining the top spot, he knocked out WPT Champions Club member Jonathan Jaffe in sixth place. Although others did some damage of their own, such as Toby Joyce knocking out start-of-day chip leader Danny Park in fifth place and Seth Davies busting Peter Neff in fourth place, Foxen never gave up the lead once he had it. Three-handed play between Foxen, Joyce, and Davies lasted for quite some time. Even though both Joyce and Davies scored double ups during the battle, things never appeared to get away from Foxen as he stayed strong behind the wall of chips he built. Eventually, Davies’ stack shrunk and he got the last of his money in against Foxen in a dominated position. Foxen had the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"] to Davies’ [poker card="Ac"][poker card="5c"]. Davies, a WPT Champions Club member, did flop some outs to a chop but he was ultimately done in thanks to the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] board. Entering heads-up play with Joyce, Foxen had the chip lead with 29.5 million to Joyce’s 11.9 million, and the match was never really close. Joyce narrowed the gap ever so slightly at the beginning of the duel, but Foxen’s dominance was too much and he quickly started to distance himself. On the final hand, Foxen had limped on the button with the blinds at 200,000/400,000 with a 400,000 big blind ante. Joyce checked and the dealer fanned the [poker card="Jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop. Joyce checked, Foxen bet 400,000, and then Joyce check-raised to 1.1 million. Foxen put in a raise of his own and made it 2 million to go. Joyce called to see the [poker card="Kc"] land on fourth street. Joyce checked and Foxen shoved all in, for what was effectively 4.5 million because he had Joyce covered. Joyce tanked and used four 30-second time extensions to think things through. Joyce eventually made the call with the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9c"] for a pair of jacks, but Foxen had him out-kicked with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Js"]. The river was the [poker card="4c"] to seal the deal for Foxen. For his runner-up finish, Joyce scored $1.12 million in prize money. Fourth Consecutive Record Turnout for Five Diamond It was the fourth consecutive record-setting turnout for WPT Five Diamond, and this season’s 1,035 entries topped last season’s 1,001. The seasons prior to that were 812 entries for Season XVI and 791 entries for Season XV. In this event, the top 130 finished reached the money. Included in those to cash were Eric Afriat (9th - $168,005), Darren Elias (14th - $107,840), Chino Rheem (22nd - $60,435), Cary Katz (44th - $37,670), Kitty Kuo (67th - $26,220), Cliff Josephy (74th - $23,830), and Maria Ho (116th - $19,345). Also running deep was Timo Kamphues, who placed seventh in the Season XVIII WPT Five Diamond for $273,695. He has had quite the week of poker in Las Vegas, as just a few days prior to his run at Bellagio, Kamphues won the Wynn Poker Winter Classic $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournament for $202,787. Foxen Takes Player of the Year Lead With the victory, Foxen moved to first place in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year standings. Both Foxen and Joyce have the same amount of points, 1,400, but Foxen holds the tiebreaker of most money won. Joyce earned his second cash of the season and is currently second in the race. 1st: Alex Foxen - 1,400 points 2nd: Toby Joyce - 1,400 points 3rd: Donald Maloney - 1,300 points 4th: Aaron Van Blarcum - 1,275 points 5th: Geoffrey Hum - 1,250 points 6th: Milen Stefanov - 1,200 points 7th: Kevin Albers - 1,200 points 8th: Simon Brandstrom - 1,200 points 9th: Peter Neff - 1,150 points 10th: Seth Davies - 1,100 points WPT Gardens Poker Championship Up Next Up next for the WPT Main Tour is the WPT Gardens Poker Championship at the Gardens Casino in Southern California. The $10,000 buy-in event kicks off January 9, 2020, and runs through January 13.
  24. The Wynn Las Vegas poker room stepped up its holiday game this year with the first-ever Wynn Winter Classic. Anchoring the schedule was the $5,300 Championship and it attracted a field of 557 entries to generate a prize pool of $2.74 million. Taking home the inaugural title was Michael Rocco, who earned $540,800 in first-place prize money. Rocco defeated Michael Dyer in heads-up play to win the title. Dyer gained notoriety from his third-place finish in the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event, when he took home $3.75 million in prize money. For his runner-up finish in the Wynn Poker Winter Classic Championship, Dyer earned $353,242. Also placing at the final table were Louis Salter (4th - $168,312), Joe Kuether (5th- $124,690), and Adam Hendrix (8th - $63,852). Bubbling the final table was Galen Hall, who took home $45,987 for his 10th-place finish. Right behind him were notables Ankush Mandavia and Kahle Burns in 11th and 12th places, respectively. Mandavia also earned $45,987 and then Burns took home $39,474. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Final Table Results 1st: Michael Rocco - $540,800 2nd: Michael Dyer - $353,242 3rd: Ben Farrell - $239,789 4th: Louis Salter - $168,312 5th: Joe Kuether - $124,690 6th: Matt Yarra - $96,738 7th: Tomas Soderstrom - $77,006 8th: Adam Hendrix - $63,852 9th: Josh Bergman - $53,987 According to live reporting provided by PokerNews, the final hand between Rocco and Dyer saw Dyer open with a raise to 1 million and Rocco call to see the flop come down [poker card="Ks"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"]. Both players checked and the dealer landed the [poker card="Td"] on the turn. Rocco led for 2 million, Dyer called, and the river was the [poker card="2h"]. Rocco, having Dyer covered, shoved for effectively 9 million. Dyer called with the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qc"] for ace high. Rocco had him beat with the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="6h"] for two pair and won the tournament. Others to cash in the event were Shannon Shorr (15th - $34,325), Justin Bonomo (25th - $19,797), Matt Glantz (31st - $17,290), Maria Ho (39th - $15,101), and Cliff Josephy (54th - $11,619). Gerhart and Kamphues Also Score Big at Wynn The $5,300 Championship wasn’t the only big event as part of the 2019 Wynn Winter Classic schedule. Two events that stood out were the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee and $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee tournaments. In the $600 NL $250,000 Guarantee, a field of 727 entries generated a prize pool of $380,366. The top 80 places paid, and it was Kevin Gerhart walking away with the lion’s share of the prize pool. Gerhart won the event for a score of $69,561. In the $1,100 NL $500,000 Guarantee, a field of 1,230 entries created a prize pool of $1.204 million. Germany's Timo Kamphues emerged victorious to win $202,787. After this result, Kamphues went over to Bellagio and finished seventh in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $273,695.
  25. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In April, there was plenty of online poker news, including one player scoring a Sunday Million victory for the second time in eight weeks and operator approvals from Pennsylvania. For Second Time in 8 Weeks, 'Lucky_Jew_17' Wins Sunday Million Most online poker players dream of winning the PokerStars Sunday Million once in their lives, but the vast majority fall short of that goal. Not only did PokerStars player 'Lucky_Jew_17' achieve the highly sought-after feat of winning online poker's most iconic event, but he did it twice in the span of eight weeks. At the beginning of March, 'Lucky_Jew_17' topped a field of 11,525 entries in the PokerStars Sunday Million, taking home a career-best score of $117,222. On April 21, he won the event again with a very similar outcome. The second time around, 'Lucky_Jew_17' bested a field of 11,212 entries to earn $114,039 in first-place prize money. Earning the second Sunday Million title was made even sweeter for 'Lucky_Jew_17' because he had to top one of the top-ranked online poker players in the world to get the win. Finishing in second place was Sweden's 'Lena900.' [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Online Operators Approved in Pennsylvania In more online poker news that grabbed headlines in April, PokerStars and partypoker were among the operators approved for licenses in the state of Pennsylvania. PokerStars had previously linked up with Mount Airy Casino Resort in August 2018 so that it could eventually offer online poker in Pennsylvania, and partypoker's potential partnership comes through Valley Forge Casino, owned by Boyd Gaming. Boyd Gaming has a strategic partnership with GVC, who is the parent company of partypoker. The two global brands weren't the only operators that received approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, though. Joining PokerStars and partypoker as approved Pennsylvania online poker operators were WSOP/888poker, GAN and Kambi for Parx Casino, IGT, Rush Street, and Sands Bethlehem. Although the word was that legal online poker would be operational in Pennsylvania on July 15, the launch date was pushed back a handful of months. Eventually, PokerStars launched on Monday, November 4, and has been operating since, including recently completing its first run of the PokerStars PACOOP. Five-Way Chop in 13th Anniversary Sunday Million One week before 'Lucky_Jew_17' won his second PokerStars Sunday Million title in eight weeks, the 13th Anniversary Sunday Million took place. The two-day event started on Sunday, April 14, 2019, and attracted an enormous field of 61,342 entries. With a buy-in of $215, a prize pool of $12.268 million was generated, which easily surpassed the tournament's $10 million guarantee. Winning the event was 'wangli0402,' although he actually took home the second most money following a five-way chop. Earning the most money was fifth-place finisher 't4rz4n_21,' who took home $625,073. The other three players involved in the five-way deal were 'xbambi' (2nd - $550,689), 'idzake' (3rd - $509,664), and 'kacer148' (4th - $520,535). Quads Over Quads for Neeme at Run It Up Reno Things were good for Andrew Neeme on April 16, 2019. That's when he held pocket nines and flopped quads against John Snyder. Unfortunately for Snyder, he held pocket fives and flopped a full house. Little did Snyder know, he was drawing dead. If you thought the [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"][poker card="5s"] was bad for Snyder and his [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"], things only got worse for him when the turn brought the [poker card="5d"] to give him quads fives. With Neeme holding the [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"], Snyder was not going to win this hand despite the cartwheels he was doing inside. The result was caught on the Run It Up Reno stream and resulted in one of the most epic bad beats you will ever see. Moorman Honored with PocketFives Legacy Award Another big happening in the poker world in April was the first-ever Global Poker Awards, as the industry got together to celebrate some of the game's best across a wide variety of categories. Among those to take home hardware were Maria Ho for Broadcaster of the Year, Ali Imsirovic for Breakout Player of the Year, and Paul Campbell for Tournament Director of the Year. One of the best moments of the night focused on the presentation of the PocketFives Legacy Award. The award was presented to the one and only Chris Moorman, as an honor for a player who has collected more accolades over the course of his online poker career than any player in the 15-year history of PocketFives.com. Moorman boasts more than $16.2 million in online earnings, 30 PocketFives Triple Crowns, two Yearly PLB titles, and he's been ranked #1 in the world on 13 separate occasions.

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