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One might think that with the holidays on the horizon December would be a quiet month of people spending time with their family. Not for the world of poker. December 2018 was full of record-breaking tournaments and huge headlines. Here are some of the names that made the news in December. Dan Smith Makes A Difference For the past five years, regular high-roller Dan Smith has been collecting donations for various charities at Christmas time. This year, Smith and his collaborators amassed $1.29M for the Double Up Drive and that they would use to match donations to spread to 10 carefully cultivated charities. They nearly got that amount in a single day when DFS champion Tom Crowley promised to give 50% of any winnings he might make from the DraftKings World Championship Final. Crowley, known as ‘ChipotleAddict’, went on to win the event for $2 million and over the weekend hauled in a total of $2.254 - half of which was donated to the Double Up Drive. The donation was ‘surreal’ but Smith wants to make sure people knew that donations of any size are welcome. “I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference,” Smith told PocketFives. “People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all.” READ: Dan Smith Charity Drive Gets “Surreal” $1.1M Donation via DFS Champ Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V The fifth edition of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl saw Isaac Haxton best the field of 36 elite players to earn a career-high cash of $3.672 million dollars. “This is easily the best tournament result I’ve ever had and it’s an event I love. It feels great to win here at ARIA. This is the highlight of my tournament career, no doubt,” said Haxton after the win. The final table was replete with talent including Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic, Igor Kurganov, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Stephen Chidwick, and eventual runner-up Alex Foxen. Foxen took home a career-best $2.1 million for his second-place finish. This capped off an amazing year that saw him earn 12 cashes of six-figures or better as well as rise to become the #1-ranked player on the GPI. READ: Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl for $3.672 Million READ: Alex Foxen’s Drive Takes Him to the Super High Roller Bowl The World Series of Poker Releases 2019 Dates Just before Christmas the World Series of Poker delivered players an early present by announcing a partial schedule of the 2019 WSOP. This summer will be the 50th anniversary for the longest-running tournament series and to help commemorate the occasion the WSOP is planning a number of special events for the players. The schedule included the announcement of the ‘Big 50’, a $500 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and a $1 million guarantee for first place. Additionally, in an extra effort to “make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around” many of the marquee events of the summer have an increased starting stack. This includes the WSOP Main Event which is increasing their starting stack to 60,000. READ: WSOP Releases 2019 Dates, New ‘Big 50’ Event - $500 Buy-in, $5M GTD Dylan Linde Wins WPT Five Diamond for $1.6 Million The crypto crash of 2018 has some in the industry fearing that the numbers for the World Poker Tour’s highlight event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, might see a dip in registration. However, just the opposite happened as players flocked to the Bellagio in record-setting numbers. The event attracted 1001 runners and generated a prize pool of $9.7 million. In the end, longtime poker pro Dylan ‘ImaLucSac’ Linde (who re-entered five times in the event) dominated a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Ping Liu, Lisa Hamilton, Barry Hutter and runner-up Milos Skrbic. Linde won a career-high $1.6 million and earned the title of WPT Champion. READ: Dylan Line Wins Record-Shattering WPT Five Diamond Title for $1.6 Million Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio, Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online. partypoker’s 2018 $20M GTD MILLIONS Online did not disappoint. The incredible online tournament surpassed its posted guarantee and set the record for the largest single online tournament in history with players vying for a first place prize of over $2.6M. In the end, after one hand of heads-up play, Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and PocketFiver Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede settled on a lightning-fast chop that awarded both players over $2.3M. Rubio, technically, earned the victory, taking home $20K more than De Goede and now owns the record for the single largest online payday in history. READ: Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop partypoker MILLIONS Online A December To Remember December was just one of those month’s where huge news seemed to break every day. Here are some of the other must-read major headlines in December. Michigan opens its doors to online poker. READ: Michigan Becomes Fifth State to Regulate Online Poker The poker world loses a legend in the passing of Thor Hansen. READ: Thor Hansen Passes Away at 71 The pitch black bathroom bet comes to an abrupt end. READ: The $100K Bathroom Prop Ends Early; Alati, Young Agree on $62K Buyout Bay 101’s Shooting Star returns without the WPT behind it. READ: After a Year Away, Bay 101 Shooting Star Returns With New Look
Poker players received an early Christmas present from the World Series of Poker on Thursday with the announcement of key dates for the 50th Annual WSOP. The summer festival will take place at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino from May 28 to July 16. It’s a milestone for the longest-running tournament series, and as such the World Series of Poker has a number of special events to commemorate the occasion. The 'Big 50' The first of the celebratory events is the 'Big 50.' The new addition to the schedule offers players a $500 rake-free shot at a bracelet. The tournament, which takes place on opening weekend, comes with a $5,000,000 guarantee and promises no less than $1,000,000 to the winner. The WSOP is hoping The Big 50 will be one of their biggest tournaments of all time. “We’re excited to commence our golden event,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We expect our opening weekend Big 50 event to be one of the largest in our history, and certainly one of the best value tournaments ever offered. This is part of our concerted plans to make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around.” The Big 50 kicks off on May 30 and has four starting flights. While a structure sheet is not available, players will start with a 50,000 starting stack and play 50-minute levels. Players are allowed one re-entry per starting flight. The initial buy-in for the Big 50 is rake-free, with all $500 going directly into the prize pool. Subsequent re-entries, including entries into future starting flights, are subject to rake. The Main Event The WSOP Main Event gets underway on July 3 and plays out to completion on July 16. Wall-to-wall broadcast coverage will place on both ESPN and PokerGO. For the 50th WSOP, the Main Event will be just a little deeper than in years past with a 60,000 starting stack but will continue to be a freeze out with two-hour levels. Other events announced include the return of the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, both the $1,000 Double Stack and $1,500 Monster Stack, the 888poker sponsored $888 Crazy Eights and the popular $1,000 Seniors Event. 2019 World Series of Poker Key Events DATE EVENT BUY-IN CHIPS LEVELS RE-ENTRY GUARANTEE START TIME (PT) 5/30 Big 50 NLHE $500 50,000 50 min 1/flight $5M $1M for 1st 11 a.m. 5/31 " $500 50,000 50 min 1/flight 11 a.m. 6/1 " $500 50,000 50 min 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/2 " $500 50,000 50 min 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/7 Millionaire Maker NLHE $1,500 25,000 60 min 1/flight $1M for 1st 10 a.m. 6/8 " $1,500 25,000 60 min 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/13 Seniors NLHE (50+) $1,000 20,000 60 min 1 10 a.m. 6/14 Double Stack NLHE $1,000 40,000 60 min 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/15 " $1,000 40,000 60 min 1/flight 10 a.m. 6/21 Monster Stack NLHE $1,500 50,000 60 min - 10 a.m. 6/22 " $1,500 50,000 60 min - 10 a.m. 6/28 Crazy Eights NLHE $888 40,000 30/60 min Day 1/2 Unlimited $888,888 for 1st 10 a.m./5 p.m. 6/29 " $888 40,000 30/60 min Day 1/2 Unlimited 10 a.m. 6/30 " $888 40,000 30/60 min Day 1/2 Unlimited 10 a.m. 7/3 WSOP ME - Day 1a $10,000 60000 2 hrs. - - 12 p.m. 7/4 Day 1b $10,000 60000 2 hrs. - - 12 p.m. 7/5 Day 1c $10,000 60000 2 hrs. - - 12 p.m. A notable difference in each of these events for 2019 is the starting stacks being given to players. In every event, the starting stacks have been dramatically increased. Some of which have been augmented as much as four times as in previous years. Though all of the announced dates and tournaments are subject to change, players can now begin planning their summer of bracelet hunting around a few of these key, large field tournaments. WSOP officials will announce the entire 2019 World Series of Poker schedule in the first quarter of 2019.
Six days of poker in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil culminated in an 11-hour final table on Sunday night as American Marty Mathis overcame one of Brazil's top-ranked online players in Bruno Volkmann to win the partypoker MILLIONS South America Main Event for $774,500. One time Brazilian Series of Poker Sao Paulo and PokerStars Sunday Millions champion Caio Hey began the final table on the short stack and he was not able to make a major pay jump. Samuel Gagnon raised from the hijack with the [poker card="7s"][poker card="7c"] and Hey looked down at the [poker card="2h"][poker card="2d"] in the small blind and three-bet shipped his short stack. Gagnon called and Hey needed help to stay alive. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="qc"][poker card="7h"] giving Gagnon a set and before the turn even hit Hey began saying his goodbyes. The board completed with the [poker card="4h"] and the [poker card="9c"] as Hey made his way to the cashier to receive his $255,936 sixth place prize. It took another hour and a half of action before the next player hit the rail. After a cutoff raise from Volkmann, the surging Mathis called from the button with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. Vlada Stojanovic then shipped his short stack from the big blind holding [poker card="ts"][poker card="tc"]. Volkmann got out of the way and Mathis quickly called. The flop came [poker card="3h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="qd"] giving Mathis the nut flush draw to go with his two over cards. Stojanovic’s tens couldn’t hold as the [poker card="9h"] arrived on the turn, effectively ending the hand. Serbia’s Stojanovic picked up a career-high cash of $307,123 for his fifth place finish. Four-handed play lasted for almost four hours before Volkmann found yet another victim. With blinds of 1,000,000/2,000,000, Gagnon raised to 4,500,000 from UTG with [poker card="qh"][poker card="7h"] and Volkmann called from the button with [poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"]. The flop came [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3h"] and Gagnon checked and then called after Volkmann bet 5,500,000. The turn was the [poker card="4h"] and Gagnon checked again. Volkmann bet 12,500,000 and Gagnon called again. After the [poker card="kc"] river, Gagnon checked and Volkmann moved all in. Gagnon took some before calling all in only to see Volkmann show his turned set. Gagnon was out in fourth place for $370,000. Following Gagnon’s elimination, the three remaining players came to terms on a deal. Volkmann, who had nearly half the chips in play at this point, ended up with the biggest cut, taking home $687,500. Mathis earned Mathis $662,500 and Matas Cimbolas pocketed $558,000 with an additional $212,000 going to the eventual champion. Just 20 minutes later, Cimbolas was sent to the rail. Cimbolas raised to 5,000,000 from the button, Volkmann folded the small blind and Mathis defended his big blind. The flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5s"]. Mathis check-raised Cimbolas' bet of 4,000,000 to 11,100,000 and Cimbolas called. The turn was the [poker card="9s"] and Mathis bet 40,000,000. Cimbolas moved all in for 42,400,000 and Mathis called. Cimbolas tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] but Mathis showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"]. The meaningless river was the [poker card="9s"] and Cimbolas, who finished runner-up at a World Poker Tour event just last week, was out in third place for $R2,232,000 ($558,000). That pot gave Mathis 54.5% of the chips in play as heads up action began. A little less than an hour into heads up play, Volkmann doubled into the chip lead but in the two hours that followed, Mathis continued to work his way back into the top spot. With Volkmann down to just seven big blinds, the Brazilian moved all in with [poker card="qd"][poker card="2s"] and Mathis called with [poker card="qc"][poker card="8c"]. Volkmann couldn’t even find a chop on a [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="ts"] runout to give Mathis the title and a career-high score. Final Table Payouts Marty Mathis - $774,500 Bruno Volkmann - $687,500 Matas Cimbolas - $558,000 Samuel Gagnon - $370,000 Vlada Stojanovic - $300,000 Hey Carlos De Lima - $250,000