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Found 104 results

  1. In early 2019, having become one of the most respected heads-up No Limit Hold’em players in the world across a decade of high stakes online crushing, Kevin Rabichow decided to switch gears and commit his time and energy to live tournaments. Six months later, he finished second in the partypoker Millions Montreal $10K for $484,460. “It was kind of surreal,” Rabichow said from his home in Toronto. “The speed at which I went from being lukewarm on travelling for tournaments to having my phone blowing up with 200 friends all railing me, it was cool. And it was totally foreign to me.” Prior to that score, Rabichow - who is more than a million in profit over two million online hands - was used to a solitary grind and had only experienced the “miserable side” of live tournaments. “I’d reluctantly go to an event, brick everything, then have a drink with other guys who also bricked everything and talk about variance,” he said. But now he’d experienced the amazing side. Now he understood why people loved them and why they were worth dedicating his time to. To date, he’s cashed for more than $2 million in live and online events under the screen names 'KRab42' and 'Barewire'. He had a big year of tournament travel planned for 2020. Then the world shut down. ---- You might be familiar with Rabichow from his work as an Elite Pro at Run It Once. While building his bankroll and earning the respect of his peers in high stakes heads-up no limit, Rabichow was also building a reputation as one of the most sought-after coaches in poker. “I definitely had an influx of coaching work [during lockdown],” he said. “Part of that was natural because of the circumstances and part of that was a deliberate effort to shift more of my attention to coaching.” Like all of us, lockdown presented some challenges within his personal life (“I used to strongly prioritise getting out of the house and seeing people and playing sports”). But he’d made connections on his live poker excursions and with people stuck at home, his phone kept ringing. “A lot of people reached out to me pretty early saying this is a good time for them to work on their strategy and get coaching. By late summer, I had comfortably committed myself to the quality of work with my students rather than my own play.” Coaching comes naturally to Rabichow, who has been doing it on a private basis as far back as 2009. With a competitive schooling background (he went to a top high school before studying Economics at the University of Chicago) he has always been theoretically minded. “Strategy discussion and the theoretical side of things has always been a natural draw for me,” he said. “I think that would have been my place in whatever community I joined. It just happened to be poker.” Rabichow was first exposed to poker in high school after a friend latched on to play money games as a hobby. “We’d meet at my house and play at the weekends,” he told me. “Sometimes we’d meet up to study for school for a few hours then play poker the rest of the night.” Right away he immersed himself in strategy and got caught up in the nuance of how to play well. “I didn’t just play for the sake of fun.” Always methodical, Rabichow remembers a blog post he wrote on a now-defunct platform tracking his results in his $2 home games. “I was taking it so seriously. In retrospect, it’s kind of funny.” When he went to university and roomed with his high school friend, they began playing online poker immediately. If he wasn’t taking care of schoolwork, he was interacting on Two Plus Two and swapping strategies in MSN chat groups. “Back in 2010, if you had a good network, you could move up the heads-up no limit stakes once a month,” Rabichow told me. “The acceleration was so fast, but strategically speaking, we were probably getting better very slowly.” By 2011 he was playing $10/$20 heads up cash on Full Tilt, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, “the three worst sites to be playing on in 2011.” He graduated that year and was moments away from signing a lease on a Chicago apartment that would become his grind station. “I wasn't really looking into jobs or anything at this point. I was so involved in the community and felt pretty good about my strategy and results.” Then Black Friday happened. “I was just about to turn pro when I got a call telling me the sky was falling,” he said. He didn’t sign the lease. He had to reconsider everything. Three months later Rabichow headed to Canada and set up shop in Toronto with friends, their only plan being to play as much online poker as they could. Things really took off. “I took a big financial hit from Black Friday but now I was in a position where I felt I was going to be successful,” he said. “It was like an incubator for accelerating my growth rate. We were exchanging ideas all the time. We played 12-14 hours a day for two years straight. By 2013, I had really hit my stride as a professional player.” He took life strides too. Not content with life behind a desk, Rabichow really made Toronto his home, finding new friendships, falling in love, and forging a new passion in the local Ultimate Frisbee community. All the while he was making heads-up no limit training videos. “When I started playing, lots of people were making heads-up content [Rabichow lists Jay Rosenkrantz and Emil 'Whitelime' Patel as the creators he watched the most], but by 2014 I was pretty much the only one.” A friend suggested he send his videos to Phil Galfond’s training site, Run It Once, who subsequently signed him as an Elite Pro. “They were really supportive of whatever I wanted to make. They're great to work with.” But with so many hours of work required to become successful in poker, burn out is fairly common. When Rabichow felt exhausted, he’d throw himself into ultimate frisbee or daydream about training as a chef. “80% of my YouTube subscriptions are cooking channels,” he said. For a while, tournaments had totally eclipsed cash games in terms of popularity. The format Rabichow had dedicated his career had begun to feel stale to him. “Lobbies were full of people sitting and waiting for a live one,” he said. “When a live one sat down, you’d just clean them out. The edges were massive. They basically had no hope of winning. It became a nasty environment.” Rabichow had never approached heads up from the angle that he wanted to play all of the best players in the world and thus be recognised as the best. “I just wanted to be very proficient and make money,” he said. “But at some point, it stopped being exciting and fulfilling.” Instead, Rabichow wanted to focus on tournaments. That is until 2020 became the year of high profile, stay-at home, heads-up duels. ---- When Rabichow first became known in the heads-up world, one-on-one grudge matches were a weekly occurrence. “It was so common because it was so hard to tell who was better than one another,” he told me. “There was no standard for good play.” These days, the matches are so widely seen thanks to Twitch and YouTube, and so closely scrutinised by viewers, that it creates a sports-like environment, something Rabichow enjoys. “I think heads-up battles with streams and side betting are here to stay. I'm pretty excited about that.” When Doug Polk began training for his match against Daniel Negreanu, Rabichow was one of the players Polk played a session against. The two talked afterwards and Rabichow gave Polk an honest assessment of his play. Rabichow followed the match closely (like much of the poker world, he had wagers on it) and enjoyed the spectacle of it all. “Neither of them has released much content yet, but I was hoping we’d see more around their preparation and the day-to-day work,” he said. “That’s the stuff I’m interested in. How did they prepare? What did they prioritise? What techniques did they use to go from scratch to a top-tier heads-up player? These are extra layers I’d love to see highlighted in future matches like that.” Don’t expect to see Rabichow take part in any grudge matches though. He’ll continue to coach others in heads up, taking on new clients through his website, but his focus will remain firmly on live tournaments when the tours resume safely. “I have no intention of leaving tournaments behind just because of a hiccup in the schedule and availability,” he said. “Everything that was promising about tournaments in 2019 is going to be twice as promising in 2022. Any time I’m not spending on coaching I’m spending on tournament preparation. I just want to be as prepared as possible.” With the majority of the world still on pause, Rabichow has had time to reflect on his incredible career and goals for the future. “I’d like to have a positive impact on the poker industry,” he told me. “I feel compelled to be a voice reason, to be fair, to promote the good things we could be doing.” One of those being Run It Once Poker, the poker room extension of Galfond’s training site. In February 2020, the company announced that Rabichow was to become their first Team Pro. He’s been locked down ever since, but Rabichow seems thrilled with his life in Toronto, the city he’s called home since moving there in his early twenties. His coaching services have never been so in demand. He’s built a great life with his girlfriend. He cooks and imitates YouTube chefs daily, posting the results to his Instagram. He practises Ultimate Frisbee and even coaches others. He only plays poker when he feels like it. “It's not lost on me that I'm ridiculously lucky to live my day-to-day life how I do and actually have an income,” he told me. “In other careers, I might struggle because of my attachment and intense focus. But in poker, it’s perfect.”
  2. The “HU4Rollz” revival gained more even momentum over the past week when high-stakes tournament pro Fedor Holz and nosebleed cash game crusher Wiktor ‘limitless’ Malinowski agreed to battle each other in a live streamed, high-stakes heads-up challenge beginning on March 5. The pair have settled on a four-session challenge of $100/$200 Heads-up NLHE that will kick off on Friday, March 5 at 12:45 ET. Subsequent sessions will be played on March 8, March 10, and March 12. When the action kicks off they will be sitting 100bb deep and fans will get to watch live on GGPoker.TV on a 30-minute delay. The origins of the challenge dated back to August 2020 when Malinowski joined Joey Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast where he issued a challenge to play any player in the world heads up, at whatever stakes they want. In that same interview, Malinowski targeted Holz, calling him out specifically and even offering that he would play while drunk. Over six months after Malinowsky’s appearance, Holz responded by posting a short video on Twitter where he essentially took Malinowsky up on his offer. “I just want to get back to that offer you made on Joey’s podcast, to play me drunk whenever I want, whatever stakes I want. So yea…let’s fucking do it. I challenge you,” Holz said. Holz is well-known for his tournament prowess having accumulated more than $32 million in total tournament live earnings, including eight seven-figure scores. Just weeks after getting called out by Malinowski, Holz went on to win the 2020 World Series of Poker $25K Heads Up event for $1,077,250, his second career gold bracelet. Holz is also a former worldwide #1-ranked online player, having held the top spot on three different occasions dating back to 2014. Malinowski has a reputation as one of the most respected online nosebleed cash game pros in the game today. He started his journey by playing freerolls in 2014 and achieved success at every buy-in level along the way, eventually reaching the elite levels of the high-stakes. Not one to be short on confidence, Malinowski accepted this challenge with Holz even though he’s currently embroiled in another high-stakes challenge against Stefan ‘Stefan11222’ Burakov, which has seen him lose as much as $550,000 in a single week. The challenge looks to be another treat for fans of the format who have had a number of exciting challenges to follow in the past year. It was in April 2020 that Phil Galfond captured the attention of the poker world with his million-dollar comeback against ‘Venivivi1993’ in the first of the Galfond Challenges. Then, of course, the three-month-long High Stakes Feud between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu came to a conclusion in February, with Polk booking a win of more than $1.2 million. Now fans will have the opportunity to watch these two high-stakes heavyweights go at it exclusively on GGPoker in the four-session stretch. Billed by the online operator as “The Prince of Poker vs. The Notorious End Boss”, GGPoker is also promising expert commentary, exclusive interviews, and promotions surrounding the event.
  3. 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. A busy week in the poker world gives Lance and Donnie plenty to discuss on this episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast. For the first time in nearly a year, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion in a live venue with a nearly record-sized field turning up for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock. That wasn't the only headline that the World Poker Tour found itself in this week. The company was sold to an investment firm for more than $78 million and they also announced a new online series with a brand new partner. The Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge is nearly 80% complete with Polk bringing a new strategy to the table that seems to have tilted his opponent. Polk maintains his position as the leader but a big win by Negreanu has given his fans and backers some hope. The guys also discuss the ending of the Phil Galfond vs. Chance Kornuth match in the Galfond Challenge, the Winamax Team Pro who qualifies for dumbest multi-accounter of all time, and give American online poker players some hope for a brighter future. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  4. The latest Galfond Challenge came to an abrupt end over the weekend when challenger Chance Kornuth conceded the heads-up match roughly 10,000 hands shy of the finish, awarding Phil Galfond another challenge victory and a payday worth over $976,000. Kornuth booked the $100/$200 heads-up Pot Limit Omaha heads-up challenge with Galfond at the start of 2020 in what was expected to be a 35,000 hand event. In addition to the money on the table, the pair agreed to a side bet in which the favorite, Galfond laid four-to-one to Kornuth, risking $1 million to Kornuth’s $250,000. Over the past four months, the pair battled online each taking turns holding the lead. However, as the challenge approached the 25,000 hand mark, Galfond extended his lead up over $680,000. On Saturday, during session #50, Kornuth lost a pair of critical all-ins. Then, during a break in the action, Kornuth conceded the challenge. “It was a heck of a battle that didn’t really go my way down the stretch and Phil played great,” Kornuth said just moments after conceding. In a joint interview after the match, Kornuth was asked if he knew that he was going to call it early. He discussed the fact that he had sold a package that was based on $1 million. Once he had started the day on a downswing he took a look at the numbers which showed that his in-game loss of $726,500 plus the loss of the $250,000 side bet would put him critically close to his maximum loss amount. So, during the break he let Galfond know that he was ready to quit. “Even though I lost, I actually, surprisingly, enjoyed the battle,” Kornuth said. “I’d been grinding tournaments for the last few years and I really forgot how much I truly do enjoy the heads up battle.” Once again, Galfond was a gracious winner. Galfond joined the interview and praised Kornuth’s toughness as an opponent while discussing the strategies that did and didn’t work against him. “The beginning of the challenge was definitely, especially, mentally draining because Chance was playing so many spots that in ways that were very exploitative or my tendencies or population tendencies. And he was adjusting quickly,” Galfond said. “It funny when you’re playing an exploitative player and you’re one as well because I would imagine that, like, 70% of the things that I thought he was doing - he was. And then 30% was just in my head and I was counter-adjusting to things that weren’t even there,” Galfond said. Galfond is now three-for-three in his string of challenges. His first victory came in dramatic fashion when he battled back from a roughly $1,000,000 deficit to defeat online cash game pro ‘Venividi1993’ over 25,000 hands for the €100,000 side bet. In May 2020, he completed another 15,000 hand challenge against Greek grinder Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonstsios where he booked a €114,000 profit plus an additional €150,000 in side bet action. Over the course of the three challenges, Galfond has won more than $1.4 million in on-the-felt and side bet earnings. After his victory against Kornuth, Galfond talked about the differences in preparation and study against online specialists like ‘Venividi1993’ in comparison to a more exploitative player like Kornuth. “At first, I kind of approached it the same way but it was way, way different. Because I feel like when I found something that I could take advantage of against ‘Veni’ or ‘ActionFreak’, not that there were very many things, I felt like I could rely on it for weeks,” Galfond said. “But with Chance, that’s not the case. It kind of became almost a waste of energy to spend a ton of time looking back on hands and trying to figure out his range construction in different spots and a counter-strategy.” “So I started to, towards the end of the challenge, prioritize resting my mind because I felt just too burnt out trying to make all these reads and strategy adjustments and plans and I feel like I wasn’t performing as well and so in the second half of the challenge I feel like a lot more of my focus went to performance than specific strategic studying.” Galfond wasn’t alone in feeling burnt out as Kornuth expressed some relief at the challenge coming to an end. Additionally, in between the time that he accepted the challenge in early 2020 and the conclusion, Kornuth became a father for the first time. “It’s really weird, I almost feel better not that it’s over than I did yesterday,” Kornuth said. “It’s almost a relief that it’s over. Obviously, I gave it my all and tried to win but it’s kind of a weird feeling. I expected to be more dejected today than yesterday but I actually feel surprisingly good.” When discussing what’s next for him, Kornuth said he planned to “focus on being a dad” as well as marketing the latest programs of his online poker training site Chip Leader Coaching. Galfond also expressed that he planned on spending time with family and putting work in on his own Run It Once training site. Although the start of the next Galfond Challenge is still up in the air, Galfond did note that there are a number of battles left on the horizon. There’s a challenge with Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, a live challenge against Brandon Adams, and the resumption of his challenge against Bill Perkins but with no plans to travel out of the country, Galfond indicated that those will have to wait.
  5. 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. Don't miss another all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie recap all of the most important news and results from this week in the world of poker. This week, the poker world was abuzz with the fiasco at the live Midway Poker Tour that left players who made a deep run collecting "precious metals" in lieu of an immediate cash payout. Plus GGPoker took a hard stance against online RTA usage by banning a number of accounts on their site and returning over $1 million to players. Social media was in full form this week as Phil Galfond unexpectedly praised Phil Hellmuth for his performance on Poker Central's The Duel and Dan Bilzerian put Jean-Robert Bellande on blast over some live game shenanigans. Also, the guys salute the late Darvin Moon and his contribution to poker as the runner-up in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  6. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land poker players were playing, getting in one last hand. The bad-regs were grinding at the tables with care in hopes that some run good soon would be theirs. The locals were nestled, all snug in their seats, with visions of jackpots brought on by bad beats. Playing live on the strip, no PokerBros app. Is that Mike Postle with his phone in his lap? When out in the lobby, someone backed up a truck. I sprang from my seat to see what the f**k. There was Doug Polk celebrating a win, and Joey beside him, a shit-eating grin. The scene was electric, a buzz filled the air. Like Galfond’s big comeback, I’m glad I was there. When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear? A high-stakes affair, the big game was here! With cameras, lights, and high society stacks, a commentary team of Schulman and Platt. As if from a chimney, the great Mori came and he whistled and shouted and called them by name: “It’s Ivey, and Dwan! There’s Doyle and Gus Hansen! Daniel and Bellande! That’s Dan Bilzerian!” They all took a seat Stacking chips with a grin “Splash away! Splash away! Let’s go all-in!” They got ready to play, the rail became deep. I was pushed to the back, it was hard just to see. But then the crowd parted, Daniel stood on his seat, he said “We need one more!” and he pointed at me. Nervous but ready I knew this was my chance. A seat with the best, a trip to the dance. A Perkins-sized buy-in, it’s all on the line. Like Mike versus Teddy, it’s my time to shine. They shuffled and dealt, chips and cards flew. I was tight, I was snug, it was all I could do. The pros were relentless, betting and raising. The pots quickly grew, these guys were amazing. Finally the time to play a hand had arrived. With joy I looked down, I spied Pocket Fives I opened with a raise, but Ivey three-bet. Folded back to me, should I mine for a set? I looked in his eyes, not a read to be had. The poker world will see this, will math nerds be mad? I called and I gulped and awaited the flop. Ivey laughed, turned to Doyle, and said “We’re on for props!” An ace and a queen with a five in the door. Ivey didn’t slow down, he bet even more. Just what I wanted, I set the trap. “Let’s play for it all”, I pushed in my stack. Ivey snap-called, like I hoped he would do. He flipped over his cards, he flopped top two. We just had to hold, I showed down my set. The turn was a deuce, we’re not safe just yet. I used my ”one time”, I prayed to St. Nick The river was dealt, “It’s a brick, it’s a brick!” With the pot pushed my way, Ivey vanished from sight “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
  7. The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event continued on Sunday as United States-based players located in Nevada and New Jersey took their shot at the lone $10,000 buy-in Day 1 flight on WSOP.com in a bid to become the next WSOP World Champion. At the end of 12 hours of play, the field of 705 players had just 71 remaining and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva emerged as the overnight chip leader with 1,930,067 in chips. He is followed by ‘vforvictoria’ who sits in a close second place with 1,792,716 in chips and ‘Samthedog76’ who rounds out the top three with 1,529,044 in chips. The healthy field size propelled the prize pool to $6,768,000, far-and-away the largest prize pool in regulated U.S. online poker history. And just like the international portion of the Main Event which held its opening flights on GGPoker, both the first and second-place finishers will be guaranteed paydays of more than $1 million dollars. Final Table Payouts [table id=143 /] The U.S.-based field featured plenty of big-time poker stars and previous WSOP bracelet winners. But at the end of a full 12 hours of play, just 71 from the Day 1 field still had a shot at making the final table which is set to play out live at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on December 28. The tournament got underway at 12:00 noon local time (3:00 pm ET) with players set to play 22 full 30-minute levels. And while it would take nearly all of the 12-hour day before the final 107 players made the money, the first elimination came swiftly - just a few hands into the tournament. In a classic set-up hand, Chris ‘Pay_Son’ Staats found himself with pocket aces and ‘ATOWNLEWIS’ woke up with pocket kings. After a preflop raising war, all their chips made it into the middle with Staats’ aces holding up and 'ATOWNLEWIS's day ending early. But it wasn’t long before ‘ATOWNLEWIS’ had some company on the rail, as plenty of notable names busted well before the money. Chris Hunichen, Aaron Mermelstein, James Carroll, and 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth all made their exits in the first half of the day. Of course, Hellmuth was by no means the only previous bracelet winner unable to advance to Day 2. Phil Galfond, Eric Baldwin, Nathan Gamble, Michael Gagliano, Brandon Adams, Ben Yu, Chance Kornuth, Mike Matusow, Connor Drinan, Michael Mizrachi, as well as former #1-ranked pros Bryan Piccioli, Calvin Anderson, and Shaun Deeb were among those that will have to wait until next year to add to their gold bracelet totals. Daniel Negreanu’s bid for a seventh bracelet, as well as cashing in on a number of $100,000 bracelet bets, came to an end as well. Soon after Adrian ‘Partee’ Buckley had the unfortunate distinction of bubbling the Main Event, when his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] lost to ‘Samthedog76’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] in heartbreaking fashion on a [poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="th"] runout, Negreanu himself busted out of the tournament, collecting a min-cash of $14,890. Joining Negreanu in surviving the bubble, but not the day included Ian Steinman (105th, $14,890), Jed Hoffman (102nd, $14,890), Matt Affleck (97th, $14,890), Lauren Roberts (88th, $15,566), David Coleman (76th, $15,566) and eight-time WSOP Circuit Ring and gold bracelet winner Michael Lech (74th, $15,566). While many notable names are no longer in the hunt for the 2020 title, there are plenty of players to keep an eye on when play resumes. Taylor Von Krigenbergh and Galen Hall both have top-ten stacks. Fan favorites Nick Shulman, Jason Somerville, and Maria Ho are all still in the running with plenty of chips, and four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias along with 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Ryan Riess are also still in the hunt. The remaining players return to WSOP.com at noon on Monday to play down to the final nine players who will determine a winner, live, on December 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas. At the same time the final eight players in the 2020 GGPoker World Series of Poker Main Event are preparing to play down to a winner on Tuesday, December 15 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The winner of both the international and the U.S. tournaments will then meet in a heads-up match, with $1 million added, on December 30 at the Rio in Las Vegas to determine the 2020 champion. Top Ten Chip Counts [table id=144 /]
  8. With people around the world quarantined in their own homes in the early throes of the global coronavirus pandemic in mid-April, Phil Galfond put the finishing touches on his back-from-the-dead victory against the mysterious ‘Venividi1993’ in the first of the Galfond Challenges. The poker world was tuned in and engrossed in the final moments. Galfond ended up ahead of ‘Venividi1993’ by €9,843.25 to win the challenge and the €100,000 side bet that accompanied it. Poker media outlets spent the days following it going in-depth on how Galfond, long considered one of the best heads-up Pot Limit Omaha players ever, went from being down more than €900,000 to his opponent to emerging victorious. The mainstream media ignored it entirely. At a time when majors sports were all on hold, the sports media companies that previously turned to poker during pro sports work stoppages couldn’t be bothered to give Galfond’s amazing comeback the time of day. Enter David Hill and The Ringer. Having grown up in a small town in Arkansas where gambling was commonplace, Hill was introduced to most forms of gambling before he was old enough to legally drive a car. A childhood spent in what was once a "big illegal gambling town" combined with a flare for storytelling led Hill to a career as a freelance writer known for finding the best stories from the world of gambling. After writing a story about a professional sports bettor for The Ringer in 2019, his editor there wondered if there were more stories like that that could be told via a podcast. "Definitely, yeah, I've thought about that a lot. I think that this could definitely be a show," Hill told his editor. And from that conversation, Gamblers was born. A narrative-style podcast that takes the listener straight into the action with the people making their living by winning by gambling. When Hill started vetting topics for the show, he knew there had to be a poker story in the first batch. He zeroed in on Bryn Kenney. “I was going to fly to Korea for one of the Triton events and tag along with Bryn and just see if maybe there was something there, and he's invited me to do it. But then of course it all got shut down,” Hill said. The worldwide COVID shutdown didn’t just put an end to the Kenney episode, it almost ended Hill’s chances of getting the podcast to air. He had some of the interviews done for a few of the episodes, but being unable to travel to interview subjects and grab audio to use on the show almost killed the show entirely. When the Galfond Challenge began, Hill realized he wouldn’t have to travel to cover the action. “We ended up doing Phil because the story happened at a moment where we weren't even sure if the show was going to continue. When I started watching all this, I was like, ‘Man, this is great. This is such a good story’,” Hill said. “Suddenly I had a great story right in front of us on our computer screens. So, that really saved us. Had it not been for that, I'm not sure that we would've done poker in the first season.” That episode, titled Phil Galfond, the Poker Player Who Couldn’t Be Solved, debuted Wednesday as the fifth of six episodes of Gamblers. The episode is focused on Galfond vs. 'Venividi1993' and features interviews with Galfond, David Tuchman, Joey Ingram, and a few others that poker fans will recognize, but Galfond is undoubtedly the star of the show. The more time Hill spent talking with Galfond, the more he felt he had stumbled across a player who might have been the best of his generation while failing to live up to the stereotype of what a poker player of his generation looks like. "The stereotype about this generation is that they're all computer nerds, they were all Magic the Gathering nerds. And to learn that Galfond really didn't fit that stereotype, that he studied philosophy as an undergraduate in college and he was a football player in high school," Hill said. "He had an aptitude for math, but it wasn't like he was studying math in college or pursuing it in any kind of serious way. Just that the way he found himself where he found himself in the game was just by a dogged pursuit of it." Three of the four episodes of Gamblers that preceded the one about Galfond focused on other professional gamblers including a card counter, a pool hustler, and a gin rummy pro yet each of those episodes includes ties to poker players that have spent some part of their career in the poker spotlight. This was intentional on Hill's part to give a wider audience something - or somebody - they can connect with. "Poker has broken into the mainstream. Poker is something that is a part of the broader popular culture in a way that other forms of gambling aren't," Hill said. "If I can compare things to poker or frame things in poker terms or show how things are relevant to that world, I know that most of the audience will have poker as a touchstone or whatever that will help them maybe understand things a little bit." While the poker world decries the lack of attention that mainstream media outlets have offered poker over the last decade, Hill believes that poker actually gets it right. While sports betting, which has enjoyed the full heat of the spotlight as legalization and regulation have pushed it forward, has a lot to learn. "Poker really is the example for sports, and not the other way around. Because poker has been willing to really celebrate and make stars out of their best players, rather than hiding them away and kicking them out and shunning them from the universe," Hill said. "I would say that poker should continue to do what they're doing, which is take people like Phil Galfond, take stars in that game who are such fascinating people. Even if you're not a poker player, I think you would like this episode just learning about Phil Galfond's life." With only one unreleased episode of Season 1 still to come, Hill is hoping that the downloads, likes, and subscribes are strong enough with the first season so The Ringer decides to greenlight a second season. If that turns out to be the case, you can bet there will be another episode that jumps into the world of poker. "It's just something that I don't think that I could avoid it even if I wanted to, but why would I want to? Why would I want to avoid poker when so many of the best stories and the best characters, the most interesting people, the most fascinating people exist in the world of poker?," Hill said. "(Poker) is just a magnet for brilliant people. It is a magnet for creative thinkers. I'd be a fool to ignore the world of professional poker if I want to tell a story about the minds of the most interesting and brilliant gamblers."
  9. Throughout the years, iconic sports moments have often been memorialized with the equally classic commentary that went with it. The Miracle on Ice will always be paired with Al Michaels and his unforgettable call of "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" Every Premier League fan around the world will always remember Martin Tyler yelling "Balotelli…Agurerooooooo!" when the Manchester City striker scored the winning goal to give his team their first EPL title ever in 2012. The list goes on and on. While poker commentary isn’t necessarily known for its incredible calls, it is often an integral part in creating a highly entertaining and engaging product for the viewing audience. Someone who knows plenty about this, is none other than Kane Kalas, the man chosen to do the commentary for the highly anticipated Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu heads up match. Kalas’s love of sports was ingrained in him from a young age by his father, legendary baseball commentator and MLB Hall of Famer Harry Kalas. "Growing up listening to my father broadcast NFL games weekly during the regular season and following his commentary with NFL Films turned me into an NFL fanatic," Kalas told us about his childhood. While Kalas made a name for himself in the poker world through his stellar play, he has channeled his father many times when he has stepped into the commentary booth, quickly becoming one of the most popular and talented poker commentators. When it came time to pick out who the voice would be for this matchup of two poker titans, his wealth of experience made the choice an obvious one for Polk and Negreanu. "I have worked with PokerCentral/PokerGo for years. Each summer I broadcast a number of WSOP events. I have also broadcast for the WPT, Poker Night in America, the Triton Super High Roller Series, the Patrick Antonius Poker Challenge, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Live at the Bike, and the Borgata Poker Open," Kalas listed off. Kalas not only has plenty of experience playing high stakes poker, something not all poker commentators have, but even more important to this project specifically is the fact that Kalas first came up in poker by playing mostly heads up cash games. "Heads up NL Hold'em is my strongest game; I have played well over 1 million hands of that format in my career. I have played heads up NL Hold'em against both Daniel and Doug online. In addition, considering the nature of the feud between Daniel and Doug and the polarity it has caused in the poker community, my amicable relationship with both players was an asset," said Kalas. Heads up battles have been popular in 2020 with the lack of live poker options due to Covid-19 restrictions throughout the world. Phil Galfond has been playing high stakes heads up matches in his popular Galfond Challenges, but for Kalas, this grudge match is different. He says the reason is simple: this feud has years in the making, and for both players, it’s personal. "The main thing that makes this match different is the drama and personal vendetta between these two top pros. Doug has been relentlessly trolling Daniel for years, both on his channel and in the flesh. Daniel, for his part, largely assumed the posture of the bigger man, generally avoiding direct public criticism of Polk, until recently that is." Kalas continued on that note, discussing how quickly Negreanu agreed to a challenge where, on paper, he would be a heavy underdog against Polk, who was widely considered one of the best heads up players in the world during his poker prime. "Daniel barely hesitated to accept the challenge. In a blog post, he spoke directly to Polk, 'Attack me endlessly, bully me, mock me, in the hopes of getting me to agree to a high stakes poker match. If that’s the case, well played. You have your wish.'" Kalas continued, "The intense feud between Daniel and Doug is at the center of the storyline of this match and I am well-positioned to recap the drama, trolls, tirades, and escalation of this feud into a high-stakes grudge match in an entertaining yet fair manner." The drama seemed to kick up to a new level recently on Twitter, when Negreanu and Polk went back and forth on whether charts should be allowed to be used while the two are playing. Polk argues that charts that indicate the preflop raising tendencies of his opponent should be allowed because they are standard with online play, while Negreanu argues that this match should be played straight up with no outside assistance during hands. Kalas weighed in a bit on this recent controversy, saying that he can see both sides of the argument. "Ultimately, it should be determined by the players. To Daniel's point, it does make the match a bit less interesting if both players are employing the exact same preflop strategy by following a chart. To Doug's point, there is no precedent to ban the use of preflop charts during play and it is within the rules of the platform, WSOP.com." While Kalas’s poker commentary resume speaks for itself, his selection doesn’t come without its own bit of controversy, as is largely inevitable on Twitter and other online spaces. There have been some whispers that Kalas might be biased towards Polk considering that he runs a Short Deck Poker course on Upswing Poker, a coaching website run by Polk himself. Kalas was quick to address those critics, saying that anyone who knows him knows that he won’t pull any punches towards either player, regardless of his business considerations. "Everyone who knows me knows I am a guy who speaks my mind openly and honestly. Any 'filter' I may have is based on my ethics, not based on my business dealings. As an ex-professional poker player and current investor and hedge fund manager, I am in a privileged position of not needing to worry about getting 'fired.'" While Kalas no longer plays professionally full time, he plans to use his vast experience to his advantage with this job. However, he was quick to point out that poker experience alone does not make for a great poker commentator, making sure to recognize some of the biggest names in poker commentary who don’t play at the same levels as Polk or Negreanu. "David Tuchman, Lon McEachern, Norman Chad--these are just a few examples of my colleagues who have not competed on the felt at the level of Negreanu or Polk but are all indisputably top-tier commentators." Kalas did also point out that there are a few high-level aspects of the heads-up battle that he feels specifically suited to commentate on. "In-depth range analysis, while interesting on occasion, is not the cornerstone of a successful broadcast. I will say, however, that having played at the game's highest level allows me to more easily empathize with and explain the drama at the table as it unfolds." While Kalas has largely switched from playing poker to focusing on hedge funding, he did say that he uses several aspects of his poker playing in his new career, and vice versa. "One thing that I took away from my poker career is the value of data and quantitative analysis. When I got into poker, the number of good professionals was pretty much split 50/50 between 'feel players' and 'data geeks' like me. Today, most of the feel players have gone broke and the data guys are the best players in the world. The same thing is happening in the world of finance," said Kalas. Kalas went on to discuss in more detail what he has been up to the past few years. "Since 2015, I have spent less time at the poker tables and more time in the securities and digital assets markets. This year I launched Crystal Oak Capital which manages Crystal Oak Partners, a stocks fund, and Crystal Oak Digital Assets, a digital assets fund. I'm really excited about the future of finance and the opportunities that lie ahead." The future in the financial world surely looks bright for Kalas, but for the upcoming week, he will be going back to the past. He will be drawing from his years of poker playing and commentating, and digging even further back to the days of listening to his father’s famous radio calls. For Kalas, he hopes that his voice will forever be associated with a poker battle that could ultimately go down as one of the most memorable moments in recent poker memory.
  10. It was a pretty blockbuster weekend for Viktor Isildur1Blom (pictured), who was up $1.6 million after a roller coaster of a year so far at the high-stakes tables. As outlined by HighStakesDB, "He went from being on top of the heap with $2.1 million in winnings halfway through February to down over $600,000 on the year come Saturday morning. However, in the last 36 hours, the Full TiltPro has steamed back to $1 million in profit for the year after a huge $1.6 million win across the PLO, Eight-Game, and 2-7 Triple Draw tables." HighStakesDB chronicled Blom's big weekend, which included a Triple Draw session against the likes of ragen70, Gus Hansen, Kagome Kagome, and Phil OMGClayAikenGalfond that saw him exit with $200,000 in profit. If you've read our high-stakes poker reports in the last few weeks, then you'll know that Full Tilt's Triple Draw tables have been the breeding ground for some of the liveliest games around. Blom then took $211,000 off FakeSkyat Eight-Game before setting his sights back on Galfond. In fact, Blom and Galfond dueled for 12 hours, with Blom ultimately ending up nearly $900,000. Galfond actually won the largest pot of the session, which was worth $240,000 and came after hitting top two and fading a flush draw. Galfond also took down a pot worth $208,000, according to HighStakesDB, giving him both pots of over $200,000 played during the 12-hour session. Blom is down $609,000 since HighStakesDB began tracking him in 2009, but is up a little over $1 million in 2014. You'll recall that when the nosebleed-stakes games were going full throttle on Full Tilt in late 2009, Blom was at one point up nearly $5.5 million. This year, Blom is in the black $1.4 million at the Eight-Game Tables and $870,000 at Omaha High-Low. He is nearly breakeven or in the red in every other game HighStakesDB tracks and is off $1.1 million in Draw Games in 2014 despite the weekend's strong showing. Blom won the second largest cash game pot in online poker history back in 2009 at a $500/$1,000 Pot Limit Omaha table, worth $1.1 million. The money went in on the river of a J-K-J-10-5, three-diamond board. Blom showed a full house with kings, while Phil Ivey (pictured) mucked. Incredibly, Blom has won three pots online that have passed $800,000. Stay tuned to PocketFives for more online poker news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond(pictured) has been having a rough year at the tables online. After starting March off strong and winning over $220,000, the high-stakes grinder quickly lost it all back, plus another $1.2 million, in just a few sessions. The sudden downswing led Galfond to post a lighthearted Tweet about his current misfortune: "What's the best way to make a quick $1.4m back? Asking for a friend." While the Tweet garnered several responses, some serious and some tongue-in-cheek, the most interesting came from Tom "durrrr" Dwan, who said, "In Macau, the standard way to get even is baccarat." While Dwan could have been joking, his response, at the very least, highlights the absurd amounts of cash being gambled on a regular basis at Macau's casinos. The tiny Chinese gambling enclave has become the de facto center of the ultra high-stakes poker world in recent years, with action moving away from Las Vegas. In fact, the former Portuguese colony took in $45 billion in revenue in 2013, over seven times what Las Vegas made in the same period, according to CNN. In card rooms like the Poker King Club Macau, you can find Dwan battling pros, wealthy businessman, and Chinese mega-whales for millions of dollars in games with blinds up to $12,500/$25,000. Entrepreneur and poker player Tom "Hong Kong Tom" Hall, a Macau high-stakes regular, recently gave an interview revealing some rare details on the game. He said that since it began, around 100 to 150 players have participated, with 10 to 20 playing regularly. For pros, entry is not guaranteed and a recommendation from another player already in the game is needed. Usually, only a set number of grinders will be allowed at the table and those not willing to gamble a little are frowned upon. "I don't think any individual is specifically unwelcome, but those super-nitty, 'silent at the table' pros are extremely unlikely to get a second invite," said Hall. With blinds so high, huge wins and losses are commonplace. "I would say approximately… $12.8 million [was the most] won/lost in a single session, bearing in mind these sessions can run 30 to 40 hours regularly with perhaps a mini-food break or quick nap or break to watch a soccer game." According to Hall, "all of the local regulars usually play their own funds, whereas most of the pros are either staked or pierced out to a certain degree." Perhaps that's why Dwan(pictured), who is known to play an extremely loose-aggressive style, is so welcome at the game. And as the ex-Full Tiltsponsored pro joked with Galfond, he regularly sees wild swings of his own in the Macau game. Last September, he Tweeted that he had taken his "biggest loss ever" there; people familiar with the game claimed it was more than $4 million. If Galfond doesn't prefer baccarat, several other prominent members of the poker community chimed in with other suggestions. Lance Bradley, editor of Bluff, quipped, "Find Gus [Hansen]," while PokerStarsteam member Jorge Limon recommended "a flight to Macau." Jimmy Gobboboy Fricke brought up Antonio Esfandiari's "Rocks and Rings" high-stakes crew, while Victoria Fath proposed Galfond do some "hand modeling." Galfond seems to be taking the loss in stride and, with such a solid track record in online cash games and live tournaments, it's hard to imagine he will be too affected by the downswing. According to HighstakesDB, the 29-year-old is up around $7.3 million over a half-million hands in seven years. He's no slouch in tournaments either, boasting $1.8 million in total tracked earnings. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. April has been mighty kind to ragen70, whose real name is Niklas Heinecker (pictured). He earned $514,000 at the Full Tilt PokerTriple Draw tables on Wednesday to bring his three-day haul to an impressive $1.4 million, according to HighStakesDB. And it's not like Heinecker is facing off against the peons of the poker world either. In fact, he has been battling some of the game's top minds. According to HighStakesDB, "Heinecker did all of his damage [on Wednesday]during a six-hour morning session, where he put together two big table scores. In his first match of the morning, he beat Phil 'Polarizing' Ivey heads-up in a 78-minute session, winning $115k. His second big score was a $332.9k three-hour win at table Upper. Once again, Ivey was the big loser, dropping a further $194k, with other players including PostflopAction, samrostan, Gus Hansen, thecortster, and Isildur1." Heinecker calls Germany home and HighStakesDB began tracking him in late 2010. He has opted out of the site's long-term tracking, but we know he is up nearly $1 million in the last seven days, all of which has come in Draw Games. On Tuesday, Heinecker booked $310,000 in winnings playing $2,000-$4,000 2-7 Triple Draw. The site narrated, "All of ragen70's success came from his early morning sessions, which started just after 2am. His biggest win was a $299.9k win at table Pikedale from a four-hour session where his opponents included Gus Hansen, FinddaGrind, OMGClayAiken, Kagome Kagome, and Crazy Elior. The biggest donator was OMGClayAiken, who dropped $195k at the table." The site added, "OMGClayAiken also provided ragen70 with another big win, as the pair played a nine-minute heads-up session half-an-hour into the Pikedale session, with ragen70 winning $109k in just 18 hands." That's an average of $6,000 per hand in the mini-session against Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond (pictured). Heinecker was the biggest winner HighStakesDB tracked on Tuesday and Wednesday. Last June, Heinecker hit it big on the live scene, winning the GuangDong Asia Millions Main Event for a healthy $4.4 million. That tournament had 71 entries and 54 rebuys for a total prize pool of $15.3 million and Heinecker beat Australia's Jeffrey Rossiter heads-up. He has $4.7 million in live tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob, which is good for fifth on the all-time money list for Germany. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  13. We've written quite a bit about the results of high-stakes online poker games here on PocketFives in recent weeks. On Saturday, the news continued, as HighStakesDB revealed that Phil Galfond (pictured), better known as OMGClayAiken online, was up $400,000 in a two-day span. HighStakesDB detailed Galfond's antics at the Triple Draw tables on Full Tilt Pokeron Friday, where we have seen plenty of action as of late: "Galfond's real purple patch came in the very early hours, where he looked on course to go up $400K before breakfast. However, a $200K slump toward the end of the morning sessions left him up a little over $160K. Galfond added a little over $30K from the evening $200/$400 CAP PLO games to end the day with a $193.2K win, putting him up over $400K since Thursday." We haven't talked as much about Galfond as we have about guys like Viktor Blom and Gus Hansen, so we wanted to toss out a few stats about his play. According to the same site, Galfond is up $8.4 million since HighStakesDB began tracking him in 2006. He is up $2.7 million in Draw games, helped in part by his recent surge, and $3.4 million in Pot Limit Omaha High-Low. His worst results have come in Limit HORSE, where Galfond has bled $2.1 million. He has played three pots of at least $450,000 over the course of his career that HighStakesDB has tracked, including a massive $541,000 hand at a $500/$1,000 No Limit Hold'em table in 2009. In that hand, the money went in on the river of a 9-K-9-6-6 board, with Finland's Sami LarsLuzak Kelopuro mucking after Galfond showed K-K. Galfond recently took time off to play live poker in the US and had his first day back online on March 9. According to his Twitter feed, his return last Sunday didn't go so well: "Not a great first day back at the tables. Oh well. On the bright side, at least I lost a lot of money." Galfond has been relatively quiet on the live tournament front, recording just three in the money finishes in major live events in the last two years, according to the Hendon Mob. He won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2008. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  14. Coverage of the World Series of Poker's Big One for One Drop continued on Tuesday night on ESPN. Two one-hour episodes began with 16 players left and Tom Hall was perched atop the chip counts. The One Drop dished out a $15 million top prize. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- Daniel Negreanu (pictured) got off to a hot start on Tuesday, doubling to 70 big blinds after his aces held against Dan Colman. This prompted ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad to joke, "Betting against Daniel Negreanu in the 2014 WSOP is like betting against Christopher Columbus in 1492." Oh Norman. Colman did rip off a little revenge courtesy of Phil Galfond (pictured), who dropped a pot worth 8.3 million in chips to Colman after the latter hit a runner-runner flush. Upon seeing what Colman had, Galfond remarked, "I was going to feel dumb if he had queens, but I don't feel dumb about that." The next hand, Galfond called an all-in of a player who had A-K while Galfond had A-Q on a flop of A-7-7. Galfond didn't improve and he was quickly down to nine big blinds. The first one-hour episode ended with Phil Ivey check-raising all-in versus Cary Katz with two hearts on a flop of Q-5h-Qh. Katz had A-Q, which was unbeatable when the turn paired the board, and Ivey was eliminated in 14th. Katz delivered the beat of a lifetime last week. Following Ivey out the door was Galfond, who started the second episode off by getting it all-in with Qc-10 on a flop of 7-2-4, all clubs. Reigning One Drop champAntonio Esfandiari curiously called with A-Q (no clubs), while Negreanu shoved all-in over-the-top with K-J of clubs for the second best flush. Esfandiari got out of the way and Galfond was drawing dead and out. The hand pushed Negreanu to 12 million in chips and he told his tablemates, "I told you what I play for: straights, flushes, all-in." Former "Welcome Back Kotter" star and "High Stakes Poker" host Gabe Kaplan went out at the hands of former "sex tape purveyor" Rick Salomon (pictured), as Chad dubbed him. Google it. Following Kaplan's elimination, Salomon, who was wearing a white "Painman" t-shirt, stacked 16% of the chips in play with 11 people remaining. ESPN then touched on the subject of Colman "refusing to speak to the media during the Big One." Chad perhaps sarcastically explained, "He says he's conflicted about the game and doesn't care to promote poker. So, I guess one of the best ways not to promote poker is to play in a million-dollar buy-in event on national TV?" Tuesday's coverage ended with a blow-up from Esfandiari, who first called an all-in with A-9 of diamonds and lost and then 3bet all-in pre-flop with A-5 only to run into Tobias Reinkemeier's A-J. Esfandiari did not improve and was sent to the rail in 10th place, making no money. Esfandiari was seen on the rail saying, "It's amazing. When the cards turn against you, they just turn against you." The conclusion of the Big One for One Drop will air nextTuesday at 8pm ET on ESPN. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  15. Phil Galfond (pictured), needless to say, is one of the biggest winners in online poker history, having profited over $7.8 million in cash games on PokerStarsand Full Tilt Poker, according to HighStakesDB. He's a stud, plain and simple. So, there would be no better person to hear from about where online cash games are headed. Accordingly, PokerListings sat down with him to get his thoughts on the matter recently and, perhaps surprisingly, even someone as incredible at poker as Galfond is finding it more and more difficult to thrive in the high-stakes world. "The games are getting worse online. Yeah, it keeps happening. It hasn't been great. The games have moved from No Limit Hold'em to PLO and now most of the nosebleed games are either Triple Draw or 8-Game," he told PokerListings. "I can play Triple Draw, but I'm not really strong enough to step into a lot of 8-Game lineups," he added. As for where the big online games are headed, Galfond predicted that it will be important for players to have a strong all-around game. "I think that Triple Draw, over the next two years, will kind of slowly die at high-stakes, so I think Mix is next," he said. In the interview, Galfond also talked about one of his biggest poker rivals, Tom Dwan (pictured), who also happens to be a good friend. Dwan, Galfond said, brings out the best in him. "Whenever I play pots against Tom online, I probably have my highest level of focus because he has, I call it intensity. He's always paying a lot of attention to a hand, so if you look weak, he's gonna pounce on it. So, I would always play against him with my highest level of focus." Dwan also ranks as one of the biggest online cash game winners, having amassed a $2.2 million in profit, according to HighStakesDB. Galfond isn't as well-known for his live tournament play – online cash games are still his bread and butter – but he has certainly seen his share of success. This year already, he has two sixth place finishes in World Series of Poker events. He has won one WSOP bracelet lifetime, earned in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event in 2008, and came extremely close to another last year, finishing as the runner-up in the $25,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event. All told, he has won about $2 million in live tournaments, according to the Hendon Mob. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  16. PocketFives caught up with one of its newest members, Brian pure_reasonWood (pictured, ranked 25th in New Jersey), who juggled playing online poker while attending college and then while attending law school. With over $357,000 in recorded online cashes, some of Wood's notable accomplishments include three wins in the WSOP $10,000 Guarantee (two wins in three days) for a total of $11,550; a win in WSOPOC Event #7, a $20,000 Guarantee Six-Max Rebuy, for $5,800; and two wins in the PartyPoker/Borgata Poker $10,000 Guarantee for a total of $4,700. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. PocketFives: What got you started playing online poker? Brian Wood: I started playing poker casually with my friends in high school after we watched the World Series of Poker on ESPN. We originally played $5 buy-in games with $0.25/$0.50 blinds and no raising pre-flop, so we had absolutely no clue what we were doing. Thankfully, eventually I got better. I began playing online tournaments mostly during winter and summer breaks when I was in college and then in law school. PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sites to play and why? Brian Wood: I primarily play cash games now, so I like Borgata's site. First, because the games tend to run more there, and secondly because they offer more in rakeback. PocketFives: How many hours do you dedicate to poker each week? Brian Wood: It depends on how busy I am with my other work. Currently, I'm working on a couple different things, including an online platform to empower people politically and an educational program to facilitate students developing critical thinking skills. Plus, I do some work as a lawyer. So, poker is basically a hobby that helps me pay off my law school loans. PocketFives: Is there anyone who helped change how you approach the game of poker? Brian Wood: As far as influence in poker, I'd pick Phil Galfond. Not only is he an incredible player, but he also seems like an incredibly thoughtful person. I have a ton of respect for his approach to the game. PocketFives: Do you play any live poker? Brian Wood: Not as much as I would like to. I want to start playing more big buy-in tournaments when I can make the time. I'm going to put some effort into getting staked for those.
  17. For the second time in less than a week, the history books have been rewritten at the 2015 World Series of Poker. After the enormous success of the Colossusand the resulting outrage over the payouts, the Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball World Championship saw its defending champion duplicate a feat that hadn't been done since 2009. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Seven players returned from the 109 who originally started the tournament. Much like the start had been, the final table was replete with top professional players who were looking to take down the first $10,000 tournament of the 2015 WSOP. Tuan Le (pictured above), the defending champion of this event, surged to the lead on Monday evening with a 1.1-million chip stack, vastly outpacing the other players at the final table. Calvin cal42688Anderson was pretty much the only player who could put a serious dent in Le's stack with his 552,000 in chips, but Max Casal, Ismael Bojang,Phil Galfond, Rep Porter, and James Andy McLEOD Obst were determined to put their names in the mix. Le, the 2005 World Poker Tour Championship winner, wasted little time in punishing his opposition. From the moment the cards hit the air, Le was gunning for anyone with chips in front of them, taking the first three hands played. Anderson attempted to cut some chips out of Le, but every time he came up against the defending champion, Anderson came out on the losing end of the fight. After losing one big pot in particular, Anderson was left with only 42,000 in chips. Those went to Bojang after Anderson made a higher pair than Bojang, ending the online superstar's tournament in seventh place. Now at the official WSOP final table, Le continued to roll. He knocked off Porter in sixth place with his 8-5 winning over Porter's 9-7 to crack the 1.5-million chip mark while the remainder of the table scrapped amongst themselves. Casal eliminated Obst(pictured) in fifth place to become a serious contender in the tournament, but Le kept him at bay by taking down Galfond in fourth place in a Lowball surprise for the ages. After Galfond three-bet the open and Le four-bet, Galfond made the call for his final chips and drew one card against Le's two. Apparently that one card was good enough for Galfond, as he stood pat on the second draw while Le once again tossed two more cards to the muck. The third draw was a repeat of the second and, after Le received his two new cards, Galfond showed 9-7-4-3-2 in his attempt to double up. Le turned up the three cards he kept through the hand, 8-6-2, which was the start of a better low than Galfond, but would have to hit perfect on the last two cards to hold up. Le squeezed out one card, a five that was a helper, and now only needed a seven, four, or three to win the hand. Le once again dramatically squeezed out his final draw card and triumphantly smacked the table with a seven to defeat Galfond (pictured) and pass the 2.5 million barrier. On the very next hand, Casal eliminated Bojang in third place and go heads-up against Le at a significant disadvantage. Le's 2.57 million chips dwarfed Casal's 715,000, but Casal had a slight advantage: both he and Le were quite familiar with each other from their cash game days in Los Angeles at the Commerce Casino. Casal worked the lead down to only 130,000 at one point, but he could never claim the lead against Le, who used a jack-low to defeat Casal's pair of threes to capture this tournament for the second year in a row. Le became the first person to repeat as the champion of the same event at the WSOP since Thang Luu won $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better titles in 2008 and 2009. In addition to the additional gold bracelet around his wrist, Le pocketed $322,756 and etched his name into the WSOP history books. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  18. Event #7 of the 2015 World Series of Poker, a $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowballtournament, is down to its final seven. If you're looking for heavy-hitters, look no further than the group of 12 that cashed in this 109-man tournament. At stake is $322,000 and a gold bracelet. Bracelet winnerTuan Le is your leader in the clubhouse as we enter the final day. Coverage found on WSOP.com detailed how his Monday went: "Le got it quietly for most of the day, even dipping down into short-stacked territory for a spell early on. His championship form began to shine through in the later stages, however, as he picked up the pace and tightened the screws on the field." Le was a one-man wrecking crew by the time the bubble popped, as he busted Paul paulgees81Volpe in 12th place and Greg Muellerin ninth. Shortly thereafter, he tangled with James Andy McLEODObst, calling his bluff and running away with the chip lead. Le has a stack of 1.1 million, twice the stack of PocketFiver Cal cal42688 Anderson (pictured above), who is in second place. He's the heavy favorite entering the final seven. Fifth place in the Lowball event belongs to high-stakes poker pro Phil Galfond (pictured), who final tabled this tournament last year and got sixth place for $51,000. It was one of two final tables for Galfond at the 2014 WSOP and he's looking for his first cash of this year's series. He was involved in the elimination of Mark Gregorich in 11th place and Viacheslav Zhukov in 10th. Rep Porterand Obst also remain in the field seven-handed, albeit as the sixth and seventh largest stacks, respectively. Porter has Razz and No Limit Hold'em bracelets, while Obst made the final table of a $10K Seven-Card Stud event last year. Here's how the group looks entering the final day of play on Tuesday: 1. Tuan Le - 1,100,000 2. Calvin cal42688Anderson - 552,000 3. Max Casal - 431,000 4. Ismael Bojang - 404,000 5. Phil Galfond - 355,000 6. Rep Porter - 303,000 7. James Andy McLEOD Obst - 207,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  19. According to HighStakesDB, Phil Ivey (pictured) is the biggest loser at the high-stakes tables so far in 2015, and it's not even close. In 74 sessions and 12,642 hands, Ivey, who plays under the user name Polarizing on Full Tilt, is down $1.5 million, three-and-a-half times the next closest person. To put the number in perspective, Ivey has dropped an average of $20,000 per session and $120 per hand tracked by HighStakesDB thus far this year, although he still has plenty of time to climb out of the red. Ivey is down $1.26 million at the Eight-Game tables this year and has shed $226,000 at Draw Games. He's down about $43,000 in Omaha High-Low. All-time, Ivey is down almost $6.6 million on Full Tilt since HighStakesDB began tracking his Polarizing screen name at the end of 2012. Over that span, Ivey has played nearly 200,000 hands and has an average loss of $33 per hand. His most-played game is Draw. Here are the 10 biggest losers of 2015, according to HighStakesDB: 1. Polarizing: ($1,528,431) 2. OMGClayAiken: ($437,428) 3. Isildur1: ($417,880) 4. SanIker: ($396,882) 5. Patriktortonius: ($317,274) 6. w00ki3z.: ($316,541) 7. steamraise: ($259,329) 8. CoeJassidy: ($255,450) 9. terryhsu: ($253,962) 10. megabanny: ($247,585) As you can see, there are plenty of other big-name pros on this list besides Ivey, including Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, who is in second place, and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, who is in third. Ivey has 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, tied for the second most all-time with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, and is fourth on tournament poker's all-time money list, according to the Hendon Mob, at $22.4 million. Last Sunday, Ivey banked $186,000 at Full Tilt's 2-7 Triple Draw tables, so he has certainly showed signs of life. Stay tuned to PocketFives to see if he can right the ship in 2015. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  20. On Monday, Phil Galfond (pictured), known in the online poker world as OMGClayAiken, won his second World Series of Poker bracelet. Galfond took down the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship for $224,000. He recorded his 15th career WSOP cash and passed $2 million in career WSOP winnings. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Galfond told WSOP officials after winning bracelet #2, "It means a lot, especially in a field this tough and at a table this tough. I have a ton of respect for all my opponents… It's been seven years since I won [a bracelet]. I'm very happy." His first bracelet came in 2008 in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Rebuy. Nick Schulman was the talk of the town for much of the event. WSOP's coverage explained, "Schulman, who finished second, earning $138,665, is a two-time champion of this event and was poised for his third title holding a chip lead of better than 3-to-1 over Galfond during heads-up play. An early double up for Galfond leveled the playing field and from there he simply chipped away at Schulman until he held all of the 2,310,000 chips in play." Schulman (pictured) has $2.1 million in career WSOP winnings and won his first bracelet in 2009. Prior to poker, he concentrated on playing pool and made his living in Manhattan's bars and pool halls. Galfond, from Maryland, said of his heads-up strategy, "When I was heads-up with [Schulman], I'm going to take every spot that presents itself. There's no huge edge later. Just try to play every hand as best you can." The 30-year-old closed by joking about the top prize in the event, pointing out, "I've played for cash game pots the size of first place. This feels a lot bigger and I think it's because of this stage and the bracelet. It's more meaningful than cash games." Galfond has been a fixture of online and live high-stakes cash games throughout his career. There was a ton of talent in this event down the stretch. Of the 14 players who finished in the money, eight were bracelet winners. Six of those eight had won more than one bracelet. Fourth place went to eight-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel, who cashed in a $10,000 WSOP event for the third time this year. Seidel just passed $5 million in career WSOP winnings from 91 in the money finishes. Here's how the final table cashed out: 1st Place: Phil Galfond - $224,383 2nd Place: Nick Schulman - $138,665 3rd Place: Dan KingDan Smith - $87,898 4th Place: Erik Seidel - $59,532 5th Place: Jon PearlJammer Turner - $42,298 6th Place: Eli Elezra - $31,463 7th Place: Adam Owen - $24,457 8th Place: Bernard Lee - $19,824 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  21. The final six of the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship at the World Series of Poker are set. As has been a common theme this year, the final table is loaded with talent. Dan KingDan Smith (pictured) is your chip leader with a stack of 661,000, about 100,000 ahead of the next closest person. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Smith will pass $1 million in career WSOP winnings in this event and cashed in a previous No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament on this year's schedule. Second place with a stack of 554,000 in chips is Nick Schulman. According to coverage on WSOP.com, Schulman has been the talk of the town thus far: "Schulman, a two-time champion of this event, returned to Day 2 as the chip leader. He held that title for most of the day, only relenting his lead to Smith in during the last level of the night. Schulman, who won this event in 2009 and 2012, returns for Day 3 in second place with 554,000." Poker author and longtime PocketFiver Jon PearlJammer Turner (pictured) sits in third place with 439,000. Turner will cash for the 35th time in his career in a WSOP tournament and, like Smith, made the money in a previous No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event on this year's schedule. Turner was ranked as high as #3 on PocketFives in 2008. Three high-stakes pros round out the leaderboard of the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event. The first is Erik Seidel, who is in fourth place with 265,000. Seidel has eight WSOP bracelets dating back to 1992 and 90 WSOP cashes, six of which are in 2-7 Draw Lowball. Fifth place entering the six-handed finale is Phil Galfond, who is known in the online poker community as OMGClayAiken. Galfond has a stack of 255,000 and finished fourth in this year's $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball Championship. He has one bracelet and continues to challenge the nosebleed-stakes tables live and online. Rounding out the star-studded final six is Eli Elezra, who is the short stack at 160,000. Elezra has two WSOP bracelets, the most recent of which came in a Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball tournament. The former Israeli army commando is a father of five and popped the money bubble on Sunday by sending Mike Gorodinsky to the rail. There were 77 entrants in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event. The winner will take home $224,000, while the first person out on Monday pockets $31,000. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  22. [caption width="640"] Phil Galfond almost won a WCOOP title on Monday[/caption] The penultimate day of the 2016 World Championship of Online Poker had the $5,000 buy-in Main Event playing down to a final table while three other events wrapped up with three new champions crowned. Phil Galfond, who recently announced plans to launch an online poker site of his own to compete with PokerStars, got close to capturing a WCOOP title of his own, but ultimately had to finish for second place. 'mighty28' earned an outright victory in the $1 million guaranteed Event #77 and walked away with $264,885. Phil 'MrSweets28' Galfond was awarded $183,317 for his runner-up performance, and PocketFives member 'Hitvil' of Belarus took home his largest career online tournament cash of $126,870. Patrick 'pleno1' Leonard of the United Kingdom (ranked #208 worldwide) received a 4th place prize of $87,804. Fifth place was paid out to 'paleta25' in the amount of $60,767. There was a three-way final table chop in the $1,050 buy-in WCOOP Wrap-Up Event #82. 'NegroVente1' outlasted the field to become the official champion for $156,290. Canadian Michael Risman added $143,524 to his online poker bankroll after finishing in second place while 'Barrrii' negotiated a payout of $139,842 for third place. The fourth place prize of $76,267 in that event went to 'kisulik777' and 'Emilohlsson' earned $55,904 for fifth. Event #72 - $109 Six Max No Limit Hold'em 18,624 entries - $1,862,400 paid out to 1,954 places Jase ‘SSSMBRFC2/C’ Regina - $153,551.90* 
PolecatRider - $165,079.71*
 xenomorph101 - $114,870.50*
 king_tsan - $105,258.50* 
delfina_47 - $55,216.43 
ArdiVa - $39,700.96 
xerox206 - $28,545.19
 Harrison ‘gibler321’ Gimbel - $20,524.20 
Kevin ‘1$ickDisea$E’ Eyster - $14,758.21 
 *four-way deal PokerStars WCOOP Event #77($215 NLHE 8-Max Sunday Warm-Up SE) *$1M Guaranteed 9,666 entrants - $1,933,200 paid out to 1,191 spots mighty28 - $264,885.15 Phil 'MrSweets28' Galfond - $183,317.23 Hitvil - $126,870.11 Patrick 'pads1161' Leonard - $87,804.20 paleta25 - $60,767.43 RescueGrp - $42,055.79 SwalzB - $29,105.87 vick23789 - $20,143.55 PokerStars WCOOP Event #82($1,050 NLHE Wrap-Up) *$500k Guaranteed 1,239 entrants - $1,239,000 paid out to 143 spots NegroVente1 - $156,290.44 alexandrapau - $143,523.83 (Michael Risman) Barrrii - $139,841.56 *3-way deal kisulik777 - $76,267.38 Emilohlsson - $55,903.80 hneves182 - $40,977.32 CHELitw - $30,036.20 Baby Federer - $22,016.53 XxKira89xX - $16,138.09
  23. 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 debate the hottest topics in poker. Lance and Matt return this week to talk about the success of the partypoker MILLIONS North America event and the underwhelming turnout for the World Poker Tour Elite Poker Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Recorded before the European Poker Tour Main Event played down to a winner, Matt talks about what a win for Ole Schemion might mean for him and it puts him in position to be the first player to grab all three legs of poker's Triple Crown in the same year. Earlier this week, former #1-ranked online poker player Patrick Leonard released his own version of the live power rankings. Lance and Matt debate the merits of Leonard's list, get into some of the snubs and put out a list of their own top five. They wrap things up by talking about the direction Phil Galfond is taking his Run It Once online poker site. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER GET THIS EPISODE ON GOOGLE PLAY
  24. FIVE THINGS is a column, written by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley that covers pressing topics and current events in the poker world today. It will appear periodically at PocketFives.com. Chris Moorman Continues to Dominate Online Almost four years to the day that he was last ranked as the #1 online poker player in the world, Chris Moorman showed everybody that he's still got it. Moorman beat out 1,261 other players to win the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up for nearly $40,000. His win came just days after he picked up his 28th PocketFives Triple Crown award. Moorman's dominance of online poker tournaments is well documented on PocketFives, but when you consider he doesn't put in the online volume he used to, it becomes even more clear that Moorman is one of the elite tournament players in the world. There is one glaring omission on Moorman's resume though. He's never won a PokerStars COOP title. He has come close though. In 2009 he finished eighth in the SCOOP Main Event. A year later he finished third in a SCOOP Medium $215 NLH event. The next year he finished third in the SCOOP High $2,100 NLHE event. This year's SCOOP schedule includes 183 events and with Moorman clearly in top form right now, this might be the year that Moorman gets one. WSOP Continues to Tinker with Player of the Year In 2017, the orld Series of Poker revamped their Player of the Year points system. After using GPI and BLUFF scoring systems, WSOP decided to create their own system that rewarded cashing over winning more than the previous systems had. Once players realized this and saw how it worked, there was more than a few vocal opponents who were happy to make their feelings known. The WSOP apparently heard them loud and clear and has, for the fourth time in as many years, changed the scoring system. The WSOP promises that the new system will better reward deep runs and wins over building a resume full of smaller cashes through more events. There are still some players disappointed that the new system is going to reward players who can afford to play the bigger buy-in events. The WSOP Player of the Year award should reflect the best performance of the year. The award shouldn't exclude players who don't play the $10,000 and up buy-in Championship events, but it's hard to consider anybody the best when they don't post strong results against fields largely considered to be the toughest of the year. Germans Unhappy with Super High Roller Bowl Invites In a little over five weeks some of the best poker players in the world will be at the Aria for the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl. With the field limited to 49 players, and 61 players putting down a deposit to play, a lottery was held for the first 30 seats in March. On Wednesday another 15 names, chosen by Aria Poker management, were released and while it includes the likes of Doug Polk, Fedor Holz, Jake Schindler and Bryn Kenney, it seems that some players are upset with the names chosen. In a tweet that's since been deleted, Steffen Sontheimer pointed out that 12 of the 15 chosen were American and a number of German players who had paid the deposit were passed over. Sontheimer replaced that tweet with the following:   Whether or not the German players were excluded on purpose or not, it makes no sense for the reigning Poker Masters Purple Jacket winner to not be guaranteed a seat in the other PokerCentral events at Aria. The way to build prestige for something new, such as the Purple Jacket, is to have it mean something. Allowing Sontheimer to buy-in to the Super High Roller Bowl if he wants to, would have given the broadcast team multiple opportunities to emphasize to viewers that he is the reigning Poker Masters champion. The same goes for US Poker Open winner Stephen Chidwick. PokerGO and the Aria are building something that could be very, very special in the poker world, but this feels like a real misstep. partypoker Shows Well at MILLIONS Grand Final The Great Poker War of 2018 has partypoker doing their best to usurp PokerStars as the leader not just in the online world, but in the live tournament scene as well. The partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final in Barcelona last week was a showcase for exactly what they're hoping for. The €10,300 buy-in Main Event came with a €10,000,000 guarantee which they smashed with 1,175 entrants. Before the Main Event wrapped up, the schedule also included two €25,000 buy-in events, a €50,000 event and a €100,000 event. Those events drew 88, 90, 57 and 48 players respectively. All four of those events easily surpassed their €2,000,000 guarantees with the €100,000 event prize pool more more than doubling the guaranteed amount. It's a sure-fire sign that players at all levels are recognizing the financial commitment that partypoker has put behind their LIVE tour. Players weren't the only ones who benefited though. Mypartypokerlive.com provided a top-tier live stream product alongside live updates, video interviews and other content. Considering the number of years they have to make up on PokerStars in the live arena, they certainly seem to be taking huge strides. Phil Galfond Progressing with Online Poker Site In the wake of PokerStars cutting off SuperNova Elite players with no notice and the ensuing fall out from some of the impacted players, Phil Galfond began putting the wheels in motion to launch his own online poker site. He made those plans public in September 2016 and had been mostly radio silent since then. That all changed this week when Galfond announced that Phase 1 of RunItOnce would launch this summer. According to Galfond, the first phase of release will only include cash games. Multi-table tournaments and sit-n-gos are expected to be part of Phase 2, which does not have release date. In the latest update, Galfond explained his reasoning for putting out the product in various phases. We decided to stay on course and deliver part of our offering quickly while also working on changes that will allow much more flexibility in our development process going forward. This meant a sped up launch, but a slightly slower path to our final product. Whether or not Galfond can build an online poker site, and more importantly a business that can survive the online poker market of 2018 remains to be seen, but observers who are disappointed or frustrated by the pace at which they're moving forward are missing the point. Galfond could very easily have acquired the software necessary, quickly put in place the necessary marketing and customer service channels and picked up the necessary licensing to operate in some European and ROW markets, but the likelihood of failure would have been sky high. Instead, Galfond and his team are taking their time to build a quality product while also making sure the ancillary product offerings, such as the VIP rewards program, aren't just cookie cutter copies of what's out already there. In the current online poker business environment, slow and steady is bound to at least stay in the race, if not win it. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PocketFives.com or its owners.
  25. Two big names in the poker world picked up their first and third bracelets on Sunday at the 2018 World Series of Poker. Both are regulars in Bobby’s Room, playing the highest stakes mixed games going. They’re both pretty good at tournaments too, as they proved today. Meanwhile, the Crazy Eights event played through another two starting flights, while the $365 PLO Giant starting flights end with a four-time bracelet winner as overall chip leader. Another $10K Championship kicked off too. Here’s everything you need to know from July 1. Phil Galfond Claims Bracelet #3 in $10K PLO 8 ($567,788) Legendary online cash game player and Run It Once founder Phil Galfond picked up his third WSOP bracelet on Sunday, taking down Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for a massive $567,788 score. Galfond has had quite a few weeks, what with the upcoming launch of his online site, the announcement that he’s expecting his first child with his wife Farah, and now another WSOP win for his incredible CV. "There's nothing like the first [bracelet], so that stands ahead," Galfond said afterwards. "It still feels really good, on par with the second. I just ran really hot at the right time. I ran bad all summer, so I was saving it up for now. Now, it's even.” Galfond defeated Michael McKenna heads-up for the title, after hitting a pair in all-in-pre pot. McKenna racks up another close call, having finished fourth in a $1,500 Razz event earlier this summer. Other notables to final table this one include Chad Power (4th - $168,725), Chris Lee (5th - $120,263), Marco Johnson (6th - $87,830), and David ‘ODB’ Baker (7th - $65,579). Galfond was facing a 2:1 chip deficit versus McKenna, but found a way to get it done. Galfond said he’ll now turn his attention back to the launch of Run It Once Poker. "It feels like we're almost there and finally I'll be free," he said. "But, I can only imagine there's going to be more work once we launch the poker site. I'd like to find a way to play more poker because I really miss it. But, Run it Once poker is going to be the first priority." Final Table Results: Phil Galfond - $567,788 Michael McKenna - $350,922 Ali Abduljabbar - $240,497 Chad Power - $168,275 Chris Lee - $120,263 Marco Johnson - $87,830 David “ODB” Baker - $65,579 Chase Steely - $50,086 Jean-Robert Bellande Wins First Bracelet in $5K 6-Max ($616,302) [caption id="attachment_619806" align="aligncenter" width="648"] JRB Wines and Dines with First Bracelet[/caption] Sunday started with a six-handed final table set in Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed. Jean-Robert Bellande led the survivors (see what we did there?), and he had a strategy coming in: https://twitter.com/BrokeLivingJRB/status/1013515157513781248 It wasn’t an outrageous call that ended it though. More like an easy one, when Dean Lyall shoved with ace-three off heads-up, and Bellande woke up with pocket queens which held. A similar story saw him bust Kacper Pyzara in sixth (ace-seven into Bellande’s pocket jacks). Eric Blair fell in fifth, followed by Tan Nguyen in fourth and Andrew Graham in third. Bellande began heads-up play with a 2:1 chip lead, and kept the pressure on before taking it down. “I had a blast,” Bellande said after his win. “I had so much fun during this tournament, not just winning but mixing it up. Six-handed is cool because you’re always in action. The guys were all fun. We just had a good time. Every day we just had a blast.” Final Table Results: Jean-Robert Bellande - $616,302 Dean Lyall - $380,595 Andrew Graham - $254,684 Tan Nguyen - $173,598 Eric Blair - $120,669 Kacper Pyzara - $85,570 Michael Mizrachi Leads PLO GIANT Well whaddaya know? After five starting flights in Event #11: $365 PLO GIANT Pot-Limit Omaha, it’s none other than Michael Mizrachi who tops the overall chip counts. Day 1E played out today with 1,247 players taking a shot. Play ended with just 79 survivors, with Mizrachi topping tonight’s counts with 1,845,000 - more than any other end-of-day leader. Other notables to advance today include Robert Dukes (1,530,000), Srinivas Balasubramanian (1,245,000), Mark Darner (1,165,000), Nick Guagenti (1,125,000), four-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche (360,000), and bracelet winners Robert Cheung (345,000) and Arne Kern (370,000). Day 2 begins at 2pm Monday, with everyone guaranteed $843. Michael Mizrachi - 1,845,000 Robert Dukes - 1,530,000 Srinivas Balasubramanian - 1,245,000 Mark Darner - 1,165,000 Nick Guagenti - 1,125,000 Cherie Baber - 530,000 James Hoppner - 435,000 Arne Kern - 370,000 Dominik Nitsche - 360,000 Robert Cheung - 345,000 Moorman, Salsberg Top Final Starting Flights in CRAZY EIGHTS All four starting flights have now ended in Event #62: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed, with two notables bagging up the biggest stacks. Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman topped the 2,492 runners in Day 1C, bagging up 511,000. The former PocketFives #1 and all-time money leader was the only player to eclipse 400Km, with 140 players advancing. Other notables to get through that flight included Eric Baldwin (250,000), Mohsin Charania (307,000), and Kevin Eyster (287,000). Day 1C Top 10 Stacks: Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman - 511,000 Franz Ditz - 381,000 Christophe De Meulder - 321,000 Mohsin Charania - 307,000 Kevin Eyster - 287,000 Mark McGovern - 276,000 Fabrice Casano - 275,000 Marvin Rettenmaier - 242,000 Champie Douglas - 229,000 David Jackson - 151,000 Later in the day saw an additional 2,495 entries add to the overall prize pool. Matt Salsbarg would lead the 138 survivors on 1D, bagging 483,000. Joining him at the top of the counts include Ami ‘UhhMee’ Barer (254,000) and Ashton Griffin (170,000). All survivors will now join together at 2pm Monday for Day 2. Everyone is guaranteed $1,331. Day 1D Top 10 Stacks: Matt Salsberg - 483,000 Han WoolJang - 356,000 Au Ngo - 318,000 Ami Barer - 254,000 Dylan Wilkerson - 249,000 James Alexander - 183,000 Maurice Hawkins - 175,000 Ashton Griffin - 170,000 Andy Spears - 164,000 Alexander Kuzmin - 155,000 Chris Vitch Looks to Defend Title, Chip Leads $10K Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Yet another Championship event kicked off on Sunday, with Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship attracting 133 runners. After ten levels of play on Day 1, the chip leader is none other than defending champion Chris Vitch. Vitch bagged up 279,500, topping the 63 who made it through. He’s followed by Daham Wang (276,500), Stuart Rutter (236,000), Terrence Hastoo (220,000), and Ryan Miller (207,500). It might be early days, but if Vitch can continue the way he’s started and take this one down, he’ll join Matt Matros and Loren Klein as the only players to win a bracelet in three consecutive years. Daniel Negreanu will also be back tomorrow, bagging up 76,500. David Benyamine (166,500), Jesse Martin (158,500), Eric Rodawig (79,500), Mike Sexton (72,000), Tom Koral (189,000), Scott Bohlman (156,000), Max Pescatori (85,500), Adam Friedman (79,000), James Obst (68,000), and Robert Mizrachi (35,500) will also return. The same can’t be said for Eli Elezra, Esther Taylor, Frank Kassela, Scott Seiver, Brandon Shack-Harris, Erik Seidel, Allen Kessler, Mike Matusow, John Hennigan, Jeff Lisandro, and Brian Hastings, all of whom hit the rail today. Registration is still open until the beginning of Day 2 at 2pm tomrorow, so there’s a chance those who busted could re-enter. Top 10 Stacks: Chris Vitch - 279,500 Daham Wang - 276,500 Stuart Rutter - 236,000 Terrence Hastoo - 220,000 Ryan Miller - 207,500 Soner Osman - 202,000 Jose Paz - 195,000 Tom Koral - 189,000 David Prociak - 177,500 Tim Finne - 168,500 Tomorrow’s Action (July 2) We’ve reached that point, guys. It’s here. Monday sees only one event kick off, but it’s a big one. The biggest one of all. Day 1A of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship begins at 11am, with Day 1s following for the following two days after.
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