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Found 7 results

  1. Have you ever dreamed of getting a private poker lesson from Daniel Negreanu or partying with One Drop champion Antonio Esfandiari in Vegas? Well, now you can, but it'll cost you. A company called If Only is in the business of offering what it calls "extraordinary experiences for good," where fans of sports stars, musicians, world-class chefs, and more can pay to hang out with their favorite celebrities. The company, which donates a portion of its sales to charity, recently added famous poker players to its roster, but the pricey packages on offer have raised eyebrows. Poker fans have their choice of spending time with six well-known poker personalities: Liv Boeree, Phil Laak, Jamie Gold, Phil Hellmuth (pictured), Negreanu, and Esfandiari. But it was Hellmuth's profile in particular which drew the attention of the poker world, which had a lot to say about the "Poker Brat's" high-priced options. The 13-time WSOP bracelet winner offers fans five experiences, ranging from $16,700 to $42,900. At the low end, you can meet Hellmuth at the WSOPand "have a drink with Phil as he poses for photos and signs autographs." At the high end, you can set up a two-hour private game with the outspoken pro and five friends, where "Phil will share the tactics and strategies that made him one of poker's most dangerous players." In addition, Hellmuth offers his time as a motivational speaker and will serve as the master of ceremonies at your poker tournament for an undisclosed price. A portion of his payment will go to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation. Many poker players were shocked at the high prices and pointed out that one could simply catch up with the personable pro at the Rio for no charge. "Considering Phil will take a picture and sign an autograph for free, that's one hell of an expensive drink," said "1p0kerboy." "AdamSchwartz" agreed, replying, "or you could fly to Vegas for $300, walk up to Phil, hand him a drink, and ask him what it's like to be back at the WSOP. Save yourself about $16,300." Others pointed out the high prices charged by poker players compared to the cost of meeting world-famous celebrities on the site. Miley Cyrus (pictured), for example, offers a $2,000 backstage concert package where fans can meet the singer and receive VIP treatment during the show. Pop sensations Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga offer similarly priced packages. "These guys are so full of themselves… They do know they are poker players right?" said "beauvanlaanen." But some defended the inflation, like one poster who recalled an event at which Hellmuth was paid to emcee. "The organizers paid Hellmuth $25,000 to appear. He schmoozed, he was funny, went table to table with a microphone," he said. "He gave all the players a nickname and ragged on everyone. He ended up coming in third and hung out for an hour after and everyone loved him." Other poker players on the site charge similar prices, like Esfandiari, who will take you out for a "VIP Vegas night" for $35,800, and Negreanu, who will sit down with you and your friends for a private game for $42,900. A portion of Esfandiari's payment will go to Guy Laliberte's One Drop organization, while Negreanu's donation will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Other experiences include a private game with Laak for $42,900, a poker lesson with Main Event bracelet winner Gold for $16,700, and a hike along Red Rock Canyon with European Poker Tour winner Boeree for $5,000. Hellmuth has a stellar career at the WSOP, nearly snagging his 14th gold bracelet in this year's $1,500 Razz event, but coming up short against Ted Forrest to take second place. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. World Series of Poker bracelet number two could be well within the grasp of longtime PocketFiver Dan djk123Kelly (pictured), who has a commanding lead in Event #43, a $1,500 Limit Hold'em tournament. Kelly has 734,000 in chips entering the event's final day on Sunday, leading former World Poker Tour Championship winner David Chiu's second place stack of 473,000. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- Kelly has already logged a final table this year in a $10,000 Limit Omaha High-Low Split Eight or Better tournament and cashed for $41,000. His blockbuster score complete with a bracelet came four years ago in a $25,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max eventfor over $1.3 million. Kelly, at that point a sponsored pro of DoylesRoom, had the likes of Doyle Brunson rooting him onto victory. This author was also in attendance in what was a very rowdy atmosphere. The soft-spoken Kelly Tweeted at the end of play on Saturday at the Rio in Las Vegas, the site of the annual WSOP, "1/9 going into the ft of $1,500 LHE tomorrow at 2." Joining him are Chiu, who won the WPT Championship in 2008, and Jeff Lisandro, who has not only gotten into a spat with Brandon Cantu at this year's WSOP, but is also making his second final table of the 2014 series. Lisandro has the third shortest stack at 177,000, but we wouldn't count him out just yet. Here are the nine players left: 1. Dan djk123Kelly - 734,000 2. David Chiu - 473,000 3. Sean Berrios - 373,000 4. Yegor Tsurikov - 361,000 5. Jesse Katz - 294,000 6. Brandon Shack-Harris - 269,000 7. Jeff Lisandro - 177,000 8. Ron Burke - 166,000 9. Bryce Landier - 112,000 Also scheduled to play down to a winner on Sunday is Event #42, a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Six-Max event. A baker's dozen of players remain led by Phil Laak (pictured), who bagged 1.08 million on Saturday, the lone person with a seven-figure chip stack. Two Canadians are hot on his heels: Vancouver's Joseph Leung and Toronto's Sorel Imper1um Mizzi. One of the most talked-about hands of Event #42 thus far didn't involve Lock, Leung, or Mizzi, but rather Phil Hellmuth, who was one of the first eliminations of Saturday's play. Hellmuth was all-in with top set on the flop, well ahead of David Bakes Baker's pair of aces. The turn improved Hellmuth to a full house, but Baker hit a better full house on the river to bust Hellmuth and, according to WSOP.com, "throw him into one of his trademark fits." Never a dull moment. Here are the 13 players remaining in the PLO Six-Max event. The blinds were at 5,000-10,000 when play halted: 1. Phil Laak - 1,087,000 2. Joseph Leung - 818,000 3. Sorel Imper1umMizzi - 735,000 4. Ryan Schmidt - 720,000 5. Brant OURounder Hale - 583,000 6. Darius Studdard - 555,000 7. Michael Drummond - 546,000 8. Demis Hassabis - 515,000 9. Richard Ashby - 426,000 10. Kory s00tedj0kers Kilpatrick - 333,000 11. David Bakes Baker - 308,000 12. Michael Tabarelli - 258,000 13. Brandon Crawford - 214,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. WSOP Big One for One Drop champ Antonio Esfandiari (pictured) and fellow poker pro Phil Laak have hooked up with the Discovery Channel to create the pilot episode of "Underground Poker," a show which they say goes against the grain of traditional poker programming. --- 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! --- In the episode, the two longtime friends travel to New Orleans and use their connections to buy into real, private home games. "We called around to some people and said, 'Hey look, we want to come and play, are there any games?"' Esfandiari told PokerNews. "They said there were a few games. They had to be okay with being on camera, but we wanted real players, real money, and real games. Not a single hand is staged. Everything is legit." Laak emphasized that the show wouldn't be completely focused on poker hands. "I think the entire show is 24 minutes and they only show between two and five hands," he said. "It's not a lot. It's more about the feeling a pro has as he drifts around the city trying to find home games to play in, the 'who do you know' aspect." "Underground Poker" was born when the pair met producer Jennifer Killoran while filming a cameo for the movie "Runner Runner." While their scene never made it into the final cut, Esfandiari and Laak became fast friends with Killoran, who found the pair to be highly entertaining together. "She said, 'You guys need a TV show."' Esfandiari revealed. "We said we already had one and she said, 'Well, you need another one.' We said that's great, but nobody ever makes it happen. She said she could make it happen and the next thing you know we have a TV show." Esfandiari explained that the show started out as a five-minute teaser that was lengthened to 13 minutes before the production company finally decided to pull the trigger on a full pilot. So far, only the initial New Orleans episode has been filmed. If reaction is good and the series is picked up, the two pros will travel to different cities looking for new games and filming their antics along the way. "We could go to any city where there are private poker games - Atlanta, Charlotte, San Francisco, Vancouver - there are cities all over the world that have poker games, so it could be anywhere," Esfandiari said. Laakis pictured. "Underground Poker" won't be the first time the two friends have appeared on television together. In 2007, the pair starred in "I Bet You," a series in which the two made high-stakes prop bets on anything and everything in their path. Two seasons of the series aired on MOJO, with the third having been filmed, but left unaired. The pros have also appeared on "Poker After Dark" and in movies like "Lucky You," "Deal," and "Freelancers." "The more viewers we have, the better chance we have of having the show picked up and really creating something new," added Esfandiari. "You can never judge a series by the first show. You have to develop the characters. If we get the poker community behind us, we will have a show on Discovery for sure. Hopefully, people will like it and won't bash it too much. We want minimal bashing." You can catch "Underground Poker" on Wednesday, September 10 at 10pm Eastern Time on the Discovery Channel. Esfandiari and Laak will be tuning in and Tweeting live with fans during the episode. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. On Wednesday, "Underground Poker" featuring Phil Laak (pictured) and Antonio Esfandiari aired on the Discovery Channel. If you've never heard of the show before, check out our official preview. This article is a recap of the one-hour pilot, which aired at 10:00pm Eastern Time in case you missed it. --- 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! --- The opening credits featured Esfandiari telling the audience, "Everything you see on this show is 100% real. No mock-ups, no makeup, no nothing. We're going to show you how the pros make money outside the casino." The setting for the pilot was New Orleans, with Laak coming off a six-figure pummeling in Los Angeles. Laak and Esfandiari met a chef named "Spikey Mike," who said the games in the "Big Easy" were slow after two guys were busted marking cards with ultraviolet ink. He said he knew of a smaller game in a bad neighborhood and, despite the risks, Laak agreed to play. The players' faces in the underground game, as well as the building's exterior, were shown on camera and the crew was allowed to film the game itself. Speaking of the first game, at one point, Laak was dealt K-K in a $750 pot and went all-in, leading Esfandiari(pictured), who was chatting it up with two women on the rail, to say, "For a game this small, that's huge." A tense moment saw the person to Laak's direct left stand up and yell, "How much money do you need before you leave town" in a rather angry voice reminiscent of really bad acting in a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. Laak jokingly responded, "Maybe a little bit more." Later, Laak told Esfandiari that he was up $700 and Esfandiari advised him to lose a couple hundred back before quitting the game. Flash-forward to Bourbon Street, the pulse of New Orleans, where Esfandiari and Laak met a man called "505," nicknamed so because at one point he was charged with 505 felony counts. 505 said Laak and Esfandiari could come to a game he's involved in if they brought a fish and Laak agreed, ultimately meeting with a lawyer who said he was in. The game was in a building where you entered through the basement and went down an elevator, but despite the dingy atmosphere and staunch security, cameras were allowed. In that game, Esfandiari picked up two aces and shoved with $4,000 in the pot headed to the river, but his opponent had a set. The lawyer then referred Esfandiari and Laak to a wealthy man in the boondocks whose yard had glass bottles hanging from the trees with bones in them, which he attributed to his belief in voodoo. Scary. That game featured Pete "The Greek" Vilandos (pictured), who was mostly seen laughing hysterically and came off looking like a Batman villain. He has three WSOP bracelets. The buy-in was $10,000 and the game was PLO. Laak was dealt 7-J-J-8, but folded with $30,000 in the middle, leading "The Greek" to show a bluff and, once again, laugh like a crazy person. As Esfandiari put it, "I think the universe just took a big dump on Phil." Later in the game, Esfandiari was dealt the second highest straight and two pair versus the aforementioned lawyer with $22,000 in the pot. The lawyer ended up with a straight of his own, but Esfandiari improved to a boat to win the hand. There are no future episodes of "Underground Poker" planned at this time. We'll keep you posted on whether the Discovery Channel picks up the show. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. According to co-host Antonio Esfandiari (pictured), Discovery Channel has passed on the opportunity to air additional episodes of "Underground Poker." The show, which starred Esfandiari and longtime cohort Phil Laak, profiled underground card games and the pilot took place in New Orleans. The first and only episode aired last month and its opening credits emphasized that it wasn't your regular brand of reality show: "Everything you see on this show is 100% real. No mock-ups, no makeup, no nothing. We're going to show you how the pros make money outside the casino." The pilot received generally solid reviews from the poker community and, while it felt scripted and forced at times, the chemistry between Esfandiari and Laak helped carry the day. When asked on Twitter whether "Underground Poker" would continue airing on Discovery Channel, Esfandiari responded, "Looks like a no go." Later, "The Magician" told PokerListings, "With any TV series, the first show is never going to be great. If we had a full season, I think we could deliver a great product. It has a lot of potential and I think Phil and I can do better. The production value was high." Esfandiari added that "Underground Poker" was being pitched to other networks, although if anyone has taken the bait is not known. "The producers have a lot of contacts in LA," explained Esfandiari. "It’s life. Some things work. Some things don't. What can I do? Dwell on the fact it didn't work out?" Reaction from the PocketFives community in the comments section of our original article recapping "Underground Poker" was fairly positive. One poster wrote, "Finally! A good poker show that doesn't cast it in a bad light and make it look like the only people playing are a bunch of crazy, criminal, degens. Truly great ambassadors for the game." Another opined, "It was kind of eh, but it's a poker show, and I love poker, and Antonio and Laak (pictured) are awesome." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. The first World Poker Tour event of 2020 reached its final table on Monday. Now, just six players remain in the Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship, with Chance Kornuth leading the way. The final six will be on hiatus until Tuesday, March 31, when they will resume play at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The final six come from a 257-entry field and are guaranteed $111,795 in prize money. First place takes home $554,495, including a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, and a Hublot watch. Joining Kornuth at the final table are Markus Gonsalves, Tuan Phan, Jonathan Cohen, Qing Liu, and Straton Wilhelm. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] WPT Gardens Poker Championship Final Table Seat 1: Straton Wilhelm - 435,000 Seat 2: Markus Gonsalves - 2,370,000 Seat 3: Qing Liu - 795,000 Seat 4: Tuan Phan - 2,070,000 Seat 5: Jonathan Cohen - 1,615,000 Seat 6: Chance Kornuth - 2,995,000 How the Final Table Was Reached The Season XVIII WPT Gardens Poker Championship had a field of 257 entries. It wasn't the largest turnout for a WPT Main Tour event, but the $10,000 buy-in attracted some of poker’s biggest names and generated a prize pool of $2.467 million. Among those to compete were Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, Maria Ho, and Phil Laak, but none of them made the money. Entering Day 3 of the tournament, 48 players remained. The top 33 places paid, which meant whoever finished in 34th place would win the unwanted title of 'bubble boy.' The player to fall in 34th was former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, who couldn't win a flip with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kd"] against the pocket queens of Gonsalves. After the money bubble burst, WPT Champions Club member Larry Greenberg was the first player to bust. Others followed him to the payout desk, including David Peters (30th - $18,825) and David 'ODB' Baker (18th - $25,130), before Day 3 ended with 14 competitors left. Among the final 14 returning for Day 4 was Jared Griener, who ultimately finished in 13th place for $35,720. Griener is no stranger to WPT success in the Southern California region. He’s cashed seven times in WPT Main Tour events in Southern California, and that’s the region where all of his WPT final tables have taken place. Additionally, Griener has a deep run in a WPTDeepStacks event in San Diego and two deep runs in WPT500 LA. On Day 4, Ali Imsirovic busted in ninth place to take home $53,950, and then Sebastiaan de Jonge finished in eighth for $67,790. One more player needed to be eliminated to set the official TV final table, and it happened when Phan knocked out Qi Hu in seventh place. Kornuth the One To Beat With a stack of 2.995 million, Kornuth is the player to catch at the final table. He's been one of the big stacks throughout the event, including finishing atop the field after Day 3. Kornuth came into this event with more than $7.4 million in live tournament earnings and one previous WPT final table under his belt. That previous final table was a sixth-place finish in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown for $247,954. Kornuth has several other deep runs in World Poker Tour events, including a handful that have come at the $10,000 buy-in level, but his first WPT title has eluded him. Closest to Kornuth on the leaderboard is Gonsalves, who bagged 2.37 million in chips for the final table. Like Kornuth, Gonsalves has been close to a WPT title before, but he's also yet to win one. Gonsalves' deepest run in a WPT event came in the Season XIV WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event, where he took fourth and picked up a payday of $91,616. Gonsalves also has a 10th-place finish in the Season XIV WPT Five Diamond for $68,181. The final six will now wait until the end of March to play for the title in Las Vegas, as the event moves from the Gardens Casino to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. There is no former WPT champion in the final six, which means there will be a brand new member of the WPT Champions Club when this one is all said and done.
  7. After several delays, Joe "Chicago Joey" Ingram finally was able to bring poker pro Antonio Esfandiari (pictured) to his "Poker Life" podcast after the conclusion of the 2015 World Series of Poker. Over the span of roughly 45 minutes, the duo talked about a wide array of subjects that were poker and non-poker related. The podcast got off to a fun start as Ingram joshed with Esfandiari, telling the audience that they had been trying to pull something together for "Poker Life" since December. "I didn't want to have to give you that $5,000 freeroll if I didn't show up this time," Esfandiari poked back at Ingram as they sat in the family room of Esfandiari's condo. After a bit more small talk, they broached a subject that has had the poker world buzzing of late. A few episodes prior to Esfandiari's appearance, Ingram welcomed European poker pro Lex Veldhuis. On that program, Veldhuis talked about Esfandiari, in particular calling him out for being phony. Apparently, the situation dated back to dinner arrangements at a tournament nearly a decade ago and it seems that Veldhuis was still steamed about the situation. Esfandiari spent far less time talking about the flap with Veldhuis, stating, "It was many years ago. I've kind of moved on since that time." After Ingram, who had a friendship with Veldhuis and admitted it to Esfandiari, spelled out the actual problem Veldhuis had, Esfandiari effectively ended the conversation by saying, "I really don't care what Lex thinks." After those tense moments, the conversation between Esfandari and Ingram (pictured) lightened as the former talked about his early life. "When I was growing up, my home country (Iran) was involved in a war with Iraq," he said. "It was consistently nerve-wracking to have to deal with bombings on a daily basis, the fact that a home just down the street from you was destroyed and your house was still standing… My father took a huge chance getting our family out of Iran and I wake up every day glad to be in America." Known for his hard-living lifestyle when he was younger, Esfandiari admitted that he didn't take poker as seriously in the past. "I wanted to enjoy my youth as much as possible, and I did," he said to Ingram. "I really didn't start to take poker seriously until about three years ago." Even though he may not live the "rock star" life that he used to, Esfandiari passed along several tips about how to do Las Vegas right ("the biggest tip I can pass along is always use a professional host to get things set up"). Almost as well-known as his partying life is Esfandiari's relationship with Phil Laak. "He's one guy who has made life fun," Esfandiari said about Laak as he regaled Ingram's audience with a particularly funny story about their show "I Bet You" and an Ambien challenge that never made it to the air. Esfandiari also revealed that Laak was the man who taught him about money management. "We were in New York and I spent like $4,000 while we were there," Esfandiari said. "I only had about $3,000 more to my name and I said to Phil, 'I got to go home, I'm about out of money.' He said 'For the trip' and I replied 'No, altogether!" Esfandiari laughed. "You've spent more than 60% of what you're worth on this trip," Esfandiari remembered Laak (pictured) saying. "At that exact moment, Phil sat me down and taught me everything about money management." Capping off the show was a visit from the aforementioned Laak, indicating that the friendship between the two is still strong. Laak showed off a video of lake surfing at Lake Mead, but Esfandiari joked that "no one cares about watching you surf on your cell phone." The discussion between Esfandiari and Ingram may not be groundbreaking in its technical or strategic content, but it does feature a man who has become comfortable in the game as it has exploded over the past decade. The podcast can be found on iTunes or YouTube and is worth a look. Click here to watch it. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
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