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Found 10 results

  1. [caption width="640"] PokerStars Championship and Festival events are coming to the Bahamas, Panama, Rozvadov and other locations in 2017 (Neil Stoddart / PokerStars)[/caption] When PokerStars announced changes to their long-standing European Poker Tour, Asia-Pacific Poker Tour and Latin American Poker Tour series earlier this year, shockwaves were sent through the poker community. PokerStars initially announced that in lieu of their regular stops across the globe, certain events would be categorized into “Championships” or “Festivals” with 2017 dates soon to follow. As December approaches, PokerStars has released those key dates. The always popular PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas, has been renamed the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, and will run from January 6-14. Many of the events from PCAs of the past will remain on the schedule, including the $5,000 Main Event, $25,750 High Roller and the $100,000 Super High Roller. Following PokerStars Championship Bahamas will be the two major Festival stops announced thus far. The first Festival will be in London, from January 22-29. The highlight of the London Festival is the £990 Main Event with a £2,200 High Roller preceding it. Similar to London, Rozvadov, Czech Republic will hold a high roller at the €2,200 price point with the Main Event buy-in set at €1,100. The Festival takes place March 2-13. In place of a spring LAPT stop, PokerStars Championship Panama will take place from March 10-20. This stop includes a $5,300 Main Event, $10,300 High Roller and a $50,000 Super High Roller. The PokerStars event in Panama marks the only visit to South America on the 2017 schedule. After its trip to Panama, PokerStars will head east to Macau for another Championship event from March 30-April 9. Four major events are in store for this series including a HKD 82,400 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. The other three on the docket are the HKD 42,400 Main Event, HKD 103,000 High Roller and the HKD 400,000 Super High Roller. The last of the announced events will take place at Monte Carlo, the home of the former EPT Grand Final. This Championship series will is scheduled for April 25-May 5. Among the events set to take place includes a €5,300 Main Event, €25,750 High Roller, a €100,000 Super High Roller along with a €50,000 Single day No Limit Hold’em event. Regarding the changes for 2017 and PokerStars’ vision for the future, Director of Live Events, Edgar Stuchly said, “PokerStars has an incredibly rich live events heritage, having hosted more than 560 tournament series, attracted more than 800,000 entries and awarded more than $1.5 billion in prize money. The PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events are an enhancement of the existing PokerStars sponsored live events, helping to take our vision for live poker to a whole new level.”
  2. In just a few days Sergio Garcia will board his private jet and make the 10,605-mile flight from The Bahamas to Singapore to play in his first golf event of 2017, the SMBC Singapore Open. Until then though, he’s chilling out at Atlantis Resort, an annual tradition for the 37 year old, and he even found his way into the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event. Garcia, widely regarded as the best golfer to have never won one of golf’s four Major Championships, was first introduced to Texas Hold’em in 2008 by a friend and was instantly hooked. “I found it quite challenging and intriguing. So I always like those kinds of things,” said Garcia, who didn’t cash in the Championship Main Event. In 2011 he showed up the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and played a few events. He came back in 2012 and finished 51st in the PCA Main Event for a $35,000 score, which pales in comparison to the $44,000,000 he’s earned playing golf over the course of his career. Not surprisingly, it’s the competition – and not the money - that drives his passion for poker. “That’s one of the things I like about poker. That’s why I like to play tournaments when I play poker, because I like the competition side of it,” said Garcia. “I’m not really into cash games. I like to compete and show my patience and what I’m better at.” Having been a golf prodigy since his early teens, Garcia has a keen understanding of what it takes to compete at the highest level of his sport and he believes some of that skill set translates from the greens to the felt. “More than anything I think there’s two very clear ones. Patience; it’s huge in golf and is massive in poker. We all know how long you can go without playing a hand because you get nothing,” said Garcia. “And strategy is very important, to make sure that you know what you want to do. It’s very challenging, like the game of golf.” Garcia has six career cashes including one this week in a $600 side event. Despite having a real passion for the game, Garcia doesn’t think he’ll be fitting more poker into his schedule. “I would love to get better. I would love to play a little bit more, but at the moment I don’t have that much time,” said Garcia. “It’s difficult for me to find time, because what I enjoy most is playing live tournaments and playing live. I like to see the cards, see the opponents and everything.” At 37, Garcia is no longer a young gun on the PGA or European PGA Tour but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be slowing down any time soon as he chases that long sought after Major Championship. As long as his body holds up, the Spaniard just doesn’t see a time in his life when he won’t be regularly hitting the links. “It’s hard to say because I guess it all depends on how I’m doing physically. Obviously in golf we can go for a long time. Once you turn 50 you have the Champions Tour, and then you’re a youngster again when you’re 50 because all the other guys are older than you,” said Garcia. “If I’m physically well, I’ll probably keep playing some golf and I’ll probably have a little more time, so I’ m sure I’ll be able to play a little bit more poker here and there, but we’ll see.”
  3. [caption width="640"] Sacheen Ramchandani is ready to go on Day 1B of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas (PokerStars photo/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] It’s a little over 9,000 miles – or 14,000 kilometers – from Mumbai, India to the Atlantis Resort and Casino where the PokerStars Championship Bahamas is happening this week, but it’s a trip that Sacheen Ramchandani was more than happy to make. Ramchandani is one of the 250 players to have qualified for the Championship Main Event on PokerStars.com and is the only one from India. It’s a trip that didn’t almost happen, though. “One day I was just sitting in the house, doing nothing and I see a $27 tournament for the Bahamas. I think, it sounds good - I’m not going to win it but why not give it a shot? I gave it a shot and okay, made round 2,” said Ramchandani. The next step in the qualification process wasn’t for a few weeks. Ramchandani had a business trip planned in the mean time and came back thinking about almost anything but poker. “I came back from Singapore, it was a Sunday and I said to my maid I want to start a healthy life now, make me a soup and salad, I want to sleep and hit the gym in the morning. I totally forgot about the tournament. I had no idea that I had to play a tournament,” said Ramchandani. Just as he was dozing off, he remembered something about the date, but couldn’t recall if he had to play early morning the next day or late at night. So he dragged himself out of bed and launched the PokerStars client. “So I switched on the light, and it said I had to play in 3.5 hours and there goes my healthy lifestyle. So I ordered food because now I’ll be hungry - 3.5 hours plus the tourney,” said Ramchandani. A little over four hours later, Ramchandani was the last player standing, staring at a screen congratulating him on winning a trip the Bahamas. “I won the tourney. I was all excited and dying to tell somebody. But who could I tell? I couldn’t tell anybody because nobody is awake at that hour,” said Ramchandani. “So I took a picture of the “Congratulations you’ve won” screen and sent it to the poker group of mine and my family group and went to sleep. And next morning was totally different life.” Congratulatory text messages from friends and family are one thing, but Ramchandani is just thrilled to be living out a dream. The 35 year old has only been playing for six years and now finds himself rubbing elbows with some of his poker idols. “For me it’s like a fairy tale. That’s how history is made, I guess,” said Ramchandani. “I’m excited. I am nervous but I’m less nervous than I was thinking it would be. I guess it’s because I’ve watched so many videos - even when I’m on the treadmill in the gym, I’m only watching PokerStars videos. I’m on YouTube all the time because I want to improve my game.” Even though he’s got a successful career going selling luxury watches to high-end clientele, Ramchandani is hoping to turn his $27 shot into something much, much bigger – and we’re not just talking about the potential million dollar first place prize money. “Most importantly I want to be the reason why PokerStars (Live) comes to India,” said Ramchandani. “I want to be the thing that says if this guy can do it, you have millions of guys better than him, why don’t you go for it. Even if I cash, then I can make the final table, I feel like I’ve won the trophy already.”
  4. [caption width="640"] For the last seven weeks Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody has been giving fans a chance to get to know him better through his vlog (PokerStars photo)[/caption] When the PokerStars Championship Bahamas gets underway later this week you might see Jake Cody walking the hallways of the Atlantis Resort, talking to himself. While plenty of poker players walk away from a tournament muttering under their breath or yammering on to the poker gods about how a hand played out, Cody’s modus operandi is a little different. The 28 year old is doing it to share his story with a fast-growing audience through the vlog he started in late 2016. Each episode, posted on YouTube, runs between 10 and 20 minutes and is built around the Team PokerStars Pro taking viewers inside his life as a poker pro including tournament recaps, hand reviews and some of the fun stuff that happens on the road. “One day I just woke up and was like ‘Okay, I’m going to go buy a camera’. So I bought a camera, didn’t really know that much about it. I did study photography in college but that was quite a long time ago now,” said Cody, who says he spends a lot of time on YouTube watching all kinds of videos. “So I started just watching loads of training videos, and just different techniques about the whole thing; vlogging, editing, and using the camera.” “Basically for just two or three weeks I was pretty obsessed with it. I started practicing doing the vlog, then eventually I was like ‘Okay, this is going to be day one’ and that was the first one,” said Cody, who was inspired after finding fellow poker pro Andrew Neeme’s vlog one day. “It was really quite random. (Neeme) literally uploaded his first video four days before and so I got there real early, I was one of his first viewers. Obviously he’s had loads of success since, and I am just trying to do my own thing.” Over the last seven weeks of 2016 Cody released nine vlogs and the self-taught videographer-slash-editor-slash-writer admitted it’s been a process to not only learn how to do it all, but fit it into the busy schedule of a globetrotting poker pro. “For example in Prague, it took me so long to get that one out not only because there was stuff going on, but just playing in the tournaments and being at the event and trying to do all the editing at the same time was quite a lot,” said Cody. “I like to think I’m getting better at it. I’m mostly focused on the editing side of it at the moment. I’m constantly watching other people for inspiration and see what other people are doing to do my own take on them. But I do think I’m getting better, and hopefully I’ll be getting quicker so I’ll be able to get videos out quicker because I that’s the thing at the moment, I feel like I need to be uploading more.” The desire to produce more content is mainly driven by the response Cody has received to his venture into this new project. Friends, family, other poker players and poker fans on YouTube have all given plenty of love and support. Still, putting more of the personal parts of his life into his vlogs isn’t easy for Cody. The Triple Crown winner doesn’t fit the bill as one of those poker players who seeks the spotlight and media attention, but he does get recognize there is some real value in letting the world get to see more than just how he plays pocket jacks from under the gun. “I’m not really one for talking about feelings and stuff, but it does feel like a bit of self-therapy, even just talking to the camera with nobody there even if I’m not uploading it,” said Cody. “I actually found it easier to talk to the camera than I would to people, which might be weird but I guess it’s because you don’t feel like you’re being instantly judged and you can just delete it. But there’s quite a big difference to just actually putting it online when you know people are going to see it. Who knows what people are going to think?” The PokerStars Championship Bahamas will provide Cody with plenty of opportunities to showcase more than just the poker. The event, formerly known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, has always been the first big tournament on the calendar each year, but it’s also at a world-class resort with lots of other activities going on. That’s a big part of what Cody, who is headed ot the Bahamas for he seventh straight year, likes about the event. “I have good memories of PCA because it’s the first trip where I ever saw some of the American pros who like, in my head, they were people i couldn’t even imagine being real. I’d only ever seen them on High Stakes Poker or World Series coverage,” said Cody. “I remember seeing Mike Matusow, he flew past me on a scooter, and I was completely star struck. So that was my first experience with the American pros.” Along with finding himself rubbing elbows and seeing flops with the players he admired from TV coverage, Cody also looks back at his early years at the PCA and sees a player and a person who is quite different from the one he is now. “My very first trip I actually didn’t play the Main Event. I was the plus one of my friend who won a package and i just came over to play side events. I was one of those young kids on my laptop in the lobby,” said Cody. “That very first year we were just so anti-social, we didn’t even see sunlight we just was there playing online poker and a few side events. We were completely obsessed.” From that obsession to over $4 million in lifetime earnings, a World Series of Poker bracelet, a European Poker Tour title and a World Poker Tour title, on top of the vlog and a spot on Team PokerStars, Cody fits the bill of a poker superstar, but he doesn’t see it that way at all, and that might just be what makes his vlogs so popular with poker fans. “It’s definitely hard to put it in your head and quantify that. Especially since sometimes on the vlog they’ll say ‘oh I followed you from your PKR days’ or back in the World Series in 2011 or the EPT in England,” said Cody. ”I guess you think you don’t think you have an impression on that much until people actually say it to you. It’s kind of nice, but a bit weird too. I don’t really see myself as famous really, but it’s nice when people say they want to see you do well.”
  5. [caption width="640"] The ballroom at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas will be packed with poker players soon (PokerStars photo)[/caption] In just over a week the Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas will begin welcoming some of poker's best as well as a number of players hoping to strike it rich. Only this year they won't be chasing down the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure title - thanks to the rebranding of all PokerStars live events under the PokerStars Live banner, players are making their way to Atlantis to play in the first ever PokerStars Championship event. There are 92 events on the PokerStars Championship Bahamas schedule this year, but we've gone ahead and picked out five events that stand out as highlights of the schedule. Event #12: PokerStars National ChampionshipThe EPT wasn't the only tournament series that was rebranded. The Latin American Poker Tour also fell under the same umbrella and the PCA schedule included an LAPT event and that's now been replaced by a $2,200 buy-in National Championship. The event is typically one of the bigger fields on the schedule. Last year Georgios Sotiropoulos topped 850 other players to win just over $300,000. Keep in mind though, winning it means you have to late reg the Main Event at the start of Day 2. Players start with 25,000 chips and levels last 45 minutes.Event #23: PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main EventThe marquee event on the schedule each year is the Main Event. This one will hold special weight as the first ever PokerStars Championship Main Event. The $5,000 buy-in event has two starting flights, one on January 8 and another January 9. In 2016 the PCA Main Event also had a $5,000 buy-in and had 928 entries when Mike Watson beat Anthony Gregg heads-up to win $728,325. Players start with 30,000 chips and levels last 75 minutes.Event #38: Limit HOSEA good chunk of the Bahamas schedule is built around No Limit Hold'em events, so finding something to give players a break from that grind wasn't easy. The $330 buy-in Limit HOSE event on January 9 gives players an affordable option and a chance at winning a Red Spade trophy against a smaller field. It's also just a single day event. Last year Christoph Strehl topped the 42 player field to win $3,720. Players start with 10,000 chips and levels last 20 minutes.Event #67: PokerStars CupWhile the Main Event, High Roller and Super High Roller are geared towards well-bankrolled players, there is a good selection of events for the players who might be on a budget. The PokerStars Cup has four starting flights on January 12 and 13, a $440 buy-in, and allows for one entry per flight. Players start with 10,000 chips and levels last 20 minutes.Event #91: Hyper Turbo, Deep Stack, $500 Knockouts, Win the ButtonIf you're looking for a bigger buy-in event with a number of different variations in it, the $2,150 buy-in event on the final day of the Championship has almost all of it. It's a hyper turbo, levels last just 10 minutes, players are awarded $500 for every knockout they get, and just to keep it interesting, it's also a Win the Button event. Players start with 20,000 chips and levels last 10 minutes.BONUS - Events #14, 19, 25, 31: PokerStars Championship Turbo QualifierTraveling all the way to the Bahamas and not having a seat into the Main Event can be a bit of a downer for some players. So PokerStars has made it easy to get in at the last minute - and on the cheap - with four different $650 buy-in turbo qualifiers running January 7-8. Players start with 10,000 chips and levels last 15 minutes.
  6. [caption width="640"] The PokerStars Championship Bahamas had some highs and some lows (PokerStars photo/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] In August 2016 PokerStars announced a massive change to their live offering that saw all of their tour operations rebranded under the PokerStars Live name. The European Poker Tour, Latin American Poker Tour, Asia-Pacific Poker Tour and other smaller, regional tours were now PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival events. With all due respect to the EPT Grand Final, no PokerStars-branded event was more iconic than the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. That too was part of the re-branding project and became the first ever PokerStars Championship event. Here's what we learned over nine days of poker action in the Bahamas. 1. The Glory Days of the PCA are GoneIn the early days of the online poker boom, the PCA was a must-attend event for amateurs and pros alike. Amateurs loved the fact that they could qualify online for a tiny investment and get to go to a world-class poker tournament in an exotic locale. Pros loved that the event had so many amateur qualifiers building a soft field in what was then a $10,000 buy-in event. They also didn't hate the fact it was in the Bahamas at a time when most of America was going through its coldest period of the year. That sentiment seems to be gone now though. With only a handful of American qualifiers and just 250 overall, the field for the Main Event this year was 738 - the lowest total since 2006 when 724 showed up for the $10,000 buy-in event. That's a year-over-year drop of 20.5% and not something that is sustainable. Combine the Atlantis-fatigue with some of the changes PokerStars recently made to their live products (20% payouts being a part of that) and a jam-packed schedule (92 scheduled events over nine days) and you've got a number of possible reasons for the drop in attendance. There were whispers last year that 2017 would be the final PokerStars-branded event held at the Bahamas and the Main Event numbers, along with the lower-than-expected turnout in some of the side events, doesn't do anything to hush that chatter.2. Bryn Kenney Should Run for President of the BahamasIf the event doesn't return to the Bahamas next year, nobody will be more disappointed than Bryn Kenney. He cashed six times including a wins in a $25,000 and $50,000 High Roller event to push his lifetime earnings on the island to $5,558,151. All told he's cashed 14 times with four of those coming in the $100,000 High Roller where he's finished third twice (2011 & 2015), first (2016) and seventh (2017). 3. The pre-Black Friday American Online Players Can Still HangBefore Black Friday shut down online poker in the United States, there was a generation of American players that had cut their teeth playing online poker and were just starting to make names for themselves in the live arena. Christian Harder and Cliff Josephy, the final two players in the Championship Main Event, were two players who were part of that group. Josephy was famously ranked #1 on PocketFives for 74 weeks at one point and Harder made it as high as #14. It's something that other players who came up at the same time have noticed: 4. The Poker Shot Clock is Going to Become a ThingOver the last few years a number of players have made it known that one of the issues facing the game today is other players taking too long to play a hand. In their eyes, the “tanking epidemic” has made the game unplayable to some and the solution put forth has been a shot clock. Last April, at the Tournament of Champions, the World Poker Tour introduced the Action Clock, a device that sat on the table and allowed the dealer to give each player a pre-set amount of time to act on each decision. Players were then given additional time buttons they could use to extend their time. One of the most vocal on this issue has been Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. After Negreanu and a few other high stakes regulars, asked PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson and his staff to at least consider experimenting with a shot clock in the Bahamas, Johnson agreed and, despite having no real technology to work with, made it happen. While it was just one event of the 90+ events on the schedule, it indicated that if the technology can be made affordably and easy to use, the likelihood that more events have a shot clock in the near future is pretty high.
  7. [caption width="639"] Mike 'Timex' McDonald is ready to let the world buy shares of poker players in tournament around the world. (PokerStars photo)[/caption] A few years ago Mike McDonald felt that some players were getting out of hand with how they priced themselves when selling pieces. As a bit of a lark he launched a Twitter account under the name @BankofTimex and started offering his own pricing on some players in high profile events. He never meant for it to be a real thing. “Originally it wasn’t so much looking at betting on it, it was more just looking to just troll people who had too high markups and things like that. It was not a very well thought out thing,” said McDonald. “After a couple of days when there were a bunch of people responding and some messages going back and forth, somebody was just like ‘Hey Mike, what you’re doing is basically just bookmaking in the public eye’.” And with that the Bank of Timex was shut down. Fast forward three-and-a-half years and McDonald has brought the concept back, but this time he’s jumped through all the necessary hoops to make it real and earlier this month launched PokerShares.com. “What’s changed is that we’ve found a way to get it fully licensed,” said McDonald. “We wanted to be as cautious as possible and what we’re doing, obviously there’s no gambling key slot to support what poker betting would be like, but we figured it would be treated similarly enough to sports betting that we should have proper licenses if we’re actually going to do it.” The company has a Curacao gaming license and is accepting action now - just not from America. The idea was reborn after Veron Lammers, a high stakes poker player that McDonald had hired to do some coaching a few years ago, asked about the Bank of Timex. “I was talking to a friend of mine and he was asking me why I never really pursued turning it into something more and I was like ‘well, it’s a lot of work and I’m kinda lazy and I’m always traveling around for poker tournaments and I don’t know if I really have the time to set up a proper company’,” said McDonald. Lammers offered McDonald a deal. If McDonald would be the face of the company and do most of the promotional and marketing work, as well as set the prices on players, Lammers was more than happy to do the other stuff. Lammers is in charge of day-to-day business operations and set up the LLC and pursued the gaming license. “In my mind this is the stuff I find fun, so it feels like I’m doing that much work. He enjoys that stuff, where he doesn’t feel like he’s that much work and it worked out well for both of us,” said McDonald. Unlike sites like StakeKings or YouStake that allow poker fans and players to buy shares that players have decided to sell, PokerShares is selling action in players and assuming all of the risk. The site began selling action in players at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas as well as the much-hyped heads-up match between Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. “What we do is we create a share, you purchase it through us and we don’t even own the share, we just give you what that share would have paid out,” said McDonald, who knows that lending his credibility in the poker world is a big part of his role. “A lot of people wouldn’t want to make a bet just hoping that someone is going to pay them out $100,000 or $1 million when they win, but I think I’m one of the few people where in the early stages of the company my reputation is strong enough that very few people are actually questioning that.” While the ‘Bank of Timex’ was originally intended to point out some of the bad pricing McDonald saw in the marketplace at the time, PokerShares could end up acting as a market correction tool and change the price players are able to charge. “People who charge too high of a mark up will probably have less opportunity to sell, but I still think plenty of people will sell out from prices higher than we’re charging,” said McDonald. “The product or experience that you’re getting from PokerShares is different from buying form your friend. If you’re buying from your friend, whether or not you buy might be the difference between him getting to play the tournament or not. And it just feels better to be winning with your best friend than it does to be winning off of some company.” McDonald is also savvy enough to know that pricing certain players a certain way could end up generating buzz, particularly on social media. “It is one of those things where it’s kind of interesting, separating emotions from the success of the business. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” said McDonald. “I don’t want to get it into any ego battles or anything like, but getting into those ego battles is good for the company. It’s not a bad idea to price some people down, specifically guys you know will get offended, if that gets the word out there.”
  8. [caption width="640"] Asher Conniff and Jessica Dawley were at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport during Friday's shooting. (WPT photo)[/caption] Just moments after a gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing five people and injuring at least another eight, a handful of poker players were waiting to board their flight to Nassau, Bahamas to play in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas event. Included in that group were Asher Conniff and Jessica Dawley. The pair was sitting at their gate in Terminal 3, just a few hundred yards from Terminal 2 where the shooting took place. Word of anything happening at the airport first came from a fellow passenger who had seen something on social media. Five minutes later, Conniff saw the news on his own timeline and quietly mentioned it to Dawley. Instead of chaos and panic, Conniff was surprised by how calm everything was around him. “Life was going on as if nothing had changed and the number one news story was happening one terminal over in the same airport,” said Conniff. “Everything seemed so normal in the airport. It was the weirdest occurrence. And then you watch the news and it’s complete chaos.” Other passengers seemed oblivious to what was happening just one terminal over and there was no mention of anything from airline staff or airport officials. Conniff even noticed that the TVs in the terminal that normally show news channels like CNN or MSNBC were showing a sports channel. “It felt more like weird and I can’t believe they haven’t locked down the airport yet,” said Dawley. “Only a few people in our surrounding little sitting area knew about it.” It took a little longer than usual, but eventually Conniff and Dawley and the rest of the passengers boarded the flight. Flying on JetBlue, every passenger had access to a personal seatback satellite TV. Some began tuning in to the coverage. “We got on the plane and it was a whole other set of weirdness because everyone’s watching it happen and we’re there on a plane,” said Conniff. “When were on the plane, (Allen) Kessler still didn’t know,” said Dawley. “The stewardesses did say a few things on the plane along the lines of ‘we know this is a hectic time so you can use your phones’, but never said that something was wrong or okay there was a shooting.” Both Dawley and Conniff did take the opportunity to send texts to friends to let them know they were safe and on their way to the Bahamas. “We were watching the news and we’re waiting to take off and we’re taxiing for a while, and we’re watching CNN and the guys says something along the lines of ‘So all air traffic has been grounded. No more air traffic allowed out ’ and we’re like, damn this sucks,” said Conniff. “Then he goes ‘Wait, it looks like there is one plane that’s still on the runway. So I guess that one plane may still take off’ and we don’t move at all and Jessica and I look at each and we’re like ‘this can’t be real’, but we remind each other, ‘You know what we’re safe, we’re alive’, five seconds later the wheels started turning.” The flight took off an hour later than scheduled, but both players are grateful to have arrived safe and sound. “It was pretty crazy. But the whole time the over-arching theme for us was anything that happens after this point, how can we complain?,” said Conniff. “We were just in an airport where five people got killed and it’s not us and we’re safe and we’re happy and who cares how long we sit in this plane or if we don’t get to take off?”
  9. [caption width="640"] Luc Greenwood outlasted a tough field in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas ,000 High Roller (PokerStars Photo)[/caption] The final day of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas included the conclusion of two of the marquee events on the schedule. While Christian Harder and Cliff Josephy were headlining the Main Event final table, the $25,000 High Roller final table included some of the biggest names in the game - including possibly the biggest, Daniel Negreanu. Following Bryn Kenney’s elimination in the ninth place, it took just another five minutes for the first elimination at the official eight-handed final table. Nick Petrangelo raised to 50,000 from UTG before Mark Radoja move all in from the small blind for 385,000. Petrangelo called and tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] while Radoja showed [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"] flop was a bad one for Radoja and neither the [poker card="4d"] turn or [poker card="7d"] river were any help, eliminating Radjoa in eighth. The next player to hit the rail was Stephen Chidwick. The British pro raise to 40,000 before Michael Rocco made it 120,000 to go. Chidwick announced he was all in for 6667,000 and Rocco snap-called and showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. Chidwick flipped over [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and watched the dealer run a [poker card="9s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3c"] board to eliminate him in seventh. It took just 30 minutes for the next elimination and once again it was Petrangelo putting his big stack to work. Nacho Barbero defended his big blind after Petrangelo raised to 60,000 from the hijack. Barbero then check-raised all in on the [poker card="js"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"] flop and Petrangelo called. Barbero showed [poker card="8c"][poker card="7c"] for middle pair but was behind Petrangelo’s [poker card="qd"][poker card="jh"] that gave him top pair. The [poker card="as"] turn and [poker card="ts"] river were both bricks and the popular Argentinian was out in sixth. Despite starting the final table with the shortest stack, Negreanu managed to hang around through the first three eliminations thanks to a few timely double-ups. That good run all ended thanks to Petrangelo. Negreanu opened to 60,000 and after Michael Rocco called, Petrangelo raised it up allowing Negreanu to move all in. Rocco folded and Petrangelo called. Negreanu tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"] and found himself dominated by Petrangelo’s [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="3d"] flop was a terrible one for Negreanu and when the [poker card="3s"] hit the turn, he was out in fifth place. The meaningless river was the [poker card="9d"]. Just a half hour later, play was suddenly three-handed. Luc Greenwood made it 70,000 from UTG before Byron Kaverman moved all in for 835,000 from the small blind. Greenwood called and tabled [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"] and was behind Kaverman’s [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"][poker card="4c"] flop was harmless as was the [poker card="2d"] turn but the [poker card="8h"] river gave Greenwood the suckout and busted Kaverman in fourth. The final three players went at it for another hour and fifteen minutes before the next bustout. Rocco raised from the to 90,000 and Petrangelo came along for the ride from the big blind. After the [poker card="as"][poker card="th"][poker card="3h"] flop, Petrangelo checked, Rocco raised to 75,000 and Petrangelo called. The turn was the [poker card="2h"], Petrangelo checked again and Rocco bet 200,000. Petrangelo announced he was all in and Rocco called. Petrangelo showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"] for a flush while Rocco had [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"] for top pair with a flush draw but the [poker card="qc"] river ended Rocco’s run in third place. When heads-up play began Greenwood had a slight lead over Petrangelo and they quickly began discussing a deal. After a few minutes they agreed to a chop that paid Greenwood $749,268 and Petrangelo $740,032 with $30,000 and the trophy to play for. It took just 10 minutes for Greenwood to finish off Petrangelo. From the button Greenwood raised to 200,000 and Petrangelo responded with a re-raise to 700,000. Greenwood called and after the [poker card="kc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3h"] flop, Petrangelo bet 420,000 and Greenwood called again. The turn was the [poker card="ks"] and Petrangelo moved all in. Greenwood quickly called and showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] for trip kings while Petrangelo tabled [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="7c"] river was no help for Petrangelo and he was eliminated in second place. Final Table Payouts Luc Greenwood - $779,268 Nick Petrangelo - $740,032 Michael Rocco - $409,020 Byron Kaverman - $335,020 Daniel Negreanu - $268,780 Nacho Barbero - $208,400 Stephen Chidwick - $154,260 Mark Radoja - $113,360
  10. [caption width="640"] Christian Harder won the first ever PokerStars Championship event on Saturday, defeating Cliff Josephy heads-up to win PokerStars Championship Bahamas (PokerStars photo)[/caption] Just 2.5 months ago Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy was at the final table of the WSOP Main Event with a player he once backed in the pre-Black Friday era of online poker. Josephy eventually finished eventually busted in third while his one-time horse, Gordon Vayo, finished second. Christian Harder improved that narrative on Sunday night at the final table of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event. Josephy finished runner-up while Harder, once also backed by Josephy, took home the title and just over $400,000. It took just seven hands for the first elimination on the night and much to the delight of his legions of fans on PocketFives, it wasn’t Josephy. Harder opened the action, raising to 140,000 from UTG. Rasmus Glaesel moved all in UTG+1 and Harder called. Glaesel showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found himself racing against Harder’s [poker card="tc"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] to give Harder a full house and eliminated Glaesel in sixth. That handed seemed to provide some momentum for Harder, but it also seemed to spell the beginning of the end for Michael Gentili, who started the final day with the chip lead. Over the course of the next five hours, Gentili saw his chip stack evaporate mostly at the hands of Aleksei Opalikhin. Josephy eventually finished him off. After Harder opened to 275,000, Josephy moved all in for 1,785,000 before Gentil called off the last of his stack from the small blind. Harder folded and Josephy showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"] while Gentili had two live cards, [poker card="9s"][poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] flop put Josephy ahead and he stayed there through the [poker card="js"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river to eliminate Gentili in fifth place. At this point Harder had almost 2/3 of the chips in play but again he sat back as another player was eliminated. Josephy opened to 240,000 before Michael Vela re-raised to 1,000,000. Opalikhin called his last 295,000 before Josephy folded. Vela showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] and Opalikhin tabled [poker card="tc"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] flop left Opalikhin drawing thin and while the [poker card="th"] turn and [poker card="9c"] river gave the Russian two full houses, they weren’t big enough and he was out in fourth place. Another 90 minutes of play passed with Harder still in command before the next elimination. Harder raised from the button to 350,000, Josephy called from the small blind but Vela moved all in for 1,485,000. Harder and Josephy both called. Harder and Josephy both checked through the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4d"] board. Harder showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"] for ace-high while Josephy tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"] for a king-high flush and Vela tabled and mucked [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"] to be eliminated in third place. When heads-up play began Harder held 12,130,000 chips to Josephy’s 9,175,000. Play was paused to allow Harder and Josephy to discuss a chop and after just a few minutes the Americans agreed to a deal that saw Harder take $419,664 and Josephy $403,448 with an additional $10,000 going to the eventual champion. Just 20 minutes later Harder finished Josephy after a preflop all in spot. Josephy raised to 400,00, Harder raised to 1,100,000 and Josephy move all in for just over 6,000,000. Harder called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="js"] which had Josephy’s [poker card="as"][poker card="8h"] dominated. The [poker card="9s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="ks"][poker card="9c"] board was no help for Josephy and he was eliminated in second place leaving Harder standing tall with the first major title of his career. The $5,000 buy-in event, which replaced the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, attracted 738 entries. Last year the $5,300 buy-in PCA had a field of 928 and Mike Watson took home $728,325 for first. The next PokerStars Championship event is in Panama, March 10 - 20. In the meantime, the PokerStars Festival event hits London, England January 22 - 29. Final Table Payouts Christian Harder - $429,664* Cliff Josephy - $403,448* Michael Vela - $259,980 Aleksei Opalikhin - $191,420 Michael Gentili - $140,940 Rasmus Glaesel - $103,780 Brock Allison - $76,400 John Dibella - $56,260

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