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  1. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen walked away with a little bit more than ,000,000 but that wasn't the only interesting number coming out of the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table (WSOP photo/Jayne Furman)[/caption] You know the headlines, you know the bustouts, you saw what happened on TV. But there were many untold and unexplored stories of the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, so we decided to break some down and crunch some numbers. -45: Average temperature in the regions of Antarctica inhabited by polar bears. The bears are built for the cold, which is perhaps why Kenny Halleart’s rail chose to have someone dress as one to cheer their friend on at the notoriously cold Rio. 4: Number of players lost on the first day of November Nine play. While the plan was originally to play from nine down to six, the producers and tournament staff elected to play a little longer, perhaps because it did not take long to lose three players and, as a result, the table did not get far along in the structure. Because of the extended play, Halleart exited in sixth place on the first day of action. Then, on the second day of play, the table played three-handed for a little while because it took so little time to get from five players to three. 9: Number of years since an Asian player has won the WSOP Main Event. Laos-born Jerry Yang won in 2007, but since then the list of winners has been exclusively Caucasian and exclusively under the age of 30. Nguyen, who is 39, bucked both trends. 16: Number of hands it took before losing a player. Fernando Pons didn’t quite make it twice around the table before exiting in ninth place. 58: Number of hands it took at the final table before Griffin Benger managed to win a pot. The Canadian struggled at the final table and blinded off much of his stack. He also failed to flop much of anything, resulting in the very long stretch without dragging chips in his direction. The celebration was short-lived though. He busted in seventh place nine hands later. 60: Going rate in dollars for four pints of ice cream from the boutique Tin Pot Creamery, a Palo Alto ice cream provider Gordon Vayo promoted with a patch at the final table. Boasting flavors like Earl Grey and Sweet Barbeque, the creamery produces small batches of ice cream at quite the price, which also doesn’t include tax or shipping and handling. 69: Starting bid on eBay for the New Era brand Rocket Raccoon ball cap similar to the one wore by Qui Nguyen throughout the final table. The Guardians of the Galaxy hat was one of the more memorable pieces of headgear in Main Event memory. Now the hat is difficult to come by, but that is largely because of the popularity of the now two-year-old movie as opposed to Nguyen’s ability to influence style. 182: Number of hands heads-up play lasted. It is also the number of hands it took for the final table to get from nine down to two players. By comparison, last year the entire final table took 184 hands, with Joe McKeehen besting Josh Beckley after 13 hands. 1,046,965: Difference between $4.5 million and what Cliff Josephy collected for finishing in third place. Much has been made of the fact Josephy staked Joe Cada when he won the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Though the number was never confirmed, most assume Josephy took home half the $9 million payday. If that is the case, turns out this wasn’t his most profitable WSOP Main Event after all.
  2. [caption width="640"] Qui Nguyen has 8 million reasons to smile after winning the 2016 WSOP Main Event (WSOP Photo / Jayne Furman0[/caption] When the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table began on Sunday night, nobody thought Qui Nguyen had a chance at overcoming a field that included two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a talented European poker pro, a former PokerStars SuperNova Elite and two young American poker pros who cut their poker teeth online. On Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Nguyen beat Gordon Vayo after a lengthy heads up battle to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event and the accompanying $8 million. Just like they did on the first night, when Nguyen and Cliff Josephy went at each other, things got crazy on the first hand Tuesday night. Nguyen started things off by raising to 2,700,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"] from the button. Josephy re-raised to 8,500,000 from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and Gordon Vayo got out of the way before Nguyen four-bet to 20,900,000. Josephy immediately moved all and after getting a count, Nguyen called. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7c"] flop gave Josephy top two pair. The [poker card="3s"] turn clinched the pot for Josephy with the [poker card="qs"] falling on the river. Nguyen’s stack dropped to 147,600,000 while Josephy more than doubled to 101,400,000. He also had momentum that proved to be short lived. Just four hands later the three players clashed in the biggest pot of the tournament to date and it nearly meant the end of the road for Josephy, the longest reigning #1-ranked player in PocketFives history. Josephy raised to 2,500,000 with [poker card="2d"][poker card="2c"] from the button, Vayo called from the small blind with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] before Nguyen made 7,700,000 from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. Josephy and Vayo both called to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"]. Nguyen bet 9,900,000 and both Josephy and Vayo called. After the [poker card="4d"] turn, Vayo and Nguyen both checked and Josephy bet 21,000,000. Vayo eventually moved all in for 75,100,000. Nguyen folded and Josephy called. The river was the [poker card="6d"] and Vayo doubled up while Josephy was left with just eight big blinds. Josephy doubled up through Nguyen on the very next hand and then again four hands later through Nguyen to get his stack back to 46,200,000 - just 3,800,000 less than he started the final day with. Josephy’s roller coaster ride continued five hands later when Nguyen took half of his stack and officially ended on the very next hand. Nguyen folded the button, Josephy moved all in for 18,700,000 with [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"] and Vayo called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2c"] to eliminate Josephy in third place. After his elimination, Josephy discussed the set-vs-set confrontation with Vayo. “If he had played a small pair out of the small blind yesterday, I would’ve easily folded, due to his image, his reputation and my perception of him” said Josephy. “But he had folded a small pair against cutoff open against me, so it was easy to pull small pairs out of his range,” said Josephy. “The way he played the hand, he had to have a set of threes, but I don’t have him on threes, so it’s so hard because I couldn’t figure out what he could have.” When heads up play began Vayo had 200,300,000 chips to Nguyen’s 136,300,000. The two players exchanged the chip lead back and forth six times over the next 25 hands before Nguyen took the lead for the final time. Over the next seven hours of play, Vayo did everything he could to stave off elimination from the hard-charging Nguyen, but in the end, Nguyen’s aggression and unique approach that left his opponents dazed and confused over the final three days of play, ended up leading him to victory. After leaving Vayo shaking his head after numerous folds, the tournament ended in anti-climatic fashion. Nguyen opened to 8,500,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] and Vayo shipped in his 53,000,000 stack with [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"] and Nguyen called. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Nguyen top pair and Vayo a boatful of extra outs but the [poker card="2s"] turn and [poker card="3h"] river were complete bricks for Vayo and after 181 hands of heads up play, Nguyen eliminated Vayo in second place to win the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Nguyen eliminated four of the final five players on his way to the win. Final Table Payouts Qui Nguyen - $8,005,310 Gordon Vayo - $4,661,228 Cliff Josephy - $3,453,035 Michael Ruane - $2,576,003 Vojtech Ruzicka - $1,935,288 Kenny Hallaert - $1,464,258 Griffin Benger - $1,250,190 Jerry Wong - $1,100,076 Fernando Pons - $1,000,000
  3. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Vojtech Ruzicka could become the first Czech winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] You get the impression from 2016 November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka that he really loves poker. He's already promised that he won't be retiring if he wins the Main Event and that he would continue to play high buy-in tournaments all around the world. But since the end of this year’s World Series of Poker, and the final table eventually getting underway, Ruzicka has been spotted playing in a variety of different destinations. The Czech pro has certainly been honing his game ahead of the most important final table of his life, not only in tournaments! Ruzicka admitted over the summer that he wasn’t much of a cash game player, but that certainly didn’t stop him from heading to Rozvadov for the King’s Casino Cash Game. After a rough couple of days playing against the likes of Tony G and Igor Kurganov, he managed to turn it back around in the final session and finish the trip as a winner. Since then King’s Casino have announced that they intend to build a new hotel, spa and a new huge poker room. Ruzicka was quick to praise Leon Tsoukernik and the recent expansion plans at King’s. “I couldn’t be more excited about it! It looks like King’s could become the biggest European poker room really soon and the plans look awesome,” said Ruzicka of the host casino for WSOP Europe in 2017 and 2019. “King’s has some special memories for me. I actually played my first big live tournaments there, and I have won the German Championship of Poker there twice.” “I am really excited to represent Rozvadov in November." READ: Five Questions with Vojtech Ruzicka As well as playing at King’s, Ruzicka also headed to the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona where not only did he finish 18th in the €25,000 High Roller, but managed a deep run in the Main Event only to finish 24th. Ruzicka said that it was great to have the experience of running deep in another tournament so soon. “When I was deep in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, I was really excited, but not nervous at all. It felt great,” said Ruzicka. “I’ve never thought self-confidence makes much of a difference, but the fact that you will play a final table in a much bigger tournament in three months’ time made me much more relaxed.” “I definitely felt much better at the table and I was just like ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to win the EPT while waiting for the November Nine?’” In Barcelona it was announced that the EPT is soon to rebrand into PokerStars Championships. Ruzicka’s poker resume is littered with cashes, as well as a High Roller win at EPT Deauville in 2013 for €313,000. Ruzicka says that he hoped that the new format will work as well as the EPTs have done. “I honestly think that the EPT had a great name around the poker world, and I personally would never have renamed those tournaments. But we will see. I will definitely give them a shot,” said Ruzicka. This year there are three Europeans at the Main event final table, with Ruzicka joined by Spain's Fernando Pons and the Netherlands' Kenny Hallaert. This is an increase from 2015 where just Federico Butteroni and Pierre Neuville were from the other side of the pond. In 2014, however, there were four Europeans at a final table which was eventually won by Swede Martin Jacobson. And with four of the last eight Main Event Champions being European, does Ruzicka think that it would mean anything special to become yet another European Main Event winner? “I think everyone wants to win the Main Event really bad, but I think that people care more about how the winner plays and behaves. I don’t think that nationality is that important," said Ruzicka. “However, I do feel that following these results American players are starting to respect us Europeans much more at the tables and when we come to the World Series of Poker.” And with the November Nine right around the corner, Ruzicka will have a gang of rowdy Czechs railing him at the final table. “Now that I’m a November Niner, everybody has been really nice to me. It’s been actually quite pleasant so far,” admitted Ruzicka. “I would like to thank the entire Czech poker community. Everyone has been so supportive to me and I hope that I will make them proud!”
  4. [caption width="640"] There are more numbers in play at the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table that just the November Nine (WSOP Photo / Joe Giron)[/caption] You’ve seen plenty of numbers related to the November Nine. You’ve seen ages and chip counts, number of bracelets and final tables. Let’s not forget lifetime tournament earnings and number of big blinds. Rather than examine the obvious stats, let’s get to know this final table by the not-so-apparent numbers in this edition of The Number Crunch. 0 – This number applies to quite a bit of Fernando Pons’ resume. Prior to this Main Event, he had never played a World Series of Poker tournament, he had never even been to Vegas. He also has zero players behind him on the leaderboard, as the Spaniard is coming in with just a handful of big blinds amounting to 6.15 million. 2 – Spot on the Czech Republic all-time money list for Vojtech Ruzicka, who has already been credited with at least ninth place money. If he wins, he can take the top spot away from Martin Staszko, who finished second to Pius Heinz in 2011. 3 – This is the third career WSOP final table for Gordon Vayo. While he may not be a household name to casual poker fans, he actually came up just shy of a bracelet in 2014, finishing second to Davidi Kitai in a $3,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event. 25 – Position of Qui Nguyen in the counts with 27 players remaining. He began near the bottom of the counts, but after doubling through Michael Ruane early, he went on to eliminate Tom Marchese, James Obst, and Mike Shin to take the chip lead and go on to bag the second-biggest stack going into November. 407 – Total number of runners in the 2016 Unibet Belgium Poker Championship in September of 2016. Kenny Hallaert was on hand as the Unibet tournament director for the event, and does not appear interested in quitting his full-time day job after making the final table. 519 – Number of days chip leader Cliff Josephy was ranked #1 on the PocketFives Rankings. One of the OGs of online poker, the man known as 'JohnnyBax online joined P5s in 2005 and quickly ascended the ranks of online poker to take the number one spot. He is not the only top PocketFiver in the pack though. Griffin Benger was also ranked #1 in P5s World Rankings. Bax isn’t just a token member either. He has posted over 1,300 times in the forums as well as backed numerous other P5ers, including a former Main Event winner, Joe Cada. 26,158 – Total dollars confiscated by US Customs when Michael Ruane tried to fly back into the States after the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Then 23, Ruane and his brother and cousin did not properly declare the amount of money they were returning with, so officials confiscated it at the Nassau Airport. 98,683 – Dollars in earnings for Griffin Benger in his career as a professional Counter-Strike player. His career-high score came in 2007 when he and four teammates won a Competitive Gaming Series (CGS) event for $250,000 total, amounting to $50,000 apiece. 1,380,000 – Number of chips Jerry Wong lost over the course of two days of play as the field winnowed down from 80 to the November Nine. He was chip leader at the end of Day 5 with over 11 million, but lost steam late in play, bagging just over 10 million and coming into November eighth out of nine in the chip counts.
  5. [caption width="320" align="alignleft"] Michael Ruane sits fifth in chips as the 2016 WSOP Main Event gets underway, but there's more to the New Jersey native than just poker (WSOP photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] Before the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table begins, PocketFives is providing extensive coverage of the 2016 November Nine including player features, interviews, previews, and statistics. In this edition of Five Questions we introduce you to Michael Ruane. PocketFives: You were paid $1,000,000 for finishing ninth back in July. If you were forced to bet that money on one player other than yourself to win the Main Event, who would you bet on and why? I don't really gamble or bet outside of poker so I'd probably make the fish bet and just bet on whoever has the most ridiculous odds, who happens to be Fernando - so I'd probably throw a 20 ball on Fernando to win. * PocketFives: If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island for one year and could only bring three non-living things with you, what would you bring and why? This is a good one that I've put a lot of thought into and tried to come at from a very practical angle.*So growing up the first show I was absolutely obsessed with was LOST.*It was the first show that I (and I think a lot of people) totally immersed myself in 100%.*This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but if you haven't watched LOST at this point, you've probably missed the boat - but in later seasons Locke's mortality is sort of up in the air, so technically I think he'd qualify as non-living.*So my first "thing" I'd bring to this island is the character of John Locke.*I honestly don't think I'd need anything else after that to survive, but to round out my three I'd probably bring a knife (for practical purposes) and an iPod (for when Locke gets too annoying rambling on about said deserted island's meaning). PocketFives: If you win the Main Event and the $8 million, what is the first extravagant purchase you will make? I don't think it would be one extravagant single purchase.*I'm a pretty big music nut and try to go to as many concerts and music festivals as possible.*I also really love to travel.*I think I would try to combine these two passions and plot a really awesome (and expensive) trip that included different places I've been wanting to visit that had a cool music festival or band playing at the same time. * PocketFives: If a major Hollywood movie studio were to make a movie about your life, who would you cast in the lead role? I've been told that I resemble anywhere from Michael Shannon to Robert Pattinson to Leo, himself.*To answer the question, if a Hollywood studio was serious about this idea, I'd embark on a global journey to find this mystical creature who looks like a combination of all three of these actors.*I'd then offer this person an exorbitant amount of money (so this actually might be my most extravagant purchase) to portray me in a major motion picture. * PocketFives: If you and your brother Sean (also a professional poker player) had to play heads-up against each other in a winner-take-all scenario, who wins and why? Depends when this match takes place. If it takes place before the Final Table, Sean would for sure let me win to give me a nice confidence boost. If it's after the Final Table, it's a real toss up.*Sean is huge lightweight though, so my strategy would be to act as if this heads-up match was a fun, light-hearted brotherly match where we'd have a few beers and have a good time.* I'd then get Sean absolutely bombed, rendering him incapable of defeating me.*In theory, I think it'd be virtually impossible for the poor guy to win.
  6. [caption width="640"] A little over one year after launching, StakeKings co-founder Tyler Hancock has seen the company grow to be a respected part of the poker community.[/caption] Buying and selling pieces of poker players has a long, storied history. While some of that history includes fantastic moments, like Joe Cada hugging his backer, Cliff Josephy, as the dealer dealt the river card sealing Cada’s 2009 WSOP Main Event victory, there’s also been horror stories of players overselling, taking a stake from a backer and then disappearing or flat out refusing to pay after a big score. Over the last year though, an avid poker player and entrpreneur, has been working night and day with his partners to take the staking world from hand-written notes and handshakes to a more digital offering, with player protection and transaction transparency in mind. “I had been playing poker and running a variety of staking related sites/small staking stables for quite awhile when I met two people who were looking to launch a poker staking app,” said Tyler Hancock. “A lot of things weirdly fell into place and the three of us hit it off as if we had been working together on this idea for years.” And with that, StakeKings.com was born. Rather than build the product they thought players would want, Hancock and his partners actually reached out to a number of respected players and involved them in the development process. “We were able to work together to launch the beta, and shortly after brought on board Dylan Hortin, Rupert Elder, and Jeff Gross to be the pros who tested out the beta platform by selling action to their fans/viewers on Twitch,” said Hancock. “I can honestly say that if someone had told us up front all of the initial hurdles and stress that would come with getting StakeKings off the ground, I don't know if we would have even made the attempt.” Over the last year Hancock says he’s learned a lot about himself and business as the company went from cool idea to company to market leader. What he’s most thankful for though is that the company has earned the trust of users – sellers and buyers – in a market that desperately required it. “We have created incredible software that makes buying and selling action extremely simple and secure. Seeing that we only work with trusted players that are all under contract, there has never been a case of someone not paying in the nearly 10,000 packages that have been sold,” said Hancock. “We pride ourselves on having the most responsive customer service that I think you can find anywhere in the poker industry. If there is one thing that we are most proud of during our first year it is how accessible we are to our users and how responsive we have been to user feedback.” The site is built on user feedback. Not just the standard websites of any website in any industry, but probably more importantly, the pricing of the product. Players selling packages on StakeKings are able to set their own prices. “Pros are able to set their own markups, and if a pro happens to be selling their markups too high then the market usually lets them know that fairly quickly,” said Hancock. “We work with an incredible group of pros who are looking to engage with poker fans from around the world and give them a sweat, so this is rarely an issue that we personally need to step in and deal with.” One of the biggest growth factors for StakeKings has been the popularity of poker on Twitch. Poker fans went from just watching their favorite players to having a rooting financial interest that always has the potential to pay off in a big way. “The users on our site who are buying action range from low limit grinders to hedge fund managers and celebrities looking for a fun sweat,” said Hancock. “The majority of the users are looking to get a small piece of some of their favorites pros and Twitch streamers who sell action, which makes watching the tournaments much more exciting when you have a piece.” Fans at home buying pieces of a player and then sweating along with them on Twitch is one thing, but last October the company hit a bit of a homerun when they partnered with one of the November Nine to sell action to the WSOP final table. Only problem was, in a table full of players with backgrounds in online poker, it was the unknown Qui Nguyen that they partnered with. Still, fans loved the idea and bought action and then watched as Nguyen took down the title, winning $8 million in the process. Five Biggest Score from Pro Packages That Sold 1%+ on StakeKings Qui Nguyen - WSOP 2016 Main Event - $8,000,000 Brian Rast - WSOP 2016 Event #55 PPC - $1,296,097.00 Charlie Carrel - PSC Bahamas Super High Roller $100,000 - $1,191,900 Brian Rast - Aria $100K High Roller - $971,000 Antonio Esfandiari - WSOP One Drop High Roller - $263,312 While Nguyen’s hit was a one-time deal, there are a group of strong successful pros that have been most active on StakeKings including two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, Bryan ‘bparis’ Paris and Chris ‘Gettin Daize’ Oliver, Twitch star and 888poker ambassador Parker ‘Tonkaaaa’ Talbot, as well as Gross and Carrel.
  7. Six months ago, Niall Farrell finally slew the dragon and won his first World Series of Poker, beating out a tough field in the €25,000 High Roller at WSOP Europe. Now, the Scottish poker pro is in Las Vegas for the 2018 World Series of Poker hoping to add another bracelet to his collection. Over the course of the 2018 WSOP, 50 Days & 50 Nights chronicles Farrell’s summer; the highs and the lows and all the stuff that happens in between. Here's how the opening two weeks of the 2018 World Series of Poker has gone for Niall Farrell. He's cashed once - for $1,096, been knocked out of $110,000 worth of poker tournaments by Justin Bonomo (before the money bubble), woke up with a horse screensaver on what he thought was his phone, and is now banned from drinking any booze. Despite all of this, spirits (his, not the ones that come in a glass) are still quite high. His WSOP started with the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty where he picked up a couple of bounties but busted before the bubble. Next up was the $100,000 High Roller, an event he initially had no intention of playing. "Then I saw the field, it was pretty good, so I got in. I got up to 100 bigs but then ran into Bonomo - that's becoming kind of a theme," said Farrell. "The $100K was going really well, I sat down and was just winning every hand and then I got it in with kings to Bonomo's king-five suited on a jack-eight-four flop for like 2.5 starting stacks and promptly lost." "When someone's on that kind of a heater, it feels kind of inevitable, you see their hand and you're like 'oh, for god's sake'. It just feels like that because they're doing so well at the moment," said Farrell. A few days later, Farrell played the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship event. "The very first round I got to play with Bill Klein and he had me in stitches the whole time. He's a really funny guy, really nice guy," said Farrell, who beat Klein and then Adam Greenberg to advance to a matchup with one of his summer roommates, Michael Gagliano. Before the match, Farrell and Gagliano swapped a bit of action. During the match, they traded a bit of friendly banter. "We were just shit-talking each other a lot and he was folding a lot, and he was like 75% correct to be making these folds. We were just needling each other. It was just fun because although it's a serious tournament, one of us was going to win anyways and we're both playing. I had some good fun with it," said Farrell. As the match continued, another one of their roommates, Daniel Strelitz, walked over to check in on the match. He had just bagged chips in another tournament and was headed back to the house. Farrell asked him to wait so he could drove everybody home. His timing couldn't have been better and set up a perfect spot for Farrell to inflict max pain on Gagliano. "He was down to about 15 bigs and shoved. I looked down at one ace and I almost went 'Oh wow, this is a good one. I think this is going to be it.' Then I looked down at the other ace and I actually stopped before I said anything, and I was like 'Oh, can I have a count, please? This is going to be pretty close'," said Farrell. "I said to Daniel 'This might be it, it's pretty close,' and I thought that would give it away because I would never have called him over if I wasn't slowrolling to be honest. I got the count again and I said 'Okay, call' and Gags turned his hand over and he had jack-ten and I said 'Oh, how is it such a dirty flip? It's so absurd', and then he looked kind of happy. I turned over aces and he just burst out laughing. It was too perfect of a spot not to do it." All kidding aside, Farrell eliminated Gagliano and then found himself heads-up against, you guessed it, Bonomo, in the next round. That was the end of the road for Farrell as Bonomo continued his hot streak and went on to win the bracelet. "He's on a Fedor heater now. I seem to always run into that. I ran into Fedor on his heater as well in 2016 and just winning any hands against him was pretty tough at that point," said Farrell, who finished just outside the money. We Need to Talk About Hal [caption id="attachment_619522" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Everybody ... meet Hal. He already knows you. (Kevin Mathers photo)[/caption] While it might seem like he's seen a lot of Bonomo through the first two weeks of the 2018 WSOP, Farrell has also seen a lot of Hal. Who the hell is Hal? Hal is the friendly and popular bartender who works the temporary bar set up in the hallway that connects all of the tournament rooms. Over his eight years coming to the WSOP, Farrell has gotten to be quite friendly with Hal. "The absolute highlight of your summer every year is seeing Hal," said Farrell. After Farrell busted the One Drop High Roller in a "ridiculous spot" last summer, Farrell was walking to get a cab home when he ran into Hal. "Hal sees me, and I'm pretty tilted, and he's like 'Niall, how are you my man?' and I said 'Not great Hal, just busted the $100K in a weird spot,' and he says 'Oh, well I haven't got the bar set up yet, but come with me'," said Farrell. "He takes me through the back doors of the Rio, where the Brasilia room is, to this secret bar and just gives me a free beer. That's an absolute legend of a guy." "I'm currently on a self-imposed Hal ban and alcohol ban," said Farrell. How'd We Get Here? (No, Seriously .. How Did We Get Here?) Farrell woke up one morning, feeling the effects of a night of drinking. The events of the next 24 hours convinced him that maybe he needed to put himself in the penalty box for a bit. "I woke up and my phone was lying in my bed and I pressed it to see if it still had any charge and it had a horse screensaver. I was like 'oh, this just isn't my phone, is it?'," said Farrell. "Okay, we've got a 1% chance I've just changed my screensaver to a horse for some reason. I tried to put my code in and it obviously just bricks off and I'm like 'ugh'. At this point I'm thinking someone's got my phone, I've got their phone." Farrell actually found his phone a few minutes later in the jeans he had worn the night before. But wait - whose phone had the horse on it? "I did some detective work with messages on my phone and stuff and managed to find out it was some Australian girl's that we'd met the night before," said Farrell, who then tracked her down on Facebook and made plans to get her the phone back. "It's the least I can do since I now apparently steal phones. So I gave her the phone and I sat down and said 'Okay, I'm taking a couple of weeks off drinking'." "To be fair to me, the girls were like 'We don't remember much,' so it wasn't all my fault," joked Farrell. It's Still Early - Patience is a Virtue Despite the rough start, Farrell's understands that variance can sometimes be a cruel temptress. "I've had stacks in everything. I bubbled the $10K Heads Up, I lost the $3K shootout heads up, I had a lot of chips in the $10K Turbo, I got it in good for 2.5 stacks in the $100K, I lost a 250 big blind pot to Qui Nguyen in the $1,500," Farrell said. "Every bullet in the $1,500 I had 30K from 7K. I've been building stacks and just been dealt out a lot of the time. Confidence is fine, it's still early. It's not like I'm just sitting down to a starting stack and playing badly and blinding out. I've been pretty unfortunate so far - confidence is still high." "I'm a pretty confident person, so it's going to take a lot more than that."
  8. After a crazy Day 1C, Day 2AB of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event was actually uneventful and rather peaceful. The 2,383 players who managed to get through Day 1A and 1B combined into one field on Saturday and they were joined by another 100 players who decided to use the late registration option before play began. A little more than half of the players who started the day with chips were able to finish the day with chips. Timothy Su Goes From Second to First Timothy Su finished Day 1A with the second biggest stack. He improved on that position on Saturday, ending the day with 791,000 and the chip lead. The next biggest stack belongs to Tony Blanchandin with 744,500. Sitting in third is German pro Anton Morgenstern. He has been here before. In 2013, Morgenstern built up a massive chip lead heading into Day 7 only to blow up and bust out in 20th. Two years later, history basically repeated itself as Morgenstern was sent home in 22nd place. He'll return on Day 3 to a stack of 735,000. Heard 'Em Say: 100 Take Advantage of Day 2AB Late Registration For the first time in WSOP history, players can register up until the start of play on each Day 2. There were exactly 100 players who took advantage of this for Day 2AB to push the total field to 8,225 players - 548 short of the record set in 2006. Yuri Dzivielevski Leads Former #1s into Day 3 Just a handful of former #1-ranked players made it through the Day 2AB. Just weeks after winning his first bracelet, Yuri Dzivielevski continues to enjoy the run good and ended the day with 290,300. Sweden's 'lena900' isn't far behind him with 247,000. Paul Volpe, who has cashed four previous times in the Main Event, including a 142nd place last year, ended the day with 190,700. Good friend Taylor Paur bagged up 105,300. Pennsylvania Poker Players Continue to Represent Sometime later this month, regulated Pennsylvania online poker will launch, but for now a number of players from the Keystone State are hoping to make a deep run in the Main Event. Donald Dombach leads the 26 players from Pennsylvania who made it through Day 2AB. Dombach ended the day with 314,000. Not too far behind him is four-time bracelet winner Brian Hastings. He built his stack up to 274,000. He's followed by Dennis Cronin (251,300), Francis Stempin (202,200), and Volpe. Other notables from Pennsylvania who finished with chips on Saturday include Matt Brady (181,900), Matt Glantz (166,200), Seth Berger (164,900), and Aaron Overton (136,800). Top 10 Chip Counts Timothy Su - 791,000 Tony Blanchandin - 744,500 Anton Morgenstern - 735,000 Florian Duta - 731,500 Galen Hall - 705,900 Gerald Claunch - 699,600 Rachid Amamou - 688,000 Bryan Buonocore - 668,800 Anthony Spinella - 643,700 Brian Yoon - 643,400
  9. The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event went from 1,286 players down to 354 on Tuesday Those left are deep in the money and guaranteed $34,845, and it’s Dean Morrone holding the chip lead entering Day 5. Former NFL star Richard Seymour was one of the big stacks to advance. Morrone Leads the Way Morrone is a Canadian player and a qualifier from 888poker. He’s making his first career WSOP cash with his run in this year’s WSOP Main Event and it’s also his largest live tournament score to date as he entered the tournament with just $10,138 in live earnings. Morrone entered Day 4 with 365,000 before he went on to finish with 4.98 million and the lead. Other big stacks in the group behind Morrone on the leaderboard were Lars Bonding (4.04 million), Michael Messick (3.925 million), Warwick Mirzikinian (3.9 million), and Henrik Hecklen (3.862 million) to round out the top five. Morrone’s fellow 888poker qualifier Mihai Manole finished the day with a very healthy 3.781 million. Top 10 Chip Counts Dean Morrone - 4,980,000 Lars Bonding - 4,040,000 Michael Messick - 3,925,000 Warwick Mirzikinian - 3,900,000 Henrik Hecklen - 3,862,000 Mihai Manole - 3,781,000 Robert Heidorn - 3,700,000 Sean Mills - 3,692,000 Christopher Wynkoop - 3,563,000 Andrew Brokos - 3,518,000 Former NFL Star Richard Seymour On the Rush Former NFL star and three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour was among those to advance to Day 5. He spoke with The Fives Poker Podcast at the end of Day 3 about his sixth time playing the WSOP Main Event being a charm and things only got sweeter on Tuesday. Seymour came into the day with 275,000 and quickly got his stack up to 400,000. It wasn’t long before he reached 1 million in chips and then the progression only continued after he was moved to one of the secondary features tables. Seymour bagged up 2.75 million in chips, but he wasn’t the only former NFL player to move on. Eric Stocz, who spent time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, reached the money in the WSOP Main Event for the second time in his poker career. He’s already outperformed the 402nd-place finish he netted in 2011 that earned him $30,974 and will only be looking for more. Stocz bagged 350,000 for Day 5. Former PocketFives #1 Players Performing Well A handful of former PocketFives #1 players are performing well and have advanced to Day 4 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event. Fabrizio Gonzalez bagged 2.916 million, Chris Hunichen finished with 2.617 million, and Yuri Dzivielevski ended with 1.79 million. Hunichen bagged those chips despite losing one of the biggest pots of the tournament so far. He got involved in a big one with David Guay and Guay flopped a set of tens against Hunichen’s pocket kings. The hand resulted in a full double for Guay and took a dent of about 1.2 million out of Hunichen’s stack. Eight from Pennsylvania Still Alive Pennsylvania online poker has been legalized and the launch date is coming up soon. When sites do go live there will be a handful of players with some extra money to deposit thanks to deep runs in this WSOP Main Event. Eight players from Pennsylvania remain, with Thomas Parkes of Alburtis finishing Day 4 with the most chips at 3.172 million. Pittsburgh’s Chad Power is next with 2.78 million, and then it’s Matthew Sabia (1.81 million), Kenneth Smaron (1.806 million), Edward Pham (1.43 million), Jake Schindler (1.168 million), Donald Dombach (799,000), and Matt Glantz (690,000). Yoon, Esfandiari, Cheong Among Bracelet Winners Remaining In addition to all the names that have been mentioned, Brian Yoon (2.622 million), Antonio Esfandiari (2.583 million), Craig McCorkell (2.5 million), Chris Wallace (1.98 million), and Joseph Cheong (1.958 million) represent some of the WSOP gold bracelet winners still in the field. Yoon and Esfandiari are both three-time gold bracelet winners who have had some deep runs in the WSOP Main Event before. Yoon has finished in the top 60 on three separate occasions (2018, 2016, and 2011), and Esfandiari finished 24th in 2009. McCorkell took 13th in 2014, and Wallace finished 32nd in 2017. We also know very much about Cheong’s third-place finish behind Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener in 2010 that earned him $4.13 million. All Former Main Event Champs Gone Of course, not every player could advance. Three former WSOP Main Event champions began the day, with Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, and Qui Nguyen still in the field, but all three of them busted out on Day 4. Moneymaker finished 687th for $20,200, Chan took 560th for $24,560, and Nguyen went out 455th for $30,780. Nguyen’s bust came when he got the last of his chips in with pocket fives only to lose out to an opponent’s two sixes. With no former WSOP Main Event champions in the field, we will see a brand new winner in 2019. Others to bust on Day 4 were Ricky Guan (362nd - $34,845), Scott Lazar (388th - $34,845), Jean-Robert Bellande (415th - $30,780), Bryan Campanello (435th - $30,780), Josh Arieh (485th - $27,390), Adam Owen (570th - $24,560), and Cliff Josephy (759th - $20,200). Day 5 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event starts at 12 pm PT on Wednesday, July 10 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino.
  10. In the eight years since the World Series of Poker Main Event went to a three-starting flight schedule, only once has the Day 1A field reach 1,000 or more players and that was 2012 when they snuck into four-digit territory with 1,066 players. There was no sneaking in on Wednesday. 1,336 players showed up to play Day 1A, giving WSOP officials hope that this year's event might be a record-breaker. Williams wasn't the only notable to suffer an early end to his Main Event. Shane Warne, Frank Kassela, Bryn Kenney, Mohsin Charania, Brandon Shack-Harris, and Kristen Bicknell all ended with a zero as their Day 1A chip count. Former Main Event Champs Advance Just two former Main Event winners managed to work their way through the five levels of play on Day 1A. Chris Moneymaker, fresh off of his ninth-place finish in the partypoker MILLIONS Las Vegas, ended the day 95,000 while 2016 Main Event winner Qui Nguyen had a much better day, finishing with 180,500. Foxen, Strelitz, Bonomo Highlight Notables Moving on to Day 2A There were 960 players who made it through Day 1A. While a number of top players like to wait until Day 1C to play, there were a plethora of poker superstars who played on Wednesday and finished with chips in a bag. Daniel Strelitz, still basking in the flow of winning his first bracelet, finished with 185,300. Poker vlogger Johnnie Moreno (aka Johnnie Vibes) tripled his starting stack and finished with 184,000. Alex Foxen nearly did the same, ending with 173,200. Justin Bonomo accumulated 96,000 through the day to move on to Day 2. Other notables advancing from Day 1A include Patrick Serda (216,700), Jeff Lisandro (180,100), Jack Sinclair (153,800), Isaac Baron (146,600), Kelly Minkin (137,100), Billy Baxter (131,500), Brian Hastings (124,200), Matt Glantz (120,800), Arlie Shaban (113,600), Brian Rast (109,100), Kevin MacPhee (82,500), Garrett Greer (69,300), Ben Yu (63,600), Mike Gorodinsky (57,800), Erik Seidel (57,400), Stephen Chidwick (45,000), Marvin Rettenmaier (30,800), and Poker Hall of Fame finalist Chris Bjorin (18,000). Rapper Hoodie Allen Goes to Work, Bags Big Rapper Hoodie Allen, real name Steven Markowitz, was a Happy Camper at the end of Day 1A. The 31-year-old University of Pennsylvania grad lived up to The Hype and finished with 151,500, good enough for a top 100 stack. Markowitz will hope People Keep Talking when he returns for Day 2AB on Sunday. He has one previous WSOP cash, a 35th place finish in a 2016 $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event. Michael Miller Leads Pennsylvania Contingent into Day 2A With the launch of Pennsylvania Online Poker looming, 17 players from the Keystone State managed to turn Day 1A into a trip to Day 2A. Leading the way is Michael Miller. The Haverford, PA native just missed out on having a top 10 stack after finishing with 235,800. The next biggest Pennsylvania stack belongs to Gregory Fishberg with 168,800. They're joined by Jesse Smith (136,600), Alan Schein (135,000), Brian Hastings (124,200), Matt Glantz (120,800), Alexander Krisak (117,000), John Andress (104,900), Joseph Palma (100,100), Sean Magee (88,500), Dennis Cronin (85,700), David Knudsen (76,600), James Hundt (72,900), Jennifer Shahade (72,400), Ronald Lankin (49,500), Gary Bowker (25,800), and Seth Berger (DNR). The Day 1A Numbers Could Be Hinting at Something Big Historicially, Day 1A is always the least popular Main Event starting flight. It requires being in Las Vegas the longest amount of time, there's a two-day gap between Day 1A and Day 2A, and it means being in Sin City on July 4th. Over the last five years, Day 1A has accounted for an average of 11.44% of the overall field size, staying steady with a high of 11.75% last summer and a low of 11.01% in 2017. If that trend were to hold true this year, WSOP officials are looking at a record-setting year that will eclipse the 8,773 runners that turned out in 2006. Top 10 Chip Counts Bryan Campanello - 417,500 Timothy Su - 297,300 Quentin Roussey - 266,400 Takehiro Kato - 259,200 Charidimos Demetriou - 252,000 Craig Chait - 249,600 Stephen Graner - 247,100 Mark Zullo - 245,600 David Lolis - 245,100 Thomas Roupe - 238,800
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