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  1. [caption width="640"] Jesse Sylvia finally got the monkey off his back Friday night, winning his first ever live title (WPT Photo)[/caption] When the final table of the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open began Friday afternoon, former World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia was the shortest stack at the table and seemed to have little hope of winning the title. But over the course of nearly seven hours of play Friday night in Atlantic City, Sylvia went from short stack to chip leader to champion as he captured the Borgata Poker Open for the first live win of his career and second biggest score. Sylvia tripled up on the seventh hand of the final table when his [poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"] held against Farid Jattin’s [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and Simon Lam’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"] in an all in preflop confrontation. That took Sylvia from the short stack to second in chips and set up another confrontation with Jattin. Chris Limo raised to 275,000 from middle position before Jattin re-raised from the small blind to 880,000. Sylvia then made it 2,375,000, forcing Limo to fold and sending Jattin into the tank before announcing all in. Sylvia called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] while Jattin showed [poker card="4c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2d"] flop gave Sylvia top pair and a gutshot draw to Jattin. The [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="js"] river were no help for Jattin and Sylvia vaulted into the chip lead with Jattin dropping to just 11 big blinds. Jattin, who started the final day with a stack three times the size of his closest competitor, was out in sixth place just 15 minutes later when he ran his [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"] into the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] of Zach Gruneberg. While Sylvia wasn’t directly responsible for eliminating Jattin, he did take care of the next one. Sylvia raised to 280,000 from the cutoff only to have Limo three-bet to 655,000 from the small blind. Sylvia called and the flop came [poker card="9c"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4s"]. Limo fired 680,000 and Sylvia tank-called to see the [poker card="3h"] turn. Limo announced he was all in for 2,075,000 and Sylvia called. Limo showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] for a gutshot straight draw and Sylvia was way ahead with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] for a flopped set. The [poker card="9d"] river changed nothing and Sylvia increased his chip lead. Just three hands later Lam, who started with the second shortest stack behind only Sylvia, saw his run end. Lam moved all in from UTG for 870,000 and Gruneberg called from the big blind. Lam had [poker card="jc"][poker card="6c"] and was dominated by Gruneberg’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="ks"] giving Gruneberg an unnecessary rivered pair to send Lam home in fourth place. It only took another 30 minutes for the next elimination and Gruneberg was involved again. Gruneberg moved all in from the small blind and Taha Maruf called from the big blind for 2,695,000 with his tournament life on the line. Gruneberg showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8h"] while Maruf happily turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3d"] flop put Gruneberg ahead and the [poker card="th"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river kept him there, eliminating Maruf in third place. Sylvia and Gruneberg began heads-up play nearly dead even in chips with Sylvia holding just one more big blind than his opponent. Over the course of the first two hours of heads-up action, Sylvia increased his lead to 3-2 over Gruneberg. Sylvia briefly relinquished the chip lead only to get it back for the final time just 30 minutes later. Sylvia eventually built up his lead to 5-1 over Gruneberg. On the final hand of the tournament, Sylvia moved all in and Gruneberg called off the last of his 5,800,000 chips. Sylvia had [poker card="jh"][poker card="4h"] and Grunberg tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="2c"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"] flop gave Sylvia top pair and a flush draw to Gruneberg. The [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="kd"] river were good enough to give Sylvia the title and the $821,811 first place prize money. Final Table Payouts Jesse Sylvia - $821,811 Zach Gruneberg - $490,617 Taha Maruf - $300,031 Simon Lam - $250,970 Chris Limo - $207,569 Farid Jattin - $167,942
  2. The World Poker Tour Gardens Main Event came to a conclusion on Thursday when Simon Lam turned in a fantastic final table performance to secure his first WPT title. Lam defeated the 584 player field, taking home the $565,000 first place prize, a brand new Mercedes and claiming a spot in the WPT Champions Club. The event, the first held at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles, generated a prize pool of over $2.9 million. The final table was flush with talent including high roller phenom Jake Schindler, controversy magnet Men “The Master” Nguyen, poker pro Jared Griener, Los Angeles local Saya Ono, recent World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig Varnell as well as Lam himself. Lam held a comfortable lead at the start of the Day 5. He started the final table with over 100 big blinds but with so many experienced players vying for the trophy, it was still anybody’s tournament to win. It took nearly four hours for the first player of the final table to fall. Decked out in his New England Patriots attire, Griener, the California based pro, shipped his stack of just over 10bb in while under the gun. Varnell, having him slightly covered reshoved holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Griener was a slight favorite showing down [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"]. The red jacks, however, did not hold as Varnell spiked an ace on the flop and one on the river for good measure. Griener finished his tournament in sixth place for $115,885. Roughly 40 minutes later, after having slipped down to under 10 big blinds, Ono made her last stand. Folder to Ono on the button she shipped her short stack holding [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"]. Nguyen peered down at [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"] and isolated Ono by reshipping. The turn completed a club flush for “The Master” sending Ono to the rail. Her fifth-place finish for $151,995 is a career-high score for Californian, nearly quintupling her previous highest cash. After losing a large pot to Nguyen (which resulted in Nguyen shouting “All you can eat, baby!”), Varnell dropped into the 10bb range. In a blind versus blind confrontation with Schindler, Varnell moved all in with the [poker card="as"][poker card="js"]. Schindler made the call with his [poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"]. Schindler out flopped Varnell on the [poker card="td"][poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] flop. Needing some help for his tournament life, Varnell watched as two bricks completed the board. It has been an incredible couple of months for Varnell who earned his first bracelet in Event #19: $565 Pot Limit Omaha during the WSOP and now earns another $201,615 for his fourth place finished at WPT Gardens. With the elimination of Varnell, the stacks evened out between Lam, Schindler, and Nguyen. Play continued three-handed for another hour and a half before the next elimination took place. Simon Lam picked up [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"] and raised the button. Nguyen then, looking down at the [poker card="td"][poker card="7d"] shipped his roughly 30bb stack. Lam took his time but eventually made the call. Men “The Master’s” tournament life was at stake on a 62/38 flip. Lam took an even bigger lead on the [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"][poker card="8h"] flop. However, Nguyen still had a gutshot straight draw, The [poker card="5c"] turned and when the [poker card="6c"] completed the board, the Nguyen show came to an end. Men Nguyen finished his run in third place for $270,430. Heads-up play began between Lam and Schindler with Schindler a 4.5-1 chip underdog. It only took 10 hands of heads-up play for Lam to find his winning moment. In a bit of a cooler hand, Lam raised and Schindler made the call. Lam held [poker card="jc"][poker card="9s"] barely out-pipping Schindlers [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"]. When the flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"] the writing was on the wall. Neither could get away from top pair. The action unfolded as Schindler checked, Lam bet, Schindler check-raised and Lam applied maximum pressure by moving all in. Schindler, with roughly 10 big blinds remaining quickly made the call. The board ran low and clean for Lam, allowing his nine kicker to play. Schindler ended the evening in second place for $366,740. The score pushes his to over $20 million in lifetime earnings. Lam takes home $565,055 for first, a career-high cash. He also secured a $15,000 entry into the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions and a brand new Mercedes to take him there. The World Poker Tour's next stop begins on August 3 in Oklahoma for WPT Choctaw.
  3. The World Poker Tour continues Season XVII of the WPT Main Tour on Friday, November 23, with the start of the WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The venue is home to the largest WPT Main Tour event in history, and this season’s event comes with a $2 million guarantee on the prize pool. The WPT RRPO $3,500 Championship runs November 23-28 and features two starting flights and unlimited reentry is allowed through the first nine levels. Per standard WPT Main Tour structure, players begin with 40,000 in chips, a big blind ante will be used, and the Action Clock will be entered into play once the field is one table off the money. Players will play 60-minute levels on Day 1 and Day 2 before the levels are kicked up to 90 minutes on Day 3 and Day 4. The final table of the event will be live streamed on WPT.com on Wednesday, November 28. WPT Events at Seminole Known for Huge Fields and Big Payouts The addition of the Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open to the World Poker Tour schedule is new, but the WPT has plenty of history with the host property, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, especially when it comes to $3,500 buy-in events. In addition to being home to the largest WPT Main Tour field in history, $3,500 buy-in WPT events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino have an average field size of 1,278 entries over the last seven. In those seven events, nearly $29 million in total prize money has been awarded, for an average prize pool of more than $4.1 million. The winner of that largest WPT Main Tour event in history was Eric Afriat, who topped an enormous field of 1,795 entries in the Season XII WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. The now two-time WPT champion Afriat won $1.081 million in that event. Other past champions of World Poker Tour events at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino include Darryll Fish, Ryan Riess, Justin Young, Chino Rheem, and Taylor von Kriegenbergh. Von Kriegenbergh won the WPT event at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with the largest first-place prize in history. He took down the Season IX WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1.122 million. Ruberto Leads Hublot WPT Player of the Year Race Heading In With a large field anticipated for the event, one of the storylines heading in is that of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race for Season XVII. Two-time WPT champion Tony Ruberto currently leads with 1,800 points. Ruberto won his second World Poker Tour title this season when he captured the WPT Maryland at Live! Casino crown. He also made the final table of WPT Choctaw, placing fourth. In second place behind Ruberto is Erkut Yilmaz with 1,250 points, and then it’s Patrick Serda, Simon Lam, and Brady Holiman rounding out the top five with 1,200 points each. As the WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 Championship has a $2 million guarantee on the prize pool, a minimum of 1,200 points will be awarded to the winner. Minimums of 1,000 points and 900 points will go to second and third places, respectively. The winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVII will earn a $15,000 WPT Passport for buy-ins across the tour and a special Hublot watch. Appetizing Side Events During Championship During the dates of the Season XVII WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open $3,500 Championship, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has three side events with buy-ins above $1,650. First is the $1,650 Deep Stack Purple Chip Bounty tournament that comes with a $100,000 guarantee. This event runs November 25-26. On November 26, the $5,000 Eight-Handed tournament kicks off. It is scheduled as a one-day tournament with a $250,000 guarantee. Also starting on November 26 is the $2,200 Deep Stack PLO tournament that is scheduled for two days and allows reentry. Thousands Already Showing Up This year’s Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open is already off to an impressive start. The opening event of the series, the $360 Deep Stack Reentry tournament that boasted a $1 million guarantee, attracted 4,558 entries and generated a guarantee-busting prize pool of $1.367 million. The event was won by Texas’ Trung Pham for $123,364 after a seven-way deal at the final table.
  4. Not many players can show up to the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions and double their career WPT cashes total. Ole Schemion did exactly that on Monday night, winning the WPT TOC for $440,395 by beating Tony Dunst heads up. Prior to the TOC, Schemion's only cash on the WPT came when he won the WPT European Championship in January, 2018. Two cashes, two wins and $696,000 in total earnings. Schemion started the six-handed final table with over 40% of the chips in play and eliminated the final three players in his way before picking up the title and becoming just the fourth winner of this event. Simon Lam opened to 17,000 from middle position and Nick Schulman called from the cutoff. Ryan Tosoc then shoved for 651,000 from the big blind, forcing Lam to fold. Schulman tank-called all in. Tosoc tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="qh"] which put him behind Schulman's [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2c"] flop put Tosoc in front. The [poker card="2d"] turn was no help for Schulman and he failed to connect with any of his three outs on the [poker card="td"] river and was eliminated in sixth place. It wasn't until nearly two hours later before the next elimination occurred. Griffin Paul raised from UTG to 25,000 and Dunst called from the button. After the [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5s"] flop, Paul bet 18,000. Dunst moved all in for 523,000 sending Paul into the tank. Paul called and turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] for the second nut flush draw but Dunst had flopped bottom set with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"]. The turn was the [poker card="3h"] and the river was the [poker card="tc"] to send Paul out in fifth. As if by clockwork, another two hours passed and there was a player sent to the rail. Schemion raised from UTG to 35,000 and Lam defended his big blind. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4c"] and Lam check-raised all in for 178,000 in response to Schemion's bet of 50,000. Schemion called and turned over [poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"] for a monster draw while Lam was slightly behind with [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"] even though he had middle pair. The [poker card="tc"] turn gave Schemion his flush but gave Lam outs to a bigger flush. The river was the [poker card="ah"] however and Lam was sent packing in fourth. Schemion continued to apply pressure three-handed and it took roughly 90 minutes for him to find another victim. Tosoc called from the button, Dunst folded his small blind and Schemion checked. The flop came [poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"] and Schemion bet 40,000 and Tosoc responded by moving all in for 505,000. Schemion called and turned over [poker card="kh"][poker card="2h"] which put him ahead of Tosoc's [poker card="qh"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="9d"] turn gave Tosoc some extra outs but the [poker card="js"] river wasn't one of them, giving Schemion the pot and eliminating Tosoc in third place. Schemion started heads-up play the same way he started the final table; with the chip lead. Schemion had Dunst outchipped 2.1M-1.7M. It took just 17 hands a little less than an hour for Schemion to finish things off. Schemion opened to 60,000 before Dunst raised to 250,000. Schemion called and the flop fell [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"]. Dunst check-called Schemion's bet of 200,000. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Dunst checked again. Schemion fired out a bet of 420,000 and Dunst responded by moving all in for 785,000. Schemion called quickly and turned over [poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"] for a flopped straight and Dunst showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="5d"]. The [poker card="td"] river gave Dunst a meaningless two-pair, eliminating him in second place and giving Schemion his first live win since he took down the PokerStars PCA National Championship in the Bahamas in Janaury. The first event of Season XVIII, the WPT Gardens Poker Festival, is scheduled for the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California in from July 20 - 25. The $5,000 buy-in event got 584 entries when it made its WPT debut last summer. Simon Lam took home $565,055 for the win. Final Table Payouts Ole Schemion - $440,395 Tony Dunst - $250,265 Ryan Tosoc - $166,845 Simon Lam - $115,945 Griffin Paul - $84,140 Nick Schulman - $63,890
  5. After five straight days of No Limit Hold'em action in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online, the four-card wizards got their first chance to shine with on Monday night with a Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better event and Nathan Gamble emerged to win his second career WSOP bracelet in this variant. Event #6 ($600 Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better) drew 833 runners for a $449,820 prize pool and when the final table began, Gamble sat right in the middle of the chip counts with a less-than-average stack. Ten minutes into the final table, action folded to Simon 'bagelbites' Lam in the cutoff and he raised to 350,000 and 'danish01' called from the button. After the [poker card="qd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"] flop, Lam shoved for 576,136 and 'danish01' called. Lam showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"][poker card="jc"][poker card="th"] for a pair of kings while 'danish01' turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="7h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3h"] for a wrap and the only low draw. The [poker card="ad"] turn actually gave 'danish01' top pair and that held up through the [poker card="4h"] river which gave both players two pair to bust Lam in sixth. From the button, 'rainman3817' raised to 350,000 and 'hansdigalo' and 'SSJTimmy' defended the small and big blinds respectively. After the [poker card="8c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] flop, 'hansdigalo' bet 120,000, 'SSJTimmy' called all in for 43,644, and 'rainman3817' called. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] and 'hansdigalo' bet 771,822 and 'rainman3817' called. The [poker card="9c"] river completed the board and 'hansdigalo' and 'rainman3817' both checked. 'rainman3817' showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] for missed flush and low draws, 'SSJTimmy' turned over [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"] for jacks and eights, while 'hansdigalo' showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"][poker card="js"][poker card="8s"] for trip eights to eliminate 'SSJTimmy' in fifth place. Twenty minutes later Gamble picked up his first elimination of the night on his way to the title. Gamble opened to 320,000 as first to act and 'hansdigalo' replied with a three-bet to 1,120,000 from the small blind. Gamble called to see a [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"][poker card="ts"] flop. 'hansdigalo' moved all in for 1,799,668 and Gamble called. Gamble showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="th"][poker card="2s"] for two pair with multiple straight draws while 'hansdigalo' was behind with [poker card="as"][poker card="ah"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5c"]. The turn was the [poker card="5s"] and the river was the [poker card="7d"] to give Gamble the pot and eliminate 'hansdigalo' in fourth. Just five minutes passed before Gamble went back to work. 'rainman3817' opened to 320,000 and Gamble called. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4c"] and Gamble bet 720,000 and 'rainman3817' called. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] and Gamble fired 1,520,000 into the pot and 'rainman3817' called for his last 1,257,760. Gamble showed [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2d"] while 'rainman3817' showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="3d"] river changed nothing and Gamble's flush was good enough to take down the pot and eliminate 'rainman3817' in third. Gamble held a commanding 87% of the chips in play but still needed another 20 minutes to eliminate his final opponent. 'danish01' battled back during heads-up play to face only a 2-1 deficit but wasn't able to build upon that. On the final hand, 'danish01' raised to 600,000, Gamble re-raised to 1,800,000, and 'danish01' moved all in for 3,368,864 and Gamble called. 'danish01' turned over [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"][poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"] and Gamble showed [poker card="as"][poker card="td"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3h"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"] flop kept 'danish01' ahead but left Gamble with a straight draw and multiple low draws. The [poker card="5d"] turn assured Gamble of at least half of the pot but the [poker card="4d"] river gave him a straight to take the high and low pots to eliminate 'danish01' in second place and give Gamble another PLO8 bracelet. Gamble's first bracelet came in 2017 when he beat 829 other entries to win the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better. Final Table Payouts Nathan 'surfbum' Gamble - $89,424 danish01 - $55,283 rainman3817 - $38,865 hansdigalo - $27,484 SSJTimmy - $19,792 Simon 'bagelbites' Lam - $14,484 Faces in the Crowd One day after making threats against another player on his YouTube live stream, Mike Matusow played his way into the money before going out in 37th for $1,754.29. Other notables who cashed include Jeremy 'Chipchecka' Ausmus (8th - $9,096.76), Max 'MaxSparrow' Pescatori (10th - $4,813.07), Randy 'StayAlive' Ohel (12th - $4,813.07), Shaun 'ddtgg' Deeb (21st - $2,518.99) Robert 'bustinballs' Kuhn (53rd - $1,529.38), and Daniel Negreanu picked up his third cash of the Series, finishing in 59th place for $1,304.47. WSOP commentator Norman Chad drove from Los Angeles to Nevada specifically to play this event and finished 112th for $899.64.
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