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Found 8 results

  1. Most poker players would consider finishing 11th in the World Series of Poker Main Event to be an amazing accomplishment. Maybe not in the moments following their elimination, but eventually they’d accept what they did as something special. For the last two years, John Cynn has allowed his 2016 11th place finish to be his career-best score. Sunday morning, however, following an epic heads-up battle with Tony Miles, Cynn changed all of that by winning the 2018 WSOP Main Event and walking away with $8.8 million. “Different. Feels very different,” Cynn said when asked to compare his emotions from each event. “I mean, neither of these are supposed to happen, right? To make 11th was insane on its own and to win, that's literally something that you dream but you never expect to happen. I think last time, when I got knocked out in 11th, I was really happy. Right now I do feel pretty overwhelmed, all of the emotions times ten.” Winning the fifth largest Main Event prize in the 49-year history of the WSOP, Cynn is well aware of how that money is going to change his life. “I don't know what people's impression of me was, but I'm not doing bad but I'm not rich, so the money is very significant, but I do like to think that I don't need the money to be happy,” Cynn said. “At the same time, practically, it's going to make things a lot easier, things I want to do in life, things for my family and parents.” He did have some more immediate plans for spending some of his winnings though. “I might use some of it to party with my friends, but other than that I think I'm going to let my emotions die down before I decide to do anything crazy, probably just get away, disappear somewhere for a while sounds nice,” Cynn said. For his part, Miles recognized what the 10-day run in poker’s most prestigious event showed him about himself as a person and a poker player. “You can do anything you put your mind to,” Dyer said. “Well in poker, you just want to be prepared and be in the best state of mind and you want to be able to execute all the time because you don't know when you're going to get the run of cards. You don't know when you're going to have an opportunity to strike, so you just have to be prepared all the time.” When the final three players returned to action Saturday night, Miles held the chip lead, Cynn had the second biggest stack and former chip leader Michael Dyer was working with the shortest stack of the three. Michael Dyer Eliminated in Third Place Michael Dyer came into the final day with just 16 big blinds and built his strategy around finding a spot to double or steal the blinds and ante. He was all in without a call on five of the first 180 hands of play, but it was the sixth all in on the 19th hand that ended Dyer’s night. Miles raised to 4,400,000 from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"] and Dyer responded by moving all in for 22,200,000. Cynn folded and Miles called. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop didn’t offer Dyer much help, but the [poker card="jc"] turn actually increased his available outs. The [poker card="qh"] river didn’t fill Dyer’s Broadway draw and he was eliminated in third place. “I wanted a little more, but it was pretty good. I can’t complain. Third place, that’s more than you can dream from when you start the tournament,” Dyer said. That had allowed Miles to reclaim the chip lead he had lost just two hands prior and was now sitting on a stack of 203,500,000 to Cynn’s 190,300,000. The Heads Up Marathon In the modern era of the WSOP Main Event, the longest final table belonged to 2012 when Greg Merson needed 399 hands to win. Dyer was eliminated on hand #243 and over the next 10 hours and 23 minutes, Cynn and Miles played 199 hands on their own, put the total for the final table at 442. The lead changed over a dozen times during the course of heads-up action. Tony Miles Eliminated in Second Place With blinds of 2,000,000/4,000,000 (500,000), Cynn raised to 9,000,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] and Miles responded 34,000,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="8h"]. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"][poker card="5h"] and Cynn called Miles’ bet of 32,000,000. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] and Miles moved all in for 114,000,000. Cynn thought the hand through and called, giving Miles the bad news that he was drawing dead. The [poker card="4s"] river completed the board, eliminated Miles in second place and crowned Cynn as the new Main Event champion. Final Table Payouts John Cynn - $8,800,000 Tony Miles - $5,000,000 Michael Dyer - $3,750,000 Nicolas Manion - $2,825,000 Joe Cada - $2,150,000 Aram Zobian - $1,800,000 Alex Lynskey - $1,500,000 Artem Metalidi - $1,250,000 Antoine Labat - $1,000,000
  2. John Hesp. Michael Ruane. Mark Newhouse. Even William Kasouf. Every year during the World Series of Poker thousands of new faces enter the halls of the Rio All Suite & Casino in hopes of earning a life-changing score. Sometimes though, along with the money, a player's accomplishments and personality introduce them to poker fans around the world, helping them become the next emerging poker star. In some cases, it may be a player who has been on the scene for a number of years and their expertise was able to shine in the summertime to elevate their profile to new heights. In 2018, it was no different. Here are just some of the players who went from being a face in the crowd to one of the breakout stars of the World Series of Poker. John Cynn It should be no surprise that the Los Angeles cash game grinder turned Main Event champion is now known by just about every fan of the game of poker. John Cynn bested the second largest Main Event field in history en route to an $8.8 million payday all in front of the cameras of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN. The achievement alone puts Cynn’s name in the history books. But it was his play and personality that truly turned him into a star. As the other players hit the rail, Cynn’s visibility on camera increased. Those who tuned in to the broadcast were treated to a poker player who was enjoying every second of the journey while not sacrificing a high level of play. It remains to be seen if Cynn will expand his tournament schedule, being a cash game pro. However, if he does decide to hit the circuit he will command the attention of his fellow players and the media for many years to come. Tony Miles John Cynn's foil in the Main Event was runner-up Tony Miles. From early on during the ESPN coverage, it was clear that Miles was at ease both at the tables and in front of the camera. And it wasn’t just his play and the affable table talk of Miles that endeared him to fans. His backstory of overcoming adversity and his challenges with addiction was instantly relatable to many who watch and play the game. On the final hand of the tournament, Cynn took his time making a call for it all. Miles seemed to step out of character and snub Cynn when it all over with an accusation of a slow roll. The very next day he took to Twitter, owned the moment and made a heartfelt apology. His very human side was on display and his authenticity only drew the public more on his side. Whereas it’s less certain how often we’ll see Cynn on the circuit, there’s a high likelihood that Miles is ready to step into an ambassador-like role. In many interviews he proclaimed his love of poker and ambition to continue playing at the highest levels. Ben Yu It’s true that Ben Yu was already known by his peers as being a world class player. Prior to the 2018 WSOP, he’d already earned two gold bracelets and $2.4 million in earnings. However, even though Yu already had an amazing ten year career, he’d never had a summer like the one in 2018. Los Angeles, CA’s Yu cashed in 15 different events including picking up his third career bracelet by winning the final event of the series, Event #77: $50,000 No Limit High Roller for $1.650 million. He also had a runner-up finish in Event #42, for $866,000. Yu played everything. From the $365 Pot Limit Omaha to the online bracelet events to the Main Event, where he finished in 150th place. When the six weeks were done, Yu’s grind paid off big time. He’d more than doubled his career lifetime earnings to $5.25 million and cracking the top 200 on the All-Time Money List. Kelly Minkin One-time lawyer, Kelly Minkin was already known by those who follow poker as a fierce on-the-felt competitor. Though her poker roots began in 2013, she found greater notoriety in 2015 when she made the final table of a World Poker Tour event as well as making a super deep run in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, earning the media bestowed title of Last Woman Standing. In 2018 Minkin’s Main Event run energized a community when deep in the tournament she found herself holding the overall chip lead. This landed Minkin on the feature table, multiple times, including pulling off big-time bluffs - one of which prompted commentator Nick Schulman to label her play “gangsta”, a term for her play which quickly caught fire. Though Minkin didn’t make the final table, she finished in 50th place for over $156,000. Her score pushed her career total earnings over the $1 million mark. It was the second time in four years she was the Last Woman Standing. Scott Bohlman Three, two, one. Scott Bohlman finished in each of those places this summer. The Illinois native has been a longtime grinder who certainly stepped up his game in 2018. Bohlman, who plays all the games, picked up his first gold bracelet by taking down Event #40: $2,500 Mixed Big Bet for $122,138. He followed that up four days later finishing in sixth in Event #49: $10K PLO Championship for another $157,097. He notched two more six-figure scores late in the series. A runner-up finish in Event #64: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight for $225,210 (a career-high cash) and Event #69: $3,000 PLO 6-Handed for $199,572. In total Bohlman earned over $739,000 over 11 summer cashes, good enough to land him in the top 5 on the WSOP Player of the Year race. To put his summer in perspective, Bohlman’s results would have been good enough to land him as the sixth most productive player in the 25k Fantasy competition. That ranks above players like Justin Bonomo, Mike Leah, and John Racener. Unfortunately for those who drafted, no one picked Bohlman. Next year, that’s likely to change.
  3. Somehow, Wednesday night at the 2018 World Series of Poker will probably go down as one of the most surreal in the 49-year history of the event. Not only did the Main Event reach a final table in a dramatic fashion, but the most decorated player in WSOP history, Phil Hellmuth, added to his legend with yet another bracelet. This is the Main Event There were 26 players at the start of Day 7 of the WSOP Main Event but over a 12-hour span, 17 players were eliminated leaving just the nine players to make up the final table. Shortstacks Jeffrey Trudeau, Barry Hutter and Bart Lybaert all fell early with Eric Froehlich, who started Day 6 with the 10th biggest stack, getting coolered with pocket queens against Alex Lynskey's pocket kings to join them on the rail. Ivan Luca, former November Niner Sylvain Loosli, Frederik Brink and Ryan Phan all busted to leave the unofficial final table of 10 players waiting for one more elimination before stopping play for the night. The final hand was one for the ages. Nicolas Manion raised to 1,500,000 from UTG. Antoine Labat called from middle before Yueqi Zhu came over the top, moving all in for 24,700,000 from late position. Manion responded by moving all in for 43,100,000. Labat, the biggest stack of the three, took some time before eventually calling. Zhu revealed [kh][ks], Manion tabled [ah][as] and Labata turned over [kc][kd]. The board ran out [jd][7c][4c][3s][jc] to eliminate Zhu in tenth place, leaving Labata with just 8,050,000 and boosting Manion into the chip lead with a nearly full triple up. "Somehow this is real life," said Manion, who finished with 112,775,000. "When I got both calls, I flipped over my hand, I went straight to my rail and looked up at the TV and saw they both had pocket kings to my aces." Michael Dyer, who spent most of the day Wednesday in the chip lead, finished just behind Manion with 112,775,000. Remarkably, the final table includes repeat appearance from a Main Event champion from the November Nine era for the first time in history. Joe Cada, who won the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finished with 23,675,000, good enough for the sixth biggest stack. "It was a lot more of a grind this time. I respect the tournament more," said Cada, who was down to 9,000 on Day 1 before rebuilding his stack. " The final table resumes at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast starting at 6:00 pm PT. The current schedule calls for play to continue Thursday until six players remain. Final Table Chip Counts Nicolas Manion - 112,775,000 Michael Dyer - 109,175,000 Tony Miles - 42,750,000 John Cynn - 37,075,000 Alex Lynskey - 25,925,000 Joe Cada - 23,675,000 Aram Zobian - 18,875,000 Artem Metalidi - 15,475,000 Antoine Labat - 8,050,000 Phil Hellmuth Wins Bracelet #15 [caption id="attachment_619988" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Phil Hellmuth continues to silence his critics, winning a 15 WSOP bracelet on Wednesday night.[/caption] It's been an interesting summer for Phil Hellmuth. Seemingly mired in some sort of controversy from the very first week, Hellmuth spent two days earlier this week defending, and eventually apologizing for, his actions late on Day 2 of the Main Event that may have cost another player their tournament life. On Thursday night, with the Main Event playing down to a final table in another room, Hellmuth overcame the 2.5-1 chip lead of Steven Wolansky to win the 15th bracelet of his career. Faced with the possibility of yet another runner-up finish, Hellmuth gave himself a little pep talk. "I said, ... 'When's the next time you're going to have an opportunity like this where you're heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong', and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards," said Hellmuth. Hellmuth, who holds the WSOP records for wins and cashes, gave Wolansky credit for making the final table a difficult one for him. "He wouldn't give an inch, so I had to start thinking about, okay how do I want to handle this? And I thought alright, I'm going to have to try to steal more pots against him, to give myself a chance because he's just not giving a chip away, he's making it really tough, and I can't blink first either," said Hellmuth. "I just have to like just keep playing my best poker until the end and maybe something great will happen." Hellmuth's last bracelet came in 2015, when he won the $10,000 Razz Championship event.
  4. The final table of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event started with Michael Dyer sitting with the second biggest stack and through just over four hours of play on Thursday night, the 32-year-old from Houston moved into control of the final table and finished with more than double the stack of any of his five remaining opponents. Dyer finished Day 8 with 156,500,000 without being responsible for any of the night’s three eliminations. Being able to wield a big stack against some shorter-stacked opponents has allowed Dyer to push the table around. “I’ve had dynamic separation from everybody so it makes it kind of simpler for me to play. I’m able to play differently than they are,” said Dyer. “It was a pretty solid final table. I didn’t see any horrible mistakes or anything egregious.” Dyer added 47,325,000 to his chips on Thursday and how has 39.74% of the chips in play. Nicolas Manion, who began play Thursday with the chip lead, went in the opposite direction, finishing with 72,250,000. Tony Miles finished with 57,500,000 with Joe Cada and Aram Zobian holding onto short stacks of 29,275,000 and 16,700,000 respectively. Cada, who won the 2009 Main Event, felt relieved to be moving onto Day 9 after a rough day Thursday. “I’m just happy to be here. It’s been a grueling tournament. I’ve been lucky to even be in the spot where I’m at. I’ve had low chips the entire tournament. I feel like I’ve just been hanging in there,” said Cada. Antoine Labat Eliminated in Ninth Place Thanks to the crazy hand that ended play on Wednesday night, France’s Antoine Labat knew he’d have to make a move early on Thursday if he had any hopes of winning the tournament. That opportunity seemed to present itself on the 16th hand of play. Action folded to Labat on the button and he raised to 1,200,000 holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. Artem Metalidi moved all in from the small blind holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"] and after John Cynn folded the big blind, Labat called with his tournament on the line. The flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"][poker card="5s"] to give Metalidi middle set. Neither the [poker card="9s"] turn or [poker card="ad"] river were any help for the Frenchman and he was eliminated in ninth. While “With 60 left I got kings against aces and nines for my tournament life, I put in all my chips there and the king came door cards,” said Labat. “So I’m not complaining about kings. They won me $950,000 and it has to end like that. All my tournaments have been around kings, I had them many times and sometimes they were good and sometimes they were not good. It’s alright, I don’t blame them.” Despite losing twice with pocket kings in two big spots inside of a 17-hand span on Wednesday and Thursday, Sabat is leaving Las Vegas with a new appreciation for poker. “I had an amazing experience. I haven’t played tournaments for a long time. I played a lot before. It’s been three years and I didn’t do any,” said Labat. “I decided to come to Vegas and change my daily routine and do new stuff and I think the Main Event brought me a real new experience. I feel like I have a lot of energy to play tournaments” Artem Metalidi Eliminated in Eighth Place Metalidi came into the final table with the second smallest stack and found himself flipping for his Main Event life in a hand that turned out to be one of the more dramatic of the last few days. Metalidi open-shoved for 6,225,000 with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"], Zobian move all in over the top 24,000,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"] and Dyer folded the big blind. The [poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"] flop gave Metalidi middle set but opened a flush draw for Zobian.The [poker card="kc"] turn was good for Metalidi, but the [poker card="4d"] river gave Zobian the flush and sent the Ukrainian poker pro home in eighth place. “I couldn’t even dream of it. I started this tournament winning bottom set against top set and I was felt like I was freerolling the tournament. Then I made the money with a really short stack and it wasn’t even considering I could make it here, but here I am and I’m really, really happy,” Metalidi said about his deep run. “It’s been surreal. I don’t think I fully grasp it yet. It’s probably going to hit me later.” Alex Lynskey Eliminated in Seventh Place Dyer raised to 1,600,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="jh"][poker card="8h"] and John Cynn called from the small blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"]. Alex Lynskey moved all in for 11,525,000 from the big blind with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"]. Dyer folded but Cynn called. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3s"] kept Lynskey in front but gave Cynn four extra outs with a gutshot straight draw. The [poker card="td"] turn gave Cynn more outs to make a two overpair. The river was the [poker card="jc"] completing the straight draw and sending Lynskey out in seventh place. The English-born, Australian poker pro managed to win exactly zero of the 47 hands that he was dealt into at the final table. “It was a fantastic run. I can’t really complain. I came in middle of the pack and laddered a couple of spots and lost a flip. I was pretty card dead on the final table, there’s not much I could have done,” said Lynskey. “I was dealt 10-2 off every hand for like two hours and then had to raise-fold ace-queen and he said had ace-king and then got dealt sixes the next hand.” The final six players will return to action on Friday at 5:30 pm PT with ESPN broadcasting from 6:00 pm PT. The current Friday schedule calls for play to run until just three players remain. Final Table Chip Counts Michael Dyer - 156,500,000 Nicolas Manion - 72,250,000 John Cynn - 61,550,000 Tony Miles - 57,500,000 Joe Cada - 29,275,000 Aram Zobian - 16,700,000
  5. The moments immediately after the World Series of Poker Main Event reaches a final table are all kinds chaotic for the nine players who have just become millionaires. ESPN needs some interviews on live television and WSOP executives are giving instructions how the next day will go and photographers are trying to coordinate a group shot and the media on hand are trying to grab quick interviews and the players have to confirm their chip count with the dealer and bag up their chips. It can be, to say the least, overwhelming. On Wednesday night, after all of that madness subsided, after the railbirds had left and the camera crew had turned off the lights on the ESPN mothership, Tony Miles, the last of the nine 2018 final tablists to leave, sat in the five seat while Jenn Gene, a friend of eight years, sat next to him in the six seat. The conversation between the two lasted two, maybe three minutes and ended with a hug. “We just took a moment,” Gene says. Gene met Miles at a poker tournament at Isle Casino at Pompano Beach, Florida. Just a recreational player, Gene ended up seated at the same table as Miles, who was just starting to play professionally at the time. “We just had one of those connections where you just meet someone cool and there's a lot of great people in poker, but when you find someone super special, you just connect,” Gene says. “I came home and told my husband, ‘I met this really great guy tonight’. He said, ‘Invite him over for dinner’. Tony came and grilled with us and here we are eight years later.” Miles remembers that first meeting as well and was taken aback by a random act of kindness from this stranger sitting across the table from him. “She offered me a scarf for my legs because it was so cold in the room,” Miles says. “I’m pretty good at reading people, I knew she was a good person and then she invited me over for dinner and offered to do my laundry and she’s great.” Gene’s kids, age 3 and 5, have also taken to Miles and made him an unofficial member of the family. “My kids call him Uncle Tony,” Gene says. “He's been Facetiming with them. He Facetimed with them tonight and my five-year-old said, ‘Why are you still playing so long?’ He just kind of laughed and said, ‘We'll be home soon. I'll send Mom home.’” Since that day at Pompano, Miles and Gene have shared a lot of moments, some good, some bad. Anybody who has tuned into the ESPN broadcast over the past several days has heard a little bit about the personal struggles Miles has faced. The 32-year-old has beaten drug and alcohol addictions and throughout all of that, Miles’s family and friends stayed by his side and supported the fight, Gene included. “I mean it's a very challenging thing to go through as a friend, especially when you know someone whose heart is as good as his is and what an incredible person he is. And just to see him struggle is challenging,” Gene admits. “It's really hard to show someone your core and be okay with it, but his core is so good that he just needed to see that in himself. He needed to be reminded and I'm lucky that he was surrounded by a great family and some really awesome friends that stuck by him through that and knew that it was just a period and that he would beat it.” Gene made her way out to Las Vegas after a phone call with Miles on Monday night. Miles, who was one of 25 qualifiers that bestbet Jacksonville sent to the Main Event this year, told her that he had a feeling that he was about to go on a really deep run and he asked her if there was any way she could come and support him from the rail. Gene didn’t think she’d be able to pull it off with two young kids at home and a full-time job. “The next day my husband said, ‘You're leaving today, Tony needs you there. Get on the plane’,” Gene says. She flew out and joined Miles’ rail along with his mom, step-dad, brother, and grandparents. At that point, there was still over 100 players in the Main Event and while that might seem like it’s close to the end, it’s actually just the halfway point of the 10-day tournament. The final table was still days away but Miles realized he was playing well and wanted those closest to him to be there. “I think it was just a feeling that I was just kind of seeing things in a different light. I had a broader perspective when I was playing hands with my strategy. So that feeling was just a feeling of confidence,” Miles says. After arriving in Las Vegas, Gene understood what Miles meant about that feeling he had, but it had less to do with any strategic adjustments he was making and more to do with the attitude and the manner in which he approached every day. “His skill isn't what's got him here. I'm happy putting that in writing because it's true. I think it's his heart. I think it's his determination, his courage, his strength,” Gene says. “He's playing from a place of gratitude. He's playing from a place of, ‘I'm blessed just to be here another day. I'm thankful to be here. I am appreciative of these amazing players around me’. I mean who says that at the final table?” This isn’t the first time Gene has been in Las Vegas supporting Miles during the WSOP. She was in town last year and a quick search for Miles’ 2017 results shows no tournament success. He took the time after the summer wrapped up to take a vacation and once he got back, Gene saw that the trip gave him new energy and maybe a different perspective. “He had gone through a tough period and he went on this incredible trip to Australia and had some really cool life moments and I remember having a conversation with him like ‘This is it. Things have changed. This is it, this is the year’,” Gene says. “I don't think either of us knew what that meant poker-wise, I think it was just ‘Wow, look where we've been, look where we're going, put the past behind us, and take everything one day at a time.” Miles took the chip lead on Friday night and returns to the table with just two opponents standing between himself and the $8.8 million first-place prize money and the title of World Champion. His rail, which swelled to include other family and friends who flew out on Thursday, the day the final table started, is decked out in shirts with #TeamMiles on the back and ‘One Day at a Time’ on the front. Miles asked Gene to help him pick the slogan for the front of the shirt and rejected the first couple of suggestions before throwing out ‘One Day at a Time’. “He said, ‘That's it. That's it. This tournament has been one day at a time. Every day of my life is one day at a time and if I don't take this opportunity to start opening up the platform to people to show them that you can get knocked down seven times and get back up on the eighth, then I wouldn't be doing myself justice’,” Gene says. Miles, who is now two years clean, is conscious of and has embraced that idea that other people that have dealt with or are dealing with the throes of addiction are finding inspiration in what he’s managed to accomplish, no matter how Saturday night turns out. “Any time you’re struggling, you just have to take life one day at a time. Especially when you’re down in the depths of despair. You just have to keep that mindset that you just have to get through that day and focus on that,” Miles says. “I’ve been meditating a lot and a big focus of the meditation is to be present and not stress about the future, not worry about the past and I think that our shirts are a reflection of that.” Even as Miles has recently faced even more adversity, including the passing of his step-mother in June, he’s rejected any notion of being angry at the world. Instead, he’s turned his energy to becoming a better person, but even that is a process. “Love wins. Love conquers. If someone's being mean to you, kill them with kindness. It's just been an epiphany that I've had in the last six months that I just want to be kind to everyone,” Miles says. “It's been a combination of different factors, but I had to be humble enough to realize that I wanted to be a better person.” Even before Miles wrapped up play Friday night with almost 61% of the chips in play, Gene believed that everything her friend had gone through in life and the way the tournament had progressed for him was leading up to something special. “Honestly, I think it was written in the stars for him,” Gene says. “I just think it is. I think it's his time. I think these were some incredible players. I think he's met some great people, in the last few days and I just think it's his time.”
  6. Michael Dyer started Day 9 of the World Series of Poker Main Event with nearly 40% of the chips in play with just five opponents standing between him and $8.8 million and the title of World Champion. After six hours of play on Friday night, just three players remain but Dyer is suddenly staring up from the bottom of the chip counts after a day that saw Florida-based poker pro Tony Miles take control. Miles went 57,500,000 and the fourth biggest stack at the start of play to 238,900,000 and the chip lead after eliminating a former world champ and putting a major dent in Dyer’s stack. Aram Zobian Eliminated in Sixth Place The shortest stack at the start of Day 9, Aram Zobian was still guaranteed at least $1.8 million but cem in hoping for more. A blind versus blind battle, however, ended any hope he had of laddering up on Friday night. With blinds of 500,000/1,000,000 (150,000), action folded to Zobian in the small blind and he moved all in for 1,735,000 with [poker card="8d"][poker card="6d"] and Dyer called from the big blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2h"][poker card="7h"][poker card="th"] to eliminate Zobian from the tournament in sixth place. Following his bustout, Zobian talked about what the overall experience of making the final table of the Main Event and how a score that big will change things for him. “I would say it was intense, fun and amazing. I met a lot of people, I played a shit ton of hands, considering it was Level 38, 76 hours in the last few days,” said Zobian. “It will change my life significantly. I don't think I'll go too crazy, but I'll definitely do a lot of traveling, buy a nice new car, help out family, donate some to charity and just improve my overall quality of life.” Joe Cada Eliminated in Fifth Place In the modern era of the WSOP Main Event, a repeat winner seems almost impossible. Navigating through 7,000+ player fields once is difficult enough and doing it a second time didn’t seem possible until 2009 Main Event champ Joe Cada made this year’s final table. All of that came to a halt though thanks to a coin flip situation. From UTG, Cada raised to 2,200,000 with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] before Miles three-bet to 6,900,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. Cada responded by moving all in for 47,650,000 and after spending several minutes contemplating his decision, Miles called. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"] flop put Miles ahead with a pair of kings, but the [poker card="qd"] turn gave Cada straight outs. The river [poker card="9s"] paired the board and left Cada pondering what could have been and a fifth-place finish. Tony Miles Takes the Chip Lead from Michael Dyer About 45 minutes after eliminating Cada, Miles put his newfound chips to work against Dyer. John Cynn raised to 2,100,000 from UTG with, Miles called from the button with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3h"] and Dyer called from the big blind with [poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"]. After the [poker card="ks"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3s"] flop, Dyer and Cynn checked and Miles bet 4,300,000. Dyer check-raised to 14,300,000, Cynn folded and Miles called. The turn was the [poker card="5c"] and Dyer bet 21,400,000 and Miles called again. Dyer then checked after the [poker card="kc"] river and Miles be 27,400,000 and Dyer called instantly. That put pushed Miles into the chip lead with 182,625,000 to Dyer’s 129,950,000 and dramatically changed the dynamic of the table. Nicolas Manion Eliminated in Fourth Place At one point on Friday, Nicolas Manion started to make a valiant charge towards Michael Dyer’s chip lead but after losing 25% of his stack in a hand with Dyer and another 50% of his remaining stack to John Cynn, Manion was left scrambling. A final confrontation with Cynn would end up being the end of his tournament. Cynn opened from the button to 3,800,000 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"] before Manion moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="td"] and Cynn called. Manion found no double-up on the [poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="6h"] run out and he was eliminated in fourth place, ending play for the night. “What a long day. Had some good hands, had some bad hands here we are we ran out of luck,” Canion said. “I have no regret on how I played my hands. I picked my spots and chose the hands that I felt were the right place to get all in and this is what happens when you run ace-ten into kings. Sometimes you can't just run like god anymore.” Final Three Chip Counts Tony Miles - 238,900,000 John Cynn - 128,700,000 Michael Dyer - 26,200,000 Action resumes Saturday at 5:30 pm PT with the ESPN broadcast beginning at 6 pm PT.
  7. Some of the biggest names in poker will put a target on their back as the World Poker Tour returns to Jacksonville, Florida for the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble. The WPT’s $5,000 Main Event will take place from October 19-23 at bestbet Jacksonville and feature 24 players with a $2,500 bounty on their head. The Main Event A staple of the WPT Main Tour, the bestbet Jacksonville has been a key stop for the past seven seasons. The Bounty Scramble Main Event carries a $5,000 buy-in ($4,630 + $290 entry fee + $80 staff) and a $1 million guarantee. Players have the option of two starting days beginning on October 19 with both starting days allowing players unlimited re-entry. The four-day structure has the final table playing out on a lifestream on Friday, October 23. Additionally, the WPT has incorporated the big blind ante as well as a 30-second Action clock which starts when the tournament is only one table away from the money. Capture A Bounty The standard structure of a WPT event is normally enough to get players excited to attend an event. However, the bestbet Bounty Scramble gives players an extra incentive to grab a seat and make a loose call. There will be (at least) 24 players in the field that, if they are eliminated of the tournament, will give the player that knocked them out $2,500 on the spot. This year, bestbet Jacksonville has taken a positive step in continuing to promote the game of poker to women. They have doubled the number of women invited to participate as bounties from 2017. In 2018, ten of the 24 players that have been selected as bounties are not only some of the best players on the planet but they also happen to be women. The list includes 2018 World Series of Poker Ladies Champion Jessica Dawley, 2-time WSOP bracelet winner Loni Harwood, Kitty Kuo, Jamie Kerstetter, WSOP Main Event standout Kelly Minkin and more. Joining them are some of poker’s most notable names. A sampling of those with a price tag on their backs includes 4-time WPT Champion Darren Elias, Bryan Kaverman, Martin Rettenmaier, Matt Affleck, 3-time NFL Super Bowl Champion Richard Seymour, actor Kevin Pollack and 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Tony Miles among others. A Look Back Bounty tournaments at the highest level come with an extra level of adrenaline. The idea that after taking out an opponent, the tournament director may be giving you four-figures on the spot gives players extra incentive to get in the mix. bestbet Jacksonville has appeared on the WPT schedule since Season 10 (2011-2012). It wasn't until Season 13 that they formally changed the name to the Bounty Scramble and increased the buy-in to $5,000. In that year, Ryan Van Sanford from Colorado Springs, CO took down the field of 461 players to win a career-high cash of $421,668. Tyler Patterson, who returns again as a bounty in 2018, took down the title in 2014 besting Benjamin Zamani heads-up for $375,270. Patterson returned to the final table of the very next year in what was a stacked final table that included Noah Schwartz, Ankush Mandavia and eventual winner Sam Panzica. Panzica won over $350,000 for his first WPT title. He would go on to win a second WPT title in another bounty tournament - the 2017 Bay 101 Shooting Stars for over $1.3 million. Like Patterson before him, Panzica also made the final table the year after he won it. Just last year, Panzica finished runner-up to Paul Petraglia. Petraglia, a Florida local, defeated the 323 player field for a cash of over $315,000. Prior to his win, his largest recorded cash was for just over $3,000. What To Watch For It’s still early in WPT season 17 with WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble as only the fifth event, but the WPT Player of the Year race is in full swing. After his victory in the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event, two-time WPT Champion Tony Ruberto has taken the POY lead. If he makes the trip to Jacksonville, he will be looking separate him from the field of other Season 17 winners. Keep an eye on the core group of bounties as well. The WPT has chosen a refreshing group of young pros as well as players who have traditionally done well in this event. Minkin, Miles and Dawley will be mixing it up with players who have multiple WPT titles like Elias and Rettenmaier to vie for the title of last bounty standing. With so much talent, it’s not altogether unlikely that a bounty (maybe two) will make it to the final table of six. Finally, the industry will be watching for the number of runners bestbet Jacksonville will register in 2018. Over the past three years, entries and the prize pool have been on the decline in Jacksonville. The $1 million guarantee placed on the Main Event is the lowest guarantee on tour (WPT Choctaw also had a $1 million guarantee which was more than doubled). Even though there’s $60,000 taken out for the bounties, the hopes are that there is an uptick at the Bounty Scramble. A prize pool of over $1.5 million, exceeding 2017, should be considered a win. Follow Along Live updates for the event will be provided by the World Poker Tour on their website. Also, the final table will be broadcast on a live streamed on Tuesday, October 23. The final table will start at 4:00 pm ET on a 30-minute delay. Complete List of Bounties $2,500 Bounty Player Allison Hollander Byron Kaverman Darren Elias Ester 'Etay' Taylor James Calderaro Jamie Kerstetter Jessica Dawley Jo Kim Kelly Minkin Kevin Pollack Kitty Kuo Lacey Jones Lexy Gavin Loni Harwood Marvin Rettenmaier Matt Affleck Matt Glantz Matt Savage Nabil (Doc) Hirezi Paul Petraglia Richard Seymour Tony Miles Tristan Wade Tyler Patterson
  8. Every time the calendar turns to July, the poker world becomes laser-focused on just one thing: the World Series of Poker Main Event. 2018 was no different by Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo and Chris Moorman did everything they could to act as a distraction from poker's biggest event. It Seems Everybody Came to Play the WSOP Main Event Expectations for the field size of the 2018 WSOP Main Event ranged from 7,000 players all the way up to around 8,500. The number ended up being 7,874 - a nine per cent jump over 2017 - thanks in part to a record-setting 4,571 entrants on Day 1C. The final prize pool ended up being $74,015,600 with $8,800,000 up top. As the Main Event progressed from Day 1A to the eventual champion, PocketFives caught up with a number of players in the field. Longtime PocketFiver and sports talk radio host Ben Mintz found himself back in the Main Event for the first time in five years. “It took five years to build it back, to get to this point. Now I’m back and I’ve got the radio show with me too,” said Mintz. “Even though I haven’t played this in five years I’ve fallen right back into poker like I never left, except I actually have an income now to sustain it.” READ: WSOP: Ben Mintz is Back Mixin’ It Up in First Main Event Since ‘13 Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have been buying pieces of players in the Main Event for years now. The pair decided to get even more serious about the side business this year and hired a lawyer to draw up contracts for all of the players they bought pieces from. Despite taking it to another level, they still ran into trouble with one player deciding to try and pull a fast one. READ: WSOP: Piece-Buying Now Serious Business for Hunichen and Kornuth Clayton Fletcher's day job isn't actually a day job - he works night. Fletcher is a New York-based stand-up comedian who has been playing poker for almost his entire life. In July, he put together a deep run in the WSOP Main Event for the second time. In 2015, Fletcher finished 96th in the Main Event. This summer he outlasted all but 27 players on his way to a $230,475 score. As the Main Event field got smaller and smaller, Fletcher talked about his passion for poker and how he was enjoying another deep run. READ: WSOP: Clayton Fletcher is More Than Just a Comedian Who Plays Poker Making the final table of the Main Event can be a real grind for even the most experienced of players. After Day 2 of the 2018 Main Event, Tony Miles felt like he needed to have somebody on his rail to help him what was coming. He had a premonition that he was on the verge of something big, so he called in Jenn Gene. Miles ended up finishing in second and Gene was there the entire way. READ: WSOP: Tony Miles Had a Feeling, So He Called in Reinforcements The Main Event final table concluded with one of the longest heads-up battles in WSOP history. In the end, John Cynn defeated Miles to win poker's most prestigous title and a whopping $8.8 million. READ: WSOP: John Cynn Beats Tony Miles to Win 2018 Main Event, $8.8M Phil Hellmuth Captures WSOP Bracelet #15 It's almost impossible to upstage the pomp and circumstance of the WSOP Main Event, but if there is one player in the 49 year history of the WSOP who could do it, it's Phil Hellmuth. While the Main Event got to a final table in one of the most talked about hands of the year, Hellmuth was in another room battling against Steven Wolansky for the title in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels) event. He eventually overcame a 2.5-1 chip defecit to add another bracelet to his collection. “I said, … ‘When’s the next time you’re going to have an opportunity like this where you’re heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong’, and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards,” said Hellmuth. READ: WSOP: Nicolas Manion Leads Main Event Final Table, Hellmuth Wins #15 Hellmuth wasn't the only big name to do big things after being eliminated from the Main Event. 2009 Main Event champion Joe Cada made the Main Event final table, only to bust out in fifth place. He simply marched down the hall, entered the $1,500 Closer event and beat out 3,119 other players to win the fourth bracelet of his career READ: WSOP: Cada Closes Out Epic Series, $1 Million One Drop Get Underway Two days later, Justin Bonomo continued his incredible 2018 by winning the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for his third super high roller win of the year. Bonomo beat a final table that included Dan Smith, Byron Kaverman, Rick Salomon and eventual runner-up, Fedor Holz to add $10,000,000 to his lifetime earnings. Shaun Deeb Leaves Las Vegas in Control of WSOP Player of the Year Shaun Deeb had himself one helluva time at Poker Summer Camp. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver cashed in 16 WSOP events, winning two and winning over $2.5 million along the way. All of that success put him atop the WSOP Player of the Year standings with just WSOP Europe left to go. Deeb lead the player closest to him, Ben Yu, by 588.02 points. READ: WSOP: Shaun Deeb Locks Up Player of the Year…For a Few Months
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