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Found 8 results

  1. The schedule for the final World Poker Tour events of Season XIV was unveiled on Wednesday and included one major change. The WPT Championship as we know it is no more. In its place is the WPT Tournament of Champions, an invite-only event to be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in mid-April. Only Season XIV champions and WPT Champions Club members can participate in the Tournament of Champions, which has a buy-in of $15,400. The event won't come cheap for WPT officials either, as every Season XIV Major Champion is automatically entered into the Tournament of Champions and will have their airfare and hotel accommodations covered. Champions Club members can buy in. WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska (pictured) commented in a press release, "By combining Season XIV winners and WPT Champions Club members, the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions will truly be a championship event. We will promote the 'champion of champions' to our millions of television viewers and to the thousands of players in the community for seasons to come, solidifying the winner's place in the World Poker Tour's rich history." Several PocketFivers have made the WPT Champions Clubthis year, including Taylor taypaurPaur, Asher yasmellmeConniff, and Aaron aaronmermel Mermelstein. The new Tournament of Champions begins on April 21. Here's a look at the tournaments leading up to it: January 4 to 8 WPT National Philippines Solaire Resort & Casino Manila, Philippines $1,500 + $150 January 8 to 11 WPT DeepStacks Hustler Hustler Casino Gardena, California $1,000 + $100 January 14 to 18 WPT DeepStacks Hollywood Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $1,000 + $100 January 29 to February 1 WPT DeepStacks Malta Dragonara Casino St. Julian's, Malta €500 + €50 January 31 to February 5 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Atlantic City, NJ $3,300 + $200 February 21 to 24 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort Ontario, Canada CAD $4,700 + CAD $300 February 25 to 28 bwin.be WPT National Brussels Grand Casino Brussels Viage, Belgium €1,100 + €100 February 26 to 29 WPT DeepStacks - BigStax Parx Casino Bensalem, Pennsylvania $1,500 + $100 February 27 to March 3 WPT LA Poker Classic Commerce Casino Commerce, California $9,600 + $400 March 7 to 11 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Bay 101 Casino San Jose, California $7,150 + $350 March 8 to 13 partypoker WPT Vienna Montesino Vienna Vienna, Austria €3,000 + €300 March 12 to 16 WPT Rolling Thunder Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, California $3,200 + $300 April 8 to 11 Gioco Digitale WPT National San Remo Casino San Remo San Remo, Italy €900 + €90 April 15 to 17 WPT National Johannesburg Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Johannesburg, South Africa R10,000 + R1,000 April 14 to 20 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $3,200 + $200 + $100 April 21 to 23 WPT Tournament of Champions Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida $15,000 + $400 The WPT Championship's attendance dropped 27% from 2014 to 2015, so the writing was on the wall for a major change to the event. Here's a look at the WPT Championship attendance each year it has been held. Season XIII ended in April 2015: Season I: 111 entrants Season II: 343 entrants Season III: 453 entrants Season IV: 605 entrants Season V: 649 entrants Season VI: 545 entrants Season VII: 338 entrants Season VIII: 195 entrants Season IX: 220 entrants Season X: 152 entrants Season XI: 146 entrants Season XII: 328 entrants Season XIII: 239 entrants Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  2. [caption width="640"] If your name is on the WPT Champions Cup, you can play in the WPT Tournament of Champions.[/caption] To the surprise of many, the World Poker Tour announced last November that it would be scrapping its annual season-ending WPT Championship in favor of an invite-only Tournament of Champions event. With the event a little over a month away, the WPT has released some more details on the exclusive event, including the introduction of a shot clock and nearly $200,000 in cash and prizes. The $15,000 buy-in tournament kicks off April 22 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and is only open to WPT Champions Club members - previous WPT winners. The 21 champions from this season won their TOC buy-in as part of their original payout. Winners from previous seasons will have to pay their own entry fee. "It is our goal to elevate the WPT Tournament of Champions, creating an extraordinary season-ending event to celebrate the members of the WPT Champions Club and the rich legacy of the World Poker Tour," said WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska. "With a significant overlay of cash and prizes the WPT has immediately increased the value of being a WPT Champions Club member, and we will crown two more winners prior to the WPT Tournament of Champions during the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown festival." In addition to banking the largest slice of the prize pool, the winner of the inaugural Tournament of Champions takes home a selection of prizes including a pair of gold Monster 24K headphones, a custom premium poker table, an Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard and a timepiece crafted by luxury watchmaker Hublot. Furthermore, the first place finisher wins a seat at golf legend Tiger Woods’ exclusive Poker Night tournament, and a round of golf at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas with WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. The WPT has also decided to introduce a shot clock at the TOC. Players will have 30 seconds to act and receive five 30-second time extensions which can be used before the final table. At the final table, clocks will be reset, and players will receive an additional four, 30-second extensions. "I have always believed that being a member of the WPT Champions Club is an incredible honor," said Savage. "The World Poker Tour has added a lot of cash and great prizes to the rake-free WPT Tournament of Champions, and there is even more to come. I have to admit that I am extremely jealous not to be an eligible member of the WPT Champions Club." Champions Club members will have one opportunity to satellite their way into the big event in a $1,550 buy-in Super Satellite at noon on April 21.
  3. [caption width="640"] Farid Yachou now has a Corvette and a few hundred thousand dollars after winning the WPT Tournament of Champions[/caption] Farid Yachou seems to know how to make his tournament appearances count. Last May the Dutch amateur outlasted 340 other players to win WPT Amsterdam and $225,073. Part of that prize pool was a seat to the $15,000 buy-in WPT Tournament of Champions. He didn’t want to fly to Florida to play and he almost didn’t get Visa paperwork handled in time. Yet Sunday night it all came together for him again as he beat Vlad Darie to win the WPT Tournament of Champions for $381,600 - just his second career score. "It’s something I cannot believe," Yachou said after the win, smiling. "I am seated with only champions. I said to myself, ‘I will be glad if I finish 30th.’ Then, day by day and hand by hand it came altogether, and everything came to me." Darren Elias started the final table fourth in chips, but thanks to the early work of Darie, he found himself as one of the shorter stacks early on. Elias jammed from the cutoff for 261,000 and Yachou reraised all in from the button to 694,000. Everybody else folded and Elias tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] while Yachou was well ahead with [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3h"] to eliminate Elias in sixth place and move Yachou into the lead. Just two hands later Noah Schwartz joined Elias on the rail. Michael Mizrachi raised to 40,000 from the cutoff and Schwartz moved the last of his 229,000 all in from the small blind. Mizrachi called and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"] and Schwartz showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2s"] flop was relatively safe for Schwartz but the [poker card="3h"] turn gave Mizrachi flush outs. The river though was the [poker card="jc"] to give Mizrachi a pair of jacks and send Schwartz out in fifth. Darie opened from the button for 40,000 before Jonathan Jaffe took his time in making his decision. So much time in fact that he he had to use one of his remaining “time chips” to give himself and additional 30 seconds to act. Before his time expired he moved all in for 349,000 and Darie called instantly. Jaffe showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"] while Darie tabled [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. Jaffe was unable to connect on the [poker card="jd"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="td"][poker card="8s"] board and his run ended in fourth. When three-handed play began Mizrachi held over 50% of the chips in play with Yachou and Darie each working with 25% each. That turned out to be as close as ‘The Grinder’ would get to the win though. Yachou was the first to take some of Mizrachi’s stack and then Darie took enough to push Mizrachi to third in chips. Darie and Yachou took turns swapping the lead until Mizrachi made his final stand. After Mizrachi opened to 50,000 from the button, Darie folded before Yachou moved all in from the big blind. Mizrachi called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="9d"] and found himself needing help against Yachou’s [poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="4h"] flop gave Mizrachi top pair but bottom set to Yachou. Mizrachi was unable to improve on the [poker card="6s"] turn or [poker card="8d"] flop. Yachou began heads up play with a small lead over Darie. The pair played heads up for just over 30 minutes before Yachou emerged with the title. Darie raised to 50,000 and Yachou called. After the [poker card="8h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2c"] flop Yachou check-raised Darie’s bet of 50,000 to 250,000. Darie called that bet and the 200,000 Yachou bet after the [poker card="tc"] turn. The river was the [poker card="8d"] and Yachou shoved all in for 1,585,000. Darie called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"] for two pair with his king playing kicker, but Yachou showed [poker card="as"][poker card="2d"] for a full house to eliminate Darie in second and win the second poker tournament of his career. Along with the $381,600 first place prize money including a $15,000 seat to the Season XV WPT Tournament of Champions, a 2016 Corvette provided by Monster Products, a Hublot watch, Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard, Monster 24K headphones, a custom poker table from BBO Poker Tables and a seat to Tiger’s Poker Night next week in Las Vegas. "The Corvette is something I have never seen a tournament give away, it’s amazing," Yachou said. "I took my Monster Headphones from WPT Amsterdam because I like to hear the sound it has. It’s not like the others." Payouts Farid Yachou - $381,600 Vlad Darie - $224,190 Michael Mizrachi - $140,450 Jonathan Jaffe - $95,400 Noah Schwartz - $74,200 Darren Elias - $58,300
  4. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour could be using the Protection Poker Action Clock regularly next season.(WPT photo)[/caption] Matt Savage thought Mike Sexton was crazy. Sexton, World Poker Tour commentator and Poker Hall of Famer, had been pushing Savage, Executive Tour Director of the WPT, to introduce a shot clock to WPT events to speed up the game and prevent players from tanking unnecessarily. On Friday, the WPT debuted the Protection Poker Action Clock for the first time in the $15,000 buy-in Monster WPT Tournament of Champions. The Action Clock allows players 30 seconds to act on their hand. If time expires, the hand is dead. Players are also given four time buttons that can be used to give themselves another 30 seconds. Each table has been outfitted with a tablet with the Action Clock app on it. Dealers push one of four buttons depending on what’s happening in the hand. Most players were pleased with the concept and Savage, once a skeptic, seems to have changed his mind. “Seeing this in motion, seeing how easy it is for the dealers to use, how much more of a different dynamic it creates for the game, I’m excited and I think this is something we can probably use at other events in the future,” said Savage. As the clock winds down during a hand, the app beeps when a player has ten seconds left to act and then a more distinct buzz when there are just three seconds remaining. “I love it. Absolutely love it. For me, it’s not much of a hindrance because I don’t take more than 30 seconds,” said Season XIII WPT Championship winner Asher Conniff. “I have 3 of my 4 time banks left through eight levels. Some of the other guys, they need the time, and I appreciate the edge on some of these guys, they’re great players.” Savage admits it is going to take some players some time to adjust to the concept, but as more and more players see the concept and play with it, they’ll learn to adapt. “I think that we saw early on in the day people were timing out when they didn’t want to be. But I think as people get more and more used to it, it becomes easier and becomes second nature, people just play faster,” said Savage. “Jordan Cristos and Marvin Rettenmaier and Yevgeniy Timoshenko, they’re all dealing with it, they’re all adjusting.” [caption width="640"] Each player is allotted four "time" chips at the start of each day. (WPT photo)[/caption] In 2014, the WPT polled players at the LA Poker Classic to gauge their feelings on the shot clock and 80% of those that responded were in favor of limiting players' time to act on each hand. Dan Smith thinks the clock brings some of the fun back to tournament poker just by getting rid of hands that take too long to play. “I think in terms of quality of play it’s not quite as high, but maybe it’s like 90% as high,” said Smith. "From an enjoyment standpoint, not having to sit there for six minutes while somebody makes a decision - that’s just brutal.” Smith also pointed out that it makes the game more exciting for those at the table with an added element of drama. “There’s something exciting about it, it goes to the river and it’s like 5, 4, 3, 2, - it’s exciting,” said Smith. Not all players were fans of the clock, though. A number of players continue to express concern over how it changes the game. "I’m not a big fan, to be honest. I actually didn’t think it was going to go as well as it does. But I think 30 seconds is just not enough time. There are so many situations that come up," said Marvin Rettenmaier. "I’ve definitely made some folds that I may have tended the other way if I had a minute or something." While the WPT TOC had a field of just 64 accomplished players, Rettenmaier worries about the way recreational players might react to the added pressure. "I think it’s way worse for them than it is for us because we should kind of have a feel for what we’re going to do,” said Rettenmaier. “I think it’s actually not amateur-friendly at all even though people are saying that’s why they want to do it, but it really isn’t." Given the relative success of the first use of the Action Clock, it’s likely to find its way to another couple of tour events next season. “We’ll definitely be using it for the (2017) Tournament of Champions,” said Savage. “I think that it’s going to take one of our casino partners to step up and say ‘Hey, we want to give this a try.’”
  5. [caption width="640"] Players could find themselves sitting at a televised final table thanks to the King of the Club promotion from ClubWPT (WPT photo)[/caption] Every April, the World Poker Tour season wraps up in Florida for a tournament series that is one of the most popular stops of the year. The Seminole Hard Rock Showdown series features both a WPT Main Event and the Tournament of Champions event. Thanks to ClubWPT, 16 lucky players can win their way into the fun and action for just $19.95 a month. The new King of the Club promotion is giving ClubWPT players the opportunity to travel to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida and play in an invitational tournament under the bright lights of the WPT final table. There will be two televised tables ofKing of the Club winners with over $37,000 in cash and prizes. One lucky winner will even earn a $10,000 seat in a future WPT Main Tour event. In addition to taking part in their exclusive tournament, King of the Club qualifiers will also enjoy a five-night stay at Seminole Hard Rock. While there, the qualifiers will enjoy a couple of days of curated activities and tapings for the show. They will also enjoy VIP seating at the final table of the tour’s second annual Tournament of Champions event. While there, they will get to meet the show’s hosts Vince Van Patten and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton as well as WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin. Given that the Tournament of Champions is populated with nothing but past WPT champs, there will be plenty of opportunities for poker starseekers as well. The vacation and televised table may feel like prize enough, but these qualifiers have an opportunity to parlay this freeroll into a substantial payday. Club WPT qualifiers to WPT Main Events have found quite a bit of success over the years. Club qualifier Leron Washington won the Celebrity Invitational in 2010, and Andy Whetsone final tabled the Hollywood Poker Open in 2011 after winning a seat on ClubWPT. Online qualifiers for the live event, which runs April 5-10, are already underway. Daily qualifiers are running every night with start times ranging from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET. There will be two qualifiers on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Periodic additional qualifying events will run throughout the month as well. A full schedule of the daily satellites is available on the Club WPT website. The first monthly qualifier runs on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. ET and the second runs on Feb. 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The top eight qualifiers from each qualifier win seats into the King of the Club event. Players must qualify during the play periods of each individual qualifier in order to participate. Players who qualify Jan. 1 – 29 play in the first monthly event. Those who qualify from Jan. 30 – Feb. 26 play in the second qualifier. Players who win multiple seats into the qualifiers may only redeem one. Additional seats are not redeemable for cash or promotional value. The subscription-based ClubWPT.com offers players the opportunity to play tons of online poker tournaments for a flat rate of $19.95 per month. Prizes on the site include seats into WPT Main Tour events, cash, and other prizes.
  6. Darren Elias was the headliner Saturday night in Las Vegas as the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions played down to a winner. Just days after winning his record-setting fourth WPT title, Elias entered the TOC final table with the chip lead and a chance at going back-to-back against some of the toughest fields in WPT history. Matthew Waxman wasn't thinking about that narrative though and after eliminating Elias in third place, had little trouble cruising to victory to capture the TOC and the $463,375 first-place prize money at the Esports Arena at the Luxor Las Vegas. After a double-elimination on the final hand of Day 2, only five players returned for Saturday. With blinds at 8,000/16,000 (8,000) Elias raised to 35,000 from the cutoff before Nick Schulman moved all in for 438,000 from the small blind. Elias called and turned over [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] which put him ahead of Schulman's [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop put Schulman in the lead but only briefly as the [poker card="7d"] hit the turn. The river was the [poker card="jd"] sending Schulman out in fifth place. Another 22 hands later and Elias, who began the day with the chip lead, was picking up another elimination thanks to fortuitous turn card. David Benyamine moved all in for 370,000 from the small blind and Elias called from the big. Benyamine showed [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] while Elias found he was behind with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"] flop changed nothing but the [poker card="5h"] turn moved Elias ahead. The river was the [poker card="4s"] and Benyamine was out in fourth place. Any momentum that Elias had built up was erased in hand with Waxman that saw Elias queens outrun by Waxman's jacks, doubling up Waxman and leaving Elias reeling. It wasn't long before Elias' run at back-to-back victories was snuffed out. Matas Cimbolas raised to 50,000 from the button and Elias moved all in the small blind for 645,000. Cimbolas called and showed [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] while Elias was drawing live with [poker card="tc"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9c"] to give Matas top pair and eliminate four-time WPT champion Elias in third place. Waxman began heads-up play with a 2-1 lead over Cimbolas and he never surrendered it, eliminating his Lithuanian opponent after 38 hands of play. Cimbolas completed from the small blind and Waxman checked to see a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"]. Waxman check-called Cimbolas' bet of 40,000. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Waxman check-called again, this time for 125,000. The river was the [poker card="8h"] and Waxman checked again. Cimbolas moved all in for 425,000. Waxman used one of this time extension before announcing a call. Cimbolas showed [poker card="th"][poker card="3s"] and Waxman happily tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"] for second pair, good enough to win the pot and eliminate Cimbolas. The event, which allows champions from previous seasons to buy-in for $15,000 while Season XVI earned their entry by winning a WPT title, attracted a record-setting 80 players. This was the first year the event was played in Las Vegas after spending the previous two years at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. Final Table Payouts Matthew Waxman - $463,375 Matas Cimbolas - $265,590 Darren Elias - $177,060 David Benyamine - $123,045 Nick Schulman - $89,290 J.C. Tran - $67,800
  7. 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
  8. It was late 2005 and poker was happily enjoying a boom phase that felt like it would never end. As one of the catalysts of the boom, the World Poker Tour was in the midst of unheard of and somewhat unbelievable growth. So much so that, 783 players made their way to Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, for what was, at the time, the single largest WPT event ever, the WPT World Poker Finals. A quiet, sheepish-looking kid named Nick Schulman, who had never cashed in a live tournament before, made his way through that record-sized field to win $2,142,000 and become the youngest WPT winner at the time. "You know it all happened so fast. It was so long ago, I feel a little embarrassed at this point. It was like 60 years ago. I don't think I can remember back that far," Schulman joked during a break at the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions at the ARIA Resort & Casino. He was just 21 years old and had been crushing online for years at this point. Winning wasn't new to him, and neither was the money that came with being a successful poker player. Being on such a massive stage was new though. "I was young. It was one of my first (live) tournaments. It was an incredible experience - obviously, I had a lot of online experience, but for it to come together live on, I think it was the biggest WPT ever at the time. It was great," Schulman said. Reflecting how that night changed his life, the now 35-year-old admits he might not have been ready to go from screen name to household name. A 21-year-old with a bankroll that could choke a hippo might not have been the best combination for him at the time. "I was kind of an animal. I wasn't really looking at it like that," Schulman said. "I was already deep in the gambling life and it didn't change things as much as it probably should have." His poker career has taken multiple turns since that night at Foxwoods. He's won an additional $9 million since then even though tournaments no longer take up most of his attention. "I guess I've sort of gravitated more to be being a cash game player over the years. I still play some WPTs and I've just been a professional poker player and I've leaned cash games," Schulman said. Even though his WPT win came almost 14 years ago, Schulman couldn't turn down a chance to play the WPT Tournament of Champions, especially after another former champ and good friend of his made the trip to Las Vegas to play. "It's a nice event. A buddy of mine, Taylor von Kriegenbergh, came out and he's playing it. I'm just kind of hanging out with him and playing it as well," Schulman said. "I love to play No Limit tournaments. A $15K No Limit tournament is right up my alley." As for the rest of his summer, Schulman doesn't know what's in store for him. The WSOP could be a draw, but Las Vegas high stakes cash games get very juicy during that time. "I don't know yet. I can't pin it down at this point," Schulman said. "I'm just going to see how the cash games develop and take it day-by-day."
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