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Found 156 results

  1. It has been a monumental week for England's Chris moorman1Moorman (pictured), and that's probably an understatement. He started off March by becoming the first PocketFiver ever to earn four Monthly PLB titles, blowing away the competition in February by over 800 points, one of the widest margins ever. On Wednesday, he ascended back to the top of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, his 12th stint at #1. On Thursday, one day after he became the #1 player on PocketFives, Moorman won the World Poker Tour's LA Poker Classic for $1 million. "I finally did it! #lapc2014 #champ," Moorman posted on Twitter. He started the final table second in chips and got off to a hot start, taking down the first three hands and six of the first nine. It took all of 26 hands for Moorman to overtake Michael Rocco for the chip lead, and the most successful PocketFiver ever padded his edge by dispensing of Josh Neufeld in fifth place. Neufeld 4bet all-in before the flop with A-10 of hearts and Moorman looked him up with pocket tens. No drama was in store and Moorman scooped the pot to stack 163 big blinds, more than twice the second place total. Moorman won 14 of the first 40 pots, the most of anyone, but Rocco charged ahead, claiming seven of the next 20 pots compared to Moorman's three. Then, Patrick Bruel doubled through Moorman, Glenn Lafaye doubled through Bruel, and suddenly, Moorman, albeit by a small margin, was the low man on the totem pole. On the 102nd hand of final table play, Rocco doubled through Moorman, who was left with 23 big blinds. However, Moorman managed to buck Bruel from the LAPC shortly thereafter. Bruel moved all-in on a flop of J-8-2 and Moorman called, flipping over A-J for top pair, top kicker. Bruel showed K-8 for second pair and a running 9-Q sealed the deal for Moorman, who moved into second place and scored his second knockout. A three-way all-in trimmed the table even further. Rocco was all-in pre-flop with A-8, Moorman had 10-10, and Lafaye had both of his opponents covered with Q-J of diamonds. The flop came K-Q-J, giving Lafaye two pair, and a three on the turn set up what would have been a double elimination for the LAPC title. However, an ace on the river gave Moorman Broadway and sent Rocco to the rail. Moorman Tweeted about the miracle river card, "Ace on the river! Heads-up for it all now!" Moorman and Lafaye were virtually deadlocked in chips entering heads-up play. The Brit put on a clinic from there, at one point building a 7:1 chip lead. Lafaye doubled through to cut the gap to 3:1, but couldn't gain any more momentum. On the final hand of the WPT LAPC, Lafaye pushed all-in with 5-4 for an open-ended straight draw on a flop of J-6-7. It wasn't meant to be, as Moorman woke up with aces and held on for the win. Moorman knocked out four of his five final table opponents at his first WPT final table. In addition to the million bucks, Moorman took home a WPT Champion's Trophy, a Commerce Remington trophy, and a pair of Monster 24K headphones. Not too bad. Here were the payouts from the 2014 WPT LAPC: 1. Chris moorman1 Moorman - $1,015,460 2. Glenn Lafaye - $662,840 3. Michael Rocco - $423,440 4. Patrick Bruel - $332,190 5. Josh Neufeld - $264,520 6. Adam Friedman - $200,440 Congratulations for Moorman poured in on Twitter, where poker pro Jude Ainsworth wrote, "Congrats @Moorman1, sick result and well deserved." Craig mcc3991 McCorkell added, "Woke up to some great news! Congrats @Moorman1 #winningplayer." According to the Hendon Mob, Moorman has nearly $4 million in live tournament cashes and is #12 on the all-time money list for England. The LAPC marked his second seven-figure live score; the other came as a result of a runner-up finish in the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event in Cannes three years ago. He has the highest earnings of anyone in the world on PocketFives at $10.9 million. Congrats on Moorman on his WPT win! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. History was made in the Caribbean on Friday, as longtime PocketFiver Darren darrenelias Elias (pictured) became the first person ever to win back-to-back World Poker Tour Main Events in the same season. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by William Hill Poker, one of the largest skins on the iPoker Network. The poker room offers a generous welcome package including a 200% deposit bonus up to $2,000 and a superb VIP program. PocketFivers will love playing in the site's €1 million guaranteed iPOPS series, which runs through November 9. Visit William Hill today! --- Elias won the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September in Atlantic City and followed that up with a victory in the WPT Caribbean event in St. Maarten on Friday. According to WPT officials, "Elias [also]becomes the first player to win multiple WPT Main Events in the same season since Season III. Both Tuan Le and Daniel Negreanu won a pair of events in Season III and Negreanu was crowned WPT Player of the Year." The first person ever to win back-to-back WPT Main Events was Marvin Rettenmaier (pictured), who took down the Season X WPT World Championship and the Season XI WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, but failed to secure both titles in the same season. The Caribbean event marked Elias' seventh WPT in the money finish. Incredibly, four of those are final tables. He finished fifth in the 2011 Borgata Poker Open Main Event for $230,000 and followed that up a few months later with a third place showing in Jacksonville for $147,000. Elias' Borgata Poker Open Main Event win in September was worth $843,000, bringing his all-time live earnings to north of $2.5 million, according to the Hendon Mob. Elias was nearly a 5:1 dog entering heads-up play in St. Maarten against Christophe Rosso, but doubled up twice to claim the chip lead. Rosso turned in two double-ups of his own and on the final hand, he moved all-in before the flop with 7-6, but ran into Elias' aces. Rosso actually made two pair on the turn, but the river paired the board, giving Elias aces-up for the record-setting title. Here were the WPT Caribbean final table results: 1st Place: Darren darreneliasElias - $127,680 2nd Place: Christophe Rosso - $64,900 3rd Place: George Griffith - $42,100 4th Place: Mike Linster - $28,950 5th Place: Ziga Jamnikar - $22,280 6th Place: Dan Agentu Murariu - $17,370 Online, Elias has $3.4 million in career tournament winnings and won the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance two weeks ago for $49,000. He has two monster wins online: a WCOOP High Roller victory in 2012 for $574,000 officially and a WCOOP Main Event final table two years prior for $396,000. Elias has five six-figure scores in his PocketFives profile. Congrats to Elias for his historical finish in St. Maarten. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. For the uninitiated, multi-entry tournaments are exactly what they sound like: tournaments players can enter more than once. Typically, live tourneys that use a multi-entry format allow players who bust out of one starting flight to try again in a subsequent starting flight. So, get knocked out on Day 1A and you can try again on Day 1B, 1C, etc., for the price of another buy-in. Once in a while, at the Bellagio, for instance, you see unlimited re-entries allowed in the same day up until some deadline, often the end of the late registration period. Re-entry tournaments have been a source of controversy in the poker world, as many players of limited bankrolls don't like the idea that deep-pocketed players have an unnecessary, and perhaps unfair, advantage. In an unlimited re-entry tournament in particular, the richest players can just gamble it up, hoping to hit a huge hand without really worrying about busting out. For his part, despite his ability to buy the finest silks and furs, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) commented in a recent blog postthat he does not prefer multi-entry tournaments, saying, "I would rather play 'good poker' from the outset rather than gamble recklessly to increase my chances of winning the tournament." Negreanu specifically focused on the WPT. He said, though, that if multi-entry were allowed, he'd take full advantage of it in order to give himself the best chance to win. To him, winning is more important than making money at this point in his career. He sees the increase in multi-entry tournaments as simply a business decision by casinos and tournament organizers. The casinos need the tournament to make financial sense, so allowing people to re-enter and therefore pay another fee to the house increases the casino's revenue. On the WPT's end, it needs to convince a casino to host a tournament, so being okay with multi-entry might be the way to cement a deal. Negreanu, being an anti-multi-entry guy, totally understands why many players dislike these kinds of events. "A lot of players express concern that unlimited re-entry tournaments are bad for the game, discourage amateur players, and bleed player bankroll," he said in his blog. At the same time, he sees them as a potential positive for someone who travels from far away because it gives them the opportunity to play more poker if they bust out quickly. It is certainly no fun to travel for a full day, get knocked out within an hour, and then go home. Negreanu saw what the European Poker Tour does as a solution to make everyone happy, while at the same time getting rid of multi-entry tournaments. As he explained, "They create a festival after the Main Event begins. For ages, tournaments in the US would run two to four weeks of prelims, then have a week long Main Event. Bust the Main Event, and there is nothing left to play. You could play cash games, but as mentioned, that isn't happening. Negreanu concluded, "That setup makes it good for the players, as they will get to enjoy regular freezeout tourneys plus have more opportunities to play if they bust out, good for the venue, as it keeps people shelling out money to play, and good for the organizers, as it makes it easier to market the tour to potential casino hosts." Negreanu added that while many of his readers may hate multi-entry tournaments, they should look at the bright side and think of them as an opportunity to take some chips off of someone donking it up in a tournament with an inflated prize pool. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. In a blog recently published on PartyPoker's website, World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton (pictured) questioned the value of World Series of Poker bracelets and called out the WSOP for a few other reasons. Sexton is a member of the Poker Hall of Fame and owns one WSOP bracelet, which came in a Stud High-Low event in 1989. After saying that the WSOP is "diluting" its product, Sexton argued, "Winning a WSOP bracelet is the dream of nearly all poker players, the marketing of which has played a key role in attracting customers. The staying power, however, will evaporate if more and more bracelets are continually handed out." Sexton pointed out that in 1970, the WSOP's first year, only one bracelet was given out. In 1999, there were 16 awarded, but this year, explained Sexton, "There are 68 bracelet events on tap plus all of the events at WSOPE and WSOP Australia… I'm worried, as the number of events continually grows, the value of each bracelet will diminish." Sexton advocated only awarding bracelets in Las Vegas. He also touched on the November Nine, a concept he's against because it "doesn't put players first." He explained, "We all know they move the Main Event final table from July to November for PR and TV reasons. I wish they would allow players to take two days off – one for rest and the other for player interviews – and play the final table on the third day. This would allow family and friends time to travel to Las Vegas to watch. The Rio showroom would still be jam-packed. And I'm sure the TV ratings would be good. Most importantly, I feel certain the vast majority of players would prefer to play the final table in July." Sexton argued that there are a variety of issues with waiting four months, including an unfair rest and training period, a short-stacked player having to return to Las Vegas only to be ousted immediately, and the potential of someone dying during the break. He chided about the latter point, "I'm guessing they'll put a little coffin on the table and blind that person off." What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Sexton on either point? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. In recent days, thousands of eyes were trained squarely on the felts at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the conclusion of the WPT500. Days 2 and 3 of this gigantic event were held on Sunday and Monday, respectively, and when all was said and done, Craig imgrinding Varnell (pictured) took home the trophy and $330,000. The WPT500 is an interesting tournament with a unique schedule. Not designed to specifically compete with the World Series of Poker, it still appears to have been created as a way for the WPT to capitalize on the thousands of poker players in Las Vegas for the WSOP. Held right before the Main Event, it gives players the opportunity to compete in a large-field tournament for a much lower buy-in, just $500. Tournament organizers guaranteed a $2 million prize pool. There were ten starting days for the WPT500. The first six, Days 1A through 1F, were held May 31 to June 8, while the last four took place July 2 to July 5. In between, Aria hosted a string of smaller buy-in tourneys. There was a bit of controversy surrounding the WPT500 last year, although it really emanated from just one person: 2012 WSOP Main Event champ Greg Merson(pictured). The weekend the 2014 WSOP Main Event began, Merson went on a Twitter rant about the WPT500 being disrespectful to the WSOP, calling it a "money grab." Merson felt that it was wrong that the WPT500 was being held right before the WSOP Main Event. However, most everybody understood that a $500 buy-in tournament was not going to compete with the $10,000 Main Event and that, although the two events overlapped slightly, players could easily do both if they made sure they understood the schedule. That might have been good press for the WPT, though, as the field skyrocketed from last year's 3,599 to this year's 5,113, making the 2015 WPT500 the largest event in WPT history. The prize pool was $2,556,500, clearing the guarantee by more than half-a-million dollars. The WPT also made sure it pushed this year's WPT500 a little bit earlier so that there was not as much overlap with the start of the WSOP Main Event. Certainly, anyone who made it to Day 2 would not have been able to play in Day 1A of the Main Event and those who reached Day 3 would not have been able to play in Day 1B of the Main Event, but that did not affect that many people in the grand scheme of things and that still left Day 1C for those who wanted it. Varnell was absolutely thrilled with the win, telling the WPT after the match, "This feels surreal. You have no idea how happy I am. I love poker; I love the game. I'm blessed to be here." The $330,000 first prize more than doubles his lifetime live tournament winnings, taking him up over $600,000 for his career (figures courtesy TheHendonMob). His previous best score came just last week when he finished third in the $1,000 WSOP online event for $73,079. Varnell is also a member of PocketFives, registered under the screen name imgrinding. In online tournaments tracked by us, he has won $332,586, with a top cash of $90,734 from winning a $216 No Limit Hold'em Deep Stack event on Full Tilt in January 2007. If our records are any indication, it appears that that Black Friday put the kibosh on his internet play, as his last online cash was in March 2011. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. Out of the six members of the World Poker Tour's Bay 101 Shooting Star final table, five were part of the PocketFives community. In the end, Taylor taypaur Paur (pictured) came out on top and took home a rock solid $1.2 million. Paur came into the final table with the second largest stack and sent Ravee Mathi, the only person who wasn't a member of PocketFives, home in sixth place. On a board of J-6-5-6-5, Mathi shoved all-in and Paur called with 8-5 for the win. Mathi showed A-8 in the hand and earned $168,000. Thirteen hands later, Faraz The-ToiletJaka was all-in with 4-4 and up against Jacob bazemanBazeley's pocket tens. Neither player improved and Jaka busted out of his fourth WPT final table in fifth place for $216,000. Paur then sent Sorel Imper1um Mizzi home after coming out on top in a race with pocket fives against A-J. Paur was ahead the entire way and hit a five on the river to boot, sending Mizzi home in fourth place for $310,000. On the 171st hand of final table play, Bazeley pushed all-in with K-7 of clubs, but Paur was once again the executioner, this time with A-10 of spades. Paur flopped one ace and rivered another to make a boat and send Bazeley away, $461,000 richer for his wear. It was Bazeley's second career WPT final table. Paur had a 2:1 lead over Isaac mr. menlo Baron entering heads-up play and it took all of nine hands to determine a winner. Baron shoved on the river of a 9-7-2-3-5 board with A-9, but Paur snap-called with 10-9 of hearts for a flush. Bay 101 marked Paur's first WPT final table. Here's how the group cashed out: 1: Taylor Paur - $1,214,200 2: Isaac Baron - $704,200 3: Jake Bazeley - $461,470 4: Sorel Mizzi - $310,060 5: Faraz Jaka - $216,320 6: Ravee Mathi - $168,260 Paur won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2013 in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event. Online, he has won two FTOPS events, the PokerStarsSuper Tuesday and Sunday 500, and the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl and $1K Monday, just to name a few. Congrats to him on his first WPT title! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  7. On Sunday night, it was announced that Ourgame International Holdings has acquired the World Poker Tour for $35 million. It's an all cash transaction with no debt. Since 2009, bwin.party has owned WPT, which is renowned for its worldwide live tournaments and events. WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska commented in a press release, "Having already established an exciting partnership with Ourgame, a high growth company led by an enthusiastic group that is fully invested in the global growth of the sport of poker, we are delighted to now become a fully-integrated member of the Ourgame family. I want to thank bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger and bwin.party CFO Martin Weigold for all of their support over the last six years and for helping facilitate this agreement." Last year, Ourgame began licensing products and services related to the WPT in Asian countries. Now, it owns the tour outright. Ourgame has a market cap of over $700 million and is one of Asia's leading social gaming firms. In fact, it has over500 million usersand, according to the same release, "For three years, Ourgame has helped facilitate WPT National China at MGM Grand Sanya Resort, bringing together hundreds of social gamers with some of the biggest professional poker players in the world." Ourgame CEO Frank Ng commented in the same press release, "World Poker Tour is unquestionably the global leader in organizing world-class poker events and we are very proud to acquire one of the world's greatest brands. WPT, with Ourgame as its new owner, will continue to expand its already impressive global presence, bringing poker and gaming entertainment to cities and homes around the world via television broadcasts, mobile devices, card tables, and more." Ourgame is publicly traded and was founded in 1998. According to Online Poker Report, ClubWPT is also part of the sale. The same source added that the closing date was June 25. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. 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.
  9. [caption width="640"] Only three of the four top seeds are moving on to the WPT Champions Challenge Sweet 16.[/caption] Even though they've had little trouble this year, number one seeds don’t always breeze through the NCAA tournament. Upsets happen. It seems that the World Poker Tour Champions Challenge is no different. Carlos Mortensen, top seed in the Hearts Region, was beaten by poker hall of famer and eight seed Erik Seidel in the Round of 32. The other three top seeds, Gus Hansen, Anthony Zinno and Daniel Negreanu, all advanced to the Sweet 16. The Champions Challenge is a bracket-style tournament pitting 64 former WPT champions against each other with each match-up decided by a fan vote on WPT.com. The field of 64, and the seeding, were determined by taking into account the WPT success of each player. In the Sweet 16, Hansen is matched up against Alan Goehring, while Zinno takes on Mohsin Charania and Negreanu has Jonathan Little as his opponent. There was only two other upsets in the second round, but poker fans might not call one of them that. Doyle Brunson, seeded 11th in the Clubs region, beat Darren Elias, a three seed, to advance to the third round. While Brunson’s popularity is unquestionable, his WPT resume isn’t quite as polished as Elias’. Brunson has one WPT title, three WPT final tables, eight WPT cashes and $2,081,824 in earnings, but Elias has two WPT wins, five final tables and 19 cashes and he only trails Brunson’s lifetime WPT earnings by $189,000. Still, Brunson earned enough fan votes to move on. The other upset came in the Spades region as 11 seed Phil Laak beat out 3 seed Freddy Deeb. Laak’s victory sets up a third round match-up that will probably end up as the most talked about of the round. Laak now faces his best friend, Antonio Esfandiari, in the Sweet 16. The pair have been good friends since long before their WPT success. Those two aren’t the only good friends facing off in the next round though. After upsetting Elias, Brunson now faces Hoyt Corkins for a chance at moving on to the Elite Eight. Like Elias, Corkins brings a better-than-Doyle WPT resume to the table, but his two WPT titles, six final tables, 19 cashes and $3.5 million in earnings might not be enough to overcome Brunson’s popularity. This round of voting is open until Friday at 5 pm ET. The WPT Champions Challenge Sweet 16 Clubs Region Daniel Negreanu vs. Jonathan Little Hoyt Corkins vs. Doyle Brunson Diamonds Region Anthony Zinno vs. Mohsin Charania JC Tran vs. Barry Greenstein Hearts Region Erik Seidel vs. Marvin Rettenmaier Phil Ivey vs. Michael Mizrachi Spades Region Gus Hansen vs. Alan Goehring Antonio Esfandiari vs. Phil Laak
  10. It's the end of December, which means the various Player of the Year races will come to a close. One leaderboard that has already wrapped up is for the WPT DeepStacks Player of the Year. Longtime PocketFiver Tristan Cre8ive Wade (pictured) took it down with 712 points, 118 more than the second place player. Wade opened the year by finishing 25th at the WPT DeepStacks Hollywood event in Florida before exiting in fifth place from the tournament series' stop in Iowa. Then, he recorded top-25 finishes in Immokalee, San Diego, and Redding, adding to his Player of the Year score. All told, he cashed in seven DeepStacks events, with finish positions of 25th, 15th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 23rd, and 37th. He played in 14 of 16 WPT DeepStacks events this season and, accordingly, cashed in half of them. Wade is actually a WPT DeepStacks Ambassador and, as such, the sponsorship package that goes to the winner of the Player of the Year leaderboard will instead be awarded to Rex Clinkscales, who finished second. Here's how the top 10 of the WPT DeepStacks Player of the Year looked. The leaderboard is powered by the Global Poker Index: Wade commented in a blog post about his win, "It was a great experience to travel and play for most of the season of the tour. I went to a lot of different places, met a bunch of great people, learned a ton, had a blast playing poker and representing the DeepStacks brand… Traveling the tour and getting to know the people who play our events has given me a lot of wisdom to help grow the poker circuit. I'm excited to put the new knowledge I've learned to good use." Wade told PocketFives on Saturday, "I feel great about winning Player of the Year for Season 2 of the WPT DeepStacks tour. I have worked diligently on my poker game over the years, from playing to studying to coaching others. It's always nice to have success and your efforts recognized. Winning the POY has opened more doors for me. I plan on taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Also, the support I've received is amazing. Thank you. I want to keep the momentum going." The Floridian has $1.4 million in career live winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, the largest of which was worth $292,000 and came in 2011 via a fourth place finish in a Six-Max event at the World Series of Poker. He won a WSOP Circuit ring in 2014 in West Palm Beach and won a WSOP bracelet in Cannes in a Shootout event in 2011. Wade's bracelet was one of 23 won by PocketFivers that year. Wade is #33 on the all-time live money list for Florida and #258 worldwide in the Global Poker Index. PocketFives has tracked another $1.4 million in online winnings for Wade, the largest of which was worth $47,000 for final tabling the PokerStarsSunday 500 in 2010. He pocketed $46,000 one year prior after a third place finish in the Full Tilt $1K Monday. He has won the PokerStars Sunday $109 Rebuy multiple times. Congrats to Wade on winning the WPT DeepStacks Player of the Year race! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  11. [CAPTION=100%]All four #1 seeds advanced to Round 2 in the WPT Champions Challenge.[/CAPTION] Just like March Madness, the first round of the World Poker Tour Champions Challenge was all about the upset. Eight of the first 32 first round match-ups ended with the lower seed advancing to the second round. The Champions Challenge is a bracket-style tournament pitting some of the greatest performers in WPT history against each other in a contest driven by fan voting. It's structured identically to the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament with the winner announced on April 11. Four of the upsets came from the Spades region, with the biggest highlight being #10 seed Tony Dunst beating out #7 seed Howard Lederer. Season 9 WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger, the #12 seed, beat out #5 Tommy Vedes, #11 Phil Laak eliminated #6 Matt Giannetti and #9 David Williams beat out #8 Nenad Medic. The biggest upset came in the Hearts region as #15 seed Dan Harrington beat out #2 seed Erick Lindgren. The only other upset in that region had #11 Nick Schulman come out ahead of #6 Aaron Mermelstein. The other two regions only had one upset each. In the Diamonds region, #11 Vivek Rajkumar bested #6 Randal Flowers and in the Clubs region #11 seed Doyle Brunson ousted #6 Kevin Eyster. And just like March Madness, number one seeds had no trouble in the first round. Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen, Anthony Zinno and Daniel Negreanu all moved on to the second round. Looking through the 16 second round match-ups, there are a few that stand out as worth watching. Clubs Region #1 Daniel Negreanu vs. #8 Gavin Smith It's an all-Canadian battle as Season 3 WPT Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu goes up against Season 4 WPT POY Gavin Smith. Negreanu has two WPT titles, both coming in Season 3 when he won the Borgata Poker Open and Five Diamond Poker Classic. Smith won the Mirage Poker Showdown in Season 4 and followed that up with a third place finish at the North American Poker Championship and a fourth place finish at the World Poker Open. Negreanu has a huge edge in lifetime WPT earnings, having banked $6.4 million to Smith's $2.6 million. Diamonds Region #2 JC Tran vs. #7 Scotty Nguyen There may not be a closer match-up in the second round than JC Tran against Scotty Nguyen. Tran has two WPT titles to Nguyen's one and has $1.3 million more in earnings, but Nguyen has eight WPT final tables to Tran's seven and 18 cashes to 16. The bulk of Nguyen's success came early in his career. Six of his first eight WPT cashes were final tables including his win at the World Poker Open in Season 4. Tran's first win came in Season 5 at the World Poker Challenge in Reno. He returned to the winner's circle in Season 12 when he won his hometown Rolling Thunder event at Thunder Valley. Hearts Region #1 Carlos Mortensen vs. #8 Erik Seidel Carlos Mortensen is a #1 seed thanks to his three WPT titles, but he may be in for a rough ride in the second round as he goes up against Erik Seidel. Mortensen's three wins are spread out over three different seasons. He won the North American Poker Championship in Season 3, the WPT World Championship in Season 5 and the Hollywood Poker Open in Season 8. He's cashed 21 times for $6.7 million in earnings. Seidel won the Foxwoods Poker Classic in Season 6 and has cashed 22 times with seven final tables and $2.3 million in earnings. Spades Region #2 Antonio Esfandiari vs. #10 Tony Dunst Tony Dunst took out Howard Lederer in the first round, but beating one the poker world's biggest villains is an easier task than taking on one of its most popular players. That's the challenge in front of Dunst, though, as he takes on #2 seed Antonio Esfandiari. Dunst has one WPT title to his credit, the Season 12 WPT Caribbean event, but has four final tables. Esfandiari has two WPT titles, the LA Poker Classic in Season 2 and the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Season 9. He has nearly $3 million in WPT earnings and eight final table appearances. Second round voting is open until Monday, March 21 at 3 pm PT. Vote here.
  12. [caption width="640"] Chris Leong won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Friday night. (WPT Live Updates/Joe Giron photo)[/caption] While some final tables follow a wire-to-wire run by chip leaders, others see short stacks come from the back of the pack to claim the title. That’s exactly what happened in Atlantic City, as Chris Leong outlasted a massive 1,171 player field to claim the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open title and a $816,246 score. The six-handed table battled through a tactical and slow first level of play, the action really kicked off in one of the first hands of Level 31. Chip leader Rafael Yaraliyev opened to 285,000 from the cutoff and after action folded to Wantman, who was in the big blind, he three-bet to 700,000. Yaraliyev pushed his stack forward to put Wantman to a decision for his remaining 3,400,000 and the Massachusetts native snap-called, turning over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"]. It was a flip for the short stack’s life, as Yaraliyev held [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"] and that flip went the chip leader’s way on the [poker card="as"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"][poker card="8d"] runout. Wantman hit the rail in sixth place, while Yaraliyev took control of close to 40% of the chips. Yaraliyev then tried to put that chip advantage to use over the next level, as he had 2009 WPT World Champion Yevgeniy Timoshenko on the ropes a few times. The first encounter saw Timoshenko flip for his tournament life with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Qc"] to Yaraliyev’s pocket fours but after the [poker card="8h"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6h"] runout, he had to settle for a chop. A few hands later, Timoshenko finally did double his short stack, as his [poker card="jh"][poker card="th"] flopped a straight against Yaraliyev’s [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"] on a board of [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"]. Unfortunately for Timoshenko, the high blinds and antes didn’t allow him to get much traction after that double, as he was eliminated in the next level by Leong. That’s where the New Yorker’s run towards this WPT WPO Championship title started, as he dispatched the former World Champion while holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. Timoshenko re-shoved over Leong’s early position open for just over 10 big blinds and his [poker card="4h"][poker card="4s"] couldn’t improve, confirming his fifth place elimination. The only other "world champ" at the final table was next to go, as reigning WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen then found himself as the short stack. He got a handful of shoves through but eventually, he was all-in and at risk to Yaraliyev, who still controlled a sizable chip lead at that stage of the tournament. Yaraliyev held [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] to McKeehen’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"], with the bracelet winner moving all-in for 3,100,000 after Yaraliyev opened in early position. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"][poker card="js"][poker card="9d"][poker card="7s"] runout completed the elimination and McKeehen bowed out right before the podium spots in 4th place. In the very next hand off the deck, Liam He, another short stack, was all-in and after some thought, Leong called to put him at risk from the small blind. In his encounter with Timoshenko, Leong needed to hold to score the knockout but this time, he needed to hit, as he held [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"] to He’s [poker card="7h"][poker card="7c"]. He did just that, as the [poker card="9d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3s"] flop gave him a set and left He drawing to running cards or the final two sevens in the deck to stay alive. Neither came, as the [poker card="2s"] and [poker card="kd"] completed the board and moved Leong into heads up play with a 3:2 disadvantage. That disadvantage quickly disappeared, as Leong won a 20,000,000 chip pot in one of the first hands of heads up play, four-betting pre flop and calling two big bets on a board of [poker card="ac"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9c"] with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"]. Top pair-top kicker was good to swing that 3:2 ratio in his advantage and from there, it looked like the title was only going to be a few hands away. That was, until Leong and Yaraliyev exchanged multiple double ups, shifting the chip lead back and forth close to a half dozen times before Leong scored the title winning elimination. With the level set to go up in just a few seconds, Leong moved all-in from the button and Rafael Yaraliyev snap called in the big blind, tabling [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"]. Leong threw over [poker card="ac"][poker card="8s"] and he was looking for a bit of revenge with his medium ace, as Yaraliyev doubled through Leong in the previous level [poker card="ad"][poker card="7h"] over [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. This time, it was Leong’s turn to spike the ace though and he did, as the [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="jd"][poker card="5c"] runout confirmed the elimination and crowned the newest member of the WPT Champions Club. Final Table Payouts Chris Leong - $816,246 Rafael Yaraliyev - $487,288 Liam He - $297,288 Joe McKeehen - $249,267 Yevgeniy Timoshenko - $206,160 Matthew Wantman - $166,803
  13. [caption width="640"] The Bay 101 Shooting Star event is one of the most unique WPT events on the schedule[/caption] Some of the biggest stars in poker - most of them in fact - are on their way to San Jose, California to play in one of the longest-running World Poker Tour events. This isn’t just some standard WPT event, though. The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star is the closest thing poker has to an all-star game. That is, if any basketball player that wanted to could just show up and play in the NBA all-star game or if every beer league hockey player could pull a John Scott and play in the NHL all-star game. The Shooting Star concept is simple. A group of players, dubbed the “Shooting Stars”, are bounties in the $7,500 buy-in event and busting one of them is worth $2,500 to whomever eliminates them. This year’s group of "Shooting Stars" includes WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, Anthony Zinno, Kelly Minkin, Mike Leah and Erik Seidel. The man at the center of choosing the Shooting Stars each year is WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. While his highest profile gig is with WPT, he’s been the Bay 101 Tournament Director for 13 years. With some 50 "Stars" each year, selecting the players can be a little bit of a challenge - especially with players campaigning for spots. “It usually starts sometime around November going into December. And then when the calendar turns to the next year, people are texting me and emailing me and tweeting me with requests that they want to be a part of the shooting star program,” said Savage. “It’s strange because some people are a little more active about it, some people that you might not expect are pretty much in my year round about why they’re not a shooting star.” Due to his role with WPT, Savage is as in tune with the poker industry as anybody, and that makes putting together a shortlist of possible Shooting Stars easy. Throughout the year, he’s on the road talking to players, talking to fans to determine who should make the final cut. “I do polls and stuff like that on Twitter and TwoPlusTwo to figure out who they think belongs and who doesn’t, just to get the talk going, and it always seems to work,” said Savage. “People always want to bring it up and complain who got snubbed and who got in and stuff like that. So it makes it interesting.” Players with great results - even great recent results - aren’t necessarily guaranteed to get an invite. Being a Shooting Star has more to do with being a superstar in the eyes of fans than any ranking system could ever handle. “We have such good fans (at Bay 101) that I want it to be people that, if you were a fan of poker, you’d want to come and see. So, in addition to those names, you get a lot of the old timers and the bigger names,” said Savage. “Then you have the new guys; the young up-and-coming stars and the WSOP Champion. I try to also include people that really support the WPT and Bay 101. It’s kind of a mixture of all of those things, but for the most part it’s a popularity contest really. Savage begins sending out invitations early in the year and always leaves a few spots open right up until the week before the tournament. But not every player who is asked to be a Shooting Star is ready to accept the challenge. Savage gets a few players each year that turn down the invite. “I do get people that reject it from time to time because some of them don’t actually want the pressure of having the shooting star on them. They feel like they play better if it’s not,” said Savage. “Like Nam Le, he’s turned it down, Ted Forrest at one point turned it down. He thought he’d have a better chance by not having it.” Though Le and Forrest are among a handful of players who have said “no thanks” to the Shooting Star honor, Savage says there’s far more players clamoring for spots than those who aren’t interested. “The opposite is far and away much more people saying they want to be a Shooting Star. They want to be recognized, they want to have that and sometimes they’re even saying, ‘Why am I not a shooting star? I’ve done this or that’. There’s a lot of those guys too,” said Savage. Being a bounty does have some perks. Each Shooting Star is given $1,000 for each time they enter (all players are allowed one re-entry) as well as some Bay 101 or WPT merchandise. There is a bit of a strategic advantage too. While you’re likely going to be the target of other players at your table, you’re assured that no other Shooting Stars will be at your starting table. The number of poker superstars that come out for the event, combined with the fact that this is the longest-running WPT event in Northern California, leads to a very different atmosphere from an event in Las Vegas or even Los Angeles. From Day 1 of the tournament, the rail is four or five deep with poker fans snapping pictures of Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey. Fans eagerly wait for breaks to ask a player for an autograph or a selfie. Savage admits that the players who get into it love it. “You get a guy like Antonio, Phil Laak, Daniel, they never miss the tournament because I think they really like that kinda thing. It’s kinda cool, when they walk in there are people standing there with photographs and autographs cards,” said Savage. “I think in some respect there was a point in poker where they may have not liked that as much, but I think over time they’ve realized it’s not going to be around forever. That’s kind of something that comes and goes so I think that those guys like that stuff, the fandom.” While the notoriety is nice and the $1,000 comes in handy, the pros also love coming to the Bay 101 event because it’s full of satellite qualifiers. Savage estimates that each year they qualify between 250 and 300 players via satellites at the host property. “Our satellite program is the best in the country. There’s not a place in the country where you could run satellites almost three months in advance and get 300 players to come in and play. And we were able to do that at Bay 101. You couldn’t even do that for the World Series of Poker Main Event to be honest. So I think people really look forward to that event on the calendar, for those guys, because it’s more of a locals' event,” said Savage. [caption width="640"] Fans pack the Bay 101 casino in San Jose every year to get a glimpse of their poker heroes[/caption] Over the years, Savage feels like he’s had every pro poker player he’s ever wanted as a Shooting Star. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Vanessa Selbst, Chris Moorman and Doyle Brunson have all been part of the program. There is, however, one potential Shooting Star that has eluded him. “I always want to get the celebrities to come out and play. So, I’ve always wished that Tobey Maguire would come out and play to be honest,” said Savage. “Because I thought not only is (Maguire) a good actor, he is also a really good poker player and a lot of people don’t know that he’s one of the biggest winning players in the game.” The tournament also has a unique structure. The chip leaders at the end of Day 1A and 1B are given $10,000 and when there are just 36 players left, the tournament goes six-handed until it finishes.
  14. [CAPTION=100%]Dietrich Fast added a WPT title to his resume Thursday night in L.A.[/CAPTION] Dietrch Fast denied Mike Shariati a chance at World Poker Tour History Thursday night at the Commerce Casino and captured the L.A. Poker Classic Main Event title for just over $1 million. Shariati, who won the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino last August, was looking to become the first player to win both Los Angeles-based WPT events. It wasn't meant to be, though. Fast, who started the final table fifth in chips, eliminated the final three players to claim the title. Anthony Spinella, winner of the online WSOP bracelet event last summer, started the final table with the chip lead, but was actually the first player eliminated. The downhill slide for Spinella began on just the fifth hand when he dropped nearly 1 million chips to Fast. Seven hands later, he dropped another million to Sam Soverel and before 20 hands had been played, Spinella doubled Alex Keating up as well. The 27th hand spelled the end for Spinella. Left with just 550,000, Spinella moved all in from the cutoff and Fast and Soverel called from the blinds. Fast and Soverel checked the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] flop. After the [poker card="qs"] turn, Fast checked and Soverel bet 475,000, forcing Fast to fold. Spinella turned over [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"] and Soverel showed [poker card="as"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="tc"] river was no help for Spinella and he was out in sixth. It took 31 more hands for the next elimination. After Keating raised to 195,000 from the cutoff, Farid Jattin moved all in from the big blind. Keating called instantly and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. Jattin showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"][poker card="8h"][poker card="jh"][poker card="2c"] and Jattin was out in fifth. With just four players left, Fast went to work. His first victim was Soverel in a blind vs blind battle. Action folded to Fast in the small blind. He called and Soverel checked. After the [poker card="8c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"] flop, Fast bet 110,000 and Soverel called. After the [poker card="6h"] turn, Fast bet 225,000 and Soverel called. The [poker card="ad"] river got Fast to bet 450,000 before Soverel tanked for nearly a minute. He moved all in for 2,750,000 and Fast took his time in the tank. After nearly four minutes, Fast called and after Soverel showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="3d"] for a busted straight, Fast turned over [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] to take the pot, eliminate Soverel in fourth, and assume the chip lead for the first time. Fast didn't wait long to bust somebody else. On the very next hand, Keating raised from the cutoff to 250,000, Fast re-raised from the button to 675,000. Keating announced he was all in for 4,885,000 and Fast called. Keating turned up [poker card="ah"][poker card="qh"], but found himself behind Fast, who held [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"]. Keating found no help on the [poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="8h"][poker card="jd"] board and was out in third. Thanks to those two eliminations, Fast held 11,975,000 of the 15,445,000 chips in play. It took only two hours for Fast to end the tournament. Despite a small double-up from Shariati, Fast held control for the entire heads-up battle. On the final hand of the night, Fast opened with a raise to 450,000 before Shariati moved all in for 4,850,000. Fast took his time before calling and tabling [poker card="ac"][poker card="9h"]. Shariati showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="js"][poker card="4c"] flop changed little, but the [poker card="8c"] turn put Shariati ahead, but the [poker card="jh"] river counterfeited Shariati's second pair and gave the title to Fast. Fast, who won the €550 Oktoberfest event at WSOP Europe in October 2015, pocketed $1,000,800 for the victory. He also gets a pair of gold Monster 24K headphones, a Hublot King watch, and a seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions next month in Florida. Final Table Payouts Dietrich Fast – $1,000,800 Mike Shariati – $656,540 Alex Keating – $423,890 Sam Soverel – $316,440 Farid Jatten – $238,070 Anthony Spinella – $191,250
  15. [caption width="640"] David Ormsby came from behind heads-up to win the WPT Fallsview Main Event (photo credit: Rob Gracie/WPT)[/caption] The World Poker Tour returned to Canada with a CAD 5,000 ($3,650) Main Event at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario. A field of 423 entries was reduced to an all-Ontario final table, including Soren Turkewitsch, a winner of this very event in 2005. After over 160 hands of play, David Ormsby came from behind to win the title and a seat at the WPT Tournament of Champions at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The final table started Wednesday afternoon with these chip counts with the blinds at 25,000/50,000/5,000: Seat 1: Robert Forbes - 4,015,000 Seat 2: Soren Turkewitsch - 1,830,000 Seat 3: Mike Bui - 2,860,000 Seat 4: David Ormsby - 1,550,000 Seat 5: Thomas Archer - 880,000 Seat 6: Derek Verrian - 1,565,000 The WPT Fallsview final table needed only three hands to lose the first player. A short-stacked Thomas Archer moved in from the hijack as Rob Forbes and Mike Bui called. On a flop of [poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="5s"], Forbes shoved out of turn, which led Bui to check and then fold once the action was in the correct order. Archer held [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"], but was well behind Forbes' [poker card="qs"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="jd"][poker card="7c"] turn and river changed nothing as Archer left the table in sixth. The hopes of Turkewitsch becoming a two-time WPT champion disappeared when he became the fifth place finisher. Once again it was Forbes knocking out a player when he opened and Turkewitsch shoved. Forbes called with [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] and Turkewitsch held [poker card="as"][poker card="4c"]. The board ran out [poker card="7c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6c"] to bring the field down to four as Forbes was cruising, holding more than twice the chips of the other three players combined. The fortunes of Forbes took a turn for the worst after doubling up all three of his opponents to narrow the gap considerably. Forbes wasn't deterred, though, as he claimed his third scalp at the final table when he snap-called Mike Bui's [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"] shove with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"]. Five cards later - [poker card="7s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="qd"][poker card="tc"] - it was now three-handed. Derek Verrian and David Ormsby battled for second place, each hoping to get heads-up with Forbes. It was Verrian earning the bronze medal, as Forbes once again sent a player packing. On a flop of [poker card="6s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"], Forbes bet out, Verrian shoved, and Forbes eventually called with [poker card="as"][poker card="4h"] for an open-ended straight draw, while Verrian turned over [poker card="8h"][poker card="6h"] for top pair. The [poker card="2d"] on the turn gave Forbes the straight and the [poker card="tc"] on the river wasn't the right card for Verrian, falling in third. As heads-up play began, it seemed inevitable for Rob Forbes to win by eliminating all five of his opponents. However, David Ormsby had already doubled up several times to stay in contention at the final table. At one point in their heads-up match, Forbes was ahead by a 4-1 margin, but he was unable to finish the job. After another Ormsby double-up, he took the lead for the first time on the 155th hand of the final table. Less than a dozen hands later, the tournament was over. Now it was Ormsby holding a 3-1 chip lead as the final hand played out. Ormsby limped from the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="jd"] and called when Forbes shoved with [poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"]. Ormsby moved ahead on the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"][poker card="4s"] flop and Forbes could not catch up, as the turn and river came down [poker card="7c"][poker card="6s"]. World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event Final Table Results (payouts in USD): David Ormsby - $279,818 Robert Forbes - $196,156 Derek Verrian - $126,126 Mike Bui - $93,275 Soren Turkewitsch - $70,026 Thomas Archer - $56,103
  16. [caption width="640"] Justin Young celebrates his first WPT title with his wife Morgan and close friends including Eric Baldwin, David Peters and Jonathan Little (Joe Giron/WPT Photo)[/caption] More than eight years ago, Justin Young found himself at the final table of the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio. After outlasting a final table that included Hoyt Corkins, Amonn Filippi and Steve Sung, Young was heads-up with Chino Rheem for the title and just over $1.5 million. It ended with Rheem in the winner's photo and Young settling for second place. Wednesday night in Hollywood, Florida, Young again found himself heads-up for a WPT title, but this time the outcome was different. Young beat out a final table that included Cate Hall, Tim Reilly, Matt Haugen and eventual runner-up Garrett Greer to win the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. “This makes it all worth it. I promise you it really does. Unbelievable feeling,” said Young. “It makes the last seven years just completely worth it.” The day began with 10 players remaining in the hunt. Once the six-handed WPT final table was reached, it took almost another 50 hands for the first player to be eliminated. Chae limped from UTG and Ben Tarzia moved all-in from middle position for 1.275 million. Chae called and tabled [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] and found himself racing against Tarzia’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="9h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="jc"][poker card="4c"] and Tarzia was out in sixth place. It was just five hands later that a Chae UTG open led to another elimination. Chae raised to 350,000 and Haugen called from the cutoff before Tim Reilly raised to 2,600,000. Chae called and Haugen folded. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"][poker card="3c"] and both players checked. After the [poker card="4d"], Reilly moved all-in and Chae called. Reilly was behind with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] against Chae’s [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]. The river was the [poker card="9s"] and Reilly was eliminated in fifth. After starting the WPT final table with the chip lead, Haugen was unable to muster much else throughout the evening. With blinds at 125,000/250,000 (25,000 ante), Young raised to 525,000 from UTG and the action folded to Haugen in the big blind who moved all-in for 4,975,000. Young called and tabled [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"] and Haugen showed [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"][poker card="7c"] flop gave Haugen some Broadway outs, but the [poker card="7s"] turn and [poker card="3d"] river were no help and he was sent to the rail in fourth place. Even though Chae picked up the first two eliminations, his run at a WPT title ended in a third place finish. Down to just over 600,000, Chae moved all-in from the button. Young raised behind him, forcing Greer to fold, and tabled [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. Chae turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"] and watched as the board ran out [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4h"] and sent him home in third place. Heads-up play began with Greer holding a 3-2 chip lead that stretched to as high as 3-1 before Young began climbing back to eventually overtake Greer. After just 24 hands of heads-up play, Young and Greer found themselves all-in pre-flop with Greer holding [poker card="as"][poker card="8d"] and Young behind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"][poker card="4c"] flop paired both players but left Greer in the lead. The [poker card="jd"] turn was a blank, but the [poker card="qh"] river gave Young two pair and the title. Final Table Payouts Justin Young - $669,161 Garrett Greer - $458,722 Hyoung Chae - $297,336 Matthew Haugen - $220,207 Tim Reilly - $164,113 Ben Tarzia - $132,560
  17. [caption width="640"] Anthony Zinno believes practicing Mixed Games ahead of the World Series of Poker is the key to success(Neil Stoddart/EPT Photo)[/caption] This year, 69 events appear on the World Series of Poker schedule. Of those, 31 are non-Hold'em tournaments, or almost half the schedule. You'll find Anthony Zinno in many of them, and if he finds success, he can point to hard work and practice ahead of the WSOP. "I can't wait for the WSOP," Zinno said of the annual Las Vegas series, which begins June 1. "I'm going to try my best to work on some Mixed Games prior to the WSOP because I really enjoy those tournaments a lot. The No Limit events, with such large field sizes, it's really, really hard to make that exciting top 18 or so. Each one is a mini-lottery. But, when you play those Mixed events like the $5Ks and $10Ks with smaller field sizes, you recognize a lot of players, so you're chatting at the tables and it's fun. It's also a better opportunity to make a final table." Last year, Zinno had a WSOP to remember. He won his first bracelet in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event and earned $1.1 million. He had four other cashes in WSOP events in 2015; all were final tables and two were in non-Hold'em events. Overall, Zinno has racked up over $2 million in WSOP winnings. "I think my Mixed Games have gotten a lot better since I started about two years ago," he said. "You have to keep refreshing, though. Poker is like anything else where you have to play a lot. If you just play No Limit tournaments for two months and then hop into a Stud tournament, you're going to be rusty for sure. My goal before the WSOP is to play hands of every HORSE game at least, and maybe some 2-7, and then play a very heavy schedule. I'm confident and I'm playing very well, but I'm well aware I have to keep practicing." For Zinno, refreshing his mind in Mixed Games does not mean playing nosebleed stakes for hours on end. "Even if it's small-stakes, it's good enough practice. You can find some live games here and there. Foxwoods, for example, which is near my family, always has a Stud game going, so I can practice that there. As soon as the WSOP starts, there are good cash games all over the place. Let's say I skip the Colossus. If I did, I could play Stud for two days straight and then go play a $10K." [caption width="640"] Zinno celebrates his first WSOP bracelet win[/caption] In the middle of the cash game area at the Rio, you'll typically find a $75/$150 Omaha Hi-Lo game that attracts some of the top Omaha players in town. Last year, Zinno spent a day playing that very cash game just before the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship began. Practice made perfect, as he drove to a sixth place finish for $74,000 in an event won by Daniel Alaei. "I don't think you need to play thousands of hands or anything," Zinno said about getting into the swing of things. "You just need to get back in that groove. My tournament game is always very solid as far as stack maneuvering and things like that. Just the basics of remembering the ebb and flow of, say, Stud High and Stud Hi-Lo, can come back to you even with just a couple of days of practice in a live game with good players. I haven't played them in a few months, though, so I'm rusty." Of the 30-plus non-Hold'em events on the 2016 WSOP schedule, Zinno is most looking forward to the $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha Eight Max that begins two days after America's Independence Day. "The $25,000 PLO is my best chance to win one," he said. "The structure when I won it before was amazing. You had so many big blinds. The average stack was always a lot of big blinds. You didn't see much all-in pre. It was a lot of deep-stacked PLO. And that's the game I have worked on a lot over the past eight years. That's the one I look forward to the most, but I'm also looking forward to the big buy-in HORSE tournaments because I love my HORSE games." Zinno has three WPT titles, including wins at the Fallsview Poker Classic and LA Poker Classic during Season 13. He was just the third three-time WPT winner. He had four cashes last season and promptly found himself in Monaco for the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final. As such, he's a little burnt out and has even more tour stops on his plate. "I'm long overdue for a break," Zinno said with a sigh. "I miss having a gym routine and having a routine where you can cook your own meals – a normal life routine. More time with my family on the East Coast would be nice. I'm yearning for that. For now, it's going to be Amsterdam and taking some time off before the Series."
  18. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour is hitting the road for Season XV[/caption] With one event already in the books, the World Poker Tour announced the full Season XV schedule featuring 17 more open events and the return of the WPT Tournament of Champions. The new season, which started with the Canadian Spring Championship at the Playground Poker Club in early May, also has some new additions including the introduction of the partypoker WPT Passport, WPT Festival Championship, and a return to the Caribbean. "With 12,000 entries in Season XIV, the World Poker Tour and its outstanding casino partners generated more than $50 million in combined prize pools,” said Adam Pliska, President and CEO of the WPT. "Following the overwhelmingly positive response from members of the WPT Champions Club, we are delighted to announce the return of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Season XV and launch new initiatives like the partypoker WPT Passport as we continue to enhance the WPT experience for both professionals and casual players around the globe." The season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, which replaced the WPT Championship for the first time last season, returns in April. It again takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida from April 7 to 9. One new tournament this season is the partypoker WPT Caribbean, set for November 19 to 26 at the Hard Rock Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The Main Event, which runs from November 19 to 23, has a $5,000 buy-in. "Hard Rock is one of the most globally recognizable brands and is synonymous with delivering a first-class experience," said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for WPT. "We are proud to partner with Hard Rock and partypoker to host partypoker WPT Caribbean and to add this tropical destination to the Season XV WPT Main Tour schedule." Also new in Season XV is the WPT Festival Championship. Players who win preliminary events in a festival leading up to each Main Event will be able to play in a tournament that awards one seat to that festival's Main Event. Along with the buy-in, each WPT Festival Champion gets a special trophy and VIP access during the WPT event. The WPT Passport also makes its debut this season. Online qualifiers for WPT events will now be able to choose which tournament to use their $5,000 package on, with four tournaments still remaining in Season XV that are eligible. $530 WPT Passport satellites run on partypoker that have at least one $5,000 package guaranteed. For live-streamed broadcasts during Season XV, an enhanced graphics package will be introduced, with broadcasts on PlutoTV, Twitch, and YouTube. And for the first time, poker fans in Asia will be able to view Chinese commentary streams, further broadening WPT's global reach. WPT Season XV Schedule: WPT Choctaw (TV) Choctaw Casino Resort Durant, Oklahoma Festival: Jul 14 - Aug 2, 2016 Main Event: Jul 29 - Aug 2, 2016 $3,500 + $200 buy-in WPT Legends of Poker (TV) The Bicycle Hotel & Casino Bell Gardens, California Festival: Jul 28 - Sept 1, 2016 Main Event: Aug 27 - Sep 1, 2016 $3,700 + $300 buy-in WPT Borgata Poker Open (TV) Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa Atlantic City, New Jersey Festival: Sep 6 - 23, 2016 Main Event: Sep 18 - 23, 2016 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT Maryland Live! Maryland Live! Hanover, Maryland Festival: Sept 24 - Oct 5, 2016 Main Event: Oct 1 - Oct 5, 2016 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble (TV) bestbet Poker, Simulcast & Racing Jacksonville, Florida Festival: Sept 30 - Oct 18 Main Event: Oct 14 - 18, 2016 $4,650 + $280 +$70 buy-in partypoker WPT UK Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham, United Kingdom Festival: Oct 24 - Nov 6 2016 Main Event: Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2016 £2,000 + £200 buy-in partypoker.net WPT Montreal (TV) Playground Poker Club Montreal, Canada Festival: Oct 30 - Nov 17, 2016 Main Event: Nov 11 - 17, 2016 CAD $3,500 + $350 buy-in partypoker WPT Caribbean Hard Rock Punta Cana Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Festival: Nov 19 - 26, 2016 Main Event: Nov 19 - 23, 2016 $4,650 + $350 buy-in partypoker WPT Prague King's Casino Prague, Czech Republic Festival: Dec 1-18, 2016 Main Event: Dec 3-7, 2016 €3,000 + €300 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic (TV) Bellagio Las Vegas, Nevada Festival: Nov 25 - Dec 11, 2016 Main Event: Dec 5 - 10, 2016 $10,000 + $400 buy-in WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa Atlantic City, New Jersey Festival: Jan 17 - Feb 3, 2017 Main Event: Jan 29 - Feb 3, 2017 $3,300 + $200 buy-in WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort Ontario, Canada Festival: Feb 17 - 24, 2017 Main Event: Feb 22 - 24, 2017 CAD $4,700 + $300 buy-in WPT L.A. Poker Classic (TV) Commerce Casino Commerce, California Festival: Jan 13 - Mar 2, 2017 Main Event: Feb 27 - Mar 2, 2017 $9,600 + $400 buy-in WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star (TV) Bay 101 Casino San Jose, California Festival: Mar 5 - 10, 2017 Main Event: Mar 6 - 10, 2017 $7,150 + $350 buy-in WPT Rolling Thunder Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, California Festival: Mar 8 - 15, 2017 Main Event: Mar 11 - 15, 2017 $3,200 + $300 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 Main Event: Mar 31 - Apr 2, 2017 Final Table: Apr 5, 2017 $3,200 + $200 + $100 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 Finale: Apr 2 - 4, 2017 Final Table: Apr 6, 2017 $9,500 + $300 +$200 buy-in WPT Tournament of Champions (TV) Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Festival: Mar 16 - Apr 9, 2017 TOC: Apr 7 - 9, 2017 $15,000 buy-in
  19. [caption width="640"] The World Poker Tour has partnered with Dusk Till Dawn to create The Devilfish Cup[/caption] British poker legend Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott tragically passed away in April of last year after a short battle with terminal liver cancer. Now, the WPT Foundation and England’s Dusk Till Dawn poker club are teaming up to honor the memory of the poker pro with the inaugural Devilfish Cup, a £1 million guaranteed tournament that takes place during the partypoker World Poker Tour UK festival. The event kicks off on Monday, October 31 and features a buy-in of £5,000 with a £300 donation. The donated money, along with 3% of the prize pool, will be split between the Marie Curie organization, a nonprofit which provides support to terminally ill patients, and a trust fund for Ulliott’s daughter Lucy. “We are proud to announce the Devilfish Cup for the partypoker WPT UK festival at Dusk Till Dawn, and to honor and celebrate Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott alongside his family, friends, and fellow competitors,” said WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska. “As a testament to the community’s dedication and contributions, WPT Foundation has helped raise more than $6 million to date, and we look forward to supporting another non-profit program of excellence in Marie Curie.” Ulliott, whose poker career began more than 20 years ago, was instrumental in popularizing the game in the UK and Europe. In 1997, the poker pro earned his first and only World Series of Poker bracelet at the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold ‘em event. In 2007, he had his biggest career cash after taking third at the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic for $674,500. With more than $6.2 million in live tournament winnings to his name, the 61-year-old holds the distinction of being the second biggest winner in UK poker history, behind only Sam Trickett. Devilfish was well known for his lively personality which sometimes stirred controversy but always entertained. After his death, poker pros Phil Hellmuth, Tony G and others made a push to induct Ulliott into the 2015 Poker Hall of Fame. 2014 Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu stirred controversy at the time by writing that death shouldn’t have any bearing on a player’s inclusion in the prestigious club. In addition to the Devilfish Cup, Dusk Till Dawn will further honor the pro by renaming his favorite drink, a double vodka Red Bull, to “The Devilfish.” The venue will also throw a party in the poker pro’s name on Wednesday, November 2, where family, friends and fans can celebrate the life of Ulliott while a live band jams to some of his favorite tunes. “Rob Yong, owner of Dusk Till Dawn, announced after Dave’s funeral that we would wait a while before announcing plans to honor him,” said Simon Trumper, Dusk Till Dawn Club Director and friend of Ulliott. “During his last few days, Rob visited Dave and asked him how he wanted to be remembered. He asked us to hold a high buy-in event at the club, as Dave was always proud of his WPT Tunica win,” Trumper continued. “We thought it fitting to replace this year’s High Roller with the Devilfish Cup. World Poker Tour and WPT Foundation have been great and it is a pleasure to be working with them on this inaugural event.” partypoker will make the event accessible to all by running several satellites into the tournament and qualifiers as low as one cent. The winner of the Cup will not only receive the biggest share of the £1 million prize, but will be presented the trophy by Ulliott’s wife, Anpaktita.
  20. [caption width="640"] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell now has a WPT title to go along with his EPT win (WPT photo)[/caption] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell is one step closer to being a part of poker’s Triple Crown after taking down the partypoker World Poker Tour Caribbean title for $330,000. 323 entrants took part in the $5,000 buy-in event and after starting the final table among the short stacks, Farrell wound up taking the lion’s share of the over $1,450,000 prize pool. Farrell won the European Poker Tour Malta Main Event in October 2015 for the first leg of the Triple Crown and this victory adds to his already sizable $2,936,820 in live tournament earnings. The final table marked Farrell’s first in a WPT main event and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. This TV final table was an international affair with six different countries represented. Additionally, all the final tablists were making their first WPT final table appearance. Stephen Woodhead started the final table as the short stack and it took 24 hands before he met his end. It was Farrell who did the deed knocking out Woodhead as the two battled for Woodhead’s last 15 big blinds in a preflop confrontation. Farrell opened for 105,000 from the hijack and Woodhead moved all in for 750,000 from the big blind. Farrell called having Woodhead dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"] against the short stack’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8s"] runout was no assistance to Woodhead as he took home $66,000 for his finish. The next to go was Yiannis Liperis, who has also hamstrung with a short stack coming into the final table. With just over six blinds left, Liperis jammed for 375,000 on the button and got a call from Anthony Augustino out of the big blind. Like Woodhead, Liperis had an inferior ace as he showed [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"] against Augustino's [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"] flop left Liperis needing running cards to double up, as well as a three. The [poker card="7h"] turn gave him a gutshot straight draw but the [poker card="4h"] would seal his fate as the fifth place finisher. Farrell picked up his second elimination of the final table as he took downColin Moffatt 17 hands after Liperis departed. With the blinds still at 30,000/60,000, Farrell raised to 105,000 on the button and Moffatt moved all in for 1,180,000 from the big blind. Farrell called and was in a flip with [poker card="6d"][poker card="6c"] against the [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] of Moffatt. The [poker card="ad"][10s][poker card="7s"] flop surged Moffatt ahead as he flopped two pair. Farrell regained the lead on the turn, though, with the [poker card="6h"] giving him a set. Needing to fill up on the river, Moffatt did not as the [poker card="jc"] and he exited in fourth place. It would only take Farrell 10 more hands to earn the championship as he dispatched his next two opponents in short order. Farrell caught a double at an opportune time which fully charged his late run to the title. In one of the biggest pots of the tournament, Farrell chased down Troy Quenneville in the hand that effectively sealed the title for Farrell. With the blinds still at the same level, Quenneville opened to 135,000 from the button and was three-bet by Farrell to 375,000. Quenneville pumped it up to 890,000 and Farrell jammed for 3,380,000 total with Quenneville calling with [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. Farrell needed to come from far behind with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] to stay alive. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] surged Farrell into the lead and he held on the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="ah"] river. The pot put Farrell into the chip lead with 6,850,000 (114 big blinds) and left Quenneville with 840,000 (14 big blinds). Despite being the short stack, Quenneville doubled through Augustino a few hands later to put him as the low man on the totem pole as Augustino was eliminated in third place. In Hand 73 of the final table, Farrell moved all in from the small blind and Augustino called for his last 1,160,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"] from the big blind. Farrell was behind, but live, with [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"] and promptly flopped a straight draw on the [poker card="ks"][10s][poker card="8h"] board. The [poker card="8s"] changed little but the [poker card="jc"] on the river filled Farrell’s straight to send Augustino out with the bronze medal earning $140,000. Heads up play didn’t last long as Farrell knocked out Quenneville in the first hand of their match. Farrell moved all in from the small blind to put Quenneville at risk for his last 1,540,000 and Quenneville called. Farrell had the slight lead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] but Quenneville had a lot to work with holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"] flop gave both players a pair but Quenneville still needed help to double. The [poker card="qd"] on the turn gave Quenneville a straight draw but the [poker card="6d"] on the river would eliminate him just short of first place. The $330,000 first place prize marks the fourth largest of Farrell’s career as he adds to his already sterling poker resume. Farrell also earns his place in the WPT Tournament of Champions for his victory. Final Table Payouts Niall Farrell - $330,000 Troy Quenneville - $220,000 Anthony Augustino - $140,000 Colin Moffatt - $105,392 Yiannis Liperis - $80,000 Stephen Woodhead - $66,000
  21. [caption width="640"] James Romero earned almost million and etched his name on the WPT Champions Cup with his Season XV Five Diamond Win.(WPT photo/Joe Giron)[/caption] The World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic is one of the tougher WPT fields each year. The Bellagio event draws some of the best poker players in the world to Las Vegas each December and the list of previous champions is a testament to that. Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, Mohsin Charania, Dan Smith and Antonio Esfandiari are just a few of the players who have captured the title. The record-sized field that showed up in Las Vegas this past week for the Season XV Five Diamond Classic was star-studded, but in the end it was a relatively unknown player, playing his first WPT event, that managed to capture the title and the nearly $2,000,000 first place prize. James Romero topped a final table that included Justin Bonomo, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Jake Schindler to earn the first live win of his career. Romero came in to the final table with over 40% of the chips in play and never relinquished his lead, eliminating four of the five players that stood between himself and the title. Yaroshevskyy was one of just two players at this final table and came in*with the fourth largest stack, but that didn't stop him from being the first*player eliminated. With blinds at 50,000/100,000, Yaroshevskyy moved all in*from UTG for 1,420,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] and Romero called from the big blind with*[poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="2d"] flop left Romero ahead and when Yaroshevskyy failed* to connect with the [poker card="9c"] turn or [poker card="3d"] river he was out in sixth place. The*$268,545 sixth place cash is he third biggest of his career, falling behind his*second place in a 2015 World Series of Poker $5000 NLHE Turbo ($303,767) and a*fourth place finish at the 2015 WPT LA Poker Classic ($333,680). Two hands later Justin Bonomo joined Yaroshevskyy in the payouts line.*Schindler raised to 225,000 from the cutoff before Bonomo moved all in for*995,000. Schindler called and tabled [poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"] while Bonomo showed [poker card="5h"][poker card="5s"]. The*[poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"][poker card="7s"] flop left Bonomo needing runner-runner fives. The turn was [poker card="ad"] to*officially seal Bonomo's fate before the [poker card="ah"] hit the river. Three hands later Romero found himself another victim. Action folded to Alex*Condon on the button and he moved all in for 1,170,000 with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"] and Romero*called from the big blind with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"][poker card="8h"] flop gave Condon*extra outs but neither the [poker card="as"] turn or [poker card="7d"] *were any help and he was*eliminated in fourth place. After three eliminations in the span of five hands, the pace slowed down but at no point Romero continued to build up his lead. After 2.5 hours of three-handed play, and with Romero holding almost 75% of the chips, he used his overwhelming lead to bust another player. Ryan Tosoc folded his button, Romero called from the small blind before Schindler moved all in for just over 4,000,000 from the big blind. Romero called and tabled [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] while Romero showed [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"] to give Romero the pot and eliminate Schindler, the only other player with a WPT final table appearance, in third place. Heads up action between Romero and Tosoc began with Romero holding a 7-1 lead. Tosoc managed a nearly full double early, but it only took 16 hands for Romero to end the party. Down to just 2,000,000, Tosoc moved all in pre-flop and Romero called. Tosoc tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] but found himself up against Romero’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6c"] run out made the elimination official and crowned Romero as champion, eliminating Tosoc in second place for $1,124,051. The $1,938,118 first place score doesn’t even push Romero’s lifetime live tournament earnings over $2,000,000. The 27 year old was previously focused on online poker and Las Vegas cash games. The event drew a field of 791 players, a record for this event. The previous largest Five Diamond field was in 2007 when 664 players entered the then-$15,000 buy-in event. The buy-in was lowered to $10,000 in 2010. The next WPT event is the Borgata Winter Poker Open in January. Final Table Payouts James Romero - $1,938,118 Ryan Tosoc - $1,124,051 Jake Schindler - $736,579 Alex Condon - $494,889 Justin Bonomo- $345,272 Igor Yaroshevskyy - $268,545
  22. [CAPTION=100%]Pat Lyons wins the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event, earning over $615,000. (Photo credit Joe Giron/WPT)[/CAPTION] Hours after making the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker final table at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, Pat Lyonstweeted: A professional poker player from Hillsborough, California, Lyons' prediction came true, winning $615,346 and a seat into the 2017 WPT Tournament of Champions. The $4,000 Main Event drew a field of 687 entries for a prize pool of almost $2,500,000 paid out to the top 72 players. WPT Champions Club members finishing in the money were Andy Frankenberger, Olivier Busquet, Seth Davies, defending champion Mike Shariati, Chino Rheem, James Mackey and Taylor Paur. The final table was led by 77-year-old William Vo, hoping to pass Doyle Brunson as the oldest player to win a WPT title. Second in chips was Lyons, winner of the Arizona State Poker Championship for over $240,000 in August. A pair of 2015 WSOP bracelet winners – Upeshka De Silva and Benjamin Zamani – held down third and fourth place respectively. Todd Peterson and Rafael ‘Mahalael’ Oliveira rounded out the lineup, as they started with the following chips: Seat 1: William Vo – 5,260,000 Seat 2: Pat Lyons – 4,980,000 Seat 3: Benjamin Zamani – 3,215,000 Seat 4: Todd Peterson – 1,930,000 Seat 5: Upeshka De Silva – 4,475,000 Seat 6: Rafael Oliveira – 780,000 It was a short stay at the final table for Rafael Oliveira, eliminated on the seventh hand. Facing a limp from Benjamin Zamani and a raise from Upeshka De Silva, Oliveira looked down at [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and moved his short stack all in. Zamani folded and De Silva called with [poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"]. The board ran out [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"] as De Silva made runner-runner trips to end Oliveira’s tournament. Early action at the final table featured a couple of events one would find in a cash game. The players agreed to show one card every time they won a pot. When Pat Lyons wasn't active with his table talk, he wandered away from the table for several hands at a time, even as the chip leader. William Vo had the support of many spectators railing him at the Bike, but he couldn’t maintain his success from earlier in the tournament, finishing in fifth place. Vo lost a huge pot to Todd Peterson, attempting a huge bluff on the river with nine-high as Peterson eventually called, showing two pair. A few hands later, Vo attempted another bluff on the river, shoving with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] on a [poker card="jc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"] board. Zamani called with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jd"] and his pair of jacks left Vo taking home a six-figure payday. Finishing in fourth place was Peterson, knocked out in dramatic fashion by Lyons. The hand started with a raise from De Silva, a three-bet from Lyons and a four-bet shove from Peterson. De Silva folded and Lyons called with [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"], promising the crowd free drinks if he won the hand, as Peterson revealed [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4s"] flop put Peterson in front with nothing changing on the [poker card="5c"] turn. The [poker card="th"] on the river gave Lyons the winning hand and a round of drinks for the spectators as three remained. Three-handed play featured plenty of action as Zamani doubled through Lyons, then De Silva doubled through Lyons to take the chip lead. Zamani then doubled through De Silva by flopping quads to tighten up the chip counts. Lyons would retake the chip lead on the 139th hand of the tournament and never relinquish it again. Upeshka De Silva was now the short stack and was in a good spot to double up, calling with [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] against Lyons' shove with [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2h"][poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] as the river once again doomed a player as De Silva finished in third place. Benjamin Zamani already had a runner-up finish earlier in the season at Choctaw, hoping to finish one spot higher but facing an over two-to-one chip deficit against Pat Lyons. Heads-up play lasted less than 20 hands when Zamani shoved with [poker card="ah"][poker card="2c"] as Lyons called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"]. The dealer dealt the final five cards: [poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"], giving Lyons the winning straight and the title. Lyons also receives the WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King Power watch and a pair of gold Monster 24k headphones. Zamani settles once again for second place this season to take over the WPT Player of the Year lead with 2,000 points, 750 ahead of James Mackey. The next stop for the WPT takes players to Atlantic City for the Borgata Poker Open. The $3,500 Main Event with a $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool runs from September 18-23. On September 19th, the WPT Players Forum takes place at 8:30pm as players can provide feedback and suggestions. WPT Legends of Poker Final Table Results: 1st: Pat Lyons - $615,346 2nd: Benjamin Zamani - $341,412 3rd: Upeshka De Silva - $198,720 4th: Todd Peterson - $149,715 5th: William Vo - $113,105 6th: Rafael Oliveira - $85,760
  23. [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
  24. [caption width="640"] Ebony Kenney would love nothing more than a deep run in the WSOP Main Event[/caption] A few years ago Ebony Kenney went from relatively unknown small-time tournament player in Florida to one of the hottest players in a booming Florida poker market. She was in the World Poker Tour spotlight as a Season X “Ones to Watch” and found herself playing up and down the East Coast on a regular basis and eventually started travelling more and more to bigger buy-in events. A year ago she flipped all of that on its head and moved with her 14-year-old daughter Jadyn and 11-year-old son Cade across the country to California and she has a poker tournament - or three - to thank for that. “I think I am a Cali girl. I went a few years back during the WPT California Swing, the first time they had that, and decided to make a trip of it. Drove up and down the coast and just absolutely fell in love with the area,” said Kenney, who bagged up 82,700 on Day 1C of the Main Event. The WPT California Swing includes events at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, and the Thunder Valley Casino just outside of Sacramento and plays out over a three week span from late-February to mid-March. “I just knew that I wanted to move and I made the plans,” said Kenney as she prepared for Day 2C of the 2016 WSOP Main Event. “It took a little longer than I wanted to, but finally got out, moved there right before school started for my kids.” Having two kids, one on the verge of entering high school, meant any potential move was going to be met with resistance. Starting at a new school, having to make new friends, developing a new routine would all be challenges for the family of three and at first, her kids weren’t having it. “My kids didn’t want to go. They were 14 and 11 at the time and my daughter was getting ready to start high school, and we made the deal that wherever we started high school, that’s where we were going to be permanently,” said Kenney. “I had to make the move or else I was going to be stuck in Florida for the next ten years. So I was like ‘trust me, you’re going to love it’ and we moved and after two weeks of being there they were both like ‘this is the best move ever’.” The family settled on Orange County and moved in the summer of 2015. The kids aren’t the only ones happy with the decision to swap coasts. Kenney’s found new energy in California and is enjoying being able to discover new things about her new home state. “No matter where you live in California, you’re five minutes away from something extraordinarily beautiful and the energy, the weather, everything about it is just spectacular and you know, the poker’s not so bad either,” said Kenney. [caption width="320" align="alignright"] Ebony Kenney and her kids, Jadyn and Cade[/caption]Trying to balance the life of single mom and professional poker player presents some unique challenges. Kenney says the move to California coupled with a decision to focus more on cash games than tournaments has certainly helped, but her kids have been nothing but understanding of the schedule she keeps. “Of all the fuck ups I’ve made it my life, they are somehow, they’re just so good. They get along - my daughter (Jadyn) is 15 and she’s not a typical 15 year old. She’s honest, doesn’t talk back, straight A student,” said Kenney. “She gets the normal teenage attitude but she’s so good. And they’re super close, they get along, they like being with each other. She likes hanging out with me more than she does her friends. It’s very weird and I’m very happy.” Cade has also taken to the California life in a big way “Ever since he could walk and talk he’s been singing, and I mean everything, singing in the shower, taking hour long showers because he’s singing, singing while he’s using the bathroom. He’s got a spectacular voice,” said Kenney. “But he never wanted to sing in front of anyone, he would sing, but he’d never be like ‘okay, I’m going to sing for you’. He was never about it.” Being in the entertainment capital of the world seems to have flipped the script on that though. He got himself involved in local theatre and has been going out on auditions. It’s gone so well that Kenney has been commuting between Las Vegas and Los Angeles during the Series to attend show he’s gotten roles in. “He has totally come out of his shell. He’s part of a local theatre now. His first audition he nailed, he got one of the lead roles,” said Kenney. “I’ve gone back and forth for this Series, because I went home two weekends in a row to watch his show. He had a lead in one show and an extra in another and a second lead in another, so I’ve gone back and forth three times.” Even with the trips back home and having her biggest fans watching from afar, Kenney has had some success in Las Vegas this summer. Most of it in the lead up to the Main Event. She outlasted 3,946 players to stone bubble the final table of the WPT500 event at Aria. The very next day she registered in the WSOP Ladies Championship and made it to the final two tables before busting out in 16th place. “I mean, it felt good. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. It was really great and there was a lot of pros down in the last two or three, I mean a lot and not just ‘oh pros for girls’ but like recognizable, big name pros; Vanessa Selbst, Amanda Musumeci, Mandy Baker,” said Kenney. “I was just excited to be in the mix and have a shot at a bracelet. It’s my deepest run in a WSOP event, only my second cash I think. It was so much fun, so much fun.” Part of that fun came in a friendship she developed at the table with the eventual winner, Courtney Kennedy. The pair ended up sitting next to each other on Day 2 and hit it off right away. “I posted on Facebook yesterday after she won: every once in a while, if you’re lucky, you meet people that you know your’e going to be life long friends with and Courtney was one of those people,” said Kenney. “Her energy is just spectacular and so contagious and we went to dinner on Day 2 and I was like ‘I’m so glad I met her’ and no matter what happened I was so happy that I met her.”
  25. [caption width="639"] Mike Sexton's final season with the World Poker Tour gave him a grand sendoff as he won his first career WPT title.[/caption] After 15 seasons in the booth and countless memorable moments, Mike Sexton’s run as the voice of the World Poker Tour is at an end. The WPT announced Sexton’s retirement today as he transitions into the next stage of his poker career. Sexton’s final season as co-commentator of the World Poker Tour was one to behold. The Poker Hall of Famer notched his first career WPT Main Event win in November at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal and was in the thick of the WPT Player of the Year race where he eventually finished third. As a result of his win, Sexton is eligible to play in the event he played a major role in creating, the WPT Tournament of Champions, each year. Replacing Sexton in the booth is the former host of WPT’s Raw Deal, Tony Dunst, who has previously subbed in for Sexton in a limited capacity. Dunst will officially start as Vince Van Patten’s new partner when the first taping of Season XVI takes place this later this summer from Choctaw. Although Sexton is longer with the World Poker Tour, there is plenty to celebrate as Sexton’s role as a broadcaster and ambassador helped launch the WPT to where it is today. “Today is a bittersweet day in WPT history. As we announce the end of Mike Sexton’s incredible tenure as WPT co-commentator, the World Poker Tour celebrates the internal promotion of Tony Dunst to one of poker’s most visible positions. Mike, along with Vince Van Patten, is more than just a part of one of the longest-running commentating pairs in sports broadcast history.Mike will forever be a cherished member of the WPT family, and his impact will forever shape the core of this company and the entire industry, ” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. Dunst’s role grows with his movement into the booth after first joining the WPT in Season IX. Dunst won an open casting call to host WPT Raw Deal and appeared in over 140 segments in the time since. A former online professional, Dunst is also a member of the WPT Champions Club thanks to his Season XII win in St. Maarten. WPT is yet to announce a new Raw Deal host and Dunst is being welcomed to the broadcast team with open arms. “Tony has become a friend over the years, and I have increasingly come to admire his talent and dedication. Tony’s knowledge of the game was highly evident during WPT Raw Deal segments and occasions when he joined Mike or me in the booth, and it is without question that his commentary will elevate World Poker Tour broadcasts. It is my pleasure to welcome Tony into the booth full time, and I look forward to another great partnership starting with Season XVI,” said Van Patten. Sexton is far from finished being an ambassador for the poker world, as his new position with partypoker entails. His formal title with the company is yet to be announced, but it is known that Sexton will be taking on an executive role. The voice of a poker generation, Sexton’s contributions to the game are unmatched. Sexton has been with the World Poker Tour from when they first launched in 2002 and leaves on a high note. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the World Poker Tour since its inception in 2002. When the World Poker Tour launched, it was a dream come true, and to be there from the beginning and see how the WPT changed the poker world forever by essentially turning poker into a televised sport has been amazing.It's been quite a ride over these 15 seasons, and one that I've been extremely blessed to take,” said Sexton “I’d like to thank Steve Lipscomb for his vision to create the World Poker Tour, Adam Pliska for bringing the WPT to incredible heights, and the entire WPT family for all they do and have given me. I'd like to mention everyone, but there’s simply too many to name. They know who they are, and without them, the WPT wouldn’t have become what it is today.”
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