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2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 1B: Top Four Survivors from Day’s Action Take Overall Chip Lead

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 1B: Top Four Survivors from Day’s Action Take Overall Chip Lead

The second of two-Day Ones is in the books at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event, with the top four finishers from the Day 1B action taking down the overall leaderboard of the tournament because of their play.

Before the cards even went into the air on Saturday, an important milestone had been eclipsed. With 212 players in their seats (at $ 5000 a pop), the $ 3 million guarantee was met for the Main Event. This was important because the last three SHRPO Main Events had failed to meet their guarantees, with the Seminole Indian operators of the Hard Rock picking up the overlay. Before the tournament even started, the Tribe was clear of any financial dues for the tournament, something that they had to be pleased with.

As with Day 1A, top poker pros were more than willing to step back into the ring following a post-World Series of Poker slumber. Jonathan Little was one of those players, getting a big double up only four hands into the action. As Little recounted over Share My Pair, he was UTG +1 with pocket Aces and found a willing combatant in the big blind with pocket Jacks who wanted to three-bet him. After some back and forth, all the chips were in the center, with Little’s pocket Aces standing tall to give him twice his starting stack and leaving an unfortunate soul questioning how to play pocket Jacks.

By the time noon had passed, the tournament clock showed 700 entries in the tournament, with former SHRPO champion Blair Hinkle back for a second bite of the apple after not making it through Day 1A (the other three former champions – Dan Colman, Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – all made it through Day 1A). Tony Dunst, Matt Stout, former World Champion Joe McKeehen, Brian Altman, and current World Champion Scott Blumstein were also on their second chances (or fourth, depending on how you count – players could re-enter once each Day One, for a grand total of $ 20,000 (plus juice) if all four chances were used) in the tournament.

 After late registration/re-entry closed following Level 9, the players got their first look at the bounty they were playing for. An astounding 887 entries were received in the tournament, building a $ 4,301,950 prize pool for the top 111 players to divvy up. Nearly the entire final table will take home a six-figure payday (ninth place will “only” earn $ 75,413), with the eventual champion of the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event taking home a $ 754,083 boost to the bankroll.

When the clock called for the end of Day 1B, it wasn’t surprising that the top four players from Day 1B’s action would take over the tournament leaderboard:

1. Diana Shirey, 398,900
2. Chance Kornuth, 365,000
3. David Diaz, 346,000
4. Shawn Nguyen, 345,800
5. Benjamin Ridgway, 285,900
6. Gabriel Andrade, 277,000
7. John Dubois, 234,100
8. Samuel Bernabeu, 214,700
9. Nipun Java, 213,900
10. Jorge Gomez, 211,100

When merged with the leaderboard from Day 1A, here are your overall leaders:

1. Diana Shirey, 398,900
2. Chance Kornuth, 365,000
3. David Diaz, 346,000
4. Shawn Nguyen, 345,800
5. Andy Philachack, 290,000*
6. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000*
7. Benjamin Ridgway, 285,900
8. Gabriel Andrade, 277,000
9. Lahn Pham, 270,500*
10. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300*

(* – Day 1A players)

142 players from the 480 entries made it through the Day 1B battlefield and, combined with the 127 players from Day 1A, will make for a busy Day 2 with 269 players. Plans are to play down to a final table by Tuesday, however, meaning that there will be a great deal of carnage today, not only to just get to the money bubble but also to get to a manageable number of players for action on Monday at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event.

Poker News Daily

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is underway with an invading horde of top professionals looking to battle against the best that South Florida has to offer. With Day 1A in the books, pro player Andy Philachack is joined by Pablo Fernandez in sitting atop the standings.

The $ 3 million guaranteed event had a $ 5000 buy-in and, in a departure for most tournaments today, only featured one rebuy for the day’s starters (if eliminated on Day 1A, players could come back for two more shots on Day 1B). With 30,000 in chips and 60-minute levels (and late registration/re-entry available until Level 9), many in the poker community have chosen this tournament to “get back in the game” after the summer’s work at the World Series of Poker. This was evident from the stacked tables that greeted the players.

The four men who have previously won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – inaugural champion Blair Hinkle, 2014 champion Dan Colman, 2015 victor Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – each held court on a singular table, taking on the field as they looked for a second chance at championship gold. Not only did the former champions of this tournament take their seats, the current World Champion, Scott Blumstein, was also on the tables for action. Add in such notables as former World Poker Tour champion Tony Sinishtaj (2017 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), Joe Kuether, Brian Altman, Maria Ho, Nick Schulman, Matt Stout, Ryan D’Angelo, Cate Hall, and a litany of other top pros amongst the 207 players who were there at the starting gun and the prestige of the tournament was obvious.

By the time late registration/re-entry ended after Level 9, the numbers were quite impressive. Seminole officials recorded 407 entries, with two players finishing with the exact same stack at the end of the evening. While Philachack was atop the standings for most of the day, Fernandez used a late evening double up while holding pocket Queens to sit alongside Philachack as Day 1A players take Saturday off:

1. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000
2. Andy Philachack, 290,000
3. Lahn Pham, 270,500
4. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300
5. Danny Schechter, 248,600
6. Jonathan Jaffe, 236,000
7. Oddie Dardon, 229,500
8. Nick Nieto, 226,300
9. Keven Stammen, 209,400
10. David Sands, 204,400

Add in players such as Paul Volpe (180,100 chips), John Hennigan (174,200), former World Champion Ryan Riess (159,600) and Ari Engel (145,900) and there are plenty of challenges still in contention.

Of the 407 entries on Friday, only 127 players will be ready to go with chips for Sunday. They will join up with the survivors from Day 1B of the tournament which, if it holds true for multi-Day One tournaments, should be a monstrous one. With less than $ 1 million to meeting the $ 3 million guarantee (less than 200 entries), the starting field on Saturday morning for Day 1B should eclipse the guarantee and potentially set up for a prize pool that may break the $ 6 million mark. It will be one of the things to watch for as one of the jewels of “The Big 4” – the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open final table will be contested on Tuesday as a part of “The Big 4” streaming broadcast on Twitch – continues the battle today.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

 PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

Perhaps recognizing the error in their previous actions, The Stars Group has announced that their January tournament in the Bahamas will be returning in 2018, including a return to the name it was previously known as.

The 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to action at its traditional home at Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, the Bahamas, from January 6-14. Along with returning the original name of the event, PokerStars is also stepping out on a limb a bit in returning the buy in to its original amount. After spending several years as a $ 5000 buy in event, the 2018 PCA Main Event will be a $ 10,000 tournament, ensuring the tournament’s place in the pantheon of “must play” international poker tournaments.

The return to the PCA moniker was obviously on the minds of Stars Group officials. “We’re reviewing our live events and incorporating player feedback to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality experience and exceeding player expectations whenever possible,” Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications, stated during the announcement.

“This feedback included suggestions that we restore the PCA name and improve the quality of that event to reflect the great heritage and unique experience that made PCA one of the most-anticipated poker events of the year,” Hollreiser continued. “We’re restoring the name and reinvigorating the event to ensure it remains a premiere poker festival. We will also increase the promotions around PCA in order to bring even more people and make qualifying for packages as exciting as we can. We are committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event.”

There was plenty of outrage that came along with the 2017 tournament. Roughly along the same period as 2018’s play, the 2017 “PokerStars Championship Bahamas” featured over 90 events crammed into the timeframe. It seems that was too much, even for poker players who are always looking for action. Because of some of that criticism, PokerStars has streamlined the tournaments to a more sensible 30 events that will feature longer levels (40 minutes or more) and more play for the participants.

PokerStars is also looking out for the pocketbooks and wallets of PCA participants. Tournament fees have been reduced for the High Roller tournaments and any tournament with less than 19-minute levels will be reduced by 50%. These moves will allow the players to keep upwards of $ 300,000 in their bankrolls.

Finally, another complaint from the players regarding the 2017 tournament series was the treatment of those players. Many felt that they weren’t appreciated by PokerStars, especially after the decade-plus treatment by past ownership, with the parties and “SWAG” bags presented to the players. In response to this, PokerStars has set a large schedule of non-poker related activities and some “Q&A” sessions with Team PokerStars Pro members. Player parties are a key element of this change, including the aforementioned “SWAG” bags that will be valued at $ 200 each.

What isn’t being indicated by PokerStars nor The Stars Group is what will be the future of the “PokerStars Championship” or “PokerStars Festivals.” These events have been less than popular with players, including disappointing turnouts in Panama, Macau and Sochi. There isn’t any schedule beyond the final 2017 date in Prague, Czech Republic for the PokerStars Championship and there isn’t any indication whether the PCA will still be considered a part of the PokerStars Championship or whether the PokerStars Championship will continue to exist.

While a firm schedule hasn’t been set yet, satellites will begin running for the 2018 PCA in September. With the changes made, perhaps the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to its previous success.

Poker News Daily

Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

 Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

On Monday, Poker Central will revive the fan favorite Poker After Dark for its subscription service PokerGO. When the cards hit the air for the return of the show, it will also feature the return of a player who once held the poker world’s attention but has of late been a footnote to the game.

Coming back from the cash games in Macau, Tom Dwan (formerly known by his online moniker of ‘durrrr’) will be the featured competitor when the cards hit the air at 8PM on the inaugural episode of Poker After Dark on PokerGO. “I travel around a lot to play poker, and in Manila and Macau people ask me about those shows,” Dwan mentioned to Poker Central’s Remko Rinkema. “All over the world people liked watching those, and every time I get asked ‘When will they be back?’ I’m excited that now, after six years, they will be back.”

Dwan was one of the staples of Poker After Dark when it originally aired and the program brings back pleasant thoughts for Dwan as Monday approaches. “The shows were fun, they ended up being more interesting and more fun than I expected,” Dwan noted to Rinkema. “It also helped that I won basically every hand that I played. If I called they were bluffing, if I was bluffing they folded. I’m hoping that continues,” Dwan said with a chuckle.

Dwan has been an afterthought to many in poker after a stirring start. Storming the scene in the mid-2000s with an attacking style that caught many off guard, Dwan made his name in the high stakes online poker world and, particularly, heads-up poker. He attempted to have an impact on the live tournament world, including making several prop bets regarding winning World Series of Poker bracelets, but was unable to win any major championships. Still, the $ 2.2 million in career earnings from those games came in handy with one of his online endeavors.

The “durrrr Challenge” was a boast by Dwan that he was one of the best heads-up players in the world, with Dwan putting up a sizeable chunk of change to prove it. The challenge was for Dwan and an opponent to play 50,000 hands of No Limit Texas Hold’em or, in other cases, Pot Limit Omaha at stakes of $ 200/$ 400 over an agreed-on period. If Dwan were to emerge with even a penny of profit, his opponent would owe him $ 500,000. If his opponent were to come out ahead, however, Dwan would pay $ 1.5 million.

Two players stepped up to take the challenge (which wasn’t extended to poker professional Phil Galfond), Patrik Antonius and Dan Cates, with neither competition reaching a conclusion. In fact, the Cates/Dwan battle paused around “Black Friday,” with Cates ahead $ 1.2 million and Dwan showing absolutely no inclination to continuing the match. Instead, Dwan withdrew from the international poker community to concentrate on the lucrative cash game market in the Chinese gaming metropolis of Macau, where he’s basically been in action to the exclusion of the remainder of the poker world since around 2014.

The return of Poker After Dark will also see the return of another player that is considered a “living legend.” Doyle Brunson is said to be donning his cowboy hat for another run on the program, beginning on Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday night. Brunson has stepped away from tournament poker but is still holding court at Bobby’s Room in the Bellagio as a cash game player. His will be a welcomed return to a lineup that was already star-studded:

August 14 (Monday)

Tom Dwan
Daniel Negreanu
Antonio Esfandiari
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

August 15 (Tuesday) and August 16 (Wednesday)

Tom Dwan
Doyle Brunson
Andrew Robl
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

The game will be the usual that was originally on Poker After Dark:  $ 200/$ 400 Texas Hold’em, minimum buy in and a $ 400 button ante. The players will all walk to the table at ARIA Resort & Casino with a minimum of $ 100,000. Poker Central will live-stream the return of Poker After Dark over PokerGO beginning at 8PM (Eastern Time) on all three days as it continues to try to build an audience for their subscription service.

Will Dwan still have the same effect he had on top pros that he had on his first run on Poker After Dark? Or will he face a different poker world? Those questions and others will be answered starting on Monday.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

 PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

PokerStars has launched a new Spin & Go format called…wait for it…Spin & Go Max which adds a heaping spoonful of variables to a Spin & Go game. The idea of Spin & Go Max is essentially the same as a Spin & Go, but rather than the predictability of the three player, winner-take-all format every time, each game can vary from one to the next.

What we are all used to with Spin & Go’s is three-handed play with short stacks and hyper-turbo blind levels. The prize pool is unknown until all players are seated and most of the time, it is winner-take-all. Spin & Go Max games mix all of that up.

In the new version of the game (by the way, there are still regular Spin & Go tables), the number of players is unknown until just before the game begins. Spin & Go Max games can have anywhere from three to eight players; the tables size is based on a random draw based on fixed probabilities. Four players is the most common, happening 30 percent of the time. This is followed by five players (25 percent) and three players (20 percent).

Then, like in a regular Spin & Go’s, a prize spinner shows up, but here it shows not one, but three potential prizes for the winner. Perhaps perplexingly, the winner’s prize has nothing to do with the prizes for the other players, if there are any (with five players or fewer, it can still be winner-take-all). The other prizes are pre-determined and payout depth will be shown in the tourney lobby.

At the end of the game, the three first place prizes reappear, face down, and the winner picks one. If the top possible prize was one of the ones offered, the winner automatically gets it. Additionally, with some of the higher, less probable prizes, the winner will be given a “Cash Out” option, equal to the average of the three prizes minus some amount. The winner can take that figure or take a chance on selecting a larger prize.

One more twist: Spin & Go Max tournaments have a hand limit. If this limit is hit before the tournament ends, everyone is automatically put all-in pre-flop until a winner is determined.

Buy levels for Spin & Go Max tourneys are $ 1, $ 3, $ 7 and $ 15. There is no difference in the probability of table size among the different buy-in levels, but the prize pool frequency and number of players paid fluctuates based on the buy-in and number of total players.

I think that’s it. There’s a lot to digest. Basically, we have a new Spin & Go game that can have three to eight players, three possible first prizes that the winner gets to blindly pick, and sometimes an option to take a guaranteed payout or risk it for a bigger prize. I suppose that’s more fun that regular Spin & Go’s?

Poker News Daily



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