Posts Tagged ‘2018’

2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

Day 1 is in the books for the 2018 version of the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic and it is shaping up to be a special event. One of only three tournaments that has been contested on the WPT since its inception, the players have come out with their $ 10,000 buy-in (which has also been consistent since the start of the event) to put together a strong field. At the end of Day 1, John Misirian was able to stand atop the mountain after a last hand knockout gave him the lead.

The atmosphere at the Commerce Casino was festive – even at the early hour of noon – as the players gathered for the call of “shuffle up and deal.” With the singular buy-in and no rebuys, it was expected that there would be a slow stream of players coming after the starting gun, but the numbers from the start were surprising. As the cards hit the air, 282 players were waiting to receive them and it simply got better from there.

With 30,000 in chips to start the event, you would expect there to be a slow grind, but Ari Engel demonstrated the exact opposite. Within 75 minutes of the opening action, Engel had burned through those 30K in markers, with his final chips entering the fray against Felipe Davila. On a K-9-8-4 board, Engel called off his last 4300 in chips and tabled K-5 for top pair. That wasn’t good enough, however, as Davila had the goods with pocket Aces; the river Queen wasn’t the paint that Engel needed as he beat a hasty retreat to the exits of the Commerce.

A similar situation would occur at another table, with former WPT champion Jared Jaffee the unlikely victim. Canadian pro Noah Vaillancourt was a late arrival and, upon getting dealt in, mistakenly put out a large 4000 chip bet (blinds were 75/150 at the time) from under the gun. Nobody was interested in tangling with Vaillancourt until action came to Jaffee on the button, who three bet the action to 11K. Once the blinds were out of the way, Vaillancourt indicated he was ready to go home just as quickly as he arrived, placing his entire 30K up on his first hand. Jaffee made the call and the race was on:

Vaillancourt – A-K
Jaffee – pocket Queens

To make a long story short, an Ace came on the board to provide salvation for Vaillancourt. At the same time, it sent the former WPT champion Jaffee home after only two hours of play.

By the time Level 5 started late in the afternoon, 462 players were entered in the tournament. Of that number, 413 were still around with a shot at winning one of the most prestigious titles on the WPT circuit. With three more levels left in the Day 1 action, there was still time for players to enter the tournament, but it was beginning to run short.

As the final hours of the opening day wore on, there were other top pros who wouldn’t earn the right to come back on Sunday for action. Ryan Hughes, WPT Champions Club member Mike Shariatti, Adam Geyer and Blake Battaglia would all find the rail by the time the final hand was dealt. It was that final hand, however, that gave the chip leader his lead.

Misirian had dodged a bullet only a few hands earlier when, on the river with pocket Queens against Roman Korenev’s pocket Aces, he was able to pull one of the two ladies left in the deck to rocket into the chip lead. Sitting on a very healthy stack, Misirian wasn’t content on cruising to the end, though, as he went to war against Sean Winter in the last hand of the evening. With pocket Queens, Misirian was able to dodge the flush draw of Winter and knock him out, setting Misirian up well for Day 2 action.

1. John Misirian, 234,300
2. Toby Lewis, 149,000
3. Adam Regiaba, 145,000
4. Peter Hengsakul, 129,900
5. Derek Gregory, 126,900
6. Candie Vaca, 124,900
7. Tim Cramer, 123,100
8. Casey McCarrel, 120,900
9. Lloyd, Mandel, 120,000
10. Duy Ho, 118,000

475 players were on the clock at the close of Day 1 action (and 282 were still alive), but that isn’t the final field. Late registration is open until the end of Level 10, meaning there’s still a great chance for the final numbers to crack the 500-player level (last year’s event drew in 521 players). But there’s a long way to go before any discussion can be made about what the prize pool will be for the 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic.

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Andrew Neeme, PokerCentral Win Multiple Honors at 2018 American Poker Awards

 Andrew Neeme, PokerCentral Win Multiple Honors at 2018 American Poker Awards

The streaming network PokerCentral and poker player Andrew Neeme were the big winners last night as the world of poker honored its own with the Fourth Annual American Poker Awards.

There was a bit of celebrity power on the catwalk entering Andaz in West Hollywood on Thursday night. Hollywood producer Randall Emmett (Aftermath, Gotti), “The Vanderpump Rules” stars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix and MMA legend Tito Ortiz all took their moment in the spotlight in the traditional pre-ceremony walk down the red carpet. The real stars, however, was the world of poker and the top performances of 2017.

Stepping in for Kara Scott, who had hosted the three previous AMA award shows, Lynn Gilmartin adeptly handled the emcee honors for the poker world and its stars. Brightest of those stars was Neeme, who watched the proceedings in Los Angeles from afar in South Africa. His first award was in a sweep – the top pick of both the Nominations Committee and of the Jury Panel to determine the eventual winner – for Video Blogger of the Year. For his second award, Neeme earned the most of the 10,000 votes to take home the People’s Choice Award.

PokerCentral was also a big performer on the AMA stage. Their documentary “Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story” was honored for Best Media Content. Additionally, their “PokerCentral Podcast” featuring Brent Hanks, Will O’Connor and Remko Rinkema, was honored in the Best Podcast category. Finally, PokerCentral moneyman Cary Katz, who is the financial backer for the streaming outlet, was honored as Poker’s Biggest Influencer.

Although he lost in the Broadcaster of the Year category to Nick Schulman (another PokerCentral honoree), ESPN and World Series of Poker broadcaster Lon McEachern was stunned by one of the Jury Panel’s choices. Along with his longtime partner Norman Chad, McEachern was given the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker. And, in another notable moment, tournament director extraordinaire Matt Savage won his third consecutive AMA honor, this time for Industry Person of the Year.

Here’s a list of all the winners from Thursday night:

Breakout Player of the Year – Artur Papazyan
Tournament Performance of the Year – Scott Blumstein, WSOP Main Event
Moment of the Year – Ema Zajmovic becomes first female player to win open event on World Poker Tour
Event of the Year – partypoker MILLIONS North America, Playground Poker Club, Montreal
Mid-Major Circuit of the Year – WPT DeepStacks
Journalist of the Year – Lance Bradley
Broadcaster of the Year – Nick Schulman
Media Content of the Year – “Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story” (PokerCentral)
Podcast of the Year – PokerCentral Podcast
Video Blogger of the Year – Andrew Neeme
Poker Streamer of the Year – Jaime Staples
Industry Person of the Year – Matt Savage
Poker’s Biggest Influencer – Cary Katz
2017 GPI American Player of the Year – Bryn Kenney*
2017 GPI Female Player of the Year – Kristen Bicknell*
Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker – Lon McEachern and Norman Chad**
Award for Charitable Initiative – Jacob Zalewski, One Step Closer Foundation**
Jury Prize – Eric Danis**
PocketFives Legacy Award – Ari Engel**
People’s Choice Award – Andrew Neeme***

(* – determined by tournament performance in 2017)
(** – determined by vote of Jury Panel)
(*** – determined by public vote)

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Nominees Announced for 2018 American Poker Awards

 Nominees Announced for 2018 American Poker Awards

After taking nominations for the different awards that will be offered, officials with the Global Poker Index announced the final nominations for their Fourth Annual American Poker Awards.

There is a slew of familiar names that dot the different awards that are being offered. Joe Ingram, who for years has offered up his views on the poker world through his “Poker Life Podcast,” is up for a couple of awards this year (Podcast of the Year and Video Blogger of the Year), joined by Daniel Negreanu (Biggest Influencer and Video Blogger) and Matt Savage (Biggest Influencer and Industry Person). By far, however, the output from the stables of Poker Central dominated the nominations.

Poker Central topped everyone in the field with six nominations, ranging from their “made for television” events such as the Super High Roller Bowl and the Poker Masters to their broadcasting team of Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman. Even their financial backer, Cary Katz, was named one of “Poker’s Biggest Influencers,” an award which should garner a great deal of attention.

These awards will be voted on by a blue-ribbon committee the day of the 2018 American Poker Awards on February 22:

Breakout Player

DJ Alexander
Michael Del Vecchio
Alex Foxen
Art Papazyan

Tournament Performance of the Year

Scott Blumstein (WSOP Main Event)
Darren Elias (WPT Fallsview)
Bryn Kenney (PSC Monte Carlo Super High Roller)
Doug Polk (WSOP One Drop High Roller)

Moment of the Year

70-year old John Smith makes back-to-back WSOP $ 10K Heads-Up Final Table
Ema Zajmovic – First female player to win an open Main Event on the WPT
Vanessa Selbst and Gaelle Baumann – Selbst loses full house to Baumann’s quads during first round of WSOP Championship Event)
Tom Dwan Returns to the States of America on “Poker After Dark”

Event of the Year

Super High Roller Bowl
partypoker MILLIONS North America
Poker Masters Event #1
WSOP Championship Event

Mid-Major Circuit

Mid-States Poker Tour
RUNGOOD Poker Series
WPTDeepStacks
WSOP Circuit

Journalist of the Year

Drew Amato
Lance Bradley
Bj Nemeth
Steve Ruddock
Jessica Welman

Broadcaster of the Year

Nick Schulman
Joe Stapleton
Lon McEachern
Ali Nejad

Media Content of the Year

Adrian Moreno in Tears following Win in WSOP Little One for One Drop (Amato)
Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story (Poker Central)
Poker Brat: The Phil Hellmuth Story (Phil Hellmuth)
Resilience Defined: Sheddy Siddiqui Raising his Two Boys (Bradley)

Podcast of the Year

PokerCentral Podcast
PokerNews Podcast
Poker Life Podcast
TwoPlusTwo Podcast

Video Blogger of the Year

Joe Ingram
Daniel Negreanu
Andrew Neeme
Doug Polk

Poker Streamer of the Year

Jeff Gross
Bill Perkins
Jason Somerville
Jaime Staples
Parker Talbot

Industry Person of the Year

Tony Burns
Sean McCormick
Adam Pliska
Matt Savage

Poker’s Biggest Influencer

Cary Katz
Daniel Negreanu
Doug Polk
Matt Savage

There will be other awards handed out the night of the American Poker Awards that have already been determined:

2017 GPI American Player of the Year:  Bryn Kenney
2017 GPI Female Player of the Year:  Kristen Bicknell
Award for Lifetime Achievement
Award for Charitable Initiative
Jury Prize
PocketFives Legacy Award
People’s Choice Award – Poker Personality of the Year

The People’s Choice Award is being voted on at this time by the general public. Visit the dedicated page for this award and be sure to cast your vote. It is also the only vote that is handled by the voice of the poker community. Counting that award, there is a total of 20 awards that will be handed out during a very busy ceremony!

The 2018 American Poker Awards will be handed out on February 22 at Andaz in West Hollywood, CA, beginning at 7PM.

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2018 American Poker Awards Nominations – One Writer’s Choices

 2018 American Poker Awards Nominations – One Writer’s Choices

In just a bit more than two weeks, the Fourth Annual American Poker Awards will take place at Andaz in West Hollywood, CA. The yearly celebration of the best in North American poker – and a day of discussion about the state of the game – is presented by PokerStars and has become one of the more highly respected honors that can be received in the game of poker. To be able to honor the best, you must have nominations…and that’s where the process currently is.

Last week ballots were sent out to members of the nomination panel, one of which was this writer, to determine who would be officially nominated for on of the 13 awards up for grabs (Kristen Bicknell will be awarded 2017 Female Poker Player of the Year and Bryn Kenney will be awarded the 2017 American Poker Player of the Year award). I’ve never taken these nominations lightly, but I do look to offer my vote to those who might be on the fringe of making it into one of the nomination slots. As such, as I went through the nomination ballot, I went with choices that, while they may not win, they have the honor of being nominated.

For Breakout Player of the Year, there are a couple of choices that are hard to overlook. Art Papazyan won two World Poker Tour events in the past year to firmly establish himself as one of the up and coming stars in the game. Another player who also showed his mettle was Mike Del Vecchio, as witnessed by his recent run at the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event. Either one of these men would be outstanding choices.

For Poker Moment of the Year, here’s where I was looking a bit deeper. It is tough to overlook Papazyan’s two WPT victories, Harrison Gimbel’s completion of poker’s Triple Crown or Scott Blumstein’s dominant performance at the World Series of Poker Championship Event final table, but these two choices deserved to be noted. First, Ema Zajmovic’s effort in becoming the first woman to win an open event on the MAIN WPT tour was groundbreaking, especially as it came more than 15 years into the tour’s existence. The other choice I made was the clash between Gaelle Baumann and Vanessa Selbst at the 2017 WSOP Championship Event, which eventually saw Selbst sent to the rail during the first level after Selbst’s full house was routed by Baumann’s quads.

Podcast of the Year is always difficult because of the number of quality podcasts out there. For years Joe Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast has been the benchmark (and he will be nominated), but Bernard Lee’s “The Bernard Lee Poker Show” has also delivered some excellent quality. My second choice was not talking about the game per se, but talking about the mental aspect. “Poker on the Mind” from Dr. Tricia Cardner and Gareth James offers outstanding advice for improving the mental approach to the game, something that isn’t always seen in our business.

For Best Tournament Performance, World Champion Blumstein’s run is a lock for the nominees. Thus, I went with Darren Elias’ WPT Fallsview championship, which put him in the pantheon of players who have won three WPT titles (Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Anthony Zinno and David ‘Chino’ Rheem are the others). My second choice was Christian Harder and his breakout win at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event, an outstanding victory over a tough field.

For Poker Media Content of the Year, there were two choices that stood out. First was Martin Harris’ work at PokerNews and his interview with Jack Binion. In that interview, Harris got the definitive story as to the Johnny Moss/Nick Dandalos “heads up match” in 1949 (it is well worth the look for the historical implications). Second was Chad Holloway’s story on poker player Matt Jarvis’ move into the business world. Although this writer wrote about Jarvis’ new calling five months earlier, Holloway brought a great story in Jarvis as he looked to make sure he has a good life for he and his family rather than chasing the tournament circuit.

For the rest of the nominations…OK, maybe I didn’t deviate from the norm that much! Here’s a look at my choices for nominations in the other categories, with some commentary:

Industry Person of the Year

Bryan Mileski, Mid-States Poker Tour founder/operator
Bill Mason, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Director of Poker Operations

Event of the Year

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Hollywood, FL
partypoker MILLIONS North America, Playground Poker Club, Montreal

(Hey, ANYONE can pick the WSOP Championship Event!)

Mid-Major Circuit of the Year

Mid-States Poker Tour
Heartland Poker Tour

Poker Journalist of the Year

Allen Rash
Jessica Welman

(Two people that I have worked with over the 15 years I’ve been in this business that deserve recognition for their outstanding achievements in the realm of poker journalism)

Video Blogger of the Year

Daniel Negreanu
Joe Ingram

Streamer of the Year

Dutch Boyd
Jason Somerville

(If you’re not checking out Dutch Boyd’s streaming efforts, you’re missing out)

Biggest Influencer on Poker

Cary Katz
Daniel Negreanu

Broadcaster of the Year

Lon McEachern
Mike Sexton

(This will be the final time that Sexton might be recognized for his groundbreaking work with the WPT)

So, who will be the nominees? We’ll have to have some patience as the nomination process will conclude next week and the announcement of the nominees will follow. Then, on February 22, poker’s biggest awards night will take place in Tinseltown, complete with the fanfare that it deserves.

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2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 2 – A.J. Kelsall Leads on the Bubble

 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 2 – A.J. Kelsall Leads on the Bubble

There were probably a whole bunch of players at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open that didn’t sleep well last night, as 159 players remain in the Main Event with the payouts going down to 156 places. The short stacks have got to be wondering if they can hang on to at least come up with the $ 6,129 min cash. A.J. Kelsall is the chip leader heading into Day 3 with 768,500 chips, followed very closely by Chun Li with 755,000.

The tournament just missed out on beating last year’s record of 1,312 entries, coming in at 1,244. There were 343 entries on Day 1A, 680 on Day 1B, and another 221 through the first two levels of Day 2. The overall prize pool is just south of $ 4 million with the winner taking home $ 651,928.

The chip leader, A.J. Kelsall, is having a hell of a week. Not only is he leading a WPT Main Event on the money bubble, but he is also a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan; in just a few days, the Eagles will be playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The Eagles are underdogs, but they were underdogs in the NFC Championship game with their backup quarterback, as well, so how knows what can happen?

After Day 2, Kelsall talked Eagles with WPT.com:

I’ll tell you the saying that I have and it’s kind of funny. There’s only two things I want in life. An Eagles Super Bowl and a WSOP bracelet. Then whatever happens after that is fine. Somebody asked me that last week, when I came fifth in the [WPTDeepStacks] event down in Hollywood. And in that one, I said I would probably give up the win for the Super Bowl, but this one is so big. I flew up here and went to the game last Sunday and I have a flight Saturday night to go to the Super Bowl. That should tell you how big of a fan I am. If you sign me up for like sixth right now and an Eagles Super Bowl, I’ll take it. I’ll sign it.

Sixth pays $ 138,254, which would certainly buy a few hot dogs at the game (not that Kelsall will get up to go to the concession stand and risk missing any of the action).

According to TheHendonMob.com, Kelsall has just over a million dollars in live tournament cashes. His best was for $ 124,731 for a first place finish in the $ 1,650 No-Limit Hold’em Championship of the Winter Poker Open in Tampa. Hmm…Winter Poker Open…is that an omen? Hmm?

Kelsall told WPT.com that while he considers himself a good No-Limit Hold’em player, he likes other games better, but he continues to play Hold’em because the money is best in that game. A “jack of all trades” is what he calls himself.

“It’s cliche, but I think it’s true. I consider myself a B or a B+ in pretty much every game. An A in nothing, but I consider myself decent in every game,” he said.

Well, so far, so good with Hold’em. Let’s see if he keeps it going and gives himself an epic weekend.

2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. A.J. Kelsall – 768,500
2. Chun Li – 755,000
3. Dan Colpoys – 590,500
4. Richard Foster – 587,000
5. Chase Bianchi – 568,000
6. Joe McKeehen – 548,000
7. Nick Jivkov – 529,500
8. Sean Remz – 512,000
9. Will Givens – 510,000
10. Stephen Song – 509,000

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