Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

Sebastian Sorensson Wins 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

 Sebastian Sorensson Wins 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

The live poker tournament scene has been strong the last couple years, but even so, it is pretty incredible – at least to me – that a non-World Series of Poker tourney could garner 1,682 entries. But that is exactly what the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event did and it was that large of a field (minus one, really) that Sebastian Sorensson defeated to win nearly €1 million over the weekend.

Sorensson is basically my poker fantasy come to life. He is a low-stakes online player who qualified for this tournament via a $ 200 satellite on PokerStars. Sure, sometimes it gets tense for us even though we play for a few cents or a few bucks at a time because, after all, those few cents or few bucks are not always an insignificant portion of our bankroll. Plus, we’re competitive and want to win. But no matter how seriously we take our hobby, a major live tournament is like another world entirely.

“The days are so, so long,” Sorensson told PokerNews.com afterward. “It’s really exhausting.”

Reading more about how he got started in poker is pretty amazing. In 2015, he bet on underdog Nate Diaz to defeat Michael Johnson in a UFC fight. The underdog came through and Sorensson won $ 1,000. He then took at $ 1,000 and bet that Donald Trump would win the Republican Presidential nomination and then let those winnings ride on Trump (ugh) winning the election (emotional hedging, I guess?).

With his gambling bankroll up to $ 12,000, he decided to take up micro-stakes poker, which led to PokerStars Championship Barcelona.

According to PokerNews, Sorensson played exactly like I would have, me being a fellow micro-stakes player. Once he made the money, he played tight, trying to survive the money jumps. I, myself, did just that in my most successful live tournament adventure, but I only made $ 3,500 for third place, a FAR FAR FAR cry from what Sorensson just accomplished, so our similarities end there.

Sorensson entered the six-handed final table as the second-shortest stack, holding just 6.125 million chips. For comparison, chip leader Raffaele Sorrentino had 15.5 million. He quickly made more than two million chips in just over one orbit and after 26 hands – just a few after Usman Siddique was knocked out in sixth place – Sorensson was up to 10 million chips. Even more interesting is that he was in fourth place, but the spread between first and fourth was fewer than one million chips. Even Sorrentino, who had fallen to fifth, still had 8.425 million. Things had tightened up quickly.

Sorensson held steady for quite some time, staying within about a million or so of the 10 million chip mark for about another 60 hands, but he eventually lost a big hand to Sorrentino, who was now soaring (more than doubling the chip count we just mentioned), and fell down to close to 5 million.

5 million sounds like a lot of chips, but with blinds at 300,000/600,000, he had to make a move, so he moved all-in on Hand 94, fortunately survived with a worse Ace than Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, when the board allowed them to chop.

After that, there were two speedy eliminations – Andre Akkari in fifth place and Brian Esposito in fourth place – before the 100th hand. Sorensson was the one who got Esposito with A-Q versus K-Q, allowing him to grow his stack to 11.4 million. A few hands later, he was at 16.680 million, still well behind Petkov, who had 22.280 million, but almost equally ahead of Esposito, who was the short stack again with 11.450 million.

With the stacks shallow because of the escalating blinds and the chip counts starting to converge again, the three remaining players eventually discussed a deal. They agreed that Petkov would get the most at €917,347, Sorensson would bank €887,043, and Sorrentino would receive €850,110. They would leave €100,000 on the table as incentive to try to win.

Just four hands later, Sorrentino was eliminated in third place by Sorensson (who had just taken a massive pot from Petkov) and suddenly Sorensson was in complete command of the tournament going into heads-up play with 40.9 million chips versus Petkov’s 9.5 million.

Despite that chip gap, heads-up went on for a long, long time, nearly 70 hands. Petkov even took the lead at one point, but Sorensson regained control quickly and eventually put it away. On the final hand, Petkov went all-in pre-flop for 18.2 million chips with K-9 and Sorensson easily called with A-K. The flop provided Sorensson another Ace and when the turn didn’t give Petkov any of the outs he needed for a runner-runner miracle, it was all over and Sebastian Sorensson became my poker hero.

2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table Results

1. Sebastian Sorensson – €987,043
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov – €917,347
3. Raffaele Sorrentino – €850,110
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito – €402,000
5. Andre Akkari – €317,960
6. Usman Siddique – €252,000

Poker News Daily

Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

 Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

After battling through the 1682 player field, six men are left at the final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, which will be played out on Sunday at the Casino Barcelona in Spain.

Sixteen players came back with the chance of making the final table on Saturday, with Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari in command of the field. Sitting with 6.16 million in chips, Akkari still had to contend with the likes of a past champion on the PokerStars Championship circuit, Monte Carlo champion Raffaele Sorrentino, and Alex Difelice. It was an international gathering as well, with 14 nations represented amongst the 16 men (only the United Kingdom had more than one representative, with three).

The players wasted little time in getting down to business. Yaron Zeev Malki was the first player to depart (and receive the final €61,400 payout from the prize pool), leaving 15 guys guaranteed €69,600 for their efforts. Andrew Hedley, Day 2 chip leader Mauricio Salazar Sanchez, and Rens Feenstra all went out for that payday as it seemed the day would wrap up quick in playing from the remaining 12 players to the eight-handed PokerStars Championship final table.

That was the point where the tournament hit a logjam. Although there was plenty of effort at knocking out players, it always seemed that the all-in player found an opportune moment and double up. Tsugunari Toma (through Lachezar Plamenov Petkov) and Aeragan Arunan (through Albert Daher) would be two players who survived such action, although Toma would depart in twelfth place at the hands of Petkov. When Donald Duarte Sierra was eliminated by Sorrentino in eleventh place, Sorrentino’s pocket Jacks standing over Sierra’s A-7, the final table “bubble” was within sight.

Sorrentino and Akkari would be the most aggressive players of the Day __ action, often bullying the players on their respective tables with their “power poker” play. The news wasn’t as good for Difelice, however, as he found pocket Queens to his liking for an all-in move. The problem was Arunan woke up behind him with pocket Aces and, after the board rolled out with no lady waiting, Difelice headed to the rail in tenth place and brought about a redraw to the nine-handed unofficial final table just before the remaining nine men took a dinner break.

Back from the evening meal, the players didn’t even get a chance to settle into their seats before a stunning hand brought about the end of the night. Albert Daher raised from under the gun and found Sorrentino ready with calling chips. The hand got more interesting when Mesbah Guerfi moved all in from the hijack and, after everyone cleared out of the blinds, Daher wasted little time in making the call. Sorrentino was still interested, however, getting a count of Daher’s all in (for 3.4 million) before making the call himself. The massive pot brought about strong hands from all its participants:

Guerfi:  pocket treys
Daher:  A-Q off suit
Sorrentino:  pocket Jacks

Although he came in with the worst of it, Daher immediately took over the lead on the Q-Q-10 flop. Sitting with trip ladies, Daher had to feel good until the King peeled on the turn. Now Sorrentino had an open-ender to the straight and, like a thunderbolt, the open-ender was closed when the river nine gave Sorrentino his straight. Covering both men (Guerfi out in ninth and Daher out in eighth), Sorrentino took over the chip lead.

There was still some work left as tournament officials pushed onward, trying to get the table to the final six due to the stack sizes in relation to the blinds and antes. Akkari, who was at the bottom of the table after the double knockout, finally found his stride and moved up the leaderboard. In fact, Akkari used his knockout of Arunan in seventh place to solidify his third place standing for Sunday’s final table:

1. Raffaele Sorrentino, 15.5 million
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, 10.325 million
3. Andre Akkari, 8.15 million
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 6.475 million
5. Sebastian Sorensson, 6.125 million
6. Usman Siddique, 3.875 million

The final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will commence at noon on Sunday (6AM Eastern Time in the States), with the six men chopping up the remaining prize pool. Although all are guaranteed a minimum of €252,000, they all have their eyes cast to the top of the ladder where €1,410,000 is awaiting the champion.

Poker News Daily

Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

 Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

After battling through the 1682 player field, six men are left at the final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, which will be played out on Sunday at the Casino Barcelona in Spain.

Sixteen players came back with the chance of making the final table on Saturday, with Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari in command of the field. Sitting with 6.16 million in chips, Akkari still had to contend with the likes of a past champion on the PokerStars Championship circuit, Monte Carlo champion Raffaele Sorrentino, and Alex Difelice. It was an international gathering as well, with 14 nations represented amongst the 16 men (only the United Kingdom had more than one representative, with three).

The players wasted little time in getting down to business. Yaron Zeev Malki was the first player to depart (and receive the final €61,400 payout from the prize pool), leaving 15 guys guaranteed €69,600 for their efforts. Andrew Hedley, Day 2 chip leader Mauricio Salazar Sanchez, and Rens Feenstra all went out for that payday as it seemed the day would wrap up quick in playing from the remaining 12 players to the eight-handed PokerStars Championship final table.

That was the point where the tournament hit a logjam. Although there was plenty of effort at knocking out players, it always seemed that the all-in player found an opportune moment and double up. Tsugunari Toma (through Lachezar Plamenov Petkov) and Aeragan Arunan (through Albert Daher) would be two players who survived such action, although Toma would depart in twelfth place at the hands of Petkov. When Donald Duarte Sierra was eliminated by Sorrentino in eleventh place, Sorrentino’s pocket Jacks standing over Sierra’s A-7, the final table “bubble” was within sight.

Sorrentino and Akkari would be the most aggressive players of the Day __ action, often bullying the players on their respective tables with their “power poker” play. The news wasn’t as good for Difelice, however, as he found pocket Queens to his liking for an all-in move. The problem was Arunan woke up behind him with pocket Aces and, after the board rolled out with no lady waiting, Difelice headed to the rail in tenth place and brought about a redraw to the nine-handed unofficial final table just before the remaining nine men took a dinner break.

Back from the evening meal, the players didn’t even get a chance to settle into their seats before a stunning hand brought about the end of the night. Albert Daher raised from under the gun and found Sorrentino ready with calling chips. The hand got more interesting when Mesbah Guerfi moved all in from the hijack and, after everyone cleared out of the blinds, Daher wasted little time in making the call. Sorrentino was still interested, however, getting a count of Daher’s all in (for 3.4 million) before making the call himself. The massive pot brought about strong hands from all its participants:

Guerfi:  pocket treys
Daher:  A-Q off suit
Sorrentino:  pocket Jacks

Although he came in with the worst of it, Daher immediately took over the lead on the Q-Q-10 flop. Sitting with trip ladies, Daher had to feel good until the King peeled on the turn. Now Sorrentino had an open-ender to the straight and, like a thunderbolt, the open-ender was closed when the river nine gave Sorrentino his straight. Covering both men (Guerfi out in ninth and Daher out in eighth), Sorrentino took over the chip lead.

There was still some work left as tournament officials pushed onward, trying to get the table to the final six due to the stack sizes in relation to the blinds and antes. Akkari, who was at the bottom of the table after the double knockout, finally found his stride and moved up the leaderboard. In fact, Akkari used his knockout of Arunan in seventh place to solidify his third place standing for Sunday’s final table:

1. Raffaele Sorrentino, 15.5 million
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, 10.325 million
3. Andre Akkari, 8.15 million
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 6.475 million
5. Sebastian Sorensson, 6.125 million
6. Usman Siddique, 3.875 million

The final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will commence at noon on Sunday (6AM Eastern Time in the States), with the six men chopping up the remaining prize pool. Although all are guaranteed a minimum of €252,000, they all have their eyes cast to the top of the ladder where €1,410,000 is awaiting the champion.

Poker News Daily

Money Bubble Pops at PokerStars Championship Barcelona, Benjamin Richardson Holds Chip Lead

 Money Bubble Pops at PokerStars Championship Barcelona, Benjamin Richardson Holds Chip Lead

After taking a break for this summer’s World Series of Poker, the PokerStars Championships have come back with a bang. After Day 3 at the Casino Barcelona in Spain, Benjamin Richardson is holding down the top slot on the leaderboard with 2.804 million in chips.

There were going to be some unhappy campers who came back to the felt on Thursday. 287 players remained from the sizeable 1682 player field, but only 247 of those players would partake of a piece of the €8,157,700 prize pool that was built. At the start of the day, Mauricio Salazar Sanchez was the chip leader with 507,000 in chips, but he faced challenges from such pros as WSOP bracelet winner Asi Moshe (411,500), Patrick Leonard (394,000), Kyle Bowker (392,500), Dario Sammartino (355,500) and Juha Helppi (335,000), just to name a few.

With 40 players to eliminate, it was natural that the play was deliberate. It took more than 90 minutes to work down to 250 players, at which point the tournament went into hand-for-hand mode. Although 2017 WSOP bracelet winner Upsheka De Silva was quickly dispatched from the festivities (after getting his final chips in good with pocket Aces only to see Ramon Miguel Munoz call with pocket nines and flop a set), it was a grind to find the other two unfortunate souls who would depart with nothing to show for their efforts.  After another 90 minutes of action, Roi Pereira Conde found himself drawing thin with his 10♠ 7♠ against Alexandros Papadopoulos’ A♠ 3♠ on a J J♠ 4♠ board. It went from thin to out by the river once a K♠ hit the river, giving Papadopoulos an unnecessary nut flush to send Conde to the rail in 248th place (€0).

Once the remaining 247 players were guaranteed the minimum payday of €9400 (for a €5000 buy in tournament), the cash out cage became a busy place. Paul Newey, Adrian Mateos, Thomas Muehloecker, Saar Wilf, and Sammartino all collecting their own pieces of the prize pool prior to the dinner break. After the sustenance Moshe, Maksim Prokhorov, and Helppi would hit the rail. By the time the final elimination was made on Thursday night, only 70 players remained:

1. Benjamin Richardson, 2.804 million
2. Tsugunari Toma, 2.448 million
3. Scott Wellenbach, 2.032 million
4. Aleksandr Gofman, 1.915 million
5. Patrick Leonard, 1.785 million
6. Nadia Wanzi, 1.657 million
7. Mesbah Guerfi, 1.552 million
8. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 1.465 million
9. Albert Daher, 1.381 million
10. Aeragan Arunan, 1.345 million

The plan for Friday is for the remaining 70 players to battle through another five levels of play (90-minute levels) and try to reduce the field to a manageable number. The final table is set for Sunday, meaning that bringing the field to roughly four eight-handed tables (32 players) by the end of play on Friday would leave a manageable number for Saturday’s efforts. It is also possible that, if the players are particularly itchy to get their gamble on, that the day on Friday could end earlier if the field is culled quickly.

The PokerStars Championship Barcelona is the biggest yet for what used to be called the European Poker Tour and it remains to be seen if this is a trend that will continue. For now, officials with PokerStars are pleased and the players are quite happy as well, having the opportunity to play for a €1,410,000 first place prize (and a final table where each participant will receive a six-figure payday) and, at least for a moment, rekindle the past greatness of the European circuit.

Poker News Daily

Players Air Issues with European Poker Tour Following Barcelona Event

 Players Air Issues with European Poker Tour Following Barcelona Event

For 13 seasons, the European Poker Tour has arguably provided one of the best tournament experiences in the industry. Lavish parties, well-run tournaments and other entertainment has been the hallmark of the EPT since its creation back in 2003. According to several players, that has all gone away since the ownership of the circuit changed hands, bad enough that they have actually begun to voice their displeasure.

The €5000 Main Event in Barcelona, Spain (which ran at the end of August) was the kickoff to the Season 13 schedule for the EPT, but there was a wealth of other side events that ran in coordination with the EPT Main Event. Over the 12 days that the poker festival was conducted, 64 tournaments were run with buy-ins beginning at €100 and ranging up to the €50,000 Super High Roller. While some might have liked the variety, some in the tournament poker world didn’t think that jamming through five tournaments per day (on average) was good for the game.

Starting the fires of discontent was Irish poker pro Dara O’Kearney, who frequents the EPT as well as other tournaments run by the PokerStars contingent. He starts his blog post with an analogy, discussing how his parents once frequented a small local grocery store in his hometown. Once the curmudgeonly but likeable owner sold the store, the parents went to the “big” store a little further away from his home, but they never got the same service as they did at that “mom and pop” store. They eventually wouldn’t return and the small store shut down.

O’Kearney then brings his analogy full circle in discussing the current state of the EPT. Noting his experience at the MPN Poker Tour in Talinn, Estonia – saying that the overall event was “very cheerful” and that the personnel involved were working “flat out to provide as much cheer as a presumably quite limited budget allows” – O’Kearney then compares the experience with the Amaya Gaming owned PokerStars stop in Barcelona and notes it used to be more like the MPN experience, but not anymore.

“Stars used to be very good at this,” O’Kearney states. “In the early days they treated live events as marketing and budgeted accordingly. Over time they decided they didn’t want to spend money on this anymore, and the goody bags got meaner, the parties less impressive, the hotels simultaneously worse and more expensive, the tournaments simultaneously faster and more raked. In Barcelona I was told that Amaya no longer want to break even from live events; they want to make as much money as they can from them. And boy does it show.”

“The 10AM starts also make for a lot of tired grumpy players and dealers,” O’Kearney continues. “One of the features of the EPT and Stars events in general used to be that you had the best and friendliest dealers in the world. Some of the same faces remain and are as friendly and professional as ever, but many have left, and most of their replacements are sullen and unsure of the latest rule changes. It seems clear that customer satisfaction is no longer a priority, and may not even be included as part of the training.”

These thoughts from O’Kearney were echoed by Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk on the Two Plus Two forum. In a thread there, Polk detailed how the EPT now was going to pay out 20% of the players in tournaments, seriously reducing the overall win for the eventual champion but sending more players home happy with a cash. “I think this is a good firm step in the wrong direction, decreasing the skill in events for the players,” Polk commented in starting the thread.

This has been a long debate in the tournament poker world. There is a faction that believes the larger payout brings more glory and, as a result, brings in more players. There is another faction, however, that believes the more people paid, the happier players are overall. Even this year’s World Series of Poker adapted the latter, paying out 15% of the players at the world’s most prestigious events.

For their part, Amaya – which took over the EPT when they purchased PokerStars from the Scheinberg family in 2014 – has stated that there have been no changes to the quality of the product they are putting out with the EPT. There will be a change as of next year, with Amaya Gaming changing the name of the EPT to the PokerStars Championships, but they seem to expect to carry on the same quality.

The debate will continue regarding whether there has been a decline in the quality of the EPT. It is obvious, though, that players are looking for the best value for their tournament dollar and will go to the events that provide that “bang for the buck.”

Poker News Daily



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