Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’

Nick Petrangelo Outlasts Mike Watson, Fedor Holz to Win Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

 Nick Petrangelo Outlasts Mike Watson, Fedor Holz to Win Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

In a rather rapid final table of five hours, Nick Petrangelo got his 2017 tournament poker season off to a good start by outlasting Mike Watson and Fedor Holz to win the Aussie Millions $ 100,000 Challenge on Saturday at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Steffen Sontheimer was the leader of the event with 451,000 in chips as it entered its final day, but that lead was a tenuous one. Hot on his heels were Holz (394,500) and Petrangelo (381,000), with the remainder of the table filled out by Sam Trickett (265,000), Watson (146,000), 2016 Player of the Year David Peters (96,000) and David Steicke (78,500) rounding out the field. With only three players getting paid, the desire to remain at the final table for even the shortest of the stacks was high.

Steicke was looking for that proverbial “double up and go home” early on and he would get that (against Sontheimer), but that would be the highlight of his day. On Hand #5 after Holz had raised and Watson three-bet the action, Steicke pushed all in from the big blind and only found Watson willing to play. Watson’s Big Slick was slightly behind Steicke’s pocket Queens, but the Ace on the flop changed everything in favor of ‘SirWatts.’ A ten on the turn presented more outs for Steicke to a Broadway straight, but the river Ace instead gave Watson trips; left with 5000 in chips, those would go to Holz on the next hand as Steicke went home empty handed in seventh place.

It would take almost two dozen more hands before the next combatant left. Watson was once again the beneficiary as, after raising from the cutoff, Peters would defend his big blind. The 7-2-10 flop brought a check-call from Peters, an action that was duplicated when a Jack came on the turn. The river brought a King and Peters checked for a third time, at which time Watson put Peters to a decision for his tournament life by moving all in. Peters mulled the decision for a lengthy time, even using a ‘time bank’ chip being employed in this tournament, before calling off his stack. Whatever Peters was thinking, he didn’t put together than Watson had rivered the nuts with his Q-9 for a King-high straight. Sending his Q-10 (pair of tens) to the muck, Peters was done in sixth place.

With two more eliminations to the money, the remaining players tightened up a bit. Trickett would double through Sontheimer to put the German on the short stack, but that would be the most action for the next 20-plus hands. On Hand 52, Sontheimer’s short stack became “no stack” when he clashed with Watson.

Sontheimer raised off the button with pocket sevens, only to see Watson three-bet out of the big blind, which Sontheimer called. A 6-8-5 flop saw Watson utilize the c-bet and Sontheimer, pondering his action, burned a ‘time bank’ chip before moving all in. Watson nearly beat Sontheimer into the center with his call, turning up pocket tens for an over pair to the board. Sontheimer, however, was in good shape with his pocket sevens; the open-ended straight draw, along with his pocket pair, gave Sontheimer 10 outs to taking the hand. Alas, another five on the turn and the Queen on the river weren’t one of those 10 outs, sending the start of day chip leader to the rail in fifth place.

Trickett would be next to head home (and without any money) as, on Hand 57, Watson’s A-J picked up a Jack on the turn to leave Trickett drawing dead with his Q-9. With a $ 1.76 million prize pool to split amongst each other, Watson (holding a significant lead), Petrangelo (rather quiet) and Holz (continuing his rush from 2016) took care of their business rather quickly.

Holz would be first to go as he decided to challenge Petrangelo. Holz correctly pushed all-in against Petrangelo (holding A-8 off suit) while holding pocket fours but, after Petrangelo called, the “poker gods” weren’t with him. An Ace showed up on the flop and a second came on the turn, leaving Holz drawing to one of the two fours to vanquish Petrangelo. The river six ended that hope and sent Holz out of the event in third place, but with some money for his efforts. Holz will look to add on to his Aussie Millions trip by playing in the Main Event final table on Sunday.

Down to heads up, Watson held a slight advantage against Petrangelo, one that he would extend to a million chips only 10 hands into play. Petrangelo spent the next 10 hands getting back to even before taking the lead on Hand 96 when he forced Watson to fold the better hand (8-6) by over betting a pot on a 5-6-3-Q-5 board when Petrangelo only held a K-7. Now roughly even, the twosome would keep action to pre-flop as three-bets took down many of the next 20 hands.

With both players playing quite strong, the ending came rather suddenly. After a raise from Watson, Petrangelo (holding a slight lead) called to see an 8-2-5 flop. Both players checked their options to see a seven come on the turn, which brought a 45K bet from Petrangelo and a call from Watson. A Jack on the river presented flush possibilities, but Petrangelo didn’t hesitate in popping 150K into the center. At this point, Watson made a move, waiting until the last possible minute to move all in. After an exact count, Petrangelo made the call and showed J-8 for two pair. All Watson could muster with his gutsy move was an A-4 for only Ace high as Petrangelo took the championship.

1. Nick Petrangelo, $ 882,000
2. Mike Watson, $ 529,200
3. Fedor Holz, $ 352,800

(all amounts in Australian dollars)

With the conclusion of the $ 100,000 Challenge, the Aussie Millions Main Event will return for its conclusion on Sunday. Shurane Vijayaram will take a big chip lead to the final table, one that will also include Holz and Jeff Rossiter amongst its notables. It promises to be an exciting day as the champion of one of the poker world’s most coveted titles – Aussie Millions Main Event champion – will be decided.

Poker News Daily

2017 Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge: Germans Steffen Sontheimer, Fedor Holz Lead Final Table

 2017 Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge: Germans Steffen Sontheimer, Fedor Holz Lead Final Table

After a bit of a fitful start, the $ 100,000 Challenge got off the ground earlier this week at the 2017 Aussie Millions. On Saturday at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, the final seven men will return to action to determine a champion in the tournament.

This event was supposed to have coincided with the start of the $ 10,000 Main Event but, due to some apprehension of the players (some were in Day 1A of the Main Event and some weren’t sure they wanted to pony up that much if there weren’t going to be enough players to make it worth their while), the start date was moved to Monday to accommodate them. Additionally, Crown officials chopped the juice in half for the event, giving a bit of discount to those wanting to take part. Still, the players didn’t initially flood the tournament floor.

When the tournament kicked off only eight men were up for battle but, before the end of Level 2 (and the cutoff for the discounted juice offer), five more came to make it a two-table tournament. Once such stragglers as Sam Trickett and some re-entries (that’s right…this was an unlimited re-entry tournament), a grand total of 18 entries were taken in. The resulting prize pool of $ 1.764 million will be divvied up between the top three finishers, with the winner earning a neat $ 882,000 for their efforts (the tournament, with its low number of entries, will NOT give Player of the Year points to any calculator).

Such players as Rainer Kempe, Dan Shak, Ben Tollerene, Sam Greenwood and Mikita Badziakouski (in for two bullets) were among those that weren’t a part of the scene when the tournament closed in on the “official” final table. Once Trickett ended the day of Bryn Kenney and Alexandros Kolonias saw his tournament end at the hands of 2016 Player of the Year David Peters, the final seven men decided to call the action and come back to play for the title at a later time.

1. Steffen Sontheimer, 451,000
2. Fedor Holz, 394,500
3. Nick Petrangelo, 381,000
4. Sam Trickett, 265,000
5. Mike Watson, 146,000
6. David Peters, 96,000
7. David Steicke, 78,500

Undoubtedly all of these players are well-versed in High Roller tournaments, but you have to have some ammunition to be able to fight these wars. Thus, it will be tough for Peters or Steicke to make a run at the title. It seems that Holz is still on his heater from 2016, but the trio of Petrangelo, Trickett and Watson can’t be counted out. Sontheimer has a limited resume on the Hendon Mob database (only 14 results for a little over $ 500K in earnings), but if he’s either found the backing to play in this event or has the pockets to run with the “big dogs,” he’s got to be respected.

Because many of these players were either already in the Aussie Millions Main Event (such as Trickett) or played one of the other Day Ones in the event, the tournament was also put on hold until as late as possible – which turned out to be Saturday – to allow for these gentlemen to be able to concentrate completely on the $ 10K tournament. When they do come back to the table, the action will be a part of Jason Somerville’s live-streaming efforts on It should be an exciting finale not only to the $ 100,000 Challenge but also to the Aussie Millions.

Poker News Daily

New “Pros vs. Computer” Challenge to Begin Next Week

 New “Pros vs. Computer” Challenge to Begin Next Week

Not happy to take a draw during the competition in 2015, the brainiacs at Carnegie Mellon University have decided to challenge humanity once again on a battlefield perfect for determining future world domination – the poker table.

Starting on January 11, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science and four poker professionals – Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou – will once again battle on the virtual felt in the “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence:  Upping the Ante” competition. Over the next 20 days (starting at 11AM and concluding at 7PM), each human player will play heads-up no limit Texas Hold’em against a new opponent, the brainchild of the programmers at Carnegie Mellon. Named “Libratus” (perhaps a derivative of the name of the Roman goddess Libertas, or “liberty,” or perhaps a name indicating balance (Libra), this computer program has been in development since 2015, when the Carnegie Mellon/Poker Pro battle was last waged.

The guidelines of the action have a few tweaks over the previous competition’s brilliant format. For the 2017 version, two matches will be played simultaneously online – one human player will be on the floor of the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, one human player in an isolated room away from that action. Along with the extended time frame (the 2016 competition lasted only 14 days), this will allow the extra hands to be played and should allow for a more definitive answer as to who wins the match. At stake is a $ 200,000 payout (an improvement over the $ 100,000 offered in 2015).

Carnegie Mellon has put a great deal of effort into “Libratus” to make sure the AI is at its best for the competition. For the 2015 battle, the Carnegie Mellon computer called “Claudico” was pre-programmed with three million hours of computation to base its decisions on. “Libratus” will get five times that amount (15 million hours) and has been adjusted for some of the “tells” that humans noticed from “Claudico” in the 2015 competition. All of this has the Carnegie Mellon people very confident about their chances.

Tuomas Sandholm, a professor at Carnegie Mellon who, along with Ph.D. student Noam Brown, created “Libratus,” explained in the school’s press release the importance of the “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence” competition. “Since the earliest days of AI research, beating top human players has been a powerful measure of progress in the field,” Sandholm said. “It was achieved with chess in 1997, with Jeopardy! in 2009 and with the board game Go just last year.”

“Poker poses a far more difficult challenge than these games, as it requires a machine to make extremely complicated decisions based on incomplete information while contending with bluffs, slow play and other ploys,” Sandholm concluded. The development of such computers – and their ability to make complex decisions rapidly – has an application to the benefit of mankind in that the AI can be used in medical analysis, the military, cybersecurity, and other business applications.

In the 2015 competition, Les and Kim were joined by fellow poker professionals Bjorn Li and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk in taking on “Claudico.” Over the span of 80,000 hands, the foursome was able to defeat the computer to the tune of $ 732,713, with Li racking up $ 528,033 of that amount, Polk picking up $ 213,671 and Kim earning slightly more than $ 70,000. Les will be the one looking for revenge as, in 2015, he was the only human to “lose” to “Claudico” by the amount of $ 80,482.

Despite the gaudy dollar figure, the overall match was considered a draw because of the relatively low number of hands played in the competition. In addition, Li was the only player who could be said to have thoroughly beaten the computer, with the Polk and Kim individual matches more in the “tie” column and Les’ battle a close loss. The extra 40,000 hands for the 2017 competition will either show more of an advantage for the humans or will bring the AI and the humans closer together in the final totals.

Can the humans withstand the assault by “Libratus” or will we finally succumb to our robot overlords? With the “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence:  Upping the Ante” competition, we will have more fuel for the fire by the end of the month.

Poker News Daily

Ari Engel Rides Start of Day Chip Lead to Aussie Millions Main Event Championship; Byron Kaverman Leads $250,000 Challenge

 Ari Engel Rides Start of Day Chip Lead to Aussie Millions Main Event Championship; Byron Kaverman Leads $250,000 Challenge

After riding his start of day chip lead to heads up action, Ari Engel had to endure an epic battle against Tony Dunst to emerge as the champion of the Aussie Millions Main Event. As that mano y mano war played out, guys with plenty of money to toss around were taking part in Day One of the LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge.

Aussie Millions Main Event

Coming to the final table after a day to rest and reflect, Engel and Dunst held the 1-2 positions on the leaderboard. Engel’s 8.155 million chips massively dominated Dunst’s 5.99 million and Dunst likewise dominated the remainder of the field. His closest competitor was Samantha Abernathy, who sat behind a 2.485 million stack, and Alexander Lynskey’s 2.39 million in play. Kitty Kuo (1.005 million), John Apostolidis (960K) and Dylan Honeyman (885K) would have to find a double up quick to get their names back in the championship quest.

As she had been on Day 4, Abernathy continued to be active at the final table. She was responsible for eliminating Apostolidis in seventh place when his Big Slick failed to catch up with her pocket ladies and his chips pushed her closer to Dunst. Abernathy was saved, however, when she tried to knock off Honeyman after he moved all in. That time, her Big Slick ran up against Honeyman’s pocket Aces, but the board ran out with a straight (5-8-9-7-6) to chop up the pot.

With three players – Kuo, Lynskey and Honeyman – all under a million in chips, it became apparent there was going to be some early clashes at the final table. Honeyman got his double first through Engel, his pocket sevens surviving from the small blind against Engel’s all-in move out of the cutoff pre-flop with a suited 5-2. Next was Lynskey, whose pocket Aces survived an open-ended straight and flush draw sweat against Abernathy to capture more chips. Kuo, however, was not so fortunate.

On the button, Engel would push out a bet and Kuo, in the small blind, responded with a shove of roughly 700K in chips. After Honeyman pondered in the big blind but eventually released his hand, Engel made the call and it was off to the races:  Engel’s pocket nines were in the lead against Kuo’s A-J off suit. There was paint on the flop, but it was a Queen rather than a Jack and another Queen came on the turn. When the river six failed to hit Kuo, she was done for the Aussie Millions in sixth place.

With Engel now over the 10 million mark, Dunst had to catch up. He did that by dumping Honeyman from the tournament in dramatic fashion. Under the gun, Dunst raised the betting to 125K and saw danger in Engel making the call from the button. In the small blind, however, Honeyman looked down, liked what he saw and pushed a three-bet to the center of the baize. Undaunted, Dunst fired right back with a four-bet of 800K, which was enough for Engel to release his hand. Honeyman didn’t slow down either, putting the remainder of his stack. After Dunst called off the few more chips to make up the difference, the cards came up.

Dunst’s aggression with the A-K from under the gun short-handed was expected, as was Honeyman’s aggression with pocket Jacks from the small blind. Honeyman’s Jacks got better with a Jack on the flop, but it was joined by a ten that gave Dunst a gut shot draw at Broadway. A King on the turn didn’t change anything, but the lightning bolt of a Queen on the river completely reversed the fortunes. In making his straight, Dunst knocked out Honeyman in fifth place and drew right behind Engel in the hunt for the championship.

Now down to four-handed play, no one wanted to take the long walk out of the Crown Casino. It would take almost 40 hands (the previous three eliminations had occurred within the first 35 hands of the tournament) before Engel sent Lynskey out of the tournament in fourth place and approximately another 20 before a valiant Abernathy dropped in third place at the hands of Dunst. Down to heads up, the top two at the start of the day – Engel and Dunst – were squaring off for the title, with Dunst now in the lead by almost three million chips.

Over the span of 30 hands, Engel whittled away at the lead, drawing it down to only 1.9 million and took the lead after another 20 hands. Both players made excellent laydowns – Dunst’s laydown of a top pair of Aces after Engel turned a set of Queens was especially noteworthy – but gradually Engel began to increase his lead. After 120 hands of heads-up action, the end would finally come.

Looking at an A-4 on the button, Dunst opened up with a 325K bet that was three-bet by Engel to 925K with a J-7 off suit. After making the call, the 10-4-2 kept Dunst in the lead but Engel fired again, this time for 825K. Dunst made the call with his middle pair to a turn that would spell his demise. A Jack fell, pushing Engel into the lead and he fired another bullet. Behind for the first time, Dunst called again and, after a nine fell on the river, Engel moved all in. Dunst pondered the board, Engel’s actions and his decision, eventually determining that Engel’s story didn’t make sense. Once Engel showed his J-7 for the best hand, Dunst could only muck his cards as Engel captured the Aussie Millions Main Event title.

1. Ari Engel, $ 1,600,000
2. Tony Dunst, $ 1,000,000
3. Samantha Abernathy, $ 625,000
4. Alexander Lynskey, $ 445,000
5. Dylan Honeyman, $ 340,000
6. Kitty Kuo, $ 270,000
7. John Apostolidis, $ 210,000

LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge

If you had an extra $ 250,000 burning a hole in your pocket, then the Aussie Millions had an event for you. The LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge, now in its sixth year of play, brought together some of the most well-heeled players who decided they wanted to stick around for a few more days of poker in Melbourne. Day One kicked off alongside the Aussie Millions Main Event and, as the day wore along, there was surprisingly some confusion about just how the tournament was going to be run.

As the day started, only four players were in their chairs for the battle. Igor Kurganov, Paul Newey, Ben Tollerene and Fedor Holz were passing chips around between each other, waiting for the field to grow. One player that was pretty much ensured to show up was two-time defending champion Phil Ivey, who came in a bit late but ready to defend his crown. He would be joined by Brian Rast and Jason Mercier as the end of the first level passed.

Holz would bust out to Rast but, after Erik Seidel and Byron Kaverman bought in and Holz rebought, the first problems arose. The 10 men divided themselves into two tables of five, but how eliminations would be handled was complex. If a player immediately reentered, he would be able to draw from seats at either table. However, if the player didn’t reenter immediately, the field would collapse to one table. If another new player (or a reentry) came, then there would be a redraw to go back to two tables. Furthermore, the tournament would pay three players unless there were 20 entries in the tournament, at which point a fourth payout would kick in.

The gentlemen on the felt didn’t really care about this, they simply went about the task of playing the tournament. Steve O’Dwyer, Connor Drinan, Sam Greenwood, David Peters and Fabian Quoss all came to the fray, driving the unique entries up to 14 (15 entries overall). With only Seidel and Mercier being eliminated on Day One, there are 12 players still active:

1. Byron Kaverman, 705,000
2. Fedor Holz, 440,500
3. Paul Newey, 395,500
4. Steve O’Dwyer, 388,500
5. David Peters, 365,500
6. Brian Rast, 278,000
7. Ben Tollerene, 263,000
8. Igor Kurganov, 262,500
9. Connor Drinan, 238,000
10. Fabian Quoss, 223,000
11. Sam Greenwood, 133,000
12. Phil Ivey, 52,500

Late registration for this tournament is open until the start of action on Day Two at 2:30PM in Melbourne on Monday (10:30PM Sunday night Eastern Time) and it is possible that Seidel, Mercier and a few others might jump into the game. If five more entries are received, four players will be paid. If not, then the top prize will be $ 1,837,500, a nice way to depart Australia after another outstanding Aussie Millions festival.

Poker News Daily

Fabian Quoss Quickly Takes Down Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

 Fabian Quoss Quickly Takes Down Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

In a rapid four-hour final table – after a four-day layoff for the Aussie Millions Main Event – Germany’s Fabian Quoss defeated the start of day chip leader Ben Tollerene to capture the championship of the $ 100,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions in Melbourne on Saturday.

Tollerene was the massive leader coming into play, being the only one who was over the one million mark in chips with 1.522 million markers in front of him. Connor Drinan was the closest one to Tollerene with his 943,000 in chips and it appeared, at least at the start, that the other four men were simply playing for honor. Jason Mercier (508K), Quoss (478K) Sam Greenwood (458K) and Fedor Holz (192K) all needed some serious help if they were to work their way into contention.

Quoss would get that help on the very first hand dealt at the final table. Drinan raised the action out of the hijack with Big Slick and Quoss, sitting on his big blind, three bet with pocket Aces. As you might figure, the hand played itself out from there; Drinan pushed in the remainder of his stack, Quoss called and, following a Queen-high board, Quoss became the second place stack with 984,000 in chips while Drinan dropped to 465K. Five hands later, Drinan would get some of those chips back in eliminating the short-stacked Holz from the tournament.

The pace of play continued to be rapid as, only seven hands later, the next player would depart the scene. Now the short stack, Greenwood was forced into making some moves. He would chop a pot with chip leader Tollerene and lose a chunk to Quoss before his demise occurred. On Hand 12, Drinan would open up the betting from the cutoff and Greenwood moved all in from his small blind. Drinan, faced with the option of folding or taking out a dangerous opponent, opted to take a shot and called, showing a Q♣ 9♣ that was alive – but just barely – over Greenwood’s A♣ 2♣. All was good through the J-6-3-4 flop and turn, but the nine on the turn wasn’t what Greenwood wanted to see. With that card, his tournament was complete in fifth place and Drinan reached the 900,000 chip plateau.

That would be the apex of the day for Drinan, who was slinging chips from the drop of the flag on Saturday. Only six hands after knocking off Greenwood, Drinan let a decent sized pot go to Mercier when he couldn’t make the all-in call on the river against Mercier. Another seven hands after that, Mercier returned the favor in doubling up Drinan. One hand later, it would be all over for Drinan and it would provide Quoss with the chips he would use to win the championship.

After Quoss raised from the button. Drinan defended his big blind to see a 7♣ 10 J♣ flop. Drinan, sitting with a Q♣ 9♠ for the open-ended straight draw, opted to check his action over to Quoss in an attempt to trap. Quoss, unfortunately for Drinan, had the better end of the deal with his A♣ 2♣ for the lead and a better draw at the nut flush. He would bet 75K and, after Drinan made the call, the 9♣ landed on the turn. This brought another check-call out of Drinan into Quoss’ made nut flush, this time for 135K, and the river was devastating. A 6♣ put four clubs on the board and ramped up the action.

On the river, Drinan suddenly woke up and fired what he figured was a 165K value bet for his Queen-high flush. When Quoss came back all in against him, Drinan suddenly was left with a decision for his final 292,000 in chips. Using special time extension chips used at the Aussie Millions for players to contemplate difficult decisions, Drinan would use all but one SECOND before calling Quoss’ bet. When Quoss unveiled the turned nut flush, Drinan was out of the tournament as Quoss took a massive chip lead.

With two seven figure stacks ahead of him, Mercier did his best to stay in the game. He hung around for nearly 40 hands before Quoss was able to get a bit fortunate against him, his K-Q catching both ends by the turn against Mercier’s A 8 flush draw, to bring the tournament down to heads up play with Quoss firmly in charge.

Tollerene would prove to be just as resilient as Mercier when it came to battling Quoss. Only seven hands into heads up action, Quoss had chopped Tollerene’s stack down to slightly more than 400K (nearly an 8.5:1 advantage), but just couldn’t seem to put Tollerene away. Within ten hands, Tollerene had reduced Quoss’ advantage to 3:1, but he never could quite get it back to even to truly make a battle out of the match.

On the final hand, Quoss moved all in from the button and, after a glance at his cards, Tollerene decided they were good enough to go home on. Quoss’ K-J held the edge against Tollerene’s J-10 and, once the board rolled out 6-5-4-5-5, Quoss’ K-J played over Tollerene’s holdings to give him the hand and the championship of the $ 100,000 Challenge.

1. Fabian Quoss, $ 1,446,480
2. Ben Tollerene, $ 924,140
3. Jason Mercier, $ 602,700
4. Connor Drinan, $ 441,980
5. Sam Greenwood, $ 321,440
6. Fedor Holz, $ 281,260

(all denominations in Australian dollars)

With the $ 100,000 Challenge complete, the Aussie Millions Main Event will resume on Sunday afternoon (local time, roughly Saturday night in the United States) at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Simultaneously beside the Main Event final table, Day One of the LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge – featuring some of the most well-heeled players in the game – will open up action. When the $ 250,000 Challenge concludes on Monday, that will signify the end of the Aussie Millions for another year.

Poker News Daily