Posts Tagged ‘Champion’

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.

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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

WSOP Circuit Champion Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

 WSOP Circuit Champion Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

Instead of facing a trial that could have sent him to prison for 20 years, a champion of the World Series of Poker Circuit and smaller tours plea bargained his way down to only an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty.

Poker player Travell Thomas stood in the courtroom of U. S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla on Thursday and received his punishment after pleading guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges in November 2016. According to U. S. News and World Report, Thomas tearfully stood in front of the judge and spoke about how his “gambling was out of control” as he operated the $ 31 million debt scam. “I would spend days at the casinos,” the site reports him as saying, “I wouldn’t even change my clothes.” He also said that federal authorities “saved his life” when they arrested him because he couldn’t gamble anymore.

The story, as well as Thomas’ clean record, had an impact on the sentence, but Judge Failla stated that Thomas “preyed on financially distressed people.” “A lot of the money that was taken went to him and his enjoyment,” Failla stated in court as she handed down the sentence. Assistant U. S. Attorney Edward Imperatore added in more evidence, citing greed as the factor that saw the profits from the business go to benefit Thomas, including season tickets to the Buffalo Bills, trips, jewelry, cars, gambling and other casino entertainment.

Failla did go easy on Thomas with the sentence, but stated that she needed to “send a message” to others who might want to try the same tactics. He could have faced up to 16 years because of the plea bargain with prosecutors, a slight reduction from the 20 he could have faced if he had gone to trial. Instead of the maximum, Failla sentenced Thomas to eight years and four months.

Where Thomas and his company seemed to have gone astray was in the methods they employed to get people to pay off their debts. Thomas taught his employees to threaten them with lawsuits or other crimes that the customers had allegedly committed, even lying to the customers by saying they would be federally prosecuted and that “their conversations” on the phone could be used as evidence. Additionally, according to court documents presented during Thomas’ arrest, he told employees of the company not to show their scripts to anyone outside the office as they “weren’t legal” to use.

It is a rather sorry end for one of the more colorful characters who ever came to the poker tables. He first struck on the tournament poker stage in 2006 in a $ 100 tournament at the Seneca World Poker Classic, but by 2009 he was playing on larger stages. At the 2009 United States Poker Championship, he made two $ 500 tournament final tables. With that success in his pocket, he moved up once again.

In December 2009, Thomas earned his first cash on the WSOPC in Atlantic City, which drove him into more events in 2010. Thomas won a Heartland Poker Tour preliminary event in May 2010 and, in August, won a $ 500 preliminary tournament during the PokerStars.net Empire State Hold’em Championships. 2010 was also significant because it was, according to law enforcement, about the same time that Thomas’ company began employing their questionable tactics and Thomas began taking chunks of money that eventually totaled $ 1.5 million out for his personal usage.

In 2011, Thomas would win his first WSOPC ring in taking down an event in Atlantic City and captured his second in 2013 in Las Vegas. Those two victories surprisingly were the largest wins on his resume despite being only five-figure cashes. All totaled, Thomas cashed 87 times in his tournament poker career, earning slightly more than $ 510,000 (thanks to the Hendon Mob for the statistical information). Now, Thomas is a convicted felon who will head to prison in September and, perhaps the least of his concerns, a tournament poker career in shambles.

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Niall Farrell Emerges as Champion of 2016 partypoker WPT Caribbean

 Niall Farrell Emerges as Champion of 2016 partypoker WPT Caribbean

In what was a relatively quick final table, Scotland’s Niall Farrell emerged as the champion of the 2016 partypoker World Poker Tour Caribbean stop in Punta Cana on Wednesday night, defeating Troy Quenneville in heads up play.

It wasn’t your typical “final day” of action on the WPT as 11 players remained at the start of action on Wednesday. Looking to earn his second WPT title, Keven Stammen was in the lead at the crack of the gun, his 1.764 million chips lording impressively over Quenneville (1.36 million) and Anthony Augustino. Farrell (1.3 million) was in control of the second table, but just barely over Colin Moffatt (1.249 million).

The first task at hand was getting to the official WPT six-handed final table, which the combatants attacked with glee. Farrell was lucky from the start of the day, getting away with only losing a couple hundred thousand chips when Moffatt’s J-9 cracked his pocket Aces on a 9-9-6-6-9 board. That slight setback didn’t affect Farrell, however, as he quickly rebounded to oust Jorge Arias from the tournament in 11th place. Once Moffatt dumped Vishal Maini in 10th place to crack the two million chip mark, the final nine redrew for seats and the race for the championship was on.

Stammen would not be as fortunate as some of his fellow competitors during the final day of play. His chip stack slowly dwindled through the early action and, after Augustino raised his big blind, Stammen thought he could force him off with an all-in move. Augustino didn’t go away, however, calling his bet and tabling pocket Jacks for action. Stammen, battling from behind with his pocket nines, never saw a glimmer of hope on the A-4-2-8-K board and departed the tournament in eighth place as Augustino moved into the lead.

Augustino extended that lead in taking out Duff Charette on the television table “bubble” and headed to the six-handed action with a whopping 3.435 million in chips, holding a decent lead over Quenneville (2.325 million) and more than twice what the third-place competitor Moffatt (1.505 million) held. The remainder of the players were left in survival mode at the start of the official final table, with Yiannis Liperis (860K), Farrell (805K) and Stephen Woodhead (750K) looking to get back in the game.

After the warmup of working down to the final table, the players were firing bets from the start of the official final table. Farrell would get a much-needed double through Moffatt, his Q-J finding a Jack against Moffatt’s pocket tens, and he got even healthier in knocking out Woodhead in sixth place, his A-J standing tall against Woodhead’s A-10 on an eight-high board. Just as quickly as he rocketed out of the basement, however, Farrell’s rollercoaster style would send him back down after his pocket fives failed to best Moffatt’s pocket Jacks.

As Farrell entertained the viewers on the live stream of the event, Augustino was more interested in keeping his lead. Augustino tried to take down Liperis, Augustino’s K♠ Q♠ versus Liperis’ pocket sevens, but a seven on the flop ended that quest. Liperis then would challenge for the lead before giving up a sizeable chunk of chips to Quenneville, who jumped into the first slot when his pocket Jacks held up against Liperis’ A-K off suit.

With five players remaining, Quenneville’s 4.2 million chips seemed to have him set to drive even deeper into the field. The question was who from the other four players would emerge as a worthy contender. Augustino drew first blood, knocking off Liperis in fifth place when his A-9 played over Liperis’ A-3 on a J-6-4-7-4 board, and Farrell stormed from behind in doubling through Quenneville and eliminating Moffatt in fourth, his pocket sixes catching a set on the turn after Moffatt had flopped two pair with his A-7 on an A-10-7-6-J board.

Down to three-handed action, Farrell kicked his game into overdrive. He doubled through Quenneville, his Big Chick hitting against Quenneville’s Big Slick on a Q-8-6-6-A board, to rocket to nearly seven million in chips and then eliminated Augustino in third place when his Q-9 rivered a straight to top Augustino’s A-6. With those two eliminations, Farrell stacked 8.13 million chips and had a massive advantage over Quenneville (1.55 million) going to the heads up “fight.”

The reason “fight” is in quotation marks is it took all of one hand to determine the champion. Farrell, playing big stack poker, pushed all in on the button and Quenneville found a hand he was ready to fight with in making the call. Quenneville’s K♠ J♠ was a solid opponent for Farrell’s A-5 off suit and it looked good for Quenneville when a King showed in the window of the flop. Unfortunately, an Ace was also there, keeping Farrell in the lead. When the turn and river failed to bring Quenneville another King or a Jack, the hand and the championship were firmly in Farrell’s grasp.

1. Niall Farrell, $ 335,000
2. Troy Quenneville, $ 220,000
3. Anthony Augustino, $ 140,000
4. Colin Moffatt, $ 105,392
5. Yiannis Liperis, $ 80,000
6. Stephen Woodhead, $ 66,000

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Zachary Smiley Finds Happy Days as Champion of WPT Maryland Live! Main Event

 Zachary Smiley Finds Happy Days as Champion of WPT Maryland Live! Main Event

When you come into the final table of a poker tournament as one of its shorter stacks, most of the time the story doesn’t have a pleasant ending. For Zachary Smiley, however, he found happy days as he pulled himself from the bottom of the standings to the championship of the World Poker Tour’s Main Event stop at Hanover’s Maryland Live! casino.

Smiley, with only 1.255 million chips, had only one person behind him – the dangerous Cate Hall (1.235 million), who also final tabled this event in 2015 – and looked WAY up at the players ahead of him. Becoming a serial final table finisher during the Season XV schedule on the WPT, Benjamin Zamani (2.075 million) was right ahead of Smiley and Mario Silvestri held a similar stack (2.7 million). The two men at the top, Darren Elias (looking for a record-tying third WPT title) and Ryan Belz (with 4.515 million and 4.865 million chips, respectively), were the ones who had the best chance at the title when the cards hit the air on Wednesday afternoon.

It took quite some time before the first elimination occurred and, as expected, it was the short-stacked lady who had to take the long walk to the cash out cage. On Hand 73, Hall found two cards to her liking and pushed over a raise from Belz. Belz seized the opportunity to knock off a strong opponent and made the call, tabling pocket sixes to go up against Hall’s A-9 off suit. The K-10-7-Q flop and turn brought more outs for Hall to go along with her over cards, but the deuce on the river wasn’t one of those outs. After finishing in fifth place in 2015, Hall was unable to pass that in finishing in sixth in 2016.

Once Hall left the felt, the floodgates opened for the tournament. Eleven hands after Hall was ousted, Zamani became the next elimination and Smiley was the benefactor. Smiley in fact moved all in from under the gun and neither of the blinds in Zamani (small) and Belz (big) believed him. When the cards were turned up, it was seen that Smiley was making a bit of a move:

Ryan Belz:  Q♠ Q
Zachary Smiley:  A 10
Benjamin Zamani:  8♠ 8

While Smiley was way behind, Zamani was the only one at risk in the hand. Thus, Zamani couldn’t have been happy when he saw the A-K-3 flop nail Smiley perfectly. A nine on the turn and a second nine on the river kept Smiley in the lead and garnered him the triple-up while taking out Zamani at the same time in fifth place. Zamani, while probably cursing his luck, had to be pleased in his performance in Maryland, which moved him to the top of the WPT Player of the Year leaderboard.

With his stack rejuvenated, Smiley took over the action. By Hand 100, he had overtaken Belz for the lead and, once he eliminated Silvestri in third place, entered heads up play with 10.305 million chips. Belz, trying to maintain the pace, wasn’t exactly bereft of ammunition as he brought his 6.345 million chips to the fray.

The heads up play was a microcosm of what had happened earlier – two players tentatively shuffling chips back and forth, looking for their opportunity to strike. 20 hands of play actually saw Smiley increase his advantage and another 10 saw Smiley extend it to almost a 4:1 difference. With such a mountain of chips in front of him, Smiley slowly and meticulously whittled the chips from Belz until the final hand ended the tournament.

On Hand 147, Smiley continued with his aggressive tactics in putting out a raise to 300K but, instead of folding as he had previously, Belz suddenly responded with a three bet to 800K. Smiley didn’t want to play post flop, pushing his stack to the center and Belz made the call to put his tournament life on the line. When the cards were up, they basically played themselves; Smiley’s pocket fives were in the lead against Belz’s A-Q off suit and, dodging a scare on the 10-9-6-J flop and turn, Smiley earned the championship when a four came on the river, missing Belz’s potential straight draw.

1. Zachary Smiley, $ 356,536
2. Ryan Belz, $ 239,412
3. Mario Silvestri, $ 153,983
4. Darren Elias, $ 113,905
5. Benjamin Zamani, $ 85,429
6. Cate Hall, $ 68,554

The WPT takes a bit of a break before getting back into the action later this month. Up next on the Season XV schedule is the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble, set to begin on October 14 in Jacksonville, FL (there are also three WPT National Events taking place between now and then in South Korea, Brussels and Spain). For now, however, the laurels of the WPT are in the hands of a deserving Zachary Smiley.

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