Posts Tagged ‘Champions’

Daniel Weinman Wins WPT Season XV Tournament of Champions

 Daniel Weinman Wins WPT Season XV Tournament of Champions

Though the next World Poker Tour event is just around the corner, WPT Season XV officially ended Sunday night as Daniel Weinman won the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Because it is now invitational only, the WPT’s season-ending tournament is small – just 66 players entered – but as it is limited to former WPT title winners, the field was obviously stacked with heavy hitters. Even those that may not be the absolute cream of the crop still clearly have both experience and success staring down the pressure that comes with a deep run in a major tournament.

For his win, Weinman received $ 381,500. But that’s not all. He also won a heap of other prizes, including a $ 15,000 entry into next year’s WPT Tournament of Champions, a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe, a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red watch, a pair of Monster Rose Gold Wireless Over-Ear Element Headphones, a custom premium poker table from BBO Poker Tables, a one-week stay with Wyndham Extra Holidays, and a spot in Tiger’s Poker Night, which is a presented by the WPT. Not bad. I mean, the headphones are kind of ridiculous looking, the watch is gaudy is hell, I would have nowhere to put the poker table, and the Audi isn’t really a practical family car for a guy like me, but I wasn’t the one who won all of that stuff.

Speaking with legendary WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage after the victory, Weinman said, “It feels incredible. I think I played some awesome poker today and I came out on top so I can’t really ask for anything more. It was a long three days, I was very sick the first day, I was kind of lucky to get through. But then I feel like I was able to focus on the last two days.”

Weinman began final table play as the chip leader and held onto the lead for most of Sunday. Most people relish the idea of having the largest chip stack at the poker table, but Weinman had some interesting thoughts about that, saying, “….I’d almost rather be short, just kind of have my mind-game simplified. Being the chip leader you really have to be involved in tons of pots, and I really didn’t have chips the entire tournament until the later stages of yesterday when I kind of went on a rush.”

It is kind of like being a high seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. There is a lot of pressure on you in the opening round because you are expected to win. The lower seed, or in this case, the short stack, has nothing to lose and is therefore sometimes able to put pressure on the favorite.

As mentioned, the WPT turns around very fast from here. Season XVI begins later this week with WPT Beijing, an invitation-only tournament. After that, it’s WPT Amsterdam in the first week of May.

World Poker Tour Season XIV Tournament of Champions – Final Money Results

1.    Daniel Weinman – $ 381,500
2.    Michael Mizrachi – $ 218,000
3.    Daniel Santoro – $ 133,525
4.    David Ormsby – $ 95,375
5.    Erik Seidel – $ 73,575
6.    Dylan Wilkerson – $ 57,225
7.    Stefan Schillhabel – $ 49,050
8.    Jesse Sylvia – $ 43,600
9.    Jonathan Jaffe – $ 38,150

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Daniel Weinman Leads Final Table for Monster WPT Tournament of Champions

 Daniel Weinman Leads Final Table for Monster WPT Tournament of Champions

After two days of battle through 66 of the greatest champions the World Poker Tour has seen, the final table has been set in the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. Making the most out of his championship won at the Borgata in January during the Season XV schedule, Daniel Weinman will sit atop the standings when action resumes on Sunday, but several dangerous WPT Champions’ Club members – including a Poker Hall of Famer and one who may join that illustrious group – are looking to take him down.

When the tournament resumed on Saturday, 30 players remained from the 66 who started the event the previous day (an improvement of two players versus the inaugural run of the tournament in 2016). The always-dangerous Michael Mizrachi, who is building a resume that could be Hall of Fame worthy, was atop the standings at the beginning of the day’s play with 287,600 in chips. The hometown hero was joined by another popular Florida pro, James Romero (276,000), in leading the pack. Arranged behind the twosome in the Top Five were Griffin Paul (214,300), Tyler Patterson (199,300) and Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel (179,200).

To start the day, the defending champion of the event was bounced. Inaugural ToC victor Farid Yachou, who came into Day 2 on an extremely short stack, made an opening raise only to see Dylan Wilkerson try to bully him out of the pot with a three-bet. Yachou wasn’t going anywhere, however, making the call and revealing a pocket pair of fours for the race against Wilkerson’s Big Slick. The Q-J-9 flop wasn’t a good one for Yachou and, when a ten came on the turn, it was all over for the former champion. After a King on the river cruelly gave Yachou the second best straight on the board (Wilkerson’s Ace made him Broadway), the former champion headed to the rail to see who would be the next to hold the crown.

With only the final nine players receiving a payday from the tournament, the players actively tried to chip up to be in position for one of those slots. Mizrachi looked to continue his dominance in the event by knocking out two-time WPT champion (in Season XV alone) Sam Panzica, while Wilkerson continued his march up the leaderboard in cutting some chips from Romero when Wilkerson’s pocket Kings stood tall over Romero’s pocket Queens in a cooler. Once Marvin Rettenmaier was bumped off by Zachary Smiley in 25th place, the final three tables were set for the tournament.

The action didn’t let up at this point but increased as players looked to take on Mizrachi and Wilkerson. Stefan Schillhabel emerged as a potential contender, eliminating Scott Seiver from the festivities while climbing to 240,000 in chips, as did Paul, who quietly kept his name in the mix even while sitting to Mizrachi’s right. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that a big hand occurred that would influence the final table.

After Seidel raised out of the cutoff, Romero three bet the action out of the big blind back to the eight-time WSOP bracelet winner. Seidel four-bet Romero (that should have warned James there) and, after Romero used a Time Bank chip (the tournament was played with a 30-second “shot clock” and players had five Time Bank chips that gave them an additional minute each to ponder complex hands), Romero decided to put his tournament life on the line. With just a few more chips than Romero, Seidel made the call and the table saw what the “big dogs” were betting.

Seidel’s hand was potentially predictable – A♣ K♣ – but Romero’s was a bit surprising. Instead of a middle pair or even a big Ace, Romero only mustered an A-9 off suit for the battle. Once the A-K-Q flop rolled, Romero was looking to draw to a Broadway straight just to be able to split the pot barring runner-runner nines. Once a deuce hit the turn, Romero was drawing dead (and hit the rail on the next hand) as Seidel thrust his name into contention for the ToC championship.

The players that walked out of the Hard Rock with nothing to show for their two days at the ToC read like a Who’s Who of poker. Former World Champion Ryan Riess (who won his way into the ToC by taking down the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale on Thursday), Anthony Zinno, James Mackey (running Big Slick into Daniel Santoro’s pocket Aces) and Paul were some of the victims caught in the minefield of elimination. It was also the time Weinman began his move to the top.

On two consecutive hands, Weinman would use the ladies to his advantage. All in against Wilkerson’s pocket nines, Weinman’s pocket Queens would hold strong to double up, then he would pull the trick a second time in clashing with Mizrachi’s pocket nines when, holding Big Chick (A-Q) he hit another lady in the window to top him. Those two hands catapulted him to 315,000 in chips and he would utilize those to surge into the lead.

It would be another hand with Mizrachi that put Weinman in the lead for the night. On a K-8-6-J-6 board, Mizrachi put out a bet that send Weinman into the tank. Using two Time Bank chips, eventually Weinman found the call in him and, after a tap of the table from Mizrachi that he had been bluffing, Weinman officially showed a K-Q for Kings up to take a pot that pushed him to 585,000.

Once Jonathan Little was eliminated by David Ormsby, the final 10 men looked to determine who would be the last unfortunate to not receive any of the prize pool. It would be Mizrachi who would bring the tournament into the money when he rivered a nut flush against Lee Markholdt’s pocket eights to eliminate Markholdt in tenth place ($ 0) and move to the nine handed unofficial final table as the chip leader with 705K in chips.

After the redraw was complete, the battle for the official WPT six-handed final table began. Mizrachi stayed active, doubling up Wilkerson, before knocking off Jonathan Jaffe in ninth place. Weinman, however, was up to the task as he moved into the lead after cutting a stack of chips from Santoro to crack the 800K mark. Seidel would eliminate Jesse Sylvia in eighth place over the course of two hands and, after another dozen hands of play, Wilkerson would end the action for the day by taking down Schillhabel in seventh place to set the final table for the WPT Tournament of Champions.

1. Daniel Weinman, 872,000
2. Michael Mizrachi, 699,000
3. Dylan Wilkerson, 641,000
4. Erik Seidel, 540,000
5. David Ormsby, 299,000
6. Daniel Santoro, 250,000

There is still plenty of time for one of these six men to catch fire and move on the leaderboard. Even the short stacks of Ormsby and Santoro (30 and 25 big blinds, each) have some working room to look for the right hand to double on, making this afternoon’s action one that shouldn’t be missed. The final table will be live streamed at WPT.com beginning at 4:30PM (a 30-minute delay) and will also be taped for the broadcast of the WPT on Fox Sports 1. All six men are guaranteed a $ 57,225 return on their $ 15,000 investment, with the eventual champion walking off with $ 381,500 and a boatload of other prizes (including a 2018 Audi S5) for their work.

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Farid Yachou Wins First WPT Tournament of Champions

 Farid Yachou Wins First WPT Tournament of Champions

Season XIV of the World Poker Tour (WPT) wrapped up Sunday after a busy couple weeks at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. With three major WPT events – the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale, and the WPT Tournament of Champions – strung together, it made for quite an exciting stretch of poker. The WPT Tournament of Champions concluded yesterday to cap everything off as Farid Yachou outlasted the 64-player field to claim his second career WPT title.

The Tournament of Champions, as has been documented on this site, replaced the WPT World Championship as the season-ending event for the World Poker Tour. Attendance at the WPT World Championship had been declining over the years, so the WPT decided it was time to mix it up. It had already moved the event from the Bellagio in Las Vegas to the Borgata in Atlantic City in 2014 and dropped the buy-in from $ 25,000 to $ 15,000. Attendance was helped because of the lower buy-in (and perhaps the east coast location), but the interest and glamour wasn’t really there anymore.

Thus, the WPT made the radical change, moving the event to Florida, renaming it, and restricting it to players who had won a WPT title. Those who won one this season were awarded a free seat; all other past champions had to pay $ 15,000 to enter. Only 64 players entered, which is much, much lower than even the previous low, but perhaps the WPT doesn’t mind that, as it will “truly be a championship event,” as WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska said when the change was first announced.

Farid Yachou had qualified for the WPT Tournament of Champions by winning WPT Amsterdam last year, the second event of Season XIV. This is the only other recorded cash he has on TheHendonMob.com and it allowed him to gain a free entry into the season-ending tourney.

That $ 15,000 entry was quite the incentive for Yachou to make the trip across the pond from the Netherlands, as according to the post-game release by the WPT, he is extremely scared of flying. He conquered that fear, though, and made his first trip to United States just so he could play in this poker tournament. Not a bad welcome to the U-S-of-A, huh?

Yachou won a truckload of prizes, almost quite literally. In addition to the $ 381,600 first prize, he received 2016 Corvette courtesy of Monster (hopefully a red one – RIP Prince), a Hublot King Power Titanium watch, an Aurae Solid Gold MasterCard, a custom poker table from BBO Poker Tables, a seat in Tiger’s Poker Night (that would be Tiger Woods), and a round of golf at Shadow Creek with two friends and tournament director Matt Savage.

Of his victory, Yachou said, “It’s something I cannot believe. I am seated with only champions. I said to myself, ‘I will be glad if I finish 30th.’ Then, day by day and hand by hand it came altogether, and everything came to me.”

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2016 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions Day 2: Strong Final Table Features Jonathan Jaffe, Michael Mizrachi Among Leaders

 2016 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions Day 2: Strong Final Table Features Jonathan Jaffe, Michael Mizrachi Among Leaders

The first-ever final table for the Monster World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions has been set after a day of play on Saturday and it has six men that are well-qualified to be sitting in the seats. Atop the leaderboard when action resumes this afternoon is Jonathan Jaffe, but he’ll be facing some heat from Florida’s own Michael Mizrachi.

31 men returned on Saturday from the 64 player field, looking to claim their piece of the prize pool and potentially the first title of this semi-invitational event (players are eligible by having won a previous WPT event; those that didn’t win during the Season XIV schedule had to pony up a $ 15,000 buy in to be able to play). The man who had the best fortunes through the action on Friday was defending WPT Amsterdam champion Farid Yachou, who was able to eke out the lead over Mizrachi at the closing bell Friday night. But with only eight men taking down anything for their efforts from this tournament, the tension between the players was already at peak levels as they vied for the crown.

Coming in as the short stack for the day, former World Champion Joe Hachem was the first casualty of the day; his hopes were raised after doubling through Justin Young, but those hopes were dashed when Hachem got it in with A-Q on an A-Q-10 flop only to see Anthony Zinno turn up a K-J for Broadway. The story was a bit different for players such as Asher Conniff and Mike Scarborough, who doubled and tripled up at their tables, respectively.

Mizrachi began to make his move for the title early on after a particularly interesting hand against Griffin Paul. Paul raised out of the hijack and Mizrachi three-bet the action from the button. After the blinds got out of the way, Paul popped in a four bet of 24,500 and Mizrachi made the call to see an A-5-4 flop. Dual checks were followed by a second four, bringing a check-call from Paul of a 15K Mizrachi bet, and a seemingly innocuous eight fell on the river.

Paul would check his option and, after Mizrachi moved all in, Paul went deep in the tank. He would burn off three of his “Time Bank” chips (the “Action Clock” of 30 seconds was in play once again on Day 2 and each player had four 30 second “Time Bank” chips to use as they pleased) in deliberating his action, finally settling on a call and turning up pocket Kings for two pair. Mizrachi, however, had him clipped in turning up an A-Q for a better two pair, knocking Paul out of the tournament and sending Mizrachi into the lead.

Mizrachi meteoric rise would be short-lived, however, as another contender arose from the pack. With all the chips going in pre-flop, John Hennigan and Matt Salsberg went to the races with Salsberg’s Big Slick up against Hennigan’s pocket Queens. A paint card came on the flop, but the J-6-2 didn’t help either player and kept Hennigan in the lead. A four on the turn was another blank, leaving Salsberg grasping for one of six outs that didn’t come when the river rolled with another six. Hennigan’s two pair took the hand as he scooped up Salsberg’s chips and sent him towards the door in 21st place.

How bad did it get for Mizrachi? Soon after Salsberg’s departure, Mizrachi had to double through Jonathan Roy to reach 58K in chips, let alone get back to six figures in chips. Meanwhile, Hennigan continued to power his way through the field when his actions forced Roy to burn through all four of his “Time Bank” chips before folding his hand on a J-7-5-9-A board, claiming to have had two pair on a non-flush capable board. With his 435,000 in chips, Hennigan seemed to be in solid position for the final table, while Mizrachi was holding on for dear life.

The first dent in Hennigan’s armor came when Jaffe doubled through him. After a pre-flop raising war eventually ended with Jaffe all in, Hennigan’s pocket Queens weren’t in very good shape against Jaffe’s pocket Aces. An Ace on the turn left Hennigan drawing dead and, after the chips were counted, Jaffe picked up the 583,000 pot to take over the lead with 15 players remaining as Hennigan fell back to 235,000 in chips.

Hennigan would be victimized by another cooler, but this time it would cost him his tournament existence. On a Q-6-4-2-A board, Darren Elias moved all in against ‘Johnny World’ and, after using two “Time Bank” chips, Hennigan made the call with only pocket sevens. Elias had the pocket Aces this time and the unnecessary Ace on the river only improved him to a set, knocking Hennigan to the rail in 14th place after having held the lead a half-hour earlier.

Mizrachi began his climb back by eliminating Tyler Patterson in 13th place and doubled up through Ravi Raghavan to crack the 200K mark once again (215K, to be exact). After Justin Young’s run at a second WPT title in a week came to a close in tenth place (Young was the victor at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown on Wednesday last week), the final nine came together with Mizrachi among the bottom feeders. With only one more elimination to the money, the players were all aware of what was on the line.

The final nine men would battle through 75 hands and a dinner break before that unfortunate “bubble boy” was determined. Pushing with his pocket treys, Raghavan was looked up by Noah Schwartz’s Big Slick and held up after a flop and turn of Q-J-8-8. The Ace on the river wasn’t what he wanted to see, however, as it gave Schwartz a better two pair, Aces up, to send Raghavan to the rail with nothing to show for two days’ work and guarantee everyone left a minimum $ 38,160 payday.

Jaffe became the first player to crack the million chip mark as Mizrachi’s battles continued. He would double up through Elias to get over 330K in chips and take a hand from Jaffe to crack 400K. Once Mizrachi eliminated Yevgeniy Timoshenko in eighth place, he had completed a Lazarus-like recovery to actually become a challenger – albeit distant – to Jaffe with his 575,000 in chips.

It was inevitable that the two would clash and, on Hand 111, Jaffe and Mizrachi would face off. With about 225K in a pot with a board reading Q-6-4-10-8, Jaffe faced a 100K bet from Mizrachi. After some deliberation (including asking Mizrachi his hand content, of which of course he received no reply), Jaffe decided to fold; Mizrachi did kindly show him his pocket Queens for the flopped set as the twosome drew almost equal in chips.

Five hands later, the final table was set. Schwartz and Andy Frankenberger got their chips to the center, with Frankenberger at risk, and Schwartz held the power. His pocket eights were in good shape against Frankenberger’s A-6 off suit and, after it failed to find anything on the 9-5-4-5-Q board, Frankenberger headed for the exits in seventh place while the final six bagged their chips.

1. Jonathan Jaffe, 996,000
2. Michael Mizrachi, 871,000
3. Noah Schwartz, 532,000
4. Darren Elias, 324,000
5. Farid Yachou, 264,000
6. Vlad Darie, 214,000

The final table will begin at 4PM (Eastern Time) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The live stream will begin over Twitch approximately a half-hour later, featuring commentary from WPT Champions’ Club member Tony Dunst and Vanessa Selbst, as these six men figure out who earns the first-ever Monster WPT Tournament of Champions victory and the multitude of spoils that go along with it.

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2016 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions Day 1: 64 Players Show for Event, Farid Yachou in the Lead

 2016 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions Day 1: 64 Players Show for Event, Farid Yachou in the Lead

After two tournaments that were quite popular with the tournament professionals, the World Poker Tour rolled the dice with their end-of-season event. The Monster WPT Tournament of Champions – the replacement for the WPT World Championship – started on Friday and, from first look, the change was not as successful as WPT officials might have hoped.

The Tournament of Champions was going to be a bold experiment anyway. Only the players who won a WPT tournament on the Main Tour during its existence – 226 men in all (no woman has ever won a WPT open event) – would be eligible to participate in the tournament. The 20 players who won a tournament during the Season XIV schedule earned a seat as a part of their prize for winning their respective tournament, while the other WPT Champions’ Club members who chose to participate would have to pony up $ 15,000 to enter the tournament. While it wasn’t a question of the Season XIV winners coming to the game, it was a question how many past champions would buy into the change.

Late registration for the tournament stretched through the second level of play for the day but, from the start, it was a bit obvious that numbers-wise the WPT Tournament of Champions wasn’t going to be highly successful. 59 players were in their seats when the “shuffle up and deal” call was made and, by the time the late registration period ended, only five more players would show up. If there is an upside to having only a 64-player field, it is that there were several quality players throughout the tournament room at the Seminole Hard Rock.

Another innovation that many wanted to see play out was the “Action Clock” that was being used by the players in the Tournament of Champions. All players were given 30 seconds to make their decisions – whether pre-flop or any of the other action streets (flop, turn, river) – with the dealers in charge of running the clock on the players through a display board that all players could see. If a player had a difficult decision to make, they were allotted four “time chips” that would give them an additional 30 seconds to dwell on the issue. Players would get four of those “time chips” per day and they could not roll them over from one day to the next.

The ”Action Clock” was generally well received by the players, except for one feature that was built into the device. The “Action Clock” had a warning tone with ten seconds to go that some players found to be distracting. On many tables, it was decided to shut the warning tone off, but some players decided to leave the tone on as a secondary device to let them know when the clock was counting down.

Commentary over Twitter from the players was especially positive. “These shot clocks are absolutely amazing,” David Paredes commented to his followers over Twitter. “I wish we could have them every WPT event.” (It could happen…) Tyler Patterson also chimed in on Twitter, “Love these clocks. I’m not sure how it affects the action yet, but the mechanics for the dealers looks really easy, big numbers good sound.”

For the record, the first player to actually test out the “Action Clock” and use an extension was former World Champion Joe Hachem, who tossed out a time chip to make a call but would fold on a later street. It seems the first to use the time chip for his benefit was Marvin Rettenmaier, who was able to win a pot off of Farid Yachou after using the extension. Once again, for the history books, the first player eliminated from the WPT Tournament of Champions was Brian Altman, whose Q-J off suit fell to Shawn Cunix’s A-J after an unnecessary Ace hit the flop.

Yachou didn’t let his run-in with Rettenmaier slow him down any. He would storm through the remainder of the day, eliminating Rettenmaier late in the evening when his pocket Kings stood over Rettenmaier’s pocket Jacks, in building up a 216,700 chip stack. The reigning WPT Amsterdam champion is still a distance from actually winning the championship, however.

1. Farid Yachou, 216,700
2. Michael Mizrachi, 210,100
3. Justin Young, 196,600
4. Ravi Raghavan, 188,300
5. Noah Schwartz, 170,200
6. Tyler Patterson, 155,600
7. Jonathan Jaffe, 154,100
8. John Hennigan, 150,300

Normally we would give a Top Ten, but only eight players will take a payday from this tournament. The minimum payday is $ 38,160 for the eighth place finisher, while the eventual champion will take down $ 381,600 and a huge prize package from the WPT and Monster Headphones.

Play will resume for the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions at noon (Eastern Time), with the plan to get to the six-handed WPT final table. The champion will be determined on Sunday, which will also close the WPT’s Season XIV schedule.

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