Posts Tagged ‘Champions’

Mike Del Vecchio Leads 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event, Former Champions Lurking

 Mike Del Vecchio Leads 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event, Former Champions Lurking

After four grueling days (there were two Day Ones) of action, the final 38 players have been determined in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Veteran poker pro Mike Del Vecchio is at the helm of the ship following today’s play, but former champions Ari Engel and Ami Barer are lurking back in the pack with the hopes of becoming the event’s first-ever two-time champion.

158 players returned to the Crown Casino’s tournament arena on Thursday (late Wednesday night in the States of America), each with the dream of capturing Aussie gold. Two Australian players, Najeem Ajez and Frank Pezzaniti, were in the lead at the start of the day with a host of top pros in hot pursuit. Sam Grafton, Jonathan Karamalikis, Fedor Holz, Martin Finger, Harry Demetriou, Jesse Sylvia, and former World Champion Martin Jacobsen were arranged around the tournament room as the call of “shuffle up and deal” rung out.

The start of the day was good for Jacobson as, without having to show down his hand, he was able to pick up a decent stack of chips after calling a river bet from Jack Brown and then watching Brown pitch his hand into the muck. The news wasn’t as good for Sylvia, however. Responding to Duy Ho’s three-bet of his open, Sylvia answered with an all-in move and, after Ho called, it was off to the races. Ho’s pocket tens held the edge against Sylvia’s A-K off suit, and the Queen-high board added a ten on the river to give Ho an unnecessary set. Sylvia headed to the rail, one of the many on Thursday who fell short of the money.

In a change from current protocols, officials at the Crown Casino decided to pay the final 88 players in the tournament. That is slightly more than 10% of the field, a departure from other tournaments which pay anywhere from 15% to 20% of those in the competition. Holding to the usual 10%, however, has allowed this year’s Aussie Millions Main Event to pay the top two slots a million-plus payday, however.

Another player who wouldn’t be around to take part in cutting up the prize pool was Holz. The German wunderkind tried to run an A-9 that flopped a nine against Con Krousoratis, but Krousoratis had the goods. His pocket Queens were still good even after Holz flopped the nine and, after the turn brought another lady to the show, Holz was drawing dead and heading to the exits, albeit temporarily; Holz has already committed to the $ 100,000 Challenge that begins on Sunday.

The tournament could be said to be sedate until a stunner of a hand before the dinner break. In a hand between he and Jan Pettersson, Del Vecchio made the call of a 63K bet on a 5♣ 3♣ 10 to see the turn. A 7♣ on the turn brought the fireworks as Pettersson put out a 140K bet and Del Vecchio moved all in over it. Pettersson made the call and showed only an A♠ K♠ for Ace high, while Del Vecchio had Pettersson drawing dead with his J♣ 8♣. After the meaningless river was dealt (a 10♣, only improving Del Vecchio), Del Vecchio rocketed to the top of the leaderboard with nearly a million in chips.

The pace of eliminations was such that there was no need for the tournament to go to hand-for-hand play. After Matthew Wakeman was unceremoniously dumped from the tournament by Toby Lewis in 89th place, the remaining players were all guaranteed a $ 15,000 (Australian) payday for their efforts. That knockout opened the floodgates as players picked up an official cash at the Aussie Millions and a new flag for their Hendon Mob resume.

Pettersson, Jacobson, and Finger would all leave on each side of the dinner break, but the consistent over the post-bubble action was Del Vecchio’s charge to the top of the leaderboard. He powered his way over the million-chip mark right after dinner and motored over a million and a half only a couple hours later. In one of the final hands of the evening, Del Vecchio eliminated one of Australia’s favorite poker sons, Tony Hachem (the brother of former World Champion Joe), to break the two million mark and set himself up well for the Day 4 battles on Friday.

1. Mike Del Vecchio, 2.33 million
2. Aaron Lim, 1.358 million
3. Tu Lan, 1.22 million
4. Vincent Chua, 1.089 million
5. Ari Engel, 1.075 million
6. Kahle Burns, 973,000
7. Ben Richardson, 967,000
8. Najeem Ajez, 958,000
9. Espen Solaas, 862,000
10. Saijes Mundadan, 835,000

Engel, the 2016 champion of this event, is in good shape to make that run at a second Aussie Millions Main Event champion. Barer, who took down the title in 2014, is in 25th place with his 428,000 in chips and has a good deal of work to do to get into the mix for his second title.

The Aussie Millions Main Event Day 4 will begin at 12:30PM on Friday in Melbourne (8:30 Thursday night in the States of America) with the plans of working the final 38 players down to a more manageable two tables. The action is being streamed by Jason Somerfield over his Twitch account for the world to see, with the stream going all the way through the crowning of the next champion of the Aussie Millions.

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WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

 WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

Originally set as a singular event, the World Poker Tour recently announced that the third running of the WPT Tournament of Champions, this year being held for the first time at ARIA in Las Vegas, would be joined by a new tournament previously unscheduled as well as other preliminary tournaments.

What is now being called the “Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions Festival” will kick off on May 17 with its first event, a $ 10,000 buy-in Omaha Hi/Lo tournament. There will also be four one-day $ 25,000 “High Roller” tournaments and a solo $ 100,000 “Super High Roller” event. What will close out the festivities are the two official WPT events on the schedule, one the previously known Tournament of Champions and the other a new event.

The final official stop of the Season XVI schedule will now be the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, a $ 10,000 buy-in event that wasn’t previously part of the discussion. The tournament is named for the former World Champion whose prowess on the poker tables and the boardrooms of Las Vegas have become legendary. With one opportunity for re-entry into the event, it is possible that the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic – which replaces the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale of the past two years – could be one of the bigger tournaments of this year when it begins on May 20.

“ARIA takes great pride in being the host of the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions,” said Sean McCormack, director of poker operations for ARIA. “We have developed a tremendous festival of events, highlighted by the premiere of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, and are excited to welcome the biggest names in poker to Las Vegas in May.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added, “The World Poker Tour is thrilled to bring the illustrious WPT Tournament of Champions to the luxurious ARIA, as we close out a historic Season XVI. The WPT Tournament of Champions is our most prized event, and the winner will join Farid Yachou and Daniel Weinman as a WPT Tournament of Champions winner. We look forward to returning to Las Vegas, the birthplace of the WPT and the global home of poker, to crown this season’s champion of champions.”

Once the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic has concluded, the WPT Tournament of Champions will kick off its action. On May 24 (the day after the conclusion of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic), the ToC will open play for its third ever event. All the champions of the Season XVI schedule will be in the field (they have already had $ 15,000 deducted from their prize winnings) and, if any previous WPT champion wishes to join the tournament, they will put up $ 15K to get in the game. In the past two seasons, there have been other additions to the prize pool, including last year’s tournament which saw an Audi up as one of the spoils to the victor.

One problem that the ToC has had:  getting the players out to take part in the tournament. Once you limit the field to only previous WPT champions (now totaling 237 players; it will be 243 by the end of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, if no previous champion wins again), you then must look at who is going to show. Some former champions, including Doyle Brunson and Mel Judah, aren’t as active in the tournament world anymore. Someone like Howard Lederer isn’t exactly considered welcome in tournaments (outside the WSOP, it seems) and unfortunately others have passed away (David ‘Devil Fish’ Ulliott). A look at the first two staging’s of this tournament demonstrate this difficulty in getting players.

When it was originally held in 2016 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, 64 players came out as Farid Yachou captured the inaugural championship. Fast forward to 2017 and the number clicked up to 66 as David Weinman defeated Michael Mizrachi to capture the title. With the move to Las Vegas for the 2018 ToC, it is perhaps thought by WPT officials that more former champs will come out and take part in the tournament rather than go across the country to play the ToC in Florida.

It promises to be an outstanding week of poker in May as the WPT wraps up its Season XVI schedule by crowning its final champion, its Player of the Year and the next “champion of champions” with the Tournament of Champions!

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WPT Moves Tournament of Champions to ARIA

 WPT Moves Tournament of Champions to ARIA

The World Poker Tour announced recently that it is moving the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions (TOC) to the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The previous two – and only – TOCs were held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

“World Poker Tour is honored to have ARIA Resort & Casino as host of the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions and to return to Las Vegas, the global home of poker and the city where it all began for the WPT,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska in a press release. “Season XVI of the World Poker Tour has been truly historic, with the tour awarding its one-billionth prize dollar and traveling to new regions of the world with events in Beijing, India, and South America. We are proud to cap it off with the prestigious WPT Tournament of Champions at the extraordinary ARIA Resort & Casino.”

Assuming the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions will work the same way the previous two have, it is a closed, invitation-only tournament, unlike the season-ending event before the advent of the TOC, which was essentially just a higher buy-in event than the rest of the season’s tour stops.

The only players permitted to enter the TOC are members of the WPT Champions Club, that is, those who have previously won WPT Main Tour titles from any of the WPT’s sixteen seasons. Title winners from the current Season XVI, which spans 2017 and 2018, will gain free entry. Those who qualified in previous seasons will have to pay the $ 15,000 buy-in (rake free) in order to play.

The Season XV WPT Tournament of Champions drew 66 players. Daniel Weinman won the tournament, earning $ 381,500, which includes a free entry into next year’s TOC, plus a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe.

Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour, gave her thoughts on the move to the ARIA:

Season XVI marks the fifth season that the World Poker Tour has partnered with ARIA Resort & Casino, and we are thrilled to take our relationship to new heights with ARIA to host the celebrated WPT Tournament of Champions. ARIA and WPT have generated more than 16,000 tournament entries and awarded more than $ 8.1 million in prize money in our events together over the past four seasons, and we look forward to building upon this success for a world-class poker festival at ARIA Resort & Casino that culminates in the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.

The WPT Tournament of Champions is not on the official WPT Main Tour schedule yet, but it is tentatively slated for May 2018. There will also be one final Main Tour event at the ARIA festival leading up to the TOC, so players will have one more shot to qualify.

Cover photo credit: Giron

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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 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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