Posts Tagged ‘Championship’

2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Day 2 – Paul Michaelis Holds Lead, Money Bubble Up Next

 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Day 2 – Paul Michaelis Holds Lead, Money Bubble Up Next

The final “big” tournament on the 2017 calendar, the PokerStars Championship Prague, has completed its second day at the Casino Atrium Prague. While the leaderboard may be a bit bereft of top pros, there is a fairly heated battle for first place as Paul Michaelis’ 630,500 chip stack hold the edge over Omid Mojaverian (597,500) and Erik Walfridsson (536,500).

409 players returned on Thursday to work the field down more from the 848 runners who originally started the event. Local favorite Michal Mrakes held the edge with 202,700 chips to start the day. He was followed up by Day 1B chip leader Tsugunari Toma (181,600) and Xixiang Luo (174,900), but down the leaderboard were some more notable players. Defending World Series of Poker Europe Main Event champion Marti Roca De Torres (170,900), former “November Niner” and Czech poker legend Martin Staszko (133,100) and several PokerStars Team Pros headed by Marcin Horecki (110,400).

With the schedule set for six levels of 75-minutes each, there was plenty of chances for play amongst the horde of players remaining. There was also the chance at getting to the money bubble as, after the final entries were accepted and tallied up, 127 players would walk off with a cash from their trip to the Czech Republic. €8700 would be earned for a min-cash by those at the bottom of the table, with the top seven finishers all guaranteed a six-figure payday. All wanted the top prize, however, which came in at €775,000 when the final numbers were calculated.

As usual at the start of a new day, there were a flurry of early knockouts from players on the short stack looking to double up quick. Stefan Schillhabel, Stephen Chidwick, Gaelle Baumann, Tom Middleton, Christoph Vogelsang, Manig Loeser and Sylvain Loosli were all out of the event within the first two levels. But a couple of players bore watching as they made their moves during the day.

Noted psychologist/writer Dr. Maria Konnikova, who has been pursuing poker over the past year as part of a book she is researching, was all in and got a double up through Guillaume Pau Davy when her A-10 caught against his pocket Jacks on a 7-6-3-A-Q board. She then turned around and nearly doubled again against Hari Bercovici when, on an all-hearts board, she was able to induce Bercovici to come along with her to the river where her J played. By the end of the night’s action, the good Dr. Konnikova had held onto enough chips to move onto Day 3 as a very short stack.

Michaelis slowly was making a decent chip stack until one of the final hands of the night catapulted him into the lead. After raising pre-flop, Michaelis saw Romain Lewis three-bet him to 20K. After a couple of moments, Michaelis made the call and the twosome saw a 9-6-5 rainbow flop that both checked. After a four came on the turn, Michaelis popped another bet into the center, this time for 33K, and Lewis made the call. The river paired with another four, which seemed innocent but set off the fireworks.

Michaelis moved all in, forcing Lewis to a decision for his tournament life. With 115,000 chips in front of him (still a strong stack to head to Day 3 with), Lewis thought for a good amount of time before the clock was called on him. As the clock clicked down, Lewis eventually made the call and was unfortunately on the wrong side of the decision. Michaelis’ pocket fives have flopped a set and rivered a boat as Lewis could only muster a 7 6 for two pair.

That hand thrust Michaelis into the lead with 635,000 in chips and, by the end of the night, it was good enough to hold the overall lead:

1. Paul Michaelis, 630,500
2. Omid Mojaverian, 597,500
3. Erik Walfridsson, 536,500
4. Boris Kolev, 510,500
5. Daniel Barriocanal, 504,000
6. Dimitrios Kalaroutis, 417,000
7. Paraschos Stavridis, 414,000
8. Fatima Moreira de Melo, 406,000
9. Kalidou Sow, 405,000
10. Robert Heidorn, 394,500

140 players will return on Friday afternoon to the Casino Atrium Prague, where the first order of business will be to pop the money bubble. 13 players will walk into the Prague afternoon tomorrow with absolutely nothing to show for their efforts, which should make for a very tense early couple of hours in the tournament. Once those 127 lucky souls are determined, the €4.1 million-plus prize pool will begin to get carved up as the latest winners on the PokerStars Championship circuit are determined.

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Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship

 Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship

The Chengdu Pandas came back from near elimination to advance through the playoffs and win the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) China. The team won one million Yuan – approximately $ 151,000 – and donated five percent of it to charity.

The twelve teams participating were as follows (listed alphabetically):

• Beijing Great Dragons
• Chengdu Pandas
• Guangzhou Pioneers
• Hangzhou Legends
• Hong Kong Treasure Ships
• Kunming Phoenix
• Macau Lions
• Shanghai Golden Tigers
• Shenzhen Eagles
• Taiwan Black Bears
• Tianjin Guardians
• Xi’an Warriors

It was a long road to the title for the Pandas, as the team had to survive the early stages just to make it to the playoffs.

First was the Online Knockout stage. Here, the GPL China was divided into three groups of three teams. Two representatives from each team were selected to compete, each playing in separate four-handed Sit-and-Go’s against players from the other three teams in the group. Points were distributed based on order of finish, with first place at each table receiving 3 points, second place getting 2 points, and third place receiving 1 point. The first player knocked out at each table did not win any points for his or her team.

Next was the Live Knockout stage. It was similar to the online portion, but instead of one player from each team at each table, there were two. Additionally, there was one extra Sit-and-Go, for a total of three eight-handed tables. The top four players at each table earned points for their teams: 16 points for first, 11 for second, 8 for third, and 5 for fourth.

The point totals from both stages were added up and the top two teams from each group automatically advanced to the playoffs:

Group A: Taiwan (86 points) and Shanghai (71 points)
Group B: Tianjin (84 points) and Xi’an (69 points)
Group C: Kunming (71 points) and Hong Kong (60 points)

As you can see, the eventual champ, Chengdu, was not one of the automatic playoff qualifiers. As such, they and the other four lowest scoring teams played in a Resurrection round, with the top two points earners gaining the final two spots in the playoffs.

Round 1 of the Resurrection stage had three players from a team sit at a nine-handed table against players from two other teams. Four tables were in play simultaneously. Scoring was the same as in the Live Knockout stage.

Round 2 consisted of three six-handed tables with one player from each team at each table. First place earned 15 points, second place earned 10 points, and third earned 5 points.

Round 3 consisted of interesting two-versus-two heads-up matches in which pairs of teammates shared hole cards. Each team played against just one other team, three tables total. Heads-up winners got 15 points, the losers got 5 points.

In the end, Chengdu earned 88 points in the Resurrection stage and Beijing earned 77 points to clinch the final two playoff spots.

In the playoffs, the eight teams were split into two groups, competing in similar matches to the preliminary rounds. The online matches were four-handed as they were before, while the live rounds had the same eight-max, six-max, and two-versus-two heads-up matches as there were in the previous rounds.

Chengdu, Hong Kong, Kunming, and Shanghai advanced to the semi-finals where the same match formats were again featured. Chengdu dominated, scoring 88 points, and faced off against Hong Kong – which earned 55 points – in the finals.

The finals featured got rid of the four-handed online matches and swapped in a traditional heads-up match for the eight-handed game. This time, though, the points across all games weren’t added up to determine a winner, but instead, it was a sort of double best-of-three.

The team that won two of the six-max, two-versus-two, and heads-up matches would win a round. Win two rounds and you’re the champ. Hong Kong took the first six-handed game, but Chengdu stormed back to win the two-versus-two and heads-up matches to clinch the first round. In the second round, Chengdu won the two-versus-two and Hong Kong won the heads-up, so it came down to the six-max to either nail it down for Chengdu or keep Hong Kong alive.

In crazy final hand, one Chengdu player was all-in against two Hong Kong players, who also both shoved on an 8-A-2 flop. The Panda had A-3, virtually dead to rights against one of the Treasure Ship player’s A-T (the other player had just 9-4). But a 3 fell on the turn and a Queen landed on the river to give the Panda the best hand, knocking out both rivals, and earning the inaugural GPL China championship for Chengdu.

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Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

 Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

One of the most prestigious tournaments on the World Poker Tour calendar, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event, is set to begin on Tuesday. But that start will have a cloud over it as players – from the elite professionals to the Everyday Joe – have made their displeasure known regarding the format of the tournament.

The $ 10,000 buy in tournament is already one of the biggest by price on the WPT Season XVI schedule. The reentry rules that the tournament is being conducted under are also quite lax, allowing players to re-enter the tournament up until Level 9 of the tournament. This would allow players to get back into the event – with a 30,000 chip stack and at a point where such a stack is still quite workable – at nearly the end of DAY TWO.

Naturally, these liberal unlimited reentry event rules seem to have irritated many in the poker community. First up was noted cantankerous pro Allen Kessler, who at least had democracy to prove his point for him. Out of 623 people who voted on a poll Kessler posted on Twitter, 50% of the respondents wanted the traditional freezeout format for the WPT Five Diamond. There wasn’t a huge uprising against a re-entry, but it was resoundingly a solo re-entry (39%), while the unlimited re-entry option received 11% of the voting public.

While the public vote on Kessler’s Twitter page was dominated by the freezeout vote, there were some pros who took Kessler to task in advocating for the freezeout over the unlimited option. Matthew Waxman criticized Kessler in Tweeting, “You play plenty of re-entries that are within your financial comfort zone. You complain about this one because it’s not. If I were an elitist, I would just ignore you. You are being hypocritical and I’m just trying to show you that.

David ‘ODB’ Baker took another tack in answering Kessler’s question. “Poker tourneys can be like golf courses. Some set up better for some than others. Sit this one out if you don’t like it. I don’t like it I’m sitting it out,” Baker stated over Twitter to Kessler. Dominik Nitsche added in his two cents on Twitter, chirping, “I actually do agree with you in general that single reentry (or freezeout) is better. Just think it’s too late for this one (to be changed).”

It is one of the debates that has raged across poker for the last few years. Originally, the tournaments were called “rebuy” tournaments in the mid-2000s and those tournaments were routinely dominated by those whose deep pockets weren’t impacted. In the 2006 World Series of Poker $ 1000 No Limit Hold’em event with rebuys, Daniel Negreanu reportedly made 46 rebuys during the tournament. Along with the two add-ons he could take, “Kid Poker” spewed $ 48,000 in tournament buy-ins; in 2007, the WSOP banned the “rebuy” events.

But all that has happened to the old “rebuy” event is they have been rebranded as today’s “re-entry” events. Offering multiple Day Ones and/or allowing for a re-entry/late entry period that stretches deep into the opening action of the tournament, players can still get that “rebuy” feeling in the renamed events. In some WPT tournaments, it is possible for a player to take advantage of every Day One and a solo rebuy (some even allow players to enter on Day 2) and spend upwards of $ 25,000 should they strike out in every attempt.

Some players dislike the re-entry tournaments because it does give a professional player with craploads of money a chance to play recklessly, offering no recompense for bad play other than having to enter again, and build substantial stacks (some would say elimination would be an apt punishment for those types of pros). Other players talk about how it pushes out the recreational player, who has but one shot in a tournament and has to potentially run through someone more than twice if they are to even cash. Those that are for the re-entry tournaments point out how it can build a prize pool to levels higher than it would should the tournament be a freezeout event.

While Kessler’s poll and the results have received some notice, don’t expect a change anytime soon in the re-entry phenomenon. The casinos enjoy it because the extra juice goes into their pockets and the tours themselves like it to build big prize pools and award big payouts. The only way for the players to vote further on this issue would be to use their wallets and not play the tournaments.

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DraftKings Sponsoring WPT European Championship

 DraftKings Sponsoring WPT European Championship

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) leader DraftKings has signed on as a sponsor of the World Poker Tour (WPT) European Championship, this per a press release issued by the WPT. The poker festival will be held at the Speilbank Casino in Berlin, Germany from January 5th through January 10th, with the Main Event beginning January 10th.

DraftKings will be sending eight people to the WPT European Championship via daily fantasy qualifiers. Three of these contests have already taken place; the next one is an NFL DFS contest scheduled for this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The entry fee is $ 75 and the contest has a maximum capacity of 119 entries. The top prize is a WPT European Championship package, while the second through fifth place finishers will win cash.

The winner’s prize package includes a €3,300 seat in the WPT European Championship, a six-night hotel stay in Berlin during the festival, and $ 1,500 to pay for flights and other travel expenses.

DraftKings is also running satellites in to the main qualifier starting at 25 cents.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome industry leader DraftKings as a sponsor for the Season XVI WPT European Championship,” said World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska in a press release. “We look forward to providing a great experience for World Poker Tour players.”

DraftKings and the World Poker Tour have worked together in the past. In 2013, DraftKings became the WPT’s exclusive daily fantasy sports partner. With that came all the expected marketing efforts: advertising at WPT events, DFS qualifiers for the WPT tournaments, and the sponsorship of the events’ live streams. Anywhere it could, DraftKings would establish tie-ins to the World Poker Tour and try to court poker players.

As legal entanglements for DraftKings grew a couple years later, the sponsorship ended, presumably so the company could focus its time and money on battling state lawmakers and Attorneys General.

DraftKings also sponsored the World Series of Poker in 2014 and 2015. The DFS leader was actually the most represented at the 2014 Main Event final table, with three players wearing a DraftKings patch. There was even an event named after the site in 2014: the $ 1,500 DraftKings 50/50, an unusually structured tournament in which half the field made the money. This echoed a popular DFS tournament format, one where players sacrifice the chance for excessive winnings at the top of the standings in exchange for a much better chance to profit.

In 2015, Max Steinberg qualified for the World Series of Poker Main Event via DraftKings and went on to finish fourth in the tournament. Unfortunately for him (an odd thing to say for someone who almost won the Main Event), he was unable to wear a DraftKings patch because the Nevada Gaming Commission ruled that DFS qualified as sports betting and thus DFS sites had to have a license to operate in Nevada. As a result, DraftKings had to withdraw its sponsorship of the WSOP shortly before the Main Event final table.

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Marti Roca De Torres Comes from Behind to Earn WSOP-E Championship Event Title

 Marti Roca De Torres Comes from Behind to Earn WSOP E Championship Event Title

After an epic 14-hour battle in which he fought from an extremely disadvantageous position, Marti Roca De Torres was able to come back and defeat Gianluca Speranza to win the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event bracelet.

The six players coming back on Friday to determine the championship ran the gamut of poker experience. Chip leader Maria Ho (7.83 million) was riding a hot streak as the leader for the last two days and arguably was one of the most experienced players on the felt. Roca De Torres was right behind her, however, with his 7.26 million stack but not the same wealth of experience. After them, the contenders were few as Gianluca Speranza (4.4 million), WSOP bracelet winner Niall Farrell (3.025 million), Mathijs Jonkers (2.785 million) and Robert Bickley (1.085 million) rounded out the table.

Roca De Torres came out of the stall firing and it nearly got him in trouble. He would double up Bickley on the first hand of action, but that would be a momentary setback. Roca De Torres won four consecutive hands, with the last one battling against Ho’s first action of the day, to slip into the lead by a mere 5000 chips. Roca De Torres extended that lead on Hand 76 when, with pocket Queens, he got Ho to bet on the flop and turn (he called) after he had hit a set on the flop and Ho hit top pair with her K-Q off suit.

It was the beginning of the end for Ho. After a Farrell raise to 275K, Ho asked for a chip count (3.255 million) and then moved all in with her leading stack. Farrell immediately called, tabling pocket Jacks, while Ho could only roll over pocket deuces for the fight. An Ace high board didn’t change anything and, for the first time in two days, Ho was the short stack on the table and Farrell was challenging Roca De Torres for the lead.

Down to her last 1.26 million ten hands after clashing with Farrell, Ho moved her stack into the center and Roca De Torres, in the small blind, only called her all in. Farrell asked for a count of Roca De Torres’ chips (and learning that Roca De Torres’ had more) before moving all in over the top of Ho’s all in. Roca De Torres didn’t hesitate at all in making the call, slapping his cards on the felt triumphantly:

Ho: A-J off suit
Farrell:  pocket Kings
Roca De Torres:  pocket Aces

With Farrell drawing thin and Ho drawing virtually to air, the nine-high board didn’t come close to giving anyone other than Roca De Torres anything. Because she started the hand with the least chips, Ho was dismissed in sixth place while Farrell was bounced in fifth place as Roca De Torres took a massive lead.

Holding more than twice the number of chips than his other three competitors combined, Roca De Torres (17.48 million) looked to be in total command over Speranza (3.45 million), Bickley (3.035 million), and Jonkers (2.47 million). As it turned out, the tournament was barely getting started as the four men battled for almost six hours before the next departure occurred.

The chip stacks were quite fluent during this time, with Roca De Torres trying to eliminate his opposition but doubling them up more than he would like. He would lose the lead to first Speranza and then Bickley, who would double on SEVEN different occasions to take over the lead. Jonkers was about the only player who didn’t hold the lead, but he was able to stay vibrant in the tournament through a judicious use of the all-in move himself. In fact, it was Jonkers who would deliver the knockout that found the fourth-place finisher.

With the blinds and antes whipping around four handed, Bickley made a move all in out of the small blind, but Jonkers wasn’t going anywhere in making the call. Bickley had been caught, sheepishly showing his 3-2, while Jonkers was dominant with his A 7. The Q-10-9-2-9 not only didn’t help Bickley any, the three spades that were there improved Jonkers to the nut flush and sent Bickley out of the King’s Casino in fourth place.

Even after the knockout, Jonkers and Roca De Torres were still way behind Speranza. That chip discrepancy got even greater after Speranza, on Hand 194, bumped off Jonkers in third place after turning am unnecessary spade nut flush against a pair for Jonkers. As Speranza and Roca De Torres settled in for the heads-up match, Speranza held a more than 3:1 lead (19.95 million to 6.5 million).

Roca De Torres tried to come out aggressively from the start of heads up, but it almost worked against him. 15 hands into the battle, Speranza’s lead was almost 4:1 (22.05 million to 4.4 million) and it seemed that the tournament was firmly in Speranza’s hand. But just as they were sounding the last rites for Roca De Torres, he rose from the grave.

Building his stack with small victories, Roca De Torres would take over the lead on Hand 226 when he called a Speranza all-in bluff on the river. Although Speranza took the lead back only nine hands later, it seemed that bluff catch by Roca De Torres served to inspire him. He would continuously shove on the Italian and gradually grinded his way back into a competitive situation.

When the end came, it was stunningly fast. First, on Hand 269, Roca De Torres moved all in against and Speranza made the call. It was a race situation, Roca De Torres’ pocket fives up against Speranza’s A-J off suit, and the race got closer when Speranza spiked on the A-9-3 rainbow flop. That race ended, however, when a five hit on the turn to give Roca De Torres an unbeatable set and the hand. Left with only 775K after the chips were counted, Speranza sent them to the center on Hand 270 with a 10-8 off suit against Roca De Torres’ Q-5. No eight was found on the K-5-4-A-3 board, earning the title for Roca De Torres in an inspired run.

1. Marti Roca De Torres, €1,115,207
2. Gianluca Speranza, €689,246
3. Mathijs Jonkers, €476,585
4. Robert Bickley, €335,089
5. Niall Farrell, €239,639
6. Maria Ho, €174,365
7. Jack Salter, €129,121*
8. Luis Rodriguez, €97,344*

(* – eliminated on Thursday, part of official final table)

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