Posts Tagged ‘Championship’
When the six-handed final table of the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event began, Kenneth Smaron was in third place with 1.855 million chips. He wasn’t in bad shape by any means, but he was still a million chips out of second and two million out of first, so he definitely had an uphill battle. Since I am mentioning his name at the outset, you might have correctly guessed that he climbed that hill successfully, winning the tournament and nearly $ 300,000.
At a typical final table, you have one or two players who tend to dominate or at least hold the chip lead for most of the way before the heads-up portion of the contest. Heads-up, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. This final table was unique in that aside from Anthony Diotte, who was eliminated on the third hand, every player held the chip lead at some point.
Denis Timofeev began with the largest chip stack, but after Diotte’s elimination, it was Robin Luca Wozniczek who took over, just inching ahead of Timofeev. Wozniczek soon ran into trouble and Timofeev regained the lead. Wozniczek himself was eliminated on the 35th hand (told you he ran into trouble).
Harpreet Gill doubled through Timofeev soon after that and then went on a quick run to make his way to the top of the chip counts. He then got abused by Smaron, highlighted by a pot worth about 2.5 million chips.
For a long time after that, Smaron looked like he was running away with the tournament, building his stack at points to over 6 and 7 million chips. His two competitors, Timofeev and Gill, though, kept forging ahead, eventually pulling into nearly a three-way tie on Hand 156.
The chip lead was upended multiple times in the next few hands before Smaron knocked out Timofeev in third place. Going into heads-up, it was relatively close, with Smaron ahead 6.130 million to 4.895 million.
It didn’t stay close for long, as Smaron won it in just nine hands. On the final hand, Gill limped with T-8, Smaron raised to 350,000 with K-J of clubs, and Gill decided it was time to move all-in for his remaining 2.615 million chips. Smaron thought about it, but finally decided to call (obviously, or else this wouldn’t be the final hand). The flop was great for Smaron without actually giving him a hand – Q-A-9 with two clubs, giving him a royal flush draw. The next two cards did nothing for either player and Smaron won with his King-high.
Smaron, an accomplished online poker player, now has more than $ 1.2 million in live tournament earnings. This was his first major main event title, though he did win the 2015 European Poker Tour Prague High Roller for about half of his total earnings, $ 654,302.
2017 PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event – Final Table Results
1. Kenneth Smaron – $ 293,860
2. Harpreet Gill – $ 217,860
3. Denis Timofeev – $ 161,340
4. Jonathan Abdellatif – $ 119,480
5. Robin Luca Wozniczek – $ 88,480
6. Anthony Diotte – $ 65,520
After five days of battle at the Solis Hotel, Spa and Casino in Panama City, the final six men have been determined for the second-ever stop on the PokerStars Championship circuit in Panama. When the final table plays out on Monday, Russia’s Denis Timofeev will continue at the helm as he did on Day 4, but he’ll be sitting atop a 3.905 million chip stack for the penultimate battle.
12 men came back on Sunday with the task of setting the final table for the tournament. Timofeev, as previously stated, was in the lead with slightly more than two millino chips and there were some notable names in the pack behind him. Of particular interest was 2015 GPI Player of the Year Byron Kaverman, who was in third place with 1.236 million in chips, and the man who was the chip leader through the first two days of the tournament, Igor Yaroshevskyy. Yaroshevskyy was on the short stack with 422,000 in chips, however, and needed to make an early move to get back to viability.
It would take less than two hours for the players to eliminate three men and set the unofficial final table. Yaroshevskyy was the man who would earn that dubious honor, pushing all in after Kenneth Smaron put out a raise and Harpreet Gill made the call. Smaron immediately made the call and, after Gill sheepishly showed a A-2 as he mucked, Smaron showed Big Slick. Yaroshevskyy was beaten by a pip, holding Big Chick, but the flop had a sense of humor in coming down K-Q-3. Unfortunately for Yaroshevskyy, he couldn’t find another Queen to best Smaron and headed to the rail in tenth place ($ 27,260) and Smaron took over the lead.
Now with nine men on the redrawn unofficial final table, Timofeev and Kaverman were seated with Kaverman on Timofeev’s immediate left. Although he was out of position to a tough player, the duo didn’t tangle much. Instead, Timofeev took out his aggression on other members of the table. He forced Jonathan Abdellatif to lay a hand down and slowly saw his chip stack inch upwards. As Level 22 began in the tournament (10K/20K with a 3K ante), Timofeev was slightly behind Smaron while Kaverman was having difficulties.
Kaverman never got anything started once play reached the final table, getting his final chips in against Smaron with K-J against Smaron’s pocket treys. A monochrome 6♦ 3♦ 8♦ flop left Kaverman looking for something that would provide a split pot, but that wouldn’t come when a Queen came on the turn. Once the irrelevant river was dealt (a second Queen), Kaverman was ousted in eighth place and Smaron’s chip lead got bigger.
With one player left to the close of business for the night, play tightened up considerably until one stunning hand between Smaron and Timofeev. On a 9-2-8-4-J board and with 935,000 in the pot, Timofeev pondered his action before checking to the chip leader, normally not a recommended action. Smaron played his position, moving all in against Timofeev, who this time went deep into the tank. After a five minute reconstruction in his mind, Timofeev made the call and saw Smaron had 10-8 for a flopped middle pair. Letting off a relieved sigh, Timofeev showed a J-7 for the rivered top pair and took down the 3.29 million chip pot.
The very next hand, Timofeev stayed active in pushing a bet off the button. James Salmon three bet his stack out of the big blind and, completely unlike his hand with Smaron, Timofeev immediately made the call. His A-10 might have been on the lower end of the call spectrum, but it was the correct move as Salmon only mustered an A-2 for battle. A flopped ten all but ended the proceedings and, after a trey and a four came on the turn and river, Salmon was out in seventh and Timofeev was off to Monday’s final table with the chip lead.
1. Denis Timofeev, 3.095 million
2. Robin Wozniczek, 2.87 million
3. Kenneth Smaron, 1.855 million
4. Jonathan Abdellatif, 1.155 million
5. Harpreet Gill, 735,000
6. Anthony Diotte, 465,000
Play will resume in Panama City at noon on Monday, with the first-ever champion of the PokerStars Championship Panama taking home $ 293,860 for their efforts.
2017 PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event: Igor Yaroshevskyy Continues Domination in Leading Day 2
After crushing what was the smaller of the Day One fields, Ukrainian poker professional Igor Yaroshevskyy has continued his domination as he holds the Day 2 lead at the PokerStars Championship Panama’s Main Event.
Yaroshevskyy, sitting on top of 219,600 in chips, came into Day 2 with a monstrous lead over the remaining 171 players that remained after 366 players started the event. Second place was a bit of a surprise for many in the form of MMA champion Tito Ortiz, but those who underestimated him on Day 1A fell to his wrath as he amassed 182,000 chips. The Day 1B chip leader, Jiachen Gong, was in fourth place with 154,300 in chips, but he was looking way up at Yaroshevskyy as he strove to catch him.
One of the bits of business that had to be completed at the start of Day 2 in the Solis Hotel, Spa & Casino was setting the official prize pool and payouts for the cast gathered in Panama City. Once late registration closed on the tournament, 366 players had officially come to the party putting up $ 5,000 each to build a $ 1,775,100 prize pool. Officials with the Solis and the PokerStars Championship put their heads together and determined that 71 players would get at least a minimum payday of $ 7720, nearly 20% of the field earning a cash. The big prize for the eventual champion was set at $ 293,860, a nice chunk of change for traipsing to Central America for a poker tournament.
Yaroshevskyy came out of the gates firing on Day 2, knocking off Vicente Delgado on one of the first hands of the day. After Delgado opened the betting, Yaroshevskyy wasted little time in putting out a three bet. Undaunted, Delgado stepped up and made it four bets (21.2K) to go, at which time Yaroshevskyy seemed to have had enough. He asked how much Delgado had behind him, then five bet the action up to 47.5K. Delgado seemed ready for the fight, moving all in at this point, and Yaroshevskyy immediately made the call.
When the cards came face up, at least one of the hands was legitimate. Yaroshevskyy staked his chip lead on pocket Kings (entirely expected), but the table was simply stunned to see Delgado unveiled his A♥ 2♥ to fight for his tournament life. A Jack high board rolled out (J-5-10-9-8, for the record) to send Delgado, who had been among the bigger stacks in the room, out of the event and Yaroshevskyy’s chip stack up to a dominating 355,000.
That wasn’t even the biggest knockout for Yaroshevskyy on the day. After a raise from Thomas Altamirano and a call from Rafael Moraes, Yaroshevskyy followed suit. With all those chips in the center, a short-stacked Ambrose Ng in the big blind decided to see who was serious by moving all in (16K). Altamirano, it turned out, wasn’t, but Moraes called the bet. This now sparked Yaroshevskyy’s interest as, after a quick peek at Moraes chip stack, he moved enough chips to put Moraes at risk. Moraes made the call to set up a three-way situation (in order of strength):
Yaroshevskyy – pocket tens
Ng – pocket fours
Moraes – A♥ Q♥
It was all over but the crying when the flop came 8-10-7 to give Yaroshevskyy a crushing set. An Ace on the turn ended it for both Moraes and Ng and, to make it worse for Moraes, a Queen would come on the river for Queens up. That wasn’t good enough against Yaroshevskyy’s set, however, as both Moraes and Ng walked away while Yaroshevskyy’s stack soared to 450,000.
Lather, rinse, repeat…this is the way the day went for the Ukrainian wrecking ball. Late in the afternoon as the number of survivors slipped under 100, Yaroshevskyy was sitting atop a 710,000-chip stack, vastly outpacing his closest competitors. The final level of the day (play stops early in Panama!) played out with a bit of drama as the field tried to reach the money. That didn’t happen, meaning the remaining 78 players will come back on Friday with the first order of business to pop the money bubble.
1. Igor Yaroshevskyy, 745,500
2. Denis Timofeev, 569,000
3. Caufman Talley, 546,000
4. Tito Ortiz, 270,500
5. Vincent Allevato, 256,500
6. Pablo Gordillo, 254,500
7. Pedro Romanzo Pollino, 244,000
8. Eduards Kudrjavcevs, 237,000
9. Jessica Perez Borrego, 235,500
10. Kenneth Smaron, 234,500
Play will resume at noon on Friday in the Solis, with seven very unhappy people being sent out of the tournament arena with nothing to show for their efforts. PokerStars Live! will have all the action as the next champion is determined for the PokerStars Championships.
After seizing the lead during the previous night’s action, Mike Del Vecchio refused to be denied. Taking the sizeable chip lead he had earned, Del Vecchio would never look back as he rumbled through the remaining five men to capture his first major championship at the World Poker Tour’s Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Del Vecchio (4.27 million) held a healthy advantage over two difficult players, John Hadley (2.978 million) and Sorel Mizzi (2.283 million), when the cards hit the air on Wednesday afternoon outside the Golden State’s state capitol. In the bottom half of the ladder, Connor Drinan (1.349 million) and Steven Tabb (1.075 million) were looking to draw themselves back into the fight while WPT Champions’ Club member Olivier Busquet sat on the short stack (676,000) to start the day’s action. Just after High Noon, the sextet of poker warriors headed into the fray to determine the next champion on the circuit.
The combatants would shuffle chips around for two dozen hands before the first significant action of the final table. After a raise from Drinan, Hadley three bet the action only to see Drinan go for it with an all in four bet. Pondering his position, Hadley finally came up with a call and the race was on, Hadley’s A-J off suit against Drinan’s pocket tens. In the window of the flop came an Ace to push Hadley into the lead and, when neither of the remaining tens in the deck came out on the turn or river, Hadley had secured his double up while Drinan fell to just over a million chips.
The situation would get even worse for Drinan on Hand 27. After Busquet moved all in from the button, Drinan moved all in “over the top” from the small blind and Hadley, in the big blind, called both bets to put Busquet and Drinan in danger of elimination. Hadley had the goods as the cards were turned up:
Hadley – pocket Jacks
Drinan – K-J off suit
Busquet – Q-10 off suit
But the flop didn’t cooperate with either Hadley. Coming down Q-10-3, Busquet went from the “outhouse to the penthouse” in flopping Queens up, but Drinan also was in good shape with his open-ended straight draw as Hadley’s Jacks shriveled. A six on the turn and an unnecessary Queen on the river kept Busquet in the lead and gave him a massive triple up while eliminating Drinan in sixth place.
While the battling lower on the leaderboard raged onward, Del Vecchio quietly moved further into the lead. He cracked the five million chip mark by Hand 31 and kept it at that point for the next 20 hands before doubling up Hadley. On Hand 57, Tabb would take over the chip lead from Del Vecchio, but only ten hands later Del Vecchio would retake the lead from Tabb.
Although Tabb would momentarily take the lead back when he eliminated a short-stacked Busquet in fifth place on Hand 76, Del Vecchio would fight back. Del Vecchio would take down Hadley in fourth place to put some distance between him and Tabb but, just as quickly, Tabb reemerged as the chip leader on Hand 84. The duo fought back and forth, but they were also keenly aware of the dangerous Mizzi in their midst, who was staying viable with a mixture of timely all ins for doubles against his well-stacked opponents.
Mizzi’s patience paid off as, over the course of the next 70-plus hands, he found himself in second place and it was Tabb who was in the basement. On Hand 157, Del Vecchio kicked up the action in a “blind versus blind” battle and Tabb made his stand with an all-in. Del Vecchio made the call, turning over an A-8 off suit, while Tabb chose the Royal Court (K-Q) to stake his tournament life. When the nine-high board came with no paint, he was out in third place and Del Vecchio moved to heads up play against Mizzi with slightly less than a 2:1 lead.
Try as he might, Mizzi could never seem to wrest the lead from Del Vecchio. He came close on Hand 167, when he pulled within 120,000 chips of Del Vecchio, but Del Vecchio would reestablish his advantage (and then some) in winning a nearly 3.4 million pot on Hand 172. It would take another ten hands of action, but the end was nigh.
On Hand 182, Mizzi called a Del Vecchio bet to see an innocent 7-4-2 flop and called another bet to head to the turn. Another four didn’t seem to change things, but Mizzi’s check-raise to 1.75 million of Del Vecchio’s 600K turn bet seemed to indicate differently. Del Vecchio didn’t back down, going all in and putting Mizzi to the test, which Mizzi would respond by calling off his chips. With a 6♠ 5♠ for the open-ended straight flush draw, Mizzi would need at least another spade to complete his flush or a card to complete his straight, but Del Vecchio was asking for a red card as his 5-4 hit trips on the turn to have the lead. The final card would come down in favor of Del Vecchio as the J♥ helped nobody, sending the chips and the championship of the WPT Rolling Thunder to Mike Del Vecchio.
Mike Del Vecchio, $ 284,638
Sorel Mizzi, $ 190,105
Steve Tabb, $ 122,296
John Hadley, $ 81,930
Olivier Busquet, $ 63,013
Connor Drinan, $ 52,222
With the completion of the WPT Rolling Thunder, the WPT staff and players can take a bit of a break. The next stop on the Season XV schedule is the season ending three tournament swing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown begins on March 31, while the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale begins on April 2 and the WPT Tournament of Champions begins on April 7. This trio of events will close out the Season XV schedule and Mike Del Vecchio will be a part of it as the champion of the WPT Rolling Thunder.
The PokerStars Championships have made their inaugural swing to the Sortis Hotel, Spa and Casino in Panama City, Panama. The $ 3500 Main Event has booked its two-Day Ones at this point, but it is arguable that the overall numbers might be a bit low for the side tournaments and the Main Event.
On Day 1A, slightly more than 100 players would answer the bell for action, with a noted fighter emerging at the top of the standings. While Igor Yaroshevskyy reigned supreme over the Day 1A survivors with his 219,300 in chips, it was retired MMA champion Tito Ortiz who was drawing the lion’s share of attention. Ortiz, who has fought and won championships in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and most recently fought for Bellator MMA, was in second place behind Yaroshevskyy with his 182,000 in chips, setting himself up for Day Two well. Along with Jason Koon (175,500), Steve O’Dwyer (117,000) and former World Champion Ryan Riess (77,300), the day was replete with notables among the survivors.
Day 1B was expected to bring out a throng of players and it didn’t disappoint. 259 players came to the tables on Wednesday to bring the total number for the tournament to roughly 360 players. Of that number, 128 survived the minefields of Day 1B to join with their 43 counterparts from Day 1A to bring 171 players back to the fray on Day 2 Thursday. With his 154,300 in chips, Jiachen Gong emerged as the chip leader from Day 1B, but he will be down a bit in the overall standings.
1. Igor Yaroshevskyy, 219,600
2. Tito Ortiz, 182,000
3. Jason Koon, 175,500
4. Jiachen Gong, 154,300
5. Caufman Talley, 150,300
6. Martin Kus, 146,800
7. Kamal Abdel Bittar, 146,700
8. Luke Graham, 140,300
9. Vincente Delgado, 138,000
10. Pablo Fernandez, 133,700
What has been the bigger story of the PokerStars Championship Panama is the player numbers that have shown for the preliminary tournaments. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the player response to the Panama event against the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, but it is the only comparison that can be made currently for the “new” tour (the PokerStars Championships have taken over for the European Poker Tour and the “regional” tours that were once part of the PokerStars family). In looking at the comparison, it could be said that the Panama event isn’t drawing as hoped.
The Main Event of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas (itself formerly the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) saw a respectable crowd of 738 players turn out for the $ 5000 buy in tournament (and that was a low mark for the event – in 2016, 928 players came to the line). Although more than 350 players for a first-time event would be nice for most, for a PokerStars branded event it has to be considered a bit of a disappointment. If that doesn’t do it, then a look at some of the preliminary events – and a comparison to their counterparts in the Bahamas – might paint another picture.
For a $ 1000 “Win the Button” No Limit Hold’em Turbo tournament at the Atlantis event, 68 entries were received in the tournament; at the Panama event, only four entries were received. Another Turbo event, this one for $ 2000, only drew 19 entries from those amassed in Panama City. The $ 50,000 Super High Roller tournament, a staple of the old EPT, brought in only 21 players in Panama, very different from the 68 entries that came in for the Bahamas tournament. The “name” tournaments on the PokerStars schedule – such as their PokerStars Open (a $ 220 buy in tournament) – did draw equivalent numbers, but the PokerStars National Championship was different – a $ 1000 buy in event with re-entry for Panama, a $ 2000 single entry tournament for the Bahamas. Those tournaments saw roughly equivalent prize pools.
These numbers might not be quite as worrisome as it appears, however. The Panama stop is a first-time event, as will be the next stop on the PokerStars Championship circuit in Macau. It won’t be until May, when the PokerStars Championships head to Monte Carlo, where there can be comparisons made to tournaments that existed on the old EPT circuit. But it might be a bit concerning that player numbers are low as it might indicate players aren’t warming to the new “international” PokerStars Championship circuit.
The PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event will continue through the weekend. On Monday, the next champion will be crowned as the PokerStars Championships experiment continues onward.