Posts Tagged ‘Championship’
After holding the lead since the second day of the event, Daniel Strelitz continued his domination of the proceedings at the Commerce Casino in Bell Gardens, CA on his way to winning the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic Main Event championship.
Strelitz took the lead after Day Three of the tournament and really didn’t have a threat. Coming into the final table, his 6.485 million chip stack covered everyone on the table. His closest competitor, Simeon Naydenov (2.86 million), couldn’t even muster half the chips that Strelitz held, while Jesse Martin (2.54 million) looked to catch Naydenov first before concentrating on Strelitz. Covering the bottom three slots were Jared Griener (1.895 million), Season XV WPT champion Mike Sexton (1.165 million and looking for his second title of the year) and the short-stacked Richard Tuhrim (680,000) as the cards hit the air on Thursday afternoon.
Tuhrim needed chips badly and had to find a hand early to become relevant in the tournament. On the second rotation around the table, Tuhrim found an A-7 to his liking in the big blind and pushed it to the center of the table after Strelitz had opened the betting from the button. Strelitz’s K-Q was live, but the 7-4-3-9 flop and turn not only kept Tuhrim in the lead but strengthened said lead. A King on the river was a fortunate card for Strelitz, not because by winning the hand he saved some chips but because he eliminated Tuhrim from the tournament in sixth place.
After Tuhrim’s departure, the remaining five men settled into a slog but Strelitz’s stack kept growing. After 45 hands of play, Strelitz held more than 50% of the chips on the table and nothing seemed to slow him down. Griener would knock off Martin in fifth place and, on Hand 78, Strelitz would score the knockout that seemed to seal the deal for him.
A short-stacked Sexton moved in from the button and, quickly glancing at his cards, Strelitz made the call. Sexton held a powerful pair of Kings to start the hand and, while Strelitz only could muster an A-7 off suit for battle, it still statistically had a good chance against the Cowboys (roughly 30% of the time winning). That “good chance” became a great one when the flop came A-J-7, giving Strelitz two pair and leaving Sexton looking for one of the two Kings in the deck. The nine on the turn didn’t help him and another Ace on the river only made Strelitz’s hand stronger in sending Sexton out the door in fourth place.
Down to three players, Strelitz (8.895 million) had more chips than his two competitors, Griener (3.38 million) and Naydenov (3.35 million) combined. That didn’t seem to bother either Griener or Naydenov as, over the next 30 hands, they held their own against the massively stacked Strelitz. In fact, on Hand 103 Naydenov would double up through Strelitz to pull him closer and, four hands later, would knock Strelitz from the top spot for the first time since Tuesday.
The lead change lasted for all of seven hands. After Naydenov kicked the action on Hand 114 to 200K, Strelitz took it to 680K out of the big blind. Naydenov called and the duo eyed each other on the J-7-4 flop and, after a five came on the turn, Strelitz check-called a 550K bet out of Naydenov. Both players checked the ten on the river and Strelitz, first to act, turned up pocket nines. Surprisingly, Naydenov had air as his cards headed to the muck and Strelitz picked up the sizeable pot to retake the chip lead.
As Strelitz and Naydenov ping-ponged the chip lead, all Griener could do was watch. His chip stack would slowly dwindle until, on Hand 143, Griener felt he’d found his spot. After Strelitz raised and Naydenov called, Griener pushed his 1.7 million-plus stack into the center. Although Strelitz wanted nothing to do with Griener as he quickly mucked, Naydenov wanted to take a look in making the call.
It was a race situation, Naydenov’s pocket eights with the edge over Griener’s Big Chick (A-Q), and an Ace in the window bode well for Griener. Unfortunately, when the dealer fanned the flop, there was an eight as well to give Naydenov a set. A Jack on the turn opened the possibility of a straight for Griener, but the Queen that came on the river only made him Queens up against Naydenov’s winning set, sending Griener to the rail in third place.
Down to heads up, Naydenov was doing something few had against Strelitz in the tournament – take the lead from him. Holding a roughly 1.3 million chip lead over Strelitz, Naydenov’s time at the top would only last two hands. On the second hand of heads up play, Naydenov would river a spade flush which, under other circumstances, would have been a great hand. Unfortunately for Naydenov, Strelitz had trapped him well after turning a full house, treys over Queens, that couldn’t be caught. The 4.6 million pot shifted the lead back to Strelitz and he would not let go of it again.
That was not from the lack of Naydenov fighting the good fight. It would take another 38 hands before the penultimate moment would occur and, when it did, it would be in the fashion that Strelitz had played the tournament – dominantly. On a Q-7-6-8 flop and turn, Naydenov checked to see Strelitz fire a sizeable 1.35 million bet into the pot. Reading it for a bluff, Naydenov check-raised Strelitz all in, only to see Strelitz immediately make the call. Naydenov showed a nice K-Q off suit for top pair, but the tournament was over; Strelitz’s 5-4 completed its open ended straight draw on the turn to leave Naydenov drawing dead. Once the formality of the final card was dealt (a four, for the record), Strelitz seized the championship of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic and the largest payday of his career.
1. Daniel Strelitz, $ 1,001,110
2. Simeon Naydenov, $ 672,190
3. Jared Griener, $ 431, 340
4. Mike Sexton, $ 300,690
5. Jesse Martin, $ 230,380
6. Richard Tuhrim, $ 191,490
After receiving feedback from the players regarding their inaugural event in the Bahamas, officials with PokerStars and Amaya Gaming have made some adjustments to their upcoming stop in Panama. Of interest to most players will be the more than $ 600,000 in guarantees to the tournament schedule, but other factors may drive player interest to head for Central America.
Most of the guaranteed money will be going to one tournament. The PokerStars National Championship – the organization that took over many of the national tours that PokerStars used to operate, including the Latin American Poker Tour – now will have a $ 400,000 guaranteed prize pool for its contestants. With a $ 1100 buy in, it is obvious that PokerStars is trying to drive some interest in this tournament, which replaced the LAPT Main Event.
Three other lower buy-in tournaments will have guarantees placed on them. The PokerStars Cup, a $ 440 buy in event, will have a $ 150,000 guaranteed prize pool. The $ 220 PokerStars Open will have a $ 50,000 guaranteed tournament, while a $ 120 buy in event on the schedule will feature a $ 20,000 guarantee. There are also two $ 120 super satellites for the National Championship that guarantee ten seats and two “freebuy” (no buy-in) satellites for the PokerStars Cup that will guarantee ten seats to the event (the “freebuy” tournaments will feature $ 20 rebuys).
Other aspects of the PokerStars Championship Panama have been adjusted by Amaya Gaming and PokerStars to be more player-friendly. The exhausting 90-plus tournament schedule that was run at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas has been scaled down for Panama, going from the originally scheduled 56 tournaments (that will run from March 10-20 in Panama City at the Casino Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino) to a more realistic 46 events. The High Roller events will get some special treatment in the form of a “shot clock” – a clock to enforce quicker action – for both the $ 25K High Roller and the $ 50K Super High Roller. Finally, for almost every tournament late registration will be allowed until after Level 8 of the tournament.
The PokerStars Championship Bahamas – the renamed PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, for all intents, for a brand-new tour that used to be the European Poker Tour – suffered a bit under its new auspices. The 92-tournament schedule over a nine-day period was deemed to be far too many by both the players and the staff. Additionally, the expanded payout system, which saw 20% of the field paid instead of the usual 10-15% (the World Series of Poker instituted a 15% payout system last summer), was something that players grumbled over. The total numbers that attended in the Bahamas suffered as a result.
For the $ 5000 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event, a 738-player field was in attendance. While that may sound good for a $ 5000 tournament, this was actually a massive drop from the 928 players that showed up for the tournament just last year (a 20.5% drop in attendance, to be exact) and a far cry from the “glory days” of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, when 1529 players attended the 2010 PCA (won by Harrison Gimbel). Both High Roller events saw reductions in the number of players (121 with 38 rebuys in 2017 for the $ 25K High Roller versus 173 and 52 in 2016; 41 and 13 in the $ 50K Super High Roller in 2017 versus 44 and 14 just a year earlier), and side events were reportedly sparsely attended.
The first leg of the new tour was the “familiar” part of the schedule and the traditional Bahamas start wasn’t immediately viewed as a bellwether for the new PokerStars Championship. The true indicator of the potential success of the new tour was always going to be the Panama stop (and its next stop in the Asian gaming capital of Macau). With the changes that they have implemented, Amaya and PokerStars officials hope they have now created a tournament stop that will demonstrate the validity of their logic to change from the EPT (and their relevant national tours) to the PokerStars Championship with the true indicator – massive player numbers.
2017 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 3: Charles Coates Leads Final 34, Olivier Busquet Looks for Another Borgata Championship
Coming into the home stretch of the 2017 Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event in Atlantic City, NJ, Charles Coates has been able to build a nice lead over the 34 players remaining. When one of those players is Olivier Busquet – who won this tournament in 2009 for his largest non-“High Roller” payday ever – and three other former WPT champions are in the mix, that spot on the top can potentially be an uncomfortable one, however.
168 players came back on Wednesday with the dreams of getting down to the final three tables (27 players) but likely facing the reality that they wouldn’t get close to that mark. Of importance for the remaining field, though, was in bursting the money bubble (at 130 players) before considering a deeper run. Jack Duong, sitting astride a 727,500-chip stack, was the man looking good at this point in the tournament, but there was still quite a bit of poker left to be played.
Popular East Coast pro Matt Glantz was one who came out of the gates quickly. On a 10-8-6-2-Q rainbow board, Glantz was able to get Chris Odle to pay him off on each street, including a river all-in. When Glantz turned up pocket tens for the flopped set, Odle mucked his cards (leaving many wondering just what he held and what he thought Glantz was playing). While the double-up of 435,000 chips was pushed in front of Glantz, Shaun Deeb took out a player by applying a cooler – Deeb’s pocket Kings over his opponent’s pocket Queens – and reached 635,000 in chips.
It would take about three hours of play to reach a money bubble that was quickly popped. With Mark Scacewater all in, Farhad Jamasi made the call from the big blind with Scacewater in the lead with his A-J over Jamasi’s 5-4. That all changed on the 6-6-4 flop, pushing Jamasi into the lead and leaving Scacewater looking for one of his two overs. A seven on the turn and a nine on the river did nothing to change the scenario, giving Jamasi the hand and sending Scacewater to the rail with nothing to show for his efforts.
With everyone in the room safe in the fact they were getting the min-cash of $ 6678, the cash out cage went to work. Lily Kiletto and former WPT champion Eric Afriat were a part of that parade and, following dinner, Seth Berger, Amanda Musumeci, Aaron Massey, Matt Stout, Kevin Eyster, Loni Harwood, John Racener and Glantz were part of the carnage. As the clock passed the midnight hour, Mike Dentale found the rail with 39 players left.
In one of the final hands of the night, a new contender emerged from the pack. After Kunal Patel raised from middle position, Blake Bohn called his small blind and Eugene Fouksman his big to see a 9-5-4 two-diamond flop. The two blinds checked over the Patel, who fired out a bet, and Bohn called. Fouksman wanted more, however, as he put his final chips in the center (about 250K). Patel made the call and Bohn, with a bounteous stack of chips in the center, moved all in over Patel. Patel pondered it for a moment, then made the call.
Patel might have thought it was a bluff, but he was wrong:
Bohn: pocket Queens
Patel: K-9 (pair of nines)
Fouksman: flush draw
Fouksman would catch a diamond on the river to triple up, but the monstrous side pot that was built between Patel and Bohn went to Bohn. That 3.3 million stack rocketed Bohn into first place while Patel lamented on Twitter:
Just busted the borgata main in 35th in a dumb hand in a 110 bb pot where I got it in pretty terribly. Gl to friends still in
— Kunal Patel (@kudos1017) February 2, 2017
Bohn would attempt to add to his massive stack, but it would cost him the chip lead. Going against Charles Coates on a K-J-4-6-J board, both players checked the river of an almost 500K pot. After Coates showed pocket Queens, Bohn surprisingly mucked his hand (a smaller pair?) and sent the chip lead over to Coates to start the Day 4 proceedings:
1. Charles Coates, 3.371 million
2. Blake Bohn, 3.024 million
3. Nathan Bjerno, 2.892 million
4. Jia Liu, 2.561 million
5. Adnan Mohammad, 2.325 million
6. Richard Foster, 2.1 million
7. Casey Yontz, 1.776 million
8. Tony Ruberto, 1.528 million
9. Bart Dowling, 1.4 million
10. Ji Qiang Tong, 1.365 million
Lurking under the Top Ten is Busquet (14th place, one million chips), who won this tournament in 2009 and is looking to become only the third person to win two WPT championships at the same casino. There are three other WPT champions still in the mix led by Ruberto, with Anthony Gregg (635K) and Asher Conniff (406K) having some work to do to get into contention.
The tournament will restart at noon (Eastern Time) at the Borgata and play down to the six handed WPT final table. Everyone who finishes higher than eighth will be guaranteed a six-figure payday, with the eventual champion walking off with a $ 892,433 payday.
After wading through a 738-player field to make the final table behind only the chip leader, Christian Harder continued his ferocious attack on his opposition on the way to earning the championship of the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event on Saturday.
Harder started the run a couple of days previous, working his way into the Top Ten for the Day 5 action and making the final table off that run. The only player who had it better was Michael Gentili, who led the final two days of the tournament and came to the final table with a 6.175 million chip stack. Behind Harder (with 5.985 million chips) was an array of contenders that included 2016 World Series of Poker “November Niner” Cliff Josephy, who had to work from the short stack (1.24 million) if he were to get any further on Saturday.
Harder was the first to strike at the six-handed final table as, only seven hands in, he was responsible for the first elimination. After raising the action, Harder saw Rasmus Glaesel pop in the remainder of his stack. Harder hardly hesitated, however, in making the call and laying down pocket tens for action. Glaesel found himself in a race with his Big Slick but, after an eight-high rainbow flop, saw his objective move further out in front of him. Another six on the turn wasn’t helpful either, meaning the third six – improving Harder to a boat, eliminated Glaesel from the tournament in sixth place and shot Harder into the lead.
For his part, Gentili had a tough time getting anything going on the day. He would attempt to play with his tablemates but, pretty much every time, he would have to let decent hands go when they didn’t connect with the board or were beaten anyway. After a particularly big hand against Aleksei Opalikhin – which saw Gentili defend from the big blind and Opalikhin flop a top pair of Aces (and make Aces up by the river) to eventually send a big stack of chips to Opalikhin – Gentili saw his once-mighty stack shrunk to 3.355 million.
Gentili would try to get something going but, in the end, it wasn’t to be. Opalikhin was again the opposition when he raised a pot pre-flop and Gentili fired all in “over the top” for his remaining two million or so chips. Opalikhin, who pondered his action pre-flop for a rather lengthy time, got his calling chips in the pot before Gentili could cross the line with his all-in chip as Opalikhin showed pocket Aces. All Gentili could produce were pocket deuces and, once the King-high board didn’t have a deuce amongst it, Gentili was in trouble. After the chips were counted, Opalikhin scooped up the 1.76 million chip pot and Gentili was left with scraps (145,000); those would go to Josephy as Gentili departed in fourth.
Now it was Josephy’s turn to shift into overdrive as he picked up a huge double through Opalikhin to move into second and knock Opalikhin to the bottom of the table. After a Josephy raise and a three-bet from Michael Vela, Opalikhin put his final 300K (all he had left after doubling Josephy) on the line. Josephy didn’t have an interest in continuing but Vela was more than interested as he showed his pocket Kings to go against Opalikhin’s 10-9 off suit. The A-A-A flop was about as crushing as it gets, leaving Opalikhin looking for the case Ace and a King just to split the pot. When the turn brought neither of those options, Opalikhin was drawing dead and gone from the tournament in fourth place.
By the time the dinner break arrived, Harder had the tournament firmly in his grasp. With 13.24 million chips, his nearest two competitors – Josephy (5.71 million) and Vela (2.355 million) – could barely muster more than half of Harder’s stack. Still, it was a three-way clash after dinner that had the railbirds in the Bahamas and watching the live stream buzzing.
After Harder raised off the button and Josephy called, Vela would put his final chips on the line looking for a triple up. Both Harder and Josephy went in the tank over their decisions, but both would eventually call to see a monochrome 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ flop. Harder and Josephy chose to check their options there and after the 3♥ on the turn and the 4♦ on the river. “Somebody’s got to have a diamond!” exclaimed Vela over the live stream and, sure enough, someone did. Josephy showed K♦ J♥, good for the King-high flush, while Harder was blank with an A♣ Q♣. Vela’s squeeze didn’t do him any good as his A♥ 6♥ flopped a pair but was crushed by Josephy’s rivered flush as Vela left in third place.
With three million chips separating them, Harder and Josephy decided to make a deal. After the negotiations were successful, Harder secured himself a $ 419,664 payday and Josephy picked up a $ 403,448 chunk of change. The duo decided to leave out a $ 10,000 bonus and the inaugural championship to play for, which both players would vie for aggressively. With his larger stack, however, it was only a matter of time for Harder to take the title.
On the final hand, Josephy made the raise with an A-8 and, instead of making the call, Harder three-bet the action with his A-J. Josephy didn’t believe Harder’s raise, moving all in and getting a call from Harder. Although ahead in the hand, Harder didn’t like the 9-5-4 flop that hit the table nor the K♠ that now put backdoor flush options on the table (Josephy held the A♠). The nine on the river was black, but it was the 9♣ as Harder’s A-J held to win the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event.
1. Christian Harder, $ 429,664*
2. Cliff Josephy, $ 403,448*
3. Michael Vela, $ 269,980
4. Aleksei Opalikhin, $ 191,420
5. Michael Gentili, $ 140,940
6. Rasmus Glaesel, $ 103,780
(* – deal brokered with two players remaining)
With the close of the Main Event, the PokerStars Championship will move into unknown territory. From March 10-20, the PokerStars Championship will have their second festival in Panama City, Panama, at the Casino Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino. This tournament will be important because, unlike the Bahamas event (which was basically the renamed PokerStars Caribbean Adventure), the Panama visit will be the first time the PokerStars Championship (basically the former European Poker Tour) has ventured outside of the European continent (in years previous, the Latin American Poker Tour had serviced Panama). It may be the first indicator as to how the new tournament circuit will be received by fans.
For right now, however, none of that matters. Congratulations to Christian Harder, who takes the early lead in the different Player of the Year races and banks one of the major championships in the poker world!
2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas: Michael Gentili Surges to Chip Lead on Day 4, 16 Players Remaining
It was a quick day of work for the players left alive at the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event on Thursday. After only six hours of play, the field was whittled down to the final 16 players as Michael Gentili surged to the lead.
Nick Maimone was the chip leader at the start of Day 4, sitting astride a massive stack of 1.75 million chips. There were some notables looking to chop him down, however, as Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier was tucked in behind him with 1.333 million chips. Additionally, there was a chance at some history as John Dibella, who won this same tournament back in 2012 when it was the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (and a $ 10,000 buy in tournament), sat in third place with his 1.119 million stack.
The 32 players who started the day began the parade towards the doors of the Atlantis Resort and Casino almost immediately. Gaelle Baumann would put her short stack into the center with an off-suit Q-J, but it was topped by Rodrigo Cordoba’s pocket sevens. The flop would bring Baumann an Ace and a ten, but nothing else would come on the turn or river, as Baumann hit the rail within 20 minutes of the start of the day’s play.
Pratyush Buddiga would also fall victim early on. In a “blind versus blind” battle, Buddiga would push all in out of the small blind and found a willing participant in Marcin Kapkowski. Buddiga had larceny in his heart as he showed his 9♥ 6♥, which was completely dominated by Kapkowski’s A♦ 9♦. While he didn’t need it, Kapkowski got the A♠ on an all-black flop, virtually ending any chance at the hand for Buddiga. Once a King came on the turn, it was official and Buddiga was out the door.
As these players were departing, Maimone was finding the waters rough in the position of chip leader. After getting up over the two million mark (2.3 million, exactly, after eliminating Scott Stewart), he gradually saw those chips slip through his fingers. Maimone saw his flopped trip sevens eclipsed by Michael Vela’s turned straight to fall to 1.3 million and donated more to Vela’s cause moments later when Vela flopped a set of eights against what Maimone said were pocket nines. Gentili, who had been motoring on well through the day, was the recipient of Maimone’s final 700K in chips when his pocket Kings stood tall against Maimone’s Big Slick on a Jack-high board.
Gentili, who found himself with over 2.4 million chips after defeating Maimone, didn’t put it on cruise control after that clash. On a 10-7-9-Q-2 board, Gentili fired a river bet of 400K into what would eventually become a 1.2 million pot against Michael Bartholomew, sending Bartholomew into the tank. He considered the possibility of a “set versus set” situation, admitting, “That would be pretty sick,” as the clock was called on him. As the count went down, Bartholomew made the call and saw Gentili put down a pocket pair of tens for the set; Bartholomew was right as he disgustedly showed his pocket sevens for a lesser set as the pot went to Gentili.
When Dibella knocked off Rex Clinkscales in 17th place, his A-10 off-suit flopping two pair against Clinkscales pocket eights and turning a boat, the decision was made to halt the proceedings. With 16 players remaining, Gentili has put himself in a dominant position.
1. Michael Gentili, 3.708 million
2. Aleksei Opalikhin, 2.084 million
3. Nadya Magnus, 1.87 million
4. Michael Vela, 1.811 million
5. Rodrigo Cordoba, 1.777 million
6. Cliff Josephy, 1.331 million
7. Rasmuch Glaesel, 1.319 million
8. Christian Harder, 1.305 million
9. John Dibella, 1.294 million
10. Allon Allison, 1.015 million
11. Marcin Kapkowski, 950,000
12. Michael Bartholomew, 877,000
13. Alan Schein, 635,000
14. Pedro Cabeca, 540,000
15. Ryan Riess, 371,000
16. Jason Mercier, 340,000
Day 5 will commence at noon on Friday, with the goal to chop more than half the remaining players for the final table – and final day – of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas. In a break with previous traditions, the final table will be six handed and the players that earn their way there will come back on Saturday to play for the championship and the $ 480,012 first place prize.