Posts Tagged ‘Crystal’

So How Did the Crystal Ball Do on the WSOP Championship Event?

 So How Did the Crystal Ball Do on the WSOP Championship Event?

We’ve had almost a week to digest what was one of the better World Series of Poker Championship Event final tables in recent memory. While it was a wire to wire win for Scott Blumstein, it was still entertaining watching the nine men play it out. It was also great to see them play it out with only a slight delay of two days instead of the three months that the “November Nine” inflicted on the players and the fans – it made for a much better tournament.

But there’s one thing left over from the WSOP Championship Event final table. Just how did the Poker News Daily “Crystal Ball” do in predicting the finishing order of the players? Overall, not too shabby – the Ball got a couple of the spots right and was a bit off on others. Then there’s a couple of players…

Without further ado, let’s review the actual finishing order and look at what the Crystal Ball said.

Ninth Place:  Ben Lamb (Prediction:  Damian Salas)

Coming in on the short stack on Thursday night, Lamb was already facing a difficult climb. But for him to go out on the fourth hand of action was a bit stunning. There are several that argue that he was making the optimum move by moving all in for 18.9 million chips after Jack Sinclair raised off the button. In theory, it is a good argument; Sinclair could have been raising with any two there and, with Lamb holding an A9 , if Sinclair had been making a move he might have pushed his cards to the muck. There are those that state, however, that Lamb didn’t have to make that move at that point (he was around 22 big blinds, not in a push mode) and it was a bit suicidal. Whatever the answer, for the former “November Niner” to depart in such a dramatic fashion – and so early into the action – was a bit surprising.

Eighth Place:  Jack Sinclair (Prediction:  Jack Sinclair)

The Crystal Ball got one right! Sinclair was seriously hurt by the facts that he couldn’t get any cards to work with and dealing with the assault from the larger stacks on his right. Sinclair got the boost from the knockout of Lamb, but there wasn’t much else that he could do after that.

Seventh Place:  Damian Salas (Prediction:  Ben Lamb)

OK, the Crystal Ball just got seventh and ninth places backwards! Salas hung on for much longer than many thought he could and, when he was knocked out, it was in a brutal fashion. After Dan Ott hit his gut shot straight draw on the river to top Salas’ flopped pair of Aces, you could almost see the life ooze out of Salas. He played well, got his money in right and…it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sixth Place:  Bryan Piccioli (Prediction:  Dan Ott)

And here’s one where the Crystal Ball was just a bit off. Piccioli, who came into the final table with the fourth-place stack, just couldn’t get anything going on the final table baize. His chips oozed from his fingers to the point that he was forced to make a move with just an A-7 in his hands. Dan Ott woke up with pocket Kings in the big blind and, after no Ace came on the board, Piccioli’s chips were in Ott’s stack.

Fifth Place:  Antoine Saout (Prediction:  Bryan Piccioli)

Probably the Crystal Ball’s biggest miss of the final table. Saout was constantly pounded on by Blumstein throughout the first two days of final table action because Blumstein’s big stack was on Saout’s right. Repeatedly, Blumstein would put the pressure on Saout and, correctly, Saout didn’t make the call. When Saout did catch Blumstein with a bit of larceny in his heart, Blumstein hit his gut shot straight draw with his 5-3 on the turn and, after Saout made trips on the river, there was no way that Saout was going to get away. Much like Salas, Saout got the money in good and simply got outdrawn.

Fourth Place: John Hesp (Prediction:  John Hesp)

The Crystal Ball strikes again! And what a run by Hesp at the final table. There are plenty of Monday morning quarterbacks who can pick on Hesp’s call while drawing dead against Blumstein as an amateur mistake, but that was part of the charm of Hesp’s approach at the table. Now, we don’t need nine of these when tournament final tables are determined, but it isn’t such a bad thing to see someone like Hesp do well.  

Third Place:  Benjamin Pollok (Prediction:  Antoine Saout)

Other than Blumstein, it is arguable that Pollok played the best of anyone at the final table. There were some laydowns that Pollok made – especially when he had trip nines against the turned boat, nines over tens, of Blumstein – that were outstanding. It just wasn’t meant to be this time around for Pollok, who should be the owner of a WSOP bracelet sooner than later.

Second Place:  Dan Ott (Prediction:  Scott Blumstein)

Ott was the shocker of the 2017 WSOP final table. He made some good moves on the table and, when opportunity came along, Ott seized it. He was able to dispatch of Pollok in that truly stunning three-way all in to bring himself within shouting distance of Blumstein entering heads up, but that’s where the gas ran out. Still, his overall performance is something that he should be proud of.

First Place:  Scott Blumstein (Prediction:  Benjamin Pollok)

That’s not too bad. The Crystal Ball predicted Blumstein to finish second but, once he got the monster stack he did on Night One of the final table after his battle with Hesp, there was little doubt who was going to be the winner of the event. As he sits and counts the $ 8.15 million he received for winning the tournament, Blumstein can now ponder what he wants to do with his poker career.

To wrap it up, two exact hits and a few “one-off” predictions? Seems as though the Crystal Ball was in good shape this summer! Congratulations to all the men who took part and to poker’s newest World Champion, Scott Blumstein.

Poker News Daily

Reviewing Our WSOP Predictions: Crystal Ball…You Have Some Explaining’ To Do!

 Reviewing Our WSOP Predictions: Crystal Ball…You Have Some Explaining’ To Do!

Early Wednesday morning, the 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event concluded, crowning a new World Champion. Qui Nguyen dominated (or Gordon Vayo gave up, depending on your viewpoint) en route to the championship, keeping all his opponents off balance with his moves on the felt and boggling the mind of even three-time WSOP bracelet winner Antonio Esfandiari, who was offering commentary from the ESPN broadcast booth, as to what actions he would take. We’ll look at how Nguyen will be as the newly crowned champion later this week, but for now let’s review the Crystal Ball’s selections as to the finishing order…a preliminary look indicates that the Ball has some explaining to do!

Ninth – Fernando Pons and Eighth – Jerry Wong (8th) – Predicted eighth and ninth

These two picks were arguably the easiest for the Crystal Ball to make when it came to the “November Nine” final table. Both came in with less than 20 big blinds and both had to get some action going early lest they see their chip stacks bled to the point it wouldn’t matter the cards. The Crystal Ball saw Wong going first and Pons next in eighth, so for them to be switched around is a pretty good bit of work for the Orbital Prognosticator.

Seventh – Griffin Benger – Predicted third

The case could be made that Benger never got ahold of any cards to work with. It also could be said that Benger didn’t make the most of the opportunities that he had. He was one of the players who never seemed to get the gist of the action at the final table on the opening night of play and, once he decided to make a stand with a suited Ace against Gordon Vayo’s pocket tens, you could almost predict that Vayo’s hand would stand. It is still Benger’s biggest cash of his career, but we were way off on predicting him to be around on Tuesday night.

Sixth – Kenny Hallaert – Predicted second

Another huge swing and a miss for the Crystal Ball. Hallaert was a very active player through the action on Sunday, but on the very last hand of the evening he caught a suited Big Chick (A♣ Q♣) against chip leader Qui Nguyen. Problem was Nguyen, who had been very aggressive in his own right, had the goods this time around with pocket Aces. A Queen on the flop offered some hope to the Belgian, but nothing else would come to change the outcome. At about this time, we were smacking the Crystal Ball upside the glass for two complete fans on the prediction front.

Fifth – Vojtech Ruzicka (5th) – Predicted seventh

The smack upside the Crystal Ball seemed to help, if for a moment. Ruzicka was eliminated only four hands into the action on Monday night, with Ruzicka losing most of his chips to Vayo in a race (Big Slick against pocket eights) before the rest of his chips went to Nguyen. Ruzicka was an entertaining player who demonstrated that he might have a lengthy career in poker if it is something he desires.

Fourth – Michael Ruane (4th) – Predicted sixth

Another close but not quite situation. Ruane also was very impressive when he was on the felt, he was just woefully low on chips during the play on Monday night. Nguyen would again administer the coup de grace to one of his opponents and, by this time, the Crystal Ball was wondering how he missed the play of the Vegas resident.

Third – Cliff Josephy (3rd) – Predicted first

Josephy was primed to become the World Champion, playing outstanding poker for virtually the entirety of the tournament. Then he ran into a typhoon by the name of Qui Nguyen, whose basic strategy seemed to be, “What do they think I’ll do? Let me do the exact opposite!”

Josephy never seemed to be able to get a grasp on what Nguyen was doing to his right, so he had to feel good when he got his chips in the center on a K-3-2 flop holding pocket deuces. Lo and behold, it wasn’t Nguyen he had to worry about but Vayo, who was set mining in his own right with his pocket treys (and anyone who says they would have gotten away from Josephy’s hand is either delusional or lying).

Second – Gordon Vayo – Predicted fifth

The Crystal Ball predicted that Vayo wouldn’t make any mistakes and, for the most part, the Ball was correct. Some might consider his highly conservative play – where he sat back looking for a big hand to strike against the steamroller that Nguyen had become. He delayed the inevitable for almost eight hours (the tournament ended as the sun was beginning to rise on Sin City) before succumbing to Nguyen’s formidable rush.

First – Qui Nguyen – Predicted fourth

By all reasoning, Nguyen should have been out long before Tuesday night. For some reason, it seemed that nobody wanted to mix it up with him, especially after opening the play on Sunday night by four-betting chip leader Josephy to immediately seize the lead. It also didn’t hurt that every instance he was in a pot, he hit some piece of the flop, turn or river. Nguyen’s opponents eventually got gun shy in trying to take him on, to their detriment and to Nguyen’s great success.

With the conclusion of the “November Nine” final table, the WSOP has concluded for 2016. We’ve got a few things to look at as to the event, however, which we’ll look at tomorrow.

Poker News Daily



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