Posts Tagged ‘Early’

2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: 132 Runners Come Out, Sean Marshall Holds Early Lead

 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: 132 Runners Come Out, Sean Marshall Holds Early Lead

Coming right on the heels of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic, the WPT Rolling Thunder kicked off action on Friday for the next WPT event. Located outside of Sacramento, the WPT Rolling Thunder has become one of the popular stops on the WPT circuit and, if Day 1A is any indication, the $ 3500 buy-in tournament is still a favorite of the players.

The newly redecorated and expanded poker room at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort was ready for action at noon on Friday and the players didn’t disappoint. For their $ 3500 buy-in, the players would receive a stack of 30,000 in chips and, should they be eliminated in the first Day One, would be able to re-enter once on Friday. If they shot both of those bullets off, then they could come back on Saturday and have the same two-shot option. If those four options didn’t work for players, then they could buy-in one more time before the start of Day 2, meaning that players (if really unlucky) could enter as many as five times ($ 17,500) if they so desired.

Defending champion Mike Del Vecchio led the professionals in the field to the line as Day 1A began. Del Vecchio was joined by other WPT Champions Club members such as Tyler Patterson, Daniel Strelitz and three-time champion Darren Elias. There was also a strong contingent of pros looking for their first WPT title, including Ari Engel, Eddy Sabat, Blair Hinkle, Amir Lehavot and Zachary Gruneberg.

After Level 2, 67 entries were already in the kitty as other pros began to stake out their patch of felt in the Thunder Valley poker room. Kathy Liebert, Darren Rabinowitz, Allen Kessler, Matt Salsberg and Jared Griener were among those players as the halfway mark of the first eight levels of play were reached. And the players continued to quietly stroll into the event, with 111 entries into the tournament at this same mark.

Although it was relatively quiet, contenders rose to the top of the standings around this point. In what would eventually become a pot that would crown the chip leader, Sean Yu was able to get his final chips in the center. He was met by a call from Sean Marshall and William Murray, who saw a J-10-8 and had the opportunity to bet into a dry side pot. Marshall took this opportunity, but Murray wasn’t ready to let it go yet and made the call. A five on the turn brought about the same action – a bet from Marshall, a call from Murray – but the river six opened several options and shut down action from both men.

When the cards were turned up, it became evident that Marshall had survived a run through the gauntlet. His K-J off suit had caught on the flop and dodged the straight outs of both Murray (K-Q) and Yu (9-8) to take the hand. With those chips, Marshall improved to 143,000 in chips, knocked Murray down to only 51K and sent Yu out of the tournament.

While Marshall was cruising to the end of day chip lead, others would have to take their chances (perhaps) on Saturday. Liebert, Engel, Curt Kohlberg and WPT DeepStacks Player of the Year Rex Clinkscales all were eliminated on Friday and have the option of returning on Saturday. One player who won’t be returning on Saturday is Marshall, who powered his way to the chip lead by the time the final hand was dealt on Friday.

1. Sean Marshall, 142,100
2. Eddy Sabat, 140,400
3. Matt Salsberg, 139,200
4. Ping Liu, 130,100
5. Jesse Rockowitz, 126,200
6. Joseph Alban, 122,000
7. Glenn Larson, 100,100
8. Jared Greiner, 93,900
9. Brian Green, 89,600
10. Gauran Raina, 88,000

Of the 132 entries received on Day 1A, 71 players came through the carnage. This number is expected to increase tremendously on Saturday as the newly redesigned Thunder Valley poker room can handle a large throng of players. According to WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, the Thunder Valley poker room “could host 1000 players” and he would like to see this event crack its record of 465 from Season XII. That would mean that another 333 entries would have to come out between now and the start of Day 2 on Sunday, a number that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for the 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder.

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Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

 Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

Yes, it is very early in the year. Yes, these folks probably won’t be here when we come to June (heck, maybe even March). But, for right now, two players – Maria Lampropulos and Christopher Kruk – can lay claim to the title of “best poker player” as they lead the Poker Player of the Year races.

On the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings, it is the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure who can lay claim to the crown. The Argentine sensation romped to the title and its million dollars plus payday earlier this week, earning 2100 points for her efforts. The runner up in that tournament, Shawn Buchanan, settles into the second-place slot on the CardPlayer rankings, earning 1750 points for his performance in the tournament. Also making a nice showing at the 2018 PCA was Koray Aldemir, who took third in the Main Event and finished in the runner up slot in the $ 25,000 High Roller; between the two tournaments, Aldemir earned over $ 660,000 and picked up 1610 points.

The High Roller tournaments at the PCA didn’t have as much effect on the POY races in 2018 as they did in the past. Perhaps because of some changes to their computations, the CardPlayer board didn’t overload points on the victors in the big High Roller events. Thus, players like Steve O’Dwyer (who won the $ 50K High Roller with 46 players) and Cary Katz (the champion of the $ 100K Super High Roller with 48 players) didn’t earn as many points as they might have in the past.

While he might not have gotten as much for his win in one of the $ 25K High Rollers, Christopher Kruk made the most of his time down in the Bahamas. Over the span of five days, Kruk earned three cashes, including two final tables and a win. In earning over $ 900,000, Kruk picked up 1113 points, landing in fourth place on the CardPlayer ladder ahead of the fourth-place finisher in the PCA Main Event (and defending Player of the Year) Adrian Mateos’ 1050 points.

Rounding out the bottom of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board is Justin Bonomo (1004 points), Jason Strasser (960), defending World Champion Scott Baumstein (960), Daniel Coupal (875) and Darryl Ronconi (840) in sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Kruk has no such issues with new computations when it comes to the Global Poker Index ranking of the Player of the Year. The three cashes he earned at the PCA earned him 749.95 points, good enough to catapult him into the lead in the early going. The surprise is Norway’s Aylar Lie, who has been able to take the second slot on the GPI rankings without leaving Europe. Lie cashed six times at the Merit Poker Western Tournament, including a win in a $ 500 Bounty tournament, to rack up 631.15 points. Lie’s success is further accentuated by the fact that Lampropulos earned 606.34 points for her PCA Main Event championship and was only good enough for third place.

Another player who decided against journeying to the Bahamas makes the board in fourth place. Ole Schemion won the World Poker Tour European Championship in Berlin on Monday, to earn 423.22 points (and another cash in a preliminary) and the fourth-place post with 550.61 points. That was enough to eclipse Bonomo in fifth place (543.99 points) as the midpoint of the month is reached.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are a few more surprises. Benjamin Pollak (543.98, sixth), Isaac Haxton (537.95, seventh), Daniel Jones (532.38, eighth), Jeffrey Trudeau (524.91) is ninth and Kunal Patni (518.14, tenth) round out the leaderboard.

Don’t worry, there won’t be a test on this subject. By the end of the month, it is entirely possible that an entire new list of contenders will be sitting in these seats with the Aussie Millions, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and the L. A. Poker Classis either starting or finishing up their play. But to have a great year of poker is to start off well, and the players listed above have done it. Now they can look to improve on what has been an excellent start to their season.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 1 – Brandon Meyers Takes Early Lead

 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 1 – Brandon Meyers Takes Early Lead

The World Poker Tour is back in action as the Season XVI WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $ 10,400 Main Event kicked off Tuesday. A very stout 600 entries were tallied on Day 1, setting the tournament up to potentially break last year’s Five Diamond record of 791 entries.

This tournament does not have multiple starting flights, so most of who will participate likely already showed up on Day 1, but there is still a ways to go before the final registration numbers will be known. Registration closes at the beginning of Level 9, which won’t happen until Wednesday night (there were five levels played on Day 1). The Five Diamond Main Event is also an unlimited re-entry tournament, so those who are knocked out on Day 1 or Day 2 can keep trying, even as I write this, provided they have the funds to do so.

That the Five Diamond is a re-entry event has generated some controversy. As my colleague Earl Burton wrote recently, poker pro Allen Kessler posted a poll on Twitter to see what format people wanted for the tournament and of the 623 votes, half were cast in favor of the traditional freezeout, one buy-in per person format. Unlimited re-entry only grabbed 11 percent of the vote, while 39 percent of voters preferred just a single re-entry.

Many don’t like unlimited re-entry tournaments because it gives the deep-pocketed pros an advantage. It is hard enough to outlast these fantastic players, but it can feel nearly impossible to beat them several times over when they get to keep buying a new stack of chips. Of course, the big argument in favor of multiple re-entry tournaments is that the prize pool can grow larger.

Those that like the compromise of the single re-entry favor that because while it doesn’t give an overwhelming advantage to the richest players, it also allows for a $ 10,000 mulligan of sorts if someone runs into awful luck early. It might not be fun to have to knock out someone like Daniel Negreanu more than once (I’m not picking on Negreanu – just using him as an example of a player who could and has re-entered expensive tournaments), but it is less fun to pay $ 10,000 and then hit the rail 30 minutes later when your Kings run into Aces.

Back to Day 1, Brandon Meyers emerged from Tuesday’s action as the chip leader, growing his initial 30,000 chip stack five-fold to 152,750. Gregory Back is second with 130,400, while Jonathan Kamhazi is third with 120,000 chips. Meyers is going for his second $ 10,000 event cash of the year. He previously had a wonderful finish in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, coming in 42nd for $ 176,399. His lifetime earnings amount to $ 1.23 million.

2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Day 1 Chip Leaders

1. Brandon Meyers – 152,750
2. Gregory Back – 130,400
3. Jonathan Kamhazi – 120,000
4. Eric Baldwin – 114,700
5. Ray Pulford – 109,000
6. Kenny Nguyen – 103,500
7. Sam Stein – 98,000
8. Eric Bunch – 85,000
9. Ravi Raghavan – 85,000
10. Ray Qartomy – 82,000

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France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind

 France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind

In July, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain agreed to merge their online poker player liquidity finally doing something positive for poker players after years of each country being ring-fenced from the world. It now appears that Italy may be lagging in its ramp up toward shared player pools and the other countries may start without it.

We don’t know why the four countries decided to separate their players from each other and the rest of world, though one might guess it was something to do with lawmakers thinking their regulations are superior to everyone else’s, so letting players from other countries play in their market would…I don’t know. Whatever.

When the four countries signed their agreement in July, they issued a brief statement:

The 6th of July the French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian online gambling regulatory authorities signed an agreement concerning online poker liquidity sharing.

This agreement aims at improving cooperation and information exchanges among the authorities to allow the liquidity sharing between licensed online poker operators, fighting the illegal market and fraud, guaranteeing player protection and the respect of the anti-money laundering prescriptions.

The concrete implementation of the sharing will depend on the regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction.

The authorities commit to make their best efforts to enable effective implementation by the end of the year.

As you can see from that last sentence, it was hoped that player pools would merge by the end of this year, but that isn’t going to happen. It now looks like early 2018 is when the borders will open, but it very well may be without Italy for a while.

The problem, according to, is that Italy has not even opened the license bidding process yet. Neither operators seeking to renew their licenses nor those looking to finally gain entry to the Italian online poker market have been able to submit bids and there is no way the process will be completed in time for early 2018 launch. The application process was expected to have opened in September.

Italian poker news site AssoPoker reported that ARJEL, France’s gambling regulatory agency, is definitely pointing at early next year as the target for shared liquidity and that ARJEL president Charles Coppolani has been reaching out to his counterparts in the other countries to see where they stand.

Reports say that France and Spain may launch shared liquidity together first and then Portugal would follow close behind. Italy would hopefully come onboard sooner rather than later, but it needs to get its house in order first.

As one might expect, PokerStars will be involved. In a recent earnings call, Financial Director Brian Kyle said that the world’s largest online poker room plans on being one of the shared liquidity operators. It is currently the only online poker operator that is licensed in all four countries.

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Citing Early Demand, Guarantees at 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Increased

 Citing Early Demand, Guarantees at 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Increased

As anticipation builds for the event – as well as the demand from the players – officials from King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and the World Series of Poker have announced changes to the guarantees for the upcoming 2017 World Series of Poker Europe.

The biggest announcement was regarding the guaranteed prize pool for the Main Event of the WSOP Europe. Instead of a €4 million guaranteed prize pool for the Main Event, another €1 million has been added to bring the total pool up to €5 million. The increased money will allow the eventual champion of the Main Event to walk away with a €1 million payday.

“We are encouraged by the number of early bookings for the WSOP-E, so much so that we have raised the total guarantee of the Main Event to €5,000,000 and now guarantee €1,000,000 to the winner,” said King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik, according to’s Brett Collson. “My advice is to book now and secure your spot.”

The news regarding the increase of the Main Event prize pool was big, but further details regarding the biggest buy-in event at the WSOP-E continue to build the excitement. According to Tsoukernik, 90 players have committed to take part in the €111,111 High Roller event, scheduled to begin on November 3. Some of the players committed to the event include High Roller stalwarts such as Fedor Holz and Antonio Esfandiari and include others such as Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen and Antanas “Tony G” Guoga.

With the field capped at 111 players for the High Roller (and a guaranteed prize pool of €10 million), Tsoukernik has pledged to give up his seat should it be required. Tsoukernik, in an act of philanthropy, stated that should he walk away from the High Roller event, he would still allow his €11,111 deposit for his seat to be kept. The “juice” in the High Roller, that €11,111, will go to the One Drop Foundation, the organization founded by Canadian poker player/businessman/Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Lalliberte to ensure all people around the world have access to water.

The remainder of the WSOP-E schedule features nine other bracelet events, all with guaranteed prize pools from €500,000 to €2 million. The €2 million guaranteed prize pool will be “The Colossus,” a €550 buy-in event that would have to bring in 4000 entries to break even. Beginning on October 27, there will be 10 flights run to attempt to reach that magical figure.

There is a tremendous amount of history in the WSOP-E despite its short tenure. The inaugural WSOP-E Main Event saw the youngest ever WSOP bracelet winner, Annette Obrestad, pick up her first bracelet one day shy of her 19th birthday. In 2008, the final table of the Main Event featured Ivan Demidov, who became the first (and, so far, only) person to make the final table of the Main Event in Las Vegas and Europe in the same year. Demidov’s feat was joined by the crowning of John Juanda as the champion of the Main Event.

In 2009, a stirring battle between (now) Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu and CardPlayer Magazine owner Barry Shulman was the highlight of the WSOP-E. After five hours of heads-up play, Shulman was eventually able to defeat Negreanu to capture his second WSOP bracelet. 2010 would see the U. K.’s James Bord take down the WSOP-E Main Event championship in front of his countrymen.

In 2011, the WSOP-E decided to hit the road. Going from the Casino at the Empire in London to the Majestic Barriere Cannes and the Le Croisette Barriere in Cannes, seven bracelets were awarded as Elio Fox stopped Chris Moorman from taking his first WSOP bracelet. 2012 would be a historic year as Phil Hellmuth became the first player to win both the WSOP Main Events in Las Vegas and in Europe and, in 2013, Adrian Mateos picked up his first WSOP bracelet in defeating Fabrice Soulier for the crown.

At the end of 2013, it was announced that the WSOP-E and its international counterpart, the WSOP Asia/Pacific, would alternate years instead of being contested each year. The WSOP Asia/Pacific would take the even-numbered years and the WSOP-E would take the odd-numbered years. Thus, the WSOP-E would not be contested until 2015, when it was moved to the Spielbank Berlin in Germany. Kevin MacPhee defeated a 313-player field to win the bracelet that year.

What memorable events will be etched into the history books from the trip to the Czech Republic? It will all unfold beginning on October 19 when the World Series of Poker Europe starts.

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