Posts Tagged ‘event’

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

Scott Blumstein Had Backers for 2017 WSOP Main Event

 Scott Blumstein Had Backers for 2017 WSOP Main Event

You know what might* be cooler than winning a bunch of money playing in the World Series of Poker? Winning a bunch of money at the World Series of Poker without the difficulty of actually playing poker. That was the case for several people over the weekend, as a number of Scott Blumfield’s buddies rode the rail of their lives, having invested in the WSOP Main Event champ’s buy-in and, in turn, receiving a share of his winnings.

It is not uncommon for a poker player to have “backers” in a big buy-in tournament, as the costs can be difficult to handle. By taking on investors who pay a portion of the buy-in for a proportional share of the prize, a player can better afford to participate, even if he or she limits the earnings potential.

Blumstein has not made public all of his financial arrangements with backers, but we now know that he did not have “all of himself,” as the poker lingo goes, in the 2017 WSOP Main Event. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, four of Blumstein’s friends from New Jersey posted some of his $ 10,000 buy-in, though in the grand scheme of things, their contribution wasn’t much.

Peter Gerolamo, Aldo Boscia, John Scuter, and Nick Muldrow each gave Blumstein $ 60. When he won $ 8.15 million before taxes, their investment had grown to $ 40,750 each (technically, the 0.6% that each contributed should have earned them $ 48,900 before taxes, but their deal with Blumstein may not have been for winnings in exact proportion to their percentage of the buy-in, which is normal).

Boscia said that Blumstein could certainly swing the $ 240 that his four friends pitched-in, but he was all for it for the fun.

“He wanted us to sweat it out with him,” Boscia told Rovell.

“The truth is that a bunch of guys who had small stakes in me helped me the most at the end, when I needed support, when I needed to be driven places,” Blumstein added. “I can say pretty confidently that without their support, I might not have won it all.”

Watching the final table progress on ESPN, it was evident that Blumstein – who couldn’t seem like a nicer guy – really drew energy from his friends and family, who flew in to support him when he made the final table.

Those four guys weren’t the only ones who had a piece of Blumstein.

“My dad sold a half a percent to the owner of a bagel shop,” Blumstein revealed to Rovell. “A friend of my grandfather’s, who is 93 and plays poker, had 2 percent.”

This would also imply that Blumstein’s dad had a piece, considering he “sold” half a percent ($ 50) to someone.

Blumstein did actively seek out investors, posting his request on Twitter in June. Nobody took him up on that specific offer, but ESPN says Blumstein did find a backer for the piece he was looking to sell.

Poker pro Asher Conniff also backed Blumstein, paying $ 420 of his buy-in for three percent of his winnings ($ 244,500).

Conniff was thoroughly impressed with Blumstein’s performance in his first-ever WSOP Main Event (can you believe it?), saying, “No one is prepared for the amount of pressure that comes with the final table. Some of the moves he made proved he had the balls of a champion.”

*Let me emphasize “might” here.

Cover photo credit: WSOP.com

Poker News Daily

Scott Blumstein Dominates En Route to 2017 WSOP Championship Event Victory

 Scott Blumstein Dominates En Route to 2017 WSOP Championship Event Victory

Going wire-to-wire without seemingly breaking a sweat, New Jersey poker player Scott Blumstein rode his final table chip lead all the way to the end in capturing poker’s World Championship with his 2017 WSOP Championship Event victory.

Blumstein not only came to the final table back on Thursday with the chip lead, he pretty much didn’t have any problem reaching the final three with a dominant lead. His 226.45 million chip stack represented about two-thirds of the chips in play and completely dwarfed the stacks of his opponents. Dan Ott (88.375 million) and Benjamin Pollak (45.85 million) faced the nearly impossible task of taking on the behemoth that was Blumstein but, from the start, it was obvious that Blumstein wasn’t going to give them the chance.

Ott tried to mount an offensive to go against Blumstein as he blasted past the 120 million chip plateau within the first five hands of play, but Blumstein immediately took the wind out of his sails on Hand 146 when he bluffed Ott off a hand and sent him back under 100 million. This was Blumstein’s method of attack throughout the three-way action – play many of the hands, push when the situation looked good for him and get away from the hands when it wasn’t in his favor. Blumstein’s instincts were dead on throughout the night when it came to this strategy implementation.

Ott and Pollak would jostle back and forth in an attempt to determine who would take on Blumstein for the title, but all it would succeed in doing is extending Blumstein’s lead. After Hand 180, Blumstein’s 285.17 million in chips was crushing the duo of Ott (46.2 million) and Pollak (35.6 million) handily. Then came the hand of the tournament, one in which the tournament was almost ended in a historic fashion.

On Hand 181, Pollak moved his short stack to the center and Ott, after a moment of pondering, decided to move all in “over the top” of Pollak’s bet. Blumstein, who could have just let the twosome fight it out, instead asked for a count and, after getting Ott’s exact figures, called the bet to set up a three-way all-in situation:

Pollak:  Q-10
Ott:  K-9
Blumstein:  A-Q

Blumstein’s Big Chick was ahead pre-flop, but the situation would completely change once the K-J-3 flop hit the felt. Ott went to the lead, but it was a tenuous one as an Ace or a nine would give Pollak a straight and a ten would give Blumstein Broadway. With Pollak looking for a triple up to stay alive in the tournament, the turn four and river six missed everyone, giving the monstrous 128 million chip pot to Ott and knocking Pollak out in third place.

Although Ott now had a stack of chips, Blumstein’s 232.575 million was still in a dominant position as the heads-up match began. Still, only one double for Ott could change the complexion of the tournament. Alas, Blumstein didn’t allow that to happen.

It would take an agonizingly long 3½ for Blumstein to complete what many thought was a foregone conclusion, a nod to the excellent play of Ott in trying to make a comeback. The relentless pressure and knowledge that just one mistake could end his tournament finally began to catch up with Ott, however. Still, there was some great drama when the final hand came to be.

On Hand 246, Blumstein would limp in but, after Ott fired a raise across his bow, Blumstein responded with an all-in shot back towards Ott. After a great deal of contemplation, Ott would make the call and find himself in the lead with his A-8 over Blumstein’s A-2. A J-6-5-7 flop and turn left Ott as a huge favorite to win the hand (93.1%, to be exact), but just as Ott was prepping his mind for another assault on Blumstein, the poker gods spoke; one of the only three outs that would give Blumstein the hand – a deuce – came on the river to pair his hand, sending the pot and the World Championship to Scott Blumstein.

1. Scott Blumstein, $ 8.15 million
2. Dan Ott, $ 4.7 million
3. Benjamin Pollak, $ 3.5 million
4. John Hesp, $ 2.6 million
5. Antoine Saout, $ 2 million
6. Bryan Piccioli, $ 1.675 million
7. Damian Salas, $ 1.425 million
8. Jack Sinclair, $ 1.2 million
9. Ben Lamb, $ 1 million

With that, the book is closed on the 2017 World Series of Poker – at least the Las Vegas segment of the trip. Beginning October 19, the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe begins at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, with 11 more bracelet events at hand. That isn’t something that Scott Blumstein is considering right now…he’s more interested celebrating the fact that he is poker’s newest World Champion.

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night Two: Scott Blumstein In Dominant Position to Take World Championship

 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night Two: Scott Blumstein In Dominant Position to Take World Championship

The 2017 World Series of Poker has reached the penultimate day of its Championship Event. Nine players started on Thursday night and seven came back on Friday. As play closed last night, Scott Blumstein emerged as the odds-on favorite to be poker’s next World Champion.

Six of the seven men who came back on Friday were faced with an audacious task. Blumstein, who came into the final table with the chip lead, only solidified it through the Night One action on Thursday. Partially because of a massive hand between he and John Hesp, Blumstein came to the felt on Friday holding a massive 178.3 million in chips, almost half the chips in play on the table. Benjamin Pollak was his closest competition (77.525 million), but he was more than 100 million chips behind Blumstein. Hesp (22.475 million), Bryan Piccioli (35.75 million), Dan Ott (16.35 million), Damian Salas (15.625 million) and Antoine Saout (14.55 million) rounded out the table as someone looked to emerge and challenge Blumstein.

That question – who would challenge Blumstein – was answered quickly…nobody.

Although he would ship some chips to Piccioli after Piccioli flopped a boat and turned quads and another stack went to Saout in doubling him up, Blumstein was unfazed by the setbacks. In a particularly notable clash with Pollok, Blumstein and Pollok both would flop trip nines (Hesp, along for the ride in the hand, would depart after the Q-9-9 flop missed his hand). With a nice pot brewing, a ten came on the turn, which hit Blumstein’s 10-9 squarely and shuffled Pollok’s J-9 to second best. A King on the river sealed the hand for Blumstein, but the surprises weren’t done yet.

Sitting with trip nines that had rivered a straight, Pollok checked his option over to Blumstein’s boat and Blumstein bet out 8 million into a 30 million pot. This sent Pollok into the tank as he reconstructed the hand in his mind. After several minutes, Pollok made the outstanding – and correct – decision to lay his straight down as Blumstein recouped his chips lost earlier.

That hand was only a precursor to another soul crushing moment. Salas had been battling for most of the final table with no chips and no cards to speak of. He would occasionally push all in and pick up the blinds and antes, but rarely more. When Ott raised from under the gun with pocket fours, Salas looked down at his A-10 off suit and made his stand. Ott made the call and the twosome were off to the races.

An A-3-2 opened up a straight draw for Ott, but his pocket fours were crushed by the flopped pair of Aces for Salas. Salas got by the turn when a six came, but a river five completely savaged his Aces. It also was a gut punch to Salas who, as he recognized that Ott had rivered his straight, collapsed to the floor holding his head. Wondering what might have been, Salas barely had the strength to walk to the rail in seventh place, even though a $ 1.425 million salve was awaiting him.

Salas’ elimination, which brought the table to six-handed, seemed to open up the gates for the players to make some moves. 20 hands after dispatching Salas, Ott would do the same to Piccioli, his pocket Kings standing over Piccioli’s A-7 off suit. With Ott creeping closer (up to over 95 million chips after eliminating Piccioli), Blumstein suddenly came to life.

Only four hands after Piccioli departed, Scott Blumstein would wield his big stack and put pressure on the blinds by raising the bet to 4.2 million with only a 5-3 of spades for action. Saout, who had watched in pain as his chip stack slipped away, found a K-J off suit to his liking and called Blumstein’s bet. Saout was correct with his assumption that Blumstein was simply playing big stack poker and looked to be ready for action after Blumstein called.

A J-7-6 flop paired Saout, but Blumstein picked up a gut shot straight draw also as the twosome both checked their options. A four on the turn was devastating to Saout as it filled the gut shot that Blumstein had been looking for. ESPN’s audience knew this, but Saout didn’t; after checking and a Blumstein bet, Saout called and was pulled further into the trap.

A Jack on the river gave Saout losing trips against Blumstein as he checked again. Blumstein, seizing his moment, pushed in a bet large enough to put Saout at risk and Saout went into the tank. After what seemed to be an eternity, he called and was dismayed to see Blumstein’s turned straight vanquish him in fifth place ($ 2 million).

Over 200 million in chips (217.45 million, to be exact), Blumstein continued to keep his foot on the gas. He would take three of the next eight hands to further increase his stack to 226.75 million and seemed to be on the hunt for the elimination that would end the night’s action. That would come down between the small stacks to determine, however.

Nine hands after Saout was gone, Hesp would put his final 11.9 million chips at risk, holding a suited 9-7 in an attempt to steal the blinds. Pollak had a decent hand, A-J off suit, and pondered for a couple moments before making the call. The duo would stand with each other, with Pollok playfully taking the stylish hat from Blumstein’s head and wearing it prior to the flop, as the dealer fanned the flop, turn and river. After it had run out K-10-6-4-4, there was nothing there for Hesp as he departed in fourth place.

1. Scott Blumstein, 226.45 million
2. Dan Ott, 88.375 million
3. Benjamin Pollok, 45.85 million
4. John Hesp, $ 2,600,000*
5. Antoine Saout, $ 2,000,000*
6. Bryan Piccioli, $ 1,675,000*
7. Damian Salas, $ 1,475,000*
8. Jack Sinclair, $ 1,200,000**
9. Ben Lamb, $ 1,000,000**

(* – eliminated on Friday night, ** – eliminated on Thursday night)

Barring an earthquake opening under the Rio and swallowing the Brasilia Room whole, Blumstein would be a virtual lock to win this tournament. He hasn’t shown himself to be one that might succumb to any “brain freeze” that would shift a massive portion of his chips anywhere. Ott (88.375 million) and Pollok (45.85 million) are either going to have to get some big hands early or come out on the right side of a gamble if they are to upend Blumstein and keep him from winning poker’s World Champion.

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night One: Scott Blumstein Retakes Lead as Play is Cut Short

 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night One: Scott Blumstein Retakes Lead as Play is Cut Short

The 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event’s Night One (seems a bit odd to say that!) action is in the books and it certainly was entertaining. As the seven players (more on that in a bit) prepare to take on Night Two in a few hours, Scott Blumstein will have a monstrous lead, bigger than the one he brought to the table on Thursday night for action.

Blumstein’s 97.25 million in chips were slightly ahead of John Hesp’s 85.7 million stack, but the duo sitting beside each other didn’t look to have anyone who would challenge them. The closest competitor to the Top Two was Benjamin Pollok, whose own mountain of 35.175 million chips looked monstrous until compared to Blumstein and Hesp. Hot on Pollok’s heels was Bryan Piccioli with 33.8 million and Dan Ott was in decent shape with his 26.475 million markers. Damian Salas (22.175 million), Antoine Saout (21.75 million), Jack Sinclair (20.2 million) and a short-stacked Ben Lamb (18.5 million) rounded out those who were looking to take down the crème atop the final table.

To say that there were some fireworks to start the evening’s festivities would be a huge understatement. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to say that the opening salvo of hands was perhaps the most exciting in recent WSOP final table history. That the man having the most fun with his stay in Las Vegas was responsible for it would not be surprising.

Hesp came out of the gates with his guns, cannons, missiles and atom bombs of joviality and freewheeling poker decisions, entertaining the crowd in the Brasilia Room at the Rio and the millions watching at home via ESPN. On the very first hand of action, he would suck some chips out of Saout with a worse hand and, when he asked if he should show, he was egged on by the crowd (and some of his tablemates) to show the bluff right in Saout’s face. Saout’s didn’t seem pleased by the grandstanding, but it wasn’t over yet.

On the very next hand, Hesp would three-bet Ott and Ott would not be able to find the means to call. Once again egged on, Hesp showed his hand – pocket Queens (that had Ott beaten pre-flop) – that demonstrated he would make a move whether he had the goods or not. This led to the THIRD HAND of the night, in which Hesp only made a raise to get everyone out of the way. After showing his J-10 off suit as he raked in the chips, Hesp basked in the enjoyment and adulation that the entirety of the room seemed to be having and giving him.

Thus, the actions on Hand 4 of the tournament were a bit of a reality check for everyone. After Sinclair made a raise to 1.6 million off the button, Lamb decided to defend his big blind – it was only a question of how. Lamb eventually settled on moving his 18 million-chip stack to the center and an undaunted Sinclair made the call. Sinclair’s A-Q dominated the A 9 of Lamb, but the board decided it wanted to play some games. Coming down with a 6-5-4 flop, Lamb had a chance at backdoor straight and flush draws to take the hand. A turn trey eliminated the flush draws but opened some action for Lamb to a split on the open-ended straight draw.  All Lamb’s hopes were dashed, however, when a ten came on the river to eliminate him in ninth place ($ 1,000,000).

After the elimination of Lamb, a bit of seriousness seemed to settle in over the remaining eight men. Because of his early actions, Hesp had moved out to a decent lead over Blumstein, while the remainder of the field looked to catch up with them. Pollok seemed to be the best at doing this as his chip stack slowly crept up to solidify his third-place position. When there was a clash, it was between two players that probably shouldn’t have been colliding.

Normally at a final table, the two largest stacks – especially if they are in the positions that Hesp and Blumstein found themselves in – will avoid each other rather than butt heads. Thus, on Hand 47 when Blumstein opened the betting from under the gun, it was perceived that he’d get the walk about as his stack deemed. In the big blind, however, was Hesp, who called to see a flop with the only player who could hurt his stack, and the twosome saw an A-7-5 hit the felt.

Unknown to either player (but known to those watching on ESPN), a storm was brewing. Hesp had connected with his A-10 on the flop, but it was Blumenstein who was dominating with the pocket Aces he had raised with. That domination only became an evisceration when a ten hit on the turn, giving Hesp two pair but leaving him drawing dead to Blumstein’s set of Aces. That evisceration was total as, after Hesp checked his option and Blumstein bet, Hesp check-raised with his two pair. When Blumstein took no time to four-bet the action to 17 million, Hesp incorrectly moved all in and Blumstein immediately called. An innocuous trey completed the board and Blumstein rocketed back into a massive chip lead.

After Piccioli eliminated Sinclair in eighth place ($ 1.2 million), his pocket Aces ruling over Sinclair’s K♠ J♠, another 11 hands were played before a somewhat controversial decision. Roughly at 11:30PM (Pacific Time), either WSOP officials or the honchos of ESPN decided that it was time to end play for the night, short of the final six that had originally been on the schedule. Because of that decision, seven men will come back on Friday night to continue the festivities.

1. Scott Blumstein, 178.3 million
2. Benjamin Pollok, 77.525 million
3. Bryan Piccioli, 35.75 million
4. John Hesp, 22.475 million
5. Dan Ott, 16.35 million
6. Damian Salas, 15.625 million
7. Antoine Saout, 14.55 million
8. Jack Sinclair, $ 1,200,000*
9. Ben Lamb, $ 1,000,000*

(* – eliminated on Thursday night)

Play resumes this evening at 6PM (Pacific Time, 9PM Eastern Time), at which point the final seven will play down to the final three combatants. This will be the final stoppage for the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event as, on Saturday night, a new World Champion will be crowned.

Poker News Daily



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