Posts Tagged ‘final’

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Final Table Set

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Final Table Set

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Main Event is down to its final table, as the field was sliced from 30 players entering Day 3 to just nine. Aaron Mermelstein entered the day’s action as the chip leader and exited in the same spot, sporting a fairly healthy lead holding 6.15 million chips.

Mermelstein’s cushion over Yi Chi Li is about 1.6 million chips, which amounts to 40 buy-ins, so that gap is not insignificant. After Li and his 4.555 million chips is Matt Berkey with 4.045 million. So despite Mermelstein’s chip lead and the fact that I just said it is “not insignificant,” we’re looking at a pretty solid battle at the top.

After those three, it actually gets quite interesting, as from fourth place to eighth place, there is just a 655,000 chip spread with all five players in the 2 million chip range. After Berkey is Adam Levy (2.675 million chips), Martin Kozlov (2.320 million), Michael Aron (2.200 million), Dylan Drazen (2.110 million), and Luke Brereton (2.020 million). The jockeying for position among those five players could be interesting.

Pulling up the rear is Joe Kuether with just 565,000 million chips. Don’t feel too bad for him, though, and not just because he is guaranteed at least $ 75,413. On Tuesday, he will have the enviable and exhausting task of trying to navigate two final tables, as he had already made the final table of the $ 1,100 buy-in event before the SHRPO Main Event had begun.

One has to wonder if Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open organizers foresaw this as a possibility when they created the schedule or if they just didn’t care. My guess is some of both. Part of what was hyped by the casino for the SHRPO was the “Big 4,” which consists of the $ 1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Re-entry event, the $ 5,250 Main Event, the $ 2,650 Freeze Out, and the $ 25,500 High Roller Re-entry event. They were scheduled to create somewhat of a spectacle, with the tournaments starting on different days, but all four final tables being played today in the same room, all streamed online.

Final tables occurring at the same time has happened before, most notably at the World Series of Poker, but when you have 60-70 events, sometimes that sort of thing is inevitable. The Big 4 was intentionally done; organizers likely decided to just take the chance that someone might make more than one final table.

I have seen players try to play in two tournaments at once – I remember Barry Greenstein once scurrying between tables at the WSOP (I think it was one final table and one tournament that was part-way through) – but two final tables simultaneously is a new one.

Said final tables are just getting underway at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. Should be a fascinating day of poker.

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

Aaron Mermelstein – 6,150,000
Yi Chi Li – 4,555,000
Matt Berkey – 4,045,000
Adam Levy – 2,675,000
Martin Kozlov – 2,320,000
Michael Aron – 2,200,000
Dylan Drazen – 2,110,000
Luke Brereton – 2,020,000
Joe Kuether – 565,000

Poker News Daily

Ratings Mixed for 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table Coverage

 Ratings Mixed for 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table Coverage

Ratings for the live coverage of the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event final table have been released, with those results showing a mixed bag of information.

The WSOP Championship Event final table, broadcast live over ESPN from July 20-22, showed a slight improvement in comparison to the delayed “November Nine” coverage from 2016. The three-day average of the 2017 coverage was 615,000 viewers, a slight increase in comparison to last year’s “November Nine” final table average of 597,000 viewers, a 3% increase. For the broadcast week, the WSOP Championship Event’s third night – when Scott Blumstein closed the deal in winning the championship – was one of the highest rated programs for ESPN, finishing behind only a mid-season Major League Baseball game between the rival St. Louis Cardinals and the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs and the Summer League championship game between the Los Angeles Lakers (minus top draft pick Lonzo Ball, who sat the game out) and the Portland Trail Blazers.

That was the good side of the equation for officials, however.

On the negative side, the all-important 18-49 demographic – the demo that advertisers look at when determining what shows to advertise on and that broadcasters strive to reach for that reason – was down overall in year-to-year statistics. In 2017, the WSOP Championship Event final table captured 244,000 in that 18-49 demo, down from the 256,000 that viewed the tournament in 2016 (a drop of almost 5%). The viewers for the final night of the tournament were also at historic lows, with the 741,000 watchers down from 780,000 who watched in 2016 and barely more than the 735,000 who watched in 2012, the record low for the tournament in the last decade.

The television numbers aren’t the only worrisome sign for WSOP and ESPN officials.

The demographic breakdown of the WSOP Championship Event field shows signs that cannot be encouraging for Caesars. Of the 7221 players participating in this year’s tournament, only 347 of them were in the 21-25 demographic and only ONE of those players was a woman. In comparison, there were 884 players older than 56 in the Championship Event field, with 33 of those players being female. These numbers indicate that the oldest demographic in the tournament isn’t being replaced at the same rate from the younger side.

There could be a couple of reasons for the demographic numbers. The “millennials” that constitute the 21-30 demographic have been proving to be a difficult market for casinos to get in the first place. They aren’t as willing to “gamble” as other demographics are, preferring a skill based game over ones of “chance,” hence the casinos usage of video games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush for wagering purposes. That predisposition for skill based games over chance isn’t showing when it comes to poker, however, at least as far as the WSOP Championship Event.

It is also arguable that the lack of online poker in the States of America has caused a downswing. The younger demographic for years has been driven by the online game (look at the almost 3000 players making up the 26-35 demographic that participated in the WSOP Championship Event). If that were the case, however, it would not explain the 7221 overall players that participated in 2017, the largest field since 2010.

The move by officials from cable broadcasting giant ESPN and the World Series of Poker to do away with the “November Nine” was a huge step in that neither entity knew what would be the eventual outcome. At its inception, the “November Nine” was a huge success as it drew in an audience of 2.364 million for the final table broadcast in 2008 (the first year of the format). It never would draw that well again, gradually falling to the record low in 2012 (735,000), rebounding over the next three years back over a million viewers and falling to 780K in 2016. Thus, the 741,000 that watched in 2017 wasn’t the upswing that the WSOP nor ESPN were looking for.

The other possibility is that there just aren’t the “eyes” that are going to be watching during the season. Summer is the worst time of the year for television viewing and, while bringing the poker world to Las Vegas during what is its “down time” of the year might be a good idea for Caesars officials, when it comes to broadcasting the tournament it might not be the best thing.

The mixed numbers present several challenges for ESPN and the WSOP. While there are some bright areas, there are those that aren’t quite so sunny for either entity. Of importance for both organizations may be improving the television numbers in the immediate future.

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

Breaking Down The 2017 World Series of Poker Final Table

 Breaking Down The 2017 World Series of Poker Final Table

After heading off on an unknown road a couple of weeks ago – and, instead of having to wait 100 days to come back as in year’s past – the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker’s $ 10,000 Championship Event is ready for action on Thursday night. In front of the cameras of ESPN, poker’s next World Champion will be determined. But who will it be? Let’s break it down and determine who will eventually emerge as the “last man standing” in poker’s premiere event.

Because there is no longer a “November Nine,” momentum is going to count for something when the players come back. Those players who were cruising on Monday when the final table was determined are still going to be feeling good about their chances. But, as any good poker player knows, “feeling good” isn’t the same as playing good. Thus, this is how the Poker News Daily Crystal Ball sees the action breaking down over the next three nights.

Just to update those who have come to the party late, here’s the breakdown (by seat) of the players remaining:

Seat 1:  John Hesp, 85.7 million
Seat 2:  Scott Blumstein, 97.25 million
Seat 3:  Antoine Saout, 21.75 million
Seat 4:  Benjamin Pollok, 35.175 million
Seat 5:  Jack Sinclair, 20.2 million
Seat 6:  Damian Salas, 22.175 million
Seat 7:  Ben Lamb, 18.5 million
Seat 8:  Bryan Piccioli, 33.8 million
Seat 9:  Dan Ott, 26.475 million

And now, the predictions:

Ninth Place:  Damian Salas

Salas is one of the unknown factors at the final table, but he’s surrounded by a slew of sharks. With Lamb on his left and Pollok on his right, he will be under siege almost from the starting gun. I see Pollak being the beneficiary of most of Salas’ chip stack in knocking him out, but Salas will get the nice parting gift of a $ 1 million payday on his way out of the Rio.

Eighth Place:  Jack Sinclair

Sinclair has a similar problem that Salas has, bereft of ammunition while the armies mass around him. He also doesn’t have a great deal of experience in this situation; he has a grand total of three cashes in his poker career, with two coming at this year’s WSOP and the other (and previously his largest payday) coming at the partypoker Millions Live in April, where Sinclair made £7500. For his departure, I see a race situation between he and Saout, with Saout emerging on top as Sinclair heads to the door in eighth for $ 1.2 million.

Seventh Place:  Ben Lamb

Lamb is arguably one of the best players at the table, but you can’t last on the short stack that he’ll start the day with on Thursday. People know Lamb’s history and talent and aren’t going to mix it up with him unless they have a monster, meaning that Lamb will have little opportunity to pick up chips to bolster his stack. With both Salas and Sinclair out, I see the chips heading to the stack of Pollak, who also is a veteran of the international poker wars who can trade chops with Lamb without breathing hard.

Sixth Place:  Dan Ott

Ott will be able to squeak through the Thursday segment of the final table – playing down from nine to six – but that’s where the road will end. He won’t be too disappointed, however, with the $ 1.675 million that he will take home for his two weeks of work. His only other cashes came at this year’s WSOP in two preliminary events for career earnings of slightly more than $ 3500.

Fifth Place:  Bryan Piccioli

Piccioli has the experience to come from the pack, but it is going to be tough to get any action with both the big stacks Hesp and Blumstein on his left. As such, his ability to get chips by stealing from the late positions – the button, the cutoff, and the hijack – is going to be severely limited. It will wear on his stack and, while Piccioli will get through Thursday’s play, I can’t see him going beyond Friday.

Fourth Place:  John Hesp

Everyone loves Hesp because of his freewheeling attitude, his age, and the fun he’s having on the felt during his run to the Championship Event final table. These are all great, but the inexperience he has on the table – he’s never played a tournament larger than £100 prior to this – and the pressure will eventually catch up with him. Hesp will be having fun all the way to the bank with the $ 2.6 million he’ll get for his finish on Friday night.

Third Place:  Antoine Saout

Saout will be one of the shorter stacks to start the day on Thursday, but his experience will be able to carry him to the final night of action on Saturday. He’ll be the third-place stack, however, with Blumstein and Pollak having vacuumed up sizeable stacks of chips through the first couple of days. It won’t be such a bad thing for Saout, who finished in the same position back in 2009, and he’ll earn a similar payday ($ 3.5 million versus the $ 3,479,670 in 2009) for his second trip to the WSOP Championship Event final table.

Second Place:  Scott Blumstein

Blumstein seems to have the magic touch to this point in the tournament, but the heat eventually has to cool. The heads-up battle between he and Pollak will be epic – I can even see Blumstein entering the mano y mano fight with the chip lead – but Pollak’s overall skills will allow him to eventually wear down Blumstein. All it takes in heads up play is a couple of mistakes and I don’t see Pollak making them.

First Place:  Benjamin Pollak

The Frenchman is a veteran of the international tournament poker battles, thus he won’t be unnerved by the situation. He’s battled the biggest names in the world, won almost $ 3 million and been to the Winner’s Circle across Europe. Pollak came into Day 7 back on Monday as one of the shorter stacks and he only ratcheted up his play and his chip stack as he motored through the field that day. He should keep the ship steaming forward – all the way to the WSOP Championship Event title.

Whether the Crystal Ball’s predictions come true or not, it promises to be an exciting three days of poker coming from the Rio starting on Thursday night. By the time Saturday comes around, we will know who poker’s next World Champion will be.

Poker News Daily



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