Posts Tagged ‘final’

2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Set

 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Set

The final table of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event was determined Monday night as now just six players remain from the original field of 440 entries. Ping Liu is the chip leader with 3.330 million, but all in all, the top four players are quite close. Behind Liu is 2015 World Series of Poker Champion Joe McKeehen with 2.755 million chips, then Ian Steinman with 2.480 million, and Rayo Kniep with 2.435 million.

Liu is a self-professed cash game player, but clearly he’s doing something right this week in the tournament.

“I recently started studying tournaments a little bit more,” he told “I used to think that there wasn’t that much to it as I do now. I’m starting to see some of the different skills in tournaments that you need. I’m trying to work on that side of my game a lot more because I just want to be a better all-around live player.”

Liu added that he has been trying to pick up tips here and there from watching McKeehen and D.J. Alexander.

Speaking of the 2015 WSOP Champ, McKeehen’s run is that much more impressive (not that his WSOP win, just in general) because he has been battling the flu.

“I’m dead,” McKeehen said. “Fucking had the flu the whole time, but when I’m sick, I play better, obviously. It’s a proven fact. I’m one-for-one.”

Um…anyone need some Purell? I mean, we all try to put it out of our heads that poker chips and cards are disgusting, but that must be fun seeing someone coughing and sneezing and then handling chips that (hopefully) will make their way over to you. But hey, that’s life in live poker – can’t begrudge a guy for willing himself to the final table.

McKeehen has two previous final table appearances on the World Poker Tour, the first in 2016 when he finished fourth at the Borgata Winter Poker Open and second this January, again a fourth place finish in that same tournament.

McKeehen told that some bad luck led to his downfall in those tourneys.

“Both Borgata final tables, I ended up getting bad beat, actually. I’d like to not get bad beat [Tuesday]. Both times, I was in a very good spot and the bad beat brought me back to Earth. If I won the hand, I’d be in a great spot.”

McKeehen has nearly $ 14.5 million in live tournament earnings, about half of that coming from his WSOP Main Event win. That also means that he isn’t a one-trick pony – he has won several million dollars aside from that.

For his part, Ping Liu has $ 585,709 in live tournament earnings, according to Most of his cashes look to be in the four-figure range, but he did win $ 133,110 for a third place finish in a WSOP Circuit Event in 2014. He has two cashes in World Poker Tour Main Events, both coming last year.

The final table has just gotten underway, so we will soon know who will be the newest inductee into the WPT Champions Club.

2018 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Ping Liu – 3,330,000
2. Joe McKeehen – 2,755,000
3. Ian Steinman – 2,480,000
4. Rayo Kniep – 2,435,000
5. D.J. Alexander – 1,425,000
6. David Larson – 700,000

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2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1B – Dean Freedlander Takes Over Lead, Final Numbers Yet to Be Determined

 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1B – Dean Freedlander Takes Over Lead, Final Numbers Yet to Be Determined

The 2018 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in California completed the second of its two-Day Ones on Saturday. By the time the dust had settled, there was a new overall leader in Dean Freedlander. With late registration still ongoing, however, the players were still unsure of what they were playing for.

The final Day One of the tournament brought out a flock of players looking for redemption from busting out of Day 1A. From the first flight of the cards, 145 entries were on the tournament clock and many of those were from players who had taken a previous shot. Ari Engel, Anthony Zinno, Darren Elias, Blair Hinkle, Curt Kohlberg and Kathy Liebert were all return guests of the tournament, looking to make the most of their final shot (?) on Saturday.

By the time the tournament had reached Level 4 on Day 1B, it was obvious that it was going to be a much bigger day than Day 1A. 199 entries had been received by the start of Level 4 and the players continued to stream in through the Thunder Valley tournament arena doors. That number continued to ratchet up and reached a grand total of 251 entries by the time that the day had concluded.

It was an interesting ride for many pros in the field on Saturday. Ray Qartomy (who had also been a part of the proceedings on Friday) saw his chip stack yo-yo all through the day before he departed late in the action. He wasn’t the only one, however; Liebert and Elias were also victims of the elimination bug and Aaron Mermelstein, Loren Klein, Taylor Paur, Rep Porter, Allen Kessler and Hinkle were all under the original starting stack of 30,000 at the close of business.

Someone who was able to move quietly through the field was Freedlander. The psychiatrist was able to diagnose that his opponents didn’t have much in hands against him, although he did admit to hitting “a few nut flushes on the turn or river” that his opponents didn’t pick up on. There must have been quite a few of those “nut flushes” because, by the end of the night, Freedlander had seized the overall lead.

1. Dean Freedlander, 163,900
2. Tim McDermott, 148,800
3. Paul Nguyen, 137,000
4. Anthony Zinno, 131,500
5. Ari Engel, 123,900
6. Darryl Okamoto, 120,000
7. David Larson, 113,600
8. Kevin Eyster, 110,000
9. Amnon Filippi, 104,000
10. Darrel Dier, 102,400

Along with the finishers from Day 1A, here’s how the overall leaderboard looks:

1. Dean Freedlander, 163,900
2. Tim McDermott, 148,800
3. Sean Marshall, 142,100*
4. Eddy Sabat, 140,000*
5. Matt Salsberg, 139,200*
6. Paul Nguyen, 137,000
7. Anthony Zinno, 131,500
8. Ping Liu, 130,100*
9. Jesse Rockowitz, 126,200*
10. Ari Engel, 123,900

(* – Day 1A Player)

There were 141 survivors from the Day 1B field, bringing the grand total of players that made it through either Day 1A or 1B to 212. The final numbers are not known yet as late registration is going to go through Level 10 on Sunday’s Day 2 action, or about 2PM (Pacific Time). Once Level 11 begins, the final totals will be revealed (still an excellent shot at getting over 400 entries for the overall tournament) and the final prize pool revealed. The tournament is scheduled to play down to its final table on Monday, with the next champion crowned at the WPT Rolling Thunder on Tuesday night.

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2018 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event Final Table Set

 2018 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event Final Table Set

The six-handed final table of the World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic was determined Wednesday evening, with Toby Lewis finishing the day as the chip leader. It is really a two man show going into Thursday’s action, as Lewis has 5.390 million chips and Dennis Blieden has 4.125 million. None of the other four players have more than 1.7 million chips. Everyone is guaranteed at least $ 186,235 at this point, but they all have their sights set on the $ 1 million first prize.

The two chip leaders could have been in reversed positions had it not been for the final two hands of the night. On the penultimate hand, according to the hand history, Blieden raised pre-flop to 60,000 chips. Lewis called, Greg Paryani called, and Marc Macdonnell called. The four saw a flop of K-7-7 and all checked to bring on the turn of K. It checked to Blieden, who bet 105,000. Only Macdonnell made the call. The river card was a 2 and Macdonnell checked to Blieden, who bet 400,000. Macdonnell tanked, using two time extension chips in the process, and then finally decided to look Blieden up.

It was a great call by Macdonnell, as Blieden had just T-2, which meant he was playing the two pair on the board and using his Ten as a kicker. Macdonnell had 8-8, giving him a better two pair.

On the next hand, which would be the last one of the night, Lewis limped pre-flop for 30,000, Paryani called, and Blieden checked in the big blind. The flop was Q-9-8 and Blieden checked, Lewis bet 65,000, Paryani raised to 180,000, and Blieden got out of the way. Lewis then went over the top all-in and Paryani called all-in for 780,000 chips.

Lewis had Q-9 for top two pair, but was behind Paryani’s set of 8’s. The turn was a King and the river was an Ace, though, giving Lewis a runner-runner straight and eliminating Paryani in seventh place on the edge of the televised final table.

This is Toby Lewis’ third World Poker Tour final table. He previous finished sixth in the 2013 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event and fourth in the 2014 partypoker WPT Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event. He is coming off a massive victory in January’s Aussie Millions Main Event, where he won $ 1,178,513. Lewis also has a European Poker Tour title and nearly $ 4.4 million in live tournament earnings.

This is also the third WPT final table for Derek Wolters, who is currently fourth in chips with 1.520 million.

The WPT L.A. Poker Classic televised final table will commence at 4:00pm PST Thursday. The live stream will be on a 30-minute delay and will begin, accordingly, at 4:30pm.

2018 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Toby Lewis – 5,390,000
2. Dennis Blieden – 4,125,000
3. Marc Macdonnell – 1,695,000
4. Derek Wolters – 1,520,000
5. Peter Hengsakul – 1,065,000
6. Manuel Martinez – 985,000

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2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

Day 1 is in the books for the 2018 version of the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic and it is shaping up to be a special event. One of only three tournaments that has been contested on the WPT since its inception, the players have come out with their $ 10,000 buy-in (which has also been consistent since the start of the event) to put together a strong field. At the end of Day 1, John Misirian was able to stand atop the mountain after a last hand knockout gave him the lead.

The atmosphere at the Commerce Casino was festive – even at the early hour of noon – as the players gathered for the call of “shuffle up and deal.” With the singular buy-in and no rebuys, it was expected that there would be a slow stream of players coming after the starting gun, but the numbers from the start were surprising. As the cards hit the air, 282 players were waiting to receive them and it simply got better from there.

With 30,000 in chips to start the event, you would expect there to be a slow grind, but Ari Engel demonstrated the exact opposite. Within 75 minutes of the opening action, Engel had burned through those 30K in markers, with his final chips entering the fray against Felipe Davila. On a K-9-8-4 board, Engel called off his last 4300 in chips and tabled K-5 for top pair. That wasn’t good enough, however, as Davila had the goods with pocket Aces; the river Queen wasn’t the paint that Engel needed as he beat a hasty retreat to the exits of the Commerce.

A similar situation would occur at another table, with former WPT champion Jared Jaffee the unlikely victim. Canadian pro Noah Vaillancourt was a late arrival and, upon getting dealt in, mistakenly put out a large 4000 chip bet (blinds were 75/150 at the time) from under the gun. Nobody was interested in tangling with Vaillancourt until action came to Jaffee on the button, who three bet the action to 11K. Once the blinds were out of the way, Vaillancourt indicated he was ready to go home just as quickly as he arrived, placing his entire 30K up on his first hand. Jaffee made the call and the race was on:

Vaillancourt – A-K
Jaffee – pocket Queens

To make a long story short, an Ace came on the board to provide salvation for Vaillancourt. At the same time, it sent the former WPT champion Jaffee home after only two hours of play.

By the time Level 5 started late in the afternoon, 462 players were entered in the tournament. Of that number, 413 were still around with a shot at winning one of the most prestigious titles on the WPT circuit. With three more levels left in the Day 1 action, there was still time for players to enter the tournament, but it was beginning to run short.

As the final hours of the opening day wore on, there were other top pros who wouldn’t earn the right to come back on Sunday for action. Ryan Hughes, WPT Champions Club member Mike Shariatti, Adam Geyer and Blake Battaglia would all find the rail by the time the final hand was dealt. It was that final hand, however, that gave the chip leader his lead.

Misirian had dodged a bullet only a few hands earlier when, on the river with pocket Queens against Roman Korenev’s pocket Aces, he was able to pull one of the two ladies left in the deck to rocket into the chip lead. Sitting on a very healthy stack, Misirian wasn’t content on cruising to the end, though, as he went to war against Sean Winter in the last hand of the evening. With pocket Queens, Misirian was able to dodge the flush draw of Winter and knock him out, setting Misirian up well for Day 2 action.

1. John Misirian, 234,300
2. Toby Lewis, 149,000
3. Adam Regiaba, 145,000
4. Peter Hengsakul, 129,900
5. Derek Gregory, 126,900
6. Candie Vaca, 124,900
7. Tim Cramer, 123,100
8. Casey McCarrel, 120,900
9. Lloyd, Mandel, 120,000
10. Duy Ho, 118,000

475 players were on the clock at the close of Day 1 action (and 282 were still alive), but that isn’t the final field. Late registration is open until the end of Level 10, meaning there’s still a great chance for the final numbers to crack the 500-player level (last year’s event drew in 521 players). But there’s a long way to go before any discussion can be made about what the prize pool will be for the 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic.

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2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Zach Gruneberg Holds Massive Lead

 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Zach Gruneberg Holds Massive Lead

Dominating play once it reached the unofficial final table, Zach Gruneberg will hold a dominant lead when the final six players meet this afternoon to determine the champion of the 2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City.

Day 4 action began on Thursday with 27 hopefuls remaining in the chase for the championship. Steven Greenberg was the dominant player through the Day 3 festivities and his 3.753 million chip stack showed it. But it wasn’t a runaway for Greenberg, however, as Chase Bianchi was on his heels with a 3.698 million chip stack. In addition to these two men, four former WPT champions were still in the mix, with Champions’ Club members David Paredes, Eric Afriat, Jonathan Little and Kevin Saul all with viable stacks.

The exits to the tournament arena at the Borgata needed to be a revolving door for as fast as the players departed the tournament on Thursday. In less than an hour, two players were out the door. Within the first two levels of play, the field was down to 17 players as notables such as Little and Shankar Pillai found their ways to the rail. As this was going on, Greenberg was still in good shape but had given up the chip lead to Stephen Song as the field tightened up.

After Casey Yontz was bounced out in 17th place following the second break of the day, the field was redrawn for two tables. Greenberg and Song ended up on the same table as former World Champion Joseph McKeehen and Kane Kalas, while Saul, Paredes and Afriat had to deal with Gruneberg and Bianchi. With the field bunched together, it was still a battle to see who would make the final table.

Although Gruneberg would make a slight misstep after the redraw in doubling up Saul, that would be the last mistake he would make for the night. With 1.7 million in chips, Gruneberg first picked up a double up from Bianchi to crack the three million chip mark. He would eclipse the four million chip mark in eliminating Adam Hendrix in 12th place, his A-K hitting the world against Hendrix’s K-10 on an unbelievable A-K-10 flop. Even after the unofficial final table was determined with the elimination of Daniel Aharoni in 10th place (by Song), Gruneberg kept his arrow pointing upwards.

Within the first 20 hands of final table action, Gruneberg had cracked the seven million mark in chips and had taken over the chip lead. That lead expanded when Gruneberg eliminated Day 3 chip leader Greenberg, his A-K playing where Greenberg’s A-8 didn’t on a 10-4-4-A-2 board, in ninth place. Now on 10 million-plus chips, Greenberg began to play a bullying “power poker” style that left everyone breathless in his wake.

Then there was the battle that truly pushed Gruneberg firmly to the fore. Gruneberg raised preflop and McKeehen called, but Song wanted to enrich the pot. He three bet the action to 675K and, after both Gruneberg and McKeehen called, saw a Q-Q-10-3 flop and turn. On that turn trey, Song bet out 850K and only Gruneberg came along to see a river nine complete the board. With a myriad of options on the table, Song fired again, this time for 1.4 million, but he was unable to shake Gruneberg, who immediately called. All Song could show was Big Slick for a missed straight draw, while Gruneberg showed pocket Jacks to take the more than six million chip pot with two pair. That pot pushed Gruneberg over 14 million chips and left the field chasing him.

Although he would give some back to Zaki in doubling him up, Gruneberg continued to storm through the remainder of the field. Gruneberg worked over the 16 million mark when down to the television table bubble and, after McKeehen eliminated Bianchi to set that television table, was over 17 million to have almost half the chips in play:

1. Zach Gruneberg, 17.6 million
2. Joseph McKeehen, 5.955 million
3. Justin Zaki, 5.565 million
4. Michael Marder, 3.08 million
5. Stephen Song, 2.74 million
6. Eric Afriat, 2.28 million

From all appearance, this is Gruneberg’s tournament to lose. Any one of the other five men will have a tough road to hoe in knocking out such tough pros as McKeehen, Zaki, Song or Afriat, and Marder didn’t get to his position because of his charm. Gruneberg, meanwhile, can either sit back and wait for someone to rise to his level or use the power of the big stack to crush his opposition. What approach he takes – and it will be seen from the start of final table play – will have a huge amount to do with how the final table plays out.

The final table will resume at 2PM (Eastern Time) and will be streamed as a part of PokerGO’s programming. It will NOT be taped for broadcast during the Season XVI schedule on Fox Sports. The eventual champion of the tournament will walk off with a $ 651,928 payday and their seat in this year’s WPT Tournament of Champions.

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