Posts Tagged ‘Five’

Five Things to Jump Start Your New Poker Year

 Five Things to Jump Start Your New Poker Year

The confetti have been cleaned up, the noisemakers have been put away and some are nursing off the remainder of the hangover they acquired from their New Year’s Eve celebrating. Now it is time to start thinking about the New Year and what it has to offer. How do you make it better than the previous one? One of the best ways to do it is to have a concentrated plan of attack.

Whether it is your personal life or your poker one, it is always a good idea to have a plan to, at the minimum, put your best effort forward for the next year. Sometimes these things can be grand or sometimes they can be simple. But it is important to have some sort of idea of the things you want to achieve in the coming 365 days. With this thought in mind, here’s five ways you can start your poker year on the right foot.


You normally have two ways you can go about playing poker – online or live. Then there is a subset of that which also comes into play – what games you’re taking a shot at. One plan cannot cover it all, thus you must have different plans for different disciplines of the game.

When it comes to live and online poker, set separate goals for each side of the equation. If you want to concentrate more on the live arena than online, make sure to plan accordingly for being in a cardroom or casino. Poker rooms normally have a monthly schedule that offers their tournament plans for the month and, once you look over that, then you can plan when to play (if tournaments are your thing). Likewise, you must set some time aside in your home life to jump online to play. Setting a plan to play X hours a week is a start, but don’t be afraid to adjust that total.

As to the different games offered, that is more difficult live than online. If you’re goal is to become a better Stud player, casinos don’t spread the game much anymore. You can always go to the casino and request a spread, but sometimes a better idea is to find a good home game to hone the talents. Nowadays Omaha is the rage, so some players may be more willing to step into that game. Online, it is easy to find a game – finding the stakes you’re comfortable at is another thing!


It is always nice to dream about what you want to do in poker, but the adage “you have to walk before you can run” is key here. Thinking that you’re going to hock everything you have in life and jump into the Super High Roller circuit and battle Fedor Holz, Stefan Schillhabel, Justin Bonomo and Company is a nice dream, but it isn’t a realistic goal.

When you start a year, set those goals so that they will make you work, but that they aren’t impossible to achieve. If you want to play more poker, set an hourly limit you want to meet each month. If you’ve got plans to use poker for a second income, set a monthly rate that you’d like to make. And if you meet that goal on a regular basis, then it is time to move the goal up, which is our next tip.


When you’re trying to meet certain objectives, it is key to have the ability to reassess the situation and adjust those goals. Perhaps you’ve set the number of hours per week you want to play a bit too high, or you’ve set the goal too steep for what you want to make in an hourly rate per month. The smart thing to do is to be able to adjust that goal rather than keep banging your head against a wall.

By making the adjustment, you aren’t admitting failure. You are instead making a key decision to continue to work at your game and finding the more realistic goal that you can meet. Once you’ve made the adjustment, you might find it is still a challenge to meet that new goal but, once you do, you’ll have the feeling of accomplishment and the ability to drive on to where you might have set that goal previously.


In an online forum the other day I saw someone ask, “Is it worth it to record your stats from each time you play poker?” Anyone who answered anything other than “Hell, yes!” isn’t taking the game seriously and might even question their advice in the game. If you are looking to improve your game or to demonstrate how well you play the game, accurate record keeping of ALL sessions is critical to your growth.

It can be something as simple as a notebook or, in this digital age, an Excel spreadsheet. You want to record the date and time you played, the game you played, its format (Tournament? Cash game?) and its stakes, your starting stake and your finishing stake for that session of play. You can add in other areas like how you felt or key hands that came up and how they played out, but the important data is the financials. By doing this, you’ll be able to accurately detail out whether you’re successful or not in your poker endeavors.

If you want to go to the extreme, then you can have different books for both your live and your online play. It is a different game, despite appearances, and it can also show whether you play better live or online. If you keep a different log for online work, you might add a category for hands per hour onto your log (will indicate whether you play at a fast table better or a slow one) and how long the session was (will indicate whether you play better in short sessions or longer ones).

AND BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF! It doesn’t do any good to record these sessions and log a nice run of positive finishes, only to leave off that session where you donked off half your bankroll when you were drunk.


Even though you may not meet your goals, even though you may lose every coinflip, even though it may look bleak…DON’T QUIT! Poker is a long-term game and, as such, the performance is best examined over a lengthy period. One week does not a success make, and neither does one month or one year. In 2000 Daniel Negreanu, the all-time leading money winner in poker, made a paltry $ 75,594 from tournament poker. He could have quit, but he didn’t – he kept working at the game and, over the past decade, has net earnings from tournament poker of around $ 8 million. He also broke even for 2017…remember that when you’re setting your goals!

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Ryan Tosoc Wins 2017 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic

 Ryan Tosoc Wins 2017 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic

Let’s just say that Ryan Tosoc will be staying at the Bellagio whenever he is in Las Vegas. This weekend, Tosoc won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event and nearly $ 2 million, just a year after finishing this same tournament as the runner-up and earning over $ 1.1 million. Methinks he can splurge for the Bellagio’s Presidential Suite* during his next stay.

Last year’s event was the largest-ever for the Five Diamond, as it garnered 791 entries. This one was bigger, with the re-entry format helping the field climb to 812 $ 10,000 entries. If you did the math above (with my rounded-off numbers), Tosoc has now won more than $ 3 million at the Five Diamond, accounting for the vast majority of his live tournament earnings. He has a nice list of cashes, but only one other is even in the low six-figure range (and it is at this point that I give my usual disclaimer that I would KILL for a low six-figure poker score).

“It feels unreal,” Tosoc told afterward. “I kind of feel like I’m in a dream right now.”

Poker can be an emotional game, especially since you can make perfect decisions and still come out on the losing end, but Tosoc tried not to get too high or too low during the Main Event.

“During the tournament, I like to just keep even-keeled,” he said. “The only time like I felt like I was going to win was when I was all in with Queen-Ten. I just felt that jack coming.”

It is not every day that players feel ultra-confident when all-in with just Queen-Ten, but I guess that’s the mojo you get when you are on your way to winning one of the World Poker Tour’s most prestigious events.

That Queen-Ten was on the final hand of the tournament and frankly, Tosoc had every right to feel that victory was coming, as he had an enormous chip lead at that point over Alex Foxen, 21.450 million chips to just 2.925 million.

Tosoc raised pre-flop with the aforementioned hole cards, as one would expect, and then Foxen shoved all-in with a dominated A-T. With little to lose by calling (and not REALLY all-in), Tosoc looked him up.

The flop was 9-3-K, a good one for Foxen, though Tosoc did gain a gutshot straight draw. As he already told, he felt the Jack coming and it certainly did so on the turn. Foxen, though, now had a chance at a better straight. Another Jack was dealt on the river, shutting the door on Foxen’s chances and given Ryan Tosoc a one-spot better finish than last year and his first WPT title.

2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Ryan Tosoc – $ 1,958,065
2. Alex Foxen – $ 1,134,202
3. Mike Del Vecchio – $ 752,196
4. Sean Perry – $ 504,090
5. Away Chabra – $ 350,500
6. Richard Kirsch – $ 271,736

*I do not know if the Bellagio has something called the Presidential Suite.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 4 – Sean Perry Leads Final Table with Ryan Tosoc, Mike Del Vecchio in Pursuit

 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 4 – Sean Perry Leads Final Table with Ryan Tosoc, Mike Del Vecchio in Pursuit

The penultimate day of the 2017 World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic is set for play on Sunday afternoon at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. After almost a week of play Sean Perry, the son of poker professional Ralph Perry, sits in the first slot on the leaderboard, but Ryan Tosoc (making his second consecutive WPT Five Diamond final table) and Mike Del Vecchio (who has been around the top of the leaderboard all tournament) in pursuit.

The final 18 players came back to the felt on Saturday to work to the final six. At the start of action on Saturday, Ajay Chabra was looking down at those in pursuit. It was quite a list of players in pursuit of him, with high stakes cash game player Lauren Roberts, ‘Big One for One Drop’ champion Dan Colman, Perry, Tosoc and Del Vecchio all arranged on the board behind Chabra. With plans to play until the final six were determined and the players decently stacked for battle, the players, floormen and rail all settled in for battle.

With the WPT “Action Clock” running on the tables (each player would have 30 seconds to make their decision unless they use one of their “time bank” chips to add another 30 seconds), the players wasted little time getting the chips moving. Chabra opened an early hand from under the gun, only to see Jerry Humphrey hammer all in over his bet. Chabra made the call and was behind, his Big Slick looking up at Humphrey’s pocket Aces, but the Q-9-J flop provided a bit of excitement. The Queen on the river and the nine on the turn, however, were less than exciting for Chabra as he sent a sizeable stack of chips to Humphrey.

The news wasn’t as good for another participant looking to make a move. Roman Korenev pushed out a bet and Foxen moved all in immediately following his bet. Korenev made the call once the action returned to him and it was the classic race, Korenev’s Big Chick (A-Q) against Foxen’s pocket fives. A 9-9-5 flop left Korenev basically drawing dead and, after a trey on the turn, it became officially drawing dead. After the meaningless river card was dealt, the chips were counted and Foxen was found to be the one with his tournament life on the line. It was a slim margin, however, as Korenev was left with only 2000 in chips after the count; he would depart on the very next hand.

After Satish Surapaneni was dispatched in 17th place, the players were redrawn to two tables. Chabra, who had been quiet to this point, suddenly came to life with a bet and a Tosoc call. Humphrey, looking to get in the game, pushed all in for around 500K in chips and sat back. In the big blind, Michael Ruane simply made the call but Chabra wasn’t content with that. He would move all in himself and force Tosoc and Ruane to a decision for their tournament lives. Tosoc got out of the way, but Ruane stuck around and made the call.

When the hands were turned up, it basically had played itself:

Humphrey:  pocket tens
Ruane:  pocket Kings
Chabra:  pocket Aces

A monochrome 4♣ A♣ 8♣ flop hit, giving Chabra a set but giving Ruane a draw as his King was of the club variety. A J on the turn left Humphrey drawing dead, leaving the remaining drama to Chabra and Ruane. Ruane had a momentary flash of happiness when he saw the river J♣ that gave him a flush, but it quickly disappeared when he realized it also gave Chabra a full house. In that one monster hand, Humphrey was out in sixteenth place, Ruane in fifteenth and Chabra sat on a 6.65 million chip stack.

The double knockout seemed to open the floodgates for the players to start hitting the rail. Colman was knocked out in fourteenth place by Foxen, while Perry would take down Day 3 chip leader Blake Bohn in thirteenth. By the time that Mel Wiener was eliminated by Tosoc on the unofficial final table bubble (tenth place), Tosoc and Perry were atop the leaderboard and driving to the final table.

There was the little factor of determining which three players wouldn’t be a part of the official six-handed WPT final table. First out was Ray Pulford, who felt confident pre-flop in taking his pocket Queens against Perry’s baby Ace (A♣ 3♣). His Queens were vanquished on the A-J-10 flop and he wouldn’t find a King (for a Broadway straight) or a Queen on the turn or river to depart in ninth place. Roberts fought valiantly in her effort to best her seventh-place finish in this tournament last year, but she was crippled by Del Vecchio’s quad deuces before leaving in eighth place courtesy of Chabra. With only one more knockout to ending the evening’s action, Del Vecchio delivered in taking down Daniel Zack, A-K versus A-Q, to send Zack out in seventh place and set the final six combatants.

1. Sean Perry, 7.65 million (Seat 2)
2. Ryan Tosoc, 5.105 million (Seat 3)
3. Mike Del Vecchio, 4.97 million (Seat 1)
4. Ajay Chabra, 3.065 million (Seat 4)
5. Richard Kirsch, 2.62 million (Seat 5)
6. Alex Foxen, 955,000 (Seat 6)

Perry has the potential to be one of the youngest champions ever on the WPT. Turning 21 the very day the WPT Five Diamond began, he has a chance at a historic achievement that will be difficult to duplicate. With Tosoc and Del Vecchio in shooting distance and on his right (Del Vecchio) and left (Tosoc), he’s going to have to tread lightly (or get hit with the deck). It would be a mistake to count out Chabra or Kirsch, although they need a double to really get back in the action. About the only player who is a “long shot” is Foxen, who needs a lot of help to get his chip stack back to health.

The final table of the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic will kick off at 4:30PM (Pacific time) this afternoon and can be viewed over the streaming network PokerGO. At stake for the players is the $ 1.958 million that will go to the eventual champion and the seat to the 2018 WPT Tournament of Champions next spring.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3 – Blake Bohn Takes Over Lead Short of the Money Bubble

 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3 – Blake Bohn Takes Over Lead Short of the Money Bubble

Day 3 of the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas is in the books and, for the first time in the tournament, Brandon Meyers isn’t atop the leaderboard. While he does lurk down the ladder a bit, Blake Bohn has taken over the lead with the money bubble looming for Day 4’s action.

With 316 players remaining from the 812 entries that came in, it was a given that the money wasn’t going to be reached on Thursday. That didn’t mean there wasn’t some work to do as players looked to garner chips to get in the best position to drive deep in the event. Meyers was best situated for making that deep drive, starting Day 3 with a stack of 388,100 chips, while Daniel Strelitz (310,900) joined him as the only players above the 300K mark.

Day 3 was the longest day of the tournament so far, with seven 90-minute levels on tap for the assembled players, and they didn’t tiptoe into the waters on Thursday. A short-stacked Mike Wattel was taken down by 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner (but zero-time WPT champion) Phil Hellmuth moments into the start of the day, while a short-stacked former Super Bowl champion in Richard Seymour went in the other direction. Seymour would use pocket tens to outrun Joshua Ladines’ A Q on a nine-high board to get back in the race.

Wattel wasn’t the only notable pro who departed the Bellagio soon after the day’s play began. Jeremy Ausmus, Matt Berkey, Kathy Liebert, former WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja and WPT champion Pat Lyons all found a spot on the rail to watch the proceedings as Mike Del Vecchio took center stage. He was able to four-bet both Shawn Buchanan and Cate Hall out of a hand to pull close to 100K, then blew by that mark by getting just Hall to lay down her hand. Del Vecchio’s continued aggression would keep his stack fluctuating but moving upwards throughout the Day 3 action.

Del Vecchio’s high water mark came in eliminating one of the biggest names in the game in the evening hours. After a raising battle between him and Daniel Negreanu, Del Vecchio was able to get Negreanu to commit his final chips pre-flop with pocket Queens. The problem for Negreanu is that Del Vecchio had pocket Kings for the cooler; once no other Ladies showed on the board, Negreanu was out of the Five Diamond, one of his favorite tournaments of the year, while Del Vecchio stacked up 345K in chips.

After being hit with the deck for the first two days of the tournament (by his own admission), Meyers had a day where he simply attempted to survive. It wasn’t until the early evening hours that Meyers was able to eke over his starting day stack to 395K, but it seemed to get his engines going. Meyers would push Andy Frankenberger to the brink before Frankenberger folded a hand and Meyers scooped up the chips to move to 483K.

As the dinner break arrived, 113 players were still alive in the tournament with two 90-minute levels left to play. Strelitz had moved to the lead at this point with 828K in chips, but he would go no higher on Day 3 and instead gave back a few chips. Bohn was the man who made the moves late in the evening in a hand against one of the top “High Roller” players in the game.

After an opening bet from Bohn, Kempe would move in for his remaining stack. Everyone else would get out of the way, but Bohn was steadfast and made the call. It turned out to be the correct decision; Bohn’s Big Slick was better than Kempe’s Big Chick (A-Q) and, after a King was in the window on the flop, the German was left drawing extremely thin. A blank on the turn meant that Kempe was now drawing dead just short of the money bubble.

Bohn would add onto his 815K stack as the players crept closer to the money. Just short of the time when the WPT “Action Clock” (the 30-second “shot clock” used by the WPT one table from the money bubble) would be activated, the last 90 players reached the end of Level 17 and bagged and tagged their booty. Bohn was the man who bagged the most, 871,000, to seize the lead heading to Day 4.

1. Blake Bohn, 871,000
2. Daniel Strelitz, 791,000
3. Sean Perry, 758,000
4. Matthew Moss, 748,500
5. Artem Markov, 674,500
6. Brandon Meyers, 638,000
7. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, 592,500
8. Chance Kornuth, 586,000
9. Matt Giannetti, 549,000
10. Satish Surapaneni, 541,000

Day 4 action at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic kicks off at noon today with some important business to take care of. Nine players must be eliminated to get to the 81 players who’ll earn a min-cash of slightly more than $ 19K from the tournament. The WPT “Action Clock” will be employed from now until a champion is crowned, with that champion walking off with a $ 1,958,065 Christmas present.

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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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