Posts Tagged ‘From’

Eric Afriat Earns Second WPT Title in Coming from Short Stack to Win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

 Eric Afriat Earns Second WPT Title in Coming from Short Stack to Win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

Defying the odds by coming off the short stack, Eric Afriat earned his second World Poker Tour championship on Friday by winning the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City.

To say (and don’t groan) the deck was stacked against Afriat would be an understatement. He scraped into the final table with a 2.28 million chip stack and needed a telescope to see chip leader Zach Gruneberg and his 17.6 mountain of chips. There were also other obstacles for Afriat, including former World Champion Joseph McKeehen (5.955 million), Justin Zaki (5.565 million), Stephen Song (2.74 million) and local favorite Michael Marder (3.08 million), that he would have to overcome.

Things would get worse for Afriat from the start. After picking up some chips, he turned around and doubled up Marder to make his task more difficult. Afriat would rectify that by taking down Song in sixth place after flopping a boat against Song’s flush draw that didn’t come home. Afriat continued to be active on the felt as his chip stack fluctuated wildly as he tried to work his magic.

It would take more than 40 hands before the next elimination would occur and, when it did happen, the rich would only get richer in a stunner of a hand. After Gruneberg raised from the cutoff, Marder would call from the big blind to see an 8♣ 8♠ 6♣ flop. Marder would check-call another 300K out of the chip leader and, after a 5♠ on the turn, both players checked the straight possibilities. When the 9♣ came on the river, the fireworks would go off.

After checking the action on the previous two streets, Marder would suddenly wake up with a big 425K bet of his own. Gruneberg, however, was undaunted and moved all in over the top of Marder’s bet. Marder took a moment to ponder the situation, chucking a Time Bank chip into the hand, before making the call and showing his K♣ 3♣ for a King-high flush. That wasn’t good enough, however; Gruneberg turned up a 10♣ 7♣ for the stone nuts, the ten-high straight flush, to take down the hand and send Marder to the rail in fifth place.

At this point in the tournament, Gruneberg had nearly a 2:1 lead over McKeehen, more than a 2:1 lead over Afriat and a 2.5:1 lead over Zaki. It was going to be interesting to see who would come from the three pursuers to challenge Gruneberg, with any of the trio with enough experience to pull off a massive comeback. It almost turned out otherwise, however, as Gruneberg’ s “run good” continued.

On Hand 72, Gruneberg raised under the gun to 450K and McKeehen dropped his stack in the center from the button. Once again, Gruneberg wasted no time in making the call, tabling Big Slick to go up against McKeehen’s A-J (approximately a 70/30 edge). The Queen-high board never came close to giving McKeehen any options on winning the hand and, as he departed in fourth place, Gruneberg stacked up an even 20 million chips, more than his other two competitors had together.

That, however, would be the apex of Gruneberg’s final table. Over the next 20 hands, that 20 million in chips became 16 million as Afriat began to climb the standings. Just as quickly, however, Afriat would get knocked back as Zaki began to move up the ladder. On Hand 121, the tournament’s tide changed as Gruneberg’s mojo began to run out.

After raising the pot off the small blind, Afriat saw Gruneberg call his 525K bet and the resulting ragged rainbow 9-5-3 flop. As he had done the entire tournament, Afriat continued his aggressive play in firing another half-million pot bet, which Gruneberg called. On a turn four, another 750K came out of Afriat and, once again, Gruneberg called. The river seven put many straight options on the table, but Afriat continued to fire with a two million chip bet. Gruneberg, after a moment of pause, didn’t believe Afriat and called. He would then muck his cards as Afriat showed pocket sixes for a runner-runner straight as Afriat scooped the 7.6 million chip pot.

A few hands later, it was over for Gruneberg. Whether a slight bit tilted from the Afriat hand or what, Gruneberg pushed all in over a Zaki raised that Zaki wanted to see. Zaki’s pocket tens were ahead of Gruneberg’s A-9 off suit and the Jack-high flop didn’t do anything to improve Gruneberg. After riding high for most of the tournament, in the span of four hands Gruneberg was out in third place as heads up play was set.

After eliminating Gruneberg, Zaki was nearly a 2:1 leader (24.4 million) over Afriat (12.925 million). For almost 100 hands, Zaki maintained his lead but couldn’t lengthen it out. When the penultimate hand – the hand that truly determined the champion – came down, it brought the drama.

 On Hand 224, Afriat made it two million to go and Zaki moved all in. Afriat immediately called and tabled his Big Slick, which dominated Zaki’s K-8 off suit. That domination held through the 7-3-2-9-K board as the 34.8 million chip pot was pushed to Afriat. With only scraps left from that clash – 2.5 million – Zaki would succumb to Afriat on the very next hand, his 10-5 off suit falling to Afriat’s K-2 after Afriat miraculously went runner-runner in rivering trip deuces to beat Zaki’s flopped pair of fives.

1. Eric Afriat, $ 651,928
2. Justin Zaki, $ 434,614
3. Zach Gruneberg, $ 321,533
4. Joe McKeehen, $ 240,251
5. Michael Marder, $ 181,329
6. Stephen Song, $ 138,254

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High Stakes Sports Bettor Rob Gorodetsky Banned from Vegas Sports Books

 High Stakes Sports Bettor Rob Gorodetsky Banned from Vegas Sports Books

A life as a professional sports bettor is a difficult one. Whereas most of us get paid at the end of the day regardless of how successful that day was, sports bettors need to win to pay the bills. Even salespeople, who sometimes risk making no money at all if they don’t sell, aren’t typically looking at losing thousands because of a bad day at the office. You know what makes a sports betting professional’s life even harder? Not having anywhere to bet. This is what has happened to high roller sports bettor and former poker pro Robert Gorodetsky, according to an article in USA Today.

In late December, USA Today tailed Gorodetsky for a week to see what the hell this guy was all about. At just 25-years old, Gorodetsky has been extremely successful, wagering tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per day and emerging as a healthy net winner for the last few years. He says he doesn’t have much of a system, that he bets on gut instinct, something that confounds casinos and other sports bettors. Those who have seen him on a regular basis, like casino hosts, say they haven’t seen any evidence of cheating, but some other sports bettors can’t believe he can win so much just flying by the seat of his pants.

Gorodetsky frequently posts winning betting tickets on Instagram, but his critics point out that on the flip side, he never posts losing tickets.

It is sharing like this that led to his recent problem. In the USA Today piece, Gorodetsky bragged about his connections and gambling discussions with a number of professional athletes and coaches.

Talking about New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., Gorodetsky pointed USA Today to a May Instagram picture of the two of them with their arms around each other. He then told a quick story about how he loaned Beckham $ 10,000 to play blackjack. Beckham won and paid Gorodetsky back. He also showed the journalist a text from Beckham in which he expressed interest in laying $ 20,000 on a baseball game, but that bet never happened.

Gorodetsky also told about texting back and forth with Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Damon Jones about baseball picks. L.A. Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma is also a friend/acquaintance who Gorodetsky will talk to before games.
“He’ll always secretly be like, ‘Who do you got?’ You know what I’m saying?”

MGM Resorts International confirmed to USA Today that it has banned Gorodetsky from sports betting at its casinos. The implication the USA Today is making is that these and other professional sports insider connections are a red flag and may have contributed to the exile.

One other warning sign was Gorodetsky’s thoughts about how easy it would be to pay college players to shave points in games:

You just pay college kids, inner-city college kids who don’t have any money. Give them 10 grand. That’s like a million dollars to them. You know what I’m saying? Have a bad game, here’s 10 grand. I don’t see how they wouldn’t do it.

I’d spread it around Vegas, 20 grand a place. They’d never notice. I wouldn’t beat one casino badly. I’d take a little piece from every single (sports) book.

Gorodetsky said he would never actually do it, but that it would be easy if he wanted to.

Cover photo credit: @bigrobstyle on Instagram

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Vanessa Selbst Announces “Retirement” From Poker

 Vanessa Selbst Announces “Retirement” From Poker

Everyone is looking for a fresh start when it comes to a New Year. For some, it is dropping a bad habit, such as smoking or cutting down on eating to drop some weight. For others, it is doing something different within the career they are pursuing or, in some cases, a change to a career course. On this New Year’s Eve, we can jot longtime Team PokerStars Pro and top flight poker professional Vanessa Selbst in the latter category.

In a lengthy announcement on her Facebook page, Selbst let her followers know that she was “moving on from my career as a professional poker player.” While admitting that poker has “given me so much over the last 12 years…It has been intellectually challenging, exhilarating, fun, and extremely rewarding,” she also admits that there are several reasons that she’s leaving. To that, Selbst states that it is “a number of factors, big and small,” that have brought her to this decision.

“The most obvious reason is that Black Friday has meant that, in order to do this job professionally, you either had to move out of the country or travel 90% of the time,” Selbst explained. “That was really fun for a period of time in my life, but as my late 20s turned into my early 30s and my priorities changed toward building a stable home and community and starting a family, the constant travel is no longer tenable.”

“Secondly, I don’t feel good about promoting poker as an ambassador anymore (I can’t tell amateurs they should come play online and it’s beatable for them when I don’t feel like it’s true),” Selbst wrote. “Lastly, whether because poker got more competitive or because we got older (or likely some combination of the two), poker recently turned into a real job…I had never treated the game that way–I always kept a very light poker schedule–I showed up and played for fun and did other projects back home as my “real work.” The shift in the nature of poker and what it requires put me at a crossroads and asked the question of me whether I would rather change my relationship to the game or move on.”

While Selbst may be giving up the rigors of the tournament poker grind, it isn’t like she’ll be stepping off and teaching law somewhere (Selbst does have a legal degree). “My next career I’m giving a shot is at a hedge fund,” Selbst declares. “I’m doing trading research and strategy. I’ve actually already been there for almost four months now, and the environment feels a lot like poker did back in the day – a bunch of nerdy kids collaborating to try to beat our opponents at a game…It’s exhausting, exciting and completely humbling every single day.”

Selbst is quick to remind folks that her “retirement” doesn’t mean she’ll never step to the felt again. “Whatever happens with my next career, I know that I’ll never truly stop playing poker (just ask Fedor Holz what happens when you retire)!” Selbst concludes. “Seriously though, I will always love the game and the people in it and I’m so thankful for everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve experienced. So with that, so long, and thanks for all the fish!

Selbst retires as one of the greatest female players ever to grace the green baize. Beginning in 2006 when she finished in seventh place in a $ 2000 No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, Selbst cashed in 84 tournaments around the world. The highlights of those endeavors was winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2008 in a $ 1500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament,  a major title on the now-defunct Partouche Poker Tour for a $ 1.8 million score and a $ 750,000 championship victory on the now-defunct North American Poker Tour at Mohegan Sun. Her most recent cash was in the Ladies’ Championship at the 2017 WSOP, which brought her career earnings to $ 11,851,384. That amount is first among female professionals and ranks her 41st in the all-time tournament earnings regardless of gender.

It is always disappointing to see someone who is quite talented walk away from the game, but one of the charms of poker is you can come back at any point in time. Here’s wishing Selbst the best of luck in the difficult hedge fund management world and that we see here “moonlighting” as a poker player soon!

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A Visit From St. Doyle

 A Visit From St. Doyle

This was originally written in 2006 and, in each subsequent year, it has been tradition for it to be run. Some of the players in the game might not be as well-regarded as they once were but, instead of changing the names, we’ve decided to leave it as it was originally written for posterity’s sake. Thus, enjoy our rendition of “A Visit from St. Doyle,” with all due regards and apologies to Clement Moore!

A Visit From St. Doyle

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The only thing heard
Was the clicking of a mouse

The stockings were hung
By the chimney with care
But nothing was in them
As I looked at two pair

The tournament was late
The blinds they were high
I considered a raise
And behind heard a sigh

The children were silent
And snuggled in bed
As thoughts of a boat
Danced in my head

With mom (who sighed) merrily wrapping
And I in my visor
I had settled in
And considered my raiser

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair
And ignored the chat banter

Towards the door
I flew like a flash
Threw back the bolt
And opened the latch

To what did my wondering eyes did appear
The saint of the game and eight of his peers
He had a big cowboy hat and a grand old smile
And with a sweep of his hand ushered in those in the rear

“In Chris, in Barry,
In Howard and Annie
In Jennifer, in T. J.,
And Phils, Hellmuth and Ivey”

To the table we flew
The chips they were clicking
The discussion was merry
Over the eggnog we were drinking

He spoke reverently
As we played through the night
He looked in my eyes
And showed me the light

“The game, it is great,
The time spent is a blast.
But it isn’t everything,
Enjoy each day like it’s your last.”

“Play the game and enjoy
Who knows, you may be great.
But remember friends and family
Those things never abate.”

The eight and I nodded in agreement
As a toast was raised to The Man
And he grandly announced,
“Everyone all-in, last hand.”

 The cards whisked to us
As did the flop, turn and river
And we all peeked at our hole cards
To see what was delivered

It came around to me
And I turned up my hand
I stared down wide-eyed
At the royal flush that I had

The hand went to me
As well as the cheers of the gang
And we all left the table
As the Christmas bells rang

The mood was joyful
And as they faded from sight
St. Doyle looked back to me
And had one final insight

“The best to you in the game
And the best in your life.
May your hands be huge,
Merry Christmas and good night.”

From our house here at Poker News Daily to yours, a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa or Hail Festivus) and the best of the New Year.

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UIGEA Villain Rep. Bob Goodlatte Retiring from Congress

 UIGEA Villain Rep. Bob Goodlatte Retiring from Congress

With the focus nowadays on Senator Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Adelson, and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz when it comes to those trying to prevent regulated online poker in the United States, it is easy to forget the founding assholes of the anti-poker league. One of these reprobates, Rep. Robert Goodlatte, announced that he will be retiring from Congress next year.

Goodlatte was one of the co-authors of the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which outlawed monetary transactions between financial institutions and online gambling sites. It didn’t make online poker explicitly illegal, just the means of funding accounts. Of course, as horse racing is important to Goodlatte’s Virginia, he made sure there was a carveout for that industry in the bill.

UIGEA wasn’t just awful because of its content, either. It was tacked on to the SAFE Port Act, a “must pass” piece of legislation, and as the bill was passed late at night, there was virtually no debate on the UIGEA. Most lawmakers hadn’t even read it.

The UIGEA didn’t end online poker in the U.S. immediately, though. Many online poker rooms and networks exited the U.S. market when the legislation took effect, but others ignored it and stayed. PokerStars has been the biggest online poker room in the world for a long time, but it wasn’t until the UIGEA that it rose to dominance. PokerStars, along with Full Tilt, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet, came to rule the industry for a while because they remained in the U.S., gobbling up the gigantic player pool.

Of course, Black Friday came along in 2011, wiping out the U.S. online poker industry. Even now, just four states have legalized online poker with only three having sites up and running.

In a press release, Goodlatte said:

Every two years, Maryellen and I sat down to discuss whether to run again or not. When we discussed the 2018 election, the conversation ended a little differently than in past years. After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District. I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters.

The most entertaining part of his announcement came earlier, though, when he wrote, “….I’ve been proud to work on policies that have become law and advance fiscal conservatism, personal liberty, economic growth, and limited government.”

Hmm, let’s see. Sneaking in a bill to effectively stop online poker in the U.S. was an example of advancing personal liberty? No? Well then it was a way to advance economic growth, right? Oh, no? Then it has to be an example of limited government. Oh wait.

Good riddance to Bob Goodlatte. I hope he has fun with grandchildren and leaves the rest of us the hell alone.

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