Posts Tagged ‘Gregg’

Ari Engel Maintains Player of the Year Lead, Anthony Gregg & Dietrich Fast Rising

 Ari Engel Maintains Player of the Year Lead, Anthony Gregg & Dietrich Fast Rising

As the two major tournament circuits in the world prepare for their season finales ahead of the start of the World Series of Poker at the end of May, Aussie Millions champion Ari Engel is continuing to hold the lead over the field in the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race. While he has held that lead since the beginning of the year, Engel is now facing some new challengers coming up the leaderboard to take him on.

Engel hasn’t been one to sit back on his laurels since winning the Aussie Millions back in January when he had 2614 points to lead the pack. Engel has been out on the tournament circuit, winning a WSOP Circuit ring at Harrah’s Atlantic City and making a total of five final tables since the championship “Down Under.” Add in another three cashes to his total (making for a total of 12 for the year to this point) and Engel has racked up a total of 3070 points but, more importantly, over $ 1.2 million in earnings for 2016.

Anthony Gregg has moved up well over the past few months on the table, looking to improve on his runner-up finish at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Following his first cash of 2016, Gregg has been able to tack on six cashes (with four of them final table finishes) but hasn’t been able to find the Winner’s Circle as of yet. If he keeps playing like this, it’s only a matter of time before he adds onto his 2546 points and puts Engel’s lead in jeopardy.

Just as fast as Gregg has risen up the Top Ten, another player jumped in from outside to take over the third place slot. Germany’s Dietrich Fast wasn’t anywhere near the upper echelons of the leaderboard the last time we looked, but a couple of outstanding finishes will correct that situation. Fast’s victory at the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic in early March was nice, but Fast wasn’t satisfied as he went on to final table the WPT Vienna later in the month. With a grand total of seven cashes, three final tables and that WPT win, Fast quickly entered the charts on the CardPlayer POY with 2498 points.

A point of controversy may be in the man who holds the fourth place slot on the leaderboard. Bryn Kenney, the manager of the Global Poker League’s New York Rounders, was able to win one of the biggest events so far of 2016, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure’s $ 100,000 Super High Roller event for a $ 1.6 million-plus payday, and he was also able to make the final table of the PCA’s $ 50,000 High Roller tournament. Where Kenney has been making his points, however, has been at the $ 25,000 Aria High Roller Series that has been playing for some time now.

So far in 2016, Kenney has been able to rack up two wins and two other final tables in those tournaments, earning a total of 1190 points (the tournaments normally play at least twice a month). Without those finishes, Kenney isn’t even in the Top Ten with his 2474 points; by the criteria, however, they are supposed to count, so Kenney is just playing within the rules as they are written.

Steve O’Dwyer, who doesn’t frequent the tournament circuit in the United States, is holding his own right now as he’s playing anywhere else in the world. In second place just a couple of months ago, O’Dwyer has dropped down the leaderboard a bit to fifth place with his 2454 points. This is something that works against O’Dwyer in the different POY leaderboards is his refusal to play in events in the U. S. There just aren’t enough “big” tournaments outside of the U. S. that can generate the prize pools (and, as a result, the POY points) that O’Dwyer needs to exclusively play the international circuit.

The remainder of the Top Ten features some familiar names and what can rightfully be called a “playing” World Champion. David Peters, Ivan Luca, Aussie Millions runner-up Tony Dunst, defending WSOP Championship Event winner Joe McKeehen and Connor Drinan sit in places sixth through tenth, respectively. This could be a very fluid situation, however, as these five men are separated by less than 300 points and, looking down to 20th place (Igor Kurganov), by slightly more than 500 points.

The fluidity of that situation could come as soon as this month. April is a big month for the WPT, with three huge tournaments in Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale and the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions are offering a boatload of cash and a lot of POY points for their participants. Add in the fact that the European Poker Tour is keeping pace with the WPT with a Grand Final festival for the ages in Monte Carlo (along with other minor tournament circuits) and it promises to be an interesting month on the tournament trail.

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Mike Watson Outlasts Anthony Gregg to Capture PokerStars Caribbean Adventure EPT Championship

 Mike Watson Outlasts Anthony Gregg to Capture PokerStars Caribbean Adventure EPT Championship

They came into the final table as the top two players, so it was only natural that they would be the ones who would decide the championship. After all was said and done, Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson emerged as champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure European Poker Tour Main Event over Anthony Gregg, who was denied the championship in his third ever trip to the PCA EPT Main Event final table.

The duo had paced the play through Day 5, ending up 1-2 with Watson’s 6.585 million chip stack taking the top of the leaderboard over Gregg’s 5.68 million at the close of business on Wednesday night. Someone else who had been fighting with Watson through the course of Wednesday’s play was Vladimir Troyanovskiy, who lurked in the middle of the pack with his 5.025 million in chips, while Toby Lewis looked to add a second EPT title to his resume with his 4.665 million chip stack. Phillip McAllister (3.04 million) and Randy Kritzer (2.575 million) had nice stacks but had to get active or get left behind.

It was the shorties who got busy early as McAllister and Kritzer started the day off by throwing their chips about. For McAllister, it worked as he took an early pot off of Gregg to get a bit healthier, but not so much for Kritzer as he lost two consecutive hands to McAllister and Gregg. On Hand 8, the twosome quit playing around the table and dealt with each other in the blinds, with Kritzer raising out of the small and McAllister defending the big. What seemed to be an innocent 9 6 Q flop brought out the fireworks, however.

After a check from McAllister, Kritzer fired off 325K and McAllister pushed his roughly three million stack to the center, which Kritzer called. His Q♠ 10♣ (top pair) was ahead of McAllister’s 8♠ 7 (open ended straight draw), but things would get worse for Kritzer. A 4 came on the turn to open up a flush draw for McAllister, which came home on the 8 that landed on the river. After the chips were counted, Kritzer was determined to be the one at risk and he was eliminated in sixth place.

Now flush with newfound chips, McAllister got a bit frisky. Raising the button with an off suit J-8, McAllister found a welcome opponent in Watson, who called with a J-5. The flop nailed McAllister square, J-8-4, and Watson check-called a bet from McAllister. This action would repeat itself on a 7♣ and, for Watson, a 5 river and, once Watson saw he was behind the entire way, was dismayed to see that he had put in more than 1.5 million in chips voluntarily. Those chips allowed McAllister to take over the lead ten hands into the final table.

McAllister dominated the play over the next 80 hands, sitting as the only player over 10 million in chips, before the next elimination took place. After a tough beat when his A-J was eclipsed by Watson’s pocket Queens on a J-4-8-10-6 board, Troyanovskiy attempted to revive his stack against Gregg. On an A♣ 8 4 flop Troyanovskiy, holding a 7 3, looked to pull a flush out of the magician’s hat against Gregg’s A-Q. With nine outs twice, Troyanovskiy instead saw a ten and a nine – neither of them hearts – come on the turn and river to end his stay in the Bahamas in fifth place in the tournament.

Over the next 20 hands, the four men gradually drew closer to each other, McAllister coming back to the field and Gregg creeping up the leaderboard. Just before a level up, however, Gregg would get a key double in a race situation against Lewis, his pocket nines outlasting Lewis’ Big Slick, to take over the chip lead. That lead was fleeting, however, as Watson eked out a few chips from Gregg and McAllister before the break to take back the lead from Gregg.

Once Level 33 commenced, Lewis would expire. Four hands into the new level, McAllister limped in from the button and Lewis, in the small blind, read it for weakness and moved all in. He forgot about Watson in the big blind, however, who checked his cards and reshoved for his stack. McAllister slinked off to the corner and, when the hands were turned up, Lewis was in a bit of trouble.

Watson was ahead with his off suit A-J against Lewis’ K-9 (for the record, McAllister folded a 9-6), but there was drama afoot. The 10-6-3 flop was innocent enough, but the King on the turn put Lewis out in front. Looking for an Ace or a Queen to best Lewis, Watson caught lightning in a bottle when a Queen hit the river to deliver an unlikely Broadway straight and send Lewis out of the tournament in fourth place.

Watson slowly put his foot on the pedal at this point, drawing out to nearly a 2:1 lead over Gregg and almost 4:1 over McAllister within 25 hands of knocking off Lewis. Once he eliminated McAllister in third place, his 8♣ 7♣ finding a flush against McAllister’s pocket Jacks after McAllister trapped Watson pre-flop with a limp and a Watson all-in push, he kept his lead at 2:1 over Gregg, but the heads up battle would prove to be arguably the most intriguing part of the overall final table.

First, the duo struck a deal that saw Watson take home $ 695,325 and Gregg sew up $ 612,175, putting $ 33K aside along with the trophy to play for. They then set into a 72-hand matchup that, while Watson stayed in the lead, saw Gregg fight valiantly at several points. While he couldn’t work his way into the lead at any point, Gregg never just tossed in the towel and instead provided excellent competition all the way to the end.

On the final hand, Gregg would limp in and, after Watson checked and the 8 6 2 monochrome flop hit the table, Watson checked again. Once Gregg put a bet in, Watson sprang into action with a check raise. Reviewing the action, Gregg rechecked his cards and, after the moment of consideration, moved all in. Now it was Watson’s turn to think it over and, after he made the call, both men reluctantly turned up their cards. Gregg’s off suit A-8 was in the lead, but Watson’s 7 4♠ had a wealth of redraw options (a heart for the flush, a five for the straight). More outs came for Watson when the 7♠ entered the fray on the turn and, unfortunately for Gregg, there were just too many outs in the mix; the river brought the 5 to bring Watson the heart flush and the victory.

1. Mike Watson, $ 728,325*
2. Anthony Gregg, $ 612,175*
3. Phillip McAllister, $ 356,020
4. Toby Lewis, $ 267,340
5. Vladimir Troyanovskiy, $ 207,940
6. Randy Kritzer, $ 153,920
7. Ken Demlakian, $ 110,220^
8. Timothy Ulmer, $ 78,540^

(* – reflects final table deal)
(^ – official EPT final table finisher, eliminated Wednesday night)

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2016 PCA EPT Main Event Day 5: Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson Leads Final Six, Anthony Gregg Makes Third-Ever PCA Main Event Final Table

 2016 PCA EPT Main Event Day 5: Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson Leads Final Six, Anthony Gregg Makes Third Ever PCA Main Event Final Table

It was a day of history at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure European Poker Tour Main Event on Wednesday as the final table for the event was determined. When the final six men come back to the felt this afternoon, Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson will be at the helm of the ship but he will face the visage of Anthony Gregg, who is making his third trip to the PCA Main Event final table in his career.

Coming into the day on Wednesday, 19 players still had the chance to take home one of the poker world’s most coveted championships with Leonardo Pires atop the leaderboard. The remainder of the field was replete with challenges, however, including Fedor Holz, Toby Lewis, Taylor Paur, Ami Barer, Stephen Chidwick and Vladimir Troyanovskiy along with Watson and Gregg. Pires looked to almost be a lock for making the final six with his 4.566 million in chips (almost double what second place Randy Kritzer held with 2.385 million) but, as it works out many times, it wasn’t to be for Pires.

After losing one of the first hands of the day to get dangerously close to being knocked out, Troyanovskiy was able to get a big double through Pires when he flopped a set of sevens against Pires, who airballed with his Q-J to fall under four million in chips. Undaunted, Pires – whose penchant for making abnormal plays throughout the tournament had built the stack that sat before him – immediately rebuilt back up to 4.8 million in making a baby flush in holding a 4♠ 3♠. It got better for Pires when he eliminated Fabian Ortiz in 17th place to bring the tournament down to two tables and push his chip stack to 6.268 million.

Once the tables were redrawn, the chips continued to fly. Watson would come to life with a tournament-saving double up against Kritzer when his A♠ 4♠ turned a flush to eclipse the flopped set of eights from Kritzer. He doubled again, this time through Pires, making a hero call on a 2-4-6-3-J board after Pires moved all in on the river. Pires had hit the flop with his K-6, but it wasn’t good enough as Watson’s pocket sevens survived and pushed the Canadian to 3.674 million, a tremendous improvement after being close to death only ten minutes previously.

This seemed to steel everyone when it came to attacking Pires. First Martin McCormick and then Troyanovskiy would cut pieces out of Pires, dwindling his stack under the four million mark again. When Ken Demlakian took a big pot against the Brazilian, Pires was suddenly at 2.82 million and showing some vulnerability in the tournament. After Pires was defeated by Kritzer, with Kritzer doubling up when his Q-J made two pair against Pires’ pocket tens, Pires had lost more than 4.4 million chips in one level and was struggling under the chip average.

On the very first hand of Level 26, Pires’ final confrontation would take place. With 1.79 million chips still in front of him, Pires saw Watson open the betting and Demlakian make the call in front of him. With 275K in chips in the pot, Pires moved all in from the big blind for his nearly two million in chips, possibly attempting to push his opponents off the pot. The problem was that the “table image” once held by Pires had been destroyed over the previous level; Watson quickly called (Demlakian decided against the fight) and turned up pocket tens while Pires could only bring an off suit 4-3 to the battle. Although he would flop a trey, a ten on the turn ended any chance to win the hand and sent Pires out in 13th place after being the chip leader just one level previously.

Now sitting with over 6.6 million in chips, Watson wouldn’t exactly cruise into the final table of the PCA EPT Main Event. Troyanovskiy would prove to be a formidable opponent, doubling up through Watson and actually taking over the lead at one point Wednesday evening. The duo would swap the lead back and forth as the play went into the night, with Watson eking out the lead as Gregg eliminated Demlakian to end the festivities for Wednesday.

1. Mike Watson, 6.585 million
2. Anthony Gregg, 5.68 million
3. Vladimir Troyanovskiy, 5.025 million
4. Toby Lewis, 4.665 million
5. Phillip McAllister, 3.04 million
6. Randy Kritzer, 2.575 million

Demlakian, who finished seventh for $ 110,220, and Timothy Ulmer, who finished eighth for $ 78,540, will receive credit for an official EPT final table finish.

Along with Gregg’s achievement, Troyanovskiy has also etched his name into the annals of the PCA. Troyanovskiy becomes the first player in history to final table the PCA Main Event, its $ 100,000 Super High Roller and its $ 25,000 High Roller tournaments. And, in case you’re wondering, there is still one former EPT champion in the mix in Lewis, who will be looking to match Vicky Coren as a two-time champion on the EPT.

The final table will resume at 1PM (Bahamas time, same as Eastern Time) and a live stream will be found on EPTLive one hour later (at that time, online coverage will also resume). It is the penultimate day of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure’s EPT Main Event and someone will be walking off at least $ 833,260 more reasons to be happy at the end of the night.

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