Posts Tagged ‘Hard’

Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

 Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

In one of the longer final tables of the Season XVI schedule, Scott Margereson was able to vanquish Faraz Jaka to win his first major live tournament championship, the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, early on Thursday morning.

Margereson, who was a fixture in the Top Ten since Day 2 of the tournament, started off the day as the third largest stack among the six men at the final table. Brian Hastings had a massive 12.855 million stack, but Joey Couden (8.255 million) and Margereson (8.195 million) were within shouting distance. Looking to come off the short end of the game were Jeff Fielder (4.32 million), Matt Stout (3.19 million) and Jaka (2.45 million).

The sextet would play out the remainder of the level from the night before (40K/80K, 10K ante) and jump to Level 30 (50K/100K, 15K ante) before the action would get warmed up. On Hand 34, Couden took enough chips from Margereson and Fielder to move into the lead over Hastings, but ten hands later the tide would swing in Margereson’s favor. After a raise from Jaka, a call from Margereson and Fielder and a completion from Hastings in the big blind, a 10-10-4 flop greeted the players. Hastings would be the only one who dropped from the action after Jaka popped a 325K bet in the center and the 7♣ put two clubs on the baize. Jaka now checked his option but, after Margereson bet 1.35 million and Fielder called after some thought, Jaka cleared out of the way.

Now down to two players, the 6♣ put the possibility for a flush on the board. Margereson used up a Time Chip to consider his action before he settled on an all-in move. Fielder, thinking he had trapped Margereson, immediately called and spiked his 5♣ 4♣ on the felt for the rivered flush. That wasn’t good enough, however; Margereson turned up two red fours for the flopped boat that had Fielder drawing dead from the start. After the chips were counted, Fielder was determined to be the player at risk for elimination, leaving the tournament in sixth place.

Only three hands later, another player would go down. Stout would open the betting and Jaka would three-bet him until Stout’s remaining stack was in the center. Stout turned up pocket tens for the fight, but Jaka had the goods for battle with pocket Queens. A Queen on the flop left Stout drawing way thin and the case Queen on the turn left him drawing dead, sending the popular philanthropist (Stout is the founder of the Charity Series of Poker)/poker professional to the rail in fifth place.

Now down to four players, Couden (12.14 million) and Margereson (12.005 million) were the massive leaders, but Hastings (9.045 million) and Jaka (6.075 million) looked to make a run at the top. Hastings drew first blood, doubling up through Couden when his pocket Aces defeated Couden’s pocket sevens after both players flopped a set, to take over the lead. Margereson, however, would fight back to take the lead away from Hastings again as Level 32 began.

With the blinds beginning to catch up with the stacks, the swings became more massive. Over the span of 20 hands, every man at the table held the lead. Another 20 hands, however, would lead to another player leaving the tournament.

After a Couden raise under the gun, Jaka woke up in the big blind and three bet the action. Couden would move all in and Jaka snapped off the call, showing pocket Kings that served as a cooler to Couden’s pocket Queens. Once no ladies came to the flop, turn or river, Couden was out of the tournament in fourth place as Jaka took over the lead with more than half of the chips in play.

The trio of pros (while Jaka and Hastings have quite a bit of live success, Margereson’s has come online, where he has earned over $ 4 million in tournament earnings) battled it out over 45 more hands before someone took command. That “someone” was Margereson, who knocked out Hastings after he rivered a flush and headed to heads up action against Jaka with nearly a 3:1 lead.

The twosome would play for 30 hands without a significant move in the chip counts, but on the 200th hand of the final table the drama became more intense. After Jaka limped in and Margereson checked, a K-8-7-9 flop and turn only brought a before from Margereson on the turn and a Jaka call. An Ace on the river brought another bet out of Margereson, this time for three million chips, but Jaka read Margereson for a bluff and called. Jaka was correct as Margereson, holding a 10-5, had air as Jaka tabled his 7-5 for bottom pair, good enough to take the pot and tie up the event as each player held 19.6 million chips.

With the match even, any hand held the potential for a player to be eliminated. That outcome arrived on Hand 232 after Margereson moved all in and Jaka made the call. Jaka’s A-8 held the advantage pre-flop against Margereson’s Q-J, but the poker fates put a Q-J-9 flop that switched the advantage to Margereson. The turn seven teased Jaka with the inside straight possibility, but the Ace on the river slammed the door and knocked Jaka out in second.

1. Scott Margereson, $ 696,740
2. Faraz Jaka, $ 454,496
3. Brian Hastings, $ 336,466
4. Joey Couden, $ 251,523
5. Matt Stout, $ 189,880
6. Jeff Fielder, $ 144,775

With the completion of the tournament in Florida, the WPT will now head to Las Vegas for a spate of tournaments to complete Season XVI. The WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship will be conducted from May 1-6 and a WPT High Roller event ($ 25,000 buy in) will take place from May 5-6, with the final table of that tournament being played on May 25 at the sparkling eSports Arena Las Vegas. The WPT will give one more shot for players to win on the Season XVI schedule with the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic from May 20-23 before bringing together as many current and former champions as possible for the WPT Tournament of Champions. That tournament will run from May 24-26, with the final table also being held in the eSports Arena Las Vegas.

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Hard Rock Atlantic City to Open June 28th

 Hard Rock Atlantic City to Open June 28th

In a press conference Wednesday, Hard Rock International executives announced that the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will open June 28th. Among the highlights the first year are almost 300 nights of live entertainment, including the likes of Blake Shelton, Amy Schumer, Stone Temple Pilots, Counting Crows, Florida Georgia Line, Steely Dan, and Frankie Valli.

“We think it’s a great start,” Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said. “It demonstrates our commitment that we are about entertainment and not just about casino. But, certainly, we look forward to continuing to book more acts and even larger acts. There’s some amazing acts on that list, but, certainly, I think the best is yet to come.”

While I referred to the Hard Rock Atlantic City as “new,” it is actually the former Trump Taj Mahal, situated on the Boardwalk between Virginia and Maryland Avenues. Hard Rock International purchased the shuttered property, finalizing the sale about a year ago. The company is investing $ 500 million to get it refurbished, rebranded, and ready to go this summer. And yes, the iconic giant guitar will be prominently featured out front, though it has not been erected yet (permits, which have been procured, were needed before it could be done).

The Hard Rock will be a welcome sight to Atlantic City, which saw five casinos close from 2014 to 2016. 2014, in particular, was a disaster for the city, as Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Showboat Casino, the $ 2.4 billion Revel, and Trump Plaza, all shut their doors. The Trump Taj Mahal closed on October 10th, 2016.

Of course, with all those casino closing went thousands of jobs.

“They’re going to hire 3,000 people, which we need. We lost about 11,000 in 2014, so this means more jobs for Atlantic City,” New Jersey Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo told News 12 New Jersey.

“You’re talking about over 5,000 full-time jobs,” added Matt Doherty with the Casino Reinvestment Authority. “These are union jobs with pension, health insurance for pay. Then there’s probably another 2,000 seasonal jobs for the summer as well.”

The Hard Rock Atlantic City will have 2,000 hotel rooms, more than 20 restaurants and bars, and a 120,000 square foot casino floor with 2,100 slot machines and 120 table games. The Taj was once the hub for poker on the east coast and was prominently featured in the classic poker film Rounders. It was even home to the live finals of the long-forgotten Online Series of Poker, created by the original owner of this website and which I, personally, was involved in organizing. It remains to be seen if Hard Rock will make an effort to attract poker players.

Hard Rock does already have plans to offer online gambling, which is legal in New Jersey. In February, it entered into a five-year agreement with Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to be Hard Rock’s online gambling provider.

This will be a big summer for Atlantic City. In addition to the Hard Rock, Ocean Resort Casino, formerly Revel, will also open. No date has been announced for the Ocean grand opening.

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

It was a relatively short day at the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida on Tuesday, but that was to be expected, as only eight players needed to be eliminated for the tournament to reach the six-handed final table. After six hours, that final table was determined with Brian Hastings emerging as the chip leader of an extremely tough group of players.

Hastings enters Wednesday’s action with 12.855 million chips, giving him a sizeable edge over his closest competitor, Joey Couden (8.255 million chips with blinds and antes of 40,000/80,000/10,000). The chip leader going into Tuesday, Scott Margereson, is third with 8.195 million. After those three, there is a gap to the next three, but the next trio is a load to handle: Jeff Fielder (4.320 million), Matt Stout (3.190 million), and Faraz Jaka (2.450 million).

Hastings is no stranger to deep trips in major tournaments. He owns three World Series of Poker bracelets: 2012 $ 10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up, 2015 $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud, and 2015 $ 1,500 Ten Game Mix Six-Handed. Overall, he has more than $ 2.6 million in live tournament earnings.

He is still gunning for that first World Poker Tour title, though, which makes him no different than the five other players at the final table. They are all accomplished: Jaka won the Season VIII WPT Player of the Year race, Couden has over a million dollars in tournament winnings, Stout has $ 3.7 million in earnings, multiple WSOP final tables, and a fifth place finish in this event four years ago, and Fielder is trying to become the first player to win a WPT Main Tour title and a WPTDeepStacks title.

As we told you a few days ago, this is the largest WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in history, with 1,309 entries. It is also the fifth-largest World Poker Tour event of all time. Now, that number is slightly misleading, as since it is an unlimited re-entry event, the tournament didn’t actually have 1,309 players, hence the use of the word “entries.” That said, the fact that so many people would be willing to plunk down multiple $ 3,500 buy-ins is impressive.

938 entries were needed to meet the guaranteed prize pool of $ 3 million, so that turned out to be no problem whatsoever. The total prize pool escalated to $ 4,188,800 with the winner taking home nearly $ 700,000.

2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Brian Hastings – 12,855,000
2. Joey Couden – 8,255,000
3. Scott Margereson – 8,195,000
4. Jeff Fielder – 4,320,000
5. Matt Stout – 3,190,000
6. Faraz Jaka – 2,450,000

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 3: Scott Margereson Amasses Gigantic Chip Lead

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 3: Scott Margereson Amasses Gigantic Chip Lead

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is speeding to its conclusion, as Day 3 saw the field narrowed from 81 to just 14. Things will slow down a bit today, though, as the plan is to get rid of just eight players to set up the six-handed final table. One would think, though, that this would at least mean Day 4 will be relatively short. But with the money jumps starting to increase and spots at the final table on the line, you never know how things might play out. One thing we feel safe to predict is that chip leader Scott Margereson will be around a while, as with 9.210 million chips, he has more than double the stack of his closest competitor.

Margereson is in search of his first World Poker Tour title. In fact, of the remaining 14 players, only Victor Ramdin is a member of the WPT Champions Club. With a minimum payout of more than $ 43,000 already locked up, Margereson is in store for at least the fourth highest cash of his career. Though his lifetime live tournament earnings of $ 570,039 pale in comparison to some of the players at the Seminole Hard Rock today, take a look at his recorded online tournament earnings (via PocketFives): $ 4,173,887. He is currently 186th in PocketFives’ worldwide online poker tournament rankings, having been as high as 16th just two years ago.

Margereson began Monday’s action among the chip leaders with about 1.2 million chips and really just gradually chipped up throughout the day. There didn’t seem to be one face-melting, blockbuster hand that rocketed him to the lead. A couple of his bigger hands simply involved jump-starting the action early, building a pot, then forcing his opponent out without a showdown. In two hands spread out during the course of the day, he won somewhere around 1.7 to 1.8 million in combined pots against Faraz Jaka alone.

He did have one huge hand, though, thanks to the final elimination of the day. He raised pre-flop to 60,000, Joseph Cheong called, and Roberto Alberro re-raised to 200,000. Margereson and Cheong both called to bring on a flop of 5-4-2. Alberro bet 300,000, Margereson called, and Cheong folded. On the turn 2, Alberro shoved for 1.755 million and Margereson called. Both had overpairs, but Margereson’s Queens were better than Alberro’s Tens. The river was of no consequence and Alberro was out in 15th place while Margereson increased his stack at the time to 8.8 million chips.

2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown – Day 3 Chip Counts

1. Scott Margereson – 9,210,000
2. Joey Couden – 4,060,000
3. Tanner Millen – 3,825,000
4. Brian Hastings – 3,375,000
5. Joseph Cheong – 3,300,000
6. Zach Donovan – 2,765,000
7. Brian England – 2,430,000
8. Faraz Jaka – 2,360,000
9. Jeff Fielder – 2,095,000
10. Matt Stout – 1,790,000
11. Pedro Palacio – 1,590,000
12. A.J. Gambino – 1,240,000
13. Victor Ramdin – 775,000
14. Nicholas Schuman-Werb – 550,000

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1B: Uri Kadosh Maintains Overall Lead, Record Field for Event

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1B: Uri Kadosh Maintains Overall Lead, Record Field for Event

The opening salvos have been fired in the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and the shots have been spectacular. The numbers for the two-Day Ones have set a record for the tournament and, while former WPT champion Eric Afriat took the Day 1B chip lead honors, it is Day 1A leader Udi Kadosh who will have the overall lead heading to Sunday’s Day 2 action.

After 646 entries were received for Day 1A, the masses gathered for Day 1B were ready to smash that figure. Coming out of the gate it was a bit slow as only 169 players were in their chairs when the cards hit the air, but there was quality to the early risers (the tournament started at 11AM). Former WPT champions Darren Elias, Brian Altman, Andy Frankenberger, Jonathan Little (also in on Day 1A) and Afriat were the brightest stars in the Hard Rock tournament arena, joined by Mike Dentale, Ari Engel, Matt Stout, Ankush Mandavia and Joe Elpayaa. With late registration going on until the end of Level 9, however, it would be quite some time before the final figures were in.

Frankenberger had some difficulties coming out of gate as some of the local talent brought the action to him. Cut down to a short stack, Frankenberger found himself in a three-way hand with a Q-J-4-6 two-club flop and turn up for the players to ponder. After a small blind bet and the second player’s call, Frankenberger decided that he didn’t want to mess around anymore, moving his remaining 10K in chips (players started with 30K; this was slightly more than an hour into the day’s play) to the center. His two combatants quickly got out of the way and Frankenberger scooped the approximately 17K pot.

After that first hour, the Seminole Indian tribe also breathed a sigh of relief. The 938-entry mark was passed in that first hour, meeting the $ 3 million guarantee that they had placed on the tournament. After the recent tournament which suffered from a great deal of controversy after the casino took some unusual steps to try to meet their guarantee, the Seminoles were obviously pleased that they wouldn’t be on the hook for any money and the only question now was how high it would go.

If there is one way to explain the difficulties (some would say unfairness) of the unlimited re-entry format, Chance Kornuth would be that example. Only a couple of hours into the Day 1B action, Kornuth ran his pocket treys into Robert Chusid’s Big Slick and got his chips to the center, only to see the board counterfeit him when it ran out 6-5-5-6-J to give Chusid the hand and knock Kornuth out. Undaunted, Kornuth reached back into his wallet for another $ 3500 and, by the beginning of Level 5, had worked his way into the Top Five. Would Kornuth have made the same play if it were a freezeout event?

As the dinner break came, the numbers were staggering. 549 entries were in the books, bringing the total number of entries to 1195 with four levels left in the day’s action. As players looked at the tournament clock, there were murmurings that the final figures could break last year’s record numbers, when 1207 entries were received, and that the prize pool could eclipse the $ 4 million mark.

After the end of Level 9, the players got their answers. With 663 entries on Day 1B, the total field for the 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown totaled 1309 entries, the fifth largest event in WPT history (and breaking last year’s record for the event. The $ 4,188,800 prize pool will be carved up by the final 164 players, with the eventual champion walking off with the lion’s share of that pool ($ 696,740).

Perhaps the most stunning thing about the day’s play (other than the massive number of entries) was Afriat’s efforts. After the dinner break, Afriat needed to quadruple up to reach 14,500 chips (that’s not a misprint, folks), but he kept his foot on the gas from there. In the span of one level, Afriat went from “losing every hand for seven hours” (his words, as quoted by the WPT live updates team) to winning everything he touched, building a stack that towered over his tablemates and eventually giving him the Day 1B chip lead.

1. Eric Afriat, 222,500
2. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
3. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
4. Mark Cole, 207,000
5. Joel Brink, 205,000
6. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900
7. Andre Crooks, 191,100
8. Raul Lozano, 173,500
9. Juan Martinez, 164,000
10. Aaron Mermelstein, 162,500

Combined with the Day 1A participants, not only will Kadosh hold the overall lead in the tournament heading to Day 2, the top three from Day 1A will be at the helm:

1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500*
2. Robert Transue, 239,500*
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300*
4. Eric Afriat, 222,500
5. Paul Snead, 220,000*
6. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
7. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
8. Mark Cole, 207,000
9. Joel Brink, 205,000
10. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900

(* – Day 1A players)

From the 1309-entry field, there will be a total of 480 players who will return for action on Sunday morning. It is possible that they will reach the money bubble on Sunday, but a better bet might be Monday for the popping of said bubble. With the massive field for this tournament, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the state of Florida and the World Poker Tour have shown that the much talked about “death” of the big-field poker tournaments have been, as in the words of Mark Twain, “greatly exaggerated.”

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