Posts Tagged ‘History’

2017 Boasts Third-Largest WSOP Main Event in History

 2017 Boasts Third Largest WSOP Main Event in History

The nuttiest part of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event is over, as thousands of players gathered at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino Saturday through Monday for the tournaments opening starting flights. To break out an overused cliché, “when the dust cleared” Monday and the registrations were tallied, the 2017 WSOP Main Event came in at 7,221 entries, the third largest WSOP Championship Event of all time.

The daily player numbers were as follows: Day 1A – 795 players, Day 1B – 2,164 players, and Day 1C – 4,262 players.

For those unfamiliar with the World Series of Poker (and may I add a hearty welcome!), that registration progression is completely normal. Day 1A always features the fewest number of players, mainly because people anticipate making it to at least Day 2 and would prefer not to have a two-day gap during which they will have to pay for a hotel room, spend more time away from work, etc. Logistically, it’s just easier to one of the other two days. Those who have been playing in other events at the WSOP leading up to the Main Event also may want a little extra rest before the tourney.

The largest Main Event ever was at the height of the poker boom, in 2006, right before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in the United States. That year, 8,773 paid the $ 10,000 to play, creating a $ 12 million first prize (this was before the prize distribution was adjusted to spread the money out a bit more). Jamie Gold famously won that tournament, table-talking his way to the title.

The next largest Main Event was in 2010, when poker was coming out of the post-UIGEA funk. Jonathan Duhamel won that year, triumphing in a field of 7,319. The 2017 WSOP Main Event is the largest since that point.

With the 7,221 entries, the prize pool of the 2017 WSOP Main Event has been set at $ 67,877,400 (it is not $ 72,221,000 because 4.2 percent is taken in rake and 1.8 percent is taken out for dealers and tournament staff). First prize will be $ 8.15 million and, as has been the usual structure recently, nine players at the final table will all be guaranteed at least $ 1 million. A total of 1,084 players will make the money with a minimum payout of $ 15,000. Six-figure payouts begin at 72nd place.

On Tuesday, the survivors from Days 1A and 1B will compete in Days 2A and 2B. Though both of these Day 2 flights will be held at the Rio at the same time, the fields will be kept separate. Those who remain from Day 1C will play in Day 2C tomorrow. After that, all players who still have chips will combine in a single field on Thursday’s Day 3 and go from there.

There will be no November Nine this year. Instead, when the final table is determined on July 17th (or perhaps the early morning of July 18th, depending on how long it takes), the tournament will pause for just two days. The final table will begin July 20th and run through July 22nd.

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MPN Hand History Changes Coming in April

 MPN Hand History Changes Coming in April

The Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) is preparing to make changes to both the content and storing of hand histories in order to protect casual players. The changes, discussed in a blog post by Head of Product (Network Games) at Microgaming Alex Scott earlier this month, will go into effect in April.

Scott is among the rare breed of online poker managers/executives who is actually a player, as well, and approaches problem solving from a fair perspective, balancing the needs of the company with the needs of the player. In the blog post, he talks about how while hand tracking software like PokerTracker has been a great tool for players, it also provides sharks the ability to prey on fish without really having to observe and study their opponents’ play.

Writes Scott:

We have a difficult relationship with tracking software. Personally, I think it’s really important for players to be able to track and analyse their own gameplay, and tracking software is an excellent way to improve if used properly. It’s also a great way to be a responsible gambler, because you can’t hide from your results.

But I also think tracking software has changed the game in a way that makes it less fun. It allows you to gather huge amounts of data on your opponents, without requiring any significant attention or observation on your part. It allows you to exploit the weakest opponents exclusively, if you wish.

That last point, about “exploit[ing] the weakest opponents exclusively, likely has to do with the use of software like seating scripts, which search the active tables, see who is playing, look up the players’ stats in the hand tracking software, and then seat the software’s user with players who are known to be weak.

Hand tracking software uses hand histories to compile player data.

Thus, MPN will implement two changes to hand histories. In cash games, a full, detailed hand history will only be saved to a player’s computer if that player contributed money to the pot. In other hands, only basic information like the player’s balance and hole cards will be saved. With this, players will not be able to just sit back and gather truckloads of data on other players without putting forth the effort of playing poker themselves.

Additionally, there will no longer be any hand histories at all for anonymous tables. The whole point of anonymous tables is to shield players from being tracked, so eliminating hand histories will make hand tracking software useless at those tables. MPN will still be on the lookout, though, for people who try to get around the rules and use such software.

As Alex Scott summarizes it, “The net effect of this is that you can still use tracking software to track your own gameplay, and you can still use a HUD at the tables. However your tracking software will gather much less information about your opponents in general.”

This should still make hand tracking software useful for analyzing one’s own play, as players will still have records of what hole cards they themselves had each hand. In any hand in which a user didn’t contribute to the pot, they will still know what cards they had, that they folded, and what their balance was. There really isn’t much more data necessary for self-analysis in those situations. Sure, it would probably be nice to know what sort of betting happened or didn’t happen to make me fold certain cards, but it’s probably not a big deal.

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Darren Elias Makes History, Wins WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

 Darren Elias Makes History, Wins WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

In what was one of the longer final days of a World Poker Tour event, poker professional Darren Elias – who just over two years ago joined the ranks of players who have won back-to-back tournaments on the circuit (Anthony Zinno and Marvin Rettenmaier) – battled through the final 22 players to win the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic late Friday night.

Elias started the penultimate Day Three in the middle of the remaining 22 players with 617,000 in chips (good for 10th place). He looked up the ladder at Ron Laplante, who held almost three times the chips of Elias (1.724 million) and David Eldridge (1.7 million) and would start the day as the chip leaders. Along with Elias, Kristen Bicknell was looking to add to her two World Series of Poker bracelets by adding a WPT title to her trophy collection.

It looked bleak for Elias at the start of the day. He would double up Manig Loeser within minutes of the opening bell to drop to only 370,000 chips, then would do the same for Paul Pritchett. After Elias opened the betting to 55K, Pritchett dropped his remaining 218K in the center and Elias had to have a look. He was live with his Q-10 against Pritchett’s A-J and found some fortune in the K-Q-2 flop to take the lead, but the ten on the turn to give Elias Queens up also gave Pritchett a Broadway straight. After the river blanked, Elias saw his once bountiful stack shriveled up to just 230,000.

Elias started his comeback by doubling through Mark Zajdner in a blind versus blind battle, his pocket Kings holding from the big blind over Zajdner’s Q-9 push out of the small blind. Elias would eliminate Danny Noseworthy in 18th place to get back over his starting stack for the day (660K) and then river a straight against Laplante to crack the million-chip mark. By the time the unofficial final table of ten was set, Elias was once again a contender in the middle of the pack behind Abdull Hassan, Laplante, and Bicknell.

After chopping a pot with Buck Ramsey when both players had pocket Aces, Elias would make his big move two hands later. After a raise to 105K from Chrishan Sivasundaram, Elias moved all in from the button for 885K. Believing himself to be priced into the call, Sivasundaram made the move and winced when he saw Elias once again holding pocket Aces. Sivasundaram could only muster pocket tens for the fight and, after the board only improved Elias in coming down 7-6-4-3-A, Elias saw his stack crack the two million mark.

After a level up, Elias would finish off Sivasundaram to take over the chip lead from Eldridge, but that would be short-lived. Eldridge took a hand off Elias to reach 3.3 million and, after he eliminated Laplante in ninth place, saw his stack reach 4.475 million. When Eldridge knocked off Bicknell in seventh place to set the “official” WPT final table, his chip lead was firmly established with 5.175 million chips, roughly 2.3 million more than Andrew Chen and more than three million more than Elias.

Elias got back into the middle of the fray in doubling up through Chen. With all the chips in pre-flop, Elias was in tough shape with his pocket nines against Chen’s pocket Queens. That all changed when the 9-7-6 flop gave Elias a set to push him to the lead. Needing to dodge one of the two ladies remaining in the deck, Elias saw a trey on the turn and a five on the river to seal his double up and push him into second place behind Eldridge with 3.2 million chips.

Surprisingly, Eldridge and Elias were very active not only against the rest of the table but also against each other. After Eldridge eliminated Loeser in fifth place, Elias would take two of the next four hands with both coming against Eldridge. Once Elias sent Chen out in fourth place and dismissed Jean-Christophe Ferreira in third, he went to heads-up play against Eldridge with a slim 1.1 million chip lead.

Instead of a drawn-out affair, the heads-up match was decided in only three hands. On Hand #69 with an A-A-4-Q-Q board showing, Eldridge oddly couldn’t find a call to Elias’ all-in move (with Elias covering him) after Eldridge had started the betting with a million-chip raise pre-flop and folded his hand, leaving him with only 750K behind him. Two hands later, those remaining 750K in chips were in Elias’ hands as, holding a J-6 off suit, he was able to turn a King-high straight against Eldridge’s 10-9 (a flopped pair of tens and rivered two pair) to win the championship of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic and tie the record for most wins by a player in the history of the WPT (three, held by Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem and Zinno).

1. Darren Elias, $ 449,484*
2. David Eldridge, $ 300,982
3. Jean-Christophe Ferreira, $ 193,583
4. Andrew Chen, $ 143,199
5. Manig Loeser, $ 107,399
6. Abdull Hassan, $ 86,184

(* – Canadian dollars)

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Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

 Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

Ema Zajmovic came close in November, finishing fifth in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event, but now she got over the hump at the same venue, Montreal’s Playground Poker Club, as she won the WPT Playground Main Event Tuesday night. Her first major live tournament title was worth CAD $ 241,500 (USD $ 183,789).

While the victory was a milestone in Zajmovic’s poker career and her greatest accomplishment to date, it is arguably a more significant moment for the history of poker in general. By winning the WPT Playground Main Event, Ema Zajmovic became the first woman – the first – to win an open Main Event on the World Poker Tour. Only one other woman, Van Nguyen, has ever won a WPT title, but that was in the 2008 WPT Celebrity Invitational. As the word “invitational” should indicate, that was not an open event; only those invited to participate could buy-in.

“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it,” Zajmovic told afterward. “The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing. When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”

Poker Hall of Famer, “Ambassador of Poker,” and WPT television analyst Mike Sexton, who won WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club, said of Zajmovic, “I have the greatest respect for her. This is no fluke, in my opinion. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s that good.”

He added that she is a “combo of Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst.” That is some serious praise.

When Tuesday’s action began, our champ was the chip leader of the remaining ten players with nearly 3 million. Of her opponents, just Jean-Pascal Savard had over 2 million, 900,000 chips behind. She didn’t add many chips by the time the six-handed final table began, having climbed to barely over 3 million, but that still left her in good shape. Tam Ho was the chip leader at that point with 3.570 million and nobody else was over the 2 million mark.

Zajmovic dropped a chunk early at the official final table as she doubled-up Mekhail Mekhail, but that still left her in the second spot.

Savard was the first one to be eliminated when it was down to six players, knocked out by Jean-Francois Bouchard. With A-4 suited, Bouchard had hit top pair (Fours) on the flop with the nut flush draw and ended up all-in. Savard called, putting himself all-in, with Jacks. The flush came on the turn and Savard was out.

It was the 100th hand of the final table that Zajmovic began her run. She doubled through Eric Afriat on that hand and then ten hands later knocked out Mekhail in fifth place to grow her stack to 5.160 million chips. Mekhail had raised pre-flop to 225,000 with A-J suited, Zajmovic raised over the top with Kings and, pot committed, Mekhail made the reluctant call. No surprises from there and Zajmovic had the chip lead.

The long slog of the final table continued from there, with players often trading large pots. Zajmovic fell back, seeing her stack chopped in half, but on Hand 175, she eliminated Tam Ho in fourth place. Zajmovic flopped the nut flush and that was that.

To get to heads-up on Hand 194, a crippled Eric Afriat was all-in pre-flop for just a few chips. Both Zajmovic and Bouchard checked it down from there with Zajmovic winning the hand.

To start heads-up play, Bouchard had a 6.850 million to 4.525 million chip lead.

The two players traded the lead once or twice before Zajmovic took over, grabbing a 3.5 million chip lead on Hand 227 (this was a REALLY long six-handed final table). From there, she didn’t look back. On the final hand, Bouchard made an unusual move, going all-in out of turn before the flop for 5.125 million chips. Bouchard had A-9 and Zajmovic had K-Q, spades all around. Zajmovic flopped a King and turned a Queen to win the hand and her first-ever WPT title. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Final Table Results

1.    Ema Zajmovic  –  CAD $ 261,000 (USD $ 200,769*)
2.    Jean-Francois Bouchard  –  CAD $ 169,270 (USD $ 130,208)
3.    Eric Afriat  –  CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 83,608)
4.    Tam Ho  –  CAD $ 71,670 (USD $ 55,131)
5.    Mekhail Mekhail  –  CAD $ 55,200 (USD $ 42,462)
6.    Jean-Pascal Savard  –  CAD $ 45,690 (USD $ 35,146)

*Lead photo credit

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Brian Rast Makes History, Wins $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship at 2016 WSOP

 Brian Rast Makes History, Wins $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship at 2016 WSOP

In one of the best battles so far at this year’s World Series of Poker, Brian Rast was able to outlast a strong Justin Bonomo to make history in winning his second $ 50,000 Poker Player’s Championship.

When the final table for the PPC began on Wednesday, Rast wasn’t the only person with a shot at making history. Two-time PPC champion Michael Mizrachi was in excellent position to win his unprecedented third title with his 5.535 million in chips, but he was going to have to get past Bonomo’s 7.75 million stack to achieve the feat. Rast was in fourth with his 3.185 million in chips, looking up at Eric Wasserson’s 3.84 million chip mountain, while Wil Wilkinson took up the fifth place slot with his 2.045 million. The only player who could conceivably be said to have absolutely no chance at winning the tournament – and it isn’t to be mean, it is because he only had 395,000 in chips – was Ray Dehkharghani, on the short stack in sixth place.

As expected, Dehkharghani looked to get his chips in and double, but it wasn’t to be. Dehkharghani, who already has a WSOP bracelet from this year’s schedule, would get his chips in the center during Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo with (7-7) 3-A against Mizrachi’s (A-4) 6-4. A Queen on Fifth Street didn’t help Dehkharghani, but Mizrachi received a five to improve his chances at a low draw to split the pot. Sixth Street would be a killer as a trey came for Mizrachi, giving him at least a split of the pot after Dehkharghani drew a six for no improvement for his high hand. A six on Seventh Street for Mizrachi improved him to two pair and, after a squeeze for drama, Dehkharghani turned up a Jack, allowing Mizrachi to scoop the pot and eliminate Dehkharghani in sixth place.

Mizrachi continued to be active at the final table, taking over the lead after about an hour of play, and he would solidify his place there in knocking off Wilkerson in fifth place. That would be the apex for the 2010 and 2012 champion of this event, however, as he would slowly begin to bleed chips from his stack. Mizrachi doubled up Wasserson in No Limit Hold’em and dropped more to Wasserson in Seven Card Stud, then make a move back to the top by besting Wasserson in Pot Limit Omaha to reclaim some chips. Another clash with Wasserson would drop Mizrachi below 7 million in chips, setting up for his departure from the tournament.

In Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, Mizrachi and Bonomo got into a tussle that neither man would give up and one would suffer greatly from engaging. Capping the action before the first draw, Bonomo would take two cards to Mizrachi’s one. After the first draw, Bonomo check-called a Mizrachi bet to take one card along with Mizrachi on the second draw. After a Bonomo check Mizrachi fired again, but this time Bonomo fired back with a raise. Mizrachi called.

When both players stood pat on the final draw, Bonomo bet out and, after Mizrachi made the call, Bonomo called out “Seven,” and tabled the second-best hand in Deuce to Seven, 7-6-5-3-2 (the only hand that can beat this? 7-5-4-3-2). Mizrachi’s cards went to the muck and, after a count, Mizrachi was only left with 180,000 in chips, which went to Rast on the very next hand as Mizrachi was eliminated in fourth place.

Now with more than half the chips in play, Bonomo looked to be in command. His domination continued as he pushed Rast under two million chips, but Rast proved resilient in doubling back through Bonomo to stay viable. Wasserson couldn’t avoid Bonomo either, seeing his stack whittled down to under a million as Bonomo rumbled through his remaining opponents.

Just when it was thought that Bonomo was going to storm to the title, Rast started making some hands. He gradually worked his way up to 7 million in chips, then took out Wasserson in third place to get to 8.515 million. It was a long way to the top, however, as Bonomo sat with 14.235 million to go against Rast.

In stark difference from the path to heads up play, Rast now seemed to be the one in charge. Within five minutes of the start of heads up action he had assumed the lead from Bonomo, but another Bonomo rush saw Rast sink back down to a 3:1 deficit. The never say die attitude from Rast remained, however, as he once again began the climb back up the ladder and bring the chip stacks closer together.

The men battled valiantly, with the chip lead swinging between them, before the final hand came down. In No Limit Hold’em, Bonomo raised the bet and Rast simply made the call to see a flop of A-10-5. Rast would check-call a 350K bet from Bonomo and, after another Ace peeled off on the turn, Rast checked again. This time Bonomo fired a healthy bet of 2.2 million and, after pondering his spot, Rast made the call. A King on the river drew another check from Rast and Bonomo immediately announced all-in. Rast beat Bonomo into the pot in making the call, turning up a Q-J for the rivered Broadway straight; Bonomo, who flopped two pair with his A-10, could only shake Rast’s hand as he won the PPC for the second time.

1. Brian Rast, $ 1,296,097
2. Justin Bonomo, $ 801,048
3. Eric Wasserson, $ 545,772
4. Michael Mizrachi, $ 380,942
5. Wil Wilkerson, $ 272,558
6. Ray Dehkharghani, $ 200,027

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