Posts Tagged ‘History’

Art Papazyan Denies Trio of Pros History in Winning 2017 WPT Legends of Poker

 Art Papazyan Denies Trio of Pros History in Winning 2017 WPT Legends of Poker

Despite facing one of the most stacked final tables in recent memory – with two top flight professional poker players looking for their third titles and one legend of the game looking to etch his name on a piece of hardware he hasn’t touched yet – Art Papazyan beat back all comers from the second slot at the start of the penultimate day to win the 2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, CA, early Friday morning.

Papazyan had a decent chip stack to start the day (slightly over six million chips), but the seas of the final table were awash with sharks. Two-time WPT champion J. C. Tran was the chip leader coming to the table on Thursday while Phil Hellmuth, who has yet to garner the only accolade that has eluded him in poker (a WPT title), lurked in third place with almost three million in chips. A player that has been making a name for himself in 2017, D. J. Alexander (runner-up in the World Series of Poker “Millionaire Maker”) held down the fourth slot (2.73 million chips), while a quiet Adam Swan (1.655 million) and two-time WPT champion Marvin Rettenmaier (1.225 million) brought up the bottom of the leaderboard.

It would only take eight hands for the first elimination to occur at the final table. Swan, with a dwindling stack, was in a blind-versus-blind battle with the 14-time WSOP bracelet winner when he moved all in holding an A-J. Normally that is a fine holding in a heads-up situation, but Hellmuth woke up in the big blind with pocket Queens and immediately made the call. A Jack came on the flop but there was no further help for Swan as he departed the tournament in sixth place.

Rettenmaier short stack of chips bumped up a spot with Swan’s elimination, but that was as far as he would go. On Hand 20, Rettenmaier got the remainder of his stack in the center from the button, not feeling very confident when both Papazyan and Tran called in the blinds. An 8-6-3 flop didn’t seem very impressive but, after a check from Papazyan, Tran’s flop bet ushered him out to get the hand heads up with Rettenmaier. Tran’s flop bet was explained when he turned up pocket eights for the flopped top set as Rettenmaier packed his bags drawing thin with a Q-10. A Jack on the turn kept some drama alive for the gutter ball straight, but those disappeared with a four on the river as Rettenmaier headed for the rail in fifth place.

Tran held nearly half the chips in play after Rettenmaier’s departure while the remaining three players – Hellmuth (5.505 million chips), Papazyan (4.99 million) and Alexander (950K) – were looking like mere footnotes to Tran’s run to the championship. That would be the high mark for Tran, however, as he gradually began to bleed chips from his stack. Within 20 hands of Rettenmaier’s elimination, Tran had come back to the pack, unable to call bets out of his opponents with his meager holdings to maintain his stack. By Hand 40, Tran’s once-insurmountable lead had shrunk to less than 400K in chips over Papazyan.

Papazyan would be the one who knocked Tran off the top of the pedestal when he took a huge hand against Hellmuth. On a 4-2-2-2-6 board and with approximately four million chips in the pot, both Papazyan and Hellmuth had blustered about the content of their hands with heavy three bets (Papazyan’s pre-flop, Hellmuth’s on the flop). The river brought checks from both combatants, however, at which point Hellmuth turned up an A-J for the board’s trip deuces. Papazyan, however, had pocket nines (not the two black nines that Hellmuth won the 1989 WSOP Championship Event with, ironically) for the boat, good enough to take the bounty and the chip lead from Tran.

Tran would quickly come back to retake his lead as the foursome settled in for a drawn-out battle. They would play 130 hands before the next elimination, which came about when Alexander called off his stack of almost three million chips after Papazyan put the squeeze play on Hellmuth’s limp on the button. Holding an A-2, Alexander was behind Papazyan’s A-6 and, once a six hit the flop, he was looking for something runner or that would counterfeit Papazyan’s pair. The turn and river were uncooperative, however, as Alexander’s outstanding play in the tournament earned him the fourth-place slot.

Tran (11.715 million) still was dominating Papazyan (6.36 million) and Hellmuth (4.775 million), but the wheels were about to come off his wagon. Hellmuth started a stunning charge where he would take eight of the next 15 hands to assume the lead, but Papazyan would fight back to knock Hellmuth back down. Tran could find nothing at this point, unable to call big bets from his opponents, as his chip stack slid through his fingers. As the 200th hand of the final table approached, Tran and Hellmuth would finally clash.

On Hand 198, Tran moved all in off the button and Hellmuth looked him up out of the small blind. Papazyan had no interest as his cards headed to the muck, while Tran showed an A-10 that was leading the K-Q of Hellmuth pre-flop. A K-J-5 gave something to both men, momentarily putting Hellmuth in the lead with a pair of Kings but giving Tran a gut shot straight draw to go along with his Ace over card. Looking for one of six outs (three Aces and three Queens), Tran instead saw an innocuous four turn and a river trey to be eliminated by “The Poker Brat” in third place.

Going to the heads-up battle, Papazyan held an 800K chip lead over Hellmuth and wasted little time in putting a hammerlock on the championship. Ten hands into the fight, Papazyan had moved out to a two million chip lead and a few hands later extended his lead. On Hand 211, Papazyan would flop a wheel straight and get three streets of action out of Hellmuth to take a 10 million chip pot and stretch his lead to more than 12 million chips.

On the very next hand, it was all over. Hellmuth min-raised off the button and called after Papazyan moved all in against him. Hellmuth dominated pre-flop, his Big Slick crushing Papazyan’s K-Q off suit, but the Q-10-8 flop had other things in mind. A five on the turn helped neither man and, with Hellmuth looking for an Ace, King, or Jack to earn the double up (10 outs), an innocent trey came on the river. With a double thrust of his arms into the air, Papazyan had defeated one of poker’s legendary names to capture the championship of the WPT Legends of Poker.

1. Art Papazyan, $ 668,692
2. Phil Hellmuth, $ 364,370
3. J. C. Tran, $ 217,040
4. D. J. Alexander, $ 161,490
5. Marvin Rettenmaier, $ 120,775
6. Adam Swan, $ 91,825

The post Art Papazyan Denies Trio of Pros History in Winning 2017 WPT Legends of Poker appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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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 partypoker.net WPT Playground Main Event

 Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins partypoker.net 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 WPT.com 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.

partypoker.net 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 WPT.com

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