Posts Tagged ‘Lead’

2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1B – Dean Freedlander Takes Over Lead, Final Numbers Yet to Be Determined

 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1B – Dean Freedlander Takes Over Lead, Final Numbers Yet to Be Determined

The 2018 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in California completed the second of its two-Day Ones on Saturday. By the time the dust had settled, there was a new overall leader in Dean Freedlander. With late registration still ongoing, however, the players were still unsure of what they were playing for.

The final Day One of the tournament brought out a flock of players looking for redemption from busting out of Day 1A. From the first flight of the cards, 145 entries were on the tournament clock and many of those were from players who had taken a previous shot. Ari Engel, Anthony Zinno, Darren Elias, Blair Hinkle, Curt Kohlberg and Kathy Liebert were all return guests of the tournament, looking to make the most of their final shot (?) on Saturday.

By the time the tournament had reached Level 4 on Day 1B, it was obvious that it was going to be a much bigger day than Day 1A. 199 entries had been received by the start of Level 4 and the players continued to stream in through the Thunder Valley tournament arena doors. That number continued to ratchet up and reached a grand total of 251 entries by the time that the day had concluded.

It was an interesting ride for many pros in the field on Saturday. Ray Qartomy (who had also been a part of the proceedings on Friday) saw his chip stack yo-yo all through the day before he departed late in the action. He wasn’t the only one, however; Liebert and Elias were also victims of the elimination bug and Aaron Mermelstein, Loren Klein, Taylor Paur, Rep Porter, Allen Kessler and Hinkle were all under the original starting stack of 30,000 at the close of business.

Someone who was able to move quietly through the field was Freedlander. The psychiatrist was able to diagnose that his opponents didn’t have much in hands against him, although he did admit to hitting “a few nut flushes on the turn or river” that his opponents didn’t pick up on. There must have been quite a few of those “nut flushes” because, by the end of the night, Freedlander had seized the overall lead.

1. Dean Freedlander, 163,900
2. Tim McDermott, 148,800
3. Paul Nguyen, 137,000
4. Anthony Zinno, 131,500
5. Ari Engel, 123,900
6. Darryl Okamoto, 120,000
7. David Larson, 113,600
8. Kevin Eyster, 110,000
9. Amnon Filippi, 104,000
10. Darrel Dier, 102,400

Along with the finishers from Day 1A, here’s how the overall leaderboard looks:

1. Dean Freedlander, 163,900
2. Tim McDermott, 148,800
3. Sean Marshall, 142,100*
4. Eddy Sabat, 140,000*
5. Matt Salsberg, 139,200*
6. Paul Nguyen, 137,000
7. Anthony Zinno, 131,500
8. Ping Liu, 130,100*
9. Jesse Rockowitz, 126,200*
10. Ari Engel, 123,900

(* – Day 1A Player)

There were 141 survivors from the Day 1B field, bringing the grand total of players that made it through either Day 1A or 1B to 212. The final numbers are not known yet as late registration is going to go through Level 10 on Sunday’s Day 2 action, or about 2PM (Pacific Time). Once Level 11 begins, the final totals will be revealed (still an excellent shot at getting over 400 entries for the overall tournament) and the final prize pool revealed. The tournament is scheduled to play down to its final table on Monday, with the next champion crowned at the WPT Rolling Thunder on Tuesday night.

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2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: 132 Runners Come Out, Sean Marshall Holds Early Lead

 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: 132 Runners Come Out, Sean Marshall Holds Early Lead

Coming right on the heels of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic, the WPT Rolling Thunder kicked off action on Friday for the next WPT event. Located outside of Sacramento, the WPT Rolling Thunder has become one of the popular stops on the WPT circuit and, if Day 1A is any indication, the $ 3500 buy-in tournament is still a favorite of the players.

The newly redecorated and expanded poker room at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort was ready for action at noon on Friday and the players didn’t disappoint. For their $ 3500 buy-in, the players would receive a stack of 30,000 in chips and, should they be eliminated in the first Day One, would be able to re-enter once on Friday. If they shot both of those bullets off, then they could come back on Saturday and have the same two-shot option. If those four options didn’t work for players, then they could buy-in one more time before the start of Day 2, meaning that players (if really unlucky) could enter as many as five times ($ 17,500) if they so desired.

Defending champion Mike Del Vecchio led the professionals in the field to the line as Day 1A began. Del Vecchio was joined by other WPT Champions Club members such as Tyler Patterson, Daniel Strelitz and three-time champion Darren Elias. There was also a strong contingent of pros looking for their first WPT title, including Ari Engel, Eddy Sabat, Blair Hinkle, Amir Lehavot and Zachary Gruneberg.

After Level 2, 67 entries were already in the kitty as other pros began to stake out their patch of felt in the Thunder Valley poker room. Kathy Liebert, Darren Rabinowitz, Allen Kessler, Matt Salsberg and Jared Griener were among those players as the halfway mark of the first eight levels of play were reached. And the players continued to quietly stroll into the event, with 111 entries into the tournament at this same mark.

Although it was relatively quiet, contenders rose to the top of the standings around this point. In what would eventually become a pot that would crown the chip leader, Sean Yu was able to get his final chips in the center. He was met by a call from Sean Marshall and William Murray, who saw a J-10-8 and had the opportunity to bet into a dry side pot. Marshall took this opportunity, but Murray wasn’t ready to let it go yet and made the call. A five on the turn brought about the same action – a bet from Marshall, a call from Murray – but the river six opened several options and shut down action from both men.

When the cards were turned up, it became evident that Marshall had survived a run through the gauntlet. His K-J off suit had caught on the flop and dodged the straight outs of both Murray (K-Q) and Yu (9-8) to take the hand. With those chips, Marshall improved to 143,000 in chips, knocked Murray down to only 51K and sent Yu out of the tournament.

While Marshall was cruising to the end of day chip lead, others would have to take their chances (perhaps) on Saturday. Liebert, Engel, Curt Kohlberg and WPT DeepStacks Player of the Year Rex Clinkscales all were eliminated on Friday and have the option of returning on Saturday. One player who won’t be returning on Saturday is Marshall, who powered his way to the chip lead by the time the final hand was dealt on Friday.

1. Sean Marshall, 142,100
2. Eddy Sabat, 140,400
3. Matt Salsberg, 139,200
4. Ping Liu, 130,100
5. Jesse Rockowitz, 126,200
6. Joseph Alban, 122,000
7. Glenn Larson, 100,100
8. Jared Greiner, 93,900
9. Brian Green, 89,600
10. Gauran Raina, 88,000

Of the 132 entries received on Day 1A, 71 players came through the carnage. This number is expected to increase tremendously on Saturday as the newly redesigned Thunder Valley poker room can handle a large throng of players. According to WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, the Thunder Valley poker room “could host 1000 players” and he would like to see this event crack its record of 465 from Season XII. That would mean that another 333 entries would have to come out between now and the start of Day 2 on Sunday, a number that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for the 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder.

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2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day 1 – John Misirian Snatches Day 1 Chip Lead in Final Hand Knockout

Day 1 is in the books for the 2018 version of the World Poker Tour’s L. A. Poker Classic and it is shaping up to be a special event. One of only three tournaments that has been contested on the WPT since its inception, the players have come out with their $ 10,000 buy-in (which has also been consistent since the start of the event) to put together a strong field. At the end of Day 1, John Misirian was able to stand atop the mountain after a last hand knockout gave him the lead.

The atmosphere at the Commerce Casino was festive – even at the early hour of noon – as the players gathered for the call of “shuffle up and deal.” With the singular buy-in and no rebuys, it was expected that there would be a slow stream of players coming after the starting gun, but the numbers from the start were surprising. As the cards hit the air, 282 players were waiting to receive them and it simply got better from there.

With 30,000 in chips to start the event, you would expect there to be a slow grind, but Ari Engel demonstrated the exact opposite. Within 75 minutes of the opening action, Engel had burned through those 30K in markers, with his final chips entering the fray against Felipe Davila. On a K-9-8-4 board, Engel called off his last 4300 in chips and tabled K-5 for top pair. That wasn’t good enough, however, as Davila had the goods with pocket Aces; the river Queen wasn’t the paint that Engel needed as he beat a hasty retreat to the exits of the Commerce.

A similar situation would occur at another table, with former WPT champion Jared Jaffee the unlikely victim. Canadian pro Noah Vaillancourt was a late arrival and, upon getting dealt in, mistakenly put out a large 4000 chip bet (blinds were 75/150 at the time) from under the gun. Nobody was interested in tangling with Vaillancourt until action came to Jaffee on the button, who three bet the action to 11K. Once the blinds were out of the way, Vaillancourt indicated he was ready to go home just as quickly as he arrived, placing his entire 30K up on his first hand. Jaffee made the call and the race was on:

Vaillancourt – A-K
Jaffee – pocket Queens

To make a long story short, an Ace came on the board to provide salvation for Vaillancourt. At the same time, it sent the former WPT champion Jaffee home after only two hours of play.

By the time Level 5 started late in the afternoon, 462 players were entered in the tournament. Of that number, 413 were still around with a shot at winning one of the most prestigious titles on the WPT circuit. With three more levels left in the Day 1 action, there was still time for players to enter the tournament, but it was beginning to run short.

As the final hours of the opening day wore on, there were other top pros who wouldn’t earn the right to come back on Sunday for action. Ryan Hughes, WPT Champions Club member Mike Shariatti, Adam Geyer and Blake Battaglia would all find the rail by the time the final hand was dealt. It was that final hand, however, that gave the chip leader his lead.

Misirian had dodged a bullet only a few hands earlier when, on the river with pocket Queens against Roman Korenev’s pocket Aces, he was able to pull one of the two ladies left in the deck to rocket into the chip lead. Sitting on a very healthy stack, Misirian wasn’t content on cruising to the end, though, as he went to war against Sean Winter in the last hand of the evening. With pocket Queens, Misirian was able to dodge the flush draw of Winter and knock him out, setting Misirian up well for Day 2 action.

1. John Misirian, 234,300
2. Toby Lewis, 149,000
3. Adam Regiaba, 145,000
4. Peter Hengsakul, 129,900
5. Derek Gregory, 126,900
6. Candie Vaca, 124,900
7. Tim Cramer, 123,100
8. Casey McCarrel, 120,900
9. Lloyd, Mandel, 120,000
10. Duy Ho, 118,000

475 players were on the clock at the close of Day 1 action (and 282 were still alive), but that isn’t the final field. Late registration is open until the end of Level 10, meaning there’s still a great chance for the final numbers to crack the 500-player level (last year’s event drew in 521 players). But there’s a long way to go before any discussion can be made about what the prize pool will be for the 2018 WPT L. A. Poker Classic.

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2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Zach Gruneberg Holds Massive Lead

 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Zach Gruneberg Holds Massive Lead

Dominating play once it reached the unofficial final table, Zach Gruneberg will hold a dominant lead when the final six players meet this afternoon to determine the champion of the 2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City.

Day 4 action began on Thursday with 27 hopefuls remaining in the chase for the championship. Steven Greenberg was the dominant player through the Day 3 festivities and his 3.753 million chip stack showed it. But it wasn’t a runaway for Greenberg, however, as Chase Bianchi was on his heels with a 3.698 million chip stack. In addition to these two men, four former WPT champions were still in the mix, with Champions’ Club members David Paredes, Eric Afriat, Jonathan Little and Kevin Saul all with viable stacks.

The exits to the tournament arena at the Borgata needed to be a revolving door for as fast as the players departed the tournament on Thursday. In less than an hour, two players were out the door. Within the first two levels of play, the field was down to 17 players as notables such as Little and Shankar Pillai found their ways to the rail. As this was going on, Greenberg was still in good shape but had given up the chip lead to Stephen Song as the field tightened up.

After Casey Yontz was bounced out in 17th place following the second break of the day, the field was redrawn for two tables. Greenberg and Song ended up on the same table as former World Champion Joseph McKeehen and Kane Kalas, while Saul, Paredes and Afriat had to deal with Gruneberg and Bianchi. With the field bunched together, it was still a battle to see who would make the final table.

Although Gruneberg would make a slight misstep after the redraw in doubling up Saul, that would be the last mistake he would make for the night. With 1.7 million in chips, Gruneberg first picked up a double up from Bianchi to crack the three million chip mark. He would eclipse the four million chip mark in eliminating Adam Hendrix in 12th place, his A-K hitting the world against Hendrix’s K-10 on an unbelievable A-K-10 flop. Even after the unofficial final table was determined with the elimination of Daniel Aharoni in 10th place (by Song), Gruneberg kept his arrow pointing upwards.

Within the first 20 hands of final table action, Gruneberg had cracked the seven million mark in chips and had taken over the chip lead. That lead expanded when Gruneberg eliminated Day 3 chip leader Greenberg, his A-K playing where Greenberg’s A-8 didn’t on a 10-4-4-A-2 board, in ninth place. Now on 10 million-plus chips, Greenberg began to play a bullying “power poker” style that left everyone breathless in his wake.

Then there was the battle that truly pushed Gruneberg firmly to the fore. Gruneberg raised preflop and McKeehen called, but Song wanted to enrich the pot. He three bet the action to 675K and, after both Gruneberg and McKeehen called, saw a Q-Q-10-3 flop and turn. On that turn trey, Song bet out 850K and only Gruneberg came along to see a river nine complete the board. With a myriad of options on the table, Song fired again, this time for 1.4 million, but he was unable to shake Gruneberg, who immediately called. All Song could show was Big Slick for a missed straight draw, while Gruneberg showed pocket Jacks to take the more than six million chip pot with two pair. That pot pushed Gruneberg over 14 million chips and left the field chasing him.

Although he would give some back to Zaki in doubling him up, Gruneberg continued to storm through the remainder of the field. Gruneberg worked over the 16 million mark when down to the television table bubble and, after McKeehen eliminated Bianchi to set that television table, was over 17 million to have almost half the chips in play:

1. Zach Gruneberg, 17.6 million
2. Joseph McKeehen, 5.955 million
3. Justin Zaki, 5.565 million
4. Michael Marder, 3.08 million
5. Stephen Song, 2.74 million
6. Eric Afriat, 2.28 million

From all appearance, this is Gruneberg’s tournament to lose. Any one of the other five men will have a tough road to hoe in knocking out such tough pros as McKeehen, Zaki, Song or Afriat, and Marder didn’t get to his position because of his charm. Gruneberg, meanwhile, can either sit back and wait for someone to rise to his level or use the power of the big stack to crush his opposition. What approach he takes – and it will be seen from the start of final table play – will have a huge amount to do with how the final table plays out.

The final table will resume at 2PM (Eastern Time) and will be streamed as a part of PokerGO’s programming. It will NOT be taped for broadcast during the Season XVI schedule on Fox Sports. The eventual champion of the tournament will walk off with a $ 651,928 payday and their seat in this year’s WPT Tournament of Champions.

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2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 3: Final Three Tables Remain, Steven Greenberg Holds Lead

 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 3: Final Three Tables Remain, Steven Greenberg Holds Lead

The 2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event steamed onward on Wednesday, with the final three tables being determined and Steven Greenberg taking over the chip lead with a 3.753 million chip stack.

Day 3 of the tournament saw 159 players returning to the tables at the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ, but there was an ominous tone to the proceedings. With 156 players getting paid in the tournament, that meant that three people that came back to the Borgata on Wednesday would be departing quickly and with nothing to show for their efforts. The cards hit the air just after noon on Wednesday to take on this challenge and nobody wanted to be one of those who would depart on the bubble of the cash.

The first two eliminations came within 10 minutes of the opening bell, bringing the tournament to the stone money bubble with 157 players remaining. On the fifth hand of hand-for-hand play, not one but two players were knocked out to split the 156th place money. First, Jonas Wexler went all in with a K-Q, but chip leader A. J. Kelsall looked him up with pocket fives, flopped a set and rivered an unnecessary boat to take him out. Simultaneously, Konstantinos Koufalis got the last of his chips in on an A K 5 4 flop and turn against Erick But. Koufalis’ K♣ Q had a few hopes against But’s A J (the other two Kings, any heart), but the river 7♦ ended those hopes. Although both were eliminated on the bubble, Wexler and Koufalis did get a small return on their time through earning $ 3064.50 each for their finish in a tie for 156th place.

Once the money bubble popped, there was the usual “short stack rush” from the players who were just hanging on in the tournament to make the money. Micah Raskin, Esther Taylor, John Roveto, Keven Stammen, Cornel Cimpan, Ray Quartomy, Ryan D’Angelo, and Richard Seymour all picked up some cash for their efforts and, after a few hours, new contenders would emerge for the championship. In one case, that contender was almost out of the tournament before hitting a huge rush to race to the end of the night.

With a flop and turn of 6 5♣ 3♣ J and facing a 55K bet from his opponent (into a 70K pot), Steven Greenberg pondered the situation extensively before moving the remainder of his stack (265K) into the center. Greenberg’s opponent, Richard Foster, himself took a moment before making the call and turning up his 9♣ 4♣ for the baby flush draw. Greenberg had the goods with his 6 5 (two pair), but he had to also feel some trepidation with the possibility of nine clubs ending his tournament. The river was a black card, but it was the K♠, giving Greenberg the double up to 600K and starting him on a hot streak.

Greenberg didn’t waste those newfound chips. He more than doubled that stack (to 1.285 million) by the time the dinner break rolled around, putting him in the Top Ten in the tournament. After the sustenance, Greenberg came back to the felt to take down former WPT champion Mike Linster in a classic race, Greenberg’s pocket Queens standing against Linster’s Big Slick, to crack the two million chip mark. Although he would double up a tough customer in Eric Afriat to fall off that perch, Greenberg didn’t take his foot off the gas. As the tournament day inched towards its conclusion, Greenberg had not only recovered those chips he gave to Afriat but also added to the stack, going over four million chips in eliminating Collin Whyte in 31st place late in the evening.

On the last hand of the night, Joseph Giulino pushed out his last 326K in chips, the classic “double up or don’t come back tomorrow” move, and he was looked up by Adam Hendrix. Giulino’s pocket fives were ahead of Hendrix’s A-Q through the flop, but a Queen on the turn flipped the fortunes. When the river wasn’t a five, Giulino was out of the tournament in 28th place, setting the stage for the final three tables today.

1. Steven Greenberg, 3.753 million
2. Chase Bianchi, 3.698 million
3. Stephen Song, 2.613 million
4. Raghuram Jonnalagedda, 2.503 million
5. Kane Kalas, 2.281 million
6. Daniel Aharoni, 1.994 million
7. Damjan Radanov, 1.974 million
8. David Paredes, 1.5 million
9. Spencer Champlin, 1.33 million
10. Ioannis Patsourakis, 1.309 million

Bubbling under the Top Ten are former World Champion Joseph McKeehen, (1.185 million), Afriat (1.123 million), Jonathan Little (1.1 million) and Kevin Saul (940,000). They are still in it, but Casey Yontz (495,000) and Amnon Filippi (484,000) have some work to do if they are to drive much further.

It looks as though it will be a long day on the Jersey Shore. The plans are to play from the final 27 players at noon down to the WPT final table of six. Once this is achieved, the survivors will come back on Friday with the championship hanging in the lurch, along with the $ 651,928 that the eventual champion will take home.

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