Posts Tagged ‘Lead’

2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1B: Valentin Vornicu Makes Most of Second Chance, Takes Over Chip Lead

 2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1B: Valentin Vornicu Makes Most of Second Chance, Takes Over Chip Lead

After coming up dry on Day 1A of the event, Valentin Vornicu got the most out of his second shot at the tournament on Saturday, emerging as the overall leader of the 2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker with one more Day One left.

Looking to top Day 1A’s 155 entries, Day 1B saw another throng of poker professionals and amateurs looking to take their shot. At the sounding of the “shuffle up and deal” call, notables such as WPT Champions’ Club members Tony Dunst and Barry Greenstein were at their tables alongside Eric Baldwin, Ray Quartomy, and Matt Stout, who were all back from their Day 1A disappointment for another chance. Vornicu was on that list also, but the day didn’t start very well for him.

About three hours into Saturday’s play, Vornicu found himself staring at a Q♠ 10 6♣ 5♣ 8♣ board, Vornicu fired off a bet but was met with an all-in check raise from the small blind. Vornicu couldn’t put together the logic behind his opponent’s hand and, after several minutes, made the call and turned up pocket fives for the turned set. Vornicu’s opponent, however, had stuck around for the runner-runner nut flush with his A♣ 3♣, sending the nine-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner to the rail for his second chance at his second chance.

Vornicu would make the most of his last chance on Saturday. Within three hours of using his re-entry option for Day 1B, Vornicu had run his stack up to over 183K in chips to take over the chip lead. After the dinner break, Vornicu’s star continued to rise as he picked off a bluff and rivered a straight to cross the 200K mark. The only thing that stopped the “Vornicu Express” was the end of 10 levels of play for the day, when he bagged 286,700 in chips.

1. Valentin Vornicu, 286,700
2. Adam Geyer, 273,000
3. Peter Neff, 266,100
4. Igor Zekster, 198,700
5. Tuan Mai, 179,400
6. Jamie Armstrong, 164,900
7. Bill Germanis, 152,100
8. Gaurav Raina, 146,600
9. Skip Huber, 135,200
10. Derek Wolters, 133,800

Among those who have to decide if playing Day 1C is going to be worthwhile are Samantha Cohen, Allen Kessler, Mike Matusow, Jordan Cristos, Poker Hall of Famer John Hennigan, Stout and Quartomy. Of the 177 entries that were received on Saturday (bringing the total field to 332), only 60 people would be standing by the final bell in the Bike’s tournament arena (117 between the first two Day Ones).

Vornicu is an intriguing player. He has the second most WSOP-C rings of all time (behind only Maurice Hawkins) and is only about $ 10K short of earning $ 1 million in his tournament poker career. Surprisingly, none of those winnings has ever come from a WPT Main Tour event; if (and it’s a strong if) Vornicu is able to cash in this tournament, it would be his first-ever WPT cash on the Main Tour schedule.

Overall, Vornicu has not only taken over the combined Day One leaderboard, the two men pursuing him join him to make up the Top Three in the tournament:

1. Valentin Vornicu, 286,700
2. Adam Geyer, 273,000
3. Peter Neff, 266,100
4. Thomas Zanot, 217,700*
5. Igor Zekster, 198,700
6. David Lambard, 183,900*
7. Tuan Mai, 179,400
8. Gary Sewell, 176,700*
9. Vince Salvatore, 173,000*
10. Christopher Staats, 167,900*

(* – Day 1A player)

The final Day One – and the final chance for many of those around the Bike – will kick off at noon on Sunday. The players will have one re-entry available should they bust on Sunday, then there will be a final “last chance” for players to buy in (30K in chips for $ 4000; it is possible that a player could burn through seven buy-ins, or $ 28,000, without success) before the start of Day Two on Monday. With the popularity of the first two days of the tournament, it is likely that the 2017 WPT Legends of Poker will crack the 500-entry mark and could take a run at 600.

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1A: Thomas Zanot Takes Lead in Opening Action at The Bike

 2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1A: Thomas Zanot Takes Lead in Opening Action at The Bike

The first of three-Day Ones is in the books in Los Angeles as action opened for the World Poker Tour’s Legends of Poker Main Event began.

One of the stalwarts of the WPT schedule – it is one of three tournaments that have been a part of the stable of events since the inception of the WPT (the other two are the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio and the L. A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino) – the Legends of Poker has traditionally been the tournament that the players came back to in starting the WPT season. With expansion, however, the Legends now is around the start of the season (the recent WPT Choctaw now opens the post-World Series of Poker schedule for the WPT), but the players still come out as if it is the first event. With its single re-entry per day and opportunity to enter each of the three-Day Ones (if necessary), the Legends give the players plenty of chances to get in on a big payday for the eventual champion.

Coming out of the gate on Friday morning, the tables around the Bike were replete with many WPT champions. Former WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton was joined by Scott Clements and Daniel Strelitz in upholding the “champion’s honor,” while players like Matt Stout, Jeremy Ausmus and Eric Baldwin filled in other seats. As late registration played out, pros such as Curt Kohlberg, Barry Hutter, Jake Schwartz, Valentin Vornicu, and WPT Champions’ Club members Mohsin Charania and Sam Panzica made their appearances on the Bike tournament floor.

This event on the WPT schedule marks the beginning of the usage of the “Action Clock” at WPT events. The “Action Clock” will be activated when play reaches one table before the popping of the “money bubble.” When the “Clock” is activated, players will have 30 seconds to make their decisions unless they use one of their allotted Time Chips for a 60 second extension. It is one of the innovations that the WPT has been trying out in other events, most notably in the WPT Tournament of Champions, and will be a permanent part of the Season XVI schedule and for the near future.

The 2017 WPT Legends of Poker is also making history on another level. The one billionth dollar in prize money will be awarded by the WPT in this event and there are plans for a bonus prize for the player who earns the billionth dollar in WPT history. Depending on the number of entries, one position will be worth a bit more to a player (save for the champion and anyone who runs extremely deep in the Legends) than just getting another flag on their Hendon Mob resume.

Strelitz was one of the players who had a difficult time with the first Day One. On a board of A-7-4-5-5, Ankush Mandavia pushed all in off the button. Strelitz didn’t believe him, making the call, and was dismayed to see Mandavia table an 8-6 for the turned straight against his A-J (two pair) to double up Mandavia. Strelitz then went up against Gaurav Raina after a Q-8-3-7 flop and turn, getting all of Strelitz’s chips to the center. It was another unfortunate break as Strelitz saw his A-Q crushed by Raina’s pocket eights, sending Strelitz to the cage to use his re-entry option for another $ 4000.

Strelitz wasn’t the only player who had to exercise the re-entry option. Ray Quartomy utilized the re-entry to no avail, as did Strelitz, but Marvin Rettenmaier and Hutter made the most of their second bullet and survived to the end of the day. Most impressive of all, however, was the man who would end the day as the chip leader, Thomas Zanot, who will have a story for the remainder of his life in a hand that earned him the chip lead.

Late in the evening, Zanot made a raise out of the hijack only to see none other than Phil Hellmuth, who will be a part of the WPT festivities this fall as host of “The Raw Deal” after Tony Dunst’s ascension to the analyst seat for the WPT broadcasts, make the call off the cutoff. Phong Nguyen also called off the button, but it was Eddy Sabat’s all in off the small blind for 6800 chips that perked everyone’s attention. Action moved to Zanot, who moved all in “over the top” of everyone involved in the hand with his 155K in chips. This didn’t slow down Hellmuth, who plopped his 35K in the center, but Nguyen left the act.

When the cards were turned up, it was a hand that played itself:

Zanot:  A-K
Hellmuth:  pocket Jacks
Sabat:  pocket nines

It was also a hand that had all the drama sucked away from the start. Zanot flopped a King and, after no Jack nor nine came to save either of his opponents, earned him the pot and the chip lead. Hellmuth and Sabat, two of the most respected players in the game, were eliminated in the hand, while Zanot cruised into the end-of-day chip lead over the 58 survivors remaining from Day 1A:

1. Thomas Zanot, 217,700
2. David Lambard, 183,900
3. Gary Sewell, 176,700
4. Vince Salvatore, 173,000
5. Christopher Staats, 167,900
6. Marvin Rettenmaier, 165,900
7. James Cavanaugh, 157,400
8. Ben Ludlow, 132,800
9. Rick Alvarado, 131,600
10. Curt Kohlberg, 128,200

The weekend should see a throng of players turn out. If 155 entries were big for an open, then the possibility of doubling that for each of the next two-Day Ones will be realistic. Saving that, players will also have one “last chance” option for getting in prior to the start of Day Two. It should make the 2017 WPT Legends of Poker one of the bigger events of the Season XVI schedule.

Poker News Daily

Money Bubble Pops at PokerStars Championship Barcelona, Benjamin Richardson Holds Chip Lead

 Money Bubble Pops at PokerStars Championship Barcelona, Benjamin Richardson Holds Chip Lead

After taking a break for this summer’s World Series of Poker, the PokerStars Championships have come back with a bang. After Day 3 at the Casino Barcelona in Spain, Benjamin Richardson is holding down the top slot on the leaderboard with 2.804 million in chips.

There were going to be some unhappy campers who came back to the felt on Thursday. 287 players remained from the sizeable 1682 player field, but only 247 of those players would partake of a piece of the €8,157,700 prize pool that was built. At the start of the day, Mauricio Salazar Sanchez was the chip leader with 507,000 in chips, but he faced challenges from such pros as WSOP bracelet winner Asi Moshe (411,500), Patrick Leonard (394,000), Kyle Bowker (392,500), Dario Sammartino (355,500) and Juha Helppi (335,000), just to name a few.

With 40 players to eliminate, it was natural that the play was deliberate. It took more than 90 minutes to work down to 250 players, at which point the tournament went into hand-for-hand mode. Although 2017 WSOP bracelet winner Upsheka De Silva was quickly dispatched from the festivities (after getting his final chips in good with pocket Aces only to see Ramon Miguel Munoz call with pocket nines and flop a set), it was a grind to find the other two unfortunate souls who would depart with nothing to show for their efforts.  After another 90 minutes of action, Roi Pereira Conde found himself drawing thin with his 10♠ 7♠ against Alexandros Papadopoulos’ A♠ 3♠ on a J J♠ 4♠ board. It went from thin to out by the river once a K♠ hit the river, giving Papadopoulos an unnecessary nut flush to send Conde to the rail in 248th place (€0).

Once the remaining 247 players were guaranteed the minimum payday of €9400 (for a €5000 buy in tournament), the cash out cage became a busy place. Paul Newey, Adrian Mateos, Thomas Muehloecker, Saar Wilf, and Sammartino all collecting their own pieces of the prize pool prior to the dinner break. After the sustenance Moshe, Maksim Prokhorov, and Helppi would hit the rail. By the time the final elimination was made on Thursday night, only 70 players remained:

1. Benjamin Richardson, 2.804 million
2. Tsugunari Toma, 2.448 million
3. Scott Wellenbach, 2.032 million
4. Aleksandr Gofman, 1.915 million
5. Patrick Leonard, 1.785 million
6. Nadia Wanzi, 1.657 million
7. Mesbah Guerfi, 1.552 million
8. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 1.465 million
9. Albert Daher, 1.381 million
10. Aeragan Arunan, 1.345 million

The plan for Friday is for the remaining 70 players to battle through another five levels of play (90-minute levels) and try to reduce the field to a manageable number. The final table is set for Sunday, meaning that bringing the field to roughly four eight-handed tables (32 players) by the end of play on Friday would leave a manageable number for Saturday’s efforts. It is also possible that, if the players are particularly itchy to get their gamble on, that the day on Friday could end earlier if the field is culled quickly.

The PokerStars Championship Barcelona is the biggest yet for what used to be called the European Poker Tour and it remains to be seen if this is a trend that will continue. For now, officials with PokerStars are pleased and the players are quite happy as well, having the opportunity to play for a €1,410,000 first place prize (and a final table where each participant will receive a six-figure payday) and, at least for a moment, rekindle the past greatness of the European circuit.

Poker News Daily

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 1B: Top Four Survivors from Day’s Action Take Overall Chip Lead

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 1B: Top Four Survivors from Day’s Action Take Overall Chip Lead

The second of two-Day Ones is in the books at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event, with the top four finishers from the Day 1B action taking down the overall leaderboard of the tournament because of their play.

Before the cards even went into the air on Saturday, an important milestone had been eclipsed. With 212 players in their seats (at $ 5000 a pop), the $ 3 million guarantee was met for the Main Event. This was important because the last three SHRPO Main Events had failed to meet their guarantees, with the Seminole Indian operators of the Hard Rock picking up the overlay. Before the tournament even started, the Tribe was clear of any financial dues for the tournament, something that they had to be pleased with.

As with Day 1A, top poker pros were more than willing to step back into the ring following a post-World Series of Poker slumber. Jonathan Little was one of those players, getting a big double up only four hands into the action. As Little recounted over Share My Pair, he was UTG +1 with pocket Aces and found a willing combatant in the big blind with pocket Jacks who wanted to three-bet him. After some back and forth, all the chips were in the center, with Little’s pocket Aces standing tall to give him twice his starting stack and leaving an unfortunate soul questioning how to play pocket Jacks.

By the time noon had passed, the tournament clock showed 700 entries in the tournament, with former SHRPO champion Blair Hinkle back for a second bite of the apple after not making it through Day 1A (the other three former champions – Dan Colman, Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – all made it through Day 1A). Tony Dunst, Matt Stout, former World Champion Joe McKeehen, Brian Altman, and current World Champion Scott Blumstein were also on their second chances (or fourth, depending on how you count – players could re-enter once each Day One, for a grand total of $ 20,000 (plus juice) if all four chances were used) in the tournament.

 After late registration/re-entry closed following Level 9, the players got their first look at the bounty they were playing for. An astounding 887 entries were received in the tournament, building a $ 4,301,950 prize pool for the top 111 players to divvy up. Nearly the entire final table will take home a six-figure payday (ninth place will “only” earn $ 75,413), with the eventual champion of the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event taking home a $ 754,083 boost to the bankroll.

When the clock called for the end of Day 1B, it wasn’t surprising that the top four players from Day 1B’s action would take over the tournament leaderboard:

1. Diana Shirey, 398,900
2. Chance Kornuth, 365,000
3. David Diaz, 346,000
4. Shawn Nguyen, 345,800
5. Benjamin Ridgway, 285,900
6. Gabriel Andrade, 277,000
7. John Dubois, 234,100
8. Samuel Bernabeu, 214,700
9. Nipun Java, 213,900
10. Jorge Gomez, 211,100

When merged with the leaderboard from Day 1A, here are your overall leaders:

1. Diana Shirey, 398,900
2. Chance Kornuth, 365,000
3. David Diaz, 346,000
4. Shawn Nguyen, 345,800
5. Andy Philachack, 290,000*
6. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000*
7. Benjamin Ridgway, 285,900
8. Gabriel Andrade, 277,000
9. Lahn Pham, 270,500*
10. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300*

(* – Day 1A players)

142 players from the 480 entries made it through the Day 1B battlefield and, combined with the 127 players from Day 1A, will make for a busy Day 2 with 269 players. Plans are to play down to a final table by Tuesday, however, meaning that there will be a great deal of carnage today, not only to just get to the money bubble but also to get to a manageable number of players for action on Monday at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event.

Poker News Daily

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is underway with an invading horde of top professionals looking to battle against the best that South Florida has to offer. With Day 1A in the books, pro player Andy Philachack is joined by Pablo Fernandez in sitting atop the standings.

The $ 3 million guaranteed event had a $ 5000 buy-in and, in a departure for most tournaments today, only featured one rebuy for the day’s starters (if eliminated on Day 1A, players could come back for two more shots on Day 1B). With 30,000 in chips and 60-minute levels (and late registration/re-entry available until Level 9), many in the poker community have chosen this tournament to “get back in the game” after the summer’s work at the World Series of Poker. This was evident from the stacked tables that greeted the players.

The four men who have previously won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – inaugural champion Blair Hinkle, 2014 champion Dan Colman, 2015 victor Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – each held court on a singular table, taking on the field as they looked for a second chance at championship gold. Not only did the former champions of this tournament take their seats, the current World Champion, Scott Blumstein, was also on the tables for action. Add in such notables as former World Poker Tour champion Tony Sinishtaj (2017 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), Joe Kuether, Brian Altman, Maria Ho, Nick Schulman, Matt Stout, Ryan D’Angelo, Cate Hall, and a litany of other top pros amongst the 207 players who were there at the starting gun and the prestige of the tournament was obvious.

By the time late registration/re-entry ended after Level 9, the numbers were quite impressive. Seminole officials recorded 407 entries, with two players finishing with the exact same stack at the end of the evening. While Philachack was atop the standings for most of the day, Fernandez used a late evening double up while holding pocket Queens to sit alongside Philachack as Day 1A players take Saturday off:

1. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000
2. Andy Philachack, 290,000
3. Lahn Pham, 270,500
4. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300
5. Danny Schechter, 248,600
6. Jonathan Jaffe, 236,000
7. Oddie Dardon, 229,500
8. Nick Nieto, 226,300
9. Keven Stammen, 209,400
10. David Sands, 204,400

Add in players such as Paul Volpe (180,100 chips), John Hennigan (174,200), former World Champion Ryan Riess (159,600) and Ari Engel (145,900) and there are plenty of challenges still in contention.

Of the 407 entries on Friday, only 127 players will be ready to go with chips for Sunday. They will join up with the survivors from Day 1B of the tournament which, if it holds true for multi-Day One tournaments, should be a monstrous one. With less than $ 1 million to meeting the $ 3 million guarantee (less than 200 entries), the starting field on Saturday morning for Day 1B should eclipse the guarantee and potentially set up for a prize pool that may break the $ 6 million mark. It will be one of the things to watch for as one of the jewels of “The Big 4” – the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open final table will be contested on Tuesday as a part of “The Big 4” streaming broadcast on Twitch – continues the battle today.

Poker News Daily



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