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2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 2 – A.J. Kelsall Leads on the Bubble

 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Day 2 – A.J. Kelsall Leads on the Bubble

There were probably a whole bunch of players at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open that didn’t sleep well last night, as 159 players remain in the Main Event with the payouts going down to 156 places. The short stacks have got to be wondering if they can hang on to at least come up with the $ 6,129 min cash. A.J. Kelsall is the chip leader heading into Day 3 with 768,500 chips, followed very closely by Chun Li with 755,000.

The tournament just missed out on beating last year’s record of 1,312 entries, coming in at 1,244. There were 343 entries on Day 1A, 680 on Day 1B, and another 221 through the first two levels of Day 2. The overall prize pool is just south of $ 4 million with the winner taking home $ 651,928.

The chip leader, A.J. Kelsall, is having a hell of a week. Not only is he leading a WPT Main Event on the money bubble, but he is also a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan; in just a few days, the Eagles will be playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The Eagles are underdogs, but they were underdogs in the NFC Championship game with their backup quarterback, as well, so how knows what can happen?

After Day 2, Kelsall talked Eagles with WPT.com:

I’ll tell you the saying that I have and it’s kind of funny. There’s only two things I want in life. An Eagles Super Bowl and a WSOP bracelet. Then whatever happens after that is fine. Somebody asked me that last week, when I came fifth in the [WPTDeepStacks] event down in Hollywood. And in that one, I said I would probably give up the win for the Super Bowl, but this one is so big. I flew up here and went to the game last Sunday and I have a flight Saturday night to go to the Super Bowl. That should tell you how big of a fan I am. If you sign me up for like sixth right now and an Eagles Super Bowl, I’ll take it. I’ll sign it.

Sixth pays $ 138,254, which would certainly buy a few hot dogs at the game (not that Kelsall will get up to go to the concession stand and risk missing any of the action).

According to TheHendonMob.com, Kelsall has just over a million dollars in live tournament cashes. His best was for $ 124,731 for a first place finish in the $ 1,650 No-Limit Hold’em Championship of the Winter Poker Open in Tampa. Hmm…Winter Poker Open…is that an omen? Hmm?

Kelsall told WPT.com that while he considers himself a good No-Limit Hold’em player, he likes other games better, but he continues to play Hold’em because the money is best in that game. A “jack of all trades” is what he calls himself.

“It’s cliche, but I think it’s true. I consider myself a B or a B+ in pretty much every game. An A in nothing, but I consider myself decent in every game,” he said.

Well, so far, so good with Hold’em. Let’s see if he keeps it going and gives himself an epic weekend.

2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. A.J. Kelsall – 768,500
2. Chun Li – 755,000
3. Dan Colpoys – 590,500
4. Richard Foster – 587,000
5. Chase Bianchi – 568,000
6. Joe McKeehen – 548,000
7. Nick Jivkov – 529,500
8. Sean Remz – 512,000
9. Will Givens – 510,000
10. Stephen Song – 509,000

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Mike Del Vecchio Leads 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event, Former Champions Lurking

 Mike Del Vecchio Leads 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event, Former Champions Lurking

After four grueling days (there were two Day Ones) of action, the final 38 players have been determined in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Veteran poker pro Mike Del Vecchio is at the helm of the ship following today’s play, but former champions Ari Engel and Ami Barer are lurking back in the pack with the hopes of becoming the event’s first-ever two-time champion.

158 players returned to the Crown Casino’s tournament arena on Thursday (late Wednesday night in the States of America), each with the dream of capturing Aussie gold. Two Australian players, Najeem Ajez and Frank Pezzaniti, were in the lead at the start of the day with a host of top pros in hot pursuit. Sam Grafton, Jonathan Karamalikis, Fedor Holz, Martin Finger, Harry Demetriou, Jesse Sylvia, and former World Champion Martin Jacobsen were arranged around the tournament room as the call of “shuffle up and deal” rung out.

The start of the day was good for Jacobson as, without having to show down his hand, he was able to pick up a decent stack of chips after calling a river bet from Jack Brown and then watching Brown pitch his hand into the muck. The news wasn’t as good for Sylvia, however. Responding to Duy Ho’s three-bet of his open, Sylvia answered with an all-in move and, after Ho called, it was off to the races. Ho’s pocket tens held the edge against Sylvia’s A-K off suit, and the Queen-high board added a ten on the river to give Ho an unnecessary set. Sylvia headed to the rail, one of the many on Thursday who fell short of the money.

In a change from current protocols, officials at the Crown Casino decided to pay the final 88 players in the tournament. That is slightly more than 10% of the field, a departure from other tournaments which pay anywhere from 15% to 20% of those in the competition. Holding to the usual 10%, however, has allowed this year’s Aussie Millions Main Event to pay the top two slots a million-plus payday, however.

Another player who wouldn’t be around to take part in cutting up the prize pool was Holz. The German wunderkind tried to run an A-9 that flopped a nine against Con Krousoratis, but Krousoratis had the goods. His pocket Queens were still good even after Holz flopped the nine and, after the turn brought another lady to the show, Holz was drawing dead and heading to the exits, albeit temporarily; Holz has already committed to the $ 100,000 Challenge that begins on Sunday.

The tournament could be said to be sedate until a stunner of a hand before the dinner break. In a hand between he and Jan Pettersson, Del Vecchio made the call of a 63K bet on a 5♣ 3♣ 10 to see the turn. A 7♣ on the turn brought the fireworks as Pettersson put out a 140K bet and Del Vecchio moved all in over it. Pettersson made the call and showed only an A♠ K♠ for Ace high, while Del Vecchio had Pettersson drawing dead with his J♣ 8♣. After the meaningless river was dealt (a 10♣, only improving Del Vecchio), Del Vecchio rocketed to the top of the leaderboard with nearly a million in chips.

The pace of eliminations was such that there was no need for the tournament to go to hand-for-hand play. After Matthew Wakeman was unceremoniously dumped from the tournament by Toby Lewis in 89th place, the remaining players were all guaranteed a $ 15,000 (Australian) payday for their efforts. That knockout opened the floodgates as players picked up an official cash at the Aussie Millions and a new flag for their Hendon Mob resume.

Pettersson, Jacobson, and Finger would all leave on each side of the dinner break, but the consistent over the post-bubble action was Del Vecchio’s charge to the top of the leaderboard. He powered his way over the million-chip mark right after dinner and motored over a million and a half only a couple hours later. In one of the final hands of the evening, Del Vecchio eliminated one of Australia’s favorite poker sons, Tony Hachem (the brother of former World Champion Joe), to break the two million mark and set himself up well for the Day 4 battles on Friday.

1. Mike Del Vecchio, 2.33 million
2. Aaron Lim, 1.358 million
3. Tu Lan, 1.22 million
4. Vincent Chua, 1.089 million
5. Ari Engel, 1.075 million
6. Kahle Burns, 973,000
7. Ben Richardson, 967,000
8. Najeem Ajez, 958,000
9. Espen Solaas, 862,000
10. Saijes Mundadan, 835,000

Engel, the 2016 champion of this event, is in good shape to make that run at a second Aussie Millions Main Event champion. Barer, who took down the title in 2014, is in 25th place with his 428,000 in chips and has a good deal of work to do to get into the mix for his second title.

The Aussie Millions Main Event Day 4 will begin at 12:30PM on Friday in Melbourne (8:30 Thursday night in the States of America) with the plans of working the final 38 players down to a more manageable two tables. The action is being streamed by Jason Somerfield over his Twitch account for the world to see, with the stream going all the way through the crowning of the next champion of the Aussie Millions.

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Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

 Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

Yes, it is very early in the year. Yes, these folks probably won’t be here when we come to June (heck, maybe even March). But, for right now, two players – Maria Lampropulos and Christopher Kruk – can lay claim to the title of “best poker player” as they lead the Poker Player of the Year races.

On the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings, it is the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure who can lay claim to the crown. The Argentine sensation romped to the title and its million dollars plus payday earlier this week, earning 2100 points for her efforts. The runner up in that tournament, Shawn Buchanan, settles into the second-place slot on the CardPlayer rankings, earning 1750 points for his performance in the tournament. Also making a nice showing at the 2018 PCA was Koray Aldemir, who took third in the Main Event and finished in the runner up slot in the $ 25,000 High Roller; between the two tournaments, Aldemir earned over $ 660,000 and picked up 1610 points.

The High Roller tournaments at the PCA didn’t have as much effect on the POY races in 2018 as they did in the past. Perhaps because of some changes to their computations, the CardPlayer board didn’t overload points on the victors in the big High Roller events. Thus, players like Steve O’Dwyer (who won the $ 50K High Roller with 46 players) and Cary Katz (the champion of the $ 100K Super High Roller with 48 players) didn’t earn as many points as they might have in the past.

While he might not have gotten as much for his win in one of the $ 25K High Rollers, Christopher Kruk made the most of his time down in the Bahamas. Over the span of five days, Kruk earned three cashes, including two final tables and a win. In earning over $ 900,000, Kruk picked up 1113 points, landing in fourth place on the CardPlayer ladder ahead of the fourth-place finisher in the PCA Main Event (and defending Player of the Year) Adrian Mateos’ 1050 points.

Rounding out the bottom of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board is Justin Bonomo (1004 points), Jason Strasser (960), defending World Champion Scott Baumstein (960), Daniel Coupal (875) and Darryl Ronconi (840) in sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Kruk has no such issues with new computations when it comes to the Global Poker Index ranking of the Player of the Year. The three cashes he earned at the PCA earned him 749.95 points, good enough to catapult him into the lead in the early going. The surprise is Norway’s Aylar Lie, who has been able to take the second slot on the GPI rankings without leaving Europe. Lie cashed six times at the Merit Poker Western Tournament, including a win in a $ 500 Bounty tournament, to rack up 631.15 points. Lie’s success is further accentuated by the fact that Lampropulos earned 606.34 points for her PCA Main Event championship and was only good enough for third place.

Another player who decided against journeying to the Bahamas makes the board in fourth place. Ole Schemion won the World Poker Tour European Championship in Berlin on Monday, to earn 423.22 points (and another cash in a preliminary) and the fourth-place post with 550.61 points. That was enough to eclipse Bonomo in fifth place (543.99 points) as the midpoint of the month is reached.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are a few more surprises. Benjamin Pollak (543.98, sixth), Isaac Haxton (537.95, seventh), Daniel Jones (532.38, eighth), Jeffrey Trudeau (524.91) is ninth and Kunal Patni (518.14, tenth) round out the leaderboard.

Don’t worry, there won’t be a test on this subject. By the end of the month, it is entirely possible that an entire new list of contenders will be sitting in these seats with the Aussie Millions, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and the L. A. Poker Classis either starting or finishing up their play. But to have a great year of poker is to start off well, and the players listed above have done it. Now they can look to improve on what has been an excellent start to their season.

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2018 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Ben Yu Leads Tight Leaderboard

 2018 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Ben Yu Leads Tight Leaderboard

The World Poker Tour is in Florida this week as the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event is underway at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. Day 2 is already in the books (there were two Day 1 flights) with Ben Yu going into Monday’s action as the chip leader with 1.382 million chips.

A total of 911 entries were paid during the two starting flights, bringing the prize pool for the $ 3,300 + $ 200 event to $ 2.915 million. Payouts go down to 114th place and the eventual winner will cash for more than half a million dollars. There are just 53 players remaining after Day 2, so everyone still in the tournament has made the money.

Yu began yesterday with 103,700 chips, a solid stack for that point in the tournament, but he clearly did some work Sunday, multiplying his stack ten-fold.

It took a long time for Yu to make a move, as well after the dinner break, with an average stack over 400,000, he was still only in the 100,000 chips range. But climb he did, not just staying alive, but thriving as others fell by the wayside. He completed his rise to the top of the chip counts late in the night when he was up against Sean Winter and Winter’s last 250,000 chips. All-in pre-flop, Winter had 5-5 while Yu had A-J. Yu found a Jack on the flop and that was it for Winter, while Yu’s stack elevated to 1.380 million.

Yu currently ranks 327th on the Global Poker Index. He is no stranger to deep tournament runs, as he has nearly $ 2.3 million in live tournament earnings. His largest cash was for more than $ 600,000 when he finished third in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event. Yu also has two World Series of Poker bracelets in his trophy case. The first was won in 2015 (not a bad year for him), when he took the title in the $ 10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, good for almost $ 300,000. He won his second bracelet at last year’s WSOP in the $ 10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship; that paycheck was for more than $ 230,000.

Yu doesn’t have much breathing room at the top. Joseph Couden is nearly tied with him, holding 1.339 million chips. Qasem Jamhour is close behind with 1.284 million. And after him, there are three more players all around a million: Andjelko Andrejevic (1.023 million), Mike Chiappetta (1.021 million), and Nick Schwarmann (1.017 million). Two more players have more than 900,000 chips. Should setup for a competitive Monday as players jockey for position as the final table nears.

2018 World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Ben Yu – 1,382,000
2. Joseph Couden – 1,339,000
3. Qasem Jamhour – 1,284,000
4. Andjelko Andrejevic – 1,023,000
5. Mike Chiappetta – 1,021,000
6. Nick Schwarmann – 1,017,000
7. Ness Reilly – 973,000
8. John Richards – 910,000
9. Ardit Kurshumi – 843,000
10. Rainer Kempe – 793,000

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2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure: Ivan Luca Leads Super High Roller Final Table

 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure: Ivan Luca Leads Super High Roller Final Table

The final table of the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $ 100,000 Super High Roller Event was determined yesterday as the seven remaining players vie for the title on Monday. It is a tight race at the top with Ivan Luca holding the chip lead with 2.76 million chips, followed by Justin Bonomo with 2.695 million and Daniel Negreanu with 2.415 million.

All seven players are guaranteed at least $ 248,720. Thus, Negreanu has already made up his tournament losses from last year; he recently posted on his blog that despite nearly $ 2.8 million in live tournament cashes, he lost $ 86,140 in 2017. His average buy-in was over $ 40,000, though, so Negreanu considered that net loss virtually “break even.”

As one would expect in a Super High Roller tournament, the rest of the final table is also a “who’s who” of the tournament poker world. Bryn Kenney, who led the Player of the Year races last year before being overtaken late by Adrian Mateos, is in fourth place with 1.485 million chips. Isaac Haxton is in fifth with 1.095 million and two players have fewer than 1 million chips: Cary Katz (855,000, no relation to this writer) and Sam Greenwood (695,000).

The chip leader, Ivan Luca, is tops on Argentina’s all-time money list, according to TheHendonMob.com, with over $ 5.3 million in live tournament earnings. He doesn’t have one insane cash that makes up the bulk of his earnings, like many seven-figure lifetime winners do, but rather many five and six-figure scores. His best cash came at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure two years ago, when he finished third in the $ 50,000 High Roller Eight-Handed event for nearly half a million dollars. That was one of five cashes for him at the 2016 PCA; all were final table appearances.

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has been a “big deal” poker festival for a number of years and as the earliest major event of the calendar year, it tends to feel even more significant. There is something a tad more special about it in 2018, though, as the PCA didn’t exist last year, at least in name. Remember, PokerStars, which owns the European Poker Tour, decided to do away with the European Poker Tour brand (as well as regional tournament brands) and rebrand everything with its own name. Thus, the EPT, APPT, LAPT and more became the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival last year. The tournaments were all still there, just rearranged and with different names.

So, in 2017, the PCA was the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, which has absolutely zero ring to it, especially for a poker tour stop that had such a unique name and status in the poker world. Fortunately, PokerStars came to its senses near the end of 2017 and decided to bring back the European Poker Tour, Asia-Pacific Poker Tour, and Latin American Poker Tour, reinstating some normalcy to the world. The revival of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure name had even been announced months earlier, a sign that changes were afoot.

The final table of the PCA Super High Roller will begin at 3:30pm local time as the seven players maneuver for the $ 1.5 million first prize.

2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $ 100K Super High Roller Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Ivan Luca – 2,760,000
2. Justin Bonomo – 2,695,000
3. Daniel Negreanu – 2,415,000
4. Bryn Kenney – 1,485,000
5. Isaac Haxton – 1,095,000
6. Cary Katz – 855,000
7. Sam Greenwood – 695,000

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