Posts Tagged ‘Makes’

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

Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

 Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

On Monday, Poker Central will revive the fan favorite Poker After Dark for its subscription service PokerGO. When the cards hit the air for the return of the show, it will also feature the return of a player who once held the poker world’s attention but has of late been a footnote to the game.

Coming back from the cash games in Macau, Tom Dwan (formerly known by his online moniker of ‘durrrr’) will be the featured competitor when the cards hit the air at 8PM on the inaugural episode of Poker After Dark on PokerGO. “I travel around a lot to play poker, and in Manila and Macau people ask me about those shows,” Dwan mentioned to Poker Central’s Remko Rinkema. “All over the world people liked watching those, and every time I get asked ‘When will they be back?’ I’m excited that now, after six years, they will be back.”

Dwan was one of the staples of Poker After Dark when it originally aired and the program brings back pleasant thoughts for Dwan as Monday approaches. “The shows were fun, they ended up being more interesting and more fun than I expected,” Dwan noted to Rinkema. “It also helped that I won basically every hand that I played. If I called they were bluffing, if I was bluffing they folded. I’m hoping that continues,” Dwan said with a chuckle.

Dwan has been an afterthought to many in poker after a stirring start. Storming the scene in the mid-2000s with an attacking style that caught many off guard, Dwan made his name in the high stakes online poker world and, particularly, heads-up poker. He attempted to have an impact on the live tournament world, including making several prop bets regarding winning World Series of Poker bracelets, but was unable to win any major championships. Still, the $ 2.2 million in career earnings from those games came in handy with one of his online endeavors.

The “durrrr Challenge” was a boast by Dwan that he was one of the best heads-up players in the world, with Dwan putting up a sizeable chunk of change to prove it. The challenge was for Dwan and an opponent to play 50,000 hands of No Limit Texas Hold’em or, in other cases, Pot Limit Omaha at stakes of $ 200/$ 400 over an agreed-on period. If Dwan were to emerge with even a penny of profit, his opponent would owe him $ 500,000. If his opponent were to come out ahead, however, Dwan would pay $ 1.5 million.

Two players stepped up to take the challenge (which wasn’t extended to poker professional Phil Galfond), Patrik Antonius and Dan Cates, with neither competition reaching a conclusion. In fact, the Cates/Dwan battle paused around “Black Friday,” with Cates ahead $ 1.2 million and Dwan showing absolutely no inclination to continuing the match. Instead, Dwan withdrew from the international poker community to concentrate on the lucrative cash game market in the Chinese gaming metropolis of Macau, where he’s basically been in action to the exclusion of the remainder of the poker world since around 2014.

The return of Poker After Dark will also see the return of another player that is considered a “living legend.” Doyle Brunson is said to be donning his cowboy hat for another run on the program, beginning on Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday night. Brunson has stepped away from tournament poker but is still holding court at Bobby’s Room in the Bellagio as a cash game player. His will be a welcomed return to a lineup that was already star-studded:

August 14 (Monday)

Tom Dwan
Daniel Negreanu
Antonio Esfandiari
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

August 15 (Tuesday) and August 16 (Wednesday)

Tom Dwan
Doyle Brunson
Andrew Robl
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

The game will be the usual that was originally on Poker After Dark:  $ 200/$ 400 Texas Hold’em, minimum buy in and a $ 400 button ante. The players will all walk to the table at ARIA Resort & Casino with a minimum of $ 100,000. Poker Central will live-stream the return of Poker After Dark over PokerGO beginning at 8PM (Eastern Time) on all three days as it continues to try to build an audience for their subscription service.

Will Dwan still have the same effect he had on top pros that he had on his first run on Poker After Dark? Or will he face a different poker world? Those questions and others will be answered starting on Monday.

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1B: Stephen Graner Makes Waves

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 1B: Stephen Graner Makes Waves

The two starting flights of the ever-popular World Poker Tour (WPT) Bay 101 Shooting Star are in the books and it is Stephen Graner who has a slight chip advantage over Charlie Carrel for the tournament’s pole position. With 332,700 and 320,800 chips, respectively, Graner and Carrel are the only two players in the event with more than 300,000 chips.

According to the WPT.com report, Graner was not only the center of attention on Day 1B because of his chip stack, but also because of how he got to that point. Graner sat at the featured table all day Tuesday and knocked out two of the Shooting Star players – Ari Engel and James Calderaro – earning their bounties. Graner has already profited from the tournament with $ 5,000 in bounties and the $ 10,000 chip leader bonus, but he has no intention of relaxing.

One of the more interesting hands for Graner came against Calderaro. As WPT.com reports it (with information received from players at the table), the intrigue started right away, when Graner raised pre-flop from middle position to 8,400 chips. This raised eyebrows as the big blind was just 1,200 chips and a 7x big blind opening raise from that position is quite unorthodox. Typically, there is no need to risk that many chips with no challengers. As such, people thought it was a “mis-click,” a term derived from online poker, when a player accidentally clicks the wrong button to make a bet (or fold, as the case may be) that he did not intend to make. Obviously, nobody can really mis-click in a live game, but people do sometimes miscount their chips or don’t realize they are putting out the wrong denomination.

Calderaro called and the two men saw a flop of K-5-3. Graner bet 13,000 at that point and Calderaro called again. On the 9 flop, Graner kept going, betting 24,000, followed by a Calderaro call. When a Queen landed on the river, Graner moved all-in. Calderaro tanked for nearly ten minutes, his remaining 65,000 chips at risk.

Calderaro eventually folded, informing the table he had A-K and just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Graner teased him, asking him if he folded “the worst bluff ever.”

Calderaro asked Graner to show what he had, but Graner didn’t. Calderaro felt that meant that Graner actually had the winning hand and just wanted to make him think he was bluffing.

Afterward, Graner gave mixed signals to WPT.com, saying, “It was not a misclick, I just did not say anything when they were talking about it.”

But he added, “It’s hard for me to have something there.”

There were a total of 806 entries for the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event, a record for this tournament. A $ 5,722,600 prize pool was generated; 81 players will make the money with first place receiving $ 1,373,000.

The 264 remaining players will resume play at noon Pacific time.

2017 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    Stephen Graner – 332,700
2.    Charlie Carrel –     320,800
3.    Igor Yaroshevskyy – 286,200
4.    Rainer Kempe – 284,300
5.    Zach Hyman – 255,000
6.    Michael Rocco – 201,700
7.    Jon Turner – 187,200
8.    Chino Rheem – 174,700
9.    Bryan Piccioli – 170,100
10.    Tom Schneider – 168,100

2017 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event – Combined Day 1 Chip Leaders

1.    Stephen     Graner – 332,700
2.    Charlie Carrel – 320,800
3.    Igor Yaroshevskyy – 286,200
4.    Rainer Kempe – 284,300
5.    Eddy Sabat – 265,600
6.    Zach Hyman – 255,000
7.    Sergio Aldo – 242,500
8.    Sinisa Eimek – 235,400
9.    Eduazols Kudzjavcevs – 235,000
10.    Justin Young – 231,000

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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)

Poker News Daily

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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