Posts Tagged ‘Maria’

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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2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Maria Ho on Verge of History, Leads Main Event Final Table

 2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Maria Ho on Verge of History, Leads Main Event Final Table

After battling through 529 players, the final six competitors have been determined for the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event final table. Looking to make history (as she has already done in this event), Maria Ho will look to carry on the lead she’s held for the past two days and turn it into a championship.

12 players started the day at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, with several stories looking to unfold. While all eyes would have normally been on the historic run of Ho, there was another bit of history evident in the appearance of defending WSOP-E champion Kevin MacPhee. MacPhee was looking to do something that hadn’t been done since Johnny Chan in 1987/88 – win back-to-back WSOP Main Event titles – but he had his work cut out for him on the short stack (1.06 million). Add in two strong Brits – Jack Salter and Niall Farrell – among the last dozen and it was setting up to be a stirring run to the final six.

MacPhee was active in the early going, getting his chips moving in the first three hands to add about 100K in chips to his stack, while Ho was maintaining her place atop the mountain. Farrell would eke out a slight lead about an hour in as Andrei Boghean and Marc MacDonnell would depart the festivities, but that lead would be short-lived. On a 10 6 3 J A board, Ho was able to get Farrell to lay his hand down after she fired a 500K bet on the river, chips she would use to continue to batter her opposition.

Only a couple of hands after clashing with Farrell, Ho would remove one of her biggest threats from the tourney. From under the gun, MacPhee put out an opener as Ho simply called in the cutoff. Farrell and Marti Roca De Torres defended their blinds and the Q 7 4 flop hit the felt. The blinds checked and dutifully folded after MacPhee fired another bet of 210K and Ho made the call. A 9 came on the turn and MacPhee powered out another bet, this time of 430K. Ho, after some quick calculations and an examination of MacPhee’s stack, moved all in and MacPhee made the call. Ho’s J 10 (open ended straight and flush draw) was actually in pretty good position against MacPhee’s pocket Kings. That “pretty good” position turned into a “winning” one when another King came on the river to give Ho the straight and the knockout of the defending champion in tenth place.

The unofficial final table redrew at this point with Ho (6.635 million) holding a 2.5 million chip lead over Mathijs Jonkers (4.015 million). Farrell, for all his activity, was still in third (3.075 million) after the redraw while the rest of the field was under three million chips each. With only one more elimination to the “official” final table, the players settled in for what would become a drawn-out fight.

Over the next seven hours, the players jousted to get in position for the penultimate day of the WSOP-E Main Event. Above it all was Ho, who attracted chips like a magnet in maintaining her lead. After De Torres was able to quash the dreams of Stepan Osinovski in eliminating him in ninth place, the official table was set with Ho still reigning supreme.

With more time to spare, WSOP officials decided that action would continue and two more players would meet their demise. On Hand 52, Luis Rodriguez would push all in from under the gun only to run into Farrell’s pocket Aces. Rodriguez’s K-6 off suit would find no help as he exited in eighth place. About 10 hands later, Salter would suffer a back-to-back beating. First, Speranza’s Big Slick beat Salter’s Jacks to bring the British champion into the danger zone. Then, on the very next hand, Salter would depart the tournament in seventh place when his K-J failed to catch up to De Torres’ A-7.

Here is how the final six will line up for tomorrow’s action:

1. Maria Ho, 7.83 million
2. Marti Roca De Torres, 7.26 million
3. Gianluca Speranza, 4.4 million
4. Niall Farrell, 3.025 million
5. Mathijs Jonkers, 2.785 million
6. Robert Bickley, 1.085 million

Ho has been in control of this event for the last two days and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her take it down, considering her experience in the game. If she were able to win the championship, she would become the first woman to win the WSOP Main Event of any of the three competitions (Las Vegas, Europe, or Asia/Pacific, which will be contested next year). It is conceivable that she will eclipse the previous best for a female at a WSOP Main Event, which is the fifth-place finish by Barbara Enright in the 1995 WSOP Main Event.

There are some very talented players in pursuit of Ho, however. Speranza is a veteran of the European poker wars and Farrell has a wealth of big match experience. De Torres, Jonkers and Bickley are wild cards in the mix, but Bickley and Jonkers might not have enough chips to make a difference.

The final table will continue at noon Friday (6AM East Coast Time) in the King’s Casino. The proceedings will be live streamed at WSOP.com on a half-hour delay. At stake is the €1,115,207 first place money, the WSOP-Europe Championship Event bracelet and, for Maria Ho, the chance to etch her name into history.

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2016 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Day 3: Final Table Determined, Stefan Schillhabel On Top of Ladder, Shooting Star Maria Ho Remains

 2016 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Day 3: Final Table Determined, Stefan Schillhabel On Top of Ladder, Shooting Star Maria Ho Remains

The final table has been determined for the 2016 World Poker Tour’s Bay 101 Shooting Star event in San Jose, CA and only one Shooting Star, poker professional/announcer Maria Ho, remains with their bounty intact.

To say the Day 3 field was a competitive one would be a huge understatement. Dylan Linde brought the 36 survivors to the line for the start of action on Thursday, looking at a long day of work to reach the six-player final table before stopping. There were still five Shooting Stars left in the field at this time – Noah Schwartz (1.32 million chips), Dominik Nitsche (1.043 million), Connor Drinan (359K), Matt Salsberg (340K) and Ho (462K) – along with other contenders such as Kyle Julius and WPT Champions’ Club members Shawn Buchanan, Anthony Gregg, Alexander Lakhov and Griffin Paul. In addition to this title, two players – Jake Schwartz and Andjelko Andrejevic – were looking to add some points to their WPT Player of the Year total to push them up that leaderboard.

Noah Schwartz would see his dreams of the Bay 101 championship disappear within the first hour of play on Thursday in a cooler of a hand. After Stefan Schillhabel bumped the action from the cutoff, Schwartz three-bet from the small blind. The big blind wanted nothing to do with the big stacked Schwartz but Schillhabel wanted to dance, four-betting Schwartz to 181K. Schwartz didn’t back down, making it 356K to go with a five bet and Schillhabel dumped his remaining chips in the center with a six bet, which Schwartz called.

If you couldn’t figure out what the hands were by now, you’ve probably not played enough poker. Schwartz’s pocket Kings looked really good but they were dominated by Schillhabel’s pocket Aces. Needing those Aces to dodge the vagaries of a five card board, Schillhabel saw a Queen high board roll out to give him the two million chip pot; once among the chip leaders, Schwartz saw himself fall to 265K in chips as he went into survival mode.

As Schillhabel soared, other players would find their way to the Bay 101 exits. Nick Rampone (33rd place, $ 25,690), Buchanan (32nd) and Lakhov (27th, $ 30,310) all were gone within the first three hours as the Shooting Star bounties held onto their tee-shirts, their medals and their $ 2500 in cash. Between those five players, Nitsche was the only one over a million in chips while Ho struggled with 295K in chips.

As Level 23 began, the action picked up. Drinan defeated David Miller in 26th place and Andrejevic eliminated Jake Schwartz in 25th place to enable both men to crack the million chip mark. Meanwhile, Ho began to come to life, doubling up through Linde with a pocket pair of Jacks that flopped a set against Linde’s A-9 off suit. In a fight of Shooting Stars, Nitsche was able to take a decent pot when he flopped trip sixes and rivered a sixes over Aces boat to take about 300K in chips off of Noah Schwartz. Schillhabel, though, continued to charge, nearly besting the three million chip mark in sending Ankush Mandavia to the rail when his pocket Jacks withstood the race with Mandavia’s A-10 off suit.

Ho became a threat in the tournament once she decided to take on Schillhabel. After Schillhabel raised from the button and Ho defended her big blind, a 9-8-6 flop seemed to help no one. Ho would check-call Schillhabel bets on both the flop and the turn (a ten), then both players shut down when the board paired with a six on the river. First to act, Ho showed a 9-7 for the turned straight and Schillhabel had nothing for her, mucking his cards as Ho’s stack broke the million chip mark.

Schwartz and Nitsche were arguably the most entertaining of the matchups around the Bay 101 tournament arena during Day 3. The twosome fought it out all the way to dinner, at one point Schwartz doubling up through Nitsche to slightly more than 1.5 million, only to see Nitsche turn around on the next hand and double back through Schwartz. The battle waged onward until it was interrupted by the dinner bell when they and the remainder of the 15 player field took a break.

Coming back from the break, Griffin Paul began to take over. Sitting on a massive stack, Paul knocked off Nitsche in 14th place to rocket over the five million mark in chips. Ho made a charge, doubling though Drinan to reach 1.5 million, and she was joined by Andrejevic (who eliminated Noah Schwartz in 13th place) and Gregg. Still ruling the roost was Schillhabel, though, as the final 12 players joined together in two tables.

Paul would continue his ascent, eliminating Salsberg in 12th place to take over the chip lead as Schillhabel saw Ho take chips from his stack as he fell under four million (Ho was threatening the 2.5 million mark at this point). Schillhabel wasn’t Ho’s only “whipping boy” as Paul also felt the sting of Ho’s excellent play, folding to her all in five bet and sacrificing more than 600K in chips in the process. Drinan recovered from his bouts with Ho, securing his own double up through Jim Collopy when Drinan’s pocket Aces lived to tell the tale over Collopy’s Big Slick.

Once Bryan Piccioli eliminated Paulo Treu in 10th place, the two tables stayed in place. Gregg would complete the elimination of Collopy (left with crumbs after his clash with Drinan) in ninth place, but it was the battle between Schillhabel and Drinan that actually pulled the remainder of the field to one patch of felt. In that hand between Schillhabel and Drinan, a 9-7-6 flop saw Drinan push all in and Schillhabel call, Schillhabel’s pocket Aces leading Drinan’s J-10 (gut shot straight draw). When the turn six and the river four failed to complete Drinan’s gutter, he was out in eighth place as Schillhabel collected his bounty and took over the chip lead.

The departure of Drinan left Ho as the final Shooting Star and she showed no intentions of letting go of her bounty. Over the course of the 30-plus hands of play on the WPT television “bubble,” Ho fought off challenges from every one of her opponents. Having similar success was Schillhabel, who crafted a massive chip stack that only got larger when he laid a bad beat on Gregg, his A-4 rivering an Ace (Q-J-8-3-A) to knock off Gregg’s pocket Kings and send him out of the tournament in seventh place.

1. Stefan Schillhabel, 8.72 million
2. Griffin Paul, 5.205 million
3. Maria Ho, 3.115 million
4. Adam Geyer, 2.03 million
5. Andjelko Andrejevic, 1.985 million
6. Bryan Piccioli, 1.535 million

It’s not meant to be a joke, but any one of these competitors is well-equipped to be the champion of this tournament. Piccioli is a WSOP bracelet holder, Geyer has 74 cashes in his tournament poker career (and more than $ 1.6 million in earnings), Andrejevic won the 2015 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Super High Roller Championship (for a tidy $ 1.125 million score) and Paul is looking for his second WPT title. Ho has a long history of success in poker ($ 1.7 million career earnings, 64 career cashes) and Schillhabel’s previous work has primarily come in Europe, but it is a solid if unspectacular career (28 cashes, slightly less than $ 500,000 in career earnings). Should any of the competitors get on a run – or, as in the last hand for Schillhabel against Gregg last night, get really lucky – it is anyone’s tournament to take.

We will know the latest champion on the WPT come this evening. The final table will begin at 4PM (Pacific Time) and will be recorded for broadcast on the Season XIV television schedule for the World Poker Tour on Fox Sports.

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