Posts Tagged ‘Massive’

2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1A: Massive First Day Crowd Promises for Huge Field

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1A: Massive First Day Crowd Promises for Huge Field

On Friday in the cavernous tournament arena at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, Day 1A of the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown took place. The massive outpouring of players for the first day of action promises that there will be a huge field for the tournament and that the guaranteed prize pool of $ 3 million will be shattered.

With the $ 3 million guaranteed prize pool, that meant that the $ 3500 buy in tournament had to rack up roughly 895 players (taking out the juice) for the Seminole Indians not to be on the hook for the difference. To help reach that mark, there were two Day Ones scheduled and players could re-enter the tournament as many times as they liked up until the start of Level 9. From the start, however, it seemed the players were amped for the event, regardless of what the guarantee was.

When the players came together for the “shuffle up and deal” call on Friday morning, nearly 200 players were already in their seats. The tables in the new Seminole Hard Rock tournament arena rapidly filled from that point, reaching 387 entries by the start of Level 3 and passing the 500 mark (504) to start Level 5. By the time the end of late registration for Day 1A reached a close, 646 entries were in the books, essentially guaranteeing that the Seminoles wouldn’t be reaching in their pockets for any overlay for the tournament by Saturday night.  

With such a large field on Day 1A, you might have thought that it was a softer field. Nothing was further from the truth as, from the start of the day, such notable names as former WPT champions Joe Ebanks, Darren Elias and Jonathan Little were on the felt, joined by Cliff Josephy, Blake Bohn, Neil Blumenfield and the defending champion of this tournament, Tony Sinishtaj. As the day wore on, they were joined by such figures as former World Champion Joseph McKeehen, WPT champions Tony Dunst and Olivier Busquet, Joseph Cheong and Shankar Pillai.

With the players from Day 1A knowing they still had a chance to come back on Day 1B to try to build a stack, play was rather active. Halfway through the day, six players had amassed stacks of more than 100K chips (after starting with 30K) and that number only went up as the evening hours began. By the dinner break, eight members of the field were counted over the magical 100K mark, with Robert Transue over 200K (204,300). By the end of the night, however, there was a new “sheriff” in town, Uri Kadosh, who had assumed the lead.

1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500
2. Robert Transue, 239,500
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300
4. Paul Snead, 220,000
5. Matt Glantz, 191,500
6. Joseph McKeehen, 187,700
7. John Gordon, 187,500
8. Zachary Smiley, 170,400
9. Brian Hastings, 166,400
10. Joseph Gotlieb, 164,900

Lurking under the Top Ten are such notable names as Scott Clements (158,300 chips), Art Papazyan (156,200), Curt Kohlberg (142,600) and Jeff Gross (142,500). Of the 646 entries received on Day 1A, 227 players will come back for action on Sunday.

When Day 1B begins bright and early at 11AM on Saturday morning, expect a stampede of players to come to the tournament arena. It is likely that the opening bell for Day 1B will have enough players to crack the guarantee and the numbers should soar past 1000 players by the time registration closes. It isn’t out of question to believe that the final numbers will be bigger than last year’s field, which received 1207 entries by the time registration was closed. If it were to do this, the prize pool would easily be over $ 3.25 million and make for another successful stop for the WPT and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

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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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Massive NFL Survivor Pool Shut Down by Feds

 Massive NFL Survivor Pool Shut Down by Feds

I know sports betting is illegal in most of the United States, but dammit, it still really grinds my gears when a sports betting or betting-related enterprise, event, or site that otherwise isn’t hurting anyone gets busted. That’s what happened last week when federal agents shut down Ron & Mike’s Football Pool, seizing money and the business’s documentation.

First reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Ron & Mike’s Football Pool had been run by Ron Kronengold and Mike Bernstein for at least eight years. It was an online “survivor pool,” in which participants picked one NFL team to win each week. If that team wins, the participant moves on to the next week. If the team loses, the player is done in the contest. The big catch is that a player cannot choose the same team more than once.

These types of pools are common, both online (ESPN.com has one called the Eliminator Challenge) and among friends or in the workplace. They are a fun way to get a sweat during the NFL week and not only require at least a some sort of skill in picking a winner, but also to strategize picks, knowing you can’t just pick the team with the best matchup every week.

But Ron and Mike, based out of New York, ran their pool online for real money. If they did not take a rake from the entry fees, this would not be illegal in the state, so it is still a bit of a mystery why their site was shut down or what charges they might eventually be facing. According to ESPN.com, there was nothing in the contest rules that said the site was getting a cut.

That said, there was a lot of money involved, with total prizes this season estimated to be more than $ 2.5 million. ESPN reports that there were two pools initially this NFL season, each with a maximum of 10,000 entries at $ 100 apiece. Because of their popularity, a $ 200 “second chance” pool was created. A $ 100 mid-season pool and a $ 500 high-roller pool were also available. There were more than 23,000 entries across all of the pools.

Ron and Mike clearly didn’t hide the pool, as players could register at ronandmike.com (the URL is no longer active) and Kronengold himself received a trademark on the name “Ron & Mike’s” in 2012. At the same time, they only took cash for entry fees and players had to mail it to “Green River” at a Plainview, New York UPS Store P.O. Box.

Players who were still alive in the pools received a communication from Ron & Mike’s which read:

Please be advised that the Ron and Mike website has been forced to shut down at this time and is unlikely to open again. We understand your frustration and anger at this time but closure of the pool is beyond our control. We apologize to those that are still alive in our various pools and we ask for your patience and understanding while we contemplate the next steps. Unfortunately at this time we cannot make any additional comments.

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2017 Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Nathan Bjerno Massive Chip Leader

 2017 Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 4: Final Table Determined, Nathan Bjerno Massive Chip Leader

The final table for the World Poker Tour’s 2017 Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City, NJ, is shaping up to be a “one versus all” affair. The reason? Chip leader Nathan Bjerno, who garnered most of his chips in taking down two of the players who had been around the top of the leaderboard virtually the entire tournament, has almost a third of the chips in play.

34 players returned to the baize at the Borgata on Thursday with the difficult task of getting to the final six. Charles Coates held the lead with his 3.371 million in chips, but right behind him was Blake Bohn and his 3.024 million stack. With both players on the same table, the potential for fireworks was in the mix, but it would take some time for the fuse to be lit.

There was still a bit of play in the stacks (even short stacked Asher Conniff was sitting decently with his 406,000 in chips, good for 17 big blinds), so it took a bit of time before the first elimination of the day. That occurred when Day 2 chip leader Jack Duong pushed his stack all in against Shaun Deeb about 40 minutes into the day. Deeb was more than happy to call Duong’s push with his pocket Kings and Duong, with Big Slick, would hit on the K-J-10 flop for a gut shot straight draw. Unfortunately, Duong couldn’t find the filler for the hole in his straight – the Queen – on the turn or the river, sending him out of the tournament 34th place.

The next competitor out surprised many in the tournament room. Coming in with an even million chips, Olivier Busquet would send more than half of them to Bart Dowling after Dowling turned a set and rivered quad sixes against him. That wasn’t the most painful beat, however, as moments later Busquet would take on Bohn in the hand that would end his tournament.

After Bohn raised and Dowling called, Busquet would squeeze the action with an all-in move. Bohn looked him up (Dowling exited at this point) and the players turned their cards up. It was the classic race situation, Busquet’s A-10 off suit versus Bohn’s pocket eights. In the window was an Ace for Busquet, but the third card on the flop was an eight to give Bohn a set. Once an innocent trey and a four came on the turn and river, Busquet was suddenly out of the tournament in 33rd place.

Bohn was quite aggressive with those new chips and it paid off well for him. He would eliminate David Stefanski in 28th place and forced Adnan Mohammad to lay down another hand as his chip stack climbed to almost five million chips. After Tony Ruberto bluffed off a stack of chips to him, Bohn was in prime shape for the final table as his stack reached the 6.5 million mark.

That would be the epitome of Bohn’s day, however. He would bleed chips off over the course of the evening but reach the unofficial final table with about half the chips he had after Ruberto’s bluff. Those chips would hit the center against Bjerno, who had stormed out to a decent lead over the field by earlier knocking off Coates in tenth place with his pocket threes flopping a set against Coates’ pocket sixes. Bohn was in a different situation, however, as his A-K would need help against Bjerno’s pocket tens. It wouldn’t come as the board came down ten-high, giving Bjerno an unnecessary set against Bohn’s Ace-high and sending Bohn to the rail in eighth place.

After Jia Liu took down Thomas Penza in seventh place – Liu’s pocket Jacks handling Penza’s A♥ 8♥ with ease on a K-5-3-5-Q board – the official WPT final table was set with Bjerno over the 12 million mark in chips:

1. Nathan Bjerno, 12.415 million
2. Jia Liu, 6.815 million
3. Tyler Kenney, 6.03 million
4. Daniel Weinman, 5.41 million
5. Richard Foster, 5.13 million
6. Nicholas Immekus, 3.55 million

For those who plan to be in attendance for the final table action, it may be a long evening. Immekus, on the short stack, still has 44 big blinds to play with (the table was paused in Level 29 with blinds of 40K/80K with 10K antes), plenty of time for him to look for a moment to strike. Of the remainder of the table, Kenney is the best-known player of the lot, having made a WPT final table before (2014, a third-place finish at the WPT Legends of Poker). While he does have about a third of the chips, Bjerno is the epitome of that old axiom “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” as he tries to seal the deal in Atlantic City beginning at 2PM this afternoon (live stream with hole cards begins at 2:30 at WPT.com)

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Marc Macdonnell Takes Massive Lead into Day 3 of WPT Nottingham

 Marc Macdonnell Takes Massive Lead into Day 3 of WPT Nottingham

Using a hotly contested hand that was the talk of the Day 2 action, Marc Macdonnell took a massive lead at the midpoint of the play and cruised into the chip lead of the World Poker Tour stop at the Dusk ‘til Dawn Casino in Nottingham, the United Kingdom, on Friday.

262 players came back to the tables, still not knowing what they were going to be playing for. With registration going on until the close of the second level of play on Friday, there was a chance that the official entries total would crack the guarantee of £1 million. In the end, it did come home for the hosts of Dusk ‘til Dawn, with 522 entries ensuring that the guaranteed amount was hit and setting out the payout schedule.

For the WPT Nottingham, 54 players would earn a piece of the £1 million, with the minimum payday of £4500 for those taking home a min-cash. The very flat pay schedule gives the person who will finish in sixth place at the official WPT final table a £40,000 payday. The top slot is where everyone wants to finish, however, with that player taking down the £200,000 first place prize and the seat at the Season XV WPT Tournament of Champions next spring.

As the day’s action played out, once again the focus of many was on the sideshow carnival act that has become William Kassouf. Kassouf, who was the focus of the late stages of the 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event, was up to his usual shenanigans at the start of Day 2 of the WPT Nottingham. It worked for a bit as he climbed over the 100K mark in chips, but his demise was almost as delicious to watch as his dismissal from the WSOP was on ESPN.

Kassouf would lose much of his stack to a player who, while Kassouf’s mouth motored along, flopped a straight flush and Kassouf paid off his all-in. “Turn and river are an off-suit queen and off-suit king and I’ve rivered the nut straight with J-10,” Kassouf reported to the WPT Updates team. “He’s got 3 2 for the straight flush. Calls a raise with three-high, marvelous.” Kassouf would pitch in his final chips holding another J-10 and see the K-4-3-A-5 board blank, giving the hand to Karl McDonald and his pocket nines.

For those that weren’t distracted by the sideshow act, they would have seen some pretty good poker played out of Macdonnell. He was able to build a sizeable stack after defeating both Alex Goulder and Ludovic Geilich when he hit a royal flush, then would increase that stack in rivering a full house against Simon Higgins when Macdonnell’s pocket sevens found gold on a 7-2-5-Q-Q board against Higgins’ A-Q. Those chips earned would give Macdonnell a monster stack heading to Saturday’s play.

Marc Macdonnell, 974,000
Alex Ward, 534,000
Seamus Cahill, 501,000
Ben Windsor, 497,000
Alex Zeligman, 489,000
Sondre Sagstuen, 476,000
Christopher Yong, 431,000
Marc Foggin, 422,000
Patrick Leonard, 418,000
Kuljinder Sidhu, 414,000

The remaining 61 players will return on Saturday afternoon with a sizeable bit of work in front of them. First, they will have to pop the money bubble at 54 players, meaning seven people will walk away with nothing but a story from the WPT Nottingham. After that bubble has popped, the more difficult task of getting to the six-handed WPT final table will be in play. At this time, the plans are for the final table to be played on Sunday (and live streamed on WPT.com and their Twitch channel), but that could be subject to change.

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