Posts Tagged ‘Mike’

Mike Del Vecchio Rides Chip Lead to Championship at WPT Rolling Thunder

 Mike Del Vecchio Rides Chip Lead to Championship at WPT Rolling Thunder

After seizing the lead during the previous night’s action, Mike Del Vecchio refused to be denied. Taking the sizeable chip lead he had earned, Del Vecchio would never look back as he rumbled through the remaining five men to capture his first major championship at the World Poker Tour’s Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Del Vecchio (4.27 million) held a healthy advantage over two difficult players, John Hadley (2.978 million) and Sorel Mizzi (2.283 million), when the cards hit the air on Wednesday afternoon outside the Golden State’s state capitol. In the bottom half of the ladder, Connor Drinan (1.349 million) and Steven Tabb (1.075 million) were looking to draw themselves back into the fight while WPT Champions’ Club member Olivier Busquet sat on the short stack (676,000) to start the day’s action. Just after High Noon, the sextet of poker warriors headed into the fray to determine the next champion on the circuit.

The combatants would shuffle chips around for two dozen hands before the first significant action of the final table. After a raise from Drinan, Hadley three bet the action only to see Drinan go for it with an all in four bet. Pondering his position, Hadley finally came up with a call and the race was on, Hadley’s A-J off suit against Drinan’s pocket tens. In the window of the flop came an Ace to push Hadley into the lead and, when neither of the remaining tens in the deck came out on the turn or river, Hadley had secured his double up while Drinan fell to just over a million chips.

The situation would get even worse for Drinan on Hand 27. After Busquet moved all in from the button, Drinan moved all in “over the top” from the small blind and Hadley, in the big blind, called both bets to put Busquet and Drinan in danger of elimination. Hadley had the goods as the cards were turned up:

Hadley – pocket Jacks
Drinan – K-J off suit
Busquet – Q-10 off suit

But the flop didn’t cooperate with either Hadley. Coming down Q-10-3, Busquet went from the “outhouse to the penthouse” in flopping Queens up, but Drinan also was in good shape with his open-ended straight draw as Hadley’s Jacks shriveled. A six on the turn and an unnecessary Queen on the river kept Busquet in the lead and gave him a massive triple up while eliminating Drinan in sixth place.

While the battling lower on the leaderboard raged onward, Del Vecchio quietly moved further into the lead. He cracked the five million chip mark by Hand 31 and kept it at that point for the next 20 hands before doubling up Hadley. On Hand 57, Tabb would take over the chip lead from Del Vecchio, but only ten hands later Del Vecchio would retake the lead from Tabb.

Although Tabb would momentarily take the lead back when he eliminated a short-stacked Busquet in fifth place on Hand 76, Del Vecchio would fight back. Del Vecchio would take down Hadley in fourth place to put some distance between him and Tabb but, just as quickly, Tabb reemerged as the chip leader on Hand 84. The duo fought back and forth, but they were also keenly aware of the dangerous Mizzi in their midst, who was staying viable with a mixture of timely all ins for doubles against his well-stacked opponents.

Mizzi’s patience paid off as, over the course of the next 70-plus hands, he found himself in second place and it was Tabb who was in the basement. On Hand 157, Del Vecchio kicked up the action in a “blind versus blind” battle and Tabb made his stand with an all-in. Del Vecchio made the call, turning over an A-8 off suit, while Tabb chose the Royal Court (K-Q) to stake his tournament life. When the nine-high board came with no paint, he was out in third place and Del Vecchio moved to heads up play against Mizzi with slightly less than a 2:1 lead.

Try as he might, Mizzi could never seem to wrest the lead from Del Vecchio. He came close on Hand 167, when he pulled within 120,000 chips of Del Vecchio, but Del Vecchio would reestablish his advantage (and then some) in winning a nearly 3.4 million pot on Hand 172. It would take another ten hands of action, but the end was nigh.

On Hand 182, Mizzi called a Del Vecchio bet to see an innocent 7-4-2 flop and called another bet to head to the turn. Another four didn’t seem to change things, but Mizzi’s check-raise to 1.75 million of Del Vecchio’s 600K turn bet seemed to indicate differently. Del Vecchio didn’t back down, going all in and putting Mizzi to the test, which Mizzi would respond by calling off his chips. With a 6♠ 5♠ for the open-ended straight flush draw, Mizzi would need at least another spade to complete his flush or a card to complete his straight, but Del Vecchio was asking for a red card as his 5-4 hit trips on the turn to have the lead. The final card would come down in favor of Del Vecchio as the J helped nobody, sending the chips and the championship of the WPT Rolling Thunder to Mike Del Vecchio.

Mike Del Vecchio, $ 284,638
Sorel Mizzi, $ 190,105
Steve Tabb, $ 122,296
John Hadley, $ 81,930
Olivier Busquet, $ 63,013
Connor Drinan, $ 52,222

With the completion of the WPT Rolling Thunder, the WPT staff and players can take a bit of a break. The next stop on the Season XV schedule is the season ending three tournament swing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown begins on March 31, while the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale begins on April 2 and the WPT Tournament of Champions begins on April 7. This trio of events will close out the Season XV schedule and Mike Del Vecchio will be a part of it as the champion of the WPT Rolling Thunder.

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day Five: Daniel Strelitz In Charge at Final Table with Mike Sexton Lurking

 2017 WPT L. A. Poker Classic Day Five: Daniel Strelitz In Charge at Final Table with Mike Sexton Lurking

For the third consecutive day and in dominant fashion, Daniel Strelitz has set himself as the man to beat at the 2017 World Poker Tour L. A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. He will be leading the final table this afternoon when play reconvenes and faces a daunting challenge in a group of men that includes 2017 WPT champion and commentator Mike Sexton.

16 players came back to the tables on Wednesday, looking to whittle the contenders down to the official WPT final table of six. Strelitz was carrying the chip lead, as he did after Day Three of the tournament, and was the only player left with better than a two million chip stack (2.02 million, to be exact). There was a litany of contenders looking to derail Strelitz’s run, however, including Matt Berkey (1.118 million), former WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock (1.157 million), Rainer Kempe (798K), Sexton (908K), Simeon Naydenov (478K) and a short stacked Dzmitry Urbanovich (288K).

With a million-dollar payday awaiting the eventual champion, the players were deliberate in the actions and looking for the best opportunity to move up the pay ladder. Naydenov found an early double up through Donald Maloney in a classic race situation – Maloney’s pocket Queens against Naydenov’s Big Slick – that saw Naydenov flop a King to take the hand. Meanwhile, Sexton was the beneficiary of some of Kempe’s chips when he eliminated the German but tripled up Visnja Leutic when she caught Queens up against Sexton’s pocket Kings.

Strelitz wasn’t sitting back on his laurels, however. He knocked off Dean Baranowski in 17th place and, within a couple of hours of the opening bell, was sitting on a stack of 2.6 million. Strelitz continued to dominate the field and, after Naydenov eliminated Urbanovich (who survived much longer than many thought) in 11th place, headed to the unofficial final table of ten men with 3.45 million in chips.

He could have just sat back and cruised into the final table with the chips that he had, but Strelitz kept getting strong cards. He knocked off John Cynn in tenth place, adding Cynn’s roughly 500K in chips to his stack, and approached the four million mark in forcing Serock off a hand only seven hands into play at the unofficial final table. He didn’t slow down over the next rotation around the table either, putting together some more moves to bring his stack to 4.42 million. About the only player who could slow down Strelitz was Sexton, who chipped a couple small pots out of Strelitz to stay viable in the tournament.

After a break in the tournament to move to Level 25, Strelitz exploded on the remaining field. On Hand 55, Strelitz was able to eliminate Serock in eighth place after sparring with him over several hands and, only twelve hands later, showed Berkey the door in seventh place after rivering a miraculous nut flush against Berkey’s flopped Broadway straight. In knocking off three of the four players at the unofficial final table, Strelitz’s chip stack soared over six million to set him up as the dominant force at the official WPT final table:

1. Daniel Strelitz, 6.485 million
2. Simeon Naydenov, 2.86 million
3. Jesse Martin, 2.54 million
4. Jared Griener, 1.895 million
5. Mike Sexton, 1.165 million
6. Richard Tuhrim, 680,000

While Strelitz’s run has been quite impressive, the eyes of the poker world are set firmly on Sexton. After being barred from playing on the circuit for much of its fifteen-year history, Sexton would win his first WPT championship at the WPT Montreal tournament in November 2016, Sexton has catapulted himself into the race for the Season XV Player of the Year competition. With a victory here at the LAPC, Sexton will be barely behind the current leader Benjamin Zamani, with plenty of time to pass him before the season’s conclusion.

Don’t leave anyone else out of pulling a surprise, however. Naydenov is particularly dangerous and, as the player closest to Strelitz in the chip count and on Strelitz’s immediate left, only needs a couple of breaks to catch up. It might be a task for Martin, Griener or especially Tuhrim (as the short stack) to make any big moves, but there’s plenty of chips out there that can easily switch hands should the fortunes change.

The final table of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic will begin at 4PM (Pacific Time) and is set to be recorded for broadcast on the Season XV schedule of the WPT on Fox Sports 1 (there is no live stream of the tournament). At stake for the remaining six men is the lion’s share of the $ 5 million prize pool, including the top prize of $ 1,001,110 for the eventual champion.

Poker News Daily

Nick Petrangelo Outlasts Mike Watson, Fedor Holz to Win Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

 Nick Petrangelo Outlasts Mike Watson, Fedor Holz to Win Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge

In a rather rapid final table of five hours, Nick Petrangelo got his 2017 tournament poker season off to a good start by outlasting Mike Watson and Fedor Holz to win the Aussie Millions $ 100,000 Challenge on Saturday at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Steffen Sontheimer was the leader of the event with 451,000 in chips as it entered its final day, but that lead was a tenuous one. Hot on his heels were Holz (394,500) and Petrangelo (381,000), with the remainder of the table filled out by Sam Trickett (265,000), Watson (146,000), 2016 Player of the Year David Peters (96,000) and David Steicke (78,500) rounding out the field. With only three players getting paid, the desire to remain at the final table for even the shortest of the stacks was high.

Steicke was looking for that proverbial “double up and go home” early on and he would get that (against Sontheimer), but that would be the highlight of his day. On Hand #5 after Holz had raised and Watson three-bet the action, Steicke pushed all in from the big blind and only found Watson willing to play. Watson’s Big Slick was slightly behind Steicke’s pocket Queens, but the Ace on the flop changed everything in favor of ‘SirWatts.’ A ten on the turn presented more outs for Steicke to a Broadway straight, but the river Ace instead gave Watson trips; left with 5000 in chips, those would go to Holz on the next hand as Steicke went home empty handed in seventh place.

It would take almost two dozen more hands before the next combatant left. Watson was once again the beneficiary as, after raising from the cutoff, Peters would defend his big blind. The 7-2-10 flop brought a check-call from Peters, an action that was duplicated when a Jack came on the turn. The river brought a King and Peters checked for a third time, at which time Watson put Peters to a decision for his tournament life by moving all in. Peters mulled the decision for a lengthy time, even using a ‘time bank’ chip being employed in this tournament, before calling off his stack. Whatever Peters was thinking, he didn’t put together than Watson had rivered the nuts with his Q-9 for a King-high straight. Sending his Q-10 (pair of tens) to the muck, Peters was done in sixth place.

With two more eliminations to the money, the remaining players tightened up a bit. Trickett would double through Sontheimer to put the German on the short stack, but that would be the most action for the next 20-plus hands. On Hand 52, Sontheimer’s short stack became “no stack” when he clashed with Watson.

Sontheimer raised off the button with pocket sevens, only to see Watson three-bet out of the big blind, which Sontheimer called. A 6-8-5 flop saw Watson utilize the c-bet and Sontheimer, pondering his action, burned a ‘time bank’ chip before moving all in. Watson nearly beat Sontheimer into the center with his call, turning up pocket tens for an over pair to the board. Sontheimer, however, was in good shape with his pocket sevens; the open-ended straight draw, along with his pocket pair, gave Sontheimer 10 outs to taking the hand. Alas, another five on the turn and the Queen on the river weren’t one of those 10 outs, sending the start of day chip leader to the rail in fifth place.

Trickett would be next to head home (and without any money) as, on Hand 57, Watson’s A-J picked up a Jack on the turn to leave Trickett drawing dead with his Q-9. With a $ 1.76 million prize pool to split amongst each other, Watson (holding a significant lead), Petrangelo (rather quiet) and Holz (continuing his rush from 2016) took care of their business rather quickly.

Holz would be first to go as he decided to challenge Petrangelo. Holz correctly pushed all-in against Petrangelo (holding A-8 off suit) while holding pocket fours but, after Petrangelo called, the “poker gods” weren’t with him. An Ace showed up on the flop and a second came on the turn, leaving Holz drawing to one of the two fours to vanquish Petrangelo. The river six ended that hope and sent Holz out of the event in third place, but with some money for his efforts. Holz will look to add on to his Aussie Millions trip by playing in the Main Event final table on Sunday.

Down to heads up, Watson held a slight advantage against Petrangelo, one that he would extend to a million chips only 10 hands into play. Petrangelo spent the next 10 hands getting back to even before taking the lead on Hand 96 when he forced Watson to fold the better hand (8-6) by over betting a pot on a 5-6-3-Q-5 board when Petrangelo only held a K-7. Now roughly even, the twosome would keep action to pre-flop as three-bets took down many of the next 20 hands.

With both players playing quite strong, the ending came rather suddenly. After a raise from Watson, Petrangelo (holding a slight lead) called to see an 8-2-5 flop. Both players checked their options to see a seven come on the turn, which brought a 45K bet from Petrangelo and a call from Watson. A Jack on the river presented flush possibilities, but Petrangelo didn’t hesitate in popping 150K into the center. At this point, Watson made a move, waiting until the last possible minute to move all in. After an exact count, Petrangelo made the call and showed J-8 for two pair. All Watson could muster with his gutsy move was an A-4 for only Ace high as Petrangelo took the championship.

1. Nick Petrangelo, $ 882,000
2. Mike Watson, $ 529,200
3. Fedor Holz, $ 352,800

(all amounts in Australian dollars)

With the conclusion of the $ 100,000 Challenge, the Aussie Millions Main Event will return for its conclusion on Sunday. Shurane Vijayaram will take a big chip lead to the final table, one that will also include Holz and Jeff Rossiter amongst its notables. It promises to be an exciting day as the champion of one of the poker world’s most coveted titles – Aussie Millions Main Event champion – will be decided.

Poker News Daily

Mike Sexton Rides Rollercoaster to Earn Championship at partypoker WPT Montreal Main Event

 Mike Sexton Rides Rollercoaster to Earn Championship at partypoker WPT Montreal Main Event

After starting the day as the chip leader – and then finding himself in a 10-1 hole during heads up competition – Poker Hall of Famer and World Poker Tour announcer Mike Sexton earned the championship of the partypoker WPT Montreal Main Event early this morning in Quebec.

From the start of the day’s action on Thursday, there was a buzz of anticipation on the rail. Could Sexton (6.215 million in chips), who for years was denied the ability to play in any WPT events, finish off the deal against a youthful field. Or would it be the last remaining woman in the field, Ema Zajmovic (second in chips with 5.385 million), who would break the curse of no woman ever winning a WPT open event on the Main Tour.

Then there were the contenders behind them in the form of World Series of Poker 2013 “Millionaire Maker” champion Benny Chen (2.48 million), veteran international pro Ilan Boujenah (2.29 million) and an on-a-roll professional in Jake Schwartz (1.55 million), who had made deep runs in the last two WPT tournaments. Only businessman Nadir Lalji (1.52 million) seemed to be a bit of a “soft spot” and that would have been a misconception; Lalji has cashed in tournaments stretching from his native Hungary to Las Vegas.

It was Lalji who drew the first blood in the tournament in a clash with Schwartz. The two shortest stacks from the start of the day clashed in a “blind versus blind” battle after Schwartz moved all in from the small blind and Lalji looked him up. Schwartz had chosen the wrong moment to push with his J-9 off suit as Lalji’s Big Slick was in good shape. The ugly (for Schwartz) A-K-J flop squarely hit Lalji for Aces up and Schwartz could never catch up. After a deuce and a Queen finished out the board, Schwartz found the cage to collect his sixth-place prize.

It would take more than 30 hands for the next contestant to be eliminated and surprisingly it came between the start of day chip leaders. After Sexton raised out of the cutoff, Zajmovic (who had doubled up Chen to put a dent in her stack) moved all in off the button and, after the blinds got out of the way, Sexton was more than happy to call with his pocket Aces. Zajmovic was caught with her K-Q off suit and, once the board ran out nine-high, the misstep cost Zajmovic her tournament life in fifth place.

Down to four-handed action with Sexton the dominant stack, the players were still very deep and very deliberate with their play. Almost 40 hands of action elapsed before Boujenah found pocket sixes and pushed all in over Chen’s bet in another “blind versus blind” situation. Much like Sexton, Chen was happy to call with his pocket Aces and head to the flop with a 4-1 advantage over Boujenah. An Ace on the flop virtually ended the sweat for Boujenah and, once a blank came on the turn, he was drawing dead and out of the tournament in fourth place.

Chen and Sexton were now about even in chips as Lalji looked to make himself relevant in the tournament. Using flopped trips that turned into a boat, Chen would take a big hand off Sexton to open some space, but Sexton would close back up in eliminating Lalji when his pocket eights flopped a set against Lalji’s Big Chick. As the duo went to heads up play, Chen was about 1.7 million chips in the lead for what would turn out to be an epic battle.

Over 148 hands of action, Chen played outstanding heads up poker as Sexton attempted to patiently wait for a moment to strike. Over 40 hands into heads up, Chen had worked his way out to a monstrous 17.35 million-to-1.825 million (almost a 10-1 advantage) over Sexton, but he just couldn’t seem to put the Poker Hall of Famer away. Even very late in the event, Chen seemed to have the tournament in his grasp but, when the end came, it came in rapid fashion.

On Hand 262, Sexton rivered a Jack-high straight to best Chen and wrest the lead from him and, two hands later, would end the tournament. On Hand 264, Chen moved all in for over eight million chips with K-J and Sexton, waking up with pocket Queens, immediately called. The Queen on the flop improved Sexton but, along with a nine, presented outs to the straight for Chen. An Ace didn’t do the trick and, once a deuce peeled on the river, Chen’s excellent play would fall short as he finished runner-up to Sexton.

1. Mike Sexton, $ 317,896 (U. S.)
2. Benny Chen, $ 213,515
3. Nadir Lalji, $ 136,806
4. Ilan Boujenah, $ 99,067
5. Ema Zajmovic, $ 76,127
6. Jake Schwartz, $ 61,000

With the victory, Sexton adds to what is already a legendary career. Sexton adds the WPT title to the two WSOP bracelets he has won (a 1989 Seven Card Stud championship and the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions) and the plaque for his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. While the money won for the WPT Montreal might not be his biggest score (his ninth-place finish in the 2012 WSOP “Big One for One Drop” earned him a $ 1,109,33 score), it is probably one of the more satisfactory ones for Sexton after years of not being allowed to play in the tournaments offered by the WPT.

Poker News Daily

2016 WPT Montreal Day 4: Final Table Determined with Mike Sexton in the Lead

 2016 WPT Montreal Day 4: Final Table Determined with Mike Sexton in the Lead

There is a chance at history in Canada this afternoon. After a battle through a 648-entry field, Poker Hall of Famer and World Poker Tour announcer Mike Sexton will come to the final table of the WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club with the chip lead. Of the remaining five players, only Ema Zajmovic is within shooting distance of Sexton’s mountain of chips.

17 players came back for action on Wednesday in one of the most popular venues in Quebec if not Canada. The Playground Poker Club was teeming with action as partypoker qualifier Samuel Gagnon (3.35 million chips) held court over the Day 4 field. There was only one player within shouting distance of Gagnon at the start of the day, Benny Chen (2.065 million), and both of those men were bracketing the dealer on one table. On the second patch of felt, Zajmovic (2.14 million) was in command as Terry Schumacher (2.125 million) looked to keep her in check. For his part, the day didn’t look like it would be very lengthy for Sexton (530,000).

After simply surviving through the early part of the day, Sexton finally found a way to get back in the game. After a raise from Alex Keating to 65K in the hijack, Sexton popped him with an “all in over the top” raise for three-quarters of a million chips in the cutoff. After the rest of the field scattered, Keating made the call and tabled pocket tens, which held the preflop edge over Sexton’s Big Slick. The Ace came in the window, pushing Sexton to the lead, and once no ten appeared on the turn or river, the Poker Hall of Famer was up to 1.5 million.

This seemed to light a fire under the veteran professional as his stack only increased from that point onward. He dumped Martin Raus in 15th place, Keating in 13th place and Tam Ho in 12th place in making his way to the unofficial final table of 10 players with 2.875 million chips. It wasn’t Sexton who had the eyes of the railbirds on Wednesday afternoon, however.

About the same time Sexton was going on his run, Zajmovic was making some moves of her own. She decimated the stack of Robert McGhee when, on a J-10-2-5-5 board, she check-called her way to a monster pot when McGhee bluffed with a Q-3 against her 5-3 (trip fives). Now over three million in chips, Zajmovic continued to have fortune come her way when she went runner-runner to make a straight and eliminate Jason Mann after he flopped a set against her. By the time the unofficial final table was set, Zajmovic was on a 5.335 million stack and the chip leader in the event.

Both Zajmovic and Sexton would be formidable foes as the official six-handed WPT final table was determined. Although Zajmovic would maintain her stack while the field was cut from 10 to six (she was not afraid to put her chips into action, eliminating Antonin Duda in eighth place), Sexton was the beneficiary of a clash with Gagnon that would shoot him into the lead.

After Chen made a raise off the hijack, Gagnon moved his stack to the center off the button with only the blinds to get through. Sexton, however, simply called as he tried to entice Chen into the action. It didn’t work as Chen sent his cards to the muck and, after Gagnon and Sexton’s cards were on their backs, it was a definite cooler. Gagnon had a good hand in his pocket tens, but Sexton outpipped him with a pocket pair of Knaves (Jacks). Once the board came with neither of the two remaining tens, Sexton scooped up Gagnon’s chips, sending the partypoker qualifier to the rail as the television table “bubble boy” and ending the action for the night with Sexton in the lead.

Seat 1:  Nadir Lalji, 1.52 million
Seat 2:  Benny Chen, 2.48 million
Seat 3:  Ilan Boujenah, 2.29 million
Seat 4:  Mike Sexton, 6.215 million
Seat 5:  Ema Zajmovic, 5.385 million
Seat 6:  Jake Schwartz, 1.55 million

Although Sexton and Zajmovic have ample stacks, the challenges beneath them are many. Chen has shown himself to be quite difficult on the table and Schwartz just missed the final table at the WPT bestbet Jacksonville Bounty Scramble and ran deep at the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event in October. Boujenah, despite not having a major tournament championship, has over $ 1.5 million in career earnings since 2009 (thank you, Hendon Mob) and Lalji has cashes in tournaments from Hungary to Spain to Las Vegas.

The final table will start at 4PM and be taped for broadcast as a part of the Season XV schedule of the WPT on Fox Sports, but there will also be a live stream for those who can’t wait that long. The live stream will begin (on a 30-minute delay) at 4:30PM at Can Sexton capture a WPT title? Can Zajmovic make WPT history in becoming the first female champion on the Main Tour in the 15-year existence of the WPT? Or will there be another surprise from Montreal? All questions will be answered when it plays out this evening and a new champion is crowned in Quebec.

Poker News Daily

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