Posts Tagged ‘Nears’

2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 2: Oddie Dardon Out in Front as Money Bubble Nears

 2017 WPT Legends of Poker Day 2: Oddie Dardon Out in Front as Money Bubble Nears

No more separate flights at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker Main Event, as Monday was Day 2, when the survivors of each of the three Day 1’s came together in a single, unified field to try to make their way toward their poker dreams. Oddie Dardon is the chip leader going into Day 2 with 775,000 chips.

Dardon finished Day 1C with 160,000 chips, good for ninth-best of that flight and placing him squarely among the overall chip leaders heading into Day 2. One of the hands that really put him in position to make a run came in Level 15. According to the report, Day 1C chip leader Cody Slaubaugh raised pre-flop to 7,000 chips, Will Kassouf called, Dardon called, Mel Wiener called from the small blind, and the button also called. Action! On the 9-T-J (two hearts) flop, the action checked to Kassouf, who bet 25,000. Dardon raised to 55,000 and then Wiener moved all-in for 180,000. Everybody folded back to Dardon, who snap-called.

It was no mystery why Dardon was so eager to make the call, as he had K-Q for the nut straight. Wiener’s hand was almost as good – Q-8 for the second-best possible straight, given the cards on the board. Great luck turned into terrible luck. The turn and river changed nothing and Wiener was eliminated from the tournament. Dardon was already the chip leader at that point, increasing his stack up to 860,000.

Dardon, whose real first name is Osmin, has more than $ 2.3 million live tournament earnings, according to His best cash was for just over half a million dollars for a third place finish at the 2008 World Poker Tour Championship. He has had some success recently, winning a $ 1,100 event at the Deepstack Extravaganza III in July for $ 311,664 and finishing tenth at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open just a couple weeks ago.

Another 48 players registered for this tournament before Day 2 began, so the final tally is 763 entries. The total prize pool is approximately $ 2.74 million with the winner receiving $ 653,692 and a seat in the $ 15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions. The tournament will pay down to 81 players; min-cash is $ 7,135.

As there are just 90 players left and therefore the tournament is one table away from the money, the Action Clock will be put into action. All players will have 30 seconds to act, timed by a large digital clock set into the table in front of and controlled by the dealer. Players are given four time extension chips that grant them an additional 30 seconds each. When the tournament is down to three tables, all remaining players will have their time extension chip stack reset to six and when the final table is reached, the players will have stacks of eight time extension chips. The base time to act remains the same at 30 seconds.

2017 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Oddie Dardon – 775,000
2. J.C. Tran – 565,000
3. Hovhannes Khachatryan – 530,000
4. D.J. Alexander – 517,500
5. David “ODB” Baker – 479,000
6. Alex Greenblatt – 461,500
7. Marcos Exterkotter – 447,000
8. Nikhil Gera – 447,000
9. Curt Kohlberg – 445,000
10. Mark Hamilton – 435,000

Featured photo credit: World Poker Tour via Flickr

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New PokerStars VIP System Nears

 New PokerStars VIP System Nears

PokerStars has been gradually changing its VIP system and previewing coming changes for about a year and a half now. On Monday, the world’s largest online poker site put out another announcement, still a bit short on details, but still offering us a further glimpse of what is to come.

In a blog post titled “Modernising how we deliver rewards,” Director of Poker Innovation and Operations for PokerStars Severin Rasset gave a brief summary as to why his company is so gung-ho on overhauling its VIP loyalty program:

Poker is a game of wits with players competing against each other for fun, for competition and for profit. Our goal in managing poker is always to maintain that delicate balance and deliver the best possible playing experience while doing so. Since 2006, our loyalty program has encouraged volume rather than competition. It has been a tremendous success and was the right approach for many years. However, the environment has changed. The game has matured; the profile of our players has changed.

PokerStars has already introduced the VIP steps system, which Rasset says has resulted in, “many of our high-volume players have focused more on winning at the tables rather than playing a style optimised for rewards.”

“We have seen additional concrete positive signs: more hands seeing the flop, bigger pot sizes, new players playing longer on the site than the year before, and players playing more frequently. These are all good indicators of a more fun and engaging playing experience across PokerStars,” he added.

PokerStars isn’t going to stop there, though:

We have also designed familiar gamification concepts to give players a rich, exciting, personalised experience with randomized rewards and the chance at winning big prizes. Most of our players are playing in the moment, wanting a fun and exciting experience every time they play. With that in mind, the upcoming program is focused around rewarding players more frequently within a single playing session rather than providing month-long goals.

Clearly, PokerStars has recreational players in mind with this, as it has always been difficult for casual players to move up the VIP ladder without grinding day in and day out every month. Of course, nobody is saying casual players should elevate to the upper reaches of the VIP levels, but being able to receive rewards every time one plays could be a great motivating force.

Unfortunately, those heavy grinders won’t like what comes next:

The current monthly volume-driven rakeback model will be retired and will be replaced with one that rewards a variety of factors, such as volume, stakes, how often players play, and net deposits. Players whose rewards are likely to be significantly decreased under the new program are being contacted today with more details of the impact on them. All players will be contacted directly by email with more details as we get closer to launch for each country.

And sure enough, players have been contacted and have been told that “in the most extreme cases some players will receive up to 85% less than under the previous program.”


Denmark will be the first country to see the new VIP program, “no sooner than late May.” Other countries will have their rollouts as through the summer.

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Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Patrick Eskandar Nears 2 Million

 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Patrick Eskandar Nears 2 Million

The remaining players are already in the money after Day 2 of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) as just 38 still have chips and 150 of the original 847 runners were scheduled to cash. And as Earl Burton explained yesterday, those who participated had the added benefit of some sweet, sweet overlay; the tournament failed to reach the $ 5 million guarantee, so the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida made up the extra $ 756,000 in prize money.

Leading the final 38 is Patrick Eskandar with 1.913 million chips. Six other players have more than 1 million: Zo Karim (1.74 million), Andre Crooks (1.258 million), Tim Burt (1.226 million), Matt Affleck (1.112 million), Sam Ho (1.100 million), and Seth Davies (1.059 million). With a big blind of just 20,000, that is a pretty big spread from first to seventh.

Eskandar, who hails from Mississippi, is no stranger to the live tournament circuit, having won over half a million dollars in his career. He has nine World Series of Poker cashes and six World Poker Tour cashes. The vast majority of his cashes are small; about two thirds of his money total was from his first recorded live cash, a 20th place finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, good for $ 317,161.

One of Eskandar’s most significant hands came late in the night with fewer than 45 players remaining. According to the SHRPO’s live updates, the community cards read A-T-T-4-2 and there were already a ton of chips in the middle. Eskandar checked, prompting Ankush Mandavia to move all-in for 502,000 chips. It took a while for Eskandar to ponder his move, but he finally made the call. Mandavia complemented him on his hand-reading skilled, flipping over Q-J for a busted gut-shot straight draw. Eskandar revealed A-7 for two pair, allowing him to grow his stack to 1.550 million chips at the time and sending Mandavia to the rail in 44th place.

As mentioned, there are 38 players remaining in the field. Everybody playing today (action has already gotten underway in Hollywood, Florida) is guaranteed at least a $ 22,500 payday. Most have their sights set higher, though, as the final table will be determined before the players’ heads hit their pillows tonight. The winner of the tournament will receive $ 1 million, while the top eight positions are all guaranteed at least $ 100,000.

2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Patrick Eskandar – 1,913,000
2.    Zo Karim – 1,740,000
3.    Andre Crooks – 1,258,000
4.    Tim Burt – 1,226,000
5.    Matt Affleck – 1,112,000
6.    Sam Ho – 1,100,000
7.    Seth Davies – 1,059,000
8.    Corey Hochman – 945,000
9.    Joe Serock – 876,000
10.    Theo Lawson – 846,000

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2016 WSOP Preliminary Events: Three More Bracelets Awarded as Halfway Point Nears

 2016 WSOP Preliminary Events: Three More Bracelets Awarded as Halfway Point Nears

As the 2016 World Series of Poker nears its halfway mark, three more bracelets were awarded at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. One was a tournament that needed some overtime to take care of business, while the other two events played out as scheduled on Saturday.

Event #23 – $ 2000 No Limit Hold’em

Two men, Bulgaria’s Viliyan Petleshkov (8.175 million) and Spain’s Cesar Garcia (5.48 million) were the final two men left standing on Friday evening when the WSOP curfew sounded its bell. While they both may have wanted to continue the fight, it was necessary for both men to take the benefit of an extra day of play. Having played for 12 hours on Friday, the men came back at 1PM on Saturday afternoon, refreshed and ready to take care of the remaining business.

As to whom the rest benefitted the most, it had to have been Garcia. Garcia doubled up through Petleshkov when, on an 8 5♣ 3 flop, the money went to the center with Garcia holding bottom two pair and Petleshkov holding J 9 for the flush draw. The J♣ on the turn gave Petleshkov a few more outs to the championship, but none of them would come home; a 10 on the river gave the double to Garcia and the chip lead.

From that point on, Garcia could do no wrong. It would take another half-hour of play, but Garcia would eventually get Petleshkov’s chips in the center. On the penultimate hand, Garcia limped the button and, after Petleshkov fired a bet over him, decided to put the Bulgarian to the test with an all-in move. Petleshkov was up to the task, making the call and showing a live K-J off suit against Garcia’s A-6 off suit. Once the eight high board rolled off, Garcia had captured his first WSOP championship in strong fashion.

1. Cesar Garcia, $ 447,739
2. Viliyan Petleshkov, $ 276,660
3. Yuriy Boyko, $ 198,185*
4. Adrian Buckley, $ 143,598*
5. Kamel Mokhammad, $ 105,253*
6. Craig McCorkell, $ 78,053*
7. Craig Varnell, $ 58,569*
8. Thiago Nishijima, $ 44,478*
9. Anthony Spinella, $ 34,188*

(* – eliminated on Friday night, at official final table)

As a side note, this tournament was the most international one of the WSOP to date. Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States all fielded at least one member of the final table (the U. S. had three).

Event #25 – $ 2500 No Limit Hold’em

In the first of two tournaments that would stretch the boundaries of the WSOP curfew system. Michael Gagliano was able to withstand 1045 players to take down his first ever WSOP bracelet early on Sunday morning.

24 players were still alive on Saturday afternoon when the tournament resumed and they wasted little time in getting down to the final table. When start of day chip leader Michael Scarborough was eliminated by Zu Zhou in 10th place, the final nine men came together with everyone packed tightly together on the leaderboard. Zhou held the chips lead with 2.38 million markers, but Darryll Fish was right on his tail and Michael Laake wasn’t far behind him. Gagliano wasn’t threatening anyone at this time, holding only 955K in chips and in the bottom half of the standings.

Gagliano got into the mix when he doubled up through Gavin O’Rourke when his pocket sixes were able to find a four-flush against O’Rourke’s pocket nines that had actually flopped a set. Gagliano stayed out of the way of much of the action between that point and the dinner break, which enabled him to work into third position behind Laake and Zhou. Still, with eight men left, it was anyone’s tournament.

After the sustenance, Gagliano slowly began to build an empire. He would crack the three million chip mark by Hand #90 of the final table, but it would take him nearly the same amount of hands to move over four million in eliminating Remi Castaignon in fourth place. By the time Gagliano took out Shankar Pillai in third place, Gagliano had built a two million chip lead over Daniel Cooke.

The twosome jousted for a bit until Gagliano seized the tournament by the throat. Having lost the lead to Cooke, Gagliano got his chips in on a K-8-7-9 flop and turn. Cooke’s K-3 off suit was crushed by Gagliano’s 6-5 for the turned straight and, after the river Queen was ceremoniously dealt, Gagliano grabbed a 10:1 lead over Cooke with the double up.

It would take another 24 hands of battle against the valiant Cooke before Gagliano could take down the championship, however. On the final hand, Cooke would move all in and, after Gagliano called, saw his K-Q off suit was live but behind Gagliano’s A-9. A 9-8-7 flop pushed Gagliano into the lead further and, after no paint came on the turn or rive, Cooke was vanquished in second place and Gagliano took down the prize.

1. Michael Gagliano, $ 448,463
2. Daniel Cooke, $ 277,128
3. Shankar Pillai, $ 196,119
4. Remi Castaignon, $ 140,596
5. Zu Zhou, $ 102,120
6. Niall Farrell, $ 75,164
7. Michael Laake, $ 56,073
8. Darryll Fish, $ 42,405
9. Gavin O’Rourke, $ 32,514

Event #26 – $ 1500 Omaha Hold’em Hi/Lo Eights or Better

As Event #25 was coming to its conclusion, Event #26, the $ 1500 Omaha Hold’em Hi/Lo Eights or Better tournament found its end. Benny Glaser would emerge victorious in this event, the sole survivor from the 934 player field.

27 players came back for the restart on Saturday and they wasted no time getting to business. 10 players departed within the first couple hours of action and, after another two and a half hours, the unofficial final table of 10 had been determined. By the time that Joe Ford was eliminated by Phillip Hui in tenth place after the dinner break, Glaser was at the helm of the ship holding a monstrous stack of chips (2.4 million) with such notables as Max Pescatori and Brandon Shack-Harris looking to take him down.

That didn’t happen, however. Glaser would top the three million chip mark in eliminating Zachary Milchman in sixth place as the night owls watched the final table at 1AM, then would bump Shack-Harris out in fifth to move past four million. After Hui (fourth) and Motohiro Kondo (third) fell at the hands of Glaser, Benjamin Gold was the last man left and he had a significant four million chip disadvantage to Glaser. Within 15 minutes of heads up play, Glaser would finish off the job in rivering a better two pair (Queens up) to Gold (tens up) to capture his second WSOP bracelet as the vacuums sounded in the Amazon Room.

1. Benny Glaser, $ 244,103
2. Benjamin Gold, $ 150,828
3. Motohiro Kondo, $ 106,070
4. Phillip Hui, $ 75,627
5. Brandon Shack-Harris, $ 54,680
6. Zachary Milchman, $ 40,098
7. Ilya Krupin, $ 29,830
8. Max Pescatori, $ 22,517
9. Scott Packer, $ 17,250

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