Posts Tagged ‘Night’

“Poker Night in America” Taping Two Television Events in August

 “Poker Night in America” Taping Two Television Events in August

Although it hasn’t been the groundbreaker that many thought it would be, the syndicated poker program Poker Night in America has continued to take its shots. In the month of August, the PNIA cameras will be traipsing the country in broadcasting four tournaments live while also taping cash game events and a “made for television” effort for future broadcast.

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, FL, kicks off in a couple of days with a unique series of tournaments. Called “The Big 4,” the schedule of the SHRPO features (naturally) four tournaments that will play out simultaneously. Beginning on August 9, a $ 1100 No Limit Hold’em (NLHE) with a $ 500,000 guarantee will kick off the festivities for “The Big 4.” Following that the $ 5250 SHRPO Main Event (with a single re-entry) and a $ 3 million guarantee will open play on August 11.

As these two events play, two more will be started. On August 13, a $ 2650 NLHE (no rebuys) freeze-out tournament with a $ 1 million guaranteed prize pool will hit the felt and the $ 25,500 “High Roller” (re-entry allowed) with a $ 2 million guarantee will start on August 14. These tournaments will be running simultaneously as they lead to the penultimate day.

On August 15, “The Big 4” tournaments will all come to a conclusion. Beginning at noon, all four tournament final tables will be in action, crowning champions on each table. PNIA will be on hand to broadcast the action of all four tournaments over their Twitch channel beginning at 12:30 (Eastern Time). In charge of officiating the festivities will be noted poker commentator Ali Nejad and top professional poker player/analyst Maria Ho; both will be tested on the non-stop action that will be around the Hard Rock that day.

PNIA isn’t going to settle with broadcasting four tournaments at one time. Following the close of “The Big 4,” PNIA is going to feature a “High Roller” Cash Game from August 17-19. Although a player list for the three-day event hasn’t been released yet, PNIA officials are encouraging the public to come to the taping of these games beginning at 3PM (Eastern Time). PNIA will also stream the cash games on their Twitch channel.

Not content to take a break after such a hectic schedule, PNIA will only have a couple of days off before their next stream/taping session. Part of the show will be a unique heads up “made for television” matchup, while the second will be the traditional PNIA cash game.

On August 22, PNIA will travel to Schenectady, NY, and the Rivers Casino Resort for the inaugural “King of the Hill” competition. Four players – 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, former WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela, and WSOP bracelet winners and online terrors Daniel Cates and Doug Polk – will each put up $ 50,000 of the own money in a heads-up competition. After playing preliminary events on the 22nd, the final heads up match will be held on August 23, with the eventual champion walking off with the championship belt and, perhaps more importantly, the $ 200,000 prize pool in the “winner take all” match.

The preliminary action on August 22 will begin at 3PM (Eastern Time), with the live stream from PNIA starting (on delay) at 3:30. On August 23, the final match will start at 8PM (with the live stream beginning at 8:30) and the public is encouraged to turn out for the action. If people are unable to make it to Rivers Casino, the made-for-television event will be taped for broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

After the “King of the Hill” has been determined, PNIA will have an “invite only” cash game that will be played over two days. From August 24-25, the seven-handed cash game will also be taped for posterity (and broadcast). As with the Seminole stop, players for the invite only game haven’t been announced yet by PNIA officials.

With all the action in August, it is good to see events – even if they are a “made-for-television” endeavor – outside of the major tournament circuits get some airtime. It is also good to see the cash games featured, something that has been a staple for PNIA. The live streams should prove to be exciting and, once edited for broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, should provide some more nuance beyond the raw feed.

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night Two: Scott Blumstein In Dominant Position to Take World Championship

 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night Two: Scott Blumstein In Dominant Position to Take World Championship

The 2017 World Series of Poker has reached the penultimate day of its Championship Event. Nine players started on Thursday night and seven came back on Friday. As play closed last night, Scott Blumstein emerged as the odds-on favorite to be poker’s next World Champion.

Six of the seven men who came back on Friday were faced with an audacious task. Blumstein, who came into the final table with the chip lead, only solidified it through the Night One action on Thursday. Partially because of a massive hand between he and John Hesp, Blumstein came to the felt on Friday holding a massive 178.3 million in chips, almost half the chips in play on the table. Benjamin Pollak was his closest competition (77.525 million), but he was more than 100 million chips behind Blumstein. Hesp (22.475 million), Bryan Piccioli (35.75 million), Dan Ott (16.35 million), Damian Salas (15.625 million) and Antoine Saout (14.55 million) rounded out the table as someone looked to emerge and challenge Blumstein.

That question – who would challenge Blumstein – was answered quickly…nobody.

Although he would ship some chips to Piccioli after Piccioli flopped a boat and turned quads and another stack went to Saout in doubling him up, Blumstein was unfazed by the setbacks. In a particularly notable clash with Pollok, Blumstein and Pollok both would flop trip nines (Hesp, along for the ride in the hand, would depart after the Q-9-9 flop missed his hand). With a nice pot brewing, a ten came on the turn, which hit Blumstein’s 10-9 squarely and shuffled Pollok’s J-9 to second best. A King on the river sealed the hand for Blumstein, but the surprises weren’t done yet.

Sitting with trip nines that had rivered a straight, Pollok checked his option over to Blumstein’s boat and Blumstein bet out 8 million into a 30 million pot. This sent Pollok into the tank as he reconstructed the hand in his mind. After several minutes, Pollok made the outstanding – and correct – decision to lay his straight down as Blumstein recouped his chips lost earlier.

That hand was only a precursor to another soul crushing moment. Salas had been battling for most of the final table with no chips and no cards to speak of. He would occasionally push all in and pick up the blinds and antes, but rarely more. When Ott raised from under the gun with pocket fours, Salas looked down at his A-10 off suit and made his stand. Ott made the call and the twosome were off to the races.

An A-3-2 opened up a straight draw for Ott, but his pocket fours were crushed by the flopped pair of Aces for Salas. Salas got by the turn when a six came, but a river five completely savaged his Aces. It also was a gut punch to Salas who, as he recognized that Ott had rivered his straight, collapsed to the floor holding his head. Wondering what might have been, Salas barely had the strength to walk to the rail in seventh place, even though a $ 1.425 million salve was awaiting him.

Salas’ elimination, which brought the table to six-handed, seemed to open up the gates for the players to make some moves. 20 hands after dispatching Salas, Ott would do the same to Piccioli, his pocket Kings standing over Piccioli’s A-7 off suit. With Ott creeping closer (up to over 95 million chips after eliminating Piccioli), Blumstein suddenly came to life.

Only four hands after Piccioli departed, Scott Blumstein would wield his big stack and put pressure on the blinds by raising the bet to 4.2 million with only a 5-3 of spades for action. Saout, who had watched in pain as his chip stack slipped away, found a K-J off suit to his liking and called Blumstein’s bet. Saout was correct with his assumption that Blumstein was simply playing big stack poker and looked to be ready for action after Blumstein called.

A J-7-6 flop paired Saout, but Blumstein picked up a gut shot straight draw also as the twosome both checked their options. A four on the turn was devastating to Saout as it filled the gut shot that Blumstein had been looking for. ESPN’s audience knew this, but Saout didn’t; after checking and a Blumstein bet, Saout called and was pulled further into the trap.

A Jack on the river gave Saout losing trips against Blumstein as he checked again. Blumstein, seizing his moment, pushed in a bet large enough to put Saout at risk and Saout went into the tank. After what seemed to be an eternity, he called and was dismayed to see Blumstein’s turned straight vanquish him in fifth place ($ 2 million).

Over 200 million in chips (217.45 million, to be exact), Blumstein continued to keep his foot on the gas. He would take three of the next eight hands to further increase his stack to 226.75 million and seemed to be on the hunt for the elimination that would end the night’s action. That would come down between the small stacks to determine, however.

Nine hands after Saout was gone, Hesp would put his final 11.9 million chips at risk, holding a suited 9-7 in an attempt to steal the blinds. Pollak had a decent hand, A-J off suit, and pondered for a couple moments before making the call. The duo would stand with each other, with Pollok playfully taking the stylish hat from Blumstein’s head and wearing it prior to the flop, as the dealer fanned the flop, turn and river. After it had run out K-10-6-4-4, there was nothing there for Hesp as he departed in fourth place.

1. Scott Blumstein, 226.45 million
2. Dan Ott, 88.375 million
3. Benjamin Pollok, 45.85 million
4. John Hesp, $ 2,600,000*
5. Antoine Saout, $ 2,000,000*
6. Bryan Piccioli, $ 1,675,000*
7. Damian Salas, $ 1,475,000*
8. Jack Sinclair, $ 1,200,000**
9. Ben Lamb, $ 1,000,000**

(* – eliminated on Friday night, ** – eliminated on Thursday night)

Barring an earthquake opening under the Rio and swallowing the Brasilia Room whole, Blumstein would be a virtual lock to win this tournament. He hasn’t shown himself to be one that might succumb to any “brain freeze” that would shift a massive portion of his chips anywhere. Ott (88.375 million) and Pollok (45.85 million) are either going to have to get some big hands early or come out on the right side of a gamble if they are to upend Blumstein and keep him from winning poker’s World Champion.

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night One: Scott Blumstein Retakes Lead as Play is Cut Short

 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table, Night One: Scott Blumstein Retakes Lead as Play is Cut Short

The 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event’s Night One (seems a bit odd to say that!) action is in the books and it certainly was entertaining. As the seven players (more on that in a bit) prepare to take on Night Two in a few hours, Scott Blumstein will have a monstrous lead, bigger than the one he brought to the table on Thursday night for action.

Blumstein’s 97.25 million in chips were slightly ahead of John Hesp’s 85.7 million stack, but the duo sitting beside each other didn’t look to have anyone who would challenge them. The closest competitor to the Top Two was Benjamin Pollok, whose own mountain of 35.175 million chips looked monstrous until compared to Blumstein and Hesp. Hot on Pollok’s heels was Bryan Piccioli with 33.8 million and Dan Ott was in decent shape with his 26.475 million markers. Damian Salas (22.175 million), Antoine Saout (21.75 million), Jack Sinclair (20.2 million) and a short-stacked Ben Lamb (18.5 million) rounded out those who were looking to take down the crème atop the final table.

To say that there were some fireworks to start the evening’s festivities would be a huge understatement. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to say that the opening salvo of hands was perhaps the most exciting in recent WSOP final table history. That the man having the most fun with his stay in Las Vegas was responsible for it would not be surprising.

Hesp came out of the gates with his guns, cannons, missiles and atom bombs of joviality and freewheeling poker decisions, entertaining the crowd in the Brasilia Room at the Rio and the millions watching at home via ESPN. On the very first hand of action, he would suck some chips out of Saout with a worse hand and, when he asked if he should show, he was egged on by the crowd (and some of his tablemates) to show the bluff right in Saout’s face. Saout’s didn’t seem pleased by the grandstanding, but it wasn’t over yet.

On the very next hand, Hesp would three-bet Ott and Ott would not be able to find the means to call. Once again egged on, Hesp showed his hand – pocket Queens (that had Ott beaten pre-flop) – that demonstrated he would make a move whether he had the goods or not. This led to the THIRD HAND of the night, in which Hesp only made a raise to get everyone out of the way. After showing his J-10 off suit as he raked in the chips, Hesp basked in the enjoyment and adulation that the entirety of the room seemed to be having and giving him.

Thus, the actions on Hand 4 of the tournament were a bit of a reality check for everyone. After Sinclair made a raise to 1.6 million off the button, Lamb decided to defend his big blind – it was only a question of how. Lamb eventually settled on moving his 18 million-chip stack to the center and an undaunted Sinclair made the call. Sinclair’s A-Q dominated the A 9 of Lamb, but the board decided it wanted to play some games. Coming down with a 6-5-4 flop, Lamb had a chance at backdoor straight and flush draws to take the hand. A turn trey eliminated the flush draws but opened some action for Lamb to a split on the open-ended straight draw.  All Lamb’s hopes were dashed, however, when a ten came on the river to eliminate him in ninth place ($ 1,000,000).

After the elimination of Lamb, a bit of seriousness seemed to settle in over the remaining eight men. Because of his early actions, Hesp had moved out to a decent lead over Blumstein, while the remainder of the field looked to catch up with them. Pollok seemed to be the best at doing this as his chip stack slowly crept up to solidify his third-place position. When there was a clash, it was between two players that probably shouldn’t have been colliding.

Normally at a final table, the two largest stacks – especially if they are in the positions that Hesp and Blumstein found themselves in – will avoid each other rather than butt heads. Thus, on Hand 47 when Blumstein opened the betting from under the gun, it was perceived that he’d get the walk about as his stack deemed. In the big blind, however, was Hesp, who called to see a flop with the only player who could hurt his stack, and the twosome saw an A-7-5 hit the felt.

Unknown to either player (but known to those watching on ESPN), a storm was brewing. Hesp had connected with his A-10 on the flop, but it was Blumenstein who was dominating with the pocket Aces he had raised with. That domination only became an evisceration when a ten hit on the turn, giving Hesp two pair but leaving him drawing dead to Blumstein’s set of Aces. That evisceration was total as, after Hesp checked his option and Blumstein bet, Hesp check-raised with his two pair. When Blumstein took no time to four-bet the action to 17 million, Hesp incorrectly moved all in and Blumstein immediately called. An innocuous trey completed the board and Blumstein rocketed back into a massive chip lead.

After Piccioli eliminated Sinclair in eighth place ($ 1.2 million), his pocket Aces ruling over Sinclair’s K♠ J♠, another 11 hands were played before a somewhat controversial decision. Roughly at 11:30PM (Pacific Time), either WSOP officials or the honchos of ESPN decided that it was time to end play for the night, short of the final six that had originally been on the schedule. Because of that decision, seven men will come back on Friday night to continue the festivities.

1. Scott Blumstein, 178.3 million
2. Benjamin Pollok, 77.525 million
3. Bryan Piccioli, 35.75 million
4. John Hesp, 22.475 million
5. Dan Ott, 16.35 million
6. Damian Salas, 15.625 million
7. Antoine Saout, 14.55 million
8. Jack Sinclair, $ 1,200,000*
9. Ben Lamb, $ 1,000,000*

(* – eliminated on Thursday night)

Play resumes this evening at 6PM (Pacific Time, 9PM Eastern Time), at which point the final seven will play down to the final three combatants. This will be the final stoppage for the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event as, on Saturday night, a new World Champion will be crowned.

Poker News Daily

2016 WSOP Preliminary Action: Three Bracelets Awarded Tuesday Night, Jason DeWitt Wins Millionaire Maker

 2016 WSOP Preliminary Action: Three Bracelets Awarded Tuesday Night, Jason DeWitt Wins Millionaire Maker

It was a busy day Tuesday at the 2016 World Series of Poker as three gold bracelets were awarded overnight. Let’s take a quick look at the latest owners of poker jewelry:

Event #14: $ 1,500 Millionaire Maker No-Limit Hold’em

Poker pro Jason DeWitt won one of the most difficult tournaments of the WSOP, the $ 1,500 “Millionaire Maker.” Introduced a few years ago as a more affordable (relatively speaking) event with a million dollar guarantee for first place, the Millionaire Maker achieved instant popularity and is always one of the largest live tournaments of the year. This year, it attracted 7,190 entries, making it the eighth-largest live poker tournament of all-time.

For the most part, DeWitt cruised through the 107 hands of the final table, which was composed mostly of first-time WSOP players. Garrett Greer almost pulled even during heads-up play, but all in all, it was as easy a trek from the final table to victory as one can have at the WSOP. DeWitt was very modest when talking about his triumph, though, saying afterward, “It helped that I got lots of good cards. When I’m dealt good cards, it’s easy to be the aggressor.  I also didn’t make any big mistakes.  But it’s easier when you keep getting dealt good cards.”

This was DeWitt’s second gold bracelet; his first came in $ 5,000 No-Limit Hold’em in 2010. While the first bracelet is always is the most special, this one was important to DeWitt. In his post-tournament interview, he said, “I really think this is a validation to win a second gold bracelet. I feel that everybody has one bracelet with so many events on the schedule.  If you play the whole WSOP, and most pros do that, most of them have (at least) one now….so this definitely is validation because it’s so hard to do.”

Event #17: $ 1,000 No-Limit Hold’em

Though the buy-in was only two-thirds of the previously discussed tournament, the $ 1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event drew less than a third of the crowd because, unlike the Millionaire Maker, it didn’t guarantee a million dollar top prize. That likely matters very little to Chase Bianchi, though, as he won the tourney along with $ 316,920 in his first-ever WSOP cash.

The 28-year old from Maryland had impeccable timing. In his interview, he said he had a flight home booked for the next afternoon, as he had already been in Las Vegas for two weeks. This was probably the last event he was going to play. Now significantly richer, he said he and his wife may use his prize money to help pay for a house.

Like the Millionaire Maker, most of the players at the final table were newcomers to the WSOP because of the low buy-in. As such, Bianchi employed the great strategy of staying aggressive and trying to steal lots of blinds, as he figured that most of his opponents were more concerned with moving up the money ladder than actually winning the tournament.

On the final hand, it looked like Erik Silberman was going to double-up through Bianchi, as Silberman had pocket Tens all-in pre-flop versus Bianchi’s pocket Eights, but as is usually the case when winning a large tournament, luck was on Bianchi’s side. After a flop of Q-6-5, Bianchi hit runner-runner straight to snatch the pot away from Silberman and earn his first WSOP bracelet.

Event #18: $ 3,000 H .O. R. S. E.

Marco Johnson won the $ 3,000 H .O. R. S. E. event, his second career victory at the World Series of Poker. He previously won the $ 2,500 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em Event at the 2013 WSOP.

While many professional poker players tend to care more about winning the bracelet than the money (and many are the opposite), the money was a big deal to Johnson for this tournament. The quarter-million dollar purse is on the low end of first prizes at the WSOP, but it will be of great help to Johnson (as it would be to 99.9 percent of us).

“This one feels a lot better, for sure,” Johnson said of this second bracelet.  “I just got married and my wife is six-months pregnant, so with a kid on the way, this is more special.”

We think he’s set on diapers.

On top of his own financial windfall, Johnson also won a pile of money for friends. He encouraged two of his friends to bet a “significant” amount of money that he would win a bracelet this summer, so that paid off in spades. His friends should trust him blindly for the rest of their lives.

Poker News Daily

Producers of “Poker Night in America” Introduce New Poker Show – “The Final Table”

 Producers of “Poker Night in America” Introduce New Poker Show – “The Final Table”

The creators of the popular syndicated poker show Poker Night in America, Rush Street Productions, have received kudos for the work they have done. In an era in which there has been little to no “new” television programming dedicated to poker, Rush Street Productions came out and provided that content for a rabid audience. Now they will take that premise one step further with the creation of their latest show for syndication, The Final Table.

“We’re very excited to be bringing this new programming to national television,” said Executive Producer Dustin Iannotti during the announcement of the new show on Friday. “We plan to take some risks to try and appeal to a broader mainstream audience. The show will be unique and focus on entertainment, built around a poker game.  It will be unlike anything that’s ever been produced before in poker.” The president of Rush Street Productions, Todd Anderson, gave the nuts and bolts of The Final Table. “We expect to produce twenty-six one hour shows in 2016 (and) there will be plenty of chances for people to play and make their way to a Final Table, including a $ 1M guarantee Main Event at Choctaw Casino at the end of April,” Anderson noted.

What might set apart The Final Table from other poker broadcasts are some of the innovative and risky changes that the producers have taken with the game. Such changes as a “time bank” chip for use to make extremely hard decisions, a “shot clock” format that will give players only 60 seconds to make their decision or else their hand is dead and other twists to the game will be featured, as well as top professionals duking it out on the baize. In addition to these changes, there will be more “comedic” featurettes that focus on compelling moments in the game of poker.

The Final Table promises to have some interesting analysts in the booth to offer commentary for the program. In the studio will be two viewpoints – perhaps the “Old Guard” and the “Young Gun,” so to speak – in 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and American Poker Awards nominee Jason Somerville. In another unique twist, Hellmuth will be in the broadcast studios in the traditional manner, while Somerville will be in his “comfort zone” as he broadcasts over Twitch. Somerville is one of the most popular performers on Twitch, with his streaming broadcasts often racking up tens of thousands of viewers.

When the action is on the felt, it will be up to play-by-play announcers Maria Ho and David Tuchman to keep the viewer up-to-date on what is happening in the game. Ho, who left her broadcasting duties with the Heartland Poker Tour last year (where she was the first female professional poker player to hold down color commentary duties on a poker program), will join Tuchman, who currently does play-by-play for Poker Night in America and has done the World Series of Poker’s live stream previously, in what should be an intriguing and fast paced broadcast booth.

Already in the can (taped for broadcast) are episodes from Turning Stone Casino in New York, Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL and the Thunder Valley Casino in Sacramento. In the next couple of months, The Final Table cameras will be revisiting some of these old haunts and a couple of new ones:

February 25 – March 7: Canterbury Park Club, Shakopee, MN March 1 – March 14: Maryland LIVE! Casino, Baltimore, MD April 1 – April 4:  Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh, PA April 8 – April 11: Sugarhouse Casino, Philadelphia, PA April 7 – April 27: Choctaw Casino, Durant, OK

For those yearning for new poker programming, check your local listings. The Final Table will be debuting in late spring, but it will be on a syndication basis. Therefore, the actual stations and broadcast times may vary.

Poker News Daily