Posts Tagged ‘over’

Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

 Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

In a stunning, late season move that is similar to what occurred last year, Spanish poker professional Adrian Mateos has used a surge of success at the tables to pass the man who has led virtually since the start of the year, Bryn Kenney, in the Player of the Year races in tournament poker.

Mateos began the month of December in fourth place on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard behind Kenney and it seemed that he was going to have a tough time catching the leader. Not only did he have to climb over two people to even reach Kenney, Mateos had to make up roughly 2000 points to even have a chance at equaling Kenney. But that is exactly what Mateos has done, utilizing the final PokerStars Championship event to do it.

After finishing off November by winning the $ 5000 Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Caribbean Poker Party, Mateos went on a run in December that was stunning. Beginning at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Mateos earned three final table finishes, but he wasn’t done yet. Flying back to Europe for the PSC Prague (which would turn out to be the final event ever on that circuit), Mateos earned four more cashes, three final tables and two tournaments that earned him POY points. By the end of December, Mateos had totaled up 2118 points to pass Kenney and take over first place.

It wasn’t like Kenney didn’t try to maintain his lead. He picked up 105 points for a seventh-place finish in the $ 25,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the invading Spaniard. As of December 30 (and barring any last-minute finishes), Mateos and his 7220 points will earn the CardPlayer POY over Kenney’s 7173 points.

The remainder of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer list were seemingly OK with where they finished on the end-of-year rankings as they didn’t make a serious drive upwards. Fedor Holz, the runner-up in 2016 (more on this in a minute) will finish in the third-place slot in 2017, earning 5875 points (and more than $ 6.3 million) to hold off Koray Aldemir (5510) in fourth place. Justin Bonomo used a steady stream of cashes in the Five Diamond $ 25K tournaments to ease into fifth place (5411), while 2016 Player of the Year David Peters (5034), Stephen Chidwick (4912), Jason Koon (4859), Steffen Sontheimer (4782) and Benjamin Pollak (4660) round out the sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Mateos’ late season surge also saw him eclipse Kenney on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race. Much like the CardPlayer ladder, Mateos was in fifth place to start the month on the GPI board with plenty of space for his numbers to rise (under the GPI rankings, only the 13 best finishes for a player, utilizing a complex calculating system, are counted towards the rankings). Of the seven cashes that Mateos had, five of them improved his 13-tournament total. That 1051.36 increase was enough to push him over the top.

As of December 30, Mateos has the top slot on the GPI POY with a total of 3504.71, while Kenney had to stand pat on his 3478.06 points because his effort at the Five Diamond didn’t knock off one of his 13 prior finishes. Chidwick also climbed a bit during the month of December, moving into third place (3247.43) over Peters (3244.62). Dan Smith, who won the $ 100,000 Super High Roller at the Five Diamond and picked up some more points in another $ 25K event, jumped up to fifth place (3235.92) to conclude 2017.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are Ari Engel (3206.87), Holz (3172.03), Koon (3138.27), Nick Petrangelo (3133.46) and Stefan Schillhabel (3123.39) in the sixth through tenth positions.

The final month of 2017 is remarkable in its similarity to what happened last year. In 2016, Holz dominated the POY races all season long before, in a last-minute rush, Peters was able to pass Holz and take away both POY titles. If Kenney doesn’t find a poker tournament between now and Monday, he will fall victim to the same late-season lightning strike that hit Holz in 2016, only this time at the hands of Mateos.

The end of season rush by Mateos also demonstrates one of the problems that the ranking systems haven’t been able to overcome. Of the eight tournaments (counting the Caribbean tournament) that Mateos played to overcome Kenney, four of them were High Roller events with a buy in over $ 25,000. Without those high-dollar tournaments (which add more points due to their buy-in but offer fewer obstacles in the number of players), it is unlikely that Mateos would have even gotten within sniffing distance of Kenney, who himself built the massive lead he had through primarily playing High Roller events (of his 29 cashes in 2017, 25 of them were in tournaments with more than a $ 25K buy-in).

Hopefully the CardPlayer and Global Poker Index rankings will find a way to deal with the far too numerous High Roller and Super High Roller events in 2018 (limiting the number of cashes from such events might be a good start). For 2017, however, the ink is almost dry as Adrian Mateos looks to become one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, player (23) to ever capture the awards in the two predominant Player of the Year races.

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2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event Day 4 – Michal Mrakes Takes Over Lead with 16 Players Left

 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event Day 4 – Michal Mrakes Takes Over Lead with 16 Players Left

If it was Saturday, the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event was set to play off its Day 4 schedule. By the time the dust settled on the poker battleground of the Casino Atrium Prague in the Czech Republic late Saturday night, local favorite Michal Mrakes – who has been hovering about the upper reaches of the leaderboard since the start of the tournament – had taken over the lead with only 16 players remaining.

At the start of the day, 49 players were set to take on whatever Saturday’s play held for them. Perhaps looking a bit brighter on the day was chip leader Paul Michaelis, who woke up on Saturday morning after spending his second day atop the leaderboard. Michaelis’ 1.27 million in chips was pretty much threatened by only one person – Mrakes, who was the only other player over a million chips with his 1.032 million chip stack. With pros such as Fatima Moreira de Melo, Marcin Horecki, Alex Foxen and Jason Wheeler lurking down the standings, however, that looked to be a situation that would change quickly.

Horecki was one of the players that had no fortune over the entirety of the Day 4 proceedings. On a 6-7-10-Q-9 board, Horecki faced a 103K chip bet out of Serhil Popovych that he didn’t believe. Horecki would make the call, only to see that Popovych probably caught up on the river against him after Popovych showed a 10-9 for the rivered two pair. Horecki didn’t show (perhaps an A-Q?) ash Popovych cracked the million-chip mark and Horecki dropped to around 200K in chips. Those would go into the center in a race between Horecki’s pocket Jacks and the Big Slick of Thomas Lentrodt moments later, which Horecki led until a cruel King came on the river to eliminate him from the tournament.

Mrakes, on the other hand, was heading in the opposite direction. He eliminated Dermot Blain when Blain put his remaining chips on the line against Mrakes. Once again it was a race, Mrakes’ pocket treys against Blain’s K-Q off suit, but this situation ended much quicker than Horecki’s. The 3-J-3 flop gave “only” quads to Mrakes to leave Blain drawing dead immediately; after a meaningless turn and river, Blain packed his bags as Mrakes stacked up his 1.44 million chips.

Mrakes was amongst the leaders at this point but, after the tournament was redrawn with 24 players to go, he firmly grabbed the top slot. Mrakes raised the betting to 60K and Hon Cheong Lee didn’t hesitate on putting in the three-bet of 180K. After Mrakes called, a 4-4-4 flop was dealt that might have slowed down some players. Mrakes did, checking his option, but Lee fired off 110K that Mrakes called. An eight on the turn brought another check-call out of Mrakes, this time for 225K of Lee’s chips. When a seemingly innocent deuce came on the river, Mrakes checked again and the fireworks were lit.

Lee pushed out the remainder of his stack, totaling over 850K, and Mrakes was put to a decision of calling off a huge amount of his chips or making a quantum leap upwards in the tournament. After the deliberation, Mrakes boldly made the call and it was the right move. On the 4-4-4-8-2 board, all Lee could muster was a Q-7 to play the flopped set of fours. Mrakes wasn’t much better with his A-10, but it was enough to win the hand, eliminate Lee and push Mrakes to 3.89 million chips and a solid chip lead.

Mrakes continued to expand on that chip stack, even able to withstand doubling up an opponent, before the final bell rung. He will enter Day 5 a massive chip leader and a prohibitive favorite for making the final table:

1. Michal Mrakes, 4.945 million
2. Valentyn Shabelnyk, 3.225 million
3. Robert Heidorn, 2.485 million
4. Jason Wheeler, 2.4 million
5. Colin Robinson, 2.085 million
6. Navot Golan, 1.955 million
7. Matas Cimbolas, 1.615 million
8. Thomas Lentrodt, 1.52 million
9. Harry Lodge, 1.36 million
10. Pierre Calamusa, 900,000

With 15 players left, the minimum payday for those still standing is €38,400. That is small change compared to what the eventual champion will walk off with on Monday night. That fortunate player will step away from Prague with a great Christmas present of €775,000.

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Grand Poker Network Unavailable for Over a Month

 Grand Poker Network Unavailable for Over a Month

When people – lawmakers, in particular – argue against regulating online gambling, point them to stories like this to show them why it is needed. Lightly trafficked online poker network, the Grand Poker Network, has been offline for about five weeks without any real indication as to when – or even if – it will be back up and running. There may be a happy ending to come, but right now, things don’t look particularly good for the network’s players.

The Grand Poker Network is not a household name in poker. It is comprised of just a few sites: Grand Poker (also known as Dragon Room), VietBet.eu, 5Dimes.eu, Island Casino, and SportBet. Even when it was up, PokerScout listed it with fewer than 40 cash game players on most occasions.

According to ProfessionalRakeback.com, players began having trouble connecting to the network on November 5th, 2017. Conversations with customer service resulted in varied reasons for the issue: the network was down for maintenance, the network was switching servers and updating its software, or even that the network was closing.

Indications when trying to login were that the network and/or software was being “upgraded,” but those upgrades never arrived. This week, ProfessionalRakeback.com had a brief online chat with a customer support rep from VietBet, who said that the network would be returning, but other than that, had no information to offer.

One of the interesting things in this situation, as ProfessionalRakeback.com points out, is that the Grand Poker Network was founded by 5Dimes, which itself is a highly respected online sportsbook (it operates other gaming sites, but it is most known for its sportsbook). So the fact that this Grand Poker Network saga has been going on for over a month is quite strange.

It is almost certain that 5Dimes is losing money on the poker room and possibly on the network as a whole. Why 5Dimes started the network is unknown, but it could have been as an honest attempt to develop another revenue/profit stream, or simply as a loss leader, a way to expose poker players to its flagship sports betting business. The latter tends to work the other way around: sports books launch online poker rooms, trying to draw sports bettors over to the poker tables. This way, the site can keep more of its customers’ money – someone who wins in the sportsbook may take the winnings over to the poker room and win or lose, the site generates rake from the winnings it paid the customer on the sports side.

I suspect the poker room/network was a genuine attempt at another revenue stream, as using it as a loss leader doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. 5Dimes has a well-established sportsbook, so pulling a handful of poker players over to sports betting wouldn’t be worth the expense and effort of developing a new poker room and/or poker network.

The fear among poker players on the Grand Poker Network right now is probably that the network is going to disappear with their money and is just stringing them along right now while management figures out how to best remove themselves from view. But we don’t know that to be the case – especially because of the reputation of 5Dimes – so unfortunately, everyone is just going to have to stand by until further developments reveal themselves.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3 – Blake Bohn Takes Over Lead Short of the Money Bubble

 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3 – Blake Bohn Takes Over Lead Short of the Money Bubble

Day 3 of the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas is in the books and, for the first time in the tournament, Brandon Meyers isn’t atop the leaderboard. While he does lurk down the ladder a bit, Blake Bohn has taken over the lead with the money bubble looming for Day 4’s action.

With 316 players remaining from the 812 entries that came in, it was a given that the money wasn’t going to be reached on Thursday. That didn’t mean there wasn’t some work to do as players looked to garner chips to get in the best position to drive deep in the event. Meyers was best situated for making that deep drive, starting Day 3 with a stack of 388,100 chips, while Daniel Strelitz (310,900) joined him as the only players above the 300K mark.

Day 3 was the longest day of the tournament so far, with seven 90-minute levels on tap for the assembled players, and they didn’t tiptoe into the waters on Thursday. A short-stacked Mike Wattel was taken down by 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner (but zero-time WPT champion) Phil Hellmuth moments into the start of the day, while a short-stacked former Super Bowl champion in Richard Seymour went in the other direction. Seymour would use pocket tens to outrun Joshua Ladines’ A Q on a nine-high board to get back in the race.

Wattel wasn’t the only notable pro who departed the Bellagio soon after the day’s play began. Jeremy Ausmus, Matt Berkey, Kathy Liebert, former WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja and WPT champion Pat Lyons all found a spot on the rail to watch the proceedings as Mike Del Vecchio took center stage. He was able to four-bet both Shawn Buchanan and Cate Hall out of a hand to pull close to 100K, then blew by that mark by getting just Hall to lay down her hand. Del Vecchio’s continued aggression would keep his stack fluctuating but moving upwards throughout the Day 3 action.

Del Vecchio’s high water mark came in eliminating one of the biggest names in the game in the evening hours. After a raising battle between him and Daniel Negreanu, Del Vecchio was able to get Negreanu to commit his final chips pre-flop with pocket Queens. The problem for Negreanu is that Del Vecchio had pocket Kings for the cooler; once no other Ladies showed on the board, Negreanu was out of the Five Diamond, one of his favorite tournaments of the year, while Del Vecchio stacked up 345K in chips.

After being hit with the deck for the first two days of the tournament (by his own admission), Meyers had a day where he simply attempted to survive. It wasn’t until the early evening hours that Meyers was able to eke over his starting day stack to 395K, but it seemed to get his engines going. Meyers would push Andy Frankenberger to the brink before Frankenberger folded a hand and Meyers scooped up the chips to move to 483K.

As the dinner break arrived, 113 players were still alive in the tournament with two 90-minute levels left to play. Strelitz had moved to the lead at this point with 828K in chips, but he would go no higher on Day 3 and instead gave back a few chips. Bohn was the man who made the moves late in the evening in a hand against one of the top “High Roller” players in the game.

After an opening bet from Bohn, Kempe would move in for his remaining stack. Everyone else would get out of the way, but Bohn was steadfast and made the call. It turned out to be the correct decision; Bohn’s Big Slick was better than Kempe’s Big Chick (A-Q) and, after a King was in the window on the flop, the German was left drawing extremely thin. A blank on the turn meant that Kempe was now drawing dead just short of the money bubble.

Bohn would add onto his 815K stack as the players crept closer to the money. Just short of the time when the WPT “Action Clock” (the 30-second “shot clock” used by the WPT one table from the money bubble) would be activated, the last 90 players reached the end of Level 17 and bagged and tagged their booty. Bohn was the man who bagged the most, 871,000, to seize the lead heading to Day 4.

1. Blake Bohn, 871,000
2. Daniel Strelitz, 791,000
3. Sean Perry, 758,000
4. Matthew Moss, 748,500
5. Artem Markov, 674,500
6. Brandon Meyers, 638,000
7. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, 592,500
8. Chance Kornuth, 586,000
9. Matt Giannetti, 549,000
10. Satish Surapaneni, 541,000

Day 4 action at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic kicks off at noon today with some important business to take care of. Nine players must be eliminated to get to the 81 players who’ll earn a min-cash of slightly more than $ 19K from the tournament. The WPT “Action Clock” will be employed from now until a champion is crowned, with that champion walking off with a $ 1,958,065 Christmas present.

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Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

 Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

One of the most prestigious tournaments on the World Poker Tour calendar, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event, is set to begin on Tuesday. But that start will have a cloud over it as players – from the elite professionals to the Everyday Joe – have made their displeasure known regarding the format of the tournament.

The $ 10,000 buy in tournament is already one of the biggest by price on the WPT Season XVI schedule. The reentry rules that the tournament is being conducted under are also quite lax, allowing players to re-enter the tournament up until Level 9 of the tournament. This would allow players to get back into the event – with a 30,000 chip stack and at a point where such a stack is still quite workable – at nearly the end of DAY TWO.

Naturally, these liberal unlimited reentry event rules seem to have irritated many in the poker community. First up was noted cantankerous pro Allen Kessler, who at least had democracy to prove his point for him. Out of 623 people who voted on a poll Kessler posted on Twitter, 50% of the respondents wanted the traditional freezeout format for the WPT Five Diamond. There wasn’t a huge uprising against a re-entry, but it was resoundingly a solo re-entry (39%), while the unlimited re-entry option received 11% of the voting public.

While the public vote on Kessler’s Twitter page was dominated by the freezeout vote, there were some pros who took Kessler to task in advocating for the freezeout over the unlimited option. Matthew Waxman criticized Kessler in Tweeting, “You play plenty of re-entries that are within your financial comfort zone. You complain about this one because it’s not. If I were an elitist, I would just ignore you. You are being hypocritical and I’m just trying to show you that.

David ‘ODB’ Baker took another tack in answering Kessler’s question. “Poker tourneys can be like golf courses. Some set up better for some than others. Sit this one out if you don’t like it. I don’t like it I’m sitting it out,” Baker stated over Twitter to Kessler. Dominik Nitsche added in his two cents on Twitter, chirping, “I actually do agree with you in general that single reentry (or freezeout) is better. Just think it’s too late for this one (to be changed).”

It is one of the debates that has raged across poker for the last few years. Originally, the tournaments were called “rebuy” tournaments in the mid-2000s and those tournaments were routinely dominated by those whose deep pockets weren’t impacted. In the 2006 World Series of Poker $ 1000 No Limit Hold’em event with rebuys, Daniel Negreanu reportedly made 46 rebuys during the tournament. Along with the two add-ons he could take, “Kid Poker” spewed $ 48,000 in tournament buy-ins; in 2007, the WSOP banned the “rebuy” events.

But all that has happened to the old “rebuy” event is they have been rebranded as today’s “re-entry” events. Offering multiple Day Ones and/or allowing for a re-entry/late entry period that stretches deep into the opening action of the tournament, players can still get that “rebuy” feeling in the renamed events. In some WPT tournaments, it is possible for a player to take advantage of every Day One and a solo rebuy (some even allow players to enter on Day 2) and spend upwards of $ 25,000 should they strike out in every attempt.

Some players dislike the re-entry tournaments because it does give a professional player with craploads of money a chance to play recklessly, offering no recompense for bad play other than having to enter again, and build substantial stacks (some would say elimination would be an apt punishment for those types of pros). Other players talk about how it pushes out the recreational player, who has but one shot in a tournament and has to potentially run through someone more than twice if they are to even cash. Those that are for the re-entry tournaments point out how it can build a prize pool to levels higher than it would should the tournament be a freezeout event.

While Kessler’s poll and the results have received some notice, don’t expect a change anytime soon in the re-entry phenomenon. The casinos enjoy it because the extra juice goes into their pockets and the tours themselves like it to build big prize pools and award big payouts. The only way for the players to vote further on this issue would be to use their wallets and not play the tournaments.

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