Posts Tagged ‘player’

Can Bryn Kenney Hold onto Player of the Year?

 Can Bryn Kenney Hold onto Player of the Year?

With roughly six weeks to go in the tournament poker season, there is virtually only one question left:  can Bryn Kenney, who has led the various Player of the Year races since the start of the year, hold onto those leads as the year comes to a close?

On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race Kenney, through the usage of the High Roller tournaments, built up a tremendous lead by the halfway mark of the year. The lead was big enough that Kenney took off the entirety of the World Series of Poker and nobody came close to his point total. Although he was only able to tack on 224 points in the last month through a €25,000 non-bracelet event at the World Series of Poker Europe, Kenney has a dominant lead over the field with his 6708 points.

But is it enough? Last year the man who is currently in second place in the POY standings, Fedor Holz, thought that he had racked up enough points to take the honors. Holz took his foot off the gas and, in the final six weeks of the calendar year, saw David Peters storm past him. Peters used a third-place finish in the last-ever European Poker Tour event, a fifth-place finish in the $ 25,000 WPT Five Diamond High Roller event and won the last $ 25,000 Aria High Roller tournament on December 28 to steal the POY title from Holz.

Now Holz is in that position, at least on the CardPlayer rankings. Holz has earned 5497 points, which included a runner-up finish in the $ 1 Million (HKD) Triton Super High Roller Series for a $ 2,131,740 payday and 800 POY points. With more than 1200 points between him and Kenney (1211, to be exact), it may prove to be too tough a river to cross.

Behind Holz, the players are all jockeying to make their mark on the Top Ten for the 2017 calendar year as going for the top of the heap may be out of the question. Koray Aldemir has been able to move up the ladder into the third-place slot with his 4956 points, but he has more to worry about than trying to catch Holz. Right behind Aldemir is Adrian Mateos, who 4892 points have him right on Aldemir’s heels. Should both men falter, Justin Bonomo is lurking in the fifth-place slot with 4598 points and could pass them both.

The bottom half of the CardPlayer Top Ten has more of the “usual suspects” from the High Roller world. Stephen Chidwick (4522 points), Benjamin Pollak (4460), defending champion David Peters (4422), Steffen Sontheimer (4352) and Jason Koon (4334) are ranked in sixth through tenth places, respectively. All five men routinely can be found in the High Roller events, but it is going to take more than a decent finish in those High Rollers (perhaps a win in another tournament) to mount up enough points to even challenge Holz for second.

Kenney’s in the lead on the Global Poker Index standings, but it is a bit more precarious there. Because the GPI rankings only tabulate the best 13 finishes of a player in a complicated formula, there isn’t much room for Kenney to expand his lead. In Kenney’s case, he currently sits in first place with his 3478.06 points, but he cannot add any more points to his total unless the calculated finish beats his lowest finish of 194.27 points (from his runner-up finish in a 33-player preliminary event during the PokerStars Championships Bahamas). While it is possible that another High Roller finish might do it, it is not going to be for a huge amount of points.

The player chasing Kenney – and the one with the best chance to pass him – is Chidwick. With his 3236.07 points, Chidwick has taken the second slot from Aldemir and has low enough finishes to improve his standing. Chidwick’s 58th place finish in the $ 3000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP in Las Vegas only got him 111.37 points; another strong finish in a High Roller or even another major tournament could push him past Kenney with ease.

Aldemir is only about 40 points back of Chidwick, but he doesn’t have the room to grow that Chidwick does. With 3197.38 points, Aldemir could work his way up, but the High Roller events he favors have set his bottom level of points quite high. The same could also be said for fourth place Nick Petrangelo (3134.62 points) and fifth place Adrian Mateos (3128.58 points).

The players in the second tier of the Top Ten are probably going to have to be happy with their Top Ten finish. Dan Smith (3057.16 points), Dario Sammartino (3006.34) Stefan Shillhabel (2996.56), Steve O’Dwyer (2930.15) and Dejuante Alexander (2919.11) are the holders of the sixth through tenth slots, respectively. Alexander is notable in the fact he has amassed his point total through events with a buy in of less than $ 4000; most of his competition’s point totals have been built through the smaller fields but bigger buy in ($ 10,000 and up) “High Roller” tournaments.

With only six weeks to go, the players are going to have to do some globe hopping if they are going to get every point available. The World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas will have some effect on the standings, as will the PokerStars Championship Prague. A slew of WPT DeepStacks events and other minor events could be critical to those looking to climb into the standings also. It promises to be an interesting six weeks as Bryn Kenney looks to fight off the challenges and hold both Player of the Year awards come December 31.

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Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

 Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

Continuing what has been arguably his most successful tournament poker span and the most controversial period of his career at the same time, Chris Ferguson has all but seized control of the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race.

Ferguson won Event #7, the €1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better, defeating 92 players and taking away a €39,289 payday along the way. Other than being his sixth bracelet win, the more important thing for Ferguson with the win is the points that he added to his total. For the entirety of the 2017 WSOP (counting the summer Las Vegas version), Ferguson has been able to rack up 216 points in Event #7 and bring his total to 1178.53 points.

With only four events remaining on the WSOP schedule, it leaves little time for those trailing him to catch up.

Having arguably the best tournament poker year of his career, John Racener has been the hound in pursuit of the hare from the start of the WSOP. He has cashed three times at the WSOP Europe, including just missing the final table in Event #7. Those points have enabled him to hold onto second place – but not creep any closer to the top of the ladder – with his 999.76 points.

Pushing Racener for the second-place slot on the POY list has been Ryan Hughes. He has also cashed three times at the WSOP-E and, for a quick moment after Event #1, had passed Racener for the second-place slot in the pack to catch Ferguson. He has since fallen back behind Racener, but his 994.35 points have him in the mix should he make a deep run in any of the remaining tournaments.

After Hughes, one of the two players who was in the Top Ten at the start of the WSOP-E that did NOT go to the Czech Republic can be found. John Monnette, despite being in the Top Five after the schedule of events in Las Vegas this summer, decided against heading to Rozvadov to take part in the WSOP-E. Thus, his total of 865.21 will stay the same and he’ll probably stay in the Top Ten to the end of the European stop.

After Monnette, the players on the list have a “slim and none” chance and slim is leaving the building. Despite being on the grounds at the King’s Casino and picking up a couple of cashes, Foxen hasn’t garnered any more points in the race for the Player of the Year. As a result, Foxen and his 786.86 points are probably going to have to be sated by his current fifth place status. The remainder of the Top Ten also will have to be happy to be among the top players in the 2017 WSOP, including Mike Leah (sixth, 770.74 points), Raymond Henson (seventh, 768.49), Ben Yu (eighth, 766.49), Daniel Negreanu (ninth, 717.76) and Dario Sammartino (tenth, 710.96).

If someone is going to catch Ferguson for the POY, they’re going to have to go on a multi-tournament run. Because the fields have been smaller at the WSOP-E and the buy-ins aren’t as large, racking up any serious points is highly difficult. These are the four events left on the schedule:

Event #8 – €1000 “Little One for One Drop” No Limit Hold’em
Event #9 – €25,000 No Limit Hold’em
Event #10 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop
Event #11 – €10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event

The €25,000 High Roller is nearing its conclusion, which basically means that those players left are not playing in the “Little One.” The lineup for the big One Drop tournament might see someone from the €25K take a shot, but it is expected that Ferguson will also participate in that event. With only the Main Event left, there just aren’t enough opportunities for players to mount an offensive against Ferguson.

Although the poker world might not like it, Ferguson has amassed quite a record for the 2017 WSOP. After cashing 17 times in Las Vegas, Ferguson has added another six in the seven completed events in Rozvadov, including his bracelet win. Unless someone can dig up a swing-dancing Anna Chapman to poison Ferguson over the next week, he’ll be the one who walks away with the accolades as the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year.

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Poker Player Suspicious of Possible Collusion Ring on partypoker

 Poker Player Suspicious of Possible Collusion Ring on partypoker

Online poker rooms are constantly on the lookout for cheaters (or so they claim), but historically, the best sleuths come from the poker community at large. The gigantic “super user” scandals that rocked the online poker world a number of years ago, for example, were discovered by suspicious players (with a little help from a complete hand history that was accidentally e-mail by a poker room’s customer support). While nothing has been proven yet, another poker player believes he has found evidence of a collusion ring on partypoker.

A poster going by the screen name “FarseerFinland” on Two Plus Two and “DukeofSuffolk” on partypoker, provided the poker community his story over the weekend, explaining what he saw in some multi-table tournaments.

On October 18th, he made the final table of the Wednesday Turbo High Roller tournament and finished in the top four (he doesn’t say specifically where he placed, but he said he busted three of the final six and was eventually knocked out himself, so he was at least fourth). It was that final table that aroused his suspicion.

According to Farseer, in the 48 hands he played in which he infers there were a lot of all-ins, none of his six opponents ever called any all-in by one of the others. Then, we he busted out, he noticed that the tournament only took three more minutes to complete. The assumption here is that since he believes the players were colluding, they just quickly finished it up and split their winnings.

He investigated the players further using third-party sites that track tournaments and saw that six of the top seven players in the tournament all launched their accounts this year and generally play the same types of tournaments. In August, they all played solely the “Clubber II” tournaments, though they didn’t all play the same number of them.

A couple days later, Farseer saw that all six of the alleged colluders joined the same high roller tournament; four of them hadn’t even played any tournaments since the last one he observed. Farseer did not play and was unable to determine if there was any collusion by observing. He also watched a couple other high roller tournaments and found eight more players with a “similar tournament” history to the first six alleged colluders.

Between the two days during which he observed what he believes was fishy play, Farseer contacted partypoker support to report his findings. To their credit, partypoker did say they were opening an investigation.

Now, I would not normally report on a bunch of collusion speculation, especially because poker players always think someone is cheating them. This case seems to have legs, though, as on October 22nd, Farseer said that partypoker told him that the accounts in question had been suspended pending an investigation (though at least one still appeared active). That partypoker would even take it that far may indicate they are seeing something, as well.

On Tuesday, October 24th, a partypoker representative posted in the thread on Two Plus Two to mention that she has spoken with Farseer and that “all details have been shared with the Risk team management for review.”


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BetOnline Live Blackjack Dealer Allegedly Cheats Player

 BetOnline Live Blackjack Dealer Allegedly Cheats Player

Online blackjack has been around for just about as long as online poker has and while plenty of people have been skeptical of the poker random number generators (RNGs), many more have been skeptical of RNGs used in blackjack. Online operators compete against the players, so even though the odds are in the house’s favor, there is certainly motive to cheat. And when the cards are virtual, one can never been 100 percent certain – even with all the technical verifications and certifications in the world – that there is no way anything fishy is going on.

As a way to ease this trust issue and to make online casinos have more of a “real life” feel, some sites started up “live dealer” games, which are exactly what they sound like: real human dealers are dealing real cards to players over the internet. Players still click buttons to indicate their hit/stand decisions, but the dealers on the screen really put the cards out. It’s not something I’ve ever played, but it’s a decent idea that has gained in popularity in recent years.

Even though live dealer games are partially meant to engender trust, one recent game has shown that even live dealers and/or the online casinos may try to screw customers out of their money. On January 25th, Michael Morgenstern, who calls himself a “blackjack professional,” live streamed a 75-minute session of him playing in the live dealer blackjack games of This past weekend, he posted a portion of that video that shows what looks to be the dealer cheating.

Morgenstern did not notice the problem while he was playing; it was pointed out by a viewer in the comments of the YouTube video.

In the hand, Morgenstern made the unusual decision to split Twos against the dealer’s King, something that players rarely do. This seems to be because Morgenstern was counting cards, which he indicates once the hand is over by referencing the “negative” count of the deck. He likely split the Twos because he felt the deck was in his favor.

Morgenstern busted the first of the split hands with a 25 and was then dealt a Nine on the other Two, so he doubled-down. He received a Six on his next and final card, giving him a 17 on the second hand of the split. The dealer then dealt himself an Eight, giving him an 18, beating Morgenstern (normally, the dealer would deal himself both cards when the players are dealt their two initial cards, but apparently on BetOnline, he only deals himself one card and saves the other for after all the players have acted).

What was discovered by the viewer, though, was that when Morgenstern was dealt the Six, the dealer pushed the top card of the shoe up and took the second card to give to Morgenstern. Clearly, the proper procedure was to deal Morgenstern the top card from the deck, not the second card.

It is entirely possible that it was a mistake, but it seems unlikely, as sliding the top card out of the way to grab the second card is not a natural thing to do. It is also obvious that the dealer makes a sort of double finger-flicking motion before sliding the top card out of the way. Internet sleuths believe that he is not just randomly flicking his fingers, but rather rubbing his finger on the card in an effort to feel some sort of marking that indicates the value of the card. The idea here is that the markings indicate that the card is an Eight, which would’ve given Morgenstern a very good 19. The dealer didn’t know what the second card would be, but he allegedly took the chance that it was worse for Morgenstern than the Eight and then the dealer would get the Eight and beat Morgenstern.

Of course, that the dealer cheated is pure speculation right now, but the video is pretty damning. A further question is: did the dealer do this on his own or did someone off camera direct him to do so? If we may further speculate, what seems to make the most sense is that someone at BetOnline told him to do that, unless there was some internal incentive for a dealer to produce losing sessions for players.

The original video for Morgenstern’s session is below. The hand in which the alleged cheating occurred begins at about the 13:30 mark. Warning: there is a lot of foul language in the video.

And here is the edited video that specifically points out the cheating. There is no audio in this one.

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No Clear Frontrunner as Different Player of the Year Races Kick Off

 No Clear Frontrunner as Different Player of the Year Races Kick Off

With almost six weeks complete in 2017, the two major Player of the Year races in the tournament poker world have begun to take shape. Demonstrating the differences in emphasis between the two rankings, there is no clear frontrunner at this time.

The CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year rankings have a logical person sitting atop the standings. By virtue of his first ever tournament cash, Australia’s Shurane Vijayaram jumps out to the lead on the CardPlayer ladder. The champion of the $ 10,000 Aussie Millions Main Event earned 2280 points for that win alone, just barely pushing him past the man who finished second to him in the tournament, Ben Heath. Heath has a few more finishes on his 2017 resume, with three big finishes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas prior to his trip Down Under, and is right behind Vijayaram with his 2188 points.

The winner of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event comes in at third on the CardPlayer board. Christian Harder, who defeated Cliff Josephy in heads up play to capture the first ever championship on that newly created circuit, picked up 1824 points for his efforts. It was enough to push him past Nick Petrangelo, the first member of the “High Roller” circuit to make the list (Petrangelo was the champion of the Aussie Millions $ 100,000 Challenge), who slides in at the fourth-place slot with 1628 points, and Tobias Hausen, the third-place finisher at the Aussie Millions, who has 1520 points for fifth place in the POY.

The aforementioned Josephy is arguably having the best year of his tournament poker life. Coming off his run at last year’s World Series of Poker Championship Event “November Nine,” Josephy’s runner-up finish against Harder earned him 1520 points, enough to tie him with Hausen on the CardPlayer standings. Daniel Weinman, the victor at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open, only received 1440 points for that win, but he’s sitting in seventh place at this very early point in the year. Rounding out the CardPlayer Top Ten in eighth through tenth positions respectively are Bryn Kenney, the winner of one of the $ 25,000 tournaments put on during the PokerStars Championship Bahamas schedule (1406 points), Byron Kaverman (1375 points) and Fedor Holz, whose two final tables at the Aussie Millions earned him 1270 points.

OK, remember the names on the CardPlayer rankings? For the most part, forget them, as the Global Poker Index’s Player of the Year standings reflect a completely different look at the tournament poker world.

Kenney is one of the few constants between the two boards. He has already used up seven of his qualifying slots (the GPI scoring system looks at the top 13 finishes of a player, not a conglomerate of points), with six of those coming at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. Because of this early rush, Kenney has burst out of the gate with 1592.85 points, enough to take the overall lead on the GPI leaderboard.

A player who wasn’t even on the Top Ten on the CardPlayer rankings takes the second-place slot on the GPI listings. Mustapha Kanit earned five cashes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, then hopped a jet to Melbourne to pick up two more at the Aussie Millions. Over those seven finishes, Kanit has 1424.52 points and earns the second place standing on the list.

Kaverman gets more love from the GPI than from CardPlayer, with his work so far in 2017 earning him the third-place slot with 1257.5 points. Two more newcomers to the rankings, David Yan (956.39 points) and Nate Bjerno (796.36), the runner-up at the Borgata to Weinman, round out the Top Five. Petrangelo (788.13, sixth place) and Heath (771.68, seventh) are neck-and-neck in their battle, while Lucas Greenwood (765.12, eighth) and Sergi Reixach (760.8, ninth) have their own tussle ongoing. Wrapping up the GPI Top Ten is Weinman, whose 751.83 points for winning one of the bigger events on the WPT is not getting the attention it deserves.

The names that you’ve just seen on both the CardPlayer and GPI leaderboards? Within the next four to six weeks, they will completely be changed. The predominance of action in the tournament poker world is before the WSOP and 2017 is no different. After the WSOP is completed in July, there is a dearth of events and few chances for players to make up significant ground. Thus, it is important for players to get out to an excellent start in the whirlwind of tournaments between now and April as it does set up a player for an outstanding season.

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