Posts Tagged ‘Playground’

2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

There are only sixteen players remaining of the 606 original entries in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event as action moves into Day 4 on Wednesday. Eric Afriat is the chip leader with 2.4 million chips, the only play over the 2 million mark.

Afriat has some unfinished business at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. In February, finished third in the WPT Playground Main Event, winning CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 82,716). That tournament holds a special spot in poker history, as it was won by Ema Zajmovic, who became the first women ever to win an open WPT Main Event.

Afriat does have one World Poker Tour title under his belt, as he won the 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Championship Event. That victory was worth a bit over $ 1 million; that and his WPT Playground finish make up the bulk of his $ 1.83 million in career live earnings.

I will admit, I have always been a skeptic about the extra prizes awarded at major tournaments. The trophy is cool, the money is fantastic, the prestige is even wonderful, but really, who cares about a pair of overpriced headphones or a gaudy watch? Well, it’s time for me to eat crow, as apparently that watch is something Afriat has been targeting.

Speaking with after Day 3, Afriat said he was actually a little peeved that he didn’t grab the timepiece in February:

What I want the most is the Hublot watch, because when I won their contract was signed for the following week. It was the last tournament that didn’t award the watch. They awarded it the following week, and I missed out on the watch. So the watch will be very important to me. Because a watch you can carry it around, you feel like you won something, but I can’t carry the big trophy

You know what? That makes a lot of sense. It’s like being able to wear a World Series of Poker bracelet, except I wouldn’t be surprised if players were more willing to don the Hublot watch over the bracelet, as the watch is both cool and practical, as opposed to just being a large piece of jewelry. Personally (and not that I will ever even come remotely close to this), if I won a WSOP bracelet, I don’t think I’d wear it on a regular basis (or even an irregular basis), as I’m not a jewelry guy. A nice watch, though, I could do, plus it has a neat story behind it.

Normally, the chip leader has a significant hand or two that helped get him to the top, but Afriat said his Day 3 was mostly just a gradual build. His biggest hand was actually a loss when his opponent hit a set of Jacks against his pocket Queens.

Though only sixteen players remain, Day 4 will play down to just the six-handed final table before adjourning.

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1. Eric Afriat – 2,400,000
2. Curt Kohlberg – 1,804,000
3. Ryan Rivers – 1,655,000
4. Maxime Heroux – 1,623,000
5. Duff Charette – 1,583,000
6. Bradley Ellis – 1,563,000
7. Derek Wolters – 1,257,000
8. David Peters – 1,216,000
9. Alex Keating – 1,051,000
10. Brendan Ziyad Baksh – 56,000
11. Feizal Satchu – 633,000
12. Mohammad Abu-Hadbah – 627,000
13. Brady Hinnegan – 579,000
14. Patrick Quinn – 453,000
15. Justin Liberto – 451,000
16. Adam Shannon – 340,000

The post 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

 Ema Zajmovic Makes History, Wins WPT Playground Main Event

Ema Zajmovic came close in November, finishing fifth in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event, but now she got over the hump at the same venue, Montreal’s Playground Poker Club, as she won the WPT Playground Main Event Tuesday night. Her first major live tournament title was worth CAD $ 241,500 (USD $ 183,789).

While the victory was a milestone in Zajmovic’s poker career and her greatest accomplishment to date, it is arguably a more significant moment for the history of poker in general. By winning the WPT Playground Main Event, Ema Zajmovic became the first woman – the first – to win an open Main Event on the World Poker Tour. Only one other woman, Van Nguyen, has ever won a WPT title, but that was in the 2008 WPT Celebrity Invitational. As the word “invitational” should indicate, that was not an open event; only those invited to participate could buy-in.

“Honestly, I am really happy that I proved women can do it,” Zajmovic told afterward. “The funniest and nicest part of this experience was all the women who came and were so supportive of me. It was amazing. When I started playing poker, there was so much competition between girls. It was hard to be good and be supportive of each other. Now it has evolved so much and it is nice to see I had support from older women, younger women.”

Poker Hall of Famer, “Ambassador of Poker,” and WPT television analyst Mike Sexton, who won WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club, said of Zajmovic, “I have the greatest respect for her. This is no fluke, in my opinion. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s that good.”

He added that she is a “combo of Phil Ivey and Vanessa Selbst.” That is some serious praise.

When Tuesday’s action began, our champ was the chip leader of the remaining ten players with nearly 3 million. Of her opponents, just Jean-Pascal Savard had over 2 million, 900,000 chips behind. She didn’t add many chips by the time the six-handed final table began, having climbed to barely over 3 million, but that still left her in good shape. Tam Ho was the chip leader at that point with 3.570 million and nobody else was over the 2 million mark.

Zajmovic dropped a chunk early at the official final table as she doubled-up Mekhail Mekhail, but that still left her in the second spot.

Savard was the first one to be eliminated when it was down to six players, knocked out by Jean-Francois Bouchard. With A-4 suited, Bouchard had hit top pair (Fours) on the flop with the nut flush draw and ended up all-in. Savard called, putting himself all-in, with Jacks. The flush came on the turn and Savard was out.

It was the 100th hand of the final table that Zajmovic began her run. She doubled through Eric Afriat on that hand and then ten hands later knocked out Mekhail in fifth place to grow her stack to 5.160 million chips. Mekhail had raised pre-flop to 225,000 with A-J suited, Zajmovic raised over the top with Kings and, pot committed, Mekhail made the reluctant call. No surprises from there and Zajmovic had the chip lead.

The long slog of the final table continued from there, with players often trading large pots. Zajmovic fell back, seeing her stack chopped in half, but on Hand 175, she eliminated Tam Ho in fourth place. Zajmovic flopped the nut flush and that was that.

To get to heads-up on Hand 194, a crippled Eric Afriat was all-in pre-flop for just a few chips. Both Zajmovic and Bouchard checked it down from there with Zajmovic winning the hand.

To start heads-up play, Bouchard had a 6.850 million to 4.525 million chip lead.

The two players traded the lead once or twice before Zajmovic took over, grabbing a 3.5 million chip lead on Hand 227 (this was a REALLY long six-handed final table). From there, she didn’t look back. On the final hand, Bouchard made an unusual move, going all-in out of turn before the flop for 5.125 million chips. Bouchard had A-9 and Zajmovic had K-Q, spades all around. Zajmovic flopped a King and turned a Queen to win the hand and her first-ever WPT title. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Final Table Results

1.    Ema Zajmovic  –  CAD $ 261,000 (USD $ 200,769*)
2.    Jean-Francois Bouchard  –  CAD $ 169,270 (USD $ 130,208)
3.    Eric Afriat  –  CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 83,608)
4.    Tam Ho  –  CAD $ 71,670 (USD $ 55,131)
5.    Mekhail Mekhail  –  CAD $ 55,200 (USD $ 42,462)
6.    Jean-Pascal Savard  –  CAD $ 45,690 (USD $ 35,146)

*Lead photo credit

Poker News Daily WPT Playground Main Event Day 3: Ema Zajmovic Seeking Second WPT Final Table WPT Playground Main Event Day 3: Ema Zajmovic Seeking Second WPT Final Table

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Playground Main Event is down to its final day, with just ten players remaining from the 28 that began Monday’s action. After Day 3, it is French-Canadian Ema Zajmovic who holds the chip lead with 2.985 million chips.

Zajmovic, a Quebec native, is apparently quite fond of Montreal’s Playground Poker Club, as this is her second straight deep run at this card room. In November, she made the final table and finished fifth in the WPT Montreal Main Event, winning CAD $ 102,010 (USD $ 76,108). That cash comprises the bulk of her $ 100,000 in live tournament earnings, though she did also cash in this past summer’s World Series of Poker Main Event for $ 15,000.

As she was last time she was in this position, Zajmovic is seeking to become the first woman in World Poker Tour history to win an open Main Event.

“Honestly, I have been running really good today,”Zajmovic told “It is a mix too because I have spots where I have the momentum. I hope it will continues [sic] tomorrow because at the last final table it was so bad because I ran so bad. I think the key is to have the momentum all the time and play the best you can with what you have. We’ll see what happens and if I can keep getting lucky.”

Very early on in Day 3, Zajmovic experienced some of that “run good.” After chip Hendrik Latz (the chip leader entering the day) raised pre-flop to 40,000 chips and Jean-Pascal Savard (second in chips) called, Zajmovic moved all-in for 330,000. Latz called and Savard folded. Zajmovic turned over A-Q suited, but Latz held A-K, dominating her hand. The flop was J-8-8 with none of Zajmovic’s suit, so her flush was out the window. She struck gold on the turn, though, with a Queen and with a low card on the river, Zajmovic survived to double-up.

Another player was an illustration of how things can go south in a hurry in poker. Henry Tran at one point had 2.330 million chips, over 20 percent of the chips in play at the time when the average stack was 3.6 percent of the tournament’s chips. He couldn’t keep it going, though, ending Day 3 with just over half a million chips. It looks like he just kept get caught up in hands where he couldn’t seal the deal, committing lots of chips and then having to bail. For instance, in one hand, he raised to 52,000 pre-flop, Savard re-raised to 139,000, and Tran decided to four-bet to 277,000. When Savard shoved, though, Tran tanked and finally laid down his hand, as he would have been risking his tournament life. That left him with 575,000 chips at the time.

Day 4 – what appears to be the final day of the tournament – is underway at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1.    Ema Zajmovic – 2,985,000
2.    Jean-Pascal Savard – 2,095,000
3.    Tam Ho – 1,700,000
4.    Eric Afriat – 1,135,000
5.    Jean-Francois Bouchard – 1,005,000
6.    Carter Swidler – 615,000
7.    Henry Tran – 525,000
8.    Ryan Yu – 520,000
9.    Danny Li – 495,000
10.    Mekhail Mekhail – 300,000

Poker News Daily WPT Playground Main Event Day 2: Top Three Separated by a Thread WPT Playground Main Event Day 2: Top Three Separated by a Thread

The World Poker Tour (WPT) got back in action this weekend north of the border at Montreal’s Playground Poker Club with the aptly named WPT Playground Main Event. This is not to be confused with WPT Montreal, which the legendary Mike Sexton won at the same venue in November. After just two days (technically three, since there were two starting days), there are only 28 players remaining of the original 380. It is a very tight race at the top with Hendrik Latz going into Monday as the chip leader with 838,000 chips, but both Jean-Pascal Savard and Eric Afriat are close behind with 834,000 and 825,000, respectively.

A World Poker Tour title would be significant for anybody, but it would be tremendous for Latz, who has just $ 156,426 in lifetime live tournament earnings (my usual disclaimer applies: I say “just” like I wouldn’t KILL to have won that much money playing poker). Latz’s biggest live cash was for just over $ 50,000 when he finished 27th in the 2014 European Poker Tour (RIP EPT) Grand Final in 2014. Latz has one WPT cash to his credit: $ 31,611 for a 31st place finish in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

As mentioned, the race for the top spot is extremely close, so it obviously didn’t take much for Latz to eek out the lead over his competitors. His big boost came at the end of the night. Nicolas Le Floch, who qualified via the tournament’s partial namesake, partypoker, moved all-in pre-flop for 150,000 chips with pocket Fives. Latz called with A-Q. The board left little suspense, producing an Ace on the flop. Le Floch got no help the rest of the way and was eliminated in 29th place while Hendrik Latz grew his stack to 830,000 chips. Clearly, he nabbed a few more chips to reach his end of Day 2 level.

The buy-in for the WPT Playground Main Event is CAD $ 3,200 + $ 300. After three percent is taken out for staff gratuities, the total prize pool came out to CAD $ 1,179,520 (US $ 907,323). Just 48 players will finish in the money with CAD $ 261,000 (US $ 200,769) going to the eventual winner.

Obviously, the money bubble burst on Day 2; it did so in dramatic fashion. Thundup Ringpa and Savard raised and re-raised each other until Ringpa was all-in for 215,000 and Savard called. Ringpa had A-K suited and Savard had Aces; Savard had a huge advantage. The flop was K-J-9, pairing Ringpa’s King and then another King on the turn gave Ringpa trips and improbable lead. The river, though, was an Ace, giving Savard a full house and knocking Ringpa out of the tournament. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Hendrik Latz – 838,000
2.    Jean-Pascal Savard – 834,000
3.    Eric Afriat – 825,000
4.    Kelly Kellner – 809,000
5.    Henry Tran – 693,000
6.    Kalpesh Raichura – 645,000
7.    Pascal Lefrancois – 635,000
8.    Patrick Blye – 508,000
9.    Anthony Zinno – 499,000
10.    Ryan Yu – 491,000

Poker News Daily