Posts Tagged ‘Race’

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.

The post Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Jason Mercier Threatening Runaway with WSOP Player of the Year Race

 Jason Mercier Threatening Runaway with WSOP Player of the Year Race

With only about two weeks to go (and another 19 or so tournaments in the canister), poker professional Jason Mercier is threatening to make the race for the 2016 World Series of Poker Player of the Year a runaway.

Mercier has been a runaway train since the start of the 2016 WSOP, fired in part by the prop bets he made on whether he would win three bracelets during the run of the Series (many people, including his largest bet with Vanessa Selbst, have allegedly bought out of that one now!). Within the first two weeks of the schedule, Mercier had racked up two wins, a runner-up finish and another final table spot on his way to earning 2121.69 points. Along with the current lead on the POY table, Mercier has also accumulated 10 cashes for a grand total of $ 958,518.

To demonstrate how much of a crushing lead Mercier has in the WSOP POY competition, another double bracelet winner is currently sitting in the second position. The United Kingdom’s Benny Glaser has picked up two bracelets (both in Omaha Hi/Low Split-8 or Better, oddly enough) but has only been able to put four more cashes together with that achievement. Thus, Glaser’s 1352.3 points lags far behind what Mercier has put on the board to this mark of the WSOP.

Demonstrating it isn’t always about finishing first in a tournament (but, let’s be honest, it really is), only three of the next eight places are covered by players who have been able to corral a 2016 WSOP bracelet. Max Silver, for example, has been cashed in nine events so far at the WSOP, with none of them being a finish higher than 12th place. Those finishes have given him enough points to capture the third slot on the standings with 1345.39 points, however (and watch how close the POY race would be if you removed Mercier’s outlier performance).

2016 WSOP bracelet winner Michael Gathy from Belgium has added a second place finish to his resume (with the two tournaments separated by a week and in two different disciplines, Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Lowball and Six-Handed Texas Hold’em) to push himself into the fourth place position with 1280.91 points, with the Top Five rounded out by the U. K.’s Stephen Chidwick (1278.09). Canada’s Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson (1273.05 points), Randy Ohel (1256.91), bracelet winners Loren Klein (1234.78) and Martin Kozlov (1214.87) and Michael Semenov (1214.69) finish off the Top Ten.

Just to repeat Mercier’s dominance:  he currently has a 769.39-point lead over Glaser; the gap between Glaser and the 10th place Semenov is only 137.61 points.

Looking deeper into the POY rankings, John Monnette has been able to push his way into the 11th place slot, lurking less than 10 points behind Semenov with his 1204.77 points. Justin Bonomo is having another impressive WSOP with his 1197.99 points, but it is Ryan Laplante who might just steal the show. Laplante has been able to rack up 10 cashes so far at the WSOP, with one of them a bracelet win (Event #12, the $ 565 Pot Limit Omaha tournament) and sits in 13th place with 1192.58 points. More importantly for Laplante, he is one cash away from tying the record in one summer in Las Vegas and three away from tying the record in one calendar year (one of the many players who are benefitting from the expanded payout schedule at the 2016 WSOP). The rest of the Top 20 has Paul Volpe (1185.71 points), Daniel Strelitz (1165.98), Eli Elezra (1143.19), Matt Stout (1118.55), Dan Kelly (1115.56), James Obst (1110.44) and Brandon Shack-Harris (1102.54) in 14th through 20th places, respectively (the third double bracelet winner of the 2016 WSOP, Ian Johns, isn’t seen until 22nd place).

To reiterate, remember Mercier’s huge edge on Glaser (769.39 points)…then consider that Glaser’s lead over Shack-Harris is only 249.76 points.

It is going to be pretty difficult to catch Mercier, but there’s still time to achieve the feat. With two more weeks of tournaments in Las Vegas – and the 2016 WSOP Asia/Pacific on the horizon (a time and schedule have not yet been announced) – there will be events that can put some points on the board. If Mercier continues on this blitzkrieg, however, the WSOP Player of the Year may be decided before the cards even hit the air in Australia, let alone the “November Nine” final table for the WSOP Championship Event.

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Michigan Enters Race to be Next State to Enact Online Gaming and Poker Regulation

 Michigan Enters Race to be Next State to Enact Online Gaming and Poker Regulation

After slumbering through the first quarter of 2016, the drive for another state to join the three United States locales that have already enacted online gaming or poker legislation grew by one with the addition of the state of Michigan.

On Friday, Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall introduced his bill SB 889, or “The Lawful Internet Gaming Act” to the Michigan State Senate. Kowall is not a newcomer to the Michigan Senate, having been seated in the legislative body since 2010 and earning reelection from the 15th District in 2014. The bill will begin its process at the Committee on Regulatory Reform (of which Kowall is a member) and look to make its way through the Michigan Legislature before the end of 2016, which will be the end of the current legislative session.

The bill itself mirrors many that have been seen in the past – the reason for enacting the legislation is to “protect the residents of the state” and it is “in the best interest of the state to regulate the activity” – and the specifics are also along the same lines with other states. Players would have to be 21 years old to participate; the activities allowed would include online poker and casino gaming; the different casinos and tribal gaming outlets in the state would be eligible for a license and licensing fees would be $ 5 million with a 10% tax on gross gaming revenues. Where the bill differentiates is that is explicitly allows for either a U. S.-based gaming network (interstate network or compacts) or allows for international play.

Tucked into the bill is the statement “a wager may be accepted from an individual who is not physically present in the state.” This is a stark departure from previous efforts in other states that restricted their activities to just inside their borders. With this said, there are difficulties that face the bill in the Michigan Legislature.

Michigan has casino gaming and tribal gaming, two forces that often clash as they seek to pull in as much of the market as possible. There is also a system of charitable poker rooms throughout the state that have, for the past three-plus years, been under consistent fire from the state government as to their operation and regulation. Even though Kowall is a part of the trifecta of leadership in the Wolverine State (both bodies of the Legislature and the Michigan governorship under Rick Snyder are all Republican), there may not be much stomach to expand gaming in the state right now.

With Michigan getting into the mix, it reawakens the drive for online gaming and/or poker regulation in some other areas that have perhaps tabled the issue. In California, the nearly decade-long logjam between the different parties in the Golden State (card rooms, tribal casinos and horse racing tracks) shows no sign of being broken, even though there have bene offers to the horse racing industry to get out of the way (to the tune of $ 60 million). Adding into the infighting issues are the charges currently pending against the “on leave” CEO of Amaya Gaming and PokerStars, David Baazov, which have thwarted PokerStars’ lobbying efforts in the state.

In Pennsylvania, it is more political infighting that has shut down online gaming and poker regulation. Despite additional revenues that would allow them to try to keep taxes a bit lower, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is still at odds over a budget for the Keystone State. At one time, online regulation was in the mix for the state but, over several rewrites of the different budgets that have attempted to move through the legislature, online gaming and poker regulation is currently not in the mix as the legislature is mired down in a quagmire.

The same is true for legislation in the state of New York. After introducing it earlier this year and actually having the regulations included in a budgetary statement, online gaming and poker regulation was removed last month as the budget moved forward without it. For the past two years (and now, it seems, three), online gaming and poker regulation has been proposed as a “talking point,” but it hasn’t gotten much further.

Since 2013, when Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware became the first three states to pass online gaming regulation of some sort, there has been an audience waiting with bated breath for the next state to come along. As this is a major election year, it is highly unlikely that any legislative body will touch a bill that has, to be honest, significant and controversial issues potentially with their constituents. Even though Michigan’s moves are interesting, don’t expect a fourth state to come along before 2017.

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2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 2: Glantz, Volpe in Close Race for Top Spot

 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 2: Glantz, Volpe in Close Race for Top Spot

Day 2 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic saw a healthy flock of new players enter before the deadline, creating the second largest Five Diamond of all time. There were about 430 players or thereabouts who participated on Monday’s Day 1, but by the time registration closed prior to Level 9 of Day 2, the total field added up to 639 players. The total prize pool is $ 6,198,300 with $ 1,587,382 going to the winner. The final 63 players will make at least the minimum cash of $ 21,074.

With 244 players remaining, it is a neck-and-neck battle between poker pros Matt Glantz and Paul Volpe for the top spot. Glantz has the tiniest of leads with 239,700 chips compared to Volpe’s 239,100. A number of players with extensive poker success are at the top of the leader board, including Curt Kohlberg, Keven Stammen, Alan Keating, Brian Rast, and Kevin Saul.

The chip leader, Glantz, is one of the most accomplished live tournament players of all time. In October, he won a $ 300 + $ 30 event at the Parx Casino Big Stax XIII festival to eclipse the $ 6 million mark in career earnings. He has 37 World Series of Poker cashes, including numerous final tables, and a dozen WPT cashes. He recently stepped down as ambassador for the Parx Casino poker room after three years.

Glantz is also one of the more outspoken players out there, never afraid to speak his mind on important poker issues. This summer, he found himself embroiled in a mild controversy when he took to Twitter and wrote an op-ed for Bluff to lodge complaints about several things at the 2015 WSOP. He said the new Modiano cards were garbage (echoing the sentiments of many players), the new structures for the low buy-in events were bad for players, the new in-house coverage of the tournaments was mediocre, and the food was sub-standard. He also suggested that the WSOP create a panel of players to help address issues and improve the WSOP. WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel actually blocked him on Twitter, but after receiving heaps of criticism from the poker community, unblocked Glantz and said that he is open to hearing all players’ voices.

Day 3 of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic is currently underway at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and should run for about another hour or so. Expect to see around 100 players return for Day 4.

2015 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Matt Glantz – 239,700
2.    Paul Volpe – 239,100
3.    Curt Kohlberg – 216,700
4.    Keven Stammen – 214,400
5.    Edward Ochana – 213,200
6.    Michael Aron – 212,600
7.    Steve Foutty – 202,400
8.    Alan Keating – 199,800
9.    Brian Rast – 198,700
10.    Kevin Saul – 192,400

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