Posts Tagged ‘Season’
Looking to finish off the Season XV schedule with a bang, the World Poker Tour will be setting up shop in the sunny state of Florida for the next 10 days. Kicking off the trio of events to finish this year’s WPT roster of events will be tomorrow’s start of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
Now in its second year, the change for the WPT to playing its final events at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, seems to have worked out well. When it was held last year, the WPT scheduled three events – a $ 3500 buy in tournament (the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), a $ 10,000 tournament (the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale) and a $ 15,000 restricted access event (the inaugural WPT Tournament of Champions) – that were all conducted on the grounds in Hollywood. For the most part, the WPT was satisfied with the numbers for two of the events and are looking to pick up the numbers on the third.
The Showdown was quite popular with the players, with 1222 entries being received for the “re-entry” tournament (eventually won by Justin Young over Garrett Greer). Even the Finale went well, with 342 players ponying up the $ 10K to be a part of the action (and seeing David ‘Chino’ Rheem emerge as champion). Perhaps the only disappointing spot on the season closer was the inaugural Tournament of Champions, but that could have been more from the format than the lack of players who wanted to take part.
The Tournament of Champions replaced the WPT World Championship during last year’s finale in Florida. Only players who had previously won a WPT Main Tour event (not a National or Regional title) were eligible to take part in the tournament. The players who had won on the tour over the previous year had part of their prize from winning their event pulled to guarantee them access to the tournament, but past champions had to put up $ 15,000 to play in the tournament. This resulted in a rather paltry 64 players that took part in the TOC, with 2015 WPT Amsterdam champion Farid Yachou becoming the first ever champion of the WPT TOC.
There is a reason that the word “paltry” is used along with the inaugural WPT TOC. The 64 players that attended the tournament in 2016 were from the 227 previous champions that have been crowned in the history of the WPT Main Tour. The 17 players (plus two more from the Seminole Hard Rock events preceding the TOC) who have won on the WPT this season are guaranteed entry and bring the total potential number of participants to 242 (Darren Elias was a prior WPT Champions’ Club member and Sam Panzica won two tournaments during the season), but who will show up from the Champions’ Club to take them on? The WPT is trying to bring in some more former champions for the tournament by spicing up the prize package.
The tournament sponsor, Monster Headphones, has not only added $ 100,000 to the prize pool but also has put up a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe for the eventual champion, a high-end sports car that starts at $ 41,000. This is in addition to other “spoils of war” such as a custom-made poker table from BBO Poker Tables, custom fit sunglasses from Maui Jim, and a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red watch, among other items.
The tournament will once again feature a different structure than the usual WPT events. Starting with six-handed tables, a 30-second shot clock will also be employed, which basically means what it says – players have 30 seconds to make their decisions on each street. If a player needs more time, they are given five 30-second extensions that they can use as they see fit (one at a time or all five at once) up to the final table. At the final table, the players will be reset with four 30-second extensions each.
The Showdown and the Finale are also the last chances players have to earn points towards the WPT Player of the Year. With those two events remaining, it is a neck and neck battle between Benjamin Zamani (2500 points), who has led for virtually the entire season, and two-time WPT champion Panzica (2450 points). If those two should falter, lurking in the background is WPT Montreal champion, WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton (2100), who could be itching to be a spoiler in the competition between Zamani and Panzica. Elias (1650 points) and WPT L. A. Poker Classic champion Daniel Strelitz (1450) round out the Top Five, but they would need astronomically good runs in Florida to get into the race (like winning both the Showdown and the Finale).
The next 10 days will be a poker junkie’s dream and, after all the chips have been tossed and cards ruffed, the doors on Season XV of the World Poker Tour. The only question remaining is who will be the big winners? We’ll look to answer those questions starting tomorrow with the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
It was thought by this point that the Global Poker League, the burgeoning team poker organization created by the Global Poker Index and its head honcho Alex Dreyfus, would have already started its second season. However, Season 2 of the GPL has been held up while Dreyfus moves forward with other endeavors.
Chief among Dreyfus’ current interests are the start of the eight-team GPL China. For that league, Dreyfus has been able to sign a major deal with JuzhongJoy, a Beijing operation that will assist Dreyfus with operations, distribution, and sponsorships inside the Communist (but still quite capitalist when it comes to business) nation. “We want to…become the NBA of poker in China!” Dreyfus enthusiastically stated in an e-mail announcing the partnership.
This isn’t the end of regionalized GPL outlets either. “I am happy to tease that GPL will support other regional initiatives such as the GPL Heads Up Challenge in France,” Dreyfus mentioned in the e-mail. “Alongside GPL China, we are currently preparing the rollout of GPL India and GPL Latin America also. Our goal is to connect poker fans and help them be a part of the GPL adventure, regardless of where they are.”
The India market is one that has been particularly red-hot of late. In February two outlets, the Poker Sports League and the Online Poker League, opened for business in the second largest nation in the world. It must be thought that Dreyfus, whom it appeared that both organizations were mimicking with the introduction of their leagues, is wanting to take on these upstarts and become the definitive regional league when it comes to poker.
The fate of the original GPL is one that has come up on a few occasions. Since the Montreal Nationals defeated the Berlin Bears in December in a series that went the maximum 11-game distance before the Nationals took down the title 6-5, there has been absolutely nothing that has come up regarding the GPL. There are reasons for this, however.
In an exclusive discussion with Poker News Daily, Dreyfus has said that “there were issues” with the inaugural season of the GPL. “In no way did we envision the season going nine months long,” Dreyfus commented and he is accurate. Few sports leagues can function on such an elongated schedule because keeping the attention of the fans is paramount. Dreyfus has said that he wants a shorter season and is working towards that goal.
As a part of that shorter season, Dreyfus says that there are changes afoot for the entire way the GPL operates. “I don’t think anyone want to see the same exact format of last year, with hundreds of matches played, long delays and such,” Dreyfus commented. “We know what we want to do based on the feedback from the audience and the mistakes we made…we will make the GPL a better product.”
Part of that new approach probably will not include changes to the online format that the GPL used in 2016. The online matches were found by newcomers to the Twitch streams to be a bit of a disappointment as they were expecting to tune in to watch the players actually sitting around a table under live circumstances. The online format of those matches, however, allow for players from around the world to be a part of the action rather than requiring them to be in a set location. There might be some changes made to the “Summer Series” – which basically were the online matches but with the participants standing inside “The Cube” to play while the World Series of Poker was running in Las Vegas – but Dreyfus would not elaborate on what changes would be made except to say they would be announced “soon.”
Dreyfus isn’t letting the GPL sit idle, as shown by his actions in India, France, and China. But it would be good to see something on the international circuit – even if it were just a start date – so that those who have become fans of the GPL know when it will return.
The Global Poker League will wrap up their inaugural season beginning on Tuesday. By the end of the week – Thursday, to be precise – the first champion of the fledgling poker league will be crowned, with that champion taking down a $ 100,000 grand prize as their reward.
After playing through a grueling 14-week regular season that was split up pre- and post-World Series of Poker and battling through the “Summer Series” that saw the teams meet physically, the GPL determined the eight teams of the 12-team league that would compete for the GPL World Championship last month. These eight teams will play on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the two conferences deciding their champions on those days.
First up will be the GPL Americas on Tuesday, with the lineup going off as such:
#1 Montreal Nationals (130K in chips) vs. #4 San Francisco Rush (100K), 3PM Eastern Time
#3 Sao Paulo Metropolitans (110K) vs. #2 L. A. Sunset (120K) 4:30PM Eastern Time
Each team will choose three players from their roster for the “best of seven” (meaning a team will need to win four matches) heads up schedules that will take place (a fourth player can also be chosen by the manager that can take the place of one of the original three team members, but that swap can only be done at the start of a series). As the higher seeds, both the Nationals and the Sunset will get to see the rosters of their opponents before setting their lineups (another benefit of having a better regular season record in addition to the extra chips), which will be critical to finding just the right player combination for the fight at hand. The victors of those two matches will meet at 6PM (Eastern Time) to determine the champion of the GPL Americas.
On Wednesday, it will be the GPL Eurasia’s turn to hit “The Cube” in Las Vegas:
#1 Moscow Wolverines (130K) vs. #4 London Royals (100K), 3PM Eastern Time
#3 Berlin Bears (110K) vs. #2 Hong Kong Stars (120K), 4:30PM Eastern Time
The same format as for the GPL Americas on Tuesday will hold for the GPL Eurasia on Wednesday. The teams will have three of their players on hand for battle, with each schedule being decided on a “best of seven” heads up format and the final two teams expected to hit “The Cube” to determine the champion at 6PM (Eastern Time).
There are some interesting twists that will ensure that all players will get in “The Cube.” Each player must have played at least once in the contest before a player can make a repeat appearance. After each of the three players have been used on a set schedule from the manager, the managers for each team can then name – on a player-by-player basis – who will enter “The Cube” next for the team.
Once each conference has determined their champion, Thursday will be “Championship Day” for one of those two teams and the GPL itself. The GPL Championship will see each team enter “The Cube” in a “best of nine” (five victories to win) series. Each team will start off with 500K in chips for each match and neither team will have any advantage – no knowledge of the other team’s lineup, no chip advantage, nothing.
From a look at the way things are set with the schedule, it is possible to see that the GPL Americas teams might have an advantage. Playing on their “home court” per se because they are in the country, the Americas teams will be on their normal schedule. This might be negated if the GPL Eurasia teams arrive a bit early to get their team members (and their “body clocks”) on the same schedule as the Americas teams (3PM Eastern is late evening in Europe and early morning in Asia, not to mention noon in Las Vegas where the matches will take place). Teams like the Wolverines (with their all-Russian lineup) and the Stars (with their Chinese roster) could have their work cut out for them.
By Thursday, the first champion will make history for the GPL. Who will it be? Follow along at the GPL website, where you can watch the action on their live stream from Las Vegas and where you can also get in on their Bracket Challenge!
The European Poker Tour’s (EPT) Barcelona Main Event kicked off Monday, the first Main Event of EPT Season 13. It was a healthy turnout for Day 1A, as 466 players paid the €5,300 to take a shot at the season’s first big title. The total field should climb well over 1,000 runners; the first starting flight is almost always the smallest. Alex Brand sits atop the 243 surviving players with 178,800 chips.
It is a close race at the top of the Day 1A leader board. Bernd Vogelhuber is close behind Brand with 167,000 chips and after him, there are six players in the 150,000 range: Pael Krasnoselskii (155,000), Michael Addamo (153,100), Dorian Rios Pavon (152,700), Kestutis Gecevicius (152,200), Victor Bogdanov (152,200), and Igor Yaroshevskyy (150,000).
Should brand keep the momentum going and simply cash in the tournament, it would immediately be one of the largest cashes of his live tournament career. According to TheHendonMob.com, Brand has five live cashes for a total of just $ 28,276 (I say “just,” but that’s still eight times more than I have won in live tourneys). Three are for less money that he would win with a min-cash.
Oftentimes, the most significant hand of the day involves the chip leader and is the main reason that person made it to the highest rung on the leader board. Not so yesterday. One of the most exciting hands of the night played out during Level 8. According to PokerNews, Athanasios Fergiatakis raised to 1,900 pre-flop and was called by Koray Aldemir. Charlie Carrel shoved for 13,700 chips. After getting a count, Fergiatakis made the call. That still left Aldemir to act and he decided to make things even more interesting by himself going all-in. After once again asking for a count and then pondering his move, Fergiatakis called, having both opponents covered.
Their hands were good, but worse than you might expect in this situation. Carrel had 9-9, Aldemir had A-K of hearts, and Fergiatakis had 8-8. Carrel himself was surprised to be in the lead.
The flop was J-T-4, keeping Carrel in ahead, but giving Aldemir a gut-shot straight draw to go with his two over cards. A 9 was dealt on the turn, producing a welcome set for Carrel and eliminating Aldermir’s Ace and King outs. It was the Queen on the river, though, that changed everything. At first, Fergiatakis thought he had won the hand, as that card gave him a Queen-high straight, but then he realized it also gave Aldemir a Broadway straight. Aldemir took down the main and side pots, eliminating Carrel in the process. Aldemir finished the day with 127,700 chips.
Day 1B is already underway in Barcelona as a new batch of players has taken to the felts. We’ll check in later tonight or tomorrow to see how things went.
2016 European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event – Day 1A Chip Counts
1. Alex Brand – 178,800
2. Bernd Vogelhuber – 167,600
3. Pavel Krasnoselskii – 155,000
4. Michael Addamo – 153,100
5. Dorian Rios Pavon – 152,700
6. Kestutis Gecevicius – 152,200
7. Victor Bogdanov – 150,200
8. Igor Yaroshevskyy – 150,000
9. Jaroslaw Sikora – 139,000
10. Shaun Deeb – 136,500
The thirteenth season of the European Poker Tour (EPT) has started and today marked the opening of the season’s first Main Event, at EPT Barcelona. More on the tournament itself in a later article, but for now, one of the more interesting bits of news coming out of the EPT recently was that PokerStars, which operates the Tour, changed the payout structure of its tournaments. Instead of paying 15 percent of the field, tournaments will now pay down to 20 percent.
In a blog post announcing the decision, PokerStars briefly explained that it was a way to make the events more fun for more people, giving people a chance to at least come away with something, even if they didn’t nab one of the top payouts. Of course, this means that those top payouts will not be as large anymore, as those extra cashes have to come from someone. PokerStars said, though, that the effect shouldn’t be as severe as people might think:
For example, 220 players bought into a €1,000 Hyper at Barcelona last year. The winner collected €45,134 and 31 players were paid out with 31st getting €1,878. This year, the winner would collect €38,028 but 47 players would be paid out with 47th getting €1,238. That same 31st player would get €1,921.
In an interview with PokerNews, PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson gave additional insight into the decision making process, saying that about half the players in EPT Season 12 played in only one or two events, even though each stop has dozens and dozens of tournaments, many with affordable buy-ins. He continued:
We started looking at the payouts in a vacuum and to see what made sense. We took all the preconceptions out of it. We saw that if we would pay out 20 percent instead of 15 percent, we could give 5 percent of the field a do-over. It’s effectively like saying ‘Thanks for coming, I hope you had a lot of fun. Sorry you didn’t make it into the big money, good luck the next time because here’s money for another shot.” If someone has a buy-in to play another poker tournament, that’s a good thing. So that’s the direction we ended up going.
“To keep a healthy poker economy, a solid liquidity for live tournament poker, you need more winners,” Johnson added later. “You need more people able to buy in and play so the fields continue to grow. You don’t want to see a situation where it just stagnates, which happens if there’s not getting new money in.”
Johnson said that unlike when the payout structure was increased from 10 to 15 percent, players were not surveyed to seek their input for this latest change. Looking back to the previous change, Johnson recalled:
The options were 10 percent, 12.5 percent, and 15 percent, and all three of them got 33 percent of the votes. Whatever we did, 66 percent was going to be angry. We did what we thought was in the best interest of the poker economy at that time.
This time, we ran all the data we had and decided again to do what we thought was in the best interest of the poker economy and poker players. We’ve done what we think was the right thing to do.
Many pros did not react to the change positively, as the money that is being removed from the upper-end payouts, particularly in the high buy-in tournaments, is a big deal for top tournament players. They don’t want thousands or tens of thousands of dollars being removed from final table positions, as that’s money they count on – as much as one can count on making a final table regularly – to pay the bills and to pay for more tournaments.
Shortly after the PokerNews interview, PokerStars decided to revert back to a 15 percent payout structure for €50,000 Super High Roller and €25,000 Single-Day High Roller events, which makes sense, since those are populated by pros who really don’t care about min-cashes and breaking even on their buy-ins.