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Breaking Down The 2017 World Series of Poker Final Table

 Breaking Down The 2017 World Series of Poker Final Table

After heading off on an unknown road a couple of weeks ago – and, instead of having to wait 100 days to come back as in year’s past – the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker’s $ 10,000 Championship Event is ready for action on Thursday night. In front of the cameras of ESPN, poker’s next World Champion will be determined. But who will it be? Let’s break it down and determine who will eventually emerge as the “last man standing” in poker’s premiere event.

Because there is no longer a “November Nine,” momentum is going to count for something when the players come back. Those players who were cruising on Monday when the final table was determined are still going to be feeling good about their chances. But, as any good poker player knows, “feeling good” isn’t the same as playing good. Thus, this is how the Poker News Daily Crystal Ball sees the action breaking down over the next three nights.

Just to update those who have come to the party late, here’s the breakdown (by seat) of the players remaining:

Seat 1:  John Hesp, 85.7 million
Seat 2:  Scott Blumstein, 97.25 million
Seat 3:  Antoine Saout, 21.75 million
Seat 4:  Benjamin Pollok, 35.175 million
Seat 5:  Jack Sinclair, 20.2 million
Seat 6:  Damian Salas, 22.175 million
Seat 7:  Ben Lamb, 18.5 million
Seat 8:  Bryan Piccioli, 33.8 million
Seat 9:  Dan Ott, 26.475 million

And now, the predictions:

Ninth Place:  Damian Salas

Salas is one of the unknown factors at the final table, but he’s surrounded by a slew of sharks. With Lamb on his left and Pollok on his right, he will be under siege almost from the starting gun. I see Pollak being the beneficiary of most of Salas’ chip stack in knocking him out, but Salas will get the nice parting gift of a $ 1 million payday on his way out of the Rio.

Eighth Place:  Jack Sinclair

Sinclair has a similar problem that Salas has, bereft of ammunition while the armies mass around him. He also doesn’t have a great deal of experience in this situation; he has a grand total of three cashes in his poker career, with two coming at this year’s WSOP and the other (and previously his largest payday) coming at the partypoker Millions Live in April, where Sinclair made £7500. For his departure, I see a race situation between he and Saout, with Saout emerging on top as Sinclair heads to the door in eighth for $ 1.2 million.

Seventh Place:  Ben Lamb

Lamb is arguably one of the best players at the table, but you can’t last on the short stack that he’ll start the day with on Thursday. People know Lamb’s history and talent and aren’t going to mix it up with him unless they have a monster, meaning that Lamb will have little opportunity to pick up chips to bolster his stack. With both Salas and Sinclair out, I see the chips heading to the stack of Pollak, who also is a veteran of the international poker wars who can trade chops with Lamb without breathing hard.

Sixth Place:  Dan Ott

Ott will be able to squeak through the Thursday segment of the final table – playing down from nine to six – but that’s where the road will end. He won’t be too disappointed, however, with the $ 1.675 million that he will take home for his two weeks of work. His only other cashes came at this year’s WSOP in two preliminary events for career earnings of slightly more than $ 3500.

Fifth Place:  Bryan Piccioli

Piccioli has the experience to come from the pack, but it is going to be tough to get any action with both the big stacks Hesp and Blumstein on his left. As such, his ability to get chips by stealing from the late positions – the button, the cutoff, and the hijack – is going to be severely limited. It will wear on his stack and, while Piccioli will get through Thursday’s play, I can’t see him going beyond Friday.

Fourth Place:  John Hesp

Everyone loves Hesp because of his freewheeling attitude, his age, and the fun he’s having on the felt during his run to the Championship Event final table. These are all great, but the inexperience he has on the table – he’s never played a tournament larger than £100 prior to this – and the pressure will eventually catch up with him. Hesp will be having fun all the way to the bank with the $ 2.6 million he’ll get for his finish on Friday night.

Third Place:  Antoine Saout

Saout will be one of the shorter stacks to start the day on Thursday, but his experience will be able to carry him to the final night of action on Saturday. He’ll be the third-place stack, however, with Blumstein and Pollak having vacuumed up sizeable stacks of chips through the first couple of days. It won’t be such a bad thing for Saout, who finished in the same position back in 2009, and he’ll earn a similar payday ($ 3.5 million versus the $ 3,479,670 in 2009) for his second trip to the WSOP Championship Event final table.

Second Place:  Scott Blumstein

Blumstein seems to have the magic touch to this point in the tournament, but the heat eventually has to cool. The heads-up battle between he and Pollak will be epic – I can even see Blumstein entering the mano y mano fight with the chip lead – but Pollak’s overall skills will allow him to eventually wear down Blumstein. All it takes in heads up play is a couple of mistakes and I don’t see Pollak making them.

First Place:  Benjamin Pollak

The Frenchman is a veteran of the international tournament poker battles, thus he won’t be unnerved by the situation. He’s battled the biggest names in the world, won almost $ 3 million and been to the Winner’s Circle across Europe. Pollak came into Day 7 back on Monday as one of the shorter stacks and he only ratcheted up his play and his chip stack as he motored through the field that day. He should keep the ship steaming forward – all the way to the WSOP Championship Event title.

Whether the Crystal Ball’s predictions come true or not, it promises to be an exciting three days of poker coming from the Rio starting on Thursday night. By the time Saturday comes around, we will know who poker’s next World Champion will be.

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Set

 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Set

One of the most exciting days on the annual poker calendar has been completed, as the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final table has been determined. Leading the final nine players into Thursday’s action is New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein with 97.250 million chips, followed by the UK’s John Hesp with 85.700 million.

Beyond the chip counts, this final table is historic, as it is the first time it features two players who have previously made a WSOP Main Event final table. Antoine Saout, currently seventh in chips, finished third in the Main Event in 2009, while Ben Lamb, in the ninth spot right now, finished third in 2011.

We almost had a third repeat final table member, as Michael Ruane just missed, bowing out in tenth place. Ruane made the Main Event final table last year and would have become just the second person to make back-to-back Main Event final tables. Mark Newhouse did so in 2013 and 2014, finishing in ninth both times.

But wait, there’s more. Saout’s and Lamb’s appearances at the final table are even that much more amazing considering that not only did they both make the final table in the past decade, but they also put together incredibly deep runs in other Main Events. Last year, Saout placed 25th, while in 2009, Lamb came a few breaths away from the final table, getting eliminated in 14th place.

The odds of two final table appearances in such large fields (this year was the third-largest Main Event at 7,221 players) plus making the final three tables last year are just astronomical. Even if neither Saout nor Lamb win the whole thing, they are players that I know I, personally, will remember for a long time.

From purely a chip count perspective, it will be very difficult for either man to make it all the way to the end. Saout has just 21.750 million chips and Lamb is the short stack with 18.050 million. In fact, after Hesp’s 85.700 million chips, the next largest stack belongs to Benjamin Pollak, who has 35.175 million. Everybody is looking way up at the two leaders. Blumstein and Hesp have more chips between them than do the other seven players combined.

Antoine Saout is also part of another first this week. Both he and Pollak are from France, marking the first time in WSOP history that two people from France have made the final table.

For those of you who want to watch the action at the final table, remember that it will play out this week, rather than in November, as it had done for the past decade. The players get a break Tuesday and Wednesday (well, a partial break, as they will have to do interviews for television and what not) and then come back Thursday for a three-day final table.

On Thursday, play will go until six players remain, on Friday, it will go until three remain, and on Saturday a winner will be determined.

The entire final table will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, starting at 9:00pm ET each night. ESPN2 will broadcast the final table on Thursday, while ESPN will have it Friday and Saturday. All of the action will be “semi-live” with a 30 minute delay.

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Chip Counts

1. Scott Blumstein – 97,250,000
2. John Hesp – 85,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak – 35,175,000
4. Bryan Piccioli – 33,800,000
5. Dan Ott – 26,475,000
6. Damian Salas – 22,175,000
7. Antoine Saout – 21,750,000
8. Jack Sinclair – 20,200,000
9. Ben Lamb – 18,050,000

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker: Championship Event Money Bubble Pops, Patrick Lavecchia Tops Field

 2017 World Series of Poker: Championship Event Money Bubble Pops, Patrick Lavecchia Tops Field

Late Thursday evening, the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event reached its second milestone. After becoming the third-largest WSOP Championship Event of all time (the first milestone), the first players to take a bit of the more than $ 67 million prize pool (and get a new mark on their Hendon Mob poker resumes) have been determined with the popping of the money bubble.

That didn’t look like it would happen when Day 3 started Thursday morning. 2600 players were still in contention when the cards hit the air, leaving some wondering if they would be able to make it to the money during Thursday’s play. Leading the pack when they went off the line was Artan Dedusha, but that Day 2 overall lead and a $ 1.50 would get him a cup of coffee and not much more until the money was reached.

More than half of the field that came back on Thursday left the Rio tournament poker arena with nothing more than shattered dreams. Of those that didn’t even come close to the money bubble, former World Champion Greg Raymer was one of the surprises. Coming back from the dinner break with a healthy stack of chips around 300K and looking to drive deep in the Championship Event once again, Raymer would get gutted in back to back hands that led to his demise. First, Raymer’s pocket tens were clipped by a rivered set of sixes to take about 40% of his stack, then saw his pocket Kings get topped by an opponent’s pocket pair of nines that found a third on the flop.

Raymer had plenty of company to join him on the rail to watch the bubble pop. 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem, two-time World Champion Johnny Chan, 1983 World Champion Tom McEvoy, Brandon Shack-Harris, Brian Rast, Mike Matusow, Adrian Mateos, Pierre Neuville, Kristin Bicknell, Juha Helppi, Doug Polk (who will have much more time for commentary on the WSOP broadcasts now), Loni Harwood and Rainer Kempe all would be sent off before the money was in sight. They also weren’t part of the decision that faced WSOP players and officials late in the night.

The original plan for the day was to play five levels (at two hours each) and quit around roughly midnight, but tournament officials decided that, with only 18 players left to the 1084 players who would earn a cash, that one more level on the night would be enough. The players adjusted to this change and, befitting of the decision, battled it out through the two hours of the extra level with several players benefitting from the extra time.

Dominik Nitsche made his statement in the extra level, knocking off Jesus Maceira Gonzales to move his stack up to 745K, while Tom Cannuli aided the field in eliminating another player when his pocket Queens stood over his opponent’s Big Slick on an eight-high board. As the end of the level approached, there were two more players to eliminate to get to the money and WSOP officials decided to go hand-for-hand.

Just before that hand-for-hand process began, there was a particularly interesting hand between, surprisingly, two pros. On a Q-3-2-7-9 board and facing a 63K bet from former “November Niner” Antoine Saout into a healthy pot, Scott Seiver heard the tournament director call for hand-for-hand play as he made his decision. More thought didn’t seem to help Seiver as he could never find the reason for a call as he chucked his cards to the muck. Saout showed some larceny in his soul as he showed Seiver a J-4 for complete air as the table moved on to hand-for-hand action.

The very first deal of hand-for-hand action brought Day 3 to a close. Two players, former WSOP Championship Event final tablist “Tex” Barch and Jason Funke, were able to double up through their hands and stay in the tournament, but two others didn’t. Davidi Kitai rivered an unnecessary full house to eliminate Quan Zhou short of the money and, simultaneously, Roger Campbell couldn’t get a fourth heart on the board for his A as Kenny Shilh’s Queen-high flush eliminated him from the tournament.

With those two eliminations, the final 1084 were determined as a wild celebration ensued (Zhou and Campbell played one hand for a seat to next year’s WSOP Championship Event – Zhou would win that). As everyone celebrated the fact that they had $ 15,000 in their pockets, these players were looking to take much more than the minimum cash:

1. Patrick Lavecchia, 1.552 million
2. Pawel Brzeski, 1.546 million
3. Antoine Saout, 1.529 million
4. Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, 1.523 million
5. Derek Bowers, 1.376 million
6. Mickey Craft, 1.345 million
7. Edward Nassif, 1.345 million
8. Scott Blumstein, 1.34 million
9. Artan Dedusha, 1.288 million
10. Greg Dyer, 1.276 million

Bubbling under the Top Ten is one of last year’s “November Nine” combatants Kenny Hallaert (1.256 million, eleventh place), joined by such other notables as Kitai (1.116 million), Ben Lamb (1.016 million) and Andrey Pateychuk (1 million) over the million-chip mark. Sofia Lovgren (997K), Cannuli (990K), Nitsche (829K) and Jared Jaffee (811K) are all in good shape to make a long run.

Day 4 will begin at 11AM (Pacific Time) as the remaining players decide who gets what piece of the monstrous prize pool. While making it to this point is an achievement, all who are surviving – even Jeff Del Castilho, who sits with EXACTLY 2000 in chips to start the day – still have the dream of becoming poker’s next World Champion. That still is a long way away, however, as the 2017 World Series of Poker grinds onward.

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker: Artan Dedusha Leads as Field Comes Together for Day 3

 2017 World Series of Poker: Artan Dedusha Leads as Field Comes Together for Day 3

The 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event is in full swing as, after the completion of Day 2C early this morning, Artan Dedusha will take the survivors towards the first day of action when all the competitors will be battling it out at the same time.

Dedusha started the day’s action with a decent 109,700 in chips, but it was going to be an arduous task to work through the 3300 players who came from Day 1C. Dedusha appeared to be up for the task, albeit with the assistance of some good fortune. The Brit saw some good fortune when his pocket fives flopped a set and busted an opponent’s pocket Kings, then rubbed the rabbit’s foot again when he flopped two pair against an opponent holding pocket Aces. These hands allowed Dedusha to rack up a 680,000-chip stack that not only led the Day 2C competitors but put him in the overall lead.

Dedusha’s work wasn’t the only surprise of the Day 2C action. The newlywed Merciers – Jason and Natasha – both came through the day’s carnage with a bit of a surprise. The six-months pregnant Natasha will hold bragging rights so far in the Mercier clan as she finished off Day 2C with 470,000 chips. As she was bagging those up, Jason was doing the same with his 101K in chips, an impressive feat considering he started Day 2C with just slightly more than half his tournament starting stack (28K).

Of course, with the good also comes the ugly – in poker terms, that means people being eliminated. Daniel Negreanu was one of those who had to make the long walk from the Rio tournament arenas after being eliminated on Day 2C. On what would be the hand that led to his demise, Negreanu showed an Ace after an A 3 5 flop, only to have his opponent show him merely a 6 3 for a wealth of draws but air for actuality.

Perhaps a bit steamed by that, Negreanu moved all in from early position with pocket sevens and found a dance partner in John Allan Hinds. Hinds’ pocket sixes were behind pre-flop, but four spades on the board along with Hinds’ 6♠ gave him a flush and defeated Negreanu, sending him to the rail in disappointment after an outstanding WSOP run.

Negreanu wasn’t the only one who had something to be disappointed about. Former World Champions Ryan Riess, Joe McKeehen and Phil Hellmuth hit the rail, alongside other pros such as Maria Ho, Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen, Paul Volpe, Antonio Esfandiari and Gus Hansen. And there won’t be a rematch of the “Clash of 2016,” as both William Kassouf and Griffin Benger both were eliminated and won’t be around for Day 3.

Dedusha will be the overall leader with his stack on Day 3, but here’s how he came out against his other Day 2C combatants:

1. Artan Dedusha, 680,000
2. Marcin Chmielewski, 564,000
3. Michael Krasienko, 561,300
4. Sonny Franco, 546,700
5. Ryan Hughes, 510,100
6. Tyson Mao, 506,500
7. Denis Timofeev, 498,000
8. Alexander Yen, 490,000
9. Nick Petrangelo, 480,300
10. Natasha Mercier, 476,800

This was the Top Ten from the Day 2A/B battlefield:

1. Lawrence Bayley, 618,000
2. Mickey Craft, 608,100
3. Richard Gryko, 564,800
4. Scott Anderson, 560,000
5. Sergio Castelluccio, 548,500
6. Michael Sklenicka, 540,600
7. Joseph Conor, 511,100
8. Koen Breed, 480,800
9. Grayson Ramage, 471,000
10. Larry Smalley, 469,000

And this (according to WSOP reports) would be the overall leaderboard for the tournament after the completion of Day 2 action:

1. Artan Dedusha, 680,000
2. Lawrence Bayley, 618,000
3. Mickey Craft, 608,100
4. Richard Gryko, 564,800
5. Marcin Chmielewski, 564,000
6. Michael Krasienko, 561,300
7. Scott Anderson, 560,000
8. Sergio Castelluccio, 548,500
9. Sonny Franco, 546,700
10. Michael Sklenicka, 540,600

As stated previously, the field will come together for the first time today on the Rio tournament battlefields. There are 2600 players remaining from the original 7221 runners, but it still may be a bit difficult getting to the 1084 players who will make the minimum $ 15,000 cash and earn a flag on the Hendon Mob board late Thursday night/early Friday morning. There’s still quite a bit of work to be done before we begin speaking about the true contenders for the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event bracelet and the crown of World Champion, but that time is coming closer.

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker: Elior Sion Defeats Tough Final Table, Captures $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship

 2017 World Series of Poker: Elior Sion Defeats Tough Final Table, Captures $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship

Despite arguably not being one of the “bigger” names on the final table, the United Kingdom’s Elior Sion defeated a tough final table to capture one of the biggest prizes in tournament poker, the $ 50,000 Poker Players’ Championship at the 2017 World Series of Poker.

At the start of the final day, the six-man pack was led by none other than Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu, who has been having one of the best WSOP runs of his career that hasn’t resulted in a bracelet, was the leader of that pack at the start of action on Thursday with his 5.93 million chips. That lead wasn’t a huge one, however, as Isaac Haxton was within about 700K in chips (5.205 million) of Canada’s favorite son. Sion started the day in the middle of the pack with his 4.75 million chips, with Germany’s Johannes Becker (4.56 million), Austria’s Ivo Donev (2.99 million chips) and a short stacked (but two-time WSOP winner) Paul Volpe (1.57 million) rounding out the field.

Rather than a sedate opening to the day’s festivities, the six men came out jamming the pots against each other. There also seem to be no rhyme or reason to it as Sion took a big chunk of chips from Haxton, only to turn right around a couple of hands later and give them back and more. Volpe, however, never could get anything going; he lost the first hand he played against Negreanu in Stud Hi/Lo, then saw Sion knock him out in sixth place moments later in 2-7 Triple Draw as Sion took a third draw to make a Deuce to Seven “Wheel” (2-4-5-6-7) to beat him.

The chips continued to fly around the table, with Haxton taking some chips from Becker in 2-7 Triple Draw to take a short-lived lead. The reason that was short lived was because Becker got them back – and the lead – when the game shifted to No Limit Hold’em. Undaunted, Haxton fought back to be the first player to crack the 10 million chip mark when, in Stud, he took hands from both Becker and Negreanu.

Negreanu’s day was a rollercoaster, to be honest. He never got over the stack he started the day with, but he was in every hand trying to work his stack. It seemed on several occasions he got it in with the “second best” hand, as he did against Becker when he made an inferior ten-high straight to Becker’s Jack-high straight, and that gradually worked his stack down. It would eventually lead to his demise, much earlier than he thought it would be.

In Pot Limit Omaha, Haxton raised the bet and Donev made the call off the button. With two well stacked players in front of him, Negreanu defended his big blind to see an 8♣ 6♠ 4♣ flop. Negreanu would pot the action but, after a fold from Haxton, Donev re-potted him to put Negreanu at risk. Negreanu made the call and grimaced when he saw the news: His J♣ 10 9♣ 4 had hit a pair with a redraw to a Jack-high flush, but Donev’s A A♣ K♣ 3 had him dominated on the better flush draw and a better pair. The turn 2♣ ended any drama for the hand, leaving Negreanu drawing dead and, after a 6 completed the board, he would hit the rail in fifth place.

Haxton and Becker continued to be the aggressors as the early evening hours approached, even taking to battling against each other as they swapped the lead. Haxton would take down Donev in fourth place in NLHE, rivering a five for a set against Donev’s pocket Kings after the chips went all in pre-flop. That thrust Haxton into the lead, but it would be incredibly short lived.

During a round of NLHE, Haxton and Becker, who had about 9 million chips himself, went to battle. Haxton opened the betting, but Becker three-bet back at him. Sion, in the big blind, quietly got out of the way and Haxton, not slowing down at all, fired a four-bet of over two million chips. Becker surprisingly only called and they went to the flop.

The 9-8-7 flop was wet, bringing a check from Becker, but Haxton fearlessly pounded him, pushing a tower of chips totaling 2.7 million to the center. After a moment of contemplation, Becker check-raised all in and Haxton immediately called, showing pocket Kings. That was nice, but Becker’s pocket Aces were nicer, putting him in the lead. There was paint on the turn, but it was a Knave, and the five on the river didn’t help Haxton. Becker scooped up the massive 18 million-plus pot and Haxton looked at his 1.555 million in scraps; Those would go to Sion on the very next hand, in Stud, as Haxton finished in third place.

Going to heads up play, Sion was at a serious disadvantage to Becker. His 6.525 million in chips paled in comparison to Becker’s 18.48 million stack, but Sion started a slow but steady grind. By the time the duo reached the dinner break, Sion had cut Becker’s lead to only three million chips and, after some chow, took the lead when they came back to some hands of NLHE. After more than three hours of heads-up action, Sion was sitting with roughly the same lead Becker had started the fight with.

Becker’s strength seemed to be the Omaha games, PLO and Hi/Lo, and he would climb back into the match on a couple of occasions through those disciplines. The rest of the games went Sion’s way, as he would not only come back after a bad Omaha experience to reestablish his edge. As the clock moved into Friday morning – and the twosome entered their seventh hour of heads-up play – the end would come, oddly enough in Omaha Hi/Lo.

Becker limped pre-flop and Sion didn’t push him, checking his option to see a 7-5-5 flop. Sion checked his option again but, after Becker fired, Sion check-raised him and Becker called. A nine on the turn brought a bet out of Sion and Becker, with a dwindling stack, put his final chips in the center. Sion called and turned up Q-J-7-5 for the flopped full house, while Becker was looking low with his Q-6-6-2 (Becker had a flush, but it was worthless against Sion’s boat). Needing an Ace, trey, four or eight to make the low, Becker instead saw the case five fall, giving Sion quads and, with no low, the hand and the championship of the $ 50,000 Poker Players’ Championship.

1. Elior Sion, $ 1,395,767
2. Johannes Becker, $ 862,649
3. Isaac Haxton, $ 595,812
4. Ivo Donev, $ 419,337
5. Daniel Negreanu, $ 300,852
6. Paul Volpe, $ 220,111

Poker News Daily



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