Posts Tagged ‘Start’

Five Things to Jump Start Your New Poker Year

 Five Things to Jump Start Your New Poker Year

The confetti have been cleaned up, the noisemakers have been put away and some are nursing off the remainder of the hangover they acquired from their New Year’s Eve celebrating. Now it is time to start thinking about the New Year and what it has to offer. How do you make it better than the previous one? One of the best ways to do it is to have a concentrated plan of attack.

Whether it is your personal life or your poker one, it is always a good idea to have a plan to, at the minimum, put your best effort forward for the next year. Sometimes these things can be grand or sometimes they can be simple. But it is important to have some sort of idea of the things you want to achieve in the coming 365 days. With this thought in mind, here’s five ways you can start your poker year on the right foot.

DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES, DIFFERENT PLANS

You normally have two ways you can go about playing poker – online or live. Then there is a subset of that which also comes into play – what games you’re taking a shot at. One plan cannot cover it all, thus you must have different plans for different disciplines of the game.

When it comes to live and online poker, set separate goals for each side of the equation. If you want to concentrate more on the live arena than online, make sure to plan accordingly for being in a cardroom or casino. Poker rooms normally have a monthly schedule that offers their tournament plans for the month and, once you look over that, then you can plan when to play (if tournaments are your thing). Likewise, you must set some time aside in your home life to jump online to play. Setting a plan to play X hours a week is a start, but don’t be afraid to adjust that total.

As to the different games offered, that is more difficult live than online. If you’re goal is to become a better Stud player, casinos don’t spread the game much anymore. You can always go to the casino and request a spread, but sometimes a better idea is to find a good home game to hone the talents. Nowadays Omaha is the rage, so some players may be more willing to step into that game. Online, it is easy to find a game – finding the stakes you’re comfortable at is another thing!

BE REALISTIC WITH GOALS

It is always nice to dream about what you want to do in poker, but the adage “you have to walk before you can run” is key here. Thinking that you’re going to hock everything you have in life and jump into the Super High Roller circuit and battle Fedor Holz, Stefan Schillhabel, Justin Bonomo and Company is a nice dream, but it isn’t a realistic goal.

When you start a year, set those goals so that they will make you work, but that they aren’t impossible to achieve. If you want to play more poker, set an hourly limit you want to meet each month. If you’ve got plans to use poker for a second income, set a monthly rate that you’d like to make. And if you meet that goal on a regular basis, then it is time to move the goal up, which is our next tip.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADJUST

When you’re trying to meet certain objectives, it is key to have the ability to reassess the situation and adjust those goals. Perhaps you’ve set the number of hours per week you want to play a bit too high, or you’ve set the goal too steep for what you want to make in an hourly rate per month. The smart thing to do is to be able to adjust that goal rather than keep banging your head against a wall.

By making the adjustment, you aren’t admitting failure. You are instead making a key decision to continue to work at your game and finding the more realistic goal that you can meet. Once you’ve made the adjustment, you might find it is still a challenge to meet that new goal but, once you do, you’ll have the feeling of accomplishment and the ability to drive on to where you might have set that goal previously.

RECORD EVERY SESSION!

In an online forum the other day I saw someone ask, “Is it worth it to record your stats from each time you play poker?” Anyone who answered anything other than “Hell, yes!” isn’t taking the game seriously and might even question their advice in the game. If you are looking to improve your game or to demonstrate how well you play the game, accurate record keeping of ALL sessions is critical to your growth.

It can be something as simple as a notebook or, in this digital age, an Excel spreadsheet. You want to record the date and time you played, the game you played, its format (Tournament? Cash game?) and its stakes, your starting stake and your finishing stake for that session of play. You can add in other areas like how you felt or key hands that came up and how they played out, but the important data is the financials. By doing this, you’ll be able to accurately detail out whether you’re successful or not in your poker endeavors.

If you want to go to the extreme, then you can have different books for both your live and your online play. It is a different game, despite appearances, and it can also show whether you play better live or online. If you keep a different log for online work, you might add a category for hands per hour onto your log (will indicate whether you play at a fast table better or a slow one) and how long the session was (will indicate whether you play better in short sessions or longer ones).

AND BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF! It doesn’t do any good to record these sessions and log a nice run of positive finishes, only to leave off that session where you donked off half your bankroll when you were drunk.

DON’T QUIT!

Even though you may not meet your goals, even though you may lose every coinflip, even though it may look bleak…DON’T QUIT! Poker is a long-term game and, as such, the performance is best examined over a lengthy period. One week does not a success make, and neither does one month or one year. In 2000 Daniel Negreanu, the all-time leading money winner in poker, made a paltry $ 75,594 from tournament poker. He could have quit, but he didn’t – he kept working at the game and, over the past decade, has net earnings from tournament poker of around $ 8 million. He also broke even for 2017…remember that when you’re setting your goals!

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2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Three Bracelets Awarded as Event #4 Prepares to Start

 2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Three Bracelets Awarded as Event #4 Prepares to Start

The 2017 World Series of Poker Europe is in full swing as we speak, with Event #4, the €1500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament, taking the stage at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Prior to the start of Event #4 today, there’s been a flurry of activity that has seen three bracelets handed out.

Event #3 – €1000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo “Bounty Hunter”

A double oddity at a WSOP tournament schedule, Event #3 started and finished in the same day, with the players coming out for a rare bounty tournament on a schedule. Players were putting up a minimum of €1000 (there were unlimited reentries) and a bounty of €300 on each player’s head. With the potential to make enough money in bounties to cover the entry fee, players flocked to the tournament on Wednesday and did decide a champion early Thursday morning.

85 players were in their seats when the “shuffle up and deal” call went out and the numbers kept climbing through the early registration period. By the time the first break was called, 259 entries had been logged (remember, this was an unlimited reentry event). A few hours later registration closed in the tournament with the count officially landing on 325 entries, building a prize pool of €214,337. 49 players would be recipients of a piece of that pool, but the biggest prize would go to the champion in the form of €53,557 and a shiny new WSOP bracelet (along with any bounties claimed along the way).

Once Viacheslav Goryachev bubbled the money, the players were guaranteed a payday but kept the drive on to the championship. Players like Mike Leah, Kristen Bicknell and current POY contender Chris Ferguson were able to work their way through the field for a cash. Indicative of the locale, when the final table was reached at 1AM, there was only one player from the Western hemisphere that was still alive.

John Racener, also in the fight for the WSOP POY, was one of only two representatives at the final table (Israel’s Liran Twito was the other) that didn’t call Europe home. Racener would go down in a double elimination that saw him leave with Yves Kupfermunz at the hands of Martin Kabrhel. In fact, Kabrhel would be responsible for the final five eliminations of the tournament as he pocketed €1500 for those alone on the way to the championship.

1. Martin Kabrhel, €53,557
2. Philipp Caranica, €33,094
3. Salvatore Camarda, €22,159
4. Liran Twito, €15,168
5. Yves Kupfermunz, €10,620
6. John Racener, €7609
7. Bernd Gleissner, €5582
8. Georgios Koliofotis, €4195
9. Viktor Kovachev, €3232

Event #2 – Originally slated to be a three-day tournament, the €500 Pot Limit Omaha event was cut by a day on Tuesday when they reached Day 2 with only 31 players remaining. The volatile nature of Omaha Hold’em promised that the eliminations would come quickly and they did, with Brazil’s Vivian Saliba, Brandon Cantu, and James Akenhead all departing the tournament arena before the first break of the day. As the final table approached Kristen Bicknell (having an excellent WSOP-E) and Sander van Wesemael were eliminated, with van Wesemael’s departure coming on the final table bubble.

Familiar faces at the final table were those of Sergio Fernandez and Andreas Klatt, with Fernandez holding the lead at the start of play. Klatt, starting in the middle of the pack, suffered a bit of a setback when his nut flush walked into Georgios Zisimopoulos’s boat, but Klatt would fight back immediately. After doubling up through Krzysztof Magott on the very next hand, he would work his stack up to a point where he was able to get some revenge on Zisimopoulos with a well-timed bluff for a big stack of chips (835K).

After Klatt eliminated Zisimopoulos in third place, he held a slim 800K chip lead over Nico Ehlers. While some settled in for an extended fight, the players had other ideas. It took only thirty minutes of play for Klatt to vanquish Ehlers, his A-J-10-2 standing tall against Ehlers’ K-Q-7-5 on a Q-9-6-8-Q board, and take down the WSOP bracelet.

1. Andreas Klatt, €56,400
2. Nico Ehlers, €34,860
3. Georgios Zisimopoulos, €23,979
4. Theodoros Aidonopoulos, €16,809
5. Sergio Fernandez, €11,985
6. Krysztof Magott, €8700
7. Michal Maryska, €6433
8. Vasile Stancu, €4847

Event #1 – €1000 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack

Wrapping up the first event of the WSOP-E, Oleksandr Shcherbak captured the first bracelet of the 2017 schedule, outdueling Viliyan Petleshkov in a dominant display of heads up poker. While both were far removed from chip leader Carlo Savinelli at the start of the day (Petleshkov in fourth, Shcherbak in seventh), they quickly emerged as the dominant players at the table. After Shcherbak eliminated Sergio Fernandez in third place, he took an almost 800K chip lead to the heads-up battle.

Shcherbak got Petleshkov down early, but the Bulgarian would refuse to give up. Petleshkov took the lead over after 15 hands of paly, but Shcherbak would battle back to reclaim his top slot position. He also would never again let Petleshkov back into the game, grinding him down over the span of 20 hands until he got his chips in with a dominant position.

After a Petleshkov raise with Big Chick, Shcherbak three bet the proceedings to 800K while holding pocket sevens. Petleshkov decided the time was right to make a move and he did so, pushing his remaining chips to the center. Shcherbak called and, after the flop came down J-8-2, he stayed in the lead. Shcherbak’s claim to the title was sealed when another seven came on the turn, leaving Petleshkov drawing dead and ending the first event of the 2017 WSOP-E.

1. Oleksandr Shcherbak, €117,708
2. Viliyan Petleshkov, €72,747
3. Sergio Fernandez, €49,929
4. Carlo Savinelli, €34,869
5. Walter Treccarichi, €24,787
6. Peter Bstieler, €17,940
7. Serge Danis, €13,225
8. Ismael Bojang, €9934
9. Ali Sameeian, €7605

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World Champion Joe McKeehen Speaks Up On Tournament Start Times

 World Champion Joe McKeehen Speaks Up On Tournament Start Times

When a player wins the World Series of Poker Championship Event and becomes the de facto World Champion of the game of poker, he (or perhaps one day she) also becomes an ambassador of sorts for the sport. Not only for the year following but pretty much for the rest of their involvement in the world of poker, former World Champions are sought out for their opinion on pertinent issues that come up within the game. Sometimes they offer up their own opinions, as it appears our reigning World Champion has done in this case.

The defending Championship Event titleholder, Joe McKeehen, took to the stream of Twitter last week to rant about the start times for tournaments at this year’s WSOP. Stating that “poker players have been getting shit on because of the media ever since I started playing poker,” McKeehen blamed the in-house media team from the WSOP for the early (for poker players) start time, rather than more logical thoughts like getting a day’s play in before 3AM or something along those lines.

“The fact that the media has ANY say or impact on the players and how the tournament is ran is a fucking joke,” McKeehen wrote to his followers over Twitter. Comparing poker players to slaves and commenting that the 11AM start time might force players to miss tournaments, McKeehen’s rant finished off by saying, “They (the media) have nothing to do with how the tournament is played, they just report it, and 90% of them clearly don’t even try. The players have been getting shit on because of media ever since I started playing live poker so I guess it’s not a surprise.”

Never one to shy away from a debate, Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu (who has been intimately involved in many areas of WSOP scheduling in the past) stepped up to the plate. “I can tell you with absolute certainty the media had nothing to do with (the time change),” Negreanu chirped on Twitter, which drew a remark from McKeehen that he was being “obscene.” “What do you claim to know that I don’t?” Negreanu asked. “I was involved internally and am telling you media had nothing at all to do with it.”

This isn’t the first time that McKeehen has been involved in some spirited interaction across the internet. Just a couple of weeks ago, McKeehen engaged in a Twitter war with Mike Dentale, first accusing the fellow professional of being a cheat (“PSA to anyone playing with (Dentale): protect your cards at all times as he is a known and proven cheater on the tables”) but backed off the comments after other players such as Paul Volpe challenged McKeehen to prove his accusations. Add in his rather surly demeanor en route to his victory last November and McKeehen isn’t exactly painting the picture of a “good” ambassador for the game.

The problem is McKeehen has been an active “playing” World Champion, going anywhere for the game. After winning poker’s World Championship, McKeehen has pulled in more than $ 1.8 million, with two wins and seven final tables among his 12 cashes since his victory. That may pale in comparison to the $ 7.6 million-plus McKeehen won in November, but it does show that he has some talent at the game.

The resulting uproar has brought some derisive attention to McKeehen. A photo-shopped meme has appeared:

12McKeehen 300x225 World Champion Joe McKeehen Speaks Up On Tournament Start Times

As have parody Twitter accounts:

Twitter is a great way to reach people, but it isn’t a great way to put out a fully cohesive thought. There is only so much you can say in 140 characters, something that McKeehen might take into consideration before his next Tweet.

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Super High Roller Bowl Sells Out Two Months Before Start

 Super High Roller Bowl Sells Out Two Months Before Start

More than two months before it is set to take to the felt, the 24/7 streaming network Poker Central and the Aria Resort & Casino’s Super High Roller Bowl tournament – which proved to be such a success in 2015 that it was expanded for this year – has sold out of seats for the $ 300,000 buy in event.

Registration for the tournament opened up in January, well ahead of the May 29 play date at Aria in Las Vegas. The field was increased to 49 players (from the 43 that took part in 2015), but the buy-in was also decreased (to $ 300,000 from the $ 500,000 it was last year). As an additional treat, a still-unknown sponsor has put up $ 300,000 to bring the total prize pool to a nice round $ 15 million, with $ 5 million going to first place. Still, the speed in which the event sold out surprised the event’s host and its broadcast outlet.

“With some of the most exciting and famous players locked in, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will be riveting to watch,” Clint Stinchcomb, the Chief Executive Officer of Poker Central, said during the announcement of the sell-out. “The speed at which this event sold out is evidence of the popularity of the tournament and of poker itself.” Someone else who expressed his surprise in the rapidity of the sell-out was Aria Poker Director Sean McCormack, who commented that he had “never seen” a high-stakes tournament sell out so far ahead of its play date. He also commented that, if for some reason that a player or players have to back out of the event, there is a waiting list that will be utilized to fill the slots.

The player list for the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl reads like a clash between the history of the game of poker and the advancing guard of the younger players. Members of the “over-40” sect such as former World Champions Bobby Baldwin and Phil Hellmuth, all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel, poker veteran Larry Wright and business figures Dan Shak, Kathy Lehne (who will become the first woman to ever play in the Super High Roller Bowl) and Bill Perkins.

On the youth movement, players such as Rainer Kempe, Sam Soverel, Matthew Berkey, Igor Kurganov, Isaac Haxton, Jake Schindler, Fedor Holz, Dominik Nitsche, Dan Smith, Doug Polk and Connor Drinan will pull up to the tables. The Global Poker League will have a great deal of representation, including New York Rounders manager Bryn Kenney and his first round draft pick Jason Mercier, the San Francisco Rush’s Anthony Gregg, the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans’ Byron Kaverman and the London Monarchs’ Justin Bonomo (among many others). Finally, there’s the two “Big One for One Drop” champions, Dan Colman and Antonio Esfandiari, Scott Seiver, Stephen Chidwick, Talal Shakerchi and Vitaliy Rizhov coming along for the fight…and this is just a few of the competitors, a full list can be found here.

(Aria will be providing two players as a “sponsor’s entry”)

The inaugural Super High Roller Bowl was one of the biggest events to ever be attempted in the poker world. With the second largest buy-in in the history of poker (only the “Big One for One Drop” and its $ 1 million buy-in was bigger), the tournament was hotly contested by the men who took up the chips and cards to take part, working through the three-day event until seven men were left to divvy up the $ 21.5 million pool. Every one of the seven finishers in last year’s tournament are going to be back in 2016, looking to at least go “2 for 2” in cashing in the tournament:

1. Brian Rast, $ 7,525,000
2. Scott Seiver, $ 5,160,000
3. Connor Drinan, $ 3,225,000
4. Timofey Kuznetsov, $ 2,150,000
5. David Peters, $ 1,505,000
6. Tom Marchese, $ 1,075,000
7. Erik Seidel, $ 860,000

Just like last year, the tournament will pay the top seven finishers, with the winner earning a $ 5 million payday.

When the tournament comes around at the end of May (perfect timing as the players will already be in town for the World Series of Poker), it will draw the attention of the poker world. It will also draw the attention of fans to Poker Central, who will broadcast the event over its network. It might be hard to imagine it, but this year’s version of the Super High Roller Bowl could be bigger than its predecessor.

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Ari Engel Rides Start of Day Chip Lead to Aussie Millions Main Event Championship; Byron Kaverman Leads $250,000 Challenge

 Ari Engel Rides Start of Day Chip Lead to Aussie Millions Main Event Championship; Byron Kaverman Leads $250,000 Challenge

After riding his start of day chip lead to heads up action, Ari Engel had to endure an epic battle against Tony Dunst to emerge as the champion of the Aussie Millions Main Event. As that mano y mano war played out, guys with plenty of money to toss around were taking part in Day One of the LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge.

Aussie Millions Main Event

Coming to the final table after a day to rest and reflect, Engel and Dunst held the 1-2 positions on the leaderboard. Engel’s 8.155 million chips massively dominated Dunst’s 5.99 million and Dunst likewise dominated the remainder of the field. His closest competitor was Samantha Abernathy, who sat behind a 2.485 million stack, and Alexander Lynskey’s 2.39 million in play. Kitty Kuo (1.005 million), John Apostolidis (960K) and Dylan Honeyman (885K) would have to find a double up quick to get their names back in the championship quest.

As she had been on Day 4, Abernathy continued to be active at the final table. She was responsible for eliminating Apostolidis in seventh place when his Big Slick failed to catch up with her pocket ladies and his chips pushed her closer to Dunst. Abernathy was saved, however, when she tried to knock off Honeyman after he moved all in. That time, her Big Slick ran up against Honeyman’s pocket Aces, but the board ran out with a straight (5-8-9-7-6) to chop up the pot.

With three players – Kuo, Lynskey and Honeyman – all under a million in chips, it became apparent there was going to be some early clashes at the final table. Honeyman got his double first through Engel, his pocket sevens surviving from the small blind against Engel’s all-in move out of the cutoff pre-flop with a suited 5-2. Next was Lynskey, whose pocket Aces survived an open-ended straight and flush draw sweat against Abernathy to capture more chips. Kuo, however, was not so fortunate.

On the button, Engel would push out a bet and Kuo, in the small blind, responded with a shove of roughly 700K in chips. After Honeyman pondered in the big blind but eventually released his hand, Engel made the call and it was off to the races:  Engel’s pocket nines were in the lead against Kuo’s A-J off suit. There was paint on the flop, but it was a Queen rather than a Jack and another Queen came on the turn. When the river six failed to hit Kuo, she was done for the Aussie Millions in sixth place.

With Engel now over the 10 million mark, Dunst had to catch up. He did that by dumping Honeyman from the tournament in dramatic fashion. Under the gun, Dunst raised the betting to 125K and saw danger in Engel making the call from the button. In the small blind, however, Honeyman looked down, liked what he saw and pushed a three-bet to the center of the baize. Undaunted, Dunst fired right back with a four-bet of 800K, which was enough for Engel to release his hand. Honeyman didn’t slow down either, putting the remainder of his stack. After Dunst called off the few more chips to make up the difference, the cards came up.

Dunst’s aggression with the A-K from under the gun short-handed was expected, as was Honeyman’s aggression with pocket Jacks from the small blind. Honeyman’s Jacks got better with a Jack on the flop, but it was joined by a ten that gave Dunst a gut shot draw at Broadway. A King on the turn didn’t change anything, but the lightning bolt of a Queen on the river completely reversed the fortunes. In making his straight, Dunst knocked out Honeyman in fifth place and drew right behind Engel in the hunt for the championship.

Now down to four-handed play, no one wanted to take the long walk out of the Crown Casino. It would take almost 40 hands (the previous three eliminations had occurred within the first 35 hands of the tournament) before Engel sent Lynskey out of the tournament in fourth place and approximately another 20 before a valiant Abernathy dropped in third place at the hands of Dunst. Down to heads up, the top two at the start of the day – Engel and Dunst – were squaring off for the title, with Dunst now in the lead by almost three million chips.

Over the span of 30 hands, Engel whittled away at the lead, drawing it down to only 1.9 million and took the lead after another 20 hands. Both players made excellent laydowns – Dunst’s laydown of a top pair of Aces after Engel turned a set of Queens was especially noteworthy – but gradually Engel began to increase his lead. After 120 hands of heads-up action, the end would finally come.

Looking at an A-4 on the button, Dunst opened up with a 325K bet that was three-bet by Engel to 925K with a J-7 off suit. After making the call, the 10-4-2 kept Dunst in the lead but Engel fired again, this time for 825K. Dunst made the call with his middle pair to a turn that would spell his demise. A Jack fell, pushing Engel into the lead and he fired another bullet. Behind for the first time, Dunst called again and, after a nine fell on the river, Engel moved all in. Dunst pondered the board, Engel’s actions and his decision, eventually determining that Engel’s story didn’t make sense. Once Engel showed his J-7 for the best hand, Dunst could only muck his cards as Engel captured the Aussie Millions Main Event title.

1. Ari Engel, $ 1,600,000
2. Tony Dunst, $ 1,000,000
3. Samantha Abernathy, $ 625,000
4. Alexander Lynskey, $ 445,000
5. Dylan Honeyman, $ 340,000
6. Kitty Kuo, $ 270,000
7. John Apostolidis, $ 210,000

LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge

If you had an extra $ 250,000 burning a hole in your pocket, then the Aussie Millions had an event for you. The LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge, now in its sixth year of play, brought together some of the most well-heeled players who decided they wanted to stick around for a few more days of poker in Melbourne. Day One kicked off alongside the Aussie Millions Main Event and, as the day wore along, there was surprisingly some confusion about just how the tournament was going to be run.

As the day started, only four players were in their chairs for the battle. Igor Kurganov, Paul Newey, Ben Tollerene and Fedor Holz were passing chips around between each other, waiting for the field to grow. One player that was pretty much ensured to show up was two-time defending champion Phil Ivey, who came in a bit late but ready to defend his crown. He would be joined by Brian Rast and Jason Mercier as the end of the first level passed.

Holz would bust out to Rast but, after Erik Seidel and Byron Kaverman bought in and Holz rebought, the first problems arose. The 10 men divided themselves into two tables of five, but how eliminations would be handled was complex. If a player immediately reentered, he would be able to draw from seats at either table. However, if the player didn’t reenter immediately, the field would collapse to one table. If another new player (or a reentry) came, then there would be a redraw to go back to two tables. Furthermore, the tournament would pay three players unless there were 20 entries in the tournament, at which point a fourth payout would kick in.

The gentlemen on the felt didn’t really care about this, they simply went about the task of playing the tournament. Steve O’Dwyer, Connor Drinan, Sam Greenwood, David Peters and Fabian Quoss all came to the fray, driving the unique entries up to 14 (15 entries overall). With only Seidel and Mercier being eliminated on Day One, there are 12 players still active:

1. Byron Kaverman, 705,000
2. Fedor Holz, 440,500
3. Paul Newey, 395,500
4. Steve O’Dwyer, 388,500
5. David Peters, 365,500
6. Brian Rast, 278,000
7. Ben Tollerene, 263,000
8. Igor Kurganov, 262,500
9. Connor Drinan, 238,000
10. Fabian Quoss, 223,000
11. Sam Greenwood, 133,000
12. Phil Ivey, 52,500

Late registration for this tournament is open until the start of action on Day Two at 2:30PM in Melbourne on Monday (10:30PM Sunday night Eastern Time) and it is possible that Seidel, Mercier and a few others might jump into the game. If five more entries are received, four players will be paid. If not, then the top prize will be $ 1,837,500, a nice way to depart Australia after another outstanding Aussie Millions festival.

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