Posts Tagged ‘Stuns’

David Peters Stuns Fedor Holz, Takes Major Poker Player of the Year Awards

 David Peters Stuns Fedor Holz, Takes Major Poker Player of the Year Awards

After leading the two races for Poker Player of the Year pretty much since the World Series of Poker concluded in July, it was assumed that German poker superstar Fedor Holz was a lock to take down those awards come the end of December. Well, you know what they say about “assume?” Instead of reveling in the dual victories, Holz had to watch helplessly as David Peters used a late surge literally in the final tournament of the year to pass him and win both major POY races.

Peters was a good distance back of Holz on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race in mid-November, in the second-place slot by almost 1300 points. Peters would then go on a rampage that saw him win an event and finish as the runner up in the November 18-19 Aria High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments to pull within roughly 500 points of Holz. With only December left on the calendar, Peters continued storming the felt in both the States and Europe.

By finishing at the final table in two events during the running of the Bellagio’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Peters knocked another 250 points off Holz’s lead, but he was still short. With the POY award within his reach, Peters went to the final-ever European Poker Tour event in Prague, Czech Republic, and finished in third place for the final EPT event in history. The 1280 points he picked up for that tournament allowed him to pass Holz by a healthy margin with his 8181 points.

So where did it go bad for Holz? From the end of October on to the end of the year, Holz failed to score a single point on the CardPlayer rankings. In a normal circumstance, Holz’s 7058 points would have been more than enough to earn him the POY championship. With the advent of major tournaments going to the end of the calendar year – and the high roller tournaments that normally come along with them – it wasn’t enough in 2016 for Holz to win the CardPlayer POY.

How far from the pack were Peters and Holz? The third-place finisher, Justin Bonomo, could only muster 6020 points to finish in third place, more than 2000 points behind Peters and more than 1000 behind Holz. Two other players, fourth place Ari Engel (5653 points) and fifth place Jake Schindler (5178 points) both used big December rushes to reach their positions. Engel made a final run at the title with his final table finish at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Rock n’ Roll Poker Open, but was unable to cash for points from his six money finishes in Prague, while Schindler made a big move with his third-place finish at the World Poker Tour’s Main Event during the Bellagio tournament series.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year rankings are Sam Soverel (4989 points, sixth place), Chance Kornuth (4838, seventh), Dan Smith (4799, eighth), Connor Drinan (4637, ninth) and Ankush Mandavia (4460, tenth).

With the more complex scoring of the Global Poker Index rankings, it was going to be tougher for Peters to pass Holz, but he would do it. His final two cashes of 2016 – his third-place finish in the EPT Prague Main Event (worth 482.16 points) and the fifth-place finish at the Five Diamond High Roller (203.68 points) – replaced two of his other top 13 finishes to push him by Holz by the closest of margins. When the final totals were put together, Peters’ 3666.31 points had managed to eclipse Holz’s 3644.8 points (remember, no cashes in the last two months of the year) and give Peters the GPI POY award.

Bonomo was once again the odd-man out in the triumvirate of players at the top, finishing in third place with his very respectable 3479.7 points. On the GPI rankings, Kornuth’s finishes got more love than on the CardPlayer board, with Kornuth hitting the fourth-place spot with 3336.54 points. Even former WSOP Europe and EPT Grand Final champion Adrian Mateos, who didn’t even show up in the Top Ten for CardPlayer, got his name in at fifth place with 3316.07 points.

Engel dropped in the rankings in the comparison between the GPI and CardPlayer Magazine, with the winner of the 2016 Aussie Millions (we’re less than a month away from the 2017 version) settling for sixth place on the GPI poll with 3290.43 points. Rounding out the next four spots are Paul Volpe (3192.88 points, seventh place), Nick Petrangelo (3176.03, eighth), Mandavia (3138.97, ninth) and Samuel Panzica (3114.66, tenth); three of those four men weren’t even mentioned on the CardPlayer Top Ten.

Although it may be the end of 2016 and the beginning of the New Year, poker professionals and amateurs alike aren’t going to be given a very long break. On January 6, the very first PokerStars Championship Bahamas (formerly the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) will kick off, featuring a plethora of poker for those in attendance at the Atlantis Hotel. The 2017 Aussie Millions will open for play on January 11, perhaps setting up for a clash between two popular international tournaments. The WPT also gets into the mix with the start of the L. A. Poker Classic schedule on January 13 and the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City, NJ, on January 17. Add in the various smaller tours with stops on the schedule (the WSOP Circuit, the Heartland Poker Tour, and others) and the race for 2017 Player of the Year will be off and running!

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Mike Shariati Stuns Freddy Deeb in Taking down WPT Legends of Poker Championship

 Mike Shariati Stuns Freddy Deeb in Taking down WPT Legends of Poker Championship

After battling from the brink of elimination, Mike Shariati stunned Freddy Deeb early Saturday morning to capture the championship of the World Poker Tour’s Legends of Poker Main Event at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, FL.

As he had for the prior two day, Aaron Kweskin came to the six-handed WPT final table with a decent chip lead (7.675 million to 5.23 million) over Shariati. Deeb had settled into the third place slot at the table with his 4.495 million in chips and Brent Roberts was still quite viable in the tournament with 3.585 million in chips. The two short stacks at the table, Stan Jablonski (1.56 million) and Craig Chait (1.035 million) had their work cut out for them if they were to make it to the top of the table.

Unfortunately, it was the two “shorties” that had their issues in making the charge but, to be honest, they both ran into bigger hands. Only six hands into the final table play, Chait decided to take a stand with a strong A-J off suit from under the gun and pushed all in, but Deeb woke up on the button with Big Slick and made the call. After the board ran Queen high, Chait’s stack was pushed over to Deeb as he exited in sixth place. Deeb, meanwhile, rode those chips to eventually take over the lead.

The players then settled in for a few hands before Jablonski’s tournament would come to an end. On the button, Jablonski pushed his more than a million chip stack to the center in an attempt to force out the blinds. It worked against Shariati, but Roberts in the big blind looked him up with an A-10. Jablonski was on the steal with a Q-10 and, after no Queen came on the 6-5-2-K-7 board, he was the next out in fifth place as Roberts rose to challenge Deeb.

Four handed play would last for an astonishing 46 hands that were virtually dominated by Deeb. Looking for his record-tying third WPT championship, the veteran poker pro put all of his skills on display, including a stunning bluff of Kweskin that sent a 4.7 million chip pot into his stack. That hand put Kweskin low enough that he would be the next player out of the tournament.

After raising from the button, Kweskin saw Shariati three-bet the action off the big blind. Kweskin didn’t want to play post-flop, pushing all in, but Shariati wasted no time in calling and showing A-K to go to battle against Kweskin’s A-10. Five board cards later without a ten, Kweskin was headed for the door of the Bike in fourth place.

After Kweskin’s elimination, the fans in attendance at the Bike returned to “The Freddy Deeb Show.” He took a good part of Roberts’ chip stack to break the 12 million chip mark (more than half of what was in play) and increased that stack in taking the rest of them, putting down Roberts in third place when Deeb’s pocket Aces crushed Roberts’ pocket nines.

Going to heads up play, there were few that gave Shariati any chance against Deeb. Holding almost a 2-1 lead, Deeb went on the attack over the next 50 hands to build that lead to almost 7-1 (Deeb’s 20.095 million against Shariati’s 3.485 million). Just when it looked as if Deeb’s coronation as the Legends of Poker champion were almost complete, Shariati came to life.

Down 21.585 million to 1.985 million on Hand 142, Shariati doubled on two consecutive hands to get out of danger, but the real drama was yet to come. On Hand 146, Deeb limped in from the button and Shariati pushed the betting to 1.1 million, which was called by Deeb. On a J♣ 6♠ 10♠ flop, Shariati came out firing with an 800K bet, but so did Deeb as he responded with a 2.3 answer. Shariati moved all in and Deeb immediately called.

Shariati had the goods, his pocket tens nailing a set on the flop, while Deeb caught with his Q♠ J♠ for top pair with a flush draw looking to take Shariati out. An A♠ brought Deeb his flush draw and, looking for the case ten, another Jack or a six, Shariati was in dire straits. The river, however, came down with a 6, flipping the hand back to Shariati along with the chip lead after being on the precipice of elimination only four hands earlier.

Deeb would retake the lead on Hand 159 after flopping a Broadway straight with his A-10 against two pair (K-J) for Shariati, but Shariati would get the tournament back to nearly even only four hands later. Another Deeb surge on Hand 173 would put some distance between the duo and Shariati once again fought back to even six hands later. The tenacity of Shariati seemed to get to Deeb a bit as the clock passed the midnight hour.

Shariati began to use the all-in move effectively at this time, forcing Deeb to lay down hand after hand until he built up a nice lead. On the final hand after Shariati limped into the pot, Shariati once again pushed in and Deeb decided to make his stand and called. Shariati had a strong pair of Queens in the hole as Deeb could only reply with a K-10 off suit for the final battle. Deeb would catch a ten on the flop but that would be it, with Shariati denying Deeb’s run at a third title in taking his first WPT championship.

1. Mike Shariati, $ 675,942
2. Freddy Deeb, $ 383,090
3. Brent Roberts, $ 251,035
4. Aaron Kweskin, $ 168,664
5. Stan Jablonski, $ 117,673
6. Craig Chait, $ 91,523

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