Posts Tagged ‘Thunder’

Mike Del Vecchio Rides Chip Lead to Championship at WPT Rolling Thunder

 Mike Del Vecchio Rides Chip Lead to Championship at WPT Rolling Thunder

After seizing the lead during the previous night’s action, Mike Del Vecchio refused to be denied. Taking the sizeable chip lead he had earned, Del Vecchio would never look back as he rumbled through the remaining five men to capture his first major championship at the World Poker Tour’s Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Del Vecchio (4.27 million) held a healthy advantage over two difficult players, John Hadley (2.978 million) and Sorel Mizzi (2.283 million), when the cards hit the air on Wednesday afternoon outside the Golden State’s state capitol. In the bottom half of the ladder, Connor Drinan (1.349 million) and Steven Tabb (1.075 million) were looking to draw themselves back into the fight while WPT Champions’ Club member Olivier Busquet sat on the short stack (676,000) to start the day’s action. Just after High Noon, the sextet of poker warriors headed into the fray to determine the next champion on the circuit.

The combatants would shuffle chips around for two dozen hands before the first significant action of the final table. After a raise from Drinan, Hadley three bet the action only to see Drinan go for it with an all in four bet. Pondering his position, Hadley finally came up with a call and the race was on, Hadley’s A-J off suit against Drinan’s pocket tens. In the window of the flop came an Ace to push Hadley into the lead and, when neither of the remaining tens in the deck came out on the turn or river, Hadley had secured his double up while Drinan fell to just over a million chips.

The situation would get even worse for Drinan on Hand 27. After Busquet moved all in from the button, Drinan moved all in “over the top” from the small blind and Hadley, in the big blind, called both bets to put Busquet and Drinan in danger of elimination. Hadley had the goods as the cards were turned up:

Hadley – pocket Jacks
Drinan – K-J off suit
Busquet – Q-10 off suit

But the flop didn’t cooperate with either Hadley. Coming down Q-10-3, Busquet went from the “outhouse to the penthouse” in flopping Queens up, but Drinan also was in good shape with his open-ended straight draw as Hadley’s Jacks shriveled. A six on the turn and an unnecessary Queen on the river kept Busquet in the lead and gave him a massive triple up while eliminating Drinan in sixth place.

While the battling lower on the leaderboard raged onward, Del Vecchio quietly moved further into the lead. He cracked the five million chip mark by Hand 31 and kept it at that point for the next 20 hands before doubling up Hadley. On Hand 57, Tabb would take over the chip lead from Del Vecchio, but only ten hands later Del Vecchio would retake the lead from Tabb.

Although Tabb would momentarily take the lead back when he eliminated a short-stacked Busquet in fifth place on Hand 76, Del Vecchio would fight back. Del Vecchio would take down Hadley in fourth place to put some distance between him and Tabb but, just as quickly, Tabb reemerged as the chip leader on Hand 84. The duo fought back and forth, but they were also keenly aware of the dangerous Mizzi in their midst, who was staying viable with a mixture of timely all ins for doubles against his well-stacked opponents.

Mizzi’s patience paid off as, over the course of the next 70-plus hands, he found himself in second place and it was Tabb who was in the basement. On Hand 157, Del Vecchio kicked up the action in a “blind versus blind” battle and Tabb made his stand with an all-in. Del Vecchio made the call, turning over an A-8 off suit, while Tabb chose the Royal Court (K-Q) to stake his tournament life. When the nine-high board came with no paint, he was out in third place and Del Vecchio moved to heads up play against Mizzi with slightly less than a 2:1 lead.

Try as he might, Mizzi could never seem to wrest the lead from Del Vecchio. He came close on Hand 167, when he pulled within 120,000 chips of Del Vecchio, but Del Vecchio would reestablish his advantage (and then some) in winning a nearly 3.4 million pot on Hand 172. It would take another ten hands of action, but the end was nigh.

On Hand 182, Mizzi called a Del Vecchio bet to see an innocent 7-4-2 flop and called another bet to head to the turn. Another four didn’t seem to change things, but Mizzi’s check-raise to 1.75 million of Del Vecchio’s 600K turn bet seemed to indicate differently. Del Vecchio didn’t back down, going all in and putting Mizzi to the test, which Mizzi would respond by calling off his chips. With a 6♠ 5♠ for the open-ended straight flush draw, Mizzi would need at least another spade to complete his flush or a card to complete his straight, but Del Vecchio was asking for a red card as his 5-4 hit trips on the turn to have the lead. The final card would come down in favor of Del Vecchio as the J helped nobody, sending the chips and the championship of the WPT Rolling Thunder to Mike Del Vecchio.

Mike Del Vecchio, $ 284,638
Sorel Mizzi, $ 190,105
Steve Tabb, $ 122,296
John Hadley, $ 81,930
Olivier Busquet, $ 63,013
Connor Drinan, $ 52,222

With the completion of the WPT Rolling Thunder, the WPT staff and players can take a bit of a break. The next stop on the Season XV schedule is the season ending three tournament swing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown begins on March 31, while the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale begins on April 2 and the WPT Tournament of Champions begins on April 7. This trio of events will close out the Season XV schedule and Mike Del Vecchio will be a part of it as the champion of the WPT Rolling Thunder.

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Final Table Set

 2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Final Table Set

Mike Del Vecchio will take a sizable chip lead into the six-handed final table of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event final table Wednesday as the tournament heads into its last day. With 4.27 million chips, Del Vecchio has about 1.3 million more than his closest competitor, John Hadley.

With a minimum final table cash of $ 52,222, Del Vecchio is already in for the largest live tournament cash of his career. His best career cash $ 51,377, earned by winning a $ 1,500 tourney a the Grand Challenge Tournament Series in 2012. Thus, should he bomb out Wednesday and only place sixth, he will still eclipse his career-high cash. Overall, Del Vecchio has $ 282,784 in lifetime earnings.

One of Del Vecchio’s more significant hands came with just eleven players remaining. Denzel Suntay limped pre-flop, Del Vecchio raised to 65,000, Suntay called, and the flop came down 8-5-2. Suntay check-called a 55,000 chip bet and the two saw a turn Ten. They checked that to bring on a Queen on the river. Suntay woke up, betting 145,000, but then Del Vecchio raised to 415,000. Suntay called and showed he had Pocket Rockets, a reasonable hand with which to feel confident on that board. Del Vecchio, though, had pocket Queens, good for a set. That pot took his stack to 3.85 million chips.

As our readers may know, this event is also the end of the WPT’s “California Swing,” which is comprised of the three California stops that have taken place in succession: WPT L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star, and WPT Rolling Thunder. Players earned points based on their finish in each event and once Dean Baranowski was eliminated in 14th place in WPT Rolling Thunder, it meant that Rainer Kempe was the California Swing champ thanks to an 18th place finish at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic and a sixth place finish at WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.

Kempe wins a grand prize that will benefit him greatly at next year’s California Swing. He will receive up to six nights’ accommodation at the Commerce Casino’s Crowne Plaza Hotel for the 2018 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event plus an airport transfer, up to five nights’ accommodation at the Thunder Valley Casino Resorts for the 2018 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event plus $ 500 food and beverage credit, and up to $ 1,000 in accommodation credit for the 2018 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event and Shooting Star status.

The six-handed final table of the 2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event is now underway; someone will be crowned the next World Poker Tour champion tonight.

2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1.    Mike Del Vecchio  –  4,270,000
2.    John Hadley  –  2,978,000
3.    Sorel Mizzi  –  2,283,000
4.    Connor Drinan  –  1,349,000
5.    Steven Tabb  –  1,075,000
6.    Olivier Busquet  –  676,000

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Day 2: Niall Farrell Takes Late Lead at Expense of Buddy

 2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Day 2: Niall Farrell Takes Late Lead at Expense of Buddy

Niall Farrell is the chip leader after Day 2 of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event, finishing the day with 893,000 chips. Not only is he the only player above the 800,000 chip mark (nearly 900,000 at that), he is also the only one above 700,000. The closest competitor is Chuck Nguyen with 644,000; he’s the only other player that even has 600,000. Just 57 players remain of the original field of 421.

Registration was open until the beginning of Level 11 on Monday and those who were eliminated in either of the two starting flights were also allowed to re-enter one more time on Day 2, so tournament added 45 more players yesterday to get to that 421 total.

With the final numbers in, the prize pool added up to $ 1,347,200. The winner will take home $ 284,638. Just 53 players will make the money, so some near the bottom of the chip counts might not have gotten the best night’s sleep last night, as the beginning of Day 3 should be tense.

The chip leader, Farrell, has been one of the most successful players on the live tournament tour in the past year. Among other accomplishments, he won the partypoker WPT Caribbean Main Event in November, finished eighth in the 2016 High Roller for One Drop, and finished second at the 2016 WSOP $ 1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout Event. All told, he has more than $ 3.3 million in live tournament earnings and currently sits thirteenth in the Global Poker Index.

Farrell made his leap to the top of the leader board very late on Day 2 when he eliminated fellow WPT champ and good friend, Chris Moorman. Farrell raised pre-flop, Moorman re-raised, and then Farrell four-bet to 59,000 before Moorman decided to just call. On the flop of K-J-3, Farrell bet 52,000 and Moorman called. The turn was a Queen and Farrell checked this time, Moorman then bet 50,000, and Farrell called after some thought. On the river Deuce, Farrell checked again, Moorman pondered his decision for a bit before he decided to go all-in for 130,000. Farrell had baited him, instantly calling with A-T for the nut-straight. Moorman turned over pocket Tens and that was it for him.

Tweeting afterward, Moorman wrote, “Had heaps then bluffed it all off to @Firaldo87poker when he had the nuts and I had the blockers #howgooddoesherun.”

The tournament will get back underway at noon Pacific Time at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Niall Farrell – 893,000
2.    Chuck Nguyen – 644,000
3.    Alex Foxen – 568,000
4.    John Hadley – 471,000
5.    Sorel Mizzi – 466,000
6.    Steven Tabb – 462,000
7.    Brian Altman – 358,000
8.    Dan Harmetz – 332,000
9.    Mohsin Charania – 321,000
10.    Kevin Eyster – 314,000

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Day 1B: Ting Ho Takes Overall Chip Lead

 2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Day 1B: Ting Ho Takes Overall Chip Lead

The second of two starting flights of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event drew to a close last night with 210 players deciding to give it a go on Sunday. That brings the combined field to 376 so far; registration is open until the beginning of Level 11 (Monday will start on Level 9) and those who already played are still permitted one more entry on Day 2, so we won’t know the final numbers until later today. The Day 1B chip leader was Ting Ho, whose 181,300 chips also barely edged those of Saturday’s leader, Dhaval Joshi, for the overall chip lead.

Ting Ho’s live tournament profile is interesting. She has $ 373,070 in earnings according to TheHendonMob.com; nothing incredible for a poker player, but still a very nice sum. She has a long list of more than 60 live cashes, but even with all those successes and her six-figure earnings total, the vast majority of her scores are in three-digit buy-in tournaments. Ho’s largest cash came back in 2012 when she won a $ 500 + $ 50 at the Wynn Classic for $ 51,876. More recently, she finished 16th at the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event for $ 35,000.

Ho wasn’t necessarily planning on playing in this event, but she took a shot at a satellite at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort and won a seat, so here she is.

As Ho isn’t a “name” poker player, she was not featured in the live tournament updates until late, when she was at or near the top of the leader board. After the evening ended, she told WPT.com about her day, saying that early on, she was just “grinding,” slowly building her stack through small, uneventful pots.

“But then I had aces cracked,” she said, recalling a hand in which someone called her with 6-9 suited pre-flop and went on to river a straight.

She continued (courtesy WPT.com):

And then an orbit later I have pocket aces again. It was the same action, a person raised, another called, so I made it 4x [the big blind] again, and then fold, and I get a call. So I’m like, ‘Ah [laughs]!’ And then the flop comes queen-high board with three diamonds, and I have the ace of diamonds. So I lead, I think he wanted to just call, but he threw out one too many orange chips (5,000) so it had to be a raise, so I flat. The turn comes a brick, I check, and he just piles all in. I thought for a while, I would have still had 15 big blinds going into Day 2, and I just decided to call, and he had ace-king.

There are 197 players remaining from the two starting flights, but as mentioned, expect the field to grow a bit more today. Day 2 begins at 12:00pm Pacific.

2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    Ting Ho – 181,300
2.    Ben Barad – 172,700
3.    Alan Bittikofer – 132,500
4.    Kou Vang – 111,400
5.    Ari Engel – 105,600
6.    Tyler Patterson – 104,100
7.    Alan Snow – 103,800
8.    Dan O’Brien – 101,800
9.    Eddy Sabat – 100,300
10.    Bob Buckenmayer – 99,800

2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    Ting Ho – 181,300
2.    Dhaval Joshi – 181,100
3.    Jon Borenstein – 173,800
4.    Ben Barad – 172,700
5.    Michael Tureniec – 146,000
6.    Kelly Douglas – 139,100
7.    Alan Bittikofer – 132,500
8.    Eric Baldwin – 113,700
9.    J. C. Tran – 112,900
10.    Kou Vang – 111,400

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: Conclusion of “California Swing” Has POY Contenders Out for Battle

 2017 WPT Rolling Thunder Day 1A: Conclusion of “California Swing” Has POY Contenders Out for Battle

With nary a break from the conclusion of the Bay 101 Shooting Star on Friday, the World Poker Tour literally jumped right back into the action with their next tournament event. The WPT Rolling Thunder, at the Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento, kicked off its week of activities with the first of two-Day Ones on Saturday. By the end of the day, 166 entries had been received and 86 players will move on for Day 2 on Monday.

The $ 3500 tournament featured many of the same rules that govern other WPT events. Players were allowed one rebuy should they bust out of the event and that rule (one buy in, one rebuy) could be used by a player on both Day Ones. Players could also utilize a single entry on Day 2 if they got into the tournament before Level 11. Should they run through all those chances, an unfortunate player could spend $ 17,500 on this tournament, which helps to make for a nice prize pool for the WPT and Thunder Valley.

As the cards went in the air, there were two “player races” that were drawing some attention by those in contention. Arguably the bigger one, the race for WPT Player of the Year, has tightened up considerably since the start of Season XV. After the first few events of Season XV, Benjamin Zamani had run off from the pack after three final table finishes had accrued him 2500 points. That once sizeable lead has now collapsed and is under assault from not one but two players.

Sam Panzica, the champion of the Bay 101 Shooting Star, not only picked up his second career WPT win but also his second WPT win of the Season XV schedule. Those two wins – along with another cash at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in December – have earned him 2450 points for the season. Simply one more cash, which earns a player 50 points, would tie him with Zamani and any finish above 27th place in a bigger event on the WPT circuit would push him past Zamani.

The second man is as unlikely a contender as you might expect. Despite being prevented for years from playing events on the circuit, WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton has worked his way into the mix for POY honors. After winning the WPT Montreal and making the final table of the WPT L. A. Poker Classic, Sexton tossed some more points on his resume at the Bay 101 with a 22nd place finish. That whirlwind of success has pushed Sexton to 2100 points, making him a viable contender for the POY crown.

The second player race drawing attention was the WPT California Swing, a special three-tournament event to encourage participation in the three California stops on the WPT schedule – the LAPC, the Bay 101 and the Rolling Thunder – that is in its fourth year. Players must play all three events on the “swing” and receive points for their finishes. After the Rolling Thunder, the player with the most points earns special prizes associated with each event when they return to play in 2018.

Not surprisingly, Sexton tops the field in the WPT California Swing standings with 227 points, but he is ineligible to win the competition as he is an employee of the WPT. With that stated, it is Rainer Kempe who is the man the players are chasing as he sits in second place with his 207 points. It is a good distance back to LAPC champion Daniel Strelitz in third place with 179 points but he, Igor Yaroshevskyy (171 points) and Garrett Greer (161 points), but they all are in contention for the WPT California Swing prize as the Rolling Thunder begins.

As to Day 1A of the WPT Rolling Thunder? Plenty of those battling it out for supremacy in the races mentioned above took their chairs on Day 1A and came out on the other side. Zamani, looking to fend off the POY challengers, ended Day 1A with a decent stack of 104,000 by bagging time. Panzica also made it through the day, although taking two shots to build a stack of 57,900 by the time play was called.

The news wasn’t so good for others, but they will have a chance to get back in the battle on Sunday. Defending champion Harrison Gimbel, Chris Moorman, Marvin Rettenmaier, Matthew Waxman, and Pratyush Buddiga all headed to the rails on Saturday, while the leaderboard features some familiar names topped by an unfamiliar one, Dhaval Joshi.

1. Dhaval Joshi, 181,100
2. Jon Borenstein, 173,800
3. Michael Tureniec, 146,000
4. Kelly Douglas, 139,100
5. Eric Baldwin, 113,700
6. J. C. Tran, 112,900
7. Benjamin Zamani, 104,000
8. Erik Christensen, 101,700
9. Alex Foxen, 95,400
10. Charles Maddalena, 89,400

Day 1B will start at noon (Pacific Time) and, if things hold as usual for the final day of a multi-Day One tournament, the Thunder Valley Casino will be awash with players taking their shots at WPT gold. Last year 409 entrants were received for this event and that number is completely within shot for this year’s combatants. If the field can generate at least that number of entries, the prize pool would be over $ 1.3 million, a nice pie to divvy up for those looking for the next championship on the WPT Season XV schedule.

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