Posts Tagged ‘wins’

Ryan Tosoc Wins 2017 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic

 Ryan Tosoc Wins 2017 WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic

Let’s just say that Ryan Tosoc will be staying at the Bellagio whenever he is in Las Vegas. This weekend, Tosoc won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event and nearly $ 2 million, just a year after finishing this same tournament as the runner-up and earning over $ 1.1 million. Methinks he can splurge for the Bellagio’s Presidential Suite* during his next stay.

Last year’s event was the largest-ever for the Five Diamond, as it garnered 791 entries. This one was bigger, with the re-entry format helping the field climb to 812 $ 10,000 entries. If you did the math above (with my rounded-off numbers), Tosoc has now won more than $ 3 million at the Five Diamond, accounting for the vast majority of his live tournament earnings. He has a nice list of cashes, but only one other is even in the low six-figure range (and it is at this point that I give my usual disclaimer that I would KILL for a low six-figure poker score).

“It feels unreal,” Tosoc told WPT.com afterward. “I kind of feel like I’m in a dream right now.”

Poker can be an emotional game, especially since you can make perfect decisions and still come out on the losing end, but Tosoc tried not to get too high or too low during the Main Event.

“During the tournament, I like to just keep even-keeled,” he said. “The only time like I felt like I was going to win was when I was all in with Queen-Ten. I just felt that jack coming.”

It is not every day that players feel ultra-confident when all-in with just Queen-Ten, but I guess that’s the mojo you get when you are on your way to winning one of the World Poker Tour’s most prestigious events.

That Queen-Ten was on the final hand of the tournament and frankly, Tosoc had every right to feel that victory was coming, as he had an enormous chip lead at that point over Alex Foxen, 21.450 million chips to just 2.925 million.

Tosoc raised pre-flop with the aforementioned hole cards, as one would expect, and then Foxen shoved all-in with a dominated A-T. With little to lose by calling (and not REALLY all-in), Tosoc looked him up.

The flop was 9-3-K, a good one for Foxen, though Tosoc did gain a gutshot straight draw. As he already told WPT.com, he felt the Jack coming and it certainly did so on the turn. Foxen, though, now had a chance at a better straight. Another Jack was dealt on the river, shutting the door on Foxen’s chances and given Ryan Tosoc a one-spot better finish than last year and his first WPT title.

2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Ryan Tosoc – $ 1,958,065
2. Alex Foxen – $ 1,134,202
3. Mike Del Vecchio – $ 752,196
4. Sean Perry – $ 504,090
5. Away Chabra – $ 350,500
6. Richard Kirsch – $ 271,736

*I do not know if the Bellagio has something called the Presidential Suite.

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Viejas Casino Customer Wins Aston Martin in Casino Promo…But Nah?

 Viejas Casino Customer Wins Aston Martin in Casino Promo…But Nah?

When I was a freshman in high school, won the botany division of my high school’s science fair and advanced to the city-wide/regional competition. I didn’t win top honors, but there were other, independent awards handed out; I was fortunate enough to win one, called (and I’m probably not being quite accurate here, as this was 25-ish years ago), the Army Achievement Medal. I walked on stage to receive my award, but they didn’t actually have it ready to go. Instead, I was to receive it in the mail. It never came. I still have the satisfaction of a job well done, but to this day, I still think about that medal once in a while and wish I had it. That’s nothing, though, compared to what Merida Manipoun has not yet received for winning a prize drawing at California’s Viejas Casino & Resort in May 2016.

Viejas held a contest called the “Dream Machine” in which patrons could earn entries into a drawing based on their play in the casino. The grand prize: a 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT valued at $ 134,000.

Manipoun – also known previously as Anoma Sengvixay – had her name drawn and was celebrated on stage at the casino. Of course, as these things go, and as people sometimes lament when winning a big prize, Manipoun was also going to have to fill out a tax form and eventually pay taxes on the value of the car. But hey, it amounted to a relatively cheap luxury car, so let the good times roll, right?

Wrong. After winning, Manipoun – according to a lawsuit she has filed – was pressured by Viejas managers to accept a much smaller cash payment instead of the car. There was no violence involved, but the coercion was strong. The text of the lawsuit spells it out:

After receiving her public congratulations and posing for promotional materials, Ms. Manipoun was escorted into a back room, by one or more Defendants, and subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch in which she was strenuously encouraged to forego her entitlement to the Car and, instead, accept a relatively de minimis sum of cash compensation, on the apparent theory that such would afford her appreciable tax benefits.

Ms. Manipoun resisted the subject sales pitch and, instead, demanded that she be given the Car she had rightfully earned.

Oh, and Viejas still hit Manipoun with the tax form for the full value of the car, even though they wouldn’t give it to her.

Manipoun then went to the Aston Martin Dealership in San Diego that had provided the car for the promotion, but “she was informed that it was not in possession of any paperwork indicating her entitlement to the Car and, to the contrary, that she would not be receiving the Car.”

So there she was, no cash, no car, but a hefty tax bill. Lawsuit time!

What’s interesting here is that because Veijas is on tribal land and therefore has sovereign immunity protection against many lawsuits, Manipoun has gone after the casino staff. The lawsuit names casino operations manager Lou Dibela, manager of gaming activities Chris Kelly, and casino host Linda Carr, as well as twenty “John Doe” defendants and Aston Martin of San Diego. All but the car dealership are being sued for fraud, breach of unfair competition law, and twice conspiracy to defraud. The dealership is being sued for breach of unilateral contract claim.

One would think that Ms. Manipoun has an extremely strong case, especially considering that she won a very visible promotion and was “awarded” the car in front of casino customers, but the law can be an ugly thing, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Sam Greenwood Enjoys Trip to the Caribbean, Wins partypoker MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party Main Event

 Sam Greenwood Enjoys Trip to the Caribbean, Wins partypoker MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party Main Event

Normally when people take a trip to the Caribbean, they are going for the change in weather. Canadian poker pro and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Sam Greenwood’s trip to the 2017 Caribbean Poker Party presented by partypoker might have started out as a pleasure trip, but Greenwood quickly made it a profitable business trip in cashing in two big tournaments and winning a third, the $ 5000 MILLIONS Main Event.

Last week, Greenwood was taking part in the first event of the tournament, the $ 10,000 High Rollers event with a $ 1 million guaranteed prize pool. Out of the 103-player field, Greenwood would make the final table with Jonathan Little, Kenny Hallaert, Pascal LeFrancois and Steffen Sontheimer, just to name a few of the competitors. Greenwood worked his way to the final three before departing in third place for a payday of $ 124,100.

That wasn’t enough for Greenwood. A couple of days later, Greenwood was back in the saddle for the $ 25,000 Super High Roller event on the MILLIONS schedule. The 43-entry field was perhaps a bit deficient in numbers, but it wasn’t deficient in the quality of players. This time around, Greenwood would outlast fellow final table finishers Sam Trickett, Adrian Mateos, Rafael Moraes and Sontheimer to reach heads up against Christopher ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen. After an extensive heads up battle, Greenwood would succumb to Hunichen’s aggression and finish in second for a $ 242,750 payday.

Greenwood must have figured that the “third time was the charm” because he dived into the $ 5000 MILLIONS Main Event and its $ 5 million guaranteed prize pool. 12 players came back on Saturday looking to take the $ 1 million prize for winning the tournament. Differing from his previous forays into the High Roller tournaments, Greenwood (193.9 million) was the massive chip leader as the penultimate day of the tournament began. Way back in the rearview mirror were such players as Jonas Gjelstad (117.7 million), Jason Koon (93.8 million), Felipe Ramos (77.8 million) and Preben Stokkan (99 million), who won the $ 10K High Roller that Greenwood was a part of.

Gjelstad rocketed out of the gate, knocking off two players to crack the 200 million mark (249.5 million, to be exact) as the remaining nine men came together for the final table. Gjelstad would prove to be as adept at giving up the chips as taking them as Stokkan took two pots from his fellow countryman to take over the lead himself. By the time the first break of the day came, there were still nine players left but they were getting ready to mix it up.

That ability to “mix it up” almost cost Greenwood the tournament. Although he would get back into the mix by flopping a straight against Damian Lomza, he would double up the dangerous Andrey Shatilov into the lead and drop to only 28 million chips. Playing a K-9 off suit off the button and seeing Shatilov defend his big blind with a Q-J, Greenwood fired on every street of a Q-5-2-8-7 board, with Shatilov calling every street to take the humongous pot.

That was the last misstep that Greenwood would make. He doubled through Jiri Horak and Stokkan to get back to 143 million chips, then cracked the 200 million mark again against Shatilov. Shatilov, however, was giving everyone action as he eliminated Udo Erlei in seventh and busted Horak in fourth to maintain his stack.

Greenwood would continue to chase Shatilov, bringing the action to two players after knocking off Gjelstad in third. After coming back from a dinner break, Shatilov’s 598 million stack dwarfed that of Greenwood (449 million), but the Canadian went right to work. On the first hand of heads up, Greenwood sniffed out a Shatilov bluff to take the hand and the lead from the Russian and he wouldn’t look back. Although it would take slightly more than an hour, Greenwood would eventually emerge as the champion when his pocket Kings held up over Shatilov’s 9♣ 8♣ after the flop came 8-6-4-3-5.

1. Sam Greenwood, $ 1,000,000
2. Andrey Shatilov, $ 650,000
3. Jonas Gjelstad, $ 450,000
4. Jiri Horak, $ 315,850
5. Felipe Ramos, $ 220,000
6. Preben Stokkan, $ 150,000
7. Udo Erlei, $ 100,000
8. Dan Dizenzo, $ 70,000

Just for the record, Greenwood in one week finished third, second and first in three consecutive tournaments, bringing in a neat $ 1,366,850 for his efforts. It would push the annals of poker history to find someone who had a similar run of tournaments during the same festival, let alone the same week.

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Libratus Poker AI Wins Prestigious Computing Award

 Libratus Poker AI Wins Prestigious Computing Award

Libratus, the artificial intelligence powered by a multi-million dollar supercomputer that crushed teams of poker players in No-Limit Hold’em twice this year, was honored with the 2017 HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award for Best Use of AI last week. The Libratus Poker AI was developed by Tuomas Sandholm and Noam Brown at Carnegie Mellon University.

I would suspect almost nobody reading this has any idea what HPCwire is – I know I didn’t before I read about the award. HPCwire calls itself “the leading publication for news and information for the high performance computing industry,” and if you visit its site, you would understand why. If anyone knows about high performance computing, it is the contributors and owners of that website.

Tom Tabor, CEO of Tabor Communications Inc., the company that publishes HPCwire, said, “HPCwire’s readership is broadly diversified; it includes industry leaders from the private sector, innovators in academia, and end users that are bringing HPC to the enterprise. Being selected to win either a Readers’ or Editors’ Choice Award is no small feat.”

At the beginning of 2017, Libratus took on the poker pro team of Jimmy Chou, Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Daniel McAulay. Each human played 30,000 heads-up hands against the computer over the course of about three weeks.

In order to try to eliminate as much luck as possible so that skill could be measured, the heads-up matches were played with a few special rules. First, the 20,000 chip stacks (50/100 blinds) were reset after each hand so that nobody could gain an advantage by swinging a big stack around like a club. Second, if there was an all-in and a call before the river, no more cards were dealt. Instead, chips were split according to the players’ equity in the hand. This way, nobody could get lucky by slamming a two-outer on the river. And third, hands were mirrored. That is, in a pair of matches, the hands dealt were exactly the same, except Libratus received one set of hole cards in one of the matches, while the human opponent received those same hole cards in the other.

For instance – and I don’t know how the pairings were actually setup – Jimmy Chou may have been dealt Aces against Libratus’ Queens in Hand #15,306. This hand would have been mirrored in Dong Kim’s Hand #15,306, in that he would have been the one to receive the Queens and Libratus would have gotten the Aces. Thus, it could not be said that either the humans or the AI were the beneficiaries of a lucky streak of hole cards.

Libratus won $ 14.72 per hand on average from the four players, for a total of $ 1,766,250. Kim was the most successful, only losing $ 85,649. PokerListings.com calculated that the probability of the four players actually outplaying Libratus and still losing that much money was between 0.0001 and 0.54 percent.

In April, Libratus did it again, beating a team of six Chinese players in Hainan, China, led by 2016 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Tue Du. Libratus did even better, dominating them for $ 22.00 per hand. There was real money on the line this time, as well, as Libratus earned a $ 290,000 purse for the victory.

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Sebastian Sorensson Wins 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

 Sebastian Sorensson Wins 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

The live poker tournament scene has been strong the last couple years, but even so, it is pretty incredible – at least to me – that a non-World Series of Poker tourney could garner 1,682 entries. But that is exactly what the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event did and it was that large of a field (minus one, really) that Sebastian Sorensson defeated to win nearly €1 million over the weekend.

Sorensson is basically my poker fantasy come to life. He is a low-stakes online player who qualified for this tournament via a $ 200 satellite on PokerStars. Sure, sometimes it gets tense for us even though we play for a few cents or a few bucks at a time because, after all, those few cents or few bucks are not always an insignificant portion of our bankroll. Plus, we’re competitive and want to win. But no matter how seriously we take our hobby, a major live tournament is like another world entirely.

“The days are so, so long,” Sorensson told PokerNews.com afterward. “It’s really exhausting.”

Reading more about how he got started in poker is pretty amazing. In 2015, he bet on underdog Nate Diaz to defeat Michael Johnson in a UFC fight. The underdog came through and Sorensson won $ 1,000. He then took at $ 1,000 and bet that Donald Trump would win the Republican Presidential nomination and then let those winnings ride on Trump (ugh) winning the election (emotional hedging, I guess?).

With his gambling bankroll up to $ 12,000, he decided to take up micro-stakes poker, which led to PokerStars Championship Barcelona.

According to PokerNews, Sorensson played exactly like I would have, me being a fellow micro-stakes player. Once he made the money, he played tight, trying to survive the money jumps. I, myself, did just that in my most successful live tournament adventure, but I only made $ 3,500 for third place, a FAR FAR FAR cry from what Sorensson just accomplished, so our similarities end there.

Sorensson entered the six-handed final table as the second-shortest stack, holding just 6.125 million chips. For comparison, chip leader Raffaele Sorrentino had 15.5 million. He quickly made more than two million chips in just over one orbit and after 26 hands – just a few after Usman Siddique was knocked out in sixth place – Sorensson was up to 10 million chips. Even more interesting is that he was in fourth place, but the spread between first and fourth was fewer than one million chips. Even Sorrentino, who had fallen to fifth, still had 8.425 million. Things had tightened up quickly.

Sorensson held steady for quite some time, staying within about a million or so of the 10 million chip mark for about another 60 hands, but he eventually lost a big hand to Sorrentino, who was now soaring (more than doubling the chip count we just mentioned), and fell down to close to 5 million.

5 million sounds like a lot of chips, but with blinds at 300,000/600,000, he had to make a move, so he moved all-in on Hand 94, fortunately survived with a worse Ace than Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, when the board allowed them to chop.

After that, there were two speedy eliminations – Andre Akkari in fifth place and Brian Esposito in fourth place – before the 100th hand. Sorensson was the one who got Esposito with A-Q versus K-Q, allowing him to grow his stack to 11.4 million. A few hands later, he was at 16.680 million, still well behind Petkov, who had 22.280 million, but almost equally ahead of Esposito, who was the short stack again with 11.450 million.

With the stacks shallow because of the escalating blinds and the chip counts starting to converge again, the three remaining players eventually discussed a deal. They agreed that Petkov would get the most at €917,347, Sorensson would bank €887,043, and Sorrentino would receive €850,110. They would leave €100,000 on the table as incentive to try to win.

Just four hands later, Sorrentino was eliminated in third place by Sorensson (who had just taken a massive pot from Petkov) and suddenly Sorensson was in complete command of the tournament going into heads-up play with 40.9 million chips versus Petkov’s 9.5 million.

Despite that chip gap, heads-up went on for a long, long time, nearly 70 hands. Petkov even took the lead at one point, but Sorensson regained control quickly and eventually put it away. On the final hand, Petkov went all-in pre-flop for 18.2 million chips with K-9 and Sorensson easily called with A-K. The flop provided Sorensson another Ace and when the turn didn’t give Petkov any of the outs he needed for a runner-runner miracle, it was all over and Sebastian Sorensson became my poker hero.

2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table Results

1. Sebastian Sorensson – €987,043
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov – €917,347
3. Raffaele Sorrentino – €850,110
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito – €402,000
5. Andre Akkari – €317,960
6. Usman Siddique – €252,000

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