Posts Tagged ‘WSOP’

2017 WSOP Europe Day 1: Markus Dürnegger Leads After Starting Flights

 2017 WSOP Europe Day 1: Markus Dürnegger Leads After Starting Flights

Both starting flights of the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe are in the books. While the later starting flights generally dwarf the earlier ones, the two flights of this tourney were fairly even; Day 1B was still larger, but it was not an overwhelming difference. A total of 490 players have signed up for the event, but the official prize pool will not be determined until Monday, as registration remains open until the start of Day 2. Unlike the traditional WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas, this event is also a re-entry tournament, so players who busted on Day 1A or Day 1B can register again before Day 2 begins.

Austria’s Markus Dürnegger emerged as the overall chip leader, amassing 246,200 chips during Day 1A. According to TheHendonMob.com, he has about $ 1.2 million in live tournament earnings. The vast majority of that figure came this summer, when he finished second in the €10,300 No Limit Hold’em PokerStars Championship High Roller event, good for $ 860,570.

Also of note near the top of the leader board is Henry Tran, who was the chip leader of Day 1B with 224,700 chips, 2015 WSOP Main Event seventh place finisher Pierre Neuville (239,000 chips), Mustapha Kanit (177,100), 2009 WSOP Main Event third place finisher AND 2017 fifth place finisher Antoine Saout (144,400), and 2013 WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess (150,400).

This is the tenth WSOP Europe Main Event. Annette Obrestad famously won the first WSOP Europe Main Event back in 2007, becoming the youngest player in history to win a WSOP bracelet, just a day shy of her 19th birthday. She would not even be able to play the traditional World Series of Poker for another few years, as the legal gambling age in Nevada is 21.

There was no WSOP Europe last year and there will not be one next year, as in November 2013, it was decided that the WSOP Europe and WSOP Asia Pacific (APAC) would be held in alternating years, likely because having major World Series of Poker festivals in Las Vegas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region (read: Australia) risked spreading players and their bankrolls too thin.

This year’s WSOP Europe is being held for the first time at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Somehow, this village of fewer than 1,000 people in the extreme western part of the country on the German border has the casino with the largest poker room in Europe, with 160 tables.

2017 World Series of Poker Europe – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1. Markus Dürnegger – 246,200
2. Pierre Neuville – 239,000
3. Laszlo Bujtas – 216,500
4. Asi Moshe – 203,600
5. Gilbert Diaz – 188,900
6. Razvan-Andrei Dumea – 170,700
7. Piotr Franczak – 169,800
8. Dejan Pustoslemšek – 162,100
9. Markus Ross – 157,400
10. Jan-Peter Jachtmann – 154,100

2017 World Series of Poker Europe – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1. Henry Tran – 224,700
2. Josip Simunic – 189,100
3. Marc MacDonnell – 182,500
4. Parker Talbot – 179,500
5. Mustapha Kanit – 177,100
6. Norbert Madaras – 155,800
7. Hans Thumann – 150,500
8. Dominik Panka – 149,600
9. Farid Yachou – 146,700
10. Diego Ventura – 145,200

2017 World Series of Poker Europe – Combined Day 1 Chip Leaders

1. Markus Dürnegger – 246,200
2. Pierre Neuville – 239,000
3. Henry Tran – 224,700
4. Laszlo Bujtas – 216,500
5. Asi Moshe – 203,600
6. Josip Simunic – 189,100
7. Gilbert Diaz – 188,900
8. Marc MacDonnell – 182,500
9. Parker Talbot – 179,500
10. Mustapha Kanit – 177,100

The post 2017 WSOP Europe Day 1: Markus Dürnegger Leads After Starting Flights appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

 Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race

Continuing what has been arguably his most successful tournament poker span and the most controversial period of his career at the same time, Chris Ferguson has all but seized control of the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race.

Ferguson won Event #7, the €1500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better, defeating 92 players and taking away a €39,289 payday along the way. Other than being his sixth bracelet win, the more important thing for Ferguson with the win is the points that he added to his total. For the entirety of the 2017 WSOP (counting the summer Las Vegas version), Ferguson has been able to rack up 216 points in Event #7 and bring his total to 1178.53 points.

With only four events remaining on the WSOP schedule, it leaves little time for those trailing him to catch up.

Having arguably the best tournament poker year of his career, John Racener has been the hound in pursuit of the hare from the start of the WSOP. He has cashed three times at the WSOP Europe, including just missing the final table in Event #7. Those points have enabled him to hold onto second place – but not creep any closer to the top of the ladder – with his 999.76 points.

Pushing Racener for the second-place slot on the POY list has been Ryan Hughes. He has also cashed three times at the WSOP-E and, for a quick moment after Event #1, had passed Racener for the second-place slot in the pack to catch Ferguson. He has since fallen back behind Racener, but his 994.35 points have him in the mix should he make a deep run in any of the remaining tournaments.

After Hughes, one of the two players who was in the Top Ten at the start of the WSOP-E that did NOT go to the Czech Republic can be found. John Monnette, despite being in the Top Five after the schedule of events in Las Vegas this summer, decided against heading to Rozvadov to take part in the WSOP-E. Thus, his total of 865.21 will stay the same and he’ll probably stay in the Top Ten to the end of the European stop.

After Monnette, the players on the list have a “slim and none” chance and slim is leaving the building. Despite being on the grounds at the King’s Casino and picking up a couple of cashes, Foxen hasn’t garnered any more points in the race for the Player of the Year. As a result, Foxen and his 786.86 points are probably going to have to be sated by his current fifth place status. The remainder of the Top Ten also will have to be happy to be among the top players in the 2017 WSOP, including Mike Leah (sixth, 770.74 points), Raymond Henson (seventh, 768.49), Ben Yu (eighth, 766.49), Daniel Negreanu (ninth, 717.76) and Dario Sammartino (tenth, 710.96).

If someone is going to catch Ferguson for the POY, they’re going to have to go on a multi-tournament run. Because the fields have been smaller at the WSOP-E and the buy-ins aren’t as large, racking up any serious points is highly difficult. These are the four events left on the schedule:

Event #8 – €1000 “Little One for One Drop” No Limit Hold’em
Event #9 – €25,000 No Limit Hold’em
Event #10 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop
Event #11 – €10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event

The €25,000 High Roller is nearing its conclusion, which basically means that those players left are not playing in the “Little One.” The lineup for the big One Drop tournament might see someone from the €25K take a shot, but it is expected that Ferguson will also participate in that event. With only the Main Event left, there just aren’t enough opportunities for players to mount an offensive against Ferguson.

Although the poker world might not like it, Ferguson has amassed quite a record for the 2017 WSOP. After cashing 17 times in Las Vegas, Ferguson has added another six in the seven completed events in Rozvadov, including his bracelet win. Unless someone can dig up a swing-dancing Anna Chapman to poison Ferguson over the next week, he’ll be the one who walks away with the accolades as the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year.

The post Chris Ferguson Seizes Control of WSOP Player of the Year Race appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Ratings Mixed for 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table Coverage

 Ratings Mixed for 2017 WSOP Championship Event Final Table Coverage

Ratings for the live coverage of the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event final table have been released, with those results showing a mixed bag of information.

The WSOP Championship Event final table, broadcast live over ESPN from July 20-22, showed a slight improvement in comparison to the delayed “November Nine” coverage from 2016. The three-day average of the 2017 coverage was 615,000 viewers, a slight increase in comparison to last year’s “November Nine” final table average of 597,000 viewers, a 3% increase. For the broadcast week, the WSOP Championship Event’s third night – when Scott Blumstein closed the deal in winning the championship – was one of the highest rated programs for ESPN, finishing behind only a mid-season Major League Baseball game between the rival St. Louis Cardinals and the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs and the Summer League championship game between the Los Angeles Lakers (minus top draft pick Lonzo Ball, who sat the game out) and the Portland Trail Blazers.

That was the good side of the equation for officials, however.

On the negative side, the all-important 18-49 demographic – the demo that advertisers look at when determining what shows to advertise on and that broadcasters strive to reach for that reason – was down overall in year-to-year statistics. In 2017, the WSOP Championship Event final table captured 244,000 in that 18-49 demo, down from the 256,000 that viewed the tournament in 2016 (a drop of almost 5%). The viewers for the final night of the tournament were also at historic lows, with the 741,000 watchers down from 780,000 who watched in 2016 and barely more than the 735,000 who watched in 2012, the record low for the tournament in the last decade.

The television numbers aren’t the only worrisome sign for WSOP and ESPN officials.

The demographic breakdown of the WSOP Championship Event field shows signs that cannot be encouraging for Caesars. Of the 7221 players participating in this year’s tournament, only 347 of them were in the 21-25 demographic and only ONE of those players was a woman. In comparison, there were 884 players older than 56 in the Championship Event field, with 33 of those players being female. These numbers indicate that the oldest demographic in the tournament isn’t being replaced at the same rate from the younger side.

There could be a couple of reasons for the demographic numbers. The “millennials” that constitute the 21-30 demographic have been proving to be a difficult market for casinos to get in the first place. They aren’t as willing to “gamble” as other demographics are, preferring a skill based game over ones of “chance,” hence the casinos usage of video games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush for wagering purposes. That predisposition for skill based games over chance isn’t showing when it comes to poker, however, at least as far as the WSOP Championship Event.

It is also arguable that the lack of online poker in the States of America has caused a downswing. The younger demographic for years has been driven by the online game (look at the almost 3000 players making up the 26-35 demographic that participated in the WSOP Championship Event). If that were the case, however, it would not explain the 7221 overall players that participated in 2017, the largest field since 2010.

The move by officials from cable broadcasting giant ESPN and the World Series of Poker to do away with the “November Nine” was a huge step in that neither entity knew what would be the eventual outcome. At its inception, the “November Nine” was a huge success as it drew in an audience of 2.364 million for the final table broadcast in 2008 (the first year of the format). It never would draw that well again, gradually falling to the record low in 2012 (735,000), rebounding over the next three years back over a million viewers and falling to 780K in 2016. Thus, the 741,000 that watched in 2017 wasn’t the upswing that the WSOP nor ESPN were looking for.

The other possibility is that there just aren’t the “eyes” that are going to be watching during the season. Summer is the worst time of the year for television viewing and, while bringing the poker world to Las Vegas during what is its “down time” of the year might be a good idea for Caesars officials, when it comes to broadcasting the tournament it might not be the best thing.

The mixed numbers present several challenges for ESPN and the WSOP. While there are some bright areas, there are those that aren’t quite so sunny for either entity. Of importance for both organizations may be improving the television numbers in the immediate future.

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So How Did the Crystal Ball Do on the WSOP Championship Event?

 So How Did the Crystal Ball Do on the WSOP Championship Event?

We’ve had almost a week to digest what was one of the better World Series of Poker Championship Event final tables in recent memory. While it was a wire to wire win for Scott Blumstein, it was still entertaining watching the nine men play it out. It was also great to see them play it out with only a slight delay of two days instead of the three months that the “November Nine” inflicted on the players and the fans – it made for a much better tournament.

But there’s one thing left over from the WSOP Championship Event final table. Just how did the Poker News Daily “Crystal Ball” do in predicting the finishing order of the players? Overall, not too shabby – the Ball got a couple of the spots right and was a bit off on others. Then there’s a couple of players…

Without further ado, let’s review the actual finishing order and look at what the Crystal Ball said.

Ninth Place:  Ben Lamb (Prediction:  Damian Salas)

Coming in on the short stack on Thursday night, Lamb was already facing a difficult climb. But for him to go out on the fourth hand of action was a bit stunning. There are several that argue that he was making the optimum move by moving all in for 18.9 million chips after Jack Sinclair raised off the button. In theory, it is a good argument; Sinclair could have been raising with any two there and, with Lamb holding an A9 , if Sinclair had been making a move he might have pushed his cards to the muck. There are those that state, however, that Lamb didn’t have to make that move at that point (he was around 22 big blinds, not in a push mode) and it was a bit suicidal. Whatever the answer, for the former “November Niner” to depart in such a dramatic fashion – and so early into the action – was a bit surprising.

Eighth Place:  Jack Sinclair (Prediction:  Jack Sinclair)

The Crystal Ball got one right! Sinclair was seriously hurt by the facts that he couldn’t get any cards to work with and dealing with the assault from the larger stacks on his right. Sinclair got the boost from the knockout of Lamb, but there wasn’t much else that he could do after that.

Seventh Place:  Damian Salas (Prediction:  Ben Lamb)

OK, the Crystal Ball just got seventh and ninth places backwards! Salas hung on for much longer than many thought he could and, when he was knocked out, it was in a brutal fashion. After Dan Ott hit his gut shot straight draw on the river to top Salas’ flopped pair of Aces, you could almost see the life ooze out of Salas. He played well, got his money in right and…it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sixth Place:  Bryan Piccioli (Prediction:  Dan Ott)

And here’s one where the Crystal Ball was just a bit off. Piccioli, who came into the final table with the fourth-place stack, just couldn’t get anything going on the final table baize. His chips oozed from his fingers to the point that he was forced to make a move with just an A-7 in his hands. Dan Ott woke up with pocket Kings in the big blind and, after no Ace came on the board, Piccioli’s chips were in Ott’s stack.

Fifth Place:  Antoine Saout (Prediction:  Bryan Piccioli)

Probably the Crystal Ball’s biggest miss of the final table. Saout was constantly pounded on by Blumstein throughout the first two days of final table action because Blumstein’s big stack was on Saout’s right. Repeatedly, Blumstein would put the pressure on Saout and, correctly, Saout didn’t make the call. When Saout did catch Blumstein with a bit of larceny in his heart, Blumstein hit his gut shot straight draw with his 5-3 on the turn and, after Saout made trips on the river, there was no way that Saout was going to get away. Much like Salas, Saout got the money in good and simply got outdrawn.

Fourth Place: John Hesp (Prediction:  John Hesp)

The Crystal Ball strikes again! And what a run by Hesp at the final table. There are plenty of Monday morning quarterbacks who can pick on Hesp’s call while drawing dead against Blumstein as an amateur mistake, but that was part of the charm of Hesp’s approach at the table. Now, we don’t need nine of these when tournament final tables are determined, but it isn’t such a bad thing to see someone like Hesp do well.  

Third Place:  Benjamin Pollok (Prediction:  Antoine Saout)

Other than Blumstein, it is arguable that Pollok played the best of anyone at the final table. There were some laydowns that Pollok made – especially when he had trip nines against the turned boat, nines over tens, of Blumstein – that were outstanding. It just wasn’t meant to be this time around for Pollok, who should be the owner of a WSOP bracelet sooner than later.

Second Place:  Dan Ott (Prediction:  Scott Blumstein)

Ott was the shocker of the 2017 WSOP final table. He made some good moves on the table and, when opportunity came along, Ott seized it. He was able to dispatch of Pollok in that truly stunning three-way all in to bring himself within shouting distance of Blumstein entering heads up, but that’s where the gas ran out. Still, his overall performance is something that he should be proud of.

First Place:  Scott Blumstein (Prediction:  Benjamin Pollok)

That’s not too bad. The Crystal Ball predicted Blumstein to finish second but, once he got the monster stack he did on Night One of the final table after his battle with Hesp, there was little doubt who was going to be the winner of the event. As he sits and counts the $ 8.15 million he received for winning the tournament, Blumstein can now ponder what he wants to do with his poker career.

To wrap it up, two exact hits and a few “one-off” predictions? Seems as though the Crystal Ball was in good shape this summer! Congratulations to all the men who took part and to poker’s newest World Champion, Scott Blumstein.

Poker News Daily

Editorial: Should Chris Ferguson Be Able to Accept WSOP POY Award?

 Editorial: Should Chris Ferguson Be Able to Accept WSOP POY Award?

With the close of the Las Vegas leg of the World Series of Poker last week, the WSOP Player of the Year race became a flashpoint for the poker community. While it has created a great deal of controversy over its scoring, the person who emerged on top after all the events were finished in Sin City – former World Champion and Full Tilt pariah Chris Ferguson – seemed to incite another round of outrage. That outrage was simple – should Ferguson, for his sins in the poker community, be able to accept the POY award, let alone play in the WSOP?

Let’s start with the second statement in that question first. As far as playing in a publicly available event, series or even simply a cash game, Ferguson has the right to participate.  Short of convictions for offenses such as murder, a person should be allowed to take part in the proceedings in Las Vegas. Hell, even after they might have served their punishment, those who have committed murder might be more accepted than someone who has cheated on the tables, had connections with organized crime or other egregious actions that have landed people in the “Black Book.” Besides, do we really want casinos to oxymoronically be the “morality police?”

Since we’ve established the right to play in the games, then it might be natural to assume that someone should be eligible for the rewards that come with excellent performance. In the case of the WSOP POY, the person leading the standings at the close of the Las Vegas leg would receive a €10,000 buy-in to the WSOP Europe Main Event (roughly a $ 11,500 prize, with current exchange rates). After the points were calculated from the 71 tournaments that comprised this year’s schedule, Ferguson had emerged as the points leader (898.46), eking out the top slot over Ryan Hughes (876.35) and John Monnette (865.21).

With Ferguson set to receive the rewards for his play this summer (and let’s put it this way – any system where a two-time bracelet winner over the span of the WSOP such as David Bach only gets enough points to be in 70th PLACE needs to be revamped), the outrage from the poker community was adamant. Because of Ferguson’s involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal – in which the company did not segregate player funds from business funds (causing the eventual collapse of the company) AND the “Black Friday” actions of fraudulently accepting gaming transactions and billing them as other things such as “office supplies” or “golf equipment” – arguably most people believe that Ferguson should not receive the award or the prizes involved with it. Much of that comes from how Ferguson conducted himself following the actions of “Black Friday.”

When the indictments of April 2011 came down, much of the online poker world scurried to figure out what to do (the one exception? PokerStars, but that’s a discussion for another time). Not only was Full Tilt Poker attempting to save its business, the CEREUS Network rooms of UB.com and Absolute Poker were under siege, too. When the Department of Justice allowed the rooms to open to remit bankrolls to players, only PokerStars stepped up; the others mentioned could not give the players money back because…they didn’t have it.

Issues would get worse for Full Tilt, with Ferguson in a position of knowledge about the company, as 2011 wore on. September 2011 would bring the revocation of the site’s license by gaming authorities and, as a result, the company went under. But it was Ferguson’s lack of concern regarding the shutdown and eventual closure – he didn’t say a word, he just slinked away with millions in his pockets – that riled the senses of those who had been aggrieved. His return last year to the WSOP (alongside Howard Lederer) only rubbed salt in the wounds.

This is the problem for many – Ferguson (whom I once held in quite high esteem) and all the rest HAD to know what they were doing was wrong. If they weren’t knowledgeable about the workings of their company – the one they all joined in to create – then that is mismanagement of the highest order and that includes fraud. That they got away with paying a bit of money (OK, a LOT of money in some cases) and weren’t adequately punished for their transgressions doesn’t sit well with many.

There are people that literally lost their lives over the decisions of these people in particular and Full Tilt Poker as a whole. Some lost tens of thousands of dollars, even after “everyone” was “made whole.” And even for the people who were paid…we lost our belief in the people that created this company “for the players.” We lost our belief in that they were honorable. And we lost our belief in the honor of the game of poker, that you do what’s right, no matter what. Quick question…where do you think the Full Tilt Poker remittance would be if it hadn’t been for PokerStars?

Why are people like Mike Matusow, recent Poker Hall of Fame inductee Phil Ivey, and others who were an alleged part of “Team Full Tilt” given a pass? That’s an outstanding question. But the ones that we know had knowledge of what occurred – Ray Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson, perhaps some others – still have never adequately explained why they did it nor (and especially in Ferguson’s case) offered their mea culpas to a satisfactory point. And that is why people still have a problem with them at the WSOP or any other tournament location and why people are having issues with Ferguson taking anything regarding the POY.

The poker world may be getting itself in a snit over nothing – it isn’t known whether Ferguson has accepted the seat and will travel to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, come October anyway to participate in the WSOP Europe Main Event. He hasn’t participated in a tournament outside of the WSOP since “Black Friday,” meaning that he does see that he is persona non-grata for the most part in the poker world. The very fact that he might not go to the WSOP Europe is enough that, over the span of those 11 events, another person would pass Ferguson for the championship and make all this hand wringing for naught.

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