Eslami Proves ‘If You Can Beat a Robot, You Can Beat a Man’ at Rincon
WSOPC Western Regional Championship, Rincon, California
Before this week, Ali Eslami’s most notable accomplishment was defeating Polaris, the poker playing computer, in tandem with Phil Laak. The LA-based cash game player proved his versatility this week by beating 8 real live human opponents on the road to the WSOPC Rincon crown. The third of four $10,000 events on the WSOP Circuit, Rincon drew an anemic 98 players, surprising mostly due to the nine WSOP Circuit National Championship seats awaiting those who made the final table.
Among those who made the final table were Circuit superstar Dwyte Pilgrim, Steve Brecher, and fresh off his win last week at the Wynn $5K, Tim West. West fell just short of the impressive back-to-back feat, finishing as the runner-up to Eslami. For his win, Eslami took home just under $175,000, the ring, and a chance at a nice chunk of change in seven weeks at the National Championship.
Mclean Carr Takes WPT Vienna High Roller; Seidel Unavailable for Comment
Stop the presses! There was a High Roller poker tournament held on this planet this week that Erik Seidel not only didn’t win, he didn’t even play. This worked very much to the benefit of Mclean Carr, who took great advantage of the absence of the king of the monster buy-in to dominate the WPT Vienna High Roller, by all accounts. Carr took home €185,120 by overcoming the field of 50 and taking the chip lead from the beginning of the final table to the end.
No Place Like Home for Del Prado in Winning APT Philippines
Pasay City, Philippines
On the Asia-based poker tours, specifically the APT and APPT, the field sizes and buy-ins can sometimes make the achievement of winning a Main Event look a little less impressive than it should. But the APT Philippines stop this week had the buy-in ($2,500, American) and the field size (231) to allow it to contend as one of the largest prizes awarded of the week.
Six of the ten players who made the final table were Filipino locals, along with a Canadian, an Australian, a South Korean and a player from Hong Kong. A local champion could not be denied, though, as Enrique Del Prado defeated Elton Tsang heads-up to keep the title local, and won a hair under $180,000 for his accomplishment.
Romanello 2/3rds of Way to Triple Crown Inside of 1 Year with Win
WPT Bratislava, Slovakia
In the age of the internet, people coming out of nowhere are becoming harder and harder to find. Gone are the days where a Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili could enter the NBA without great fanfare and shock the world. In the world of poker, the hype for international players is sometimes a bit slow in getting to American shores, but a smart bet for some serious WSOP success this year would be Roberto Romanello.
The former owner of a chip shop in South Wales, Romanello rubbed some of his opponents the wrong way with his final table antics, but there’s no denying his talents. Following a win at EPT Prague a few months ago, Romanello’s win at WPT Bratislava netted him another €140,685. He heads to the WSOP with a goal of being the first person in the history of poker to capture a Triple Crown (WPT, EPT, WSOP bracelet) in a single calendar year.
Foxwoods Provides Appropriate Environment for Chops
With the amount of tournament series’ that are run at Foxwoods, I’m surprised that Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum, master scribe of Foxwoods Live, doesn’t own a second home on the reservation. No matter how many tournaments they run, though, Foxwoods consistently brings in some of the best field sizes on the East Coast every time.
The $2,500 Foxwoods Poker Classic Main Event drew 284 players, creating a prize pool of over $630,000 and a first place prize of over $150,000. All of which made it easier to chop it up once play got down to three-handed, giving each of the remaining players a hefty ROI over their initial $2,500 investment. At a final table that featured tournament regular Todd Terry, the shortest stack of the three, Michael Lavoie, guaranteed himself almost second place money, settling for $79,987. Similarly chipped Ronnie Pease ($108,295) and Phil Reed ($114,050) each cashed in big time, with Reed’s slight advantage also giving him the official win, the trophy and a snappy leather jacket.
HPT Win Allows Father To Buy the Greatest Swing Set Ever Created
Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, Tama, Iowa
When Tom Hujda left his Illinois home for his trip to last week’s HPT stop in Iowa, his only goal was to leave with enough money to buy a swing set for his kids. Even this seemed like an ambitious goal, having never recorded so much as a cash on the Heartland Poker Tour. By the time the tournament was over, however, Hujda’s kids are probably getting a whole playground, as he won the whole thing for $77,897. He can afford to install this behemoth and still have $67,000+ to spare. Those are some lucky kids.
In Modern Day Kiev, Poker Plays You!
RPS Kiev, Ukraine
The Russian Poker Series is like the red-headed stepchild of the PokerStars tournament circuits, not even netting a mention on the PokerStars blog for the RPS’ most recent stop in Kiev. The $1,000 Grand Special built a prize pool of almost $300,000, however, with Yurij Predybajlo winning the tournament, $65,590, and the award for the least pronounceable name.
BLUFF Managing Editor Refuses to Share in the Run-Good, Strikes Again in Indiana
Hollywood Poker Open, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
It’s been a little while since we had an entry in the “Year of the Media”, but we got a repeat offender this week. Jess Welman traveled to the Hollywood Poker Open in Indiana for their Ladies’ event, and in familiar fashion made her way through the field to the final table. She’s had an impressive run over the last year, cashing in the WSOP Ladies’ event, freerolling her way into an event at the Detox Series last year and final tabling, chopping another Ladies’ Event eight ways, and now this most recent performance. Welman fell just short, earning $3,770 for her second place finish. She will be back in town as part of the live updates team for the televised WPT Main event in the coming week, so if you’re headed there, be sure to congratulate her on another impressive performance.