buck torch has been passed and it has fallen upon me to summarize the latest and greatest happenings in tournament poker. Seeing as how the last entry was pre-WSOP, I will take it upon myself not to pick-up we Pokerati left off, choosing instead to focus on the past few days…during which time millions were pocketed in prize money.
The Australian Poker Hall of Fame Adds a T.D.
Casino Grand Lisboa, Macau, China
At the commencement of the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon, it was announced that Danny McDonagh had been inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame.
Ok, so he didn’t win big bucks in a grueling tournament, but being the the first non-player to be inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame is a big win in my book. McDonagh is considered the leading Tournament Director authority in the Asia-Pacific region and works officially as the PokerStars Director of Live Operations. This man makes it happen and is credited for having one hell of an impact on poker tournaments worldwide. What has he done, you ask? Just the biggest events in the region, including the Aussie Millions, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, and Macau Poker Cup series at PokerStars Macau. Well played, Sir.
Operation USA Scores $53,800 in an Epic Show of Generosity
Epic Poker Charity Event – The Palms Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV
On August 7th, Epic Poker held its first charity poker tournament as part of its Inaugural Event. While Andy Frankenberger mowed down the likes of Gavin Griffin, Dwyte Pilgrim, Justin Young, and Mike McDonald, the big winner of the evening was Operation USA, through whom 100% of the $53,800 raised will benefit the victims of the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri.
While I’m not really sure exactly how many people played in the charitable event, I have it on pretty good information (I read it on the Epic Poker website) that the total funds raised included all of the $200 buy-ins and rebuys and an additional $2,000 that Frankenberger donated to the the cause out of his $2,500 First Place prize money. Way to raise the bar, Andy!!! I hope others follow the example you have set. Frankenberger didn’t walk away empty handed though, he was the first person to ever receive the Epic Poker Champion’s bracelet and Champion’s Ring.
You again!!! Crane Ships it at Borgata a Second Time
$300K Guaranteed Deep Stack Double Play- Borgata, Atlantic City NJ
Russell Crane - March 30, 2011 | Photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum
Borgata’s Deep Stack Double Play was a scheduled 4-day No Limit Hold’em poker tournament that began on August 7, 2011. Even in these lean times, Borgata managed to attract 400 players to pay the $1,650 buy-in during the course of the double day entry period for a shot at the $300,000 guarantee, doubling the prize pool to a whopping $600,000.
Russell Crane AKA “rcrane082985″ beat out 399 poker players to secure a repeat shoutout here on Pokerati and, in doing so, made a little extra pocket change to the tune of $148,704. This 23 year old is on a serious heater. This latest score marks his third 1st place finish in a row since winning $37,308 in $1,000 NLH Deepstack at the Foxwoods Poker Classic on March 30th. Keep an eye out for this one… I’m willing to lay odds that he on route to Connecticut.
Saucedo Gets Max EV for Pocket 3s in the Mega Millions
Legends of Poker Mega Millions Event – The Bicycle Casino, Bell Gardens CA
Fausto Saucedo | Photo by Marie-Lizette C. Acoba
The Bicycle Casino kicked off its annual Legends of Poker signature series with a $1,000,000 Guarantee for the mind-blowingly low buy-in of $250 (plus an $100 optional rebuy). It took 20-flights spread over ten days, but when all was said and done, a total of 7,239 players, including Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, Cuong (Soi) Nguyen, Scott Clements, Frankie O’Dell, and Brent Carter took a shot (or two, or three, or more) at the guaranteed $300K for first.
With a record number of entries, bested only by the WSOP, and 5,939 rebuys, the prize pool bloated to an astronomical $1,453,811 (that’s a lotta bank for your buck). Former WSOPC Ladies Event Champ, Greg Sessler (invested for nine bullets) found himself heads-up against admitted Moneymaker Effect protégé Fausto Saucedo, and was poised for the biggest cash of his poker career. However, it was not meant to be. After a 4-hour long heads-up rollercoaster ride, Saucedo claimed the Wild Bill Hickok trophy and $340,191 worth of bragging rights when his pocket 3s bested Sessler’s A/J off, all-in pre.
Season One – Tournament Series One Goes to Chino Rheem
Epic Poker League Main Event – The Palms Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV
If you don’t know that David “Chino” Rheem won a Million Dollars in the 6-Max Epic Poker Inaugural Event, you may want to crawl out from under the rock you’re living under. If you didn’t follow along on Twitter, Facebook, or EpicPoker.com, poker-trivia whiz Kevin Mathers recapped the 4-day event from “Way Outside” right here on Pokerati.com.
David "Chino" Rheem | Photo by Marie-Lizette C. Acoba
The exclusive No Limit Hold’em tournament was only open only to Epic Poker League members and 9 Pro/Am Qualifier Main Event seat winners, but still drew an impressive 137 players to pay the $20,000 “no-rake” buy-in. Although it was disclosed that $400 from each buy-in would go to pay the dealers, the $400,000 added to the prize pool negated the expense guaranteeing that 18 finalists would get a minimum 5-figure piece of $3,085,200.
The star-studded final table began on Friday, August 12th with Hasan Habib in the lead, Erik Seidel, Chino Rheem, Gavin Smith, Jason Mercier, and short-stack Huck Seed rounded out the final 6. Seed did what he could to rally from behind, and after a third of the total final table hands had been dealt, he was back in the game until Mercier sent him packing in 6th place, followed by crowd favorite Smith in 5th. Early in the match Rheem crippled Habib’s stack, then dealt the final blow sending Habib to the rail in 4th place. Seidel, having won several high-roller events this year got Mercier out of the way and it was heads-up: Rheem vs. Seidel. The two traded the lead on more than one occasion, and both the grand-stand sweaters and twitter rail were kept on the edge of their seats while the button past back and forth like a ping-pong for 50 some-odd hands. Both Seidel and Rheem made exceptional showings, but in the end the $1,000,000 and Championship ring went to Rheem (and his eager creditors).
The Second Time is a Charm at Foxwoods
Mega Stack Challenge Poker – Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Mashantucket, CT
Sal Morello | Photo by Jay WhoJedi Newnum
Salvatore Morello redeemed himself on August 14th, after coming in second place in the Foxwoods Spring into Summer Mega Poker Championship last month, by claiming first place in the Foxwoods $600 Mega Stack Challenge event. Morello beatout 499 players, and single-handedly eliminated 5 of the 9 final tableists (including runner-up Ronnie Pease, who maintained the chiplead for the majority of the 2-day event) to claim the trophy and the first place prize of $60,202.
Across the Pond, Fintan Gavin Won the UKIPT Edinburgh
UK & Ireland Tour – Edinburgh Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, GB
Fintan Gavin, Winner's Photo
The last, but not least of this week’s Big Winners, Fintan Gavin is the first Irish champion of the 2nd Season of the PokerStars UK & Ireland Tour. The UKIPT attracted a field of 519 poker players in the £500 Main Event, creating a prize pool of £251,715.
When it got down to heads-up, I suspect people had their money on Gavin. A veteran at the felt, Gavin showed Hawksby (playing his first live tournament) how it’s done, grabbing the title and £61,500 in prize money. With $1.2 million in live cashes, Gavin is an old hand and is one of the organisers of Irish Poker Championships.