Posts Tagged ‘WSOPC’

January 4, 2013

Instapoker

New festivals, new hope, same old political battles

pokerstars-caribbean-adventure-2013The holiday season always brings a nice in the tournament circuit giving players a chance to recharge their batteries, rebuild their bankroll at the local cash game, and a few even spend that time with their family. But things are ramping up now that 2013 has rolled around with a bunch of new festivals kicking off.

The latest running on the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure begins it’s schedule on the 5th, a couple WSOP Circuit events in Los Angeles and Choctaw, and the marathon festival of the LAPC is on the horizon. Minor tournament series continued to run in Vegas and Atlantic City even during the holidays but now it’s time to strap it up and get to work.

The turn of the year also brings in a new batch of U.S. lawmakers, so the poker world will continue to look towards Washington for some hint that online poker might return to the States. The odds are still long and not exactly the most pressing matter for the country but there will be debate this year.


# Everything you always wanted to know about online betting but were afraid to ask! #


Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – I really really need to learn this game. Perhaps Deebs can teach me at a rate affordable on an unemployed poker hacks salary.

 

Bitcoin: Making Online Gambling Legal in the U.S.? – This article should send Bryan Micon into spasms. Using the magical, mysterious internet currency to circumvent U.S. online gambling laws.

How I almost went to jail as a terrorist – Fun writeup from Dan Goldman about a crazy situation getting ready for the first and only PokerStars cruise when he had a little visit from Homeland Security. (With a h/t to @BryanMicon)

Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013 Introduced in State Legislature – Another state, another poker bill. Maybe the federal government will start taking notice that it’s something people are thinking about. Also, shouldn’t you be able to play Texas Hold’em in Texas?

Lottery chief opposes online gambling proposals – Meanwhile in Iowa, the head of the their lottery flew all the way to our national seat to tell the federal big boys to oppose all online gambling.

Happy Holidays From PokerNews – Hello there Sarah Grant, Kristy Arnett, and Melanie Weisner. A little holiday video from our friends over at PokerNews.

Posted by at 4:00 pm

October 19, 2012

Instapoker

Full Tilt affiliates get hosed, Liv Boeree on guitar

Ari Engel
Photo: WSOP.com


Today’s Boxscore

Ari Engel $55,503 – WSOPC Hammond $1,125 NLHE
Eddie Ochana $44,281 – WSOPC Hammond $1,125 NLHE
Matthew Weber $135,475 – Punta Cana Poker Classic


Another week in the books and players are scattered around the globe 5-bet shoving their way to glory. The World Series of Poker Circuit Hammond Main Event is underway with an impressive showing while a several hundred players have taken the long flight to Johannesburg, South Africa for their first World Poker Tour event. Players in Hammond have to worry about less than stellar facilities/rulings while those in South Africa are going on safaris and dodging wild animals.

Coin flip if you ask me.

After these festivals are done, players will blast off to populate other tournaments in Florida (WPT), Barcelona (WPTN), Albuquerque (HPT), and Iowa (MSPT) for the next in eternal search of temporary glory.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – So the oldest kid in poker would not kick Howard Lederer out of his game but probably forgets telling his fanboys that he deserved “few swift baseball bat swings to the groin area”.

Poker Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2012 – After the public and media rounds of voting, the WSOP announced Eric Drache and Brian “Sailor” Roberts as the latest inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. Disappointed to not see Scotty Nguyen or Chris Bjorin on the list but these two are worthy. The induction ceremony will once again take place during the Main Event final table circus.

Its problem! PokerStars announces it will not pay Full Tilt Poker affiliates – They still don’t know how to write a damned headline, but an interesting look at some possible snags in the FTP repayment situation. I think it’s pretty close to tin-foil hat time, but still worth the read.

PokerNews Op-Ed: What Happened To Poker? – Donnie Peters penned an Op-Ed lamenting the demise of fun at the poker tables. As someone usually having too much fun at the tables, I generally agree with him. Although if serious money were on the line, I’d likely be up on assault charges when Ted Bort barked in my ear.

Liv Boeree @ WSOPE Cannes 2012 – This video runs a lot longer than most videos but since it involved Liv Boeree, metal, and Liv Boeree playing metal I deem it worthy of your attention. Fast forward to around the 3:30 mark if you just want girl on guitar action.


Liv Boeree playing Fade to Black (Metallica) -… by poker52

Posted by at 2:00 pm

August 13, 2012

Instapoker

Big Lewbowski, Michele Clayborne Statement, and DOJ Job Hunting

Robbie Renehan
Photo: PokerStarsBlog.com


Today’s Boxscore

Robbie Renehan $147,877 – LAPT Colombia
Blake Barousse $15,757 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Elisa Burkett $15,449 – $580 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Travis Johnston $7,956 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Caufman Talley $29,743 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi


There’s something pretty cool about a guy winning a poker tournament wearing a Big Lebowski t-shirt. If you’re going to dress down for a final table, at least be interesting. Also cool is a guy in Ireland winning an LAPT package on the cheap, travelling to the safest city in the world (Medellin Columbia is a walk in the park, correct?), and boosting his career tournament earnings from $5,000 to $150,000.

The Dude abides.

Also starting is the next round of WSOP Circuit events with a series of tournaments at the IP in Biloxi, MS. Not to be confused with the IP in Las Vegas where you’re more likely to get stuck to the floor before you lose your bankroll. On top of the great food and music, Biloxi will offer 12 tournament including the $1,675 Main Event.

Link Dump

Exclusive: Michele Clayborne, Former Consulting Head of PR for Full Tilt Poker, Releases Statement – Part of her statement concerning FTPDoug: “Until this announcement, I too was not aware of this person’s identity”. Booshit. I knew she wasn’t FTPDoug but I would be damned shocked if she didn’t know who it was. There are plenty of stories about what a pain it was to deal with Clayborne and I have quite a few myself. Doubly painful since we were both collecting a paycheck from the same company.

Department Of Justice Looks For Aid With About 1.3 Million ‘Potential U.S. Victims’ Of Full Tilt Poker – CardPlayer reports the DOJ is looking for a third party processor to take care of the ~$139,000,000 of payments due former US players at Full Tilt Poker. They are saying potentially 1.3million possible “victims”.

Claims Administrator—Full Tilt Poker – Unemployed, the Department of Justice might have a spot for you. Double checking Michele Clayborne’s LinkedIn profile to see if she’s qualified.

If sports betting is so obviously beneficial to the sports leagues, why do they still oppose it? Insiders weigh in – Everybody from New Jersey to Washington state has taking their bats to the gaming industry and the boys at QuadJacks decided to take a look at why sports leagues oppose betting.

The Micros – The gang wants to take advantage of the PokerStars Full Tilt Poker buyout. For real, can someone please sponsor these guys again so we can get back to the episodes?


Be sure to check out our new sponsors at Face Up Gaming. Legal, subscription-based online poker with plenty of great prizes including cash, WSOP seats, and poker trips. Sign up with Bonus Code pokerati.

Posted by at 5:05 pm

July 24, 2012

Instapoker

Circuit Events, WSOP Recaps, and AP (Absolute Prison) News

As Dan wrote yesterday, the WSOP-Circuit released it’s full 20 event schedule with a few new interesting stops, a switch up for the National Championship, and a very much approved (by myself) sponsor in Southern Comfort. Most of the standard venues are scheduled but they’ve added an event at Foxwoods Mammoth Resort Casino as well as tournaments in Cleveland and Canada.

The final circuit event will once again be held at Harrah’s New Orleans for one last binge of booze-poker-food before the players head to Vegas for the 2013 WSOP. The biggest change seems to be moving the National Championship from Las Vegas to New Orleans. Perhaps this change has something to do with their new sponsor. Southern Comfort was created, and widely consumed, in The Crescent City. Book your travel early and schedule a few days to enjoy the rest of the city outside their tiny casino.


In other news, Absolute Poker’s Brent Beckley was sentenced to 14 months for Black Friday role. Beckley was a co-founder of Absolute Poker and will be going up the Federal creek after pleading guilty to “conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud”. Sooner or later the rest of the indictees will have to pay the piper including Beckley’s half-brother, and UB/AP archvillain, Scott Tom.

Link Dump

Highlights from the 2012 WSOP – Gary Wise has a nicely detailed look at some of the biggest stories from the WSOP. It seems like it was a month ago (after the post-WSOP coma) but he brings up details lost in the glare of the Main Event. Would have liked to have seen Matt Matros mentioned for his 3rd straight year with a bracelet other than a parenthetical comment.

ROI at the WSOP – Old school blogger, and one of the best with the medium, takes a look at some ROI numbers from the WSOP after a 2+2 post listing how some of the top players fared this summer. Backers beware.

WSOP Photo Blog: A Look Back at the Summer – PokerNews had one of the best photographer teams at the Rio this summer with Joe Giron and Neil Stoddart. They put together a nice photo collection of the top moments of the 2012 WSOP.

What Happens to Poker Without Online Sponsorship? – Last week, PokerListings took a look at the poker environment around the WSOP Main Event now since the big money sponsors are no longer in the building (or in the country in some cases).

The Micros


Be sure to check out our new sponsors at Face Up Gaming. Legal, subscription-based online poker with plenty of great prizes including cash, WSOP seats, and poker trips. Sign up with Bonus Code pokerati.

Posted by at 11:56 am

April 10, 2012

The Road to Rincon: Travel Report

The first thing you need to understand when planning a trip to Rincon is that it’s not San Diego. Our friend Billy made the mistake of bringing his family thinking he could play poker while his family enjoyed the city. Rincon is an hour outside the city up a nice windy mountain road and should in no way be categorized as “close to the beach”. Billy’s family left him the day after arrival, exchanging their mountain view for something oceanside.

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Posted by at 12:08 pm

April 1, 2012

Texans continue California gold (ring) rush

Coming up in Texas poker is tough. In addition to fading the normal variance of the game, players have to fight exorbitant rakes and dodge robberies and raids. Spots come and go often, with no regulation cheats can operate with impunity for years before their reputations get tarnished. No poker tours come to our home towns, no special promotions for pit players trickle down into our economy, and no advertising means we have smaller player pools to fish in. When people express shock that grinders from Texas are going on a rush in a regulated market like Cali I just laugh- compared to our home games this is a walk in the park.

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Posted by at 2:42 am

May 21, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – May 21st

Rapture on Hold - Poker Won't Wait

The signs of Rapture are all around us. No, I’m not talking about the idiot who spent his life savings putting up billboards around the country to tell everyone the world was going to end on May 21st. I’m talking about the world in which I exist, the poker world, where we’re clearly in a time loop, as the same things happen over and over again and nobody seems to notice. Déjà vu was certainly the theme for this week’s winners in poker.

Scott Seiver Breaks Through On WPT; Seidel Wins Another High Rzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
WPT Championship & Super High Roller, Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O WPT

There are times in the poker world in which a situation goes beyond explanation. Sometimes players, for no better reason than running bad or random chance, a player will go an extended period of time without a big score. Michael Mizrachi’s previous results at the WSOP leading up to last year’s explosion comes to mind. A player of the caliber of Scott Seiver doing no better 19th place in 5 years of WPT tournaments defies explanation. Unless the explanation was that he was saving up all his rungood for this past week’s $25,000 WPT Championship.

Seiver beat an impressive collection of players in the final six, including 2011 PCA Champion Galen Hall, Justin Young, and Farzad Bonyadi. For his breakthrough WPT performance, Seiver raked in an impressive $1,618,344.

In news that can’t possibly surprise anyone who knows anything about poker, Erik Seidel took down the inaugural WPT Super High Roller Event. 28 of the sickest gamblers of the world decided to put up $100,000 to vie for second place to Seidel. The lucky second place finisher was fellow Team Full Tilt member Erick Lindgren, but the human cybernetic organism that is Erik Seidel walked away with another score of over $1 million, bringing his total for the year to over $5.4 million. Nice life.

Freitez Wins EPT Season 7 Finale; Mercier Wins PokerStars Sponsored zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
EPT Grand Final, Madrid, Spain

C/O PokerStars

The EPT Grand Final, a €10,000 event to conclude an interesting season for the crown jewel of the PokerStars tours featured a “live” broadcast with hole cards on a two-hour delay, sequestering players until their eliminations had “happened” on TV. It’s interesting to see the lengths that they had to go to to broadcast this table on a delay, while the WSOP was able to negotiate just a 30 minute delay between play and broadcast, with no sequestering, but that’s another story for another day.

Two members of Team PokerStars made the EPT Grand Final final table, with Brazilian Alex Gomes chasing a triple crown and Juan Maceiras trying to become the first Spanish-born EPT champion. Both players found the rail early on in Final Table play. Venezuelan player Ivan Freitez was the last man standing, claiming €1,500,000 (about $2.2 million) in the swan song for the EPT’s seventh (!) season.

The following day’s action saw winners from the EPT’s first seven seasons compete for a first place prize of €50,000 in buy-ins to the next season of the EPT. In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Jason Mercier was the champion.

Chris Porter Tops Station Event With for $60K
Sunset Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O Station Casinos

The Station Casinos have created an interesting series of poker tournaments at their various Las Vegas properties. They’re running four separate $1,100 events at four different casinos, each with a $200,000 guarantee, and the top 25 finishers at each casino will compete in a championship event with a $200,000 guarantee of its own, to create a prizepool totaling $1 million for the five events. The most recent event, taking place at Sunset Station, brought in over 200 players, with FullTilt player representative Chris Porter taking down the top prize of $60,000, and a chance at some more in the championship event.

Matt Legard “Positions” Himself For Big Win in New Game at Bellagio
Bellagio Prelim Event, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O Position Poker

As much as the popularity of poker continues to flourish, there are some innovative minds thinking of “the next step” in the evolution of the game. Most of the time it’s an innovation in bringing in more players or changing the pace of the game, but certain developments, including Rush Poker, have completely changed the way poker can be played. An exciting new version of live poker made its debut during the preliminary events at Bellagio a few weeks ago, and this one is called Position Poker. The key variation of the game is that the player winning a pot gets to act after the button on the following hand. There are a few other intricacies, which you can check out at their website here. The winner of the first ever event was Matt Legard, who won $18,000 for his efforts.

NOLA Wraps the WSOPC With Scramble For Points(+2 rings +Team Pokerati Update +National Championship update)
WSOPC Harrahs New Orleans, Louisiana

C/O WSOP

With the conclusion of the WPT Championship, all eyes in the poker world have turned towards New Orleans, where the last few entries to the $1 million WSOPC National Championship have been grinded out over the last week and a half. There are three methods by which players earned their seats in this event; the grinders who have followed the circuit around all year tried to accumulate enough points for one of the at large spots (including Team Pokerati member Dave Clark, who seems to have squeezed his way in with a few key points at this final stop).

Another option was to be the “Casino Champion” by accumulating the most points at this stop. That spot was snatched up by an impressive performance by Brian Walsingham, who locked up two rings inside of a week. In Event 4, a $355 No Limit Hold’em event was the first ring he won, and in Event #8 he really cashed in. The $1,085 tournament generated a prize pool of over $340,000 and Walsingham took the lion’s share of over $78,000. He also gave himself a chance at $300,000, the top prize in a field of less than 100 that will take place in Las Vegas in the coming week.

The third method? Outlasting 75 players and make the final table of the $10,000 Southern Regional Championship, ensuring yourself of one of the last nine seats in a $1 million freeroll. At the time of publication, there are 12 players left, including Allen Kessler, Allie Prescott and Shannon Shorr. Once the final nine is finalized, we’ll throw a quick update your way.

UPDATE: The Final Nine was just set. The unlucky bubble boy was Shannon Shorr, who ran pocket kings into the pocket aces of Allie Prescott to go out in tenth. Prescott punches his ticket to the National Championship, as do Harry Cullen, Allen Kessler, Jeremy Gaubert, Gary Friedlander, Kunal Patel, Matt Waxman, AJ Jejelowo and Scott Lipshutz. The overall field for the freeroll is unofficially set, but you can look here to see who has “officially” qualified and here to check out how the National leaderboard for at-large qualifiers shook out.

Posted by at 4:05 pm

April 26, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – April 26th

The Show Must Go On

The United States Government. Check back next week to see if anything changes.

In all seriousness, the last week and a half has been a dark one for the industry, and last week didn’t necessarily feel like the appropriate time to recognize the few people who were fortunate enough to make a few dollars in poker. We must, however, realize that no matter how bleak the situation is with online poker, the live game will continue to go on. The numbers will change, how yet we don’t know, but as long as there are people playing cards, there will be winners and losers. And some version of this column.

Mercier and Selbst Succesfully Defend Titles at Final NAPT Stop
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Connecticut

It was big news for all of about 14 hours, but there’s no disputing the incredibly impressive accomplishments of Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier at NAPT Mohegan Sun.

C/O PokerStars Blog

Selbst won the inaugural NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event in 2010 in a dominant performance. She lead the tournament from wire-to-wire and earned $750,000, putting her on the path that would lead to her becoming a member of Team PokerStars Pro. The logo on her shirt was different, the final seven standing in her way were different, but the ending was the same. Instead of huge chip advantage, she entered heads-up play with Dan Shak in an unusual spot for her, a three-to-one deficit. Shak was no match for fate, as Selbst quickly closed the gap and captured the title for a second straight year, this time for $450,000

C/O PokerStars Blog

The next day was Jason Mercier’s opportunity to repeat history. His 2010 effort was a $25,000 event that drew 35 players, and paid him a juicy $475,000. This year’s high roller lowered the buy-in to $10,000 but drew more than twice as many players (78 to be exact), and again Mercier won his first table to put himself in contention. He reached heads-up play against fellow Team PokerStars Pro member Eugene Katchalov at a slight disadvantage, but quickly erased it. When the final river hit the felt, Mercier had completed the highly unlikely exacta with Selbst and accumulated $246,600 between bounties and his first place prize. For their sake, lets just hope they didn’t get paid out via their PokerStars accounts.

Erik Seidel is Proven to be Human, Finishes 2nd at WPT Hollywood
Hollywood Casino, Lawrenceburg, Indiana

Erik Seidel’s accomplishments thus far in 2011 can be put up against any individual year by any player in the history of the game, and the year’s less than 1/3rd of the way done. To put things in perspective, 4 of the top 5 top money accumulators are the top four finishers in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, the only anomaly on the list being Seidel. So when the final table was set at WPT Hollywood, Seidel was a prohibitive favorite, and by the time he got down to heads-up play with a part time player from Cincinnati, most of the media already had their reports typed up with their finger hovering over their mouse, ready to click send.

Perhaps we should have taken the events that took place in Indiana in to account when trying to make sense of the pokerpocalypse. Just 97 players showed up for a WPT event, the most famous ginger in poker quite literally abandoned her roots, and in the end, the stranglehold that Erik Seidel has held on poker was loosened, if only slightly. Mike Scarborough played an impressive tournament, and succeeded in overcoming a tough final table on his way to a $273,664 payday.

Everyone I Mentioned At WSOPC St. Louis Won a Lot of Money
WSOP Circuit, Harrah’s St. Louis, Missouri

In my last tournament recap, I mentioned La Sengphet had made her second final table at WSOPC St. Louis, and right after I posted she won the tournament for over $17,000, giving her her second ring of the season. I added a bit at the end to recognize it, and Dan put up a post congratulating her. In it, I mentioned Kyle Cartwright as one of only two players to win two rings at the same stop this season, both of his coming in Tunica. He won a final table that was going on concurrently to La’s, which just happened to be the Main Event in St. Louis.

449 players showed up for the $1,600 tournament, generating a sizable prize pool that would award over $142,000 to the eventual champion. On this day, Cartwright was indeed that man, adding a third ring and an automatic seat in the $1 million championship to what is likely the most impressive resume on this year’s WSOP Circuit.

Local Man Makes Good at LAPT Peru for Over $200K
Atlantic City Casino, Lima, Peru

C/O PokerStars Blog

Amidst the chaos that enveloped the poker world on Friday, a couple of the best that the American poker media has to offer (Shamus and Pauly) soldiered on with their reporting duties. As usual, their updates were top notch and captured the compelling action well, and it was some exciting play to be sure. Local Peruvian player Kemal Ferri went on a rampage when play got down to four-handed, eliminating all three of his opponents on the way to his first LAPT title and $207,400.

Michael Kanaan Makes Dozens of Media Friends After Quick Win in Sydney
ANZPT Sydney, Australia

C/O PokerStars Blog

The unofficial rule amongst the poker media is not to openly root for any one player at a final table. That rule is usurped by the fact that all media subconsciously roots for the big stacks to win during the big confrontations in order to facilitate an early exit from the casino. It is by this that we can judge Michael Kanaan the most popular player of every member of the media present for his win at ANZPT Sydney. The prohibitive chip leader entering play, Kanaan triumphed over his final eight opponents in less than four-and-a-half hours of play, sending people home at just after 5 pm after collecting his $195,714 first place prize, of course.

Luckily For the Pokerati Game, 2-Time WSOPC Omaha Ring Winner Plays Tournaments… For Now
WSOP Circuit, Caesers Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O WSOP

So much for sharing the wealth. Yet another player added his second WSOP Circuit ring of the season this past week as action moved to Caesers in Las Vegas. Army veteran Jessie Bryant’s job while he was enlisted was similar to the soldiers who were featured in “The Hurt Locker”, but these days his focus has been directed more towards the game of Omaha. Bryant won an Omaha-8/b event a few months ago in Tunica, and to show off the versatility in his skills he decided to change it up a bit in Las Vegas, adding a PLO championship to his poker resume. He is the early leader in the player of the series race in Las Vegas thanks to his score of just under $10,000.

Online Poker? Chip Jett Doesn’t Need No Stinkin’ Online Poker
Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza, Las Vegas, Nevada

Also well underway in Las Vegas over the past couple of weeks has been the latest incarnation of the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza. Well-known pros have been scattered amongst the lists of those who have cashed in the events held so far, but have began to pop up more and more since the madness of Friday. The most well-known of those players is Chip Jett, who for a long time has been one of the red-named players on Full Tilt. Not content to sit and stare at a blank computer screen, Jett decided to enter Event 20, a $340 No Limit Hold’em event, and promptly won the whole thing for just under $14,000.

Posted by at 7:40 pm

April 12, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – April 12th

With so many high profile events on the verge of wrapping up (see WPT Hollywood, NAPT Mohegan Sun ME & Bounty Shootout, WSPOC St. Louis), you might think there isn’t much action to recap for this week. Nonsense! A major stop on the EPT, one of the biggest prizes in HPT history, and a lot of catching up to do with some impressive performances in WSOPC prelims.

Canuck’s First Live Tournament Cash is a Measly €825,000
EPT Berlin, Germany

Photo C/O PokerStars

Thanks in large part to an early collision between the two chip leaders early in final table action, Ben Wilnofsky had one of the easiest roads to victory that you’ll ever see (or not) in his victory in Berlin. One of the largest stops on the European tour, the EPT Berlin drew an astounding 773 players for their €5,000 Main Event to generate a prize pool just shy of €4 million. Wilnofsky and Maximilian Heinzelmann were well ahead of the pack when the final eight began play, but a flopped set generated a pot that was larger than any of the other six remaining players and propelled Wilnofsky the rest of the way.

The other notable accomplishment at this final table has to be the performance of Martin Jacobsen. The young Swede (and member of Team PokerStars Pro) made this his third final table of the EPT season, following a pair of second place finishes. He could not end his streak of falling just short, but held on for quite some time on a short stack before ultimately falling in fourth place.

In the end, the news was all about young Ben Wilnofsky. The 22-year-old Canadian has had some online success, but leading into this €5,000 event had not so much as recorded a single lifetime live cash. That also means that his average cash stands somewhere around €825,000, the champion’s share of this massive prize pool. Not bad for a few days work.

Spencer Uniss Nets Even Less For First Cash, a Paltry $221K
HPT @ Golden Gates Casino, Black Hawk, Colorado

Photo C/O HPT

Clearly there was some sort of first-timer strategy guide released this week online that I simply could not find. In addition to the first-time cash/winning combination in Berlin, another player cashed in his “one time” in a big way.

The HPT event at Golden Gates Casino in Colorado saw the biggest field in it’s history with 491 players showing up to generate a prize pool of almost $740,000. The first place prize was set to exceed $220,000.

Spencer Uniss made the newby mistake of promising big things if he was fortunate enough to win, telling his friends he would charter a flight to Las Vegas if he was lucky enough to win. In on an investment of just $370 after a satellite win, he felt as if he had nothing to lose, but now he has to pay up after banking the win in his first ever tournament cash for $221,594. After a bit of research, the cheapest hourly rate for a private plane is about $1,000 an hour, without factoring fuel surcharges, taxes, and other fees. At least it’s from Colorado and not the east coast.

Two Rings are Twice as Nice For Three Lucky Players
St. Louis, Missouri & Rincon, California

In the business of bigger events in the last several weeks, a few impressive feats in preliminary events have slipped through the cracks, which I’ll rectify momentarily. Two players won their second WSOPC ring of the year this week in St. Louis, and one lucky player became only the second player ever to record two wins at one stop a few weeks ago in Rincon.

Photo C/O WSOP

Kurt Jewell has the distinction of winning in the largest field in WSOPC history last October, when he won the Main Event in Hammond for a cool $242,909. He added a second piece of hardware this past week by winning an Omaha 8/b event in St. Louis, the same event that Team Pokerati member La Sengphet made in her pursuit of an at-large spot to the WSOP National Championship. In addition to the second ring, Jewell banked another $13,206 and has already locked up a seat in the $1 million freeroll by virtue of his previous win.

The appropriately named Huy (pronounced “We”) Nguyen hasn’t done so badly for himself this year on the circuit. Nguyen won another of the monsterous $1,600 Main Events, his being Choctaw where he made $232,706 for his efforts. His win in St. Louis came in a Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event with over 200 players. A $25,241 payday for the accountant from Norman, Oklahoma is another impressive score, but he too has his eyes on the National Championship, where he too has already locked up his seat.

Photo C/O WSOP

Finally we take a look back at the WSOPC stop in Rincon, where a man with quite an interesting name won a pair of events. Mstr Lynch won a grand total of over $45,000 for his two wins in Rincon, which propelled him to the most overall points of the Rincon series and a National Championship of his own. He’s just the second player (after Kyle Cartwright did so in Tunica) to win two events at the same series of the WSOPC.

EDIT: Right after the publishing of this article, La followed up with her third cash of the series in St. Louis in the best way possible: by winning her own 2nd ring of the year, according to Dan. At the very least it almost assures her of an at-large spot, if not player of the series in St. Louis. Congrats La!

Posted by at 7:23 pm

April 5, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – April 5th

Eslami Proves ‘If You Can Beat a Robot, You Can Beat a Man’ at Rincon
WSOPC Western Regional Championship, Rincon, California

Photo C/O WSOP

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
Vienna, Austria

Photo C/O PartyPoker

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

Photo C/O PartyPoker

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
Mashantucket, Connecticut

Photo C/O WJMedia

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

Photo C/O HPT

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

jess-welman-ladies-wsop

File pic: Jess Welman

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.

Posted by at 6:28 pm

March 14, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – March 14th

First off, I would like to take the time to thank those who commented on last week’s post. It was no surprise to me that I got a couple of details wrong, as that’s something that happens more often than not, but it was good to find out that there are actually people taking time to read this weekly piece, which can grow pretty long on a given week.

It was a slightly less crazy week on the tournament trail, but there was still plenty of poker played throughout the world. Two different $1,500 events attracted strong crowds in Atlantic City, while a couple of prominent tournaments that were in no way whatsoever affiliated with PokerStars went down in LA, and that wasn’t all.

Victor Ramdin Does Not Pass Sugar, Does Collect $500k at The Big Event
The Bicycle Casino, Bell Gardens, California
The Not-NAPT tournament at the Bike last week still managed to mysteriously draw in numerous amounts of qualifiers and Team PokerStars players, with over 400 players ponying up $5,000 for a $2 million prize pool and a half-million dollar first prize. N-NAPT LA was nearly canceled by state gaming officials over its ties to the online poker site, who withdrew its sponsorship and left the tournament to simply be called “The Big Event”.

While a number of Team PokerStars pros populated the field, only two of them made the final table. To the delight of poker fans, Victor Ramdin and Joe Hachem were also the last two players left standing. On the final hand, Ramdin got it in as a big dog with ace-jack to Hachem’s ace-king, but a jack sealed the title for Ramdin, who went over $3 million in lifetime earnings with the $500K win.

Later in the week, the Bike hosted a $10,000 Bounty Shootout that will air later this year on ESPN. Once again Victor Ramdin found himself at the final table, winning one of nine first-round tables. He was joined by Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, 2010 NAPT LA champion Joe Tehan, new Team PokerStars Online addition Shane Schleger and Michael J. Fox Alex P. Keating, amongst others. Pat Walsh triumphed over them all, and took home $241,700 for his efforts.

Ali Triumphs in “Thrilla on the Riva” Over Frazier (and others)
Caesers, Atlantic City, NJ
In a sport where names like Moneymaker and Fish seem more apropos, the WSOPC stop at Caesers Atlantic City had names that fit better with boxing’s golden age. Jeff Frazier stood in the way of Brian Ali, as did defending WSOPC champion Rolan Israelashvili. But Ali was a bad, bad man on this day, utilizing his poker skills and a few chance cards to thoroughly dominate the final table. It took less than four hours for Ali to be crowned “the greatest” and his purse was $139,284, a golden ring, and a valuable seat in the million dollar final.

Every Tom, Mateusz, and Harry Won a Tournament This Week
Casino at Portomaso, Malta & UKIPT Manchester, England

293 players put up €1,650 to play poker on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta. The Unibet Open stop there drew players from all over Europe, but for the second consecutive time dating back to its London stop, a Dutchman took home the crown. Mateusz Moolhuizen of Holland was crowned the champion of this event, taking home €117,000.

Another Mateusz, Mateusz Warowiec of Poland, is the chip leader heads-up at the UKIPT Manchester stop. He currently holds a nearly 2.5-1 chip lead at dinner break, and stands to be both the second Mateusz to win a title in a week and the second person I’ve ever heard of by the name of Mateusz.

DeepStacks U Instructor Wade Wins DeepStacks Challenge; No Money Back Guarantee
Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, NV
Training site DeepStacks University sponsored a series of tournaments in Reno, including a $2,500 Main Event in which several of its instructors, including Michael Mizrachi, Mike Matusow and Tristan “cre8ive” Wade took part. Instead of teaching them proper strategy, Wade took advantage of a field filled mostly with his students and won the tournament outright for $57,288. I am, of course, kidding, but I do imagine a funny pre-tournament training session in which he suggests giving off specific “fake” tells and riding that onto the easy victory, but that’s just me.

Borgata $500,000 Guaranteed Deep Stack
Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ
The WSOPC was not the only show in town this week in Atlantic City, as the Borgata hosted a $1,500 event with a $500K guaranteed prize pool. Vegas native and worldwide tournament grinder Chris Tryba was the big winner in that one, taking home $131,257 for the win. Other interesting notes on this field include Will “the thrill” Failla cashing and WSOPC champion Brian Ali cashing just days before his own win.

Posted by at 3:59 pm

March 8, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – March 8th

Due to your heroic author’s insistence that he can actually play poker as well as write about it, he decided to take a quick trip to Atlantic City to play a couple of Circuit events. That failed miserably, and also delayed the publishing of this article by more than a day. But here it is, a recap of what turned out to be a very busy week.

Erik Seidel Declares, “All Buy-In’s Over $25K Belong To Me”
2nd in the 2010 NBC Heads-Up Championship. 4th in the 2011 PCA $25,000 High Roller event. 3rd in the $100,000 High Roller and a win in the $250,000 Super High Roller at the 2011 Aussie Millions. And in the last week, a win in the $25,000 High Roller event at the LAPC and redemption with a win in the 2011 NBC Heads-Up Championship.

That’s a whole lot of words without a complete sentence, but it needs to stand alone due to the sheer impressiveness of one man accomplishing all of that in a calendar year. For a long time, Erik Seidel was known only as the man on the other end of Johnny Chan’s WSOP win, courtesy of the famous clip in the movie Rounders. Since his most infamous moment, Seidel has won 8 WSOP bracelets, but the last year has to be his crowning achievement. The total cash haul for all of this success? Over $4.5 million.

The path that Seidel took to the Head’s Up Championship was an impressive one. His first three victories were over fellow founding members of Team FullTilt, defeating Allen Cunningham in the first round, Jennifer Harman in the second round and Phil Gordon in the third. Seidel’s next two matches were against very different kinds of players, specifically of the online variety. One of the few people who’s been as hot as Seidel on the tournament trail is Vanessa Selbst, who has captured a few titles of her own in the last year. But she too fell to Seidel in the round of eight, setting up a match with Andrew Robl in the semifinals. Robl was no match for Seidel, who advanced to the finals and, wouldn’t you know it, a WSOP Main Event champion was waiting for him there. In a reversal of fortune it was Erik Seidel standing tall, claiming the $750,000 first place prize by beating what many would classify as a surprise finalist in Chris Moneymaker. Should make for some pretty good TV.

John Riordan Can’t Buy Booze, But He Can Rock a WSOP Circuit Ring
WSOP Circuit, West Palm Beach, Florida
The bad news for John Riordan is that because he can’t gamble in the state of Nevada, he misses out on the huge opportunity of the WSOP Championship, with $1 million in the prize pool. The good news is that he’s already got quite a few reasons not to be upset. About 210,810 reasons, to be specific, as he won the Main Event of the WSOP Circuit stop at the West Palm Beach Kennel Club last week.

Riordan took advantage of the fact that Florida is one of the few places in the United States in which you’re allowed to gamble at 18, so while he technically qualifies for the million dollar freeroll, he can’t legally play in Las Vegas, and thus forfeits this right to play. His spot will be occupied by an additional at-large qualifier, determined by overall point standings for the entirety of the 2010-2011 WSOPC season.

Gregory Brooks Owes Neighbor Free Drinks For Life After Convincing Him to Play LAPC Main Event
LA Poker Classic, Commerce, California
I don’t personally know what it’s like to be able to play or not play a $10k event on a whim, but for those who can, it can be a decision that can change their life. In the case of Gregory Brooks, that’s exactly what happened. After some disappointing results online, Brooks was ready to take a break from poker, but thanks to the advice of that sagely neighbor, he decided to squeeze in a trip to the Commerce Casino that would change his life.

After several grueling days, Brooks found himself in the final six of the LAPC Main Event with online legends Vivek Rajkumar and Steve Gross, as well as former WSOP Main Event champion and poker superstar Carlos Mortensen. But when the dust finally settled, it was Brooks that was the last man standing. Most people end up with a headache or a mysterious rash after doing something on a whim. Greg Brooks won $1.6 million and a seat to the $25,000 WPT Championship. Tough life.

In other action at the seemingly endless LAPC, David Kitai won the WPT Celebrity invitational. The final table of this event was delayed by a week to accommodate the WPT filming crew, which was already set up to film the Main Event. Kitai took home a $100,000 package, with $75,000 in cash and the other $25,000 wrapped up in a seat in the WPT Championship.

WSOPC in Atlantic City Becomes a 3-Ring Circus
WSOP Circuit – Caeser’s, Atlantic City
The WSOPC has been in Atlantic City for less than a week, and there’s already madness brewing. At the final table of Event #5, a bevy of borderline poker ettiquette issues were raised, from calling for cards in hands players weren’t involved in to high-fiving spectators, to running around the rather large tournament area causing a major scene. The instigator of this madness was Matthew Piccolo, who Nolan Dalla, in his recap of the event, called “an unshaven Chris Farley wearing an Oakland Raiders cap.” The hysterics overshadowed the victory of Jaeik Cho, who quietly collected the WSOPC ring and nearly $30,000.

Luke Vrabel Takes Home $670K and a Lambo In 5th Anniversary of PokerStars’ Sunday Million
Its rare to see a tournament eclipse 10,000 players online. It’s nearly impossible to imagine almost 60,000 players in an event, and it hits that mark when the buy-in is $215. But that’s just what happened this past weekend in the PokerStars Sunday Million, where they guaranteed a $5 million prize pool for their 5th anniversary and reached more than double that mark. As play reached the final table, the structure became a bit too fast for the remaining players, who each agreed to chop out part of the prize pool and guarantee themselves almost $300,000. The biggest winner of them all was Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel, who took home $670,000 as well as a brand new Lamborghini Gallardo. Not bad for 16 hours of work.

Posted by at 8:47 pm

February 28, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – February 28th

Greg Pohler Becomes Most Famous Sibling Since Frank Stallone with LAPC Win; James Carroll, Elky Lead Final 2 Events
LA Poker Classic, Commerce, California

The LA Poker Classic is finally winding down, but the last few days should be quite a cap to what has already been a very exciting series. 681 players turned out for the $10,000 LAPC Main Event, which is down from last year but that can be attributed directly to Full Tilt not running direct satellites to the tournament. The winner will probably not be complaining though, as the top prize in this event is over $1.6 million. At last check, there were 34 players left, with James Carroll leading and David “Bakes” Baker not far behind. Other notables still in the field include Allen Cunningham, Joe Hachem, Jason Senti, Kathy Liebert and Lauren Kling. If you’ve got a second, be sure to check out the live video stream from the Commerce Casino. 5 players are left at the $25K high roller event final table, with Elky leading the pack.

There’s some debate as to whether or not Greg Pohler is the brother of Parks and Recreation star and SNL alum Amy Poehler, but thanks to a Google search, movies.yahoo.com says that she has a brother named Gregory, so I’m gonna run with that (despite the fact that they’re spelled differently). Pohler won almost $30,000 in Event #46 at the LAPC, but the most interesting result from that tournament may be the 17th place finisher. I haven’t heard the phrase “Parts Unknown” since I watched WWF back in the early 1990s.

One of the more impressive final tables has to be the $5,100 No Limit Hold’em event that took place last week. Randy Dorfman topped an impressive final table that included Shannon Shorr, Nick Binger, Jon Turner and French Pro Nicholas Levi. Dorfman took home $163,270 for this win, one of the biggest prizes awarded at this year’s LAPC.

The last of the unique events that Matt Savage runs at the LAPC was the double-elimination format Heads-Up tournament. The $5K tournament got 48 players, and the six making the money were an impressive group. John Racener, Erik Seidel, Justin Young and Fabrice Soulier all found their way to the money. The final match was between Nicholas Rampone and Scott Seiver, with Rampone coming out of the Loser’s Bracket against Seiver, who had not lost a match on the way to the finals. Rampone had to beat Seiver twice to capture the title, which is exactly what he did. He got $81,480 and a $10,000 seat to the Main Event, which was added to this tournament as well as a handful of others during the LAPC.

A Pair of Swedes Invade To Denmark, One Captures (EPT) Crown
EPT Copenhagen – Copenhagen, Denmark

Another week, another €500K first prize on the EPT. After playing down from a final eight that included Juha Helppi and American online wiz Kevin Iacofano, two Swedish pros battled it out for the EPT Copenhagen title. Michael Tureniec and Per Linde battled for more than three-and-a-half hours heads-up, with Tureniec vindicating himself following a previous second place finish on the EPT by capturing this title. Tureniec won €496,271 for this effort, but no word on how Scandinavian relations are following this brash invasion.

Former Corrections Officer Lays Down the Law, Becomes First Female Poker Champion in Florida History
WSOP Circuit, Palm Beach Kennel Club – West Palm Beach, Florida

The young history of tournament poker means that we’ll be seeing a lot of first-time events in the coming years. This past week at Florida saw the first woman crowned as champion of a major event. June Amer, a retired corrections officer in Dade County, won the biggest prize of this circuit stop to date, banking over $65,000 in a $550 event with 664 entries. After cashing in Event #2, Amer overcame what looked to be an insurmountable chip lead in this tournament to lock up the Circuit ring, as well as put herself in position to contend for player of the series.

Quite a few familiar faces showed up to play at this WSOP circuit stop, including Team Pokerati member Tom “DonkeyBomber” Schneider. He found his way to the final table of an Omaha 8/b event, but with less than one small bet when the final table began, Schneider could not improve his position and finished 9th. Also at this final table was “Captain Tom” Franklin, but he too fell short of this title, finishing in 5th place. The winner of the event was Timothy Burt, a veteran who served for three years in Iraq, who knotches his second WSOP circuit ring, the first coming in a HORSE event in Biloxi last November.

Mark Benasa Wins Record Red Dragon in Macau; Hannibal Lector Unavailable for Comment
Macau Poker Cup, Grand Casino Lisboa – Lisboa, Macau

509 players turned out over two days of the Macau Poker Cup Main Event. Known as the “Red Dragon”, this tournament shattered the previous record of 321 players, and created a prize pool of over HKD $5,090,000. Mark Benasa won the title, becoming the first Filipino player in the tournament’s history to do so. Benasa took home a first place prize of HKD $1,100,000 ($140,000) and now leads the APOY race, with a one-year sponsorship from PokerStars Macau on the line.

Swim Instructor Sinks Competition To Win HPT Title
HPT, Downstream Casino Resort, Quapaw, Oklahoma

27-year-old Michael Jensen is a part-time poker pro, but definitely someone who has his priorities in order. In an interview before the final table at Downstream Casino, Jensen said, “Whether I finish sixth or first, I’m teaching swimming lessons to little kids tomorrow afternoon.” If I were Jensen, I would be pulling a Scrooge McDuck following those lessons, as his $100K payday for first place could definitely fill a pool full of coins to swim in.

Posted by at 7:44 pm

February 22, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – February 22nd

Computer crashes, flight delays and internet inconsistencies successfully delayed this column once again, but even those pitfalls couldn’t keep this column down for more than a day. I may have failed to put myself in position to appear in this column again, but others won big at the WSOPC’s inaugural trip to Florida, which got underway this week. There was also some serious action in Brazil and a crescendo in the action at the LAPC.

Largest Field in Florida History Fails To Prolong “Year of the Media”
Palm Beach Kennel Club – West Palm Beach, Florida

It’s become increasingly clear that all of the media’s run-good has been usued up for the foreseeable future, as my own personal attempts to cash in on the year of the media have once again failed. I was one of 877 entries over two starting days at the inaugural event of the World Series of Poker event at the Palm Beach Kennel club this week. The $345 event brought together the largest field for a poker tournament in the history of the state of Florida, generating a prize pool of over $250,000 and awarding almost $50,000 to the winner. The biggest names to go deep in this event were former WSOP ME final tablist John Spadavecchia, and Ronnie Bardah, who bubbled the final table in 10th place.

24-year-old Reed Zhao was crowned the champion, the first winner of a circuit ring in the state of Florida. The Lexington, Kentucky native is a high-stakes online cash game grinder, but he’ll likely be playing some more tournaments in the coming weeks to challenge for player of the series and a spot in the Million Dollar Freeroll. Zhao is currently joined atop this list by James Giraldo, who won a $545 event for $43,000 in his first major live tournament, and “Tampa Bay” Ray Del Cueto, who won $28,800 in Ring Event #3.

A Pair of Ladies Hold WPT Invitational in Check
Los Angeles, California
As the longest tournament series outside of the World Series of Poker inches toward its ending, two of the more unique events that the LA Poker Classic has to offer took place. The WPT Celebrity Invitational tournament got underway this week, with boatloads of LA celebrities and poker players rubbing shoulders and doing their thing the red carpet. After playing down to the final six, the two biggest pros remaining are Dan Heimiller and David Kitai, but the story of this table is a pair of chess masters that also happen to be women. Almira Skripchenko and Dinara Khaziyeva are each vying for a top prize of $100,000, which includes a seat to the $25,500 WPT Championship. The final table will be played out on March 2nd, so it can be filmed back-to-back with the $10,000 WPT event.

The other unique event at the LAPC this week was the annual Ironman event, where no breaks are given and the tournament is played straight from beginning to end. 68 players signed up for this twisted idea from the mind of Matt Savage, and pro Nikolay Evdakov emerged victorious (and tired). He won $60,630 and a seat in the main event for his victory, which was his second LAPC victory of the week after winning the six-handed Pot Limit Omaha following a three-way chop for almost $35,000. Evdakov is one of four people to own two or more titles at this year’s LAPC and he has thrust himself into the player of the series race there.

Another notable player found victory this week as Owen “owcrowe” Crowe, who won a $1,065 event for over $37,000 in an event that saw Matt Savage’s personal punching bag for the LAPC, Matt Affleck, cash. On several occasions during this series Savage, who is an infamous needler and may or may not have sent yours truly a text message during the AFC Championship game when the Jets were down three touchdowns, has brought up the monster pot that Affleck lost at this year’s WSOP Main Event, once playing it on a giant projector screen for the entire tournament field.

Power Outages Can’t Stop First Chilean LAPT Champion
LAPT Brazil – Sao Paolo, Brazil
Brazilians comprised 60% of the 536 players in this record-breaking LAPT event, and the hometown crowd was hungry to crown the first Brazilian champion in the history of the Latin American Poker Tour on their own turf. They had quite an edge heading into the final table as well, with 5 of the 8 players at the final table coming from Brazil. In fact, all 8 players were from Latin America, and a Latin American nation crowned their first champion, but it was Chilean Alex Manzano emerging as the champion. Manzano satellited in online and turned that small investment into R$ 615,840, roughly $370,000.

Posted by at 6:38 pm

February 15, 2011

This Week’s Big Winners – February 15th

Greetings from sunny Southern Florida. I’ve finally thawed myself out from the permafrost of this New York winter, and I’m looking forward to the WSOPC’s first stop down in Florida. In the meantime, let’s look at what’s happened this week.

Vinnie Vinh Makes Day 2, Shows Up, Wins
LAPC – Los Angeles, California
Vinny Vinh is an enigma in the poker world over the last several years, and rumored debts and drug issues have caused some well-publicized incidents at the World Series of Poker. On two separate occasions, Vinh made Day 2 of a WSOP event, only to no-show under mysterious circumstances. This year’s LAPC is a different story, though, as Vinh decided playing a tournament to completion might be a novel idea, and it worked out pretty well for him. Vinh took down Event 29 last week for a cool $12,000. If you still don’t believe that Vinnie Vinh is anything beyond a figment of your imagination, here he is taking with the great Matt Savage.

In other LAPC news, Tony Ma took down the Tag Team Championship with Restituto Bagaygay, defeating the Road Warriors with a double powerbomb 82 other teams in the process. Jamie Shaevel is on fire, winning three different events at LAPC to lead the Player of the Series race, overtaking Brian Brubaker and David Levi, who won a PLO8 event this week, at two wins each.

Pokerati Player Gets a Ring, too … Circuit Ring, That Is
WSOP Circuit – Tunica, Mississippi
Team Pokerati juggernaut La Sengphet got matching rings this Valentine’s Day weekend, but La earned it on the felt. After her boyfriend David Clark won a WSOP Circuit event in Choctaw a few weeks ago, La won Ring Event #8 in Tunica, pocketing more than $30,000 and becoming the first woman in nine months to win an open WSOPC ring event. La also ran deep in the Tunica main event, finishing 10th — just a bad beat away (A10 < K10) from another final table and a chance to lock up her seat in the WSOPC million-dollar freeroll.

Fossilman Beats DC Politicos
Washington, D.C.
Most of the attention that Greg Raymer has received in the last few weeks has been about his departure from PokerStars, but it hasn’t stopped him from continuing the cause for the legalization of online poker. At last week’s CPAC conference, the PPA ran a charity event to help raise awareness and preach limited government to conservatives. It remains to be seen how effective this message was, but Raymer, as per usual, just seems to keep on winning, no matter what he plays.

Gareth Walker Steals From Rich, Gives to Self in Nottingham
UKIPT – Nottingham, England
This UKIPT £500 Main Event set a record with 1,058 players, the biggest field ever for a tournament on British shores. There were no Robin Hood sightings, but there was quite a bounty for Gareth Walker, who walked away with £109,000, the biggest prize in the history of the UKIPT.

Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza Draws Big Names
Las Vegas, Nevada
At the moment, the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza is the biggest game in town when it comes to tournaments, and some big names have made some deep runs in these events. James Van Alstyne finished second in a $1,000 event for just under $20,000, with Dennis Phillips finishing in the money in 13th place in the same event. Joanne “JJ” Liu seems to cash wherever she goes, finishing third in an Omaha 8//b event for over $4,000.

Posted by at 2:05 pm