EPT Madrid Main Event Features Interesting Final Table

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The Main Event for the 2012 European Poker Tour’s Madrid Main Event was an interesting stretch of poker, and one that had an even more interesting final stretch to the final eight players, or the final table.  When the day started on Friday there were 24 players left in the action, but these 24 would be playing down to eight before the end of the day.  There were a few big names eliminated before the final table bubble, including Taylor Paur, who finished in 13th place, and Tristan Clemencon who was sent home in 11th place.  But the biggest story of the day came from the player who was eventually the bubble boy of the event.  This was Mike “Timex” McDonald.

McDonald was the unfortunately bubble boy of the final table, and was sent home in 9th place receiving a prize of €35,000 for his efforts.  It’s unfortunate still though, as his loss came when he had pocket tens, the flop came out with 10-J-Q.  Unfortunately though, the player that he was up against was holding the A-K of hearts, putting McDonald way behind.  Andrei Stoenesu had flopped the nut straight, and McDonald needed the board to pair in order to remain alive in the event.  Unfortunately nothing hit, and McDonald’s run ended there.

Now to look towards the final table, you’ll see that there are many unknown players remaining, but the most well-known is Nicolas Levi who has a total of $1.6 million in live tournament winnings in his career.  Levi actually has yet to win a major live tournament in his career though, and he’ll have a tough task here as he is the short stack to start the day.  Levi has a few more than 20 big blinds remaining in his stack, so he’ll absolutely have his work cut out for him.  The current leader is Ricardo Ibanez, who is holding 3,216,000 chips, but it is still very close for many of the remaining players.  Below is the list of the remaining players in order of their chip stacks.

  • Ricardo Ibanez- 3,216,000
  • Fraser Macintyre- 2,473,000
  • Frederik Jensen- 2,144,000
  • Andrei Stoenesu- 1,974,000
  • Bruno Lopes- 1,452,000
  • Ilan Boujenah- 1,382,000
  • Jason Duval- 963,000
  • Nicolas Levin- 709,000

The final table kicks off on Saturday at noon local time.  We’ll keep you updated when all is said and done about who takes down this event.

Day 1B of EPT Madrid Draws in Big Field

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Day 1a of the European Poker Tour’s Madrid event didn’t quite live up to the hype, but it was Day 1b that really boosted the overall numbers, and left many players shocked at the number of entrants that came on the second day.  Day 1b drew in so many players, that the heads of the tournament had to create a second area in the Casino Gran Madrid to make room for all of the players.  In total, Day 1b featured 352 total entrants, which pushed the total number of players in the event up to 477.

When Day 1b came to an end, there were 197 of the original 352 players left in the field, which set up an interesting field of 264 total players who would be back on Day 2 (which occurred today).  There were quite a few big named players who were left at the end of Day 1b, which was quite the opposite of how Day 1a ended.  Some of the players who found themselves at the top of the standings were David Benyamine, Nicholas Levi, Angel Guillen, and Taylor Paur.  As far as other players that you may know who made it through to Day 2, it included Mike McDonald, Faraz Jaka, Olivier Busquet, Kevin MacPhee, Melanie Weisner, Todd Terry, Johnny Lodden, Jake Cody, and many other players.

Day 2’s chip leader was Juan-Navarette Azon, who is a player from Spain, and he started Day 2 with 173,200 chips, which was only 2,200 more than Ilan Boujenah.  A large number of his chips came in a massive hand against another well-known poker pro in Steve O’Dwyer.  O’Dwyer was holding pocket Queens, but was up against the Kings of Azon.  Azon’s Kings held and he picked up the massive pot to build his stack.

With the final numbers locked up, the top 72 players will be bringing home some cash.  The final table will be played Saturday, and first place is scheduled to take home €545,000 for their efforts when all is said and done.  Anyone who makes it into the top five will take home more than €100,000, as second place will receive €365,000, third place will receive €205,000, fourth place gets €140,000, and fifth place gets €115,000.

World Series of Poker Europe Schedule Released

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The 2011 World Series of Poker Europe was one of the more interesting ones out there, and one that should be incredibly interesting in 2012 as well.  Last year’s event was the first time that the WSOP Europe was held in Cannes, France, and the reviews were so good that they have decided to bring it back there for a second straight year.  As a matter of fact, the reviews of the series in Cannes were so good, that the Barriere casino (where it was held), and also the World Series of Poker Europe took down the award for the Best European Poker Tournament at the European Poker Awards.

The event will once again be held at the Casino Barriere de Cannes Croisette and the Hotel Majestic Barriere.  While it is over a half of a year away, the WSOP Europe wanted to make sure that the players could prepare, so that they could get some huge prize pools and crowds for the event.  The official dates of the series will be from September 21st to October 4th.  As previously mentioned, this is the second year that the series has been in Cannes, as the first four years were held in London.

As far as the layout of the series will go, it is going to look very similar to last year, because there will be the same seven bracelet events offered.  On top of that though, you’ll find that there are a large number of different non-bracelet tournaments offered, as well as a ton of satellites into the big time events that will be running.  Last but not least, is the fact that there will be different levels of cash games offered consistently throughout the days as well.

Below is the schedule for the bracelet events at the World Series of Poker Europe, and listed afterwards is the player who took down that event last year:

  • €2500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em- September 21st (Guillaume Humbert)
  • €1000 No limit Hold’em- September 22nd (Andrew Hinrichsen)
  • €5000 Pot Limit Omaha- September 24th (Steve Billirakis)
  • €3000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout- September 25th (Tristan Wade)
  • €10,000 Mix-Max No Limit Hold’em- September 26th (Michael Mizrachi)
  • €1500 Six Handed Pot Limit Omaha- September 27th (Philippe Boucher)
  • €10,000 Main Event- September 29th (Elio Fox)

Party Poker Comes Through For Montreal Open Winners

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The U.S. Department of Justice’s closing of Full Tilt Poker (and other poker sites) didn’t just affect the United States. And it didn’t even just affect online poker players. It also affected, for one, the recipients of the good work and services of the Miriam Foundation in Canada, which receive substantial support from Canada’s annual Montreal Open of poker. That event looked to be in jeopardy when Full Tilt Poker, the event’s sponsor, proved unable to pay out the prize money to the 30 winners of the last incarnation of that event. Thankfully, rescue assistance came in to save the day, courtesy of Party Poker.

In 2011, the 6th running of the Montreal Open occured just weeks prior to the D.O.J.’s shutting down of FullTilt and fellow poker sites serving U.S. players. Since then, it’s been up in the air whether that year’s winners would ever see their prize money.

Players have remained mostly quiet and, if not patient then at least subdued on the subject, mostly because they don’t want the Mirian Foundation to have to suffer any in order for them to receive their poker payouts.

The Miriam Foundation provides “rehabilitative, vocational and residential services” to promote greater socializing and increased community for kdis and adults with intellectual disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorders.

But the questions about the future of the event, at least, have been laid to rest as, thanks to Party Poker’s stepping in, the Montreal Open has been restaged The Montreal Party Poker Classic. This year, the event will support the Jodi Lazarus Fund for Hereditary Breast Cancer Research also in Montreal.

20 Players Remain at WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Event

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The World Poker Tour’s Bay 101 Shooting Stars event is down to it’s final 20 players, and the play to this point has been incredibly exciting all around.  When the day began there were 149 players remaining, and 19 Shooting Stars left in the event as well.  The 19 Shooting Stars all had $5k bounties on them, so whoever sent them home would pick up a nice bonus.  To start the action Bryce Yockey was atop the leader board, but he was unable to make it through as one of the final 20 players remaining.

Pretty early in the day we had two of the Shooting Stars going heads up against each other as Jonathan Duhamel sent Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier home to pick up his own $5k prize.  Grospellier shoved over the top of Duhamel’s pre-flop raised for 12k, and Duhamel made the call.  Duhamel held pocket treys, while ElkY had A-Q, but the pocket threes held and sent ElkY home early on.  Another interesting match-up that we had was when Jonathan Little sent Mike Matusow home, and Mike McClain knocked off Scott Seiver.

When the action was down to the final 37 players it took about an hour for the money bubble to burst.  When it happened, it was actually two Shooting Stars who went head to head in Men Nguyen and Kathy Liebert.  Liebert shoved over top of Nguyen, who said that if it was for less than 100k, that he would call.  It was 92k and Nguyen called and turned over the A-10 of clubs.  Liebert had A-K, but the flop came down with 10-9-8 with two clubs as well.  The turn hit another club sending Liebert home on the bubble, and sent a $5k bounty to Nguyen.

A few other players who were knocked out before the end of the day included Allen Cunningham, Men Nguyen, Jason Mercier (by Jason Duhamel), Linda Johnson, and Fabrice Soulier.

Duhamel found himself sitting in 6th place at the end of the day with 751k, only about 600k behind the overall leader.  He is also playing this event for free now, after knocking out two of the Shooting Stars and taking home $10k in bounties.  There is only one other Shooting Star remaining in the event outside of Duhamel, and that is J.C. Tran.

WSOP National Championship Adds Additional Players

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WSOPThe World Series of Poker’s National Championship is one of the events that they are hoping to boost up a bit this year in terms of overall interest in the event.  While the National Championship features a nice $1 million prize pool, and also features 100 of the players who have done the best during the WSOP Circuit for that year, they have decided to up the ante a little bit by including some of the best poker players in the world in it as well.

Typically, the event offers 100 guaranteed spots for players who get to play in the National Championship for free.  These 100 spots are made up of the 34 automatic qualifiers which are made up of 17 players who won a Circuit Main Event, and 17 casino champs, who are players that earned the most points at each of the stops on the Circuit.  After that the final 66 spots that are awarded will go to that players who earned the most points across all of the Circuit events throughout the year.

As mentioned, those players get to play for free, but the new addition will offer 100 additional spots for players to take.  These spots are awarded to the top 100 overall earners in terms of points from 2010 and 2011 between the World Series of Poker, and World Series of Poker Europe as well.  These players will NOT be given a free entry into the event though, as they will have to pay a $10k entry fee into the event, but that $10k entry will be added on top of the $1 million guaranteed prize pool.

This means that we could potentially be seeing players like Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Duhamel, Michael Mizrachi, Ben Lamb, John Juanda, Shawn Buchanan, Chris Moorman, John Racener, Frank Kassela, David Baker, Jason Mercier, Bertrand Grospellier, Tom Dwan, Men Nguyen, Sammy Farha, and many other players in this event on July 6th.

Last year, Sam Barnhart brought in his first ever WSOP cash, and it was in the form of a win and a $300k pay day at the WSOP National Championship.  After that, Barnhart went on to finish in 17th in the Main Event for another nice score at the 2011 World Series of Poker.

World Poker Tour’s Shooting Stars Event Kicks Off

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The World Poker Tour’s Shooting Stars event is one of the most talked about events on the World Poker Tour schedule, mainly because of it’s unique format.  On top of that though, it also draws in some of the biggest names in poker consistently, and is also played in the wonderful state of California.  This event kicked off earlier today, and will feature two starting days for the players, both of which will have a group of “Shooting Stars” that have $5,000 bounties on their head if you are able to eliminate them.

The bounties will be spread out between Day 1A and Day 1B, and will feature big names on both days.  Another nice bonus for this event that other events don’t offer, is the fact that they pay out a bonus of $10,000 to the chip leader on both of the opening days.  So what this means is that if you are able to finish at the top of the leader board at the end of either of the days, you’ll be playing the event for free, since the buy-in is only $10k!

Day 1A will feature Shooting Stars like Joe Hachem, Jonathan Duhamel, Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Maria Ho, Kathy Liebert, and Christian Harder.  Obviously as you can see by these names, none of them will be easy outs by any means, and any of these players could seriously contend for the championship on any day of the week as well!

Day 1B will include a strong list of players as well, starting with Men “The Master” Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, Barry Greenstein, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Allen Cunningham, and Alan Sternberg as well.  Mike Sexton, who is a current member of the Poker Hall of FAme and is also a commentator for the Tour will have a bounty on him as well.  Sexton was actually a final tablist at this event last year as well, so he’s definitely had some success.

One last difference from this event that is worth pointing out is the fact that they will switch the action from nine handed play to six handed play with 36 players remaining instead of just at the final table like standard World Poker Tour events are.

WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic Champion Crowned

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The World Poker Tour’s Los Angeles Poker Classic has finally come to an end, and one player found themselves standing above the rest when all was said and done.  Sean Jazayeri is one of the more seasoned vets in the poker game today, and he had a tough task at a final table that featured some of the most well-known up and comers out there today.  When the day started, the other five players at the final table included David “Doc” Sands, who was just behind him in terms of chip stack size, Noah Schwartz, Dan Kelly, Jason Somerville, and Jason Burt.  Somerville and Burt both had some work to do as they were the short stacks.

Both of them were not able to last though, as Somerville was sent home on the second hand, and Burt was sent home on the 12th hand.  Jazayeri sent home Somerville, was the knockout of Burt came at the hands of Dan Kelly.  This left four players to duke it out for the championship, and they played for quite a bit before anything else really happened.  Jazayeri then made a raise under the gun, and was called by Kelly.  Schwartz then pushed all in, which led to another all-in from Jazayeri, which couldn’t leave Schwartz feeling too great about his spot.  Indeed he was way behind, as Jazayeri turned over Kings, which held up against the A-J of Schwartz.

So the three final players remaining were Jazayeri with the chip lead of 9.8 million to 4.6 for Kelly, and 2 million for Sands.  Sand started working his way up though and eventually overtook Kelly.  It wasn’t long after that though that he sent Kelly home in 3rd place, and set up a heads up match that actually had Sands as the chip leader to start the action.  He even built his lead even larger (about 2 to 1) pretty quickly as well, but Jazayeri was able to turn it around in one big hand, when he was all-in with A-K against the Queens of Sands.  Jazayeri hit his Ace, and held a nice lead at this point.  Jazayeri got Sands all in, and was holding A-5 against the K-Q of Sands.  Sands hit a King, but Jazayeri also paired his 5.  The turn gave Sands a straight draw, but the river was another dreaded five to give Jazayeri the championship and the first place prize of over $1.3 million.  Sands took home over $860k for his efforts as well.

World Poker Tour’s LA Poker Classic Has 18 Players Remaining

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The World Poker Tour’s Los Angeles Poker Classic has had a ton of hype surrounding it, and to this point it has lived up to that hype.  When Day 4 began of the action there were 54 players remaining, but when the day finally wound down we were left with only 18 top players remaining in the action.  These 18 players will head back today to the Commerce Casino to play down to the final table, which should be one of the stronger final tables in recent memory as there are still some heavy hitters left in this event.  The winner of the World Poker Tour’s LA Poker Classic will take home over $1.3 million as well!

A few players that are definitely worth noting that are still in the event are Noah Schwartz (1.77 million chips, first place), Dan Kelly (1.749 million chips, second place), and A.J. Jejelowo (1.57 million chips, third place).  To round out the players who are holding over 1 million chips heading into Day 5, we have Stephen Chidwick in 4th place with 1.42 million, Jason Dewitt in 5th place with 1.18 million, Sean Jazayeri in 6th place with 1.126 million, and well-known poker pro Jason Somerville in 7th place with 1.025 million.  Quite a bit of the hype has surrounded Somerville, as this past week he came out as the first ever openly gay male professional poker player, and it seems that his announcement hasn’t slowed him down at all from playing incredible poker and putting himself in a great spot to make a run.

A few other well-known players still remaining in the action are former World Poker Tour Champions Joe Hachem and Allen Carter, as well as Sorel Mizzi, David Pham, David Sands, and Nick Binger.  All in all, there are quite a few big names remaining, and this final table has the potential to be one of the most talked about out of many recent events as well.  After Somerville who is in 7th place, the above-mentioned Pham, Sands, and Hachem are all sitting in 8th, 9th, and 10th places in that order.  Binger and Mizzi both have a bit of work to do though, as they currently hold 565k chips, and 600k chips respectively.

The action today starts with the blinds at 10k/20k, with an ante of 3k.  The action goes until there are only six players remaining, and then this will set the televised final table.

Duhamel Gets His Gold Bracelet Back

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Jonathan Duhamel has been on one heck of a ride since the home invasion and robbery that occurred back in December of 2011, but one of his most prized possessions that was missing has now been returned to its rightful owner.  This is none other than the World Series of Poker Main Event bracelet that he took down back in 2010.  He was bent on trying to get this bracelet back, as it was one of the things that meant the most to him out of what was taken.  It was gone for around two months, but this past Wednesday it was found, but not quite in the same condition that he lost it in.

It was found by a street sweeper named Denis Theriault, who cleaning up the Ville-Marie tunnel, when he found the bracelet while emptying the sweeper out.  It was completely beaten up, and looked as though someone had just taken a hammer to it.  It was worse than that though, as it had actually been run over by a car unfortunately.  The bracelet has (had) a diamond mix in it as well, and no one is positive about how it ended up in this tunnel, but there are a few assumptions.  One of the most popular ones is that whoever had  the bracelet at the time decided that there was no way they could sell the bracelet without being caught, so they simply threw it into the tunnel.

The bracelet essentially has lost everything except for it’s main plate, but fortunately Seth Palansky, who is the Media Director of the World Series of Poker, told tournament director Mitch Garber to let Duhamel know that they would work with him to replace the bracelet.  The current bracelet has Duhamel’s last name scratched off, but his first name, the date of the event, and the name of the tournament are all engraved, so there was no way that someone would not be able to realize that this bracelet belonged to Duhamel.

Duhamel has been one of the hottest players to start 2012, and it looks like he’s rebounded well from the home invasion as well.  Keep an eye on him throughout the year as he could be in for another huge year.