Archive for August, 2016

2016 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event Day 3: William Vo is Happy

 2016 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event Day 3: William Vo is Happy

Just thirteen players remain from the original field of 687 as the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker Main Event moves into its penultimate day. Day 3 moved along swiftly; the plan was to play through Level 24 or until there were eighteen players remaining, whichever was sooner – we can see how quickly the field was whittled down from the 67 who began the day. Going into Day 4, it is 77-year old William Vo who is enjoying a dominating lead over the field with 4.125 million chips. His closest competitor, Upeshka De Silva, is a million and a half chips behind.

Vo, clearly a veteran player, is very much a local, small stakes rounder. He has live tournament results on dating back to the year 2000, most of which are in low three-figure buy-in tournaments in the Los Angeles area. He has one World Series of Poker cash and one WPT cash: a 31st place finish in this very tournament in 2011. Overall, Vo has won just bout $ 400,000 in live poker tournaments.

According to the live updates, Vo sounds like the kind of character that poker television producers would love. Not only is he older than most players you will find in major tournaments (the type of story viewers often enjoy), but after winning big pots, he says, “I love myself!

Case in point, in what looks like it may have been the largest pot of the day (it was up to that point), Upeshka De Silva raised pre-flop to 44,000, Todd Peterson called, and Vo raised it up to 150,000. Both opponents called to bring on a flop of 4-3♠-2. Peterson and De Silva checked to Vo, who bet 400,000. De Silva folded, but Peterson called. It was a 500,000 chip check-call for Peterson when the K was dealt on the turn and both players checked the river 8♠. Vo revealed two black Jacks and that was apparently enough, as Peterson folded. Of course, Vo yelled, “I love myself!” before complimenting Peterson on his poker abilities and scooping a 2.3 million chip pot.

Frankly, this guy sounds awesome. I know we aren’t always thrilled with boisterous displays at the poker table, but hell, Vo celebrated while a floor person was coloring him up after the hand. Just look at the picture on – that’s a man who is having one fantastic time in life right now. I want him to tell me stories in my living room.

Today should be a short one at the Bike, since the field will be cut from thirteen to six before timeout is taken.

2016 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1.    William Vo – 4,125,000
2.    Upeshka De Silva – 2,665,000
3.    Pat Lyons – 2,035,000
4.    Benjamin Zamani – 2,000,000
5.    Barry Shulman – 1,865,000
6.    Jeremy Kottler – 1,820,000
7.    David Pham – 1,365,000
8.    Ray Qartomy – 1,110,000
9.    Gary Sewell – 1,010,000
10.    Garrett Greer – 800,000
11.    Will Givens – 605,000
12.    Rafael Ferreira de Oliveira – 580,000
13.    Todd Peterson – 570,000

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ESPN Releases WSOP Broadcast Schedule

 ESPN Releases WSOP Broadcast Schedule

A week from today marks the beginning of ESPN’s fall coverage of the 2016 World Series of Poker; within the past week, the “Worldwide Leader” released the complete schedule for the weekly broadcasts. Oh, how times have changed. Whereas a decade ago, we might have seen a number of preliminary events in addition to the $ 10,000 Main Event, now we are down to the WSOP Global Casino Championship and the Main Event. Somehow, though ESPN is getting sixteen episodes out of it and that is before the Main Event final table.

The coverage kicks off Tuesday, September 6th with the WSOP Global Casino Championship in two separate, one-hour episodes at 10:00pm and 11:00pm ET. The Championship is the culmination of the WSOP Circuit season. 100 players earn free seats into the event: the casino champion at Circuit stop and the Main Event winners of each stop, both in the United States and internationally, as well as the top points earners from the season who did not otherwise earn a free seat. Additionally, the top 100 players in the WSOP World rankings, based on gold bracelets events in 2014 and 2015, can buy-in to the tournament for $ 10,000.

The WSOP Main Event coverage begins less than a week later, on Sunday, September 11th and will continue each Sunday for the next six weeks after that. There will be two 90-minute episodes each night at 8:30pm ET and 11:00pm ET. There will also be one 10:30pm episode shoe-horned in on Monday, September 19th. The exact channel for the episodes varies, sometimes ESPN, sometimes ESPN2. Everything will also likely be streamed on WatchESPN/ESPN3.

This schedule is very interesting, considering the WSOP Main Event broadcast will be directly up against NBC Sunday Night Football and one might assume that there is a fair amount of overlap between football fans and poker fans.

The live coverage of the November Nine is scheduled for Sunday, October 30th at 8:30pm, Monday, October 31st at 8:00pm, and Tuesday, November 1st at 9:00pm. “Semi-live” is actually the more appropriate term, as the final table will be on a 30-minute tape delay, per Nevada Gaming Commission regulations. On the first night of the final table, play will go on until there are four players remaining; the broadcast will begin on ESPN and switch to ESPN2 at 11:00pm ET. The second day will be on ESPN2 and will continue until just two players remain. The final day of the November Nine will be shown on ESPN.

All hands of the final table will be broadcast with hole cards and commentary by the usual cast of characters: Lon McEachern, Norman Chad, Kara Scott, Antonio Esfandari, and Phil Laak. If it is like other years, expect guest commentators to pop in like perhaps Phil Hellmuth, Olivier Busquet, and Daniel Negreanu.

ESPN will also air a final table encore on Sunday, November 20th.

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2016 WPT Legends of Poker Day 2: Money Bubble Bursts, Kottler Over a Million

 2016 WPT Legends of Poker Day 2: Money Bubble Bursts, Kottler Over a Million

The survivors of the two Day 1 flights came together on Monday (along with some late additions) for Day 2 of the 2016 World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker Main Event. The field just made it into the money yesterday, so most of the 67 remaining players should have slept fairly peacefully, knowing that they will at least make a small profit, even if they bust out as soon as they sit down on Tuesday. Jeremy Kottler is the chip leader as the only person with over a million chips.

Kottler has earned over $ 1.3 million in live poker tournaments, according to, fueled by a long list of major tournament cashes. He has seven cashes on the World Poker Tour, including a sixth place finish in this same event two years ago. He made two other WPT final tables, as well: the 2013 WPT Borgata Poker Open (fourth place) and the 2012 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic (sixth place). Kottler has 17 cashes at the World Series of Poker, including three final tables.

Once the entries for those who signed up before the beginning of Day 2 were factored in, the total number of entries for the WPT Legends of Poker added up to 687. I am avoiding saying “the number of players” in this case, as players could re-enter each starting flight once as well as register before Day 2, so it is possible that a single player could pony up five separate entries (then again, in a future article, I’m sure I’ll refer to all entries as “players,” to display my inconsistency). The prize pool of the tournament is $ 2,465,643 with $ 615,346 going to the winner. A total of 72 players will make the money; the minimum cash is $ 7,275 on the $ 3,700 + $ 300 buy-in.*

Kottler’s rise to the chip lead was helped by a sizable hand shortly before the money bubble burst (the bubble boy was L.A. poker mainstay J.C. Tran). According to the report, Kottler raised to 12,000 chips pre-flop (blinds and antes were 2,500/5,000/500), the player in the hijack called, and Adam Geyer moved all-in for 82,500. Kottler and “the hijack” both called. Both players checked the J♠-J♣-7♣ flop to bring on a turn of the J. Kottler bet 65,000 at that point and the hijack called. On the river 2, Kottler bet another 110,000 after a couple minutes of deep thought, the hijack decided to call. Kottler turned over two black Aces, good for a full house, beating the hijacks Queens and lesser full house. Fortunately for Geyer, he had the other two Aces, so he staved off elimination by chopping the main pot with Kottler.

Day 3 of the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event picks up at noon Pacific time today. The plan is to play down to eighteen players.

2016 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Jeremy Kottler – 1,048,000
2.    Jamie Rosen – 780,000
3.    Gary Sewell – 774,000
4.    Ray Qartomy – 660,000
5.    Mike Del Vecchio – 620,000
6.    David Pham – 599,000
7.    Upeshka De Silva – 578,000
8.    Benjamin Zamani – 560,000
9.    Andrew Dean – 528,000
10.    William Givens – 524,000

*I should amend an earlier statement. Not everyone who cashes will necessarily profit from the tournament, as anyone who paid for more than one entry could win less money than they laid out.

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FanDuel, Yahoo Launch DFS Contests in Season-Long Wrappers

 FanDuel, Yahoo Launch DFS Contests in Season Long Wrappers

Following DraftKings’ launch of a new daily/season-long hybrid game, rivals FanDuel and Yahoo! have introduced their own versions of DFS with a season-long flavor. FanDuel’s is called “Friends Mode” while Yahoo’s is the “Yahoo Cup.”

We’ll start with FanDuel’s Friends Mode, as it most closely mirror’s DraftKing’s Leagues. Really, it is just about the same thing, which isn’t surprising since the two largest DFS sites tend to do pretty much everything in lock-step. In fact, there is a good chance that FanDuel would have called it Leagues if DraftKings hadn’t done it first.

In Friends Mode, anyone can create a private league and then invite friends (whether or not those friends are already on FanDuel) to join, similar to how one would get a league together in season-long fantasy. The contests, though, are week-to-week (or day to day, if we’re not talking football, but who are we kidding – we are), just like in regular DFS and are setup by the commissioner of the league. For the most part, that’s it. Friends Mode is basically away for friends to get together and play against each other in fantasy sports without the pressure of remaining diligent about their teams for a full season.

The season-long hybrid part comes into play with a leader board for the league, giving players a chance to see how they are faring against their buddies in the long-term. The daily/weekly contests are where the money comes in; the season-long leader board looks to be just for bragging rights.

Yahoo’s DFS/season-long combo shares some traits with that of DraftKings and FanDuel, as contests run weekly during the NFL season and overall scores are added up across the enter season, but that is where the similarities stop. In the Yahoo Cup, everyone on the site who participates is competing against everyone else; there are no private leagues in this case.

Yahoo will be awarded $ 10,000 in prizes to the top points earners for Week 1 and presumably will be offering prizes for the remaining 15 weeks of the contest (it is only going through Week 16 of the NFL season). On top of that, the top 10,000 total points earners across all weeks will share $ 93,000 in prizes at the end of the Yahoo Cup with the winner earning $ 50,000.

It looks like in similarly-structured contests on Yahoo that consist of weekly contests adding up to longer competition only advance a certain number of players to subsequent rounds, but from the looks of it, everyone qualifies for every round of the Yahoo Cup. There is no requirement to participate in every week, though obviously a person’s chances of winning a season-end prize will be greatly diminished without submitting a lineup each and every week.

The best part: the Yahoo Cup is free to play.

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WPT Legends of Poker Day 1A: James Woods Escapes Chip Leader Reuben Hoang

 WPT Legends of Poker Day 1A: James Woods Escapes Chip Leader Reuben Hoang

The World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event got underway this weekend at the famed Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California (you thought I was going to double-dip and call it legendary, didn’t you?). Two Day 1 flights are in the books and leading the charge into Day 2 is Reuben Hoang with 232,300 chips, the only player to finish Day 1 above the 200,000 chip mark.

Day 1A saw 248 entries with another 383 on Day 1B, bringing the unofficial total field to 631 players. We say “unofficial” because registration is open until the start of Day 2, which just began as this is being written. We also call them “entries” rather than “players,” because of the way the tournament is structured. Players are permitted to enter each starting flight twice (one original entries plus a do-over for another buy-in if they bust out) and can still register one more time before Day 2 for the possibility of five entries per player. Should a player enter both starting flights and survive both, he or she will carry the largest stack over to Day 2. This is all to say that there aren’t really 631 (or more) players in the event, just 631 (or more) entries.

The chip leader, Reuben Hoang, is a local Los Angeles poker player whose live tournament cash results are almost exclusively from tournaments at area card rooms. He does have one World Series of Poker cash, 579th place finish in last year’s WSOP Main Event. All told, he has about $ 100,000 in live tournament winnings.

Hoang made a big move near the end of last night when he eliminated two players in one hand. The live coverage picked up on the flop of J♣-7♠-5♠ with Hoang and two other players already all-in. Actor and poker aficionado James Woods thought about joining them, but backed out, saying he had J-T. When the three other players revealed their cards, it was Hoang with A♠-J♠, the small blind with K-J, and the cutoff with K♠-8♠. Hoang with in command, out-kicking the other paired Jack and having the nut-flush draw.

The turn was the T and the river was the 6, giving Hoang the large pot. As it turned out, Woods would have won the hand with two pair, Jacks and Tens. In poker, sometimes the right move is the wrong one.

Before late entrants, there are about 275 survivors sitting down to Day 2 of the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event. The chip leaders from both starting flights are below, though keep in mind that it appears that the Day 1B leader board is unofficial; there may be some names filling in the gaps.

2016 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1.    Jeremy Ausmus – 198,300
2.    Paul Lee – 186,300
3.    Owen Crowe – 160,000
4.    Ray Qartomy – 154,900
5.    JC Tran – 153,700
6.    Gary Lent – 153,300
7.    Olivier Busquet – 147,700
8.    Eddy Sabat – 142,200
9.    Alex Rocha – 141,500
10.    Samantha Abernathy – 135,900

2016 World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    Reuben Hoang – 232,300
2.    Danny Geyser – 190,100
3.    Shantha Ruwanpura – 180,800
4.    Mike Shariati – 145,000
5.    James Mackey – 128,900
6.    Andy Philachack – 120,000
7.    Jeremy Kottler – 117,100
8.    Esther Taylor-Brady – 115,000
9.    Andy Frankenberger – 102,800
10.    John Dibella – 100,200

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