Posts Tagged ‘Become’

2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event Day 1: Robin Hegele Picks on Daniel Negreanu to Become Early Chip Leader

 2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event Day 1: Robin Hegele Picks on Daniel Negreanu to Become Early Chip Leader

While one World Poker Tour event was wrapping up in the Czech Republic, one of the most popular WPT events of the year was starting at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event saw 519 entries for Day 1 on Monday with 385 players advancing to Tuesday’s Day 2. Robin Hegele has the unofficial chip lead with 185,000 chips; the official chip counts should be released later this morning.

There is still a long way to go, but if Hegele can keep up the good work, he will be on his way to the best cash of his live tournament career. According to, Hegele has just shy of $ 24,000 in live tournament earnings. His largest cash came just last month in the WPT Caribbean Main Event, where he finished in 36th place for $ 10,000.

Hegele reached the top of the chip counts largely in part to his ability to abuse Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. During Level 3, Hegele raised pre-flop to 400 (it’s not often we see notable hands with bets that low) and Negreanu re-raised to 2,000. On the flop of K-K-5, Hegele checked, Negreanu bet 2,000, and Hegele called. Hegele checked again with the 2 on the turn and then called a 6,000 chip bet from Negreanu. Both players checked the J on the river. Negreanu had nothing, failing to hit a spade flush, while Hegele had K-Q for trips. That took Hegele’s stack up to 103,000, while Negreanu busted shortly thereafter.

This tournament, though, allows unlimited re-entries through Level 8 and Negreanu had already re-entered four times. He decided to keep trying, so he and Hegele tussled again a bit later. In another key hand, Peter Neff raised to 400, Hegele re-raised to 1,200, and Negreanu four-bet to 5,000. Lily Kiletto then moved all-in for 10,250, forcing a fold from Neff. Hegele then decided to move all-in himself, so Negreanu called off his remaining 33,000 chips.

When the cards were turned over, Hegele had A-K of spades, Negreanu had pocket Jacks, and Kiletto had pocket Tens. Hegele ended up pairing his Ace on the turn to eliminate both opponents and grow his stack to 163,000 chips.

That was not the last time Negreanu would fire another re-entry bullet. He did finally make through to Day 2 with 80,825 chips.

Day 2 begins at noon PT. As mentioned, re-entries are available through Level 8; Day 2 will begin with Level 6. The largest field the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event has ever had is 664 in 2007, so with unlimited re-entries continuing, it looks like there is an excellent chance that record will be broken.

2016 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event – Day 1 Chip Leaders

1.    Robin Hegele – 185,000
2.    Lucas Blanco Oliver – 139,325
3.    Andjelko Andrejevic – 136,400
4.    Jennifer Tilly – 134,225
5.    Chris Wieners – 121,000
6.    David Pham – 120,100
7.    Soren Jensen – 116,975
8.    Lazaro Hernandez – 106,975
9.    Corey Hochman – 106,150
10.    Nicholas Manganaro – 104,350

Poker News Daily

Eli Elezra: “Never Knew That Poker Would Become My Life’s Passion”

 Eli Elezra: “Never Knew That Poker Would Become My Life’s Passion”

When the 2016 nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame were announced, only three of the nominees were on the ballot for the first time. Of those three men (former World Champion Chris Moneymaker and Todd Brunson were the other two), there was quite a cacophony of voices supporting the nomination of Eli Elezra to the Hall. The reason? He’s actually achieved greatness in both the cash game and the tournament worlds.

A three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and a former World Poker Tour champion, Elezra has had some great success in the tournament poker world. But he does recognize which side his “bread is buttered,” so to speak, continuing to play in the biggest cash games in Las Vegas and around the world. Elezra spoke with Poker News Daily earlier this week as we got his thoughts on being up for poker’s premiere honor.

Poker News Daily:  Although you have been eligible for some time, this is your first nomination to the Poker Hall of Fame. How does it feel to be recognized by the poker public who nominated you and how does the nomination feel overall?

Eli Elezra:  I am really happy to be recognized by the public for this honor. I have been playing poker for twenty-five years. This nomination makes me think about how my love for the game has gotten stronger over the years.

PND:   This year’s class is one of the tougher classes in recent memory. Who do you see as your most difficult competition?

EE:  From all of the candidates, I see Matt Savage as my most difficult competition. He is not known as a poker player, but has influenced the game a lot since the Binion’s Horseshoe days 30 years ago. Vegas was a different place back then. And in my opinion, he’s an old school and modern guru.

PND:  You have excelled at both tournament poker and cash games in your career. What are you most proud of and why?

EE:  After I won the WPT Mirage Showdown in 2004, I felt that I became a part of a different group of poker players. Most people know me from the cash games, but this was the first time that I started to consider myself a tournament player. My preferred style of play is the cash game because I am better at playing a lot of hands. Of course, the bracelet wins in the WSOP have also made me proud.

PND:  What are the highlights of your career that you would put on your Hall of Fame “plaque”?

EE:  My highlights would be the big cash games I’ve played with my idols Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson. I would also say winning the WPT tournament and my 3 WSOP bracelets. And playing all of the seasons of “High Stakes Poker” and “Poker After Dark.”

PND:  If you are inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, it might be considered something that puts the conclusion on a person’s career. What haven’t you done yet in the world of poker (or otherwise) that you would like to achieve?

EE:  Simple…winning the Main Event.

PND:  You have a chance to give your speech advocating for your induction starting…NOW!

EE:  My entire life I have referred to myself as a family man, businessman and poker player. It has remained in the same order, but I never knew that poker would become my life’s passion. And at 55 years old, I plan to keep playing competitively with all of the newcomers and young kids. I want to show them that the old school has still got it.

Poker News Daily

2016 WSOP Preliminary Events: Sam Soverel and Ray Dehkharghani Become Latest Bracelet Winners in Wednesday’s Action

 2016 WSOP Preliminary Events: Sam Soverel and Ray Dehkharghani Become Latest Bracelet Winners in Wednesday’s Action

The 2016 World Series of Poker rolled along on Wednesday, crowning two more champions during its action. In one tournament, a player who has done a great deal in only five years captured an elusive goal and, in the other tournament, a popular pro was denied his second bracelet of the 2016 WSOP.

Event #19 – $ 1000 Pot Limit Omaha

After battling through a 1,106 player field, high stakes pro Sam Soverel added to his poker resume by picking up his first WSOP bracelet on Wednesday night at the Rio.

Taking on a mostly unheralded field, Soverel would start the day’s play looking way up the leaderboard. When the final ten were determined, Soverel was behind Garrett Garvin, Henri Ojala, Jeff Landherr, Zachary Hench and Bruno Borges on the leaderboard. Garvin would only extend his lead when, after about an hour of action on Wednesday, he would eliminate Josh Gibson in tenth place to set up the official WSOP final table.

The magic would begin for Soverel once the final nine men were seated. Soverel would eliminate Juuso Leppanen in ninth, his A-A-9-7 finding an unnecessary Ace on the flop against Leppanen’s Q-Q-6-2. Soverel would then double through Ojala, once again with an Aces hand (A-A-7-7) that actually rivered a flush unnecessarily against Ojala’s A-K-10-7. Soverel would then administer the coup de grace to Ojala in eighth place, catching a King on the turn with his A-K-K-J to run down Ojala’s A-A-10-3.

Now with well over a million chips, Soverel sat back and watched. Hench would emerge as a challenger, defeating Jared Koppel when he out-pipped him when both held trip queens (Hench’s Ace played over Koppel’s King). Also rising up the leaderboard was Kirby Lowery, whose elimination of Landherr in sixth place pushed him into the millionaire’s club (as far as chips, anyway). This only seemed to inspire Soverel, however.

Taking down Hench (fourth) and Garvin (third), Soverel would enter heads up play against Lowery with more than a 3:1 lead. After a dinner break, the twosome came back and Soverel made quick work of the remainder of Lowery’s stack. Only 20 minutes after returning, Lowery would three-bet a Soverel raise and, after Soverel called, saw a Q♣ 84♣ flop. Lowery continued the pressure, firing a continuation bet out, but Soverel came back with a repot that would take the remainder of Lowery’s chips. Lowery made the call and had some hope:

Lowery:  Q♠ 10 9♣ 6♣ (top pair, gut shot straight draw, baby flush draw) Soverel:  A♣ K♠ 3♣ 2♣ (two over cards, nut flush draw, backdoor straight/straight flush draw)

But those hopes were crushed on the 10♣ turn. Drawing dead, Lowery wasn’t interested in the 8 that completed the board and gave Soverel the WSOP bracelet.

1. Sam Soverel, $ 185,317
2. Kirby Lowery, $ 114,486
3. Garrett Garvin, $ 81,080
4. Zachary Hench, $ 58,164
5. Bruno Borges, $ 42,270
6. Jeff Landherr, $ 31,126
7. Jared Koppel, $ 23,228
8. Henri Ojala, $ 17,570
9. Juuso Leppanen, $ 13,474

It’s been a rapid ascent for Soverel in a short five years. In 2011, Soverel was playing on the Heartland Poker Tour (taking a 13th place finish in an HPT event in Daytona Beach) before making an impact on the World Poker Tour in finishing in second place at the 2011 bestbet Jacksonville WPT event. In 2014, Soverel made the leap to High Roller tournaments, winning the Aria $ 50,000 Super High Roller 4 for a $ 480,200 score. He has become a staple on the High Roller circuit, but this is the first time that he has been able to pick up a major tour victory. It makes you wonder what the next five years might have in store for Soverel.

Event #20 – $ 10,000 Seven Card Razz World Championship

Despite Soverel’s notoriety in the high stakes world, many eyes were on the Event #20 final table, the $ 10,000 Seven Card Razz World Championship. Replete with some of the biggest names in the game, it also was putting a buzz through the Rio because of one of the players sitting at the felt.

Jason Mercier was the player causing the buzz and not just because of his final table leading chip stack of 1.595 million. Of more interest to some around the Rio was the prop bet that Mercier has with fellow pro Vanessa Selbst as to whether he could win three bracelets during the run of the WSOP (for the record, Selbst also has the same bet with European wunderkind Dmitry Urbanovich). If Mercier does win three bracelets, he stands to collect $ 1.8 million (180-1 odds on a $ 10,000 bet) from Selbst, but the bet has also caused its share of heated rhetoric.

After picking up his fourth WSOP bracelet earlier this week, Selbst allegedly tried to buy out of the bet for $ 100,000. Mercier refused the offer, however, sending Selbst off to report on the “facts” of the bet to the poker community (that she had been drunk when making it and Mercier refused to let her off the hook). Thus, there was some tension as the eight men came to the felt to determine a champion on Wednesday.

Mercier came out of the gates fast on Wednesday, taking pots from what seemed to be every other member of the final table (Brian Hastings, John Racener, Bart Hanson and Yueqi Zhu). Only Ray Dehkharghani seemed to avoid the rampage of Mercier, while Jyri Merivirta only avoided it by being eliminated in eighth place before Mercier got his engines warmed up. Once Mercier eliminated Robert Campbell in fifth place, he was the only player over the two million chip mark.

After Mercier left him running on fumes, Hastings left the event in fourth place at the hands of Zhu. A break ensued following Hastings’ departure, with the final three players – Mercier (2.49 million), Dehkharghani (1.375 million) and Zhu (1.135 million) – priming themselves for the battle ahead. Once again Mercier came out of the gate fast, but Dehkharghani proved to be a formidable opponent as he hurt Mercier’s stack in taking the lead and crippling Zhu to only 113K in chips; Zhu’s chips would end up in Mercier’s stack once he was eliminated in third place.

With a 900K chip lead, Dehkharghani wasn’t a shoo-in to beat a motivated Mercier for the WSOP bracelet. In fact, within the first couple of hands, Mercier completely reversed the standings, holding over three million chips while Dehkharghani was just under two million. Over a two-and-a-half-hour battle, however, Dehkharghani was able to frustrate Mercier, whittling down his stack until the penultimate hand.

On that last battle, Dehkharghani brought in and, after Mercier completed, called to pick up a pair of nines on Fourth Street, not the most advantageous hand in the game of Razz. Dehkharghani would call a bet out of Mercier, however, and saw a ten to go against Mercier’s 4-J-5 up cards. When Mercier fired a bet on Fifth Street, Dehkharghani decided to strike, pushing a raise out for the remainder of Mercier’s chips. Mercier called and showed a (7-5) 4-J-5 for an unwanted pair, but he was ahead of Dehkharghani’s unwanted (8-6) 9-9-10 that did hold some potential. On Sixth Street, Mercier received a King to make a King-low, but Dehkharghani picked up a seven to make his ten-low (remember, straights don’t matter in Razz) to leave Mercier drawing dead and earn the title for Dehkharghani.

1. Ray Dehkharghani, $ 273,338
2. Jason Mercier, $ 168,936
3. Yueqi Zhu, $ 116,128
4. Brian Hastings, $ 82,078
5. Robert Campbell, $ 59,694
6. John Racener, $ 44,712
7. Bart Hanson, $ 34,521
8. Jyri Merivirta, $ 27,499

Poker News Daily