Posts Tagged ‘Choctaw’

Jay Lee Wins 2017 WPT Choctaw Main Event

 Jay Lee Wins 2017 WPT Choctaw Main Event

After Day 2 of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event, Michael Stashin was lapping the field. After Day 3, Josh Kay was head and shoulders above everyone else. And because this is poker, neither of them ended up winning. Instead, it was 27-year old Texan Jay Lee who rose from third place going into the final table to win the whole thing and nearly $ 600,000.

Not only was this Lee’s first World Poker Tour title, it was only his third recorded cash in a live tournament, according to records kept by Those other two cashes amounted to just over $ 10,000, so needless to say, this was different territory for him.

As mentioned, Lee was third in chips going into Tuesday’s action, which is good, but he was significantly behind the chip leaders. Josh Kay was a one-man wrecking crew on Monday to enter the final table as the chip leader with 11.105 million chips. Next was Day 2’s runaway chip leader, Michael Stashin, with 7.685 million. The remaining four players, led by Lee, barely had more combined than Stashin did by himself. Lee was third with 3.455 million, Eric Bunch was fourth with 2.020 million, Paul Fisher was fifth with 1.700 million, and Jeb Hutton was the short stack with 1.645 million chips.

It certainly looked like it was going to be the Kay and Stashin show.

The two chip leaders maintained their edge on the field for the most part through nearly 50 hands and called Eric Bunch’s all-in, checking it through the river. Kay won the hand, lifting his stack above 13 million chips, while Stashin fell to around 5.5 million and Bunch was eliminated in sixth place.

On Hand 73, Paul Fisher raised to 260,000 and Stashin called to bring on a flop of 6-J-K. Fisher bet 375,000, Stashin moved all-in, and Fisher called-in, putting his tournament on the line. Fisher had a nice hand, K-7, for top pair, but Stashin nailed the flop, holding J-6 for two pair. He upped that to a boat on the river to knock out Fisher in fifth place and get his stack back up to 7.44 million while Kay was around 14 million.

In the meantime, Lee was letting the chip leaders do their thing, waiting for a good spot to make a move. He found it on Hand 89, when he was all-in pre-flop with pocket Sevens and called by Stashin and his A-9 suited. The pair held and Lee doubled to 4.740 million, sending Stashin down to 5.470 million.

Lee took off from there, continuing to grow his stack through the next dozen hands to move into second place. On Hand 101, he and Stashin got into another pre-flop raising war before getting all their chips in. Lee had another pair, Queens, and Stashin had pocket Eights. No drama here and all of a sudden, Michael Stashin was out of the tournament in fourth place and Lee was in the chip lead with 12.825 million, barely more than a big blind better than Kay.

It looked like Jeb Hutton had no chance at that point, down to only around 2 million chips, but he hung on, doubling through Lee, falling back, then doubling through Lee again. It was a wild ride from that point. On Hand 128, Lee doubled through Kay to surge to 17.225 million chips versus Kay’s 6.225 million and Hutton’s 4.150 million.

On Hand 142, Hutton kept it going, doubling through Kay to turn the tables, moving up to second place and 8.725 million chips, while Kay was down to 8.150 million. Lee himself had seen his stack recede to 10.725 million and just like that, it was a close race again.

At the break after Hand 154, Lee had extended his lead, building his stack to 12.85 million at the expense of Kay, who was down to 6.775 million.

And then, a dozen hands later, Jeb Hutton pulled into the lead – just barely – over Lee, a concept that would’ve been unheard of about 60 hands earlier. Kay was fading and eventually, on Hand 180, Lee knocked him out in third place to setup the heads-up match with Hutton, the guy who was the short stack going into the final table.

As long and nuts as the final table was, heads-up only lasted ten hands. On the final hand, Hutton raised to 550,000 pre-flop and Lee called. On the flop of J-4-4, both players checked, bringing on a 7 on the turn. Both checked again and a 9 was dealt on the river, making a flush and a straight possible. Lee bet 750,000 and then watched as Hutton raised to 2 million. Lee then moved all-in for 19.425 million and a surprised Hutton called for 7.025 million. Well now.

Hutton had reason to be confident, as he had made a Queen-high flush. It was Lee, though, whose heart had probably been pounding since the flop, as he had J-4 for a flopped full house and the WPT Choctaw Main Event title.

2017 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Jay Lee – $ 593,173
2. James “Jeb” Hutton – $ 366,895
3. Josh Kay – $ 270,801
4. Michael Stashin – $ 202,617
5. Paul Fisher – $ 153,508
6. Eric Bunch – $ 117,761

Lead photo credit: Giron

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Josh Kay Gives WPT Choctaw Day 3 Field the Business

 Josh Kay Gives WPT Choctaw Day 3 Field the Business

I will admit, I was a little surprised to wake up this morning and not see Michael Stashin’s name at the top of the chip counts for the final table of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event. After all, he had such a gigantic chip lead going into Monday that he had more chips than the three players directly behind him in the standings combined. So forgive me if I thought he might cruise into the final table with the lead. That said, he did cruise into the final table, adding a couple million chips to his stack to end up at 7.685 million, but he is now second behind Josh Kay, who has 11.105 million after a tremendous Day 3.

Kay began Monday in ninth place with 1.26 million chips, so he wasn’t in bad shape, but that is a far cry from the 11.105 he ended with. Were it not for a bit of luck, his day probably would not have gone as well (isn’t this really the case for all of us in life?). With 20 players left, according to the report, Kay opened the betting pre-flop at 70,000 and Jordan Cristos called. On the flop of J-3-8, Kay bet 90,000, Cristos raised to 230,000 and Kay called. Kay then called when a 7 was dealt on the turn. Cristos, needing some time to think, used a time extension chip, as the Action Clock was in effect, limiting players to 30 seconds to act, and then shoved for 1.125 million chips. Kay tanked and used FIVE time extension chips (30 seconds each) before decided to put most of his stack at risk by calling.

Kay had K-J for top pair, but Cristos had him nailed with pocket Aces. The river, though, was a King, giving the hand to Kay and eliminated Cristos in 20th place.

That hand took Kay’s chip stack up to 2.945 million and while he fell back to 1.6 million by the time there were 16 players remaining, he eventually went on a huge run, tearing through the field. If this was a bounty tournament, Josh Kay would be the undisputed king. He knocked out Blair Hinkle in 16th place, Andrew Nguyen in 15th place, Adrian Garduno in 14th place, DJ Alexander in 13th place, Jason Emmons in 11th place (come on, did you think he was really going to eliminate EVERYONE?), Kamran Munaf in 10th place, and Daniel Nakic in 8th place.

Josh Kay’s five opponents at the final table can look at him in one of two ways: they can see him as the enemy with the big stack who stands in between them and WPT glory OR…thank him profusely for doing all the work on Monday, allowing them to move up on the money ladder.

The six-handed final table of the WPT Choctaw Main Event will begin at 3:00pm CT / 4:00pm ET on Tuesday.

2017 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Josh Kay – 11,105,000
2. Michael Stashin – 7,685,000
3. Jay Lee – 3,455,000
4. Eric Bunch – 2,020,000
5. Paul Fisher – 1,700,000
6. Jeb Hutton – 1,645,000

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WPT Choctaw Day 2: Michael Stashin Looms Large

 WPT Choctaw Day 2: Michael Stashin Looms Large

The World Series of Poker is over, so it is time for other poker tournaments to return to the spotlight. Up now: World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw. The WPT Choctaw Main Event moves on to its third day today with Michael Stashin holding the lead out of the remaining 24 players with 5.585 million in chips.

There were two starting flights for this tournament; Friday’s Day 1A saw 340 entries (unlimited re-entries were permitted until the start of Day 2) and Day 1B was larger, as expected, with 562 entries. Add to those the 22 late entries before Day 2 began and the total field for WPT Choctaw is 927 entries.

After pulling out the various tournament fees from the $ 3,700 buy-in, the total prize pool amounts to $ 3.121 million. The top 99 players make the money (min cash is $ 6,400) with the winner receiving nearly $ 600,000.

Now let’s go back to Michael Stashin for a moment. I don’t know when the last time was that I saw a player with such an otherworldly chip lead at this point in a major tournament. There have been plenty of times when someone has a huge stack with nine players remaining or six players remaining, but look at what Stashin is doing.

Stashin has 5.585 million chips. The second place player, Eric Bunch, has only 1.965 million. And that’s with TWENTY-FOUR players remaining! Stashin has more chips as the second, third, and fourth place players combined and again, there are two dozen players left in the field. That’s almost unheard of.

Two of Stashin’s bigger hands that allowed him to jump that high in the chip counts came late in the day. According to the report, with 28 players remaining, KC Panjwani bet 75,000 pre-flop, Cary Moomjian called, and Stashin raised to 200,000. Panjwani shoved for 846,000 and Stashin called after Moomjian folded.

It was a bit of a cooler hand, with Stashin holding Kings against Panjwani’s Jacks. The Kings improved to a set and Panjwani was out of the tournament. That took Stashin’s stack up to 4.210 million at the time.

Then, shortly thereafter, Bryan Campanello raised to 55,000 pre-flop UTG and Stashin raised to 125,000. Moomjian called and Campanello folded. On the flop of A-8-5 rainbow, Moomjian checked, Stashin bet 90,000, and Moomjian called. When a Jack came on the turn, Moomjian got aggressive, betting 350,000. Shashin then moved all-in, obviously putting Moomjian to a decision for all of his chips. Moomjian decided it was go time, calling for about 900,000.

The cards that were revealed shocked everyone. Stashin had a Jack for top pair ( did not see/tell us the other card), while Moomjian had…K-Q? It’s one thing to lead out with a bluff, but then to call off what is still a decent stack with air is just bizarre. Granted, Moomjian still had outs, but if he was up against an Ace, which considering Shashin’s all-in move, he very well could have been, he would have been drawing dead. As it stood, Moomjian got no help on the river and was eliminated in 26th place.

According to the report, Campanello said, “I watched the hand and I don’t know what I just saw. If I knew it wasn’t collusion, I would think it’s collusion.”

Stashin and the other 23 players are just now resuming the action. The plan for Monday is to play down to six players.

2017 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Michael Stashin – 5,585,000
2. Eric Bunch -1,965,000
3. Bryan Campanello – 1,800,000
4. Kamran Munaf – 1,730,000
5. Jordan Cristos – 1,695,000
6. Zachary Smiley – 1,645,000
7. Kevin Calenzo – 1,585,000
8. Jeffrey Chang – 1,330,000
9. Josh Kay – 1,260,000
10. Jason Emmons – 1,110,000


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James Mackey Wins WPT Choctaw Main Event

 James Mackey Wins WPT Choctaw Main Event

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event came to a close on Tuesday as James Mackey advanced all the way from bottom stack to a dominant end-game to win his first WPT title. For the victory, Mackey won $ 681,758, which includes a $ 15,000 entry into the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

Mackey began the six-handed televised final table third in chips, well within striking distance of the top (6,315,000 chips compared to chip leader Bastian Fischer’s 8,780,000). He had trouble finding his footing, though, eventually falling to 3,200,000 about 50 hands into final table play and finding himself as the shortest stack of the remaining five players.

Two key hands got Mackey going, though. The first came on Hand 53. According to, Jack Duong raised pre-flop to 400,000 and Mackey called. On the flop of K♣-5-4, Duong bet 425,000, Mackey raised to 900,000, and Duong moved all-in. Mackey called for his remaining 3,400,000 chips with K♠-J♣, good enough for top pair. Duong, who had Mackey barely covered, showed a diamond flush draw (I’m guessing Duong didn’t really want a call there, but knew he likely had outs if it happened). Neither the turn nor the river helped Duong and Mackey had doubled-up to 7,725,000 chips, while Duong was down to 275,000.

Mackey treadmilled for the next twenty hands or so, but got another nice boost on Hand 75. He raised pre-flop to 450,000, Craig Varnell three-bet to 1,200,000, and Mackey made the call. The flop was all hearts: K-J-9, prompting Varnell to bet 1,050,000 chips. Mackey called, bringing on the turn of 6. Varnell once again led out, betting 2,050,000, and once again, Mackey called. The river was the 5♠ and this time, Varnell checked. That was Mackey’s cue to go all-in for 3,900,000, forcing Varnell to fold. That pot gave Mackey the chip lead for the first time at 12,775,000 chips.

Mackey didn’t hold the lead the entire time after that, but for the most part, he didn’t have a whole lot of trouble. He went into heads-up play against Benjamin Zamani with a 19,550,000 to 12,425,000 chip lead and never fell behind. The final hand, Hand 134 of the final table, was academic. Zamani was all-in with Fives, Mackey called him with Eights, and the better hand held up.

James Mackey now has $ 3,575,959 in live tournament earnings. This is the second-largest cash of his career, behind only his World Series of Poker bracelet win. He became one of the youngest to win a WSOP bracelet back in 2007 at the age of 21 when he came out on top of the $ 5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, good for $ 730,740.

Mackey was also one of the world’s most successful online poker players during the poker boom. He was ranked as high as #13 on PocketFives’ worldwide tournament rankings with $ 3,874,095 in recorded internet tournament winnings.

2016 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Results

1.    James Mackey – $ 681,758
2.    Benjamin Zamani – $ 412,234
3.    Craig Varnell – $ 306,346
4.    Bastian Fischer – $ 230,300
5.    Jack Duong – $ 175,122
6.    Matthew Smith – $ 134,720

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2016 WPT Choctaw Final Table Set

 2016 WPT Choctaw Final Table Set

The televised final table has been set for the 2016 World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event as the field was narrowed from 40 to just six on Monday. Bastian Fischer leads the sextet with 8.780 million chips.

It looks to be a good battle on Tuesday, with three players holding healthy chip stacks. After Fischer is Craig Varnell with 7.495 million chips and then James Mackey with 6.315 million. After those three, there is a gap before the bottom half of the final table: Jack Duong has 3.750 million chips, Benjamin Zamani has 3.300 million, and Matthew Smith has 2.330 million. Those three men certainly have a shot, but with blinds at 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante, they will have to make some moves in a hurry. Even the chip leaders don’t have a ton of room to maneuver.

Smith, the shortest stack, came close to not even making the televised final table (if the fact that he is the short stack wasn’t evidence enough). Fewer than 20 hands before Olivier Busquet was eliminated in seventh place, Smith was all-in for his tournament life. He had moved all-in with pocket Tens for 1.710 million chips and was called by Zamani, who had A-K. The race was on. Fortunately for him, Smith flopped a set and turned a full house to double-up and eventually advance to the final day of action.

The overall chip leader, Bastian Fischer, has amassed more than half a million dollars in live tournament earnings, not counting the minimum $ 134,720 he is now guaranteed for making it this far at WPT Choctaw. He has never won a major live tournament, but he has had success in them, cashing at the World Series of Poker 15 times, including four times this summer. His tournament resume, as listed at, is actually quite interesting. Fischer has been fairly prolific in live tournaments, but none of his cashes hit six figures. Thus, he has a long list of smaller cashes that have added up to half a million bucks.

Fischer’s biggest cash is $ 71,310, earned for finishing fourth in the 2015 Wynn Summer Classic Championship Event.

As mentioned earlier, Busquet, arguably the biggest name remaining after Day 2, was knocked out on the television final table bubble. He had moved all-in pre-flop with Jacks and was called by Craig Varnell. While Busquet did river a set, that river Ten was a diamond, putting four diamonds on the board and giving Varnell the unlikely flush.

Also eliminated Monday was Randi Lister. Lister was the chip leader entering the day and was making a bid to become the first woman to win an open World Poker Tour Main Event. She finished in 19th place.

The final table will begin at 4:00pm Central as the six remaining players fight for the $ 681,758 first prize.

2016 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1.    Bastian Fischer  –  8,780,000
2.    Craig Varnell  –  7,495,000
3.    James Mackey  –  6,315,000
4.    Jack Duong  –  3,750,000
5.    Benjamin Zamani  –  3,300,000
6.    Matthew Smith  –  2,330,000

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