Posts Tagged ‘Fallsview’

Darren Elias Makes History, Wins WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

 Darren Elias Makes History, Wins WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

In what was one of the longer final days of a World Poker Tour event, poker professional Darren Elias – who just over two years ago joined the ranks of players who have won back-to-back tournaments on the circuit (Anthony Zinno and Marvin Rettenmaier) – battled through the final 22 players to win the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic late Friday night.

Elias started the penultimate Day Three in the middle of the remaining 22 players with 617,000 in chips (good for 10th place). He looked up the ladder at Ron Laplante, who held almost three times the chips of Elias (1.724 million) and David Eldridge (1.7 million) and would start the day as the chip leaders. Along with Elias, Kristen Bicknell was looking to add to her two World Series of Poker bracelets by adding a WPT title to her trophy collection.

It looked bleak for Elias at the start of the day. He would double up Manig Loeser within minutes of the opening bell to drop to only 370,000 chips, then would do the same for Paul Pritchett. After Elias opened the betting to 55K, Pritchett dropped his remaining 218K in the center and Elias had to have a look. He was live with his Q-10 against Pritchett’s A-J and found some fortune in the K-Q-2 flop to take the lead, but the ten on the turn to give Elias Queens up also gave Pritchett a Broadway straight. After the river blanked, Elias saw his once bountiful stack shriveled up to just 230,000.

Elias started his comeback by doubling through Mark Zajdner in a blind versus blind battle, his pocket Kings holding from the big blind over Zajdner’s Q-9 push out of the small blind. Elias would eliminate Danny Noseworthy in 18th place to get back over his starting stack for the day (660K) and then river a straight against Laplante to crack the million-chip mark. By the time the unofficial final table of ten was set, Elias was once again a contender in the middle of the pack behind Abdull Hassan, Laplante, and Bicknell.

After chopping a pot with Buck Ramsey when both players had pocket Aces, Elias would make his big move two hands later. After a raise to 105K from Chrishan Sivasundaram, Elias moved all in from the button for 885K. Believing himself to be priced into the call, Sivasundaram made the move and winced when he saw Elias once again holding pocket Aces. Sivasundaram could only muster pocket tens for the fight and, after the board only improved Elias in coming down 7-6-4-3-A, Elias saw his stack crack the two million mark.

After a level up, Elias would finish off Sivasundaram to take over the chip lead from Eldridge, but that would be short-lived. Eldridge took a hand off Elias to reach 3.3 million and, after he eliminated Laplante in ninth place, saw his stack reach 4.475 million. When Eldridge knocked off Bicknell in seventh place to set the “official” WPT final table, his chip lead was firmly established with 5.175 million chips, roughly 2.3 million more than Andrew Chen and more than three million more than Elias.

Elias got back into the middle of the fray in doubling up through Chen. With all the chips in pre-flop, Elias was in tough shape with his pocket nines against Chen’s pocket Queens. That all changed when the 9-7-6 flop gave Elias a set to push him to the lead. Needing to dodge one of the two ladies remaining in the deck, Elias saw a trey on the turn and a five on the river to seal his double up and push him into second place behind Eldridge with 3.2 million chips.

Surprisingly, Eldridge and Elias were very active not only against the rest of the table but also against each other. After Eldridge eliminated Loeser in fifth place, Elias would take two of the next four hands with both coming against Eldridge. Once Elias sent Chen out in fourth place and dismissed Jean-Christophe Ferreira in third, he went to heads-up play against Eldridge with a slim 1.1 million chip lead.

Instead of a drawn-out affair, the heads-up match was decided in only three hands. On Hand #69 with an A-A-4-Q-Q board showing, Eldridge oddly couldn’t find a call to Elias’ all-in move (with Elias covering him) after Eldridge had started the betting with a million-chip raise pre-flop and folded his hand, leaving him with only 750K behind him. Two hands later, those remaining 750K in chips were in Elias’ hands as, holding a J-6 off suit, he was able to turn a King-high straight against Eldridge’s 10-9 (a flopped pair of tens and rivered two pair) to win the championship of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic and tie the record for most wins by a player in the history of the WPT (three, held by Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem and Zinno).

1. Darren Elias, $ 449,484*
2. David Eldridge, $ 300,982
3. Jean-Christophe Ferreira, $ 193,583
4. Andrew Chen, $ 143,199
5. Manig Loeser, $ 107,399
6. Abdull Hassan, $ 86,184

(* – Canadian dollars)

Poker News Daily

A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

 A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Fallsview Poker Classic $ 5,000 Main Event kicks off Wednesday and will culminate on Friday with the crowning of a champion. Chances are, everything should go smoothly, but two years ago, Fallsview was the scene of stupendously poor planning resulting in ripped off and dissatisfied players. Let’s reminisce, shall we?

In 2015, Fallsview had but three tournaments, just as it does this year: a $ 1,100 event, a $ 2,500 event, and the $ 5,000 Main Event. Players could buy-in to the tournaments directly or win a seat via live satellite. The problem that emerged was not with the Main Event, but rather with the $ 1,100 preliminary tournament.

The way tournament organizers setup the event led to a massively broken economy when we really should never have to talk about the “economy” of a tournament in the first place. There were three factors that came together to create the fiasco:

1)    A maximum capacity of 500 players for each of the two starting flights.
2)    No alternate list.
3)    Entry cards were transferable.

The first and third points are probably self-explanatory, but if you are unfamiliar with an alternate list, it is essentially a waiting list to get into the tournament. Alternates have to wait to receive chips and seat until someone is eliminated. It’s basically like waiting for a seat at a full restaurant; you get your name on the list and once your name is at the top and someone leaves, you are shown to your seat. In poker, it is a way give people a chance to play when there is not enough space in the poker room to accommodate the demand.

The problem that resulted was rampant ticket scalping, especially shortly before the start of the second flight. With the three above factors in place, people who weren’t even poker players bought entries for the tournament knowing that it would end up sold out. Then, when players wanted to register, only to find out there were no seats available, the scalpers swooped in and charged massive premiums.

At the time, PokerNews.com talked to poker player DJ MacKinnon who said, “The tournament area is next to the food court and Fallsview permits the scalpers to hound people coming off the escalator to ask if anyone wants to buy or sell tickets. The morning of (Day 1b) the cafeteria was crowded with a bunch of people near the tournament area trying to sell tickets. I know of two tickets that sold for $ 1,800 and $ 1,600 respectively.”

Scott Davies had just made two final tables at the Aussie Millions and therefore was unable to register in advance. On Two Plus Two, he called the situation “so gross.”

He then summed it up well:

Pretty awful that the casino creates perfect conditions for the scalpers. They cap the number of entries, let people buy multiple fully-transferable tickets, and then don’t take any alternates the day of the event. So it essentially cuts off the supply at the same moment demand peaks creating a black market. It literally brings out all of the bottom of the barrel scum of the earth to the poker area. These guys show up the day of the event with heaps of tickets and no intention of ever playing the event. I can’t believe the casino allows these guys to do business in their casino, they are as obvious as ticket scalpers at a sporting event/concert, and just as sleazy.

It was a situation that did not need to happen.

Fortunately, things were fixed last year as well as this year. This year, tickets were non-transferable and only one purchase was allowed per person, so there was absolutely no incentive for scalpers to buy any. Now, a better solution would have been to allow resales but control them, perhaps by linking a ticket to a loyalty card, so that transfers can only be made at face value or lower. That way, satellite winners or those who perhaps couldn’t play at the last minute could still sell their tickets. At least the scalping problem has gone away.

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Day Two: 22 Players Remain with Canadian Ronald Laplante Leading

 2017 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Day Two: 22 Players Remain with Canadian Ronald Laplante Leading

Day Two of the World Poker Tour’s stop at the 2017 Fallsview Poker Classic is in the books. After popping the money bubble early in the day, the tournament was only able to work down to the final 22 players that will be headed by local player Ronald Laplante and facing a hectic Day Three for this afternoon.

148 hopefuls came back with the dreams of WPT glory in their minds and poker pro Ben Wilinofsky at the head of the field with his 275,900 in chips. As typical after surviving the Day One minefield, those that were on the short stacks tried to “double up or go home” and some were successful in that effort. Connor Drinan, not exactly hurting on a 100K-plus stack, doubled through Henry Tran after Drinan’s 5-4 found a miracle on an 8-4-4 flop against Tran’s A-3. The same couldn’t be said for Andre Defelice, who went against Thomas Lefort with both holding Big Slick; after four diamonds came on the board, Lefort’s K would play and send Defelice out the door.

One thing that hadn’t been concluded from Day One is what the players were knocking each other around for. The record 489 entry field had generated a $ 2,229,954 prize pool (Canadian, or $ 1,701,287 roughly U. S.), of which the top 63 players would earn a piece along with a new Hendon Mob flag. The eyes of all were at the top, though, where a nice payday of $ 449,484 ($ 335,436) awaits the eventual champion of the tournament.

Wilinofsky’s stay atop the standings wouldn’t last long into Day Two. Mark Toulouse would first leap over the Canadian pro, taking a chunk of chips off Darren Elias to crack the 300K mark. Then Andrew Chen would get into the game in what is a candidate for “hand of the year” even though we’re only a couple of months into 2017.

A four-way pot saw a once in a lifetime situation when Chen, holding pocket Queens, got his chips in against Frank Stepuchin, Ali Braaz and Omid Shahbazian, with Chen covering them all. The problem was (and information was spotty with the players’ recollections as to who held what) Chen was beating only one of those players pre-flop, who was holding J 10, while the others held pocket Kings and pocket Aces. On the flop, the two remaining Queens stunningly rolled onto the felt to give Chen quads and the lead. A blank turn sealed the deal, with Chen knocking out Stepuchin, Braaz and Shahbazian and shooting to 475K in the turn of a friendly card (or cards, in this case).

Chen would enjoy the lead for most of the afternoon as the money bubble came closer. When Rafik Yeghnazari saw his pocket Aces stand over two players – knocking out one in the process – the final 63 players were assured of their minimum payday of $ 8,176. That knockout also started the parade towards the cash cage as the players started dropping left and right.

Defending champion David Ormsby, Curt Kohlberg and the start of day chip leader Wilinofsky all saw their tournament stays ended before the dinner break. After that respite, only 47 players were left, but there was still a great deal of work left to do. With Championship Day on Friday, the remaining players had to get as close as possible to the WPT final table of six as possible, otherwise there would be a lengthy day on Friday for those remaining

They didn’t lack for effort. Blake Bohn, Aaron Massey, Chris Bell and Lefort would depart after the dinner break as the final three tables came into view. As the last level of the night played out, only five players – Shayne Matyjas, Nick Alafogiannis, Jason James, Peter Chien and Drinan finishing in 27th through 23rd places, respectively – would be eliminated as the jostling atop the leaderboard continued. Chen would be responsible for one of those knockouts (Alafogiannis), but he was unable to stop the onrushing train that was Laplante, who was almost knocked off the top of the mountain by David Eldridge’s elimination of Drinan to end the night.

1. Ron Laplante, 1.724 million
2. David Eldridge, 1.7 million
3. Buck Ramsay, 1.548 million
4. Novica Miskovic, 1.18 million
5. Kristen Bicknell, 1.018 million
6. David Ho, 982,000
7. Mark Zajdner, 803,000
8. Chrishan Sivasundaram, 733,000
9. Andrew Chen, 649,000
10. Darren Elias, 617,000

Elias is the only remaining member of the WPT Champions’ Club remaining in the tournament, but Bicknell bears watching also. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner is looking for the second leg of poker’s Triple Crown and it is easily conceivable to see her taking this title. Along with Laplante, also look out for Chen if he can get over his late-night slump from Thursday.

Action will resume at Fallsview Casino on the banks of Niagara Falls (the Canadian bank) this afternoon, with the champion crowned this evening. There will be no stream for this event and it will not be taped for broadcast on the Season XV schedule of the WPT (unfortunately like Ema Zajmovic’s historical victory at the WPT Montreal earlier this month). There will be a champion, however, who will be more than happy to take a few hundred thousand dollars’ home with them for the victory!

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic: Ben Wilinofsky Leads Record Field After Day One

 2017 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic: Ben Wilinofsky Leads Record Field After Day One

After a record field for the event flooded into the casino, “semi-retired” poker professional Ben Wilinofsky emerged as the chip leader following Day One of the World Poker Tour’s Fallsview Poker Classic in Canada last night.

Long a popular stop for poker players due to its proximity to the U. S./Canadian border and its beautiful surroundings, the Fallsview Casino was ready for a rush of players for this tournament, a $ 5000 buy in event with one rebuy should a player bust out of the event. Several top players were in attendance for the earlier events on the calendar, with Canadians Xuan Liu and Mike Leah taking down two of those preliminary engagements. This was the one the players were waiting for and, once the call to arms was made with the “shuffle up and deal,” the players immediately responded.

As soon as the bell sounded, roughly 350 players were on the tables in the Fallsview Casino tournament room. This was significant as, in the 2016 tournament, 423 entries were received to set the record. Depending on how deep the pockets were for the players – which included two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell, WPT Champions’ Club members Olivier Busquet, Anthony Zinno and Darren Elias, among others – there was a good chance that the record would be broken in this tournament. As Level 3 began, 373 entries had been received and the late registration was still going on.

Several players would play a bit looser than normal, taking advantage of the chance to either build up a stack or get back into the tournament with their one rebuy option. Mike Dentale was one of the players who took advantage of that rebuy option, his K-Q catching on a Q 8♣ 6 flop against his opponent’s K 10. After a blank turn, Dentale seemed to be primed for his double up, but a diamond on the river canceled that action, instead sending Dentale back to his wallet for another $ 5,000 for his “one time.”

After Level 6, the popularity of the Fallsview Casino and this particular WPT event were demonstrated. With late registration and the one rebuy option still on the table, there were 428 entries received to crack the 2016 record. With those actions available until the start of Level 10 following the dinner break, it became a question of just how high the numbers would go.

As the tournament worked into the late-night hours, the notable names began to drop to the side, either exhausting their two chances at glory or choosing to stick to one shot only. Such players as Marvin Rettenmaier, Mike Watson, Dietrich Fast, Nenad Medic and Leah were all out the door by the time the close of action came after Level 13. By the time the chips were bagged and the names were noted, Wilinofsky – who hadn’t even been noticed by tournament staff until they received his day’s work – was holding a decent Day One lead.

1. Ben Wilinofsky, 275,900
2. Mark Toulouse, 262,700
3. Carlo Alteri, 241,000
4. David Cloutier, 236,700
5. David Ho, 230,000
6. Jason James, 213,400
7. Anthony Dalpra, 199,600
8. Andy Zhang, 198,100
9. Aaron Massey, 196,200
10. Darren Elias, 195,000

Wilinofsky’s rise to the top isn’t surprising considering his talents. A former European Poker Tour champion with almost $ 1.4 million in tournament earnings, Wilinofsky has also been quite open about personal issues he has had that have kept him from pursuing live tournament poker full time. Those problems – depression and anxiety issues – have kept the Canadian online professional out of the casinos but, with the WPT in his backyard for a stay, he suspended his “semi-retirement” (his definition of his status in the game) to try to add another jewel to his poker resume.

Action resumes at noon with Day Two of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. With 152 players remaining from the record-setting 489 entries that were eventually tallied (no prize pool or payouts have been announced yet), the money bubble will pop at some time on Friday, but there’s more to deal with than just popping the bubble. The serious work will be done on Friday as, with plans for the final table to play on Saturday, the field will be jammed to get down to the six-handed WPT final table.

Poker News Daily

David Ormsby Denies Chip Leader Robert Forbes in Winning WPT Fallsview Championship

 David Ormsby Denies Chip Leader Robert Forbes in Winning WPT Fallsview Championship

Although he came to the final table as the second shortest stack, David Ormsby would stick around long enough to become a thorn in the start of day chip leader Robert Forbes’ side, eventually defeating Forbes to take the championship of the World Poker Tour’s stop at the Fallsview Poker Classic in Canada on Thursday evening.

It definitely looked bleak for Ormsby at the start. With only 1.55 million in chips, he led only Thomas Archer (880,000 in chips) on the leaderboard when play began on Thursday afternoon. Ormsby was looking up at some difficult players that included Derek Verrian (1.565 million), Soren Turkewitsch (1.83 million), Mike Bui (2.86 million) and the previously mentioned Forbes, who was dominating the final table with his 4.015 million chip count.

Knowing he needed to make a move quick, Archer would push his chip stack to the center on the third hand of play with only an A-5, looking to steal the blinds and antes. As if he needed it, Forbes would wake up with a pocket pair of Queens on the button and, after he called Archer’s bet, saw the board give Archer a five but nothing else. By knocking out Archer in sixth place, Forbes solidified his lead by jumping over the six million chip mark and seemed to be on cruise control to the championship.

Forbes continued to punish his tablemates as his mountain of chips only got bigger. He dumped Turkewitsch from the tournament when his A-7 ruled over Turkewitsch’s A-4 (flopping a seven for good measure) to crack the nine million chip mark. Although he would suffer a couple of missteps to come back to the pack a bit, Forbes continued to be a wrecking ball in taking down Bui in fourth place when his pocket Aces stood over Bui’s K-10 off suit, giving Forbes twice as many chips as Verrian and Ormsby had between each other.

While Forbes had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, Verrian and Ormsby didn’t roll over for him. Ormsby got a double up through Forbes, his A-K making it over Forbes’ A-9, but he would sacrifice some of those chips to Verrian as Verrian drew closer to Forbes. In fact, it was a battle between Verrian and Forbes that would bring the final table to heads up play.

On Hand 131, Verrian pushed out a bet off the button and Forbes three-bet out of the small blind. After Ormsby mucked, Verrian called to see a 6-5-3 flop that drew a 550K bet from Forbes. Verrian immediately moved all in for his remaining two million in chips and, after pondering his position, Forbes made the call. Verrian had hit top pair with his 8-6, but Forbes was in good shape with his A-4 (open-ended draw to the straight, Ace over card). A deuce came on the turn to give Forbes his straight and now Verrian could only be saved by a four to split the pot. Instead, a ten came on the river to send Verrian out in third place.

As they entered heads up play, Forbes was dominating the game:

Forbes – 9.265 million
Ormsby – 3.435 million

Forbes didn’t waste any time in trying to go for the kill, quickly taking his stack north of 10 million chips in four hands of play. Two more hands – both of which went to Ormsby and saw Forbes firing indiscriminately in trying to force Ormsby off his hands – saw Ormsby close the gap to 2:1, where it would stay for about 15 hands. On Hand 155, however, Ormsby was able to eke into the lead and he would never look back.

On the final hand of the tournament, Ormsby limped in and Forbes pushed all in for almost three million in chips. Ormsby made the call and, after seeing Forbes’ pocket threes, was racing with his K-J. The race was a quick one, the flop coming down A-K-4 to give Ormsby a better pair and, after a seven on the turn and a six on the river failed to help Forbes, Ormsby had completed his unlikely comeback to become the champion of the WPT Fallsview.

1. David Ormsby – $ 383,407
2. Robert Forbes – $ 268,773
3. Derek Verrian – $ 172,823
4. Mike Bui – $ 127,805
5. Soren Turkewitsch – $ 95,949
6. Thomas Archer – $ 76,874

(All money amounts in Canadian dollars)

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