Posts Tagged ‘Inaugural’

Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship

 Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship

The Chengdu Pandas came back from near elimination to advance through the playoffs and win the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) China. The team won one million Yuan – approximately $ 151,000 – and donated five percent of it to charity.

The twelve teams participating were as follows (listed alphabetically):

• Beijing Great Dragons
• Chengdu Pandas
• Guangzhou Pioneers
• Hangzhou Legends
• Hong Kong Treasure Ships
• Kunming Phoenix
• Macau Lions
• Shanghai Golden Tigers
• Shenzhen Eagles
• Taiwan Black Bears
• Tianjin Guardians
• Xi’an Warriors

It was a long road to the title for the Pandas, as the team had to survive the early stages just to make it to the playoffs.

First was the Online Knockout stage. Here, the GPL China was divided into three groups of three teams. Two representatives from each team were selected to compete, each playing in separate four-handed Sit-and-Go’s against players from the other three teams in the group. Points were distributed based on order of finish, with first place at each table receiving 3 points, second place getting 2 points, and third place receiving 1 point. The first player knocked out at each table did not win any points for his or her team.

Next was the Live Knockout stage. It was similar to the online portion, but instead of one player from each team at each table, there were two. Additionally, there was one extra Sit-and-Go, for a total of three eight-handed tables. The top four players at each table earned points for their teams: 16 points for first, 11 for second, 8 for third, and 5 for fourth.

The point totals from both stages were added up and the top two teams from each group automatically advanced to the playoffs:

Group A: Taiwan (86 points) and Shanghai (71 points)
Group B: Tianjin (84 points) and Xi’an (69 points)
Group C: Kunming (71 points) and Hong Kong (60 points)

As you can see, the eventual champ, Chengdu, was not one of the automatic playoff qualifiers. As such, they and the other four lowest scoring teams played in a Resurrection round, with the top two points earners gaining the final two spots in the playoffs.

Round 1 of the Resurrection stage had three players from a team sit at a nine-handed table against players from two other teams. Four tables were in play simultaneously. Scoring was the same as in the Live Knockout stage.

Round 2 consisted of three six-handed tables with one player from each team at each table. First place earned 15 points, second place earned 10 points, and third earned 5 points.

Round 3 consisted of interesting two-versus-two heads-up matches in which pairs of teammates shared hole cards. Each team played against just one other team, three tables total. Heads-up winners got 15 points, the losers got 5 points.

In the end, Chengdu earned 88 points in the Resurrection stage and Beijing earned 77 points to clinch the final two playoff spots.

In the playoffs, the eight teams were split into two groups, competing in similar matches to the preliminary rounds. The online matches were four-handed as they were before, while the live rounds had the same eight-max, six-max, and two-versus-two heads-up matches as there were in the previous rounds.

Chengdu, Hong Kong, Kunming, and Shanghai advanced to the semi-finals where the same match formats were again featured. Chengdu dominated, scoring 88 points, and faced off against Hong Kong – which earned 55 points – in the finals.

The finals featured got rid of the four-handed online matches and swapped in a traditional heads-up match for the eight-handed game. This time, though, the points across all games weren’t added up to determine a winner, but instead, it was a sort of double best-of-three.

The team that won two of the six-max, two-versus-two, and heads-up matches would win a round. Win two rounds and you’re the champ. Hong Kong took the first six-handed game, but Chengdu stormed back to win the two-versus-two and heads-up matches to clinch the first round. In the second round, Chengdu won the two-versus-two and Hong Kong won the heads-up, so it came down to the six-max to either nail it down for Chengdu or keep Hong Kong alive.

In crazy final hand, one Chengdu player was all-in against two Hong Kong players, who also both shoved on an 8-A-2 flop. The Panda had A-3, virtually dead to rights against one of the Treasure Ship player’s A-T (the other player had just 9-4). But a 3 fell on the turn and a Queen landed on the river to give the Panda the best hand, knocking out both rivals, and earning the inaugural GPL China championship for Chengdu.

The post Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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India’s Poker Sports League Moves Forward with Inaugural Season

 India’s Poker Sports League Moves Forward with Inaugural Season

Up until Sunday, it had been a rumor that had yet to come to fruition. After running its draft for the 12 teams that make up the league, India’s Poker Sports League has gone from just a rumor to preparing for its first ever season.

On Sunday at the Playboy Club in Delhi, the 12 franchises that make up the league met to choose players for their teams. The squads, blindly picking numbers, arranged themselves from the first pick to the twelfth. Then, utilizing a “snake” draft (the first round would go 1-12, the second round 12-1, the third round 1-12, the fourth 12-1, etc.), each team picked first their pro player from a pool. The next pool was for players who had qualified for the draft from live play and, rounding out the process, players who had qualified for the league from online play.

What was perhaps the most interesting thing about the Poker Sports League is, from the start, there are individual owners for each of the teams that are major businessmen from India. These are the 12 owners of the teams and the businesses they represent:

Bengaluru Jokers – Kunal Shah (Co-founder, FreeCharge)
Chennai Bulls – Girish Mathrubootham (Co-founder, FreshDesk)
Delhi Panthers – Rishi Kajaria (Kajaria Ceramics); Ruchirans Jaipuria (Jaipuria Group); Abhishek Jain (Leela Jewels); Gaurav Goel (Dhampur Sugar)
Goan Nuts – Gaurav Mohan (Eventwala)
Gujrat Acers – Harish Bahl and Manish Vij (Smile Group); Mukesh Agarwal (VITWO LLP)
Haryana Hunters – Amrish Rau and Jitendra Gupta (Co-founder, Citrus Payments)
Hyderabad Kings – Amit Shah, Karan Bhagat and Yatin Shah (IIFL-Wealth)
Kolkata Royals – Ankkit Bhadur (Playboy North);; Taarun V. Jain (Legend Group)
Mumbai Anchors – Mehul Shah (Anchor Electrical)
Pune Sharks – Rishabh Jhunjhunwala (Bhilwara Group); Shamit Kehmka (Synapse India); Chetan Kaharia (Kajaria Ceramics); Sachin Goel
Punjab Bluffers – Aditya Munjal (Hero Cycles Group); Arjun Jain (White Fox); Shiva Vig (Anika International)
Rajasthan Tilters – Purrshottam Bhaggeria (Filatex Group)

While these owners strategized through the draft, the league announced the players who were the wild card selections for each team. This is where the rosters stepped outside of Indian players and picked up several professionals from around the world. One team, the Gujrat Acers, picked up an international player in Henrik Tollefsen, who sits in the twelfth slot in all time tournament earnings for Norwegian players; he is joined by India’s Raman Gujral, who is in the top 50 players in India in lifetime tournament earnings. Samad Razavi, who has the English flag as his Hendon Mob banner and is in 50th place in all-time earnings for English players, was picked up as a wild card by the Hyderabad Kings, while Patrick Leonard – another British pro who has over $ 700,000 in career earnings – will be joining the Rajasthan Tilters.

Full details haven’t been revealed as to how the league will be conducted, but it is expected that it will be a combination of live and online play for the nine player teams (one mentor/captain, two professional players, two wild cards, two live qualifiers and two online qualifiers). What can’t be questioned is the money that the 12 teams are vying for. Up for grabs for the twelve teams is 3.36 crores, or 33,600,000 rupees. That breaks down to roughly $ 525,000 U. S. dollars; for a comparison point, the winners of the inaugural Global Poker League championship, the Montreal Nationals, earned $ 100,000 for winning the league title.

The Poker Sports League says their mission statement is “to promote the tournament aspect of poker across India and to provide every poker enthusiast an opportunity to play for the pride of winning and to promote responsible poker.” For the first part of the statement – promoting tournament poker – it seems that the Poker Sports League is making significant inroads. As to how well it will do in the other aspects, only time will tell.

For more information on the Poker Sports League, be sure to visit their website.

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Christian Harder Earns Championship of Inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event

 Christian Harder Earns Championship of Inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event

After wading through a 738-player field to make the final table behind only the chip leader, Christian Harder continued his ferocious attack on his opposition on the way to earning the championship of the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event on Saturday.

Harder started the run a couple of days previous, working his way into the Top Ten for the Day 5 action and making the final table off that run. The only player who had it better was Michael Gentili, who led the final two days of the tournament and came to the final table with a 6.175 million chip stack. Behind Harder (with 5.985 million chips) was an array of contenders that included 2016 World Series of Poker “November Niner” Cliff Josephy, who had to work from the short stack (1.24 million) if he were to get any further on Saturday.

Harder was the first to strike at the six-handed final table as, only seven hands in, he was responsible for the first elimination. After raising the action, Harder saw Rasmus Glaesel pop in the remainder of his stack. Harder hardly hesitated, however, in making the call and laying down pocket tens for action. Glaesel found himself in a race with his Big Slick but, after an eight-high rainbow flop, saw his objective move further out in front of him. Another six on the turn wasn’t helpful either, meaning the third six – improving Harder to a boat, eliminated Glaesel from the tournament in sixth place and shot Harder into the lead.

For his part, Gentili had a tough time getting anything going on the day. He would attempt to play with his tablemates but, pretty much every time, he would have to let decent hands go when they didn’t connect with the board or were beaten anyway. After a particularly big hand against Aleksei Opalikhin – which saw Gentili defend from the big blind and Opalikhin flop a top pair of Aces (and make Aces up by the river) to eventually send a big stack of chips to Opalikhin – Gentili saw his once-mighty stack shrunk to 3.355 million.

Gentili would try to get something going but, in the end, it wasn’t to be. Opalikhin was again the opposition when he raised a pot pre-flop and Gentili fired all in “over the top” for his remaining two million or so chips. Opalikhin, who pondered his action pre-flop for a rather lengthy time, got his calling chips in the pot before Gentili could cross the line with his all-in chip as Opalikhin showed pocket Aces. All Gentili could produce were pocket deuces and, once the King-high board didn’t have a deuce amongst it, Gentili was in trouble. After the chips were counted, Opalikhin scooped up the 1.76 million chip pot and Gentili was left with scraps (145,000); those would go to Josephy as Gentili departed in fourth.

Now it was Josephy’s turn to shift into overdrive as he picked up a huge double through Opalikhin to move into second and knock Opalikhin to the bottom of the table. After a Josephy raise and a three-bet from Michael Vela, Opalikhin put his final 300K (all he had left after doubling Josephy) on the line. Josephy didn’t have an interest in continuing but Vela was more than interested as he showed his pocket Kings to go against Opalikhin’s 10-9 off suit. The A-A-A flop was about as crushing as it gets, leaving Opalikhin looking for the case Ace and a King just to split the pot. When the turn brought neither of those options, Opalikhin was drawing dead and gone from the tournament in fourth place.

By the time the dinner break arrived, Harder had the tournament firmly in his grasp. With 13.24 million chips, his nearest two competitors – Josephy (5.71 million) and Vela (2.355 million) – could barely muster more than half of Harder’s stack. Still, it was a three-way clash after dinner that had the railbirds in the Bahamas and watching the live stream buzzing.

After Harder raised off the button and Josephy called, Vela would put his final chips on the line looking for a triple up. Both Harder and Josephy went in the tank over their decisions, but both would eventually call to see a monochrome 6 7 8 flop. Harder and Josephy chose to check their options there and after the 3 on the turn and the 4 on the river. “Somebody’s got to have a diamond!” exclaimed Vela over the live stream and, sure enough, someone did. Josephy showed K J, good for the King-high flush, while Harder was blank with an A♣ Q♣. Vela’s squeeze didn’t do him any good as his A 6 flopped a pair but was crushed by Josephy’s rivered flush as Vela left in third place.

With three million chips separating them, Harder and Josephy decided to make a deal. After the negotiations were successful, Harder secured himself a $ 419,664 payday and Josephy picked up a $ 403,448 chunk of change. The duo decided to leave out a $ 10,000 bonus and the inaugural championship to play for, which both players would vie for aggressively. With his larger stack, however, it was only a matter of time for Harder to take the title.

On the final hand, Josephy made the raise with an A-8 and, instead of making the call, Harder three-bet the action with his A-J. Josephy didn’t believe Harder’s raise, moving all in and getting a call from Harder. Although ahead in the hand, Harder didn’t like the 9-5-4 flop that hit the table nor the K♠ that now put backdoor flush options on the table (Josephy held the A♠). The nine on the river was black, but it was the 9♣ as Harder’s A-J held to win the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event.

1. Christian Harder, $ 429,664*
2. Cliff Josephy, $ 403,448*
3. Michael Vela, $ 269,980
4. Aleksei Opalikhin, $ 191,420
5. Michael Gentili, $ 140,940
6. Rasmus Glaesel, $ 103,780

(* – deal brokered with two players remaining)

With the close of the Main Event, the PokerStars Championship will move into unknown territory. From March 10-20, the PokerStars Championship will have their second festival in Panama City, Panama, at the Casino Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino. This tournament will be important because, unlike the Bahamas event (which was basically the renamed PokerStars Caribbean Adventure), the Panama visit will be the first time the PokerStars Championship (basically the former European Poker Tour) has ventured outside of the European continent (in years previous, the Latin American Poker Tour had serviced Panama). It may be the first indicator as to how the new tournament circuit will be received by fans.

For right now, however, none of that matters. Congratulations to Christian Harder, who takes the early lead in the different Player of the Year races and banks one of the major championships in the poker world!

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Inaugural PokerStars Championship Event Begins Tomorrow in the Bahamas

 Inaugural PokerStars Championship Event Begins Tomorrow in the Bahamas

After all of a week to rest and recuperate from a successful 2016 (or, for some, worry and lament the losses), poker’s most notable professionals and a horde of talented (and fortunate) online amateurs will be ensconced in the Atlantis Resort and Casino tomorrow to kick off the 2017 tournament poker season.

The poker world will find some changes when they land on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, however. Gone is the European Poker Tour after a 13-year run and in comes the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. In fact, that is the new name of the tournament instead of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, a name it had held since its inception. The move, made by the ownership of Amaya Gaming, is an attempt to make the signature tournament series for the company more of an “international” event (rather than just Europe) and signifies a final break from the “old days” of the company.

While the old PCA had a load of events over its schedule, the new PokerStars Championship is taking that number to the nth degree. Beginning tomorrow, a grand total of 92 events will be offered to everyone on the Atlantis grounds. Doing the math, that breaks down to TEN DIFFERENT tournaments that players can take part in during the nine-day poker fest. Whether it is giving the players what they want (Amaya’s take) or it is a blatant money grab by a corporate entity looking to suck as much green up as they can (some disgruntled players’ viewpoint) is up to the fans and players to decide.

The PokerStars Championship Bahamas will not wait to get the action started. The PokerStars Championship Super High Roller will begin on Friday with the $ 100,000 UNLIMITED REENTRY tournament kicking off the festivities. If that is too rich for the blood of some on Paradise Island, there are 10 other tournaments on the opening day roster, including two $ 330 Turbo qualifiers for another significant event on the PokerStars Championship Bahamas schedule.

That event, the PokerStars National Championship, will kick off on Saturday. The $ 2200 unlimited reentry tournament will start at 11AM and may be populated by those who are looking for a warmup for the PokerStars Championship Main Event. That tournament, which literally hundreds of players have qualified for online at PokerStars, opens Day 1A play at 11AM on Sunday (Day 1B, naturally, will take place on Monday). The Main Event will take most of next week to reach the final table, which is set to be played out one week from Saturday.

There are other tournaments that should spark the pros into action at the Atlantis. The PokerStars Championship High Roller – you know, the one where you “only” have $ 25,000 buy-ins – will begin play on January 12, and virtually every other discipline of poker will be tested on the tournament stage. If that isn’t enough for the poker players in the Bahamas, a rack of cash games are also on the schedule going from $ 1/$ 2 up to $ 200/$ 400 (a rake schedule is also provided here along with buy-in requirements).

If poker isn’t your thing (or you’ve just had incredibly bad timing and hit a downswing during the tournament schedule), there’s plenty to do away from the felt. There will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a tailgate party for the National Football League playoff games that will be taking place in the States of America on January 7-8 that will feature free food and drinks (along with a “squares” competition for prizes) and a “Player Party” to close the festivities on January 13 at Aura Nightclub at Atlantis. For those that like gaming on another level – video – PokerStars will also give away a gaming setup that encompasses a state-of-the-art laptop, widescreen monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other prizes that is valued at $ 5000 (only those players attending the tournament will be eligible to win) and will be raffled off on January 13 also.

It is usually the biggest way to kick start the tournament poker world after a mid-winter slumber and it doesn’t appear that there will be any difference this year other than the name. The PokerStars Championship Bahamas is looking to bring a “new world” of competition to tournament poker and it all begins on Friday.

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Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

 Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

In a dramatic, winner-take-all final match that went the distance of its “best of 11” format, the Montreal Nationals’ Pascal Lefrancois defeated the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast to take down  the inaugural Global Poker League World Championship.

The eight teams that showed up on Tuesday to determine the champion represented the top squads that survived from a long regular season grind. For the GPL Americas, the top seeded Nationals had to contend with the L. A. Sunset, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans and the San Francisco Rush (in their order of seed) if they were going to even have a chance at the GPL World Championship. On the other side of the bracket the Moscow Wolverines entered the tournament as the top seed, with the Hong Kong Stars, the Bears and the London Royals battling for the GPL Eurasia championship.

From the start on Tuesday, there was an intensity to the contests that arguably wasn’t there during the regular season. The Nationals and the Rush squared off inside “The Cube” and took the battle all the way to a climactic Game 7 in the “best of seven” series (four wins to take the match). With players such as the Nationals’ Mike McDonald, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Lefrancois and Phil Galfond, Jonathan Jaffe and Faraz Jaka of the Rush inside the “Neon Box,” it would come down to a victory by McDonald over Jaffe to send the Nationals to the GPL Americas Finals and knock out the Rush.

The other semi-final didn’t let the crowd in the GPL Arena in Las Vegas down, either. Pushing their contest to a Game 7, the Sunset (with Olivier Busquet, Chance Kornuth and manager Maria Ho) and the Metropolitans (featuring Darren Elias, Joao Bauer and Thiago Nishijima) fought tooth and nail before Busquet eventually topped Nishijima to earn the other seat in the GPL Americas Finals.

As the top two seeds in the GPL Americas, it was expected to be another outstanding battle between the Nationals and the Sunset to see who would move on to the GPL World Championship Series. Instead, the Nationals seemed to have control of the event, moving out to a 3-1 lead before Ladouceur bested Ho and earned the Montreal Nationals a seat at the table for the GPL championship.

It was going to be tough to top the incredible action from the GPL Americas, but the GPL Eurasia decided to take a shot at it on Wednesday. The Wolverines (with manager Anatoly Filatov, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Andrey Pateychuk) made short work of the Royals (with a disappointed manager Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo) in winning 4-1, while the Bears (with Rast, Sorel Mizzi and Bill Perkins) won three consecutive games after falling behind 2-1 to the Stars (Guo Dong, Randy Lew and manager Celina Lin) to earn their seat in the GPL Eurasia Final.

The GPL Eurasia Final turned out to be the most entertaining match of the GPL Eurasia bracket. Neither team could move ahead by more than one game, forcing the action to a Game 7 and the “winner take all” moment that makes sports so special. Rast, who could arguably have been called the MVP of the GPL Eurasia bracket, finished off his fifth win in five efforts inside “The Cube” on Wednesday by defeating Filatov to win the series 4-3 (a big upset as far as seeding) and the GPL Eurasia Championship.

On Thursday, both the Nationals and the Bears were primed for action, ready to determine the champion and the recipient of the $ 100,000 bonus for the eventual World Champion. In a slight change to the schedule, the GPL World Championship became a “best of 11” series (six wins) instead of the “best of nine” schedule (five wins) that had previously been scheduled. However many games the two teams would play, it would turn out that the battle would go right to the end.

Montreal seemed to be wanting to make quick work of the series, using victories from Lefrancois, McDonald and Jason Lavallee (originally scheduled to be a part of the early action in the GPL Americas but delayed by flight issues) to go up 3-1. The Bears would fight back, with Rast, Mizzi and Perkins pulling even at 5-5 after an impressive 4-2 run. Down to the last match, Rast and Lefrancois squared off on the felt and, on the final hand, provided the last moment of drama for the 2016 GPL season.

Holding pocket Queens, Lefrancois was able to get Rast (with 10-8) to see a flop with him and flopped the world. The 8-4-Q squarely hit Lefrancois but he played it cool, allowing the turn card to fully trap Rast when it came as a ten. Instead of having a sneaky two pair, Rast was drawing dead as he committed his chips against Lefrancois’ set of Queens to end the series with the Nationals winning 6-5.

Congratulations to Lefrancois, McDonald, Lavallee, Ladouceur and Xuan Liu (the only member not in attendance in Las Vegas) for winning the inaugural Global Poker League championship. Whether this same team will return in 2017 to defend their title remains to be seen, but it should be entertaining to see what innovations come for the second season of the league.

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