Posts Tagged ‘poker’

2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 3: Scott Margereson Amasses Gigantic Chip Lead

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 3: Scott Margereson Amasses Gigantic Chip Lead

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is speeding to its conclusion, as Day 3 saw the field narrowed from 81 to just 14. Things will slow down a bit today, though, as the plan is to get rid of just eight players to set up the six-handed final table. One would think, though, that this would at least mean Day 4 will be relatively short. But with the money jumps starting to increase and spots at the final table on the line, you never know how things might play out. One thing we feel safe to predict is that chip leader Scott Margereson will be around a while, as with 9.210 million chips, he has more than double the stack of his closest competitor.

Margereson is in search of his first World Poker Tour title. In fact, of the remaining 14 players, only Victor Ramdin is a member of the WPT Champions Club. With a minimum payout of more than $ 43,000 already locked up, Margereson is in store for at least the fourth highest cash of his career. Though his lifetime live tournament earnings of $ 570,039 pale in comparison to some of the players at the Seminole Hard Rock today, take a look at his recorded online tournament earnings (via PocketFives): $ 4,173,887. He is currently 186th in PocketFives’ worldwide online poker tournament rankings, having been as high as 16th just two years ago.

Margereson began Monday’s action among the chip leaders with about 1.2 million chips and really just gradually chipped up throughout the day. There didn’t seem to be one face-melting, blockbuster hand that rocketed him to the lead. A couple of his bigger hands simply involved jump-starting the action early, building a pot, then forcing his opponent out without a showdown. In two hands spread out during the course of the day, he won somewhere around 1.7 to 1.8 million in combined pots against Faraz Jaka alone.

He did have one huge hand, though, thanks to the final elimination of the day. He raised pre-flop to 60,000, Joseph Cheong called, and Roberto Alberro re-raised to 200,000. Margereson and Cheong both called to bring on a flop of 5-4-2. Alberro bet 300,000, Margereson called, and Cheong folded. On the turn 2, Alberro shoved for 1.755 million and Margereson called. Both had overpairs, but Margereson’s Queens were better than Alberro’s Tens. The river was of no consequence and Alberro was out in 15th place while Margereson increased his stack at the time to 8.8 million chips.

2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown – Day 3 Chip Counts

1. Scott Margereson – 9,210,000
2. Joey Couden – 4,060,000
3. Tanner Millen – 3,825,000
4. Brian Hastings – 3,375,000
5. Joseph Cheong – 3,300,000
6. Zach Donovan – 2,765,000
7. Brian England – 2,430,000
8. Faraz Jaka – 2,360,000
9. Jeff Fielder – 2,095,000
10. Matt Stout – 1,790,000
11. Pedro Palacio – 1,590,000
12. A.J. Gambino – 1,240,000
13. Victor Ramdin – 775,000
14. Nicholas Schuman-Werb – 550,000

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New Jersey to Share Online Poker Liquidity with Delaware, Nevada

 New Jersey to Share Online Poker Liquidity with Delaware, Nevada

A new day is about to dawn for online poker. Okay, am I severely overselling it with that introductory sentence. But still, that WSOP.com and 888 Poker will be facilitating the merger of player pools of New Jersey with those of Delaware and Nevada in about two weeks is a pretty big deal.

There are just four states that have legalized and regulate online poker, but New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada are the only ones to actually have sites up and running (Pennsylvania’s sites should be ready later this year). Delaware and Nevada have shared player pools for quite some time now and needed to do so because of their relatively small populations, but New Jersey had yet to get onboard. And because of New Jersey’s size – 11th in terms of population – getting the Garden State to share its players is important.

In a press release Monday, WSOP.com and 888 Poker announced that they submitted their software for testing to the regulatory agencies of all three states with the hopes of shared liquidity going live on May 1st.

“This has been a huge collaborative effort from all involved and it is important to thank the elected leadership and regulatory authorities in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey for their dedication and diligence to help move online poker forward,” said WSOP.com’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini in the press release. “Everyone has had the end user in mind throughout this process, and as a result, we believe the United States for the first time in a regulated environment, will have a large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward as soon as next month.”

WSOP.com, which uses 888 Poker’s software platform, is the only online poker room in Nevada. Delaware has three sites, each affiliated with one of the state’s casino/racetracks. They also all use 888’s software and are for all intents and purposes the same, as they share liquidity. The sites began sharing player pools with WSOP.com Nevada in 2015.

So, though there is competition in New Jersey from the likes of PokerStars and partypoker, 888 Poker/WSOP.com NJ is the only one that could have done this player pool merger, as it is the only one with operations in all three states.

When the merger takes effect, players in Nevada and Delaware will need to download new software and create new accounts. The old software will no longer be in service. No worries, though, as player funds, tournament tickets, and loyalty points will transfer over to the new account. Plus, as the accounts will technically be new, players can take advantage of new player promotions and bonuses.

The upshot of this for New Jersey players, aside from seeing a slight boost in player traffic (the boost will be more significant for Nevada and Delaware players), is that they will be able to compete in the World Series of Poker online bracelet events for the first time.

The WSOP anticipates that the first chance to do this will be Event #10, $ 365 No-Limit Hold’em, which will take place on June 3rd.

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Annie Duke’s “Thinking in Bets” – A Poker Book That’s Not Supposed to Be a Poker Book

 Annie Duke’s “Thinking in Bets” – A Poker Book That’s Not Supposed to Be a Poker Book

Mention the name “Annie Duke” and you’ll get a polarizing response from most of the poker community. To some, she is one of the top female players who ever came to the felt, winning over $ 4.2 million in tournament cashes on her way to a second career as a top-flight businesswoman with Ultimate Bet and as the commissioner of the Epic Poker League. To others, she is the epitome of an unscrupulous and unethical (let’s just say it rhymes with “witch”) who got out of the game ahead of the lynching party for her actions with those two businesses. Such a polarizing difference makes it difficult to dissect her latest book, Thinking in Bets – Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.

Duke, who hasn’t had a significant live tournament cash since she won the 2010 NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship (for a $ 500,000 score), “retired” from the poker world (and its opinion of her) in 2012 (after the Epic Poker League went bankrupt) and, lacking a direction, fell back to the option that she once thought would be her life. Utilizing her education – she was a graduate student in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania – and her acumen on decision making from more than two decades in poker, Duke was able to reinvent herself as a “consultant on decision strategy” for the business world. Hence her new book, which she tries to emphasize “isn’t” a poker book.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard and Duke’s tome IS a poker book instead of the business strategy book she wanted. While she continually stresses that Thinking is not a book about poker, Duke continually comes back to the fact that poker and business ARE quite similar and, as such, she uses quite a bit of poker acumen (rather than business acumen) in explaining her stories. In fact, in an early anecdote she crosses the line between poker and business quite easily and unapologetically.

Duke’s story regarding a Chief Executive Officer and his decision regarding a company president is her first example of poker and business blending together. The CEO, after firing the president under discussion and the company entering a period of “hard times,” identified this move as one of the worst moves of his past year. Duke, however, instead identifies the CEO as being too focused on “resulting” – the eventual outcome of a move, no matter how correct it might have been – and states that it is a common occurrence in the game of poker.

In another segment where Duke attempts to use a gaming metaphor for a business decision, she mentions a prop bet made by Poker Hall of Famer John Hennigan that involved him moving to Des Moines, Iowa, for 30 days. After two days, Hennigan bought out of the bet, but Duke focuses more on the decision process that Hennigan and his fellow gamblers used to reach the proper wager and length of the bet to make it a tough decision for Hennigan – something that people in everyday life do when making decisions on relocating for a job, Duke surmises.

It seems that, while Duke is trying to put together a book that will be of assistance to business people – heck, maybe even the everyday person, especially when it comes to dealing with those who disagree with you – she also wants to relive her days when she was a feared player in the game. There is little that a businessperson would find in the book that would help them beyond what they already know, although they might find the gambling anecdotes amusing.

For those in the poker world that read the book, it might give them a moment of thought regarding how they think. I found that some of the information provided in the pages – the “resulting” segment was something that I see quite frequently on social media and poker forums, especially in strategy discussion of hands – would be useful to many people. Also of interest were Duke’s thoughts on qualifying statements (Duke believes that people don’t use the term “I’m not sure or positive” enough because it indicates indecision; she believes it indicates the ability to be able to formulate a new opinion) and how to work backwards from both a positive outcome and a negative outcome to be able to make decisions more effectively.

There are plenty of people who won’t give Thinking in Bets – Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts the time of day because Duke wrote the book. That’s unfortunate, because those people are missing out on what is actually an educational experience in learning how to use their brains more effectively. Just don’t be fooled into the statement from Duke that it isn’t a “poker book” – it’s just a book that applies equally to business as well as the game of poker, with A LOT of poker talk to emphasize her points.

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1B: Uri Kadosh Maintains Overall Lead, Record Field for Event

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1B: Uri Kadosh Maintains Overall Lead, Record Field for Event

The opening salvos have been fired in the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and the shots have been spectacular. The numbers for the two-Day Ones have set a record for the tournament and, while former WPT champion Eric Afriat took the Day 1B chip lead honors, it is Day 1A leader Udi Kadosh who will have the overall lead heading to Sunday’s Day 2 action.

After 646 entries were received for Day 1A, the masses gathered for Day 1B were ready to smash that figure. Coming out of the gate it was a bit slow as only 169 players were in their chairs when the cards hit the air, but there was quality to the early risers (the tournament started at 11AM). Former WPT champions Darren Elias, Brian Altman, Andy Frankenberger, Jonathan Little (also in on Day 1A) and Afriat were the brightest stars in the Hard Rock tournament arena, joined by Mike Dentale, Ari Engel, Matt Stout, Ankush Mandavia and Joe Elpayaa. With late registration going on until the end of Level 9, however, it would be quite some time before the final figures were in.

Frankenberger had some difficulties coming out of gate as some of the local talent brought the action to him. Cut down to a short stack, Frankenberger found himself in a three-way hand with a Q-J-4-6 two-club flop and turn up for the players to ponder. After a small blind bet and the second player’s call, Frankenberger decided that he didn’t want to mess around anymore, moving his remaining 10K in chips (players started with 30K; this was slightly more than an hour into the day’s play) to the center. His two combatants quickly got out of the way and Frankenberger scooped the approximately 17K pot.

After that first hour, the Seminole Indian tribe also breathed a sigh of relief. The 938-entry mark was passed in that first hour, meeting the $ 3 million guarantee that they had placed on the tournament. After the recent tournament which suffered from a great deal of controversy after the casino took some unusual steps to try to meet their guarantee, the Seminoles were obviously pleased that they wouldn’t be on the hook for any money and the only question now was how high it would go.

If there is one way to explain the difficulties (some would say unfairness) of the unlimited re-entry format, Chance Kornuth would be that example. Only a couple of hours into the Day 1B action, Kornuth ran his pocket treys into Robert Chusid’s Big Slick and got his chips to the center, only to see the board counterfeit him when it ran out 6-5-5-6-J to give Chusid the hand and knock Kornuth out. Undaunted, Kornuth reached back into his wallet for another $ 3500 and, by the beginning of Level 5, had worked his way into the Top Five. Would Kornuth have made the same play if it were a freezeout event?

As the dinner break came, the numbers were staggering. 549 entries were in the books, bringing the total number of entries to 1195 with four levels left in the day’s action. As players looked at the tournament clock, there were murmurings that the final figures could break last year’s record numbers, when 1207 entries were received, and that the prize pool could eclipse the $ 4 million mark.

After the end of Level 9, the players got their answers. With 663 entries on Day 1B, the total field for the 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown totaled 1309 entries, the fifth largest event in WPT history (and breaking last year’s record for the event. The $ 4,188,800 prize pool will be carved up by the final 164 players, with the eventual champion walking off with the lion’s share of that pool ($ 696,740).

Perhaps the most stunning thing about the day’s play (other than the massive number of entries) was Afriat’s efforts. After the dinner break, Afriat needed to quadruple up to reach 14,500 chips (that’s not a misprint, folks), but he kept his foot on the gas from there. In the span of one level, Afriat went from “losing every hand for seven hours” (his words, as quoted by the WPT live updates team) to winning everything he touched, building a stack that towered over his tablemates and eventually giving him the Day 1B chip lead.

1. Eric Afriat, 222,500
2. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
3. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
4. Mark Cole, 207,000
5. Joel Brink, 205,000
6. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900
7. Andre Crooks, 191,100
8. Raul Lozano, 173,500
9. Juan Martinez, 164,000
10. Aaron Mermelstein, 162,500

Combined with the Day 1A participants, not only will Kadosh hold the overall lead in the tournament heading to Day 2, the top three from Day 1A will be at the helm:

1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500*
2. Robert Transue, 239,500*
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300*
4. Eric Afriat, 222,500
5. Paul Snead, 220,000*
6. Andrew Wilmot, 218,900
7. Ryan Olisar, 214,600
8. Mark Cole, 207,000
9. Joel Brink, 205,000
10. Joseph Skarzynski, 195,900

(* – Day 1A players)

From the 1309-entry field, there will be a total of 480 players who will return for action on Sunday morning. It is possible that they will reach the money bubble on Sunday, but a better bet might be Monday for the popping of said bubble. With the massive field for this tournament, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the state of Florida and the World Poker Tour have shown that the much talked about “death” of the big-field poker tournaments have been, as in the words of Mark Twain, “greatly exaggerated.”

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Women in Poker Hall of Fame Voting – One Writer’s Opinion

 Women in Poker Hall of Fame Voting – One Writer’s Opinion

After a month of nominations from the poker community and a couple of weeks of review by the Nomination Committee, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame has put together an outstanding list of nominees for induction this year. The 11 nominees run the gamut of the poker world, from working behind the scenes as important cogs in the machine to being some of the most visible performers on the grandest stages. Unfortunately (at least at this point), they cannot all go in, with the responsibilities of selecting the inductees on a select panel of past inductees and media members – including this writer’s opinion.

Having a vote on anything as important as a Hall of Fame is a badge of honor. In essence, you are structuring how the history of (in this case) women in poker will be remembered. It is something that should not be taken lightly and, as such, I’ve been studying the nominees extensively to determine how my votes would be distributed.

As pointed out by my friend and colleague Dan Katz last week (who deserves a vote here also – we’ll work on that for 2020, Dan!), each of the panelists on the WiPHoF panel have ten votes they can hand out. They can give them all to one person or break them up however they would like (no, Dan, I won’t give each nominee a vote – that WOULD be wishy-washy!). With these criteria in mind, I set back to learn about the nominees (in alphabetical order):

Hermance Blum
Mandy Glogow
Haley Hintze
Angelica Hael
Maria Ho
Karina Jett
Terry King
Shirley Rosario
Kara Scott
Lupe Soto
Jennifer Tilley

As you can see from the list, this is not an easy decision. Any of these ladies would be a fine addition to sit beside such legends of the game as Barbara Enright, Jennifer Harman, Linda Johnson or Cyndy Violette (and that’s just a short list). But the voter must do the unfortunate task – choose the inductees – and I’ve decided to look at my votes in the following manner.

Hermance Blum, Mandy Glogow and Angelica Hael – These ladies have been instrumental in bringing poker “to the people” with their work behind the scenes on the World Poker Tour and with PokerStars. But all three of these women are young and, in this writer’s opinion, they haven’t yet achieved their “pinnacle of greatness.” I see these three women at some time making their way into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, just not in this year’s election.

Maria Ho and Kara Scott – Once again, we have two great professional poker players who are still in the midst of their highly successful careers. To say that either Ho or Scott have achieved all they will ever achieve in the world of poker (and let’s be clear here – this isn’t a slight to these women, just as it isn’t a slight to those ladies who are further down this list that have a bit more “experience” on their resumes) is doubting their skills and experience in the game. Once again, I see these two women definitely making the Hall, just not this year.

Lupe Soto and Jennifer Tilly – I will make this statement here and now – I believe that these two women will be inducted this year. Soto has been one of the biggest advocates for women in the game of poker that you will ever find. Tilly brought attention to the women’s game with her World Series of Poker Ladies’ Tournament championship back in 2005. But I am not voting for them; as what I view as the “frontrunners” for induction, they’re not going to need my vote. Not that I would be ashamed for voting for either of these ladies, I believe there are other potential inductees on this list that need my vote a bit more.

With this process of elimination, we have the four women who will receive my votes for induction. Longevity is an important part of my selection process, as is having made a significant mark on the game. In my humble opinion, these women have.

Haley Hintze – Hintze has been around the game of poker as a journalist as long as this writer has, and we’ve often trod the same ground in working for the same outlets. While she has made an outstanding career writing about the players and the “entertaining aspects” of the game, Hintze was instrumental in bringing information to the players regarding the Absolute Poker/UB “Superuser” scandals of the mid-2000s. Without Hintze’s work, there is plenty that probably would have never come to light regarding that sordid time in the industry; she deserves recognition for that effort, even if she’s not as active today as she used to be (2 votes).

Karina Jett – Jett has been a part of the professional poker scene for almost two decades, demonstrating her skills in the game on a variety of stages. She has earned almost $ 500,000 in tournament cashes over the past 20 years, including four trips to the WSOP Ladies’ Championship final table with a runner up finish in 2011. Jett has also shown the philanthropic side of the poker industry, serving as the hostess and organizer for the popular Ante Up for Autism charity event (3 votes).

Terry King – Not known perhaps to the “general” poker community, King has a long history in the game. A 1978 WSOP bracelet winner, King played in cash games throughout the 1970s, battling against the biggest players in the game, most if not all of them male. While her playing exploits might have been enough to get her in the Hall, King has also served as a dealer (first woman to deal the Championship Event of the WSOP), a floorperson and a tournament organizer and helped open the Hollywood Park Casino in its heyday. She is a wealth of knowledge as to the history of poker, something that is the base reason for honoring someone in the Hall – to preserve the history (2 points).

Shirley Rosario – The number of hats that Rosario has worn in the poker world would fill any closet. A former proposition player at the Bicycle Casino, Rosario parlayed that into a successful cash game career and built an excellent tournament poker resume. In her career, Rosario has earned $ 506,484, mostly built around the difficult mixed game and non-Texas Hold’em disciplines of poker.

It is arguable, however, that Rosario’s work outside the poker room is more notable. In the past two decades plus, Rosario created the website Poker-Babes.com that was THE place to go for information on players from 2004 to 2011. A breast cancer survivor, Rosario also was a part of the PokerStars family, helping the company to write their search engine optimization guidelines as the site became the biggest online poker site in the world. Add in the fact she was one of the original hosts of Live at the Bike and she’s basically covered every base you can hit in the poker world (3 votes).

So, there you have it, this writer’s selections for the 2018 Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction class – Haley Hintze, Karina Jett, Terry King and Shirley Rosario. While I would like to see all four ladies get in this year, as I stated previously I believe that Soto and Tilly are all but a lock (thus, I am looking forward to the vote again in 2020, when Betty Carey finally gets a nod!). But we will see who the 2018 inductees will be when the voting closes on April 15 and the official inductees are announced.

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