Posts Tagged ‘Showdown’

Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

 Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

In one of the longer final tables of the Season XVI schedule, Scott Margereson was able to vanquish Faraz Jaka to win his first major live tournament championship, the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, early on Thursday morning.

Margereson, who was a fixture in the Top Ten since Day 2 of the tournament, started off the day as the third largest stack among the six men at the final table. Brian Hastings had a massive 12.855 million stack, but Joey Couden (8.255 million) and Margereson (8.195 million) were within shouting distance. Looking to come off the short end of the game were Jeff Fielder (4.32 million), Matt Stout (3.19 million) and Jaka (2.45 million).

The sextet would play out the remainder of the level from the night before (40K/80K, 10K ante) and jump to Level 30 (50K/100K, 15K ante) before the action would get warmed up. On Hand 34, Couden took enough chips from Margereson and Fielder to move into the lead over Hastings, but ten hands later the tide would swing in Margereson’s favor. After a raise from Jaka, a call from Margereson and Fielder and a completion from Hastings in the big blind, a 10-10-4 flop greeted the players. Hastings would be the only one who dropped from the action after Jaka popped a 325K bet in the center and the 7♣ put two clubs on the baize. Jaka now checked his option but, after Margereson bet 1.35 million and Fielder called after some thought, Jaka cleared out of the way.

Now down to two players, the 6♣ put the possibility for a flush on the board. Margereson used up a Time Chip to consider his action before he settled on an all-in move. Fielder, thinking he had trapped Margereson, immediately called and spiked his 5♣ 4♣ on the felt for the rivered flush. That wasn’t good enough, however; Margereson turned up two red fours for the flopped boat that had Fielder drawing dead from the start. After the chips were counted, Fielder was determined to be the player at risk for elimination, leaving the tournament in sixth place.

Only three hands later, another player would go down. Stout would open the betting and Jaka would three-bet him until Stout’s remaining stack was in the center. Stout turned up pocket tens for the fight, but Jaka had the goods for battle with pocket Queens. A Queen on the flop left Stout drawing way thin and the case Queen on the turn left him drawing dead, sending the popular philanthropist (Stout is the founder of the Charity Series of Poker)/poker professional to the rail in fifth place.

Now down to four players, Couden (12.14 million) and Margereson (12.005 million) were the massive leaders, but Hastings (9.045 million) and Jaka (6.075 million) looked to make a run at the top. Hastings drew first blood, doubling up through Couden when his pocket Aces defeated Couden’s pocket sevens after both players flopped a set, to take over the lead. Margereson, however, would fight back to take the lead away from Hastings again as Level 32 began.

With the blinds beginning to catch up with the stacks, the swings became more massive. Over the span of 20 hands, every man at the table held the lead. Another 20 hands, however, would lead to another player leaving the tournament.

After a Couden raise under the gun, Jaka woke up in the big blind and three bet the action. Couden would move all in and Jaka snapped off the call, showing pocket Kings that served as a cooler to Couden’s pocket Queens. Once no ladies came to the flop, turn or river, Couden was out of the tournament in fourth place as Jaka took over the lead with more than half of the chips in play.

The trio of pros (while Jaka and Hastings have quite a bit of live success, Margereson’s has come online, where he has earned over $ 4 million in tournament earnings) battled it out over 45 more hands before someone took command. That “someone” was Margereson, who knocked out Hastings after he rivered a flush and headed to heads up action against Jaka with nearly a 3:1 lead.

The twosome would play for 30 hands without a significant move in the chip counts, but on the 200th hand of the final table the drama became more intense. After Jaka limped in and Margereson checked, a K-8-7-9 flop and turn only brought a before from Margereson on the turn and a Jaka call. An Ace on the river brought another bet out of Margereson, this time for three million chips, but Jaka read Margereson for a bluff and called. Jaka was correct as Margereson, holding a 10-5, had air as Jaka tabled his 7-5 for bottom pair, good enough to take the pot and tie up the event as each player held 19.6 million chips.

With the match even, any hand held the potential for a player to be eliminated. That outcome arrived on Hand 232 after Margereson moved all in and Jaka made the call. Jaka’s A-8 held the advantage pre-flop against Margereson’s Q-J, but the poker fates put a Q-J-9 flop that switched the advantage to Margereson. The turn seven teased Jaka with the inside straight possibility, but the Ace on the river slammed the door and knocked Jaka out in second.

1. Scott Margereson, $ 696,740
2. Faraz Jaka, $ 454,496
3. Brian Hastings, $ 336,466
4. Joey Couden, $ 251,523
5. Matt Stout, $ 189,880
6. Jeff Fielder, $ 144,775

With the completion of the tournament in Florida, the WPT will now head to Las Vegas for a spate of tournaments to complete Season XVI. The WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship will be conducted from May 1-6 and a WPT High Roller event ($ 25,000 buy in) will take place from May 5-6, with the final table of that tournament being played on May 25 at the sparkling eSports Arena Las Vegas. The WPT will give one more shot for players to win on the Season XVI schedule with the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic from May 20-23 before bringing together as many current and former champions as possible for the WPT Tournament of Champions. That tournament will run from May 24-26, with the final table also being held in the eSports Arena Las Vegas.

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

It was a relatively short day at the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida on Tuesday, but that was to be expected, as only eight players needed to be eliminated for the tournament to reach the six-handed final table. After six hours, that final table was determined with Brian Hastings emerging as the chip leader of an extremely tough group of players.

Hastings enters Wednesday’s action with 12.855 million chips, giving him a sizeable edge over his closest competitor, Joey Couden (8.255 million chips with blinds and antes of 40,000/80,000/10,000). The chip leader going into Tuesday, Scott Margereson, is third with 8.195 million. After those three, there is a gap to the next three, but the next trio is a load to handle: Jeff Fielder (4.320 million), Matt Stout (3.190 million), and Faraz Jaka (2.450 million).

Hastings is no stranger to deep trips in major tournaments. He owns three World Series of Poker bracelets: 2012 $ 10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up, 2015 $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud, and 2015 $ 1,500 Ten Game Mix Six-Handed. Overall, he has more than $ 2.6 million in live tournament earnings.

He is still gunning for that first World Poker Tour title, though, which makes him no different than the five other players at the final table. They are all accomplished: Jaka won the Season VIII WPT Player of the Year race, Couden has over a million dollars in tournament winnings, Stout has $ 3.7 million in earnings, multiple WSOP final tables, and a fifth place finish in this event four years ago, and Fielder is trying to become the first player to win a WPT Main Tour title and a WPTDeepStacks title.

As we told you a few days ago, this is the largest WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in history, with 1,309 entries. It is also the fifth-largest World Poker Tour event of all time. Now, that number is slightly misleading, as since it is an unlimited re-entry event, the tournament didn’t actually have 1,309 players, hence the use of the word “entries.” That said, the fact that so many people would be willing to plunk down multiple $ 3,500 buy-ins is impressive.

938 entries were needed to meet the guaranteed prize pool of $ 3 million, so that turned out to be no problem whatsoever. The total prize pool escalated to $ 4,188,800 with the winner taking home nearly $ 700,000.

2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Brian Hastings – 12,855,000
2. Joey Couden – 8,255,000
3. Scott Margereson – 8,195,000
4. Jeff Fielder – 4,320,000
5. Matt Stout – 3,190,000
6. Faraz Jaka – 2,450,000

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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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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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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1A: Massive First Day Crowd Promises for Huge Field

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Day 1A: Massive First Day Crowd Promises for Huge Field

On Friday in the cavernous tournament arena at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, Day 1A of the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown took place. The massive outpouring of players for the first day of action promises that there will be a huge field for the tournament and that the guaranteed prize pool of $ 3 million will be shattered.

With the $ 3 million guaranteed prize pool, that meant that the $ 3500 buy in tournament had to rack up roughly 895 players (taking out the juice) for the Seminole Indians not to be on the hook for the difference. To help reach that mark, there were two Day Ones scheduled and players could re-enter the tournament as many times as they liked up until the start of Level 9. From the start, however, it seemed the players were amped for the event, regardless of what the guarantee was.

When the players came together for the “shuffle up and deal” call on Friday morning, nearly 200 players were already in their seats. The tables in the new Seminole Hard Rock tournament arena rapidly filled from that point, reaching 387 entries by the start of Level 3 and passing the 500 mark (504) to start Level 5. By the time the end of late registration for Day 1A reached a close, 646 entries were in the books, essentially guaranteeing that the Seminoles wouldn’t be reaching in their pockets for any overlay for the tournament by Saturday night.  

With such a large field on Day 1A, you might have thought that it was a softer field. Nothing was further from the truth as, from the start of the day, such notable names as former WPT champions Joe Ebanks, Darren Elias and Jonathan Little were on the felt, joined by Cliff Josephy, Blake Bohn, Neil Blumenfield and the defending champion of this tournament, Tony Sinishtaj. As the day wore on, they were joined by such figures as former World Champion Joseph McKeehen, WPT champions Tony Dunst and Olivier Busquet, Joseph Cheong and Shankar Pillai.

With the players from Day 1A knowing they still had a chance to come back on Day 1B to try to build a stack, play was rather active. Halfway through the day, six players had amassed stacks of more than 100K chips (after starting with 30K) and that number only went up as the evening hours began. By the dinner break, eight members of the field were counted over the magical 100K mark, with Robert Transue over 200K (204,300). By the end of the night, however, there was a new “sheriff” in town, Uri Kadosh, who had assumed the lead.

1. Uri Kadosh, 245,500
2. Robert Transue, 239,500
3. Nguyet Dao, 237,300
4. Paul Snead, 220,000
5. Matt Glantz, 191,500
6. Joseph McKeehen, 187,700
7. John Gordon, 187,500
8. Zachary Smiley, 170,400
9. Brian Hastings, 166,400
10. Joseph Gotlieb, 164,900

Lurking under the Top Ten are such notable names as Scott Clements (158,300 chips), Art Papazyan (156,200), Curt Kohlberg (142,600) and Jeff Gross (142,500). Of the 646 entries received on Day 1A, 227 players will come back for action on Sunday.

When Day 1B begins bright and early at 11AM on Saturday morning, expect a stampede of players to come to the tournament arena. It is likely that the opening bell for Day 1B will have enough players to crack the guarantee and the numbers should soar past 1000 players by the time registration closes. It isn’t out of question to believe that the final numbers will be bigger than last year’s field, which received 1207 entries by the time registration was closed. If it were to do this, the prize pool would easily be over $ 3.25 million and make for another successful stop for the WPT and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

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