Posts Tagged ‘Steve’

World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

 World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

Continuing the legacy of honoring those who were instrumental in their contributions to the World Poker Tour and the poker community also, the WPT will give their WPT Honors Award to two men who will join a legendary cast in May.

On May 22, the WPT will look back into their past and honor Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman, two men whose vision created the WPT and cemented its place in poker history. “The WPT is deeply proud to present two extraordinary icons of our industry with the WPT Honors Award,” Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, said during the announcement of the awards. “These Honorees represent the pioneering ingenuity and passionate leadership that has abundantly influenced poker. Mr. Steve Lipscomb and Mr. Lyle Berman brought poker to new heights with the creation of the World Poker Tour, and their passion and dedication have allowed the WPT to become what it is today.”

It goes without saying that, without these two men, there wouldn’t be a World Poker Tour in existence today. Lipscomb was the man who came up with the concept of a tournament poker series that traveled to different casinos. He also knew how he wanted to present these tournaments. Rather than the staid productions that had come previously where the viewers weren’t shown the hole cards, Lipscomb knew that showing these cards would be critical to driving the broadcasts of the tournaments. With that in mind, he utilized the development of the “lipstick camera” as a method of providing the viewer with the excitement of the game.

From the time the WPT debuted in 2002, Lipscomb was instrumental in the success of the show. He served as the director and producer for every episode during the first eight years of the program, with the WPT becoming one of the catalysts of the mid-2000s “poker boom” that erupted during those years. For his efforts, Lipscomb has previously been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the inaugural American Poker Awards in 2015.

While Lipscomb was the one who had the idea, it was Berman who was the one who provided the monetization and the background to be able to work in the cutthroat casino industry. As a businessman, Lipscomb was responsible for the growth and expansion of Grand Casinos, Inc., which allowed him to be able to finance the WPT in its infancy. Because of his casino background, he was also a key player in the negotiations with the different casinos across the States of America and the world when it came to creating the schedule of events and to allowing for the taping of the programs.

Berman’s experience in the world of poker is also noted in his other achievements. He is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, earning over $ 2.6 million in his career in tournament poker. He is also a feared cash game player, giving him the gravitas to be elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

The WPT Honors Award is a relatively new accolade in the poker world, but it has a glowing list of honorees. Former WPT announcer, hostess and tournament director Linda Johnson was the first-ever honoree in February 2017. Later that same year in June, former WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and French poker legend Bruno Fitoussi (instrumental in bringing the WPT to the legendary Aviation Club in Paris) were also feted the award.

Ceremonies to honor both Lipscomb and Berman will be held during the play of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in May. That tournament will be held from May 24-26, so it is likely there will be one night chosen to honor both men simultaneously. Congratulations to Lipscomb and Berman for receiving this prestigious award!

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2016 World Series of Poker, Preliminary Events: Colossus II Falls Short of 2015, $10K Stud Led by Steve Weiss

 2016 World Series of Poker, Preliminary Events: Colossus II Falls Short of 2015, $10K Stud Led by Steve Weiss

The first Saturday of the 2016 World Series of Poker saw the tournament arenas around the Rio packed with a plethora of players of all types. For those with a shortened bankroll, the “Colossus II” rumbled on with its final two flights, while those with a bit more change in their pockets chose to take on the challenge of Seven Card Stud to the tune of $ 10,000.

Event #2 – Colossus II $ 565 No Limit Texas Hold’em

After the four previous flights garnered a total of 12,271 entries, it was obvious that WSOP officials were hoping the final two flights for “Colossus II” would be gangbusters. Although the two flights were the largest of the six openers, they failed to draw in enough players to eclipse the numbers from the inaugural tournament. After these totals were tacked to the end of the list on Saturday:

Flight A:  3249 registered players/121 remaining players
Flight B:  2153/69
Flight C:  3770/139
Flight D:  3099/105
Flight E:  4855/219
Flight F:  4487/192

21,613 entries had been received for the tournament and 845 players will come back on Sunday for Day 2 of “Colossus II.”

To compare the 2016 version of the event – which featured six starting flights – to the 2015 version – which featured four starting flights – there is room for concern. The 2015 event was monstrous in drawing out 22,374 entries, by far the largest ever event in WSOP history (estimates are that there were approximately 14,000 singular people in the tournament). The 3% drop in players might not be tremendously significant but, if it starts to stretch out across the other events at the WSOP (next weekend’s Millionaire Maker, for example, with its $ 1500 buy in), it could pose a problem.

With all the flights in the books, here are your Flight Leaders who will be around the top of the leaderboard when action resumes on Sunday at 2PM:

Flight A:  David Polop, 513,000
Flight B:  Jason James, 407,000
Flight C:  Ben Lindemulder, 362,000
Flight D:  Brian Graham, 416,000
Flight E:  Hai Nguyen, 392,000
Flight F:  Norman Michalek, 531,000

Everyone who returns on Sunday is guaranteed a payday that will be a minimum of $ 2155 (the WSOP paid out each Flight’s top 15%, meaning some players were eliminated on Day 1 but still received a payday for their efforts), but that number might be flexible pending final counts from WSOP officials. The big prize that all are looking at is the $ 1 million guaranteed for the first place finisher, which will be awarded on Tuesday along with the WSOP bracelet.

Event #3 – $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship

It is where everyone normally – at least prior to 2000 – got their start playing poker. Seven Card Stud is the game that families most often spread with each other when playing nice home games for M&Ms on the kitchen table. It is, however, one of the more difficult disciplines of poker to master as reflected by the 87 players who came to the felt for the WSOP’s $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship on Saturday afternoon.

There was nary a table that wasn’t replete with top professionals looking to potentially get their first action of the 2016 WSOP and, for some, it worked out better than others. Down to his last chips at one point in the tournament (literally, he had one bet left), Jean-Robert Bellande demonstrated tremendous resiliency in coming back to finish the night’s work with 282,500 in chips. Others such as former WSOP Player of the Years George Danzer (274K) and Jeff Lisandro (141K) were joined by 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (65K) and Brandon Shack-Harris (79K), who had a particularly interesting clash during Saturday’s action.

With his four up cards showing K-8-7-9, Hellmuth went to Seventh Street with Shack-Harris, who showed 10-A-4-J for battle. According to WSOP live coverage reports, Hellmuth commented over to Shack-Harris, “I had kings up (two pair) early,” but he didn’t show his cards. Meanwhile, Shack-Harris showed his down cards – A-10-8 – to show that he held a better two pair. “Are you f****ng kidding me?” Hellmuth fumed as his cards went to the muck. He would continue to berate Shack-Harris for a bit before regaining his composure.

If those thunderbolts weren’t enough, there was also the reemergence of former World Champion Chris Ferguson on the WSOP stage. Not seen at the WSOP since 2010 due to “Black Friday,” Ferguson was one of the last players to register for the event, but the rust was obvious. After only 90 minutes of play, Ferguson was eliminated from the tournament, joining 54 other players who plopped down $ 10,000 for a shot at this title.

Leading the final 33 players will be Steve Weiss, who quietly worked his way through Day 1 to eclipse Bellande for the chip lead:

1. Steve Weiss, 301,500
2. Jean-Robert Bellande, 282,500
3. George Danzer, 274,000
4. Chad J. Brown, 238,000
5. Rod Pardey, 215,000
6. Calvin Anderson, 209,000
7. Frank Kassela, 199,000
8. Matt Grapenthien, 178,500

The top 14 players will earn at least $ 14,500 from the $ 817,800 prize pool, but the champion will earn the lion’s share of $ 242,662 and the WSOP bracelet.


Two more tournaments will get underway on Sunday alongside “Colossus II” and the Stud World Championship. At 11AM today, the $ 1000 “Top Up” Turbo No Limit Hold’em tournament, Event #4 on your schedule, this event allows players to earn an extra 5000 starting chips by playing on or by outright purchasing an additional 5000 starting chips before the event starts. As it is a new event, there are no indicators how well this tournament will be received by the players.

At 3PM, the $ 1500 Six Handed Dealer’s Choice event will begin. This event allows each “dealer” (player) to pick from one of 19 different poker variants and basically “name the game.” The usual suspects are there – Texas and Omaha Hold’em variants and Stud – but such games as Badugi and No Limit Five Card Draw High also are available for the players to pick. Carol Fuchs defeated a 357-player field to capture a $ 127,735 payday and her first WSOP bracelet in the 2015 version of this tournament.

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Ari Engel Holding Off Steve O’Dwyer On CardPlayer POY, No GPI 2016 POY?

 Ari Engel Holding Off Steve O’Dwyer On CardPlayer POY, No GPI 2016 POY?

Almost two months into 2016, the battle is already brewing in the different Player of the Year races that are in the tournament poker world…or at least there is for one of them.

The champion of the Aussie Millions Main Event, Ari Engel, has been able to move to the top of the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race, despite the factor that he has won less money than the man behind him in second, Steve O’Dwyer. Engel, who used the Aussie Millions victory to push his point total to 2614 points only two months into this year, has been able to take down $ 1,148,102 to this point. O’Dwyer, who admitted that last year he was chasing the POY (and came up just short) has gotten off to another great start in 2016, earning two wins in High Roller tournaments to end up with 2178 points. While that isn’t enough to eclipse Engel, O’Dwyer’s bankroll likes the sound of the $ 2,820,030 that he’s added since the start of January.

Two more players from the Aussie Millions Main Event final table are also making their appearance on the CardPlayer POY board. Tony ‘Bond_18’ Dunst used his runner up finish in that tournament to capture the third place ranking on the CardPlayer listing (1900 points), while Samantha Abernathy’s stay at the Aussie Millions not only earned her 1840 points total (the Main Event was one of two final tables she made in Melbourne) but started her year off well with almost $ 500K in winnings. Rounding out the Top Five on the CardPlayer ladder is the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Mike Watson, who received 1824 points for his championship victory.

At this point in the season, the players are very tightly packed together in the standings, making every finish very important in the rankings. Currently in sixth place is Watson’s runner up at the PCA, Anthony Gregg, who earned 1520 points for that runner up finish and another 280 points for a third place finish in an Aria High Roller tournament at the start of February. In seventh place is Chance Kornuth (1750), who is following the Steve O’Dwyer path to success on the POY rankings by racking up points in the High Roller tournaments (his last two finishes are a second place at the €25,000 High Roller at the European Poker Tour stop in Dublin and a win at the $ 25,000 Aussie Millions High Roller). Rounding out the Top Ten are Nick Maimone (1444 points), Christopher Leong (1440) and Connor Drinan (1428) in eighth through tenth places, respectively.

There is one name missing from this list who will probably drop into the middle of the Top Ten when he is inserted this week. After an outstanding run at the EPT Dublin, Poland’s Dzmitry Urbanovich – who led the 2015 POY up until the start of the World Series of Poker that he couldn’t play in because he wasn’t yet 21 – took down the Main Event title. That should score him enough points to put him ahead of Maimone, depending on the CardPlayer calculating criteria for 2016.

At this time, we would normally present the extremely accurate results from the Global Poker Index as another method for looking at the 2016 POY race. The GPI POY, which started in 2013, quickly became a recognized standard for players to judge their success for the tournament poker calendar year because results weren’t overly balanced towards big scores. In 2015 Byron Kaverman was able to call himself the GPI POY and previously Daniel Colman and Ole Schemion claimed the title (in fact, Schemion nearly claimed it two years running, finishing second to Colman in 2014).

In 2016, however, it isn’t known what is going on at the GPI. Normally a Player of the Year ranking would have been generated by this point in the season, but that isn’t the case to this mark so far this year. It might be assumed that the GPI would reflect what is on the CardPlayer rankings but, because of their intricate systems for calculations, there are normally some surprises that appear on the GPI POY that make the poker world take a look at other players who otherwise wouldn’t garner any attention.

The GPI is extremely busy trying to put together the Global Poker League and the upcoming American Poker Awards, so perhaps it has slipped through the cracks at this point. But hopefully a 2016 GPI Player of the Year race is in the works as it helps to have more than one standard in the industry, especially when it has been as well-done as the GPI has with their rankings.

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2016 Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge Day One: Steve O’Dwyer Looks to Take Another Title, Leads Final 26 Players

 2016 Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge Day One: Steve O’Dwyer Looks to Take Another Title, Leads Final 26 Players

While it might not draw as much attention as it has in years past, the Aussie Millions still can draw a crowd to the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. Perhaps because it is summertime “Down Under,” the weather and the heat of the poker tables always seem to bring the international poker community to the shores of Oz for this event, its 19th annual occurrence. Alongside its Main Event, three other tournaments – the $ 100,000 Challenge, its $ 250,000 Challenge and the tournament that started today, the $ 25,000 Challenge – usually feature star studded fields.

The $ 25,000 Challenge is being played before the Main Event starts this year, giving those with some deep pockets a chance to either warm up a bit before the Main starts or put some money in their pockets and show a profit without even entering the Main. The history of the event is an odd one as, back in 2012, only 20 players joined the fray with Dominykas Karmazinas taking down the win. Igor Kurganov was the champion in 2013 over a 30 player field and Max Altergott emerged victorious in 2014 when the field more than doubled to 65. The defending champion of the tournament, Alexander Trevallion, had to battle his way through 104 entries before taking home a $ 645,150 (Australian) payday and he was back in the saddle on Friday to defend his title.

With the numbers climbing each year for the event, Crown officials set aside two days for the tournament and that was a wise move. The final number of entries for the event came to 122 in the single rebuy event, of which several players took advantage. Jason Koon, Fedor Holz, Mustapha Kanit, Erik Seidel, Dan Cates, Andrew Lichtenberger and Brian Rast all would fire more than one bullet at the target, with Rast actually being sold a third from the cage. It wasn’t until he reached the floor to play that third one that he was informed that it was a single rebuy tournament (Rast was stuck on a delayed flight when the tournament started so he was unaware of the structure) and he was refunded that third chance.

Once the rebuy period was done, the players learned what they were playing for. Because of the 122 entries, Crown officials determined that 14 players would take home a payday from the tournament, with the minimum cash being $ 58,560 (all money amounts are in Australian dollars). The final eight players would all earn six figure paydays, with the eventual champion of the $ 25,000 Challenge earning a nice score of $ 790,560 for their efforts over two days.

With this information in their minds, the players actually settled in to eliminating the shorter stacks from the field. In the span of four hours, the field went from 72 players to the final 26 that will return on Saturday to contend for the championship. At the top of the leaderboard will be a familiar name, 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $ 50,000 High Roller Champion Steve O’Dwyer, who bagged up a sizeable lead over Jason Les at the close of business on Friday night:

1. Steve O’Dwyer, 519,000
2. Jason Les, 406,000
3. Eugene Katchalov, 399,000
4. Rainer Kempe, 357,500
5. Alexander Lynskey, 346,000
6. Michael Egan, 326,000
7. Oliver Price, 318,000
8. Igor Kurganov, 314,000
9. Jason Koon, 268,000
10. Ben Tollerene, 263,500

Also in the mix are Dominik Nitsche (258,000), Cates (221,000) and Chance Kornuth (204,000), while Seidel (80,000), Philipp Gruissem (98,000) and Niall Farrell (109,000) have their work cut out for them.

The $ 25,000 Challenge will conclude on Saturday, which will kick off a week of poker in Australia that few other tournament schedules can even begin to match (and they’ve already been at it for about a week). On Sunday, the Aussie Millions Main Event, with its $ 10,000 buy-in, will take to the stage alongside the $ 100,000 Challenge; these two tournaments will run side-by-side through the 30th, with the $ 100,000 Challenge ending on that day and the Main Event on the 31st. The LK Boutique $ 250,000 Challenge will cap off the Aussie Millions beginning on January 31 and ending the next day, where the richest players in the game toss bills around like it’s Monopoly money and at least one person will walk away winning a boatload of cash. It will be the rousing end that we’ve come to expect to the month of January…the Aussie Millions, coming to us from the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

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2015 EPT Barcelona Main Event: John Juanda Defeats Steve Warburton for First Cash in Over a Year

 2015 EPT Barcelona Main Event: John Juanda Defeats Steve Warburton for First Cash in Over a Year

Wrapping up a record breaking two week stay along the coast of the Mediterranean, John Juanda emerged as the champion of the European Poker Tour Main Event in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, picking up his first tournament cash in well over a year.

To start the penultimate day of the EPT Barcelona, the nine men left in the tournament still had to make one more elimination before they would have the official EPT final table. Denys Shafikov was crushing the field with his 17.515 million in chips as Steve Warburton was way behind him in second place with 7.18 million chips. Juanda was poised in the middle of the pack at this time but, with 4.04 million in chips, he didn’t look likely to be the “last man standing” in this tournament.

On the very first hand of the day, the official final table was set. Frederik Jensen opened up the betting and Victor Bogdanov, one of the shorter stacks on the table, decided to push his remaining stack to the center. Jensen made the call and tabled an A-K, vastly ahead of Bogdanov’s A-7, and a King on the flop pushed him further into the lead. Although a potential flush draw would come for Bogdanov on the turn, an Ace on the river instead improved Jensen to Aces up and sent Bogdanov home as the final table “bubble boy.”

It is said often in tournament poker that you have to win some races to make a deep run and that adage was never truer for Juanda than today. On only the fifth hand of action, Juanda pumped the betting to 320K and Andreas Samuelsson, after some contemplation, put out a three bet. Juanda didn’t pause long, making it four bets for 1.48 million and, after Samuelsson moved all in, called the bet instantly.

It was that classic race, Juanda’s Big Slick against Samuelsson’s pocket Queens and the 4-8-4-9 flop and turn didn’t bring any help for Juanda. Down to six outs, Juanda was able to spike one of them when the A surfaced on the river. Instead of heading out of the tournament in eighth place, Juanda rocketed into the second place slot with more than eight million chips as Samuelsson was left with less than a two million chip stack.

Juanda would go on to knock off Amir Touma in seventh place, but he was in a difficult place after Shafikov knocked out Rainer Kempe in fifth place. With only four players remaining, Juanda was on the short stack looking up at Shafikov, Warburton and Jensen as talk began about a deal. Realizing his short stack wasn’t going to earn him a healthy chunk of the remaining prize pool, Juanda chose not to actively pursue the deal and, after it fell through on another front, play resumed.

Over nearly 50 hands, Juanda instead concentrated on rebuilding his stack. By Hand 141, Juanda had pulled into second place and was calling the all-in of Shafikov, his A-6 holding court over Shafikov’s Q-10, to eliminate Shafikov in fourth and push Juanda right behind Warburton for the chip lead.

Deal negotiations once again heated up and this time Juanda was a more active participant. Breaking the remaining prize pool down by ICM, Warburton guaranteed himself €941,613, Juanda €922,593 and Jensen €810,294 for their week of work. They left €100,000 and the first championship of Season 12 on the EPT on the table to play for.

By the time the trio took a dinner break, Juanda had stretched out to almost 28 million chips, more than twice what Warburton held and almost three times the stack of Jensen. On Hand 201, Juanda would eliminate Jensen from the tournament and, sitting with nearly a 4:1 lead over Warburton, it was but a matter of time before Juanda sealed the deal. On the final hand, Juanda upped the betting off the button and Warburton put out a three-bet. When Juanda four-bet his hand, Warburton moved all in and was immediately called. When the hands were up, all Warburton could say was, “Oh, sick!”

Juanda not only hand pocket Queens in his hand, Warburton had picked up a decent hand in his own right with pocket eights. There was still the formality of the board, however, which provided some drama in giving Warburton runner-runner outs with a 10-J-2. A second deuce on the turn eliminated the straight possibilities, but Warburton still had two outs to the eight to keep the tournament going. Instead, the river came with a nine to give a hard earned title to Juanda.

John Juanda, 1,022,593*
Steve Warburton, 941,613*
Frederik Jensen, 810,294*
Denys Shafikov, 405,100
Rainer Kempe, 320,400
Andreas Samuelsson, 253,400
Amir Touma, 194,100
Mario Sanchez, 137,080

* – indicates three-way deal

The victory by Juanda marks his first tournament score in over a year. The last time Juanda earned a tournament cash was in July 2014 at the World Series of Poker Championship Event, where he finished in 293rd place for a $ 33,734 score. The victory also moves Juanda up the ladder in all-time tournament earnings, passing Jonathan Duhamel to take over ninth place on that leaderboard with over $ 17 million in earnings.

With the close of festivities in Barcelona, the EPT will take a bit of a siesta before their next event. The EPT will head back to Malta in October with a slate of events set to begin on October 21. The EPT Main Event will be held from October 25-31 and there will be three different High Roller events also on the slate. While the Malta event has proven to be extremely popular with its inaugural stop, it will be tough to top the record-breaking fortnight that the EPT has spent in Spain.

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