Posts Tagged ‘2015 WSOP’

Connor Berkowitz wins First-ever WSOP $777 Lucky Sevens Tournament

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

connor-berkowitz-2015-wsopYet another low buy-in tourney on the 2015 WSOP schedule, the $777 Lucky Sevens tournament attracted 4,422 players. This is the first time in the event’s history that the Lucky Sevens tourney has been held, and it was a huge success after generating a $3,095,400 prize pool.

Despite a large amount of amateurs in this event, poker pro Connor Berkowitz emerged victorious with a $487,784 payout. And what’s really impressive about this is that it was just Berkowitz’s second WSOP event ever.

“This is like a dream for me,” he said of the victory. “I’m speechless. I literally don’t know what to say other than this is a dream come true. It’s every poker player’s dream.”

Just a few years ago, the 25-year-old graduated from the College of New Jersey. And he started working for Chase Bank out of college. However, earlier this year he decided to quit at Chase and try to make a full-time living out of online poker. It certainly seems that the decision paid off when one considers the size of the payout that he’ll be bringing home.

Following the tournament, Berkowitz made sure to thank everyone who supported him throughout Event #66 of the 2015 WSOP. “To all my friends and family who are watching, that was huge to me,” said Berkowitz. “Knowing they were rooting for me really made me want to win even more. Like I said, this is an absolute dream.”

One other interesting final table story from Event #66 was Matt Matros, who became famous after winning a gold bracelet in three consecutive years (2010-12). However, Matros has since gone through a WSOP dry spell, with this being his first final table in three years.

2015 WSOP Event #66 Lucky Sevens Final Table Results
1. Connor Berkowitz – $487,784
2. John Armbrust – $301,6153
3. David Yu – $217,173
4. Jeffrey Dobrin – $160,496
5. Faraz Jaka – $119,606
6. John Gallaher – $89,890
7. John Zimmerman – $68,098
8. Matt Matros – $52,033
9. Massimo Mosele – $40,085

Daniel Idema wins Third Bracelet in 2015 WSOP Event #35 HORSE

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

daniel-idema-2015-wsop-horseWinning three WSOP gold bracelets is certainly no easy feat, so Daniel Idema can certainly be proud that he’s joined the three-bracelet club after taking first in the 2015 WSOP $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. The Vancouver native topped a 376-player field to win Event #35 along with a $261,774 payout.

“I really like this format of mixed limit games,” Idema said of his H.O.R.S.E. prowess. “You don’t see that many players play all the games well, so I think this is suited to someone who has tried to develop in all of them, as I have.”

This isn’t just the 30-year-old being cocky – he’s actually proven his mastery of different poker games by winning bracelets in Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo and, now, H.O.R.S.E.

It certainly helped matters that, along with his versatile poker skills, Idema also ran good during the final table. In fact, it took him just one and a half hours to dispatch his final two opponents, Kevin Iacofano (3rd, $104,280) and Matt Vengrin (2nd, $161,680).

“It was amazing, every time I looked down in the last stages, I had a good hand,” Idema explained. “My rush came at just the right time. I got hit by the deck against a very strong opponent.”

Formerly a professional hockey player in the Netherlands, Idema definitely seems to have settled down in the right profession with his third gold bracelet. Beyond his WSOP victories, the Canadian also has over $2.1 million in live poker winnings, which is quite good for somebody who’s only been playing live tourneys since 2007.

2015 WSOP Event #35 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. Final Table Results
1. Daniel Idema – $261,774
2. Matt Vengrin – $161,680
3. Kevin Iacofano – $104,280
4. John Racener – $75,559
5. Iakov Nepomnyashchiy – $55,553
6. Paul Sexton – $41,438
7. Randy Ohel – $31,358
8. Taylor Paur – $24,070
9. David Oppenheim – $18,743

Phil Galfond wins 2015 WSOP 2-7 Draw Lowball

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

phil-galfond-2015-wsop-draw-lowballIt’s been eight years, but Phil Galfond finally got his second gold bracelet, winning the 2015 WSOP $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship. Galfond beat an extremely talented 77-player field to win the $224,383 top payout.

“It means a lot — especially in a field this tough and at a table this tough,” said Galfond. “I have a ton of respect for all my opponents […] It’s been seven years since I won [a bracelet]. I’m very happy.”

The last time that Galfond won at the WSOP was in 2008, when he got a bracelet in the $5,000 Omaha event, collecting $817,781 in the process. That final table featured greats like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and John Juanda. So it should be no surprise that the final table he faced this time around was equally as tough.

Jorryt van Hoof, Bernard Lee, Eli Elezra, Erik Siedel and Dan Smith all made final table runs. And Galfond’s heads-up opponent was Nick Schulman, who was seeking his third-career win in this very event. However, Schulman came up short in second place, taking $138,665 for the runner-up finish.

“When we were shorthanded, everybody’s so good,” said Galfond, while reflecting on the difficult final table. “Normally in tournaments you tend to sort of shy away from spots because there are going to be better situations to get your money in […] When I was heads up with [Schulman], I’m going to take every spot that presents itself. There’s no huge edge later. Just try to play every hand as best you can.”

With this victory, Phil Galfond now has over $2.3 million in live tournament winnings to go along with the $8 million that he’s won in online poker cash games.

2015 WSOP $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball Final Table Results
1. Phil Galfond – $224,383
2. Nick Schulman – $138,665
3. Dan Smith – $87,898
4. Erik Seidel – $59,532
5. Jon Turner – $42,298
6. Eli Elezra – $31,463
7. Adam Owen – $24,457
8. Bernard Lee – $19,824
9. Jorryt van Hoof – $17,067

“Poker Enthusiast” Sam Greenwood wins 2015 WSOP $1k NL Hold’em

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

sam-greenwood-2015-wsop-nlheAlthough Sam Greenwood has over $1.4 million in live tournament winnings and frequently plays online poker, he doesn’t call himself a pro, but rather a poker enthusiast. And Greenwood will likely be much more enthusiastic about winning the 2015 WSOP Event #2 $1,000 NL Hold’em tournament along with $318,977.

This was no easy task for the Toronto native since he had to battle through a giant 1,915-player field to win this event. And Greenwood definitely felt like it was his night based on the way his hands were going. “Things really worked out for me tonight,” he said. “I won most of my pre-flop all-in raises, my made hands got paid off – that’s what it takes to win one of these.”

For a while, it seemed as if second-place finisher Cole Jackson was the player to beat since he held the final-table chip lead for quite some time. However, he couldn’t hang during heads-up play against Greenwood and eventually settled for second and a $197,254 payout.

As for Greenwood, he discussed his view on poker following the win. “I really wouldn’t call myself a poker pro,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m not really sure what I am or what I want to do. I just hope poker gives me enough of a steady income to do something later on.”

Many poker pros, or rather enthusiasts, have used the game as a springboard for other professions later in life. And given that Greenwood just netted another $319k, he should have no trouble transitioning to a new pursuit later on in life.

2015 WSOP $1,000 NLHE Final Table
1. Sam Greenwood – $318,977
2. Cole Jackson – $197,254
3. Ken Weinstein – $136,380
4. James Dorrance – $98,360
5. John Myung – $71,904
6. Sean Rice – $53,256
7. Aaron Belardo – $39,967
8. Robert Hsu – $30,385
9. Jay Dragland – $23,387

John Gale wins First 2015 WSOP Bracelet for Brits

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

john-gale-wsopIt’s been a sad year for British poker, with the passing of Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott. However, John Gale has now given Brits something to cheer about with his victory at the 2015 WSOP.

Gale, who’s amassed over $3.6 million in poker winnings, topped a giant field of 1,791 players to win the $1,000 Turbo Hold’em event. He scooped a $298,290 payout along with his second-career gold bracelet. His first bracelet win came in a 2006 WSOP $2,500 PL Hold’em tournament ($374,849). “It is still incredible,” Gale said after the victory. “I cannot believe it, I am over the moon.”

Interestingly enough, Gale has not played much poker at the WSOP over the past few years. In fact, he hadn’t cashed in a WSOP tournament since 2007. But that’s definitely changed for the 61-year-old retiree, who now has two cashes through the first 18 events of the 2015 WSOP.

Now that Gale has won a bracelet for the Brits, it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep adding to this total. Last year saw England win just one bracelet (John Kabbaj, O8/Stud 8 event), which is strange when considering that they’ve won 31 total bracelets in WSOP history.

As for the Turbo Hold’em tournament, this event featured 30-minute blind levels on Day 1 and 40-minute blind levels on Day 2. This made for a quicker structure than live players are used to, but it also created some really quick action as well. This Turbo Hold’em event was preceded by a Hyper Hold’em tourney that had an even faster structure at 20-minute levels.

2015 WSOP $1,000 Turbo NLHE Final Table
1st: John Gale – $298,290
2nd: Gary Luther – $184,481
3rd: Matthew Vessier – $127,549
4th: Andrew “Bruce” Le – $91,991
5th: Stuart Rutter – $67,248
6th: Nitesh Rawtani – $49,807
7th: Mark Darner – $37,379
8th: Sean Rice – $28,417
9th: Tim Finne – $21,873

Real Estate Broker William Kakon wins 2015 WSOP $1.5k Limit Hold’em Championship

Friday, June 5th, 2015

william-kakon-wsop-champWilliam Kakon has been going to Las Vegas for years on vacation to play in the World Series of Poker. And this year, his vacation turned into a victory in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Championship, along with a $196,055 payout.

Kakon, who’s a real estate broker and healthcare professional, topped a 660-player field to win this low buy-in tournament. And it appears that his experience with Limit Hold’em is a big reason why he was able to triumph here.

“I’m very familiar with this game, so I really do feel comfortable playing it,” he said. “It’s harder to find now in casinos, so I try to make an effort to (play them at the WSOP).”

It’s believed that Kakon, a native of Casablanca, Morocco, is the first Moroccan-born player to win a gold bracelet. And this only adds to an already interesting background, that’s seen the married 38-year-old live all over the world.

He moved from Casablanca to Paris at age 18, then New York, Los Angeles, Paris (again), and to his family’s current residence of Miami. Aside from his vagabond lifestyle, Kakon has also been in the top 1% of real estate brokers in the United States for six straight years, and he recently opened a business in the healthcare field.

“I’m a very competitive person,” he explained. “If it’s business or poker, I just play to win all the time.” Well, it’s pretty obvious that Kakon is a very competitive person when you consider that he plays for WSOP gold bracelets – and wins them – on his supposed vacations!

Although overshadowed by Kakon’s James-Bond-like lifestyle, there were some other famous players who made a run at this bracelet, including Shannon Shorr (5th), Brandon Cantu (7th) and Alexander Kostritsyn (9th).

2015 WSOP $1,500 Limit Hold’em Championship Final Table
1. William Kakon – $196,055
2. Daniel Needleman – $121,051
3. Mike Lancaster – $78,693
4. Bryan Pimlott – $57,799
5. Shannon Shorr – $43,053
6. Kevin Song – $32,485
7. Brandon Cantu – $24,796
8. Hector Contreras – $19,138
9. Alexander Kostritsyn – $14,924

Zombies invade WSOP (New Comic Book)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

wsop-zombies-comicIt seems that you can’t watch TV for two hours these days without something zombie-related popping up. Hell, Walking Dead is so big that they even made a show just to talk about a show. So it doesn’t surprise me that the World Series of Poker has caught zombie fever too.

Specifically, PokerNews editor and gold bracelet winner Chad Holloway has created a comic book dubbed World Series of Zombies (WSOZ), where Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Vanessa Selbst and Phil Hellmuth are the stars (we can only hope that Hellmuth is the first one eaten).

“Bringing WSOZ to life has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I can’t wait to debut it at the 2015 WSOP,” Holloway told PokerNews. “I hope both poker players and zombie fans will enjoy what was designed to be a fun and light-hearted take on poker’s premier event.”

As you can see to the right, there were some pretty sweet covers created for WSOZ, with Chicago-based comic book artist Terry Huddleston doing the one on the left (as well as artwork for the entire book), and two-time Survivor contestant and comic book artist Erik Reichenbach drawing the cover on the right. Reichenbach explains his special variant cover by saying:

“When I first started coming up with sketches for the cover, I kept coming back to a horde of zombies behind Negreanu and what I could do to make them distinct. The idea of zombie showgirls made the most sense for a zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas. The juxtaposition of terrifying showgirls coming after the patrons just felt like the right way to put zombies into the world of poker.”

Assuming you’re interested in this comic book, it’ll be available in the Rio this summer. So if you’ll be playing in the 2015 WSOP, be sure to check out WSOZ.

Daniel Negreanu determines who should be banned from WSOP

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

daniel-negreanu-millionaire-matchmakerLike it or not, as long as somebody has the buy-in money, they’re eligible to play in the WSOP. So no matter how douchey, annoying or scammerish they are, anybody can step into the Rio and compete for bracelets.

But is it time for a change in regard to banning certain players? Daniel Negreanu recently pondered this since he’s heard rumors that some villainous and unloved poker figures could be playing in the 2015 WSOP.

Through a CardPlayer post, Negreanu discussed a variety of cheaters, bad businessmen and those whom he’s loathed for years. Interestingly enough, Annie Duke, who’s drawn the ire of KidPoker since they first crossed paths in Vegas, was cleared to play, despite the guaranteed $1 million freeroll fiasco during her reign as Epic Poker League Commissioner.

Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson are also okay to play in Negreanu’s eyes. This is an interesting notion because, unlike Duke, where there’s probably no chance in hell that she’ll play the 2015 WSOP, there are actually rumors that Lederer and Ferguson might show up. And it’s hard to understand Negreanu’s logic on why Ferguson specifically should be allowed in, given that he “completely disappeared” following Black Friday. Like avoiding the mess that you directly helped create, and encouraging players to keep depositing on your corrupt poker site, is somehow less-morally reprehensible than cheating in poker.

This leads me to the next point, in that known cheaters Russ Hamilton and Mansour Matloubi are the only players whom Negreanu thinks should be banned from the 2015 WSOP. They both used God mode poker accounts, giving them the ability to see other players’ hole cards, which is pretty much the lowest of the low in poker. So if you’re going to ban anybody, yes, these two deserve it first.

Also, it is easy to see a distinction between what Hamilton/Matloubi and Ferguson/Lederer did since the latter two are mainly guilty of gross negligence regarding the management of Full Tilt. Furthermore, they also aren’t candidates to cheat in poker, unlike Matloubi and Hamilton (rumored to cheat live too). But on the same token, if you’re going to issue WSOP bans for morally corrupt poker figures, there should be some non-cheater exceptions for guys like Ferguson and Lederer.