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This Week in Poker -- Poker Tournament News Nov. 1-7

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This Week in Tournament Poker

Card Player Live Coverage EventEPT Hungarian Open

NOTE: This tournament report was provided by Rebecca McAdam.

Today saw the final table of the very first European Poker Tour Hungarian Open play out. Eight players left over from an original field of 532 took to the felt at lunchtime in Budapest and didn’t waste any time getting down to business.

The chip counts at the start of the day were as follows:

Zoltan Toth — 1,059,000
Cyprian Hriska — 1,038,000
Albert Iversen — 1,017,000
William Fry — 572,000
Johnny Lodden — 500,000
Gino Alacqua — 466,000
Marino Serenelli — 357,000
Martin Jacobson — 306,000

Each round was as rapid as the next, and heads up was no exception. Every second word heard was reraise or all in, until one player was left standing.

Here are the final table results:

1st: William Fry — €595,839
2nd: Ciprian Hrisca  — €342,608
3rd: Martin Jacobson — €197,904
4th: Albert Iversen  — €153,216
5th: Marino Serenelli  — €127,680
6th: Gino Alacqua  — €100,016
7th: Zoltan Toth  — €78,736
8th: Johnny Lodden  — €53,200

Here are the highlights from the final table as featured in’s live updates:

Johnny Lodden Eliminated in Eighth Place (€53,200)

Johnny Lodden Unfortunately, the first casualty of the day was online pro Johnny Lodden. Lodden had a make-or-break moment in a pot with Zoltan Toth, William Fry, Albert Iversen, and Martin Jacobson. Lodden raised to 55,000, Toth called, and Fry reraised to 152,000. Jacobson thought about it for a few moments and then called, followed by Iversen and Lodden. The flop fell J 8 2, and Jacobson shoved all in. Lodden did likewise, pushing his entire stack into the middle. Toth also came along for the ride. Lodden unveiled his pocket kings, and Jacobson showed his10 7 for a flush draw. Toth’s A K had Jacobson’s flush draw blown out of the water. It was down to the turn and the river to decide whether Lodden’s kings would hold or not. The turn came the 7, and the river the 9, and unexpectedly, a lucky Jacobson made his straight on the river to take down the pot. Lodden may not have lasted the hour, but he should walk away with his head held high for making his first ever EPT final table. The Norwegian whizz takes home €53,200 for eight place.

Zoltan Toth Eliminated in Seventh Place (€78,736)

Left extremely crippled, Zoltan Toth was the next to go. All in preflop versus Gino Alacqua and Albert Iversen, the flop fell 8 4 3. Alacqua and Iversen checked down the turn and river, which were the Q and 3. Alacqua had A-2 for ace high, Iversen had Q-10 for top pair, and Toth had a meagre 6-2. So, it was goodbye to our final Hungarian friend of the tournament.

Gino Alacqua Eliminated in Sixth Place (€100,016)

Ciprian Hrisca min-raised preflop, Alacqua came over the top all in for 272,000. Iversen called, Marino Serenelli and William Fry folded, and Hrisca went into the tank. He then decided to call, and it was time to see the flop: J 10 8. Hrisca checked, Iversen bet 240,000, and Hrisca made the call. The turn came the J, and it was check-check to the river, which was the 9. Hrisca showed A 10, and Alaqua A Q, and the Italian became the victim of the hot shot Romanian.

Marino Serenelli Eliminated in Fifth place (€127,680)

The next bust occurred during a bit of a crazy pot. Preflop, Marino Serenelli raised to 85,000, and William Fry reraised to 140,000. Serenelli called, and the flop was dealt Q 7 6. Serenelli checked, Fry bet 90,000, and Serenelli called. The turn was the 2, Serenelli checked, and Fry pushed all in. The smartly dressed Italian called all in, and the river came the 7. Serenelli revealed 8 5 for a busted straight draw, and Fry showed J 6 for a simple pair of sixes.

Albert IversenAlbert Iversen Eliminated in Fourth Place (€153,216)

Martin Jacobson was on the big blind for 30,000, and Albert Iversen shoved all in for 317,000. William Fry, who was involved in nearly every hand, decided to call.

The small and big blind folded, and the board was dealt:
K 10 5 7 6

The two revealed their cards:

Fry: 8 8
Iversen: 9 7

And Fry took another to become the chip leader.

Martin Jacobson Eliminated in Third Place (€197,904)

Things looked friendly when Ciprian Hrisca and Martin Jacobson checked down the K 6 3 flop. The turn was the 8, and Hrisca bet 100,000. Jacobson made the call. The river card was the K, and Hrisca moved all in. The young Swede called again. Jacobson's two pair with 10-8 was not good enough, however, and Hrisca took down the pot after making the flush on the turn with 10 2.

And then there were two.

Heads up was fast and furious. All ins back and forth finally pushed Fry into the lead to take the event all the way to home base.

Ciprian Hrisca Eliminated in Second Place (€342,608)

William FryIn the final hand of the event, Ciprian Hrisca bet 150,000 preflop, and William Fry raised it to 650,000 in total. Hrisca shoved all in, and Fry called.

The two showed their hands:

Fry: J-J
Hrisca: A 6

Board: Q 10 6 K Q

Fry's pocket jacks held, and Hrisca became the runner-up.

William Fry is 2008 Hungarian Open Champion (€595,839)

William Fry became the champion of the first-ever EPT Budapest, and as he slowly sipped his glass of red wine following the final table, he appeared to be happily absorbing all of the attention he was getting for this fantastic achievement — he takes down his first EPT, and also the first major poker tournament of his career.

For more detailed updates and interviews check out the live update thread here.

Card Player Live Coverage EventWorld Poker Tour World Poker Finals $10,000 no-limit hold’em championship

NOTE: This tournament report was provided by Julio Rodriguez.

After a sluggish start to the 2008 Foxwoods World Poker Finals, the second starting day came through in a big way to the tune of 250 entrants, making the grand total for the tournament 412 players strong. After registration closed, the payouts were announced as follows:

Entrants: 412
Places paid: 50
Prize pool: $3,996,400

Phil Ivey1. $1,120,310
2. $670,635
3. $337,256
4. $240,343
5. $182,195
6. $124,048
7. $85,283
8. $58,147
9. $44,579
10-12. $36,826
13-15. $32,950
16-18. $29.073
19-21. $27,135
22-24. $25,197
25-27. $23,259
28-50. $21,320

Just 30 minutes into play, high-stakes pro Chau Giang was eliminated when his pocket aces were cracked on the river by pocket tens. He wasn’t the only notable to hit the rail, as David Singer, John Phan, Vanessa Selbst, Carlos Mortensen, John Juanda, Nenad Medic, John Hennigan, Eli Elezra, Andy Bloch, and Howard Lederer were all unable to survive the day.

Some well-known pros were able to flourish with their 30,000 stacks. Phil Ivey, in particular, tortured his tablemates throughout the day and finished with the overall chip lead with 183,675, just 125 less than day 1A chip leader Jason Potter.

Other players to finish the day with more than six-figures in chips included Ryan Young, Gavin Smith, Jason Mercier, and Dan Heimiller.

Both starting days’ survivors will return tomorrow at noon to play five more levels. Join us then as we continue to bring you all the action live from Foxwoods.

Here are the top 10 counts heading into tomorrow.

  1. Jason Potter — 183,825
  2. Phil Ivey — 183,675
  3. Richard E. Dabal — 169,150
  4. Vadim Trincher — 163,600
  5. Steve Gross — 145,025
  6. Jonathan Jaffe — 141,000
  7. Kevin Saul — 135,350
  8. Jonathan Little — 131,400
  9. Will Failla — 124,800
  10. Gavin Smith — 124,325

Day 1A recap

WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond
Steve BllirakisThe World Series of Poker Circuit stop at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino attracted 165 entrants for the $5,000 no-limit hold’em championship that began on Friday, Oct. 31. This created a total prize pool worth $788,250 and a first-place prize worth $208,885. The top 18 players got paid on the play down to the final table of nine, which took place on Sunday, Nov. 2. Here is what the final table looked like when things began:

Seat 1: Thomas Koral — 351,000
Seat 2: George Dietz — 174,000
Seat 3: Gary Leibovitz — 156,000
Seat 4: Steve Billirakis — 754,000
Seat 5: Sameer Al-Dbhany — 253,000
Seat 6: Ravi Raghavan — 213,000
Seat 7: Jason DeWitt — 651,000
Seat 8: Dustin Woolf — 419,000
Seat 9: Kyle Schertz — 325,000

Steve Billirakis took over the tournament during the last pot on day 1, when he called all in holding Q-10 on a 7-3-2-10-6 board to double up to 295,600 and take the chip lead. From that point forward, he never lost the chip lead during the course of the tournament and cruised into the final table holding 754,000.

George Dietz doubled up through Dustin Woolf on the first hand at the final table; and Woolf became the first player to hit the rail in ninth place ($21,677) 20 minutes later. It then took almost two hours for the next player to fall when Jason DeWitt busted in eighth place ($25,618). The next three eliminations fell quickly thereafter, as Ravi Raghavan (seventh, $31,530), Sameer Al-Dbhany (sixth, $39,413), and George Dietz (fifth, $49,266) fell in succession.

Four-handed action represented another lethargic lull at the final table, and it took almost three hours for Kyle Schertz to fall in fourth place ($63,060). It took just five minutes after that for Billirakis to eliminate Gary Leibovitz in third place ($80,796). Billirakis made an ace-high flush to dominate the pocket sixes that Leibovitz had decided to pin his tournament hopes on. This pot took Billirakis past the 2-million mark. Here were the chip counts at the start of heads-up play:

Steve Billirakis: 2,085,000
Thomas Koral: 1,215,000

The heads-up match lasted just under a half hour. Koral struck the first blow, but Billirakis held too strong of a lead for him to overcome. On the final hand, Koral raised to 100,000 preflop from the button, and Billirakis made the all-in call. Their cards:

Billirakis: A 8
Koral: 9 9

Board: J 8 4 Q 9

Koral was eliminated in second place ($126,120,) and Billirakis won $208,885 in prize money for his first-place finish. He also took home a WSOP Circuit championship ring and a seat in the 2009 WSOP main event. Billirakis eliminated three of his opponents at the final table, but much more impressive was the feat he accomplished in retaining the chip lead all the way from the end of day 1 to the final hand of the tournament. Billirakis also set a record, becoming the youngest WSOP Circuit event winner in history.

The next WSOP circuit event will take place at Harvey's Lake Tahoe from Nov. 7-17. The $5,000 no-limit hold'em championship is scheduled for Nov. 14-16.

PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour San Jose, Costa Rica

Humberto BrenesThe first stop on season two of the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour took place from Nov. 3-5 in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Conference Center. The $3,500 no-limit hold’em main event attracted 291 entrants, which created a first-place prize worth $285,773. The top 24 finishers in the event walked away with prize money. Pros in the field included Team PokerStars Pro members Humberto Brenes (who is also a native son of Costa Rica), Victor Ramdin, Andre Akkari, and Alexandre Gomes, as well as David Plastik, Carter Gill, and Liv Boeree. The final table took place on Monday, Nov. 5. Here is what the table looked like when things began:

Seat 1: Jeffrey Petronack — 122,000
Seat 2: Andrew Chen — 313,000
Seat 3: Brent Sheirbon — 186,500
Seat 4: Ryan Fee — 481,000
Seat 5: Claus Rasmussen — 254,000
Seat 6: Maria Stern — 151,000
Seat 7: Jesus Bertoli — 265,000
Seat 8: Joel Micka — 336,500

It took an hour and 45 minutes for the first player to fall, and it was the only woman at the table, Maria Stern, who fell in eighth place ($24,425) to get the action rolling. The rash of eliminations that followed in the next hour and a half included Claus Rasmussen (seventh place, $34,195), Jeff Petronack (sixth place, $43,960), Andrew Chen (fifth place, $61,063), Jesus Bertoli (fourth place, $80,603), and Brent Sheirbon (third place, $109,913). During this time, Ryan Fee knocked out three opponents, and Joel Micka disposed of two. This allowed Fee to build on the chip lead he brought into the final table to hold a two-to-one heads-up advantage over his opponent, who came to the final table in second chip position.

It took more than 20 minutes for a flop to be seen on the table as the two players tested each other with bets and raises preflop to start their match, and Micka was able to inch back up to even with Fee. Eventually, a flop did come down on the table, and Micka left his fate to chance when he called off all of his chips after a series of bets and raises escalated on the final hand. Here were their cards on that hand:

Micka: 4 4
Fee: A 10

Board: K Q 7 8 A

The ace on the river fell as the crowd rushed in to see the possible conclusion of the match, and it didn’t disappoint them. Micka was eliminated in second place, and he took home $148,993 in prize money. Fee was the champion, and he walked away with $285,773 for his first major tournament victory.

The next stop on the LAPT will take place in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, Dec. 5-7. The three-day no-limit hold’em main event will feature a $2,500 buy-in.

Card Player Player of the Year Update

POY Standings:

Men NguyenJohn Phan — 6,704
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier — 5,410
Erik Seidel — 4,754
David Benyamine — 4,376
David “The Dragon” Pham — 4,022
Michael Martin — 3,800
Michael Binger — 3,792
Men Nguyen — 3,662
Sebastian Ruthenberg — 3,648
Matt Brady — 3,640

POY Movement

Men Nguyen won the $5,000 no-limit hold'em preliminary event at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods to pick up $127,765 and 432 points. The win gave Nguyen 3,662 points total and moved him into eighth place on the leader board. Nguyen has also made the most final-table apperances of any top POY contender with 11 in 2008. The $127,765 in prize money also moved him up to $824,467 total for the year. Nguyen is the most dominant player in the history of the POY award. He won the first race in 1997, and he has won three other times (2001, 2003, 2005), more than any other player in history.

Six players picked up more than 1,000 points at the Caesars Palace Classic in Las Vegas and the EPT Hungarian Open in Budapest, Hungary, for finishing in the top three at each event. Those six players included Hevad Khan (first, 1,860), Michael Kamran (second, 1,550), and Gary Friedlander (third, 1,240) at Caesars Palace, and William Fry (first, 1,920), Ciprian Hrisca (second, 1,600), and Martin Jacobsen (third, 1,280) in Budapest. Two additional players, Jonathan Aguiar (1,410 points total) and Adam Junglen (1,100 points total) crossed the 1,000-point threshold for their final-table appearances at the Caesars Palace Classic.

While winning 1,000 points is a nice first step for each of these players, it is most likely too little too late for them to make any chase-attempt at leader John Phan and his 6,704 points. One player who does have a shot from this group is Khan, who brought his point total to 2,616 for the year and currently sits in 43rd place in the rankings after the first major tournament win of his career. Khan has cashed 10 times in 2008, and he has made three final-table appearances. Khan’s first tournament win of the year came when he took down a $2,000 no-limit hold’em preliminary event at the Foxwoods Poker Classic in late March. Khan has now won $1,211,160 playing tournament poker in 2008, and one more major tournament win would put him in the top five down the stretch.

Looking Ahead

Card Player Live Coverage Event World Series of Poker $10,000 no-limit hold'em main event championship final table

Sunday, Nov. 9: Play down from final nine to the final two (Begins at 10 a.m.)
Monday, Nov. 10: Heads-up match for the championship (Begins at 10 p.m.)

Full WSOP final-table preview

Card Player Live Coverage Event
World Poker Tour World Poker Finals $10,000 no-limit hold’em championship

Saturday, Nov. 8: Day 3 (all preliminary days begin at noon)
Sunday, Nov. 9: Day 4
Monday, Nov. 10: Day 5
Tuesday, Nov. 11: Final table (begins at 5 p.m.)

Master Classics of Poker

€6,000 no-limit hold'em championship

Tuesday, Nov. 11: Day 1
Wednesday, Nov. 12: Day 2
Thursday, Nov. 13: Day 3
Friday, Nov. 14: Final table

Preliminary Event Schedule

Pokerstars Asia Pacific Poker Tour Manila

$2,350 no-limit hold'em main event

Thursday, Nov. 13: Day 1A
Friday, Nov. 14: Day 1B
Saturday, Nov. 15: Day 2
Sunday, Nov. 16: Final table

$5,200 no-limit hold'em high rollers event (one-day event)

Saturday, Nov. 15: Day 1

Preliminary Event Schedule

WSOP Circuit Event Harvey’s Lake Tahoe

NOTE: The $5,000 no-limit hold'em main event begins Friday, Nov. 14. and ends Sunday, Nov. 16.

Preliminary Event Schedule

Caesars Palace Mega Stack Series

Event Schedule

Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza IV

Event Schedule