Sizing Up the WPT POY Race
Level 19: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
Joe Serock may have busted this event yesterday, but he still has something to sweat in this tournament, as there are still four players who can take or tie for the lead in this fied (Keep in mind these numbers don't reflect the standings should more than one of these players finish in the top three).
Will Failla, Featured Blog, Daniel Buzgon, Byron Kaverman, Joe Serock, Darren Elias, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
The obvious player to keep an eye on is Will Failla. He spent almost the entire season on top of the ranks, but currently sits in second place with 1,650 points to Serock's 1,800. Failla needs an eighth-place finish or better here in order to retake the lead heading into the WPT World Championship.
Dan Buzgon is sitting on 1,150 POY points after a third place finish at the Borgata Poker Open and a cash at the fall Jacksonville event. If he finishes third or higher, he could be the new player to beat in the race.
Darren Elias is yet another Borgata Poker Open final tablist who can make an impact here. He needs to win in order to pass Serock, but considering he's been first or second in chips at the end of each day so far, that isn't out of the realm of possiblity.
Byron Kaverman can't pass Serock here at Jacksonville, but it is worth noting that he can tie him for a lead if he adds a win here to his third place finish at Grand Prix de Paris.
10:12 PM, 04/30/12
Set Over Set, Buzgon Doubles Thru Giannetti
Level 18: 3,000-6,000, 1,000 ante
Ona flop of K94, Daniel Buzgon gets it all in for 281,000 with KK for top set against Matt Giannetti's bottom set with 44.
Daniel Buzgon, Matt Giannetti, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
The turn and river are the 7 and the 8, and Buzgon doubles up yet again.
Buzgon came back from the dinner break only thirty minutes ago with just over 100,000 and now sits amongst the leaders with 650,000, currently fifth in chips.
Daniel Buzgon - 650,000
Matt Giannetti - 120,000
08:53 PM, 04/30/12
Daniel Buzgon Triples Up
Level 18: 3,000-6,000, 1,000 ante
Daniel Buzgon, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
Fred Goldberg (foreground, left) raises from middle position to 14,000, Matt Giannetti (top left) calls from late position, and Daniel Buzgon (right) moves all in from the button for 99,000. Goldberg thinks for a bit before he calls, and then Giannetti thinks for a bit before he calls as well.
The flop comes 875, and Goldberg bets 100,000 into the dry side pot. Giannetti goes into the tank.
Buzgon seems relaxed, not like he's overly confident of winning, but simply as if he will take whatever comes. A waitress comes by to take orders, and Buzgon says, "Can I have a Bud Light, please?" She asks whether he wants draft or a bottle, and he requests a bottle, shrugs, and says he's going to "live a little." Tony Dunst is amused by this, and gives Buzgon an affirmative fist-bump.
After thinking for a little while, Giannetti says he has a hand, but looks at Goldberg and says, "I know you're not bluffing." Giannetti folds JJ face up.
Goldberg shows AA, and Buzgon turns over 1010. Buzgon needs to improve to stay alive.
The turn card is -- the 10!
Buzgon turns a set of tens to take the lead, and the 5 on the river gives him a full house to win the pot and triple up in chips.
Daniel Buzgon - 314,000 (52 BBs)
Matt Giannetti - 470,000 (78 BBs)
Fred Goldberg - 365,000 (60 BBs)
Photo (below): Daniel Buzgon stacks his chips after the hand.
08:43 PM, 04/30/12
Daniel Buzgon Doubles Thru and Cripples Barry Weidemann
Level 17: 2,500-5,000, 500 ante
Fred Goldberg raises from middle position to 11,000, and Barry Weidemann moves all in from middle position for 90,500. Dan Buzgon thinks for a bit on the button before calling all in for 79,500, and Goldberg folds.
Daniel Buzgon, Barry Weidemann, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
Weidemann looks to his close friend Buzgon and says, "It's gotta be us, huh?"
Weidemann shows AQ, but he's dominated by Buzgon's AK. The board comes 7653K, and Buzgon wins the pot with a pair of kings to double up and cripple Weidemann.
Daniel Buzgon - 171,000 (34 BBs)
Barry Weidemann - 11,000 (2 BBs)
The WPT cameras are on Buzgon as he stacks his chips, and Buzgon says about his friend, "Don't worry, he busted me here last year."
06:40 PM, 04/30/12
WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open, Day 2 Recap
Level 14: 1,200-2,400, 400 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Darren Elias, Matt Brady, Zack Bird, Brandon Barnes, Robert Gorodetsky, Daniel Buzgon, Glenn Fishbein, Tony Dunst, Allen Kessler, Andy Frankenberger, Joe Serock, Will Failla, Brian Hastings, James Dempsey, Alistair Melville, Shawn Cunix, Matt Giannetti, Byron Kaverman, Danny Shiff, Tony Parille, Farid Jattin, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
Darren Elias started Day 2 as the overall chipleader with 213,600. At the end of the day, Elias was still near the top of the leaderboard, second in chips with 636,000.
In one of the craziest situations in World Poker Tour history, Zack Bird (not pictured) moved all in blind from the button -- before the cards were even dealt. Bird was serious, and a floorperson ruled that the action was binding unless someone raised the big blind ahead of him.
Matt Brady (third from left) woke up with QQ and doubled up thru Bird's J10. As the dealer was counting down the chip stacks, Bird got up to leave. The dealer told him he still had some chips left, but Bird said he didn't want them. Bird abandoned his stack (worth five big blinds), and it blinded off without him.
Read the full details of this crazy hand by clicking here.
Day 2 began with five players under the age of 21 still in the running to win the customized surfboard. Barnes started the day as chipleader in that demographic (and fifth overall) with 145,600. Unfortunately, Barnes had a rough Day 2, and was eliminated before the dinner break.
Daniel Buzgon (center) is practically an old man compared to Robert Gorodetsky (left) and Glenn Fishbein (right). Buzgon is 27, while Gorodetsky and Fishbein are two of the remaining 18-20 year olds competing for the customized surfboard.
Allen Kessler (right) looks bored as he waits for the big blind (foreground, left) to call or fold to the all in of Tony Dunst (center). The board showed 873103, and the big blind eventually folded. Dunst showed Q9 -- a queen-high bluff.
Reigning WPT Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger (left, in blue) got to see this year's POY race play out in front of him as he shared a table with Joe Serock (top right, in black) and Will Failla (foreground, right).
Failla has led the POY race for most of the season, but Serock passed him last week with his second straight third-place WPT finish. Serock was eliminated late in the day, but Failla survived to Day 3, and will pick up more POY points if he cashes.
Brian Hastings (left) had flopped a set of kings on a board of AK3, and Richard Grant moved all in dark before the turn card hit. Hastings waited to see the 8 hit the turn before he called, and Grant turned over 33 for a lower set. The set of kings held up for Hastings, and Grant was eliminated.
After the hand, James Dempsey (right) asked Hastings why he waited to see the turn card before calling. "Brian, what turn card do you fold to?" Hastings laughed along with everyone else.
Late in the day, James Dempsey (left) and Shawn Cunix were side-by-side and both near the top of the leaderboard -- Dempsey with 425,000, and Cunix with 377,000. While Dempsey stacked his chips high, Cunix went for shorter stacks spread out over a wide area.
With the board showing K427, Matt Giannetti (left) checked, and Byron Kaverman (right) bet 85,000 into a pot worth about 130,000. Giannetti tanked for five full minutes before he folded, and Kaverman took the pot. This photo may as well be video, because both players sat silent and motionless the entire time.
With 10 minutes left at the end of the day, the tournament clock was stopped and a card was drawn to determine how many more hands would be played. Will Failla organized a small pool where players bet $100 each on the number of hands. The card was the 5, and as you can see by his celebration, that was Failla's number.
In one of the final hands of the night, Danny Shiff was all in preflop with KK against the A4 of Tony Parille. It was a roller-coaster hand, as Parille flopped a flush draw and turned a pair of aces, only to see Shiff saved by a king on the river.
Alistair Melville (left) survived the day with a short stack, and showed a little chip-stack envy as he took a cellphone pic of James Dempsey's tower of chips. (Dempsey finished the day with 404,500.)
Farid Jattin emerged as the chipleader heading into the dinner break with 484,000 -- at a time when only one other player had reached 300,000 (David Tuthill had 310,000). Jattin's momentum continued after dinner, and he finished as chipleader with 718,000.
Day 2 came to an end with about 55 players remaining. Here are the top 10 from the leaderboard:
1. Farid Jattin - 718,000
2. Darren Elias - 636,000
3. Shawn Cunix - 411,000
4. James Dempsey - 404,500
5. David Tuthill - 381,000
6. Peter Campo - 341,500
7. Will Failla - 335,000
8. Byron Kaverman - 292,000
9. Barry Hutter - 275,000
10. Matt Giannetti - 274,500
Day 3 begins tomorrow (Monday) at 2:00 pm ET. Once again, it is NOT a noon start, so players can sleep in a little longer if they'd like. The field will play five 90-minute levels, with a one-hour dinner break after the third level of the day.
Return to WPT.com for live coverage as the field bursts the bubble on Monday as they get closer and closer to Wednesday's televised WPT Final Table.
10:33 AM, 04/30/12
WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open, Day 1A Recap
Level 9: 400-800, 100 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Lisa Hamilton, Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, Royal Flush Girls, Tugba Ercan, Brittany Bell, Jeannie Duffy, Angelique Velez, James Hoeppner, Mark Shoichet, Joe Serock, Will Failla, Jonathan Little, ClubWPT, Greg Lee, Matt Marafioti, Eli Berg, Raj Vohra, Robert Gorodetsky, Daniel Buzgon, Phil Collins, James Dempsey, Jessica Welman, Darryll Fish, Jason Koon, Darren Elias, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
The last time the World Poker Tour had an event in Jacksonville, Florida, Lisa Hamilton final tabled it, finishing third to earn $112,657. The WPT is back in Jacksonville, and Hamilton is back in action trying to improve on that finish by a spot or two.
Mike Sexton welcomes the players to the new bestbet Poker Room in Jacksonville, Florida, joined by Vince Van Patten and Royal Flush Girls Tugba Ercan, Brittany Bell, Jeannie Duffy, and Angelique Velez.
The first elimination came less than 10 minutes into the day, as James Hoeppner got it all in preflop with KK -- only to run into Mark Shoichet's AA. Hoeppner actually flopped a king to take the lead, only to see an ace hit the turn.
Vince Van Patten (pictured) and Mike Sexton have been together in the WPT Commentating Booth since the World Poker Tour began ten years ago, and both players were in action on Day 1A. Not counting the WPT Celebrity Invitational, this is just the second WPT event that Van Patten has played.
Joe Serock (right), who finished third in the last two WPT events on American soil, takes a shot at three final tables in a row here at the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open. Royal Flush Girls Angelique Velez (left) and Brittany Bell check out the action.
Jonathan Little (right) showed up on time, but watched as Will Failla (left) registered in Level 3 and busted two players in his first six hands to catapult into the chip lead.
Greg Lee earned his entry into this event by winning a tournament on ClubWPT.com. In the last WPT event, ClubWPT qualifier Butch Valure finished 20th, earning $25,056.
The most dramatic hand of the day was a four-way preflop all-in situation with pocket aces against kings against queens against -- sevens?
Matt Marafioti (center, seat 2) was the short stack, and the first to move all in with 77. Eli Berg (right, seat 4) moved all in over the top with KK, and David Paredes (not pictured, seat 5) and the player in seat 9 both called. Then Raj Vohra (center, seat 1) reraised to 33,000. Paredes folded, and seat 9 called all in with QQ. Vohra, of course, had AA.
The board came 65272, and Marafioti pumped his fist in the air when he turned a set of sevens to win the main pot and quintuple up. The pocket aces held up for Vohra to win all the side pots, eliminating Eli Berg and the player in seat 9 in the process.
It is a Florida WPT tradition to offer a bonus prize to the under-21 player who goes deepest in the event. (Florida is the only U.S. state on the World Poker Tour that allows 18-20 year olds to enter the tournaments.) The under-21 prize for this event is a customized surfboard, suitable for use as a trophy or as an actual surfboard.
Robert Gorodetsky appeared to be the only 18-20 year old in the field on Day 1A, so he's got a clear shot at the surfboard trophy unless another under-21 year old enters on Day 1B. But Gorodetsky may have his eyes on a larger prize, finishing the day fourth in chips with 139,600.
Several people pointed out that one table seemed to require a shaved head in order to take a seat. From left to right, Daniel Buzon, Phil Collins, and James Dempsey chat with WPT Live Updates Hostess Jessica Welman.
When Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton is involved in a big pot, it shouldn't be a surprise that the WPT cameras do their best to capture the action. Unfortunately, this hand didn't work out too well for Sexton, as he lost a pot worth 53,000 on a failed river bluff with a missed flush draw.
A short while later, Mike Sexton rebuilt his stack when he moved all in preflop with 99, and got called by another player's 88. The best hand held up for Sexton to recover back to nearly a starting stack.
When Jason Koon was crippled down to 2,600 in chips early in the day, he began something of a comeback to build up to about 8,000. His friend Darryll Fish (pictured) made him a bet (with odds) that he couldn't finish the day with 60,000 or more. Koon was actually nearing the 50,000 mark late in the day when Fish took matters into his own hands and won two pots against Koon -- simultaneously eliminating Koon and winning their side bet.
Koon can try again on Day 1B, while Fish finished third in chips with 140,800.
Darren Elias was the clear chipleader at the end of the day, with 213,600 -- the only player to cross the 200,000 mark.
Day 1A began with 125 players, and 65 survived to Day 2. Here's a look at the top 5 chipleaders from Day 1A:
1. Darren Elias - 213,600
2. David Paredes - 170,300
3. Darryll Fish - 140,800
4. Robert Gorodetsky - 139,600
5. Will Failla - 132,600
Day 1B begins at 12:00 noon ET. Players who played on Day 1A have the option of re-entering to try to improve their chip count, and registration remains open until the start of Level 5 (about 4:30 pm ET). Stay tuned to WPT.com for continuing live coverage of all the action.
09:13 AM, 04/28/12
POY Race, Plus "Three (Bald) Men and a Little Lady"
Level 4: 100-200, 25 ante
Featured Blog, Daniel Buzgon, Phil Collins, James Dempsey, Jessica Welman, Will Failla, Jonathan Little, Fred Goldberg, Ted Lawson, Allen Kessler, David Diaz, Michelle Lawson, Season X, bestbet Jacksonville
Several people have pointed out that one table seemed to require a shaved head in order to play there. From left to right, Daniel Buzgon, Phil Collins, and James Dempsey chat with WPT Live Updates Hostess Jessica Welman.
WPT Season VI Player of the Year Jonathan Little (center) is flanked by two players who are near the points lead in this year's POY race.
Will "The Thrill" Failla (left) has been in the lead since WPT Legends of Poker back in August, but lost it last tournament when Joe Serock passed him with his second third-place finish. Failla is second in points, and can retake the lead if he finishes 8th or higher here.
Fred Goldberg (right) is tied for fourth in the POY race, and can catch Serock if he makes the televised WPT Final Table (6th or higher).
Other top-five POY players in the field who can catch Serock include Vitor Coelho (7th or higher) and James Dempsey (6th or higher).
Michelle Lawson (top right) has an excellent vantage point for watching her husband Ted (left) as he plays Day 1A seated alongside Allen Kessler (center) and David Diaz (right).
03:53 PM, 04/27/12