Joe Serock Finds Out He Is the WPT Player of the Year
Level 25: 30,000-60,000, 5,000 ante
Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
02:40 PM, 05/24/12
WPT Player of the Year: Moon Kim vs. Joe Serock
Level 24: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
Featured Blog, Moon Kim, Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
The WPT Player of the Year race is almost over, but everything is in the hands of Moon Kim (pictured above).
Joe Serock is the current POY points leader with 2,200 points -- he entered this event with 1,800 points, and earned another 400 for his 10th-place finish yesterday.
Moon Kim entered this event with 1,200 points, and he'll need to finish fourth to earn 1,000 points to tie Serock. With a third-or-higher finish, Kim will win the WPT Player of the Year title outright.
Bottom Line: If Moon Kim is eliminated today, Joe Serock will be the Season X WPT Player of the Year. But if Kim survives to the televised final table, the POY title won't be decided until the final day of the season.
12:42 PM, 05/24/12
WPT World Championship, Day 5 Recap
Level 24: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Josh Arieh, Marvin Rettenmaier, Guillaume Darcourt, Wil Wilkinson, Joe Serock, Trevor Pope, Rinat Bogdanov, Barry Shulman, Ron Coury, Hafiz Khan, Steve ODwyer, Michael Mizrachi, Nick Schulman, Moon Kim, Philippe Ktorza, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Day 5 began with 19 players, but only 18 would finish in the money. It took about 20 minutes for the bubble to burst, and the unfortunate player was Josh Arieh (standing, center), who got it all in preflop with AJ against the KK of Marvin Rettenmaier (left).
The final 18 players redrew for seats at the final two tables. The chipleader at this point was Hafiz Khan with 2.1 million, while POY contender Joe Serock was one of the short stacks with only 12 big blinds. Serock would need to outlast three more players to catch Will Failla in the WPT Player of the Year race.
Guillaume Darcourt (standing, right) smiles even as he is eliminated in 18th place by Wil Wilkinson (standing, left). With the board showing A1078 on the turn, Darcourt raised all in with 97 (pair and a straight draw) against Wilkinson's 88 (set of eights). Darcourt missed his straight draw and was out of the tournament.
With 17 players remaining, Joe Serock needed to outlast two more to pass Will Failla in the WPT Player of the Year race. But with only 15 big blinds in his chip stack, he couldn't afford to wait, and he moved all in preflop with A10. Trevor Pope (foreground, right) called from the button with 99.
The board came A534K, and Serock (standing, background center) pumped his fist as he won the hand to double up in chips. Serock was still in the hunt for the WPT Player of the Year title.
WPT Venice Grand Prix champion Rinat Bogdanov (center right) threw up his hands as he was eliminated in 16th place in a three-way all-in situation against Matt Juttelstad and Ron Coury.
Coury was the short stack with 66, Juttelstad was the big stack with AA, and Bogdanov was stuck in the middle with 1010. There was a 6 on the turn to give Coury the triple up, while Juttelstad won the side pot to eliminate Bogdanov.
With Rinat Bogdanov's elimination in 16th place, Joe Serock was guaranteed 15th or higher place, and passed Will Failla for the points lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. But it wasn't over yet, because both Moon Kim and Matt Juttelstad could catch Serock if they went deep enough.
Barry Shulman (pictured) was eliminated in 15th place when he moved all in with 99 and ran into Trevor Pope's 1010.
Short stack Ron Coury (left) moves all in after a flop against big stack Trevor Pope (right). Pope would fold, giving Coury another small pot to stay alive.
After eliminating John Esposito in 12th place, Hafiz Khan (pictured) was the massive chipleader with more than 4 million.
Trevor Pope didn't have as many chips as Hafiz Khan, but he was still among the big stacks with more than 2 million.
Ron Coury (standing, center) was eliminated in 11th place when he got it all in with Q8 against the 1010 of Moon Kim (right) and never improved.
With Ron Coury's elimination in 11th place, the final 10 players combined to a single table. In seat order: (1) Wil Wilkinson, (2) Michael Mizrachi, (3) Hafiz Khan, (4) Marvin Rettenmaier, (5) Steve O'Dwyer, (6) Nick Schulman, (7) Moon Kim, (8) Trevor Pope, (9) Joe Serock, and (10) Philippe Ktorza.
In the first hand at the 10-handed table, Nick Schulman (left) check-raised all in on the turn with the board showing A978. Trevor Pope (right) tanked for more than a minute before he folded.
Hand #11: After a flop of Q64, Michael Mizrachi (center) check-raised all in with AQ (pair of queens), and Hafiz Khan (standing, right) called with JJ. It was a battle of big stacks, and whoever won this pot would be the chipleader.
Mizrachi turned another queen to win the pot with trip queens, taking the chip lead from Hafiz Khan.
In Hand #23, Nick Schulman (center) and Moon Kim (right) were in a battle of the blinds and saw a flop of A104. Schulman checked, Kim bet 120,000, Schulman check-raised to 260,000, and Kim moved all in. Schulman folded, and Kim showed one card -- the A (top pair) -- as he collected the pot.
In Hand #44, Michael Mizrachi (foreground, right) moved all in after a flop of J33, and Nick Schulman (center) quickly called with KK. Mizrachi was caught bluffing with AQ, and didn't improve. Schulman doubled up, and stacked his chips while Mizrachi discussed the hand with Hafiz Khan (left).
In Hand #47, Joe Serock (standing, background center) could only scratch his head after being eliminated in 10th place by chipleader Marvin Rettenmaier (right). Serock moved all in for 18 big blinds with 99, and Rettenmaier called with AK. Serock put on his backpack and began to walk away, fully expecting to lose the race.
The flop came Q77, and Serock slowed, perhaps showing some optimism. But the turn card was the K, putting Rettenmaier way out in front, and the Q on the river was enough to eliminate Serock.
Serock leads the WPT Player of the Year race, but it isn' t locked up yet. Moon Kim can tie Serock with a fourth-place finish, and clinch the POY title with a third-or-higher finish.
In the last hand of the night (Hand #52), Nick Schulman (standing, left) and Hafiz Khan (foreground, right) battled over a board of J8574. Schulman check-called the flop, bet the turn, and then checked the river. Khan moved all in at that point, and Schulman tanked for a few minutes before he folded.
Khan showed Q9 for queen high (a missed double-gutshot straight draw) as he collected the pot, getting away with a big bluff in the last hand of the day.
There are nine players remaining, but only the top 18 will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Here are the official seating and chip counts for Day 6:
Seat 1. Wil Wilkinson - 705,000 (14 BBs)
Seat 2. Michael Mizrachi - 3,124,000 (62 BBs)
Seat 3. Hafiz Khan - 1,641,000 (32 BBs)
Seat 4. Marvin Rettenmaier - 3,757,000 (75 BBs)
Seat 5. Steve O'Dwyer - 1,643,000 (32 BBs)
Seat 6. Nick Schulman - 1,350,000 (27 BBs)
Seat 7. Moon Kim - 1,139,000 (22 BBs)
Seat 8. Trevor Pope - 800,000 (16 BBs)
Seat 9. Philippe Ktorza - 977,000 (19 BBs)
Day 6 begins Thursday at 12:00 noon PT, when these players will battle for the six seats at Saturday's televised WPT Final Table. Return to WPT.com for complete hand-for-hand coverage the entire way.
04:21 AM, 05/24/12
Hand #47: Joe Serock Eliminated in 10th Place ($47,587)
Level 23: 20,000-40,000, 4,000 ante
Marvin Rettenmaier, Joe Serock, Featured Blog, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Photo: Joe Serock (standing, background center) can only scratch his head after being eliminated by chipleader Marvin Rettenmaier (right).
Hand #47 - Michael Mizrachi raises to 88,000 from under the gun, Marvin Rettenmaier calls in middle position, and Moon Kim calls from the hijack.
Joe Serock is on the button and moves all-in for around 720,000 total. Mizrachi folds, then Rettenmaier reraises all-in, having both Serock and Kim covered. Kim folds.
Rettenmaier turns over AK and Serock is racing, as he holds 99.
Serock puts his backpack on and starts to slowly saunter from the table as the dealer puts out the Q77 flop. Seeing he is still ahead, Serock slows his gait. The K on the turn puts Rettenmaier out front though, and Serock is a good ten feet from the table by the time the Q comes on the river.
Serock is eliminated on the hand, but there is still a chance for him to win something. He is the current leader in the WPT Player of the Year race with 2,200 points. The race isn't over just yet though. Season X Bay 101 Shooting Star Champ Moon Kim can tie Serock with a fourth place finish and can take the POY title outright with a third place showing or better.
Marvin Rettenmaier - 3,150,000 (79 BBs)
Joe Serock - eliminated in 10th place ($47,587)
08:58 PM, 05/23/12
Ron Coury Doubles Thru Joe Serock
Level 22: 15,000-30,000, 4,000 ante
Ron Coury moves all-in from under the gun for his last 217,000. Action folds to Joe Serock in the small blind and calls.
Ron Coury, Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Serock turns over A7 and Coury trails with A3. The flop is a good one for Coury though as it comes J43, pairing Coury's trey. The 2 on the turn puts a possible chop on the board, but the K on the river ensures the pot belongs to Coury.
Ron Coury - 460,000 (15 BBs)
Joe Serock - 845,000 (28 BBs)
05:38 PM, 05/23/12
John Esposito Shoves
Level 20: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
John Esposito raises to 45,000 on the button and Joe Serock calls from the big blind. The flop comes 642 and Serock checks. Esposito bets 55,000 and Serock calls.
John Esposito Jr, Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
The turn in the Q and Serock checks a second time. Esposito wastes little time moving all-in for around 400,000, Serock folds, and Esposito takes the pot.
John Esposito - 620,000 (31 BBs)
Joe Serock - 830,000 (42 BBs)
03:26 PM, 05/23/12
Joe Serock Leads Player of the Year, But Not Locked Up Yet
Level 20: 10,000-20,000, 3,000 ante
Featured Blog, Joe Serock, Moon Kim, Matt Juttelstad, Will Failla, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
With a guaranteed 15th-place finish, Joe Serock (pictured) has passed Will Failla, and leads the WPT Player of the Year race. But it's not locked up yet.
WPT Bay 101 champion Moon Kim and WPT Seminole Lucky Hearts Open champion Matt Juttelstad are both still in the running, and Serock needs a sixth-place finish to guarantee a tie, and a fifth-place finish to clinch the POY title.
Juttelstad needs to not only win this tournament, but he needs Serock to bust 13th or 14th, and Kim to finish no higher than fifth. So it's a longshot.
We'll continue to monitor the POY race with updates as the players go deeper.
03:00 PM, 05/23/12
Joe Serock Doubles Thru Trevor Pope
Level 19: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
Joe Serock, Trevor Pope, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Photo: Joe Serock (standing, background center) pumps his fist as he wins the hand to double up thru Trevor Pope (foreground, right).
Joe Serock moves all-in from middle position for his last 242,000. Trevor Pope is on the button and thinks a minute before calling. Rinat Bogdanov is in the small blind and takes his time before folding. John Esposito is in the big blind and folds as well.
Pope turns over 99 and he is racing with Serock's A10.
"Classic," Pope says. He then asks Serock, "You good at these?"
"Yep," Serock replies matter of factly.
The flop comes A53 and Serock gives a small fist pump at having outflopped his opponent. The 4 on the turn makes a chop possible, so Pope calls for a deuce on the river.
The river instead comes K and Serock takes the pot to double up. He is now in much better shape in terms of the WPT Player of the Year race too, as he has over 500,000 chips and needs just two more players to bust before he takes the lead from Will Failla.
Joe Serock - 510,000 (32 BBs)
Trevor Pope - 1,475,000 (92 BBs)
01:13 PM, 05/23/12
WPT World Championship, Day 4 Recap
Level 19: 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante
By BJ Nemeth
Featured Blog, Royal Flush Girls, Tugba Ercan, Jeannie Duffy, Brittany Bell, Ivy Teves, Barry Shulman, Joe Serock, Guillaume Darcourt, Curt Kohlberg, Antonio Esfandiari, David Sands, Michael Mizrachi, Matthew Waxman, Moon Kim, John Esposito Jr, Wil Wilkinson, Hoyt Corkins, Josh Arieh, Nicolas Fraioli, Noah Schwartz, Marvin Rettenmaier, Jonathan Little, Hafiz Khan, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Barry Shulman started Day 4 with a roughly average chip stack, and actually lost chips to end Day 5 with 353,000 -- about half the average stack. But still alive in the tournament, Shulman has plenty of reasons to smile -- including a photo with the Royal Flush Girls (left to right) Tugba Ercan, Jeannie Duffy, Brittany Bell, and Ivy Teves.
The WPT Player of the Year race is really heating up. There were 12 contenders still in the field on Day 4, trying to catch POY points leader Will Failla. Four contenders survived to Day 5, though two of them need a victory here, and one needs at least fifth place.
The biggest thread to Failla's hold on Player of the Year is Joe Serock (pictured), who had the chip lead for a little while in the middle of the day. With 19 players remaining, Serock only needs to reach 15th place to pass Failla for POY. It's going to be a tense day for Failla, who can only wait for others to determine his fate.
Here are the four contenders for WPT Player of the Year, and how high they need to finish to catch Will Failla:
15th Place or better: Joe Serock
5th Place or better: Moon Kim
1st Place: Matt Juttelstad, Rinat Bogdanov
Curt Kohlberg (right) entered the day as chipleader, but lost some pots early to fall back into the pack. Kohlberg was eliminated late in the day in 24th place. Guillaume Darcourt (left) has been among the chipleaders for a couple of days, but had a rougher time on Day 4, finishing below average in chips but still alive as he seeks his second WPT title.
Antonio Esfandiari chats with Royal Flush Girl Jeannie Duffy between hands on Day 4. Esfandiari was one of the last players to register, but turned his late start around to start the day fourth in chips.
David Sands (right) was one of the contenders for WPT Player of the Year who was eliminated on Day 4. Sands was on a short stack when he moved all in with A6 -- and ran into the KK of two-time WPT winner Michael Mizrachi (left).
Matthew Waxman (left) was another contender for WPT Player of the Year, having won the WPT Grand Prix de Paris last September. But Waxman's day ended when he got it all in with AK against the QQ of Michael Mizrachi (right). Waxman lost the race, and Mizrachi cleared another POY contender from the field.
At this rate, Failla might have to award Mizrachi an assist if he holds on to win WPT Player of the Year.
WPT Bay 101 champion and POY contender Moon Kim (left) battles over a preflop pot against John Esposito (right). Esposito would win this reraising war to take the pot.
POY contender Joe Serock (right) was put to the test by Wil Wilkinson (left) after a flop of 982. Wilkinson check-raised all in with a larger stack, and Serock tanked for a while before folding.
There was a battle of the short stacks as Hoyt Corkins (standing, left) moved all in, and Josh Arieh (right) moved all in over the top with a slightly larger stack. Nicolas Fraioli (not pictured) folded J6 face up in the big blind to let the short stacks battle.
Corkins turned over 75, and he'd need to improve to survive against Arieh's KQ. If they hadn't been all in before the flop, there would have been fireworks after the flop of A98 -- both players flopped flushes., though Arieh's was higher.
Someone pointed out that Corkins still had one out to a gutshot straight-flush, but Arieh reminded him that Fraioli already folded the 6. Even if Corkins caught a runner-runner straight-flush with J10, Arieh would have a Royal Flush.
Corkins was eliminated as Josh Arieh built himself a small cushion with about 24 big blinds in his stack.
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi already has two WPT titles under his belt, but is looking to become only the second player in history to win three WPT titles. (Gus Hansen is the only player with three titles.)
Nicolas Fraioli gives an interview to the WPT cameras after his elimination in 23rd place. Fraioli was eliminated by Hafiz Khan, who had recently taken the chip lead.
Noah Schwartz (left) has had some deep runs on the World Poker Tour lately, but is still searching for his first WPT title. With 22 players left, Schwartz moved his short stack all in with K9, but ran into the AA of WPT Bay 101 champion Moon Kim (foreground, right).
Schwartz was eliminated a few spots out of the money, while Kim was up among the chipleaders with more than 1.1 million in chips.
Marvin Rettenmaier (known as "Mad Marvin") signed a big endorsement deal shortly before the WPT World Championship, and it's working for him so far, as he finished the day second in chips with more than 1.8 million.
With 21 players remaining, there was a three-way all in between players who had all won multiple WPT titles -- Antonio Esfandiari, Jonathan Little, and Michael Mizrachi (seated, center).
Esfandiari was the short stack with about 170,000, Little had about 400,000, and Mizrachi had about 600,000. Here were their cards:
Michael Mizrachi: Q-J
Jonathan Little: A-K
Antonio Esfandiari: K-J
Little was the favorite to win a big pot, but a queen on the turn changed everything as the worst hand won for Mizrachi, eliminating Esfandiari in 21st place and Little in 20th place. With 19 players remaining, the field began hand-for-hand play on the money bubble.
Hafiz Khan finished Day 4 with a chipleading stack of 1,966,000. Khan is a regular on the poker circuit, with more than $2.3 million in earnings. He's still looking for his first WPT Final Table, but that may change here.
There are 19 players remaining, but only the top 18 will finish in the money, guaranteed at least $40,266. First prize is worth $1,196,858.
Here are the official seating and chip counts for Day 5:
2. Ron Coury - 135,000 (8 BBs)
4. Tom McCormick - 186,000 (11 BBs)
5. Barry Shulman - 353,000 (22 BBs)
6. Nick Schulman - 1,315,000 (82 BBs)
7. Rinat Bogdanov - 278,000 (17 BBs)
8. Guillaume Darcourt - 571,000 (35 BBs)
9. Hafiz Khan - 1,966,000 (122 BBs)
1. Farzad Bonyadi - 182,000 (11 BBs)
2. Moon Kim - 1,194,000 (74 BBs)
4. Marvin Rettenmaier - 1,870,000 (116 BBs)
5. Josh Arieh - 127,000 (7 BBs)
6. Philippe Ktorza - 86,000 (5 BBs)
7. Joe Serock - 244,000 (15 BBs)
2. John Esposito - 1,080,000 (67 BBs)
3. Matt Juttelstad - 935,000 (58 BBs)
4. Wil Wilkinson - 1,197,000 (74 BBs)
5. Michael Mizrachi - 1,168,000 (73 BBs)
7. Steve O'Dwyer - 1,079,000 (67 BBs)
8. Trevor Pope - 1,300,000 (81 BBs)
Day 5 begins Wednesday at 12:00 noon PT, and action will continue for another five 90-minute levels, or until the field is down to six players, whichever comes first. Stay tuned to WPT.com for continuing live coverage.
10:57 AM, 05/23/12
Joe Serock Will Pick His Spot Tomorrow
Level 18: 6,000-12,000, 2,000 ante
On the final hand of the night, Joe Serock raises to 25,000 and action folds to Marvin Rettenmaier in the small blind. Rettenmaier announces he is all-in having both Serock and the big blind, Josh Arieh, easily covered.
Marvin Rettenmaier, Joe Serock, Bellagio, WPT World Championship, Season X
Arieh folds right away. Serock takes a good minute before deciding to do the same and play wraps up for the night.
Marvin Rettenmaier - 1,870,000 (156 BBs)
Joe Serock - 244,000 (20 BBs)
08:50 PM, 05/22/12