Five Recent Happenings in the World of Poker

June 27, 2014

The WSOP 2014 saw a lot of events taking place so far – past bracelet winners have struck gold this time too and have made poker enthusiasts who predicted their wins proud. Exciting players like Volpe and Anderson won last year and they did not disappoint this year as well. Kabbaj made a stunning victory and Yoon bagged a quick, action-packed victory. Here are 5 recent events of the WSOP you should know about.

I want the gold

Volpe played a game that yielded him a very deep share of the pot. He joined at the final table of the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship and survived the bubble so well as to win all the chips in the play, defeating Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu was on his way to win his 7th bracelet but had to settle with the 2nd spot and $156,674 winnings. Volpe made his 4th largest cash win of his career and his total poker winnings now add up to 2.7 million just from live tournaments. He has won 4.78 million in total, combining his online poker tournament winnings too. This was, however, his first bracelet.

Calvin Anderson too won his first bracelet at the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low game with $190,538 as the cash prize and that was his largest career win so far. That also pushed his poker earnings from live tournaments beyond $1 million. One of the other finalists was Melissa Burr who won $10,000 at the 8th position. Anderson is confident he will win many more bracelets in the coming WSOP but cannot peg a number right now.

Cada snags number two

Poker enthusiasts were not in love with Cada in 2009 when he won the main WSOp event. He was en route to winning $8.5 million and had edged past a poker legend, Phil Ivey. This year however, was also good to Cada. He won his 2nd gold bracelet at the $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold-em Championship and $670,041 in cash. He faced very competitive gamers like Jeremy Ausmus, JC tran and Erick Lindgren. This lad from Michigan was very lucky when he won a coin flip against Ausmus at the heads-up play for 93% of the chips. Ausmus recovered and found a double up but was taken down with pocket jacks against the pocket queens of Cada.

Cada is one of the few consistent cash winners since the 2009 WSOP and has made 4 final table appearances as follows:

1. $10,000 Six Max – finished 1st with $670,041 (year 2014)
2. $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – finished 4th with $161,652 (year 2013)
3. $1,500 Six-Max – finished 4th with $83,558 (year 2013)
4. $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Poker – finished 2nd with $412,424 (year 2012)

The Year of the Previous Bracelet Winner

There are 34 events at the tournament this year. So far, nearly a third of the events have been won by previous bracelet winners. This has been a year where players have captured, 2nd , 3rd , 4th and even 6th gold bracelets of their career. What this proves is that poker really is a game of skills and not much of luck. Previous bracelet winners have mastered the skills by practicing in online tournaments too. A large number of previous bracelet winners have also advanced to the final rounds and table. Deeper pot shares have gone to them. Read more

John Kabbaj Bags his Second Bracelet

June 19, 2014

The recent accomplishment of John Kabbaj is something that poker players dream to equal, if not better. Just a few days back, on July 14th, this determined man overcame his personal issues and won a whopping $267,327. With this winning, Kabbaj has exceeded $2,700,000, accounting for all his live tournament winnings. Those numbers alone are stunning. What makes the win even sweeter for this 40-year-old player is that it comes after a year full of personal issues.

To help other poker players who wish to earn deep at the final tables, Kabbaj says that it is advisable to take some time off and then focus on the game to achieve the best results. Over the past two years, he got divorced, sold his house and had to move to different countries. He describes this period as the worst two years of his life. However, he is now reaping the rewards of his poker skills at an Austrian mountain-top now, in a ski-resort, accompanied by his beloved companion, his dog!

Kabbaj used the World Series of Poker 2014 as a way to divert his attention from the tough times he has been facing over the past year. At a time when he was facing the “low of the low”, he went on to beat many renowned poker players to reach “the high now” to such an extent that even he is finding it a little hard to believe. The game he played was challenging with a lot of twists and turns, making his win all the more sweet.

The final day of the event

At the start of the final of this exciting game, there were 18 players around the table, all pitting their wits and talents against each other to clean the pot. Three and a half years into the play, Tyson Marks was the competitor to walk away from the table at the ninth spot, leaving top eight players at the table.

The table still had plenty of interesting players like Tom Schneider who, in a round of Omaha Hi-Lo, was raised in a middle position and was down to just over one big bet. Erik Seidel then called Schneider in the big blind and the two had to face a flop of Queen of spades, 9 of hearts, 8 of spades. Schneider then got his last share of the pot $22,000 in the middle on the flop and then Seidel called. Seidel then showed his cards – Ace of diamonds, ten of spades, 7 of spades and 5 of clubs. He had a straight and a flush draw and a backdoor low. Schneider then tabled Ace of hearts, 8 of hearts, 4 of hearts and 3 of diamonds. This gave him a better backdoor low. The game changer was the 6 of spades that helped Schneider draw half the pot by making a low. Queen of diamonds was the river due to which Schneider had to leave the game.

Mike Leah was the next to leave the table at the same game and he raised under-the-gun to 50,000. Kabbaj then called him from the big flop and they saw a flop of 5 of hearts, 3 of hearts, 3 of spades. Kabbaj earned 25,000 of Leah when he check-called him and a Queen of diamonds fell on the turn. Leah betted 50,000 after Kabbaj checked. Kabbaj doubled the bets to raise it to 100,000 which Leah topped by raising it to 150,000. Kabbaj then four-bet by which time Leah was in a bad spot, down to his last 15,000 which he committed.

At the end of the battle between Kabbaj and Leah, the latter had to leave the table with #31,115 for run.

The final game-play

The table now had 6 players when Siedel had to call it a day. Limits had not been raised and were still 25,000/50,000 but the game changed to Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo. Siedel and Keller fought it out and at the end, Keller had increased his stack to 600,000. Limits then went up to 30,000/60,000. Joe Tehan was the next to leave at the 5th place.

Terrence Hastoo was kicked out by Kabbaj in Omaha Hi-Lo when the former had just over a big bet after he turned trip fives. He manages a measly small double up through Kabbaj but that was not enough to let him play. When the players took an hour’s break for dinner, Kabbaj and Keller were the leading chip holders. Christopher McHugh was third. These were the final 3 contenders. When play resumed, McHugh started with a losing streak and lost the first 2 pots he had earned and then the chips to Kabbaj. The limits were then raised to 40,000/80,000.

Kabbaj raised 80,000 from a small bind while McHugh defended it. Kabbaj bet at the flop of Queen of spades, 7 of diamonds and 2 of spades. When McHugh called, a 7 of clubs was drawn from the pack after which each Kabbaj bet while McHigh called again. McHugh’s card fared very poorly in front of Kabbaj’s Queen of clubs, 7 of hearts, 5 of hearts and 4 of spades which allowed the latter to get a full house and the pot.

Kabbaj and Keller were the final two competitors. The former had a formidable 2-to-1 chip lead when the limits were raised to 50,000/100,000. The match was at an exciting stage where there were just 35 big bets and any pot had the power of swinging the match in favor of either player. Kabbaj here gained two pots in a heads-up play of Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo that left Keller with just 2 last bets. At this stage, Kabbaj completed to 50,000 in the game and Keller called. Kabbaj had some cards but things changed when he got a 7 of clubs on 6th street while Keller picked a 5 of spades. Kabbaj then rivered a 6 of hearts while Keller got an 8 of clubs which led to the victory of Kabbaj.


This event took place between 27th May and July 14th 2014 in Nevada. For the first time, this game had a guaranteed $10 million first prize. Kabbaj earned his second bracelet and became one of the most successful poker player of all times at this event.

Jonathan Dimmig Wins the Millionaire Maker Bracelet

June 16, 2014

Jonathan Dimmig, 31, from New York, is not new to WSOP, but had so far failed to garner any major successes. In 2011, he achieved his best at a WSOP event earning only a few thousand dollars. But then he played a 12-hour final table and came out as a champion earning enough to be able to move to Las Vegas and pursue the game on a full time basis. Prior to the Millionaire Maker, he had played in 9 WSOP bracelets events.

Even then he came to WSOP 2014 with little ambition. So, it was even more amazing that he became the first player to hit a seven-figure score. When the game began he had one of the shortest stacks but he sauntered on, was all-in at least five times at the final table, and even survived one or two big blind plays. Along with his big payday he also won himself a gold bracelet.

The 2014 Millionaire Maker was the second largest poker tournament of all time. Along with many new players it boasted of some big names too. But it was Dimmig who walked away with $1,319,587.

The heated finals

Given his fantastic win it is quite unbelievable that he stumbled in the early stages of the game. After day two Dimmig made the final table in sixth and was number two in chips. Stephen Garner entered the final table in quite a good shape with 12 million, but he lost much of it during the lengthy session that ensued.

Though he recovered a bit after a few games, raised to 250,000, where Dimmig called in a big blind and Hawkins came over the top with 2.2 million. But Garner played an aggressive game and Hawkins went downhill. But Garner too finally succumbed and lost in sixth.

A few hands later Dimmig made his first move towards a big stack doubling to over six million. Thereafter he dominated the game.

Brad Anderson finished in fifth place in his first ever time at the finals table. Andrew Teng finished fourth and Maurice Hawkins who had begun his play with a short stack came in ninth. Even James Duke, who had been in the lead on Tuesday and came in with almost 4.6 million could not hold it off against Dimmig.

The face-off

Facing off with Jeffrey Coburn, the first hand saw Coburn raise it to 1.5 million and Dimmig calling with a flop of diamonds of 9, 8 and 5. This had Coburn bet 1.65 million and Dimmig raised to 3.9 million. Coburn put Dimmig all in but it didn’t work in his favor. He called with club of 9 and 8 of heart for top two pair and needed a diamond or a king or running pairing cards higher than a nine. However the club of 4 gave a 3-to1 lead to Dimmig.

The sixth hand saw Coburn raise to 1.5 million with a king of diamonds and a queen of hearts. Dimmig countered the blind with hearts of 6 and 2. With a 3 of diamond, 3 of spade, and 2 of club Dimmig open-shoved the flop and Coburn called it off with whatever chips remained with him. He desperately required a king or queen for his survival in the game. But it was not meant to be. The turn T and river 4 gave the win to Dimmig in a nearly 12-hour finals table.
The odds

Dimmig arrived at the finals table with one of the shortest stacks, but this didn’t stop him from playing an aggressive game. At five different times he was all in, faced a few blinds, got involved in big pots, and it appeared though he was just going at it with not much thought. But by the look of his win it appears as if it was part of his strategic plan for the finals.
Aspiring novelist and MBA-degree holder Dimmig comes with 10 years of work experience in the financial industry. He left it all for a career in poker. Though it seems he is still working on his novel.

At this year’s installment of the “Millionaire Maker,” at the WSOP, only nine reached the finals table from more than seven thousand entries and Dimmig clinched the title, money, and the bracelet.

2014 WSOP Kicks-off with Mixed Max and Employees Event

June 5, 2014

The 2014 World Series of Poker which is officially underway kicked off quite ostentatiously. At the approach of the first shuffle-up, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart posed a question to the packed crowd at the Brasila room – “Do you guys like money?” The question was followed by an air-powered cannon blast that spurted off ten thousand dollars in $1 bills on the players present. The first event, $500 Casino Employees Event began around noon, followed by the $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold’em which began later in the afternoon. The first day saw poker dealer Corey Emery emerge as the chip leader with 164,900 for the Employees event, while Vanessa Selbst who started with a starting stack of 75,000 lead the Mixed Max event with 562,800 chips.

$ 25000 No Limit Hold’em

The second event of the 2014 WSOP is the most expensive buy-in of the series after the
$1,000,000 Big One for Drop and $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship. Scheduled for four days; the first three days will play nine-handed, six-handed and four-handed respectively. Day 4 will be a heads-up tournament between the four remainder players. Among the four players, the player with the big stack will face the short stack, while the two middle stacks will square off. The two winners will face each other in the battle for the bracelet.

Day 1 of the Mixed-Max scored a total of 131 entrants, and had some of top pros in the game, with a total prize pool amounting to a hefty $3,111,250. The day’s end saw Vanessa Selbst leading the way bagging 562,800 chips. Others leading the chip count were Brian Rast (557,400), Michael Mizrachi (399,300), Jason Mo (327,600) and Fabrice Touil (87,700).

Defending WSOP Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu, determined to win his seventh WSOP bracelet began his campaign for a seventh WSOP bracelet The habitually late arriving Phill Hellmuth, who arrived a couple of minutes before registration closed, lasted only for half the day although with some eventful moments. Among those who were eliminated also included Phil Galfond, Greg Merson, Marvin Rettenmaier, Mohsin Charania, Chino Rheem, Sorel Mizzi, Joe Cada, and Jean-Robert Bellande.

Connor Drinan took a massive chip-lead against Fabrice Touil, but after a good fight Drinan eventually won and kept his seat. Selbst who initially thought it to be a slow day won a crucial game against Jennifer Tilly and was happy to start off Day1 with the chip-lead. Michael Mizrachi, Brian Rast, Dan Cates, Ivey, Justin Bonomo, JC Tran and John Juanda built healthy stacks. They will return for Day 2 to fight for the lead in a six-handed play.

$ 500 Casino Employees Event

The WSOP held on to the recent tradition of starting with the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em, this year as well. The event, strictly restricted to casino employees only, drew a slightly fewer entrants when compared to last year. A total of 876 entrants registered to vie for the prized gold bracelet when compared to last year’s 898. This year’s entrants drew a total prize pool of $384,200 to be divided among the top 90 and the winner walking away with a cool $82,835. The day’s end saw Corey Emery from California topping the chip leader board bagging 164,900 chips. Others leading the chip count were Jay Graunstadt(125,000), Aaron Henderson (115,700), Peter Alba(105,000) and Daveil Luttbeg (87,700).

Day 1 of the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em saw last year’s champion Chad Holloway fight hard to defend his title before being brought down by Sergio Trevino. Mike Connors was eliminated by his opponent Jay Graunstadt’s who flopped a king-high against the pocket aces. Emery took the lead on one of the last hands of the day. He won a sizable pot off his opponent holding pocket jacks against his own nine-high straight.

Day 1 ends well

Day 1 of the 2014 World Series of Poker saw some new faces join the hunt for the golden bracelet and a host of familiar names like Vanessa Selbst along with the other top pros who began their campaign to defend their title. At the end of the day, Event # 1, $ 500 Casino Employees Event had 90 players with $82,835 while Event#2 saw 60 players remain at the end of the day who will play with six handed tables on Day 2.