WPN Bumping Up the “The Beast” for the New Year

December 31, 2014

There’s nothing better than the word “free” when it comes to online poker or online gambling in general. Heck, there’s nothing better than the word free when it comes to pretty much anything. Well, that’s the best part of “The Beast” on the Winning Poker Network (WPN), which is the weekly rake race on the site. It’s a pretty generous promotion, in all honesty, and it doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should on a regular basis. Basically, any player who plays in real money cash game poker can have a shot in this promotion, and since it’s a rake race, the players who play the higher stakes are obvious the favorites to take down the big payday, but realistically, anyone could have a shot at hitting the main prize.

Anyways, if you’ve been paying any attention to the Winning Poker Network, which features poker rooms such as America’s Card Room, BetCRIS and True Poker, you’ll find that the Beast has decided to take their game to the next level for the New Year. It’s going to be a great year, and this is something that you should be taking advantage of. The promotion basically takes a portion of all of the rake, and they put it into a progressive jackpot for the Beast promotion. It’s a great way to help out the players and give them some extra incentive with a shot at winning some big money.

For those who are curious, no, you are not charged any additional rake for taking part in this rake race, as this is a piece of the standard rake that the site just puts aside. Basically, for every two players at the table, two cents will be removed from very six cents in total rake that is taken out. The max per hand is four cents, and with three players, the max is eight cents, four players or more players has a max of 24 cents that can be sent into the jackpot. A point will be earned for the table that you’re playing at for every two cents of rake that is put into The Beast. This means that a maximum of 12 points can be awarded during every cash game hands. The points are awarded based on how much money was put into the pot and how much each player contributed to the rake.

This is where things get fun (after you get past the breakdown of how it all works, obviously), and the points are all added up and put into a leaderboard for the week. When each week comes to an end, the to point earners are going to get their share of the jackpot. The first place payday is going to add up to right around 9.75% of the total jackpot, and it is capped at $20,000. The prize pool will be the determinant of how many places get paid out at the end of the day. The example that is given is that if 200 players get paid, then the prize pool will be $50k, and if 360 players get paid the prize pool is $90k. It’s a great promotion, and in all honesty, there’s no reason to not take your shot at picking up as many points as possible and trying to rake in the nice free cash.

To kickoff 2015, the Winning Poker Network has decided to up the stakes a bit and boost The Beast, in a new promotion that they’re calling “The Beast Roars.” In this promotion, it’s the exact same breakdown, but each week for the month an extra $20k will be put into the prize pool. How they are doing this is that an extra $1,000 in cash will be given to each of the top 20 players on the leaderboard at the end of the each week. So the site is adding $80k in total to The Beast, and kicking off the New Year with a bang.

This is a nice move by the site, especially since they were the ones who just recently had the tough spot when the DDoS attack hit their $1 million guaranteed tournament. This meant that the tournament had to be cancelled after sever hours, and this wasn’t the first time that the attacks hit the network. In the weeks leading up, they were hit a few other times, but they did make sure to refund every players’ money and reschedule the huge tournament in February.

Daniel Colman Takes a Clean Sweep of POY Races

December 26, 2014

The man himself, Daniel Colman, saw multiple players try to make a push on his run towards to the three different Player of the Year races, but no one could get the job done. Colman, who dominated the High Roller circuit this year took down all three of the major Player of the Year races this year, and did so in impressive fashion. Let’s take a look at what Colman has done, and also look at each of the different Player of the Year races to breakdown how large of a margin that he got the job done by. First thing first, though, congratulations to Colman for the impressive accomplishment.

For the Bluff Magazine countdown, Colman had such a dominant lead coming into December, that it was very unlikely that anyone would be able to catch him. He didn’t even cash a single event throughout the month of December, but his 1447.7 points were more than enough to holdoff the second place finisher, Mike Leah, who had 1149.64 points. The remainder of the five for the Bluff POY race included Dan Smith with 949.35 points, Ami Barer with 930.79 points and Ole Schemion with 927.56 points. It was a fun race to watch, but there wasn’t much to worry about for the eventual winner.

As for the remainder of the top 10, Martin Jacobson found himself in sixth place due to awin in the 2014 WSOP Main Event, and Mukul Pahuja had 882.4 points to hold off Pratyush Buddiga with 881.36 for the next two spots in the race. Lastly was David Kitai and Doug Polk in ninth and 10th place. All of these players had over 800 total points, but couldn’t come within striking distance of anywhere near the top five of the race.

Now, to the CardPlayer Magazine rankings, where Colman had to hold off a late push for Barer. Barer grabbed two cashes during the Asia/Pacific Poker Tour stop in Macau, and he pulled in a total of 5042 points, which was a very impressive finish. Unfortunately for Barer, it wasn’t enough to surpass Colman’s impressive 5498 point total. Leah found himself in third place in the CardPlayer rankings with 4830, and to round out the top five we saw Mustapha Kanit in fourth iwth 4514 and Jacobson with 4148. For the rest of the top 10, it was Pahuja with 4146 points to fall just short of the top five. Seventh through 10th were held by Dylan Wilkerson, making his first showing on this list, as he had a nice run at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, as well as Jake Schindler, Kitai and Simon Deadman. It was a nice list of players who all had strong runs.

But out of all three of the major POY races, it was the Global Poker Index race that was the most exciting to watch. Colman had 4141.91 points going into the final month of the year, but Schemion nearly made another incredible run to take down the POY honors. In 2013 he took it down in the final month to keep Daniel Negreanu from taking down all three. Schemion ended up settling for seocnd place when all was said and done though, ending the year with 4125.39 points. Kitai did a great job this year and got a ton of respect, as he finished in third place with 4096.1. To round out the top five, it was Barer with 3873.15, Smith with 3839.04, Kanit with 3656.31 and last but not least was Schindler with 3604.15. The final 10 were Keven Stammen with 3591.38, Jason Mercier with 3545.77 and Scott Seiver with 3480.86.

Colman had an absolutely incredible year, bringing in close to $22 million, but 2015 kicks off on January 6th with the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. After that comes the Aussie Millions on January 14th and the L.A. Poker Classic just a single day after that. It was a great race for the 2014 POY award, but Colman got the job done and was well-deserving of each and every one of the different awards.

WPT Releases 2015 “Ones to Watch”

December 20, 2014

Each year, the World Poker Tour releases their list of players who are the “Ones to Watch” as they head into a new season. With the Season XIII schedule set to get underway, the tour released their 2015 players to watch, and this year’s list features a few interesting players who have been a big part of the community as a whole, but haven’t won that major poker tournament just yet. It’s an interesting list with some strong names, and these will be players to keep your eye out for as we roll through the 2015 schedule. Let’s get right to the list and break down the players more in-depth.

Possibly the most accomplished player on the list is where we’ll start, and this is Justin Zaki. Zaki has won over $1.25 million in career poker tournaments, and he’s also cashed in 12 different World Poker Tour events. His best finish came back in Season IX at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown, where he finished in third place. On top of that though, he has an impressive 22 World Series of Poker cashes throughout his career. He’s been able to grind out plenty of cashes and plenty of money, but this year he’ll be looking for that big-time score to add to his resume.

Two other players to look at on the list include Garrett Greer and Daniel Strelitz. Both are getting nearly the $1 million mark in career earnings, and both are intriguing players to watch. To this point, Strelitz has brought in $913,388 in his career, while Greer has made $780,596. Greer is in the midst of a nice run at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, so he may already jump off the page before the new year even begins.

Now, checking out the rest of the list you’ll find four more interesting players in Jose Serratos, Candace Collins, Kristy Arnett and Vlad Mezheritsky. Two of these players (Mezheritsky and Serratos) have both made deep runs that resulted in WPT final tables in their careers. Between Serratos, Mezheritsky and Collins, they’ve all made six-figure earnings at the poker tables throughout their careers, but are all still waiting for that one big hit. There’s plenty of reason to believe that all of these players could make a huge splash in 2015.

Now, for Arnett, who was known as one of the video presenters for PokerNews. She has decided to turn her to professional poker though, and has left PokerNews. She’s made just $30,622 in her career to this point, but she still made it onto the list. Maybe someone knows something that we don’t, but it’s definitely too early to judge her career to this point. She’ll be worth keeping an eye on throughout the year to see what she can bring in.

The “Ones to Watch” series has been going since Season IX, and in the first year each of the players who made the list have gone on to great success on the circuit and in the international poker world. Their tournament success is worth bragging about, as it includes players such as Jason Mercier, Matt Affleck, Allen Bari, Joseph Cheong, Maria Ho, Phil Collins, Lauren Kling, Andrew Lichtenberger, Faraz Jaka and William Reynolds. We’ve seen both Cheong and Collins make it to the “November Nine” at the Main Event of the WSOP, while Mercier, Lichtenberger and Jaka all brought in seven-figures worth of career earnings, with Mercier taking home some gold bracelets at the WSOP as well.

Season X featured Ho and Reynolds back on the list, but also say players such as David “Doc” Sands, Dan O’Brien, Ebony Kenney, Matt Marafioti and Dylan Hortin. Each player has had success, and there’s no reason to believe that the “Ones to Watch” list will lie to us in 2015 thanks to the names mentioned over these past few sentences. As for the Season XI list, we saw Shaun Deeb, Brian Hastings, Jason Koon, Dee Dozier, Amanda Musumeci, Xuan Liu, Jason Somerville and Alex Phahurat. Lastly is the Season XII players from last year, which included Jeff Gross, Aaron Massey, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Danny Suied, Loni Harwood and Christina Lindley.

Jason Mercier Takes Down WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts

December 10, 2014

The event featured some absolutely massive names in the game of poker, all duking it out for the title of the World Poker Tour Alpha8 St. Kitt’s champion, and of course, the big payday that came along with the win. When the final day of action began, it was a player who started with one of the smaller stacks in Jason Mercier, who surged to the top in order to take down the championship. It wasn’t an easy run for Mercier, as he had plenty of competition when it got down to the final nine players this past Sunday. Let’s take a look at the action and how Mercier made his rise to the top.

Now, just because there were nine players left, didn’t mean we were at the final table, or in the cash just yet. We had to get down to eight players before the final table, and three before the money would start getting awarded. To start the day, Olivier Busquet was in first place with 346k in chips, with Bill Perkins (254k) and Daniel Colman (222.5k) the closest players to the leader. After that, we saw a group that included Alec Torelli (170k), Tony Guglietti (127k), Kathy Lehne (116.5k), Mercier (100.5k), Antonio Esfandiari (90.5k) and Talal Shakerchi all looking to use a double up to find their way back into the top of the leader board.

The first elimination of the day, and the one that got everyone into the money, came when Mercier opened the action from betting under the gun. This led to Colman three-betting all-in for just over 90k in chips (he had lost quite a bit to this point on Sunday, obviously), and Mercier debating for a while before making the call. Mercier likely knew that he was behind before the cards turned over, holding A-Q against the A-K of Colman, but Mercier still looked frustrated with his own decision. That frustration immediately turned when a Queen came up on the flop. The board ran out helping neither player anymore, and Mercier had knocked out Colman in ninth place.

With the final table set, the race was on. Shakerchi was the next player to get eliminated, and was sent home by Torelli just four hands into the final table action. It took 20 more hands before the next knockout came, and it was on Hand 27 when Torelli pushed all-in from the cutoff. Busquet found a pocket pair, and made the call turning over pocket sevens out of the big blind. Torelli turned over A-10, and when an Ace came on the flop, he had to be feeling confident. Unfortunately, a seven came on the turn, and a two on the river was all she wrote, knocking Torelli out in seventh.

Three players would make money out of the final six, and Esfandiari, who actually bought in three times, needed to get at least second in order to make any money, would actually double up twice in a row through Busquet and Mercier to make himself a player to watch. After those two hands, Perkins was knocked out in sixth place with his A-J up against the pocket Kings of Busquet. The only woman to ever enter an Alpha8 tournament, Lehne was still fighting, and came up with a few big spots. She forced Mercier out of a pot with an all-in, and then doubled up through Busquet soon after that. Lehne was back in the action, and looking to continue her push.

The 65th hand is when five went to four, and Esfandiari was the next to go. Busquet raised up the action, Lehne moved all-in and Esfandiari was all-in over the top of all that. Busquet moved out of the way, and Esfandiari showed pocket Queens, holding the edge over Lehne’s A-K. The flop came down 4-3-J, leaving Esfandiari in control, but a five on the turn left Lehne with a wheel draw. The wheel came with a two on the river, sending Esfandiari packing and giving Lehne the chip lead.

After Mercier knocked out Busquet with his K-Q against the A-J of Busquet, the three players who would make money were locked in. Lehne was sitting with 826k in chips, more than double the amount that the next closest competitor had, as Guglietti had 326k and Mercier had 348k. We didn’t even get down to heads-up action for 40 hands, and it happened with Guglietti moved all-in, leading to Mercier making the call after thinking for quite a while. He showed K-10, which had a big edge over Guglietti’s K-3, and it held, giving Mercier the chip lead over Lehne.

Mercier showed his tournament skills at this point, and he just slowly grinded away and chipped up over time. Lehne decided to move all-in on Hand 151, with a flop of Q-5-Q showing. Mercier check-called a 75k bet, and a seven came on the turn. Both checked at this point, and when an eight on the river came, Mercier bet out, and Lehne moved all-in. Mercier thought for a minute, and then made the call turning up pocket Aces for a better two pair than Lehne’s 10-8. Mercier was crowned as the champion and awarded $727,500 for first, and Kathy Lehne took home the second place payday of $436,500.

WSOP.com New Jersey Ramping Up Promotions in December

December 5, 2014

The world of online poker has seen a few interesting stories popping up all over the place as of late, and one of these stories relates directly to WSOP.com, and the fact that they are looking to run multiple promotions through the holiday season that will cater to their New Jersey-based players. While many of the new promotions are going to be replicated on the Nevada site, the idea is basically to help push WSOP.com in New Jersey, largely due to the fact that the Nevada site really doesn’t have much in terms of competition currently. With that said, let’s take a look at a few of the interesting promotions that you can find running as a New Jersey-based player on WSOP.com.

The December Sit-N-Go action should be heavy at WSOP.com, as they have brought the Sit-N-Go leaderboard back to give players the chance to duke it out for some serious cash. The best part of this promotion, is that the Sit-N-Go options will be broken down into three different tiers, which will be focused on the different levels of action. So basically, there will be a low limit option for $5 buy-ins and below, a mid limit option for $20 and below and a high limit option for $25 and above. Each of these will have their own respective prize pools, with $1,000 going to the lower stakes, $2,500 to the mid stakes and $4,000 in high stakes being awarded on a weekly basis in prize money. Basically how it will work, is that any player who finishes in the top 50 percent in Sit-N-Go’s will get points on the leaderboard. The leaderboard will feature the top 100 point earners, but only the top 30 are going to win money. The winner of each level will get 23% of the prize pool, and it will continue down to just 1% of the prize pool for the bottom 30 players in the action.

While there are going to be a ton of Sit-N-Go options running, it’s important to note that heads-up and satellite Sit-N-Go’s will not be counted towards this promotion. The leaderboard contest for this will run over a four week span, and it starts on Sunday, December 7th as the kickoff of the first week.

The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Resort is a very straight forward promotion, and each day at 6:00pm from December 14th to December 17th, the WSOP.com site will be holding $30 re-buy and add-on qualifiers. These qualifiers will give you a chance to get into the World Series of Poker Circuit’s Main Event at Harrah’s Resort, and at least one seat ($1,675 prize) will be awarded at each of the satellites.

One promotion that’s already underway, is the 4x challenge. It’s a low stakes promotion that should cater to a wide range of players, and over the course of a week players are going to need to play in four days of cash games to win a small prize. The week of December 3rd to December 9th, players must earn at least two APPs in each of the four days to win a $1 tournament ticket. For the week of December 10th to December 16th, the APP requirement will be doubled up to four, but you are going to be awarded with a tournament ticket that’s worth $5. Players do need to opt-in for this promotion.

Last but not least are two interesting options, the first of which is the December Deepstack Series. This one should draw in a good amount of interest, as players are going to be taking part in some big tournaments. The series will run over a seven day span, starting on Monday, December 15th. Each of the tournaments will have a starting stack of 200 big blinds, and the best part of all is that the buy-in isn’t going to be massive, as they will range anywhere from $10 up to $100. A few of the events are re-buys and have add-ons as well. In total, you’ll see more than $20k in prize money guaranteed throughout the week of tournament action.

Last but not least, is a very straight forward promotion to wrap up the month of December at WSOP.com. The idea is pretty cool, and each day from December 21st through New Year’s Day, the website will be raffling off a minimum of one random prize every day. You’ll find that this includes things like TV’s, cameras, golf clubs, and gourmet food gift packs. How do you qualify for this? Well, you’ll need to earn at least one APP in cash games or tournaments on the day of the drawing, and you’ll automatically be entered into the action.