We start WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open – Part 2 on Sunday at 8pm and 11pm local time on FSN much like we started Part 1 last Sunday, with six players still seated at the final table and Shawn Cunix as the chip leader. While that hardly tells the whole story of what happened during Part 1, the fact remains that five players still need to be eliminated before we can crown a new WPT Champion, and this episode definitely gets us on our way to that end.
Here’s what the chip counts were when Part 1 ended:
1. Shawn Cunix – 4,300,000
2. James Calderaro – 2,375,000
3. Darren Elias – 980,000
4. Daniel Buzgon – 960,000
5. Tony Dunst – 505,000
6. Will Failla – 460,000
As you can see, Cunix has a monstrous chip lead, while the bottom half of the chips counts are pretty crowded under a million in chips. There’s plenty of battling between the short stacks and not all of them will survive the episode. One who definitely doesn’t is WPT Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst, who returns to the booth to break down the skill battle between Cunix and noted online pro Darren Elias.
Away from the felt, the WPT Royal Flush Girls take a tour of the Jacksonville bestbet facilities and WPT Anchor Marianela Pereyra sits down with WPT Champion James Dempsey for the newest 5 Questions segment (see below):
It’s an exciting episode with plenty of poker action for all, so make sure to tune in to, or set your DVR for, Sunday night at 8pm and 11pm local time on FSN to see who’s left standing after the dust settles at WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open.
622 Entries into the Nationally Televised WPT Event Generate $2.1 Million Prize Pool
Many of the game’s biggest stars made their way to Los Angeles, CA for the WPT Legends of Poker at the world-renowned Bicycle Casino. However, in the end, it was Josh Hale who shined brightest, capturing one of World Poker Tour’s most prestigious titles and adding his name to the WPT Champions Cup.
Hale, an amateur player from San Diego, CA, entered the stacked final table as the overwhelming chip leader with 40% of the chips in play and a near a 2-1 advantage over the next largest stack held by professional player Greg Mueller, who finished in fifth place. Other notable pros at the table included Jeff Madsen, who finished in sixth position, and Ali Eslami, who had a roller-coaster session that saw him rebuild his stack from just one big blind all the way back to more than 4 million chips before his eventual elimination in fourth place.
With three players left, Hale found himself in second position behind eventual runner-up Max Steinberg and ahead of third-place finisher Raouf Malek. Hale played a patient game, picking his spots and staying out of trouble, which resulted in his entering heads-up play with just over 4.5 million chips versus Steinberg’s stack of more than 14.1 million.
Hale steadily chipped up against Steinberg and then took the lead when he rivered a queen-high flush on a board of 10c-10h-6h-4d-3h to best Steinberg’s two pair of 10s and 6s. From there, Hale never looked back, taking just 13 more hands to eliminate Steinberg and claim his spot in poker history.
“I felt pretty good about the way I was playing poker,” Hale said after his victory. “There were a couple [of] interesting tournament spots that I may have played wrong, just because I don’t play a lot of tournaments. But I think my overall, fundamental poker game was good. I was never really nervous.”
“My plan going heads up against Max was to get it in bad and then suck out, which I did. So I feel pretty good about that. I stuck to my plan,” he joked.
With 622 entries, the star-studded field included some of the game’s best-known pros, including WPT Champions Club members Erick Lindgren, Dwyte Pilgrim, Andy Frankenberger, Jonathan Little, and defending champion Will “The Thrill” Failla. Other notable names that helped generate a prize pool worth more than $2.1 million included WPT Player of the Year Joe Serock, Vanessa Selbst, Joseph Cheong, and David Williams.
The field also contained three ClubWPT online qualifiers – Matthew Carranza, Phillip Smith, and Efren Abustan – each of whom won their free tournament entries playing online at www.ClubWPT.com. Carranza failed to make it past Day 1 while both Smith and Abustan finished in the money, with Abustan taking home more than $18,000 after a deep run that saw him bust in 17th place.
World Poker Tour returns to Europe for its next televised tournament, as players head to the City of Lights for the €7,500 WPT Grand Prix de Paris at the elegant Aviation Club de France on the Champs-Élysées starting September 10.
Final Table Pay-Outs
1. Josh Hale — $500,000, including entry into the $25,000 WPT World Championship
2. Max Steinberg – $293,490
3. Raouf Malek – $192,400
4. Ali Eslami – $133,700
5. Greg Mueller – $97,100
6. Jeff Madsen – $75,400
When ClubWPT qualifiers win a package to a World Poker Tour event they not only get the chance to play for millions and a chance to have their name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup but also the the opportunity to attend VIP events and hang out with the WPT cast and WPT Champions. All part of the WPT Experience.
The most recent qualifier to get the full WPT Experience was Matt C. at WPT Legends of Poker. Even though Matt busted on Day 1B of the tournament, he still had an amazing experience, but we’ll let him tell you about it himself in the video below:
After the interview, Matt headed out to Venice Beach to hang out with the WPT Royal Flush Girls, Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, Tony Dunst and WPT Champions Prahlad Friedman and Dwyte Pilgrim, experience the legendary Venice Boardwalk and shoot a little hoops with Tony and Prahlad.
The next morning, Matt took a trip to local golf course Rio Tinto to play a round with Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, WPT Royal Flush Girls Jeannie, Tugba, Brittany and Angelique. No word yet if he put any money on the game with Mike, but we’ll keep you posted if we find out.
If you want a chance to win a WPT package and get the full WPT Experience like Matt C. did, there are three upcoming tournaments available to do just that – two for WPT Jacksonville bestbet Fall Series and one for WPT Montreal. Check out the ClubWPT promotions page for more details and sign up for ClubWPT now.
- 7 days and 7 nights on board Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas Sept. 30 – Oct. 7, 2012
- Ocean view accommodations for you and a guest
- Private, two-hour poker lesson with Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton
- Private dinner with Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten and two of the WPT Royal Flush Girls
- WPT Boot camps, cash games and free tournaments with many valuable WPT prizes
You and a guest will join WPT cast members Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, and the WPT® Royal Flush Girls on board the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas from September 30th to October 7th where you will enjoy seven days of fun in the sun and seven nights of unlimited poker action.
The WPT Cruise will also include special WPT Boot Camps and free tournaments with exciting prizes such as WPT VIP Experiences and satellite entries into WPT Main Events. Cash games and tournaments will be available each night fulfilling all your poker needs.
As our special VIPs, you and your guest will also get a two-hour, private lesson from WPT commentator and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton. After your lesson, you will join Mike and his co-commentator Vince Van Patten, as well as two of the beautiful WPT Royal Flush Girls, at a private table for lunch where they’ll share stories of what it’s like traveling on the World Poker Tour.
In addition to tons of poker action, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas ship offers endless activities including an on-board surf park and an expansive rock climbing wall. Enjoy cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet beyond the sides of the ship and a waterpark, complete with sculptured fountains and cascading waterfalls. The Freedom class of ships has the most spectacular, innovative on-board features in the cruise industry. This World Poker Tour Cruise has something for everyone, and if you like to travel and love poker, this is the perfect trip for you.
It’s the dream of every online poker player who sits down at the computer screen and plays a few virtual hands. To take a small investment and turn it into big money at a major poker tournament, and that’s exactly what two ClubWPT VIP members did this week at WPT Legends of Poker.
Phillip Smith and Efren Abustan both qualified for the event by playing a satellite on ClubWPT.com, where they pay just $19.99/month for the chance to win cash, prizes and this ultimate chance to win millions and have their name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup at a World Poker Tour event.
Both players survived the money bubble during Day 3 of WPT Legends of Poker and stood to walk away with some serious cash. That cash would come late in the day for Smith as he was eliminated in 38th place for a payout of $9,600, all of which goes straight to him as he was freerolling the event via ClubWPT. Smith does plan on taking that infusion into his poker bankroll and use it to enter WPT Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City in just a few weeks.
The other qualifier, Efren, is still alive with 451,000 in chips heading into Day 4 with only 18 players remaining. It was quite the roller coaster of a day as he was the chip leader at one point, but is now one of the short stacks. According to our WPT Live Updates team, he “had the biggest smile on his face every break and walked around chatting with everyone like he had been around the tour for years!” He even earned much respect from poker pro Jon Aguiar who tweeted:
The club wpt guy with over a mill is such a boss, just fired 300k on river while listening to "my heart will go on" by Celine dion
— Jonathan Aguiar (@JonAguiar) August 28, 2012
Play gets underway at 1pm PT today and will finish when the WPT Televised final table is set with six players remaining. Make sure to tune into WPT Live Updates to follow Efren’s progress as he takes on players like Greg Mueller, Jeff Madsen, Ali Eslami and Joe Cheong as we get closer to crowning a WPT Champion.
Leading manufacturer of poker eyewear named official poker eyewear of World Poker Tour
World Poker Tour, the premier name in producing high-stakes, televised poker tournaments at the top casino and resort destinations around the globe has added Blue Shark Optics to its list of name sponsors for Season XI.
Blue Shark Optics, the world’s leading manufacturer of poker eyewear, will be prominently featured as the Official Poker Eyewear of the World Poker Tour on each, hour-long WPT episode broadcast on FOX Sports Net, beginning in early 2013. As a name sponsor, Blue Shark Optics will also be on location at select World Poker Tour stops in the United States and Europe throughout Season XI. Additionally, Blue Shark Optics is giving players on www.ClubWPT.com the chance to win their very own poker sunglasses through weekly tournaments on the site.
“Blue Shark Optics has built its reputation by creating high-quality sunglasses that poker players like to wear and by being a company that stands behind its products,” said WPT President, Adam Pliska. “We are always pleased to associate ourselves with other respected brands, and are thrilled to have Blue Shark Optics join us for the upcoming season.”
“We are extremely pleased to be the Official Poker Eyewear of the World Poker Tour,” said Kerry Karoutsos, Executive Director of Blue Shark Optics. “The WPT is a world-class organization and we are privileged to become one of its sponsors.”
Blue Shark Optics is based in Florida and manufactures eyewear designed specifically for poker. The company’s proprietary Crystalion-3™ lenses allow a significant amount of light to penetrate while completely hiding the eyes. “Dark sunglasses have been an integral part of the game for a long time, but they present two major disadvantages,” said Karoutsos, “One is that the eyes get very tired as they are trying to process visual information due to the dark lenses, and the other is the fact that dark lenses inhibit visual acuity. Mistakes are made and, in the game of poker, mistakes and visual fatigue are elements that will negatively impact a player’s performance at the poker table.”
“The World Poker Tour will enable us to reach the poker community not only in the USA, but also across the globe,” said Karoutsos. “Blue Shark Optics is now available in Europe and in Canada, and we are currently fielding distributorship inquiries from Latin America and Australia.” Canadian players can purchase the eyewear in Canada by visiting http://www.bluesharkopticscanada.com and European players can visit http://www.bluesharkoptics.eu/fr/
Blue Shark Optics is officially represented by several top professional poker players, including WPT Champions Jonathan Little and Hoyt Corkins, along with Humberto Brenes and Chris Moneymaker. To get more information about Blue Shark Optics you can visit their website at www.bluesharkoptics.com.
One of the benefits of being a ClubWPT VIP member is getting the chance to play for a package to a World Poker Tour event with the opportunity to win millions while getting the full WPT Experience of meeting the WPT cast, hanging out at a WPT televised final table (if you’re not playing it) and attending the many VIP events available to members.
One of the most recent ClubWPT members to get the full experience was Erick Steinbergen, who won a package to play at the recent WPT Parx Open Poker Classic. We caught up with Erick after he returned home to see what his final thoughts were on his experience. And make sure to check out his video interview with WPT.com’s Diana Cox from the event below.
Can you please describe the experience of winning your tournament entry on ClubWPT.com?
It still seams surreal to me that something recreational for only $20.00 a month took us out there and paid for the whole thing. To be there playing with people that I have seen on TV is indescribable.
What did you think of the Parx Casino when you arrived for the tournament?
It was nice, I was surprised they didn’t have a hotel in it though. The staff were friendly, and the food was good.
How was your tournament experience? Did you play with any of your favorite pros?
The whole thing was a good experience. I didn’t play with any of my personal favorites although their were several people I recognized from TV. I play the entire 10 hours of day one with the 4th place winner of the tournament Larry.
Did you enjoy the WPT players party or partake in any of the off-the-felt activities?
We attended the players party and went to the final table as spectators.
Did you meet any of the WPT cast?
Yes, I met Mike and Vince both. Mike interviewed me briefly while at the table. I met Matt Savage, and Tony Dunst. I also met all of the Royal Flush Girls. Everyone was very nice and sociable.
How did it feel to be interviewed on camera?
I wasn’t as nervous as I expected to be. I don’t think the cameras changed my game any.
Any final words?
Its not the last time you will see me.
For the first time ever, players gathered at bestbet Jacksonville for a televised World Poker Tour event, turning out in droves from all over the world for a shot at getting their name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup. All in all, there were 320 entries into the event, generating a prizepool of $1,504,000 with $400,600 going to the eventual WPT Champion.
After several grueling days of poker, the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open TV final table was set and featured some firsts of its own. For the first time, WPT Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst was sitting at the poker table instead of in the WPT Live Stream booth for a WPT final table, and he was joined by James Calderaro and Shawn Cunix at their first WPT final tables.
Here are the chip counts when final table play started:
1. Shawn Cunix – 2,865,000
2. James Calderaro – 2,770,000
3. Will Failla – 1,905,000
4. Tony Dunst – 880,000
5. Darren Elias – 660,000
6. Daniel Buzgon – 500,000
And here’s what the chip counts were when Part 1 ended:
1. Shawn Cunix – 4,300,000
2. James Calderaro – 2,375,000
3. Darren Elias – 980,000
4. Daniel Buzgon – 960,000
5. Tony Dunst – 505,000
6. Will Failla – 460,000
At first glance, it may not look like it was a very eventful episode as no one busted and it looks like Cunix held onto the chip lead and steam rolled the table the whole time. However, that’s not the case, the chip lead changed hands multiple times with huge swings in the chip countys. Cunix, Calderaro and Elias all held the chip lead at one point during the episode. As you can imagine with that many lead changes, there were plenty of fireworks to be seen so far at this final table.
However, in one of the oddest moments from last night’s episode, it was more fizzle than fireworks as Will Failla misread his cards (or forgot what they were) and folded the winning hand against Tony Dunst. See video below:
We still have all six players at this final table, so expect next week’s episode to be action-packed as the players start to hit the rail and we get closer and closer to engraving a name on the WPT Champions Cup for the first time at bestbet Jacksonville.
Starting at WPT Legends of Poker at The Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, players and spectators may start to notice a certain sense of style and grooming begin to permeate through the tournament room. That feeling would be due to the presence of the new Mitch Grooming Bar featuring the new men’s line by Paul Mitchell, Mitch. The Mitch Grooming Bar will make its first appearance at WPT Legends of Poker this weekend.
Paul Mitchell stylists will be on hand at the Mitch Grooming Bar to give style and grooming tips and hand out samples of Mitch. The WPT Royal Flush Girls will also be hanging out and talking to players and spectators as they learn about this exciting new product line.
The Mitch Grooming Bar will be seen at the following WPT events in the upcoming months:
WPT Legends of Poker at The Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California
WPT Borgata Poker Open at Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey
WPT Regional Colorado: Colorado Poker Showdown at Isle Casino Hotel in Black Hawk, Colorado
WPT Jacksonville BestBet Fall Series at BestBet Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida
Fans of Mitch on Facebook will also have the chance to enter the Players Wanted contest for a chance to win:
- A trip for two to Las Vegas
- Three nights at the 5-star Aria Hotel
There will also be a series of Mitch tournaments on ClubWPT for VIP members where players can win Mitch products. Stay tuned here for dates and times for those tournaments.