Chris Leong emerged victorious at the WPT Winter Poker Open Championship, beating a field of 1,171 players for a $816,246 payday.

The $3,500 buy-in WPT Winter Poker Open Championship, held at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, saw a pool worth $3,748,371 being created.

Leong played solid poker for six days to take home the coveted WPT title.

The New York resident has been a regular on the poker circuit since 2010, but this latest triumph was the biggest score of his career, which boasts of $1,194,968 in lifetime earnings.

Some of the notable players that managed to earn a return on their investment during the World Poker Tour’s stop at the Borgata Hotel included Mukul Pahuja in 24th ($16,868), Aaron Mermelstein in 19th ($16,868), Kane Kalas in 17th ($20,054), Kou Vang in 15th ($29,987), Aaron Overton in 11th ($44,793), and Keith Morrow in 7th ($131,193).

Interestingly, Chris was the shortest stack on the final day of the event that had players likes 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, and 2009 WPT winner Yevgeniy Timoshenko.

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left for Chris and Rafael to fight it out for the title.

At the heads up, Yaraliyev held a 21.7m to 14.3m chip advantage over Leong. But the later emerged on top for 106 hands. The final hand of the game was played when Leong (A-8) went all-in preflop. Yaraliyev called with pocket queens. The board ran A-6-4-J-5 to consign Rafael Yaraliyev to a runner-up finish for $487,288, while Leong scripted a memorable win.

Final Table Results:

1 Chris Leong $816,246

2 Rafael Yaraliyev $487,288

3 Liam He $297,995

4 Joe McKeehen $249,267

5 Yevgeniy Timoshekno $206,160

6 Matthew Wantman $166,803

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Despite playing professional poker for several years, Joe Reddick won his tournament in the last week of January 2016. Though he registered his first tournament cash in 2009, Reddick had to wait for almost six years to break the jinx.

Reddick won Borgata Winter Poker Open $1 Million Deep Stack to achieve a definitive career milestone by beating a field of 3,270 players.

Reddick won $217,792 for his efforts, which propelled his career earnings to $590,282.

A prize pool of $1,307,200 was created at Event #10: $450 NL $1 Million Deep Stack of the Borgata Winter Poker Open, with 300 places being paid.

Among the notable players who earned a return on their investment were Ryan Olisar in 100th ($1,902), Tyler Patterson in 77th ($2,219), Kevin Saul in 62nd ($2,739), Jamie Kerstetter in 61st ($2,739), Greg Himmelbrand in 44th ($3,487), Zo Karim in 13th ($8,242), and Mike Linster in 11th ($11,412).

Ten players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations it was left between Almog Biton and Reddick to fight it out for the title.

However, Reddick was in fine form during the heads-up to consign Biton to a second place finish for $142,268.

Final Table Results:

1 Joseph Reddick $217,792

2 Almog Biton $142,268

3 Hector Chevalier $93,260

4 Jason Bral $78,298

5 Farid Jattin $63,716

6 Tony Cheng $50,058

7 Theofanopoulos $36,772

8 Cathy Dever $24,726

9 Mike Wilson $17,752

10 Bill Miller $11,412.

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Ari Engel emerged victorious at the 2016 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event, beating a strong field of 732 players for a top prize of AUS$1.6 million (US$1,120,110).

Engel played solid poker to register the biggest score of his professional career. Thanks to his latest triumph, the Canadian's tournament earnings were stretched to $3,369,505. The event, conducted at Melbourne's Crown Casino, consisted of a prize pool worth AUS$ 7.32 million (US$5,124,507).

Some of the big names the managed to earn a return on their investment were Liv Boeree (80th), Joe Hachem (79th), Max Silver (72nd), Tony Hachem (65th), Mustapha Kanit (59th), Philipp Gruissem (51st), and Stephen Chidwick.

Seven players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations Tony Dunst and Ari Engel had to battle it out for the title. Engel had a 12.35m to 9.52m chip advantage over Tony Dunst into heads-up. It took 123 hands and four hours of poker, before the deciding hand before the main event concluded.

The final had was played when Engel (J-7) moved all-in on a 10-4-2-J-9 board. Dunst (A-4) made the call that condemned him to a second place finish for AUS$1 million, while the former was declared champion.

Final Table Results:

1 Ari Engel (Can) $1,600,000

2 Tony Dunst (USA) $1,000,000

3 Samantha Abernathy (USA) $625,000

4 Alexander Lynskey (Aus) $445,000

5 Dylan Honeyman (Aus) $340,000

6 Kitty Kuo (Taipei) $270,000

7 John Apostolidis (Aus) $210,000

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Paul Hoefer emerged victorious at the Aussie Millions $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, beating 190 players for a cool A$106,920 (US$74,515) in prize money.

Hoefer played solid poker over two days to take his not just capture LK Boutique Aussie Millions championship ring but also stretch his live career earnings to $1,046,853.

The German has been on a solid run in the last couple of years. In 2015 he registered the biggest score of his career with a win at the WSOP $1,111 No Limit Hold’em Little One for One-Drop event for $645,969, beating a strong field of 4,555 players.

This latest win was Hoefer's second biggest career score.

10 players made it to the final table. After a series of eliminations, Hoefer had to battle it out with Alex Grocott for the title.

The former held a 1.75m to 1m chip advantage over his opponent, as the heads-up commenced.

It did not take him much time to outclass Grocott with the final duel lasting less than 30 minutes.

Hoefer (K-3) and Grocott (10-5) went all-in on a K-10-4-J-K board. Grocott had to be content with a runner-up finish for A$70,565, while Hoefer was crowned the champion.

Final Table Results:

1 Paul Hoefer A$106,920

2 Alex Grocott A$70,565

3 Mogens Hansen A$44,890

4 Vic Spadavecchia A$36,335

5 Robert Nguyen A$28,905

6 Frank Williams A$23,510

7 Karib Yustinus A$19,235

8 Najeem Ajez A$14,960

9 Piyush Gupta A$10,685

10 Michael Tomeny A$8,550


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Minh Nguyen emerged victorious at Event #14 of the 2016 Aussie Millions, beating a field of 96 players. The Aussie took home a cool  A$24,950 in prize money for his stupendous effort.

The $1,150 Australian Poker Hall of Fame saw participation from some big names from the world of poker. Nguyen was in solid form and was chip leader, as he entered the final table.

Vietnam’s Linh Tran second in chips. The duo went on to dominate the final table and set up a heads-up battle for the title between themselves.

Nguyen had almost twice the chips of Tran. The 20th hand of the final battle was its last as Tran bluffed all-in with Q-5 on a 10-9-3-3-4 board. Nguyen (9-8) made the call to seal the deal and condemn his opponent to a second place finish for A$16,630.

The winner also earned himself a LK Boutique Aussie Millions Championship ring apart from the money.

Final Table Results:

1 Minh Nguyen (Aus) $24,950

2 Linh Tran (Vietnam) $16,630

3 Tatjana Zizic (Serbia) $11,090

4 Geoffrey Mooney (Aus) $9,240

5 Roy Vandersluis (Hong Kong) $7,390

6 Michael Accardo (Aus) $6,470

7 Antonina Anapolska (Ukraine) $5,545

8 Gary Benson (Aus) $4,620

9 Jack Salter (UK) $3,695

10 Robert Fenner (S.Africa) $2,770

The 2016 Aussie Millions, which kicked-off on January 13, will run until February 1.

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The 2016 Caribbean Adventure drew to a close after nine days of fun and games. Some of the notable winners of the 104 events were pros like Bryn Kenney, Mike Watson, and Steve O’Dwyer.

Team PokerStars Pro Adrienne ‘talonchick’ Rowsome too tasted success in the Bahamas, as she claimed the biggest score of her live poker career.

34 players participated in the $2,200 Pot Limit Omaha (Hi/Lo 8-Handed Turbo) event to create a prize pool worth $65,960, of which $22,420 was scooped up by Adrienne Rowsome with a first place finish.

Thanks to her latest triumph, Rowsome now has $65,640 in live tournament earnings. These figures are impressive especially after considering the fact she is predominantly an online poker player.

Adrienne definitely enjoys playing at the PCA with five tournament cashes, including three wins, out her nine since 2011 have come at this event. That's a total payout of $46,395 at the PCA so far.

Rowsome boasts of a cool $278,022 in online winnings, playing under the screen name “talonchick”. Consistently good performances online prompted poker giant PokerStars to offer her a lucrative sponsorship deal.

An occupational therapist by profession, poker is just a hobby for this talented woman. In fact, Adrienne claims she spends most of her poker winnings on high end shopping. A BMW, jewelry, and designer handbags make up some of the items on that list.

Speaking about her lifestyle, Adrienne Rowsome explained:

“I think more people should work a real job and play poker. It definitely keeps the fun in the game and it definitely lets you make some extra money. It lets you spend without worrying. Your poker winnings don’t have to be towards your mortgage or towards your bills, your poker winning can be used for the frivolous things.” 

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Mike Watson won the $5,300 PCA Main Event beating 928 players to win a cool $728,325. A prize pool of $4,500,800 was created for the event that was held at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in Paradise Island.

Thanks to his solid effort through the course of six days, the Canadian pro took his live career earning to $9,072,800 with that win. Playing under the screen name ‘SirWatts’, Watson boasts of $3,005,924 in online earnings.

Speaking about his latest triumph, Watson said:

“It means a lot to win a main event with a big field and especially the PCA being one of the flagship events of the EPT, and really a premiere event in the whole poker calendar. It has special meaning to me that Steve Paul-Ambrose won it ten years ago. He was a mentor to me and that makes it extra sweet.”

Some of the notable names that walked away with a return on their investment at the PCA Main Event included Steve O’Dwyer in 89th ($10,840), Jeff Gross in 68th ($12,880), Felipe Ramos in 45th ($14,900), Jason Mercier in 20th ($32,360), Fedor Holz in 18th ($32,360), and Stephen Chidwick in 14th ($41,360).

Eight players made it to the final table. And after a series of eliminations, Watson had to slug it out with the 2013 WSOP One Drop High Roller champion Tony Gregg in the heads-up battle.

The duo agreed to split the money $695,325 and $612,175, leaving $33,000 for the winner. Their duel lasted two hours and the final hand of the event was played when Gregg (As-8c) moved all-in on an 8h-6h-2h flop. Watson with 7h-4s made the call. The 7s and 5h on turn and river meant Tony Gregg had to be content with a second place finish, while Watson was crowned champion.

Final Table Payouts:

1 Mike Watson $728,325

2 Tony Gregg $612,175

3 Phillip McAllister $356,020

4 Toby Lewis $267,340

5 Vladimir Troyanovskiy $207,940

6 Randy Kritzer $153,920

7 Ken Demlakian $110,220

8 Timothy Ulmer $78,540 

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Lookout Floyd Mayweather..Sorel Mizzi is in town!

After having earned a reputation for his poker skills, the poker pro showed his ability in the boxing ring recently.

In the last week of 2015, Mizzi took on Brian Rast in a boxing match in order to raise cash for charity. The poker heavyweights also wanted to determine the outcome of a personal wager they had agreed upon before.

So there we had it. The 34-year-old Rast was set to battle it out with 29-year-old Mizzi for a noble cause at the Syndicate Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas. To make matters more interesting, the bout was screened live via Poker Central. Pre-fight.

The shorter Mizzi was in shape and definitely more muscular than Rast. This turned out to his advantage in fight that was scheduled for a maximum of four rounds.

However, the bout didn't go the distance as Mizzi won in round 3. Rast was knocked down five times, which compelled the referee decided to signal the end.

Though both men were short on technique, their spirit and objective was lauded. The dup heaped praise on one another after the fight, which provided great entertainment to the spectators.

 The fight resulted in collection worth $8,500 for ‘Raising for Effective Giving’ (REG). Irrespective of who won on the night, it was wonderful to witness so many people coming together to contribute to a very worthy cause. Now that's what you call ending the year on a good note.

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The iconic Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) of PokerStars is scheduled between January 21-31. The event guarantees $15 million in prizes and back for its fifth edition, which will comprise of 50 fast paced tournaments.

The 2016 season will kick off with a three-phase tournament, culminating in a $1.5 million guaranteed event.

January 7 – 21, players will have the chance to qualify for the Phase 3 of the TCOOP. This can be done by playing as many Phase 1 and Phase 2 events until they make it to the final Phase that will be conducted on January 21. In order to make it easier for players in the middle of a hectic schedule, the duration of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 events will be around one hour.

The biggest attraction of the poker series will be coveted $700 buy-in Main Event that is scheduled for January 31 and boasts of a cool $2 million guarantee.

Also, the event will feature a Progressive Ultra-Knockout Tournament (where 75% of the buy-in goes to knockout prize money) and a Hyper-Turbo, Deep, One Rebuy One Add-on tournament that have before been only seen in satellite games.

“The turbo structures, coupled with the range of games and formats, keeps things fun and interesting every day. Plus, with each tournament only lasting a few hours, it’s a great way to try and get a big score in a short space of time”  said Team PokerStars Pro Online member, Mickey ‘mement_mori’ Petersen in a media release.

You can take part in the online qualifiers to every event in TCOOP at a meager $0.11. The StarsCoin satellites are available from just 1 StarsCoin.

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In a bid to further embolden recreational players online poker giant PokerStars implemented key changes to its policy on usage of third-party poker software.

The changes include prohibition on seating scripts, minimum use of HUDs and prevention of data mining on the PokerStars website.

According to Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars VP of Corporate Communications, the changes were essential in order to retain the basic nature of the game as “battle of wits and a test of heart.”

As the company continues in efforts to stop third party sites from datamining its games, Zoom games seem to have benefited from it, while the same cannot be stated with regards to the Spin and Gos.

A recent forum post on TwoPlusTwo by “1v1″ read:

“EVERY PokerStars Spin and Go within 30 seconds has 2 viewers appear and stay for the duration of the match from .50-100$. It is data mining 500%. PokerStars HAS acknowledged this indirectly with a boilerplate response regarding data mining as a whole.”

The user also urged the Amaya-owned company to issue an official statement as to why datamining was still rampant on PokerStars. The company had earlier made a public announcement on November 1 with regards to restrictions on use of third party software.

PokerStars Ring Game Manager Baard Dahl said ‘there are sites that collect data from all our games’, and that they are working towards finding a solution for this particular problem.

However, there appears to be no instant solution in sight as Dahl confessed that it isn’t “as easy as flicking a switch”. He also suggested that PokerStars was hoping to ‘roll out a solution for the Spin & Gos in Q1 of 2016.’

There is never 100% in the world of iGaming. Just like customers, brands too have to deal with evolving technology. PokerStars is now faced with another challenge and hopefully for them and their players, they will overcome it just like previous years.

Published in Poker Gossip