Weekly Poker Roundup: November 20, 2015
WPT Changes Season Finale
Here’s something we missed this month: the World Poker Tour (WPT) made the surprising and seemingly sudden decision to remove the season-ending WPT World Championship from the schedule and replace it with a new WPT Tournament of Champions.
Unlike the WPT World Championship, which was open to anyone willing to pay $15,400 (it used to be $25,000 until last year), the TOC is an invitational; only those who have won a WPT Main Event are eligible to attend. They still have to pay the $15,400 buy-in, as well.
“By combining Season XIV winners and WPT Champions Club members, the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions will truly be a championship event,” said WPT President and CEO Adam Pliska in the announcement. “We will promote the ‘champion of champions’ to our millions of television viewers and to the thousands of players in the community for seasons to come, solidifying the winner’s place in the World Poker Tour’s rich history.”
The WPT is clearly trying to shake things up and make itself more relevant in today’s poker world. The World Series of Poker (along with its Circuit events) and the European Poker Tour are the dominant tours/festivals now. The WPT used to be hugely popular, especially in the heyday of poker television, but since the WPT World Championship’s peak at 639 players in 2007, things have not been good. In 2013, the tournament drew just 149 players and the prize pool had to be altered to guaranteed a million payout to the winner. $10,000 was sliced off the buy-in the next year and while attendance rose, the prize pool stayed relatively flat.
Jared Mahoney Wins WPT Montreal
Jared Mahoney won the partypoker.net World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event this week, making the unlikely run from short stack at the start of the final table to champion. He is now nearly half a million dollars richer and qualifies for the WPT Tournament of Champions.
Brian Altman, a former WPT champ, was the chip leader entering Thursday’s six-handed final table enjoying a huge chip lead over the field. His 8.46 million chips were well more than Darryll Fish’s 5.16 million and dwarfed everyone else’s stack. Only Rainer Kempe at 2.955 million had more than 2 million chips. Mahoney had just 1.26 million to begin the final day’s action.
Mahoney’s rise to the top was rather interesting. Most of the time, a player needs a timely double-up or two to go from short stack to chip leader, but Mahoney accumulated chips by pushing players off of hands. He made aggressive raises and all-in moves several times during the first six or seven orbits, picking up blinds here, stealing someone’s raise there. By the end of Hand 39, he was the chip leader with 5.1 million chips. It was close, though, as of the four remaining players, three had more than 4 million.
He fell back shortly thereafter as the result of doubling-up an opponent, but by the time heads-up rolled around, he had a lead of 11.15 million to 9.7 million over Fish. The lead switched hands a few times and the stack sizes were about what they were to start heads-up when, almost 200 hands into the final table, it suddenly ended. Mahoney raised pre-flop, Fish moved all-in, and Mahoney called with A-K. Fish revealed a dominated A-2, did not improve (aside from an Ace which helped Mahoney, as well), and Jared Mahoney was crowned the WPT Montreal champ.
Pokerstars, 888 Launch Holiday Promos
PokerStars and 888poker, the world’s two largest online poker rooms according to PokerScout’s data, have both launched their holiday promotions. We won’t get into all the details of each (this is just a weekly summary, after all), but we’ll hit the main points.
PokerStars’ promo is called the Christmas Festival. For most of the rest of this month, ending November 29th, the poker room is running the Daily Double Jackpot portion of the promo, which consists of six Daily Double tournaments per day, coming in pairs. At 13:00 ET, there will be two separate $1.10 tournaments, at 14:00 ET, there will be two $11 events, and at 15:00 ET, there will be two $55 tourneys. Each has their own guaranteed prize pool, which increases on Sunday. If someone wins two tourneys with the same buy-in at the same time, the lucky player will receive $1 million. In addition, the players at one randomly selected table each day will receive two $55 tournament tickets; that prize increases to $215 on Sunday.
In December, the Christmas Calendar Door promo begins, featuring one special offer each day through Christmas. It can be something like Milestone Hands, Golden Sit & Go’s, PCA Giveaways, Challenges, and the like. Players can see the new offer by visiting the “Challenges” window in the software.
Then, on December 27th, PokerStars will host a $5 million guaranteed version of the Sunday Million.
At 888poker, it’s the $700,000 Season of Giving. There are three different types of tournaments during this promo:
- All-in Gift Tournament – 18:05 GMT daily – iPhone 6s, Go Pro cameras, and Playstation 4 are amongst the prizes
- $2,000 Lucky Star Tournament –12:05, 19:05, and 00:05 GMT daily – cash prizes
- $6,500 Starburst Tournament –21:05 GMT weekly (888 fails to specify the day) – Macbook Air and Apple TV packages as well as cash are the listed prizes
Everyone gets one ticket into the All-in Gift Tournament while new players can receive a couple more entries for making a deposit. Everyone can earn additional tickets by completing missions such as playing 30 raked hands or playing in a Sit & Go with a $6 buy-in or higher.
Tickets for the $2,000 Lucky Star Tournament can be earned via a daily Star Spin game. Everyone gets one free spin, but players who have made a deposit at any point get one spin every day.
Entries for the $6,500 Starburst Tournament can be earned by completing a weekly mission which is e-mailed each Sunday.
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