by Joseph Smith Sr.
Sitting in the number two spot on the chip leader board we find Oslo, Norway native Felix Stephensen. Now living in London, England Stephensen has no previous cashes in the World Series of Poker and shows lifetime live earnings to be $22,118. With an almost non-existent live poker resume how did this 23-year-old end up with a seat and T32,775,000 in play money in the most famous final table in Poker?
Let us examine his path to his assigned Seat #2 for the November finale of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. The journey began when Stephensen developed an affinity for online poker and playing under the pseudonym “FallAtYourFeet” he has amassed more than $300,000 in earnings since 2001.
Next, we follow his journey to Las Vegas with a group of friends to the WSOP at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Stephensen apparently had a plan and it was to enter (and win, obviously) the Main Event because that's the only event he played during the 2014 WSOP. He survived the inherent insanity of Main Event Day 1C to return on Day 2 with slightly more chips than his starting T30K.
Unlike the chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, whom rode a roller coaster to his final table seat, Felix Stephensen spent the first five days of play making modest additions to his chip total. Finally on Day 6 he got the momentum engine fired up and began his climb up the chip leader board. Day 7 began with Stephensen in ninth place holding almost seven and three quarters of a million in chips.
Adding to his stacks throughout Day 7 he was sitting behind T14,640,000 when Tom Sarra Jr four-bet and Stephensen moved all-in only to be called by Sarra. When the T25 million pot was pushed to Stephensen he was suddenly the chip leader with T27.86 in the WSOP Main Event. The double up not only made him the chip leader but it guaranteed his claim to a seat at the final table and his rightful place among the November Nine.
Stephensen is a firm believer in the “Poker is a Game of Skill, “ philosophy. Considering the young player's smooth style and more than a decade of solid experience to back up his play he could be the next World's Greatest Poker Player.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Another first at the 2014 WSOP. For the second consecutive year we have a Dutchman at the WSOP final table and he's sitting in seat #3 behind almost 20% of the events total chips in play. Holding 38,375,000 in play money is Jorryt van Hoof of Eindhoven, Netherlands. The 31-year-old Dutch poker professional has 5,600,000 more chips than Felix Stephensen, second on the chip leader board.
Following the lead of fellow Dutchman, 2013 November Nine player and seventh place finisher, Michiel Brummelhuis, chip leader Jorryt van Hoof makes it two-in-a-row for the Netherlands. Jorryt van Hoof arrived atop the Main Event chip leader board after a rocky start following Day 1B.
On Day 2 he bagged less chips than he had at the start of the day. Day 3 saw him add to his total play money but once again, Day 4 had him showing another loss and bagging less. Day 5 showed a significant gain in chips. Day 6 had van Hoof adding even more to his stacks and finishing the day among the chip leaders. Day 7 belonged to Jorryt van Hoof when the WSOP Main Event starting field of 6685 runners was trimmed down to nine players. They were assigned seats at the World's most famous poker table, the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table. Jorryt van Hoof stands above the November Nine as the chip leader.
Like many of today's younger players Jorryt van Hoof began his journey into gaming playing “Magic, the Gathering.” Following the path of his peers he began playing poker. Jorryt van Hoof found he had a knack for the game and in particular, Pot Limit Omaha.
Jorryt van Hoff is no stranger to the WSOP and has cashed three times for a total of $27,956. He has career earnings of $358,580 which does not include the $730,725 ninth place money each of the November Nine have already received.
Jorryt van Hoof will lead the November Nine into the Penn & Teller Theater located in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 10, 2014. They will play until only two remain. The following day, November 11, the two will play heads-up until one is eliminated and a 2014 Poker Champion of the World is crowned. The winner will receive $10,000,000, a very special gold and diamond bracelet and perpetuity in the history of poker.
Calling Out Sexism in Poker — Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth” - by Wendeen H. Eolis
Featured Strategy - Mike Caro: Today's Word is Revenge
World Series of Poker Events 53 to the Main Event (#65)
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A sad day for the world of poker. Well known poker player Chad Brown lost his battle with cancer on July 2, 2014 and moved on to the big game. He was a multitalented individual that had an ability to master most anything he attempted.
He was known throughout the entertainment world and he also made a name for himself in sports. Poker became his primary pursuit during his final years. He won a big event during the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker and finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational event. In 2014 he was awarded a WSOP gold bracelet for his contributions to poker.
Over the years I have photographed Chad in numerous poker events and circumstances. He always exhibited class and was a true gentleman without regard to the moment. He always had time to meet and greet fans.
Chad Brown was truly a class act and will be sorely missed.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Until moments after the 2009 WSOP final table proceedings in the fall, Jeffrey Pollack was the public face of the WSOP. And then, suddenly, he announced his resignation and rushed off to take interviews that controlled the immediate spin on his departure. He said he was ready to survey opportunities in new pastures and pleased to have contributed to the growth of the WSOP brand.
Despite the happy state of affairs effectuated by the Pollack-Stewart collaboration, the collegiality between the two men had begun to wane at least a year earlier. A corporate reorganization of CIE was also afoot. Although Pollack had recommended a strong initiative in the online gaming market, and sought to add this responsibility to his portfolio, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman was zooming in on Mitch Garber, the recently departed CEO of Party Gaming, to lead such an effort.
Mitch Garber Steps up to Bat
Pollack’s unveiled opposition to Garber as his potential boss made for an awkward situation once Garber was plainly in line to take the reins of CIE (initially Harrahs Interactive Entertainment), including Pollack's most treasured domain, the WSOP.
In the spring of 2009, Garber became CEO of CIE. With Garber's blessings, Pollack assumed the title of President of CIE, briefly. But, Garber was running the show and relying on others as he built his team. In the fall of 2009, Pollack resigned. Garber tapped Stewart as his replacement.
Stewart Shines Brighter under Garber
By Wendeen H. Eolis
In the days leading up to the opening of the 2014 World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart, the Grand Pooh Bah of the World Series of Poker, was beaming. A five day trip had taken the WSOP Executive Director from Las Vegas to Macau where he eyeballed poker action in the stratosphere. He then traveled onward to Atlantic City for the WSOP National Championship, and back to Las Vegas to open the 45th Annual World Series of Poker--with a bang.
WSOP—Checking Out the Action in Macau
While in Macau, Stewart drooled over the possibilities for a future WSOP Macau-based event. He more than hints at his plan to nail down a deal that moves the WSOP APAP from Australia to Macau, in 2016.
WSOP—Checking into Atlantic City: On Miss America’s Boardwalk
By the time Stewart arrived in Atlantic City, the WSOP Championship was underway. It was his concept to “reboot the Circuit competitions into a year-long platform, culminating in a nationally televised bracelet championship.” And, Stewart took delight in seeing his idea—a final table competition on the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk—come to fruition.
German hotshot poker pro, 23-year old Dominik Nitsche, nabbed the bracelet along with $218,000. He also brought the Championship to a finish, hours earlier than expected. So, Stewart toyed with the idea of ditching his scheduled reservation for the next afternoon and taking a red-eye flight home to Las Vegas that night instead—to gain one extra day of preparation for the opening of the 2014 WSOP.
Article by Derrick Oliver-Dewan
Confident his vision was accurate, Matusow gave half his buy-in, $5000, to Nguyen so he could play instead. His friends and family thought he was 'Nuts' but 'The Mouth' was confident and maintains to this day he never doubted his decision for a second, not once, because he had seen the outcome vividly in his sleep. The rest, as they say, is histoy; Nguyen defeated Florida's Kevin McBride heads-up to win, uttering one of the most famous quotes in poker history in the process, "You call and it's gonna be all over baby."
by Barbara Rogers
Art by Robby Becker
This piece of art (above) reflects my brain on poker. I couldn't say it better with words. But poker dealer Robby Becker speaks to the poker player in us through his art. Robby and his wife left Vegas for Southern Florida and now he deals poker for Director Of Poker Operations, David Litvin, at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale, Florida as one of David's best dealers. His passion for art extends beyond poker. It includes plenty of beach themes and vistas from urban golf courses to fantastic sci-fi worlds. Robby's poker art specializes in colorful spay paint on canvas in abstract forms and adding the poker theme. This has drawn so much attention to his work that David has made arrangement for Robby's work to be on display at Mardi Gras poker room. You can see more by going to robbybeckerart.com. You may want to invest in his art before he becomes famous, while it's still affordable.
Article by Derrick Oliver-Dewan
There is no one quite like Padraig Parkinson. A poker pioneer in Ireland, where the Poker Gods keep Irish eyes smiling, Parkinson was an outspoken proponent of the game before it, the game, exploded onto the worldwide stage. He was there long before Moneymaker. Witty, sarcastic and likeable to a fault, Parkinson has the rare ability to blend humor with his astonishing natural talents at the poker table, a wicked combination when the cards are running good. Oh, what a world champion he would have been.
"Thanks for reminding me," he joked during our interview on High Roller Radio after being asked if he ever thinks about what could have been. A man of his stature a world champion? A man with his gifted speaking abilities? "I didn't know it at the time but it would have been worth millions to be now. I was just playing for the money back then and third was good."
By Barbara Rogers
From Mohegan Elementary school to Mohegan Sun poker room, Josh Zuckerman is living proof that you can make a successful full circle, and you can go home again. Once upon a time Josh watched the mirrored towers of the stunning Mohegan Sun hotel appear on the Uncasville, Connecticut landscape. The lure of this big beauty launched what would become an exciting and successful career for this homegrown boy. Now a proficient senior level professional, experienced in managing operations for multimillion-dollar casino resorts, this man now brings his game home to Mohegan Sun.
Mr. Zuckerman makes the move from the Florida scene. He left his mark on their gaming world too. As a member of the Florida Gaming Summit, Josh generously contributed his expertise in operations to the industry. While working as the poker room manager at Jacksonville Greyhound Racing and Poker, he developed and ran a weekly one hour industry based radio show, broadcast on an ESPN affiliate and online. Deciding that an industry based poker talk show would do well, Josh put together a unique format. Blending a panel of personalities that would bring together every aspect of the game, in a 1 hour weekly show, a player, a dealer, a floor manager, a poker pro, and Josh talked poker strategy. Having so much fun, and considering it to be one of the best experiences of his career, Josh is in the early stages of a similar show for Mohegan Sun.
I asked Josh to sum up what he learned in his full circle.