by Joseph Smith Sr.
How many times have you sat around and dreamed of winning an event at the World Series of Poker and becoming a member of the WSOP millionaire's club. Living the good life, eating steak and lobster for breakfast, driving the best German engineered ride to your spacious high rise condo overlooking your personal playground, the Las Vegas strip. Jumping on the private jet for a ride to the next big money tournament.
Rubbing elbows with the who's who of the game, meeting sports celebrities, 'A' list movie stars and having fans point and stare any time your out and about. What a life. No worries, no problems, only fun times. Fun at least until something or someone decides to rain on your dream.
It could be a drought on winning cards that rivals the drought on rain in South America's Atamaca Desert, four inches of precipitation every one thousand years. Maybe it's the often impossibly long hours you're forced to sit in one of the world's most uncomfortable chairs that has damaged your lower spine causing constant pain even when infused with heavy duty legal drugs that cloud your decisions. Or perhaps trying to find a place for your elbows without touching the rash inducing polymer cover of the poker table's rimming parapet has you frantically searching for a talented dermatologist on the eve of the 'big one'. The list of health issues goes on and on. If it can happen it will happen, no one is immune.
More likely it will be the tap, tap, tapping of the tax man come knocking on your condo door. As with all things that produce obscene piles of cash and expensive perks a certain high percentage of participants will somehow manage to hire a crook to handle their new wealth and end up not just broke but way, way into the red side. And that's when those always fun show-me-the-money tax guys show up and show you their guns and tell you they can haul you away in handcuffs for a long stay in a dormitory setting in a place called La Tuna or Lompoc or Leavenworth. All we have to do to learn first-hand about this fall into the tax abyss is just read some of the “where are they now,” articles.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
A nine time world foosball champion best defines the stage for our bio of William Pappaconstantinou. Traveling all the way from Dracut, Massachusetts, the 29-year-old has career poker earnings of only $16,379, most of which came from a cash in a WPT event. None of the earnings came from WSOP events, in fact, Pappaconstantinou's WSOP earnings are zero and his WSOP experience prior to the 2014 Main Event are non-existent. His poker table experience is headed by a continuing stint working as a poker dealer at a Salem, New Hampshire charity poker room, Rockingham Park Poker Room.
This unlikely WSOP Main Event final table player appears to be perfectly suited to compete with the other eight members of the 2014 November Nine. During my brief conversation with Billy Pappaconstantinou I got the definite impression that he hadn't quite fully realized he now has a 1 in 9 chance of banking $10,000,000. He will be coming to the November final table with the 6th largest chip stack at T17,500,000 and will occupy seat #1.
William Pappaconstantinou's journey to the 2014 World Series of Poker final table is almost as unusual as the player himself, an individual that never finished high school and has never held a driver's license.. He started this WSOP adventure in Canada teaching a man how to play championship foosball. The foosball player he was coaching took an interest in Pappaconstantinou's dream of playing in the WSOP Main Event and sponsored him for his trip to the Big Poker Show at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Pappaconstantinou began his Main Event with the Day1B crowd and finished with 68,775 in chips. Day 2 saw his total climb to 104,900 while Day 3 was not re3corded. Day 4 was the start of his climb to nose bleed levels when he finished with 757,000 in play money. Day 5 the climb into the rare air of the stratosphere produced a day's total of 3.37 million in chips. Day 6 Pappaconstantinou finished in 4th place on the chip leader board with 15.64 million in his stacks. Day 7 locked up his November Nine position and seat at the Main Event final table scheduled for November 10 and 11 with 17.5 million in tournament chips.
What an amazing adventure for this New Hampshire poker dealer. Billy Pappaconstantinou is considered to be the only amateur at the 2014 Main Event final table. He plans to spend his break time pursuing his world class level of play in tournament foosball.
When questioned about his success at this year's event the personable player summed up his feelings about his journey with, “This isn't realistic to me,” followed by, “I'm just a poor kid dealer trying to live a dream.” When asked if he thought he had a chance to win it all he responded with exactly the right statement, “We all have a shot.”
We wish you all the luck at the 2014 World Series of Poker's November final table so your first time living the dream can become a reality.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Anyone out there remember when there were no poker tournaments, even for the high end player? Can you remember the very first time you played in a poker tournament? Did you win, anything? How about the first time you heard of satellites. What was this? You play in a tournament and if you win you get a seat in a bigger tournament. Who would want to do that? Anyone remember Satellite Sam?
Did you know the first WSOP $10,000 Championship event won by a player that won a satellite seat was Tom McEvoy. If you know that then you probably also know that McEvoy is the most prolific author of poker books.
Now for some more fun facts from the 2014 World Series of Poker. The Big Poker Show dates back to 1970 when the World Poker Champion was decided by a ballot vote of the few players that gathered at Benny Binion's Horseshoe. The 2014 summer event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino attracted 82,360 entrants representing 107 different countries all vying for some of the $225 million in prize money.
United States poker players won the most WSOP gold champion bracelets taking home 52 of the 64 bracelets offered this summer. The usual second place country, Canada, was shutout of the 2014 meet.
All fifty states of the U.S were represented at the 2014 WSOP while 10 Canadian Provinces sent players. To date 8,730 players cashed during the summer tournaments.
Now's the best time to start planning your journey to poker stardom so get busy and schedule your trip to the 2015 WSOP. Remember, you can't win if you don't play.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Beginning in 2012 the World Series of Poker has partnered with the One Drop Foundation and provided the world charity with $12,205,089 in donations. The One Drop Foundation is dedicated to providing clean, safe water to people around the world.
Through the efforts of Guy Laliberté the world's most expensive buy-in poker tournament became a reality. In 2012 the $1,000,000 buy-in “The Big One for One Drop” poker tournament headlined the WSOP summer event at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Guy Laliberté is the founder of Cirque du Soleil®, the live stage shows found at many of the major strip properties and filling seats with delighted Las Vegas show goers for years.
In addition to the “Big One” there is also a “Little One for One Drop” with a $1,111 buy-in. The 2014 “Little One” raised $499,056 while the “Big One” collected $4,666,662 for the One Drop Foundation. A third program, “All-In for One Drop” allows all players to donate a percentage of their winnings to the foundation and in 2014 they donated $107,329. The total for the 2014 efforts amounted to $5,273,047. Since 2012 the WSOP partnership with Guy Laliberté has collected and donated $12,205,089 to the One Drop Foundation.
Of note, Caesar's Entertainment, owner and operator of the World Series of Poker & WSOP brands does not take any of the revenues generated from the player's buy-ins. The entire amount goes to the foundation or into the prize pool. Additional millions more are donated through the covered cost of for the tournaments, TV production, marketing and contributed time from poker dealers, floor supervisors as well as registration and payout clerks.
The World Series of Poker along with the thousands of players has proven to be an outstanding, caring citizen of the world neighborhood. Providing a source of healthy water is just one on the good things that comes from this generosity.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Most important fact coming out of the 2014 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this summer? The increase in the number of entries of the 2014 Main Event at 6,683 making it the fifth largest Poker World Championship field of all-time and the largest seated combine of players since the 2010 Main Event attracted 7,319.
Some of the credit for the demonstrated growth in the latest WSOP summer meet must be attributed to the recent positive events surrounding the legalization of online poker rooms. While this trend towards legitimacy is a small step when compared to the popularity poker enjoyed during the 2004-2006 era it is a giant step for the poker industry.
There is no better barometer of poker's rise as the world's favorite game than the WSOP. Throughout its 45 year history the World Series of Poker is the one that every poker player dreams of winning. For many of poker's faithful just being able to say, “I played in the WSOP,” is more than reason enough to make the trek to Las Vegas and 2014 saw record numbers come to live the dream.
The following records from 2014 are now a point of fact in the WSOP history book:
Largest single day attendance at 7,977 in Event #8 $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker
Largest non-Hold'em event at 1,128 in Event #3 $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
Largest Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better at 1,036 in Event #14 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
Largest Seniors Event at 4,425 players in Event #17 $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
Largest Prize Pool for $1,000 Buy-in at $3,982,500 in Event #17 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em
Most Players for non-re-entry at 7,862 in Event #51 $1,500 Monster Stack
Largest Field for non-Hold'em $10K buy-in at 418 in Event 64 Pot-Limit Omaha
Most Events with $1 million+ winner's prize at 5 (events #8, #46, #51, #57, #65)
Most Events with $10 million+ prize pools at 4 (events #8, #51, #57, #65)
Largest Main Event starting flight at 3,768 players on Day 1C
We will continue to offer WSOP facts, figures, records and tall tales in future articles so stay tuned.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Now that the 2014 World Series of Poker has completed all but 2 days of play we can look back at the the Big Poker Show and be amazed at how far the game has come. People in my age group that follow poker can recall with pride the pleasant memories of the WSOPs of bygone years.
The tall, thin man from Amarillo, Texas that not only won the $10,000 championship of poker (Main Event wasn't coined yet) but got himself an invite to the Johnny Carson Show. The nation watched in awe as this poker player entertained us with tales about those people that would play a card game that required a $10,000 buy-in. We were shocked they could find enough people to fill a single table and in 1972 the $10K championship event seated 8 players. Amarillo Slim did win and left with $80,000 because it was “winner take all.” Second place paid the same as last place – nothing!
It was the first time many of us young hometown poker players had ever heard the terms “freeze out,” or “Texas Hold'em.” We played real poker games that were generally limited to Draw Poker or Stud Poker and occasionally we even played Lo-ball depending on how much we had to drink that particular Thursday night. We also knew an indisputable fact, If you play poker with someone nicknamed after a city or state you would lose. This was the era of Texas Dolly, Amarillo Slim, Tree Top, Puggy and The Kid.
Now we move ahead forty-five years to the 2014 WSOP Main Event and realize there were 6,683 players with a $10,000 buy-in playing in same event. And for complete Shock and Awe, 42 players paid a $1 million buy-in to play in the 2014 WSOP Event #57, The Big One for One Drop.
2014 WSOP Statistical Overview
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Now that Amaya Gaming has completed its purchase of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark, for whom he founded the company, are totally out. Daniel Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya, and the architect of the PokerStars deal, is totally in. And today, U. S. gaming companies are better positioned to compete against the online behemoth, than ever before.
Not coincidentally, the management change has put PokerStars back in line for prompt licensing consideration by regulators in New Jersey. Less expected, however, are the kind words a Caesars executive bestows on the Amaya CEO. But, before a relationship between Amaya Gaming and American poker players moves forward in earnest, with plans to hook up online gaming in America from shore to shore, the Company will need to go through more than a few hoops.
PokerStars Train Rolling Across America
Things are looking up in New Jersey as PokerStars prepares to settle down, "suitably," in Atlantic City. The PokerStars partnership with Resorts is the talk of the town. New Jersey regulators are reportedly convinced that Poker Stars now deserves a welcome mat and are all but drooling over $$$ projected for the State. Wise casino executives, from the marina to the boardwalk are past their frustration over the anticipated competition; looking instead for the silver lining. Only die-hard naysayers are still warning, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!"
In contrast, California is an unending battleground in the igaming world. Should PokerStars be admitted to the gaming party or should Poker Stars be excluded by a "bad actor clause;" that is the ongoing question. Casino industry lobbyists and legal experts at opposite ends of the pole have been opining on how to proceed with online gambling legislation. One side of the legal argument revolves around the Constitution. The other side invokes states’ rights that may effectively trump the Constitution. For lawmakers it is a classic case of Fiorello’s song, “Politics and Poker.” One online poker bill has just died on the vine. A second one threatens to face a similar fate, likely to push the debate down the road into 2015.
California, here we come—maybe
Earlier this month, longtime Whittier law professor and gambling law expert I. Nelson Rose took on Constitutional scholar and Harvard Professor, Lawrence Tribe. Rose rebutted Tribe’s legal opinion concerning the two online poker bills pending in the California legislature. Tribe challenges the “bad actor” clause in proposed legislation. Rose defends it. Tribe is advocating for a client. at Rose is engaged in an intellectual exercise .
Tribe relies on the Constitution to assail the “bad actor clause.” He says it is a pointed effort to cut out his client, PokerStars, from the re-emerging industry in the U.S. Proponents of the California-based bills, generally, make no bones about seeking to bar Poker Stars from entering the U.S market, anytime soon. And California lawmakers seem have plenty of like-minded company from Nevada to Pennsylvania. But Rose’s article sidesteps pointing fingers. He looks at the subject matter academically. He zeroes in on states’ rights, and police powers that provide for a state to protect its citizens, to make his argument that the bad actor clause is legally justified.
Rose’s Grandstanding Makes Sense!
by Joseph Smith Sr.
We are providing this handy service for the millions of poker fans that could not make the trip to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Even those that did have the opportunity to attend the big summer poker bash known as the World Series of Poker or more commonly referred to as the WSOP will find the TV broadcast of select events to be free poker lessons from some of the greatest players in the history of the game. It's also very entertaining viewing.
This year's coverage of the 45th anniversary edition of the WSOP began on July 15 at 8 PM ET with the first two 1- hour segments of 24 original episodes from the summer's WSOP tournament. These two episodes cover the WSOP National Championship Final Table played over the Memorial Day weekend on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. A first for broadcast poker was the coverage of the tournament for $1.2 million played in the great outdoors on the boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
After a one week break the WSOP on ESPN returns with the first two hour segment of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop charity tournament. Coverage of this maximus event will continue for the next three weeks (July 29, August 5, August 12) starting at 8 PM ET.
WSOP on ESPN begins on Sunday, September 28th at 9 PM ET and continues for seven consecutive Sunday Nights providing in-depth coverage of the fabled WSOP Main Event. Watch each Sunday night when ESPN will offer a two-hour block of the first Main event to guarantee the winner a minimum of $10,000,000. As in the past, Norm Chad and Lon McEachern will provide the commentary.
November's Main Event final table will be covered Live on ESPN2 beginning at 8 PM ET on November 10th and 9 PM ET on November 11th.
The following link takes you directly to the WSOP.com 2014 WSOP on ESPN TELEVISION SCHEDULE.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Dan Sindelar grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and went on to attend the University of Nebraska until his junior year when he discovered his talents at the poker table could no longer be denied. It was goodbye to the college degree leading to an 8 to 5 job and hello Vegas. After a brief stay in Council Bluff, Iowa near the river casinos and poker rooms the then 22-year-old Sindelar made the move to Las Vegas. During the ensuing years since he's racked up career poker earnings of $527,779.
Now, we fast forward to the present and find the 30-year-old Sindelar has added $730,725 to his bank account after his entry and play in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event gained him a seat at the November final table. As a member of the November Nine he now has a shot at adding $10,000,000 to his bank account and claiming the most coveted and elusive prize in all of poker, a uniquely styled gold and diamond championship bracelet. Dan Sindelar will then have his name added to the Main Event winner's list for all of time.
Sindelar has amassed 17 previous WSOP cashes which included 4 during his play in the 19 events he entered at the 2014 WSOP. His WSOP earnings prior to the summer's deep run in the Main Event total $227,791. He has played in the WSOP Main Event the past 6 years with this summer's cash being his first.
Dan Sindelar's journey to seat #7 of the November final table began on Day 1B when he held his own and finished the day with just over 40 thousand in chips. Day 2 saw his stack grow to almost 153 thousand and on Day 3 he continued the upward climb to 421 and a half thousand in play money.
Day 4 was the start of his rise to the upper levels when he accumulated 1.62 million in chips and Day 5 pushed him into the seventh spot on the leader board with 5.24 million. Sindelar enjoyed a most gainful time on Day 6 when he finished in the leader board 3 spot with 16.345 million. The upper spiral continued through Day 7 as Sindelar added to his existing total and finished the play at the summer event with 21.2 million which placed him right in the middle of the November Nine field and 5th overall on the leader board.
An avid golfer, Daniel Sindelar says he spends more time on the golf course than the poker room. The single poker professional plans to spend his time relaxing and enjoying life after what's already a major money hit. He also added that he believes Mark Newhouse is the player to beat and indicated he will play close attention to the first final table back-to-back repeater in the last decade.
We wish Dan Sindelar all the luck and pick him as our third choice to win it all.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Andoni Larrabe is the first Spaniard since Carlos Mortensen won the 2001 WSOP Main Event to earn a final table seat. The 22-year-old poker professional from Basque, Spain now makes his home in London, England.
A first appearance at the WSOP was in 2013 when the young player cashed in three events. Larrabe entered 5 events during the 2014 WSOP but failed to cash in any of them. His deep run in the Main Event was his first 2014 cash and the $730,725 awarded to each of the November Nine pushed the Spaniard's career earnings of $341,288 over the one million mark.
Andoni Larrabe gained the attention of the professional poker world in January, 2013 at the PokerStars' Caribbean Adventure held at the Atlantis Resort and Casino when he went heads-up with poker superstar, Justin Bonomo, and won a $5,300 buy-in event.
Main Event play for Larrabe began on Day 1B. He continued to end each of the following days in the upper percentile of players. The only stumble came when the final table was looking for its bubble. He went all-in heads-up holding A--A with Luis Velador holding A–K. The flop paired Velador's King and the turn paired the board. Only a King on the river could deny Larrabe a seat at the Main Event final table in November. The river was a Six and Larrabe became the youngest member of the 2014 WSOP Main Event November Nine.
During the post interview Larrabe told ESPN he was going to approach the upcoming November Main Event finish as calmly as possible and spend the long break thinking about the game ahead and relaxing.
Andoni Larrabe will come to the November final table fourth on the chip leader board holding T22,550,000 in play money. He will be sitting in the #5 seat with Mark Newhouse (T26,000,000) on his right and William Tonking (T15,050,000) on his left.
Considering the make-up of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event final table will the trend of having the youngest of the November Nine become the next World Poker Champion continue for 2014? Andoni Larrabe has the chips, he has the experience and he has a seat for the party at the Rio. A win for 2014's youngest player could be in the cards.