Posts Tagged ‘Chris Ferguson

07
Jul
10

World Series of Poker – Winners and Losers

So, the Main Event is upon us. That all happened rather quickly.

This year’s World Series of Poker has been unlike any other, with only one double-bracelet winner and a number of new faces bursting onto the scene.

There have been a number of talking points, not least Tom Dwan’s efforts to reshape the poker economy and Phil Hellmuth’s fruitless quest for bracelet number 12, culminating in the duo falling by the wayside just shy of the final table in the Pot Limit Omaha World Championship.

Of course, some have fared better than others in the 41st World Series, and I thought I’d take a look at the big winners and losers in Las Vegas this summer.

Winner #1 – Frank Kassela

The only man to win two gold bracelets at this year’s World Series, Kassela finally achieved the breakthrough he has threatened for several years.

The 42-year-old pro has been racking up decent results on the tournament circuit for a while, but none will be as rewarding as his victory in the Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo World Championship.

Incredibly, he followed up that result with another triumph in event #40, the $2,500 Seven Card Razz event, and came close to a third bracelet when he fought through an incredibly strong field to finish third in the $25,000 6-max No-Limit Hold ‘Em event.

Kassela’s World Series earnings this year top $1.2 million – not bad for someone who had never won more than $200,000 in one event before 2010.

Winner #2 – Allen Kessler

My second winner is the man who finished second to Kassela in that $10,000 event.

King of the min-cash, ‘Chainsaw’ Kessler is often a figure of fun around poker forum Two Plus Two. However he silenced his critics, achieving eight money finishes in this series including a $276,485 score for that second place.

If he can make a deep run in the Main Event, he will finish just one shy of Nikolay Evdakov’s record of 10 cashes, achieved in 2008. But what makes Kessler’s series even more remarkable is that his eight cashes have come in eight different variants of the game.

Winner #3 – Eugene Katchalov

The best player you’ve never heard of, Katchalov is best known for taking down nearly $2.5million at the WPT Five Diamond Classic in 2007.

Since then, the New Yorker has threatened to make a World Series breakthrough but bad luck and bad timing have stood in his way.

This year, however, Katchalov showed the poker world he is more than a one-hit wonder, reaching final tables in three $10,000+ buy-in events and falling just short in the $5,000 shootout event.

That elusive first bracelet still awaits, but this year’s performances suggest it will only be a matter of time before the 29-year-old pulls off the World Series result which those close to him know he is capable of.

Loser #1 – Chris Ferguson

The man known as ‘Jesus’ has endured a difficult World Series so far, and will need a deep run in the Main Event just to break even for the month.

Ferguson has only a handful of cashes from his 47 events, and he finds himself over $200,000 in the hole for the series, with a cash for $16,607 in the $5,000 NLHE Shootout representing a rather underwhelming highlight.

Still, at least the 2000 World Champion has his Team Full Tilt millions to fall back on. It’s a tough life.

Loser #2. Joe Cada

As the series got underway, all eyes were on last year’s Main Event champion. Sadly for Joe Cada, those eyes were soon distracted by players who actually achieved something this year.

After becoming the youngest ever world champion last year, Cada couldn’t repeat his success on the felt.

The stats speak for themselves: 3 events, 0 cashes, $29,000 in the hole.

Loser #3 – Yueqi Zhu

This should have gone down as a good WSOP for Yueqi ‘Rich’ Zhu. But five cashes, including a third-place finish in the Omaha Hi-Lo World Championship (netting him over $225,000) were overshadowed by one incident in the Limit Hold ‘Em Shootout.

Zhu was disqualified from the event for allegedly cutting a deal with an opponent during heads-up play on his first table, costing him $4.135, a shot a bracelet, and – most importantly – a chunk of his reputation.

Whatever the reason for the deal-making (and Zhu issued a statement claiming a floorperson refused to help out when summoned), it is the ignominy of the disqualification which will go down in poker history – a sad end to a World Series which had, to that point, been free of major controversy.

Honourable mentions:

  • Michael Mizrachi – ‘Grinder’ won the $50,000-buy-in Players’ Championship and final-tabled two $10,000 buy-in events
  • Vladimir Schemelev – little known Russian, absent from the World Series since 2007, made four final tables including a second-place finish behind Mizrachi
  • John Juanda – five cashes, four of which were for over $75,000. ‘Luckbox’ Juanda also bubbled the $25,000 event.

22
Jan
10

Beating the rush

This week, Full Tilt Poker made an announcement they feel will change the dynamics of the online poker world.

Rush Poker, the company’s new brainwave, will see the waiting time between hands minimised as players are moved to a different table and dealt new cards as soon as they fold.

Former world champion Chris Ferguson has described Rush Poker as ‘the greatest innovation in online poker since poker started on the internet.’

2000 World Series of Poker champion Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson

Still, putting superlative statements from Team Full Tilt members to one side, Rush Poker is definitely something to be excited about.

Original November Niner Scott Montgomery famously described himself as being part of the ‘ADD Generation’, and this new strand of the game should help to tackle issues of patience and concentration within the game.

Many players get bored playing one table at a time online, and some have resorted to multitabling to get round this issue.

And this emphasises how much of a risk Full Tilt are taking with the introduction of this new system.

With some former-multitablers trying out Rush Poker as an alternative, the site may lose rake on tournament and cash table entries.

But the company must feel confident that they can attract more players from rival sites: players who (a) want to be among the first to try out this new and exclusive system, and (b) have until now seen multi-tabling as a necessary inconvenience, and believe they have something to gain from Rush Poker.

More than just a hobby

There is, however, one element of Rush Poker which I would consider to be a potential stumbling block.

Players like myself, who have something of a superiority complex at the table, value their ability to pick up on reads and patterns.

This is particularly true of players in the higher echelons of the game (myself not included, sadly), as evidence by the amount of money spent on programmes like Sharkscope which give insights into the history or playing style of opponents.

Furthermore, the recent controversy surrounding Brian Hastings and his fellow Team Cardrunners members exchanging hand histories before Hastings took on online prodigy Isildur1 demonstrates how the best players in the world like to look for ‘tells’ away from the live circuit.

Brian Hastings recently won over $4million with the help of hand histories

With the advent of Rush Poker, the ability of players to ‘do their homework’ is diminished. They will face different opponents every hand, leaving them insufficient time to pick up on their rivals habits and eccentricities at the table.

On the basis of this, it is difficult to see Rush Poker having a significant impact on the ‘nosebleed’ games, or even on mid-stakes tournaments.

One can only assume, therefore, that Full Tilt will be targeting the lower-level games, where the rake is higher and their is more money to be made. It would seem that they are confident enough of generating significant revenue to overcome the diminishing returns from multitabling.

It will be interesting to see if Rush Poker takes off. And, if it does, how will Full Tilt’s competitors respond?




Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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