$10,449 | Phil Kessel cashing in at the World Series of Poker

Toronto Maple Leaf Phil Kessel outlasted poker legends and hockey greats to finish second in the NHL Alumni Charity Poker Tournament presented by PokerStars.net. Kessel donated the $15,000 second place prize to SickKids Foundation and matched the amount with a $15,000 personal donation. (CNW Group/PokerStars.net)

Game on! The 2015 National Hockey League season begins tonight! Some NHL stars aren’t just amazing on the ice – but can carry their weight at the poker table as well …

Phil Kessel has collected four cashes in the past three years at the World Series of Poker, including a pair of scores this summer in Las Vegas. He has earned $10,449 on the live tournament circuit … still quite a ways from the $10,000,000 he will earn playing in the NHL this season.

Having played the past six seasons in Toronto for the Maple Leafs, Kessel befriended poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, a Toronto native who cheers on his home team with a passion. Kid Poker took Kessel under his wing, helping him develop his game. However, Kessel was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer – no word yet on if Negreanu will be asked to travel to Pennsylvania this winter.

Top 5 | Kessel’s scores on the circuit
1- $15,000, PokerStars NHL Tournament, Jan 2014 (donated to charity)
2- $3,502, WSOP Monster Stack, 2014
3- $3,217, WSOP $1,500 NLH, 2015
4- $2,730, WSOP $1,500 NLH, 2013
5- $1,000, WSOP DraftKings 50/50, 2015

*Photo credit: PokerStars


634th | Roberto Luongo switches goalie pads for poker chips


The 2015 National Hockey League season is set to begin on Wednesday! Some NHL stars aren’t just amazing on the ice – but can carry their weight at the poker table as well …

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made headline news in the summer of 2012 – but it wasn’t because of a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs – it was due to the goalie’s deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Although the two-time Olympic gold medalist would fail to make the November Nine (which would have created quite the controversy given the fact that the NHL is in the middle of their season at that time), Luongo managed to pickup a 634th finish, outlasting close to 6,000 competitors. Greg Merson would go on to win the 2012 Main Event.

Top 5 | 2012 WSOP Main Event
1- Gregory Merson (USA), $8,531,853
2- Jesse Sylvia (USA), $5,295,149
3- Jacob Balsiger (USA), $3,799,073
4- Russell Thomas (USA), $2,851,537
5- Jeremy Ausmus (USA), $2,155,313

*Photo credit: PlayNow.com


72 | Erick Lindgren’s epic golf rounds


Erick Lindgren loves to play golf but even he admits that playing 72 holes in one day – in the middle of the sweltering Las Vegas desert – was probably not the best he ever made in his lifetime … but he still did it!

While the former WPT Player of the Year suffered through heat exhaustion – and was rumored to have lost 15 pounds during his four rounds of play – Lindgren would collect on his June 2007 bet, taking $340,000 from fellow World Series of Poker bracelet winners Phil Ivey, Gavin Smith and Chris Bell … DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS!

*Photo credit: Neil Stoddart, Global Poker Index


8% | Was Runner Runner that rotten?


When word first got out that a poker-themed movie featuring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake was in the works, poker fans were excited. Sadly, when Runner Runner was finally released in theatres – on this day in 2013 – it failed to deliver.

And while poker fans were very critical of the movie, the experts over at Rotten Tomatoes were even more brutal. The film received a 8% rating on the Tomatometer – ouch!

Top 5 | US Box Office – Poker-themed movies
$101,631,272 – Maverick (1994)
$22,905,674 – Rounders (1998)
$19,312,480 – Runner Runner (2013)
$5,755,286 – Lucky You (2007)
$114,669 – The Grand (2007)

*Photo credit: tinseltine.com


17/19 | A career full of wins for John Juanda

John Juanda-090415-GPI

19 years after winning his very first event on the live tournament circuit, John Juanda was back in the winner’s circle in August, winning EPT Barcelona, adding another impressive major title to his credit.

Incredibly, this marked the 17th year where Juanda won a title on the circuit – you read that right, John Juanda has at least one win in 17 of his 19 years on tour, including at least one win in each season between 1997 and 2011 – talk about consistency!

Top 5 | Major event victories for Juanda
›› May 2002: WSOP Ace to Five Triple Draw
›› May 2003: WSOP Pot Limit Omaha
›› Sep 2008: WSOP Europe Main Event
›› Jun 2011: WSOP 2-7 Draw World Championship
›› Aug 2015: EPT Barcelona Main Event

*Photo credit: Jules Pochy, Global Poker Index


103,512 | Chasing the WSOP dream


It’s become an annual pilgrimage – poker players head down to the desert each summer, all hoping to leave Las Vegas with one of the coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet.

We saw a big increase in the total numbers this past summer as the WSOP executive team continue to “get creative”, adding events that are attracting huge fields. This year, The Colossus was added to the schedule and drew over 22k entries!

When all was said and done, the WSOP recorded a grand total of 103,512 entries for the 68 events presented this past summer at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino!

Top 5 | Most attended events at the 2015 WSOP
22,374 – The Colossus
7,275 – Millionaire Maker
7,192 – Monster Stack
6,420 – WSOP Main Event
4,555 – Little One for One Drop

*Photo credit: Global Poker Index


1,000,000 | Freddy Deeb wins big in Aruba

Freddy Deeb-090415-GPI

The great Freddy Deeb was one step away from collecting a third WPT title just a few weeks ago at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, finishing second to Mike Shariati.

On this day ten years ago today, however, it was all roses for the poker legend. It was on October 1, 2005 where Deeb defeated Josh Schlein heads-up en route to his very first WPT title, winning the $1,000,000 top prize at the WPT Ultimate Poker Classic in Aruba.

Top 5 | 2005 WPT Ultimate Classic results
1. Freddy Deeb, LIB (GPI#1820)
2. Josh Schlein, USA (NR)
3. Johan Storakers, SWE (GPI#1829)
4. Devin Porter, USA (NR)
5. Robert Border, USA (NR)

*Photo credit: Neil Stoddart, Global Poker Index


15 | Sheringham goes from the pitch to the felt

Teddy Sherringham

Former English International Teddy Sheringham was a competitor on the live tournament circuit following a successful career on the pitch which saw him play for legendary clubs Manchester United and Totenham Hotspur, amongst others.

Sheringham was able to earn 15 results on the poker circuit, including earning a 5th place finish at EPT Vilamoura in 2010. The EPT final table included eventual winner Toby Lewis, UK superstar Sam Trickett and 2014 WSOP Main Event winner Martin Jacobson.

Top 5 | 2010 EPT Vilamoura results
1. Toby Lewis, UK (GPI#158)
2. Martin Jacobson, SWE (GPI#108)
3. Jason Lee, CAN
4. Sam Trickett, UK (GPI#750)
5. Teddy Sheringham, UK

*Photo credit: The Hendon Mob


2,255 | Borgata packs ’em in

David Paredes-092615-GPI

New Yorker David Paredes became the latest player to battle his way through a super-sized field towards WPT victory at the Borgata in Atlantic City; making this the 9th time the WPT hosted another mega-field event at Borgata.

Three WPT events were showcased at Borgata in 2015 including the recently completed BPO, the Winter Open and the WPT World Championship, which moved from Las Vegas to Borgata in 2014. Incredibly, a grand total of 2,225 players entered a WPT event at the Borgata in 2015.

Top 5 | Largest WPT Borgata fields
›› 1,313 – WPT Borgata Poker Open, 2011
›› 1,229 – WPT Borgata Winter Open, 2014
›› 1,226 – WPT Borgata Poker Open, 2014
›› 1,189 – WPT Borgata Poker Open, 2013
›› 1,181 – WPT Borgata Poker Open, 2012

*Photo credit: Joe Giron/World Poker Tour


#10 | Double-digit WPT results for Goldberg


Almost 10 years after earning his very first result on the World Poker Tour, Fred Goldberg captured his 10th WPT score over the weekend, finishing 23rd at the inaugural WPT Maryland Live!

That first WPT score? That came in January 2006 at the WPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) … yes, you’re reading it right, many may have forgotten that the PCA used to be a WPT tour event! Goldberg, a 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, would end up finishing 60th at the PCA, in an event won by Canadian Steve-Paul Ambrose.

Goldberg has final tabled two WPT events, including the 2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open, where a sick run-out would prevent him from doing better than a fourth place finish:

Top 5 | Goldberg’s best WPT results
›› 4th, WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic (Mar 2007)
›› 4th, WPT Borgata Poker Open (Sep 2011)
›› 8th, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown (Apr 2012)
›› 11th, WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic (Dec 2006)
›› 20th, WPT Jacksonville (Apr 2012)

*Video credit: World Poker Tour


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