ECPC at Turning Stone runs May 18-28

April 15, 2017, Dave Lukow, Christopher Cosenza, Michael Young  

The East Coast Poker Championships will be May 18-28 at Turning Stone Resort in New York with the $570 main event sporting a $100K guarantee.

The championship event will have two flights (May 19-20) with Day 2 on May 21. There also will be a $50K guarantee the following weekend for $350. Please see the ad on the right for more details. Also, the Jumbo Bad Beat Jackpot was $231K at press time with a qualifier of quad fives. The qualifier gets easier after each day it’s not hit until it reaches aces full of kings.

Connecticut

FOXWOODS CASINO: Rami Owera of Florida took second-place money in a three-way chop ($76K) but earned the Foxwoods Poker Classic title and trophy when the three rounders decided to play for the hardware. Brad St. Vincent of Rhode Island earned the most cash ($81,716) but lost the crown to Owera. Soukha Kachittavon of Rhode Island won $73K. The $2,200 championship event drew 247 players for a $479,180 prize pool.

Mark Bramley outlasted 176 entrants to win the $1,200 Event 9 ($40,940), followed by Dominick Pelli of Stamford, Conn., ($29K), Shaun Connaughton of Massachusetts ($27K). Robert Cournoyer of Rhode Island ($15,439) and Jayaram Chathoth of New Jersey ($11,697).The prize pool was $187,142.

The opening event ($600 NLHE) saw a whopping 1,232 players for a $632K prize pool as Michael Haddad of New York won the title and $67,731. Ben Bianco, also of New York, was second but earned more cash ($71,555) via the chop. Emmanuel Okrah was third ($64,866) and Bryan Leskowitz was fourth ($51,068). Both are from Massachusetts.

In an earlier series, Daniel Podheiser edged Christopher Smith to win the main event of the Winter Deep Freeze Poker Challenge in Mashantucket. A Massachusetts resident, Podheiser earned $58,541 for the victory. Smith collected $50K. With 303 entrants, the prize pool for the $1,100 tourney was $293,910.

Barry Weprin of New York won Event 1, a $500 event that had a $262,909 prize pool and 616 runners. He earned $37K for the title. Meng Lu of Massachusetts was second ($32K), followed by Dennis Zollo ($28,201) and Andrew Kloc ($25K).

Event 7, a $300 event, went to Giuseppe Alfonso, who chopped with Alex Morgovsky for $8,967 each.There were 250 participants for a $63K prize pool.

Mid-Atlantic

HORSESHOE BALTIMORE: The World Series of Poker Circuit runs until May 8. Most ring events were $365 and the $1,675 main event begins May 5. There are satellites and non-ring events for all budgets so be sure to check out the schedule at wsop.com.

MARYLAND LIVE: The WPTDeepStacks series, which had $750K-plus in guarantees, still was running at press time. Be sure to check in with us next issue for results.

DOVER DOWNS HOTEL AND CASINO: Eight tournaments with combined guarantees of $65K, including a $30K event, highlight the May 26-29 Getaway Weekend. Call for details.

DELAWARE PARK: Every hour the high hand will be awarded with a payout as much as $500. The payout will vary depending on time of day. See the poker room for a complete schedule.

Atlantic City/Philadelphia

HARRAH'S ATLANTIC CITY: Abraham Korotki earned his second World Series of Poker Circuit main-event ring on March 20, beating 340 players over three days to win the $1,675 tournament for $117,645.

“This was a good tournament. It was fun and a lot of nice people in it, so I enjoyed it,” Korotki said.

This was a historic victory in that Korotki won this same title in 2006, but he said this one was more difficult.

“Well, the first one was a decade ago. I would say over the decade, players have gotten better,” he said. “And it is very difficult to win a tournament, let alone multiple tournaments.”

Korotki’s first win was worth $433,008, but that was because the buy-in was $9,700 in 2006.

The Delaware resident bagged the chip lead after Day 2 of this event, but found himself in trouble on Day 3.

“I lost a huge hand. I misread the opponent,” he said. “But I was fortunate to flop a couple of straights. There’s no one that has ever won a tournament that didn’t have some luck with them.”

Dan Buzgon of Marlton, N.J., was the story of the undercard tourneys, winning Events 6 and 12. Here are the winners of the ring events: Fred Ferrell of Philadelphia (Event 1, $365 NLHE, $17,401), Phil Levine of New York (Event 2, $365 NLHE, $36,106), Nick Bevilacqua of New York (Event 3, $365 Monster, $19,110), John Iraj of New York (Event 4, $580 NLHE, $18,062), Dan Swift of New York (Event 5, six-max, $18,789), Buzgon (Event 6, $365 NLHE, $15,366), Matt Paoletti of Perkasie, Pa., (Event 7, $365 Omaha/8, $7,968), Vinny Pahuja of New York (Event 8, $365 NLHE, $13,284), Chris Lim of the Bronx (Event 10, $365 NLHE, $9,989), Frank Toscano of New York (Event 11, $580 NLHE, $14,400) and Buzgon (Event 12, $365 NLHE, $9,089).

SUGARHOUSE CASINO: A 20-hour Day 2 culminated in Michael Hager going wire-to-wire to capture the Philadelphia Poker Classic in late March. The $500 event drew 511 players to create a $272K prize pool, beating the $200K guarantee.

He began the day as chipleader and survived being all-in on the money bubble with kings vs. aces en route to winning his first career main event. He’s primarily a cash-game player who doesn’t play a lot of tournaments so this victory was quite impressive.

Hager, Abe Faroni and Joe Palma made a deal at the final table with Hager earning $46K. Palma pocketed $35K and Faroni earned $40,434. Peter Miranda, who had the lead for a bit, finished fourth ($19,643). Poker Hall of Famer Phil Hellmuth was in the field for Day 2 but failed to make a serious run at the title.

One of the highlights of the series was Mike Ta, who chopped the SugarRush Challenge, which had 735 runners, and won the PLO event. Schyler Twaddle was declared the champion of the SugarRush Challenge for $24,846. Also, Rafael Camejo captured the senior event for $2,800.

SANDS BETHLEHEM: Saimir Collaku of Hoboken, N.J., won the DeepStack Extravaganza’s $550 main event on March 13 for $55K. He chopped with John Kramer, Ryan Miquel and Jack Hackbart. The event had more than 700 runners for a nearly $350K prize pool. Saimir was chipleader for all of Day 3. He said he hasn’t played any major events in three years and this was his first event at the Sands, scoring his largest cash of his career. In other tourney news, there’s a $325 deepstack (25K chips) at 11 a.m. for $325 on the last Saturday of the month.

Meet Jason Rivkin

A tournament grinder, Jason Rivkin had taken some significant time off for personal reasons, but he’s back now, and we caught up with him.

Tell readers about your results upon returning. I was extremely selective in the tournaments I chose to play, mostly focusing on cash games and my personal life. This decision allowed me to avoid the stress that most full-time players constantly suffer from. Over the next six months, I played a dozen tournaments and found myself with a WSOP Circuit ring, a charity tournament win, a six-max final table, a Parx BigStax final table, a deep run in the Borgata WPT main and a painfully close runner-up finish in the WSOPC Cherokee main. Couldn’t have written the script any better. It wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support within and outside the poker community.

Any advice? To be successful in tournament poker, you need to eliminate distractions at the table and you need the patience and the confidence to endure all the speedbumps along the way — Jo Kim