Partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North America Review
The partypoker LIVE MILLIONS tour has completed another successful series, this time in the Canadian province of Quebec. The usual roster of high-profile names were present, particularly from the American contingent, shooting for glory at the Playground Poker Club.
$10,300 High Roller
The first high roller of the series was won by American tournament grinder David Eldridge who collected $236,122 to bring his total past the $1 million mark. This was the second highest cash of his career. There must be something in the water there as last year Eldridge finished runner up in a WPT main event which is still his best result to date.
Eighty players signed up for the event, with only 26 returning for the final day’s action where 11 would get paid. Niall Farrell was one of the unlucky ones as he just couldn’t get anything going. 888poker brand ambassador Martin Jacobson was another who just dipped out.
The final table of 8 players included many that you really don’t want to be facing over a poker table. With the likes of Viktor Blom around it was sure to be fast-paced and exciting.
888poker brand ambassador Chris Moorman was the first to head home after Ami Alibay trapped him by flatting pocket queens pre-flop. Moorman jammed T8s and was snap called with the best hand holding up.
Alibay didn’t last much longer though. After two more hours Eldridge rivered a set against his top pair, and we were down to six.
Next to go would be another 888poker brand ambassador, Parker Talbot. The young Canadian is one of the most entertaining players to sit next to on a live table, but sadly it wasn’t for long in this case. AT into AQ pre-flop was enough to leave only five remaining.
Viktor Blom was looking in good form, but his famed aggression was his undoing after jamming pocket sevens on a Q Q 6 3 8 board. Eldridge tanked for a short while and called it off with pocket jacks.
Internet legend Jon “Apestyles” Van Fleet took home $70,837 for fourth place; his biggest live cash yet. Some of you will recall that last year Van Fleet won the partypoker MILLIONS online for more than $1 million.
Eldridge took care of businessman Kevin Hobbs to leave him with just 14 big blinds, which Victor Ramdin soon scooped up to reach the heads-up stage with equal stacks.
Eldridge’s pocket tens against A3 was the turning point after which he ran straight home to victory.
$25,000 High Roller
The bigger high roller event was less eventful than what we had already seen, but there were still plenty of big names to watch. Canada’s Chris Kruk was the eventual winner after besting another high roller reg, American Anthony Zinno.
Kruk is another high-stakes tournament reg that is better known for his online exploits, as well as his high quality video tuition.
Victor Ramdin had another deep run, making it to sixth place with a cheque for $62,104, and this time Niall Farrell managed to ride his luck into the final table with a respectable fifth place finish. Viktor Blom, however, self-destructed with a trademark triple barrel bluff with air and didn’t make the money.
Chance Kornuth took fourth place. Kruk eliminated him by calling a 12 big blind shove with an ace while Kornuth flipped over broadways and didn’t find any help on the run out.
Darren Elias was next to go after getting pocket tens in against Zinno’s AQ. The American had been fairly inactive until that point and will have been gutted to have busted without really being able to put up a fight.
On to the heads-up action, the organisers had previously decided to cut the blind levels to only 20 minutes in order to encourage faster paced exciting play. Even with this in mind neither Kruk or Zinno were able to pull ahead until it all came to a sudden end in a single hand.
Zinno opens pocket sevens and Kruk comes back over the top with A5s. After getting a safe flop both the turn and river double-pair the board counterfeiting the sevens. This gave the pot and the championship to Chris Kruk along with a $291,087 cash prize for his efforts.
$5,300 Main Event
Californian Taylor Black cruised to victory in the main event, and in the process more than doubled his live tournament winnings total to break the $2 million barrier. The $1,090,184 pay day was almost exactly double his previous best cash as well. A great performance from the young man.
Season high-stakes pro Daryll Fish took the runner-up spot after a spirited fightback. Fish was the most well-known player at the final table but had ran poorly and nursed a short stack for most of the time. The $934,409 was also the best score of Fish’s career, taking him up to $4.5 million now.
The climax came shortly after two hours of heads-up battling. Black was at one point sat with a 3-1 chip advantage which turned into a slim lead for Fish over a few hands. The turning point came when Fish made a large bet with only holding ace high on the river. Black showed a great read and check raised all-in with only king high, forcing Fish to fold. This left Fish with only 17 big blinds which Black scooped up soon after when his pocket aces crashed into Fish’s top pair.
Black was clearly delighted with the result, when he spoke to waiting reporters at the casino. He said
“It feels great; it's hard to describe. You play a million tournaments and to actually win one is really awesome. I don't really have plans for [the money] yet. I'm not sure; I'm kind of shell-shocked."
The live scene is looking healthier today than it has done for years. Real money poker tournaments are being supported by an ever increasing number of players, and are just as much fun as they always have been.