World Series of Poker Europe

Five Thoughts: Moorman Gets the Monkey Off His Back, Everest Signs Trickett, and More

Five Thoughts

The drinks were flowing, and the chants were deafening.


Whenever a Brit makes a final table at the World Series of Poker, the rail is terrific. But, Chris Moorman’s contingent was especially raucous during the third day of Event #46: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship in 2011.

Prior to 2011, Moorman’s largest career live score was $38,424, which he earned for a 16th-place finish in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship at the 2010 WSOP. The Brit kicked off 2011 with a seventh-place finish in the Aussie Millions Main Event ($173,079), and prior to the six-handed championship event he finished third in a smaller buy-in six-handed bracelet event for $271,800.

Moorman reached three-handed play in Event #46 — and took an unscheduled break with Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Joe Ebanks — but he ultimately bowed out in third place, earning $716,282. Ebanks went on to win the event and his first and only WSOP gold bracelet. It wouldn’t be his largest live score of 2011 — four months later he finished runner-up to Elio Fox in the WSOP Europe Main Event.

According to PocketFives, no one has accrued more online triple crowns (20) than Moorman. In 2013, he became the first player to surpass $10 million in career online tournament earnings, winning an event on partypoker.

“I’m glad to make the mark in style with a victory taking me over the line rather than a bunch of min cashes,” Moorman told PokerNews.

Moorman was still without a major live victory at the start of 2014, but during the first week of March, that all changed.

Somebody get me a shoe bomb.

1. Moorman Won

On Thursday, Moorman ripped the metaphorical monkey off of his back like Steve Young, winning the 2014 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event. For his victory, the Brit earned a million dollars, a seat in the WPT World Championship, and a seat in the WPT Champions Club.

WPT L.A. Poker Classic Final Table Results

1Chris Moorman$1,015,460
2Glenn Lafaye$662,840
3Michael Rocco$423,440
4Patrick Bruel$332,190
5Josh Neufeld$264,520
6Adam Friedman$200,440

Moorman entered the final table second in chips, and won six of the first nine hands. He later knocked out Josh Neufeld in fifth place, and Patrick Bruel in fourth place, taking the chip lead. Things got a little dicey for the Brit when he lost a 6.6 million-chip pot to Glenn Lafaye, but then he won an insane three-way all in.

According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Lafaye raised to 325,000 with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000. Michael Rocco moved all in from the small blind for just over 2 million, Moorman re-shoved for 2.835 million, and Lafaye found a call.

Rocco: {a-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}
Moorman: {10-Clubs}{10-Spades}
Lafaye: {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}

Moorman was a slight favorite to win the pot, but Lafaye’s hands were all but around the trophy when the flop fell {k-Hearts}{q-Spades}{j-Hearts}. The {3-Spades} on the turn was a brick, inching Lafaye even closer to victory, but the prettiest card in the deck — the {a-Spades} — spiked on the river to give Moorman Broadway.

Lafaye held a slight lead at the start of heads-up play, but Moorman flipped the script on the very first hand and never looked back. On the final hand, Lafaye moved all in with the {5-Spades}{4-Diamonds} on a flop of {j-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}, and Moorman snap-called with the {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}. The red aces held up as the turn and river bricked with the {q-Hearts} and the {5-Diamonds}, respectively, and Moorman was the champion.

Moorman’s victory instantly reminded me of the Season 9 EPT Berlin €10,000 High Roller, where Griffin Benger, another online legend who once was ranked No. 1 in the world according to PocketFives, won his first major tournament. Benger defeated Aussie Aaron Lim heads up, earning $562,343, and although his winner photos were quite goofy, you could tell he was ecstatic about finally registering a large live score.

Benger nearly added a bracelet during the summer, but suffered a horrific beat in Event #40.

There’s also Canadian Ami Barer, who has won millions online under the handle “UhhMee.” He just made his first big splash in a live tournament, winning the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event.

Few players have outlasted variance as successfully and for as long as this trio, but we all know — for better or for worse — that live tournaments carry more clout. It’s great to see players like Moorman go out and capture glory under the bright lights for all to see, rather than in his flat with a few mates. I’m sure he’s eager to try and add a second leg to his live triple crown hunt.

2. That’s the Trickett!

On Monday, Everest Poker announced that they inked a deal with another British star, Sam Trickett, to be their brand ambassador. Trickett will work with the Everest team in London, attend Everest Poker Live events, offer coaching, and even give 10 percent of his action in the 20-30 WSOP events he plans to play this year to Everest customers.

The 10 percent doesn’t include the $1 Million Big One for One Drop, however — Trickett finished runner-up to Antonio Esfandiari in the inaugural Big One, earning just over $10.1 million.

England’s all-time money leader was predictably excited to sign the deal, saying in a statement, “I’m looking forward to interacting with our players online and at Everest Poker Live events, where I’ll be playing and coaching. Everest is a great poker brand and I will be doing everything I can to make it one of the most recognized in the world.”

His agent, Brian Balsbaugh, was among the people to tweet at Sam after the signing:

Trickett is undoubtedly one of the biggest faces in the game, and unlike Esfandiari he is non-American, giving him free range to sign with large, international brands, but this is a bit of an untimely signing. Fourteen months ago, Trickett was hotter than the sun, winning the 2011 Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, finishing runner-up in the One Drop, reaching the final table of the 2012 Macau High Stakes Challenge, and winning the 2013 Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge, all in the span of 16 months. Since banking over $2.1 million down under in Melbourne, Trickett has only cashed in five events. In fact, he skipped the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the 2014 Aussie Millions altogether.

In his defense, the 27-year-old is wealthy enough to do whatever the hell he chooses. Perhaps he wanted to stay home and enjoy the beginning of the 2013-14 Barclay’s Premiere League season, but being a Manchester United supporter, this year’s campaign must be nothing but tortuous for Trickett.

Sorry Sam, I had to.

Beyond his poker prowess, Trickett seems to be a class act. In August of 2013, the United supporter headed down to the grounds to participate in the £250 buy-in Road to Old Trafford event. He won, earning £10,000, and reportedly donated most of the prize to Rio Ferdinand’s Live the Dream Foundation Charity. He also signed Manchester United shirts for each of the members of the final table.

It seems as if Trickett’s live tournament hiatus allowed Everest Poker to swoop in and snag the hometown star, or that the Brit’s asking price was a bit high for some of the larger competitors. At any rate, England’s all-time money leader now has a second home in London, and 10 percent of his potential earnings at this year’s WSOP are about to be up for grabs.

3. We’re Going to Bentley’s!

Maryland Live! Casino, about a 40-minute drive without traffic from President Barack Obama’s house, is set to kick off their first major tournament series in March, and Poker Night in America (PNIA) will be there to cover the $1 Million Live! Poker Classic Main Event final table.

PNIA will also film an invite-only cash game, featuring 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson, Parx Poker ambassador Matt Glantz, 2009 WSOP runner-up Darvin Moon, Ultimate Poker’s Danielle “dmoongirl” Andersen, local favorite Christian Harder, and WSOP bracelet winner Gavin Smith.

According to the Maryland Live! website, the “buy-ins for this game ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.”

In his blog, PNIA’s Nolan Dalla offered a bit of a tease with regards to an actual television broadcast: “There’s lots of breaking news ahead, including a major announcement coming up about when and where the new show will air. I know many poker players and fans are eager to see what we’re doing, and the debut show should get a lot of people talking. We hope and expect this to be a real game-changer.”

My colleague Chad Holloway was fortunate enough to watch the a sneak peek of the first episode, which features our very own Kristy Arnett, and says he was pleasantly surprised.

“It was a high-quality production driven by true characters of the game,” he says.

I’m excited about PNIA — the Shaun Deeb slowroll on Mike Matusow is one of the best TV moments we’ve had in some time in the U.S. — but I am forced to temper my expectations until we learn who the television provider will be. If it’s a major network, or a subsidiary of a major network like FOX Sports 1, then there’s cause for celebration. If it’s confined to the Internet, then not so much.

Let’s keep or fingers crossed that it’s the former, not the latter.

4. Ultimate Gaming Links Up With Peppermill

On Thursday, Ultimate Gaming and Peppermill Resort Spa Casino entered into a joint marketing partnership. Peppermill operates four properties across Nevada, and Ultimate Poker customers will be able to both deposit and withdraw from these land-based casinos like they can at Station-owned properties.

“I love playing at Peppermill,” Esfandiari said in a statement. “It’s great to know that I can now deposit and cash out of my Ultimate Poker account when I’m there.”

With only three states offering legalized and regulated online gaming, it makes sense for Ultimate Gaming to link up with more land-based properties in Nevada. Their expansion opportunities are limited, so giving their current and potential customers opportunities to both deposit and withdraw money at physical cages is a no-brainer.

The partnership comes at an odd time, however, as Peppermill was just slapped with a $1 million fine from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Ryan Tors, a corporate analysts for Peppermill, was caught in July using a reset key on several slot machines at the Grand Sierra. The board discovered that Tors gathered information from 10 other Nevada casinos, and opted to levy the seven-figure penalty. Peppermill insists that they never “used” the information, they were simply curious.

Expansion is definitely a good thing for Ultimate Gaming, but maybe they could’ve inked this deal a little later than they did.

5. Packed Sunday Million Final Table

Last weekend’s PokerStars Sunday Million final table was another reminder that poker is indeed a skill game.

More than 9,000 players participated in the major to end all majors, yet six of the nine finalists were all familiar faces.

Sunday Million ($1M Guaranteed)

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Jose Carlos "TryToExploit" Garcia$230,707*
2Steve "Stev0L_" Leonard$219,698*
4marc cedric$90,880
5Marcel "Mr. Sparco" Vonk$72,704
6Tomasz "Sphinx87" Cybulski$54,528
8Michael "mossified84" Skomac$19,993
9Oliver "OJLimpsinn" Prior$12,723

*Denotes heads-up deal

In the end, Jose Carlos Garcia and Steve Leonard made a heads-up deal, landing each player over $200,000, and Garcia won the extra money set aside for first place. Garcia started heads-up play with a decisive, 5.5-to-1 disadvantage, and the two made the deal after he evened out the stacks. On the final hand, Garcia’s {a-Spades}{q-Clubs} held up against the Aussie’s {q-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}.

It always brings a smile to my face when The Sunday Briefing is littered with well-known names and familiar faces. It’s a little reminder that poker tournaments, while dominated by variance, are still games of skill rather than chance. Our pros aren’t simply flipping quarters; they are playing some manipulated form of chess and backgammon.

Several other well-known pros also landed big scores, including Connor “negroblanco” Drinan, Karolis “g.karolis” Grybauskas, and Anthony “holdplz” Spinella. Be on the look out for next week’s edition, brought to you by our own Brett Collson.

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