Gross, Rast, Esfandiari & Michael Phelps $10,000 WSOP Tag Team (Live Updates)

4 years ago
Gross, Rast, Esfandiari & Michael Phelps $10,000 WSOP Tag Team (Live Updates)
31 May

Day Three

The Final Six Reconvene

We were back to the Brasilia room in the Rio for the final table of the $10,000 Tag Team event with six star studded teams. Fewer player changes are expected over the course of the day as the FT specialist on each team is set to on the serious work of crushing everyone else at the table.

The Field Narrows

Team Radoja: Hand #106 – With T-6 on the flop of 6-5-3 Radoja check raised Kurganov all-in and was called by pocket eights. The turn and river were no help and Radoja went railward in sixth place for $23,635.50 each for Radoja and his teammate Jacobson.

Team Gomez: Hand #119 – Negreanu busted Javier Gomez when they got it all in pre with DNeg’s 9-9 vs Gomez’s Ah-Th. The board was no help for Gomez who split $86,237 three ways for $28,745.66 each and a penny change. And then there were four.

Team Ajlouny: Hand #132 – Fong was playing for Team Ajlouny when the end came for them. With blinds at 12k-24k and an ante of 4k Fong moved in from under the gun with 320,000 in chips. When Kurganov called it looked bad for Fong pocket fours against pocket nines but a four on the flop gave him hope.

Unfortunately a nine on the turn put paid to that hope and we went into three handed play with Negreanu, Kurganov and Mandavia.

Three Left

Negreanu played almost all of Day 3 for his team, presumably feeling he was the top tournament player there. This seems to have been the strategy for most of the teams. Boeree noted:

"It was weird. On like Day 1, I'd be sitting there and feel like I'm getting a read on people and then I'd turn around and I'd be like 'What? Who are you?' I thought you were a young Asian guy and now you are an old dude. So, building up reads, at least early on, is hard because they are changing out so much. But later on, the teams got more consistent." 

Unfortunately there was no bracelet in the deck for Daniel who went out in third when he got it in with top pair and a straight draw on the flop against Kurganov’s bottom two pair. Not only did Daniel fail to improve, Kurganov ended up rivering a flush. You know, just in case.

No doubt Negreanu will be heading over to the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop, with just $29,938.25 from his four way split of the third place money in tow. 

Boeree and Kurganov win his and hers bracelets together

So Igor Kurganov for Team Boeree and Ankush Mandavia for Team Mandavia squared off. With two people in each team they were looking at $136,982 per player for first not to mention the matching bracelets.

It was an epic battle taking 90 hand heads up before one of them succumbed. Although Mandavia went in with a nearly 3-1 chip disadvantage he was able to grind his way up to even a couple of times before Kurganov delivered the coup de grace.

Hand #268 was raised preflop to 125,000 by Kurganov on the button and called by Mandavia. On a Q-9-8 rainbow flop Mandavia check-called a small bet of 80,000. They both checked the jack which rolled off on the turn and Mandavia bet a quarter of a million on the king which hit the river and called with a harrowed look on his face when Kurganov shoved over the top.

Kurganov showed the A-T and raked in the chips and first place against Mandavia’s Q-T. Rivered straights FTW. 

Boeree and Kurganov will be donating half of their first place cash to Raising for Effective Giving.

Final Table Results

1Liv Boeree - Igor Kurganov
2Ankush Mandavia - Joe Kuether
3Daniel Negreanu - Eric Wasserson - David Benyamine - Mark Gregorich
4Anthony Ajlouny - David Fong - Mike McClain
5Javier Gomez - Lander Lijo
6Martin Jacobson - Mark Radoja
7J.C. Tran - Nam Le - Antonio Gutierrez
8Connor Drinan - Mike Aron
9Dietrich Fast - Moritz Dietrich - Jan Schwippert

Day Two

Bracelet Bets

Daniel Negreanu must be feeling good about his chances, his team is sitting in the chip lead going into day three having eliminated player after player in the run up to the final table including the FT bubble team: and finishing the day with nearly half as much again as the next stack.

He seems to be having plenty of fun with it too, talking up a storm and auditioning masseuses.

He started the day and admitting to at least one mistakes (he didn’t spot a player in one pot) and taking to the tables. He’s got plenty of footage from the tables and a little chip porn for those who have yet to get their Poker Go subscription sorted. So much for taking day two easy.

He’s gotta be feeling good given the various bracelet bets he has going on including an undisclosed bet for even money on him winning three bracelets so he’d got to be eyeing up that first place finish with a greedy glint in his eye.

Defending Champs Out and the Bubble Bursts

The big name busto of the day was Team Polk which was coolered out when Liv Boeree’s team/life mate Igor Kurganov picked up Aces against Polk’s Kings and held.

Eventually the bubble burst when Loni Harwood threw her last chips away taking her teammates Philip Hui and David Hubbard with her to the rail.

Although 13th-16th got paid $14,783 each the differing team sizes meant that individual payouts varied significantly. Foxen and Karnouth for example won more cash and as many points for their 15th place finish than those in 9th place because their prize was only split two ways instead of three. There’s a lot of strategy to think about in these tag team games.

Final Six To Come Back for Day 3

With the final six now decided, the final table broke for the day. Teams Mandavia, Aljouny, Jacobson and Boeree are all comfortably close with 40-50 big blinds each. While Team Gomez, struggles from behind with just 287,000 in chips a sit’n’go stack of just 14 big blinds.

Way out in front though the Negreanu-Benyamine-Wasserman-Gregorich axis are the runaway chip leaders with almost 1.5 million in chips, or 75 bigs.

Poker couple Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov are sitting in third and feeling pretty good about their odds, it’s the first final table at the WSOP for either of them and they did it together. Hard not to root for the lovers. And it’ll be fun to watch them go head to head with Team Negreanu. it’s not the first time Boeree and Negreanu have squared off. And not always at the poker table. 

There may also be some family resentment going on… if the photos of DNegs kissing her mum are to be believed.

Official End-of-Day Chip Counts

  • Daniel Negreanu - Eric Wasserson - David Benyamine - Mark Gregorich 1,498,000
  • Anthony Ajlouny - David Fong - Mike McClain 932,000
  • Liv Boeree - Igor Kurganov 929,000
  • Ankush Mandavia - Joe Kuether 800,000
  • Martin Jacobson - Mark Radoja 632,000
  • Javier Gomez - Lander Lijo  287,000

Day One

Daniel Negreanu started the event with a morning workout and a superstitious shave. He’ll be shaving every time he wins a bracelet so keep an eye on his chin this season if you want to know it’s going for him. His team made it to Day 2, but he says he’ll be resting up for the One Drop, leaving it to team-mates WassersonBenyamine and Gregorich.

Doug Polk and co were back after taking down the $1,000 event last year, adding a few extra players for final roll call of Doug Polk, Ryan Fee, Jason Mo and Michael Finstein. At the end of day one the team had paid off, as they were up top of leader board with 240,600 chips.

Several big names were already gone (including Antonio Esfanidiari’s crew and Team Helmuth) while others like Team Seidel and the Andy Bloch/Chris Ferguson duo are struggling away in the bottom ten.

Day one was not without its controversies, with Team Brunson struggling to find a replacement after dad dropped out on little Todd at the last minute, and the usual complaints about the Rio’s brand of cards which bend, break and mark easily.

Some of the pros are giving their own updates over Twitter, including a very excitable Liv Boeree.

Day Two will start with half the field of 51 players left and the top 16 teams paid. A decent turnout that hopefully signals what’s ahead for this series after the employee event had the lowest turnout since 2004. 

Only one team will be taking down the bracelet(s) for this event. First blood in what looks to be an exciting couple of months of poker.

Official End-of-Day Chip Counts

  •  Jason Mo - Doug Polk - Ryan Fee - Michael Finstein 240,600
  •  Christopher Staats - Roland Israelashvili - Orlando Romero 216,400
  •  J.C. Tran - Nam Le - Antonio Gutierrez 207,000
  •  Stephen Chidwick - Dan Smith 204,500
  •  Jack Salter - Dzmitry Urbanovich 192,300
  •  Javier Gomez - Lander Lijo 191,100
  •  Dietrich Fast - Moritz Dietrich - Jan Schwippert 187,100
  •  Michael Gathy - Terry Schumacher - Thomas Boivin 183,000
  •  Shuchi Chamaria - Aditya Agarwal - Chris Dombrowski - Jim Collopy 178,400
  •  Paul Snead - Michael Newman - Charlemagne Benjamin 157,000
  •  Jeffery Kester - Carlos Mortensen - Terri Fyffe 152,000
  •  Loni Harwood - Phillip Hui - David Hubbard 148,700
  •  Sergi Reixach - Pablo Fernandez 143,700
  •  Senovio Ramirez - Juan Ramirez - Matthew Lapossie 133,600
  •  Connor Drinan - Mike Aron 27,600
  •  Ankush Mandavia - Joe Kuether 122,600
  •  Liv Boeree - Igor Kurganov 122,100
  •  Dylan Wilkerson - Mohsin Charania - Marvin Rettenmaier 120,900
  •  Adrian Mateos - Jonathan Concepcion 117,200
  • David Eldridge - Thomas Mckeough 116,200
  • Bryn Kenney - Kitty Kuo - Jason Wheeler 114,000
  • James Petzing - Andre Clarke 111,100
  • Dan O'Brien - Andrew Robl - Bob Bright - Matt Berkey 103,800
  • Allen Kessler - Rex Clinkscales - Alex Keating - Chris Karambinis 95,200
  • Chance Kornuth - Alex Foxen 93,200
  • Rainer Kempe - Steffen Sontheimer - David Williams 88,500
  • Taylor von Kriegenbergh - Ronnie Bardah 87,700
  • Ismael Bojang - Max Kruse - Maria Ho - Goswin Siemsen 84,900
  • Sergio Aido - Raul Martinez 83,800
  • Anthony Ajlouny - David Fong - Mike McClain 83,400
  • David "ODB" Baker - Marco Johnson - Carol Fuchs - Martin Schaeffer 79,000
  • Ben Yu - Jennifer Shahade 78,400
  • Daniel Negreanu - Eric Wasserson - David Benyamine - Mark Gregorich 78,000
  • Timothy Nuter -Tyler Cornell 71,600
  • Jared Dagley - Pedro Rios 70,500
  • Scott Eskenazi - Noah Bronstein - Cole Jackson 63,000
  • Daniel Charbonneau - Anthony Sequeira 55,400
  • Martin Jacobson - Mark Radoja 48,300
  • Dan Shak - Samantha Abernathy - Rory Brown 45,000
  • Lauren Roberts - Haixia Zhang - Lisa Hamilton 39,600
  • Greg Mueller - Shawn Buchanan 38,200
  • Erik Seidel - Fedor Holz - Koray Aldemir 36,000
  • Chris Edwards - Ranjuan Chaitib - Michael Cooper - Thanh Vu 28,600
  • Manig Loeser - Kristen Bicknell 27,700
  • Michael Addamo - Martin Kozlov 26,400
  • Steven Lauson - Travis Lauson - Brian Wilkie 25,800
  • Andy Bloch - Chris Ferguson 24,300
  • Delmiro Toledo - Eliseu Cunha - Bruce Wesley - Jacqueline Wesley 22,800
  • Thomas Lutz - Martin Zamani 16,200
  • Jack Duong - Jewook Oh - Johanssy Joseph 13,700
  • Jesse Martin - Barry Greenstein - Stephen Giufre 13,500

How do you take down a WSOP bracelet? It’s a question which will be on the minds of every poker pro this summer, and one Jeff Gross has pondered long and hard, his answer being – add Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps to your team!

It’s the $10k buy-in Tag Team event which has caught Gross’ eye, having run deep in last year’s 863-team version with fellow poker pros Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari. In his latest vlog on JeffGrossPoker, however, he runs through the brainstorming for a new member of his poker crew, explaining:

“We need a little extra kick! But who do we bring in?”

Burning Man camp friends Jason Koon and Dan Colman were in the reckoning, as were poker legends Daniel Negreanu and Phil HellmuthDoug Polk’s name was also mentioned, but having won the inaugural event last year with Upswing Poker buddy Ryan Fee, Gross sees no logical reason for Polk to suddenly switch teams.

It was an amazing golf outing last summer in “Scatlin” (something this Scottish writer will forgive him for – eventually!) which finally brought Gross to his answer, a 53-yard putt which the 26-handicapper absolutely nailed…

In Phelps, Jeff Gross believes he has found the man who can help him take down the gold bracelet in Vegas – and gold is almost Phelp’s middle name, 23 medals of that color marking him as the greatest Olympian of all-time. But what about his poker skills?

“Mike is no new person to the felt – he’s played some stuff before. Some guys can just win!” is Jeff’s take on things.

Well, although Phelps has a decent grounding in the game, with a few small cashes to his name, he didn’t win the following hand in a ‘Sweat with Michael’ YouTube offering...

…but Gross is convinced that having a proven winner on the team is what they need to clear that final hurdle when the WSOP kicks off – the Tag team tournament second on the schedule after the traditional ‘Employees’ event.

“Right off the gate, get the bracelet done, hammer it out!” says Gross, and he’s obviously excited at the prospect…

“Presenting our team for WSOP $10,000 Tag Team Event. Our decision was to have 4 people on team so we had to find somebody to help us closing down the deal! We found the perfect guy! The Greatest Olympian of all time! Michael Phelps!!”

To add some good sweat to the event for fans of Phelps and his new poker pro team-mates, they’re giving away 10% of the action in an auction – with any mark-up going to charity, the Michael Phelps Foundation – a cause very close to the Olympic swimming champion’s heart which works to promote healthy, active lives, especially for children - primarily by expanding the opportunities for participation in the sport of swimming.

It may end up with Phelps being out of his depth at the poker tables come event number 2, but with Gross, Rast and ‘the Magician’ Esfandiari by his side he’ll be in great company – and who knows, Gross may yet find that gold bracelet adorning his wrist.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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