Saturday, April 29, 2017 1:41 PM Local Time
Local finance pro turns his last few big blinds into a gold ring and nearly $21k in cash
Dennis Tsai is the newest winner on the WSOP Circuit. Tsai took down the one-day $365 No-Limit Hold’em event, defeating a field of 291 entries to win the gold ring and the top prize of $20,950.
Tsai is a 30-year-old finance professional from the local area. “I just play poker on the side,” he said. “Mostly tournaments. I’ve had some luck in tournaments, so I sort of stick with it.”
After experiencing good success online, Tsai transitioned into a live tournament player, and he’s starting to accumulate some results in the brick-and-mortar realm, too. He finished as the runner-up in the very first WSOP Circuit event ever held at Horseshoe Baltimore in 2015 — “That was… nice… and very annoying,” he said — and he’s cashed in two of the three Main Events held at this property to date.
Tsai had to endure a bit of a rough start to his Event #2 run. “Today was crazy,” he said after the win. “I bought in three times, and I almost didn't buy-in the third time.” He did fire a third bullet, though, and it ended up being quite a profitable decision. Tsai doubled up just before dinner to claw back to average, then went on an after-dinner rush as the bubble approached.
Things started to unravel bit once the field crossed into the money, though. Tsai ran ace-king into pocket aces, had pocket kings cracked by pocket sevens, and ran ace-jack into ace-queen all within the span of a couple levels. That last loss knocked him all the way down to just five big blinds, but Tsai maneuvered his short stack with a deft hand.
“Shove, shove, shove,” he said. “Got some stacks back. Everything went well after that. After I had five bigs, it was all good,” he laughed. His fortunes turned around a bit at the final table, and he was able to win two huge pots to propel him toward the eventual victory.
In four-handed play, Tsai doubled up with pocket fours against pocket threes, and he found pocket aces against ace-eight to eliminate Brian Bailey in third place and take a big lead into the heads-up duel against Karlis Siljakovs III.
Siljakovs would not go quietly, though. He doubled back into contention on the first hand of the match and even worked his way into the chip lead at one point. Tsai battled back valiantly, though, and Siljakovs ended up bluffing off his stack with king-ten after Tsai flopped an ace with ace-ten suited. Tsai correctly snap-called a flop shove, and two blanks later, it was all over with Tsai holding the ring.
When asked what his plans are for the rest of the series, Tsai wasn’t quite ready to commit. “It was actually to-be-determined based on what happened today,” he said. “I have been running kinda like shit — er, crap — and it was kinda like, ‘Let’s just see how today goes.’”
The day went rather well, indeed, and Tsai is a big favorite to return for more ring and points hunting later in the week.
Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:24 AM Local Time
Karlis Siljakovs put up a mighty fight in the heads-up duel, even taking the chip lead at one point. Tsai wrestled his way back into control of the match, though, and he's just put the finishing touches on his first Circuit victory.
On the final hand, Tsai opens the button with a raise, and Siljakovs three-bets from the big blind. Tsai calls. The flop is . Siljakovs moves all in, and Tsai calls to put him at risk.
Tsai's pair of aces has him two cards from victory, and the on the turn locks up the match one card early. The two men are already shaking hands as the meaningless completes the board, with Tsai taking the title and the top prize of $20,950.
Siljakovs (pictured below) is eliminated as the runner-up, earning $12,948.
Saturday, April 29, 2017 2:34 AM Local Time
Dennis Tsai opens the button with a raise, and Karlis Siljakovs three-bet shoves for 530,000 in the big blind. Tsai ponders for maybe a minute, then calls to put Siljakovs at risk.
The board runs out , and Siljakovs wins the pot with jacks up to double-up.
Karlis Siljakovs - 1,070,000 (27 bb)
Dennis Tsai - 1,840,000 (46 bb)
Saturday, April 29, 2017 2:29 AM Local Time
Brian Bailey opens the button with a raise, Dennis Tsai three-bets from the big blind, and Bailey four-bet shoves for about 1,100,000. Tsai quickly calls to put Bailey at risk.
The board runs out , and Tsai wins the pot with a set of aces. Bailey is eliminated in third place.
That knockout leaves Tsai heads-up with a big chip lead over Karlis Siljakovs.
Dennis Tsai - 2,380,000 (60 bb)
Karlis Siljakovs - 530,000 (13 bb)
Brian Bailey - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 2:24 AM Local Time
Brian Bailey opens with an under-the-gun raise to 105,000, and Tekky Andrew-Jaja three-bet shoves for 590,000 on the button. When the blinds fold, Bailey instantly calls all in for 530,000, putting himself at risk.
The board runs out , and Bailey wins the pot with a set of aces. Andrew-Jaja is left with less than two big blinds, and he's eliminated in fourth place one hand later.
Brian Bailey - 1,140,000 (29 bb)
Tekky Andrew-Jaja - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 2:00 AM Local Time
Karlis Siljakovs completes to 30,000 from the small blind, and Dennis Tsai moves all in for 600,000 in the big. Siljakovs calls to put Tsai at risk.
The board runs out , and Tsai's overpair holds to earn him the pot and a double-up. With it comes the chip lead, while Siljakovs is now the owner of the shortest stack of the four left at the table.
Dennis Tsai - 1,220,000 (41 bb)
Karlis Siljakovs - 370,000 (12 bb)
Saturday, April 29, 2017 1:43 AM Local Time
John Gorsuch moves all in for 230,000 under the gun, and Dennis Tsai re-shoves on the button, isolating himself against Gorsuch and flipping for the knockout.
The flop doesn't change anything, but the on the turn gives Gorsuch a big lead with one card to come. The river is the , though, and Tasi rallies to win the pot with a set of nines. Gorsuch is eliminated in fifth place.
Dennis Tsai - 675,000 (23 bb)
John Gorsuch - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 1:33 AM Local Time
Karlis Siljakovs limps under the gun, and Brian Bailey moves all in for just over 300,000 on the button. Todd Bareika calls all in for around 200,000 in the small blind and Siljakovs folds out of the way to leave him heads-up for his tournament life. It's a flip.
The board runs out , and Bailey wins the flip with two pair. Bareika is eliminated in sixth place.
Brian Bailey - 575,000 (19 bb)
Todd Bareika - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:46 AM Local Time
Jason Seitz takes his stand with and a short stack, running his two Broadway cards into Tekky Andrew-Jaja's . The board runs out ace-high and full of blanks, and Andrew-Jaja wins the knockout pot to extend his chip lead. Seitz is eliminated in seventh place.
Tekky Andrew-Jaja - 1,100,000 (55 bb)
Jason Seitz - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:38 AM Local Time
In three-way action, Giovanni Leonardi gets the last of his short stack into the middle on the river of a board. Dennis Tsai puts him at risk, and the third player folds out of the way.
Leonardi can only show for ace-high, and Tsai's is easily enough to earn him the pot with two pair. Leonardi is eliminated in eighth place.
Dennis Tsai - 370,000 (19 bb)
Giovanni Leonardi - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:10 AM Local Time
Todd Bareika moves all in for 101,000 in early position, and Stephen Deutsch wakes up with an easy call in the big blind.
The flop is a good sweat for those who are into that sort of thing. Bareika flops top set, but Deutsch has 11 clean outs to the win. He needs to find an ace or a spade, but the turn and river come and , and Deutsch wins the pot with a set of eights.
Bareika is left with less than two big blinds after paying off his debt, and he's eliminated one hand later.
Todd Bareika - 228,000 (14 bb)
Stephen Deutsch - Eliminated
Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:01 AM Local Time
Level 23 is about halfway complete, and the field has just been reduced to nine players. Here's the final table lineup:
Seat 1: Giovanni Leonardi - 181,000
Seat 2: Dennis Tsai - 550,000
Seat 3: Stephen Deutsch - 135,000
Seat 4: Brian Bailey - 343,000
Seat 5: Jason Seitz - 135,000
Seat 6: Todd Bareika - 121,000
Seat 7: John Gorsuch - 400,000
Seat 8: Tekky Andrew-Jaja - 781,000
Seat 9: Karlis Siljakovs III - 225,000
Blinds are 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante in the current level, putting the average stack just over 20 big blinds. Everyone left is now guaranteed to earn at least $1,922.
Friday, April 28, 2017 10:13 PM Local Time
Halfway through Level 20, the field is trimmed to 18 players, and they've just drawn for new seats around the final two tables. Everyone remaining is now guaranteed to earn a four-figure payday this evening.
Friday, April 28, 2017 8:54 PM Local Time
Level 18 has just begun, and the field has snuck into the money. Just 30 players remain from the starting field of 291 entries, and each of them are now guaranteed to earn at least $592 this evening.
Blinds are 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante in the current level, which puts the average stack just shy of 20 big blinds.
Friday, April 28, 2017 5:31 PM Local Time
The first 12 levels are complete, and the field has been sent on a 45-minute dinner break. The board shows 63 players remaining with 30 spots paid, and they'll play it all the way out to a winner after dinner.
Friday, April 28, 2017 3:51 PM Local Time
With registration now closed, the numbers are in for Event #2. This $365 no-limit hold'em event attracted 291 entries, creating a prizepool worth $87,300. That money will be shared by the final 30 players, with a min-cash worth $592. The series' second gold ring and a top prize of $20,950 await the winner. The full list of payouts can be found in the "Prizepool" tab above.
The board shows 120 players remaining from that starting field, and action is scheduled to continue tonight until a winner is determined.
Friday, April 28, 2017 3:15 PM Local Time
Level 8 concludes, and the field is on their second break of the day. When they return for Level 9, registration and re-entry will be closed, and the field will be locked.
The official numbers, including the prizepool information, will be announced shortly thereafter.
Friday, April 28, 2017 1:06 PM Local Time
The first four levels are complete, and the field is on their first 10-minute break of the day. The board shows 211 entries, with late registration and unlimited re-entries available for another four levels.
Friday, April 28, 2017 11:07 AM Local Time
Cards are in the air for Event #2.
Friday, April 28, 2017 1:11 AM Local Time
While the Monster Stack gets set for its restart later this afternoon, another ring event is set to run from start to finish today. Event #2 is a $365 no-limit hold'em event that features 10,000-chip starting stacks and 30-minute levels for the duration. A semi-turbo, if you will.
This is a new addition to the schedule for this stop at Horseshoe Baltimore, so there's no previous data to draw from over the past two seasons of events. As was the case for the Monster Stack, though, a sizable turnout is expected.
Here are the vitals for today's event:
- This is a one-day event
- Players begin with 10,000 in tournament chips
- Late registration and unlimited re-entry are available until the start of Level 9 (3:30 p.m.)
- Levels are 30 minutes apiece
Cards go in the air at 11 a.m.