PoolAndSpa.com Sponsors 2014 World Series Of Poker Player John Koliner
Las Vegas, NV USA
June 30, 2014
PoolAndSpa.com has sponsored long time tournament poker player John Koliner in this years’ 2014 World Series Of Poker (WSOP), held at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. All proceeds from PoolAndSpa.com’s portion of the sponsorship will be donated to charity. This years’ WSOP runs from May 27 through July 14, 2014.
This huge WSOP sign invites all into the Main Event area.
I went to visit John on Saturday June 28, after he had been playing for almost 5 days. The weather here in Vegas was hot – real hot – topping 110 degrees on Saturday afternoon. Even so, the main poker rooms at WSOP were packed full of World Series winner hopefuls. During the first 4 day main tournament game, WSOP had estimated they would get approximately 1500 to 2000 registered players. To everyone’s surprise, they had 7862! A world record for entrants into a main game this early in the series. Being such, there were tables set up in numerous rooms and all the way out into the Casino area. Even the ESPN TV crews had to manage to complete their set-ups for the various TV events and broadcasts amongst these unexpected throngs of players.
John & Dan joke around on the ESPN WSOP TV set.
“I have attended WSOP for the last 15 years and have never seen this many players enter a game of this level so early” said one Rio employee. One dealer added “This is just crazy. We were totally not ready for this many players so soon in the tournament”.
The VIP entry steps into the 2014 WSOP Main Event area.
That being said, I must confess that WSOP players, their support staffs and the thousands of onlookers who had come here, have to be some of the nicest, most docile folks who attend any Las Vegas event. I have personally attended every WSOP since 2003, way back when it was still at Binions on Freemont Street. And I have also attended – probably hundreds – of other events here in Vegas over the last 11 years. The WSOP folks are such a cross section of society – including people from all nations, genders, ages and ethnic groups – and they all get along so well. It’s really quite incredible to be in one of those WSOP rooms and “people-watch”. If only the whole world could get along as well as these poker folks……
John, Dan, Theresa & Shawn sit at one of the main event tables, awaiting their winning hands!
“Poker is one of the great human equalizers” says one WSOP dealer. “You can have a Phil Hellmuth sitting next to a Toby Maguire, sitting next to some 21 year old kid from Montana – and they are all equal when at the table and “in the game”. You are really only as good as your stack and your last play – and that varies from minute to minute” he adds.
Dan and an arbitrary cute dealer, with John, posing in front of the actual “Final Table” (seen on stage in the background)
THE PLAY BY PLAY ACTION…
So… If you are still reading this, you are really into poker, so let’s get to the play-by-play details of our Hero, John Koliner:
John & Dan at the front entry WSOP vid sign
John Koliner has well over $100,000 in tournament earnings. He has cashed in over 25 “official” tournaments and has cashed in over 100 daily tournaments. John’s first attempt at building his bankroll at the 2014 WSOP was at Event #47, on June 23, 2014, which was a $1500 buy in tournament, ante only, no limit holdem game.
After busting out of the $50,000 buy in event, WSOP poker great Phil Hellmuth arrived at John’s table. “It was a thrill and an honor to sit next to such a World Class Player” said John.
Phil Hellmuth considers his next move…
After literally hours of play at the same table, and just before day one came to a close, John limped in the pot with pocket aces in early position – at an ever increasingly aggressive table. Sure enough, a player makes a raise. John goes all in, pre-flop, only to get called with a king/seven off suit. The flop came king/seven/three. Turn card was a two. River card was another king. John gets killed, although he did make the correct play, being dealt pocket aces. Poor John!
John poses in front of a Phil Hellmuth poster, star-struck!
WSOP Event #51 started on June 26, 2014 – called the “Monster Stack”, with $15,000 in starting chips. A record of 7862 players turned out for this event.
In the early levels, John calls a small raise with pocket tens, along with several other players. The flop comes, ten, six, two – with two clubs. A large bet is made and John just calls with the nuts (so far). Another player calls behind John.
The turn card comes out and it is the eight of diamonds. A pot size bet is made. John just calls, hoping the flush does not hit him, and that the board will pair on the river for a full house. The player to John’s left calls also. The river is a king of hearts. The only hand that can beat John is pocket kings – or a highly unlikely nine/seven for a gut shot straight.
All three players are all in on the river. The flop player to John’s right had a set of sixes. The flop player to John’s left had a set of two’s. SET OVER SET OVER SET ON THE FLOP! Heaven had dealt him a monster hand. “I am glad the board did not pair sixes or two’s for quads” he said. “But I knew the odds of that were highly unlikely, so I banged it and won!” So, John tripled his stack to $42,000 and sent the two players home crying! At the end of day one, John bags a total of $47,700!
MORE DETAILED PLAY BY PLAY ACTION…
At the beginning of day two, John moved to five different tables all in one day. “You have to get to know how like 45 different players play in a very short period of time during a single day” he reports. “It is hard. You can play for fun, but it is hard work to be able to go deep into (the minds of the players) in a tournament”. At the end of day two, John bags an astounding $215,000!
Main WSOP entry vid screen – Kewl !
On day three, John takes a massive blow with ace/jack. He gets demolished. He grinds out a few more hours, playing right, but the card-gods are not with him this day.
On the final hand…. it was folded around to John on the button and he goes all in with king/ten. The big blind calls with ace/ten. Who knew? John gets killed. Good play, but “you gotta have the cards” as he said. However John went out in 528th place – out of 7862 players – quite an accomplishment – with a cash pay-out of $4000.
John & Dan playing around again – where they shouldn’t be – on the ESPN main stage set, while the crew sets up.
John entered his last tournament at a $1000 buy in. There were less than 2000 players in that game, many of which had crawled their way up – over the last week – to that game. John said “You know, I respect the young kids who start with a hundred bucks and work their way up. After all, those guys are the ones who have been winning WSOP over the past few years. But to actually play against that type of player, who will go all in on a short stack with a king high nothing, is very difficult. You can’t bluff these guys, and they tend to cling in with nothing until they hit” he reports. Needless to say, John was sent packin’ after only a few hours on that tournament.
BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS…
So although this years’ effort did not give John a WSOP bracelet, he did play A LOT. “My last time here in 2011 I bought in at $10,000 and was picked off at the beginning of day two – and that was it.” He continues that “This year, I bought in on three different tournaments, plus a number of cash games, and my total winnings for my week in Vegas, including everything, were well over $20,000. So I had a great time, with great people, and I made bucks. Really…. how can you beat that?”
Plus his good friend Barry Soloway a/k/a “The Taxman”, an accountant from Long Island, NY, placed at #83 in his main tournament with a cash out win of over $12,000. Although happy, Barry was quoted as saying “F&^%ck that. I wanted to win the $10 million”. Totally understandable Barry! Try, try again – next year. He had a great time though…
Well – when all was said and done – John and Barry “could” have beaten everyone and won the WSOP $10 million Main Event for a bracelet, but we all know that is hard. So kudos to John & Barry for hanging in there, with the best of Phil Hellmuth and all the other poker greats – to beat out over 90% of the other players in their tournaments.
Honestly, I have played poker for over 25 years and never got that close. But there is always next year !
The sun beams down upon the VIP entry steps to the 2014 main event area. Who will be the winner this year?
More event photos coming soon…..
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