Season 7

Season 7 Leaderboard

Season 7 Results



July 16, 2012 – Tiki Tourney:  With 65 entries and 13 re-entries, this year’s Tiki Tourney set records in attendance, prize pool $ and crazy shirts!  Originally Jonkey had set the limit at 50 players and then increased it to 60. However, being on a wait-list for the Tiki Tourney didn’t sound like a lot of fun so another table was added and everyone was able to play!  .  Along with most of our Syndicate regulars we had a lot of new players sign up plus a solid collection of old-timers and friends.  The lure of an extra T1000 and the chance to look really cool had players digging deep into their closets and even shopping the local thrift stores for that perfect Hawaiian shirt.  This year we again had a Kau Kau from L&L BBQ plus plenty of Mai Tai’s made by Jonkey’s resident mixologist (and daughter) Alaina. The tone was set early as Chad announced that he was getting a ride home from Mike so it was ON! ( and that was the last we saw of the previously unopened 7-Tiki Spiced Rum bottle!).

So, how about the poker? The  25 minute blinds seemed to fly by quickly, but with 920,000 chips in play there was still a lot of great poker.  The final table was a good mix of Syndicate regulars, friends and new players.  The final four were Larry, Don, Dave S. and Claudia.  Claudia knocked out Larry and took his big stack into her already formidable pile of chips.  Then she knocked out Don (Big Lick) Bisco to end up facing Syndicate newcomer Dave Spork.  It was a pretty quick heads-up duel though as Claudia had about a billion to one chip advantage over Dave.  It ended when Claudia’s K9s hit a 9 on the turn against Dave’s T8s.  Congratulations Claudia!




2012 WSOP Wrap-up:  The Syndicate has now completed its 2012 WSOP campaign and it was the most successful ever!  This season we sent nine players to Las Vegas, including two to the Main Event and seven more to $2,500 through $1,000 events.  One fun part was that, with the exception of our Main Event champs, all of our winners went out the same weekend so we had a chance to cheer each other on and enjoy the trip together.

Event 43 – $1,500 NL Hold’em

First up were Larry, Linn and Patsy on Saturday.  Patsy started off real strong, getting to 10,000 chips early, but then she ran into three coolers in a row and was done for the day.  The worst hand was the first when Patsy raised with AA.  A limper with a short stack (3,300) called, saying it was his favorite hand and tabled 72dd.  Of course he gets trip deuces to take a third of Patsy’s stack.  On the very next hand Patsy raised with KK, gets raised all-in by another short stack. This time the villain shows QJ and rivers a straight.  On the third hand Patsy sees a limped flop from the BB holding QT.  She shoves on a Qxx board only to be snap-called by a limper holding KK.  Ugh!

Larry held on as long as he could but never really got any traction after he lost this tough hand early:  Larry raised with JJ and the flop was low with 2 hearts.  Larry bet the flop and the turn only to have the villain keep calling.  It went check-check on the river and his opponent showed the mighty Q2hh!

But it was Linn who went deep – way deep!  This was Linn’s third time representing the Syndicate at the WSOP, including a run deep into day 2 at the Main Event last season.  Linn played strong throughout day 1 as he consistently gained enough chips to keep himself above the average.  Midway through the first day we walked up just in time to see this hand: Linn, who was UTG+3, raised and got one caller from mid position.  The flop came out 772; Linn bet and villain called. The turn was another deuce; Linn bet again and the bad guy called again. The river was a 5 and now our hero paused for a long moment and then shoved.  The villain (with a big stack) tanked for about a minute before reluctantly folding.   This hand (that Linn reported was a bluff!) brought his stack up to 34k when the average was 28k.  Linn ended up bagging 53,000 chips that night with average at 37,000.  At that point there were 320 players left with the money at 297.  Linn made the money early on day two and then kept going to eventually make it to 99th place out of 2770 for a cash of $4,674.  Congratulations to Linn!

Event 44 – $1,000 NL Hold’em

Next up were Rene and Alan.  Alan built a decent stack early but after losing a good part of it got it all in with JJ vs AQ.  The window brought a Jack but then the board ran out JT5xK to give the villain a straight and send Alan to the rail.

Event 46 – $2,500 NL Hold’em

That left Gary and Steve to go on Monday.  Gary got off to a good start when he hit a flush and got to 10,400 chips.  He then rode the rollercoaster as he got knocked back down to 4k only to build it back to over 13k.  Nothing seemed to go right after that as he was knocked out in the middle of the first day.  Meanwhile, Steve was making a deep run that was made all the more impressive since he was sitting next to Vanessa Selbst for most of the day!  Steve made it almost to the end of day 1 when his luck ran out with this hand:  Steve raised from mid-position with AJ and was re-raised by a pro.  Steve called and the saw a flop of Axx.  Steve bet and the pro shoved.  Steve called and then grabbed his beer and headed to the rail when the villain showed AA.

Event 61 – The Main Event

And then it was time for our Season 7 Syndicate Champions Keith Morgan and Tom Czzz.  Keith played in Day 1A while Tom started the next day on 1B.  Both players had a successful first day as they survived to bag up their chips well after midnight. Keith ended his day just over his starting stack at 32,250 while Tom won a couple of nice hands late to bag up 50,175. Keith had several notable players in his bracket, including the 2011 Main Event champion Pius Heinz, 2010 4th place finisher, Filippo Candio and (“it’s”) Allen Cunningham. Some of the notable players from Tom’s bracket were Daniel Negreanu, Dan Harrington, Liv Boeree and Barry Greenstein. Tom also had a challenge with the veteran tournament pro Gavin Smith sitting to his right for much of the day. Tom held his own though as Smith ended the day with 32,150.

Day 2 was a rollercoaster ride for Keith.  Early in the day he lost with set under set hand (777 to 999) when both players filled up. That hand knocked Keith down to 4,100 but he then built his stack quickly back up to 19,650.  Keith then played all day and well into the night, eventually building his stack up to about 70,000.  Unfortunately the increasing blinds took a toll and he could never get enough chips to get much maneuvering room.  After a fantastic run, Keith eventually busted out late on day 2 with this hand: with the blinds at 600/1200, Keith was in the BB with 26k left.  UTG+1 raised, everyone else folded, and Keith shoves with AQ suited.  The villain calls with QJ and gets his jack on the flop.  The board blanked out for Keith and his adventure was over.

Meanwhile, over in the Pavilion room, Tom was making his run for the bracelet.  On Day 2B he had a tough table draw with several pros on it, including internet pro and bracelet winner Grant Hinkle.  Fortunately Tom got moved early in the day to a friendlier table.  Here are a few of Tom’s more eventful hands from this day’s action:

  • With the blinds at 400/800 Tom raised with J9dd from Mid-late position to 1700. The SB re-raised to 3500 and Tom called. The flop came A76dd and the SB led out for 4200. Tom calls. Turn is the Qd. SB checks and Tom bets 7000. SB calls. River is the 4c. SB checks with 25k behind. Tom has about 45k back now. Tom bets 10k and the SB folds. This hand got Tom up to 68k.
  • Soon after that hand Tom chipped up again with this play: It folded to Tom on the button and with AJdd he raised to 1700. He expected the SB (internet/live pro with $500k earnings) to shove a wide range of holdings so he wasn’t surprised when he did shove. The BB folded and Tom called. The villain showed 77 which was stronger than Tom expected. No worries though as the board ran out KdQd83dX to give Tom the butt flush and some more tasty chips.
  • Then soon after this hand Tom saw a flop holding 33 and flop came 332. It went check-check on the flop. The turn was a 7. Tom bet and his opponent folded…

Tom ended his Day 2 action with 80,000 chips.  When he opened his bag up the next morning he found that he had been seated next to actor, impressionist and all around funny guy, Kevin Pollak.  Tom reported that Pollak behaved like a relatively normal dude except when the ESPN cameras were there and then he would ham it up with impressions and other schtick.  This was relatively amusing until Tom and his entire table got moved to the feature table!!!  That’s right, we should all be able to watch Tom and his new friends play poker some Tuesday evening in September!  Tom played under the lights for the last two levels of the evening and ended day 3 with 123,000 in chips.

Day 4 was a blur early with only 719 players left and the pay starting at 666.  Tom had a very tough table with several live and internet pro’s as well a bunch of big stacks.  With just 24 big blinds left in his stack Tom looked for a spot to chip up while also giving himself the best chance to cash.  Players dropped fast and it wasn’t long before they were at the bubble.  Meanwhile, it seemed like the players left back home were more nervous than Tom as The Syndicate’s Facebook feed was blowing up with comments and updates.  Then at 1:53 PM, near the end of the day’s first level it happened.  Four players got knocked out at once (AA/KK, AA/QQ and two AA/KK’s) and the bubble popped.  Tom reported that the room went crazy as everyone celebrated making the money.  Players then started dropping fast and before he knew it, our hero was faced with a do or die hand.  With a raise in front of him, Tom looked down at AJ and shoved.  The villain then made the (very loose) call with KK and Tom’s run was over.  Tom had made it to 595th place out of a field of 6598 and won a prize of $19,227.  Overall, Tom remarked that the experience couldn’t have been any better.  He spent a day playing next to Gavin Smith and then had cocktails with him the next day; he had a chance to bag up chips on poker’s biggest stage 3 times; he sat next to Kevin Pollak for an entire day; played at the feature table for two levels; AND CASHED!!  Congratulations Tom and congratulations to the Syndicate for our first Main Event cash!

Next up – Season 8!



June 3, 2012

The Syndicate Summer Shorty II : We had 40 players join us for the 2nd event of our Summer Short Stack Series.  This time we increased the early blinds to 40 minutes to further recreate the conditions of a WSOP short stack tournament.  Along with several newcomers, all of our Syndicate winners were at the event to get ready for Vegas later this month and in July.  The winner was Don B. followed by Farid and Linn.

May 20, 2012

The Syndicate Shorty : We had a great turnout for our first post-season short stack tournament.  We had 34 players including 9 that were playing with us for the first time and 1 for just his second time.  We would like to thank all our newcomers for coming out to play; we hope you all had a great time and will join us for our upcoming season.  If you all do come back next year everybody else better watch out as 5 of the newcomers made it to the final table and 4 of them made it to the top 5!  However, it was the cagey veteran, Jonkey, who ended up taking it down.  His skill at having AA, AK or even AJ at just the right time showed how much experience mattered!  He was followed in the money by Gary B, Tom L, Troy, Rick and Bob.

The format proved to be a real success as we did our best to provide some good practice for the WSOP short stack events coming up this summer. Of course there is no way to duplicate the structure of a real WSOP event, but by lengthening our blinds and adding a couple of levels we at least could get a feel for how to handle the differences in play.

April 29, 2012

Season VII – Playoff:  Our top 20 players (minus the top 4 that already have seats) played last night with five WSOP prize packages on the line.  With deep stacks and long blinds levels this was a very competitive tournament.  It took over five hours for our first player to bust out and we didn’t break the WSOP bubble until 11:45.  That was when Jonkey suffered a brutal beat at the hands of the eventual winner, Larry.  With blinds at 2000/4000/500 Jonkey (with a stack of about 56k) made it 12k to go.  Larry, sitting behind a 150,000 chip stack, called from the button.  The flop was AQT with 2 clubs.  Jonkey bet 20k into a pot of 33k, leaving himself only about 24k behind.  Larry calls.  The turn is the 5c.  Jonkey thinks for about 15 seconds and then shoves.  This was a move he instantly regretted as Larry calls, showing the QJ of clubs for a flopped gut-shot royal straight draw and a turned flush.  Jonkey showed his KJ for a flopped Broadway.  After sulking in the house for several minutes he returned to congratulate the final five.  They were in order of finish:  5th) Hokey for a $1,000 WSOP prize package; 4th) Rene – $1,000 prize;  3rd) Patsy – $1,500 prize;  2nd ) Linn – $1,500 prize; 1st) Larry – $1,500 prize package.



April 22, 2012

Season VII – Event 20:  There was a lot on the line last night as 25 players entered our final event of the season.  We had four players vying for two main event seats, a five player skirmish to get the 4th place seat, and a pitched battle with six players trying to make it into the playoffs.  One by one the leaders fell; first Keith got knocked out early and had to sweat his lead in the clubhouse for a few hours before Tom fell.  This guaranteed Keith a $10,000 entry into the Main Event!  Now Tom had to sweat both Gary and Steve, but neither could get any traction and went out in 16th and 11th respectively.  That gave Tom Czzz the second $10,000 main event seat and he celebrated by enjoying several adult beverages along with Jonkey as they pretty much annoyed the rest of the field!

At the other end of the leaderboard five of the six players trying to move up were all at the same table but only Clint broke through to secure a seat in the playoff event.   Speaking of Clint, he held on to win his first event of the season and second overall.  In order to win he had to beat the number one number two player in Syndicate history as Linn once again came in 2nd place (for the 12th time!).  In third place last night was Alan, followed by Rene in fourth.  Our money bubble boy was a new Syndicate member, Dana.

April 15, 2012

Season VII – Event 19:  Another tournament and another Fessia victory – only this time it was Erica who won her first ever Syndicate tournament.  Congratulations Erica!!  In 2nd place was the entity that has taken over Steve’s body.  Apparently something or someone took control of Steve’s being between the 10th and 11th tournaments as he has been on a tear since then.  In the first half of the season Steve had 66 points but in the 2nd half he has 403.  The only player within 100 points over that span is Gary and he won 3 tournaments!  Steve, if you are out there somewhere, we will find you and save you!!

In 3rd place, with his best finish of the year was our erstwhile secretary, Chad.  4th place was Josh followed by another strong finish by Tom Czzz in 5th.

April 1, 2012

Season VII – Event 18:  Kevin S. held on to a monster final-table stack to take down his first tournament of the season and second overall.  Kevin chipped up early when he made a hero call against MC with just top pair on a scary board.  He also picked off almost everyone at the final table until he finally was heads-up against Steve.  Kevin did make one attempt to give about half his stack when he called Phil’s shove with AQ only to find himself way behind to Phil’s QQ.  Of course an Ace hit on the river to add another pile to Kevin’s already huge stack.   The head’s up battle began with Kevin holding a little over a 2 to 1 chip lead but Steve held on and eventually the stacks were reversed with Steve gaining the advantage.  Both players continued to play patiently for over an hour until Kevin won a couple of big pot in a row and it was all over.     The other players to make the money were Rick in third, Tom Czzz in fourth and Craig in fifth.

March 24, 2012

Season VII – Event 17:  Once again it was the Gary Fessia show at the Syndicate as he won his fourth event of the season.  These are the most wins since Jake Tilley won 5 events in season 4.  The hand of the tourney, and possible the season, came when 4 players saw a flop of Q7x and two players had a big Q, two were all-in, and Gary had tagged along holding 77 for a perfectly timed set.  He then rode that triple up all the way to a head’s up match with Wayne.  Gary had Wayne by a 2 to 1 margin but they flipped stacks on the first hand when Gary called Wayne’s shove with AT and ran into Wayne’s pocket pair.  They settled down after that and played for an hour and a half before Gary finally took it down.  Tom Czzz took third place followed by a new player, John Hyle (who we met at the WSOP Circuit Event), and Phil T.

March 11, 2012

Season VII – Event 16:  Last night we had our 4th and final rebuy event of the season, and though the turnout was a down a bit with 25 players, there was still plenty of action with 65 rebuys and 25 add-ons!  The winner was Josh for his first Syndicate victory.  Mike P. took 2nd place for his best finish of the season.  Heads up was over quickly as Josh had Mike out chipped 5 to 1 once they got down to two players.  Patsy came in 3rd followed by Erica in 4th and Steve in 5th.

February 26, 2012

Season VII – Event 15:  We had another great turnout for the 3rd major of the season with 37 players.  We are now three-fourths through the season and still on a record pace, averaging over 37 players per event.  We are still on a pace to send 9 players to the WSOP in Vegas this summer!  For this tournament we had another repeat winner as Alan outlasted the big field for his 2nd victory of the season.  It was really anyone’s tournament once we got down to 3-handed as the remaining players, Alan, Keith and Steve took turns sucking out on each other and taking the chip lead.  Steve doubled through Alan when his 55 beat Alan’s QQ; then Alan took a hug pot from Keith who in turn won a giant pot from Steve.  Eventually Alan got even with Steve when his J3 beat Steve’s 55 on a board of K-T-T-6-K.  Steve went out soon after that bad beat, leaving Alan with a 4 to 1 lead over Keith.  It was then over on the 2nd hand of heads-up when Keith shoved with K-5 and got snap called by Alan who held A-Q.  Alan spiked a Q on the flop and Keith never caught up.

February 12, 2012

Season VII – Event 14:  And we have a new points leader!  They say you need to play well and run well to win tournaments and our new leader, Gary, did both last Sunday night. He already had a nice stack building when, in rapid succession, he hit two sets and a straight flush (the latter against the nut flush) – all for big pots. His stack was never really in danger the rest of the evening as Gary earned his third victory of the season.  No one else has even won two.  In second place, after the shortest heads up match in Syndicate history, was Linn.  Everyone got ready for an epic duel as beers were opened and the crowd (of 3) settled down to watch Gary, with a 2 to 1 chip advantage, take on Linn for the title.  The cards were dealt and before Jonkey could take a sip of his newly opened beverage it was over.  Linn shoved, holding QT, and Gary snap called with KQ and it was over in one hand.

In third place was Mike P. for his best result of the season; and in fourth was Patsy who continues her strong finishes the past few events.  In fifth place was our newest player from Northern California, Mark Antis.  Mark regaled his tablemates with exciting stories from his two weeks of living in the big city of San Francisco.  Who knows what adventures he’ll have to share with us next time!

January 29, 2012

Season VII – Event 13:  We had a fun and well attended rebuy tournament last Sunday with 30 players, 73 rebuys and 30 add-ons.  The Chad Moth’ commemorative award for most rebuys this event went to Paul R. who reached back into his pocket 6 times. Nice job Paul!  As for the real winner, Don B. held off a lot of big stacks to earn his first Syndicate victory ever.  In second place was Patsy for her best finish of the season and in third place was MC.  Steve and Jonkey rounded out the top 5 at this event. Congratulations Don!

January 21, 2012

Season VII – Event 12:  Finally, in our 12th event of the season we have our first two time winner as Gary took down our first short-stack event of the season.  Early in the tournament Gary was down to 600 chips at the 100/200/25 level, yet somehow he held on to take a healthy stack to the final table. He took about a 2 to 1 chip advantage into the heads-up match with Linn and never gave up the lead.  Linn hung in there as long as possible but it seemed that Gary was dealt an ace every other hand.  His final table good fortune began earlier when he got quad 5’s to take down a big pot and rivered a royal flush to knock Patsy, who had flopped two pair, out of the tournament.  Patsy ended up in 4th place for her best finish of the year.  Rene came in 3rd place for his best ever Syndicate finish.

January 9 2012

Season VII – Event 11: We started the 2nd half of the season strong with a great turnout of 35 entries, including two new players : Jon and Charles.  Welcome guys!  And now to the older players (and no I don’t mean Mark); one of our more “experienced” players, Farid, took it down as he outlasted Bob in a long heads-up battle.  Farid started off with a 2 to 1 advantage but Bob hung in there and doubled through Farid to trade stacks when he called an all in with a straight draw and hit on the river to stay alive.  Now Bob had the advantage but Farid just chipped away until Bob made his final stand with the powerful 7-2.  Unfortunately for Bob he didn’t even have two live cards as Farid showed the 10-7.  This was Farid’s first win since Event 6 of the 2nd season, though it should be noted that he hasn’t played regularly since that season.  In third place was Craig with his best finish of the season.  Next was Gail in 4th place, giving her two strong finishes in a row after her 2nd place in Event 10.  Rounding out the top 5 was Clint.


December 4, 2011

Seas on VII – Event 10:  We had a fantastic turnout for Event 10, our second Major of the season, with 40 players.  This brings us to 395 entries for the year, by far a record at the half-way point of the season.  At our current pace we will easily eclipse last year’s (then record) total and be able to offer even more end of the season WSOP prize packages.  As for the results, we had yet another different winner thisweek as Mark held on to win a long, wild tournament.  Several players took turns amassing a big stack but couldn’t hold on in a tournament that lasted until 2:45AM!  Our second place finisher, Gail, also had her best showing of the year.  It may have gone differently except Mark cracked Gail’s pocket kings in the last hand of the morning with the always might 56 off.  Mark ended up with 2-pair to end the longest Syndicate event ever.  We will definitely make some changes to the format for the next Major to make sure we get done earlier.  In third place was a familiar face near the finish as Keith made his 7th final table appearance out of the first 10 events.  MC took 4th place and Rigo came in 5th for his best Syndicate finish yet.

November 20, 2011

Season VII – Event 09:  Last Sunday’s re-buy tournament featured a lot of action with 30 players, 79 re-buys and 28 add-ons.  Josh took down the Chadzilla award for most re-buys with eight.  This tournament also featured one of the best meals ever provided at a Syndicate event with Patsy cooking up a full Thanksgiving feast!  As for the poker, Brady returned from his new life as Grizzly Adams of the Sierra Nevada to take down the lone event he has played this year.  Phil O. and Paul H. had their best showings so far this season with 2nd and 3rd respectively and Josh and Keith rounded out the money with 4th and 5th places.

October 30, 2011

Season VII – Event 08:  Eight events and eight winners!  This week’s victor had himself quite a poker weekend, and in fact a pretty incredible month.  Alan Ho, who we met at last year’s WSOP Circuit Event, had already won The Haig Kelegian Poker Classic at Oceans 11 earlier in the month (145 players – $4800) plus he took first place on Saturday at the Pala Deep Stack Tournament (91 players – $5300).  Yesterday Alan outlasted the toughest field he faced all month when he went up again 33 other Syndicate members and came away with his first Syndicate victory.  Congratulations Alan for a great win and an awesome month.  Second place was Kevin Hanson., third place was Dave “Jonkey Killer” Bernatz, fourth was Craig and rounding out the money winners was Larry.

October 23, 2011

Season VII – Event 07:  We had yet another strong turnout last night for our 7th event of the season, with 35 players, bringing us to 291 entries from 71 different players so far.  The story of this tournament was all the new names at the final table as eight of the final ten had their best finish of the season (David, Rick, Josh, Larry, Paul R., Patsy, Farid & Jamey).  All the final four players had pulled off a come from behind hand (ie: a big suck-out!) to make it so far.  A couple notable ones were when Josh was all in earlier against Paul H. with a flush draw to P-man’s set – and of course he rivered ……..  a backdoor straight!   However Josh suffered a similar fate later when they were 3-handed and he got it all in against David Benjamin with A2 on a AK2 board.  David held KJ and was way behind until the board ran out AK2-J-J to knock Josh out and give David a commanding 10 to 1 chip lead over Rick H. who was playing in just his second Syndicate tourney.  Rick made a good run at it as he almost drew even with David about 20 minutes into the heads-up duel.  David pulled away again though to get the win, and his first Syndicate victory ever.  Congratulations David!  Larry took 4th place and Paul R. took 5th.

October 8, 2011

Season VII – Event 06:  As we start the second quarter of the season it is more of the same – which is a good thing!  We are still on a record pace for attendance with 256 total entries from 71 players with an average of 43 players per event.  We also had our 6th/sup> different winner and this parity keeps the top of the leaderboard in reach for anyone with just one big finish.  We also learned a few things about some of our players: David Benjamin likes to make random sound effects when he folds his hand; Paul H. doesn’t actually turn into a pumpkin after level 3; and Kevin S. has no problem taking 57 up against AQ on a A5x board – because he knows the third 5 will hit on the river!   Speaking of new winners and suck-outs, Phil T. won the tournament the old fashioned way- with two fortunate plays (for him anyway).  The first came when with 11 players left and Phil shoved with 99 and was called by Paul R., holding AK.  An ace hit on the flop but Phil doubled up anyway, and crippled Paul, when the river brought  a four-flush.  Then, sometime later at the final table, Phil shoved his final 30k from early position, Kevin S. called and Jonkey shoved 49K over the top.  The action folds to Kevin, who is getting almost 5 to 1 to make the call, but he ends up folding.  Phil shows A6 and Jonkey turns over KK.  Kevin shows the AJ that he folded and Keith announces that he folded and Ace, leaving Phil drawing thin to the case Ace – which of course comes in the window and the 100k+ chip pot moves in front of Phil.  Phil held on to defeat Keith heads-up, followed by Kevin S. in 3rd, Jonkey in 4th and Paul H. in 5th.

September 19, 2011

Season VII  Event 05:  Another great turnout for the Syndicate last night with 41 entries as we finished the first quarter of the season.  So far no one is running away with the lead which means anyone can move way up the leaderboard with one good finish.  Speaking of good finishes, we had a couple of new faces go real deep last night.  Kal (with a K) kept up the pressure all tournament long to make a final five that included the real Cal, Jonkey, Kevin Hanson and Billy “Buzzsaw” Bench.  Billy earned his new moniker late in the tournament as he seemed to chew up almost every pot for about an hour.  Going up against him was like trying to escape a buzz saw as Erica found out in this big hand:  we were 6 handed and Erica made a standard raise to about 9k.  Billy, with a big pile of woodchips in front of him, called in position.  The flop came JJ4 rainbow.  Erica had about 35k in front of her and she shipped it, figuring that as long as Billy didn’t have a jack she could take down a nice pot.  Well, of course Billy had a jack (JT) and Erica’s Ad6d didn’t improve and she was out in 11th/sup>.  Buzzsaw!

So, back to our final five.  We lost Gary, who went deep again thanks in part to an early royal flush, in 6th place at about 10:45 and it looked like an early evening for the Syndicate.  Except we didn’t lose our next player until just after midnight!  Cal was the first to go down followed soon after by Kal.  By now the buzzsaw had lost a few teeth as Billy had been card-dead for the entire final table.  By now Jonkey, who survived several all-ins earlier at the final table, had taken over the chip lead followed by Kevin.  These three zigged and zagged for almost an hour until this big hand:  with  the blinds at 7000/14000 Jonkey made it 45,000 from the button and then Kevin shipped his 130,000-ish stack in.  Buzz quickly folded and Jonkey made the call.  Kevin showed KQ and Jonkey turned over AQ which held up to give him an overwhelming chip lead going into heads-up play.  Buzzsaw managed to hang on for about 20 minutes until he shoved with A6 of diamonds and got a quick call from Jonkey holding AT.  The board didn’t bring any help to Billy and the first Major of the season was over at a respectable 1:10am.


September 12, 2011

Season VII – Event 04:  As usual for a re-buy tournament it was a lively event Saturday night.  We had 31 players (including two newcomers — welcome to Kal and John G.) and a total of 93 re-buys and 30 add-ons!  Leading the rebuy charge was Jonkey with 9, which was one more than all of table 2’s players combined!  That might seem like a lot of re-buys but Jonkey explained it this way, “I lost a lot of hands and it was the only way to get more chips”.  So it makes more sense now.

Once the re-buy carnage ended, the freeze-out portion started with an average stack size of 10,900 chips.  Phil had a huge chip lead at table 3 by that time, despite having six re-buys earlier, and he managed to hold on to his stack deep into the final table.  The final five were Steve, Greg, Phil, Clint and Tom.  Steve was this week’s “chip and a chair” dude as he came to the final table with just 3,300 in chips.  Two triples up later though and he was back in business.  His new business lasted all the way to his best finish of the season (5th place) when his 33 ran into KQ but couldn’t hold on.

Meanwhile, Tom C., with just 2 re-buys, took a different route to the final table as he played short stacked almost the entire tournament.  He only got a formidable stack when he, Phil and Greg got into a huge pot when they were 4-handed: Greg shipped his short stack in from early position and Tom re-shoved over him.  Phil then called as well.  Greg showed A8, Tom had JJ and Phil had AJ.  Tom was looking good to almost triple up until an Ace hit on the flop.  The turn blanked but the river brought the case Jack to keep Tom in the tourney, now with a big stack of his own.  For Greg it was his best finish ever in limited Syndicate play and he seemed to enjoy seeing what our tournaments were like after the 2nd level!

A few moments later the tournament was pretty much decided when the two remaining big stacks clashed over this hand:  with the blinds at 3,000/6,000, Clint folded his button and Phil raised to 12,000 from the small blind.  Tom called and they saw a flop of QJ7 (with two spades) Phil made a pot sized continuation bet and Tom called.  There’s now about 75,000 in the middle and Phil has about 110,000 back and Tom has about 85,000.  The turn was the 2h and Phil shoved.  Tom thinks for a few moments and makes the call.  Phil showed Q3 but was drawing thin when Tom showed QT.  The river didn’t help Phil and he was on life support while Tom became the overwhelming chip leader.  Phil busted soon after that and the heads up duel with Clint was over in 2 hands to give Tom his first ever Syndicate victory.  Congratulations Tom!

September 1, 2011

Season VII – Event 03:  The Syndicate season keeps rolling with another strong turnout and still more new players.  This week we welcomed:  Jamey, Kimberly, Phil O., Rick and Robert.  Thanks for checking us out!  So far we are averaging 46 players per event so we are on pace to improve on last year’s record breaking season!  This week we played our first short-handed tournament and you could tell the difference in the format as players were dropping quickly throughout the evening.  By 9:30 we were down to 10 players and by 10:30 we were down to 4.  Then something happened and the final 4: Kevin, Carl, Mark and MC slowed way down and we didn’t have a winner until 1AM!

Kevin S., who gained a big stack early, made it to 4th place followed by one of our new players, Carl, in 3rd.  That left MC and Mark who played a heads-up battle for 73 minutes.  MC felt fortunate to even still be in the tournament when this hand happened with two tables left:  with the blinds at 400/800 an early position player brought it in for a raise to 2200.  Gary called from the cut-off and Jonkey made it 10,000 from button.  MC called all-in for 9,800 from the big blind.  The initial raiser folded and Gary thought for awhile but ended up calling.  There was now 34,450 in the main pot and 400 on the side.  The flop was A24 and both players checked; the turn was a 3 – check, check again; and of course the river was a 5 to put a wheel on the board.  Gary (with about 30k left) checked and Jonkey (55k behind) paused and then pushed all-in.  Gary tanks and finally folds and Jonkey shows a set of aces to split the pot with MC who held A9.  MC then rode that lifeline all the way to victory as he outlasted Mark in a fantastic heads-up duel.  They started off with Mark holding a 2 to 1 advantage but were fairly even after several hands.  The lead went back and forth with each player holding a commanding lead a couple of times only to see his opponent come back again.  To illustrate how careful these guys were playing MC ended up with a royal flush, holding the 10 and Mark had the second nuts holding the 9 and they didn’t get it all in.  The hand got there on the river and MC made a value bet that Mark merely called, basically losing the minimum.  Congratulations to MC on his first ever Syndicate victory!

August 22, 2011

Season VII – Event 02:  We had another great turnout at this event and welcomed several more new players into the Syndicate: welcome to Donna, Max, Jimmy, Billy, Henry and Mitch.  Mitch definitely made his presence known when he rivered a straight flush to beat Paul H., who held the Jack-high flush, to take down a huge pot.  In fact it was a night of big hands and big suck-outs; twice there was a full house on the board to keep players alive and our eventual second place finisher, Keith M., survived three all-ins holding an under-pair to his opponent.  Twice he hit a set and once, holding 44, he ended up with an 8-high straight!  His luck ran out though on the final hand of the night when he called an all-in by Gary F. at 12:28 in the morning.  Gary showed AK and Keith had A8.  The board bricked out for Keith to give Gary his first ever Syndicate win.  Congratulations Gary!!  Tim F. rode a roller coaster at the final table to take third place and Wayne hung in there for fourth.

August 8, 2011

Season VII – Event 1:  “And they’re off!”  That’s how our founder Mark Antis started us last night on opening day of Season 7 of the San Diego Syndicate.  It was a record breaking event with 51 players and $2,500 going into our prize pool. Thank you to everyone who came out and made this a great tournament.  Included in this group were twelve players who had never played with us before, with three of them making it to the top ten! On the other end we had five players who have been with us since the first season: Mark, Farid, Tom S., Chad and Jonkey.  Of course we’ve picked up a lot more regulars along the way and we really appreciate the support from all the players.

Now for the results:  Season 7 has started the way Season 6 ended, with our season 6 champion Tom E. at the top of the leaderboard.  At the mid-point of the tournament Tom was on life support, but after a couple of timely double ups he was back in business and never looked back.  One of our newcomers, Mike R. (aka the singing blackjack dealer – or just plain “Jack”) had a great first event and came in second place.  He was followed by Kevin H. and Tom Czzz.  Tom is our host so it’s always good to keep him happy and Kevin started with us at the end of last season.  He was the player that won the WSOP Circuit Event that Gail got 3rd in.

Thank you also to everyone for arriving on time.  Even with such a huge field, we started right at 4PM and ended at 12:40am.  The help on cleanup was also much appreciated.  This tournament went real smooth, just the way we like it!

August 2, 2011

Tiki Tourney Results:  We had a record turnout last week at the 6th annual Summer Tiki Tournament, both in the number of players and the amount of cool Hawaiian shirts!  There were 47 of the former and approximately 42 of the latter.  Next year I’m going to make the cool-shirt-bonus T1000 and see if we can get 100% participation!  With 47 players and 6 re-entries there was a prize pool of over $5000.  The top Tiki of the night was Syndicate newcomer Josh H. followed by Don B. in 2nd and Paul P. in 3rd.

Along with many of our Syndicate regulars we had a pile of newcomers who are getting ready to join us for season 7.  So thanks to everyone for coming out and making it a fun tournament.  See you all next Sunday!

The Final Tiki Table

1.  Josh

2.  Don

3.  Paul P.

4.  Eddie

5.  Dave BG

6.  Jonkey

7.  Gil

8.  Tom Cz.

9.  Steve L


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