The PartyPoker Premier League VI kicked off on Sunday at the Aspers Casino with 16 players putting up the $125,000 to compete for the $450,000 top prize.
The Premier League format calls for the field to be split into two groups with each player competing for points over four heats ($2,000 per point). The top three players from each group will automatically advance to the final table, while the fourth and fifth positions will compete heads-up in a best-of three-format for a spot at the eight-handed final table.
Commentator Jesse May and tournament director John Scanlon hosted the player draw on Sunday afternoon. In a last-minute change to lineup, it was announced that Igor Kurganov was replacing Luke Schwartz.
Here’s a look at the groups:
|Antonio Esfandiari||Jonathan Duhamel|
|Sam Trickett||Marvin Rettenmaier|
|Daniel Cates||Daniel Negreanu|
|Phil Hellmuth||Scott Seiver|
|Jason Mercier||Talal Shakerchi|
|Igor Kurganov||Jennifer Tilly|
|Tobias Reinkemeier||Tony G|
|Phil Laak||Dan Shak|
Group A was the first to get under way with Heat 1 beginning Sunday evening. Each player started with a 300,000 stack with blinds at 1,000/2,000.
Defending Premier League champion Scott Seiver was the first to hit the rail and earned zero points in Heat 1. The blinds were 3,000/6,000/1,000 when Antonio Esfandiari opened to 14,000 with from early position. Seiver, in the blinds, shoved his remaining 144,000 stack with . Esfandiari called and was slightly behind, but the board gave Esfandiari two pair to send Seiver looking for the exit door.
A couple levels later, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates picked up two points after being eliminated in seventh place. Cates moved all in with only eight big blinds left on the button holding . Daniel Negreanu called from the big blind with . The board brought help to Cates, ending his run in the first heat.
Sam Trickett, the only Brit participating in the Premier League VI, had an incredible run of luck in the first heat. After doubling through Negreanu with against , he eliminated Esfandiari in sixth place. Duhamel opened to 25,000 with , Esfandiari made it 56,000 with pocket queens, and Trickett four-bet to 113,000 with pocket tens. Duhamel folded and Esfandiari moved all-in for 401,000 and Trickett called. The flop and turn showed , keeping Esfandiari in the lead with only a two outer left to help Trickett, but the completed the board to give the Brit a set. Esfandiari, who beat Trickett heads-up in the Big One for One Drop last summer, jokingly said to Trickett, "We're even," before exiting with three points.
Phil Hellmuth was the next to go after he shoved his 121,000 remaining chips with pocket threes. Negreanu called and was in dominating position preflop with pocket nines. The flop showed to leave Hellmuth drawing virtually dead, and he exited Heat 1 in fifth place with four points.
Just a couple hands later, Negreanu pick up six points for his fourth place finish. Holding , Negreanu bet the flop with two overs and a flush draw. Duhamel had and moved all in, and Negreanu called for his last 269,000. The turn and river did nothing to improve Negreanu’s hand, sending him to the rail.
The blinds jumped to 8,000/16,000/2,000 with three players remaining and Duhamel was the chip leader ahead of Trickett and Marvin Rettenmaier. Trickett doubled his stack again after he min-raised on the button with . Rettenmaier three-bet with pocket jacks, but Trickett fired back with a four-bet. Rettenmaier pushed all of his chips into the middle and Trickett called. The board ran out , giving Trickett a straight to leave Rettenmaier severely short-stacked with only 12 big blinds. A few hands later, he three-bet all-in with and Trickett called with . The board was of no help to the German pro was eliminated in third place with eight points.
When heads-up play began, Trickett led with 1,476,000 in chips against Duhamel’s 924,000. In a back and forth match, Trickett extended his lead early before Duhamel battled back to take control. In the final hand, Duhamel raised to 80,000 on the button with and Trickett shoved for 777,000 with . Duhamel called and the flop came , keeping Duhamel in the lead. The turn and river changed nothing, and Duhamel was the winner of the first heat in Group A.
Here’s a look at the Group A Heat 1 results:
The first heat of Group B began this afternoon, and the second heat of Group A will take place late this evening. Stay tuned to PokerNews for full recaps of each heat of the PartyPoker Premier League.
For more, check out the PartyPoker Blog.