This week’s poker news delivers news from both ends of the spectrum, both happy and sad. We’ll start of with the good news as a couple of players have picked up some big wins to end their 2019 with a bang.
Shabelnyk Win 2019 Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza
It’s been a good month for Ukrainian poker pro Valentyn Shabelnyk. He has claimed the 2019 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza Poker main event, which was his second title at the Venetian in Las Vegas this past month. The signature event of the series had a $3,500 buy-in, which led to Shabelnyk claiming $136,080 for first place.
In total, there were 160 players in the field of the $500,000 guaranteed event. The third and final day of the tournament began with 13 players left in the field, including two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Steven Sung. Sung had the chip lead at that point but eventually lost out.
The win was the second this month for Shabelnyk, who also won a $100,000 guaranteed $400 buy-in tournament on the first of the month. However, this week’s win was the biggest at a live event for Shabelnyk. In addition to the win, Shabelnyk collected 468 Card Player Player of the Year points.
Foxen Wins WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic Main Event
The 2019 World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic Main Event was a record-setting poker event as 1,035 players entered the field, smashing the previous high of 1,001 (in 2018). Alex Foxen of Cold Spring Harbor, New York conquered that massive field to take home a whopping $1,694,995 purse for first place.
It felt like it was only a matter of time for Foxen as he actually finished as the runner-up to this event back in 2017. This time around, he made it back to the head’s-up portion of the play and this time outlasted his competitor.
On top of the money, Foxen will collect 2,400 Card Player Player of the Year points, which adds to his collection for 2019. With just under a week remaining in the year, he has moved into second place in the 2019 Player of the Year standings, 210 back of Stephen Chidwick. This was Foxen’s second win of the year and 19th final table finish.
Poker Legend Johnny Hale Passes Away
The poker community lost one of its pioneers this past week as longtime player and senior advocate “Oklahoma” Johnny Hale passed away.
Hale, who was born in Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, in September of 1927, worked hard with Benny Binion to popularize the game of poker. Him and Binion were crucial in the growth of the World Series of Poker senior’s event. Although he never won it, he was awarded a bracelet for being the bestall-around player in at the 1980 World Series of Poker.
Hale did make it to three final tables in his career, placing second, third and third in those three appearances. Prior to getting into poker, Hale served in the Navy during the Korean War. Later on, he worked as a home builder in Tulsa, Oklahoma before discovering his passion for poker.