The week of High Roller poker action in Las Vegas has been an entertaining one in that new players have come to the fore at the 2018 Poker Masters. One of those newcomers, Ali Imsirovic, was able to capture the championship of Event #5, but it was a player who had some earlier success, Brandon Adams, who has taken the overall lead.
Imsirovic Wins $25,000 No Limit Hold’em Event
Coming to the final table, Imsirovic and another High Roller “newcomer,” Benjamin Yu (if you can call a player with three World Series of Poker bracelets a “newcomer”), were part of the upper echelons of the leaderboard with chip leader Jake Schindler. They would both make quick moves towards taking the lead from Schindler, with Yu making short work of a short-stacked Daniel Negreanu early in the action and Imsirovic showing the same tenacity in knocking off Jason Koon in fifth place to bring more ammunition his way. Schindler, for his part, had a tough time getting anything going as he faded into the pack.
Another challenger would emerge during the four-handed action that dominated play for much of the day. Brian Rast knocked Yu down in doubling up to take over the chip lead, a position that he held for a considerable length of time. Imsirovic would maintain relevance in taking out Schindler in fourth before catching a massive double up in a hand that changed the course of the tournament.
Imsirovic limped in from the button and, after Yu just called from the small blind, the aggressive Rast applied maximum pressure in moving all in from the big blind. Imsirovic wasn’t swayed by the move, immediately making the call, and Yu gave up his hand as the cards were turned up. Imsirovic’s pocket Jacks were in front of the live cards of Rast (A♣ 5♠) and the K-Q-4 flop did little to change the situation (for the record, Yu folded K♥ 8♥). A deuce on the turn brought four more outs for Rast in a Wheel draw (the four treys), but a seven wasn’t helpful in any manner as Imsirovic doubled up.
The Imsirovic double up was the beginning of the end for Rast. Yu cut a stack of chips off Rast, rivering an Ace to beat Rast’s pocket sevens to double up. The end would come after Imsirovic moved all in on the button holding pocket sixes and Rast, looking at one card, called and showed an A-3. A Q-10-8 flop didn’t help, but a second ten on the turn brought a chance that Imsirovic could be counterfeited. A deuce on the river didn’t do that, however, as Rast hit the rail in third place.
Holding more than a 2:1 lead, it was a rather quick end for the Imsirovic/Yu battle. Only three hands into the action, Imsirovic limped in from the button and Yu moved all in on him. Imsirovic didn’t waste any time in making the call, tabling pocket fives for the battle against Yu’s A-6 off suit. A K-8-5 flop basically sealed the match for Imsirovic and, after a deuce came on the turn, Yu was left drawing dead and Imsirovic could celebrate as the latest champion of the Poker Masters.
1. Ali Imsirovic, $462,000
2. Benjamin Yu, $330,000
3. Brian Rast, $214,500
4. Jake Schindler, $165,000
5. Jason Koon, $132,000
6. Daniel Negreanu, $99,000
Brandon Adams Uses Early Success to Head Poker Masters Overall Standings
While Imsirovic’s victory in Event #5 put him in the mix, the overall leader of the Poker Masters used some early success to get in that position. Brandon Adams would make the final tables of Events #1 and #2 to build up 510 points to currently hold the lead in the overall standings (last year’s Poker Masters used money earnings during the event to determine the overall champion; this year a points system is being used). Adams will face a threat from Imsirovic, however, as Imsirovic has made the final table of Event #6, the $50,000 No Limit tournament, and should add on significantly to his point total.
1. Brandon Adams, 510 points
2. Isaac Haxton, 480
3. Benjamin Yu, 360
(tie) Ali Imsirovic
5. David Peters, 300
(tie) Keith Lehr
7. Jake Schindler, 270
(tie) Jonathan Depa
9. Jason Koon, 240
With only the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event left on the schedule, any of these nine men is a threat to take the overall championship. Depending on how many entries that tournament gets, the winner could conceivably pass these men, but Imsirovic could make the job a bit tougher if he is able to win Event #6 and add more points to the 360 he currently has.
The $100,000 Main Event will be streamed on PokerGO over the weekend, with the champion crowned on Saturday. It will also determine the individual that will earn the Purple Jacket, which signifies the overall champion of the Poker Masters.