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Welcome to The Syndicate
   

The San Diego Syndicate – WSOP Qualifier Series

The Syndicate was formed by a group of friends/poker players who wanted to send a representative to the WSOP Main Event.  There were ten events that first season culminating with Chris Gregg going to the Main Event in the summer of 2006.  The Syndicate is now in its 12th consecutive season and is still going strong.  Last season we sent 3 players to the Main Event and 9 others to $1,500 tournaments.  This time you could be the one that goes to Vegas to represent us at World Series of Poker!

Here’s how it works

We run a 16 tournament series where cash and points are awarded every time you play. At each event 50% of the cash is awarded to that night's winners and the remaining 50% is saved toward our year-end prizes. At the end of the season your top 12 scores are totaled and the winners get to play in the WSOP Main Event!

We also award entries into lower buy-in tournaments, usually at $1,500 buy-ins, for our runners up and even more seats are awarded in an end of the season playoff event. Then, when our players cash in the WSOP they keep 50% of their winnings and the Syndicate shares (and distributes) the other 50%. Everyone who plays in a tournament gets one share in the Syndicate for each event they enter*.

For the 2016 World Series, The Syndicate had 3 grand prize winners who each won a $10,000 seat to the WSOP Main Event; the next 5 places (4th through 8th) earned $1,500 seats and another 4 seats were awarded in our playoff tournament.  For 2017 there will be a change to our prize structure: 1st and 2nd place will receive Main Event prize packages; places 3 through 8 will receive $1,500 tournament entries; and four more $1,500 seats will be awarded in our playoff.  Then players 3 – 8 plus the playoff winners will play in a bonus tournament to determine our final Main Event winner.

Here are some highlights:

·         We take only a player’s top 12 finishes in points over the course of the season to determine the winner.

·         The top two champions of the series win a $10,000 entry into the Main Event.

·         The next top finishers (projected to be places 3 – 8) receive guaranteed WSOP seats ranging from $1,500 to $2,500.

·         The top 18 players that did not receive a “guaranteed seat” will compete for additional $1,500 seats in our playoff tournament.

·         The Guaranteed Seat winners plus the Playoff winners will then play a single table tournament with the winner earning a $10,000 Main Event seat.  This is called our “Bonus Tournament”.

·         Players can earn bonus points & playoff chips just by participating - check the full rules for more details.

·         We hold four Major tournaments that feature deeper starting stacks and bonus playoff chips.

·         We hold two special tournaments that emulate day 2 of the WSOP Monster Stack event and day 4 of the WSOP Main Event.

*  In order to qualify for the distribution of WSOP earnings a player must play in a minimum of 5 events.

** All prizes are based upon the amount the Syndicate saves and the tournaments offered by the WSOP. Be sure to check the full rules as well as our structure page for more information and all the details.


Latest News:
Sunday May 7

Season XII – Event 16:  Season XII: Our twelfth season is now over and we are ready to roll into Vegas in June and July.  Once again I’d like to thank Jill & Jamie Hickerson for being such gracious hosts – after a year away they welcomed us back and provided the perfect venue for our league.  You guys are awesome!!

The Winners:  This season’s WSOP player field is now set.  Congratulations  to Jonkey (that’s me!!)  who is our champion for season 12.   This is Jonkey’s first overall win and second Syndicate Main Event seat as he came in 2ndplace back in Season 10.  Right behind him is Dana, who earned his THIRD Syndicate Main Event seat in just five full seasons played.  However, there’s going to be a change with this.  Dana also won a Main Event seat with the other group that he plays in.  So after Matt busted out of the bonus tournament yesterday, Dana offered to trade seats withMatt B, our third place finisher in the regular season.  This is allowed by our rules, so now Matt will play in the Main Event and Dana will play in a $1500 WSOP event - both for the Syndicate.  And while Dana will get a stake in Matt’s action for trading spots, the Syndicate’s 50% share remains the same.

Bonus Main Event Tourney Winner - Alan Ho

 

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Upcoming Events:
       
       

Click HERE for the full Season Schedule
Current Rankings:

1 Jonkey 525
2 Dana 465
3 Matt B 405
4 Michael K 370
5 Craig 355
6 Chad 345
6 Alan 345
6 Linn 345
9 Don B 335
10 Monte 325

Click HERE to see the Complete Results

Playoff Event:  On Saturday we held our playoff event for the next 18 players that did not receive a guaranteed seat.  Coming out on top, each with a $1,500 WSOP entry + $250 in cash, were David Benjamin, Keith, Paul R, and MC.

Bonus Main Event Tourney: This was a new event this season.  The six players that earned guaranteed seats (Matt B, Michael Kahn, Craig, Chad, Alan, and Linn) were joined by the four playoff winners in a single table tournament on Sunday to determine our third Main Event winner.  This event was set up to simulate the real WSOP Main Event final table.  There were 359,000,000 chips in play with the top seed starting with 50m and the four bottom seeds starting with 30m.  The blinds started at 200k/400k just like the real final table and were 45 minutes long.   You can check out how it all went down on our Facebook page but at the end of the 11 hour event (including about five hours combined of 3-handed and heads-up play!!) it was Alan Ho who took it down and earned our third Main Event package.  For the record, Keith took 2nd place and Craigy came in 3rd after a long, hard fought, and exciting tournament.

Congratulations and good luck to all of our winners.  And good luck to The Syndicate!!



Saturday April 22

Season XII – Event 16:  Season XII – Event 16:  The final event of the season was won by Monte, who is returning to the winner’s circle for the second time (his last win was event 7 of last season).  Monte spent most of the tourney just hanging in there, grinding a short to medium stack, until he made it to the final table as the short stack.  From there he knocked out five of the remaining nine opponents and kept climbing up the ladder.  He finally became one of the big stacks when  he got into a hand holding AJ vs Matt B’s KJ.  Matt “Bubble Boy” Burley flopped a king but Monte spiked an ace on the river to knock Matt out.  Finally Monte took Linn out in 3rd place to gain a huge chip advantage over Jill going into heads-up play.  It was over pretty quickly though when Jill shoved with A3 and Monte called with 77.  The board ran out with no help for our hostess and with that our final event of the season was in the books.

 

The Final Table

1 Monte
2 Jill
3 Linn
4 MC
5 Matt B
6 Jon T
7 Alan
8 Don B
9 Keith
10 Michael Kahn

 

 

The Leaderboard: Even though our top-two spots were already locked up, there was still plenty of action and suspense up and down the leaderboard.  All night players were checking the leaderboard to see what they needed to get into the hunt for the third Main Event seat.  For the players trying to get into the playoffs three of them got just enough to make it:  first, Steve P. snuck in with just enough points (15 for 11th place) to get in; then MC, who needed at least 6th place, made it when he came in 4th ; then Jill, who had the challenge of getting to at least 3rd place to get in, hung in there to earn 2nd place.  Further up the leaderboard only one player made the jump from the playoff bracket into the guaranteed seats.  To start the night Linn needed at least a 9th place to have a chance (25 points), but the target kept getting further away since the player he was trying to catch, Don B., was still in the tourney and gaining points as well.  Ultimately, Don “I’ll follow my team anywhere” Bisco went out in 8th place, which put Linn’s goal at 3rd place or better.  And that’s just what he got to edge out Don and earn a seat at the Bonus Main Event Tourney on May 7th.

So the final leaderboard of the season ended up like this:  Jonkey came in 1st place overall and is joined by Dana in 2nd place – congratulations to both of them on winning grand prize packages of a $10k Main Event Seat plus $500 in cash.  Then a funny thing happened in third place.  We knew before the season that exactly one person would be bummed with the new format of having a bonus tourney for the third Main Event seat.  We just didn’t know who it would be.  As we finalized the plans Matt B said, “watch, it’s going to be me – I just know it”.  It was him!  There is no doubt that Matt is both a good player and the Syndicate’s pet official Bubble Boy!  In just 4 seasons Matt has gone bubble, Main Event, bubble, bubble.  We’ll have to wait till May 7th to see if he can change that result.  In 4th place is Michael Kahn who returned to full-time Syndicate action this season.  In 5th place we have Craig “I used to be a contender” Combs.  And then we have Chad, Alan and Linn all tied for the final three guaranteed spots.  These six players will wait for the results of the playoff tournament to see who will join them at the Main Event final table.

Coming Up – The Playoff:   Our playoff tournament for places 9 – 26 (18 players) will be on Saturday, May 6th at 1pm.  I will send a separate message soon regarding that event.




Saturday April 1

Season XII – Event 15:  Our top two finishers of the season are now set.  Going into the night Jonkey and Dana were in first and second respectively but both could still be caught, either last night or by the end of the season.  However, over the course of a very long tourney the chasers fell one by one.  First out was Craigy, who just couldn’t get any traction.  Even though each player started with 800k chips the tourney plays like the real  day-4 of the Main Event in that you need to chip up relatively soon or the blinds catch up real fast.  After that initial phase the tourney gets deep again and turns into a real grind.  The next contender out was David Benjamin who got into a big hand with Michael Kahn.  On a 9-high flop Michael lead out, David raised, and Michael shoved.  David went deeeeep into the tank and finally called with top pair saying that he thought Michael was on a flush draw.  He was right but Michael’s heart came on the turn and David was out in 33rd.

 

The next contender to fall – in 28th place – was Don C.  In a big pot he held AJ on a J54 flop but ran into Jonkey’s QQ.  Soon after that it was Chad’s turn.  Jonkey, who had a below-average stack for most of the night until knocking out Don C, raised from middle position and Chad put in 3-bet from the blind.  Jonkey called and they saw a flop of QT6hh.  Chad bet, Jonkey raised, Chad shoved, and Jonkey called.  Chad showed AA (with the Ah) and Jonkey turned over 66.  The turn was a heart, giving Chad more outs, but the 7d landed on the river and Jonkey scooped a huge pot.  Apparently this was Chad’s first pair of Aces the entire night and they resulted in a 26th place finish. 

 

About an hour later another chaser, Michael Khan, met his fate.  Again it was in a hand vs. Jonkey, who now had the chip lead with over 6m in his stack.   At the 20k/40k level, Michael, with a stack of 1.23m chips, raised to 100k. Two other players plus Jonkey called.  The flop came K32ss, the small blind checked, Jonkey donk-bet from the BB for 260k, and Michael shoved.  The other two players quickly folded and Jonkey went into the tank.  Eventually he called with KJ and Michael flipped over AA.  It was over soon though when a king landed on the turn leading Michael to faint while Jonkey got to pull in another massive pot.

 

It was another two hours before the final contender met his end.  In this hand Wayne limped from UTG+1 and Matt B. put in a 4x raise from the button.  The flop came 7T3 and it goes check, bet, call.  The turn was a 6 and this time the action was check, shove, snap-call.  Wayne turned over the nuts with 89s and Matt shows 77.  The river didn’t pair the board and Matt was out in 14th place.

 

Jonkey ultimately clinched his Main Event seat when Gary F. busted out in 12th place and he immediately had Chad fetch him a cold pilsner from the fridge!  Meanwhile Dana would need to win the event in order to mathematically eliminate Matt and the rest of the field.  For most of the tournament Dana stayed around the average stack size until this hand came up against Keith:  at the 30k/60k level, Dana, with a stack of 2.2m, raised and was 3-bet by Keith from one of the blinds.  Dana called and they saw a flop of 7xx, which both players checked.  The turn was a king.  Keith checked, Dana made a large bet, and Keith called.  The river was a small blank and this time Keith led the action with a large bet,   Dana went all in, and Keith called with AK.  Dana showed 77 and doubled up to 4.5m in chips and was now set up to make a deep run.

 

The final table began at 10:30pm and we didn’t get down t to the final 5 players until 1:17am.  From there Don B came in 5th, followed by Anders in 4th, and Jonkey in 3rd.  Finally, at about 3am, the heads-up match started.  Jamie was able to double through Dana early on but then Dana quickly returned the favor.  After that they kept playing small pots with neither making a big enough hand against the other to force a showdown.  Finally, at 3:42 am – over 13 hours after it began --  at the 500,000/1,000,000 level, they got it all in with Dana holding the chip advantage and two black tens.  Jamie showed up with KJss and Jonkey spread out a rainbow flop.  Then a spade fell on the turn to give Jamie even more outs.  The 3d landed on the river though, giving Jamie 2nd place and his best finish of the season while Dane earned the win and clinched the other guaranteed Main Event seat.


The Final Table
1 Dana
2 Jamie
3 Jonkey
4 Anders
5 Don B
6 Alan
7 Steve P
8 Wayne
9 Bob W
10 Brad

The Leaderboard: The top two guaranteed Main Event seats are now locked up!  This is Jonkey’s second Main Event Syndicate seat in the last three seasons and Dana’s third in the last 4 seasons.  Congratulations to them as they wait to find out who will win the third and final Main Event seat at our Bonus Tournament on May 7th.   Just behind them are a group of players that still have a lot to play for: Matt B, Craig, Michael, Chad, Alan and Don B. all currently hold a guaranteed $1,500 WSOP seat and spot at the final Main Event bonus tournament.  They will all be vying to not only hold on to their position but to finish as high as possible since the players in that event will receive more starting chips the higher they finish.  Behind them are players that are still gunning for a guaranteed seat or are fighting to either make it into, or stay in, the playoff tournament on May 6th.  Remember, all you have to do is get into the playoff tourney to still have a chance at a Main Event seat.  Good luck players!! 

Coming Up:   Our final regular season event will be on Saturday, April 22nd at 1PM.  This will be a MAJOR Deep Stack tournament with a 30,000 chip starting stack.  The buyin is $125 + $10.


Saturday March 18

Season XII – Event 14:  After his victory in event 12, Stan Diego took a tourney off and then came back and won this event for a personal back to back.  He took an early chip lead and then basically held it all the way to the finish.  By the time the final table started Stan had about 40% of the chips in play and never relinquished the lead.  When heads-up started vs. Michael Kahn, Stan had an overwhelming lead and it was over in just two hands as Michael hit the flop and called Stan’s shove only to discover Mr. Diego had “the weapons of mass destruction” – AA! In 3rd place, in just his second syndicate tournament, was the junior Lawn, Alex.  Matt B came in 4th, Kelly took 5th, and Monte and Jamie came in 6th and 7th to round out the money winners.

 

In 3rd place, with the best finish of his rookie season, was Dave Readman.  He was followed by Matt B (who just broke a string of seven 0’s) in 4th and Bob “okay, I’ll call” Cosway in 5th.

 

The Final Table

1 Stan Diego
2 Michael Kahn
3 Alex Lawn
4 Kelly
5 Kelly
6 Monte
7 Jamie
8 Gary F
9 Andi
10 Linn

The Leaderboard: Oh man is it getting tight up at the top!  Jonkey, despite going 3 tourneys in a row without points, is still in the lead with 440 points. But below him there are only 25 points separating the next 5 players: Dana has 360 and he’s followed by Matt B with 350, Craigy with 345, Michael with 340 and Chad with 335.  David Benjamin and Don C hold the other two guaranteed spots in 7th and 8th respectively.

We are now down to the final two tournaments - the Main Event Day-4 tourney, and our final Major.  Remember that our third Main Event seat will be awarded in a bonus tournament after our playoffs.  This event will be comprised of our 3rd – 8th place finishers plus our 4 playoff winners.  So all you need to do is qualify for the playoffs to have a chance for a Main Event grand prize. And remember – you receive more chips, both in the Playoff and Bonus tourneys, the higher you finish. 

Coming Up:   Our next event is Saturday, April 1st at 2pm.  This will be a Special WSOP MAIN EVENT DAY-4 TOURNEY. The starting stack will be 800,000 with the  35 minute levels starting at 4000/8000/1000.  The purpose of this event is to give us practice playing in the deeper levels of big field events like the WSOP Main Event.  Usually at the beginning of day 4 the money bubble has just burst, and players are now vying to see who can make a deep run and possibly make the November 9.  The buy-in is $125 + $10. 



Saturday February 25

Season XII – Event 13:  Chad survived a tough heads-up match with Dana to notch his first victory since winning back to back events at the end of season 10.  When heads up started Chad and Dana were about even in chips and they went back and forth for some time until Chad started to pull ahead.  Then Dana almost put Chad away when they got all in on a flop of Axx with two hearts.  Chad showed A8 and Dana tabled A5hh. Dana’s hit his heart on the turn and the 8 that landed on the river was no help to Chad.  This left Chad almost crippled but somehow he held on and eventually passed Dana up.  The final hand  until the final hand was all-in pre-flop with Chad holding AQ and Dana showing 44.  The board ran out 37JA6 and we had our champ!  This was the eighth win of Chad’s Syndicate career and  puts him in 3rd place all-time in victories -- just behind Jonkey (with 9) and our founder, Mark Antis (11). 

 

In 3rd place, with the best finish of his rookie season, was Dave Readman.  He was followed by Matt B (who just broke a string of seven 0’s) in 4th and Bob “okay, I’ll call” Cosway in 5th.

 

The Final Table

1 Chad
2 Dana
3 Dave Readman
4 Matt B
5 Bob C
6 Jim H
7 Alan
8 Joy
9 Don B
10 Mark S

The Leaderboard: Things are definitely heating up as we enter the final events of the season.  Jonkey still holds first place but it’s a free-for-all right behind him!  Dana moved from 4th to 2nd; Craig dropped to 3rd; Chad moved from 12th to 4th; Matt B moved from 8th to 5th; and David Benjamin and Don C moved down to 6th and 7threspectively.  There is also a 3-way tie for the final guaranteed seat between Michael K, Farid and Alan.

Coming Up:   Our next event is Saturday, March 18th at 2pm.  This is a Re-entry event with a 20,000 chip starting stack. The buy-in is $125 (+$10). Re-entries are allowed until the end of the 6th level plus a surrender option is available at that time also.



Saturday February 11

Season XII – Event 12:  Congratulations to everyone’s favorite V-neck aficionado and all-around bon vivant, Stan Diego, for his second ever Syndicate victory.  Stan’s big break came earlier against Mark Ross when he got it all in with AA vs Mark’s K8s.  Mark flopped 2-pair but a river Ace gave Stan the big stack that he rode all the way to the end.  In second place was Chad, who started heads up with about a 4-1 disadvantage and did take the lead at one point.  After about 35 minutes of back and forth the decisive hand of the match-up happened:  with the blinds at 15k/30k and Chad just ahead in chips Chad raised from the button.  Stan shoved and Chad quickly called.  Stan showed 66 and Chad turned over A9.  The board ran out with no help to Chad and Stan took a commanding lead in chips.  The almost anti-climactic final hand came a couple hands later when they got it all in preflop with Chad holding J8cc and Stan tabling QJo.  The board ran out JJQ97 to give Chad trips and Mr. Diego a boat.

 

In 3rd place, with his fourth final table appearance of the season, was Mark Ross.  In 4th place, in his sixth ever Syndicate event, was Andy H.  And in 5th and 6th place, to round out our money winners, were Dana and Matt H respectively.

 

The Final Table

1 Stan Diego
2 Chad
3 Mark Ross
4 Andy H
5 Dana
6 Matt H
7 Wendi
8 Juan
9 Monte
10 David Rimi

The Leaderboard: There was no action at the top of the leaderboard as none of the top-9 players received points.  The player previously in 10th place, Dana, came in 5th this week to move up to a tie for 3rd with David Benjamin.  They are behind both Jonkey and Craig, who held on to 1st and 2nd respectively.  Just behind them are Don C. in 5th, Michael Kahn in 6th and Farid in 7th.  Then there’s a 3-player pileup in 8th place for the final guaranteed seat position with Paul R, Matt B, and Linn.

Now we enter the homestretch with the final 4 tournaments - we’ll have one more deep stack, one re-entry, the Main Event Day-4 tourney, and our final Major.  Remember that our third Main Event seat will be awarded in a bonus tournament after our playoffs.  This event will be comprised of our 3rd – 8th place finishers plus our 4 playoff winners.  So all you need to do is qualify for the playoffs to have a chance for a Main Event grand prize. And remember – you receive more chips, both in the Playoff and Bonus tourneys, the higher you finish. 

Coming Up:   Our next event is this Saturday, February 25th at 2pm.  This is a regular Deep Stack event with a 20,000 chip starting stack and 30 minute blinds.  The buy-in is $125 (+$10). There are no rebuys or reentries for this event.

SCHEDULE CHANGE:  The Main Event Bonus tournament that was scheduled for Sunday, May 7th has been moved to Saturday, May 13th.

 

Saturday February 4

Season XII – Event 11:  So it turns out that when you get AA six times, KK four times, QQ three times, JJ twice, AK seven times - and flop two sets -  then you have a good chance of winning the tournament!  That was Jonkey’s tourney last night and he only lost one of those hands, when he doubled Farid up holding QQ to Farid’s KK.  But Gary B. made Jonkey whole a couple of orbits later when Jonkey (holding QQ) spiked a Q on the river to defeat Gary’s KK in a huge pot. Soon after that he got his chips back from Farid too when our 9 ½ fingered friend shoved on an A-high flop with AT and Jonkey called with AQ.  Soon after that the hand of the night – and maybe of the season --  went down: with six players remaining at the 20k/40k/5k level  Jonkey was the chip leader and Craig had the next biggest stack.  It folded to Craig who raised from button. Jonkey called from the BB.  The flop came A99 and Jonkey checked and Craigy c-bet.  Jonkey called again.  The turn was a blank and Jonkey checked again. Now Craig shoved and Jonkey called quickly showing AA for a flopped boat.  Craig turned over 89cc and realized that his sneaky little plan of doubling through Jonkey with trip-9’s had run into a little challenge.  Another Ace landed on the river, giving Jonkey quads and making it even more fun for Craig as he politely slid his stack to his pal!  And it really was a night of Aces for these two as Craig had them five times himself.  For Jonkey, of the six times he had AA, his opponent shoved into him five times!  It has been suggested that both Craig and Jonkey wear tank tops to the next tournament.

 

So it ended up with Jonkey (4.3m chips) playing Steve P (1.6m) heads up.  They traded small pots back and forth for about 35 minutes until the final hand:  Jonkey still had a about a 3 to 1 chip advantage and called from the button.  Steve raised from the BB and Jonkey called.  The flop cam KK9, Jonkey checked, Steve shoved, and Jonkey called showing AA yet again!  Steve tabled J9o and was unable to find another 9 as the board ran out.  This was Jonkey’s second win of the season and for Steve it was his first points after an uncharacteristic slow start.

 

In 3rd place was Linn, with his third top-6 finish of the season.  This result moved Linn into a tie for the last guaranteed spot.  Then in 4th place was Spork, who must like that spot since his other score this season was another 4th place finish back in event 5.  In 5th place, with his first Syndicate points, is first-year player Ramana.

 

The Final Table

1 Jonkey
2 Steve P
3 Linn
4 Spork
5 Ramana
6 Craigy
7 Farid
8 Gary B
9 Wendi
10 Mark

The Leaderboard: After a couple of  weeks with no significant action at the top, we had some fireworks this week!  Jonkey, who was already the overall leader, padded his position with another 100 points.  Craig, who earned 40 points for his 6th place finish this week, helped his cause as well and put some distance between himself and David B. and Don C. who are still tied for 3rd place - 65 points back.  Farid also made a move with his fourth final table appearance from 10th place up into the guaranteed seat of 6th place.

Coming Up:   Our next event is this Saturday, February 11th at 1pm.  This is a MAJOR Deep Stack event with a 30,000 chip starting stack and 30 minute blinds.  The buy-in is $125 (+$10). There are no rebuys or reentries for this event.

SCHEDULE CHANGE:  The Main Event Bonus tournament that was scheduled for Sunday, May 7th has been moved to Saturday, May 13th.



Saturday January 21

Season XII – Event 10:  Congratulations to newcomer Brad Lawn for taking down his first Syndicate Event in just two attempts!  Brad has had some nice cashes before - including 1st place at the 2015 WPT Foundation Open at Pala - but we’re certain this was the highlight of his poker career so far!  In 2nd place was another first-year player, Steffan, with his best finish to date.  In 3rd place, also with his best finish of the season, was Gary B.  He was followed by Don C, who was making his fourth final table appearance of the season.  MC, Linn and Don B rounded out our money winners in 5th through 7th respectively.   

 

The Final Table

1 Brad
2 Steffan
3 Gary B
4 Don C
5 MC
6 Linn
7 Don B
8 Wendi
9 Farid
10 David R

 

The Leaderboard: There wasn’t much movement at the top of the leaderboard this week as none of the top seven players earned any points.  Don C, who had been in 8th place, did move up into a tie for 3rd with his 4th place finish.  Other than that all the action was further down the chart as the point spread is now tightening up somewhat.

Coming Up:   Our next event is Saturday, February 4th at 2PM.  This will be a special WSOP Monster Stack Day 2 event.  The starting stack will be 120,000 starting at the 600/1200/200 level.  Levels will be 35 minutes.



Sunday January 8

Season XII – Event 9:  

Congratulations to Don Bisco for his first victory since event 13 back in season 7.  The hand of the night for Don came with 15 players remaining:  Craig raised from UTG and got called by David B. and the 3-bet by Don.  Craigy, who was the chip leader at the time, then moved all in, David got out of the way, and Don quickly called.  Craig showed KK and when he saw Don turn over JJ  he got ready to start high stepping to the end zone!  The flop didn’t change anything but the turn brought the Ks to give Craig a set.  But with two spades on the flop it also brought Don, who held the Js more outs.  A spade landed on the river to propel Don into the chip-lead and effectively dash Craig’s chances of eating chicken dinner two tourneys in a row. 

 

In 2nd place – for back to back runner’s up finishes – was David Benjamin.  Heads-up didn’t last too long though as the first hand played out like this:  With a about a 2 to 1 chip advantage Don limped from the button and David checked his option.  The flop came TTJ with two spades. It goes check-check and the turn brings the 7s.  Now David bets, Don raises, and David shoves.  Don snap-calls and shows 56ss for a flush and David turns over QsJc for top pair and a higher flush draw.  The river is a red king though and it was over just like that.  

 

In 3rd place, with his best finish of the season was Monte.  He was followed by Steve A and Paul R in 4th and 5threspectively.


The Final Table
1 Don B
2 David B
3 Monte
4 Steve A
5 Paul R
6 Alan
7 Rangit
8 Bob W
9 Keith
10 Anders

The Leaderboard: With his 11th place finish this week Jonkey earned 15 points and extended his lead be a small amount over Craig, who is still in 2nd place.  Behind him after two 2nd place finishes in a row is David B.  That dropped Michael Kahn down a notch into 4th place.  He is followed by Paul R, Matt B, Dana and Don C.

Coming Up:   Our next event is Saturday January 21 at 2PM.  This will be a deep stack RE-ENTRY event. The starting stack will be 20,000 with 25 minute levels.  Unlimited re-entries are allowed through the end of level 6 and a surrender option is also available at that time.  The buy-in is $125 + $10.  Re-entries are also $125.



Saturday December 17

Season XII – Event 8:  The first half of Season 12 is now in the books and the winner of event #8 was Craig "Touchdown Dancer" Combs, who made his fifth final table appearance of the season including the second consecutive time as the chip leader. However, instead of immediately donking off half his stack as he did in Event 7, he bobbed and weaved for the win.

 

The hand that gave Craig a large chip stack, and one which erupted later into a huge and controversial Facebook thread on the victim's page, occurred during level 9. Stan Diego, who had been buttering Craig up with compliments for his aggressive play thus far in the tournament, called Craig's UTG raise with an almost (key word: "almost") even chip stack, leaving the two heads-up. The flop came 8s 8c 3s and Craig put in a pot-sized bet. Stan tanked ever so slightly before re-raising him with half of his chips.  Craig responded by moving all in, and now Stan Diego steam-tanked before finally making the call. Craig showed Ks 10s for a spade draw and two overs while Stan Diego (who swears Craig only had Ks 5s) showed 77. The turn was the Ace of spades to give Craig the nut flush and the river didn't pair the Board, eliminating Stan.

 

From the ensuing Facebook ruckus we will include Jacob's insightful analysis:  "If Craig had 15 outs on the flop against most hand ranges you could have had in that spot, then it would be standard for Craig to get stacks in, given he is the equitable favorite in doing so, while also having fold equity IF he was the aggressor who put in the all in bet.”

 

Jacob continues his remarkably cogent commentary: "It's easy to criticize the UTG open, but maybe the table dynamic was passive and Craig wanted to exploit that by representing a strong hand by raising from that position. If we all only raised UTG with just the standard top 10% of value hands, then that'd be predictable. At some point when you're among the same group of players on a bi-weekly basis, you have to find creative ways to mix it up.”

 

Jacob wraps up his take on Craigy’s contentious play thusly:  "So either Craig was aware of all those aspects and had a plan with that hand or.... Craig is a donkey lucky box asshole. Lmao."

 

After that Craig never lost momentum and held on to the chip lead until this happened at the final table: with the blinds at 5k/10k, Craig makes it around 30k from UTG.  Then the new guy, Dave "the Cockroach" Readman, who had been nursing his puny stack longer than seemed possible, finally got his final 24k chips all-in (yes that’s 2.4 big blinds for everyone keeping score at home!).  Next up was David Rimi who somehow (if he is to be believed, and we at the Syndicate don't doubt him) found a way to fold KK.  After that epic laydown, Dana moved all in with a stack about 1/3 the size of Craig's. Craig made the call with QQ; Readman showed 44; and Dana tabled AK.  Craig’s ladies held until a river Ace gave Readman the wheel for the win and Dana scooped up the much bigger side-pot.

 

Craig’s once-formidable stack looked vulnerable for exactly one hand when he raised yet again, only to be greeted by MC's shove with about half Craig's stack. Craig made the call and showed 99 to MC's AK. An Ace flopped to crush Craig's pocket pair, but when a 9 landed on the river it was curtains for MC. It was at this point that Craig, instead of pretending like he’d been there before, apparently did his impression of Victor Cruz pretending to be Billy “White Shoes” Johnson after a TD!

 

With his stack back, Craig powered through to go heads-up with David B. for their second such matchup in as many seasons. This finale lasted 10x longer than David and Craig's last heads-up match, which is to say it lasted 10 hands.  In 3rd place, with his second final table appearance of the season, was Matt “oh, I’m supposed to stay and deal?” Hopkins. In 4th place, making his second final table in the last three tourneys, was another new guy: Mark Sawkar.  Finally the 5th place finisher, to round out our money winners, was 2-time Syndicate Main-Eventer Dana Katz.

 

1 Craig
2 David B
3 Matt H
4 Mark S
5 Dana
6 Dave Readman
7 David Rimi
8 Jeff B
9 MC
10 Don C
The Leaderboard: While Jonkey still holds the lead with 295 points, Craig has made a big move from a tie for 5th up to 2nd place – just 15 points behind the leader.  That action dropped Michael Kahn and Matt B down a spot each in 3rdand 4th place respectively.  In 5th place is Dana who moved up four spots with his 5th place finish this week.  Don C, Paul R , David B and Farid round out our Guaranteed Seat contenders. 



Saturday November 19

Season XII – Event 7:  Congratulations to Alan who won our first Main Event Day 4 tourney.  This is Alan’s third win overall and his first since he won two events back in Season 7.  In 2nd place was Paul R with his second final table of the season.  In 3rd was Keith for back to back finishes in that spot.  Chad came in 4th, followed by Don C and Wayne to round out our money winners.

 

At this event, which sold out with 50 players, we started with 800,000 chips at the 4000/8000/1000 level.  Just like in the Monster Stack Day 2 tourney, we lost several players earlier than usual.  The final table started at about 10:15with the stacks averaging around 35BB.  We didn’t have another knockout until 11:30 when Farid, who had been nursing a short stack for some time, finally bowed out.  After that players busted out pretty quickly.  Craig, who had recently had the chip lead, lost a monster pot to Alan, then to Paul R (JJ vs QQ) and finally lost a race with Keith to come in 9th.  After that Jacob and George busted out to leave us with our money winners.

1 Alan
2 Paul R
3 Keith
4 Chad
5 Don C
6 Wayne
7 George
8 Jacob
9 Craig
10 Farid
The Leaderboard: This was a good week for the field to catch up with the leaders as our top-3: Jonkey, Michael K, and Matt B, all finished without points – though Matt had the most fun, busting out in 13th on the points bubble!  Moving up behind them then was Paul R, whose 2nd place finish moved him up from 16th to 4th.  After that Don C. moved up into a tie with Craig in 5th place. They’re followed by Farid, who dropped one spot to 7th place, and Keith, who moved up 10 spots from 18th to 8th.

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, December 17 at Jill & Jamie’s house in Carlsbad.  This will be a MAJOR deep stack event. The starting stack will be 30,000 with 30 minute levels.  There are also bonus playoff chips awarded to the top five finishers.  The buy-in is $125 + $10.  

ALSO:  The WSOP Circuit Event Series is coming up from December 2nd – 12th.  There will be several players going up on Sunday the 4th to play in the Monster Stack tournament.  This $365 event with a $250k guarantee has a 20,000 chip starting stack.  There are four starting flights, two each on Saturday and Sunday.  Day two is on Monday the 5thwith the final table on Tuesday the 6th.  I’m sure players will be going up for other events as well.



Saturday November 5

Season XII – Event 6:  Congratulations to Jim Hernandez who, in just his third Syndicate event, hung on to win one of the longest Syndicate events ever.  The action started at 2:17pm with 47 players and after 17 re-entries we had 1.28 million chips in play.  When Jim knocked Keith out in 3rd place at 1:46am he and Jonkey had about equal stacks.  About 20 minutes of back and forth followed until the penultimate hand played out like this:  the blinds were now 20k/40k/5k (!!) and Jonkey had built about a 2 to 1 chip advantage.  Jim limped his button and Jonkey shoved from the BB and got a call from Jim.  Jonkey shows A5 to Jim’s K9.  The board ran out  T7T68 to give Jim a straight and a double up.  On the very next hand Jonkey shoves with A4 from the button and gets called by Jim holding A2.  When a deuce landed on the flop it sealed the deal for Jim and it was over at 2:07am – almost 12 hours after it started!  In 4thplace was Joy for her best Syndicate finish ever.  Wendi was right behind her in 5thplace  with her best finish since a 2nd place back in season 9.  Newcomers Mark S and Johnny G came in 6th and 7th respectively to round out the money winners.
1 Jim H  
2 Jonkey
3 Keith
4 Joy
5 Wendi
6 Mark S
7 Johnny G
8 Michael
9 Alan
10 Sharon

The Leaderboard: With a 2nd place finish Jonkey moved back into the top spot on the leaderboard.  Michael Kahn, who won last week and came in 8th place this week, now moves into 2nd place.  These results dropped Matt B down a couple of notches into 3rd place.  An absent Dana stayed in 4th followed by Craig, Farid, Don C, Jamie and Mark Ross – all in the guaranteed seat section.  The big mover of the week of course was Jim H, who went from how’s it going way down there all the way up to 10th place!

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, November 19th at Jill & Jamie’s house in Carlsbad.  This will be a Special WSOP MAIN EVENT DAY-4 TOURNEY. The starting stack will be 800,000 with the  35 minute levels starting at 4000/8000/1000.  The purpose of this event is to give us practice playing in



Saturday October 29

Season XII – Event 5:  Congratulations to Michael Kahn for his first Syndicate victory!  After scouring the internet for all known results it has been confirmed that this was Michael’s best finish since he came in 4th place (out of 2,160) in the 2016 Chicago Poker Classic. In 2nd place was two-time Syndicate Main Eventer Dana, followed by everybody’s favorite poker-chef, Patsy. In 4th place was Spork followed by Bob C and Matt B to round out our money winners.
1 Michael Kahn
2 Dana
3 Patsy
4 Spork
5 Bob C
6 Matt B
7 Dr. John
8 Wendy
9 Joy
10 Jon T
The Leaderboard: With a 6th place this week and his third final table in a row, Matt B took over the top spot on the leaderboard.  Just 5 points behind him is our previous leader, Jonkey, and another 10 points back is this week’s winner, Michael Kahn.  The rest of our guaranteed seat players right now are: Dana, Craig, Farid, Don C, Jamie and Mark Ross.



Saturday October 15

Season XII – Event 4:  Matt Burley returned to the winner’s circle last night for his 5th victory since starting Syndicate play back in Season 9.  Nobody else has more than three wins during that period.  In 2nd place was Bob W whose previous best was a 7th place finish back in Season 10.  In fact his deep run was so surprising here’s how the conversation went with his wife when they were 3-handed:  “really honey, I’m still in the tournament…”, “yes, they really do go this late if you don’t bust out early…” In 3rd and 4th place were Michael Kahn and David Benjamin respectively – each making their first final table appearance of the season.  In 5th place, with his third final table finish, was Jonkey.  And Steve A came in 6th place to round out our $ winners.  Also, the top five finishers earned bonus playoff chips should they qualify for the Playoff Tourney.
 
1 Matt B
2 Bob W
3 Michael Kahn
4 David B
5 Jonkey
6 Steve A
7 Monte
8 Wayne
9 Craig
10 Mark Ross

The Leaderboard: With a 5th place finish last night and his third final table in four events, Jonkey maintained his 1stplace position on the leaderboard.  Right behind him is Matt B, who has back to back final table appearances including a 6th place finish last week and his victory last night.  Craig moved from 5th place to 3rd with his 10th place showing last night to go along with his runner-up finish in event 2.  This all dropped the rest of the leaders down a notch with Farid and Don C. now tied for 4th &  Jamie and Mark Ross tied for 6th.  Bob W moved into 8th place.

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, October 29th  at Jill & Jamie’s house in Carlsbad.  This will be a regular deep stack event. The starting stack will be 20,000 with 30 minute levels. The buy-in is $125 + $10.



Saturday September 10

Season XII – Event 3:  
Last Saturday we held the first edition of our WSOP Monster Stack Day-2 Event.  The goal of this tournament was to approximate what it’s like to come back for day two of this annual WSOP event.  At this point in the tournament, the play is significantly different from most of the day one action.  The average stacks are shallower, the pots are larger, and it requires an expanded skillset and a lotmore focus to go from un-bagging chips at the beginning of the day to getting into the money and then to bagging chips again that night.  Each summer the majority of our players enter this event and the reality is that we haven’t fared very well.  Hopefully by being able to practice this during the season we can improve our chances in Vegas next summer.  The next time we run this event we will probably change it up a bit by starting with 120k in chips (100BB) and shortening the levels to 35 minutes.

At this tournament you could really tell the difference from our usual format by how rapidly players were busting out.  Out of the 49 players that started, only 19 remained by the end of level six.  After the early spate of bust-outs, things settled down considerably.  While we were down to just two tables by 
7pm, we didn’t begin the final table until almost 10pm.  Then things slowed even further until we saw the final hand play out at 12:35am.  With the blinds at 30k/60k (there were 4.41 million chips in play) Farid and Mark Ross got it all in on the first hand of heads-up action.  Farid, who had about a 3 to 2 chip advantage, showed AJand Mark tabled 77.  A jack hit on the flop and it was over just like that!  Afterwards Farid was proud to share that at one point he was down to just two yellow 1k chips.  That was clearly enough though since with a little luck, and some very creative final table play, Farid was able to earn his fifth Syndicate victory in eight campaigns.  In 3rd place was Paul R, followed by Jamie, who was on the receiving end of one of Farid’s innovative plays, in 4th.  New/old player Sharon came in 5th place to round out our money winners.
1 Farid
2 Mark Ross
3 Paul R
4 Jamie
5 Sharon
6 Matt B
7 Gary F
8 Gary B
9 Bob C
10 Chad

The Leaderboard: It’s no surprise that the first three winner of the season occupy the top three spots.  Jonkey, with two final tables (and one VERY early bust-out) is still in the top spot with  135 points.  Behind him in 2nd place is Farid with 115 points and Don C. in 3rd with 110 points.  Behind them in order are: Jamie, Craig, Anders, David R and Mark Ross (the final two are tied for 7th).

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, October 15h at Hacienda Hickerson in Carlsbad.  We’ll have more about our return to Jill & Jamie’s place closer to the event.  This will be a Major Deep-Stack tournament with a 30,000 chip starting stack and 30 minute blinds.  There are no re-entries.  The buy-in is $125.



Saturday September 10

Season XII – Event 2:  The winner of our second event of the season was Don Curtis.  Don was only able to play an abbreviated schedule last year but plans to play much more this season.  And he’s off to a great start with his first ever Syndicate win!  In second place was Craig “sure I’ll have another” Combs, followed by our other money winners: Eddie, Matt H, Dana, Jamie and Rob.

1 Don C
2 Craig
3 Eddie O
4 Matt H
5 Dana
6 Jamie
7 Rob
8 David R
9 Don B
10 Jonkey

 

The Leaderboard: Jonkey added a 10th place to his victory in Event #1 to pad his early lead.  He is of course followed by Don C, who won event #2.  Behind him, tied for 3rd, are our two runners up: Anders and Craig Combs.  David Rimi, who also has made two final tables (6th and 8th) is alone in 5th place.  Eddie O and Jill, who each have 3rd place finishes are tied for 6th and Linn is all by himself in 8th place.

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, September 24th at Patsy and Farid’s house.  This will be a special WSOP Monster Stack Day 2 event.  The starting stack will be 90,000 starting at the 600/1200/200 level.  Levels will be 40 minutes. The buy-in and all re-entries are $125.


Sunday August 28

Season XII – Event 1:  Welcome back Syndicators – we have returned for a 12th season of poker hijinks!  For this new season we have decided to shake things up a bit, including introducing two new tournament formats and awarding our third Main Event seat in a bonus tournament that should give almost every Syndicator a shot at a grand prize all the way to the end of the season!  You can check out the Rules and Structure pages of our website for more details, but here are the basics: there are two special formats that we will run twice each.  The first will emulate day two of the WSOP Monster Stack tournament when we will start with 60k in chips at the 600/1200 level.  The second will emulate day four of the WSOP Main Event.  For this tournament we will start with 400k in chips at the 4,000/8,000 level.  The goal for these tournaments is for us to get more experience playing at the deeper levels of a big field event so that we have a better chance when we go to Vegas in the summer.  The other big change is how we will award our third Main Event seat.  This season, our top two players will still receive Main Event packages and places 3 through 8 will earn guaranteed $1,500 seat packages.  Then we will hold our playoff tournament for the next 18 finishers.  The 4 winners from the playoff will then join the 6 guaranteed seat winners in a Main Event Bonus Tournament.  This event will be structured like the final table of the Main Event with about 342 million chips in play.  The players will be seeded according to their finish with stacks ranging from 30m for the 4 playoff winners to 42m for our 3rd place finisher.  This new format will allow anyone with a mathematical chance of making the playoffs on the last event (last season that was down to 51st place) to still have a shot at going to the Main Event!


And look who is starting out in the lead!  Your faithful commissioner took down the first tournament of the season.  This is Jonkey’s first ever win to start off a season in 11 tries (he wasn’t around for the inaugural event) and when interviewed for this blurb he stated that he was “thrilled to be sitting atop a leaderboard filled with such esteemed players!”  Almost as excited as Jonkey was our runner-up that night, Anders Wright, as this was Ander’s best Syndicate finish since a couple of 4
th places last season.  In 3rd place, continuing her hot streak from the end of last season, was Jill.  She was followed by Anthony, Linn and David Rimi to round out our money winners.
1 Jonkey
2 Anders
3 Jill
4 Anthony
5 Linn
6 David R.
7 Jon T
8 Jacob
9 Gary F
10 Steve A

 

The Leaderboard: Since Jonkey’s motion to declare the results of event #1 as being the final results of the season was denied by the committee, we will go ahead with our plans to play the rest of the season.  Thus the leaderboard looks just like the Final Table above.  

Coming Up:   Our next tournament will be on Saturday, September 10th at Patsy and Farid’s house.  This will be a re-entry tournament with a 20,000 chip starting stack and 30 minute blinds.  Re-entries are allowed through the end of level 6.  There is also a surrender option available at that time.  The buy-in and all re-entries are $125.


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