The Party Poker Premier League IV kicked off at the end of last week at the M Casino in Las Vegas, with eleven of the world’s best poker players and one PartyPoker.com qualifier duking it out for their share of $1.5 million.  Participating this year are defending champ JC Tran, Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Team Party pros Ian Frazer and Antanas “Tony G” Guoga, Roland De Wolfe, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Phil Laak, Vanessa Rousso, and David Benyamine.  Giovanni Safina is the lone amateur, having defeated fifteen other PartyPoker.com qualifiers in a live competition to claim the last remaining $100,000 seat in the Premier League.
The Party Poker Premier League has quickly become one of the pros’ favorite events, not just because of the competition, but because of the unique structure.  There will be six heats, each involving eight players in a single-table tournament.  Points and prize money will be distributed based on finish and after all six heats are completed, the top four points earners will advance to the six-handed final table.  To fill out the remaining two spots, the next four points earners will square off in heads-up matches with the two winners advancing to the final table.  Fifth place will face eighth place and sixth place will go up against seventh place.  Each player will compete in four heats total.
The total prize pool for the Party Poker Premier League is $1.5 million, $600,000 of which will be given out during the heats, with the other $900,000 saved for the final table.  Here is how the prize money for the preliminary heats breaks down:
1st place — $32,000
2nd place — $22,000
3rd place — $16,000
4th place — $12,000
5th place — $8,000
6th place — $6,000
7th place — $4,000
8th place — $0
The point structure for the heats is as follows:
1st place – 16 points
2nd place – 11 points
3rd place – 8 points
4th place – 6 points
5th place – 4 points
6th place – 3 points
7th place – 2 points
8th place – 0 points
Going into Monday, the biggest stories of the Party Poker Premier League IV are arguably Phil Laak and Giovanni Safina.  Laak can do no wrong so far, having won the first two heats, which have been the only ones he has played so far.  His work isn’t done yet, but he is going to have to collapse in his third and fourth heats to be at risk of not making the final table.
And while he is only in fifth place at the moment, who would have thought that PartyPoker.com qualifier Giovanni Safina would be way ahead of such names as Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu?  And it’s not like he has backed his way into the top half of the leader board, either.  In the third heat, he placed second, knocking out Negreanu and Team Party member Ian Frazer en route to a heads-up battle with David Benyamine.  The two had almost even stacks going into one-on-one play, but Safina got unlucky on his final hand, when he had K-J and Benyamine had K-T.  The flop of K-7-2 gave both top pair, resulting in an all-in and a call, but Benyamine hit his kicker on the turn, eliminating Safina.
Here are the results for the first three heats:
Heat 1
1. Phil Laak
2. JC Tran
3. Yevgeniy Timoshenko
4. Vanessa Rousso
5. Luke Schwartz
6. Roland De Wolfe
7. Ian Frazer
8. Daniel Negreanu
Heat 2
1. Phil Laak
2. Roland De Wolfe
3. David Benyamine
4. JC Tran
5. Giovanni Safina
6. Phil Hellmuth
7. Tony G
8. Yevgeniy Timoshenko
Heat 3
1. David Benyamine
2. Giovanni Safina
3. Yevgeniy Timoshenko
4. Ian Frazer
5. Daniel Negreanu
6. Phil Hellmuth
7. Vanessa Rousso
8. Roland De Wolfe
Current Standings – 3 Heats Completed
1. Phil Laak – 32 points
2. David Benyamine — 24 points
3. JC Tran – 17 points
4. Yevgeniy Timoshenko – 16 points
5. Giovanni Safina — 15 points
6. Roland De Wolfe – 14 points
T-7. Vanessa Rousso – 8 points
T-7. Ian Frazer – 8 points
9. Phil Hellmuth — 6 points
T-10. Luke Schwartz – 4 points
T-10. Daniel Negreanu – 4 points
12. Tony G — 2 points
Heat four begins at noon Vegas time on Monday.  The player lineup has yet to be announced.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.