Premier League VII

Antonio Esfandiari

Welcome to the PartyPoker Premier League Season VII!

The most eagerly anticipated TV poker event of the year and the largest televised poker production EVER in Canadian history is coming to Playground Poker Club! From November 20 to 26, twelve of poker’s biggest names will compete in a fun league format to play down to a champion and the $400K top prize. Smaller cash prizes will be awarded along the way with a total prize pool of $1.5 Million!

Every hand of the Premier League VII will be filmed for broadcast in what has become one of the most popular televised poker events each year. The set will be constructed in Playground Poker Club’s Tournament Hall, so everyone playing in Playground Poker Fall Classic events will have the chance to rub elbows with some of the biggest stars in the poker world!

Each player in the Premier League VII is putting up $125K to participate in the event. Players will each play in 4 of the 6 League Heats and accumulate points on the leaderboard. After the League Heats have completed, the top 4 players move on to the Final Table and the bottom 4 players are eliminated from the competition. The players in the middle (from 5th to 8th place) will play a special heads-up match to fill the final two spots on the Final Table.

Confirmed players for the Premier League VII are: Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel, Jeff Gross, Phil Laak, Dan Shak, Scott Seiver, Daniel Cates, Jason Koon, Sorel Mizzi, Brian Rast, and Greg Mueller. In addition to the twelve players, Playground Poker Club is also happy to welcome back Jesse May and Kara Scott who will be on hand to host and do the play-by-play.

Filming Dates

Interviews & Player Party November 19
Match 1 November 20th @ 18h00
Match 2 November 21st @ 17h00
Match 3 November 22nd @ 17h00
Match 4 November 23rd @ 17h00
Match 5 November 24th @ 16h00
Match 6 November 25th @ 15h00
Heads up 1 November 26th @ 1h00
Heads up 2 November 26th @15h00
Finals November 26th @ 18h30

Antonio Esfandiari

Playground Players Club member Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to California when he was nine years old. For years he performed as a stage magician until he discovered poker, at which point he never looked back.
Leading into the 2012 WSOP, Esfandiari had racked up close to $4.5 million in tournament winnings. Antonio's numbers skyrocketed in the summer of 2012 when he cashed in an impressive 7 events, including a first place finish in the Big One for One Drop which awarded him the most lucrative prize in tournament poker history. Antonio is a regular player at the larger events held at Playground and all eyes will be on him, for this year’s televised Premier League VII.

Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst is quite simply one of the most feared pros at any table where she’s found. A graduate of Yale Law, Vanessa is also a multiple WSOP bracelet winner and her famously aggressive style should make her well suited to the Premier League’s short-handed format.

Jonathan Duhamel

Jonathan Duhamel stormed onto the international poker scene with his famous win in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, but since then has backed up his victory with other championships in events around the world, which has distinguished him as one of the most successful Main Event winners in the history of poker. Duhamel played in Premier League VI but Season VII is another matter altogether, being held on his home turf in the Montreal area.

Jeff Gross

Jeff Gross may be only 25 years old, but he’s got a lot of accomplishments under his belt. A former standout soccer player at the NCAA level for the University of South Carolina, Gross became a pro poker player after graduation and never looked back. He already has two WSOP Final Tables under his belt and a sixth-place finish at the 2012 WSOP $10,000 Heads Up event and is a valued member of the Playground Players Club.
Gross had his best friend Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, cheering him on to a third place finish at Playground during the 2012 WPT Montreal.

Phil Laak

Phil Laak is one of the most colourful professional poker players. A frequent Premier League participant, Phil has been playing high-stakes cash games and tournaments for well over a decade. Phil is also a WSOP bracelet winner, having won an event in the 2010 WSOP Europe. The Unabomber also has one of the most storied backgrounds in televised events, as his colourful personality made him a frequent invitee to events since the beginning of the poker boom.
Along with Antonio, Phil is no stranger to Playground, representing the Club as a Players Club member and looking forward to returning to his Canadian home for poker to play in the largest televised poker event in Canadian history.

Dan Shak

Daniel Shak is the defending Premier League champion and boasts an impressive decade-long record of live tournament success that many pros could only hope to achieve – but Dan still considers himself a “recreational” player. Whatever his status, he’s enjoying a phenomenal 2013 with just under $1.75M in winnings already – a figure he’ll hope to increase in this edition of the Premier League.

Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates

Daniel Cates has taken the poker world by storm in the past few years as one of the most successful high stakes heads-up cash game specialists. Cates has consistently been ranked among the top 5 HU players in the world but in the past 18 months has been branching off into other forms of poker. He was the runner up in the Premier League VI and had a deep run in the invitational NBC Heads-Up Championship this year.

Scott Seiver

Scott Seiver was the champion of Season V of the Premier League and is back for season VII riding a bit of a hot streak, having cashed in both of the first two WPT Alpha8 High Roller events. A WSOP bracelet winner and WPT World Champion, Scott notched his best single tournament cash at the beginning of 2013 when he won the Super High Roller event at the PCA for more than $2M in winnings.

Jason Koon

Jason Koon is an online and live poker pro who has put together a string of impressive live tourney results over the past 5 years and has climbed to #20 on the GPI with almost $2M in winnings - but has yet to crack the code and be crowned champion in a major live event. He has had moderate success at Playground Poker Club in the past and is coming off a solid 4th place finish in the most recent Alpha8 event In St-Kitts.

Sorel Mizzi

Hailing from Toronto, Sorel Mizzi was the 2010 Bluff Player of the Year and has been a fixture in top online and live tournaments for years and has amassed career live winnings in excess of $8M placing him third on the all-time Canadian money list.

Daniel Colman

The last player to join the Premier League, Dan “mrgr33n13” Colman doesn’t have the live poker resume of many of the other players in the group, but he’s positively feared online. It’s safe to say that although he’s not a household name, his competitors all know how talented a player he is. In addition, the fact that much of the play in the League will be short-handed plays very well to his strengths. Dan is known to be a confident and “talkative” player and his personality is sure to add colour to the proceedings!

Brian Rast

Brian Rast is a native of Denver, Colorado, and a 2-time bracelet winner on the WSOP, including at the $50,000 Players Championship event. His tournament winnings alone exceed $4.4 million dollars and the consensus in most poker circles on Rast is that the best is yet to come. Premier League Poker VII

Buy-In $125,000
Total Players 12
Total Prize Fund $1,500,000
League Tournaments Structure 6 League Heats (6 players each), 1 Heads-Up Knockout Heat (2 matches),
1 Final Table (6 players)
The top 4 players in the League Heats go directly to Final. Places 5 to 8 play in the Heads-Up Knockout Heat (5th plays 8th, 6th plays 7th).
The two winners of the Knockout Heat go to the Final Table.

Prize Money Breakdown | Final Table ($900,000)

Winner $400,000
Runner Up $200,000
Third $120,000
Fourth $80,000
Fifth $60,000
Sixth $40,000

Prize Money Breakdown | League Heats ($100,000 per heat, $600,000 total)

Winner 14pts + $28,000 per Heat
Runner Up 11pts + $22,000 per Heat
Third 9pts + $18,000 per Heat
Fourth 7pts + $14,000 per Heat
Fifth 5pts + $10,000 per Heat
Sixth 3pts + $6,000 per Heat
Seventh 1pt + $2,000 per Heat
Eighth 0 pts + $0 per Heat