Live Staking Transforms Prime Social’s Texas Poker Championship

James Carroll
James Carroll won the $2 million guaranteed Prime Social Texas Poker Championship for $455,860.

With a prize pool of $2.34m, the $5,300 buy-in Texas Poker Championship saw former WPT Winner James Carroll win the top prize of $455,860. Carroll, a hugely popular pro, beat Nicholas Howard heads-up to claim the title after an entertaining final table.

One element that added to the atmosphere of the occasion was the live staking that was possible throughout the Main Event.

Raising the Stakes

Taking place in Houston, Texas, the Prime Social Texas Poker Championship Main Event saw Club GG offer direct satellites to the events through the subscription poker platform. Pocket Fives then provided live staking for players. It was as simple as visiting the cash desk and putting down the money.

“The event was great,” says James Bridgeman, Public Relations and Sponsorship Manager for GGAlliance. It ran smoothly, made all the guarantees and there was a really good vibe from players in the room along with all the staff, dealers and staff. I chatted with a lot of local regulars and out of towners. They were all in positive spirits whether they busted with no cash or ran deep.”

Bridgeman met several players who were staked live and while they busted before the money, they were appreciative of the experience.

“I met someone from a side event who min-cashed and was definitely happy about it,” he said. “From the Main Event, three or four qualifiers made Day 2. On the staking, it was the same attitude. We had five stakers in the Main Event; none cashed, but all enjoyed it and gave a fun sweat to their friends and followers.”

There certainly seemed to be a great atmosphere in the room when PokerNews arrived at the venue during the tournament as part of their tour of the Lone Star State.

“ClubGG Qualifiers are all excited that we have announced more Prime Social events,” says Bridgeman. “Everyone working at Prime Social made it very easy for qualifiers, they also had chip tracking throughout events and highlighted ClubGG Qualifiers to make an even more memorable experience for them. Players really like the transparency and how easy it is, also no fees compared to competitors is obviously great. Staking worked really smoothly.”

Prime Social ‘Very Happy’ With Event

From the club’s own perspective, Justin Hammer, Tournament Director at the club, has had a chance to rest and reflect in the three days since the event. He’s delighted to report how pleased the club was with the live staking and how players enjoyed it.

“It feels really good to accomplish what we did as an up-and-coming club. I’m very happy about it,” he told us. “Live staking was huge! We only had it for the Main Event, but the ability to sell some action for those who won seats or just wanted less exposure was very beneficial. There’s nothing to lose if they put up a package that doesn’t sell, so everyone had the opportunity to try to play at a discount.”

With great communication between the cash desk and staking players, which there was, the whole process proved ‘seamless’ across the event. There was a friendly, fun atmosphere during most of the series, things only getting serious when the Main reached the final table.

“Things really tightened up and most players seemed pretty focused. James Carroll won the event of course – a great player. Having a popular player helps draw attention, which is nice. Whoever wins creates a good story somehow though. I’m never really rooting for a particular player, just that things run smoothly. From the feedback I’ve received, it really seems like we accomplished that goal.”

The Players Perspective

When it came to the event from a player’s perspective, Jason Daly had a great time, finishing in fifth place for $125,350, the first six-figure score to be awarded at the final table.

“I thought the event was great,” he said today. “[Justin] Hammer and his staff do a really amazing job. I can’t say enough about how well the staff treat the players from the dealers to the floor staff. I do wish the live stream would have been delayed longer as I felt I was little bit disadvantaged by the short delay and some of the peoples hole cards not reading in some key spots.  But overall, it was a nice experience.”

Daly rated the players he came up against very highly, declaring it ‘the toughest field ever in Texas’ without question.

“The level of competition was outstanding,” he says. “The structure was the best I’ve ever played outside of the [WSOP] Main Event and you could really tell the best players rose to the final 30 or so.  I was really happy that James won if I couldn’t; he’s such a nice guy and class act. He really represents poker well.”

“James has been around for a long time and I have a lot of respect for his game,” added eighth-placed Justin Saliba. “He’s a strong player and never afraid to go for it in big spots, so it’s always a fun challenge battling with him.”

After Daly’s exit in fifth, Jorge Gomez finished fourth before an epic three-handed battle that raged until midnight, when Benjamin Keiley left in third place. That bust-out saw Nicholas Howard go into the final duel with a big chip lead, holding 19.9 million to James Carroll’s 4.5 million.

Carroll came back like the professional he is, winning the top prize of $455,860, along with the coveted winners trophy and Exquisite Timepieces watch.

With an entertaining event further improved by the live staking element on offer, could Prime Social’s event be a template for many more live staking experiences to come? The days of registering without taking a look at the players you can invest in as well as yourself may soon be a thing of the past if the slick operation in Houston is replicated across America.

Prime Social Texas Poker Championship Final Table Results:

  1. James Carroll – $455,860
  2. Nicholas Howard – $303,930
  3. Benjamin Keiley – $223,580
  4. Jorge Gomez – $166,420
  5. Jason Daly – $125,350
  6. Andrew Ostapchenko – $95,570
  7. Jeremy Harvey – $73,750
  8. Justin Saliba – $57,620
  9. Viet Vo – $45,590

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