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Must-read poker news from around the world! Live and online poker tournament results, top player news, exclusive poker news features and more.

Your odds of making it into the massive £6m partypoker Millions this April just got better.

partypoker announced today it has increased both the number of satellites running online to qualify and added a second weekly Online Phase 1 to the schedule.

More tickets to the next level satellite have also been added to each feeder event to essentially double your chances of getting to the next tier.

That means more low buy-in players than ever have a shot to play the massive, life-changing tournament at Dusk Till Dawn this Spring.

£1,000,000 Guaranteed to Winner

If you've followed the latest news about one of poker's most famous tournaments you'll already now the overall prize pool guarantee has already been bumped from an original £5m to £6m.

Begins now, ends at Dusk Till Dawn.

A minimum £1,000,000 is guaranteed to the winner regardless meaning one day at the end of April this year will literally change a poker player's life.

Getting a shot at the massive prize is now even easier. While the standard Day 1 entry fee of £550 is still very affordable, more low buy-in feeders to Day 1 have been added daily on partypoker.

The number of tickets guaranteed in the feeders has also been bumped from 5 to 10 to make them even greater value. Here's a look at the full complement of feeders and satellites that can get you a Day 1 ticket on the cheap:.

Daily MILLIONS feeders and satellites

 

Time (GMT)NameBuy-InTicket ExpiryNotes 5:00pm MILLIONS Mini Feeder: 10x $22 Gtd $5.50 7 Days   7:00pm MILLIONS Mini Feeder: 10x $22 Gtd $5.50 7 Days   9:00pm MILLIONS Mini Feeder: 10x $22 Gtd $5.50 7 Days   Time (GMT)NameBuy-InTicket ExpiryNotes 5:00pm MILLIONS Feeder: 10x $109 Gtd $22 7 Days   7:00pm MILLIONS Feeder: 10x $109 Gtd $22 7 Days   9:00pm MILLIONS Feeder: 10x $109 Gtd $22 7 Days   Time (GMT)NameBuy-InTicket ExpiryNotes 7:00pm MILLIONS Satellite: 5x £550 Gtd $109 30 Days Does not run Tuesday or Sunday 9:00pm MILLIONS Satellite: 5x £550 Gtd $109 30 Days   Weekly MILLIONS satellites and Online Phase 1s

 

Time (GMT)NameBuy-InTicket ExpiryNotes 5:00pm MILLIONS Satellite: 10x £550 Direct into Online Phase 1 $109 Direct / 30 Days   7:00pm MILLIONS Satellite: 10x £550 Direct into Online Phase 1 $109 Direct / 30 Days   9:00pm MILLIONS Online Phase 1: £6M [1st £1M] $675

Players can also of course buy in directly for £5,300 on Day 2 either live or online and any player advancing to Day 3, starting April 20 at Dusk Till Dawn, has locked up £5,000.

To get started on qualifying, jump to our partypoker review and create a new account to access our up to $500 sign-up bonus.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a meticulously designed A.I. that’s programmed to give you the maximum allowable dosage of mid-afternoon poker news.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Dan Smith’s incredible $1.7m charity drive, a poker A.I. rematch and Poker Central ditching the traditional cable model.

1) Smith’s $1.7m Charity Drive

KingDan indeed.

Dan "KingDan" Smith finished his charity drive this week with an unprecedented $1.7m earmarked for various charities.

Nubs for everyone!

Smith easily hit his goal of matching $175,000 in donations but the drive received a serious push from DFS superstar Martin Crowley who matched an additional $200,000 and his brother Tom Crowley (known as ChipotleAddict in DFS) donated another $500k once the drive hit the $1m mark.

The funds are going directly to the Against Malaria Fund, Massachusetts Bail Fund, Give Directly, SCI and various other charities.

You can get the complete breakdown from Smith on his blog right here.

This is just outstanding work all around. Who says poker pros don’t contribute anything to the world?

Last year Dan Smith and Dan Colman raised $210k in the same charity drive so it was a pretty incredible increase year-over-year.

Here’s a couple words from the man of the hour:

Thx for the love. Two thoughts: 1) I want to point out how relatively few hours went in on my end. This would be easy to recreate.

— Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) January 4, 2017

2) In poker and many other things, brute force just getting it done can be a way better use of time than trying to find the elegant solution

— Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) January 4, 2017 2) Get Ready for a Brains vs. Poker A.I. Rematch

“I’ll be back,” is what Poker A.I. Claudico would have said after failing to beat human poker pros in the summer of 2015… if it could speak.

Jason Les

Well as it turns out Claudico IS back. Kind of. The Carnegie Mellon University actually has a new Poker A.I. called Libratus prepared for the official Brains vs. A.I. Poker rematch.

This time around Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAuley and Jimmy Chou will play 120,000 hands of heads-up No-Limit Hold’em against Libratus starting on Jan. 11.

Once again the contest will take place at Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

Labratus features a new algorithm for computing poker strategies and end-game strategies. In addition Labratus will be powered by a super computer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to do the computing during live hands.

So who’s going to win?

Last time it was the brains but even Jason Les later admitted that it was likely only a matter of time before the machines won out.

Good luck humans!

3) Poker Central Ditches Cable Channel

So we forgot to mention this over the holiday break but Poker Central has officially shuttered its cable channel.

The app still works great.

Sounds bad for poker, right? It’s not.

The upstart poker network has excelled in the online world with very few people actually signing up for the hard-to-find channel.

Instead Poker Central came out with apps for nearly every streaming device you could think of including iOS, Android, Xbox, PS4, Roku and more.

We even named it one of the Best Poker Apps of 2016.

Poker fans will likely benefit from the digital approach because none of Poker Central’s programing will be restricted to the cable channel. Instead users will be able to log in and watch poker content to their heart’s content.

Great move from one of the rising players in the poker world.



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Not every online poker room managed to shine in 2016 but 888poker's relentless effort to meet poker players' expectations continued its rise toward the #1 spot in the global poker market.

An expanding, $5m major online tournament series, growing live events with a twist, new high-profile ambassadors and a brand new festival – 888poker made 2016 its year and isn't about to stop for 2017.

To get there 888poker has focused on the poker player first and a strategy that encompasses all aspects of the game – live events, online events, personnel and unique software features.

What's in store for the year to come? Much, much more of the same successful formula.

Suitcases stuffed in Super XL Super XL Gets Super-Sized

Every poker site has its signature online tournament series but many of them can go by more or less unnoticed.

The Super XL Series is a notable exception. When the 4th edition took place in January 2016, it had already grown to a sizeable, 38-tournament series with a $1 million guaranteed main event.

But it was still in transition. Originally it was intended to hold this series annually but due to the growing player fields 888poker decided to go for more.

Super XL Series were added in both May and September so this January we’re already at the seventh instalment. Compared to 12 months ago, the series now has almost taken on the size of the WSOP – of which 888poker is now the main sponsor.

The Super XL now offers 63 tournaments over 12 days and a guaranteed prize pool that has now reached $5m. All pretty impressive numbers.

The next Super XL series begins in just a matter of days so size up the schedule here and start playing the 888 steps satellites to get in the game!

888poker Live – Making it Big(ger)

In the past 888poker largely and successfully focused on low buy-in tournaments.

Big winners abounded live.

The Live Local series featured €220, 2-3 day tournaments, mainly directed at local amateurs -- which is also why they usually take place on the weekend.

Then they added the Live! events that cost twice the buy-in of the Local tournaments, but also have an extra day devoted to sports or cultural activities – a unique event that combines poker and vacation like no other.

Then, in October, 888poker hosted the first “Make it Big” poker festival at its home poker room at the Aspers Casino in London. Almost 300 players registered for the £880 main event and the winner walked away with almost £50k.

All of those series will continue in 2017 and a second large, 10-day poker festival will start soon. In late January the King’s Casino in Rozvadov will play host to the next “Make it Big” party and 888poker has already guaranteed €600,000 in prize pools.

Team 888poker Grows, Too

What can a poker room do to become more attractive to casual players? Usually it either contracts high-profile players or celebrities to up its profile and in 2016 888poker did both.

Pros and more pros on board.

In 2016 Kara Scott, Chris Moorman and Natalie Hof joined the already impressive 888poker roster alongside Dominik Nitsche, Sofia Lövgren and the Brazilian trio Bruno Politano, Bruno Kawauti and Nicolau Villa-Lobos.

888poker also invited some major names from the US to the London festival to give it some extra prestige. 

Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi and Melanie Weisner all made the trip across the Atlantic for 888poker’s first big festival and that attracted a lot of European big names like Sam Grafton, Christopher Brammer, Tom Middleton, Oanh Bui and former world champion Martin Jacobson.

Chances are you'll see more big names in Rozvadov. Don’t forget that 888poker had three of the last November Nine branded with a patch and one of them was Czech … (Vojtech Ruzicka, in case you forgot.)

If you don’t have an account at 888poker yet, take a look at the promotions running on the regular and you’ll see it’s definitely worth it.

PokerListings will be at the most important 888 events in 2017 again and we’ll also keep you updated on the biggest new promotions. Visit the PokerListings 888poker review page to get your account started and claim your $888 sign-up bonus!



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The New Year has just begun and already some big live and online events are on the immediate horizon.

The big online event in January for many is without a doubt the Super XL Series on 888poker with $5 million guaranteed for this edition of the growing tournament series.

The first of 63 events begins at 7 PM GMT on January 19 and it’ll be the kick-off for a series of low and high buy-in, fast and slow-paced tournaments that all lead to the highlight and focus of attention – the main event.

When the 888poker Super XL Series 2017 Main Event takes off on Sunday, January 29 at 7 PM it’ll have a buy-in of $1,050 and a guaranteed prize pool of $1,500,000.

That means the winner this time might walk away with a quarter of a million dollars.

What Would They Do with 250k?

If you struggle to think of what you might do with that kind of money, we asked the people who know what it feels like – the 888poker ambassadors.

Don't spend yet, grasshopper.

Take Chris Moorman for example. Did you know he doesn’t have a driver's licence?

Moorman: "If I won the main event I would finally learn to drive and buy a very nice first car, probably a Mercedes Benz G SUV."

Bruno Politano, on the other hand, would go for some more instant pleasure:

"I would travel to Indonesia with my fiancée Anne and spend 20 days looking at the sun and ocean and meeting new people and culture ..."

Kara Scott would take a much more down-to-earth approach and invest in her personal future.

"If I won the XL Series main event, I'd use that money to buy a gorgeous house in the city where we now live.

"I've moved around so much over the past 10 years that buying a house never seemed like a smart idea but if I came into lots of money and 'smart' didn't matter, that's the first thing I'd do!"

What Should You Do with the Super XL Main Event Prize?

However, 'quod licet iovi, non licet bovi,' as they say, which means pretty much that what is right for the pros isn't necessarily right for you.

We also asked the 888 ambassadors what a recreational player like you or me should do if they land their first big hit in an online tournament.

Bruno says live a dream instead.

Moorman suggests you ignore it now so you’ll have more in the future:

"I'd be smart with it and save it to build your bankroll rather than buying anything lavish. With your first big win you should put the money away like you didn't even win it so you will always have a backup."

His Brazilian counterpart Politano once again pledges for a more life-affirming, less serious way to handle the money.

"Spend your money fulfilling a dream of yours so you can remember this moment for all your life. And save some money, he he he ... saving money is always important :)

Scott shows once more how smart a person she is – although she’s too humble to admit it.

Be generous, too.

"If you're looking for an exciting and baller response, you've come to the wrong person. I am boringly sensible!

"I can tell you what I did with my first big poker win, which happened before I was playing more serious poker. I locked a large percentage of it away somewhere I couldn't touch it for years and where it would grow for my retirement.

"With the rest, I played some poker that was way out of my bankroll but too fun to resist (the NBC Heads Up, Poker After Dark, even the WSOPME was too high really for my bankroll) and thankfully it went well enough that I didn't lose it all!

"I set aside a certain amount for people I love, and then I made sure that none of my friends had to buy their own drinks or pay for their own taxis for about a year, until they forcibly sat me down and told me to stop splurging so much. It was fun while it lasted though!"

There are a lot more options for you if you beat the whole field of the Super XL main event. If you want tory to make this your “problem” in 2017, check here to find a complete overview over all the tournaments of the series.

If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, head to our review page to download the software and access out exclusive $888 sign-up bonus.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a fresh sheet, a new start and a chance to seriously improve your mid-afternoon poker news bowling score.

You can always suggest items for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at a potential destination for poker pros, some extraordinary events at Bobby’s Room and some Battle of Malta love.

1) MGM Harbor Powers Up

The brand-new $1.4b MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, could be a whale-magnet, according to pro Chad Power.

Chad Power

Power was featured in an article for the The Washington Post that profiled both the player and the new casino.

The Baltimore native is bullish on poker at the new venue and thinks it will get a lot of attention from high-stakes whales.

"That stuff usually lasts about a year. Eventually, he'll do his taxes and say 'Oh my gosh, I blew $400,000 gambling.' “

The MGM National Harbor has more than three dozen poker tables with a variety of tournaments and cash games available at all hours of the day.

Power has already spoken to the casino about getting a private room so that celeb friends Michael Phelps and Kevin Hart could get it on the action.

2) $150k in Chips Thrown on Bellagio Floor

It turns out Bobby’s Room at Bellagio was the place to be over over the last week if you were looking for action.

Poker legend Doyle Brunson was an hand to witness to extraordinary events at the world-famous poker room:

Saw a player that will not be named, run 12k into 550k in a 2-4k mix game last night.

— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) December 28, 2016

Also had some fireworks in bobby's room. Two players that had been playing for 48 hours got tilted and threw 150k chips in cardroom floor.

— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) December 28, 2016

OK poker sleuths, any guesses as to who spun $12k into $550k?

3) Battle of Malta Poker Central Feature

We’re pretty much a broken record when it comes to promoting our very-own PokerListings Battle of Malta tournament.

It’s a small buy-in, high-value tournament in the gorgeous St. Julian’s Harbor in Malta. Etc. Etc.

Well, we’re not the only ones.

Poker Central featured Malta as one of its Top 10 Poker Vacations, specifically mentioning the Battle of Malta.



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Welsh poker phenom Roberto Romanello has been betting on football matches for as long as he can remember.

But he's never liked the bookmaker's stranglehold on the prices they offer to the working class.

As a former EPT & WPT Champion Romanello's not deterred by a challenge and so he finally decided to do something about it.

After putting poker and the tournament circuit on the back burner for a couple of years the Welsh Wizard has emerged with betclever, a sports betting odds comparison app designed to give you the best price every time.

So far, interest in the app has been overwhelming with a surge of downloads in the first week. I sat down with him to find out how he managed to do it.

Always a rogue.

How did you get into gambling?

"I have always been a rogue. I am the black sheep of the family, but in a good way. I am the wild one.

"As a kid I would meet up with my mates and go to the arcades to play the fruit machines. As time moved on I felt I couldn’t win enough on fruit machines.

"I loved football. I learned that you could bet on football in the bookies and I would ask my older brother Paul to put bets on for me.”

When did the idea for betclever first start?

"I have had the idea for as long as I can remember but I started to seriously think about creating an app two years ago.

"As my interest in football betting developed I would spend ages in the bookies, leafing through the Racing Post, trying to find the best prices. Then I would jump in my car and find the bookies with the best value. 

"Over time I started to do well. But it always bothered me to see the £10-£20 football coupon punters having to accept the price of their local bookmaker. It felt wrong.

"So in a way I created betclever for those people. The lads who like to make a bet on a Saturday morning on their way to a game. Two years ago my business partner, Jamie, had the idea of the odds comparison angle. I was hooked straight away."

What happened then?

"We started entering different gambling related phrases into Google in an attempt to come up with a name. It was during this process that we fell in love with betclever, but someone had bought the .co.uk and .com domain names.

"So our first job was to negotiate the domain names for a fair price. To be fair, the phone hasn't stopped ringing with people wanting the betclever domain names ever since.

"Next we needed an app developer and it was important that he or she lived in Swansea. My business partners and I wanted to take a real hands-on approach to the project and so being close to home was important.

"Taking this line made the task more difficult. Then one day I walked into this office, and I saw this lad with trousers that only went as far as his shins. I knew he was the one.

"A week hasn't passed that one of the team hasn't been in the office with him over the past two years."

Why has it taken so long?

"It's a massive project. The developer said it would be finished in 4-6 months and I knew his forecast was way off. It didn't help matters that the lad didn't know the difference between the Scottish and the English Premier League.

A grinder with a vision.

"This is why I have been missing from the poker tournament scene for the past two years. You know me, I'm a grinder, but I had to spend a lot of time travelling around Europe meeting bookmakers at sports betting conventions."

How did that go? 

"It was tough in the beginning if I am honest. It felt like I was going cap in hand. Sometimes I felt like they were looking down on us - these giants having to deal with the minnows from South Wales.

"Then over time we were able to take snapshots of the app and then a beta version that they could play with. As soon as they saw the app in action, the tables were turned.

"Suddenly, they were lining up to get involved in the project. It was a great feeling."

Why did they love it so much?

"What used to take me 30-60 minutes leafing through the Racing Post now takes between 2-5 seconds on the betclever app. You choose your bet, and the app will find you the best UK price available within seconds.

“The thing looks beautiful; it’s so crisp and fast. It’s also free to download. We will never charge betclever users a single penny for using our app.”

So how do you make a profit?

"We direct traffic to the bookmakers and they give us a cut. It's an affiliate relationship. The more traffic we send their way, the more money we make.

"What we are essentially doing is making the bookmakers work hard to provide the punters with more value. Your average £10-£20 football coupon player can save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds using betclever."

What bookmakers do you have on board?

"We were looking for the Top 10 UK bookmakers. Once the bookies were able to use the app we were inundated with offers. We could have earned more money by going with some lesser known brands, but we knew trust was an important value for our customers.

"We're maximizing punters' profits every time."

"In the end, we went with the biggest names because of the trust factor and we are confident we will get the best price every time. So far we have deals with Betfair, Bet365, BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, SkyBet and Sportingbet."

What problem are you solving for your customer?

"We are maximizing punters' profits every single time. One team may be priced at 4/1 and you have taken 7/2; another is 5/1 and you have taken 4/1; then 3/1 and you have taken 2/1.

These mistakes cost hundreds or thousands in lost money. The bookies have been getting away with it for years. You go into the local bookmaker there is barely anyone in them anymore.

"They are finding value online. You have to work harder online, though, and that's why this app is a game changer."

Who is your customer demographic?

"I thought it was good for the bread and butter punters. The £10-£20 punters, this is where my target is initially.

"Hundreds or thousands of people. The people who are VIPs who want to bet bigger it's a no-brainer for them also."

Sexton impressed.

What will betclever customers say to future customers when recommending the app?

"It's a no-brainer. If you like to bet on the football, once you use that app once you do not go back to walking into a bookmaker and asking for a price.

"I have shown this app to a lot of sports bettors within the poker industry who think it's brilliant. Mike Sexton was blown away when I showed him. He said it was unbelievable."

What's next for Roberto Romanello?

"I have always wanted new challenges in my life. I get fed up so easily. I love poker and the way I have played the game; this has excited me.

"It has given me time away from poker. For a long time I was living in a suitcase. I started to think about my life. I am getting older; I am getting married next year.

"I was travelling so much and forgetting what's important to me. Catrin - she has been amazing. She has been unbelievable and supported everything I have done. I want to look forward to the future: marriage and starting a family.

"When I was younger I always wanted kids, but the poker took over. Doing a project from home and being around the people I love it's been exciting and I have enjoyed every bit of it.

"Partypoker approached me in Las Vegas to do work for them. I love poker and would love to win the Triple Crown. I thought I could dedicate a month in Vegas to represent party and I was proud to do that. Then I did well and they asked to extend it for another year including another stint in Vegas.

"I told them about the project and explained everything and they said they would work around me and my project. How nice is that? What other online poker company in the world would do that?

"It's so hard to get a poker deal. There is something different and fresh about this team. They were professional but relaxed - they were normal. You can have a laugh and banter with the team.

"I explained what I was doing and Tom Waters was like 'I am fine with that.' You can pick and choose a few things you can play. I was doing something I really love and these guys were telling me that I could still play poker when it suited me including WSOP which really sold it for me.

"Then what made it special is we have tabs on the bottom of the app, and we have a poker app exclusively for partypoker, and that's exciting. They are on board with my project and their in-house people are helping me on their part of the poker tab.

"It's been an incredible project. I have been blessed the way it's run out. It's like running hot for seven days in a major tournament."

What does success look like for the end of 2017 and in five years time?

"I would like to see thousands of people using the app and gaining value. Every day I want people sending us copies of winning bet slips showing us what they have won and leaving good reviews in the app store.

Always looking for a challenge.

"Once the app goes viral as much as it can, it will look after itself. I am confident of that. It's about getting people using it. I think it will explode.

"I have invested a lot of money in this project. I am happy and don't regret anything. I am confident and excited. I told the team that came on board that I would put all the money up.

"If it doesn't work, they don't owe me a penny. If it works, they have a piece of a company. I am going to reinvest. I don't want to plod along. I want it to explode.

"We're not cashing our chips in. I want to take it as far as I think we can take it as a team. When I get to that point I will find someone else who can take it further, then I will sell it.

"I will always keep a piece of it but I want to listen to what investors have to say to take it to the next level. We are also looking to expand globally. Currently the app is available in the UK but we have already begun working on a Spanish version."

What promises do you want to make to customers?

"All I am doing is making sure they get the right price. They are placing no bets with me. The app will direct you to the right bookmaker.

"We will guarantee you will get the best price every single time. After all, why would you take less?"



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Could this be the last biggest online winners and losers’ list that’s worth publishing?

It certainly seems possible as the high-stakes games have undeniably shrunk over the last couple of years.

There are also a number of high-profile players who have opted out of tracking, which makes it tough to get an accurate picture of what's been won and lost

This year’s biggest winner (spoiler alert) Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn accumulated $1,466,568 on PokerStars in 2016, which is a dramatic step down from $3.4m that Isildur1 won in 2015.

Go back to 2013 and the contrast is even more considerable as Niklas Heinecker earned $6.3m.

Despite the general slowdown all the usual suspects were still there this year, though, with Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky, Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro, Isildur1 and Kanu7 all factoring into the biggest winners & losers list for 2016.

We’ll take a closer look at the movers and shakers below:

Kostritsyn Only Player to Top $1m

Russian Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn was the only player that topped $1m in earnings in 2016 with $1,466,568 to lead everyone according to HighStakesDB.

Alex Kostritsyn

Kostritsyn had previously opted out of tracking on the site so it was surprising to see him at the top of the rankings but there he is.

It’s not the first time that Kostritsyn has finished the year as the biggest winner as he ended up with $3.3m in 2014, although that was on Full Tilt Poker instead of PokerStars.

The next biggest winner for 2016 is the remarkably consistent Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky who picked up $815,517. Sulsky always seems able to escape posting a loss for the entire year.

Finnish pro Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro made a strong return to the high-stakes online scene in 2016 with a haul of $565,077, which was enough to place him in the top 10 earners.

Isaac “philivey2694” Haxton (+$388,463) and Jens “Jeans89” Kyllonen (+$293,503) were a couple of the notable players who narrowly missed out on the top 10 list.

Here’s a complete look at the top 10 winners from 2016 (all numbers from HighStakesDB):

1. Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn: +$1,466,568
2. Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky: +$815,517
3. SamRostan: +$748,018
3. Cobus83: +$626,487
4. OtB_RedBaron: +$579,900
5. Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro: +$565,077
6. Educa-p0ker: +$539,974
7. bajskorven87: +$500,954
8. ChaoRen160: +$466,416
9. RaulGonzalez: +$450,402
10. honeybee088: +$444,410

Isildur1, Kanu7 Hit Tough Times on ‘Stars ClockWyze power outage.

It was not a great year for Viktor “Isildur1” Blom who dumped $489,789 into the high-stakes games on PokerStars.

It was not for lack of trying, however, as Blom recorded over 200,000 hands, which was considerably more than any other player in the winners or losers top 10.

Don’t feel too bad for Blom as he recorded his best year ever in 2015 with over $3m in earnings.

The biggest loser in 2016 was actually unheralded PLO player bodamos who dropped a total of $868,252.

Close behind bodamos was former Team PokerStars Online pro Alexander “Kanu7” Millar who lost $635,521 in 2016.

Some of the other notable players in the red bracket included Rafi Amit (-$381,888) and Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling (-$341,934).

Here’s a complete look at the top 10 biggest losers in 2016 (all numbers from HighStakesDB):

1. bodamos: -$868,252
2. Kanu7: -$645,521
3. spaise411: -$624,166
4. candela2005: -$546,253
5. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom: -$489,789
6. wilhasha: -$465,476
7. flong78: -$438,634
8. refaelamit: -$381,888
9. Andrew “Clockwyze” Pantling: -$341,934
10. Katya_18: -$330,074



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As another poker year comes to a close, nobody wants to listen to any more bad beat stories.

Still, there's always an inclination to reflect on the best and worst moments of years past and reminisce about just how far your poker journey has taken you. 

Just before the Christmas break PokerListings had a chance to sit down with 888poker pros Chris Moorman, Dominik Nitsche, Kara Scott and Natalie Hof at EPT Prague.

All four players have travelled the world via poker, played in some of the highest buy-in events possible and etched indelible memories on their lives at the felt and off.

They're all now proud ambassadors of the game for 888poker, which has been named best online poker operator several times and hosts poker events like the brand new 888poker Festival, the 888Live! crossover events and the 888 Live Local low buy-in tournaments.

We asked the 888 reps not only their worst beats, the toughest opponents they've faced and the one thing in their poker careers they'll treasure more than anything. Here's what they had to say.

Who's the toughest opponent you've ever faced at the poker table?

Chris Moorman

I can’t name a specific opponent but high-stakes cash game players are really tough to play against. 

This is because I'm not as familiar with their strategies in certain spots, whereas I have a much better grasp on even the best tournament players' ranges in different situations.

Holz-esque heater incoming.

Dominik Nitsche

I'll give a shout out here to Fedor Holz, Steffen Sontheimer and Rainer Kempe. They all play incredibly well and think about poker in the same way as me.

I find it hard to spot any leaks in their game and they are constantly improving. Now that Fedor has “retired” I'd expect one of us to go on an absurd heater next.

Kara Scott

I want to say something deep here like, "The toughest opponent you ever face at the poker table is yourself," but that's not true.

The toughest opponent is probably Phil Ivey. Or Vanessa Selbst. I'm pretty sure I've sat across from both of them at different times and pure intimidation has just wiped my memory of it.

Natalie Hof

I think my toughest opponent was Antonio Esfandiari. I played with him EPT San Remo a few years ago and on Shark Cage.

What’s the most memorable moment in your poker career? Nothing like a win and a rail filled with friends.

Chris Moorman

I would have to say finally getting my live win at the WPT LAPC in 2014. It felt like forever that I had been waiting to get a live title and to finally get it was an amazing feeling.  

Dominik Nitsche

Winning my first bracelet. Nothing comes even close. I had all my friends there with me and it was an incredible experience. Winning tournaments is just a lot of fun and a bracelet is special for sure.

Kara Scott

As a player, that would be when the bubble broke the first time I'd ever played in the WSOP Main Event and I was in the money. That was incredible. The whole room burst into applause and celebrated. 

Natalie Hof

I think my most memorable poker moment was me winning the EPT Ladies event in Vienna. I had the best rail and a lovely time after I won the trophy.

What was your worst moment at the poker table?

Chris Moorman

It wasn’t a bad beat as such but it felt like a bad beat. It was at the 2008 WSOPE in my home city of London and I had been playing for 4 days and had a great stack approaching what was a huge money bubble for me at the time.

I was in prime position to go deep but ended up running kings into aces in an unavoidable spot against the most aggressive player at the table with the big blind sitting out.

AA < AK? Really?

Dominik Nitsche

I can think of a few but most painful in terms of money must have been a series of three bad beats and coolers to go from 1/10 in the PCA $25k to go out in 10th. 

With more than a million dollars up top I will admit that one hurt a lot.

Kara Scott

The second year I played the Main Event I was pretty close to beating my own deep finish from the previous year when I got it all in pre-flop with AA versus AK for a huge pot and lost. So disappointing.

Natalie Hof

It’s not that special but it really sucked when I busted the WSOP main event this year at the end of Day 2 with JJ< TT all-in pre-flop.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Is it audacious - perhaps even a little bit unhinged - to condense 11 years (4,105 days) of poker moments across the globe into just 20 "best" and "worst?

Absolutely. But we tried anyway.

In lieu of our traditional Best and Worst Moments of the Year series we’ve aimed a little wider this year with a stab at the 20 Best/Worst Moments of the Decade.

We also know technically 11 years is more than decade. But let’s throw caution to the wind, shall we?

Thoughts, feelings and feedback about events we've missed/overestimated are welcome in the comments. If you're more into the dark side of things, start with our 20 Worst Moments list here.

5. Isildur1 Happens

If there's a single player who captured the imagination of the poker world more than any other it's Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom. 

Forever in our hearts.

His mysterious and anonymous rise up the stakes during the latter half of 2009 was as scintillating as anything seen before or since. The full story is well worth a read but, in broad strokes, he ran up a small deposit into $1.7m over a year or so of playing on smaller European sites.

He then took his bankroll, plopped it down on Full Tilt Poker under the nickname 'Isildur1' and sat with the game's best players for days (+ months) on end at the highest stakes possible.

He turned that $1.7m into close to $6m against the likes of Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius and Tom Dwan, peaking with an epic, week-long run against durrrr that dented Dwan's bankroll for $4m.

Shortly after it came crashing down in an infamous session where he lost $4.2m to Brian Hastings. It was later revealed Hastings had shared hand histories with Brian Townsend and Cole South that had given him an unfair advantage.

It was a mind-boggling, heart-pumping few months of action we still can't believe happened. And if it doesn't get turned into a Movie of the Week at some point, it's a shame.

Even crazier? Blom has continued to swing almost as wildly for most of the 2010s, too.

4. Vicky Coren Wins 2nd EPT title One and only.

The groundbreaking, industry transforming European Poker Tour has officially come to its end after 13 Seasons, 115 Main Events and over a decade of memorable, amazing poker moments.

Legends have been made, careers have been launched and millions upon millions of euros have been taken home by thousands of the game's best (and worst) players.

Only one player has won a European Poker Tour Main Event twice - Vicky Coren Mitchell.

Original Late Night Poker 'groupie.' Author. TV personality. Quiz Show Host. Part 'crook and gambler.' Coren Mitchell wears a lot of hats but 'full-time poker pro' has never really been one. Which only makes her accomplishment all the more impressive.

And as the EPT has now been retired, no one can catch her. That seems fitting for a singular figure who carried the torch for the game in the UK and around Europe for much of the past decade.

3. Jamie Gold Wins $12m in 2006 Main Event The perfect storm.

As we've tried to capture before, the 2006 WSOP Main Event was a singular poker sideshow of epic proportions not seen before or since. We were there in the flesh and we still can't believe it happened the way it did.

Watching Jamie Gold 'top-top' his way - boisterously, aggressively, haphazardly - to the biggest prize in poker history is something we'll never forget. Or see again.

It. was. crazy. And regardless of what happened afterwards, it will always stand as a high-water mark for the poker boom at its most ramshackle, unchained best.

2. Full Tilt Poker Players Get Repaid Not even Lederer's spectre ruins this one.

Can one of poker's "best" moments of the past decade really be the (almost complete)reconciliation of it's worst?

We went back and forth on that for a while but, in the end, having hundreds of thousands of poker players get millions of dollars collectively stolen from them in the worst poker scandal in history returned is a good thing. A great and amazing thing, really.

That it was facilitated by one of the giants of the poker industry makes it even more significant.

It took a very long time. And it's still, in fact, being settled as the 'final' payments to players were just released a month or so ago.

Black Friday was an absolute debacle for poker in every aspect but if there's anything good to come out of it it's that poker players (and the game itself) clearly aren't the guilty parties.

1. Chip Reese Wins First $50,000 Poker Players Championship

There were “bigger” moments, more “talked about” moments and certainly more “consequential” moments for the global game of poker over the past 11 years.

None, retrospectively, seem more satisfying about the ultimate justice meted out by the game than Chip Reese winning the first-ever $50k Poker Player's Championship at the 2006 World Series of Poker.

We were just poker rookies ourselves then but the aura around Reese was one we'll never forget. Universally considered the best all around poker player at the time, Reese was respected even more for his unflagging 'gamblers honor' and loyal character.

Doyle revered him. Ivey revered him. Gamblers of all sorts revered him. If that's not the ultimate endorsement for a poker player, past or present, we don't know what is.

He was taken far too soon but that Reese won the first-ever $50k test of "all-around" poker ability before he passed - and the trophy is named after him to this day - is maybe the most fitting match between player and reward we've ever seen.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Is condensing over a decade of poker news into 20 “worst” and “best” moments a fool’s errand?

Possibly.

That hasn’t stopped us from attempting it, however, as this year we’re replacing our traditional best and worst moments of the year with a massive decade-spanning list that includes many of the biggest stories in poker history.

We’re looking at the worst poker moments but don’t worry the best moments are right here.

Lists like this are obviously going to be subjective so we welcome your feedback in the comments. Let us know if there are any glaring misses or anything we overestimated.

5. Lederer, Bitar, Full Tilt Fumble Black Friday

Black Friday was disastrous for poker players who had money on Full Tilt Poker.

Ray Bitar

Instead of instantly getting their balances back like PokerStars players they had to endure nearly three years before getting a check in the mail. Some believed they would never get their money back.

Now it’s hard to know where to point the blame in the case of a private company like Full Tilt where the management structure was always bit of mystery but the way that Lederer and CEO Ray Bitar handled the situation was just plain awful.

Instead of constant updates about the situation the silence was deafening.

A big part of “Playing with the Pros” on Full Tilt Poker is that players thought they had some security that their money was in good hands with guys like Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Phil Ivey putting their faces all over the site.

It quickly became clear that no one wanted to take responsibility for what happened.

It was a very bad situation but a little bit more communication with the thousands of players who had their balances stuck on Full Tilt would have helped immensely.

4. Epic Poker Tour Fails

Annie Duke and former WSOP commish Jeffrey Pollack surprised many in 2011 (right after Black Friday) by announcing the Epic Poker Tour, which shared some similarities to the PGA with the idea of having both pros and amateur on the tour.

The tour was offering a $1m freeroll at the end of the season and it was exciting to see that kind of investment in poker during a pretty dark period.

The big question was: Where was the money coming from?

Less than a year later we had our answer: Nowhere.

Epic Poker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 29, 2012, with millions in debt. Not great considering it was announced in the summer of 2011.

That $1m freeroll at the end of the season? Never happened.

Poker pros who took part in Epic in order to get some equity in that $1m freeroll were understandably upset.

Pollack left the poker industry for good and Duke followed him after getting a less-than-cordial reception at the WSOP.

Epic Poker ended in abject failure.

3. UltimateBet/Absolute Superuser Scandal

Online poker is built on trust.

Online poker sites must — above all else — keep your money safe and provide a fair environment to play poker.

The maligned Russ Hamilton.

While there have been several online poker sites that failed in those two respects it’s hard to top what happened on UltimateBet/Absolute Poker in 2004-2007.

Both sites were rocked by separate superuser scandals. For Absolute it was in 2007 while UB it was in 2008. For the uninitiated: A superuser is someone that can see another player’s hole cards.

On Absolute Poker it was a rogue account called POTRIPPER. On UltimateBet it was none other than former WSOP Main Event champ Russ Hamilton.

The Absolute Poker case was broken by sleuths on the TwoPlusTwo Poker forum who realized POTRIPPER was playing perfect poker.

The AP/UB scandals were harrowing for any one who’s ever played online poker. Mike Matusow and Brad Booth were among the unassuming players who were cheated out of money.

To make matters worse Absolute and Ultimate Bet were unable to play back players after Black Friday.

Both sites and the respective scandals remain a collective black eye for the entire poker industry.

2. UIGEA Puts Brakes on Online Poker Boom

The 2006 World Series of Poker was the first one that we covered as a team here at PokerListings and it was a sight to behold.

The online poker gold rush was in full swing with everyone trying to get a piece of the action. Private lounges were booked solid in the halls of the Rio. Almost anyone could get a piece of their buy-in paid if they were willing to wear a patch. There were sponsored pillow fights. The Main Event attracted over 8,000 players.

It was epic.

Unfortunately that party, which was just getting started, was about to get the cops called on it.

In the fall of 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was hastily tacked on to the SAFE Port Act on the last day of Congress before adjourning for the 2006 elections.

No one on the Senate-House Conference Committee had even seen the final language on the bill before it passed.

George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 13. The bill put the brakes on the rapid growth of the WSOP and forced publicly traded companies like PartyPoker (the biggest online poker site at the time) out of the USA.

The next year the WSOP Main Event saw the single biggest drop in attendance with over 2,400 less players.

It’s likely the online poker boom of the mid-2000s simply wasn’t sustainable but we often wonder what could have been if UIGEA was at least delayed for a few more years.

Might we have seen 10,000+ entries in the Main Event with a $20m first-place? We’ll never know.

1. Black Friday

On April 11, 2011, the poker world changed forever.

The US Department of Justice finally took its stand on online poker and indicted PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker/UltimateBet.

All of the aforementioned sites were forced out of the US market and made to pay back their customers.

We’re still feeling the ramifications of those decisions today with many poker pros living abroad to ply their trade.

It affected everyone from the sites themselves, to the players, to the media surrounding the online poker boom.

Full Tilt players had their account balances frozen for years. Absolute/UB players never got theirs back.

PokerStars players had to wait years for the site to return in a limited capacity, albeit to New Jersey only. Many poker pros quit the game completely.

Poker players don’t agree on much but pretty much every single one of them will tell you that Black Friday was terrible for everyone involved.

It’s hard to think of a single worse day in the history of poker.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Is it audacious - perhaps even a little bit unhinged - to condense 11 years (4,105 days) of poker moments across the globe into just 20 "best" and "worst?"

Absolutely. But we did it anyway.

In lieu of our traditional Best and Worst Moments of the Year series we’ve aimed a little wider this year with a stab at the 20 Best/Worst Moments of the Decade.

We also know technically 11 years is more than decade. But let’s throw caution to the wind, shall we?

Thoughts, feelings and feedback about events we've missed/overestimated are welcome in the comments. If you're more into the dark side of things, start with our 20 Worst Moments list here.

10. We Got durrrr'ed

Yep. It's a total cheat to lump some (if not all) of our favorite Tom 'durrrr' Dwan moments into one listing.

Electrifying.

But, really - if we singled them out one by one it might take up half (or more) of the entire Top 20.

Few, if any, poker players lit up the game like Dwan did in the late-2000s/early 2010s. His every live appearance was appointment railing as was every nosebleed session on Rail Heaven.

His oversized reputation and legion of fanboys got under the attention-craving Phil Hellmuth's skin so much at the NBC HU Championship he memorably asked if durrrr would even be around in 5 years.

That's some special stuff. But from every HSP pot someone got durrrr'ed in to his epic clashes with Isildur online to his first durrrr Challenge with Patrik Antonius, every durrrr moment was kind of a best poker moment.

One that might stand above the rest? When durrrr almost bankrupted the high-stakes economy in 2010 with his bracelet bets and unheralded Kiwi Simon Watt saved everybody's bacon. 

As far as vibes in the Amazon Room go that might have been the most buzz it's seen in the past decade -- Main Events included.

9. US Online Poker Legalized (Sorta)

It's was legitimately hard to decide if the return of online poker to the US after Black Friday - aka 'legal' online poker - should go on the Best or Worst Moments list.

It hasn't really amounted to much so far. It hasn't led to any more than the first 3 states joining the market (although that might change in 2017). And it definitely hasn't got the US closer to rejoining the international player pool.

But still. We hope. Has it made up for the devastating effects of Black Friday or put the US into the discussion as one of the more progressive poker nations on Earth?

No way. But when Ultimate Poker dealt the first legal hands of online poker in the United States on April 30, 2013, it felt like a watershed moment. And the hope for a healthy, globalized online poker market that includes the US is still there because of it.

We'll cling to that moment with white knuckles for as long as we can.

8. Ivey Crushes 2009 WSOP, Makes Nov. 9 2009 Phil Ivey was boss.

Poker is never more scintillating than when its stars are at their peak and 2009 Phil Ivey was, maybe, the best we've ever seen him.

The consensus pick for the "best overall poker player in the world" at the time, every move the reclusive Ivey made on or off the table in those days was gobbled up by the hungry poker hordes.

Ivey delivered the ultimate buffet for his adoring poker fans when he came into the 2009 World Series of Poker and dominated like we haven't seen since.

He ran deep in event after event after event. He won two bracelets, cashed six times and final tabled four times. The last event he final tabled was the biggest, where he made the Nov. 9 and finished 7th.

He was also rumored to have close to $10m on the table in bracelet side bets. It was peak Ivey every day on poker's biggest stage, and if you were lucky enough to be in the Amazon Room you felt it reverberating off the walls.

If it had ended in a Main Event title, it might have just brought the whole Rio to the ground.

7. Annette_15 Wins 2007 WSOPE Main Event at 18 2007 Obrestad a phenom in many ways.

It's hard to remember but back in 2007 the "online vs. live" debate was still a living, breathing thing.

Old school "live" pros thought the "online kids" had no 'feel' or 'people skills' for the demands of live poker. 100-hand-an-hour online grinders thought the live dinosaurs were out of touch and overmatched in an evolving, math-based revolution of the game.

And then there was Annette Obrestad. Her prodigious online talents - including winning an entire 180-player tournament without looking at her hole cards - had established her as one of the top poker talents of any generation.

But how would her skills survive in the male-dominated, dog-eat-dog world of live poker? Just fine, thank you.

Playing her first-ever WSOP at just 18 - the first year the WSOP expanded into Europe - Obrestad simply ripped through the field (including Theo Jorgensen and John Tabatabai at the final table) to become the first Female - and youngest winner - of any WSOP Main Event.

The mainstream coverage it received in the UK might have superseded any poker had received beforehand and it certainly was a watershed moment for both young and female players.

6. High Stakes Poker Sets the Bar; Booth Bluffs Ivey

When High Stakes Poker premiered on the Game Show Network on January 16, 2006, no one suspected it might redefine poker on TV forever.

It did.

From the announcers (AJ Benza, Gabe Kaplan, Kara Scott) to the old-school legends (Doyle, DNegs, Ivey) to the new schoolers (Mercier, Galfond, Dwan) to the businessmen (Bob Safai, Jerry Buss, Mike Baxter, Guy) it was a high-wire poker act week-to-week you couldn't look away from.

Poker After Dark, The Big Game, Million Dollar Cash Game ... all very fun and watchable poker shows. But there was nothing quite like HSP.

The high-water mark? Brad Booth in a pirate shirt bluffing Phil Ivey off kings with $1m on the table is a contender. But there were truly so many it's hard to pick just one. Check out a few below; remind us of your favorite in the comments.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Is condensing over a decade of poker news into 20 “worst” and “best” moments a fool’s errand?

Possibly.

That hasn’t stopped us from attempting it, however, as this year we’re replacing our traditional best and worst moments of the year with a massive decade-spanning list that includes many of the biggest stories in poker history.

Today we’re starting with the worst poker moments but don’t worry the best moments are right here.

Lists like this are obviously going to be subjective so we welcome your feedback in the comments. Let us know if there are any glaring misses or anything we overestimated.

10. Hille, Baumann Bubble WSOP Final Table

The 2012 WSOP Main Event final table was shaping up to be an all-time classic with two women — Elisabeth Hille and Gaëlle Baumann on the cusp of getting a spot at the biggest poker table of the year.

Elisabeth Hille

Instead Hille and Baumann crashed out in 11th and 10th leaving poker fans and media stunned.

Why was it such a big deal?

In its 40+ year existence the WSOP Main Event final table has featured a female poker player just once — that was Barbara Enright in 1995.

In other words: we’re due.

A female player at the final table would be a welcome change from the legions of men that have been featured on poker’s biggest stage.

We like to think Baumann or Hille would have had the opportunity to hit up the talk show circuit (a pipe dream of the N9 concept).

Perhaps it would have finally bumped female participation in the Main Event past the 5% that it’s been hovering at for years.

And if both Hille and Baumann made the final table? Forget about it. That’s the perfect storm.

Instead it’s 2016 and we’re still bitter about that infamous bubble.

9. Widespread Tanking in Tournament Poker

If there’s one key issue that tends to sap tournaments of entertainment value for spectators and enjoyment for players it’s unnecessary tanking.

You might think this issue would be resigned to seniors' tournament but it’s actually a tactic employed quite often by young players.

Now there’s no question that you want players to have adequate time to make important decisions but if a player is taking five minutes every hand then that’s a huge, huge problem.

It’s one of those rare instances in the otherwise self-focused game of poker that you have to think about the bigger picture and the community at large.

We’d like to say that tanking has gotten better as the game becomes more sophisticated but if anything it feels like it’s gotten worse.

The fact there are players who utilize tanking simply to tilt their opponents is abhorrent.

8. Rise of Poker Bots/HUDs/Seating Scripts

Perhaps the biggest fear of brand-new poker players is that they are playing unfair games.

That point is clear when you visit any casual poker site like Zynga Poker and you see bold claims of “Rigged!” “Unfair!” “Shady!”

These players are already at a disadvantage to experienced players so the idea of playing a game that’s actually unbeatable is terrifying.

That’s why it’s unfortunate that online poker has had an uptick of bots, heads-up displays, advanced seating scripts and add-ons over the last five years.

New players are flighty enough and if they get even a hint of foul play then they will take their money and run for the hills.

Now you can debate the merit of heads-up displays and seating scripts but the fact remains the new players are getting chewed up faster than ever before.

Those add-ons have led to a paradigm shift in the major online poker sites who are now adapting anonymous tables and quick-seat functions in an effort to protect the fish on their sites.

Would most players give up HUDs and seat scripts for a steady infusion of fish? The Magic 8-ball is leaning towards "yes".

7. USA Waffles on Online Poker, US Poker Pros Scatter

When the US DOJ indicted three of the top poker sites operating in the USA in 2011 they also forced thousands of online poker pros out of the country.

For the first couple years poker pros seemed to be more-or-less OK with spending a bit more time in Mexico or Canada.

Many pros felt that legal widespread poker in the USA was coming and they would be able to return to their homes and earn a living in a few years.

It didn’t shake out that way.

Legal poker did come to the USA but it was in much smaller markets like Nevada and NJ that have had trouble sustaining a market. It’s simply not enough for most poker pros.

There have been frustrating start-and-stop movements to legalize poker in NY and California but nothing that’s stuck.

Therefore to this day, American poker players are forced out of the country when they want to play. Over the years its been taking its toll on some players.

Brian Hastings and Sorel Mizzi are among the many players who used VPNs to play global online poker sites from the USA and were subsequently banned from major sites.

Many online pros have simply given up the dream and moved on to other professions. There are others, however, who are hold out hope that “Maybe next year” when it comes to online poker.

It’s been a long five years.

6. PokerStars Backdoors End of SuperNova Elite

It’s one thing to dramatically change your business model. It’s another to essentially backdoor changes without informing your most loyal customers.

That’s why PokerStars effectively crippling SuperNova Elite in late 2015 without warning was one of the most contentious decisions in the history of the company.

PokerStars is one of the most loved sites in the history of poker and that’s why it was particularly striking when Dani Stern and other grinders organized a boycott of the site in December of 2015 after news broke about SuperNova Elite getting nixed.

It was clear the company was changing with a specific focus on recreational players and new verticals like sports betting and casino but it was a bitter pill for professionals who worked hard to achieve SuperNova Elite that year.

Simply put: PokerStars completely changed its direction while keeping its highest-volume players in the dark. Not great.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Is it audacious - perhaps even a little bit unhinged - to condense 11 years (4,105 days) of poker moments across the globe into just 20 "best" and "worst?"

Absolutely. But why not, right?

Instead of our annual Best and Worst Moments of the Year series we’ve aimed a little wider this year with a stab at the 20 Best/Worst Moments of the 'Decade.'

We know 11 years is more than decade. But let’s throw mathematical accuracy to the wind and go for it anyway.

Thoughts, feelings and feedback about events we've missed/overestimated are welcome in the comments. If you're more into the dark side of things, start with our 20 Worst Moments list here.

15. REG Gets Real

They say that poker is a zero sum game and for every winner there has to be a loser. From a purely cut-and-dry perspective, that's true.

Charity is a big deal.

But what that winner does with his or her money can have ramifications well beyond just a nice commission for a luxury car salesman.

Poker has a long tradition of charitable giving - well back to the pre-online poker days - and you will likely not find a more generous cross-section of people in any industry.

From Jen Harman's annual SPCA fundraiser to Daniel Negreanu's contributions to St Jude's Hospital to Dan Smith matching $175k in charitable donations this year, poker players of all bankroll levels give and give and give - and rarely ask for praise in return.

The founding of the Phil Gruissem/Liv Boeree/Igor Kurganov-driven REG Charity might be the height of poker's charitable evolution as it's both a) perpetual and b) uses poker's greatest talent to generate the most money and put it too most effective use.

That's a big step in poker's evolution and something we need to continue to celebrate.

14. The First Big One for One Drop

With big buy-in events happening with regularity around the world these days a $1m buy-in tournament doesn't sound all that incredible anymore.

Back in 2012, though, it was a huge deal. And the first Big One for One Drop spearheaded by Guy Laliberte was pretty thrilling.

The pros were champing at the bit to get in months in advance. Rich businessmen weren't tired of getting run over by pros and asking for an invitation-only event instead. And the massive prize pool turned the all-time money winners list on its head.

Antonio Esfandiari, of course, won it and the largest prize ($18m) ever in poker. Sam Trickett got $10m for second. Phil Hellmuth came fourth (!) for $2.6m.

It was a grand spectacle to say the least; follow-ups since haven't quite lived up to the original. That $5.3m also went to providing those in need with fresh water was a wonderful outcome, too.

13. Rise of the Mid-Level Buy-Ins Low buy-ins are in.

While increasingly huge buy-ins were the trend in the mid-late 2000s, by the mid 2010s the poker economy had almost reversed itself. En vogue these days are much more modest buy-ins accessible to punters of virtually any bankroll size.

The first-ever WSOP Colossus in 2012 was the first bracelet event under $1,000 buy-in. The guarantee was $5m and 22,372 players bought in to break the record for largest live poker tournament ever.

Colossus II (with a $7m guarantee) did similar, as did the Millionaire Makers. The 888Live Series and Unibet Open circuit are breaking records at virtually every stop. Dusk Til Dawn and partypoker crush with GBP 500 tournaments on the regular.

The Battle of Malta, of course, has broken its own record for attendance every year of its existence.

You can still find plenty of big buy-ins and their usual suspects around but the true momentum in the poker industry lies in the low buy-ins.

It's only going to grow with India and China coming into the fold. It's poker for the people and that's a healthy sign for the next decade.

12. The Rise of Twitch/Live Streaming On another streaming level.

Speaking of poker for the people ... It doesn't get more grassroots than a guy with a webcam and a few open online poker tables streaming from his basement to a group of friends and eager learners.

That's what Twitch.tv has wrought and its dramatic rise in popularity has shown there are still uncharted poker markets out there to be reached.

Jason Somerville is, of course, the king of the medium but cohorts like Parker "tonkaaaaP" Talbot and Jamie Staples have likewise built up extensive followings.

Big guns like Lex Veldhuis, Dutch Boyd, Doug Polk, Jeff Gross and Bill Perkins have also jumped on board and reshaped what you can expect to see on a stream. Perkins' amazing PokerStars Championship package giveaways sets a whole new bar. 

Meanwhile, feature and final-table live streams from poker events around the world have also become the norm and opened up a whole new level of accessibility for poker fans locally and internationally.

It's a far cry from old episodes of the WPT playing on a corner TV at the sports bar and it might just lead poker back to the masses in the coming years.

11. Every Day at Rail Heaven Simply amazing.

For those who worked office jobs in the late 2000s it doesn't take much more than those two words to bring back some incredible memories of an entirely different time and place in poker.

For those who missed it ... well, it's kind of hard to capture just what it felt like to log in to the old Full Tilt Poker client on a Tuesday afternoon and see million-dollar bankrolls on the table.

The epic sessions between Tom 'durrrr' Dwan and Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom (and ultimately Blom-Brian Hastings) in Nov. 2009 might have been its ultimate peak but watching Ivey, Antonius, Sahamies & Hansen and an amazing crop of young guns (Phil Galfond, The Dang brothers, Jungleman) pick apart the many accounts of Guy Laliberte at astonishing limits daily was, well, virtually unbelievable.

How much of that was 'real' money changing hands we might not ever now. But on the surface it was thrilling to watch, regardless. We could pick out 100 different moments that stand out but that Rail Heaven existed at all seems like a dream we can't quite believe actually happened.



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Is condensing over a decade of poker news into 20 “worst” and “best” moments a fool’s errand?

Possibly.

That hasn’t stopped us from attempting it, however, as this year we’re replacing our traditional best and worst moments of the year with a massive decade-spanning list that includes many of the biggest stories in poker history.

Today we’re starting with the worst poker moments but don’t worry the best moments are right here.

Lists like this are obviously going to be subjective so we welcome your feedback in the comments. Let us know if there are any glaring misses or anything we overestimated.

15. Countless Mainstream Media Attacks on Poker

What’s wrong with playing a card game on the Internet?

According to multiple mainstream media outlets and gaming mogul Sheldon Adelson: Everything.

More like poker farce.

At this point there have been so many blatant attacks on online poker that it would be nice if the anti-online poker groups at least got their facts straight.

Newsweek published one of the most blatant anti-online poker pieces ever in 2014 with a magazine cover that featured a sad-looking child holding a tablet with a royal flush on the screen and a title that read, “Poker Face.”

The feature article argued that online gambling is a major concern for parents in the USA now that the “floodgates” were open (that would be New Jersey, Nevada and… Delaware).

The article ignored the many security functions utilized by modern online poker sites in an effort to sensationalize the story.

Meanwhile Sheldon Adelson has been spewing the same nonsensical anti-online poker rhetoric for years.

Even with online poker slowly getting legalized and accepted as a form of generating tax revenue for beleaguered states these articles show no signs of slowing down.

The heavily regulated online poker industry of 2016 is a far cry from the wild-west of 2003. It’s beyond time for mainstream media to understand that.

14. The Rise of Bully Culture in Online Poker Forums

Poker forums played a major role in the online poker boom and over the years have provided tons of value to poker players. Players have formed life-long friendships, devoured free poker strategy or even found people to sell their action.

There is a dark side to online forums, however. As with any online community the veil of anonymity lets users insult each other with no threat of repercussion. Toxicity can dominate.

The mob mentality is very real on some of the biggest online poker forums and there have been many cases where the community has turned on some of its former heroes. It’s unpleasant, to say the least.

One of the lowest moments for poker forum culture came in 2008 when poker personality Brandi Hawbaker committed suicide.As an attractive young female poker pro Hawbaker was one of the most popular topics of discussion on the forums.

Many had her pegged as a grifter or a con artist but her threads (in which she occasionally posted) had thousands of views. Many of the comments were not kind. It was an incredibly tragic end to her story and a reminder to think before you type something on the Internet.

Obviously this is not a unique issue to online poker but it’s definitely a problem that many, many people can personally attest to.

13. Cheaters Prosper in Rare Cases on EPT

You know who ruins poker for everyone? Cheaters.

There have been several incidents over the course of the last 10 years where that have collectively been a black eye for the poker industry.

Two of the most brazen attempts to game the system were Venezuelan Ivan Freitez’ audacious angle shoot in 2011 and EPT San Remo winner Constant Rijkenberg overselling his action in 2013.

Freitez’ infamous play took place in the 2011 EPT Grand Final. He had the unlikely fortune of hitting a full house with 6-5 on a 5-3-K-5-6 board. Meanwhile Eugene Yanayt had K-Q and value-bet the river.

Freitez announced raise but threw in a call. He then mumbled “No, sorry. I meant call.” The TD is called over because Freitez has allegedly been doing this for quite some time. “No English,” he feebly explained.

Eventually Yanayt falls into the trap and makes the call. Of course Freitez goes on to win the tournament for €1.5m.

Meanwhile Constant Rijkenberg’s crime was simpler: He oversold his action, meaning he won EPT San Remo for €1.5m and actually owed people money because of it. For years following to oversell your action became known as the “Rijkenberg."

These are just two cases of cheating in poker; there are obviously many, but a reminder there are still plenty of scumbags out there.

12. Brian Hastings Ends Isildur1’s Historic High-Stakes Run

Let's get this out of the way right away: This was not a worst moment for Brian Hastings. For just about everyone else, however, seeing Hastings destroy Viktor “Isildur1” Blom for $4.2m was the end of an era.

Blom’s incredible rise in online poker was something out of a movie script. Isildur1, unidentified until 2011, burst onto the high-stakes scene in September of 2009 by battling some of the best poker players in the world including Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan and Cole South.

The young Swede played all hours of the day and incredibly was a huge winner peaking at $6m by Nov. 15. Some of the biggest pots in the history of online poker were played over this span of time but it all came to an end on Dec. 8 when Hastings crushed Isildur1 for $4.2m.

It was later revealed that Hastings, Brian “sbrugby” Townsend and Cole South shared information to beat Isildur1, which led to Townsend getting his red pro status suspended by Full Tilt.

Would the Isildur1 ride have come to an end anyways? Most likely yes. Regardless it was an unpleasant way for one of the most memorable hot streaks in the history of poker to come to an end.

11. EPT Safety Concerns in Berlin/Barcelona

The European Poker Tour was a rousing success in the poker world but it hasn’t been without a few bumps along the way.

Safety is paramount at a poker event but two events featured chilling incidents. The first came in 2010 when the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin was raided while EPT Berlin was being held.

Armed men wearing black ski jackets and masks burst into the casino and eventually stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Action was obviously paused during the robbery but play resumed approximately 90 minutes after the incident.

Some players, such as eventual winner Kevin MacPhee questioned whether it was wise to continue with the tournament after such a harrowing incident.

The other significant incident came in 2013 when Jens “Jeans86” Kyllonen had an incredibly scary incident where it appeared someone attempted to break into his room and hack his laptop.

It’s a very long story, which Kyllonen recounted in a TwoPlusTwo forum thread called “My Unbelievable EPT Barcelona Story. Hotel Rooms in Arts Barcelona Broken into to Plant Trojans”.

PokerStars would eventually come around to help Kyllonen but the casino didn’t really have his back, which was horrifying.



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Is it audacious - perhaps even a little bit unhinged - to try and condense 11 years (4,105 days) of poker moments across the globe into just 20 "best" and "worst?"

Absolutely. But why not, right?

Instead of our annual Best and Worst Moments of the Year series we’ve aimed a little wider this year with a stab at the 20 Best/Worst Moments of the 'Decade.'

We know 11 years is more than decade. But let’s throw mathematical accuracy to the wind and go for it anyway.Thoughts, feelings and feedback about events we've missed/overestimated are welcome in the comments.

If you prefer the darker side of life, check the 20 Worst Moments in Poker from 2006-2016 right here.

16. PokerStars Sign Nadal, Neymar, Ronaldo

Football is the world’s biggest global sport. Neymar Jr. and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the most famous practitioners of the game ever.

He's a big deal.

Rafael Nadal is one of the Top 5 tennis players in history and one of the biggest sporting figures in the world.

Bringing them all onboard as ambassadors for the game of poker has quantifiably increased its legitimacy and credibility in the global mainstream.

It's brought untold numbers of new poker players into the game and injected much needed dollars into the poker economy.

That’s a big deal. You can say all you'd like about the path PokerStars has gone down since the Amaya takeover but you can't argue high-profile sports stars deliver big bang for the (admittedly big) bucks.

That fact PokerStars Portugal is the second-most trafficked online poker site in the world right now is pretty good evidence it works.

17. Mark Newhouse's Back-to-Back November Nines Astonishing no matter how it ended.

Mark Newhouse’s back-to-back WSOP Main Event November 9 appearances is one of poker's greatest accomplishments ever.

The Main Event is such a special, pedestal-worthy tournament that just making the final table twice is mind-boggling in and of itself.

It was amazing in the pre-Moneymaker era, and it's downright unfathomable in the post-Moneymaker era. That Newhouse finished 9th both times, while equally astonishing, does nothing to diminish the accomplishment.

Newhouse himself might not consider it one of the 'best' moments of the post-Jamie Gold era (yet, anyway), but it'll stand in the poker history books as one of the greatest.

18. Holz, Colman, Seidel, Schemion Go Nuclear So hot.

As much as we love when an "average Joe" poker player makes a surprising and life-changing deep run in a mega tournament, it’s equally satisfying when the game’s best rise above the pack for an extended period of time with incredible, high-wire tournament poker.

We’ll cut you off before you even say it: We know you need to run well. But when those stars of elite skill, run-good and momentum align it leads to some truly spectacular poker runs.

Fedor Holz, Dan Colman, Erik Seidel, Niklas Heidecker and Old Schemion's eye-popping heaters stand out as a few of our favorite over the past 11 years.

Holz's eye-popping 2016 and Colman's $22m 2014 are likely at the top. What were your favorites?

19. Duhamel Hits 8 on River, Affleck Devastated

"Best" isn't the best adjective here, sure. And it’s definitely not one of the sweetest moments of the past decade for Matt Affleck.

But as far as dramatic, life-changing moments in poker go there were few more scintillating, in living color jaw-droppers we've seen than that one.

Aces cracked for the chip lead with 15 players left in the Main Event? Good god. But even seeing the losing end makes us punters desperate to be part of the greatest poker tournament in the world one day. Watch it again if you don’t remember just how eviscerating it was:

20. Maratik/Darvin Moon/Billy Pappas Play For Us Pappas da real MVP

“Poker is dead,” they’ve been telling us for years. (“They” being an elite group of poker pros and grinders who made a fortune in the ultra soft games of the early 2000s.) 

But “dead” is really just a stand-in for “harder,” and if you’re not playing at "make a living" stakes poker is, you might say, as alive as ever.

Mid- to low-stakes players are coming out to live events around the world in droves. Record-breaking droves. Over and over and over again.

The average game is tougher, sure. But the same age old maxim still applies: On any given day, anyone can win.

We’ve been fortunate enough to see hundreds of examples of it over the past 11 years. A few of our favorites:

Russian microgrinder Maratik wins the 2012 WCOOP Main Event off 40 FPPS and declares "I Wont Million" in chat box Affirmed luddite and Saints fan Darvin Moon outlasts Phil Ivey (!) to finish second, win $5.1m in 2009 Main Event Yoshi-loving, poker dealing, Foosball champ Billy Pappas sits alone on Final Table breaks, ladders up to 5th

There have been many, many more. “Every” player can still have his or her poker day in the sun and we look forward to it every time it happens.



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Is condensing over a decade of poker news into 20 “worst” and “best” moments a fool’s errand?

Possibly.

That hasn’t stopped us from attempting it, however, as this year we’re replacing our traditional best and worst moments of the year with a massive decade-spanning list that includes many of the biggest stories in poker history.

Today we’re starting with the worst poker moments but don’t worry the best moments are right around the corner.

Lists like this are obviously going to be subjective so we welcome your feedback in the comments. Let us know if there are any glaring misses or anything we overestimated.

20. World Series Europe Fails to Capture Magic

Poker was booming in 2006 and the World Series of Poker was at the forefront of the explosion.

Not quite the same.

The 2006 WSOP Main Event attracted an absurd 8,773 runners and Jamie Gold won an unprecedented $12m.

The European Poker Tour was just starting to find its stride and the WSOP naturally started to think about expansion.

The first experiment outside the USA came in 2007 when WSOP ventured to London for the first-ever WSOPE. The Main Event attracted 362 entries, which seemed like a very solid start for the tour.

From there the WSOPE hosted three more events in London before moving on to Cannes for a couple years and then one-offs in Enghien-les-Bains and Berlin.

None of these events truly seemed to capture the "poker mecca" spirit of the WSOP in Las Vegas. It's always felt like an outsider compared to the homegrown European Poker Tour.

On the other hand the WSOP seems to have found a better fit with its smaller WSOPC international events.

19. Erick Lindgren's Fall from Grace

There are plenty of regrettable stories that came out of Black Friday and the subsequent fall of Full Tilt Poker but Erick Lindgren was one of the most publicized.

Flashback to 2006-2009 for a moment and Lindgren was one of the key faces of Team Full Tilt.

He was winning poker tournaments, massive golf prop bets and putting down some serious cash on sports betting. You wanted to be Erick Lindgren. He was the man.

Then it all came crashing down.

Black Friday pulled out the legs from Lindgren’s revenue stream and E-dog was left with a mountain of debt.

News surfaced that Lindgren took a $4m loan from Full Tilt Poker and never paid it back. Numerous people, including most famously Haralabos Voulgaris, accused Lindgren of not paying debts.

It turned out that one of the most prominent members of Team Full Tilt, who appeared in numerous ads glamorizing the site, was actually broke and ended up going to gambling rehab.

Lindgren was just one member of Team Full Tilt but at this point it was becoming clear that group probably shouldn't have been trusted with multi-million dollar company like FTP.

In other words: The facade was over.

18. California, NY Fail to Legalize Online Poker in 2016

New York and California are massive, massive markets for online poker.

If the game was legalized in either state it might single-handedly kick-start another boom that would spread to the rest of the country as the rest of the USA.

Some day?

That’s why it was a double-whammy in 2016 when both New York and California put online poker on the back burner after getting tantalizingly close to legalizing it.

In New York, Sen. John Bonacic’s bill surprisingly passed the senate by a resounding 53-5 vote only to be skipped over completely in the Assembly.

There is hope for 2017, however, as the state appears to be inching closer to legalizing the game.

Meanwhile in California the big issue is the so-called “bad-actor” clause that has local tribes at odds with PokerStars. Essentially PokerStars and a coalition of tribes including the Morongo Band is at odds with another coalition of tribes including the Pechango and Agua bands.

The anti-PokerStars coalition doesn't want to see the biggest gaming poker site operating in California any time soon. Obviously PokerStars' can't abide with that idea.

Neither side seems serious about a compromise and the prospect for online poker in the near future does not look bright.

17. Cancellation of High Stakes Poker, Decline of Poker TV

High Stakes Poker was pretty much the poker version of appointment television (with respect to the WSOP Main Event on ESPN).

Please come back.

The mixture of high-stakes pros, commentators Gabe Kaplan and unprecedented stakes was close to perfect. If you made a good play on High Stakes Poker (like Tom “durrrr” Dwan for instance) then you became a legend.

That’s why it was particularly painful when High Stakes Poker was cancelled in 2011.

It wasn’t just High Stakes Poker that went away, however.

The iconic Poker After Dark was also cancelled in 2011 (thanks Black Friday) and the Full Tilt Million Dollar Cash Game went away. Even Late Night Poker in the U.K. came to an end.

What’s made those losses particularly tough to take is that there hasn’t exactly been a rush of quality poker TV to replace them.

These days the WSOP on ESPN has been pretty much holding down the fort.

On the bright side Poker Central has made some progress with it’s Super High Roller Bowl and a cash game that actually shares some similarities to High Stakes Poker.

16. Gus Hansen Drops $20m Online

Who doesn’t love Gus Hansen?

The Great Dane has inspired poker players around the world with his trademark loose-aggressive style.

How can you not like a guy who admits his table selection is terrible but goes for it anyways?

That’s why it was tough to watch Hansen essentially get picked apart by online sharks that prowled Full Tilt Poker’s highest stakes.

The old-school Hansen didn’t bother with tracking software when he playing the biggest games in the world and it definitely hurt him.

Hansen had his up-and-downs but highstakesDB currently has him down a staggering $20,000,000. Hansen hasn’t even played on FTP for the last couple years so it seems like that may be his dubious legacy on the site.

Now you could argue that a lot of elite tier online players benefited from Hansen’s downswing but poker fans will miss the unpredictable Dane going toe-to-toe with the best players in the world.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a Christmas stocking stuffed to the brim with useful mid-afternoon poker news tidbits.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Max Silver breaking down the Kassouf/Serda deal Sam Trickett’s new partypoker tournament and Jason Somerville returning to the Aussie Millions.

1) The Art of the Deal

So that deal that Will Kassouf made with Patrick Serda to take the last EPT HR title but take home significantly less money?

Will Kassouf's big win.

Turns out it was all Max Silver’s idea.

Silver gave the complete rundown on the unusual deal on his blog in a post titled “The Art of the Deal.”

Serda actually sold Silver a small piece of his action in the event and that’s why Silver was around to negotiate for the Canadian.

According to Silver negotiations were slow and arduous until Silver came up with giving the title to Kassouf as part of the deal. Serda was more concerned with maximizing EV.

Silver thought it was a good deal for both players, however, and that Kassouf would potentially be able to profit from marketing opportunities in the future after winning the title.

It’s fascinating stuff and you should check out the complete piece here.

2) New Trickett’s Hero SnG on partypoker

Sam Trickett is getting his very own tournament mode on partypoker.

Win $1m on mobile. No big deal.

The brand-new Trickett’s Hero play just like party’s popular Sit & Go Hero events except you can win up to $1m if you have the fortune of hitting the max multiplier.

Sit & Go Hero tournaments are four-player bounty events with jackpot twist where you can potentially win 10,000 times your buy-in.

One player in each Sit & Go is randomly selected as the bounty and there is a reward for anyone who knocks that player out.

Trickett’s version of Sit & Go’s cost $100 to play but offer a potential $1m reward.

In addition every $1m Trickett’s Hero will offer an extra $100k for the player who knocks out the randomly-selected bounty.

To learn more or sign up for an account just head over to our partypoker review.

3) Jason Somerville Returning for Aussie Millions Duties

Jason “jcarver” Somerville made a splash last year by becoming the first-ever Twitch host for the venerable Aussie Millions.

It’s not a huge surprise considering how well it went the first time but Somerville confirmed yesterday he would be returning to Melbourne in 2017 to do it all again.

Get ready, Run It Up Legion:

stoked to announce I'll be casting the 2017 #AussieMillions live on @Twitch! pic.twitter.com/V9tWfv4y77

— Jason Somerville (@JasonSomerville) December 22, 2016

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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an absolutely clutch Echo Slam that is the talk of the mid-afternoon poker news eSports scene.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at an EPT High Roller keeping his day job, the reasons that people watch eSports and Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Dwayne Wade again.

1) Patrick Serda Keeps Pizza Job

Recent EPT €10k high-roller runner-up finisher Patrik Serda is keeping his job as a server at a pizzeria in Winnipeg, according to the CBC.

Poker is good but pizza is pizza.

Remember that Serda actually took home more money than technical winner Will Kassouf thanks to weighted heads-up deal. Therefore Serda earned a staggering €719,000 compared to Kassouf’s €532,500.

It wasn’t enough money to convince Serda to quit the pizza game, however.

"I'm super happy to go back. I love it there — great people and great regulars — and I'd be happy to go back," Serda told the CBC.

It’s always nice to hear from someone who loves their day job so much that a $1m score doesn’t convince them to leave it all behind for the poker circuit.

All that said, Serda does plan on playing the PCA and Aussie Millions next year.

2) Why Do People Watch eSports (Poker)

Why do viewers want to watch people playing video games?

The massive DOTA 2 International tournament.

With the rise of a multi-million eSports industry it’s a big question.

Battlefy performed a survey asking that exact question and the results were illuminating and definitely work for poker as well.

It turns out the vast majority of people (89% of those polled) watch eSports because they want to get better at the game they are watching. Makes sense.

You’d have to think that a large number of the people watching Jason Somerville’s Twitch channel for instance would feel the same way.

It’s also a contrast to traditional spectator sports like the NFL or NBA where most viewers don’t usually have aspirations to throw Tom Brady touchdowns or Lebron James dunks.

3) Ronaldo, Wade Continue to #RaiseIt

Dwyane Wade and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to wage war over Twitter in PokerStars’ #RaiseIt promo.

The newest video has Ronaldo and Wade flipping a bottle upright. It’s fine but Wade steals the show with some slick dance moves.

We can’t help wondering if this is leading to an official PokerStars sponsorship for Wade in 2017 but for now that’s just speculation.

Ronaldo’s marketability for ‘Stars seems to be paying off with the recent launch of PokerStars.pt in Portugal a resounding success.



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At the final stop of the European Poker Tour in Prague this past week we asked players and staff what their most precious memory of it is.

From an outsider's perspective there is the only two-time winner in Vicky Coren-Mitchell or Glen Chorny winning over $3 million in the EPT Grand Final as obvious high-water marks.

But if you drill down into the memory banks of those who have poured their heart and soul into the EPT, from the sidelines and on the felt, it's clearly much more than just a list of notable numbers or grand achievements.

There should be honorable mentions for the Hofburg in Vienna as the most beautiful venue the EPT has ever been to – although Lee Jones would disagree. Or San Remo as a serial producer of new stars of the game like Jason Mercier and Liv Boeree.

Not everything that glittered was gold, of course. For example Constant Rijkenberg (San Remo again) who took selling shares to a completely new level. Or Ivan Freitez and his – let’s say questionable - play at the one Grand Final that took place in Madrid.

We, ourselves, cherish the memory of the incredible free buffet the players were treated to at the Casino Barcelona and the small-yet-so-cozy EPT in the Alps they called the Snowfest.

Here are a few more memories from the people who’ve been there and helped make history.

Liv Boeree, EPT San Remo Champion 2010

Liv Boeree

"My most memorable moment was of course when I won EPT San Remo, A moment in my life that is incomparable to anything else."

Celina Lin, Red Dragon Champion 2012

"Most memorable moment of the EPT? It would have to be my first EPT main event. I was seated at the feature table with 3 EPT champions!

"Let's say it was a tough table to navigate through but it was great to watch on TV the following year. Brought back very fond memories for me."

Daniel Negreanu, Perennial EPT star

"My most memorable moment was a 4th-place finish in the EPT Grand Final at an incredibly tough table for a non-high roller event.

"So rare to see a table full of known pros in a massive field like that and it was an honor to be at it. Ultimately I ran unlucky to lose a big pot to Johnny Lodden with QQ vs his 99 and Steve O'Dwyer went on to win it."

Felipe Mojave, 1st Brazilian to cash in an EPT

Felipe "Mojave" Ramos

"I had many many EPT memorable moments, serious ones, funny ones ... including being the first Brazilian ever to cash and appear in a feature table in history.

"And when Jason Mercier was sharing a room with me during EPT London and he final tabled the High Roller Event and was out of clothes to wear on the last day.

"He came to me and said 'Buddy, where is that lucky jacket you have? Can you lend it to me? That jacket is so lucky that I will give you a piece if you guarantee I am going to win.'

"Then I said 'Take this other one! Hahah! Needless to say he won. But I think my most memorable moment during the EPTs was when under TV pressure and Day 3 of PCA I got right a Q-high call to be on top of the chip counts on Day 4.

"That meant I was on top of the game too and not only a newly turned pro with passion for the game. I will miss the EPT for real, but I'm very excited for the Championships and Festivals."

Jason Mercier, EPT San Remo Champion 2008

"My most memorable moment of the EPT was playing my first-ever EPT in 2008. It was my first-ever trip to Europe and I was excited just to be able to play the event.

"Luckily for me I was able to win the whole thing and take down the title at EPT San Remo."

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, EPT PCA Champion 2008

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier at the PCA.

"My most memorable moment in the EPT is definitely my win at the PCA 2008, which was my first live tournament win and the beginning of everything for me. This memory is still so vivid within me."

Fatima de Melo, Olympic Gold Medalist and EPT Regular

"Actually my first year at PCA I had a blast at the charity tournament where 'Tony Almeida' from 24, who had no clue how to play poker, kept winning hand after hand for about 20 hands and I just couldn’t stop laughing (you had to be there...)

"But a lot of times during EPTs I've actually enjoyed the level of poker that was being played, the friends I've met. Leo Margets in particular, a friend for life! And Vanessa Selbst who frequently kicks my ass at tennis.

"But also my old roomy Lex (Raszi) Veldhuis who taught me what poker is really about and whom I consider family. Not to forget about the Belgian Twins Mattias and Cristophe de Meulder who have such amazing energy, and I'll always remember them for the intense time we shared on the Dutch/Belgian version of Survivor.

"And last but definitely not least the Pokerstars staff, who throughout the years have always made me feels at home whenever I arrived at any EPT. So I guess it hasn’t been all about the poker, but a huge part about the people that are and have been around."

Andre Akkari, Brazilian Icon and WSOP bracelet winner

Andre Akkari

"One of my biggest dreams is to win an EPT event; unfortunately so far it didn’t happen but it will. I remember in Monte Carlo 2015 I thought that l’d be the one.

"I finished in 23rd place, playing my best poker ever after I did a deep run on FPS and got the final table of Shark Cage, which was an incredible week. But I didn’t win it.

"That poker room, the atmosphere; sometimes when I close my eyes I can imagine what it’d be like if I got it! But its comingggg ..."

Howard Swains, PokerStarsblog.com

"While I was working at a newspaper in London I received a phone call. I was asked if I would be interested in playing in a poker event in Vienna, which was part of this new thing, the European Poker Tour.

"We are talking about Season 1, and although I’ve never been a player and I was never supposed to make it too deep, it was really special. I wrote an article on the poker event and after that PokerStars contacted me and asked me to work for them. And then it all went from there."

Robin Scherr, PokerStarsblog.de

"The PCA party in 2011 with Kerry Rowland in concert was incredible. The party took place in a huge hall that was packed out, and it felt like almost everyone was dancing. Best party in the history of the EPT, hands down."

Rick Dacey, Corporate Writer at PokerStars

"I think watching the three-handed failed negotiations at EPT9 Prague was a personal highlight. Ramzi Jelassi, who went on to win, was very matter-of-fact saying that he felt he was the best player and most likely to win.

"It wasn’t arrogance; just an acknowledgment that he had twice the chips of Boyaciyan and years of experience. Jelassi was still prepared to deal, but was not willing to give up any equity.

"Greek player Sotirios Koutoupas was in the final three players with only his second recorded live tournament cash. It was huge money for the amateur player and he was understandably willing to budge to secure a guaranteed larger life-changing payday. But the final player in the tale, Dutch player David Boyacayin, simply tried to milk too much. 

"Koutoupas offered some pretty large concessions, but it wasn’t enough and things became increasingly heated. One suspects that Koutoupas felt somewhat insulted and, after some hour of back and forth, said: 'Ramzi says no, so I play. Let's play. Let's gamble.'

"Not only did Koutoupas finish second for €510,000 but he went on to win a title at EPT10 Deauville beating Eugene Katchalov for a further €610,000 sealing his place as number one on the Greece All Time Money List."

Edgar Stuchly, President of the EPT

EPT president Edgar Stuchly talks with Daniel Negreanu

"This is a hard question as there have been so many great moments over the years. From a winning moments perspective, considering what a great achievement it is to win an EPT Main Event once, Vicky Coren Mitchell being crowned the first and only two-time Champion would be one of my favorite moments on the tour.

"However from a personal perspective, the success of the merge of EPT and our National Tours from 2012 onwards and how our events have grown and evolved since then is something I'll always remember.

"My favorite memories are largely filled with the incredible, talented people I've had the opportunity to meet and work with over the years. And I expect to create many more of these kinds of memories with the next chapter of our live events."

Lee Jones, Director of Communications at PS

"I remember the first time I saw the Salle des Etoiles at the Monte Carlo Bay in Monte Carlo, all filled out with poker tables for the EPT Grand Final, and the lights of the Monte Carlo harbor behind it at night.

"And I thought 'This is the most beautiful poker room ever, of all time.' It was an exquisite venue for poker and I’ve never forgotten that first look at it."

James Hartigan, The voice of the EPT

"My most memorable moment from the European Poker Tour was the time I actually PLAYED an EPT. My first experience of the tour was in February 2005 when I was invited, as a journalist, to play in the EPT 1 Deauville Main Event.

"I loved the experience but only made it as far as Day 2. Before busting I eliminated a loose-aggressive player at my table who I thought was a complete donk. I called his shove with AQ. He tabled KJ.

"The board bricked out. Ace-high held. I shook my opponent’s hand and he walked off. A member of PokerStars staff then came over and said, “You just eliminated ElkY!” My response: “Who…?”

"I’m pleased to say I now know who he is :-)"

What's Your Favorite EPT Moment?

There are still so many things that haven’t been mentioned here that we could turn this article into a 10-part series without repeating a single thing.

If you want to share your personal favorite please leave a note in the comments below. It's not just the pros that have been part of and made something great.

It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look ahead. The former PCA – PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – is kicking off as the PCB – PokerStars Championship Bahamas – in early January already.

We'll be there front and center to help begin a new chapter of amazing poker stories.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a keen eye, a sharp spear and subsequent bag of shiny mid-afternoon poker news fish.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Will Kassouf taking down his first major tournament, David Baazov pulling his Amaya bid off the table and a few dates for the 2017 WSOP.

1) Kassouf Wins EPT High Roller

It looks like “Nine-high, like a boss,” isn’t going away any time soon.

Will Kassouf, of WSOP speech play fame, picked up his first major poker title yesterday by out-dueling Canadian Patrick Serda in the last-ever EPT €10,300 High Roller.

The high roller finished in a slightly anti-climatic manner in which Kassouf and Serda cut a deal to end the tournament.

Kassouf was significantly short stacked compared to Serda but made a deal that saw him take the high roller title and €532,500.

Meanwhile Serda technically finished second according to the deal but took home €719,000.

As usual with these kinds of tournament-ending deals, Kassouf had the option of choosing his winning hand for the winner picture. Fittingly he went with “Nine-high.”

2) David Baazov Ends PokerStars Bid

David Baazov’s bid to buy out Amaya (PokerStars) and take the company private again is off the table, according to multiple sources.

David Baazov

Baazov is terminating his bid because shareholders wanted more for their shares than he and his partners were willing to pay.

Earlier this year Baazov offered C$24 for each share in a buyout but that apparently wasn’t enough.

Once you account for debt, Baazov's bid for the company was worth $6.7 billion.

It’s unclear where Amaya goes from here or whether the company currently has other offers on the table.

Baazov still owns 17% of Amaya’s stock, which makes him the second largest shareholder, so he has a significant interest in whatever happens to the company.

Amaya is currently valued at C$2.66b on the Toronto stock exchange.

3) Caesars Announces Initial Dates for 2017 WSOP

Get out the calendar and start planning your summer vacation because the initial 2017 WSOP dates have arrived.

Get ready.

OK, it’s not exactly much of a surprise with the long-running festival set to run from May 31-July 17. Those are almost exactly the same dates as last year, btw.

Caesars took the time to share a few things from the yet-to-be-released full schedule:

The $565 buy-in Colossus III will feature six starting flights (that’s two flights a day spread over three days) giving players multiple chances to get in the re-entry tournament.

The Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Little One for ONE DROP, Seniors Event and Ladies Championship will all return.

A full fledged schedule will be released in February, according to Caesars.



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Jingle bells, jackpot bells.

The fastest poker SnGs online have just become even more valuable as 888poker has jacked up its BLAST poker jackpots to a maximum of $1 million – but only for a limited time.

If you want to take advantage you'll need to sit back down in front of your monitor after Christmas and get back to playing poker asap.

10 Mins to $1m Starting Dec. 26

If you haven't heard of them before, BLAST SnGs are 888poker’s hyper-fast paced Sit-and-Go tournaments with the added spice factor of playing for a prize pool that is randomly multiplied.

Options just got bigger.

The games only last a few minutes and the multiplier can go as high as 10,000 times your buy-in – at least usually it can.

Starting on December 26, though, 888poker is throwing in an extra multiplier to access an extra level of prize pools.

You can now win a share of $1,000,000 in a 10-minute poker game!

All you have to do to find them is go to the 888poker lobby and look for the $1 million BLAST poker tables.

BLAST from the past

888poker’s BLAST tournaments have taken players by storm. The tables are buzzing 24/7 and quite a few players have walked away with big money.

Around the beginning of September they made headlines because the two largest possible jackpots at the time were hit within just a week.

First, lepeno78 found himself in a 10,000x BLAST tournament for just $15. That meant they were playing for $150,000 and nobody would leave empty-handed.

Then, only days later, 723bluebell put up $30 for a quick Sit-and-Go, only to discover that the actual prize pool would be $300,000 – the highest prize pool there was in BLAST.

Watch the clock!

A few nail-biting minutes later 723bluebell had his dream come true. He won the tournament and had $180,000 transferred to his account.

Delayed Multiplier, Heightened Tension

Speaking of nail-biting tension, 888poker has found a way to make BLAST games even more exciting. 

The multiplier of the prize pool will now only show up after the game starts, prolonging the excitement of finding out how much you’re playing for.

Also new: if you don’t manage to finish your BLAST SnG within the prescribed maximum number of levels all the remaining players go on a forced all-in spree until only one of them is left.

So, no matter if you like Christmas or not, the presents only get better afterwards. Check out the 888poker ambassadors having a BLAST in the video below.

Sign up for a new account via our 888poker review page to access our $888 bonus and exclusive freerolls.



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It was the end of an era, as they say, but then all good things come to an end.

It was also a worthy finale as the biggest main event in EPT Prague history found an emotional end.

The last main event title ever awarded on the European Poker Tour went to Dutch player Jasper Meijer van Putten who made a deal heads-up with Czech player Marton Czuczor.

An extra €50,000 was left to play for which gave van Putten €699,300 for his victory and Czuczor €630,000 for runner-up. But plenty of other remarkable things happened over the course of the ultimate EPT as well, though, as you'll see below.

Cohen, Peters in Spotlight for Final

The final EPT main event drew 1,192 players, making it the largest one ever played in the Czech capital. This also answered the question of whether the EPT had lost traction after its end was announced.

Third he needed and third he got.

Apparently the opposite was the case and many players wanted to call themselves the very last EPT main event winner. And a lot of former winners tried to repeat Vicky Coren-Mitchell’s feat of winning two.

Among them were Aliaksei Boika, Jan Bendik, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Steve O’Dwyer, Hossein Ensan, Adrian Mateos, Sebastian Pauli, Dominik Panka, Remi Castaignon, Ludovic Lacay, Davidi Kitai, Benny Spindler, Robin Ylitalo and Martin Finger, just to name just a few.

When the final day started we were left with six players who had yet to win a main event on this tour, though.

The players most watched certainly were the two Americans - David Peters, one of the most successful players of the year, and Sam Cohen, one of the few female players who have made an EPT final table.

Unfortunately it took only a few hands until these two got involved in a hand that turned out to be a set-up for Cohen. She had flopped top two pair with Q-8 but Peters hit a set of nines on the turn and that sent Cohen home.

When German player Marius Gierse and Russian EPT novice Sergei Petrushevskii had left as well, three-handed play began and it turned into a marathon.

It took 4.5 hours to find the third-place finisher and it was quite a surprise as it was Peters who was out. In the massive chiplead was the Dutch cash game regular van Putten.

The finalists went into the dinner break with van Putten holding almost a 3-1 chiplead but Marton Czuczor slowly climbed up on him. 

After several failed attempts the two struck a deal and exactly 20 hands later it was all over. Czuzor moved all-in with deuces, Meijer called with K-Js and hit a jack.

The final hand of the final European Poker Tour main event:

Jasper Meijer van Putten    

Marton Czuczor    

Board       ---   ---  

Final-Table Payouts

Place

Name

Country

Prize

1

Jasper Meijer van Putten

Netherlands

€699,300*

2

Marton Czuczor

Hungary

€630,000*

3

David Peters

US

€397,300

4

Sergei Petrushevskii

RUS

€284,550

5

Marius Gierse

GER

€203,800

6

Sam Cohen

US

€145,900

7

David Lopez Llacer

SP

€104,510

8

Kiryl Radzivonau

BLR

€74,850

High Rollers Roll

Prior to the main event the first of two €10k single re-entry side events enticed players in and 133 players followed with 25 of them counted twice here as per re-entry.

Stefan Schillhabel came out victorious, beating Sergio Aido and Charlie Carrel in a last dash for the title. He cashed for a quarter of a million euros following a four-way deal.

However, that only made him the second last €10k high roller winner of the EPT.

Place

Name

Country

Prize

1

Stefan Schillhabel

GER

€248,046*

2

Sergio Aido

Spain

€177,965*

3

Charlie Carrel

GB

€159,545*

4

Aliaksei Boika

BLR

€218,944*

5

Brian Senie

US

€95,200

6

Francis-Nicolas Bouchard

CAN

€75,090

7

Konstantin Uspenskiy

RUS

€57,400

8

Francois Billard

CAN

€43,220

9

Thomas Mühlöcker

AUT

€32,250

*4-way deal

The following €50k Super High Roller Event was a real highlight as first there aren’t many tournaments with that kind of buy-in in Europe, and second because this really was to be the last EPT €50k event.

It wasn’t without a touch of irony that the winner was Leon Tsoukernik, not only a regular at the SHR events but also the owner of the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, today the most successful casino in Europe.

Tsoukernik had played this event several times before but never made the money. This time he went all the way.

Payouts €50k Super High Roller

Place

Name

Country

Prize

1

Leon Tsoukernik

Czech Republic

€741,100

2

Charlie Carrel

UK

€535,250

3

Juha Helppi

FIN

€341,550

4

Viacheslav Buldygin

RUS

€258,800

5

Paul Newey

UK

€200,000

6

Julian Thomas

GER

€152,915

7

Anthony Zinno

US

€123,520

The €25,500 Super High Roller event came next and, as usual, it was supposed to be a one-off tournament. Instead it turned into a three-fold high roller bonanza thanks to Steve O’Dwyer.

O'Dwyer profits nicely.

While at the final table of the first one he pondered how nice it would be to have another one of these.

Other players agreed, so they decided to have a second €25k event on the next day.

They then discovered that quite a few of the potential players were still in the main event, so they concluded they’d have to have another one on the next day – and they did.

So, the €25k High Roller turned out to be a real bonanza of daily tournaments and it somehow seems O’Dwyer was the player that profited the most of this. Take a look at the finalists:

€25.5k SHR

Edition 1

Prize

Edition 2

Prize

Edition 3

Prize

Entries

83

€2,033,050

25

€612,500

24

€588,000

1st

Isaac Haxton

€559,200

Sam Greenwood

€226,600

Sergi Reixach

€217,550

2nd

Julian Stuer

€397,550

Jean-Noel Thorel

€156,200

Ali Reza Fatehi

€149,940

3rd

Adrian Mateos

€260,300

Mikita Badziakouski

€99,530

Steve O’Dwyer

€95,550

4th

Ramin Hajiyev

€200,300

Ali Reza Fatehi

€71,970

Alexandros Kolonias

€69,100

5th

David Yan

€158,610

Steve O’Dwyer

€58,200

Jean-Noel Thorel

€55,860

6th

Steve O’Dwyer

€124,050

x

x

X

x

7th

Pablo Fernandez

€97,600

x

x

X

x

8th

Paul Newey

€76,260

x

x

X

x

9th

Charlie Carrel

€57,950

x

x

X

x

Kassouf Gets Last Word Like a boss.

The last €10,300 High Roller Event concluded on the same day as the main event and it was 2016 WSOP sensation Will Kassouf who came out victorious.

He got heads-up with Patrick Serda at a 4-1 chip deficit but talked himself into a deal. Serda claimed most of the money at €719,000 but Kassouf got the trophy, the winner's pic and €532,500.

Kassouf now lives in perpetuity as the final EPT High Roller winner ever. 

Final Results EPT13 Prague High Roller

1. William Kassouf United Kingdom 532,500*
2. Patrick Serda Canada 719,000*
3. Tue Ullerup Hansen Denmark 351,000
4. Viliyan Petleshkov Bulgaria 283,850
5. Paul Leckey United Kingdom 224,600
6. Grzegorz Wyraz Poland 172,910
7. Matas Cimbolas Lithuania 128,700
8. Jens Lakemeier Germany 93,170

*denotes deal

Eureka Is No More

The Eureka Poker Tour’s existence also ceased last week. The last €1,100 Eureka Main Event attracted a little over 2,000 players to make it again one of the largest tournaments of the tour.

It also proved one more time to be a tournament of the people, as you can easily see if you check the GPI rankings of the final table players.

Final-Table payouts

Place

Name

Country

Prize

GPI ranking

1

Hubert Matuszewski

Poland

€193,298*

#5441

2

Vladas Tamasauskas

Lithuania

€188,157*

#1142

3

Alessandro Giordano

Italy

€180,694*

#2094

4

Rosen Angelov

Bulgaria

€90,070

#8174

5

Vojtech Horut

Czech Republic

€63,680

#8371

6

James Juvancic

US

€45,030

#371

7

Jawad Bengourane

France

€31,840

#8809

8

Piotr Romanczukiewicz

Poland

€22,500

#9875

9

Ben Farrell

UK

€22,500

#2477

*3-way deal

The €2,200 Eureka High Roller ended in what was very likely the most boring heads-up in Eureka history, quite simply because the players were too good. Tom Hall, off the back of a 32nd place in the Eureka main, and Mazid Khoury just didn’t seem to make any mistakes.

Khoury had a big chiplead early on but after Hall won a flip and doubled up they were virtually even and started to move very short amounts of their stacks back and forth for over three hours. Eventually, it was Hall who prevailed.

Eureka High Roller Final Table Payouts

Place

Name

Country

Prize

1

Tom Hall

UK

€194,357*

2

Mazid Khoury

US

€216,013*

3

Andrey Demidov

RUS

€125,280

4

Yury Masliankou

BLR

€90,950

5

Christian Jepsson

S

€66,030

6

Vasilii Shvarev

RUS

€47,930

7

Bart Lybaert

BEL

€34,800

8

Dominique Terzian

F

€25,280

9

Michael Schmitz

GER

€19,330

*2-way deal

Last EPT Fun Facts

- Over the course of 13 seasons the European Poker Tour managed to crack the $1 BILLION payout mark during EPT Prague.

The King of EPT cashes.

- Sam Cohen was the first woman to make the final table of an EPT main event since Vicky Coren when she won her second title in San Remo. This also makes her the last woman to make that final table.

- Salvatore Bonavena was the last remaining former main event winner to keep the dream alive of becoming the second two-time winner. He eventually finished in 24th place.

- The EPT Live Stream will not be called EPT Live Stream anymore. Instead, it’ll be called “PokerStars TV.”

- David Peters had to come third in the main event to take over #1 in the GPI Player of the Year rankings. He finished third.

- The daily PokerStars EPT freeroll online tournament had 30,000 seats on the last day. It was full over 80 minutes before it started.

- Konstantin Puchkov leads all players with 86 ITM finishes on the EPT, followed by Pierre Neuville with 67 and Jan Bendik with 63.

And thus ends the EPT. The whole EPT team gathered on the feature table stage for a few pictures and final words by EPT president Edgar Stuchly and the voice of the EPT, James Hartigan.

PokerListings also says thank you to those following us and you won’t have to wait long until we’re back. We'll be on location at the first event of the new global PokerStars Championship Tour, starting in the Bahamas on January 6.

And one final anecdote to send the EPT off into the sunset, fresh from our collection of “just when you thought you’d seen it all” stories.

A Chip and a Pocket

During the PokerStars Cup with the big blind at 8,000, a player moved all-in for 17,500 chips. There’s a call from the big blind but the player only puts in 17,000.

The  friendly dealer points out to him that he needs to put in another 500 chip. “Oh, sorry,”, says the player who then reaches into his pocket, pulls out a 500 chip and cautiously puts it into the middle.

Eight players’ jaws drop simultaneously as does the dealer’s. The tournament director is called over and decides to go without a penalty, instead explaining that you shouldn’t keep a secret chip stash in your pants.

Nobody at the table even complains. Everyone is too stunned to respond. Still, probably a sound decision by the staff.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a gingerbread poker house complete with candy cane chips, gum drop plaques and cards made of licorice.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at another hit for Phil Ivey, a clutch David Peters performance and a goofy Liv Boeree.

1) Phil Ivey Loses $10m Ruling

Phil Ivey has been ordered to pay back the $10m he won playing Punto Banco at the Borgata in 2012.

Oof.

Last week U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman ordered Ivey and partner Cheng Yin Sun to return the entire $10.1m haul the pair won by utilizing a defect in the playing cards Borgata used at the time.

The ruling would essentially return both sides to where they were before Ivey and Sun walked into the Borgata in 2012.

The judge denied Borgata’s request that Ivey pay back the $250,000 it doled out to the man in 2012.

It’s been a rough five years for Ivey with courts also ruling with Crockford’s Casino against him in 2014. Crockford’s withheld $9.6m in winnings due to concerns over edge-sorting.

Ivey’s legal team has already stated there will be an appeal in the Borgata case.

2) Peters Clips Holz for GPI POY

It would be understandable if you thought Fedor Holz had GPI Player of the Year honors wrapped up for 2016 but a surging David Peters just passed him in dramatic fashion at EPT Prague.

David Peters

Earlier today Peters finished third in the EPT Prague Main Event for €397,300 to squeak past the 3,644 GPI points that Holz had accumulated this year.

Holz accomplishments this year have been very well publicized (that happens when you win $16m) but Peters is no slouch either.

Peters recorded 27 cashes in 2016 and incredibly 23 of those results were top 10.

It was also an absolutely clutch performance for Peters as the EPT Prague Main Event was the last major of the year and he needed third place or better to pass Holz.

3) Liv Boeree & Igor Kurganov Star in Caption This

There’s a lot going on in the following photo of Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov. What’s your take?

Caption contest, go:#EPTPrague #EPTLive #poker pic.twitter.com/35brPpUNFs

— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) December 17, 2016

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At the Norwegian Poker Championships last year Linn Therese Amundsen and Kari Wåle were asked to film some informational videos for blood cancer charity Blodkreftforeningen.

They had no prior knowledge of poker but a cup of coffee with cancer patient Thor Hansen became the beginning of a meaningful and emotional journey.

“We really found Thor’s story fascinating,” Amundsen tells PokerListings. “And we realized that this story deserved to be told.

"We wanted to document his life through All in! and Thor was luckily positive about the idea.”

Amundsen and Wåle hope to portray Hansen’s eventful life where poker and gambling has played a central role. They also want to show how a serious cancer illness accompanied by a death sentence can be fought through poker and why a positive attitude can be an inspiration for us all.

Today, they're in a race against time to find the funding to finish it. To make All in! a reality they need 250,000 NOK – around $29,000 – through Kickstarter before December 23 to complete the shooting. 

Positivity an inspiration. Role Model for Film Itself

“We are still optimistic about reaching the goal of 250,000 kroner," Amundsen explains. 

"We have learned this positive approach from Thor, but we need a bit of luck and some good people around us in order to succeed.” 

Currently 111,872 NOK has been raised through 69 backers to reach the first goal. Later, another 250,000 NOK will be needed to complete the movie. 

Applying for funding from the Norwegian government usually takes a long time. Given Hansen's health, that's not an option.

But even if the goal isn't reached in time they won't give up on the project.

“We will of course lose the amount which has been collected already," Amundsen says, "but in that case we need to try to find the funding in another way.

"We have followed Thor for almost a year and have so much material that we are really passionate about finishing it."

No Better Ambassador than Thor

To be the protagonist in a documentary can be stressful and not every cancer patient can find the energy to involve himself in such a project.

Man of steel.

Hansen has already outlived the doctors’ predictions on his life expectancy but he can still not be sure that there will be another day tomorrow.

“We had personal experiences with cancer (Kari Wåle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013)," Amundsen says, "and perhaps that was the reason why we got a good connection to Thor in the beginning.

"We think that the documentary will debunk some of the notions about serious illness and you will probably not find a better ambassador than Thor when trying to show what attitude and openness can do for a patient – especially for those related to the patient."

A Spectacular Poker Life

As poker fans know Hansen has won two World Series of Poker bracelets but his career experiences through poker go well beyond money and accolades at the tables.

Even the tough days are needed.

He has played the best players in the world and was Larry Flynt’s poker buddy. He has lived a spectacular life at the poker table and seen millions of dollars come and go.

Since 2012 he has continued to thrive at the poker tables - both live and online - while he's been fighting a debilitating cancer.

“Yet it is Thor Hansen who asks us why his life is so interesting,” Amundsen says.

“He has an unending amount of absurd and interesting stories to tell, his love for other people, his positive attitude to life and his relationship – or lack of – to money is more than a fulfilling answer for us.

“We don't know how long Thor can continue the filming; it can be months or years. His state means that we cannot always film as planned but still we cannot make All in! without showing some of the tough days.

"Luckily Thor acknowledges this."

If the funding goal is met by Dec. 23 the next stop will be Las Vegas - if Hansen's health allows - to shoot some important footage.

“Since Thor has lived most of his life in Las Vegas," Amundsen says, "we would like to take him back there to track some of his old footsteps."

Dreams of Netflix

Hansen loves to sing and, as poker players might now, he often croons a little at the poker tables. He's done so as well during the shooting with the microphone on.

A story that should be told.

“He actually has a nice voice," Amundsen says, "and we would like to have him debut on stage in All in! together with the jazz ensemble Old Mix."

All in! will be made in Norwegian but because of the immense love for Thor internationally it has global potential.

“We have a dream to launch the film on Netflix or similar," Amundsen says, "to reach as large an audience as possible.

"Thor is bigger in the US than back home in Norway after all,” she adds.

If you wish to contribute to the project or read more about in (in Norwegian), please see the Kickstarter page here.

Watch the trailer for the movie below. The footage is from the Norwegian Championships in Dublin in March where Hansen was hospitalized after experiencing heart problems. He quickly recovered and was able to play poker the next day.



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American poker pro David Peters had a pretty good year by anyone's standards in 2014 with $350k in live tournament earnings.

He had a great 2015 with almost $3 million in live earnings.

2016, though, has been through the roof. He's won close to $7 million and had 27 international cashes -- 22 of which were final tables!

He's just added another to that list as he's second in chips heading into the final day at EPT Prague tomorrow.

Win and he'll claim another €774,600 for his awe-inspiring 2016 coffers. Finish third or higher and he'll also snatch the GPI Player of the Year title away from Fedor Holz.

It's an eye-popping surge from one of the quieter but obviously most talented players in the world right now. We caught up with him in Prague to find out exactly what's behind this recent torrent of big results.

PokerListings: What’s changed that's made you so incredibly successful this year?

"I've worked really hard on my game."

David Peters: I’ve worked really hard on my game the last couple of years, much more so than I did in the past.

Now it feels like I’ve just been clicking and playing really well, and things have gone my way.

PL: So when people say, ‘everyone’s solid and you can’t win anymore," you’re proving them wrong.

DP: For sure, it’s definitely still possible.

PL: It’s the very last EPT. Would a win here be special for you?

DP: One of my goals has always been to win one of these and I’ve been playing quite a few, so definitely yes.

This is the very last one so I better really make it count.

PL: If you come at least third you’ll also take over the #1 spot in the GPI. Did you know?

DP: Yes, I did. It would be really cool to win the player of the year ranking and pass Fedor Holz despite the incredible year that he had.

The GPI is a pretty good ranking system; many players look at it and follow it, so it would be great. I’m more about winning this tournament than Player of the Year, though.

PL: What do you think of PokerStars ending the EPT brand and starting something new on a global scale?

DP: Well, I don’t know too much about it but it seems fine. Honestly, as long as they keep the number of tournaments and the structures like the ones at the EPT – which are perfect – I don’t really mind what they call it.

Not a talker like Kabrhel.

As long as they don’t cut back on tournaments too much, and it doesn’t look like they will, that’s OK.

PL: The headlines have recently belonged to table talk specialists like Will Kassouf or Martin Kabrhel. You seem to be the complete opposite of that.

DP: Yes, that’s never been my game. I don’t talk to people to pick up information. I’m much more in the zone, trying to pick up other things that players gave away.

I guess everyone has their own style but speech play just has never been mine. I don’t talk during hands but that doesn’t mean I’m never talking.

I do talk to the other players in between hands.

Not afraid of anyone.

PL: Can players like the ones mentioned above get under your skin?

DP: Not really. Nothing really bothers me too much. I mean if they get obnoxious and over the top it gets kind of annoying to play with them, but it doesn’t affect my game.

PL: Thank you, David, and best of luck tomorrow.

Watch Peters go for his first career EPT title on the EPT Prague live stream right here starting at 1 pm CET. Here are the chip counts coming in:

NameCountryChips Marton Czuczor Hungary 9,710,000 David Peters USA 8,880,000 Sergei Petrushevskii Russia 5,265,000 Sam Cohen USA 4,520,000 Jasper Meijer van Putten Netherlands 3,815,000 Marius Gierse Germany 3,555,000

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Poker Night in America aims to bring back the days of legendary poker TV shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark.

It’s doing a pretty good job.

The fourth season featured players like former world champions Joe McKeehen and Phil Hellmuth as well as Phil Laak and Cate Hall.

One of the best poker moments, though, might have been this hand between Alec Torelli and Blake Bohn -- a hand that had a lot of deception but little in the way of monsters.

Flop to River

It's a cash game with $25/$50 blinds but the effective stacks are pretty deep. Both players have about $30,000 in front of them, corresponding to about 600 big blinds.

Our hero in this week’s hand is Alec Torelli, who finds     in the small blind.

In front of him Asher Conniff raises to $175. Blake Bohn re-raises to $375 and Phil Laak calls on the button.

Torelli 4-bets to $1,500. Conniff doesn’t take too long to fold and Bohn 5-bets to $3,375. Laak folds and Torelli calls.

There's now $7,750 in the pot and effective stacks are at $25,000. The flop is      

Torelli checks, Bohn bets $3,500 and Torelli calls. There's $14,750 in the pot and effective stacks are still over $20k. The turn is the  

Torelli checks again and Bohn checks behind. Still $14,750 in the pot. The river is the   Torelli now takes the lead and bets out $10,500. Bohn thinks about it and folds. He held     which was the best hand, but the $25k pot went to Torelli. Watch the video from minute 15 to see how the hand played out:

Analysis

This is an amazing hand in several respects and we need to look at the most important spots.

4-bet pre amps things up.

It has to be said that Bohn played extremely loose that evening. He 3-bet a lot of hands to put players to the test.

You need to have this piece of information otherwise it’s almost impossible to follow these players through the hand.

If you look at the pre-flop battle first, there’s carnage even before any community cards are dealt. Conniff opens with A-Qs and his neighbor to the left Bohn re-raises immediately.

Bohn has 7♣ 8♣, a nice suited connector, but he’s in middle position which is not very good for a call. He could just fold his hand but considering how deep the stacks are, a re-raise with this hand is perfectly in order as it begs the chance to become a monster.

Laak makes a very loose call with T-2s and Torelli decides to 4-bet with A-Qo from the small blind. Had this been a regular table he might have actually folded A-Q here but this table is so loose he still has a good chance to have the best hand.

A raise is the best move here. A call would invite Conniff to squeeze but now Conniff finds himself on the bad end of a squeeze.

Madness on the Flop

Consequently, Conniff gets rid of his hand but Bohn still wants to turn it up. He 5-bets to $3,375! Without Laak sitting behind him he maybe would’ve just called but now he wants to secure playing in position and maybe even win the hand pre-flop.

Flop looks innocent.

Laak does fold but Torelli sticks around. He calls out of position with A-Q and could easily be dominated by A-K. That means Torelli is assuming two prerequisites.

1) Bohn has to be a player capable of re-raising with a much wider range than A-A, K-K, Q-Q, or A-K.

2) Torelli can find ways to steal the pot out of position.

When Torelli calls the flop is a very insignificant looking 9-3-3 that doesn’t help either player.

A Bohn c-bet and Torelli call are standard moves in this spot – especially for Torelli who gets 3-1 pot odds.

Paradox on Turn and River

The turn is where it gets interesting. Bohn hits his seven and now takes the lead against hands like A-K or A-Q.

Knows what he's doing.

But he knows that Torelli’s range is pretty strong and mainly has high pairs, A-K and A-Q in it. It’s difficult to imagine he would have anything else.

Which is why it would have been a good idea to bet another $5,000 on the turn and then check the river to get to showdown cheaply.

When the river blanks Torelli seizes his chance to bluff immediately. His opponent showed some weakness on the turn and thus capped his range.

But Torelli has to decide whether he wants to extract more value from bluffs or try to bet enough to make better hands like A-K or a nine fold.

A bet is probably the better option here as Bohn almost never has a strong hand here but will fold quite a few stronger ones.

Why No Call?

The river shows the problems that Bohn’s play can cause. You end up on the river with a middle pair and if your opponent shows aggression you don’t know what to do with it.

Had the right read, couldn't pull trigger.

But considering how clearly defined Torelli’s range was a call would have been the obvious next step. It almost goes without saying.

Bohn's equity against A-A–T-T, A-K, A-Q is 51.6 %. In other words he’s ahead against 32 out of 62 combos if his opponent has exactly this range.

Conclusion

Blake Bohn is audacious before the flop but on the river he doesn't pull the trigger.

Alec Torelli, on the other hand, plays a smart bluff with the lower edge of his range and it pays off generously.



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Being a high-profile poker pro and a lawyer in the US, Vanessa Selbst is in a unique position to dissect the current US economic and socio-political climate.

Her conclusions aren't promising.

Just over a year ago PokerListings and Vanessa Selbst met in Barcelona to talk about the upcoming election and how racism – or classism, as Selbst suggested – affected popular opinion.

Now the election is over, the US is clearly divided and there seem to be similar tendencies in several European countries. At this point, a new online poker bill is not top of the priorities.

We caught up with her again at EPT Prague.

PL: Is the US election result a nightmare come true for you?

Vanessa Selbst: I guess it is for the majority of people all around the world. However, half of Europe for example seems to be going in the same nationalistic, anti-immigrant direction.

Outlook: Not good.

Marine le Pen is up for election next year and even (Angela) Merkel, who probably is the last liberal, the last non-crazy person in power, now suggests conservative stuff like Burqa bans.

Maybe it’s strategic. I don’t know enough about Germany, maybe she says it so she doesn’t lose the next election.

PL: It sure is as there are an estimated 50 women in Germany who wear a Burqa.

VS: That’s interesting from my point of view because it brings my main interests, poker and politics, together. I’m very idealistic in a lot of ways, or I used to be, but I know you have to have some level of pragmatism.

So, even if you would generally denounce the idea, if that’s what’s needed to save an election and if it only applies to such a small number of people, maybe that’s what needs to happen.

PL: But let’s look at the US again. The political landscape has turned around completely.

VS: Yes. Eight years ago when Obama came to power he had the majority in both houses and maybe he should have got more things done at that time.

But he didn’t because he wanted to work with the Republicans. Only when he lost the majorities he found out that the Republicans are much less ethical than he is and that they would just obstruct everything. It’s a problem in our system that this is possible.

Hear that echo?

PL: Do you feel a change in the way everyday life feels?

VS: I live in New York City, which really is a bubble in the sense it’s one of the most liberal places in the world and really unique. 

Many people in New York follow the news and are aware of what’s happening and the atmosphere on the whole is just depressing.

There isn’t a single day without horrible news like Trump announces someone to a very powerful position who has no knowledge and no experience in the field and so on. 

But the good thing is people talk about what’s going on a lot and they try to find a strategy to deal with and respond to it.

As I said, this is not representative, though, because I don’t know anyone who has voted for Trump. It’s almost like we’re shut off from the rest of society. But that doesn’t just apply to New Yorkers. It applies to everyone.

It’s like we’re living in echo chambers. Everybody lives in their bubble and, for example, follows completely different news, even from the same source.

Turns out he lies.

PL: How is that possible?

VS: They put different spins on it, tailored to you. For example, a headline for an article on voter fraud might read “Trump falsely claims there are three million illegal voters in California."

Someone else gets as the headline “Trump attacks illegal voting." And that would be the same article, and this example is from the Wall Street Journal.

That’s terrifying. At least in the third paragraph they would state that there is no proof for voter fraud, but the thing is that Trump lied. 

Unfortunately many people are not able to distinguish between obvious blatant lies from propaganda sites like Breitbart and Info Wars.

PL: Are the US reaping the harvest of its cuts to education?

VS: It is well-known that we have one of the worst educational systems in the world. We also have a lot of poverty and people born into poverty-stricken places.

That means we get a lot of uninformed people who are easily manipulated and that’s a big part of the problem. There is a campaign of disinformation and it’s spreading fear.

I have two friends who want to get married. They’re both women, so they say they need to get married before January 20 because who knows what’s going to happen.

I have teachers among my friends and they tell me their pupils are terrified because they think their parents are getting deported. We’re talking about undocumented people here, so if Trump stands by his word these are the people he’s going to remove.

Paranoia, sadly, is warranted.

Looking at what Trump’s doing every day, looking at the conflicts of interest he has every day, it’s just … [deep sigh] … I don’t even know. People like to say ‘let’s wait and see’ but the problem is the wait-and-see approach is incredibly dangerous.

Maybe the worst thing is what he’s doing to the press. He and the Republicans have discredited the press to a point where there is no paper anymore that you can trust.

Even the New York Times or the Washington Post aren't trusted anymore. If the New York Times reported fact A you’d say it’s true because they generally make sure something is true before they report it.

But now Trump simply objects and says the “failing” New York Times and people believe him more. And now he’s appointing his cabinet and two-thirds of the people are military generals.

Makes you wonder what he’s really preparing for. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I find it terrifying.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a half-eaten plate of cookies, an empty glass of milk and a very nice surprise waiting under the afternoon poker news Christmas tree.

Have something you'd like featured in a future 3-Bet? Drop us a line below in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a run on Fedor Holz's POY grip, India goes naga for poker and a Bermudan history teacher gets rich quick.

1) Peters, Bonomo Hunt Fedor

After the summer Fedor Holz had the 2016 GPI Player of the Year seemed like it was a virtual lock - even if his "retirement" shortly after would impact his volume for the rest of the year.

Peters: Not conceding yet.

Not so fast, though. A recent surge by both Justin Bonomo and David Peters have jolted them up within striking distance with some time left on the 2016 poker clock.

As they sit right now Holz is still on top with 3644.80 points. After a 5th-place finish at the WPT 5 Diamond, though, Bonomo is up to 3442.75.

Peters, who has had a pretty gangbusters year himself, has built a massive 2m+ chip stack with just 66 players left in the EPT Prague main event.

In short: it's not over yet.

Given Fedor's current "read 40 books by 2017" challenge we doubt he's popping out anywhere for some poker, either.

Check the current Top 10 below; full list here.

1. Fedor Holz 3644.80
2. Justin Bonomo 3442.75
3. David Peters 3366.10
4. Chance Kornuth 3336.54
5. Ari Engel 3255.23
6. Paul Volpe 3192.88
7. Adrian Mateos 3186.35
8. Samuel Panzica 3114.66
9. Ankush Mandavia 3012.91
10. Charlie Carrel 3012.19

2) Online Poker in India is Real

We've circled around the idea that India is in the midst/on the brink of a fairly big poker boom a few times and we may soon see just how big that potential market could be.

After approving a bill to legalize "online games of skill" including poker back in April, the Northeast state of Nagaland has now issued its first official operating license to a real-money poker site, khelo365.com. Ten more sites are having paperwork processed.

We don't know exactly when the site(s) will go live but we do know it won't be restricted just to the local state alone as the law allows licensed operators to provide services to all states where skill games are legal.

It's an intriguing development for a market that may be worth up to $80 million+ a year. PokerStars has obviously already been circling for opportunities to enter India and offer real-money poker to an expanding Indian middle class. More on the new licenses from OnlinePokerReport here.

3) $100 Spin & Go Makes Teacher Instant Millionaire

8 minutes. That's how fast a PokerStars Spin & Go can take your life to truly Freedom55 worthy.

Boom!

If you have the time and bankroll to play $100 Spin & Gos for fun and profit - and you live in Bermuda - life is good, we assume.

When your Spin & Go multiplier lands on the heart-attack inducing 10,000x, things are about to get even better.

That's what happened to 30-year-old Bermudan history teacher "jrww86" yesterday, who then lived the dream to fruition when he got heads-up with a slight chip lead and flopped two pair vs. top pair.

A couple of bricks later he was $1m richer - "in shock" and "too excited to talk" to the PokerStars blog, but rich all the same.

A recreational poker player for a decade jrww86 says the money "will come in handy." Well played, and Merry Christmas sir! Read more here. Sign up for a PokerStars account via our review to give it a go.



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888poker is the latest online poker site to sponsor a professional Hearthstone team.

The site is teaming up with FlowEsports and there’s a good chance you'll see a few 888poker patches at upcoming eSports events.

FlowEsports is in a unique position to partner with 888poker because a the majority of its members have backgrounds in professional poker.

Several members of FlowEsports have already repped the 888 brand at the recent WSOPC stop in Rozvadov.

Poker Goes Hearthstone

The FlowEsports team gets up to 10,000 viewers per week while streaming Hearthstone.

TwoBiers streaming Hearthstone.

The team is comprised of Daniel “C4mlann” Märkisch, Tobias “Two Biers” Graap, Vetle “Xzirez” Stubberud, and Johannes “JonnyStoneHS” Steindl. Each member streams on Twitch nearly every day.

The team will be adding some poker into the mix in the near future, however, with at least one session on 888poker per week.

There is plenty of crossover between poker and Hearthstone as both games involve cards, strategy and an element of luck.

If you’re good at one of the games, you’ll probably do fine in the other.

In both games, you have resources — in poker it’s chips, in Hearthstone it’s life counters — and when they are depleted you’re eliminated.

FlowEsports to Attend Live Tournaments c4mlann at WSOPC Rozvadov.

Both Daniel Märkisch and Johannes Steindl have showed they can hold their own playing poker when they played the main event at the World Series of Poker Circuit event in Rozvadov last November.

Steindl has a lot more experience in poker, having international results dating back to the year 2006, but Märkisch ended up lasting longer in Rozvadov.

While Steindl failed to make the money, Märkisch finished 20th out of 813 entries and cashed for almost €10k.

He must have had some mixed feelings about that result though, as the first-place prize money was over €230k.

Regardless poker and eSports have just grown a little closer, and you can now follow both on the social media channels of 888poker.

Don’t have an account yet? Register through our 888poker review page.



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Tiger Gaming isn’t the most famous online poker site in the world (yet), but it recently added one big incentive for poker players with new Bad Beat Jackpot tables.

The site plans on giving away at least $100,000 in cash to start as that's how much they've seeded the Jackpot pool with while launching the new product.

The jackpot will grow with every hand played at any real-money BBJ tables, which can be identified by the star that appears next to them in the Tiger Gaming lobby.

Bonus Paid Out Immediately

To qualify for a Tiger Gaming Bad Beat Jackpot you have to get four of a kind with jacks or better cracked.

As usual for bad beat jackpots you must use both hole cards in the hand.

If you have the misfortune (fortune) of getting your monster hand beat then you’ll get paid out immediately after the hand ends.

Even if you aren’t the player who received the bad beat you’ll still get a share of the reward.

17.5% of the jackpot will be split evenly between the rest of the players at the table.

If you haven’t tried Tiger Gaming you might be interested to learn it's one of the only poker sites in the world that offers Chinese Poker as well as Big2.

$100,000 New Year’s Special

Tournament players will want to start 2017 by playing in the special $100K New Year’s Guaranteed Tournament running on January 1st.

A $10,000 Weekly Cash Leaderboard also runs every week for cash-game players as do $5k MTT and SnG Leaderboards.

For more information or to sign up for an account you can head to our Tiger Gaming review and be eligible for a $1,000 sign-up bonus.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a Kenwood eXcelon, a fuzzy steering wheel and all kinds of time to belt out afternoon poker news hits on your daily commute.

Got a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Let us know in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a fervor for online poker in Portugal, Bruno Mars nods to his card-playing days and Daniel Negreanu looks to rebound.

1) Portugal Loves Poker

Here's an interesting statistic to mull over about the overall health of the game internationally: The #2 online poker site in the world in terms of traffic right now is Pokerstars.pt.

Maybe this guy on the left helped.

That's right. The ring-fenced, two-week-old localized PokerStars site exclusive to Portuguese players is the second-busiest in the world.

As of Tuesday it had the second-highest 24-hour peak in the industry (4,020 players, according to PokerScout.com) and was tied for second for seven-day average. 

The only site with more players on a daily, hourly and weekly basis is the global PokerStars site itself. 

That's pretty interesting. Perhaps having one of the biggest football stars on the planet endorsing their product has been a factor.

Whether that's sustainable or not, we'll see. And it is currently the only online poker site to play on in Portugal.

But 2,940 cash-game players is solid. And if that ever gets combined with other ring-fenced sites like France, Spain and Italy it'll be an intriguing new online poker power network.

Check the latest industry numbers on PokerScout here.

2) Bruno Mars Played Some Cards

While it's a stretch to say multi-national pop sensation Bruno Mars was ever a poker "grinder," it turns out he did play some cards on the regular in Los Angeles before his career really took off.

Los Angeles amirite?

How do we know this? Thanks to the hard-digging denizens of the twoplustwo poker forums who found a mention of it during a segment of Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

We didn't even know that was thing in the world but it is and they talk about stuff in between signing songs while they drive around LA. 

According to a post from frequent LA reg and commentator Bart Hanson, he likely didn't "make a living" at it though:

"I played with him a handful of times in 2009 at Commerce $5-$10. He was the type of guy that you would "rush" to get a table change for. I also remember him usually losing a single $500 bullet and leaving. There was no way he was playing for profit."

Check the clip below (the mention of cards is around 12:55):

3) Daniel Negreanu Looks for Rebound Year

Here's another one for the "Who Knew?" file: Did you know that in 2016 Daniel Negreanu had his worst year (as far as total $ earned) on the live poker circuit since 2000?

Safe to say he was a distraction.

A bunch of extenuating circumstances led into it, of course, from the US election to the, uh, well, US election. But we take for granted DNegs will pile up some very big results every year and it turned out 2016 had a void of them.

His total live tournament haul this year? According to the Hendon Mob looks to be around $300k, which is definitely on the low side for the #1 all-time money leader in poker.

What does that mean for 2017? Listen to his new podcast below where he talks about what happened along with his recent trips to Florida, Norway and the Isle of Man for some extensive meetings at PokerStars.

He also hints at some of the major changes expected on PStars in 2017 and a few potential 'game-changing' new formats on the horizon.



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The European Poker Tour is going out with a bang not a whimper.

A gargantuan Day 1b in the Main Event attracted 934 players to bring the overall field up to a record-breaking 1,178 players yesterday.

Prague has always been one of the most popular stops on the EPT but the closest its come to hitting those numbers is the 1,107 entrants back in 2014.

American Ronald Morandini snagged the overnight chip lead with 237,000 chips but notables Maxim Lykov, Roberto Romanello and Vanessa Selbst also made it through the day.

Haxton Tops One-Day €25k High Roller

Isaac Haxton, who’s had an illustrious career on the EPT, managed to overcome 69 entries in the single-day €25,000 buy-in high roller to win €559,200 yesterday.

Paul Newey crushed EPT Prague.

Haxton out dueled underrated German pro Julian Stuer heads-up to take down the title. Stuer settled for a €397,550 consolation prize.

The final table also included pros Adrien Mateos, David Yan and all-time top EPT earner Steve O’Dwyer.

English businessman/poker player Paul Newey finished in eighth place for 76,260. Newey also finished fifth in the €50k Super High Roller for €200,000 so it’s safe to say the trip to Prague was worth it.

Igor Kurganov, Mustapha Kanit, Justin Bonomo and Sam Greenwood were among the many pros who played but fell short of the money.

Here’s a complete look at the payouts for the final table of the single-day €25k buy-in EPT Prague High Roller:

1. Isaac Haxton - €559,200
2. Julian Stuer - €397,550
3. Adrian Mateos - €260,300
4. Ramin Hajiyev - €200,300
5. David Yan - €158,610
6. Steve O’Dwyer - €124,050
7. Pablo Fernandez - €97,600
8. Paul Newey - €76,260



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Even after 10 years of professional poker, Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos hasn’t lost a hint of the drive and energy that has propelled him to be one of the game's best players/ambassadors.

Directly related to that success: the most important thing in poker for him is neither money nor titles.

Ramos has come to Prague for the first time this week, not because it’s the last EPT but because he’s decided to go to places he hasn’t been to before and enjoy the moment.

After a recent series of deep runs that didn't result in a win, Ramos felt overwhelmed by frustration. International sightseeing helps him realize what the important things are. 

He proudly shows us some photos he’s taken in Prague’s Old Town at night. “You know,” he says, “young players don’t do that s***. But I like to go to new places. And although I’m a beach boy I like it here very much.”

Ramos won the Spirit of Poker Most Inspiring Player Award in 2016 - a year that began with Mojave catching our attention at the PCA in January when he and André Akkari fervently promoted poker in Brazil. It's ending in much the same way.

Still carrying the torch for poker after 10 years.

PokerListings: At the PCA you claimed that Brazil has the best pizza in the world ...

Felipe Mojave: It’s true! My family is Italian, originally. I’ve been to Italy a couple of times and I tell you our pizza is much better.

Once I was told that the best pizza is in San Remo. I didn’t have time to go but a week later, when we were all at EPT Monte Carlo, I took a car just to go back to San Remo and try the pizza. Not even very nice.

PL: You're very passionate about things. Tell us what happened after you received the Spirit of Poker Award.

Felipe Mojave: Just this year I’ve been celebrating 10 years of playing poker for a living. The award is something that really works for me.

It means more than winning a tournament because look what happens. Any time I post on social media that I’m going somewhere people get back to me to support me and cheer me up.

It’s not about the amount of money or a title; it’s about living this life, it’s about looking up to people and follow them, feel for them. That’s the beauty of it, not the winnings.

PL: Some people say there are too many awards and the SOPA isn’t even attached to money. For us, it’s really meant as an appreciation of something that goes beyond numbers.

Felipe Mojave: And that’s exactly what makes it so special. Imagine this; there are people who vote for me on the internet! These people don’t even know me!

"I feel deeply connected to my followers"

These people are from all over the world and they think “oh, Felipe is a nice guy, he’s got my vote." That means so much to me!

It’s different if you know me and what I can do. I feel deeply connected to my followers and I think I owe them to share as much as I can.

I try to give something back. This year at the BSOP I hosted a live freeroll with R$50k and three seats to the BSOP main event. Over 5,000 people got back to me and wanted to play.

By the way the Spirit of Poker Award made it to the largest mainstream media outlets in Brazil. For example ESPN Brazil published an article.

PL: You missed the GPL finals because of the BSOP. With PokerStars joining in, you’ll probably be back for the second season?

Felipe Mojave: I hope so. I really like the concept and playing with the best in the world, so I’m very supportive.

PL: The GPL did lose some traction over time. Many have already suggested changes but the one thing that’s clear is they have to change something.

Felipe Mojave: Completely right, and I’m pretty sure they already have a long list of improvements to be made. I hope they will carry through with them as I think the idea is phenomenal.

So positive even Brazilian pizza tastes better.

PL: As you mentioned the BSOP, PokerStars is going to Panama next year with its new schedule. I can’t help but think this is a Brazil surrogate.

Felipe Mojave: I think that’s semi-true. Panama is in the center of the Americas and offers easy access from the North and the South, which makes it a good venue.

On the other hand Brazil is the largest country in South America and we want big events there. Maybe because PokerStars already has the BSOP there they’re not bringing the new series next year. Or maybe they think the events are too close one after another.

However, I disagree. The market in Brazil is growing and we should have as many events as possible -- even if they are not too big in the beginning.

We used to wait a long time for events and to have a big event just three weeks after the last one ended is a dream come true. I’m hopeful that to have a PokerStars Championship in Brazil will be the next step and I’ll be glad to help to make it possible.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a hard-earned GED, six weeks at Devry and a booming career in afternoon poker news refrigerator repair.

Have something you want to see in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find another stellar Phil Hellmuth performance, a reminder for aspiring pros and Poker Night in America turns 100.

1) All Night, All Day

It's not Bulletproof Coffee, and we can't confirm it's the "World's Strongest Coffee" as it claims, but Phil Hellmuth is in a new commercial so for that we give Death Wish Coffee some props in the 3-Bet.

If you use the code PokerCentral you can also get $3 off on your next purchase. And maybe it's just us but the bleeped swear words thing still makes us laugh.

Apparently @DeathWishCoffee didn’t warn @phil_hellmuth about the side effects of decaf #WorldsStrongestCoffee pic.twitter.com/bZCZ4sIIUx

— Poker Central (@PokerCentral) December 14, 2016 2) What's Your Back Up Plan? Great hobby, tough job.

We've always believed (and still do) that poker is one of the toughest professions but best hobbies in the world.

Even back when it was "easy," it was hard.

And these days, as poker pros JC Tran and Daniel Negreanu have graciously reminded us, when it's even harder than that it's best to have a back-up plan:

Big advice for anyone who wants to play poker for a living: Have a backup plan! Poker is tougher than ever before. Good luck!!!

— JC TRAN (@jctran23) December 13, 2016

Good advice. What was your backup plan when starting out? Or do you think it was so much easier back then that you didn't need one? https://t.co/Yo13CRUfIa

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) December 13, 2016

Mike "Timex" McDonald has an even more pointed message for those hoping to "go pro":

Advice for anyone who wants to play poker for a living: don't. You missed poker's window of opportunity but keep your eyes open for others https://t.co/fFuD2dkIUU

— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) December 13, 2016

And then again? On any given day, anyone can win. What a game, huh?

3) Poker Night in America Hits Episode 100

Another then again? When Poker Night in America was launched in 2013 more than a few people said it didn't stand a chance.

Poker was dead in the US. No one watched it on TV anymore. And without the return of online poker it was the beginning of the end for the game in the country that founded it.

Yesterday PNIA posted Episode 27 of Season 4 - aka its 100th episode. The game just can't be stopped! And we'll see you in Season 10 of the Global Poker League, naysayers (maybe)!

Enjoy Episode 100 below, though:



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Leon Tsoukernik isn't a 'star' in the international poker scene per se.

And he's not a poker "pro," as we traditionally know one. But he is quite a public poker figure.

The owner of the biggest poker room in Europe, the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Tsoukernik was the amateur at the final table of the €50k Super High Roller event in Prague yesterday.

He surprised almost everyone - except perhaps his own rail - by defeating pro Charlie Carrel and claiming the last EPT SHR title on offer.

His King’s Casino has played host to hundreds of pros for games as high as €500/€1,000 heads-up and Tsoukernik has become infamous for his highly unpredictable playing style as seen on German High Rollers and the King's Cash Game streams.

EPT Prague has been his home EPT and he's played many of the high roller events but never managed a cash. Those in the know, though, knew that if his style would give him a big stack he’d be able to go all the way. And now he has.

Photo: Neil Stoddart, PokerStars

PokerListings: Is it special for you to win the very last EPT €50k Super High Roller event?

Leon Tsoukernik: This is one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world and it was done by the largest poker tournament organizer in Europe. It’s something incredible and almost invaluable for me.

PL: You’ve played a lot of high stakes in your life. I was wondering if this really means something for you.

LT: It definitely means more than 741,000 Euro.

PL: Is the trophy going to get a special place in the King’s Casino?

LT: We have a display case for trophies where we keep a lot of famous bracelets like the ones for Pius Heinz and Fedor Holz. That’s where it’s going to go.

PL: You made a couple of comments about “so-called pros” at the final table. Did you just try to needle Charlie?

LT: It wasn’t needling. It’s something that I keep explaining to all the pros all the time. I am the only real pro at the table.

PL: How so?

LT: Because I’m the one who’s taking the rake and they’re the ones paying the rake. That explains everything.

Of course this is just table talk, you know? I’m trying to tilt people and that’s one way to do it.

I like doing fun stuff like the seven-deuce game. I’ve lost a lot of money with it but it’s really great to win with it.

"It’s about what you represent"

PL: It creates a strange dynamic at the table sometimes because people play it like aces.

LT: It’s about what you represent. What do you think Charlie thought I had yesterday when I played seven-deuce?

I was representing a strong ace. If Charlie doesn’t hit second pair on the turn, he would have folded his ace to me.

PL: On the river your hand looked even stronger. Charlie just couldn’t find a deuce in your range.

LT: I knew one thing for sure. He wouldn’t call if I went all-in. So I quickly figured out a more conservative bet and he actually told me later that that was the maximum I could have gotten out of him.

[Editor’s note: Tsoukernik is referring to hand #39 of the heads-up. A memorable hand that you’ll see in a lot of recaps and that’ll surely be one of our Hands of the Week.]

PL: The EPT will soon be history but several major poker tours have already visited the King’s Casino. Will locations be more important than tour brands in the future?

Live poker has to be comfortable.

LT: Live poker has to be comfortable and it has to be convenient. When live players take a whole week to visit a big festival they want it to be affordable and comfortable.

They want to have decent food and good accommodation and that’s what we’re trying to offer in Rozvadov.

PL: independent of who’s actually hosting the event.

LT: We want to be a poker destination. You say EPT but you don’t say “Hilton." In Rozvadov we offer everything from multi-national tournaments to small local events with a 50 Euro buy-in.

There’s a reason why it’s already a globally known destination for poker. You travel for poker, like people travel for skiing, for golf, for any kind of activity that attracts your community.

PL: But poker also lives on attractive destinations. What are you going to do to make Rozvadov a more attractive destination?

LT: The King’s is already easy to access and the hotels are very affordable. For some events the King’s is the ideal location. Not everyone wants to spend 400 dollars a night.

The King’s is very much like American casinos. We have 5600 sq. m in gaming space, 400 staff and 160 poker tables.

In 2017 we’re opening another hotel with 500 beds and a 700 sq. m spa as well as another gaming hall with 1,800 sq. m. I guess you can see which way we’re going.



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2016 was a huge year and as we approach its end we run down the top six best videos from the PokerListings video team.

Highlights include documentaries, mockumentaries, DIY tutorials and outdoor poker adventures.

Topping the list is the 14-minute short poker documentary digging into the legendary Stu Ungar's third world championship win in 1997.

The video includes interviews with Ungar's backer Billy Baxter, his best friend Mike Sexton and other people who were there including Phil Hellmuth, Nolan Dalla and Andy Black.

After winning back-to-back WSOP Main Events in 1980 and 1981 Ungar spent close to a decade at the very top of the Las Vegas gambling world before plunging all the way to rock bottom thanks to serious struggles with drug and gambling addiction.

Amazingly, Ungar returned to the WSOP in 1997 and became world champion for the third time.

Taking the number-two spot was the day we hauled our poker table to a secret cliff-jumping spot in Vancouver with poker pro Ben Wilinofsky.

We played poker on a paddle-board, on top of a cliff and even designed a special gadget for transporting the table down the railroad tracks.

Also on the list is the story of one poker player who had to fight the entire poker establishment to follow her dreams to play in the World Series of Poker.

You could say it's the ultimate underdog story.

Check out those stories and more by watching the video below and then watch the full versions in our Poker Video Section.



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The L.A. Poker Classic will include 60 tournaments spread over two months this year and Commerce Casino is even kicking in two $10,000 Main Event seats for absolutely nothing.

The 2017 LAPC will run from Jan. 13-March 2 with almost all forms of poker represented with No-Limit Hold’em, PLO, Omaha-8, Seven-Card Stud, Dealer’s Choice and many other games on the schedule.

Perhaps even more interesting — especially for players with modest bankrolls — are the two $10k freerolls into the Main Event.

One will be held on Feb. 3 and the next on Feb. 12. The one-day events are completely free to play with an optional $60 add-on.

WPT Main Event Set for Feb. 25-March 2

As usual the LAPC poker festival will culminate with the $10,000 buy-in WPT Main Event that will run from Feb. 25-March 2.

Last year's LAPC winner Dietrich Fast.

Commerce will also give players once last chance to quality for the Main Event in the WPT Festival of Poker Freeroll for any player that makes one of the LAPC side event final tables.

The Festival of Poker Freeroll will take place Feb. 23 and will award three seats into the 2017 LAPC Main Event.

The first-place prize in the Main Event will likely threaten to exceed $1m. Last year German Dietrich Fast outlasted 515 entries to take down a $1m prize in the LAPC Main Event.

That’s not the only way to make a serious amount of cash in the 2017 LAPC as the big $25,000 6-Max High Roller will return on Feb. 28.

You can check out the complete 2017 schedule on the official LAPC website right here.



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There have been plenty of renowned poker pros to take down EPT Super High Rollers over the years — think Viktor Blom, Erik Seidel, Ole Schemion.

But it was "amateur" Leon Tsoukernik who laid claim to the last EPT SHR ever held this week in Prague.

Tsoukernik, the CEO of King’s Casino in Rozvadov, out-dueled premier English pro Charlie Carrel tonight to take down €741,100 in a surprising turn of events.

Last of an Era

In a week that will see a lot of “lasts,” the final €50k Super High Roller has a special spot as there weren’t too many stops on the EPT with buy-ins that high – just Prague, Barcelona, Monaco and the Bahamas.

With 49 entries this year participation was a little worse than last when the entry was paid 56 times. Those who hoped to be the last €50k Super High Roller winner were an elite field, as you’d expect.

Steve O'Dwyer bricked this one but will still go down as the biggest EPT winner ever.

Last year’s winner Steve O’Dwyer was back, as were Isaac Haxton, Mustapha Kanit, Daniel Dvoress, Sam Greenwood, Juha Helppi, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Bertrand Grospellier, Max Silver, Davidi Kitai, Schemion and more.

But the story of the event was mainly written by two other players, namely Tsoukernik and former PokerListings rookie award winner Carrel.

Both players lost their first 250k stacks within the first five levels at the same table. Both then bought in again only to be sat down almost next to each other for their second bullets.

They played a lot of pots together that day that were won, most of the time, by the young English player. Carrel surged to the top late on Day 1 while Tsoukernik struggled.

By Day 2, though, Tsoukernik had the lead and both made it to the final table, where they kept on battling and were responsible for some of the most memorable hands of the recent past.

In one of them Carrel was able to talk Tsoukernik out of a call when Carrel held red tens and Tsoukernik had A♥ 9♠ on a board of Q♠ 8♠ 4♥ J♠ K♠.

Carrel made Tsoukernik believe he had the ten of spades and took over the chiplead.

The Seven-Deuce Game

Another hand that will be talked about for a while was #39 of this final table. Tsoukernik, famous for his unpredictable moves with equally unpredictable hands, raised with 7♣ 2♣ and Carrel called with A♣ 4♣ from the small blind.

Charlie Carrel

Nobody bet on the A♥ 9♣ 5♠ flop, then Carrel took the lead on the 4♥ turn. Tsoukernik called to see the river 3♠ and once again table fireworks began.

Carrel bet 620,000 with his two-pair into a pot of about 1.3 million. Tsoukernik raised to 1.7 million, put on his poker face, shut down and waited.

And wait he did as Carrel took more than eight (!) minutes trying to figure out if he was subject to another bluff by Tsoukernik or if he was good.

He tried to get a reaction out of Tsoukernik but failed. Eventually Carrel called the clock on himself but still managed to persuade himself to call and see the bad news.

This is not what you usually mean when you talk about the seven-deuce game, but it sure was an interesting way to play them.

Tsoukernik Gets Lucky in Final Hand

After the 7-2 hand Tsoukernik pulled away, holding the same amount of chips as the other three players left combined. Quite a few people on the rail were hoping for a heads-up match between Tsoukernik vs Carrel.

Official Leon Tsoukernik PokerStars Winner Photo.

That’s exactly what they got. Carrel crawled back, found a couple of hands and busted Viacheslav Buldygin in 4th place before Juha Helppi, who has played in the EPT longer than anyone at this final table, succumbed to Tsoukernik.

The Casino manager began heads-up play with a 3-1 chiplead but Carrel was back to over 25 bb which gave him some room to play.

While it had taken over 2.5 hours to go from four to two players, heads-up only lasted about half an hour.

In the last hand Tsoukernik got lucky to win with K-J against Carrel’s A-K, but it would be wrong to say he got lucky to win the tournament.

Casino Owner Trumps Poker Pro

Tsoukernik never let Carrel get close and there were no major set-ups between the two so Tsoukernik really managed to hold his own against the pro.

Although, looking at these two players, terms like “professional” are relative.Carrel counts as the pro but it's rather likely that casino owner Tsoukernik has played for way more money than Carrel.

It was a fitting victory as Tsoukernik’s King’s Casino keeps expanding and is already on the schedule for a 2017 PokerStars Festival. Here’s a look at the payouts for the final EPT SHR ever held:

1

Leon Tsoukernik

CZ

€741,100

2

Charlie Carrel

GB

€535,250

3

Juha Helppi

FIN

€341,150

4

Viacheslav Buldygin

RUS

€258,800

5

Paul Newey

GB

€200,000

6

Julian Thomas

GER

€152,915

7

Anthony Zinno

US

€123,520



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a Galaxy S8, a selfie stick and all the chutzpah you need to film an afternoon poker news vlog in the Bellagio poker room.

Have a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Drop us a line about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Bill Perkins giving away more Bahamas trips, Scotty Nguyen greets Russia and Leon Tsoukernik takes one for the amateurs.

1) Perkins Has Thirst for Giving

The Christmas Spirit has a hold of Bill Perkins and won't let go.

He's a giver.

Just days ago we noted his impressive generosity when he gave out 13 random 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas packages to subscribers on his Twitch channel.

By the sounds of it, a few of those lucky winners can't make it to Atlantis to play so Perkins is re-visiting his giveaway and handing out even more.

At 12:30 PST today Perkins is doing a "lifestyle" Q&A and giving out at least one free package to this year's PokerStars Championship Bahamas.

If you've never been to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas where it's held we can tell you this from first-hand experience: it is very, very nice. And not cheap.

With full main event buy-in, flights and hotel it's worth well over $10,000, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Jump on board the Thirst Lounge train and see if you can get lucky by subscribing to his Twitch Channel right here.

2) To Moscow with Love

If you've been following the poker scene lately you know one of the latest trends in the pro/semi-pro game is vlogging. PokerStars pro Jake Cody might be the most notable example but poker players near and far have taken to recording their exploits in live casinos and giving a real inside look at a card sharp's daily grind.

Merry Christmas, Russia!

Acceptability under a casino's rules and regulations aside, another notable pro who's taken to the trend wholeheartedly is former Most Inspiring Player award winner/Moscow Wolverine Team manager Anatoly Filatov.

Filatov has been pumping out vlogs for a while now and, despite being mostly in Russian, are still a very fun watch.

His latest efforts center around his recent trip to Vegas for the GPL Finals and WPT 5 Diamond and we can't get enough - particularly episode #54 with a special Christmas message from the legend Scotty Nguyen. Merry Christmas, baby! Check a couple out below and the full run on Gosu PokerTV.

3) Tsoukernik to Semi-Pros: "Don't Call Us Fish"

As the owner of the most popular poker room in Europe, the King's Casino in Rozvadov, Leon Tsoukernik spends his fair share of time around poker players of all stripes.

Who's the boss now!

He's also spent his time and money battling some of the game's best in some very high-stakes cash games, both on camera and off.

While his game isn't quite as tight as, say, Fedor Holz, he's still got more than his fair share of moves. And the steely resolve to pull them off in tough situations.

Tsoukernik found himself in one of those spots today at the final table of the EPT Prague 50k Super High Roller. He was the chip leader coming in but aces like Charlie Carrel and Juha Helppi were waiting to take his chips away and claim another major title for the pros.

It didn't happen. Tsoukernik fought them off, one by one. He put pressure on in the right spots, didn't flinch in the face of an epic Carrel talk & staredown and won one of the last EPT titles left. And the amiable casino boss, who had pal Philip Gruissem on his rail in support, had a message for pros in his post-win interview:

"They should respect us when we play. And don't call us fish"

It was a cool moment and a cool match - that is if you don't mind the odd 9-minute tank here and there. Watch the full replay below:



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There are a couple new ways to play on partypoker.

This week the site launch Fast Five cash games and Progressive Knockout Tournaments.

Progressive Knockout tournaments are a bounty-style tournament with players getting a cash bonus every time they eliminate an opponent.

There difference with Progressive Knockout tournaments is that the bounty payouts progress as the tournament goes on meaning players could potentially win thousands of dollar in the latter stages of an event.

Fast Five = 5 BB Cash Game

If you’re looking for some rapid-fire cash game action then you might want to look into partypoker’s Fast Five games.

partypoker ambassador Mike Sexton

Players are only allotted five big blinds in each Fast Five game, which means you’ve got to make a move fast (but so do your opponents).

Everything else is played just the same as a regular 6-Max cash game. Fortunately buy-ins start at just $2.50 so you can afford to dust a few buy-ins while getting the hang of the game.

"Today we launch two new products on partypoker that will suit both tournament and cash game players,” Group Head of partypoker Tom Waters said.

“Progressive Knockout tournaments are a popular format in the poker community so it was important to respond to feedback and offer these on partypoker. Fast Five is a fun, fast-paced cash game, suitable for players with only a short amount of time but wanting action quickly.”

The new Progressive Knockout Tournaments run three times a day with three different buy-in levels. Fast Five games are already available in the partypoker lobby.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a comforting ohm, a stick of nag champa and just the right aura for an afternoon poker news success story.

Have a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Let us know in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Charlie Carrel posting up all over Europe, a big Bellagio $100k chop and Andrew Lichtenberger beats Phil Galfond to the punch.

1) Stay Gold, Charlie

You know who's having a very, very good year on the tournament circuit?  Former PokerListings Rising Star award winner Charlie Carrel.

On a roll.

Maybe not, like, Fedor Holz good. But still really, really good.

It started off well at the PCA with a 3rd in a $5k turbo and continued in Dublin in Feb. with a 1st and 3rd in the EPT High Rollers. Another side event win in Monte Carlo in April kept things rolling.

Things really took off in the Fall when he final table 3 times in Malta and crushed five cashes at the MCOP in Amsterdam. He's now three events in in Prague and has a 1st and 3rd and another $200k in his pocket.

Today, with 11 players left in the €50K High Roller, he now has 3.7m in chips with the average stack at 1.1m. It's safe to say everything's coming up Charlie Carrel.

To see how much he'll add to his $1.5m in scores for 2016, follow the updates here.

2) Schwippert, Marchese Chop Bellagio $100k

Someone else who just quietly hums along, crushing big tournaments and further cementing his reputation as one of today's true NL Holdem tourney masters?

The Quiet King.

Tom "KingsofCards" Marchese.

More of a homebody who rarely travels, Marchese has simply made the Aria High Rollers his own personal ATM this year.

With $25k-$100k buy-ins they draw only the most talented of fields and Marchese perpetually stuns by winning or going deep in almost all of them.

According to Hendon Mob he has 4 wins, a 2nd, six 3rds, a 4th, two 5ths and a 7th in them since Sept. 2015 for over $2.5m. He also finished 14th in this year's WSOP Main Event.

Over the weekend he chopped the Bellagio $100k with Jan-Eric Schwippert for another $1m to bring his astounding career live earnings to $15.6m. That's 12th all time on the USA money List. Egads that's good. More from the Bellagio $100k here.

3) LuckyChewyPoker.com is Live

This was a surprise.

While we (and most poker fans) thought Phil Galfond would be first to the post with a new "by players, for players" poker site it turns out Andrew "LuckyChewy" Lichtenberger -- the author of Yoga of Poker -- was quietly powering away behind the scenes with the same idea.

Even Phil's intrigued.

LuckyChewyPoker.com came out in beta mode this weekend and while it's just for play-money to start it already has its RNG up to UK Gambling Commission standard.

Along with Texas Holdem and Omaha games it will have a free poker school, a referral network for poker coaching, a Gaming & Trading Community and a big weekly online poker tournament lineup.

It's free to get a play-money account until March 31, 2017 and real-money play, it says, is coming to legalized jurisdictions soon. Intriguing.

Check the site out here and a few more explanatory tweets from Chewy about it below:

(1) Greetings everyone, I am pleased to announce that https://t.co/1QseAK7GeR is live with play money gaming for you to enjoy at this point

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(2) in time. Our team will continually be updating artwork, user interface and various system functionalities as we move forward. If anyone

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(3) has any ideas or input they would like to share please do not hesitate to do so. Our vision is simple - a poker site by the players for

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(4) the players with low rake and great rewards. We have been sharing our platform with the international gaming community and intend to

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(5) create as large a player pool as international law’s allow for. We will have more updates and exciting news to share with regards to

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(6) real money licensing and legislation in the times to come as well. We are excited to continue to promote and share the game we all love.

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

(7) Thanks for your interest and participation, for without you this would never have come to manifestation. Good day all! <3

— Andrew Lichtenberger (@luckychewy) December 11, 2016

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The Global Poker League had already said it planned to expand into China, but no one knew just how big the expansion would be.

Pretty big, it turns out.

The company made an announcement today that a stand-alone GPL China Season 1 will debut this spring with eight teams.

Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are among the cities that officially scored GPL teams for the upcoming season.

Reviewing Applications for Team Managers

GPL China will operate independently from the main league but will feature the familiar No-Limit Hold’em team format.

More changes coming.

Here’s a look at the eight initial teams for the league:

Beijing Great Dragons
 Shanghai Golden Tigers
 Guanghzou Pioneers
 Shenzhen Eagles
 Hangzhou Legends 
Xi'an Warriors 
Chengdu Pandas 
Tianjin Guardians

Once again team managers will decide the make up of each team and the GPL is currently reviewing applications for the positions.

Like the main league, GPL China will feature a live stream as well as live events. The GPL already has a major partner in China with online gaming giant Tencent Poker.

GPL China will begin right after the Spring Festival in China.

The inaugural GPL season came to a close earlier this month when the Montreal Nationals scored their first championship after beating the Berlin Bears in extended best of 11 series that played out in The Cube in Las Vegas.



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When Portland's James Romero sat down to play the 2016 WPT 5 Diamond main event this week he had about $4,500 in career live tournament earnings.

Today he sits just under $2m. Winning the biggest ever World Poker Tour $10,000 buy-in event will do that for you.

While Romero has been a poker pro for about 6 years his focus has been on cash games and online play. In fact, this was his first World Poker Tour event ever.

Looking nothing like a WPT rookie Romero roared through one of the most talented poker fields ever assembled. Coming into the final table of six with 41% of the chips in play, he never flinched despite the presence of tough outs Igor Yaroshevskyy, Justin Bonomo, Jake Schindler, Ryan Tosoc and Alex Condon.

His reward: the $1.9m first-place prize, a $15,000 seat in the WPT Championship and all of the usual WPT spoils of victory.

GPLers Out 5th, 6th

At the final table fresh off the Global Poker League playoffs last week in Vegas were Bonomo and Yaroshevskyy, members of the London Royals and Moscow Wolverines, respectively.

Bonomo out 5th.

They were the first two to go at this final table, however, when Yaroshevskyy's AT lost to Romero's QQ and Bonomo's fives failed to catch Schindler's 77. 

Three hands after that Condon was out in fourth and the final three settled in for an extended battle.

When Romero's KJ outflopped Schindler's 66 on hand 120 he had a dominant 7-1 chip advantage to start heads-up and dispatched Tosoc in 16 more hands to wrap up his first major live title.

Along with the money and WPT Championship seat Romero got to take home his own WPT Champions Trophy, a Hublot King watch and gold Monster 24,000 headphones.

His name will also be etched on the iconic WPT Champions Cup. Full final-table results:

1st: James Romero – $1,938,118
2nd: Ryan Tosoc – $1,124,051
3rd: Jake Schindler – $736,579
4th: Alex Condon – $494,889
5th: Justin Bonomo – $345,272
6th: Igor Yaroshevskyy – $268,545

For a complete rundown of the final-table action, check the WPT Live Updates.



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It’s been a while since we saw the biggest pots ever played on TV.

Watching them again, they’re still as fascinating as they were the first time.

This week we're revisiting a huge pot on High Stakes Poker with Patrik Antonius taking on Sam Farha with a big bluff that ultimately fails.

Flop to River

We’re joining one of the highest-stakes sessions ever shown on TV. That season on High Stakes Poker Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté took a seat and tried to raise the stakes as high as they would let him.

The blinds were $300/$600 but Daniel Negreanu had already put a straddle in. Every player at the table had at least half a million in front of him.

Barry Greenstein raised to $4,000 from second position. Sam Farha called in the next seat. After David Benyamine folded Antonius re-raised to $18,000 from the small blind.

Greenstein gave up but Farha came along. Flop:      

Antonius bet $30,000 which Farha called. There was $102,600 in the pot and effective stacks were over $450,000. Turn:  

Antonius led out with a bet of $85,000 and got another call from Farha. The pot was now $272,600 and effective stacks down to $360,000.

River:   Antonius bet $150,000 but Farha doesn’t fold. Antonius shows     for nine high. Farha shows     for two pair and won a $572,600 pot. Watch the hand play out in the video below.

Analysis

This hand is remarkable in several ways so we’ll look at both players' perspectives. We'll start pre-flop where Farha makes a very loose call from a bad position after a raise from a tight player in Greenstein.

Loose call from Farha.

His hand is suited but not connected at all and it’s easily dominated. At a table like this one that’s a recipe for disaster.

Very quickly it becomes obvious why. Holding a nice one-gapped suited connector in 9♣ 7♣, Antonius tries to exploit the situation. He squeezes with a hand that’s now well hidden.

The disadvantage is he’s out of position; this move would have been a lot stronger from the button.

Greenstein releases his A-Jo but Farha isn’t ready to let go even though his holding is pretty mediocre. Had he not been in position he would probably have folded K♦ 6♦.

No Reason to Slow Down

On this flop Antonius has no reason to slow down. He has hands like A-A, K-K, J-J, and A-K in his range and all these hands should be there -- not despite but because of how draw-heavy the flop is.

Of course Farha’s range is relevant here as well. All the hands mentioned above are missing from it but it has weaker Broadway hands like A-T, K-J, Q-J, middle and low pairs (9-9 to 4-4).

Antonius should be able to make several of these hands fold – if not with one, then certainly with another barrel. Despite a pretty convincing looking c-bet from his opponent Farha stays in the hand.

Can't see what the 6 does.

He now has three ways to win the hand:

1. He actually has the best hand if Antonius is bluffing.

2. He finds a king or six to overtake Antonius if he has an ace.

3. He might be able to steal the pot if there’s another spade and Antonius checks.

Farha’s call on the flop is loose, no doubt, but mathematically it’s not bad. He needs to pay $30,000 into a pot of $72,600 which means he only has to be right 1 out of 3.4 times.

As he’s in position Farha should be able to do that even against a player of the calibre of Patrik Antonius.

Getting sticky with it. Farha Gets Sticky

Antonius shows his class on the turn. He bets with total air on the 6♣.

What he’s trying to do here is make some of the hands from above fold – kings, jacks, hands with the Q♠ or another spade plus weak aces.

It sounds paradoxical but the 6♣ doesn’t have any meaning for Antonius. It doesn’t seem to help his opponent’s range but the truth is Farha would have probably folded had it not hit.

With just a pair of kings he wouldn’t have called again as there was another bet waiting for him on the river. But now he has hands like A-Q or other top pair hands beat.

Antonius Fires Again

The river is a blank and Antonius takes his bluff to the last stage. There are still hands in Farha’s range he can force to fold.

These hands would be A-x often with a spade as well as Qs-Jx or #Jx T♠ – hands that hit and draw to the flush. Antonius on the other hand has to ask himself what he’s really representing.

It’s very unlikely that he has Q♠ T♠ for the ultimate nuts in poker. But any other flush is unlikely, too, because of his re-raise pre-flop which points to strong hands and big pairs. At least hands like A-A, K-K, or J-J would still be good enough for a value bet.

Farha calls pretty quickly although he’s not beating much more than bluffs. With A-T or A-Q, Antonius would surely have given up the lead and Farha would lose to all the sets and both A-K and A-J.

Just that kind of player.

Apparently Farha saw enough bluffs in Antonius’ range to stay confident.

Turns out he was right and Antonius is the kind of player who’s capable of 3-betting pre-flop with nothing and then barrelling every street.

Conclusion

In a fascinating hand that shows how different an actual professional’s hand can be from the perceived range, Sam Farha shows discipline with a marginal hand and wins the seventh-largest pot in American TV poker history.

Patrik Antonius gives it all he can and, with a different turn card, he might well have succeeded. He just couldn’t see how the six improved Farha’s hand.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is the perfect road-trip worthy vehicle to make your escape from the bustle of the mid-afternoon poker news world.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Fabrizio Gonzales putting up some impressive numbers for Uruguay, another Jason Koon win and a Dan Bilzerian-themed rap.

1) Gonzalez Wins in Uruguay

It’s fitting that Fabrizio “SixthSenSe19” Gonzalez won the WSOPC’s latest stop in Uruguay because he’s now the country’s all-time earner by an impressive margin.

Sixth sense indeed.

Gonzalez outlasted nearly 500 entries to take down the WSOPC Main Event for $125,157 in Punta del Este this week.

He’s now up to $1.3m in lifetime live tournament earnings, which gives him a significant lead on Alex Gustavo Komaromi with $690,558.

Gonzalez, who is primarily an online player, has always seemed to fly under the global poker radar but those days are likely gone now.

He’s been crushing the live scene over the last couple years with big scores in Florida, Vegas and of course his native land.

Gonzalez originally wanted to be a football pro but it’s safe to say poker was a good choice. You can learn more about Gonzalez in this feature we did with him 2012 at the WSOP.

2) Jason Koon Crushes WPT $25k High Roller

The nicest guy in poker — that’s Jason Koon, obv — is in the midst of one hell of a good 2016.

Jason Koon's time to shine.

Last night Koon outlasted 43 entries in the WPT Five Diamond $25k High Roller event to win $412,800.

It wasn’t Koon’s first victory in a $25k High Roller (he won the Aria monthly $25k in July for $514k) and we’re betting it won’t be his last either.

Koon was already one of the best online players in the world but this year alone he has more than $2.5m in earnings including a massive $1m win at the SHRPO event in Florida, and a runner-up finish in an October Aria $25k for $273k.

It seems like Koon is definitely hitting his high roller stride.

Interestingly one of Koon’s closest buddies, Ben Tollerene, also made the WPT Five Diamond $25k high roller final table last night but ended up finishing 7th for $41k.

We chronicled an epic week of high-stakes tournaments that Koon played in 2015 in a short video documentary.

3) T-Pain, Lil Yachty Drop “Dan Bilzerian” Track

You know you’re rich when rappers start featuring you prominently in their tracks as someone to look up to.

Such is the case for Dan Bilzerian who was immortalized in T-Pain and Lil Yachty’s “Dan Bilzerian” which dropped earlier this year.

Poker Central has a little backstory on how the song came to be and it turns out T-Pain and Lil Yachty didn’t actually know the Bilzerian before they produced the song.

That’s since been rectified since with a trip to Bilzerian’s Los Angeles mansion. Is this peak Bilzerian? Sure feels like peak Bilzerian.



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From the largest $10k field in World Poker Tour history down to just 19 players.

That's where they stand this morning in Las Vegas after another 7 levels of play yesterday brought the field down to just a few contenders for the $1.9m first-place prize.

While hundreds of talented players have fallen by the wayside, plenty still remain.

Leading the pack into Day 5 today is Ryan Tosoc. The Chicago native and poker pro was the only player to top the 3 million mark and he did so with plenty to spare at 3,492,000.

Pro Justin Bonomo is in Tosoc's rear view at 2,687,000, though, and with both over 100 big blinds there's still plenty of room for a change.

Seymour Still Battling

Former Oakland Raider/New England Patriot Richard Seymour has taken to poker in a big way since his retirement from the NFL and we've talked to him before about the reasons he loves the game so much.

Seymour's got game.

The 3-time Super Bowl Champ has yet to have a really big live tournament score so we can only imagine how much one might really embed the game in his future.

He's got a shot at the $1.9m available up top in this one though a late double up with 33 helped him bag a stack for Day 5.

At 553,000 (23bb) he has some work to do but the sight of a televised WPT final table can bring out the best in any player.

Former November Niner JC Tran also has the final table in his sights with 1.8m in chips, as does James Romero (2.03m), Jake Schindler (1.2m) and Igor Yaroshevskyy (1.06m).

They'll play down to six today at the Bellagio starting at 12 noon and you can follow along with the WPT Live Updates here. Here are the remaining payouts:

1st: $1,938,118*
2nd: $1,124,051
3rd: $736,579
4th: $494,889
5th: $345,272
6th: $268,545
7th: $207,163
8th: $153,454
9th: $107,418
10th-12th: $76,727
13th-15th: $61,382
16th-18th: $52,174
19th: $45,269

* First-prize amount includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.



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Did you open a new account on PokerStars via PokerListings in 2016?

If so you're invited to an exclusive $5 tourney next week for a $10,000 PokerStars Championship Bahamas package!

The tournament will take place on Dec. 18 at 13.35 (ET) and you'll find it in the Restricted section of the PokerStars lobby.

Top 11 All Score

The name of the tourney is ‘PokerListings Takes You to Bahamas’ and if you come out the winner, that's exactly where you'll be going to take part in the inaugural Bahamas Championship.

Even Gilbert Arenas loves it.

The winner's $10k package includes:

$5k for the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event buy-in Flight Accommodation $1k spending money

You don't have to win the whole thing to get a prize, though. If you finish in 2nd-5th place you'll get a $530 PCA Super Satellite ticket. Finish 6th-11th and you win an $82 (Rd 2) satellite.

All players who have opened an account on PokerStars through us before Dec. 16th this year are eligible so if you've yet to open an account, it's not too late.

Head to our PokerStars review page here to download the software and join the list of PokerListings players eligible for our exclusive promos and freerolls.

Ton of Poker, Ton of Adventure

Formerly known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this is one of the signature stops on the global poker circuit.

Held at the spectacular Atlantis Resort in Nassau it's 9 days (this year from Jan. 6-14) of wall-to-wall tournaments, cash games and side activities.

Atlantis at night.

Beyond the 90 tournaments and perpetual cash games there are any number of adventures to keep you occupied from the death-defying waterslides to a new 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

On the poker side here are a few highlight events to watch out for:

PokerStars Open: January 10-12, 2017 - $220
PokerStars Cup: January 12-14, 2017 - $440
PokerStars National Championship: January 7-9, 2017 - $2,200
PokerStars Championship Main Event: January 8-14, 2017 - $5,000
PokerStars Championship High Roller: January 12-14, 2017 - $25,750
PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: January 6-8, 2017 - $100,000

On the non-poker side these are among the highlights on the schedule from PokerStars:

Virtual Reality Stations & High Score Competition Breakfast with the Pros AFC/NFC Tailgate & Squares Competition Ultimate Gaming Set Up Giveaway Blowout Player Party at Aura

Atlantis is also one of the most renowned and kid-friendly resorts in the world so there's plenty to do for every member of the family. 

For a more complete look at the venue, schedule and logistical details of travelling to/playing poker in the Bahamas, check the PokerStars page here. To be eligible for this exclusive tournament and a $600 sign-up bonus, visit our review here.



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As poker writers, players, pros, watchers and fans we all talk about poker - a lot.

We talk about hands. We talk about bad beats. We talk about run good. We talk HU4rollz.

But no matter how much we speak to one specific part of the game when we do, when we talk about poker we always speak to something more than just the turns of the cards.

What are we (really) talking about when we talk about poker?

The Human Condition

We are talking about the game.

It's chips, cards and money. But more.

We are talking about chips, cards and money; the need to have fun; competition and the inner drive to recapture those moments when we played soldiers with our friends.

We are talking about family.

We are talking about the nine people sat around the table as if they are our brothers and sisters. We look at them with nails bitten down, jitterbug state, wearing the biggest smile and we love them.

We are talking about support.

We are talking about the times in our lives when we don't know what to do. We are talking about those nine people riding towards us on horseback with an outstretched arm waiting to scoop us up and rescue us from ourselves.

We are talking about a lesson in personal finance.

We are talking about money; that piece of paper that makes us act in the most heinous and giving ways - the wonder of the human condition.

We are talking about the loan from your friend because you have just lost the lot and yet the game is so great.

We are talking about making that same loan when you are in a sea surrounded by sharks. We are talking about teaching this thing in school to liven up math class.

We're talking about Giving.

We are talking about service. 

We are talking about giving to others. We are talking about Robin Hood. We are talking about organizations like Raising For Effective Giving (REG) and determining what's more important - your 5% donation or cable.

We are talking about the One Drop, The WPT Foundation and all the other poker charities that help reduce suffering in the world.

We are talking about fitting in.

We are talking about how great it would be if David Bowie were a poker player. We are talking about Ziggy Stardust and the way he plays the guitar.

We are talking about lesbians, gays, transgender, armless, legless, Pavarotti-size fat and Kate Moss-size skinny.

We are talking about skins of all the colors of the gasoline rainbows. We are talking about the agoraphobic and the voyeur, the mess and the lawyer. We are talking about the atheist and the nun and the man with the head like a currant bun.

We are talking about the shadow.

We are talking about the dark side. Do we want to know why it's there? We are talking about the need for MORE.

We're talking adventure.

We are talking about the shadow and how he only comes out when he hears the sound of the riffling chips. We talk about running away. We talk about keeping it all. We talk about never paying it back.

We are talking about love.

We are talking about that moment you saw her. We are talking about values and beliefs. We are talking about the love of the game.

We speak of fur-lined gloves from Venice and a beautiful game of tennis. We are talking about only one of the suits; it's red, and without which we would be dead.

We are talking about adventure.

We are talking about becoming a vagabond. We are talking about the sights. We speak of experience. We are talking about breaking out of the claustrophobic bubble and finding another flower to pollinate.

We are talking about Vitamin D; the way life should be. We are talking about sitting in front of an ocean with friends we never would have met had it not been for the deck.

We are talking about education.

We are talking about IQ. We are talking about EQ. We are talking about the search for mentors, Skype groups, and obnoxious forums.

We are talking about photographic memory. We are talking about a constant state of learning, of bettering ourselves, and of becoming a greater human being.

We're talking past and future.

We are talking about how it saved our lives.

We are talking about the past. We are talking about a life containing nothing but stigma, bleedy-looking eyes, and needing a surgeon to reach deep inside and give that heart a squeeze.

We are talking about societal conditioning, Plato's Cave and the need to fit in. We are talking about the flock.

We are talking about being a golf club carried wherever the Caddie wants to take us. We are talking about mushy peas, pie and chips; IV drips and cracked lips.

This is what I talk about when I talk about poker. What do you talk about?



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is your favorite record, a warm mug of mulled cider and a toasty fireplace to help you get through another tough day of mid-afternoon poker news.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Iowa police returning seized cash to poker pros, a grandiose Daniel Negreanu tattoo and the potential grudge match of the century.

1) Iowa Police to Return Cash to Poker Players

"Police confiscate poker players' bankrolls." It’s an unfortunately familiar headline that’s almost as old as poker itself.

"NVM, you can have it back."

On the other hand, police returning that cash to poker players is a new development.

That’s what happened in Iowa this week when two California poker players won a civil forfeiture case.

William “Bart” Davis and John Newmerzhycky had their $100,020 bankroll seized in Iowa in 2013.

The state agreed to settle the lawsuit by returning 90% of the funds to Davis and Newmerzhycky plus $60,000 in damages.

Interestingly, Iowa also announced plans to disband its Iowa Drug Interdiction Team, which was responsible for the forfeiture in the first place.

It certainly took a long time but this one has got to go in the "good for poker" category.

2) World’s Biggest Daniel Negreanu Fan

There are a lot of Daniel Negreanu fans out there but Tony Østbye might just be the most committed.

This week Østbye stopped by his tattoo artist and dedicated a large part of his leg to the Team PokerStars Pro.

Østbye already had Negreanu’s signature in ink but added a WSOP bracelet and Kid Poker's favorite hand T♣ 7♠

Went to my tattoo artist,Sally-Ann,to add some new ink to my @RealKidPoker signature more to come still healing#kidpoker #10-7o pic.twitter.com/JaHnCo29Hy

— Tony Østbye (@el_propell) December 6, 2016 3) Cate Hall Challenges Mike Dentale to HU4Rolls

If you went to bed early last night you missed one heck of a blow-up between Cate Hall and Mike Dentale.

The poker Twittersphere is still buzzing about it. It’s very, very lengthy (and heated) but the cliff notes are:

1. Cate Hall called off 80bbs with Ace-Ten in the $10k WPT 5 Diamond. Hall later explained she had a particular read in the situation.

2. Dentale blasted her for the play on Twitter.

3. Cate challenged Dentale to heads-up.

4. Dentale and Cate insulted each other in a series of Tweets.

5. It sounded like the match wouldn't happen.

6. Matt Glantz stepped in and it sounds like the match is back on and will be televised.

Cate Hall / Mike Dentale Match looks like its going to happen. Talks progressing. Live Stream & cut for TV.
March 2017@PokerNightTV

— Primotah (@MattGlantz) December 8, 2016

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The biggest World Poker Tour $10k event ever has winnowed its field down to just 75 players after a long day of play in Las Vegas yesterday.

Close to 300 players returned for Day 3 action and played through 7 levels to just about make the money at 72 players.

Three players will return today and leave empty-handed but the rest will share in the $7m+ prize pool.

Leading the hunt for the big prize is Ryan Hughes, who bagged up the only $1m+ chip stack on the day at 1,212,500 (202 bb).

Behind him in the top 5 are veteran pros Christian Harder (829,500) and Justin Bonomo (767,500) and a slew of the game's most notable names still fighting for one of the biggest payouts of the year.

Esfandiari Hangs In, Negreanu Exits

Among the 75 survivors is Antonio Esfandiari, a 3-time final tablist of this event. He doubled up late in the day with AQ > QQ to give himself close to 400k to end the night.

Can Antonio make it 4?

Not returning today, despite his best effort with $60,000 in buy-ins, is Daniel Negreanu, who finally succumbed just after the dinner break.

Other notables heading to Day 4 today include Dzmitry Urbanovich (513,500), Dan Smith (467,500), JC Tran (344,000), Anatoly Filatov (337,500), Mike Matusow (245,500) and Joe Hachem (159,500).

Former NFL lineman Richard Seymour also made the cut for Day 4 with 230,000.

Players return at 12 noon today at the Bellagio to play down into the money.

Follow along with the WPT Live Updates here.

The Top 5 to start the day:

1. Ryan Hughes – 1,212,500 (202 bb)
2. Christian Harder – 829,500 (138 bb)
3. James Romero – 771,000 (129 bb)
4. Justin Bonomo – 767,500 (128 bb)
5. Yan Lavrovsky – 720,500 (120 bb)



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a perplexing invitation to the mysterious mid-afternoon poker news game.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below the article.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at the remarkable life of female poker player/gambler Cat Hulbert, a Poker Brat game of charades and one retiree getting to live their dream at the 2016 Battle of Malta.

1) Cat Hulbert: “Women Innately Better at Poker”

The BBC published an in-depth feature about fascinating female poker pro/gambler Cat Hulbert this week.

Cat Hulbert's book Outplaying the Boys.

Hulbert was one of the few female players to play on a blackjack team in the early 90s and later transitioned into poker.

Card Player ranked her as one of the world’s top Seven-Card Stud players in 1996 and even published a book called “Outplaying the Boys: Poker Tips for Competitive women”.

“Playing poker is like taking a drug that makes everything fascinating,” she explained to the BBC.

It’s safe to say Hulbert dealt with her share of adversity in a gambling world dominated by men. In later years she was also diagnosed as bipolar and then was stricken with cancer.

Despite everything Hulbert said that the gambling lifestyle worked for her and gave her a sense of freedom over the years that she didn’t find elsewhere.

2) Hellmuth, Esfandiari Eat Frog Legs on TV

That Final Table show with Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and Joe Stapleton has certainly produced some noteworthy video clips over its short lifespan.

If nothing else we’ve got to thank it for giving us the following episode, which features Hellmuth and Esfandiari eating frog legs thanks to a bet.

Hellmuth does OK but Esfandiari is forced to eat raw frog legs at the end of the episode (about 42:00) and let's just say it's a struggle.

3) Sally Stephens Lives Dream at Battle of Malta

Speaking of inspirational women. Retiree Sally Stephens is in the midst of a bucket-list trip to travel the globe and play poker.

Her trip got off to a fantastic start thanks to a big score at the PokerListings Battle of Malta in November.

Stephens finished runner-up in the €1,200 Grandmaster High Roller event to pick up €25,000 and a coveted BOM trophy.

We wish her the best of luck on the rest of trip, which includes tournaments in Australia and the Czech Republic.



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Sally Stephens is retired and traveled to Malta as the first stop on a poker bucket-list adventure that will take her all over the world.

By the time Battle of Malta was over Stephens had chopped a tournament heads-up, celebrated with poker pro Maria Ho and pocketed her biggest poker score ever.

After playing and busting the €550 BOM Main Event Stephens decided to enter the €1,200 Grandmaster High Roller tournament.

She made it all the way to the final two spots and made a deal to take home over €25,000.

Stephens explained that she's been playing poker since seeing Chris Moneymaker win the WSOP Main Event in 2003.

Having played strategy games since her childhood, Stephens said she quickly recognized that modern poker strategy was far more complex than what she had experienced playing cards recreationally before.

So she started practicing online, reading books and studying how professionals played by watching poker on TV and the internet.

Stephens lives in Costa Rica and she's putting her poker theory into action by traveling to tournaments in far-flung, exotic destinations.

Malta, Czech Republic, Australia

Malta was Stephens' first major live poker trip but she said she's planning more soon.

The final European Poker Tour stop in Prague this month is on the list. So's the Aussie Millions in Melbourne in the new year.

Stephens said her score at BOM will make things a lot easier.

“Winning this cash just makes it easy for me to travel around and play some more poker tournaments and it definitely boosts my confidence,” she said.

“It's a poker dream come true.”

Watch Sally Stephens' Poker Dream Come True at BOM

Check out the video to learn more about Sally Stephens' poker adventure and join us at the 2017 Battle of Malta to make your own poker dream come true.



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You can still draw a very big crowd to a $10,000 unlimited re-entry event.

It's been bedlam at the Bellagio in Vegas the past two days as the WPT 5 Diamond got underway and the poker crowds came  to play.

After a smashing 519 entries yesterday another 272 forked over the 10 large today to create the biggest $10k field in WPT history.

Total prize pool: $7,672,700.

It's not the outright biggest prize pool in WPT history, but it's close. And with $1.9m up top for this year's winner not many are likely to be to picky.

JTilla, Negreanu Run the Jewels

At the end of Day 2 just 270 of those 791 entries remain led by Ryan Hughes, who bagged up 364,000.

JTilla the Killa.

Also way up in the counts is famed actress and poker lover Jennifer Tilly who piled up heaps of her own. At 279,100, she sits second overall.

Also sliding into the Top 10 to end the night were David Pham (224,300) and Justin Bonomo (219,800) but they're far from the only poker heavy hitters still in contention.

Daniel Negreanu (183,400), Chance Kornuth (176,300), Jason Koon (172,600), Cate Hall (161,900), Layne Flack (151,600) and Adrian Mateos (145,000) all bagged substantial stacks.

Brian Rast, Mike Matusow, Liv Boeree, Tom Marchese and Igor Kurganov all topped the 100k mark with Antonio Esfandiari, Dominik Nitsche and Phil Laak not far behind.

As a pleasant surprise, the Great Dane Gus Hansen has also made his return to poker late on Day 2.

A look at the Top 10:

1. Ryan Hughes – 364,400 (304 bb)
2. Jennifer Tilly – 279,100 (233 bb)
3. Samuel Bernabeu – 279,000 (233 bb)
4. A.J. Gambino – 277,300 (231 bb)
5. Kristina Holst – 267,000 (223 bb)
6. Lucas Blanco Oliver – 263,000 (219 bb)
7. Corey Hochman – 260,400 (217 bb)
8. Anthony Spinella – 226,700 (189 bb)
9. David Pham – 224,300 (187 bb)
10. Justin Bonomo – 219,800 (183 bb)

Day 3 gets underway at 12 noon tomorrow in Vegas and, given the size of the field, will play another 7 levels. 70 more players will get paid along with the top two, who will top 7-figures each.

Follow along with the WPT Live updates team right here.



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For a long time - and for a wide swath of poker players - a European Poker Tour title was the most coveted in poker.

Winning an EPT main event was big. Life-changing, even. And led to multi-year sponsorship contracts – think Noah Boeken, Liv Boeree, Jason Mercier, Vicky Coren and Bertrand Grospellier to name just a few.

And for years EPT events just grew bigger and bigger. What begun as a 1-day, €1,000 tournament evolved into a two-week behemoth with 100s+ events and thousands of players.

But in a surprising turn announced this summer PokerStars is scrapping the iconic EPT and re-shaping its entire live tour platform.

Where exactly is all this leading? And where is live poker, at least in Europe, heading in 2017 and beyond? Let's do some speculating.

Dwindling Returns, More Competitive Market

When the Season 3 Grand Final rolled into Monte Carlo the top prize ultimately topped €1m for the first time. Gavin Griffin won €1.8m million for his win, which was twice as much as his predecessor received.

Gavin Griffin.

For the next 5 or 6 years the EPT grew exponentially. But after years of virtually unchecked growth the market finally began to grow saturated.

When there’s an EPT winner literally every month, it’s not quite as special as it once was it seems. Different locations across Europe were tried but eventually numbers began to dwindle.

Within two years the only events that still grew were Prague and Barcelona. So PokerStars made a good decision - it cut half the stops to focus on making the remaining ones more interesting.

In the meantime competitors also began picking their spots well, too. More and more low-to-medium buy-in events have exploded on the scene, directed at a much larger target group – the recreational players.

So now with the 888Live, Unibet Open, WPT National and WSOPC tours coming on strong the EPT, UKIPT, LAPT and APPT are no longer -- replaced by the PokerStars Global Championships and PokerStars Festivals. What will happen next? It seems it can go one of three ways.

1) PokerStars Brings Back Value to International Titles

By taking a more global approach PokerStars events should, in theory, get more attention. And with less stops overall, players from all over the world will almost have to go to more remote places than before.

Will prestige rise?

Player fields should become more diverse and more high quality than ever before.

Gone will be the times when Macau has only Chinese and Sydney mostly Australian names in the results. Europeans and Americans will be there, too, and bring the previously more local events to another level.

The more global approach should give a PokerStars Championship title more prestige, which is always appealing to a poker player.

More players mean more money, which in turn attracts more players. PokerStars actively ignites a new live poker boom and we see further record numbers in the future.

2) PokerStars Changes Strengthen Competitors

With PokerStars giving up the EPT the term “European title” has become vacant. It has left a vacuum and someone will step in.

Door open for newcomers?

888poker, for example, has established itself as a solid competitor with booming Live Local events and new low buy-in festivals all over Europe.

They now cover the whole range of buy-ins up to about €1,000.

Unibet is also moving fast, hosting a lot of fun live tournaments in interesting locales (see: Bucharest) and completely overhauling its software to focus on recreational players.

The WSOP Circuit is expanding in Europe with events in Italy, Germany, Georgia, France and the Czech Republic and it’s hard, if not impossible, to top the WSOP brand in poker pedigree.

With so many competitors battling on the European market, players will profit most as the quality of events has to be high to win players over.

3) PokerStars Loses Brand Power

Although PokerStars is positioning the new Poker Championships and Festivals as the next step in live poker evolution, it could be the start of a downswing for PokerStars as a major live event host.

With the new split PokerStars is not only giving up the most powerful brand in poker outside the WSOP, it's also giving up on the two-week, 100+ event extravaganzas that resulted from linking up the EPT events with the smaller Eureka and Estrellas tours, and so on.

Will pros travel for it?

That combination gave the smaller tours record fields time after time as many pros would add a couple of days to their EPT schedule to play the smaller events, too.

Now the buy-in levels are separated again it will split the player fields in half. Why would the pros travel to expensive London for a £1,000 event when there are similar events in places like Rozvadov, Spain or Malta?

And will anyone care about someone - even a big-name pro - winning a tournament in Panama or Macau?

The recent changes at PokerStars – rake adjustments, ending Supernova Elite under poor terms, Baazov under investigation – have certainly left a bad taste in a lot of mouths. And left the impression the company has changed and players (or pro players at least) aren't the main focus anymore.

Even if the PokerStars product might still be one of the best, players will turn away quickly if they feel they get bigger benefits somewhere else.

Barcelona 4 ever.

One safe bet? The stop that won’t lose its fascination is Barcelona.

Hot summer nights, one of the greatest cities in Europe, a top notch casino -- that’s a combination that will (or should) never fail.

Which Way Next?

No matter which of these scenarios you predict, for tournament poker players of all bankrolls the live poker future is still bright.

There will be a very lively poker scene all over Europe with a destination and tournament line-up someplace, somewhere that can cater to almost everyone.

PokerStars, on the other hand, has arrived at a crossroads. Which path will it end up taking?



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an all-expenses paid trip to the most luxurious mid-afternoon poker news resort in the world.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at an odd promotion involving Fernando Pons, the end of Sky Poker and the latest revealing Daniel Negreanu interview.

1) Bust Pons, Win Beer

How’s this for an unusual bounty: Bust recent November Niner Fernando Pons and win your own weight in beer.

Beer me, bro.

That’s really happening at the upcoming Superprizepool event at Casino Cirsa Valencia.

Specifically if you manage to bust Pons on Day 1b of the tournament you’ll receive your weight in liters of Desperados Tequila-flavored beer.

It’s not quite Russ Hamilton earning his weight in silver by winning the 1994 WSOP Main Event but it’s something.

Meanwhile Pons finished ninth in the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table in November but he’s been making up for it with appearances all over the world.

The Spaniard had a $2.4k cash in the Estrellas Main Event at EPT Barcelona this summer and even stopped by PokerListings 2016 Battle of Malta.

2) End of the Road for Sky Poker

After 10 years the iconic Sky Poker TV show is coming to an end.

Presenter Richard Orford was there for the first show and will be there for the last according to a photo he posted with the crew.

Sky Poker was a groundbreaking poker show in the U.K. that also included an adjoined U.K. online poker site. Over the years plenty of notable poker personalities were featured on the show including Kara Scott, Neil Channing and Laura Cornelius.

Good luck to all the hosts moving on to other ventures:

After TEN amazing years Sky Poker TV ends tonight, live at 10 on Sky Sports 4. I was there for the first show & I'll be there for the last pic.twitter.com/2nAdk6RZBZ

— Richard Orford (@Richard_Orford) December 6, 2016 3) Daniel Negreanu Talks Tells, Trump and More

The Norwegian video podcast Nuts scored a pretty big interview this week: Daniel Negreanu.

The Nuts crew covered a wide range of topics with the iconic poker player including tells, Norway, who he hates (Donald Trump) and his most embarrassing moment (literally wetting the bed in Cardiff).

It’s pretty impressive that Negreanu can still give interesting answers after all these years. The 6-time WSOP bracelet winner remains one of the most dynamic interviews in the game no matter what country he’s in.



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Since 1998 poker players have gathered in Melbourne to play what’s officially called the Crown Australian Poker Championship.

It’s one of the best and most important tournaments of the year in any hemisphere and whomever takes poker seriously wants to play the Aussie Millions.

It's back again for another spectacular series in January and you can make your way into the main event for as little as 50 cents via 888poker.

$10,000 Package w/ 3 Nights at Promenade

For most players in the world Australia is a little off the beaten track. It’s also, comparatively, a pretty high buy-in main event.

Which is why it’s good that you can win your Australia package online.

888poker offers a series of satellites that culminate in a direct qualifier with a $1,050 buy-in.

The full package you can win has a value of $10,000.

It includes the $8,250 buy-in, three nights at the Promenade Hotel from January 24-26 and $1,000 in travel expenses.

If you’re already in Australia you might want to check out the alternative qualifier where you can win a seat only.

As Low as 50c and $12

Outside of the standard 888poker steps system you'll find several steps satellites to the 2017 Aussie Millions main event.

The lowest level you can play in costs just 50 cents. From there you can move up to the $12 satellite, the $109 satellite and finally the $1050 qualifier.

The satellites run several times a day so check the 888poker lobby under the tournaments > live events tab.

26 Events, $30m in Prize Pools

This year's Aussie Millions main event begins on Sunday, January 22 and runs for a whole week.

In the Asia-Pacific this is the go-to event. This year there will be 26 events and the festival usually attracts more than 6,000 players who generate around $30 million every year.

The Aussie Millions has made a lot of history. It was the first international poker event to feature a tournament with a 6-figure buy-in and it was the first to introduce a Super High Roller challenge with a $250,000 buy-in.

All the high roller events are on the 2017 schedule again so we’ll see a $25,000, $100,000 and a $250,000 tournament.

Past Main Event winners include Ari Engel (2016), Ami Barer (2014), Tyron Krost (2010) and Gus Hansen (2007), who went on to write his bestselling book Every Hand Revealed based on the notes he made while playing the tournament.

The Aussie Millions is also the only major tournament that starts the final table with seven players.

Try to win your Aussie Millions package on 888poker for a chance of a lifetime; If you don’t have an account yet go to our 888poker review page and you’re only minutes away from playing with an $888 bonus.



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With a buy-in of $10,400 you'd imagine the ceiling for the unlimited rebuys at the WPT 5 Diamond is, well, limited.

You'd be mistaken.

Always one of the favorite events of the year players have come out in droves to the Bellagio for Day 1 this year - and they've come out firing.

With five 90-minute levels done over 500 entries have been forked over to help build what should be a record-breaking prize pool.

The 519 total entries so far is already well over last year's 430 for Day which led to a 639-player field. The all-time record for the event is 664 players in 2007.

With registration open for another 4 levels tomorrow it's on pace to top the all-time record and be the biggest 5 Diamond of all time.

Negreanu In for 6 Already

As you might expect with the $10k buy-in the field of 500+ is more than peppered with a few of poker's elite.

Can't stop won't stop.

Leading the way in pursuit of an early big stack is, of course, Daniel Negreanu. He's a former 5 Diamond winner and Vegas local with a bottomless bankroll so him piling in 6 bullets already in pursuit of a big stack seems inevitable.

Negreanu's previous 5 Diamond win way back in 2004 earned him $1.77m so we can see why he's eager to keep firing. He finished Day 1 on that 6th bullet with 80k.

Alongside DNegs are literally hundreds of the game's best players from Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari to Cate Hall and Sam Abernathy to Calvin Anderson and Ankush Mandavia.

World Poker Tour icon and commentator Mike Sexton, a recent WPT Champion himself, is also in the field looking for the famed WPT double.

It's a veritable poker who's who at every table and so far the action has been relentless. Out to an early chip lead after Day 1 is Robin Hegele with 185,000 (463 bb).

Andjelko Andrejevic (136,400), Jen Tilly (134,225) and David "The Dragon" Pham (120,100) are also off to a good start but with a very deep structure and virtually every bustee back in the field tomorrow it's still anybody's ball game.

The ultimate winner, it looks like, will pocket a massive score up near the $2m range for his or her troubles. Follow along with the WPT Live Updates right here with action starting action at 12 pm Vegas time tomorrow.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a joyful slide down the snowy mid-afternoon poker news hill that is sure to send you flying off an unseen makeshift kicker.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below the article.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at the Unibet Open breaking records in Bucharest, Donald Trump blocking Doyle Brunson and Tony Hawk with the Seven-High, like a boss.

1) Local Wins Record-Breaking Unibet Bucharest

The Unibet Open continues to be the little tournament festival that could with a recent record-breaking stop in Bucharest.

Small buy-in, big pay out.

Over the weekend local Traian Bostan topped a 603-player field to take down a €100,000 first-place prize at Unibet Open Bucharest.

It was the biggest Unibet Open event ever held and Romanians dominated the final table taking seven of the available nine seats (Finland’s Juho Launonen and the U.K.’s Eli Heath were the odd ones out).

The low buy-in Unibet Open events continue to draw a crowd no matter where they go and it’s safe to say Bucharest was a resounding success with record numbers, a special invite-only ladies event and plenty of activities away from the tables.

Bucharest was the season finale for this year’s Unibet Open but we can’t wait to see what organizers cook up for 2017.

2) Donald Trump Blocks Doyle Brunson on Twitter

As you might expect, old-school poker pro Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson leans a little to the right and so the following Tweet came as a bit of a surprise:

Holy Smoke!! Donald Trump blocked me on twitter. I was his biggest supporter in Nevada. What happened?

— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) December 3, 2016

There was no reason given and it’s tough to find anything on Brunson’s Twitter that would raise the ire of The Donald.

Of course Brunson isn’t the only person getting blocked as multiple outlets have reported thousands of accounts getting the same treatment recently.

Let’s just hope this doesn’t portend anything for online poker in the USA as insider Steve Ruddock opined:

@TexDolly The assault on poker and gambling is beginning

— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) December 5, 2016 3) Tony Hawk Stuns Maria Ho with 7-High Call

“Did you just soul read me?”

That’s what Maria Ho had to say to Tony Hawk when the legendary skateboarder made an improbable call against Ho during the Poker Central Charity Shootout this weekend.

It’s understandable considering Hawk made a call with 7-high and was correct.

It’s not clear if Hawk knew exactly what he was doing but it was an impressive play nonetheless.

Ho did comeback, however, and win the match.

Watch below. The hand starts at 7:19:00:



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Last week it was Sam Trickett; this week's it's Boris Becker.

Former online poker #1 partypoker continued its big push back into the spotlight with another big signing to its ambassador team announced today.

German tennis ace Becker, who picked up poker seriously in the last decade while still coaching world #1 Novak Djokovic, even brings his own unique promotion to the team.

Called Beat the Ace, partypoker players will get the chance to play in four $5,000 freerolls starting today, Dec. 5. The overall winner will then get to play Becker heads up live in Germany for up to $25,000.

Equal Drive at the Poker Table

If you grew up watching sports in the 80s Germany's Becker is as iconic a figure as it gets.

Serious about poker, too.

The six-time Major singles winner became the youngest Wimbledon champion ever at the age of 17 and went on to spend the decade dominating the courts against legends Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg.

Becker says the competitive fire that drove him then hasn't changed:

“I am equally competitive at the poker table as I was on the tennis court, so I’m really excited to be partnering with partypoker and taking on players around the world.

"I learnt to play poker a long time ago; it’s a game of skill and perseverance, so I’m hoping to use my experience on the tennis court to my advantage. partypoker has some world class tournaments coming up and I look forward to playing online as well as live at the partypoker MILLIONS in April, so see you there!”

Previously a Friend of PokerStars Becker has played and held his own in plenty of Invitational tournaments and racked up $111k in live earnings, including a recent cash in the Devilfish Cup.

“It’s great to have Boris on board," adds Tom Waters, Group Head at partypoker, "as he is one of Germany’s, and indeed the world’s most notable sportsmen.

"Boris’ mental strength and desire to win will make him a tough competitor at the poker table, and I’m sure he’ll test our players as part of the partypoker Tennis Missions promotion!

£6 Million partypoker Millions Returns in April

Along with the addition of Becker to its team partypoker also announced the addition of an extra £1M to the next partypoker Millions prize pool this April.

Action for everybody.

Now up to £6 Million it'll be the biggest ever guaranteed prize pool in Europe and guarantee a minimum of £1,000,000 to the winner.

The partypoker Millions will be hosted online on partypoker and live across the UK/internationally this winter and culminate with a live final at Dusk Till Dawn on April 18, 2017.

Joining Becker in helping push partypoker into the German market will be Jan-Peter Jachtmann, a WSOP bracelet winner in PLO and regular in the high-stakes cash games at King's Casino.

To open a new account and begin your qualifying towards the next partypoker Millions, check our review page here and sign up via the download link to receive an up to $500 sign-up bonus.



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Vojtech Ruzicka certainly was one of the stronger players at the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table.

When he three-barrel bluffed against Gordon Vayo on Day 2 of the finale, though, it stirred up a lot of discussion.

Let's have a look at the hand, put it in context and reflect on the Czech’s decision.

Flop to River

It’s Hand 104 of the November 9 and the blinds are 500k/1M/150k. All remaining players are relatively deep.

Qui Nguyen, who later would go on to win the tournament, is the current chipleader with almost 97 million (equalling 97 bb). Cliff Josephy is next with 82.6 million (82 bb).

Ruzicka and Vayo both have around 54 million (54 bb) while Michael Ruane is the shortest stack with 49 million (49 bb), which is still a sizeable stack.

The remaining five players have $1.935 million in winnings locked up and the next pay jump is to $2.57 million. The winner takes around $8m.

Vayo raises from the button to 2.3 million. Ruzicka in the small blind has     and re-raises to 8.15 million. Vayo calls and there's 18.05 million chips in the pot. Effective stacks are 45.4 million.

The flop is       Ruzicka bets another 6.15 million, which Vayo calls. There's now 30.35 million chips in the pot and effective stacks are 39.25 million.

The turn is the   Ruzicka leads out again, now for 11.4 million, and Vayo calls. The pot is now 53.15 million chips big and the effective stacks are down to 27.85 million.

The river is the   Ruzicka moves all-in and Vayo calls, showing    

The set of eights wins the pot and Vayo takes the chiplead. Ruzicka barely had him covered but busted soon after in fifth place. Vayo, of course, made it all the way to heads-up play. Watch the hand again in the video below.

Analysis

This was a crucial hand and a major step for Vayo on his way to second place. The big question, however, is whether Ruzicka took too much of a risk or the best possible line.

No reason to fold yet.

The pre-flop action is quite normal. Vayo will raise a lot of hands from the button so this move doesn’t say much about his range.

Ruzicka looks at A-K in the small blind, which dominates a lot of hands Vayo could have. As Ruzicka sits out of position he raises big to more than 3x the first raise.

Vayo has no reason to fold just yet. He has a pocket pair that’s probably going to play against overcards on the board, but he has position and he has to pay 5.8 million more which is just the right price to go set-mining.

Remember that you hit your set one in eight times, statistically. At the same time Vayo’s call gives Ruzicka information about his range.

Vayo would have folded all his steals but all the Broadway hands and middle or even lower pairs are still possible.

Am I Willing to Play for My Stack?

On a pretty dry flop, which at least has two clubs, Ruzicka continues with an obvious c-bet.

He didn’t hit anything but Vayo might have missed, too, and a tight player like him will fold a lot of hands. So Ruzicka might win the pot without risking much.

Vayo calls the bet with hands like A-Q, K-Q, J-J, T-T, or 9-9 and with flush draws, not mentioning monsters 8-8 and 3-3. He would fold hands like K-J without clubs or 7-7.

Am I willing to play for my stack?

On the turn Ruzicka has to make a decision: Am I willing to play for my entire stack if I have to?

At that point Ruzicka has “only” invested 14 million (out of 54m) so he can still get rid of his cards. But any further bet would basically commit him to the pot.

These are the reasons that favor another bet:

Vayo is a tight player Vayo’s range includes a few hands – J-J, T-T, 9-9, or maybe even Q-T – that Ruzicka could force to fold. Ruzicka’s range is very strong (considering he re-raised pre-flop and bet on the flop) and has aces, kings, queens, and A-Q in it.

These points speak against another bet:

1. Ruzicka doesn’t have the A♣ to represent the nut flush if another club hits.

2. If he gives it up now, he doesn’t lose too much.

3. When Vayo calls again his range has become even narrower. It now consists pretty much of monsters and hands like a queen with a high kicker, at least a ten, and flush draws.

All or nothing ends in nothing. All or Nothing on the River

The river card is a brick and Ruzicka doesn’t take long to risk all his chips. By now he's invested almost half his stack and he sized his bets in a way that he still has fold equity with an all-in.

Basically there are only two hands Vayo can call with: 8-8 and 3-3. Tight as he played, he would have probably given up any hand with a queen, including A-Q, even if it cost him half his stack.

Add the fact that Vayo might have hands like A♣ 8♣ or 9♣ 8♣ that could have made it to the river and would beat Ruzicka’s A-K, the Czech player’s bluff is absolutely the correct move.

He made his decision to attack on the turn and he was playing to win the tournament. Most of the time his play would have worked against that player and his range, but the guy on the other side of the table hit a set.

Conclusion

Vojtech Ruzicka goes full speed to climb to the top of the chip counts but runs his cards into a monster.

Gordon Vayo once again hit the flop perfectly and all he had to do was to wait for his opponent to hand over his chips.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a heavy trophy, a heartfelt team hug and all the joy you deserve winning the first-ever afternoon poker news championship.

Got a hot tip for a 3-Bet of the future? Drop us a note about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Pascal Lefrancois upholding shirtless tradition, Phil Hellmuth goes full logo and Unibet goes deep on the Mannequin Challenge.

1) No Shirt Shall Pass

The Global Poker League final last night was really fun, hey?

The ringer.

Going down to the wire with the Montreal Nationals pulling out a 6-5 win over the plucky Berlin Bears, it finally flashed a lot of the potential many thought it would show in its inaugural season.

The stream peaked at 6k viewers, which was a nice jump, and with a good mix of playfulness and serious poker it was much closer to the "pokertainment" dream CEO Alex Dreyfus has been pushing all year.

It also, as Mike "Timex" McDonald put so well, really helped push poker back towards to joy of competition rather the lining of the pocketbook. With some big new improvements planned for Season 2 we really look forward to what's to come.

In the meantime, though, the Nationals will have bragging rights as the first-ever GPL champions and, in fine tradition begun when Pascal Lefrancois won his first bracelet in 2010, the shirtless winner photo lives again. God bless and behold!

Happy ending #gplfinals #sportifypoker pic.twitter.com/UekzLY6MMD

— Marc-Andre Ladouceur (@MarcAndre_FDawg) December 2, 2016 The original, for reference. 2) Phil Hellmuth Goes Full Logo

Did you know Phil Hellmuth has his own official logo? And that we've only been seeing a small portion of it on his hats? God bless and behold - the full logo revealed!

My official "Phil Hellmuth" logo. This is the full version on my books and DVDs. I use just the PH on my hats pic.twitter.com/sNyauk84OH

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) December 1, 2016 3) 300 Unibet Poker Mannequins + Bucharest Live Stream!

You know who's doing a ton of fun stuff these days? Unibet Poker

Besides, you know, reshaping its entire platform to support recreational poker players and launching its new 2.0 software they're also making sure players win cool stuff and have good fun.

The 28-day Trip Around the World you can win on January 7 is a good example as is their Unibet Open live experience currently playing out in Bucharest, Romania.

Along with the super fun Ladies Battle Royale on Wednesday and full live stream of the main event today and all this weekend, it somehow managed to coordinate (and knock out of the park) this 300-person Mannequin Challenge.

More power to you, Unibet. We appreciate the work you're putting in for poker players to enjoy the game to the fullest. Check the Challenge and live stream below!



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Jose “Nacho” Barbero took down LAPT Brazil last night to become the first poker player in history to win three Latin American Poker Tour titles.

He will also be the only player to win three LAPT titles.

Thanks to PokerStars shifting the LAPT into its Championship/Festival schedule, Barbero’s record will likely stand the test of time.

LAPT Brazil will be the final stop on the tour, which ran for nine seasons and awarded millions of dollars across events in Central America and South America.

Long-Time Coming for Barbero

Nacho Barbero picked up his second LAPT title way back in season 2, which means he’s been waiting over five years to complete the hat trick.

The Argentinean had some close calls over the years — he finished third in LAPT Chile in 2013 — but he couldn’t quite wrap it up.

Instead he had to wait for the last LAPT in history to outlast 329 entries in São Paulo and take down the coveted third title.

The final table included plenty of locals with the poker boom currently in full swing in Brazil.

Barbero was actually the short-stacked when play got down to three players. He wasn’t to be denied, however, and battled back to enter heads-up against Thiago Grigoletti with a massive 14.2 million to 1.8 million chip lead.

As you might expect heads-up only lasted one hand with A♠ Q♥ getting the nod as the winning hand in the final LAPT event.

PokerStars will return to Latin America in March for the first-ever PokerStars Championship series in Panama.



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11 days of tournaments. $5 million in guaranteed prize pools. Freerolls, a Champion of Champions event and a WSOP main event package.

888poker has been busy pushing the envelope with promotions and events in 2016 and it's not going to stop in 2017.

As soon as the New year hits 888poker is back with another edition of the ultra-popular Super XL tournament series.

This time around there's a guaranteed $5 million on the line and dozens of big perks to look out for.

Daily Freerolls for XL Tickets

The Super XL Series ran 3 times in 2016 - in the Winter, Spring and Fall. The first guaranteed $2m, the second $3m and the third $4m.

Get ready for the 888 cash suitcase.

All were such big successes 888poker sized up again this time around with $5 million gtd across the full 11 days.

You don't need to be a high roller to get a piece of it, either, as 888poker will run daily freerolls where you can win tickets for the Super XL tournaments.

If you're already an 888poker player, check your inbox regularly because 888poker will send you individual challenges daily.

Complete the challenges and you can win more tickets.

Champion of Champions Gets a WSOP Package!

Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for players on small bankrolls, a new Super XL leaderboard will be in play for all players who make the money in the Super XL tournaments.

At the end of the series the top 18 players on the leaderboard will play a special Invitational tournament on two tables.

Each player will receive a prize but the winner will get the prize of a lifetime – a 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event package.

Expect a lot of Dom, too.

The tournament will be called the Champion of Champions and if you want a chance to play, get started on the qualifiers now.

If you want to follow the 888poker ambassadors in the Super XL series, tune into Dominik Nitsche’s Twitch channel.

He'll be streaming most of the tournaments he'll play and if we know Dominik that will be pretty much every event. And definitely all of the higher buy-in ones.

Check back to our 888 news section soon to see the detailed Super XL schedule. Don't have an 888poker account yet? Check our 888poker review page to set one up and access our exclusive $888 bonus! Don't miss the ongoing $800,000 Gift Shower either.



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The Montreal Nationals out-dueled the Berlin Bears in an epic 11-game series to take down the inaugural Global Poker League Championship for $100,000.

The Bears and Nationals needed all eleven games and nearly seven hours in the Cube to settle the championship in Las Vegas last night.

In the end Mike “Timex” McDonald, Jason Lavallee, Pascal Lefrancois and Team Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur proved to be a winning combination for the Nationals in the 2016 GPL playoffs.

Close Call for Underdog Bears

The Berlin Bears came within one hand of claiming the championship for themselves.

Even the Rastinator wasn't quite enough.

Brian Rast, who was downright dominant in the GPL playoffs, had Pascal Lefrancois all-in with Q-4 to Lefrancois’ 4-4.

Rast didn’t hit anything, however, and the chip lead flipped back to Lefrancois.

The final hand proved to be a blockbuster with Lefrancois flopping a set of queens and then getting some good fortune on the turn when Rast hit two-pair with his T-8.

The Bears were an underdog in this year’s playoffs as they entered the playoffs as a third seed and with a unique mix of players that included recreational player Bill Perkins and stalwart Sorel Mizzi.

The Philipp Gruissem-managed team (who didn’t actually play for the squad) upset both the Hong Kong Stars and powerhouse Moscow Wolverines on their way to the finals.

They were an underdog in the final too and went down 5-3, only to reel off two back-to-back wins to force a game 11.

Nationals Rule Inaugural GPL Season

The Nationals got a last-minute boost with the addition of Lavallee for the finals.

The bombastic final hand.

You could make a good argument that the Nationals were the best team from the start of the GPL. Their roster also included Xuan Liu and former world champion Martin Jacobson who sat the playoffs out and cheered from home.

The team will split $100,000 but McDonald, who’s won more than $13 million playing live tournaments, said the experience was worth more to him.

“I’m honestly more excited about the trophy than the money,” said McDonald after winning.

“This really made it more about the poker than the money and I think that’s what‘sportifying’ poker was all about. The GPL has accomplished that.”

There were also some considerable side bets rumored to be wagered on the outcome of the final.

Big Things Coming for Global Poker League in 2017

The GPL will return for season 2 in 2017 but it might look considerably different. GPL founder Alex Dreyfus said the team is already working on ways to improve the league.

First and foremost the GPL will be much shorter the next time around, which was one of the main complaints over the course of the inaugural season. Another component that Dreyfus will add is amateur players getting a chance to put their skills on display in the GPL spotlight.

There’s a good chance the league will also expand geographically with GPL China set to debut.

One thing that won’t be going away? The draft. Dreyfus said it was one of the strongest parts of the GPL and there are plans to expand it with a Players Combine and casting qualifiers.



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If you don’t know what an "Escape Room" is yet, chances are you will soon.

The concept was born in Japan a decade ago but has exploded in popularly around the globe over the past few years - especially in Eastern Europe.

What exactly is it?

It's very simple: you (and some friends) are locked in a room. You need to find clues, objects, keys to open safes, activate some mechanisms, solve riddles, etc.

Your only goal: Get out of the room.

3 Poker Pros Walk Into a Room

When the European Poker Tour stopped in Malta a few weeks ago we sent three Team PokerStars poker pros to an Escape Room to see if their combined poker brain power would help them with this challenge.

In they go.

Those three pros: Fatima Moreira de Melo from the Netherlands, Theo Jorgensen from Denmark and Luca Pagano from Italy.

Before the game began they were all quite excited to try their hand at the challenge. Among the three only Theo had already tried his hand at Escape Rooms before (and failed).

“I played twice in Krakow with my family," Jorgensen said. "The themes were 'Secret Room' and 'The Planet of the Apes.' We failed and I thought that both were really tough. I don’t imagine it will be any easier today!”

Luca had never heard of Escape Rooms, but Fatima had:

“I work with a lot of TV projects and one of the cameramen I work with had already done a video about it in the Netherlands and told me a bit about it. He said it was very clever, so I’m curious to see it from the inside. It does look fun.”

Our three challengers weren’t too optimistic about the outcome, though. Said Fatima: “We will do our best, of course. But that doesn’t mean we will succeed. But it’s not all about winning, it’s also about the experience.”

The pros seemed to be counting on Luca’s reasoning. “He has a calmer personality," said Fatima. "He’s able to solve things." To which Theo added, “He will be great. He is our captain after all!”

Luca, the “brain” of the team, also had something to say:

“So an Italian, a Dane and a Dutchwoman are locked in a room... It sounds like the start of a joke. (laughs) Let’s see how it goes.”

Sand, Pyramids & Gas Masks

Our three adventurers found themselves in Egypt, which was the easiest (60% success) of the three Escape Rooms available at Scavenger Escape Malta, which opened in March 2016 in Sliema, Malta.

Stuck in Egypt.

Once they were introduced to the concept they entered the darkness of an Egyptian souk and the timer started with 60 minutes to get out.

Even if the three prisoners found the first riddles quickly, they were harder to solve than it seemed. But 15 minutes later we witnessed the first high-five between Luca and Theo after they solved the Roberval scale riddle.

With a little luck our three heroes quickly reached the second room where they found themselves wondering what to do. Sand, a pyramid, rocks and a gas mask ... as soon as Luca put the mask on the game master sent them some smoke for fun.

After half an hour, they asked for their first clue. But time flies and they only had a few minutes left when they finally got into the tomb where mysterious statues surround them.

The clock ticked, they asked for their last clue... but they were stuck.

“Game over, time is up!”

They were close but our pros didn’t manage to escape.

Humbled. “Hard, but Fun!”

“I’m feeling so dumb," said an angry Theo when he got out of the room. “I think we failed pretty bad but I was proud of us sometimes.”

Fatima, on the other hand, wasn't as critical of their performance.

“We did find a lot of things. But it’s really not easy.”

“I thought we were doing well at the start," said Theo, frustrated by the difficulty of the riddles. “But it was fun. Much more fun than I thought.

"It’s definitely the best Escape Room I’ve been to, by far. It’s really good.”

“I knew I would be the first one to give up and that Fatima would quickly be next, while Luca would just keep going. If it was up to him we would be in there for 4 hours before taking a clue.

"He was so angry when me and Fatima asked for one!” (laughs)

Fatima: “It’s definitely a lot of fun! The hardest part is figuring out what is real, what is useful and what is not.

"Sometimes you ignore something you shouldn’t. We got tricked by the statues at the end, they all look the same. Time doesn’t matter that much, you just need to focus on what you have to do.”

The trio had such a good time that they already wanted to come back the next day.

“Let’s just do the same one again,” joked Fatima. In the end there was no follow-up but Luca told us later that they would try again in Prague for the last stop of the EPT this December.

No better or worse than average. Neither Better or Worse

So how did our poker pros fare compared to the average Escape Roomer?

“Neither better nor worse than everyone else,” says Michael Pedersen, who came from Denmark to run this Escape Room, owned by one of his friends.

“It’s team work, but it’s still quite personal. The hardest thing for people is to work together.

"You know how it is: in a group there is always someone who has a big influence. This can be a distraction and prevent you from focusing on your instinct.”

"Some people work better with teammates and take advantage of the variety of minds but it can also create some conflict.”

“The best teams are the teams where everyone works as an individual but also as a teammate. So when an idea doesn’t work out someone else can take the lead and find the solution, or someone else can have a go, etc.”

Where Can I Try One?

While our top pros couldn't solve the challenge it’s easy to understand why Escape Rooms have grown so popular.

Not only is it profitable for whoever owns or runs it (fees range from €20-€30/person depending on how big the team is), but it’s also an original, interactive, immersive and accessible game for people of all ages.

There are already thousands in the world and and several often in the same city. Budapest, for example, has over 20. You can also find a lot of online Escape Rooms from very simple (in Flash and free-to-play) to complex ones with great design.

Try one out yourself, or check the video below to get a sense of it. 



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a stacked Rolodex, a quick call or two and an A-List table to share at the afternoon poker news People's Choice Awards.

Have a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Give us a hint about it in the comments below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Phil Ivey not going down without a fight, Phil Hellmuth makes a cool friend and Bill Perkins shows some amazing generosity.

1) "We Gamble Regardless"

We knew Phil Ivey wouldn't go down (or pay $15m) without a fight.

Not giving it up easy.

Things were looking a bit grim last week when the Borgata filed a $15.5m repayment claim against Ivey from the now infamous "edge-sorting sessions" of 2012 when he and his partner, Cheng Yin Sun, won $9.6m.

The $15.5m number came from the original winnings plus interest, "expected winnings" for the casino and repayment of comps.

Ivey's team had 20 days to respond and it now has, saying the legal basis Borgata used, a 2012 case involving 14 players at the Golden Nugget, is inapplicable.

In that case the punters realized a deck of cards wasn't being shuffled and won 41 straight hands with increased bets; Ivey's team says that's a whole different ballgame.

Not only did Ivey not break any rules and regulations, as a previous judge ruled, but edge sorting only 'provides information for betting purposes' and 'doesn't change the percentage of the winning hands to any extent.'

As his partner Sun put it, "we gamble regardless, because I can't be accurate all the time, you know." Read more from NorthJersey.com here.

2) Jim Harbaugh's Cool Friends

Phil Hellmuth gets mentioned in dozens of mainstream press articles about poker, naturally - typically for his petulant behavior at the tables or his string of WSOP bracelets.

It's not too often he's referred to as someone's "cool friend," though. Especially if that friend is former Stanford/49ers and current Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh has drawn a lot of ink over the past few years and mostly, like Phil, for his unconventional but successful methodologies.

ESPN's latest feature on Harbaugh centers around his eclectic and "cool" circle of friends - of which Hellmuth has been since the Stanford days.

Not only has Phil bent Jim's ear on poker hands and tell reading, the articles says, he's got Harbaugh using poker analogies in his press conferences. Which is actually pretty awesome.

While you might debate just how 'cool' it is to hang with Hellmuth he's in pretty good company on this list with Michael Jordan, Nascar champ Brad Keselowski, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Pulitzer-winning photographer David Turnley, among others. Read about it here.

3) Perkins Gives Out 13 Packages to Bahamas Championship

How much fun is Bill Perkins?

Generous and fun.

If you've followed the High Roller scene lately you'll know Perkins as a regular in the biggest events around the world and pals in particular of Antonio Esfandiari, Brian Rast and Jeff Gross.

His propensity for high-stakes props bets among that crew is well known including the epic Esfandiari DQ for peeing-under-the-table lunge affair at last year's PCA.

A hedge funder with a seemingly bottomless bankroll Perkins has plunged into the poker world wholeheartedly and, as a surprise pick in the GPL draft, even helped the Berlin Bears roll to the GPL finals in Las Vegas.

He's a blast to watch play, whatever the format, and has even taken to streaming live on his own Thirst Lounge Twitch channel.

It's always worth a watch and it was even more so for 13 lucky subscribers the other day when he randomly drew their names and gave them full 2017 PokerStars Bahamas Championship packages.

You read that right; 13 main event buy-ins plus hotel/flights just for following his Twitch stream. That's just cool. He even already upped the stakes with a prop bet on whether they'll make a profit or not.

Who knows what he'll come up with next! Catch Perkins and the Bears go for the GPL championship today here and follow his Twitch Channel here.



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Brian Rast rampaged his way to a perfect 5-0 record in the GPL playoffs last night and earned his Berlin Bears a trip to the finals against the Montreal National.

Rast dispatched Anatoly Filatov, Guo Dong (twice), Andrey Pateychuk (twice) on his way to perfection in the Cube last night.

Rast wasn’t the only Bear roaring, however, as Sorel Mizzi reeled off a couple wins and Bill Perkins also chipped in with a series-clinching win against the Hong Kong Stars.

Moscow Wolverines Stomp London Royals 4-1

Despite being the fourth seed the London Royals looked stacked with Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo trying to pull off the upset against the Moscow Wolverines.

Brian Rast

Instead the Moscow Wolverines proved once again why they've arguably been the breakout stars of the GPL this year and put away the Royals 4-1.

Meanwhile the other Eurasia first-round match saw the Berlin Bears (third seed) pull off a minor upset against the Hong Kong Stars (second seed) by a score of 4-2.

That set up a classic between the Bears and the Wolverines, which ended up going the full seven-game distance.

Rast was the deciding factor in the series as he picked up three wins including the series-winning match against Wolverines manager Anatoly Filatov.

Here’s a clip of the final hand:

Berlin Bears are in the finals! @tsarrast wins all his HU cube matches today! Watch out @MTLNationals! GG Wolverines pic.twitter.com/v1PYQGH8iw

— Global Poker League (@gpl) December 1, 2016

The Berlin Bears will compete against the Montreal Nationals for the title of inaugural GPL champion and the $100,000 first-place prize starting at 5 p.m. ET today.

As always you can follow along live via Twitch.tv.

Here’s one last look at how it all broke down last night:

First Round

Moscow Wolverines Beat London Royals 4-1
Berlin Bears Defeat Hong Kong Stars 4-2

Conference Finals

Berlin Bears Beat Moscow Wolverines 4-3



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13 seasons of the European Poker Tour have seen a lot of different locations.

The beautiful city of Prague has been on the schedule longer than most – for a good reason.

Besides its picturesque, postcard-worthy setting Prague is one of the few locations where the Main Event has regularly attracted more than 1,000 players. Only Barcelona does the same.

Fittingly, then, Prague is about to host the final EPT ever. It's a worthy background for the city has perpetually proven to be the perfect package for a poker event.

Ensan Stuns the Poker World

The venue will once again be the Hilton Hotel right on the Vltava River, one of the top destinations in the Czech capital close to the Old Town and connected to the Atrium Casino.

The Hobbyist.

Past winners of the EPT Prague Main Event include Arnaud Mattern (2007), Salvatore Bonavena (2008), Roberto Romanello (2010), Martin Finger (2011), Ramzi Jelassi (2012), and, most recently, Hossein Ensan (2015).

Ensan stunned the poker community when he – a hobby player who doesn’t play a lot of tournaments – first won the Seniors Event at EPT Barcelona 2014.

He then final tabled the Main Event (finished 3rd), final-tabled the Eureka main event in Rozvadov in Feb. 2015 and the EPT Malta main event in March where he also won two side events.

He won another tournament in September in Rotterdam before deciding to play in Prague, too. He then won one of the most coveted titles in Europe and the last big title of the year.

Who will take down the last EPT title ever? It’s one for the history books and that’s a special incentive no poker player can ignore. Online satellites are still available but will end on December 4.

Check the PokerStars lobby under the Events > Live tab. Over 100 events are on the calendar from Dec. 8-19; here are a few of the major ones:

€10,300 High Roller – Dec 8-10 €330 PokerStars Cup – Dec 8-12 €1,100 Eureka Main Event - Dec 9-13 €50,000 Super High Roller – Dec 11-13 €5,300 EPT Main Event – Dec 13-19 €25,500 Single Day High Roller – Dec 14 €10,300 High Roller – Dec 17-19 More to Come in Prague?

For now it isn’t known whether Prague will be back on the PokerStars Live schedule next year as they've only announced the schedule for the first half of 2017.

Based on its impressive list of assets, though, it certainly can't be the last we'll see a major poker festival in the Czech capital.

Unquestionably a must visit.

1) It’s centrally located in Europe and easily accessible.

2) It has the flair and grandeur of one of the historically most interesting and important cities.

3) The venue is in the center of the city and inside a luxury hotel so there’s literally no logistics required for players.

4) Great food and drink, architecture, culture, nightlife, history. No matter what streak of life you come from, you’ll find your favorite pastime in Prague.

5) In short it offers everything other big European cities offer but for a third of the price.

PokerListings will be on hand for all the action so stay tuned right here next week - you're sure to see some history made.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a mouthful of lutefisk, a shot of Akvavit and a hearty skål to our afternoon poker news viking brethren.

Have something you want to see in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Muskan Sethi changing minds in India, Ladies go to war in the Unibet Battle Royale and the working man wins in Norway.

1) Poker = Dreamer's Sport

If you watched Season 2 of PokerStars' Shark Cage you'll for sure remember Muskan Sethi.

Muskan Sethi (Photo: India Times)

The 27-year-old rising poker star from Delhi, India, was the online qualifier on Episode 6 among sharks Mike 'Timex' McDonald, Jason Mercier and her idol, Liv Boeree.

Not only was her story an inspiration, she held her own at that tough table and made it all the way to heads-up before losing to Rugby player Mike Tindall.

Two years on from that moment Sethi is still firing away. As a new profile in India Today explains, not only does she have a day job as a social worker she's still grinding and changing minds about woman and the game:

"Usually the poker community treats me like a guy because the poker face is a man's face... But when they find out that I am a girl, they tell me 'Go back to the kitchen.'

"Times have been changing. I am still experiencing the change. Earlier they would not be too keen to have me play with them. But now they know how good I am at the game and enjoy playing with me.

"Poker can be compared to stock market and chess. It is a dreamer's sport. I could have chosen anything but Poker chose me."

Her passion for poker speaks to another important mission for her: ensuring women in India have more and more opportunities open to them.

"I feel no one should be dependent. There is no profession where women can't dominate," she said. Well put. Read more about Muskan and the burgeoning Indian poker scene here.

2) Unibet Ladies Battle Royale is a Good Time

Speaking of bad ass women showing how it's done at the poker table ... The Unibet Open Bucharest is happening this week but before things get heated in the Main Event they're live streaming a special Ladies Battle Royale SNG.

At the table is a pretty eclectic and impressive mix of poker players, gamers and media personalities highlighted by Gaelle Garcia Diaz, Kat Arsnby and Ladies Challenge Tallinn winner Maret Komarova. Needless to say, it's been fun to watch. The prize pool is just €6,000 but the spirit of poker is alive and well.

Commentary and analysis by David Vanderheyden and Marc Convey with lots of poker tickets and freerolls on offer ahead of the launch of Unibet 2.0 on Dec. 1. Watch it below!

3) A Plumber, A Fisherman and a Social Worker Walk Into a Poker Tourney

In case you weren't aware, Norwegians love poker. And we mean really, really love poker.

Tide continues to rise in Norway

Inspired by legends like Thor Hansen and Johnny Lodden Norwegians have taken to the game like few others over the past decade.

Now, thanks to slowly changing laws, they're finally enjoying hosting their national championships on home soil.

Over 2,100 players came to Oslo to battle for the crown this year and just 8 players are left who pretty much embody everything to love about the game these days:

Yrker representert på finalebordet: Fisker, elektriker, betongarbeider, rørlegger, maskinimportør, pokerproff og sosialarbeider. #2poker

— Fin Gnatt (@tv2fin) November 30, 2016

In case your Norwegian isn't up to speed that reads "Professions represented at the final table: fisherman, electrician, concrete works, plumbing, machine importer, poker pro and social worker."

Which, awesome. Two of those players - Preben Stokkan and Pojan Salim - in fact have been regulars at our humble little €550 Battle of Malta.

It's poker by, for and profiting the people and a thrill to see it embraced on such a mainstream level. Get a small taste of the buzz for it here.



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The San Francisco Rush nearly pulled off the biggest upset in Global Poker League history by ousting the Montreal Nationals but the Canadians battled back and earned a trip to the first-ever finals.

The Rush went the distance on a jam-packed day on the GPL and took the Nationals to seven games before getting eliminated from the competition.

There was plenty of Game 7 action on the first day of GPL playoffs ever as the LA Sunset beat the Sao Paulo Metropolitans in seven games.

That led to a final confrontation between the Nationals and Sunset with a trip to the finals on the line. The Nationals prevailed with a 4-2 series victory.

San Francisco Rush Nearly Pull Off Huge Upset

The Rush, who were the fourth seed in the Americas’ bracket, rode early wins by Jonathan Jaffe and Phil Galfond to a 2-0 lead making the Nationals’ position perilous.

Jonathan Jaffe couldn't quite complete the upset.

Instead the Nationals fought back with wins from Pascal Lefrancois and Marc-Andre Ladouceur and that set the scene for a winner-take-all Game 7 match between Mike “Timex” McDonald and Jonathan Jaffe.

In the end McDonald got revenge against Jaffe and earned the Nationals a trip to the conference-finals.

Meanwhile the LA Sunset vs. Sao Paulo Metropolitans was a nail-biter in its own right.

Olivier Busquet lost his first match against Darren Elias but came through in the clutch by getting revenge on Elias to even things up at 2-2.

Busquet went on to and win the decisive Game 7 match against Thiago Nishijima.

Nationals Overpower Sunset to Book Finals

The final series of the day saw the Nationals taking on the Sunset for a trip to the first-ever GPL finals.

Both teams had already gone seven games so stamina was starting to come into play for this one.

Manager vs. Manager.

The Nationals ran-out an early 2-0 lead thanks to Pascal Lefrancois and Mike McDonald but the Sunset battled back with wins by Maria Ho and Chance Kornuth.

From there Lefrancois reeled off a win against Olivier Busquet, which put the LA Sunset into win-or-go home mode for game 6.

Team Managers Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Maria Ho faced off in the final match of the evening with Ladouceur finally beating Ho with Q♠ 6♥ over Q♥ 2♥. Ladouceur spiked a six on the river to send his team to the finals.

The Eurasian Conference begins today at noon PST with the Moscow Wolverines, London Royals, Hong Kong Stars and Berlin Bears looking to do battle. You can watch all the matches live on GPL.tv.

Here’s one more look at how it all went down yesterday:

First Round

Montreal Nationals (1st Seed) Beat San Francisco Rush (4th Seed) 4-3
LA Sunset (2nd Seed) Defeat Sao Paulo Metropolitans (3rd Seed) 4-3

Conference Final

Montreal Nationals (1st Seed) Beat LA Sunset (2nd Seed) 4-2



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The 2016 Battle of Malta was a memorable event in a few regards.

The main event beat its own record once again. The side events grew exponentially. And for the first time ever we saw a Swedish winner.

The most unique story, however, was two best friends making the final table.

Sweden's Robert Berglund and Rasmus Eriksson finished 1st and 3rd in the main event. How everything ended is now history – Robert claimed the title for €160,000 while Rasmus got a solid consolation prize of €67,000.

Together with a third friend, Johan Hinders, they all had a piece of the action. A few weeks after the somewhat improbable result we spoke to the 25-year old duo from Dalarna (north of Sweden) about their success. They were two humble winners.

PokerListings: A big congratulations on your 1st and 3rd! What have you been up to since? How did you celebrate it all?

The champ.

Robert/Rasmus: Thanks a lot! We stayed in Malta a couple of days and just enjoyed the moment.

We haven't actually celebrated it in a proper way yet. We were so tired the days after so we just relaxed, ate and drank well.

PL: You had a last longer bet where the winner got a free dinner, did you receive that one around the same time?

Robert: Haha yes I got it immediately. We ate at a steakhouse in the harbour, it was really good.

PL: During the tournament you mentioned that you started playing poker together 5-6 years ago. How did it all start?

Rasmus: My older brother was Robert's friend and one evening he asked me if I wanted to come along and play.

I don't remember exactly what we played but probably some small Sit & Go or some really small cash game. It was also at this time we started to hang out with each other.

After this we had more poker nights and eventually we started to play online.

PL: Was Johan with you during those nights?

Robert: Not from the start. We first met him a few years later in Riga during our first live event.

PL: So you have an established poker community in Dalarna?

Robert: No, we're just a few friends that enjoy playing together. We mostly play online nowadays.

PL: Since you started to play together around the same time you must have developed some similarities in your game. How did your strategy look before the tournament? Did you have the same approach or do you have very different styles?

Early days a breeze.

Rasmus: I think we play kinda similar. Battle of Malta has such a good structure so it was all pretty basic.

You get a nice amount of space to take it easy in the beginning and then it of course becomes more and more aggressive the further the tournament goes.

PL: Do you agree, Robert?

Robert: Yes. It was a really calm first day. Even the second day was kinda calm the first hours. You just had to relax and find some good spots.

PL: The night before the final table you were 6th in chips Robert and you were 2nd Rasmus. How did you prepare? Was it on your own or did you hang out together as usual?

Rasmus: We sat down and talked about how we thought the opponents played, but not much more than that. We took a fairly early breakfast and then we hang out by the pool for a few hours before we went to the casino.

No deal talk.

PL: Were you nervous or was it just happy feelings?

Robert: Of course you were a little bit nervous, but as soon as you sat down by the table it all disappeared.

PL: Did you discuss any deal that night?

Robert: Not really; we had such different chipstacks. But we changed a few more percent so neither one would cry a river if the other one went all the way.

All three of us already had a fair amount in each other before the tournament so everyone got a good profit in the end.

PL: How did you feel when you knocked out Rasmus?

Robert: I would rather have knocked out the Irish guy (Finnighan) but it felt OK. I pushed with 9-7 and Rasmus called me with king high. He found a good spot as a marginal favorite and I sucked out.

Rasmus: Yeah I guess you could say that.

PL: Is it usually Robert that wins those hands when you play?

Rasmus: That guy always wears his running shoes!

PL: Robert, in a shorter interview during the Battle of Malta you said that you were trying to become a professional. How has that worked out for you?

Pro life going well.

Robert: It’s been going good. I have been playing poker full time for about a year now.

I mostly play cash games during the weekdays, everything from €0.5/€1 and up, and on Sundays I grind tournaments.

PL: What did you do before?

Robert: I worked as a care assistant.

PL: Have you noticed any differences in your results since you started playing poker full time and do you have any goals poker-wise for the future?

Robert: Yes, the results are much better now. It's fun to see. I can put so much more time into it which makes a big difference.

At the moment I don’t have any specific goals, I just take it as it comes. The only thing I have scheduled is Eureka in Prague. I might also play some side events in the EPT that runs along with it.

Not as keen to put hours in.

PL: You stayed in the same hotel room in Malta; do you live together in Sweden as well?

Rasmus: No we don’t, I just moved to Falun (another town in Dalarna). My girlfriend lives here so that’s why. Robert is still in Mora so we live about 100 km from each other.

PL: Do you work there? Or do you have any plans like Robert and turn professional?

Rasmus: Of course I thought about it a couple of times but I don’t have the passion to put the time in you're required to as a professional. I’m currently working at a remediation firm and I’m very happy there so I have no plans to stop.

My colleagues are great, even if they have to accept that I take some more time off than usual this year to go to Prague with Robert.

But they've handled it well -- some of them even want to buy a percentage in the action (Laughs).

PL: You had a pretty strange bet before Battle of Malta. If any of you reached the final table the other guys had to get a tattoo of a “Dalahäst” (A wooden horse from Dalarna). Have any of you done it yet?

Rasmus: Haha not yet. We actually haven’t spent any time together since we came back to Sweden.   

But it is the Swedish championships of online poker this weekend and I will go to Mora to play. Get back to us after the weekend and we will have solved it!

PL: Are you going to have a lockdown?

Robert: Yes a few friends are coming over to my place. Both Rasmus and Johan are coming, also a few others. It will be at least five of us. We will grind tournaments.

3rd-place trophy is sweet, too.

PL: Might it not be difficult to find time for tattoos then?

Rasmus: Haha yes but we have to solve it! All details are not finished yet since two of us reached the final table.

As it looks in the current situation Johan must do two because both me and Robert managed to get there. And since I made it Robert has to do one; the same goes for me.

PL: Have you had any other crazy prop bets before?

Rasmus: Hmm, we have one that is still active with a third friend that uses way too much “Snus” (A Swedish tobacco). It is also about a final table - this time about the Sunday Million.

If he reaches it first we have to start with snus, but if one of us makes it first he has to stop for one year.

Everybody got paid well.

PL: Do you have any time limit for that one?

Robert: No, it's a standing bet. Because of that reason we play the Sunday Million every week. It is not about the money; we just want to win the bet.

It was a bit nervous once when he finished around 70th but it hasn't happened much since.

PL: Will you come back to Malta next year?

Robert: Yes, I am almost convinced we will.

Rasmus: Without a doubt! It's almost forbidden to schedule something else in November. 



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a flood of fired-up players, a table-filled airplane hangar and no going back to the afternoon poker news dark days.

Have something you'd like to see in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Felipe Ramos getting deep at the BSOP, a slugfest to kick off the GPL Playoffs and the Merciers get paid (a little).

1) When We Were Dealers

10 years ago, as Felipe Ramos and Andre Akkari have told us, poker was so marginalized in Brazil they could barely get two tables running for a tournament and players had to deal the cards themselves.

Felipe forever!

Today, the BSOP Millions in Sao Paulo is the largest poker tournament in Latin America. This year it drew over 2,500 players and will pay out more than R$1,150,000 to the winner.

Two very big reasons for that are Akkari and Ramos. Brazilians have embraced the spirit of the game those two personify and become one of the most passionate poker nations on Earth.

It could, Akkari thinks, even transform how the country deals with racism and poverty.

Regardless of its lofty social goals in the immediate future there's a tournament champion to be crowned and, maybe not so coincidentally, Ramos is one of the players from that 2,500+ with a shot at it this year.

A good shot, even. With 186 players left Ramos is 4th in chips. Play is about to get underway for Day 3 and we'll be keeping an eye on how Ramos fares. 

If you want to give him a quick vamooooos! in support over on his Twitter account, we're sure he'd appreciate it.

2) Let's Get Cubed!

As we mentioned yesterday the Global Poker League playoffs are about to get underway and the opening match is a doozy.

Americas Conference champs the Montreal Nationals take on the "underdog" San Francisco Rush in the signature GPL Cube to advance to the next round. Here are the matchups for the Best of 7 showdown:

Pascal Lefrancois vs. Faraz Jaka Mike 'Timex' McDonald vs. Jonathan Jaffe Marc-Andre Ladouceur vs. Phil Galfond

MTL has the 130k-100k chip advantage but San Fran has the power of Galfond. Who will prevail? Let's find out! Action begins in about 1 hour below.

3) The Couple that Cashes Together ...

Feels the same disappointment of not getting deeper together, obv.

36th and 35th for #teamMercier @shrpo pic.twitter.com/iOMBYXO3xn

— Natasha Mercier (@natashabarbour) November 28, 2016

Busted 35th right after tashina went out 36th. Not quite @Doc_Sands and @EMoutinho style... But we're working on it. 5 diamond next trny

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) November 28, 2016

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PokerStars will be the first official online poker operator in Portugal.

Earlier this week the Amaya-owned site received official approval from the country’s gaming board.

The license was actually awarded to REEL Europe Ltd but that’s a subsidiary of Amaya. A brand-new PokerStars.pt will be coming to the market in the near future.

It will be the first time since 2015 that PokerStars will be available in the market.

Poker, Blackjack and More

PokerStars.pt will be permitted to run NLHE, Omaha and tournaments in addition to Blackjack and French Roulette.

Portugese poker pro Joao Barbosa.

Unfortunately PokerStars.pt will be a restricted market with players only able to compete against opponents actually located in Portugal.

There is talk, however, of a shared liquidity deal with other EU members such as Spain, Italy and France.

PokerStars left the Portuguese market in 2015 when local lawmakers drafted stricter online gaming rules.

There have already been four licenses awarded to online casinos and sports betting sites but PokerStars is the first online poker operator in the country to be granted a license.

For the time being the PokerStars.pt website still reads “Coming Soon” but an official launch is expected soon.

Only time will tell if PokerStars will once again host some real-life tournaments in the country.

Vilamoura used to be a prominent stop on the European Poker Tour but currently there are no events on either the PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival schedule set in Portugal.



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The 5th anniversary 888poker Mega Deep main event ran on the weekend and the $500,000 guarantee, as expected, drew players from far and wide.

In fact that guarantee was surpassed easily as no less than 2,151 players (+920 re-entries) generated a prize pool of $614,200.

Despite the tournament lowering level times from 30 to 20 minutes it still took 13.5 hours until a winner was found.

In the end, the Russians dominated but the top eight finishers all collected five-figure payouts.

Russians Dominate, Swedes Rule

The top three spots were all occupied by Russian players. When three-handed play began josef_shvejk was already the massive chipleader with 34 million chips in front of him.

He wouldn’t let go of that lead at any time but there wasn’t much of that time left anyway. After less than 10 minutes the winner was found and crowned.

He received $97k for one night of playing cards; his final two opponents settled for $73k and $53k, respectively.

While the Russian players occupied the podium the Swedes showed that they’re always in position to strike. 

You might remember Gr33nApples from the Super XL Series last May when he won the main event.

He came 52nd in the weekend’s Mega Deep Anniversary. His country-sake nastymake went even further.

He made it to the 39th spot and has now breached the $2 million mark in online winnings. Maybe he likes the faster format, as he won the Turbo Mega Deep in January.

Final-Table Results Below

Place

Name

Country

Prize Money

1

josef_shvejk

Russia

$97,043.60

2

Egor Omfg72oAgain Boriskin

Russia

$72,844.12

3

comant76

Russia

$52,759.78

4

Jan Graftekkel Arends

Netherlands

$39,615

5

DrKoRn718

Germany

$29,113.08

6

Ender112

Ukraine

$23,216.76

7

jefffryyy

Slovakia

$17,320.44

8

veea

Russia

$11,608.38

9

_husgansen_

Germany

$7186.14

Nitsche Streams Live, Busts 19th

And then, of course, there’s 888poker pro Dominik Nitsche.

Always in contention

The perpetually travelling, permanently playing German had already won the Super XL Series Mini Main event in June and then finished third in the Super XL Main Event in September.

He made another deep run in the Mega Deep. His fans watched him live on Twitch until he finally busted in 19th place to just miss the last two tables.

“It always feels pretty annoying to go deep in a tournament with that many players and then bust out short of the final table,” Nitsche said afterwards.

“I felt like I had a good chance to actually win the whole thing as I had quite a good stack throughout. Unfortunately, I lost a few big pots towards the end and couldn't recover.”

Christmas Showers, Super XL VII in January

With the holidays approaching and another massive series coming in January it’s worth logging in to 888poker more than ever if you’re a mid- or low-stakes player.

888poker is a Christmas promotion like you haven’t seen one before, for starters, with $800,000 in gifts to be distributed before Dec. 26.

The next big tournament series on 888poker will be the Super XL VII in January.

Check back to our 888 news section shortly for more information and a full schedule.

If you don’t have an account at 888poker yet, take a minute to read our 888 review and download the software via our link to be eligible for an exclusive $888 bonus.



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PokerListings, PokerStars and the Portomaso Casino in Malta have teamed up for a special charity tournament this Saturday, Dec. 3.

The No-Limit Holdem tournament will require a modest €50 buy-in and offer unlimited rebuys for €20 apiece. There will also be a one-time add-on offered for €20.

All proceeds will go to local charities including the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation and Heritage Malta, who are helping to make the charity tournament an annual event.

EPT Prague Package for 1st Place

It’s a charity event but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be won for players in the tournament.

Heading back to Portomaso.

PokerListings, PokerStars and Betsafe have all chipped in for a prize pool that includes the following items:

1st — 2016 EPT Prague Package
2nd — 2017 Battle of Malta Buy-In
3rd — StanleyBet Buy-In

The EPT Prague Package includes a €1,100 buy-in to the Eureka Main Event (Dec. 9-13, 2016) as well as hotel and flight.

Thanks to PokerStars' revamped Championship schedule that will also be the last EPT ever so there’s a little bit of extra history for anyone who wins a package.

Second prize is of course a €550 buy-in into PokerListings’ very own Battle of Malta, which saw record numbers this year and awarded €160k to eventual winner Robert Berglund.

Action begins at 8 pm and the tournament will also offer refreshments and an open bar until 11 pm.

Here's a look at the structure:

Buy-in: €50, no fee Chips: 15,000 Unlimited Rebuys: €20/15,000 Add On: €20/20,000 Blinds: 20 minutes

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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a ladle of Fårikål, a scoop of Feijoada and just the right mix of ingredients for the perfect afternoon poker news stew.

Got a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Drop us a line in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a wild hand from a gangbusters PNIA weekend, Norway and Brazil bring the noise and some favorites to bank on for the GPL finals.

1) That's a $22k Shove

The $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is streaming live on Day 3 as we speak and if that event turns out anything like the cash games from this past weekend, it'll be a barnburner.

Not. kidding. around.

The SHRPO hosted two Poker Night in America cash games over the weekend and both were spectacular poker viewing.

First up was a wild, high-stakes cash session with the likes of Jason Mercier, Mustapha Kanit, Matt Berkey, Chance Kornuth and Bill Perkins that played BIG.

The following night the ladies took over for Ladies Night and played their usual brand of highly entertaining and equally impressive poker.

It featured regulars Jamie Kerstetter, Jessica Dawley, Natasha Mercier (formerly Barbour), Cate Hall and Samantha Abernathy - the latter two playing a highlight-reel hand that'll be talked about for a while.

Long story short: Hall and Abernathy were the two big winners at the table when, just before the end of the night, Abernathy shoved $22k into a $14k pot with AQ against Hall's KK.

We tend to think TV poker peaked with Tom Dwan on High Stakes Poker but if this is the future of live streams we're in for some similarly memorable moments.

Watch both blockbuster sessions below! (Abernathy/Hall hand starts at 7:16:35):

2) Norway and Brazil Really, Really Love Poker

We've seen a lot of countries with a love for poker in our travels but few compare to the collective passion of Norway and Brazil.

Despite poker being illegal in Norway for pretty much ever there's a grand, unbreakable tradition of the game there fuelled by forefathers like Thor Hansen and Johnny Lodden.

DNegs <3 Norway (Photo: Lina Olofsson)

We've seen that love first-hand from the scores of Norwegians who come to the Battle of Malta every year.

And when the National Championship was finally allowed on home soil last year almost 2,000 players (and National TV coverage) proved it yet again.

This year they've gone one-better with 2,120 players in the Main Event - an astounding figure for such a small country.

Meanwhile, down on the other side of the planet, the Brazliians are doing likewise.

The R$3,500 BSOP Main Event is the largest tournament in Latin America every year and crushed attendance records yet again in 2016 with 2,514 entries. A large part of that, of course, can be attributed to Brazil's legendary ambassadors of the game like Andre Akkari and our own 2016 Spirit of Poker Most Inspiring Player Felipe "Mojave" Ramos.

The game may have been born in the USA but it belongs to the world now and few countries show it more than these polar opposites. And if you can impress Daniel Negreanu, you know you're doing something right:

Poker is clearly VERY popular in Norway. Was taken aback by the massive turnout this morning. Thanks to everyone who came. https://t.co/EKHXmipcWt

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 26, 2016 3) Got a Feeling About Those Rush

The first-ever Global Poker League Playoffs start tomorrow and, truth be told, we're pretty excited about it. 

Always bet on Phil.

The regular season was nice to watch play out but now, with something really at stake in the games, things are gonna go up another level.

Based on the line-ups each playoff team has announced there's no question the talent is there for some phenomenal poker, regardless.

Even better, if you have think a team may have an edge on its path to GPL history, you can put your money on it at BetStars. Here are the current odds:

Our friends at @BetStars have announced the #GPLFinals odds. Can you #Callit? https://t.co/a2hgNQf1zM Playoffs & Finals starts tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/nCAfmhWlZo

— Global Poker League (@gpl) November 28, 2016

If you don't feel confident enough to put money on it you can still play the GPL Bracket Challenge and win some GPL swag.

Our sleeper pick? The San Francisco Rush. Never bet against Phil Galfond, basically.

Action starts tomorrow at 12 pm PT so be sure to tune either here on PokerListings or on the GPL Twitch channel.



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The upcoming Unibet Open event in Bucharest will be the first to include an all-female edition of it’s popular Battle Royale Sit & Go invitational, which features Twitch celebs and poker pros.

Twitch streamers Alexandra 'axy_pater' Pater and Linnea 'linneafly' Maria will play the tournament as will noted European poker personality Gaëlle Garcia Diaz.

There will be €6,000 up for grabs in the exclusive Sit & Go and the entire event will be streamed with hole cards on Twitch.tv with a 30-minute delay.

Recent Unibet Ladies Challenge Tallin champion Maret Komarova will also be joining the action.

Biggest Unibet Open Guarantee Ever

This year’s Unibet Open Bucharest Main Event will take place Dec. 1-4, 2016 with a €500,000 prize pool. As usual the entire event will be streamed live on Twitch.

Several Unibet Open two-time champions including Mateusz Moolhuizen (Malta 2011, Antwerp 2015) and Dan Murariu (Varna 2010, St. Maarten 2012) are confirmed to play Unibet Bacharest with the goal of becoming the first player to pull off the proverbial hat-trick and win three separate events.

Gaëlle Garcia Diaz

Here’s a complete look at the line-up for the inaugural Ladies Battle Royale:

Gaëlle Garcia Diaz (Poker) Alexandra 'axy_pater' Pater (Gaming) Daiva Barauskaite (Poker) Dehlia de Jong (Poker) Kat Arnsby (Poker) Kristi Kirs (Poker) Linnea 'linneafly' Maria (Gaming) Luciana Manolea (Poker) Maret Komarova (Poker)

To learn more about Unibet Poker and potentially satellite into the Bucharest event you can always check out our Unibet review.

You can also head to the popular Unibet Poker Twitch stream to see the software in action.



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In the history of poker, few can match Tom Dwan when it comes to polarizing hands and putting opponents to the test.

In this clip from the canonized poker TV show, Poker After Dark, Dwan battled with Phil Hellmuth and, as he liked to do, got all his chips in.

Hellmuth couldn't fight the urge to be a hero and called to create a $330k - and very memorable - pot. 

Flop to River

Ah, the good times. Remember Poker After Dark? Sure you do.

In this episode Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen and Eli Elezra are at the table but only Dwan and Hellmuth get involved.

Hellmuth raises an open from Elezra with     on the button and then calls Dwan’s re-raise from the small blind.

[Editor’s note: The raising war pre-flop is missing from the clip. Elezra opened with a raise to $1,400, Phil re-raised to $5,400. Dwan made it $16,100 out of small blind; Hellmuth called.]

There's now $34,300 in the middle and effective stacks are at $147,600. The flop is      

Dwan checks and Hellmuth checks behind. The pot stays at $34,300 and they go to the turn  

Dwan now takes the lead with a bet of $27,600. Hellmuth calls. The pot grows to $89,500 and effective stacks melt to around $120,000 each.

The river is the   Dwan takes a while and then moves all-in for $120,000. Hellmuth takes a long while and then calls with    

He loses to Dwan’s     Dwan rakes in a pot of almost $330,000. Watch the hand from the flop here:

Analysis

It’s a big call by Hellmuth and, out of context, it looks completely crazy. But it’s not that easy. Here's how Dwan manages to get a full pay-out from a very marginal hand. 

The. best.

We didn't see the pre-flop action in the clip but we know what happened. Elezra opened with a raise to $1,400 and Phil re-raised to $5,400. Dwan made it $16,100 out of the small blind and Hellmuth called.

Dwan raises with a lot of hands from the small blind which makes it hard for his opponents to put him on a range

Against a tight player Hellmuth would probably fold his weak 9-7o, but against Dwan he's not afraid his opponent has to have high pairs of Broadway cards.

It’s just as possible that he’s up against hands like A-4s and generally a much wider range.

Brakes Hit On the Flop

The flop is very wet and hits both players’ ranges. When Dwan checks, Hellmuth has to ask himself why an aggressive player wouldn’t follow up with another bet.

If he had a strong hand like A-A, K-K, A-Q, or K-Q, a set or a strong draw like K♦ J♦, he would definitely bet. So it looks like he has a mediocre hand like J-J, 9-9 or a ten and doesn't want to blow up the pot.

Or he has nothing. This is also why Hellmuth doesn’t bet. He has bottom pair which would only beat the bluffs but wouldn’t get money from a worse hand.

Checking here is the right play.

Already in the grinder. Especially If It's Tom Dwan

Another ten on the turn makes things interesting. After playing slowly on the flop, he suddenly bets three-quarters of the pot.

From Hellmuth’s point of view this means Dwan has either hit a ten or he’s bluffing, based on the flop-play analysis.

Calling is the obvious move because Hellmuth can’t fold a hand that beats all the bluffs with pot odds of 2.3 to 1 – especially if the guy on the other side of the table is Tom Dwan.

So, they go to the river with a sizeable pot of $89,500. The river card is a meaningless 5♠.

A River Masterpiece

After taking a moment to think, Dwan moves all-in and polarizes his range to the max.

Hellmuth has only two options – he either thinks Dwan has a ten or nothing. A queen wouldn’t check the flop or go all-in on this board.

Things getting worse.

Sets which would now have developed into full houses or quads would also rarely check such a draw-heavy flop.

Hellmuth’s hand is pretty marginal but against the range we just laid out he beats everything except the tens. Which theoretically makes his hand just as good as if he had a queen.

At this point let’s change up and look at the hand from Dwan’s perspective. He’s also faced with two possibilities:

1. Hellmuth has a busted diamond draw like K-J, 9-8 or something similar.

2. Hellmuth has a mediocre hand like Q-J, A-7, or 8-8.

Against this range an all-in is the perfect move because Hellmuth would fold any busted draw anyway. But he would also suspect a bluff much more if the bet is as high as possible.

It’s important to know that Hellmuth is aware of Dwan’s ability to make such a bluff. If Dwan was known to be a nit who can’t polarize his hands, a smaller bet would have been the better choice.

The Only Sure Thing is ...

Hellmuth certainly analyzed the hand thoroughly and decided to make the hero call.

Experienced players often base their decision on feelings here because there isn’t any simple right or wrong.

The only sure thing is you’ll look like an idiot if you’re wrong and a star if your meagre pair of sevens is good.

Speechless.

It’s really a borderline hand because there are very few value hands with a ten that can play like this.

Conclusion

Hands like this one against Phil Hellmuth are the reason Tom Dwan was the most feared NLHE player in the world. 

He’s always good for a bluff and he played his strong hands the exact same way.

Hellmuth can’t resist the urge to become a hero in this hand but in the end he’s out of money and speechless. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often to the Poker Brat.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a late-take off, rail grab and extended barrel ride in a particularly gnarly mid-afternoon poker news wave.

If you’ve got a suggestion for a future 3-Bet piece you can always fire it into the comments section below the article.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll look at an unusual friendship for the late Johnny Moss, another new poker show and Global Poker League teams announcing their playoff rosters.

1) Johnny Moss’ Friendship with Howard Hughes

We don’t hear enough stories about the late Johnny “Grand Old Man of Poker” Moss but that changed this week when Chuck Blount published a piece about Moss for the San Antonio Express-News.

Johnny Moss apparently used to hang with non-other than eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

Hughes' propensity for Vegas was well known but apparently he also liked to watch high-stakes poker. That led to a friendship with Moss who let Hughes sweat his hole cards.

Over the years the pair became friendly enough that Moss would call Hughes out on his infamously bad personal hygiene.

There were some topics the pair never discussed, however:

One thing Hughes couldn’t get out of Moss in return was the size of his high-stakes wins on the road.

Moss liked to counter that he would be more than willing to let him in on his business affairs, provided Hughes did the same with his.

Naturally, Hughes declined.

2) Polk, Ingram Debut Poker Show Table Talk

Over the last few years Doug Polk and Joey “ChicagoJoey” Ingram have carved out a very nice niche in the YouTube poker market with a variety of products including the Poker Life Podcast and Poker Hands with Doug Polk.

It makes sense then, that the pair would team up for their latest offering: Table Talk.

Table Talk, which debuted this week, is a nod to PTI-type ESPN shows with two hosts going over various topics with a strict time limit.

Always nice to see new poker video content. You can check out the debut episode below:

3) GPL Teams Reveal Playoff Picks

The first-ever Global Poker League playoffs are nearly upon us and the team mangers have officially announced their rosters for the competition.

Who do you like? Any glaring omissions? The London Royals certainly look strong with absolutely no weak spots.

You can peruse all the picks below:

Vamos #SPMets! Our @GPL Vegas team: @DarrenElias @TheDecano @jddnbauer #GPLFinals pic.twitter.com/0ggz8Gv4AQ

— Sao Paulo Mets (@saopaulomets) November 25, 2016

Let's get ready to rumble! #GPLFinals #LondonRoyals Our Playoffs AND Finals line-up:@JustinBonomo @kurganovigor @Liv_Boeree pic.twitter.com/FYwTrdP7vm

— London Royals (@LDNRoyals) November 25, 2016

Bears for the win! Vegas here we come! Our #GPLFinals line-up:@sorelmizzi @tsarrast @bp22 @junglemandan pic.twitter.com/hpytp7L704

— Berlin Bears (@BLNBears) November 25, 2016

Let's go Wolverines! #barabaka. Our #GPLFinals team: @aangierr @garr1k @nl_profit @Urbanovich_Dima pic.twitter.com/z9OJtGDsod

— Moscow Wolverines (@MSKWolverines) November 25, 2016

It's time to reveal our #GPLFinals team. Let's do this!
Guo Dong@nanonoko @Celina_Lin pic.twitter.com/k5Et9WesHh

— Hong Kong Stars (@HKGStars) November 25, 2016

Let's do this! Vegas here we come :) Our #GPLFinals team:@ChancesCards @MariaHo @olivierbusquet pic.twitter.com/xETbyWGJkS

— LA Sunset (@GPLSunset) November 25, 2016

Feel the Rush! Vegas: Veni, Vidi, Vici. Our #GPLFinals line-up:
Jonathan Jaffe@Anton_Wigg @FarazJaka
& @PhilGalfond pic.twitter.com/6ZGfhZdEkY

— San Francisco Rush (@SanFranRush) November 25, 2016

Let's take this back to Montreal! Our #GPLFinals team: @MikeMcDonald89 @Pass_Lefrancois @constantcolorup @MarcAndre_FDawg pic.twitter.com/2qqmQXr1x8

— Montreal Nationals (@MTLNationals) November 25, 2016

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The much-anticipated Unibet Poker 2.0 software client will hit all markets Dec. 1, 2016, and with it comes one of the most exciting online poker promos in ages.

Not only will players get to log in to the next generation of the award-winning software Unibet Poker is also running its biggest-ever promotion.

Dubbed 'Around the World' it will pay out over €250,000 in prizes capped by a 28-day business-class trip for two to see the Seven Wonders of the World.

New Hand Replayer, Integrated Missions

First things first: When Unibet players log in on Dec. 1 they'll automatically be prompted to update their software to the 2.0 version. What they'll find on the new client should impress.

New features will impress.

Among the changes are a new hand replayer, fully integrated missions, improved graphics and multi-tabling options for players on desktop, mobile or tablet.

Along with the obvious improved functionality will also be an improved and revamped loyalty scheme. What they won't see but will benefit from too are improvements to the back-end functionality and the overall stability of the client.

"Unibet Poker 2.0 was built from the ground up," says Andrew West, Unibet's Head of Poker, "and designed to provide us with a foundation upon which we can seamlessly add in-game features to continuously provide the best experience possible for all of our players.

"We’re looking forward to collecting feedback on the new software and hope that our players will see the potential for 2017 and beyond."

Unibet's complete shift in direction over the past few years towards the recreational poker player is also paying off. Player growth has been substantial, highlighted by a 65% year-on-year increase in Q3 2016.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel Opps

If you've ever dreamed of dropping everything and winging around the world, here's your chance to do it on Unibet's dime. Along with the software release Unibet is doling out over €250,000 in prizes from tournament and cash game tickets to laptops to Unibet Open packages.

34 players will win once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences and one will win the ultimate £31,088 Around the World trip. Here's how it'll work:

Starting Dec. 1 raffle tickets will randomly be distributed at Unibet Poker cash game tables. Each time a table is selected the player on the button gets a ticket. All other players at the table will win a Unibet Open qualifier ticket. Raffle tickets are split in three tiers:

Tier # Awarded per day Eligible games Dealer button prize All other seats at table Gold 5 NL/PL25 and above Gold raffle ticket €10 UO qualifier ticket Silver 10 NL/PL10 and above Silver raffle ticket €10 UO qualifier ticket Bronze 30 NL/PL4 and above Bronze raffle ticket €2 UO qualifier ticket

One Gold ticket holder will win the 28-day Seven Wonders experience while all other Gold ticket holders will win either a travel experience or high-stakes cash game ticket.

Two Silver ticket holders will win a travel experience and all other Silver ticket holders will win prizes ranging from mid-stakes poker tickets to laptops and UK Tour packages.

Two Bronze ticket holders will win a travel experience while all other Bronze ticket holders will win low- to mid-stakes poker tickets.

Play and win. Live Stream Raffle on January 7

Everything will culminate at 16:00 CET Jan. 7 when all prize winners will be announced via live stream on Unibet's official Twitch.tv channel.

The stream will be hosted by Unibet's host/streamer David Vanderheyden and will continue until all prizes have been given away.

Check here for a full list of all the prizes which include trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Angkor Wat and the Amazonian Rainforest along with hundreds of live and online tourney tickets.

The Ultimate Around the World Experience is worth £31,088 and includes: 

Tour for two people of the New 7 Wonders of the World over 27 days Around-the-World Business Class tickets for two provided Stay in luxury 4 & 5-star accommodations in each city UK airport chauffeur and return private airport transfers at each destination A private tour of each of the 7 Wonders A personalized itinerary from your TRULY Concierge

More details on the trip here; to open a new Unibet Poker account and access our up to €200 sign-up bonus, download the Unibet software via our review here.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a rejuvenating trip to the sauna in the thick of the mid-afternoon poker news winter.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Nanonoko becoming a Hearthstone pro, Dwayne Wade challenging Cristiano Ronaldo and a Thor Hansen documentary.

1) Team Liquid Signs Nanonoko

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is no longer the only dual-sport pro on the PokerStars roster.

Randy “Nanonoko” Lew has been deemed good enough at Hearthstone to represent eSports giant Team Liquid at the Dreamhack: Winter event in Jönköping, Sweden.

The aforementioned ElkY will also be on hand for the tournament, which will officially be the first event that awards points to the 2017 Hearthstone Championship.

Team Liquid and PokerStars have a unique relationship with noted Hearthstone pros Savjz, Sjow and Dog crossing over into poker for some live tournaments.

Lew comes from a video game background and was a whiz when it came to fighting games, particularly the Street Fighter-based Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Update: Lew already won his first match vs. Hearthstone pro JustSaiyan 3-0. That Team Liquid run good!

2) Dwyane Wade Raises It

Is PokerStars going to sign Dwyane Wade?

That was our first thought after seeing the following video of Wade taking Cristiano Ronaldo’s challenge and “Raising It.”

More likely it’s just a one-off but nice to see some big names getting in on the #RaiseIt battle.

Ronaldo has already responded to Wade’s video. Let’s keep it going guys!

Did I make it @Cristiano? I wasn’t looking. #raiseit, my friend. https://t.co/xsfV0tYiBs #spon #ad pic.twitter.com/rWHhVCzCcy

— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 23, 2016

Open your eyes @DwyaneWade - this is how I wake up #raiseithttps://t.co/i6J4wmrc1W pic.twitter.com/QIAujMQnW6

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 24, 2016 3) Thor Hansen Documentary on Kickstarter

There are few stories in poker that are as interesting or poignant as Thor Hansen's. The “Godfather of Norwegian Poker” helped pioneer the WSOP for Europeans, was backed by Larry Flynt and has two WSOP gold bracelets.

He’s also been battling cancer for the last several years and defied doctor’s odds after his initial diagnoses.

Those are just a few of the reasons why you might want to chip in for a brand new Thor Hansen documentary that’s currently listed on Kickstarter by Zacapa Film. Here’s a trailer (hope your Norwegian is better than ours!):



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Are you ready for a whole new live poker experience under the PokerStars umbrella?

Ready or not to say goodbye to the EPT, UKIPT and the like the PokerStars Global Championships and PokerStars Festivals will debut in January 2017.

Beginning with the PokerStars Bahamas Championships in January (previously known as the PCA) the new tour brand will hit London, Rozvadov, Panama City, Macau and Monte Carlo before the end of May alone.

The full second half of the season is still to be determined but by the looks of the first half there will be plenty on offer for all bankrolls.

Rozvadov, Panama City Debut

Two notable 'new' locations are the booming Central Europe hotspot, Rozvadov, and the more mysterious Panama City.

Get ready for Panama.

The Latin America Poker Tour has of course hit Panama before but it's a decidedly new stop for most of the regulars on the European or Asia-Pacific circuits.

Following on the heels of the more familiar Bahamas stop to kick off the year, PokerStars Championship Panama will run March 10-20 at the Sortis Hotel & Casino. 

56 events are on the calendar including:

• PokerStars National Championship: March 11-14 - $1,100
• PokerStars Championship Main Event: March 14-20 - $5,300
• PokerStars Championship High Roller: March 18-20 - $10,300
• PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: March 11-14 - $50,000

The King's Casino in Rozvadov, meanwhile, will make its debut hosting its first lower buy-in PokerStars Festival series from March 2-13. Thirty events will play out over 12 days including:

• Kings High Roller: March 8-9 - €5,300
• PokerStars Cup: March 11-13 - €330
• PokerStars Festival High Roller: March 12-13 - €2,200
• PokerStars Festival Main Event: March 9-13 - €1,100 (€500,000 GTD)

Barcelona Back to Begin Second Half

While the Fall/Winter schedule for 2017 is still to be filled out at least one stop for sure is back: Barcelona.

Barcelona always a draw.

Despite security concerns over the past few years it's still one of the most popular stops on any tour and a favorite city for thousands of poker players.

The upcoming EPT Prague festival is also a player favorite so very likely to be a Festival or Championship destination for 2017, as should New Jersey. 

Here's a look at the current live tour schedule until August:

PokerStars Festival London - Jan 22-29, Hippodrome Casino PokerStars Festival Rozvadov - Mar. 2-13, King's Casino PokerStars Championship Bahamas - Jan. 6-14, Atlantis Resort PokerStars Championship Panama - Mar. 10-20, Solaris Resort & Casino PokerStars Championship Macau - Mar. 30 - Apr. 9, City of Dreams PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo - Apr. 25 - May 5, Monte Carlo Bay Casino PokerStars Championship Barcelona - Aug. 15-27, Casino Barcelona

For full details and schedules for each event, check the PokerStars blog here. To sign up for a new PokerStars account and access our $600 bonus and exclusive freerolls, visit our review here.



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Wondering what to give your loved ones for Christmas this year?

Why not let your poker results 888poker's Christmas promotion decide?

For the next month you can play to win gifts like drones, GoPros, iPhones, Playstations and more in 888poker’s “Gift Showers” promotion.

Running from now until Christmas 888 has $800,000 in presents to distribute and almost as many ways to win.

3 Tournaments, Dozens of Big Prizes

Let's start with the cash.

This could be you.

There's $6,000 in cash up for grabs every day in 3 x daily $2,000 Lucky Star Tournaments.

Times are 1:05, 11:05 and 18:05 GMT.

They've already started running and will continue every day at those times straight through until Boxing Day.

The Starburst is a $6,500 prize pool tournament that will run three times – on December 11, 18 and 25 – at 20:35 GMT.

$5,000 of the prize pool comes in hard cash but the winner will also get a drone package that includes a Bebop drone, a Sky controller and a Galaxy tablet worth $1,500.

There is also the All-in Gift Tournament which will run daily until Boxing Day as well.

This is your poker lottery for Christmas.

Every player is all-in every hand and the following prizes will be distributed:

Place

Prize

Value

1

IPhone 7 32 GB

$770

2

GoPro Hero 5 Black

$440

3

PlayStation 4 Slim 500 GB

$315

4-13

888poker Hoodie

$50

14-33

888poker Knitted Hat

$15

34-53

888poker Cards

$7

54-143

Casino FreePlay Vouchers

$5

144-183

Spoker Bet

$3

184-583

BLAST Tournament Ticket

$1

584-5000

Lucky Star Ticket

-

No Buy-Ins, Just Tickets

There are no buy-ins required for any of the promotional tournaments but you do need tickets to get in.

Options abound.

If you are a player who has already deposited on 888poker, you’ll receive one ticket for each of the Lucky Star and the All-in Gift tournaments.

If you haven’t made a deposit yet, put in at least $10 using the code LUCKY10 and you’ll receive five tickets for both the Lucky Star and the All-in Gift.

To win more tickets, just complete the daily missions. If you have made a deposit and played in a real-money game on 888poker, you can do any of the following.

Play in at least five BLAST tournaments for at least $1. Play in SnG or multi-table events for at least $4 total buy-in. BLAST and heads-up events excluded. Play cash games and win at least 15 hands. You can play SNAP poker if you like but in any case the minimum stakes are 2c/5c. One Free Spin Per Day

As an added bonus you’ll also get one free spin per day on 888’s Star Spin to win tickets or other prizes.

Check your email inbox frequently because selected players will receive special missions to complete, special deposit offers and chances to win tickets for the Starburst tournaments.

All you need to do is open the 888poker lobby and check out the promotion. It’s already running and will end on December 26.

If you don’t have an account yet try our 888poker review page for a download link that will get you an up to $888 sign-up bonus.



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Watch your back, David Vamplew.

Niall Farrell is coming for your title as Scotland's leading live tournament money winner.

The redheaded Scotsman put another flag on his already extensive Hendon Mob resume by claiming the partypoker WPT Caribbean title tonight in Punta Cana.

Starting the heads-up against Troy Quenneville with an 8.1m-1.5m chip edge, it only took one hand for Farrell to put him away and pocket the $335,000 winner's share.

That not only bumped him up to just under $3m in career earnings - and just $900k behind Vamplew for Scotland's all-time bragging rights - it also made him a two-tour champion.

It's pretty heady territory for a guy who used to toil at Carphone Warehouse.

Thanks for the love folks ❤️
THE TWO TOUR CHAMP DOES WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS

— Niall Farrell (@Firaldo87poker) November 24, 2016 Another Contender for WPT Championship

The "other" tour Farrell is referring to is the soon-to-be-defunct European Poker Tour, where he claimed the EPT Malta main event title just last year.

2-Tour Champ.

The EPT only has the upcoming Prague festival remaining before being mothballed in favor of the new PokerStars Global Championships & Festivals.

However you cut it it's an impressive accomplishment to win on two of the world's biggest poker tours.

In this one Farrell topped a comparatively unknown final six to earn the cash, the trophy and a $15,000 seat in next spring's WPT Championship.

Other notables to make the money in this one included Keven Stammen (8th - $42,000), Manig Loeser, Ari Engel, Chris Hunichen, Ankush Mandavia and Kristen Bicknell.

Check the full rundown of the action over in the WPT Live Updates or rewatch the live stream in either English or Spanish here.

partypoker WPT Caribbean Final Table Results:

1st: Niall Farrell – $335,000*
2nd: Troy Quenneville – $220,000
3rd: Anthony Augustino – $140,000
4th: Colin Moffatt – $105,392
5th: Yiannis Liperis – $80,000
6th: Stephen Woodhead – $66,000



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet purges just enough ballast to help steady the mid-afternoon poker news vessel.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Liv Boeree’s revealing HuffPost interview, the Vegas hockey team’s new name and the debut of CBS’ The Final Table.

1) Liv Boeree's HuffPost Q&A

You can never have too many great, in-depth interviews with poker pros in mainstream media and Liv Boeree just completed a doozy with The Huffington Post.

Mainstram star Liv Boeree

The article — titled "The Poker Pro Who Wants to Save the World" — is centered around REG charity and it’s a great read.

Interestingly Boeree gave a great anecdote about how she got into poker in the first place. It turns out she answered an advertisement that was looking for people with no poker knowledge whatsoever.

It turned out to be a reality TV show looking for five complete poker beginners, teaching them how to play the game and compete for the winner-take-all prize.

In the end I didn’t win the show (and in fact made quite a fool of myself by playing terribly and bursting into tears in the final game!), but I fell utterly in love with poker.

There’s hope for us all!

2) NHL Reveals Las Vegas Team Name

The Las Vegas NHL team will be… The Vegas Golden Knights?

The Vegas Golden Knights logo.

Owner Bill Foley and his crew revealed the new name and logo to 5,000+ fans near T-mobile arena last night.

The name of the team was a bit of a surprise as it was heavily rumored to be the Desert Knights.

Our two cents: It’s an OK name. Bit long but it seems like there’s a good chance the team just becomes the Vegas Knights at some point. The logo is pretty cool.

It would have been downright amazing to have a Vegas-themed name like the Aces, BlackJacks or Bandits but the NHL wanted to avoid any gambling connotations.

Foley seemed partial towards various “Knights” names since he attended West Point Academy and their team name was the Black Knights.

The team’s official colors are steel, grey, gold, red and black.

Regardless of how they look, we’re hoping to see one of the Golden Knights pull a Roberto Luongo and play the WSOP.

You're definitely going to see Daniel Negreanu, Matt Savage and Matt Stout at T-Mobile arena a fair amount.

If I'm in Las Vegas. My butt will be in a seat in the arena. https://t.co/X7KrMIoRJH

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 23, 2016

View from our seats for the #GoldenKnights @RealKidPoker @MattStoutPoker. pic.twitter.com/m8OQPWcfbc

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) November 23, 2016 3) The Final Table Debuts with Hellmuth, Esfandiari, Stapes

We’ve heard a lot about it over the last six months but new CBS poker show The Final Table is finally available for your viewing pleasure.

The concept of the show is that Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and Joe Stapleton analyze a final table and place bets on who they think will win.

Meanwhile David Tuchman and Battle of Malta host Maria Ho handle the play-by-play as co-commentators.

You can check it out below:



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partypoker has a new ambassador on its roster and it's a name you'll likely recognize.

British high-stakes veteran and the UK's winningest live tournament player Sam Trickett has now joined Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst and Jackie Glazier as high-profile members of the partypoker pro team.

The site announced today that Trickett will "fly the partypoker flag at our global events throughout 2017" starting with the ongoing Caribbean Poker Party in Punta Cana.

Also coming soon, it announced, were invite-only, high-stakes cash games, dubbed ‘Trickett’s Cash Games’, where players can win a seat at Trickett’s tables and 'rub shoulders with a legitimate superstar of poker.'

High Profile at High Stakes

Trickett has a long history of poker ambassadorship with Matchbook, Titan Poker and Everest Poker all previous sponsors.

He certainly has the pedigree to draw fans with more than $20.5 million in live tournament earnings, a frequent TV presence and a regular seat in some of the biggest cash games in the world.

He was also the runner-up in the inaugural $1m Big One for One Drop, which rocketed him up poker's all-time money list where hit currently sits in the Top 10.

“I am proud to be joining the expanding partypoker team," Trickett said, "and represent the brand globally."

"partypoker was always my first site and I am excited about the direction the company is taking, with the players and a fun feel at the forefront of their minds.

"I am going to bring monthly high stakes games online, which my friends and partypoker players can enjoy. Over the coming weeks I will plan my live events schedule for 2017 and look forward to getting back on the tournament circuit, wearing the partypoker patch.”

“It is testament to the recent success of partypoker," said Group Head of partypoker Tom Waters, "that such a renowned player like Sam was eager to join the team."

"Sam will be a great addition to partypoker, hosting new and exciting high stakes cash games on the site, that I’m sure will make great viewing for the players.”

Sign up for a new account at partypoker via our review for an up to $500 sign-up bonus.



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When the original schedule was laid out for this week's Seminole Hard Rock Rock 'n' Roll Poker Open, a $50k High Roller wasn't on it.

Thanks to the persuasiveness of some of the big poker guns who happened to be down in Florida for the event - or for Jason Mercier's wedding - a one-day $50k was added at the last minute.

Ben "Ben86" Tollerene is at least one player who's glad they did, as he won the title earlier tonight for $459,228.

Tollerene, who is one of the most feared online high-stakes pros under his Ben86 moniker, defeated Florida pro Sean Winter heads-up.

Winter, who has an intriguing offer on the table for any side bettors, collected $271,362 for second which put him 1/4 of the way to winning a bet he laid out last week (if he got any takers):

Making an offer I make 1m in live poker in the next 60 days getting 20 to 1.

— Sean Winter (@Nolez7) November 13, 2016 Lucky in love, not poker this weekend. No Honeymoon for Mercier

Many of the usual suspects involved in poker's high rollers were of course in the action today including Isaac Haxton, Erik Seidel, Stephen Chidwick, Jason Koon and local hero Jason Mercier.

Mercier, in fact, had just finished tying the knot over the weekend with fiance and poker pro Natasha Barbour, which is one reason superstar pros like Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree and Mustapha Kanit were in town.

Unfortunately for Mercier, who was in for two bullets but did make the final table, just 4 players were paid and he wasn't one of them. He finished in sixth; good pal Kanit finished 7th.

Negreanu had a worse experience as he wasn't allowed to claim the money he wired to buy in and left without playing a hand.

No 50k tourney for me I guess. Sent my wire to @shrpo, they received it, but won't release the money to me. Too steamed to borrow, buh bye.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 22, 2016

The legendary Erik Seidel was the bubble boy in fifth while Koon (4th - $125,244) and Chidwick (3rd - $187,866) turned a profit.

Full Payouts for SHRPO 1-Day $50k High Roller:

1. Ben Tollerene $459,228
2. Sean Winter $271,362
3. Stephen Chidwick $187,866
4. Jason Koon $125,244

For a full rundown of the action, check the SHRPO blog here.

Record numbers have already been seen down in South Florida and the main event, which starts Friday, should smash its $2m Guarantee.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a perfectly executed Lutz Triple Toe that will amaze even the most bitter cynic in the mid-afternoon poker news ice rink.

You can always fire your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Maurice Hawkins making history, PokerStars’ introducing yet another new product and the biggest DFS sites merging.

1) Hawkins Completes WSOPC Hat Trick

Maurice Hawkins took down the WSOPC Palm Beach stop last night for $95,921.

Hometown hero.

By winning Palm Beach, Hawkins became the first player in poker history to win three WSOPC Main Events in the same year. Even better, Hawkins completed the feat in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Earlier this year Hawkins won back-to-back WSOPC Main Events by taking down the Council Bluffs event for $113k in April and immediately following that up with a win in North Carolina for $279k.

Hawkins has been a force on the circuit and Palm Beach was the eighth gold ring he’s won on the tour.

He’s also just the second player to pass the $1m-mark in lifetime WSOPC earnings (the other being Chris “Jesus” Ferguson).

Overall Hawkins is up over $2.3m in lifetime live tournament earnings.

2) PokerStars Launches Casino Rush

PokerStars is on a bit of a new product frenzy lately with hyper-turbo Beat the Clock tournaments getting officially rolled out last week.

Gamble! Gamble!

Now PokerStars is introducing a new app in the social gaming segment with Casino Rush.

Casino Rush shares some similarities to Zynga Poker (which makes sense because ex-Zynga social gaming director Lloyd Melnick worked on it) but is basically just gambling games with poker hands.

The game offers four different games at launch including Hold’em Switch, Swap the Flop, Double Ditch Hold’em and All-in Poker Split. All games are played against the computer, not actual opponents.

Casino Rush is clearly designed for complete poker rookies but if it brings more gamers into the real-money world that’s a win for everyone.

3) FanDuel, DraftKings to Merge in 2017

We’ve said it many times but the rise and subsequent fall of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) reads like a microcosm of online poker.

DraftKings + Fanduel

Now DFS is once again headed to a place that online poker has already been, although it took considerably longer.

The two biggest sites — FanDuel and DraftKings — will merge according to a report that was released earlier this week.

Of course PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were the two biggest online poker sites and were eventually merged together in 2012.

FanDuel and DraftKings have seen profits plummet since 2015, when the legality of their games in the USA was questioned.

Both sites have paid considerable amounts in lobbying and legal costs over the last few years.

The merger has yet to be approved by regulators and the deal won’t go into effect until 2017.



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Do you want to get a cut of $5 million in prizes and win a seat in the last $1m freeroll of 2016?

The next six weeks at PokerStars are perfect for you then as the annual Christmas Festival begins today and runs right until the New Year.

Among the highlights this year are the $2 million 25-day Christmas Calendar, a 21-event MicroMillions Marathon Day, a $2m Monday Million and the last of 2016's $1m freerolls.

It's a Christmas money free-for-all, really, and the action begins now.

Daily Christmas Calendar

Depending on your Holiday schedule and playing preferences it's hard to pick which event is the centerpiece of the festival.

Horton hears cha-ching.

To start it all off, qualifying for the $1,000,000 freeroll begins today. It only requires completing a small daily challenge between November 21-29 to get in to that day's All-in Shootout qualifier.

You don't even need to be around to play that event as all players are all in every hand and the final 8,192 players all get seats to the $1m freeroll.

If you miss one of those 9 chances there's still the Last Chance Skill Qualifier tournament on the day of the $1 Million Freeroll - Dec. 1 - which can get you in.

Once the big freeroll is over it's on to the full December Christmas Calendar.

For the first 25 days of the month $2 million in prizes will be up for grabs with a new promotion or activity to unlock every day in your Challenges window.

Deposit bonuses, Spin & Go challenges, freerolls and random giveaways are just a few of the gifts.

Massive MicroMillions Marathon

Hidden behind one of the Christmas Calendar doors is also a MicroMillions Marathon day. 

Action awaits.

21 low buy-in events will run all day that day with the $22 buy-in, $1 million GTD Main Event the big capper.

To finish things off on Boxing Day is a special $2 million guaranteed Monday Million with the winner getting $200,000. 

If the standard buy-in is still too much for your bankroll you can of course satellite in all month long.

Ready to get started? Check our PokerStars review for our exclusive download link that gets you a $600 sign-up bonus and exclusive freerolls and promos for PokerListings players.



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The news that Tony G is now a parent has triggered a cacophony of thoughts about the impressions we make on our children’s lives through our choice of career.

Will little Tauras Guoga follow the path of least resistance and become a poker player like her father once was? Will she become the next Lithuanian President?

According to a recent Facebook study of 5.6 million parent-child pairings in English-speaking countries, the data shows that Baby G is more likely to follow in her Daddy's footsteps and choose a career that is similar to her father's.

Although the statistics didn't reveal either poker or politics as a common choice of career, it did show that if your dad was in the military you're 5x more likely to join. If your mother is a nurse you're 4x more likely to join the medical industry.

From the Genes of Stars Today?

Our influence on our children is undeniable. It's our values and beliefs that form the core part of their operating system as they develop in the younger years.

is Baby G. destined to follow?

Values and beliefs that are very often locked away in a safe and forgotten about until you are forced to find the combination lock by a therapist some 30 years later.

And in a world where a man in his 70s, with zero political experience and seriously questionable morals can become the President of the most powerful country in the world - anything is possible.

So does this mean that our professional poker players of tomorrow will come from the genes of the stars of today?

What do our stars think of their children becoming the next Phil Ivey?

Answer Always the Same

I sought the opinions of six professional poker players. I asked them if they would want their children to follow in their footsteps.

The overwhelming response was in the negative. It wasn't a surprise. Over the years I have asked this question many times and the answer always comes back the same.

No. But why? 

1. The Casino Environment

One of the common reasons pro poker players want their kids to avoid taking up poker is the vast amount of time spent in a casino. 

Poker "self-serving."

Says former World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year (POY), Mike Gorodinsky:

"I would discourage any children of mine from trying to make poker their profession. It's ultimately only self-serving and requires a lot of time spent in casinos, which are pretty unsavoury places with a lot of one-dimensional people."

If you take heed of the advice that Jim Rohn passes out, you will become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So Mike has a point.

It's tough to split professional poker playing from other forms of gambling -- particularly when your environment is designed to get your dopamine receptors thrashing about like a baby penguin searching for a regurgitated piece of fish.

Gambling is not a bad thing, if controlled; however a casino environment is designed to loosen that illusion of control.

2. Poker is Self-Serving Not self-serving fro Gruissem.

Mike also spoke about poker being ‘self-serving' and this is the biggest reason I've found as a big no-no for the parent-child career model being a good thing in poker.

Poker does show a willingness to serve others. Raising for Effective Giving (REG) is an excellent example of this.

However, if you want to take up a profession that enables you to reduce suffering in the world and you're just starting out in life, poker will never blip onto the radar. 

3. Poker Can Be Like Quicksand

WSOP bracelet winner Andrew Barber is a man who has turned poker into a vehicle for good by becoming an effective altruist. He donates a percentage of his profit to reduce suffering in the world. Would Barber want his children to follow his lead?

We become our jobs.

"I would never encourage my child to take up professional poker, but would expose them to the game. It has taught me so much, but I see so many pros getting 'stuck' in the profession to their detriment."

You leave school and prepare to flee the nest. You want to earn money. A friend offers you a job in a small accountancy firm.

You take it, telling yourself that one day you will find a better job - one that fulfils your true desires. 40 years later you're having drinks at a bar and someone asks you what you do for a living.

“I am an Accountant.”

We become our jobs. I see this in poker more than any other profession.

The rest of the world doesn't see poker as a career. It's difficult to get a credit rating; almost impossible to buy or rent a house. And it's incredibly difficult to create a CV to get a ‘real' job - all of which leads you into the quicksand.

The poker community is also unique. If you choose to stop playing poker then very probably you have to stop travelling to the same places your friends hang out. It's a tough decision.

And don't even get me started on ego. Poker players all have a big slice of this pie and it's one of the primary reasons people can't swallow their pride, quit, and find something more meaningful to do with their lives.

4. Poker is Time Consuming

Former World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year Anthony Zinno wouldn't want his children to play poker professionally, either. He points to the investment of 'time' being one of his primary concerns.

Can't bank on poker.

"I won't be encouraging my future children to pursue *Professional* Poker. Despite the fact that I'll play strategy games with them for fun (like play chips for example), I'll draw the line when it comes to promoting poker as a primary source of financial security.

"It's far too time-consuming, emotionally draining and difficult to maintain a healthy life balance."

Zinno makes a valuable point. The primary reason people play poker is to make money. But money isn't the most valuable commodity in life - it's time.

If you're playing poker 12 hours a day, is that the best use of your day? What else could you be doing?

5. Poker is Tough

Here's what the multiple WSOP bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche has to say about the subject:

"I don't think I'd be encouraging my son to become a professional poker player. Even now it's too late for anyone to pick up the game and become a complete crusher making $500k+/year in EV.

Could change his mind.

"The time where poker was a gold mine is over, unfortunately. I'm sure there are better ways to make more money more quickly in this day and age just starting out. 

"However things may change, and if poker is still relatively easy by the time my kids are old enough, I might change my mind. That is extremely unlikely though in my opinion."

Back to Gorodinsky:

"The old cliche does ring true in poker - it's a very hard way to make an easy living."

I don’t share the same view as Nitsche and Gorodinsky. I take the Donald Trump school of thought that you can become successful at anything you put your mind to, physical limitations exempt.

When I place poker on the ‘hardness' scale of chosen careers it's far closer to the easier side of the scale. Think about all the stressful jobs in the world our children could be doing and then compare them with poker?

Your Horizons Are Your Child's Horizons

Although the poker players polled believe Baby G should give professional poker a wide berth, they all wanted their children to learn to play poker so they could benefit from the best parts of the game.

Still a great hobby.

Gorodinsky said he would encourage his 'kids to play poker and similar games as a hobby to gain a thirst for game theory, competition and psychology.'

Zinno said that teaching his children poker is 'good for the brain.' Barber reflected that the game had taught him so much. Nitsche echoed that sentiment when he spoke of the 'life skills' learned through poker.

William Martin, the author of The Parent's Tao Te Ching, believes that ‘it's very difficult for your child's horizons to be broader than your own.' I agree with this.

I fight very hard to change my operating system programmed a long time ago by my parents and societal norms. I focus very hard on ensuring that the choices I make today regarding my career can be used as a guiding light for my children. 

It makes me wonder this: 

Why do poker players choose to spend the majority of their time on this earth sitting down and playing a game that they wouldn’t want their children to play when the evidence suggests that by doing so their children are statistically more likely to follow suit?

What do you think?



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a non-standard line of play that will leave standard mid-afternoon poker news flummoxed.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comment’s section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Tom Hall cashing in huge on that weight-loss bet, the biggest wedding in poker history and Doug Polk’s read on the top five most lucrative online pots.

1) Tom Hall Crushes Weight Loss Bet

At a certain point you’ve got to start wondering why poker pros even bother with weight-loss bets these days.

Don't bet against Tom Hall.

It seems the person attempting to lose the weight is always the heavy favorite.

Hong Kong cash game crusher/businessman Tom Hall is the latest participant to cash in on a weight-loss bet: this time to the tune of $950,000.

As per the stipulations of the bet Hall dropped from 253 lbs to 227 lbs in under two months. He actually finished at 225.4 lbs and his betting partner agreed to buyout for $950,000.

In addition during the span of the bet Hall was not allowed to buy any wine, luxury items of any kind of electronics over $100.

Hall posted a rather lengthy write-up on Facebook on how he completed the bet if you’re looking for a little insight.

He also posted this photo, which illustrates just how many Starworld HK$100k plaques he won from the bet.

2) Jason & Natasha 4 Ever!

Arguably the biggest wedding in poker history went down this weekend with Floridians Jason Mercier and Natasha Barbour getting hitched.

The guest list was pretty much a who’s who of the poker world with Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Mustapha Kanit and many others in attendance.

Of course the biggest star, as usual, was the couple’s signature dog Marshmellow who always seems to be at the center of attention whether it’s Mercier winning yet another WSOP bracelet or Barbour making a final table.

Marshmellow stole the show last night... As usual! @natashabarbour pic.twitter.com/SSEPjUoaFI

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) November 21, 2016 3) Doug Polk Analyzes Top 5 Biggest Pots

Remember the golden age of online poker when Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and co were trading the equivalent of mansions back and forth on Full Tilt Poker every day?

Doug Polk remembers and is giving his thoughts on the top five biggest NLHE pots ever played in a new video.

Polk is uniquely qualified to comment on said pots because he’s actually played games approaching that size.

Click below and learn:



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888poker generated some very happy customers over the past weekend.

Two of the ultra popular new jackpot BLAST events were played for 10,000x the buy-in, including a $300k and a $50k prize pool.

The largest prize of the weekend went to Sweden as a player named bucopepic took down $180,000 out of the $300,000 overall prize pool.

The winner of the second 10,000x buy-in event was Mn79Ben, a player based in Malaysia. He won $30,000 for an investment of just a fiver.

One Weekend, Two Jackpots

Since the events of the weekend there are now eight 888poker players who can tell you what it feels like to see that spinning jackpot multiplier land on 10,000x.

Countdown to payday.

Sweden's bucopepic was sat in a $30 BLAST event when the big number came up and things went perfectly for him afterwards.

In the last hand he went all-in with 6-5s and hit a straight on a board 8-5-7. The turn 2 and river 4 allowed him to beat his Russian counterpart sreutov for the major share.

The Russian still cashed for $60,000 while the third- and fourth-place finishers received $30,000 in their 888poker accounts.

Mn79Ben and mario868116 invested just $5 and came away with $30,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Mn79Ben held two black queens in the last hand while mario868116 had A-6. The queens held up and gave the Malaysian the win. The other two players both received $5,000 for their $5 buy-in.

What are BLAST tournaments?

BLAST tournaments are 888poker’s variation on hyper-turbo Sit-and-Go tournaments with a randomly generated prize pool.

Jump in here.

As soon as four players sit down at the table the game begins. You can choose your buy-in level but you don’t know how much you’ll play for.

Buy-ins range from 10 cents to $30 and the number generator will pick a multiplier factor of the buy-in between 2 and 10,000.

The blind levels only last two minutes and by level 6 the remaining players are automatically all-in every hand.

Thus, it takes less than a quarter of an hour to find a winner, which in the case of Mn79Ben meant a salary of over $2,000 per minute while bucopepic made over $12,000 in the same time!

If you don’t have an 888poker account yet visit our review page for an introduction and an exclusive $888 bonus for new players.



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The most spectacular hand of the 2016 WSOP November Nine was the unlucky set-up that cost Cliff Josephy his chance to go all the way.

Down to just three players left and $8m on the table for first, Josephy ran a flopped set into a higher set and busted soon after.

The question we’re asking ourselves today is, did he just get unlucky? Or did he have a chance to fold?

Flop to River

It's the very last day of the 2016 WSOP Main Event. Just three players are left and the chip stacks are not too different from each other.

They're about to play Hand 171 of the final table with blinds at 600,000/1,200,000/200,000.

Stacks:

Cliff Josephy – 102.7 million (85bb)

Gordon Vayo – 92.9 million (77bb)

Qui Nguyen – 141 million (117.5bb)

Even Vayo with the shortest stack is still very deep and has lots of room for moves. Josephy is on the button/UTG and finds    

He raises to 2.5 million. Vayo calls but Nguyen re-raises to 7.7 million. Both Josephy and Vayo call so we already have 23.7 million chips in the pot. Effective stacks are at 75.1 million and the flop falls      

Vayo checks. Nguyen bets 9.9 million and again both players call. This brings the pot up to 53.4 million chips. Effective stacks are at 86 million chips. The turn is the  

Vayo checks. Nguyen checks and now Josephy leads out with a bet of 21 million. Vayo thinks about it for a while and then moves all-in for 75.1 million.

Nguyen folds and the pot is now at 149.5 million chips, which means Josephy has to pay 54 million out of his remaining 64 million chips to call. He eventually decides to and sees that Vayo has hit a higher set with his      FYI, Nguyen held    

Josephy did find a double-up after this but he didn’t really recover and busted in third place. Vayo suddenly jumped into the chiplead but couldn’t follow up on it and eventually bowed out to Qui Nguyen. A spectacular hand that you can re-watch in the video below.

Analysis

According to Dan Harrington, you’ve made a mistake if you don’t manage to get all your chips in the middle with a flopped set.

Commentators Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth both disagreed with this statement and claimed that Josephy had to find a fold.

Let’s have a second look at the hand and see if we can agree with them.

Josephy raises pre-flop from the button which is a textbook move. After Vayo calls Nguyen raises with his strong Broadway hand – again, a standard move.

Nguyen is out of position but he often has the best hand. 

Holding a pocket pair you’ll mathematically hit a set one in eight times. As you don’t always get a full payout there's a rule of thumb that says you should have at least 10x the chips you need to call to justify that call.

Josephy (and Vayo) easily have enough chips – Cliff has to pay 5.2 million with about 100 million behind so the implied odds are huge.

A Dry Monster Flop

Josephy couldn’t have found a better flop. He hits the set he was looking for, the board is rainbow and there's a king that could have hit either of his opponents as they both have kings in their range.

Vayo checks in first position and Nguyen continuation-bets to represent the king. Josephy calls.

Certainly, that’s the correct move for Josephy. He has to think he has the best hand and he doesn’t want to drive away any worse hand.

He’s also in position so he can make sure chips will go into the pot in every betting round.

Behind Josephy, Vayo overcalls from the small blind which speaks for a pretty strong hand. To overcall you need a better hand than for a call so we’d expect him to have at least a strong king (K-T, K-J, K-Q).

The Truth is On the Turn

The turn is the 4♦. It doesn’t look like it changes much but it’s still a little inconvenient because an ace or a third diamond could turn the whole hand upside down.

Vayo checks again and Nguyen slams on the brakes correctly as both his opponents have shown a lot of strength. Josephy bets his set to get chips from a king and because he usually has the best hand in this situation.

Vayo takes about two minutes and then moves all-in for over 74 million. Nguyen gives up quickly and Josephy shows signs of feeling insecure. He still makes a relatively quick call.

Josephy really has to ask himself there what Vayo could possibly be playing like that.

We can rule out A-K and K-K because of the pre-flop action. Vayo called Josephy’s raise and then called Nguyen’s raise, too, so 3-3 is immediately on the top of the list.

On the flop Vayo overcalls after a bet and a call, and on the turn he check-raises all-in. Now 3-3 is really the only plausible value hand.

A player as tight as him would never play K-Q or K-J like that. He would just call. On top of that the K♦ is on the board so a semi-bluff worthy hand like top pair with flush draw isn’t possible.

So, the only alternative to 3-3 is a bluff. There are bluffs in every range, even in the range of the tight Vayo. And of course it’s possible that Vayo could use his image exactly in a spot like this to use his image for a monster bluff.

But he still needs to have a reasonable hand to make it to this point. Thing is, there is none.

Vayo can’t be bluffing because of his play on the flop when he overcalled and represented at least a king while he still has Nguyen to act behind him. It's simply impossible that a player like him can pull off such a giant bluff against two players the way this hand went down.

Could have found a fold, some say. Conclusion

Yes, Cliff Josephy should have been able to find a fold in this hand and saved 54 million chips – half his stack.

Admittedly, this is a very rare incident if you have a set.

The former chipleader just couldn’t let go although the video shows that he did actually realize what his opponent’s hand was.

Once more Gordon Vayo finds the perfect spot. With the luck he had, he should probably be our world champion right now.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a pink Oxford button-down, the livest cards in the deck and nothing but monster pots and afternoon poker news glory.

Have something you'd like to see in a future edition of the 3-Bet? Let us know below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the poker world celebrating Mike Sexton, Daniel goes deep on the Nov. 9 and Lex Veldhuis blows up Friday.

1) Everybody Loves Mike

The voice of the World Poker Tour and one of the most beloved figures in poker overcame a 17m-1m chip disadvantage heads-up to win his first WPT title last night.

Book sales gonna skyrocket!

Needless to say, there are a lot of people thrilled for Mike Sexton this morning - including us.

Sexton's won more money in a tournament before as he won $1.1m in the Big One for One Drop, for example.

But for a guy who's given so much to the game and the WPT over the past 3 decades, winning a WPT title must be extra special - both for him and to fans worldwide. Couldn't happen to a nicer gent.

Besides locking up a $15k seat in the WPT Championship next Spring, he's also clearly locked up a spot on the 2017 Spirit of Poker Living Legend nominee list. More love from the poker world:

Congrats @MikeSexton_WPT so awesome!!

— Kyle Julius (@KJulius10) November 18, 2016

The poker world celebrates as @MikeSexton_WPT wins his first @WPT title after years as commentator, ambassador, and visionary. #LoveYouMike

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) November 18, 2016

Nice job, @MikeSexton_WPT... the newest WPT champion. Hell of an accomplishment! #poker

— Dutch Boyd (@DutchBoyd) November 18, 2016

Congrats @partypoker @MikeSexton_WPT you are freakin awesome! https://t.co/Cf5hA5GYjM

— Jackie Glazier (@JackieGlazier) November 18, 2016

Wow! Congrats to @MikeSexton_WPT on taking down the title! Honor to do the @WPT live stream on this memorable night! pic.twitter.com/p2RauQOBl8

— Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker) November 18, 2016

This is awesome.
Congrats @MikeSexton_WPT ! A gentleman and a legend https://t.co/8rLKJHhGj7

— Christian Harder (@realcharder30) November 18, 2016

I think the last time @MikeSexton_WPT won a tournament it was for a million against me! Well, he just won another big one! Congrats Mike!

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 18, 2016 2) Negreanu Behind-the-Scenes at Nov. 9, Hellmuth Invents GTO

Daniel Negreanu's new FCP podcast is always a good listen but this week is particularly a treat.

Not only does he break down each member of this year's November Nine and how they played, he explains how Phil Hellmuth decided he invented Game Theory Optimal (GTO).

It's a gem of an anecdote. Listen to the whole podcast below:

3) Blowup Fridays with Dutch Poker HoFer Lex Veldhuis

Lex @RaSZi Veldhuis has just been elected to the Dutch Poker Hall of Fame, which is both awesome and well deserved.

Along with Rob Hollink and Peter Voolstra he joins Marcel Lüske, Noah Boeken and Jorryt van Hoof in what is a small but impressive group from the Netherlands who have impacted the game for the better.

Thankfully, the honour hasn't kept the PokerStars Team Online pro and former Starcraft ace from his regular streaming schedule as he's live again today for his usual Blowup Fridays.

It's poker from the streets and you'll like it we promise. Watch it below:



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After 14 years of commentating on the World Poker Tour, Mike Sexton is officially a WPT champion.

Sexton battled back from a significant chip deficit to beat Benny Chen heads-up last night and win WPT Montreal for C$425,980.

It’s been a long time coming for Sexton, who only started playing WPT events as of 2007 but has amassed over $5.8m in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Tony Dunst took Sexton’s place in the booth alongside Vince Van Patten to provide commentary for the WPT Montreal final table.

Chen, who won the first WSOP Millionaire Maker in 2013 for $1.2m, settled for C$286,110 for second.

Near Miss for Zajmovic

Ema Zajmovic was gunning for a little history of her own at the final table as she could have been the first female to win an open WPT event.

Benny Chen

Zajmovic entered the final table second in chips but wasn’t able to get much going and ended up finishing in fifth place.

The Quebec native still nearly quadrupled her lifetime live tournament earnings with the C$102,010 consolation prize for 5th.

Noted pro Jake Schwartz was actually the first person to bust from the final table

Sexton and Chen played an extensive heads-up match that lasted nearly three hours. At one point Chen had Sexton down 17.7m chips to 1.6m but that didn’t deter the partypoker ambassador.

By winning WPT Montreal, Sexton also won a seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions, which means the WPT might need to once again sub Tony Dunst into the commentator booth.

Here’s a complete look at the final table payouts:

1st: Mike Sexton – CAD $425,980* (US $317,896*)
2nd: Benny Chen – CAD $286,110 (US $213,515)
3rd: Nadir Lalji – CAD $183,320 (US $136,806)
4th: Ilan Boujenah – CAD $132,750 (US $99,067)
5th: Ema Zajmovic – CAD $102,010 (US $76,127)
6th: Jake Schwartz – CAD $81,740 (US $61,000)



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After years of hard work, player-friendly promotions and a steadily growing player pool, 888poker has established itself as the second largest online poker operator in the world.

What’s the logical next step?

A burgeoning live poker festival tour that started with last month's week-long tournament series at its home poker room at Aspers Casino in London.

With that big success in the books 888poker is expanding its live schedule early next year with a brand-new, 13-tournament festival with €630k in guaranteed prize pools.

888Live King’s Hits in January

After the highly successful “Make it Big” poker festival at Aspers, 888 is going East -- just across the border from Germany in the Czech Republic.

Big room, big #s expected.

From January 26 to February 6, 2017 the cards with the three blue eights will fly at the King’s Casino, Rozvadov.

The King’s Casino on the German-Czech border has developed from a small, provincial casino next to a lonely road into the most successful poker room in Europe.

This time around it'll see 13 tournaments with buy-ins from €45+€5 to €888 for the main event to €5,300 for the high roller, making for an action-packed poker festival for all bankrolls.

A Whale & A Hurricane

The opening event is a €225 NLHE event with €150,000 guaranteed. It'll have four starting days and longer levels on the final day.

The main event starts on February 3 and runs for three playing days It features a guaranteed prize pool of €300,000.

The high roller is 888poker’s highest buy-in live event in the new series yet. It’ll be €5,300 to play and, considering the big-name players usually found in the King’s Casino high-limit cash games, expect a sizeable top-class field.

Tony G., Fedor Holz, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Dan Cates, Philipp Gruissem, Benny Spindler, Igor Kurganov, Liv Boeree, Max Altergott and many more have been known to hit the tables at King’s.

Several of the 888poker ambassadors will also be on location as will PokerListings to bring you all the important stories and players.

888poker has given all the events the names of corresponding online events so if you’re a player on 888poker the tournaments will sound familiar.

There’ll be a Whale, a Monsoon, a Hurricane, a Swordfish, Thunder, Breeze and Lightning. See below for a full list of the tournaments.

Tournament

Buy-in

Guarantee

Opening Event

€225

€150,000

The Breeze

€100

€10,000

The Hurricane

€115

€15,000

High Roller

€5300

€100,000

Main Event

€888

€300,000

The Monsoon

€100

€6,000

The Swordfish

€100

€7,000

The Whale

€110

€15,000

The Thunder

€60

€5,000

The Mega Knockout

€170

€15,000

Turbo Deepstack

€80

X

Pot Limit Omaha

€150

X

The Lightning 6-max

€110

€6,666

In London 288 entries in the main and 47 entries in the high roller event were good but Rozvadov will certainly beat that. 

Two Ways to Qualify Nitsche will be ready.

Want to play in the 888poker Festival at King’s? If you don’t want to fork over the whole buy-in you have two ways to satellite yourself into the opening and the main event.

The main event qualifier has $109 buy-in. The opening event qualifier has a $30 buy-in.

You can also climb your way up through the 888poker steps system starting as low as 1 cent to play.

If you don’t have an account at 888poker yet click through to our review page and it’ll only take you a couple of minutes to be ready to go with our $888 sign-up bonus.

You can also find the full schedule of the festival here.



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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a fresh t-shirt, a jazzed-up studio audience and three hours of sweet poker musings under the afternoon poker news lights.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tell us where to find it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a Tim Ferriss + Phil Hellmuth tête-à-tête, a GPL Finals Bracket Challenge and a Betsafe view of the 2016 Battle of Malta.

1) Ferriss Picks (Wrong) Phil

Phil Hellmuth is a 14-time WSOP bracelet winner, the chief poker practitioner of White Magic and, if the recent WSOP Nov. 9 broadcast can be believed, possibly the inventor of GTO.

GTO? I invented it.

Tim Ferriss is the author of global best sellers The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body, an internationally renowned speaker and host of the #1 business podcast on iTunes.

He's also known as "the Oprah of Audio," which, kudos. That's a pretty baller nickname.

According to Twitter the two got together for a 3-hour interview for Ferriss' new Fear(less) TV show yesterday.

The show will air on the AT&T Audience Network in 2017 and feature "in-depth, long-form conversations" between Ferriss and "top performers, focusing on how they’ve overcome fears and made hard decisions, embracing discomfort and thinking big."

Along with Hellmuth guests will include ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen, illusionist David Blaine and comedian Bill Burr among others.

While we don't know exactly what they delved into we do know Phil changed his shirt for the show and virtually every respected high-stakes poker pro in the world pleaded with Ferriss to pick someone else:

@tferriss pls consider why your @s are saying you should interview anyone else (Holz, Galfond). Don't be a part of PH's self-aggrandizement

— Terrence Chan (@tchanpoker) November 16, 2016

@tchanpoker @tferriss agree 100% w this. There are much better options for interesting poker players. Your audience won't be impressed

— Connor Drinan (@ConnorDrinan) November 16, 2016

@ConnorDrinan @tchanpoker @tferriss he's not competitive at an elite level, not interesting speaker, promoted a site that robbed customers.

— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) November 16, 2016

@ikepoker @ConnorDrinan @tchanpoker @tferriss All of this.

— Tony Dunst (@TonyDunstWPT) November 16, 2016

@tchanpoker @tferriss put me in coach

— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) November 17, 2016

@tferriss @phil_hellmuth I'd rather listen to a player with purpose. @TheRealPhilbort @Liv_Boeree @DanSmithHolla

— tim murphy (@darkdetail) November 16, 2016

Big fan of your work and podcast, and agree so many better options.Could see @CrownUpGuy being v interesting & well suited guest!

— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) November 16, 2016

@tferriss you've finally gotten the professional poker community to agree on something - well done. @tchanpoker would be a good choice

— Olivier Busquet (@olivierbusquet) November 16, 2016 2) Pick a Perfect GPL Bracket, Win a Prize Basket

The first-ever Global Poker League playoff bracket is set and eight teams will reconvene in Vegas on Nov. 29 to play down over three days to an inaugural champion.

Besides the intriguing 3v3 format and the return of The Cube playing arena there's now another reason for you to tune in: to see if your bracket picks win you a GPL prize basket.

The format is simple. Go here to choose your nickname and register your account. Click on a logo to start filling in your bracket. 

Once it's full and you've picked a champion, share your picks on Facebook/Twitter with hashtag #GPLFinals (you have to use this hashtag to qualify to win). If you pick a perfect bracket you'll win a prize basket with jerseys, hoodies and more from your favorite GPL team.

Who doesn't love a prize basket? Show begins Tuesday, November 29th on Twitch at 12PM PT so get your picks in pronto.

3) 3:41 of Power Chords and BoM Good Times

Want to see how the Betsafe Poker crew captured a fantastic week of poker, parties and good old-fashioned camaraderie at the 2016 Battle of Malta, set to delightful power pop?

Of course you do. See you there next year, and thanks again to our Platinum Sponsor Betsafe for helping to make it the best BoM yet. 



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Once again the World Poker Tour is going to have to find Vince Van Patten a new co-host for at least one final table.

That’s because usual co-host Mike Sexton is the chip leader at the six-player final table of WPT Montreal.

It’s the third time that Sexton has made a WPT final table during the existence of the show and likely his best chance to win a WPT title thanks to the 6.2 million chip he accumulated over the course of the tournament.

Dunst to Cover for Sexton

With Mike Sexton out of the booth, Tony Dunst will step in to cover for the Life’s a Gamble author.

Tony Dunst steps in.

Sexton made the final table of WPT Venice in 2013 and WPT Bay 101 in 2011.

No matter what happens with Sexton it’s going to be a compelling final table Ema Zajmavic, second in chips with 5.3m, looking to finally become the first woman to win an open WPT event.

Zajmavic, who works in public relations, spent much of the playdown as chip leader and looked downright dominant at certain points.

With a scant $24k in lifetime live tournament earnings, Zajmavic has already tripled that figure just by making the final table.

The final table is stacked top-to-bottom, however, with noted pros Benny Chen, Jake Schwartz and Ilan Boujenah all looking for that C$317,895 first-place prize.

Action kicks off at 4 p.m. ET today and you can follow along via the WPT live updates or livestream.

Here’s a look at the chip stacks heading into the final table:

Mike Sexton – 6,215,000 (78 bb) Ema Zajmovic – 5,385,000 (67 bb) Benny Chen – 2,480,000 (31 bb) Ilan Boujenah – 2,290,000 (29 bb) Jake Schwartz – 1,550,000 (19 bb) Nadir Lalji – 1,520,000 (19 bb)

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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a gentle wind, an incoming low-pressure system and just the right read on the afternoon poker news Doppler radar.

Have a tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a line in the comments.

Today in the 3-bet we find Mike Sexton knocking on the WPT door (again), Liv Boeree fulfills a lifelong dream and we take a walk down Liv's poker memory lane.

1) Can Sexton Win a WPT?

A look at Mike Sexton's Hendon Mob page is truly a delight - with the exception of the hand cramp you get from scrolling so far down the page.

Is this it?

In other words, it just goes and goes. And goes.

All the way back to Feb. 1981, when he finished 3rd in the $1,000 Razz event at Amarillo Slim's Superbowl Of Poker in Vegas for $9,500 and his first (recorded) live cash.

Which, awesome. $5.85m in cashes later, he's still going strong. But among all of those amazing results one thing is missing: a WPT title.

Sexton has been the voice of the World Poker Tour since its inception but so far, at least best we can tell, his top WPT result is a third-place finish in Venice in 2013 for €54,200.

That could change this week as Sexton is one of 11 players remaining in the partypoker.net WPT Montreal playing out right now. 

At last check he had just knocked out 2016 WSOP Main Event 'villain' Alex Keating and Tan Ho back-to-back and has about 2m in chips. That puts him inside the Top 6.

Is this the time Sexton turns all of the insight gleaned from the booth into a final-table triumph? We certainly hope so. And there's $425k in hot, hot Canadian dollars waiting for him if he does.

Check the latest live updates as they play down to a final six right here.

2) Liv Can Die Happy ... Because She Did the Weather?

Best we can glean from this is PokerStars pro Liv Boeree got to stand up and do a weather forecast on British television sometime this week.

Which network and at what time, we don't know. But clearly, for a self-professed science nerd, it was a lifelong dream:

Well I'm dying happy. pic.twitter.com/Z5FtvUUxxb

— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) November 15, 2016

If anyone knows where we can find the footage, please let us know in the comments!

3) Also, There Was Sen Remo

Speaking of life highlights for Liv, here's a walk down memory lane of some of her finest poker moments put together by her PokerStars cohorts.

Getting "paid like a girl," as she says/does in the first clip, is pretty sweet but we'd have to think that €500,000 flip she won against Jakob Carlsson at EPT San Remo is a fond memory, too.



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PokerStars is challenging costumers to “Beat the Clock” in its new hyper-paced tournament mode on desktop and mobile.

Beat the Clock tournaments are four-handed Zoom Poker events that take only five minutes to play.

To make the money players have one simple goal: Survive.

Each player that’s still standing after five minutes will be paid out according to how many chips they’ve got in front of them when time expires.

Ronaldo Amps Up Action

PokerStars tapped ambassador Christiano Ronaldo as the face of Beat the Clock and it’s safe to say the football superstar is a fan of the format.

Beat the Clock, Beat Ronaldo

“Beat The Clock requires you to think and act quickly with a high level of skill, which gives me the same rush of excitement that I experience on the pitch,” said Ronaldo.

“The timed element of this game makes it fun to play and means I can get that quick adrenaline fix on the move.”

The tournaments never take more than five minutes, which helpful for anyone with a limited amount of time to play.

Beat the Clock is latest new format that PokerStars has introduced over the last few years.

Some of the other notable experiences include jackpot-based Spin & Go’s, Knockout Poker and even the now-defunct PokerStars Duels.

For more information or to sign up for an account you can head over to our PokerStars review.



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Updated: 46 weeks 12 hours ago