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JWalsh

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  1. When Las Vegas-based poker pro Kami Hudson decides to do something she tends to go “full out.” From her morning meditation routine clearing her head, setting her intentions, and getting active to grinding online, Hudson’s approach to all of her passions is one of positivity and going for it. “I’m a big believer in positive thinking and in poker and in life I do my best to look on the bright side of things.” And there’s been plenty to be positive about for Hudson, who plays on WSOP.com under the screen name ‘Loco4coco’, when it comes to her poker career. More specifically, her positivity helped her in her recent victory in the World Series of Poker $320 Online Circuit Season Finale NLHE event in which she took home her first career gold ring and a payday of over $50,000. “I was really excited to win a ring,” Hudson said. “As all MTT players know, it isn’t easy to win a tournament, and all of the close calls can really start to wear on you.” Hudson had been tracking down a WSOP Circuit ring for years, making three final tables over the past three years in various WSOPC events. She also bubbled a WSOP final table in 2017, finishing in 10th place in a $1,500 event for over $23,000. But those close calls just encouraged her press forward. “Yes, I’ve had a lot of close calls and have been close to winning several events, but instead of letting that get me down, I use it as motivation and look at it as a sign that I am growing,” she said. “I don’t look at it as a failure but instead as improvement and that I must be doing a lot of things right to get so deep and close.” Hudson, who grew up in Oklahoma and earned her degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, has always found herself drawn to pursuits that lend themselves to success in the game. “As a kid growing up and throughout my entire life I have always been curious and inquisitive, into playing games, solving various kinds of puzzles, and super interested in studying people and the psychology behind everything I encounter,” she said. “I’ve been around a poker environment since the age of 18 and that’s how I began picking it up. In the beginning, it was more of just a hobby and it wasn’t until about four years ago I became more interested in it and started taking it more seriously.” At the same time that Hudson first encountered poker, she also was introduced to another life passion. In her first year of college, she was invited to go on a trip to Honduras to visit and work with an orphanage. “From that very first trip, I fell in love with the people and the place, and the rest is history,” she said. “Those kids broke my heart wide open and change my entire life in the best ways possible. Thirteen years and twenty trips later, it has become my biggest passion.” Hudson isn’t a part of an organization, it’s a personal endeavor that she at first shared with a friend but now has now extended to her entire family including her parents and sisters. Projects for the orphanage have included installing an entire water purifying system, purchasing a new playground, fixing up the building, providing greater security and essential items like bedding and pillows for the children. “But the biggest thing I have a heart for, the type of service most important to me, is investing my time and energy into the children emotionally and mentally,” she said. After her first trip, she immediately started learning Spanish so she could better connect with the kids. "I spend a lot of my time there sitting with the kids and communicating about life and their goals and what we can do to accomplish their dreams." “Each time I leave, I leave a piece of my heart there, but at least I know I leave with them knowing that they are loved, brave, smart and that people believe in them,” she said. “My days there are spent laughing, crying, playing, building, teaching, learning, starting and keeping traditions, showing consistency, capturing the good times on camera so that they can have photos of a happy childhood with people who love them with people who love them, and making memories with some of the most beautiful people on the planet.” “I know it might not look like much to some people but to these kids, it might be the first time a person has been a constant source of love and support in their life.” That love and support, when at it’s best, is a two-way street. Hudson not only has had the opportunity to change the lives of children in desperate need but in return, she found love and purpose in her own life. "I will never forget the time I heard one of my little 6-year-olds praying before dinner, and she prayed for the lives and health of her mother and father, who she had never met, and then followed that with all of the things she was grateful for. That hit me hard,” Hudson said. “Those kids have changed my life, they have given me so much. I will never be able to repay them, but I will continuously return to them, over and over, to do all that I can to try." Hudson credits her current life as a poker pro with giving her the flexible schedule and free time to continually support the orphanage and the kids. She has plans on returning to Honduras at some point after her current World Series of Poker grind. “I plan on playing the majority of the WSOP.com/USA event because I think they are amazing value,” she said, noting that one of the reasons she originally moved to Las Vegas was to have access to these types of events. “I do intend to travel to Mexico to play some of the [GGPoker] events next month, but mainly the $1Ks and lower. Winning an online bracelet would be a great accomplishment but I don’t think I will feel fully satisfied until I win one live.” For Hudson though, satisfaction in poker is one thing while the definition of success is another. “We all have our definitions of success,” she said. “Success and happiness are relative. One of the biggest lessons my kids in Honduras have taught me is that happiness isn't based on material things. Because despite not having money or many material items, they are so much happier than the majority of people I know who society would consider being "rich". In my opinion, the key to happiness and success is being grateful for what you have and always doing the best you can with what you know at the time.”
  2. It’s been a little over a week since the start of the 2020 World Series of Poker and bracelet chasers from all over the country have made their way to Nevada or New Jersey to log on and battle in some of the biggest online tournaments to take place in the United States this year. A lot has happened in the first week including over 1,110 individuals cashing in the first eight events which, in total, has generated $5,586,640 in total prize pools (and provided a little over $500,000 in rake.). So here’s a snapshot of some of the numbers that have emerged from the 2020 WSOP so far. Early Money List Leaders Through the first eight events, there have been seven six-figure paydays with Louis ‘PokeThese’ Lynch’s victory in Event #2 ($1,000 No Limit Hold’em) taking the top spot at $168,586. He was followed closely by Allen ‘Acnyc718’ Chang’s win in Event #5 ($1,000 NLHE Freezeout) where he took home $161,286. But when it comes to who has earned the most over the course of the series, the pair of players switch positions. Chang has cashed three times in the series for a total of $172,609 while Lynch’s three results have brought him $171,544 in earnings. Robert 'bustinballs' Kuhn settled into third place in earnings with $160,397. He made his way into the money five out of eight tournaments including his victory in Event #3 ($400 No Limit Hold’em) for $115,850 and a fourth-place final table finish in Event #8 ($500 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout) for another $37,803. All eight of the gold bracelet winners are, understandably, sitting in the top 10 of earnings with runners-up Ryan ‘KOVID19’ Ko ($108,646) and Philip ‘tomte’ Yeh ($97,091) also making an appearance. [table id=76 /] Racking Up Cashes When it comes to the most cashes, three additional players join Robert Kuhn at the top of the list making it in the money five times. Simon Lam amassed $19,349 in his first five cashes, while Omar Mehmoon has picked up $9,336. Longtime tournament grinder Jon Turner earned $11,199 for his efforts. Of the 1,165 players who have made the money, 38 of them (3.2%) have cashed four times. Ross Gottlieb, who finished runner up to Alan Goehring in Event #8 ($500 No Limit Hold’em Freezeout) leads all four-time cashers with $76,479 in total earnings. He’s followed by Eric Baldwin who has earned $49,356 thanks to his third-place finish in Event #7 ($800 NLHE Knockout Deepstack Freezeout). Frank Marasco has picked up $40,356 in his four trips in the money to sit right behind Baldwin. A total of 113 players have cashed 3 times including former #1-ranked PocketFiver Shaun Deeb ($3,662), WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Reiss ($5,209), Daniel Negreanu ($7,830) and 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth ($10,767). Cashing From Coast-To-Coast When you drill down where people are from with regards to who winning the most money New Jersey holds the most cashes with a total of 402 for $952,146 while Nevada is claiming the most money at $1,122,914 over the course of 362 cashes. Players hailing from California have booked the third most cashed with 204 for $804,396. Followed by New York with 143 results and Texas wrangling up 48 finishes. [table id=77 /]
  3. The drawn-out legal battle between poker superstar Phil Ivey and Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino appears to be finally coming to a resolution. As reported by NJ Online Gambling, a court filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit indicated that Ivey and the Borgata have "reached a settlement" of an undisclosed amount and terms in the high-profile, high-stakes baccarat edge-sorting case. The case stretches all the way back to 2012 when Ivey and his associate Cheng Yin "Kelly" Sun won roughly $9.6 million during multiple sessions of playing baccarat at the Borgata. The pair knew of a printing defect on the back of the Gemaco-manufactured playing cards used by the Borgata which they used to gain an advantage on the house, more commonly referred to as "edge sorting". In April 2014, after being alerted to the technique, the Borgata filed their initial lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Ivey and Sun, with accusations of Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Contract, Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Fraudulent Inducement, and Fraud. After two years of legal wrangling, in 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey sided with the Borgata, awarding them a judgement of $10 million against Ivey and Sun. Since that time, the Borgata has been trying to collect with little success. The company sought was granted the ability to seize Ivey's assets in Nevada as well as claim his winnings when he returned to the World Series of Poker in 2019 and cashed in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for over $124,000. The lawsuit is thought to have been a major factor in Ivey’s absence from the U.S. poker scene in the past half-decade. Since 2016, the case has been on appeal. Ivey has been making his case that “edge sorting” does not equate to cheating or fraud. The definition of what defines a marked card and who did the marking was seemingly at the center of the appeal. The Borgata was arguing that the cards that were used were marked. Ivey and Sun, who never denied using the edge sorting technique. They requested a number of conditions under which they would play and to which the Borgata agreed to. Ivey and Sun never physically touched or marked the playing cards. While it is uncertain the terms of the resolution, should the District Court vacate a set of orders and decision, Ivey and the Borgata will be clear to finally put this near decade-long issue to rest.
  4. When World Series of Poker commentator David Tuchman reached out to Nathan 'surfbum' Gamble to provide guest commentary for the final table of Event #6 ($600 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-better), Gamble was happy to accept. Hours later, Tuchman had an opening for a PLO8 analyst on his WSOP Twitch broadcast as 30-year-old professional mixed game specialist Gamble was, indeed, at the final table in search of a second career World Series of Poker gold bracelet and the first-place prize of over $89,000. For anyone paying close attention, Gamble’s ascension to the upper echelon of the mixed games could be viewed through his incredible PLO8 resume. Since 2017, the World Series of Poker has held ten PLO8 or PLO8 variant tournaments. Gamble has cashed in six of them, winning two. Gamble won his first WSOP event back in 2017, taking down the $1,500 PLO8 event that year for over $223,000. But back then, for him, it was a very different experience. His final table was shoved into the back of the Amazon Room of the Rio, giving way for the $50K Poker Players Championship to take the main stage. Gamble had one family friend on his rail and when it was over, his "surreal victory" was enjoyed mostly by himself. Plenty has changed in the three years since his first bracelet win. Gamble is a bit of "pros pro", a game starter in the Wynn’s $80/$160 Mixed. In his nearly two years since moving to Las Vegas to pursue playing live poker professionally, he’s evolved into being thought of as a "guy who kinda knows what he’s doing" into a regular in the high limit mixed games community - with what feels like "the full support of the industry" behind him. When you talk to Gamble, it’s clear that his love of mixed games is less about the money, a and more the people he’s met along the way. “I don’t play much No Limit anymore. if you look at my cashes I’ve played the Main Event one time. I made a deep run in it but I never played it again. In mixed games, people are more open, more talkative and it’s more dynamic,” Gamble said. “It’s a lot more of that fun environment that, even if you are winning or losing, people enjoy themselves.” It’s this community that Gamble credits in his continued passion for all facets of poker, not just No Limit Hold’em. “It’s the camaraderie. We’ve built a pretty large community at this point and we’ll have people just stop in and ask ‘What are ya’ll doing? You’re so fun and you’re talkative,’" Gamble says, his Texas roots showing. “We’ve had people sit down simply because we’re having fun and enjoying ourselves. It’s almost like what you would hear about back in the day about Bobby’s Room. People they’re no way they’re playing for real money, they’re so friendly…but half of us literally go out for lunch and we hang out and enjoy each other’s company but at the same time it’s competitive on the felt.” Gamble’s interest strayed from No Limit Hold’em from the get-go. He recalls playing free-to-play online poker when he was 13, looking to build a bigger free chip bankroll. “I noticed that the Pot Limit Omaha side played bigger and you could build up chips faster,” he said, “It was more swingy and more 'gambley'.” Eventually, his dad gave him $11 to play a tournament, which, when it was canceled he was allowed to keep. He took that $11 and found an edge playing in alternate forms of poker. Where people were lacking skill he says he “instantly found a niche.” He honed his mixed game skills in the pre-Black Friday tables of Full Tilt Poker, putting in work in PLO while others were battling in No Limit. “I would get in 100 reps a day of PLO8 Sit & Go’s, and that’s why I think it’s extremely hard to learn the game now because it’s not online, there’s no sit and goes. You have two or three tournaments weekly so it’s very difficult for people to learn,” he recalled. “I just happened to be fortunate enough to learn a game that there’s not a lot of work done on.” And here in the 2020 World Series of Poker, that work is continuing to pay off. On Monday night Gamble found himself in line to add to his PLO accomplishments. “At every single break for the first ten hours of the tournament, I was between first and fifth in chips. And I told people, ‘this is just flowing, I’m on the right trajectory, everything is going as smoothly as can be.” But at the final table, the one he was supposed to be commentating on, he found himself short-stacked, and doubt began to creep in. Was he really going pull of another gold-bracelet moment? Rather than talking to an audience, he spoke to himself. “But then you say, ‘OK, I’ve been here before, I know what to do and if the cards break slightly in my favor - I’m a favorite to win this.’" “When the very last card came off…that’s when it all hit. Up until then, I was just in a zone. And you don’t even realize it, you are just in a complete, absolute zone. I didn’t know what we were playing for, I didn’t really care what we were playing for but as soon as that card hit I instantly realized I won it,” he said. “The adrenaline hit and it took me back to when I won my first bracelet in 2017 where you're in disbelief and it doesn’t feel real.” But there’s a distinct difference this year from 2017, and it’s not due to society’s current pandemic. “This year, through playing mixed games, I’ve met some of the most incredible players in this community. So, on break, I would call Brandon Shack-Harris and we would talk things through. I talked with Ali Nejad…I just had a rail that was really there to support me and that meant a lot,” he said. ”I don’t know if I would have won if it wasn’t for my rail and the people I’ve made friends with since the first one. I really do owe them. The difference between the first and the second was the first was all me, the second was due to the community I’ve grown a part of.” “That, to me, means more than the actual bracelet.”
  5. It was just before midnight when chaos erupted in the basement of Mr. Bode’s Hampton, New Jersey house. You see, his son, 29-year old Matthew Bode, who had just driven all the way from his home in North Carolina to play a little online poker, had just won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet. “I started screaming and yelling. I was going crazy after the win,” Matt 'Bodeyster' Bode said. “I was freaking out. It was surreal…I ran like hot fire.” Once his father and step-mom ambled down the steps, once the dogs stopped barking, he did his best to explain what had happened. After nearly predicting it just days before, Bode won Event #4 of the 2020 WSOP Online series for just over $97,000. The event which took place on July 4 was designed with fireworks in mind. It took less than six hours from start to finish for Bode to claim the gold bracelet making it one of the fastest gold bracelets won in WSOP history. He was faced with stiff competition at a short-stacked final table including Kevin ‘ImaLuckSac’ MacPhee, Frank ‘spaghettiii’ Marasco, and eventual runner-up Brian ‘XcrazylegsX’ Frasca. Even so, he felt like he was the one with the edge. “I think I had an advantage over a lot of the crushers at the final table because they didn’t know who I was but I knew who they were,” Bode said. “There was no room for mistakes if you messed up in any spot you were out in that tournament. And I knew it too, at that moment. My hands were sweatin’, my balls were sweatin’…you name it and it was sweatin’ on me,” Bode said. “I knew how big of a moment it was.” “I just stuck to my guns and stuck to my charts and kept with it,” he said talking about his final table performance. “I just didn’t make any calls. Just stayed with the all-in button and didn’t hit the call button. Just made all the folds and hit all-in. That was my goal just not to hit call.” While he didn't make any 'calls' at the final table, Bode, who considers himself a part-time pro MTT player who mostly competes on America’s Cardroom, did take to Twitter, to call his own shot. “My goal back in January was to win a bracelet. So I slowly built up enough of a bankroll up. Going into the weekend I had $5,000 to my name to play for the weekend,” he said. “I had $1,500 to my name headed into the Super Turbo.” While those who take bankroll management seriously might shudder at that thought, Bode has never really lacked confidence when it comes to poker. He started playing young, around 12, and came up with a crew of friends, many of which turned into professional poker players. As an eighteen-year-old Bode was playing on Full Tilt and partypoker online and winning the first live tournament he ever played. He was even taken under the win of pro poker player Leif Force who helped him elevate his game. But even though Bode felt like he was just as good as anyone, especially when he was younger, he didn’t take the poker pro path. He found another competitive outlet in Ultimate Frisbee. In 2009, as a high school student, Bode won a National Championship in Ultimate Frisbee, and then in 2013, as a professional, he won a World Championship. At the same time, Bode has another job working with kids with autism, helping non-verbal kids become more verbal and assisting their families through Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. “The work I do with children, it fills the bucket if that makes sense,” Bode said. “If I didn’t wake up and do something else, work with someone I feel like I’d be a miserable online grinder.” While he was playing poker recreationally from time to time over the last ten years, Bode was more focused on his work. It wasn’t until November 2019 that he decided to give the grind another chance. When he did decide to go for it, he buckled down and put in the work. “I’m super competitive so I just started studying and studying and studying and grinding super hard,” he said. He quickly got back into the scene, playing eight tables at a time, making deep runs online. “Everyone started seeing me on the ACR scene as I was making final table after final table. I was going deep in everything but no big binks.” That’s when he decided to make a run at a bracelet. He started to build a bankroll early in the year. He sold a little to his brother, who plays professionally, and his girlfriend but kept most of himself. Then for the Fourth of July weekend, he packed his car and made the trip to New Jersey to take his shot. “I knew it was going to happen. If you’re a poker player you know, you get that feeling and I had that feeling. I hadn’t won a tournament since January,” he said. “For me to sun run it at that time, I kinda knew I was due. I earned this moment. And a soon as we hit that min-cash, as soon as I saw it, I was like ‘ok, I’m going for the win’.” “This is that moment I’ve been waiting for. When you get to that spot and you have that absolute feeling like ‘This is my tournament, my time to win.’ and I put in all this effort. There’s a reason why I’m up to 4 a.m. every night. And after I’m losing I’m studying why the hell I lost and understanding all my mistakes.” In the end, he says he “ran well and made all the right jams and that’s all that matters.” As for what’s next, Bode can’t be sure. “I haven’t even seen the bracelet yet,” he laughed. After a nearly ten-year detour from poker, Bode is back - now with a bracelet. But he doesn’t regret taking any of that time off. “If I were to have tried to grind my way through at twenty when I knew I was really good at this game, I wouldn’t have been able to have this bracelet now,” he said. “The poker gods wouldn’t have had my back until I had gone and gotten life lessons. They wouldn’t have given me this bracelet, I had to be mature enough to embrace this.” As for what’s next Bode is still basking in the glow of a bracelet. “Leif wants me to fly out to Vegas and go to Mexico with him to finish out the whole series and try to earn a bunch of points. But I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m in this ‘what the hell just happened??’ kind of moment.”
  6. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. The 2020 World Series of Poker Online series is here and this week on The FIVES Poker Podcast, Lance and Donnie break down all of the gold-bracelet action from the first weekend. Also, Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow steps out of line when he is 'slow-rolled' in a tournament while live streaming. All of this, plus the news from around the world of poker this week. Make sure you subscribe to The FIVES – available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts! Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  7. The World Series of Poker Online bracelet events captured the attention of the poker world this weekend but they were by no means the only opportunity for U.S.-based players to take down a big-time tournament. For starters, WSOP.com is running the WSOP.com Online Championships right alongside of the 2020 WSOP. The Online Championships is a month-long series with $6 million in total prize money guaranteed and this weekend the series featured three six-figure prize pools. One of the biggest tournaments of the weekend was the WSOP.com OC #21 ($200,000 Sunday Special Edition) which saw 613 players (384 rebuys) post the $320 buy-in and shatter the guarantee to the tune of a $299,100 prize pool. 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event final tablist Aram ‘X69Podheiser’ Zobian took home the win, adding $43,907.88 to his bankroll. ‘bbqnub1’ finished as the runner-up, earning $32,512.17 while Jason ‘Gunner_Q10’ Gunn shot up to third and walked away with $23,928. Uke ’ooopsmybad’ Dauti took down the $100 buy-in WSOP.com OC#20 ($100,000 Player Appreciation) for a $30,411.99 score. Mike ‘SammyTwizz’ Azzaro captured second place for an $18,750.99 score while ‘betfoldwin’ wrapped up in third place for $13,496.40. The third six-figure prize pool of the day was in the WSOP.com OC #22 ($75,000 Sunday 55). The $75,000 guarantee turned into a $120,500 prize pool as 687 players (1,365 rebuys + 358 add-ons) fired in the $55 buy-in event. Stuart ‘studog’ Gold outlasted the field and banked $28,317.50 with the victory. ‘edypzed’ grabbed $15,062.50 for finishing in second and Francis ‘Specialfx’ Romano grabbed the bronze and $9,881 for their efforts. While WSOP.com was cranking up the prize pools, PokerStars was slashing the buy-ins on their Pennsylvania and New Jersey Sunday Majors to lure in large fields. The PokerStars PA Half Price Sunday Special saw 2,172 entries sieze the opportunity to pay just $50 to take a shot at a five-figure payday. ‘Savant76’ scored the win and took home the $14,730 first-place prize. ‘cowboydollars’ has a few extra bucks thanks to his $10,499.09 score as the runner-up. ‘DaveyJoneLocker’ wrapped up in third place and earned $7,484.12. The PokerStars PA Half Price Sunday High Roller saw a huge boost in attendance this week with 509 players firing the $125 tournament. That’s up from 149 players who played last week with the regular High Roller buy-in of $250. ‘JonCaron215’ took home the bulk of the $58,026 prize pool by claiming the $10,267.58 first-place prize. ‘flipper12x’ finished in second place and took home $7,153.83. And ‘johnnyboat46’ stood on the final step of the podium, earning $4,984.60 for third. In New Jersey, there was a three-way chop in the $100 PokerStars NJ Half Price Sunday Special. Even though ‘zhatka’ was the official winner, earning $6,556.65 it was runner-up ‘HustlersTavern’ who locked up the biggest payday of the tournament, logging off with $7,499.44. Finally, ‘Vote Kanye’ was the third party in the deal, securing $6,841.14 for third place. ‘MyCousinVinny5’ grabbed the gold in the $215 buy-in partypoker NJ Sunday $35K Gtd for $10,280. He was followed by ‘chomeking’, who earned $6,769.38 as the runner-up and ‘Whosyourdoddy’ who fell in third place which was good for $4,883. WSOP.com OC #20 - $100,000 Player Appreciation Buy-in: $100 Entries: 1,184 (772 rebuys) Prize pool: $179,952 ooopsmybad - $30,411.88 SammyTwizz - $18,750.99 betfoldwin - $13,496.40 WSOP.com OC#21 - $200,000 Sunday Special Edition Buy-in: $320 Entries: 613 (384 rebuys) Prize pool: $299,100 Aram ‘X69Podheiser’ Zobian - $43,907.88 bbqnub1 - $32,512.17 Gunner_Q10 - $23,928 WSOP.com OC #22 - $75,000 Sunday 55 Buy-in: $55 Entries: 687 (1365 rebuys, 358 add-ons) Prize pool: $120,500 studog - $28,317.50 edypzed - $15,062.50 specialfx - $9,881 WSOP.com OC #23 - $20,000 NLH Knockout Buy-in: $75 Entries: 594 Prize pool: $43,174 Robotbob47 - $6,557.76 + $350 halama - $3,470.14 + $225 jmzit2u - $2,267.89 + $125 WSOP.com OC #24 - $20,000 NLH Deepstack Buy-in: $10 Entries: 791 (1676 rebuys, 452 add-ons) Prize pool: $26,562.90 DeionSanders - $6,109.46 c0nky - $3,227.39 yourmotsure - $2,125.03 WSOP.com $15,000 Sunday Kick-Off Buy-in: $50 Entries: 197 (209 rebuys, 109 add-ons) Prize pool: $23,432.50 sports247 - $6,326.77 Proteus99 - $3,690.61 UrNextPrez - $2,108.92 WSOP.com $15,000 Bracelet Warm-up Deepstack Buy-in: $100 Entries: 218 (83 rebuys) Prize pool: $27,391 bendtheknee - $5,259.07 luckyleo1980 - $3,925.13 omarcomin - $2,936.31 WSOP.com $15,000 Weekly Sunday Deepstack Buy-in: $50 Entries: 176 (157 rebuys, 138 add-ons) Prize pool: $21,430.50 liter_a_cola - $5,786.23 SammyTwizz - $3,375.30 ithefuture - $1,928.74 WSOP.com $50,000 Weekly Sunday Buy-in: $500 Entries: 151 (115 rebuys) Prize pool: $124,222 WATCHGUY42 - $33,539.94 JefferinoH1 - $19,564.96 hellofriend - $11,179.98 WSOP.com $25,000 WSOP Bracelet Second Chance Deepstack Buy-in: $100 Entries: 401 (235 rebuys) Prize pool: $57,876 dogfacedboy - $9,225.43 Realm - $6,829.36 TIPnTimeBOMB - $5,035.21 PokerStars PA Half Price Sunday Special Buy-in: $50 Entries: 2,172 Prize pool: $98,826 Savant76 - $14,730.96 cowboydollars - $10,499.09 DaveyJoneLocker - $7,484.12 PokerStars PA Half Price Sunday High Roller Buy-in: $125 Entries: 509 Prize pool: $58,026 JonCaron215 - $10,267.58 flipper12x - $7,153.83 johnnyboat46 - $4,984.60 PokerStars PA Nightly Stars Buy-in: $100 Entries: 246 Prize pool: $22,582.80 AFA5671 - $4,357.18 HBGgolfSIM - $3,220.34 5BETCHET - $2,380.22 PokerStars NJ Half Price Sunday Special Buy-in: $100 Entries: 530 Prize pool: $48,654 zhatka - $6,556.65* HustlersTavern - $7,499.44* Vote Kanye - $6,841.14* PokerStars NJ Half Price Sunday High Roller Buy-in: $250 Entries: 70 Prize pool: $16,310 insatiable - $4,893 iFoldN0T - $3,262 monkeyman067 - $2,446.50 partypoker NJ Sunday $35K GTD Buy-in: $215 Entries: 257 Prize pool: $51,400 MyCousinVinny5 - $10,280 chromeking - $6,769.38 Whosyourdoddy - $4,883
  8. In poker, there’s no easy path to success. While few may stumble into fortune, for most the winning hand is made with hard work and the right guidance. "'If others can do it, I can do it too.' That’s exactly what I thought," said poker pro Andreas Ponath. "But it turned out to be way harder than I expected." Six years after rediscovering the game of poker, Hamburg, Germany’s Andreas 'derbegott' Ponath is seeing the results of putting in the work. Currently a full-time online grinder, Ponath has been enjoying some of the biggest cashes of his young pro career, including deep runs at some of his highest buy-ins during the 2020 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. "SCOOP was really exciting for me since I played my highest [average buy-in] so far and wanted to see how competitive I am while battling the best in the world," Ponath said. "Despite not getting a top-five finish and a lot of very brutal bustouts, I am still happy with my performance." Ponath has every reason to be proud. He racked up 20 total cashes during SCOOP including a seventh-place finish in Event #79 Low ($109 Mini Super Tuesday) for $10,187 and another final table appearance in Event #120 Medium (Sunday Warm-Up SE) for $5,976. But making final tables in one of the most challenging online poker series of the year didn’t come from just picking the game back up from where he left off - it took time and dedication. Like many fans of the game, Ponath first discovered poker during the Moneymaker-inspired boom era. Watching the World Series of Poker on ESPN may have led to home games with friends but no initial dreams of taking the game seriously. Years later, during his first-semester break while at university for an engineering degree, Ponath happened upon a Twitch stream. Someone was grinding poker and, basically, it looked like fun. "I watched him for a bit and decided to download a poker client and play for a bit of fun," he recalls. "After playing for around two years recreationally I thought about how nice it would be to actually make some money on the side playing poker instead of doing some other job." But there was a hard truth to overcome. Today’s game is drastically different from the game he discovered on TV in his youth. He was "losing or breakeven at best" in the low stakes games and knew in order to make that change, he had to change. "I realized that I re-discovered poker when it was on a pretty advanced level already and if I wanna win, I actually have to take it way more seriously and put in a ton of work since everyone was playing for so many years already and is way ahead of me." Luckily for Ponath, studying was (and is) not an issue for him. He started watching videos, lots and lots of videos. He was consuming content from training sites across the board. At the same time that he was learning poker, he zeroed in on his engineering degree and finished up his studies. "After I finished my studies, I decided to give poker a shot, do it full time and try to make a living off of it," he said. "I was thinking about ways to improve my game as quickly as possible. I felt that training courses could not help me anymore really, so looking for a private coach who could screen my game for leaks and bring my game to the next level seemed like the logical next step to me." That’s when Ponath crossed paths with BBZ Poker. Helmed by lead coach Jordan Drummond, BBZ is known for excelling in bringing out the best in their students and stables through private coaching and daily seminars. "The daily BBZ seminars have massive value," Ponath said. "Top coaches like BBZ himself [Drummond] and 'apestyles' [Jonathan Van Fleet] teach every aspect of the game such as preflop, postflop, and ICM adjusted play. I especially like that everything we do has a very scientific approach and is mostly supported by solvers and databases." For Ponath, studying with BBZ has become quite enjoyable. He spends about 30% of his poker time studying and 70% putting in volume on the tables. Even during larger series when he needs to cut back on studying hours, Ponath makes it a point to attending the daily seminars. "Fortunately, I do enjoy studying poker a lot," he said. "The most challenging part about studying for me is figuring out what to actually focus on. You can very easily waste a lot of time studying something that will not actually have any meaningful impact on your game at all." That’s just one of the ways in which BBZ and their Coaching For Profit program have been a benefit to Ponath. For Ponath it was the "perfect fit" as it allowed him to get top-tier coaching without an initial investment. Not only is he seeing results in his game but he’s seeing his studying time become even more efficient. "The first one-on-one session with Jordan was mind-blowing to me," Ponath recalled. "I’d done some work in PT4 and PIO solver before, but watching Jordan work with all these tools is just insane. Analyzing my database it took him like five minutes to identify at least 10 aspects of my game which I have to improve on." "To anyone pretty much who wants to improve their game, book a session with Jordan or one of the BBZ coaches. It is clearly the fastest and most effective way to identify leaks in your game that you maybe never would find on your own." Ponath is now reaping the benefits of his time with BBZ. His average buy-in has gone from $25 last year to battling in the $109s, $215s, and selected $530s. He’s putting in a full-time MTT grind but is still able to step back when he needs to so he doesn’t burn out. "[BBZ] has a way bigger impact on my game than any course or masterclass could possibly have," he said. "What I learned so far boosted my confidence immensely and now there’s barely a spot where I feel completely lost. At the same time, every day I realize how much I still do not know and how much I still have to learn." Ponath has been with BBZ for eight months and his recent success has propelled him into the top-5 rankings in all of Germany. He’s a favorite to surpass $500,000 in total recorded lifetime earnings this year. As for what’s next for him, clearly there’s going to be a lot of studying, playing, and enjoying the ups and downs of poker. "I don’t really have any specific goals like winning a certain event or something…although hitting a six-figure score would be very sweet. I just wanna be able to do what I love for a living. Also, I would love to become a coach myself one day and help other people to become successful players."
  9. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Lance and Donnie are back with another episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast, bringing you all the latest news from the world of poker. This week, GGPoker announced its 54-event World Series of Poker schedule with a record-breaking $25 million guarantee for the Main Event. Plus, PokerStars announced their summer plans with the all-new Stadium Series and Maria Konnikova's new book, The Biggest Bluff, hit bookstore shelves. Make sure you subscribe to The FIVES - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts! Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  10. With so many promotions taking place on 888poker in the month of May, it’s no wonder PocketFivers had another incredibly profitable month on the online site. In addition to 888poker’s popular XL Inferno online series, they routinely discounted their biggest Sunday tournaments and provided players a Galaxy of Freerolls to benefit from. Players took notice and flocked to take advantage. The UK’s ‘JBHInfinity’ picked up a huge score at the end of the month to take home the top spot on the Top Earners list. They booked a final table finish in the $500,000 guaranteed XL Inferno Main Event for a career-high cash of $32,780. They also had a bronze medal finish in the May 19 edition of the $5,000 Deepstack Monsoon which was good for another $750, helping them book a total of $33,883 for the month. Fellow grinder from the UK Ben ‘benwa1’ Warrington also had a big month racking up 11 in the money finishes, 10 of which were PLB-qualifying scores. Warrington started the month off strong with back-to-back four-figure scores. The first was a win in the May 2 edition of the $10,000 Monsoon for $2,812 and he followed that up with a victory in the May 3 $20,000 Sunday Sale Whale for another $7,579. Add to that two more four-figure scores and Warrington ended the month with a total of $20,568.18 for second on the Top Earners list. Sachin ‘mcsash’ Joshi took the #3 spot on the Top Earners list for May, racking up $18,750 in winnings. Joshi, who plays under the screen name ‘BUCKEDURNAN’ on 888poker did all his damage in a single shot by taking down the May 24 edition of the $109 buy-in $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep. He bested the 705 entry field and locked up the $18,750 first-place prize, a career-high cash for the London-based player. 888poker Top 10 Earners May 2020 [table id=68 /] When it came to grinding, no one came close to the Netherlands ‘HeateN’. The small stakes tournament grinder racked up 137 in-the-money finishes in May for a total of $6,090 in earnings. Their month included 22 top-three finishes for a 16% podium finish. While they usually stick to the smaller stakes, $10 and under, a win in the May 16 edition of the $55 $3,000 Monsoon brought them a nice score of $1,171, their second-highest score ever on 888poker. No stranger to the Most Cashes list is Russia’s ‘Neverhood007’ who has routinely topped this category in past months. In May, they racked up 81 in-the-money finishes for a total earnings of $4,123. In all of those cashes, ‘Neverhood007’ managed to grab the top spot just one time, on May 29 when he took down the $400 Gtd Frenzy R&A for $160. Bruno ‘KeyzerSozePT’ Ferreira also had a prolific month, climbing into the #3 spot on the Most Cashes list with 79 cashes for a total of $15,258 - the most of anyone in the top 10. Ferreira booked five wins in the month including his spotlight score of $2,354 in the May 6 edition of the Gran Deepstack. 888poker Top 10 Most Cashes May 2020 [table id=69 /] With all of those cashes, it should be no surprise that ‘HeateN’ also topped the 888poker Most Wins category for May. They took down seven tournament of their 137 results which was two better than the next trio of players. ‘RuffWizard’, ‘Flavio Felipe’, and Bruno ‘KeyzerSozePT’ Ferreira all were tied for second place as they wrapped up the month with five outright victories. Behind them was ‘Appiah1’ and ‘volkogrich’ who struck gold four time in the month of May. 888poker Top 10 Most Wins May 2020 [table id=70 /]
  11. It was yet another weekend of major prize pools and marquee events in the regulated online poker markets in the United States including the arrival of the World Poker Tour Online Poker Open on the partypoker US Network. Even with PokerStars playing out their Main Events of their Summer Series in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the WPT Online Poker Open stood above the rest as the largest U.S. online tournament of the weekend. The exclusive tournament for Garden State grinders saw 868 entries push the prize pool past the $300K guarantee to create a $317,540 prize pool. David ‘TheKing411’ Coleman, the current #4-ranked player in the United States, claimed the crown, took down the tournament, and the $56,585.70 first-place prize. In addition to the win, Coleman also earned a WPT Championship Trophy and an $11,000 package that includes entry into the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas plus $600 in spending cash. The victory was nearly a career-high cash for Coleman as it awarded less than $1,000 off his score of $57,515 which he earned in July of 2019 after taking down a WSOP.com High Roller. The one-day event took over 10 hours to complete and the final table came to a relatively speedy conclusion. The early going final table action saw ‘A.Jackson1767’ (9th, $5,239), ‘anthonely’ (8th, $7,145) and ‘BV511’ (7th, $9,844) hit the rail, which guaranteed that each of the final six players would be walking away with a five-figure score. Josh ‘layitdown08’ Rothberg fell in sixth place when his ace-queen got it in against the surging ‘jbg82’s small pocket pair. Rothberg lost the flip but won $13,019.14, a new career-high online cash. Soon after, ’jbg82’ scored again, this time on ‘KevinDurant’. The pair got all their chips in the middle and ‘KevinDurant’s ace-jack was dominated by ’jbg82’s ace-queen. ‘KevinDurant’ finished in fifth, taking home $17,305.93. ‘jbg82’ was nowhere near finished busting people as he ended up taking out ’ShutUPnDANCE’ in fourth place for $22,545.34. They also eliminated ‘lucky’ in third place, who walked away with a healthy $29,689.99 score. But while ‘jbg82’ was eliminating people, Coleman was picking his spots and picking up chips. He scored a big hand with three left to take over the chip lead and once ‘lucky’ hit the rail, Coleman asserted his new lead over ‘jbg82’. The final hand was a bit of a cooler for ‘jbg82’ as both players flopped a flush with Coleman having the higher of the two. ‘jbg82’ runner-up performance was rewarded with a $42,232.82 score and Coleman booked the win. WPT Online Poker Open on partypoker Buy-in: $400 Entries: 868 Prize pool: $317,540 David ‘TheKing411’ Coleman - $56,585.70 jbg82 - $42,232.82 lucky - $29,689.99 ShutUPnDANCE - $22,545.34 KevinDurant - $17,305.93 layitdown08 - $13,019.14 BV511 - $9,843.74 anthonely - $7,144.65 A.Jackson1767 - $5,239.41 WSOP.com $100,000 Player Appreciation Buy-in: $100 Entries: 1,211 (717 rebuys) Prize pool: $177,376 DontBluffMe1 - $28,220.52 vagab0nd - $17,453.79 dsquared - $12,682.38 WSOP.com $25,000 Monthly PLO High Roller Buy-in $525 Entries: 39 (38 rebuys) Prize pool: $38,500 huckcheevers - $13,475 seacolt11 - $8,470 BOCARATONE - $5,775 WSOP.com $15,000 Weekly Sunday Deepstack Buy-in: $50 Entries: 225 (195 rebuys) Prize pool: $26,981.50 ismaray16 - $7,150.09 SLHalper - $4,182.13 J_Tanouye - $2,387.86 WSOP.com $15,000 Sunday Kick-off Buy-in: $50 Entries: 180 (173 rebuys) Prize pool: $20,930 ryanmco18 - $5,651.10 Got_The_Glow - $3,296.47 Thuro201 - $1,883.70 WSOP.com $10,000 Weekly Sunday KO Buy-in: $100 Entries: 220 Prize pool: $20,680 solarcoaster - $4,022.70 + $325 in bounties gifafi - $2,352.90 + $175 in bounties the.headies - $1,343.43 + $25 in bounties WSOP.com $50,000 Monthly Sunday 6-Max Buy-in: $1,000 Entries: 74 (43 rebuys) Prize pool: $111,150 ParxBigStax - $32,233.50 veilleux - $18,895.50 2fly2die - $12,338 WSOP.com Weekly Sunday 6-Max Buy-in: $500 Entries: 90 (65 rebuys) Prize pool: $72,385 itwasthator0 - $20,629.72 TheDinosaur - $11,943.52 redsoxnets5 - $7,238.50 PokerStars PA Summer Series 35: $200 Main Event Buy-in: $200 Entries: 1,303 Prize pool: $242,358 ComecomecomeTD - $30,146.23* rancidpupil - $27,148.24* Lachoy14 - $27,146.23* PokerStars PA Summer Series 36: $50 Main Event Buy-in: $50 Entries: 1,044 Prize pool: $47,502 KnightsofNight - $7,758.10 uwillmiss - $5,536.77 simonlevy98 - $3,951.96 PokerStars PA Sunday High Roller Buy-in: $250 Entries: 149 Prize pool: $34,717 $1Mplease2535 - $7,041.33 ChrundleTheGr8 - $5,287.24 aldrich801 - $3,970.20 PokerStars PA Summer Series 37: $100 PLO 6-Max Buy-in: $100 Entries: 244 Prize pool: $22,399.20 SleaxyAmishGirl - $4,317.80 Amgeez826800 - $3,187.54 MarcZumoff - $2,353.25 PokerStars PA Summer Series 38: $75 NLHE Series Wrap-Up Buy-in: $75 Entries: 329 Prize pool: $22,454.25 TheStrider124 - $4,203.04 TYCA45 - $3,072.90 SDotRog - $2,246.73 PokerStarsNJ Summer Series 37: $300 Main Event Buy-in: $300 Entries: 348 Prize pool: $97,440 Mummy’s Bitch - $17,895.92 ISlowRollYou - $13.024.96 coles93 - $9,479.97 PokerStarsNJ Summer Series 38: $50 Mini Main Event Buy-in: $50 Entries: 553 Prize pool: $25,161.50 TPR11 - $4,449 McZZyNJ - $3,171.10 oopth - $2,260.46
  12. In less than a week, the 2020 World Series of Poker gets underway as U.S.-based players in Nevada and New Jersey enjoy a schedule of 31 online gold bracelet events to vie for on WSOP.com beginning on July 1. The lure of winning a WSOP bracelet, even online, is likely to bring out large fields of players who may not play regularly on the site. Some of which will travel in from out of state, looking to get set up for the very first time. While others may be firing up an old account, one they haven’t played on since last year. But with a little planning ahead, players can ensure that their main focus during the WSOP is on the tournaments and not on the details it takes to play. Know Your (Deposit) Limits In both Nevada and New Jersey funding a WSOP.com account is, for the most part, pretty straight forward. Methods such as e-Check ACH, credit cards, and PayPal are routine methods for payment for most poker players. Caesars also offers PayNearMe, a 24/7 method where you can bring cash into any participating 7-11 store, and Play+, a stand-alone Ceasars payment card that acts as a wallet for Ceasars gaming, as additional options to fund your WSOP.com account. “We always encourage larger deposits to deposit through cash at the cage,” said Danielle Barille, Director for WSOP Online Poker. A larger deposit might include tens of thousands of dollars as it will take a minimum bankroll of just over $23,000 for a player who plans on grinding every bracelet event on WSOP.com, not including any reentries. Bringing cash to the cage is only available in Nevada and is limited to either Caesars Palace or Harrah’s Casino. But there’s no limit to the amount that can be put online when doing this and it is credited immediately. “This is the most effective way to deposit large sums of money.” So, a player in Nevada can grab a mask, which is now mandatory in all casinos and public places in Nevada, and in one-stop fund their account for the entire summer. The New Jersey Difference In New Jersey though, there may be some planning ahead that needs to be done. For each of the deposit methods, outside of cash at the cage in Nevada, there are deposit limits. Some of these deposit limits are daily, some are weekly and they vary from method to method and from player to player. The aforementioned PayNearMe has a daily deposit limit of $500 while PayPal’s upper limit can be in the thousands. “There are transaction limits on each deposit method, and these are different for each player, set by payment processors,” Barielle said. “For players in New Jersey, the most effective method for most players will be ACH.” She also added that for players in both states PayPal and Play+ should also be viable options. Test Your Geolocation Another potential stumbling block for players who are making the journey from out of state is geolocation and having a unique IP address form which to play. Geolocation is how an online poker operator ensures that you are inside the boundaries of the regulated state in order to play. For most players, this won’t be an issue. The technology has been refined since U.S.-based online operators began using it back in 2013 making it easy to log on almost anywhere inside the state. However, players who live right on the edge of a state and plan to just cross the border and play some poker should make a test run ahead of their first event to see how deep into the state they’ll need to go in order to safely log on. Caesars Properties Newly Whitelisted The larger issue for traveling players may be sharing an IP address. “Per regulations, multiple players from the same IP are unable to join the same tournament, SNGs, or cash games,” Barielle explained. This can pose problems for players who are all looking to battle for a bracelet while staying in the same house and sharing a wi-fi connection. That also goes for players who opt to stay in a hotel that uses a single IP address for their customers. There is good news for players who plan on staying at a Caesars property on either coast. “We were recently granted approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement to whitelist Caesars properties IPs to allow for players from the same IP to join MTTs,” Barille said. That’s big for the WSOP who have, for years, heard complaints about the single IP regulation. While it’s unlikely to solve the issue for their customers entirely, as many players travel and stay in AirBnBs, it should make it so players in Nevada or New Jersey should be able to have no problem logging on and playing from a Caesars hotel room. Create A Hotspot However, for players at non-Caesars properties, they could encounter the shared IP problem. One workaround for this is to use a mobile phone as a hot spot. The phone’s own network will generate an IP for a player to log on to the online site. If the online site does not check the credentials again, a switch to the larger wi-fi network is then possible. A player could also use the phone’s generated wi-fi to play out the tournament however the dangers are the strength of the signal from the phone and, of course, it will tax a phone with a limited data plan. Booking A Win One final thing to keep in mind when it comes to getting money on and off of WSOP.com is how to take your money off the site. The WSOP.com online bracelet events are expected to have some of the largest fields in the site's history, many providing six-figure paydays. U.S. players who dabble in unregulated markets may be used to withdraw limits but that’s not the case for the World Series of Poker. “There are currently no withdrawal limits in place. A player who wishes to withdrawal simply needs to request it through the client,” Barielle said. “We also require document verification when requesting a withdrawal. This includes uploading of documents to verify all accounts used for depositing.” Don’t be surprised when right after a win, it takes a little bit of time to get that money offline. It is mandatory to confirm a player's identification, especially if it is a new account. So, this year, spend the time you would have spent in line registering for your third bullet in the Big 50 to get your online affairs in order so that come July 1 all you need to do is grind.
  13. It was 5 a.m. on an East Coast Monday morning and 29-year-old New Jersey native Frank Marasco was about to see daylight. “I don’t remember exactly but it was definitely over an hour we were playing three-handed with this huge jump from third to first,” Marasco said. “Then it happened really fast where we just played this huge pot where I had aces against ace-deuce for, I think, 85% of the total chips.” The tournament in question was the recent $525 WSOP.com Online Finale Circuit Main Event, the second-largest online ring event the World Series of Poker held all year. And, indeed, the pay jumps at the final table were steep. After JJ Liu bowed out in third place for over $44,000, Marasco was left in control and on the verge of the win. Two hands later, the tournament was over. Thomas ‘OtB_RedBaron’ Lim grabbed roughly $67,000 as the runner-up and before Marasco logged off, it dawned on him that he just locked up a career-high, six-figure score of $127,535 and his second career WSOP Circuit ring. “There was no time to even feel the pressure because of the way the tournament ended was so fortunate for me. It was cool because I had already been on a really good run and you’re thinking ‘I’ll probably cool off a bit before it gets better.’ So to win that tournament was crazy.” It’s true, Marasco, who plays on WSOP.com under his screen name ’spaghettiii’, has indeed been on a bit of a sun run. His Main Event win was his third cash of the Online Finale series. He also made several final tables of the recently completed WSOP.com Spring Online Championships, and in late May he took down the WSOP.com $50,000 Weekly Sunday in back-to-back weeks. When you start to rack up results like these in the regulated online poker market in the United States, both players and the poker media begin to take notice. And when it comes to poker, this is new territory for Marasco who admits that he has always enjoyed poker as his “solitary retreat”, a solo activity where he embraced anonymity. That anonymity is in stark contrast to what Marasco spends his time on when he’s away from the felt. For years, while grinding away as a full-time poker player, Marasco has also been grinding stage time in the New York improv scene. For over five years now, right up until the start of the 2020 pandemic, Marasco had been taking classes with and performing on the stages of the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. The UCB Theater has a reputation as one of the most celebrated improv schools in the country. “There was this pursuit of being able to play poker full time and being a part of UCB going on at the same time. It was weird because they’re such different things.” Marasco said. “For me, poker was always a very solitary thing. If you’re studying or playing online, even when you play live, it’s a very individual pursuit. And then comedy and improv, it is very community-oriented. So I would find there was this constant tug of war going on, where it was if I wanted to play this tournament slate I couldn’t just hang out with comedians and vice versa.” It might seem like poker and improv are completely polarized activities. The button clicking of online poker sessions looks to have little in common with performing in front of an audience without a script. But the communities, and the skills required to succeed in each, do have some commonalities. Both have dedicated fans and ‘players’ who thoroughly immerse themselves in the lifestyle in pursuit of greatness. They hover around the same level as pop culture touchstones, with in-the-know references in books, television, and films that try to give the outside world a glimpse into the nuances of each world. Poker has Rounders. Improv has Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice. And both demand a great deal of dedication before one can really get good. Not only do each of the subcultures have some crossover, in addition to Marasco there’s been a number of high profile poker players that have dipped their toes into improv. Vanessa Selbst and Mike Binger have been known to take classes at UCB in the past. Back in 2012, Phil Galfond blogged about his extensive involvement in improv. Just last month, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates tweeted out about looking to take improv classes. While both poker and improv take a ton of dedication in order to develop elite skills, Marasco, who has found success in both has always been willing to put in the work. Even from the beginning. Like many his age, the inception of his poker career dated back to 2003 and the WSOP on ESPN. “I was one of those people who watched the ’03 World Series of Poker and was like, this is cool,” Marasco said. “And then I had a group of friends who on Friday nights we’d just hang out and play poker.” The middle-school-aged Marasco began to switch his free-time focus from playing as the Master Chief in Halo to playing poker. But while his friends continued to get better on the Xbox, Marasco dove deeper into cards. By the time Marasco was a freshman in college, he’d studied for years. It was just before Black Friday when the money and action in the U.S. were at an all-time high, but Marasco wasn’t ready to turn pro just yet. “I think it was Barry Greenstein who talked a lot about ‘having a life’ and so at that period, I became more interested in having experiences. After playing a lot during my freshman year, my sophomore year I did this international school in Prague. It’s ironic because I could have been going to a casino and playing but I was just like, I would rather just be 19 and go to the bar with people. So I kind of put poker on the back burner.” He continued his studies, got his degree from Boston University, and moved to Los Angeles. In L.A. Marasco found himself working a number of odd jobs from being a production assistant on film sets to working in a pizzeria. And occasionally, heading to The Bike for cash games. That’s also where he started taking classes at UCB. A move from L.A. to New York saw Marasco, diving even deeper into both poker and improv. There would be days of solitary sessions of grinding online, then nights of performing comedy on stage in the NY improv scene. Some Sundays he’d be making deep runs in the biggest tournaments NJ had to offer, other Sundays he’d be performing on-stage for a hundred people at the UCB. “One thing I know for sure, in a weird way, I developed a work ethic to a level I didn’t think I had in me from improv. We spent so much time practicing and doing it. So much so that I was like ‘wow, you can get really good at a thing very fast if you do it a lot and are very immersed in it’.” Marasco did immerse himself in it, at one point he tracked that he performed well over 100 shows in a single year. “Watching Frank perform improv you’re struck by how quick he is to observe and react to the reality taking place on stage,” said Ernest Myers, a poker enthusiast and UCB performer based in New York. “For as funny and laid back as he is, he has this side to him that’s very analytical, very studious and he applies that same discipline to both poker and improv.” The work ethic he took away from improv is one that helped Marasco take his next step in poker. He was working as a mailroom manager in New York, trying to find a way to play poker, perform comedy, and just stay awake during the day. He would plan to take naps on the subway just to try and catch up on sleep. But poker was increasingly profitable and Marasco was performing regularly on stage at UCB. Something had to give. It’s been roughly three years that Marasco quit his job and started playing for a living. And until recently, he’d been keeping a low profile not branching out into the poker community the same as he did in improv. But a pair of runner up finishes in the 2018 Borgata Spring Poker Open raised some eyebrows. While another pair of deep runs in World Poker Tour side events had some on the East Coast taking notice as well. “I never thought of myself as being a poker player that anyone would care about figuring out what his screen name was or following or even interviewing. All of a sudden people I don’t know would chat to me using my real name. It’s surreal, I guess is the best way I could describe it. I don’t even think I’m famous at all, just the fact that anyone even cares about me and poker is surreal,” he said. “I think it is actually good and I’ve been trying to get more into the actual community because I’ve not been part of the poker community socially at all for a long time. And it’s kind of weird.” As for what’s next for Marasco, in his pursuits of both poker and improv, well…he’s planning on playing it by ear. One thing is for sure, Marasco will be setting up shop in New Jersey to battle for a WSOP bracelet in July and, should travel restrictions ease, he’ll travel to chase a bracelet on GGPoker through the beginning of September. As for improv, the current conditions don’t offer any timeline for when he might return to the stage. “I love improv and it’s still so fun for me but I think I’m kind of just waiting to see what happens.”
  14. It was another busy Sunday for U.S. regulated online poker this week with no shortage of options for players to compete for healthy paydays across the board. Players in Pennsylvania and New Jersey turned to their respective PokerStars clients to participate in the ongoing Summer Series while WSOP.com provided some of the biggest prize pools of the weekend. The $320 buy-in WSOP.com $100,000 GTD Sunday nearly doubled it’s already hefty guarantee this week as 641 entries boosted the prize pool to $192,300. Long time grinder and World Poker Tour champion Justin ‘tamaratibles’ Young shipped the event for a $47,113.50 payday. ‘dunningkrugr’ had two podium finishes on the day and finished as the runner-up in this one, taking home $26,441.25 for second place. Steven ‘Resilient85’ Watson claimed the bronze, adding $16,153.20 to his bankroll. The WSOP.com $50,000 Weekly Sunday nearly broke the six-figure prize pool mark as well when 196 players posted their $500 buy-in to create a $91,532 prize pool. U.S. top-ten ranked Daniel ‘redsoxnets5’ Sewnig took down the tournament and added $25,628.86 to his over $1.4 million in career online earnings. ‘Israelavital’ fell in second place, taking home $14,828.18. ‘dunningkrugr’ made the top three in back-to-back tournaments, earning $8,512.47 for third place and finishing the day just $7 short of $35,000 in total earnings. The PokerStars Summer Series was running in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey this weekend giving players a plethora of tournaments to choose from. ‘aldirch801’ outlasted the 1,041 runners in the PokerStars PA Summer Series Sunday Special (Event #12) to take home the $16,330.11 first-place prize. ‘AlasPoorYorick!‘ lived long enough to see second place, which was good for $11,655.88. ‘TheStrider124’ also walked away with a nice payday, turning their $100 buy-in into an $8,319.57 paycheck. The $250 buy-in PokerStars PA Sunday High Roller also did big business as 123 players created a prize pool of $28,659. ‘TurkTerminator’ eliminated the competition, picked up the victory, and $6,382.49 for their efforts. ‘AshyL4rry22’ was back at a PA final table, finishing in second place for $4,627.45 while ‘love2playpoker’ likely loved earning $3,355.06 for climbing into third. Over in New Jersey, the PokerStars NJ Summer Series Sunday Special (Event #13) saw 239 runners build a prize pool of $45,000. Garden State grinder ‘JinYangPP’ picked up the win and $8,661.04 for first, one of two major final table for them on Sunday. ‘chinoloco121’ fell just one place short of the title, taking home $6,462.02 for second place and ‘xaverian412’ fell in third place, earning $4,821.43. Daniel ‘AvaGray’ Lupo picked up another career victory by taking down the PokerStars NJ Summer Series $75 NLHE (Event #12). He bested the 306 entries to add the $3,919.21 to his impressive $3.3 million in career online earnings. ‘BrigBeast06’ fell in second place for $2,824.08 while 'StephGod30' hit a trey for $2,035.08. WSOP.com $100K Gtd Sunday Buy-in: $320 Entries: 411 (230 rebuys) Prize pool: $192,300 Justin ‘tamaratibles’ Young - $47,113.50 dunningkrugr - $26,441.25 Steven ‘Resilient85’ Watson - $16,153.20 vagab0nd - $12,307.20 circleball - $10,384.20 dusty4 - $8,461.20 thewholefunk - $6,345.90 pocket10z - $4,230.60 maddogmark25 - $2,788.35 WSOP.com $50,000 Weekly Sunday [6-Max] Buy-in: $500 Entries: 116 (80 rebuys) Prize pool: $91,532 Daniel ‘redsoxnets5’ Sewnig - $25,628.96 Israelavital - $14,828.18 dunningkrugr - $8,512.47 ParxBigStax - $6,681.83 Art.Vandelay - $5,766.51 ShadowFiend1 - $4,851.19 WSOP.com $15,000 Weekly Deepstack Buy-in: $50 Entries: 199 (159 rebuys) Prize pool: $23,068.50 beastro - $6,228.49 ppp37 - $3,633.28 phatdaddy - $2,076.16 armNhammer - $1,614.79 protential - $1,384.11 LearnToSwim - $1,153.42 Kvitka - $876.60 davec933 - $553.64 GreenMonster - $392.16 WSOP.com $10,000 Weekly Sunday [KO] Buy-in: $100 Entries: 231 Prize pool: $21,714 beastro - $4,223.83 + $250 in bounties M.A.O.L.I - $2,470.54 + $200 in bounties AA_QTIP_KK - $1,410.60 + 150 in bounties pedr023 - $1,083.85 + $75 in bounties gamblegamble - $924.46 + $300 in bounties TIPnTimeBOMB - $765.07 + $200 in bounties pokermaster8 - $573.80 + $75 in bounties jenny1122 - $382.53 + $75 in bounties hagzzz021 -$270.96 + $75 in bounties PokerStars PA $75 NLHE [6-Max] Summer Series Event #11 Buy-in: $75 Entries: 346 Prize pool: $23,614.50 BlackBerlioz - $4,431.48 MR.20InchArms - $3,193.24 yaboylenny - $2,301.10 KERMIT_the_FROG - $1,658.21 RealizeRealLiez - $1,194.93 ZDUBZX - $861.09 PokerStars PA $100 NLHE [Sunday Special SE] Summer Series Event #12 Buy-in: $100 Entires: 1,041 Prize pool: 100,000 aldrich801 - $16,330.11 AlasPoorYorick! - $11,655.88 TheStrider124 - $8,319.57 phillythekid724 - $5,938.24 LZRM1111 - $4,238.51 NAAAARD - $3,025.30 alphanomasker - $2,159.36 ScottScottF - $1,541.27 bdlybldngpkrplr - $1,100.11 PokerStars PA $75 NLHE [8-Max, PKO] Summer Series Event #14 Buy-in: $75 Entries: 438 Prize pool: $29,893.50 OT_gR1d - $2,310.71 + $2,911.37 in bounties HodorHodorHodor - $2,310.49 + $995.50 in bounties Deuce9off - $1,394.42 + $491.79 in bounties bigdoritoTito - $1,004.75 + $172.63 in bounties DJHSMHBDH - $723.97 + $505.07 in bounties Pennny619 - $521.66 + $126.81 in bounties Heavyhev327 - $375.88 + $541.33 in bounties AndrewYang2020 - $270.84 + $59.68 in bounties PokerStars PA Sunday High Roller Buy-in: $250 Entries: 123 Prize pool: $28,659 TurkTerminator - $6,382.49 AshyL4rry22 - $4,627.45 love2playpoker - $3,355.06 rrobmsm1992 - $2,432.53 Quakers1991 - $1,763.67 bwb5026 - $1,278.72 PokerStars PA Nightly Stars NLHE Buy-in: $100 Entries: 219 Prize pool: $20,104.20 fredsandfor886 - $3,931.71 GTOThanos_PB - $2,908.10 md429 - $2,151.11 TryptophanMan - $1,591.17 wnunley - $1,176.98 jackspratt33 - $870.61 Manimal7985 - $643.98 A Frequent ? - $476.35 MDeals - $352.36 PokerStars NJ $75 NLHE [6-Max] Summer Series Event #12 Buy-in: $75 Entires: 306 Prize pool: $20,884.50 Daniel 'AvaGray' Lupo - $3,919.21 BrigBeast06 - $2,824.08 StephGod30 - $2,035.08 nuttedd - $1,466.51 TiltedHard - $1,056.79 JETSgoJETS - $761.54 PokerStars NJ Sunday Special SE Summer Series Event #13 Buy-in: $200 Entries: 239 Prize pool: $45,000 JinYangPP - $8,661.04 chinoloco121 - $6,462.02 xaverian412 - $4,821.43 Stonniepokes - $3,597.36 sublion - $2,684.07 matt glantz - $2,002.63 Marshy7777 - $1,494.20 D.Drumpf - $1,114.85 Skrelnick - $831.81 PokerStars NJ Sunday High Roller [6-Max] Buy-in: $500 Entries: 24 Prize pool: $11,280 Pokeher299 - $5,640 JinYangPP - $3,384 J3tBl@ckP0pe - $2,256 partypoker Sunday $35K GTD No Limit Hold’em Buy-in: $215 Entries: 167 Prize pool: $35,000 ($1,600 overlay) Jonuzi - $7,455 RiverMan - $5,075 wheels4920 - $3,815 BigDickRick - $3,150 Jeremyd2 - $2,695 FellateMe - $2,310 treetrap - $1,925 supremetny - $1,575 Allyoucaneat - $1,225
  15. With more poker players staying home nowadays, top online poker operators have recently ramped up their free home game offerings in a bid to be the platform of choice for poker players looking to play in a private game amongst friends. This week both PokerStars and 888poker have released new versions of their own variations of their private free-to-play platform, both of which now support mobile devices. PokerStars 'Home Games' Expansion In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, PokerStars has seen an explosion in the use of their free-to-play Home Games. According to the online operator, over 300,000 home games were set up in just the past three months. This has not only brought in new customers but also a new wave of user experiences and feedback. Previously planned upgrades to the PokerStars Home Games platform were “recently accelerated in response to customer feedback". The most notable upgrade is that now players can play on most mobile devices. Currently, Android devices are good to go, and support for iOS devices is reportedly coming very soon. Home Games has also been updated to include some of the game formats that had previously been unavailable. These include popular formats like Progressive Knock-Out and Total PKO tournaments. Players can also check out some more unique PokerStars offerings including Five- and Six-Card Omaha, 6+ Hold’em (Short Deck), Split Hold’em, and Fusion. PokerStars’ ‘Swap Hold’em’ will be added shortly as well. Updates were also made to simplify the process of creating cash games and tournaments by “making things cleaner and easier’ for the club managers. Late registration options have been extended with options of up to 90 minutes. New options for the speed of the tournament give managers four options from Hyper-turbos (3-minute levels) up to Slow (15-minute levels). 888poker Invites You To ‘Play With Friends’ 888poker was also quick to recognize that their private, free-to-play customers were looking to play while on-the-go. This week, 888poker also introduced the ability to go mobile. By downloading the mobile app, players can join a game set up by a manager who is on a PC. From a PC computer, the organizer will login and select the ‘Play With Friends’ tab. After the click 'Create New Game' they are prompted to build the event. Select a cash game or tournament and provide other pertinent details including the starting time, game name, and password. Once created, the Play With Friends home game will appear in the lobby. Just enter an email and the details of the game will be delivered to the organizer. From there, it can be forwarded to anyone chosen to play in the event.
  16. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. It's time to check out a brand new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie break down all the news from this week in the world of poker. The World Series of Poker has unveiled the first half of the 85 scheduled online gold bracelet events that will be taking place this summer. With 31 being played every day in July on WSOP.com and another 54 to be contested on GGPoker for the rest of the world, the online poker world is going to see an unprecedented amount of new online bracelet winners. Not to be left out, the World Poker Tour and partypoker have also planned some counter-programming in the form of the $100M Gtd WPT World Online Championships where five players will win Champions Club honors while playing online. Make sure you subscribe to The FIVES - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts! Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  17. History is made every year at the World Series of Poker. It’s part of what makes the WSOP one of the most enduring and alluring brands in the poker industry to this day. This year, a different type of history has already been made. For the first time since its inception in 1970, the WSOP live events have been postponed. This has forced the WSOP to move in a different, and in some ways, uncharted direction. The WSOP summer series is going to take place entirely online with players battling for gold bracelets by clicking buttons as opposed to shuffling chips. Additionally, the WSOP has selected a partner in GGPoker, to give players outside of the United States their first shots at an online bracelet. Holding their entire gold bracelet series online is a first for the WSOP as is taking on an outside online partner to offer bracelets. But, of course, it’s by no means the first time a bracelet will be won online. The WSOP has five years under their belts of expanding their online poker footprint with a total of 18 bracelets events having already been played out. So, before we push ahead to look at a whole new crop of online bracelet winners, we are taking a look back at how the WSOP Online bracelet events have evolved. 2015 Nearly two years after the launch of WSOP.com in the state of Nevada, officials at the summer series announced the first-ever official online bracelet event. The $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship was the lone online event on the 68-event 2015 schedule. The prize pool reached $859,750 as 905 entries turned the event into the largest regulated online poker tournament in the U.S. at the time. With all of the players needing to be in Nevada, the final six took their chip stacks offline and batted for the bracelet inside the Rio. The final table included David Tuthill, Craig Varnell, and Anthony ‘casedismissed’ Spinella who went on to win the first online gold bracelet and $197,743. [table id=60 /] 2016 In 2016, the WSOP ran it back. They offered the same $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship with the same format, bringing the final six players back to a live setting to play it out. The field saw a dramatic increase in year-over-year participants as 1,247 runners, a 38% increase, pushed the prize pool to $1,184,650. Colorado native turned Las Vegas local Clayton ‘SLARKDUCK’ Maguire took down a career-high score of $210,279 from a final table where he was the only local participant. [table id=61 /] 2017 The first expansion of the online schedule took place in 2017. In addition to the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship, players were offered a lower buy-in event and the first-ever WSOP.com ONLINE High Roller. It was also the first year that the online events would play out online as opposed to a final table in the Amazon room. Nipun ‘Javatinii’ Java took down the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship for his second bracelet of the series and a $237,668 payday. The Championship event again grew in size, however with a more modest increase. The 1,312 runners and a prize pool of $1,246,400 represented a roughly 5% field increase. It was former WSOP Main Event final tablist Thomas ‘FLOATZ’ Cannuli that booked the biggest online win of the year. Cannuli topped the 424 players of the first-ever $3,333 WSOP.com ONLINE High Roller for a $322,815 score, the largest haul of any online to that date and a win that continues to be the third-largest online bracelet payday to date. The online events were also starting to generate a good deal of rake. In 2017, online events raked just over $225,000 as opposed to the $62,350 of the single event of the previous year. [table id=62 /] 2018 Once again, history was made in the online arena in 2018. Thanks to the multi-state online pact that was agreed to just before the start of the WSOP that allows players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware to play against each other, players in New Jersey were able to compete in gold bracelet events without heading to Nevada. The WSOP added a fourth online offering. And with the influx of Garden State online grinders, every online bracelet event of the year turned set a record of some kind. The first online bracelet event, a $365 tournament, drew 2,972 runners, which was far-and-away the largest field ever to battle for an online gold bracelet. In the second event, Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez then became the first player to ever win a bracelet from outside of Nevada by winning the $565 Online bracelet event for over $135,000. The $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship again hit a new high for entries when Ryan ‘Toosick’ Tosoc defeated a field of 1,635 entries for over $238,000, a nearly 25% increase in runners from the year before. Finally, Chance ‘BingShui’ Kornuth set a new record for the largest online bracelet event payday by winning the $3,200 High Roller for $341,598. [table id=63 /] 2019 In 2019, there was a worry about the growth of online events as the U.S. Department of Justice issued a new opinion of the Wire Act . The opinion put in jeopardy the ability for players in New Jersey to take part in the upcoming World Series of Poker. However, a New Hampshire judge vacated the newly issued DOJ opinion and cleared New Jersey players to fortify what became a nine-event online bracelet schedule. Some of the biggest names in both the live and online arenas captured bracelets in 2019 including the first for New Jersey-based top-ranked U.S. online pros Yong ‘LuckySpewy1’ Kwon and Daniel ‘centrfieldr’ Lupo. Shawn ‘bucky21’ Buchanan, Taylor 'Galactar' Paur, and Upeshka ‘gomezhamburg' De Silva also booked victories. Well-known pro Brandon ‘DrOctogon’ Adams won the $3,200 High Roller bracelet event for the largest online bracelet score to date of $411,560. In total, the nine online events on the 2019 schedule generated just over $755,000 in rake. [table id=64 /] 2020 The previously scheduled 2020 World Series of Poker was set to have another increase in events, upping the total to 14. Now, the adjustment to an extensive online schedule in the face of the coronavirus pandemic gives players a wealth of opportunities to win some online hardware. With 85 total bracelets up for grabs, every current online bracelet event record should expect to be shattered. More than half of the bracelets will be contested on WSOP’s online partner GGPoker which means that players from all over the world, who never had the opportunity to compete for a bracelet, will all of a sudden be able to grind for one. From prize pools to paydays, the numbers in this year's event should soar as players make plans to be online to add their name to the WSOP history books.
  18. In 2020, the action of the World Series of Poker looks to be taking place entirely online. And as he has been in years past, Daniel Negreanu is here for all of it. Last week it was announced that the 2020 World Series of Poker was pivoting to a schedule of 85 online gold bracelet events in response to the live summer series indefinite postponement. The first half of the schedule offers 31 bracelets to online players in Nevada and New Jersey on WSOP.com. The remaining 54 bracelet events will be taking place on GGPoker where, for the first time, players outside the U.S. can compete in a WSOP online event. Negreanu, a devout believer in the WSOP brand and current GGPoker ambassador, has not only announced that he’s planning on competing in the entire series but he also inciting additional action with a brand new bracelet bet where he’s publicly offered to take on all comers. As explained, the bet pits Negreanu versus any bettor who can choose any player they’d like to win a bracelet. It’s ‘must-win’ bracelet bet, and Negreanu is taking up to $100,000 worth of action against any given player. If both players win a bracelet, the bet is a push - the same if neither takes one down. The bet also has an interesting caveat that it’s not just for the online series, but it’s for the rest of the calendar year. That means that if the WSOP decides to hold any live events in Las Vegas in the fall, those will count. As would any bracelet events that take place at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov or any other unspecified alternate locations. Within 24 hours of offering the bet, Spring Championship of Online Poker record-setter Connor Drinan was officially maxed out. The next day, 2018 Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic was also off the board, in what looks like a case of a player picking himself against Negreanu. That’s not the only way Negreanu is looking to drum up action. He’s also putting up to a total of $1 million at 2.5 to 1 that he finally captures bracelet number seven in 2020. He instantly picked up action from all corners of the poker community including booking smaller bets in his replies against pros Daniel Strelitz and Eoghan O’Dea. Some money may be on the sidelines, waiting to see what the GGPoker schedule of bracelet events will look like. The WSOP.com schedule is complete with a bracelet event being offered every day throughout the month of July. The entire GGPoker schedule has yet to be completely unveiled, as the online operator has indicated that the schedule will be rolled out a little at a time, perhaps week by week in the summer. Whatever the second-half schedule turns out to be, Negreanu plans on being there for it. As mentioned on the DAT Poker Podcast, Negreanu has already set up a poker pad in Mexico with all the amenities he needs to grind from August through the end of the series in the second week of September. Going big for the World Series of Poker is nothing new for ‘Kid Poker’, who has been betting big and bringing fans on his WSOP journey for some time now. Just last year, Negreanu offered fans the ability to purchases pieces of his entire WSOP schedule. When all was said and done, Negreanu had profited over $2 million over the course of the series and, according to him, made his investors over $481,000. His daily WSOP vlogs have also been a huge hit with fans, with each video routinely getting over 100K in views. Additionally, this will not the first time that Negreanu has been involved in a high-profile bracelet bet. In 2018, Negreanu went looking for high-stakes bets of $25,000 that either he or Phil Ivey would bink and bracelet. Neither of whom booked a win that year. Bracelet bets have long since been a part of World Series of Poker culture. Some of the most exciting moments of the WSOP gripped the poker world when it was known that there is huge money on the side. It was just four years ago that Jason Mercier nearly won a 180:1 bet on $10,000 against Vanessa Selbst that he would win three bracelets in a single summer. Within a week, Mercier took down two bracelets and a runner-up finish. Mercier came close but didn’t cash in on the bet. He did, however, take down the 2016 WSOP Player of the Year honors. Perhaps the most exciting post-poker boom bracelet bet belongs to Tom Dwan. Many in the poker community was feverishly anti-sweating Dwan when he was heads up in a $1,500 NLHE bracelet event against Simon Watt. It was rumored that Dwan would have won upwards of $12 million if he earned his first bracelet on that day in 2010 with players like Phil Ivey, Eli Elezra, and Negreanu himself on the other side of the bet with seven-figure sums at risk. This year, Negreanu is the one hoping to make his opponents sweat. By taking on a number of $100K heads-up bets, should he win an online bracelet, the windfall for him would be exponential. The World Series of Poker online events begin on July 1 on WSOP.com and expand onto GGPoker on July 19.
  19. Although there has been some discussion of live poker venues reopening in the United States, this weekend the real action remained online. Online grinders across New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania enjoyed some of the largest prize pools of the summer over the weekend, including the over $500,000 up for grabs in the Main Event of the WSOP.com Online Finale Circuit. New Jersey’s Frank ‘spaghettiii’ Marasco outlasted the 718 players (391 rebuys) of the $525 buy-in WSOP.com Online Finale Circuit Main Event to take home a career-high score of $127,535 and a spot in the WSOP Online Global Casino Championship. This is Marasco’s second Circuit win of the year, having captured a gold ring during the WSOP Circuit live event in Atlantic City back in March. Thomas ‘OtB_RedBaron’ Lim finished in second place and earned the $67,372.75 second-place prize. ‘artiliu’ wrapped up in third place which was good for $44,360. In other WSOP.com action, ‘Andrewbull88’ topped the 605 entries of the WSOP.com $100K Gtd Sunday to take home $45,375 for first. Anthony ‘flawlessbink’ Maio made multiple major final tables on Sunday, and here he finished in second place for $25,410. Kyle ‘Kdruck’ Draucker fell in third place and earned $15,427.50. Jon ‘jetsfan14’ Borenstein also grabbed a piece of a six-figure prize pool after he took down the WSOP.com Weekly Sunday Six Max for $28,767.20. ‘dudeguydrew’ settled for second place and $16,643.88 while Zachary ‘lovepuddle’ Schwartz wrapped up in third place for $9,554.82 Pennsylvania offered a six-figure prize pool of its own as 1,162 entries piled into the PokerStars PA Sunday Special to create a $106,671 prize pool. ‘mysticnoori’ went the distance, earning $16,861.38 for first. PASCOOP title winner ‘BirdBrain64’ grabbed second place and $12,122.58. And ‘WHATWHYNO’ took home the bronze and $68,716.24 for their efforts. There was a three-way deal in the $200 buy-in PokerStars NJ Sunday Special that saw Daniel ‘AvaGray’ Lupo get the official win and $7,758.92. ’jgoons11’ took slightly less, banking $7,249.02 for second and ‘Force O Will’ locked up $7,165.69 for third. In the partypoker NJ Sunday $35K GTD, Sridhar 'sri100k' Sangannagari topped the field of 229 runners and took home $9,160 for first. ‘maniacalmonk’ finished in second place for $6,031.86. And ‘schaf4206’ climbed into third place, earning $4,351. WSOP.com Online Finale Circuit Main Event Buy-in: $525 Entries: 718 Prize pool: $554,500 Frank ‘spaghettiii’ Marasco - $127,535 Thomas 'OtB_RedBaron' Lim - $67,371.75 artiliu - $44,360 Mr_Foodles - $33,270 Anthony 'heheh' Zinno - $27,725 Zdvol632 - $22,180 TheRounder89 - $16,080.50 Bagelbud - $9,981 bella0827 - $7,208.50 WSOP.com $100K Gtd Sunday Buy-in: $320 Entries: 605 Prize pool: $181,500 Andrewbull88 - $45,375 Anthony ‘flawlessbink’ Maio - $25,410 Kdruck - $15,427.50 WSOP.com Weekly Sunday [6-Max] Buy-in: $500 Entries: 220 Prize pool: $102,740 jetsfan14 - $28,767.20 dudeguydrew - $16,643.88 lovepuddle - $9,554.82 WSOP.com Weekly Sunday [6-Max] Buy-in: $50 Entires: 396 Prize pool: $25,525.50 Anthony ‘flawlessbink’ Maio - $6,764.25 Ian ‘apokerjoker2’ Steinman - $3,956.45 AntoVegas - $2,259 WSOP.com Weekly Sunday [KO] Buy-in: $100 Entires: 240 Prize pool: $22,560 IQ84. - $4,388 + $325 in bounties DontBluffMe1 - $2,566 + $225 in bounties deemsta - $1,465.56 + $200 in bounties PokerStars PA Sunday Special Buy-in: $100 Entries: 1,162 Prize pool: $106,671.60 mysticnoori - $16,861.38 BirdBrain64 - $12,122.58 WHATWHYNO - $8,716.24 PokerStars PA Sunday High Roller [6-Max] Buy-in: $250 Entries: 135 Prize pool: $31,455 TurkTerminator - $6,652.05 TeamVillage - $4,858.31 wolfofbrdst - $3,548.31 PokerStars PA Nightly Stars Buy-in: $100 Entries: 242 Prize pool: $22,215.60 AlwaysE4 - $4,286.29 Prixzky7 - $3,2167.98 SammmyTheTank - $2,341.52 PokerStars NJ Sunday Special Buy-in: $200 Entries: 255 Prize pool: $47,430 Daniel 'AvaGray' Lupo - $7,758.92* jgoons11 - $7,249.02* Force O Will - $7,165.69* partypoker Sunday $35K GTD Buy-in: $215 Entries: 229 Prize pool: $45,800 Sridhar 'sri100k' Sangannagari - $9,160 maniacalmonk - $6,031.86 schaf4206 - $4,351
  20. With the postponement of the World Series of Poker, and live poker taking a back seat in general, we decided to check in on some of the 888poker ambassadors to see how they are coping with quarantine, how they are passing the time away from the live felt, and what they are most looking forward to when the coast is finally clear. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly ten years since Sweden’s Sofia Lövgren first started her poker career by rising through the ranks of the online poker cash games. After impressive runs in events during the European Poker Tour in 2012 and 2013, Lövgren signed on to become a brand ambassador for 888poker in 2014. Since that time, Lövgren has quickly become a force in the live tournament scene, traveling the circuit with 888poker, interacting with fans, and putting up impressive scores at stops all over the world. Last year, Lövgren could be seen running deep in 888poker events in Bucharest, Barcelona, Portugal, London, and the Battle of Malta. Other than poker, what activity have you missed the most since the lockdown began? I use to travel around every month for live poker, in combination with exploring different places. Traveling, exploring, and learning about cities and cultures is my favorite thing to do when I am not playing poker. I am also a big foodie and love to try different food in different cities. I really miss this. What's the best TV show or movie you've discovered during lockdown? I liked Fauda and Money Heist. I have been watching a lot of documentaries on YouTube too. What is the biggest frustration you’ve had during lockdown? I am not able to be with my boyfriend. He is on lockdown in India since February and not able to leave the country. Besides this, I miss hanging out with good friends. I don’t have any other frustrations because Sweden is not on lockdown and it is still possible to live a normal life here. I am spending a lot of time with my parents and siblings in Gothenburg. Having a great time with them chilling at home, cooking good food, watching movies, and playing online poker. What's the one thing about live poker that used to tilt you that all of a sudden you miss? Live poker swings… ;P (: What have you found to be a silver lining surrounding quarantine? Family time. I am spending a lot of time with my family in Gothenburg and cooking good food and baking. Also going out sailing in the archipelago and I have more time to read books. Since there's no live poker lately, I just love being at home playing poker in my pajamas. How are you using this time to work on your poker game? I am playing a lot of online poker these days. There is more action than ever online and more cash game tables and bigger tournament fields. I am watching YouTube videos, including poker videos, which helps to sharpen the game. What is something new that you have learned or are trying to learn during lockdown? I love dancing and right now I am learning Bollywood dance. It is a really fun happy dance and it is sooo much fun! What's the first place you're going to travel to once we're able to? I want to go on a vacation for one week to Greece, Mykonos and Santorini. Then I want to travel to Los Angeles to play live poker. I am also looking forward to flying back to Asia to vacation in Thailand or Vietnam. I’m looking forward to playing live tournaments soon again.
  21. The World Poker Tour and partypoker have tabled their hand with their summer plans. On Friday, the two premier poker brands announced the first-ever WPT World Online Championships, a nearly two-month-long online series that offers players a shot at becoming a WPT champion while guaranteeing $100,000,000 million in total prize money. Just weeks removed from the successful conclusion of the record-setting WPT Online Championship series, the World Poker Tour and partypoker have teamed up once again. The WPT World Online Championships will take place from July 17-September 8 and hold 12 WPT Online Championship events. Five of the 12 events will be considered full-featured WPT Main Tour Events. The winners of those tournaments will earn all the same perks as a player who has gone the distance in a live event. This includes membership in the WPT Champions Club, a $15,000 seat to the Season XVIII WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, and the player's name engraved on the WPT Trophy. The $10M Gtd Main Event, which kicks off on August 29, has a $10,300 buy-in and two starting flights, each with a single re-entry available. The tournament will take five days to play out and, as the tournament progresses, has a structure close to that of a live event with levels at the final table extended to 60 minutes each. The other four WPT Champions Club tournaments each have a $3,200 buy-in and a $3 million guarantee over a variety of NLHE formats. “The WPT World Online Championships brings together the World Poker Tour and partypoker together once more for what will be the largest series in both of our histories,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour in a press release. “The spectacle on display during the WPT Online Series will be heightened once more come July with another major milestone for the World Poker Tour. Five WPT Champions crowned in a single series is a first for the WPT in 18 seasons and we look forward to welcoming them all into the WPT Champions Club.” The full schedule is packed with No-Limit Hold’em events including 8-Max, 6-Max, and Knockout tournaments. For variety, there is also a Pot Limit Omaha, PLO Hi-Lo, as well as Heads Up tournament. Most of the events also have three tiers of buy-ins. For each of the Main Events, there is a Mini and a Micro version of the events. In addition to the Main Event, there are a pair of tournaments aimed at pleasing the biggest names in the game. The $25,500 High Roller on September 5 guarantees $10 million while the $102,000 Super High Roller has a $5 million guarantee. Also of note, on July 29, the WPT is holding a one-off WPT Shooting Stars for Charity PKO tournament with a $1,100. “This is a true series for players across the board,” said Hermance Blum, WPT VP Europe. “Limited re-entries, buy-ins at all levels, and five ways to become a WPT Champion are all highlights of the first-ever WPT World Online Championships.” With no live World Series of Poker taking place in Las Vegas this summer, the race to fill the void with online offerings is on. The WPT World Online Championships will go head-to-head with the recently announced World Series of Poker online schedule which kicks off on July 1. Like the WPT, the World Series of Poker was forced to adjust to the times. They pivoted to offer 31 gold bracelet events for players in the United States on the WSOP.com platform and another 54 bracelet events on through their partnership with GGPoker which concludes on September 6. Between the two series, there will be no shortage of online titles to battle for this summer and the industry is still awaiting a potential announcement from PokerStars as to what they may have planned. “I’m delighted that we have been able to partner with the WPT to revive the WPT World Championships and bring the series online for the first time,” said partypoker Managing Director, Tom Waters. “We want to give the festival more of a live event feel, so the tournaments will be structured as such, including single re-entry for all No Limit Hold’em event, freezeouts, limited late registration, and limited Day 1’s. Due to popular demand, players will be able to see each other’s real names at the tables.” WPT World Online Championships Schedule [table id=55 /] * bold events indicate Main Tour events. For a Full Festival schedule of events, click here.
  22. After a couple of close calls earlier in 2020, former #1-ranked PocketFiver Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard has clinched the PocketFives Monthly PLB award for the month of May. With every major online poker site offering a full slate of premium high-stakes events, Leonard could be found in the lobby of nearly every major tournament, living up to his reputation as one of the game’s most dedicated grinders. Although Leonard’s monthly stat sheet is usually replete with impressive scores, this May was exceptional. The partypoker ambassador managed to book a career-high online score last month with his runner-up finish in the World Series of Poker Super Circuit Online $10M Gtd High Roller. The $25,000 buy-in event saw its prize pool swell to over $12.3 million, becoming one of the largest tournaments in online poker history. Leonard’s second-place finish earned him $1,611.342 and a massive 2,320.66 PLB points. The result jettisoned him right past the $10 million mark in lifetime earnings, up to over $11.4 million and into the top 20 on the All-Time Online Money List. His heater certainly didn’t end with his seven-figure score as Leonard also spent tons of time grinding the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. He picked up his first 2020 SCOOP title on May 12 in Event #53-H ($2,100 PLO8, 6-Max) banking $52,606 and 483.74 PLB points. He booked a second 2020 SCOOP win two weeks later in Event #93-H ($215+R NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo) by outlasting the 460 runners to take home the $41,809 first-place prize and another 482.54 PLB points. The exceptional month is just what Leonard needed to lock up the top spot in May. He finished fourth in the PLB chase in February and second in March. This is his first Monthly PLB victory since October 2014. It was going to take a gigantic month for Leonard to top the incredible May performance of Connor ‘blanconegro’ Drinan. Drinan, a PocketFiver since 2007, went on a heater during the PokerStars SCOOP that saw him win an unprecedented five SCOOP titles in a single series, all within two weeks. His run started on May 7 when he won Event #34-H ($530 PLO8, 8-Max) for $34,421. Two days later, he took the title in Event #40-H ($5,200 PLO, 6-Max) for another $152,011. The very next day he was victorious again in Event #45-M ($215 NLO8, 6-Max, PKO) for $28,348. That streak alone had heads turning, but Drinan wasn’t done. He conquered Event #56-H ($1,050 H.O.R.S.E) for $30,233 and finished off his historic heater with his biggest victory of the series, a win in Event #75-H ($10,300 PLO Main Event) for $322,264. His 23 PLB-qualifying cashes have the Chicago native currently sitting as the #1-ranked player in Canada. May was also a big month for the UK’s Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. Although he didn’t win the Monthly PLB award, as he did in April, it was the month that he became the #1-ranked online poker player in the world for the very first time. On the back of a pair of SCOOP victories, Beresford touched the top spot in the rankings for the first time on May 16 and has held the position for the past three weeks. He grabbed a SCOOP title on May 3 in Event 18-M ($215 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, PKO) for over $38,579. He did it again in Event #32-H ($530 NLHE) for $85,959 and a monthly-high PLB score of 732.12. He finished up May with his largest score of the month by finishing third in SCOOP Event #121-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) for over $91K. Alex ‘Dynoalot’ Difelice finished May in fourth place after racking up 1,276.54 PLB points for his third-place finish in the 2020 SCOOP Event #74-H ($10,300 Main Event) for $567,776. The deep run in the Main Event was a career-high score for Difelice who finished the month with 24 PLB-qualifying cashes, helping him to his current ranking of #62 in the world. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver, Steven ‘SvZff’ van Zadelhoff rounded out the top five for May. Zadelhoff put in a maximum grind, registering over 200 results and playing buy-ins at every level including picking up victories in the $250 buy-in and $100-buy-in Daily Special on Natural8. His spotlight score in SCOOP Event #48-H ($530 NLHE) where he had a final table finish for over $51,000. PocketFives May Monthly PLB [table id=53 /]
  23. No one can know for sure when the World Poker Tour will be back in New Jersey to offer poker players another shot at a live WPT title. However, later this month online players in the Garden State can battle for an actual WPT trophy in the WPT Online Poker Open powered by partypoker US Network. On Sunday, June 28 the World Poker Tour, BorgataPoker.com, and partypoker are teaming up for an exclusive online event just for players in New Jersey. The $400 buy-in, $300K Gtd WPT Online Poker Open not only promises the winner a hefty payday but also an official WPT Champions’ Trophy, an invitation to a World Poker Tour VIP experience in Las Vegas, and an $11,000 package that includes entry into the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas plus $600 in cash to pay for expenses. “WPT and partypoker US Network are coming together to provide the New Jersey network of online players the opportunity to compete in a world-class event and take part in a familiar WPT experience,” said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the WPT in a press release. “We look forward to our first event with partypoker US Network and a great start to a long term partnership.” The $400 WPT Online Poker Open Main Event takes place at the end of a week filled with twelve prelim events. Buy-ins for the prelim events start at just $5 and scale up to the $320 Black Chip Bounty tournament. In addition to the prelim events, the series is holding a number of direct satellites to the Main Event as well as the ability to phase into the Main Event with buy-ins of $45. Of course, in order to participate a player needs to physically be located inside of New Jersey. From there, they can choose their platform of choice between any of the partypoker US Network clients including BorgataPoker.com, BetMGMPoker.com, or partypoker’s own NJ client. “We continually strive to offer opportunities for players to enjoy the game they love on a safe, secure, and hassle-free network,” said Ray Stefanelli, Director of Poker for partypoker US Network. “We are excited to combine the prestige of WPT with the offering of our poker network to provide a championship-caliber event to players in New Jersey.” WPT Online Poker Open Schedule [table id=52 /]
  24. After nearly a month of non-stop online poker action, the WSOP Super Circuit Online Series on GGPoker has come to an end. For the first time, players outside of the United States were afforded the opportunity to compete in 18 different online WSOP Circuit gold ring events in a series that promised more than $100,000,000 in total prize money. If anyone had their doubts about the partnership of these “two like-minded global organizations” the numbers released by GGPoker this week indicate that not only did the series perform up to the hopes of the WSOP and GGPoker but it was incredibly popular with the players as well. The $100M Guarantee In addition to the WSOP brand, the $100,000,000 top-line total series guarantee was a big part of the initial marketing push. Billed as the largest guarantee ever placed on an online series, GGPoker looked to solidify itself as a major player when it comes to offering big-time online series. The WSOP Super Circuit smashed the $100M number by more than 30% (which was officially $102,365,000), delivering $134,706,274 in total prize money. GGPoker was able to get there by surrounding the 18 WSOP Circuit gold rings events in a massive schedule that offered a total of 516 tournaments which in turn drew in 485,851 entries. “Over 500 events, more than 485,000 tournament entries, and, of course, $134 million in prizes awarded. The GGPoker community fully embraced and supported the WSOP Super Circuit Series,” said Jean-Christophe Antoine, Head of Business Development for GGPoker. Gold Ring Events Outperform While there were literally hundreds of events taking place, the main focus of the series was clearly on the WSOP Circuit events. These 18 tournaments represented $28 million of the initially advertised guarantees. When all was said and done, the gold ring events ended up paying out a total of $46,881,552, besting the guarantees by just over 160%. Every single event surpassed its guarantee by a considerable amount. Event #17 ($5M Gtd Main Event) stood out above the rest when measuring the dollar amount exceeding the guarantee. It’s $4,290,050 overage allowed ‘schimmelgodx’ to turn their $1,000 buy-in into a $1.271 million score. Other tournaments including Event #2 ($50 KICK-OFF) and Event #18 ($500 The Closer) saw its $500K guarantee more than double. The closest any tournament came to missing a guarantee wasn’t really close at all. Event #11 ($210 Deepstack Bounty Hunters) drew 3,297 runners to generate a $659,400 prize pool, well abovt its $500K guarantee. While the 18 events represented just 3% of the total schedule, the 126,756 entries they generated was good for 26% of the total number of festival’s 485,851 entries. “The support of the gaming community for the WSOPC on GGPoker was insane,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker. “No guarantees were too big. Congratulations to all 18 ring event winners.” Incredible ROI’s As impressive as the prize pools and entrants have been, the numbers that really turned heads have been the first-place payouts. Of the 18 gold ring events, 13 paid the winner six-figures or more and eight of those tournaments had buy-ins of less than $1,000. In Event #2 ($50 KICK-OFF), ‘JuanMartinDelPotro54’ turned a $50 buy-in into a massive $137,120 score for a 2,742% ROI in that tournament. In Event #9 ($100 Mini Main Event), ‘miya111’ walked away with $278,361.52 for a $100 buy-in. For many, especially those who play at those stakes, that’s life-changing money. The only tournaments where players didn’t earn more than 100x on their investment was in the High Rollers where there are fewer eligible participants. In Event #8 ($25,000 High Roller Championship), ‘800-522-4700’ earned the biggest payday of the series from the largest prize pool of the series. With their victory, they took home $2,198,291.68, earning 87x on their money. While in Event #10 ($10,000 PLO High Roller Championship), after Pascal Lefrancois bested the 234-player field he turned his $10,000 buy-in into $442,040.69, which was the lowest return on investment for a winner at 44x. In total, the winners of the 18 WSOP Circuit online events hauled in $6,728,197.85. Or roughly 5% of the total amount awarded in the series. WSOP Online Circuit Ring Events [table id=48 /]
  25. The final three preliminary events of the Super High Roller Bowl Online Series took place on Sunday afternoon giving nosebleed online players one last shot at a six-figure score and SHRB title ahead of Monday’s $100,000 buy-in $3M Gtd Main Event. Linus Loeliger scored his second SHRB Online title after battling through the 64-entry field of Event #26 ($25,000 Super High Roller, 8-Max) for $520,000. Loeliger has only appeared at two final tables and with his victory in Event #18 ($10,300 High Roller, 6-Max) where he earned $237,732, the online pro has a combined winnings total of$757,732. It was yet another final table and six-figure score for Artur Martirosian who, when all was said and done, made seven total final tables in the prelims. Here, he finished as the runner-up and added $352,000 to his soaring SHRB Online totals. Kristen Bickell claimed yet another third-place finish which was good for $236,000. In Event #25 ($10,300 High Roller, 8-Max) Finland’s Samuel Vousden bested the 103-entry field to take home the title and $252,350 payday. Timothy Adams picked up his largest score of the series, finishing his sixth SHRB final table as the runner-up for $180,250. Thomas Muehloecker fell in third place, earning $128,750. Michael Addamo picked up his third final table cash of the series with a win in Event #27 ($10,300 High Roller, 8-Max) for $228,800. Finishing right behind him was Belarusian high stakes crusher Mikita Badziakouski who collected $162,800 as the runner-up. Then, in third place, was Artur Martirosian once again. His seventh final table netted him another $114,400. All told, Martirosian earned $1,684,644 throughout the 27 prelim events. Now, the high-stakes community will turn their attention to a pair of SHRB Online Main Events. Both the $3M Gtd Super High Roler Bowl Main Event and the $1M Gtd Mini Super High Roller Bowl kick off on Monday, June 1 and will play down to a winner the very next day. Event #25: $10,300 High Roller, 8-Max 103 entries $1,030,000 prize pool Samuel Vousden - $252,350 Timothy Adams - $180,250 Thomas Muehloecker - $128,750 Lucas Reeves - $90,125 Nick Schulman - $66,950 Christian Rudolph - $51,500 Kahle Burns - $41,200 Nick Petrangelo - $33,475 Event #26: $25,500 Super High Roller, 8-Max 64 entries $1,600,000 Linus Loeliger - $520,000 Artur Martirosian - $352,000 Kristen Bicknell - $236,000 William Foxen - $148,000 Timothy Adams - $116,000 George Wolff - $92,000 Christoph Vogelsang - $76,000 Isaac Haxton - $60,000 Event #27: $10,300 High Roller, 8-Max 88 entries $880,000 Michael Addamo - $228,800 Mikita Badziakouski - $162,800 Artur Martirosian - $114,400 Kahle Burns - $79,200 Dan Smith - $61,600 Luuk Gieles - $44,000 Ilya Anatski - $35,200 Sam Greenwood - $30,800
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