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  1. The World Poker Tour is headed back to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida this month for the launch of their 20th Season with the Lucky Hearts Poker Open. Running from January 13-26, the two-week-long festival features the first WPT event of the year - the WPT Main Tour $3,500 buy-in Championship event with a $2 million guaranteed prize pool. “Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has been a fantastic partner for the World Poker Tour and starting our 20th season in Florida is a fantastic choice,” said Adam Pliska, WPT President and CEO. “Additionally, we cannot wait to let the poker world in on some of the special incentives we have planned for our 20th anniversary.” It was just one year ago that the Lucky Hearts Poker Open served as a return to the live poker scene for the WPT after a ten-month hiatus brought on by the pandemic. Uncertain of what to expect in terms of attendance, the event shattered expectations by bringing out 1,573 entries, making it one of the largest Main Tour fields in the history of the company. In the end, the final three players made a deal and Ilyas Muradi was crowned the winner, earning $605,000 and entry into the WPT Champions Club. The five-day $3,500 WPT LHPO Main Event kicks off on January 21 with two starting days and unlimited re-entry until the start of level 9 for both days. There are a couple of notable structure changes this year as compared to the tournament in 2021. Once again, players will start with 40,000 in chips and have hour-long levels on Day 1 and Day 2. However, in 2021, Level 1 started with 100-100 blinds and no ante. The big blind ante did not kick in until Level 3. Here in 2022, there’s a 200 BBA right off the bat with blinds at 100-200. Essentially, the first two hours from 2021 have been removed and players will be playing more meaningful pots right from the get-go. Additionally, back in 2021, Day 3 started with 90-minute levels no matter how many players were left. This year, the time remains at 60 minutes until the field has played down to 40 players. At that point, the levels are increased to 90 minutes right down to the final table. With six players remaining, we’ll see 60-minute levels and 30 minutes when it hits heads-up. However, there’s another difference and that’s this year, the Lucky Hearts Poker Open final table will be live streamed on WPT.com. Surrounding the Main Event, the LHPO is offering players a series of 31 total tournaments with $5 million guaranteed across the entire series. There are plenty of low-to-mid stakes buy-ins offered daily. Highlights of the schedule include the $1 million guaranteed $600 Deep Stack NLHE kick-off event running January 13-16, two $1,100 Deep Stack events with $100K guarantees, and a $1,700 Bounty Event with $100,000 guaranteed. For those that want to play a little higher, there’s the $5,000 NLHE event with $200,000 guaranteed on January 25. In addition to the Main Event, the tournament that is sure to draw out the big names in the game is the $25,500 High Roller with $1 million guaranteed taking place on January 24-25. “Our team is constantly striving to deliver a premier experience for poker players, and we believe the results speak for themselves,” said Jason Heidenthan, Tournament Director at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “We look forward to being a big part of the World Poker Tour’s 20th anniversary and helping them kick things off with Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January.” To help people get in on the action, Seminole Hard Rock will be running Mega Satellites for various events every day starting on January 11. A full schedule of events is available on the Seminole Hard Rock website. Can't make it to the Lucky Hearts Poker Open but want to get in on the action? PocketFives Staking has you covered.
  2. The World Poker Tour unveiled the first half of its celebratory Season XX this week. The initial lineup includes a trio of Main Tour stops, another three WPTDeepStacks events, and an international online festival held in partnership with Poker King. The WPT will kick everything off with the return of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event. The opening event will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida with a $3,500 Main that features a $2 million guarantee. The Main Event has two starting flights beginning on January 21, however, the tournament takes place in the midst of a two-week-long festival at the property that boasts $5 million in total guaranteed prize money across all events. “We could not be happier to be launching our historic 20th anniversary with an amazing partner in Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino,” said Adam Pliska, World Poker Tour CEO. “We have a number of special incentives planned for the rest of the year to give the poker community amazing ways to celebrate with us.” The Main Tour doesn’t have to go very far with the next event also taking place at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is another $3,500 Main Event and will look to bring out the crowds like it did last year when 2,482 entries turned the event into the largest live field in the history of the tour. Last year, Brek Schutten took down the final table for a $1,261,095 payday for his first WPT title. The third Main Tour event is a return to Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. The WPT Choctaw event is in its seventh year of being a part of the WPT schedule and is a big draw for players in the area. Last year, Dapo Ajayi topped the field of 964 entries in the $3,700 event to win his first WPT title and the $588,610 first-place prize. Both April’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and WPT Choctaw final tables will have the final tables paused and reconvene at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas in Nevada on May 25 and 26 where a winner for each event will be crowned. In between Seminole Hard Rock events, the WPT Spring Festival will take place. The online poker series, sponsored by Poker King, will run from January 27 - February 7 with roughly $1.9 million in total guarantees and a Main Event of $345 on February 1-7 with a prize pool of roughly $1.25 million (depending on current currency conversions). In addition to the Main Tour, three WPTDeepStacks events will help fill out the first half. The first is WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam at the Holland Casino from March 25 - April 2 with a €1,100 buy-in. Next up, the tour pops up down under for WPTDeepstacks Sydney which will run from March 30 - April 11 at The Star in Sydney, Australia, and culminates with an AUD $1,500 buy-in Main Event. Finally, the WPT returns to Thunder Valley Casino in Northern California for WPTDeepStacks Thunder Valley from April 19 - May 1 and a $1,500 buy-in Main Event. The World Poker Tour will have more Main Tour dates announced in the near future. [table id=286 /]
  3. The New Year poker doldrums are coming to an end and the 2022 tournament schedule is about to heat up. A wave of big-time tournament series are on the immediate horizon and with them, some of the best players on the planet will be getting back to work, hoping to start the year off on the right foot. Upcoming events include the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, the Los Angeles Poker Classic held at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, and the return of the PokerGO Cup at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. All of these series are sure to draw big fields and massive prize pools. Over on PocketFives Staking, some of those players are giving fans a shot at jumping in on the action by offering shares of their upcoming tournaments. So, if you are looking to add some excitement while following the results, check out some of our upcoming featured events. WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Main Event This tournament - this entire series actually - is going to be a blowout. Poker in Florida has seemingly been unimpacted by current conditions and last year the LHPO Main Event turned into one of the biggest live fields in WPT history. In addition to Daniel Weinman and Josh Arieh having offered action (both are currently sold out), two-time WPT champion Sam Panzica opened up just a few shares in a special “for the fans” offering. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1483933546137985025?s=20 Additionally, WPT Instructor Katie Stone is headed to the East Coast and will be playing in a number of side events (many of which have sold out) and the Main Event. The Main Event kicks off on Friday, January 21. LHPO $25K High Roller Arieh may be sold out of his Main Event, but the reigning 2021 WSOP Player of the Year is also going to be firing in the $25,500 NLHE High Roller on January 24. Plus, there’s minimal markup for the four-time bracelet winner on this one. Joining Arieh is German high-stakes savant Rainer Kempe who is offering action in the NLHE High Roller as well. Kempe's resume is a long one and includes a win in the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million and more than $27 million in career earnings. By all accounts, he is one of the most respected players in the game. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1483928956642361344?s=20 PokerGO Cup - Feb 2-10 The PokerGO Cup returns to the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas (and the PokerGO Studio) in the first week of February and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias has his sights set on playing nearly every No Limit Hold’em event on the schedule. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1483937330247487493?s=20 Elias has packages available for two $25K’s, the $50K, and the $100K event. Elias is coming off a 2021 in which he won an Aria $10K High Roller for $169,600 and also had two runner-up high roller finishes for a total of nearly $825,000 and he's gearing up for a big year in 2022. READ: For Darren Elias The Motivation and Pressure To Execute Is All Self Imposed The PokerGO Cup is one of the most sweatable series in the immediate future with every final table being broadcast on the platform. Looking for more? There’s low-stakes action available for the upcoming LAPC and the return of the Wynn Millions series in March. Check out all of the upcoming action over at PocketFives Staking. [stakingupcoming]
  4. After two rounds of voting by both a voting panel consisting of poker industry insiders, poker media and fans alike, the nominations for the 3rd Global Poker Awards have been finalized. The ceremony, which takes place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Friday, February 18, will hand out 26 awards in a variety of categories, including three People’s Choice awards determined solely by the fans. The field of finalist includes plenty of poker’s biggest stars including Doug Polk, Michael Addamo, Ali Imsirovic, Daniel Cates, Lex Veldhuis, and Brad Owen. Polk also leads the list of those with multiple nominations, a select group that features Imsirovic, Cates, Jeff Platt, Joe Stapleton, Jamie Kerstetter, and Johan ‘YoH ViraL’ Guilbert. Three of the winners have previously been announced with Imsirovic earning the 2021 GPI Player of the Year Awards, Nadya Magnus taking home the 2021 Female Player of the Year Awards, and David Mzareulov claiming the inaugural 2021 Mid-Major Player of the Year awards. And the 2021 GPA nominees are… BEST FINAL TABLE PERFORMANCE Koray Aldemir - WSOP Main Event Jeremy Ausmus - WSOP PLO High Roller Daniel Cates - WSOP $50K Poker Players Championship Adam Friedman - WSOP $10K Dealer’s Choice 6-Max As usual, the World Series of Poker had an incredible impact on the poker world this year with some of the most gripping moments coming out of the series. Aldemir's domination of the WSOP Main Event, Cates epic comeback from on big blind in the $50K PPC, and Friedman's back-to-back-to-back $10K Dealer's Choice titles are all history-making performances. GPI BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR Chris Brewer Kyna England Johan Guilbert Vanessa Kade PLAYERS CHOICE FOR TOUGHEST OPPONENT Michael Addamo Stephen Chidwick Ali Imsirovic David Peters Four of the toughest high-roller players on the planet make this an intimidating category. Chidwick won this award at the last awards, Imsirovic is the 2021 GPI Player of the Year and PokerGO Tour 2021 Player of the Year, and David Peters is the 2021 U.S. Poker Open champ and sits fifth on the Hendon Mob's All-Time Money List. That said, no one really came close to Michael Addamo in 2021 and all eyes will be on him as the favorite. TWITTER PERSONALITY Will Jaffe (@dankness3) Jamie Kerstetter (@JamieKetstetter) Kitty Kuo (@kittykuopoker) Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) BEST STREAMER Kevin ‘kevinmartin’ Martin Benjamin ‘Spraggy’ Spragg Jonathan ‘apestylespoker’ Van Fleet Lex ‘LexVeldhuis’ Veldhuis The poker world is in a golden era of online streaming where not only can someone learn the game quickly and cheaper than ever, but can become a part of a community helmed by one of their favorite poker personalities. The strength of these nominations is only bolstered by a long list of quality streamers who are not included. BEST VLOGGER Jaman Burton Ryan Depaulo Brad Owen Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau BEST INDUSTRY PERSON Tony Burns Jack Effel Mori Eskandani Matt Savage BEST TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR Paul Campbell Justin Hammer Ray Pulford Andy Tilman BEST EVENT Seminole Hard Rock Rock ’N’ Roll Open Opening Event World Series of Poker Main Event Wynn Mystery Bounty Wynn Millions The Wynn showing up twice on this list is a nod to how the Las Vegas poker room took a giant leap forward this year in stepping up for the tournament community in the face of the pandemic. But know that the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida has also been making waves when it comes to must-play events. In order to win, one of them will have to usurp the event that many, year-in and year-out, capture the hearts of poker players from all over the world - the WSOP Main Event. BEST PODCAST Poker In The Ears (James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton) The Chip Race Podcast (David Lappin, Dara O’Kearney) The Doug Polk Podcast (Doug Polk) The Heart of Poker (Kara Scott) BEST BROADCASTER Jamie Kerstetter Ali Nejad Jeff Platt Joe Stapleton Another can't miss category with Kerstetter as the emerging voice on the WSOP broadcast, Jeff Platt shining as the WSOP's sideline reporter, and commentary vets Ali Nejad and Joe Stapleton consistently delivering the goods whenever they are on the air. BEST LIVE REPORTER Merom ‘Mickey’ Doft Timothy Duckworth Chad Holloway Christian Zetszche BEST MEDIA CONTENT: WRITTEN Lance Bradley: Isai Scheinberg: His Company, His Legacy, and How Black Friday Impacted Both Alex O’Brien: How a $10k poker win changed how I think D’Arcy Maine: While battling brain cancer, Michael Graydon lives World Series of Poker dream Charles Rabin: From immigration ‘cage’ to newest poker champ at Hard Rock. An Afghan refugee’s luck turns (paywall) Read all of the nominated stories - including and especially Lance Bradley's piece on PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg for PocketFives - at the links above. (Except for Rabin's piece which is behind a paywall.) BEST MEDIA CONTENT: PHOTO Antonio Abrego: Adam Friedman Defeats Phil Hellmuth for 3rd straight WSOP 10K Dealer’s Choice Title Hayley Hochstetler: The End of an Era Enrique Malfavon: The WSOP Main Event Bubble Bursts Danny Maxwell: Brandon Shack-Harris and his Umbrella at WSOP BEST MEDIA CONTENT: VIDEO Andrew Neeme and Paul Graydon: The Villain Who Stole Christmas Last Call Pokeridokumentii Jeff Platt “Stand Up For Me, Please!” Remko Rinkema: Run It Back with Stefanie Ungar Run It Once: Meet The Jungleman Watch all of the nominated videos at the links above. FANS CHOICE: BEST HAND Daniel Cates gets Leng to fold in $50K PPC Doug Polk makes epic fold vs. Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Poker Nicholas Rigby pulls monster bluff during late stages of WSOP Main Event Quads over quads on Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event There were a number of amazing hands captured live this year and which of the above (which you can view) you enjoy the most depends on if you like pleasure or pain. For those who enjoy being the hero, Polk's hero fold and Rigby's bluff are the stuff poker dreams of are made of. On the opposite side, the pain inflicted on Leng and Chang Liu, is some of the most memorable of the year. FANS CHOICE: BEST TROPHY Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup MSPT South Dakota State Championship Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship WPTDeepstacks Gold Coast FANS CHOICE: POKER PERSONALITY Johan ‘YoH ViraL’ Guilbert Greg ‘Greg Goes All In’ Liow Jonathan Little Masato Yokosawa Fans have until Wednesday, January 26th to vote for their favorite Poker Personality, even if they voted in the first round.
  5. For the first time since 2019, the Global Poker Index will be calling out new names at the Global Poker Awards when introducing the 2021 Players of the Year as Ali Imsirovic, Nadya Magnus, and David Mzareulov have been confirmed as GPI 2021 Player of the Year winners. Imsirovic, the young high-stakes pro, started the year as the GPI’s overall number #1 and ended up going wire-to-wire, never losing his lead and finishing just above runner-up Chance Kornuth and third-place finisher Shannon Shorr. Imsirovic, who also finished the year as the PokerGO Tour overall leader, is renown for his seemingly routine victories in the regularly running Las Vegas super high roller scene. According to his Hendon Mob profile, Imsirovic recorded 53 in-the-money finishes in 2021 with 14 outright victories. Of his more than $15 million in career live earnings, $6.1 million was earned in 2021. He had 22 six-figure scores, a number that will be naturally augmented by his average five-figure buy-in amount, and three times earned more than $500,000. This included his largest, and last, score of the year, his win in the WPT Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open $25,500 Super High Roller for $695,355. Imsirovic unseats Alex Foxen who was the last player to hold the title, winning back-to-back Player of the Year races in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 GPI POY race was not held due to the pandemic. This will be Imsirovic’s second Global Poker Award after having been named the 2018 Breakout Player of the Year. GPI Overall Leaderboard Top 5 [table id=282 /] This is the first GPI title for Nadya Magnus who earned the 2021GPI Female Player of the Year, making it the first time since 2017 that Kristen Bicknell has not earned that honor. It was a big year for Magnus who recorded 24 in-the-money finishes, good for more than $426,000 on the year with 10 five-figure scores. She started the year out strong with a runner-up finish in the $2,200 event at the Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open earning $93,566, her largest result of the year. Kyna England, the MSPT’s 2021 Player of the Year, ended up as the runner-up right behind Magnus on the leaderboard with Las Vegas pro Katie Lindsay finishing the year in third. GPI Female Player of the Year Leaderboard Top 5 [table id=284 /] The GPI introduced a new POY award this year that recognizes players grinding events with buy-ins up to $2,500 and Houston, Texas residence David Mzareulov is the first to win that award. Mzareulov, who according to his Hendon Mob profile has live career earnings totaling more than $658,000, had 10 five-figure scores and well as his career-high cash of 205,000 by finishing in second place in the $1,125 Millionaire Mayhem Poker Series event. GPI Mid-Major Leaderboard Top 5 [table id=283 /] All three players will receive their awards when the Global Poker Awards take place on February 18, 2022, from the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. In addition to the three Player of the Year awards, the ceremony will be handing out a total of 26 awards including GPI Breakout Player of the Year, Final Table Performance, Blest Vlogger, Best Streamer, and Best Broadcasts. There will be three Fan Choice Awards to be handed out as well including Best Hand, Poker Personality, and Best Trophy.
  6. This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts - the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’re wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game. September It seems like the action would never slow down in September. Everywhere you looked, there was a major tournament series holding a massive event and big-name taking it down. The SHRB Europe Main Event wrapped up with Wiktor Malinowski earning a career-high score of $3.69 million while Aleksei Vandyshev scored $2.5 million by winning the GGPoker 2021 WSOP Online Main Event. PokerStars’ WCOOP came to a close with Russia’s ‘CrazyLissy’ hauling in $1.5 million. Plus, Niklas Astedt won his record-tying fourth career Super MILLION$ title for a mere $315K and Anatoly Filatov earned a career-high cash of $1.19 million in the Super MILLION$. In the live arena, the World Series of Poker was gearing up and a vaccination mandate for all players to participate in the series dominated the headlines. The WSOP’s Ty Stewart addressed the concerns of players and announced an optional mask policy in an exclusive interview with PocketFives. That wasn’t the only big news to come out of PocketFives as the new PocketFives Staking Platform was announced with Daniel Negreanu being the very first player to offer significant action on the site. He helped launch the new side of PocketFives by offering daily sweats for fans that wanted to enjoy the action of the WSOP right from their own home. READ: Daniel Negreanu Selling 2021 WSOP Action for Fans That Want To “Take The Ride” PokerGO captured some of the pre-WSOP excitement and action with the 2021Poker Masters. While there were plenty of winners, including Daniel Negreanu, the back-to-back victories in the final two events for Michael Addamo for a total of $1.84 million had the poker world buzzing. Addamo won the Poker Masters Purple Jacket but then, less than a week later, he won the 2021 Super High Roller Bowl for another $3.4 million and which was just the beginning of one of the most impressive high roller heaters in the history of the game. A pair of former worldwide #1-ranked pros were featured as well. The first was Shaun Deeb who discussed his investment in vintage video games and how now was the time for him to turn his childhood nostalgia into record-setting profits. “I love the games, it sucks to get rid of them but I know that the market’s really hot and so we’re going to unload our games and try to buy more. We’re trying to make a profit, but we love the games. I remember as a kid playing Contra and my wife used to play Zelda so it’s been really cool to have them in our collection.” READ: Shaun Deeb Playing For A New High Score With Vintage Video Games And Brazilian powerhouse Yuri Dzivielevski was determined to make the trip to Las Vegas to battle for bracelets and ahead of his arrival spoke of what it meant to him to be ranked #1 in the world and enjoy the best years of his career. “I never loved playing tournaments as much as I do these days. Nowadays, I just play for performance, thinking about making the best decisions on every street and dominating my stakes as much as possible. I like to go further and take my opponents out of their comfort zone…because I’m a competitive person, that’s very exciting. If I feel like I’m not dominating my stake, I study hard until I can do it again,” he said. READ: Yuri Dzivielevski Enjoying Success, Freedom With Nothing Left To Prove Daniel ‘SmilleThHero’ Smiljkovic broke into Online Poker’s Top 5 en route to capturing September Player of the Month honors. October Technically, the World Series of Poker kicked off at the very end of September but the heart of the series ramped up in October. The first week proved to have some challenges with long lines for registration, but ultimately, The Reunion brought poker players back together and the excitement of a WSOP after a year away was in full swing. READ: The True Story of the Very “First” Table of the 2021 World Series of Poker. There was no shortage of must-read storylines during the WSOP in October including Jason Koon winning his first bracelet, Shaun Deeb and Brian Rast winning their fifth, Adam Friedman completing a three-peat of the $10K Dealers Choice, Lara Eisenberg winning the Ladies Event, Anthony Zinno starting his own club, and Jeff Platt’s deep run in the $1,000 Double Stack Event. Josh Arieh started to make some WSOP noise by winning his third career gold bracelet and helping investors turn $15 into $2K on the PocketFives Staking platform. READ: Deep Runs By Negreanu, Arieh Serve Up Staking Success In First Half of 2021 WSOP We shined a light on what it takes to win the WSOP Player of the Year, the greatness of the pro’s pro Connor Drinan, Ari Engle’s obsession with Omaha, and why men shouldn’t take it upon themselves to enter a Ladies Event. Michael Addamo, again, defeated Justin Bonomo heads-up to capture his third WSOP gold bracelet and another $1.1 million score officially turning his 2021 winning streak into a piece of poker history. READ: Michael Addamo Joins The Incredible, Improbable Decade-Long Run of High Roller Heaters But the story that had everyone talking was Phil Hellmuth and his run to his record-extending 16th gold bracelet. Off to the hottest start of a WSOP in his career, it seems like Hellmuth was for sure going to breakthrough. But before he did, he had a breakdown, where at the final table of the $10K Stud he uttered the now iconic words that he was going to “burn this motherf***ing place down.” He didn’t burn it down, instead he returned to yet another final table ($1,500 Deuce-to-Seven) and instead took it down READ: Phil Hellmuth Captures Coveted WSOP Bracelet #16 in Deuce To Seven “I’ve wanted a Deuce To Seven bracelet ever since the 1980’s since it was the coolest bracelet to win because it’s the one tournament that Chip [Reese] and Doyle [Brunson] showed up for. All the big-name poker players, Billy Baxter, all the champions showed up for that,” he said. “And I wanted that bracelet so badly.” “And so I’ve been fighting so ****ing hard for this bracelet for so long in the Deuce to Seven…but yeah, it feels really good.” Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira kept his online grind alive and walked away with the title of October Player of the Month. November By the time November rolled around, the World Series of Poker was full throttle with a number of amazing storylines playing out. This included Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates dressed in full cartoon costume taking down the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in for his first career bracelet and $954,000. READ: Negreanu, Arieh, and Glantz Help Backers Clean Up in WSOP $50K Poker Players Championship Plus, as if he hadn’t done enough winning in 2021, Michael Addamo scored yet another high roller victory winning the $100,000 High Roller for his fourth gold bracelet and another $1.95M. Other winners in November included Adrian Mateos, Kevin Gerhart, and Benny Glaser all grabbing a fourth WSOP bracelet, and Leo Margets taking down the Closer for her first gold bracelet. In the midst of the WSOP, we published one of our most popular profiles of the year when Niklas Astedt, the notoriously media-shy online poker legend, agreed to a short interview and opened up about his beginning in the game and his ongoing quest to be the best. READ: Niklas Astedt Is Exactly Where He Wants To Be, Battling To Be The Best But, before Margets could make it to the Closer, it was the Main Event that had people really tuning into the WSOP with major storylines like Doyle Brunson showing up on the featured table, Phil Hellmuth bringing his #whitemagic in the form of Gandalf the Wizard, and former champ Chris Moneymaker climbing to the top of the chip counts, giving people the feeling like it was 2003 all over again. READ: The World Series of Poker Announces Move To The Strip for 2022 Plus, one of the sickest bad beats in Main Event history took place when quads ran into quads on the feature table. In the end, German 31-year old high roller Koray Aldemir was the last player standing from a field of 6,550 runners to grab the $8,000,000 first-place prize and the title of World Champion. READ: Koray Aldemir Wins 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event for $8,000,000 But as the series sped to a close, there was one more award that had yet to be handed out. Josh Arieh had earned the second gold bracelet of the series and was in a prime position to take home the award. Even though Arieh had been announced as the winner, on the final day of the series there was some drama as to whether his crowning as the POY would hold. But in the end, Arieh faded the last-minute miscalculation and was declared the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year. Before it was all over, we talked with Arieh to get his thoughts on his WSOP run and how he mentally persevered in 2021. READ: Q&A With Josh Arieh: Enjoying Life, Seeing Success At The WSOP By the end of the WSOP, Eli Elezra was announced as the 60th member of the Poker Hall of Fame. As Elezra was giving his acceptance speech called for the PHOF to expand inductions to allow additional worthy candidates into the Hall. READ: The Time Is (Still) Now For Change In The Poker Hall of Fame In the end, the WSOP turned out to be an overwhelming success despite its challenges but it was also a success for those who rode with Negreanu in his series-long staking package. While the focus of the poker world was on the WSOP, online poker was still providing plenty of drama including Bruno Volkmann finally dethroning Yuri Dzivielevski as the #1-ranked player in the world. December The typical lull that takes place after the World Series of Poker would have to wait until the holidays this year as players used the final weeks of the year to pursue one final score. There were plenty of opportunities out there to choose from. The World Poker Tour dominated the month as Gediminas Uselis took down the Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll Main Event for more than $778,000 just ahead of the WPT’s return to Las Vegas for the Bellagio’s Five Diamond Main Event. The WPT announced that, after 19 years, they’d be switching to having their Seasons match the calendar year meaning that the WPT Five Diamond Main Event would be the last of Season XIX. That meant that Taylor Black, the winner of the Five Diamond Main Event for $1.24 million would be the final WPT Champions Club of the current season. But before the Main Event took place, the Bellagio ran a steady stream of high rollers which allowed Justin Bonomo, who had been on quite a run in 2021, to take back the top spot on the Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List. However, Bryn Kenney who held the #1 spot for the past 28 months remained incredibly close signaling a possible two-way race for the foreseeable between the two high-stakes powerhouses. David Mock, who is not a high-stakes reg of any kind, decided to take his shot in one of the Bellagio high rollers, scoring a direct hit and a $100K score, shining a light on a part of the poker dream. READ: David Mock Shoots His Shot, Spikes $100K Score In Bellagio Five Diamond High Roller Another name in the mix during the Five Diamond was four-time WPT Main Tour champ Darren Elias who opened up about the pressure he puts on himself to be the best. READ: For Darren Elias The Motivation and Pressure To Execute Is All Self Imposed On the virtual felts, Brazil’s Pedro Garagnani took over the top of the Online Poker Rankings for the first time in his career, and he also made the final table of PokerStars EPT Online Main Event. However, it was ‘WhatIfGod’ who pulled off the amazing feat winning back-to-back in EPT Online Main Events (there are only two in history.) George Holmes, the 2021 WSOP Main Event runner-up, proved to be one of the most popular personalities to emerge from this year’s series. A month after he scored $4 million for his run, he was still trying to make sense of the whole journey. He talked with us about returning to reality, the thrilling final hand, and what’s next for the “Home Game Hero” in one of our most popular articles of the year. READ: George Holmes Is Still Making Sense of His Surreal WSOP Experience And finally, the poker world celebrated the life of Henry Orenstein, the Poker Hall of Famer and inventor of the hole card cam, who passed away at age 98. “This one man is the reason poker is as big as it is,” Jon Miller, former Head of NBC Sports “The reason poker is a multibillion-dollar business is because of this one man.” -
  7. This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts - the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’re wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game. January Although we were officially in 2021, some of the most important business of 2020 had yet to be decided at the beginning of January as Damian Salas and Joseph Herbert met at a mostly empty Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to play heads-up for a million dollars and determine who will earn the official title of 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. The finale was not without its detractors as an online version of the WSOP Main Event had been played out on GGPoker earlier in 2020, but Salas - who had made a previous live WSOP Main Event final table in 2017 - proved to be a worthy winner, taking home an extra $1 million and the WSOP Main Event bracelet. “I don’t play for the money, that’s not my goal,” Salas said after his win. “My basic motivation is to become better and better every day and remain a member of the world-class poker elite.” READ: Desire To Remain Elite Drives New World Champ Damian Salas While January continued to be full of interesting player news, including Chance Kornuth surrendering to Phil Galfond in the Galfond Challenge, Ilyas Muradi taking down the wildly successful WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open, and Jack Hardcastle winning the WPT Montreal Online Main Event for $447K, it was poker industry news that dominated the first month of the year. READ: Chris Moneymaker Reflects on 17 Years as Poker’s Everyman Ambassador For the fourth time in 12 years, the World Poker Tour had been sold in a deal with Element Partners, LLC for more than $78 million. “This deal will allow the World Poker Tour to do a number of things that its always wanted to do,” World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska said at the time the deal was announced, unable to completely expand on the nature of the takeover. “What I can say, however, is that for myself and my management team, we’re still here and it’s business as usual and we look forward to this exciting next chapter of the World Poker Tour.” That same week, perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year broke when The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in their case against the U.S. Department of Justice, reversing a revised opinion of the Wire Act. In short, it was a big win for online poker players in the U.S., setting the stage for a potential boom of online poker in the United States in years to come taking away legal barriers for would-be states to get in on the action and even join multi-state compacts to expand the total liquidity for Americans. Almost as if on cue, PokerStars officially launched PokerStarsMI.com, becoming the first operator to offer Michiganders (and visitors to the state) the option to play online poker, legally and regulated, from inside the state. To close out the month, Brazil’s Brunno Botteon kept his 2020 hot streak in tact and ended up as the Online Player of the Month for January. February February started off with a bang. The months-long heads-up grudge match between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk came to an end after 91 days and 25,000 hands. Polk wrote his name in the history books, soundly defeating Negreanu and walking away a winner of roughly $1.2 million. “I’m very happy that I spent so much time preparing and I felt it really ended up helping me tremendously and that I got to execute at such a high level over such a long period of time,” Polk said just moments after the last hand of the challenge. Over the course of the match, the feud between the two seemed to morph into a respectful rivalry and Negreanu gave credit where it was due when it was over. “He deserved it. He played well. I thought he made really good adjustments. I thought he improved as the match went on. I thought he got better and better and sharper, in a lot of different lines,” Negreanu said. But that wasn’t the only high-profile high-stakes poker taking place in February as Tom Dwan emerged to take a seat in the newest iteration of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO and picked up a $300,000 win. Dwan’s appearance was a thrill for fans who were equally excited to have the popular programming back “on the air”. [caption id="attachment_637576" align="alignright" width="250"] Phil Hellmuth[/caption] READ: Hellmuth Rants, Palihapitiya Wins Big On Latest High Stakes Poker High Stakes Poker wasn’t the only poker mainstay to make a return in February as, after more than a year away from Las Vegas, the World Poker Tour was back in Sin City for the first time with WPT Venetian. The final table featured the aforementioned Jack Hardcastle, as well as the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, but it was Qing Liu who took home the trophy and the $752,880 first-place prize. Brazil’s Yuri Dzivielevski was climbing into contention for the worldwide #1 spot in the Online Poker Rankings (something he ended up holding for the better part of 2021) and he also walked away with Online Player of the Month honors for February. March Polk and Dwan weren’t done keeping the poker world entertained as the season of High Stakes Poker stretched into March and both high-profile players continued to impress. Polk made what some have called “one of the best laydowns ever” in a massive hand against Phil Hellmuth that had the poker world buzzing for days while Dwan’s domination earned him another half-million win, showing that despite not being in the public eye he wasn’t showing any sign of rust. READ: Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney Star in Biggest Pots of High Stakes Poker S8 Another massive winner in March was Vanessa Kade. Coming off her high-profile social media clash with Dan Bilzerian, Kade took that energy into the PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary online event and walked away with the win for a life-changing $1.5 million payday. Looking to replicate the same fervor of Polk and Negreanu’s heads-up battle, former #1-ranked online pro Fedor Holz sparked a beef with high-stakes cash game crusher Wiktor Malinowski and the pair agreed to take their feud to the felt. The feud was likely manufactured, and the heat wasn’t very hot, but fans were treated to a pair of high-stakes pros dedicating some time to entertaining viewers with the four-session challenge. Brunno Botteon lost his grip at the top of the Online Poker Rankings as Bert ‘Girafganger7’ Stevens took his third turn at the top but by the end of the month he made way for the surging Yuri Dzivielevski who took control and held on it in for the next six months. In case you missed these popular profiles of some of poker’s best we talked with Alex Butcher about becoming the #1-ranked player in the United States and the work he needed to do on himself in order to get out of his own way and be open to success. Speaking of success, Kevin Rabichow opened up about what led him to switch gears from being one of the world’s top online cash game grinders to taking up tournaments and dedicating himself to success. By the end of the month, Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira took home the title of March Online Player of the Month. April One of our most popular articles of the year was published in April when PokerStars found Isai Scheinberg agreed to be interviewed for the first time after settling all of his legal troubles stemming from Black Friday. Scheinberg stepped into the spotlight and talked about the early days of PokerStars, the beginning of the poker boom, the fallout from Black Friday, and what he’s doing with his life after selling the company for nearly $5 billion. “I valued privacy, but I was not secretive. That’s not the same thing,” Scheinberg said talking to the media for one of the very first times. “I was working hard. I was very busy and I’m not the type of guy to go out and do PR.” READ: Isai Scheinberg: His Company, His Legacy, and How Black Friday Impacted Both The heads-up craze continued in April as Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu played in the first of three High Stakes Duel matches on PokerGO. The first was, for many, the most memorable as Negreanu had Hellmuth down to a 19-1 chip disadvantage. But Hellmuth used his #WhiteMagic to spin it back up and defeat Negreanu in what was about to become a reoccurring theme for High Stakes Duel. Both PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker and GGPoker’s Spring Festival took over the online poker scene, both offering massive guarantees and non-stop action in the middle of the pandemic. One person who couldn’t get enough was former #1-ranked Niklas Astedt who couldn’t keep himself out of the headlines, taking down multiple GGSF titles and adding to his SCOOP Legacy. Speaking of former #1’s performing in the spring, Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson picked up two SCOOP titles on the same day. Plus, Chris Moorman finally added a SCOOP title to his resume, after taking home the first SCOOP in his career. READ: Joakim Andersson Ships GGSF MILLION$ Main Event for $1.5M READ: SCOOP: Series Concludes As ‘kZhh’ Wins $10L Main Event TItle, $878K With an accumulation of a massive amount of leaderboard points, high-stakes legend Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro took down the Online Player of the Month title in April. The 2021 Poker Year In Review continues in Part 2.
  8. This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts - the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’ll be wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game. May One of the craziest stories of the year broke in May when it was revealed that high-stakes poker pro Chad Power had been victim to a home invasion robbery of nearly $1,000,000 in cash and casino chips. However, the Henderson Police Department arrested a suspect who was charged with multiple felonies including Burglary with a Deadly Weapon, Conspiracy Home Invasion, and Theft after the suspect went out and purchased a Dodge Hellcat Charger with a $30,000 cash down payment and also purchased a 2018 Maserati Levante SUV under his mother’s name with another $60K in cash. On the felt, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu returned for Round 2 of High Stakes Duel II with Negreanu looking to get even, however, once again, Hellmuth pulled off the win. Negreanu promised that there would be a third match sooner than later leaving Hellmuth still feeling slighted despite his back-to-back wins. “I’ve given Daniel credit the whole way from start to finish and I haven’t said one negative word about him. He was pretty condescending in the first match. I felt it was super condescending, and this match he handled himself much better,” Hellmuth said. “But even still, he’s preaching down to me about ranges, and I’m thinking to myself, I’ve just won 24 out of 26 heads-up matches against pros and they have me rated as a fucking underdog every match. It just blows my mind, but I just never quite get that respect, and that’s ok with me. I just want to keep winning.” There were plenty of other winnings taking place in May with a trio of World Poker Tour events coming to a conclusion. The pandemic had forced the WPT to delay a number of its high-profile final tables for more than a year and in the middle of the month, they gathered in Las Vegas to crown three consecutive champions. First up was Veerab Zakarian who took down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $674,840. “Waiting this long, you didn’t know what to expect. You don’t know, you keep waiting for it,” Zakarian said after the tournament ended. “Most people, after the pandemic, they didn’t have anything to look forward to so I was glad to have something to look forward to.” [caption id="attachment_637581" align="alignright" width="250"] Brekstyn Schutten[/caption] The next day it was Balakrishna Patur’s turn in the spotlight as he won the delayed 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $1,015,000, defeating Matas Cimbolas in heads-up play. It was the second year in a row that Cimbolas finished as the LAPC runner-up. Finally, Brekstyn Schutten took down the largest event in the 19-year history of the WPT when he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1,261,095. While all of that is nice, the most prestigious contest of the year came to a conclusion in May when Niklas Astedt was named, by the poker community and his peers, as the All-Time #1 Number One. For the better part of a month, PocketFives ran a social contest asking the poker community to vote, March Madness-style, to see which of the (then) 60 former worldwide #1-ranked online pros stood above the rest. The finals came down to Astedt and online great Chris Moorman with Astedt edging out Moorman with 54% of the vote. “The PocketFives rankings really motivated me over the years,” Astedt said after being crowned the winner. “I’m super happy and proud that so many people voted for me.” Speaking of Chris Moorman, he was one of three popular player profiles to be featured this month. Moorman reflected on his career and his recent winning of his first SCOOP title. READ: “Old Guy” Chris Moorman Happily Proves He’s Still Got It Sami Kelopuro had been on an amazing heater and talked with PocketFives in a rare interview on the secret to his recent success and how he planed on taking it easy after his intense grind. READ: After Winning $4.4M, Sami Kelopuro is Taking It Easy - For Now Finally, after winning the first-ever GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event, Mathias ‘KingKongJoel’ Joelsson talked about what it was like to win a seven-figure score. READ: Mathias Joelsson Has ‘King Kong’ Plans After $1.25M GGSF Score By the end of the month, another Brazilian earned themselves an Online Player of the Month title, as Dalton Hobold took the title in May. June It had already been announced that the World Series of Poker was going to be moved to the fall, but in the middle of June, the complete schedule (before the addition of online events) of the last WSOP at the Rio was announced. It was an 88 gold bracelet schedule that hoped to bring back a sense of normalcy after a year away. READ: 5 Things: The WSOP Schedule Gives Players a Comfortable Return Home While players had the WSOP to look forward to, the 2021 U.S. Poker Open was taking place in the PokerGO Studio with familiar faces winning large sums of money. Stephen Chidwick, Jake Schindler, Ali Imsirovic were all at the top of the earners list for the series but David Peters dominated them all, winning more than $2.6 million and taking home the Golden Eagle trophy. READ: David Peters, Old Guard, New Faces Shine Bright as U.S. Poker Open Hellmuth’s three-peat over Negreanu was completed earning him the $400,000 prize and bringing his series record to 6-0 and bringing High Stakes Duel II to an end with Hellmuth opting to cash out and start over in the coming months. Brian Altman also notched his third win, but for him, it was taking home his third World Poker Tour Main Tour title at WPT Tampa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. The reigning WPT Player of the Year put himself in the race for WPT all-time title, just one behind Darren Elias’ four, and picked up $613,225 in the process. READ: WPT POY Brian Altman Writes His Own Script For Success In other WPT news, the 2021 WPT Online Series Main Event reached a conclusion as well with Christian Rudolph earning his first WPT title and $487,442. Plus, the WPT held its WPT Heads Up Poker Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. An online tournament, it featured some of the biggest names in the game including Doug Polk, Tow Dwan, Sam Greenwood, Anthony Zinno, Brad Own, and eventual winner Phil Ivey who took down the invite-only event for $400,000. Another popular profile published in 2021 was on poker vlogger Jaman Burton and his recent move to Las Vegas. In it, he discusses how the social climate in St. Louis pushed him to make a move, the future of his vlog, and finding new inspiration in Sin City. READ: Jaman Burton and The Drawing Dead Find New Life In Las Vegas The string of Brazilian crushers taking down the Online Player of the Month continued in June as Geraldo Cesar Neto earned the honor for the first time in his career. July The poker world was shocked and saddened in July when six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Layne ‘Back-to-Back’ Flack unexpectedly passed away at age 52. An outpouring of condolences for Flack’s family poured out from the poker community as a mainstay personality from the early days of the poker boom will be certainly be missed. Before that, Daniel Negreanu was back making headlines. After his loss to Doug Polk earlier in the year and then falling three times to Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel, Kid Poker’s ability to close in a big spot was being questioned by some in the poker world. He quickly responded with a victory during the PokerGO Cup series, not only winning the $50,000 NLHE event for $700,000 but, with a little thanks to Cary Katz in the final event of the series, taking the PokerGO leaderboard title and trophy for an additional $50,000 score. READ: The Anatomy- and End - of Daniel Negreanu’s Tournament Futility All month long, the World Series of Poker was running online bracelet events with some notable names adding to their poker resume including David Peters, Manig Loeser, and Chris Moorman who grabbed the victory in one of the final events of the series for his second career bracelet. But the big WSOP news was the rumor (which turned out to be true) that the World Series of Poker would be on the move in 2022, leaving its long-standing home of the Rio to set up shop on the Strip at Bally's and Paris. [caption id="attachment_637583" align="alignright" width="250"] Andrew Moreno[/caption] July also saw a pair of celebrated live wins as Andrew Moreno battled through the 1,325-entry field of the first-ever $10K Wynn Millions to walk away with a life-changing $1.460 million score. The final three agreed to chop the majority of the prize pool, creating two more millionaires as Clayton Maguire finished as the runner-up for $1.443 million and Toby Lewis grabbed the bronze for $1.235 million. Dapo Ajayi also earned a career-defining win after taking down WPT Choctaw for $558,610, making it the second time that Viet Vo would come up just one spot short in the same tournament, finishing in second place for $372,415. Brazil’s Dalton Hobold earned Online Player of the Month honors in May, in July he opened up about how he was almost scammed out his entire career by someone he trusted. READ: Rising Star Dalton Hobold Almost Had Poker Career Derailed by Scam Another month, another Brazilian at the top of the Online Player of the Month leaderboard, as Renan Carlos Bruschi took home the honors in July. August August was another massive month when it came to online poker as PokerStars announced the start of their biggest World Championship of Online Poker with $100 million guaranteed and the World Series of Poker Online kicked off on GGPoker. Both series featured poker superstars taking home titles including Christian Rudolph and Ivan Zufic taking down early WCOOP titles and Joao Simao and Samuel Vousden earning gold bracelets. It was also the month where Erik Seidel made history, taking down 2021 WSOP Online Event #11 ($10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller) for $977,842 and his ninth career gold bracelet, tying Johnny Moss. Soon after, he talked with us about winning his ninth bracelet online made it special for him. “Winning any WSOP event is special,” Seidel said when asked where his online bracelet ranks. “This one was extra great for me because it was so unexpected. Getting through 600+ players and then the prize was close to one million, which I think is my biggest WSOP cash, felt really amazing. Might be my favorite.” READ: Erik Seidel’s Online WSOP Bracelet Victory Might Just Be His Favorite In addition to Seidel winning the WSOP edition of the Super MILLION$, a pair of perennial champions added to their MILLION$ resume. Niklas Astedt scored his third title and Michael Addamo kept the all-time wins record with his fourth. For Addamo, it was just a sign of things yet to come. READ: 50 Things To Look Forward To At The 2021 WSOP After Phil Hellmuth vanquished Fox Sports commentator Nick Smith in a bottle episode of High Stakes Duel, the re-match everyone was waiting for was booked. The Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan hype train was rolling and the show did not disappoint. However, after seven wins in a row, Hellmuth was defeated as Dwan dethroned Hellmuth to become the new High Stakes Duel champion. READ: Three Takeaways From Tom Dwan's Victory Over Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel III [caption id="attachment_637584" align="alignleft" width="250"] Brock Wilson[/caption] A pair of profiles proved to be popular this month as 26-year-old high-stakes tournament pro Brock Wilson talked about his major move from New York to Las Vegas to pursue the poker dream. Plus, Ryan Hagerty scored an online bracelet in July and sat down to talk with us about his roller coaster of a year grinding the tournament scene. A victory for Alex Theologis in the WSOP $25,000 Super High Roller Championship locked up the August Online Player of Month. Finally, after six years as the President and Editor-in-Chief of PocketFives Lance Bradley stepped away to pursue new opportunities and left by spotlighting some of his favorite stories he published over the years.
  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. In the aftermath of the Polk-Negreanu high-stakes, heads-up challenge, news of two more high-profile challenges have emerged and Lance and Donnie break both of them down on this week's episode of The FIVES! First, 15-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and season one High Stakes Duel winner Phil Hellmuth looks poised to be Daniel Negreanu's next challenger. But what will the format be when (and if) it takes place and will it be enough to satisfy the fans? At the same time, 21-year old poker phenom Landon Tice and high-stakes businessman Bill Perkins have publically agreed on a 20,000 hand challenge to start in May. Tice has also agreed to spot Perkins a 9bb/100 advantage - meaning in order to win, Tice will need to win more than $720,000. Finally, the guys discuss all of the most important breaking news from this week in the world of poker. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  10. PokerStars isn’t waiting for the 2021 EPT Online to end before offering online poker grinders another major series to mark in their calendars. The PokerStars Winter Series returns from December 25 through January 12 with a total series guarantee of at least $50 million. Like other PokerStars premium online series, the upcoming Winter Series features a three-tiered buy-in schedule with “High”, “Medium”, and “Low” events, plus another 39 events that are thrown in without a tied category for good measure making a total of more than 290 events. Bankroll budgets of any size can get in on the action with buy-ins for the Winter Series events ranging from as little as $2.20 up to the $10,300 buy-in High Roller with $750,000 guaranteed. No doubt, some of the biggest events of the series will be the three Main Events which take place on Sunday, January 9. The “Low” Main Event has a $55 buy-in with a $1 million guarantee, the “Medium” arrives with a $530 price tag and a $1.5 million guarantee, and the main Main Event, the $5,200 “High” offers a $2 million guarantee. To hit a $50 million series guarantee means that there are plenty of other events on the schedule backed by some big numbers. For instance, the $109 buy-in Phase Event, in which players can pick one or multiple Day 1s in order to amass a stack to make it to Day 2, has a $1.25 million guarantee. Perhaps one of the biggest values on the schedule takes place early in the series with Event #9-L, a $55 buy-in PKO that promises a prize pool of at least $1 million. Perhaps the most notable "can't miss" event will be the Sunday Two Million, Event #55-M, which kicks off the New Year on January 2 and comes with an old-school $215 buy-in and a $2 million guarantee. As with all of their major online events, PokerStars is currently running satellites (and will be adding more) for most major events. Even before the series kicks off, players can jump into $2.20 or $5.50 mega satellites which are giving away seats to Event #18, the $55 buy-in Phase event. Plus, players can get into the Winter Series Main Events by winning their seat in both $4 and $22 Spin & Go’s, in addition to traditional satellites. For a look at the complete .com schedule of the Winter Series, simply click here. Please note, the PokerStars Winter Series is available for their worldwide marker, and players in Southern Europe (France, Spain, and Portugal) will have their own €10 million guaranteed series from December 25 - January 16. Additionally, players in Italy will also enjoy a 138 event series with a total of €6 million guaranteed.
  11. The Global Poker Index and The Hendon Mob are finishing the year with a flurry of poker industry news beginning with this week’s announcement that, after a year away, the Global Poker Awards will return to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Friday, February 18. Having skipped the industry awards in 2021 due to the global pandemic, The GPI is preparing for the show’s imminent return. The 2021 Global Poker Awards will celebrate the year in poker by handing out more than 20 awards including 2021 GPI Player of the Year, Player’s Choice for Toughest Opponent, Best Vlogger, and the hand-selected Poker ICON award. While the full list of awards have yet to be announced, and some changes are expected, previous awards that are likely to be handed out again include Breakout Player of the Year, Event of the Year, Journalist of the Year, Final Table Performance of the Year, and a variety of poker content awards. The voting process for the awards will be announced in the immediate future with voting to take place early in 2022. Fans will also have their say with three different Fan Choice awards. However, in the meantime, the Global Poker Awards are looking for feedback from the community. “Most award shows you have to submit your candidacy, we looking for more of that,” said Eric Danis, President of the GPI/THM on the most recent episode of their The Poker Show podcast. “We do a lot of work in the background, we have great people that help us but if you know someone, or an article, or anything…that you want to recognize, make to submit that info to us @GPI on Twitter or you can always email us as well.” https://twitter.com/gpi/status/1470785352000491523?s=20 Within 48 hours, the GPI and Hendon Mob were making news again with an announcement of the latest addition to those people “that help in the background” as Kevin Mathers has signed on to join the team as the new GPI/THM Poker Information Manager. Typically, an industry hiring, even an important one, would understandably fly under the radar however Mathers has cultivated one of the most prolific Twitter accounts (@Kevmath) in the poker community by being a constant source of information relied on my recreational and professional players alike. With more than 10 years on the inside of the poker industry, perhaps most well known as the Twitter Czar for the World Series of Poker for a number of years, Mathers is one of the most trusted and popular names in the game. “As one of the most respected sources of information in the poker community, we are thrilled to have Kevin on board,” Danis said. “We have always dreamed of adding Kevin to the team. It means a lot to us to welcome Kev to his new home and we are excited for what he brings to the table.” https://twitter.com/Kevmath/status/1471513275737149444?s=20
  12. Henry Orenstein, the inventor of the hole card cam and member of the Poker Hall of Fame, passed away at the age of 98 on Tuesday, according to PokerGO News. Orenstein’s idea to bring the audience inside the game of poker by exposing players’ hole cards with the use of a camera inside a poker table was essential to the poker boom that changed the way the game is viewed today. Born in Poland in 1923 to a Jewish family, Orenstein was a Holocaust survivor. Both of his parents were killed by Nazis and two of his siblings perished in concentration camps while Orenstein, and his two brothers Fred and Sam, posed as scientists in order to survive the war. After, Orenstein emigrated to the United States where he lived in New York and became a toy manufacturer, credited, most notably for the creation of the Transformers. But it was the idea to make poker more palatable for the viewer for which he was most known for in poker. According to a 2016 profile on Orenstein in Newsweek, after watching a World Series of Poker special on ESPN and being “bored out of his mind”, Orenstein spent six months building the poker table that placed cameras under glass panels to reveal a players hole cards. He patented the table in 1995, one of more than 100 patents he held, eight years before Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event. Initial resistance and disinterest by television executives caused Orenstein to shelve the table, and the idea, but continue his poker career. In 1996, Orenstein won his only WSOP gold bracelet in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud tournament when he outlasted a final table that included Humberto Brenes, Cindy Violette, and TJ Cloutier. In 2002, Orenstein's idea found new life and he partnered with Head of NBC Sports Jon Miller to launch Poker Superstars and High Stakes Poker. “This one man is the reason poker is as big as it is,” Miller told Newsweek. “The reason poker is a multibillion-dollar business is because of this one man.” For his revolutionary idea and dedication to poker, Orenstein was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2008. He is survived by his wife, Susie.
  13. Felipe Ramos booked a big score on Thursday night in the $10,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event at the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic when he and Hank Yang chopped the tournament for a score of $115,500 each. But Ramos wasn't the only big winner on the night as the PocketFives Staking mainstay offered action in the tournament to his fans. For those that decided to purchase a piece, a big-time return was their reward. https://twitter.com/FelipeMojave/status/1469233013187772416?s=20 According to PokerGO, who were reporting on the tournament as a part of the PokerGO tour, it was a hard-fought battle from the moment the final five made the money. But things really came to a slowdown three-handed. A three-hour slugfest took place with Ramos, Yang, and eventual third-place finisher Nathan Zimnik trading blows and taking turns holding the chip lead. https://twitter.com/FelipeMojave/status/1469151548395515906?s=20 Finally, Zimnik hit the rail, and Ramos and Yang found themselves with nearly identical chip stacks. It took some negotiation, but the two agreed on a deal that sent both home with a six-figure score and allowed Ramos to be recorded as the winner. [caption id="attachment_637486" align="aligncenter" width="750"] It's a done deal between Ramos and Yang.[/caption] Of course, Ramos isn’t the only person who won big in the event. Not by a long shot. Ramos has been consistently offering pieces of his grind on PocketFives Staking and the more than 25 backers who took him up on some of his $10K PLO action were handsomely rewarded come Friday morning with a nearly 10x return on investment. You had to be nimble to grab a piece of this one, with Ramos posting his action on the site just a day ahead of time. He sold off 16% - all at no markup. In total, those who backed Ramos turned that collective $1,680 into $18,480. A $50 investment (0.0047%) turned into roughly $550. It’s another huge score for PocketFives investors (not unlike when Josh Arieh helped his backers turn $15 into $2K). It’s also a breakthrough for Ramos himself who, admittedly, had a rough summer on the WSOP felts. But the Brazilian decided to stick around in the U.S. to play even more and has finally found that win that had been eluding him. Now, the GGPoker ambassador is back to his winning ways and has every intention of bringing his rabid fan base along with him. Here's just one more reason to keep a close eye on PocketFives Staking so if you haven't done so...sign up for an account right here.
  14. The World Series of Poker Winter Online Circuit returns to GGPoker this month highlighted by 18 Circuit ring events and at least $100,000,000 in total guaranteed prize money up for grabs across all events. The series runs from December 12 through January 9 and encompasses hundreds of side events as well as the ring events, 13 of which come with a guarantee of $1 million or more. “WSOP Circuit events are great, they give every player the chance to win a big prize and a gold ring while enjoying a taste of the WSOP experience,” said GGPoker Global Ambassador Daniel Negreanu. “This time around, there’s also the not-insignificant matter of $100,000,000 in prizes to enjoy as well. It might be getting cold outside but the action is just heating up at GGPoker!” The series highlights include the BIG 50 MILLION$, a multi-flight $50 buy-in that comes with a $1 million guarantee. The $100 buy-in MILLION$ Mini Main Event with $2 million guaranteed. A special $3 million guaranteed $10,300 Super MILLION$ and a $1,050 GGMasters High Roller with $1.5 million guaranteed. The series will conclude with the $525 Main Event with a massive $5 million guarantee. Day 1 flights for the Main Event begin on December 27 with plenty of additional opportunities for players to make Day 2, which takes place on January 9. Satellites for most of the major events are running around the clock in the client and, for some events, start for as little as $0.50. In total, the 18 ring events account for more than $26 million of the total series guarantee. In addition to vying for a WSOP Circuit ring, there are plenty of other incentives on the line during the WSOP Winter Online Circuit. Every time a player participates in a ring event or side event (which makes up for the bulk of the schedule) leaderboard points are awarded. The top 100 players on the leaderboard will split $100,000 in added bonus prizes. Additionally, any player who wins a Circuit Event will automatically for the live WSOP Million Dollar Freeroll in Las Vegas (tie and date to be announced). The WSOP Million Dollar Freeroll is a change of format for the WSOP that, in the past, had awarded seats to the year-end WSOP Tournament of Champions to the top 100 players on the WSOPC yearly leaderboard with two seats at each live stop being awarded to the Player of the Series and the winner of the Main Event of any given Circuit stop. But now, any WSOP Circuit win - including one of the international Online variety - earns a ticket to the year-end event. Finally, for the fans, two of the 18 ring events will be a part of the GGPoker live stream schedule with Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew and Kevin ‘Rotterdam’ van der Kooi calling the action. Tune in on Tuesday, December 21 to catch the high rollers in action for the $3 million GTD Super MILLION$. Then, the final table of the $525 Main Event will play out on Saturday, January 15th. For a complete schedule of events, including all Day 1 starting flights for multi-flight events, visit GGPoker. WSOP Winter Online Circuit Ring Event Schedule [table id=278 /]
  15. The World Poker Tour returns to the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this month to bring Season XIX to a close with the $10,400 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event. The WPT mainstay tournament will run from December 15-19 with the final table taking place at the HyperX Esports Arena located inside the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The final table will be recorded for future WPT programming to be aired on Bally Sports network. “The Bellagio holds a special significance for the World Poker Tour,” said Adam Pliska, WPT President and CEO. “The Five Diamond World Poker Classic was the first World Poker Tour event, and it seems fitting to finish our current season there before launching our historic 20th season in January.” The WPT Five Diamond has been the most consistent tour location in WPT history with the event being run every season dating back to Season I in 2002 when Gus Hansen defeated John Juanda heads-up to take home the $556,460 first-place prize and his first of three WPT titles. Since that time, the tournament has emerged as one of the most popular poker events of the calendar year. Notable players including Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Chino Rheem, Dan Smith, and Antonio Esfandiari are among those who have walked away with a Five Diamond Main Event victory. It's also been one of the WPT's more lucrative tournaments with 15 of the 18 Five Diamond Main Events awarding a seven-figure score. The last time the WPT was at the Bellagio for the event was at the end of 2019 when Alex Foxen outlasted the event’s record-high field of 1,035 runners to win his way into the Champions Club and take home a $1.69 million first-place prize. The event didn’t run in 2020 due to postponements brought about by COVID-19. This also marks an end of an era for the World Poker Tour. After 20 years, the WPT is adjusting its seasons to coincide with the calendar year. Traditionally, the WPT had started seasons in the spring and allowed them to carry straight through each New Year, well into the following months. Now, it will be easy to follow along with WPT seasons, knowing that the Five Diamond will likely mark the end of their season and a Player of the Year will be crowned before year’s end. The change kicks in immediately and the Season XIX Player of the Year race will be decided this month. Currently, there is a three-way tie at the top as three-time WPT Champion Brian Altman is playing for back-to-back Player of the Year titles. Altman is matched at the top of the leaderboard by both Rok Gostisa and Chad Eveslage, and all three players are closely followed by recent WPT Seminole Rock ’N’ Roll champion Gediminas Uselis. The tight race adds an extra layer of drama to the event as the WPT will be keeping a spotlight on the race to see who emerges at this year's POY. “We are thrilled to be able to finish our season with a showcase event with one of our longest-running partners,” said Angelica Hael, WPT VP of Global Tour Management. “From there, we are ready to head into Season XX and put an even bigger spotlight on our partners, our champions, and our tour.” Looking to get in on the action for the WPT Five Diamond but unable to play yourself? PocketFives Staking will be offering shares of some of the players in the field to help give fans an end-of-the-year sweat to follow along. Not signed up yet? Get to it right here. Past Winners of WPT Five Diamond Main Event [table id=279 /]
  16. PokerStars has announced that the recently postponed European Poker Tour Prague live stop has been rescheduled to March 5-16 at the Hilton Hotel Prague. EPT Prague, which was originally scheduled to be held from December 8-19, was postponed in late November citing the new restrictions by the government of the Czech Republic imposed in an effort to address a surge in the coronavirus. The restrictions limited the number of people for any given cultural or sporting event to 1,000 and placed a 10 p.m. curfew on all restaurants and bars. PokerStars quickly pivoted and within two weeks of announcing that EPT Prague was postponed, has now given players a new date to look forward for the return of the EPT. “I am pleased that we have been able to adapt so quickly to the ever-changing situation and provide our players with new dates for EPT Prague already,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director and Commercial Officer of Poker at PokerStars. ”A big thanks to our partners at Kings Casino and Hilton Prague for working with us to ensure that we found an alternative solution for the event.” In the meantime, PokerStars will shift the focus of their players to their upcoming EPT Online series which will run from December 8 -19 with $17 million in total guaranteed prize money. EPT Online will feature 68 different events with buy-ins starting at just $5.50 and will give players the shot of winning an actual EPT trophy, with 20 of them up for grabs. Highlights of the schedule include the $5,200 buy-in EPT Online Main Event with $1.5 million guaranteed, $55 buy-in Mini Main Event with $1 million guaranteed, and a $10,300 buy-in Sunday Super High Roller with another $1 million guaranteed. Satellites for most major events will be readily available in the PokerStars client as is the entire 68 event schedule of EPT Online. The EPT branding isn’t the only tie-in between EPT Prague and the upcoming EPT Online series. It’s not only the players who will be missing out on EPT Prague this December, but also the support staff who planned on the work, and, quite possibly, was counting on the money from working to help get them through the holidays and the rest of the year. To that end, PokerStars is allocating $100,000 from the rake collected from EPT Online to be paid out to the Live Event Staff that has been affected by the live event’s postponement. “We know that there’s a huge demand from the PokerStars community to see our live events return in full and we are excitedly working towards that, but we must be flexible along the way to ensure our players stay safe and healthy, and the experience is an unforgettable one for all the right reasons,” Rasset said. “We understand the impact of not running these events has on our players and staff, and we hope that the upcoming EPT Online series will provide players with an enjoyable alternative this December.”
  17. The holidays are here and that means it’s time, once again, to pick out a few choice items that make for a perfect gift for the poker players in your life. After the garbage year that was 2020, 2021 proved to be a little bit better and therefore deserving of a better gift guide. So here are a few suggestions of gifts for the poker player in your life that will make these holidays one to remember. RELATED: The Definitive Poker Player Holiday Gift Guide Gifts To Get Better For many poker players, the best gift they can receive is getting real help in getting better at the game. In turn, performing better when playing produces the real results they want and nowadays, there’s no shortage of ways to help a poker player improve and they all make for great gifts. Poker Training Sites Looking to help someone who really wants to improv? Check out Upswing Poker, Run It Once Poker, Learn Pro Poker, or Daniel Negreanu’s Masterclass. All of these will provide important base-layer strategies for improving at poker. All these courses are led by top-tier, well-known coaches and, for the most part, start at less than $100. For someone who is process-oriented, look first at Negreanu’s Masterclass and Upswing Poker. For the player who enjoyed watching non-stop videos, Run It Once and LearnProPoker are packed with content. Poker Books More of an old-school student? D+B Publishing pretty much has the market cornered on poker books. From No Limit Hold’em to Mixed Games, there’s a poker strategy book that makes for the perfect gift. Try any one of Jonathan Little’s books including Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em, Exploitative Play in Live Poker by Alexander Fitzgerald, or Mastering Mixed Games by Dylan Linde. D+B offers many of these titles as audiobooks for those long drives to the card room. Want to shop outside of D+B? Check out the trio of books by PocketFiver Dara O' Kearney with poker media superstar Barry Carter: Poker Satellite Strategy, PKO Poker Strategy, and Endgame Poker Strategy - all under $20 on Amazon. Not for nothing, a good non-strategy poker book makes for a great gift as well including Poker Brat by Phil Hellmuth, The Pursuit of Poker Success by Lance Bradley, or The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova. Poker Apps For the player who is always on their phone check, a gift card with a recommendation for any of these apps would likely delight: Dominik Nitsche’s DTO Poker Trainer offers a free version that allows players to train by playing hands and it will evaluate your play against GTO standards. There’s an upgrade available that allows for more in-depth studying. The PokerGO app (it’s actually a complete website of content) gives you the ability to watch a nearly endless amount of poker content anywhere you go. Perfect for the poker fan who can’t get enough of poker on TV. A one-month sub is just $10, a full year can be purchased for $100. Poker Income Tracker is a good way to see all of the stats that true poker junkies are into including sessions, wins and losses, how one performs at different stakes. This might not make much sense to someone who isn’t into poker, but for the player, these stats are the scoreboard of their poker journey. Gifts To Look Better In general, poker players aren’t known for their style. Oftentimes, whatever clothes are nearest to them when they wake up are what they are showing up to a final table in. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a couple upgradable items of essentials for the live poker player. Poker Vlogger Merch If you know which poker vlogger is their favorite - grabbing some merch could look like a very thoughtful gift. Hundreds of thousands tune in to the on-the-felt adventures of Brad Owen, and he has signature hoodies and shirts that support his empire available right here. Andrew Neeme’s FVRBL apparel offers shirts, hats, hoodies, and more. Maybe grab a pair of Greg Goes All In signature sunglasses for the meme lover in your life or a “Folding Is Boring” shirt courtesy of Rampage Poker. Hoodies As cliche as it is, hoodies are essential. If you forgo one from the aforementioned Vlogger collection check out the Rocky Eco-Fleece Zip Hoodie from Alternative Apparel - it's a super lightweight, eco-friendly hoodie that can be worn everywhere, all day. Or, for those looking for some more Ali Imsirovic vibes, check out the wild designs at Zipy Hoodie to make a greater impact while at the table. Sunglasses Sunglasses at the table are a little bit controversial. But for some players, it’s the security blanket they need to play their best and keep their opponents guessing. In the past, we’ve recommended the classic Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers and this year we’re sticking with that clean look and picking the Oakley Holbrook design. It comes in all different colors and lens styles, but there’s no doubt that if you pick something other than black-on-black these Red Iridium Lenses would offer that distinctive, memorable look. Gifts To Be Better Now let’s put it all together. You see, for a poker player, it’s playing part that they really want. So, here are a couple of big ideas to get them into the game. ClubGG Subscription Some players want to play but don’t ever want to lose. Fair enough. ClubGG gets them very close to that. The app allows players to play as much as they want for $50 but the best part is they can qualify for live events including the World Series of Poker. Recently, ClubGG also announced partnerships with the Mid States Poker Tour and the RunGood Poker Tour, offering players even more opportunities to win their way into a big live event for just the monthly payment. Not for nothing, at the 2021 WSOP, there was also a ClubGG Poker Lounge where free snacks and drinks were available, which was likely worth the price of the app that month alone. A Trip to the WSOP Of course, this is the big-ticket item, but no gift guild would be complete without mentioning that it’s nearly every poker player’s dream to play in the WSOP. But for the uninitiated, one might think that gift is going to cost an unreasonable $10,000 - not realizing that it’s a whole series of events and not just the Main Event. But that’s not the case, the upcoming WSOP will likely have upwards of 90 live events with the smallest buy-in coming in around $500. Not cheap, but not necessarily going to break the bank. And with the WSOP moving to The Strip this summer, it’s going to be a historic series that would make for an unforgettable experience.
  18. It came down to the final week of the 2021 World Series of Poker but, in the end, Daniel Negreanu dug himself out of a half-million-dollar WSOP hole and booked a win for himself and more than 300 supporters who purchased a piece of his series-long staking package. “I give people a chance to take the ride.” Two months ago, Negreanu announced that he would, once again, be offering shares of his entire WSOP campaign. He was honoring a promise to those fans who missed out on his 2019 campaign and had yet to have an opportunity for a series-long sweat. He gave those people the chance to "take the ride" with him at the WSOP. And what a ride it was. Starting with WSOP Event #2 ($25,000 H.O.R.S.E.) Negreanu dedicated himself to a non-stop grind. He fired in 46 of the scheduled 88 live events, plus all 10 of the online events. He posted a total of $1,052,773 in buy-ins (of $1,627,484 potential) and, in the end, cashed in 18 of the 56 events - a 32% in-the-money record for the series. Daniel Negreanu’s 2021 WSOP Cashes [table id=276 /] The total of those cashes adds up to $1,451,297.68. But there’s a bonus $500 added in from a bounty captured from Event #71 making the total $1,451,797.68 - a profit of $399,024.68. When that is added to the unplayed amount collected at the beginning of the stake ($574,711) the end result is a profit for backers of 24.52%. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1463675183202373635?s=20 So, for every $20 investment, there was $24.90 returned. For those who put in the maximum amount upfront of $1,000, they took home $1,245.18. [table id=275 /] The Million Dollar Swing When Negreanu first offered the action this year he decided to forgo the High-Medium-Low tier of investments that he used in 2019 because “I want all of us to win together, or…if I lose, we all lose together.” That turned out to be beneficial for all Negreanu’s backers. As the series was coming to a close, Negreanu was looking at a near half-million deficit. The entire stake was riding on a series of high rollers - two $50Ks, a $100K, and the $250K Super High Roller. The buy-ins alone could have pushed Negreanu under $1 million if he wasn’t able to make something happen. But after picking up a small cash in Event #80 ($3,000 PLO), Negreanu rode that momentum into Event #84 ($50,000 PLO High Roller). He busted his first bullet but fired again, and this time he shot straight. He took his second chance all the way to the final table. It looked like he might capture bracelet #7, but after some hands didn’t go his way, he bowed out in third place. His $519,764 score turned the tide for the stake and put him within $10,000 of being even. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1462831012145098753?s=20 He was right back at it the next day in Event #85 ($50,000 NLHE High Roller). There were 113 entries, but Negreanu only fired one shot. The momentum from the PLO High Roller carried over and the sweat became real as he made back-to-back final tables. Unfortunately, Negreanu fell in third place again, unable to break through to the bracelet. But he added a critical score of $661,041 to not only climb into the positive but ensure that he would be profitable with only four total events left on the schedule. It was a million-dollar swing in the course of 72 hours and for those following along, it was the reason for backing Negreanu in the first place. Not just the profit, which is of course nice, but the entertainment of being a part of an epic run with a fantastic finish. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1463082905802969092?s=20 The World Series of Poker may be over but keep your eyes on PocketFives Staking for plenty of future opportunities to be a part of the action of your favorite players.
  19. The 2021 World Series of Poker was a wild ride and not just for those players who made the trip to Las Vegas. As the schedule in the series began to wind down, the pressure ramped up for players to close out the fall with a nice score and, for many of those who chose to take the ride by picking up a piece of the action on PocketFives, there were some great gains to be made. Arieh Shares Sun Run With Supporters You don’t have to look further than newly crowed 2021 WSOP Player of the Year (and PocketFives own) Josh Arieh. Arieh was relentless on the felt and generous in offering pieces of his amazing sun run to his followers. For example, Arieh put up 5% of his $10,000 Main Event at zero markup. Clearly a favorite against the field, the 50 backers who were able to quickly snap up their .1% (just a mere $10 to get a sweat on) all saw a return of $30 - an ROI of 200% - when he finished in 411th place for $30,000. He was nowhere near finished. Arieh’s run to the POY included two more notable cashes, but the one his backers certainly appreciated was his final table finish in the $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. Arieh had crushed every PLO tournament he played in this year, including famously helping some of his backers turn $15 into $2K. Another nice return was in order for the 141 backers who supported him. Arieh sold 10%, again at no markup, and ended up finishing in seventh place for $165,452. That’s an ROI of 230.90% with $16,545 headed back to his backers. If every backer had an equal share, that would look like a $35 stake yielding more than $117. He had another 200+% ROI in the $10K Stud 8 where 43 backers picked up 10% of his action and turned every $10 increment into just over $30 as well. https://twitter.com/robcpoker/status/1463094577083019266?s=20 RELATED: Negreanu, Arieh, and Glantz Help Backers Clean Up In WSOP $50K Poker Players Championship Seidel Just Hits Home Runs Erik Seidel was also a home run hitter down the stretch. The nine-time WSOP bracelet winner jumped on PocketFives to sell for just two events late in the schedule. Both times he sold out and both times he came through. He sold 50% of his action, strictly for the fans, in the same $10K Seven Card Stud 8 where Arieh finished in ninth. Seidel made it to the final table and ended up finishing in 7th place for $46,140. His ROI - 361.40%. Collectively, his 29 backers turned the $5,600 (Seidel sold at 1.12 markup) into $23,070 and every 1% of the stake ($56) turned into $230. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1460030971340734464?s=20 It worked so well in the Stud 8, Seidel picked up more run good by running it back in the $10K Razz Championship. Again he sold 50% and. again, he made a final table. In back-to-back tournaments, Seidel finished in 7th place and this time cashed out for $39,987. If each of his 35 backers had the same share, they’d have turned $160 into more than $570. Negreanu’s Fantastic Finish Right up until the last tournament, Daniel Negreanu was challenging Josh Arieh for WSOP Player of the Year. He finished the series second in total cashes with 18 and was selling action all along the way. After his deep run in the $50K Poker Players Championship, Negreanu booked four more cashes, but for backers, his deep run in the $50K Pot Limit Omaha was the most important, and perhaps the most surprising. In it, Negreanu made the final table and, once again, came so close to winning bracelet #7. Eventually, he bowed out in 3rd place which was good for $519,764. Unfortunately, since it was on his second bullet it didn't count for those who supported him as a single event. However, for the more than 300 backers of his complete package it brought him close to being even for the series. That score set him up for his biggest score yet. While he didn’t sell action explicitly for the $50,000 NLHE High Roller, this was a critical event for the hundreds of people who were involved in his series-long package. In the event, he made another sick final table run, again nearly locking down a bracelet, but ended up in third place for more than $660,000 and turned his total series package from negative to a huge profit. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1463082905802969092?s=20 [Correction: an earlier version of this article indicated that Negreanu had cashed in the $50K PLO for his single event backers, however, it was on his 2nd bullet which meant it only counted for the series long investors. We apologize for the error.] With that, the 2021 WSOP and the ride for investors came to an end. But be on the lookout for more from PocketFives Staking as the end is really just the beginning.
  20. The World Poker Tour and 888poker are teaming up to bring online players a brand new 28 event, $3 million guaranteed WPTDeepStacks Online series to close out the year. The festival takes place from November 28 - December 20 with buy-ins ranging from $55 up to $5,200. Everything gets started this Sunday, November 28 with the $525 buy-in Opening Event and its $200,000 guarantee. “The World Poker Tour is excited to partner with 888poker again to give players around the globe the opportunity to take down a WPTDeepStacks title,” said WPT Global Tour Management Vice President Angelica Hael. Everything will culminate with the $1,000,000 guarantee WPTDeepStacks Main Event with a $1,050 buy-in. The Main Event offers players a number of Day 1 flights with the ability to play in multiple Day 1s, should a player not make Day 2 on their first shot. Other highlights of the festival include the $525 PKO 8-Max with a $100,000 guarantee, a $5,200 buy-in Super High Roller with a $200,000 guarantee, and the 888 branded Crazy 8 that also comes with a $200,000 buy-in. “This will be another fabulous festival for 888poker and WPT,” said Dominik Nitsche, noted high roller and 888poker brand ambassador. “The beauty of events like this is that they provide a genuine opportunity for casual players to win big, starting from one-cent buy-ins, all from the comfort of their own home. With an increasing number of online poker players emerging over the last year, I’m looking forward to witnessing the exhilarating action and the next WPTDS champion emerge.” Nitsche touches on the fact that 888poker will be running their traditional satellite system for these events allowing players to start grinding their way to a tournament ticket for as little as $0.01. A look at the schedule notes that this online series is unlike most of 888poker’s offerings with the elevated buy-ins, most falling in the mid-high stakes range, making the ability for recreational players to satellite in all the more important. Additionally, 888poker is running daily freerolls, offering seats to Main Event satellites. The “no-ticket-needed” daily freerolls will provide players more than $200,000 in satellite and super-satellite tickets during the month. Six of the final tables will be streamed with poker commentary veterans David Tuchman and Nick Wealthall on the call. Plus, the online stream of the Main Event final table will bring out WPT’s Tony Dunst and Matt Savage to see who will be crowned the next WPTDS champion. Check out the complete 888poker WPT Deepstacks Online schedule below. [table id=274 /]
  21. The worst kept secret in the poker world is now official news as the World Series of Poker announced that the 53rd annual WSOP will be moving to Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino when it takes place from May 31 - July 19, 2022. After 17 years at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the WSOP has found a new home on the Strip in Bally’s and Paris for 2022. “As we approach the Final Table, we look back on yet another successful Main Event that exceeds expectations,” said World Series of Poker Senior Vice President, Ty Stewart. “We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s turnout, both domestically and internationally. As we close out this chapter at the Rio, we are excited to have the iconic Vince Vaughn usher in a new era of WSOP at Bally’s and Paris next summer.” The announcement was made on Tuesday night during the early moments of this year’s WSOP Main Event final table when actor Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”, “Swingers”) turned up in his new role as the WSOP Master of Ceremonies and broke the news on the PokerGO live stream. “I have such a strong connection to Las Vegas and am honored to be selected as the Master of Ceremonies for what is set to be the most anticipated World Series of Poker tournament ever,” Vaughn said. “Poker has long been one of my favorite sports, so to be a part of something as historic as the WSOP finally moving to the Strip is an absolute dream. Vegas baby, Vegas!” It will be the shortest turnaround time between series in recent history with the opening weekend of the 2022 series kicking off just a little over six months after the end of the current one. The 2022 WSOP schedule of events is expected to be announced in January.
  22. The final week of the 2021 World Series of Poker has arrived and the series is set to wrap up with some of the biggest action of the fall. In addition to the finale of the WSOP Main Event awarding its $8 million first-place prize and crowing a new World Champion, the homestretch of the schedule features a series of robust high rollers that could have a major impact on the Player of the Year race, the final Mixed Game championship event, and an event to celebrate the naming of a new member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Spotlight Tournament Event #79 - $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty Freezout To commemorate the origins of the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979 and to celebrate the latest induction (whoever that will be) the WSOP is holding the first-ever $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty tournament that gives everyone a chance to play with a poker legend. Every living member of the PHOF who decides to play will have a bounty on their heads equal to the year that they were accepted into the Hall. For example, 16-time gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and so whoever takes out The Poker Brat in this event will earn themselves a $2,007 bounty - pretty fun and straightforward. With some luck, many of the invited members of the PHOF will turn out and give fans a chance to see them up close. Legends likely to be in the field include Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Johnny Chan, Mori Eskandani, and, perhaps, another appearance by Doyle Brunson. At the same time, the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame will be revealed and, if they are in town, can join the proceedings with the biggest bounty of them all. The final table of this event will be available to watch on Thursday, November 19 on PokerGO. Complete WSOP Week 7+ Schedule [table id=273 /] Additional Highlights Event #82 - $250,000 Super High Roller Event #85 - $50,000 High Roller Event #87 - $100,000 High Roller There’s no reason not to lump these three events in with each other this week as all three will both bring out some of the WSOP’s biggest stars as well as, possibly, have a major impact on the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year race. It’s tough to gauge the field that might show up to play in the $250,000 Super High Roller. Perhaps eyeing the Super High Roller Bowl that took place just before the series provides the window as to who will pony up a quarter million. Names like Stephen Chidwick, Justin Bonomo, and Michael Addamo should be in the field. Fedor Holz is planning on playing and Jake Schindler should be in as well. Plus, perhaps a couple of the upcoming crop like Ali Imsirovic and Chris Brewer with fire away. Whoever is in, the final table of this major event can be watched on PokerGO on Saturday, November 20. It’s a similar situation for the $100,000 but with a few extra names in the mix. We already know that a number of the Player of the Year contenders, including current leader Josh Arieh and his friend Shaun Deeb will be jumping in the field to try and rack up some POY points. In general, this should have a constellation of poker stars looking to both hit a huge payday and, for some, save their series. In 2019, Keith Tilston took home the top prize of $2,792,406 in a field of 99 runners. Daniel Negreanu finished as the runner-up for more than $1.7 million, bringing his investors a nice ROI. With field sizes being down roughly 35% this series, one can still expect 60-70 runners and one of the richest top prizes of the fall. Watch this final table when it takes place on the final day of the series, Tuesday, November 23. Finally, the $50,000 High Roller may be the most exciting as even more elite players find their way into the registration line. In 2019, the last $50K of the series drew 123 runners as Danny Tang booked a $1.6 million victory over runner-up Sam Soverel who won $994K. But one doesn’t need to look back to 2019 to get a feel for what this might look like. Earlier in the series Michael Addamo took down the first $50,000 High Roller for $1.1 million in a field of 81 and, although not a direct comparison, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $954,020 in a field of 63 runners. On Monday, November 22, the final table will crown a winner live on PokerGO. Something to keep an eye on for all three of these events is the influx of international players that made their way to the Main Event once travel restrictions to the United States were relaxed earlier in November. Some of these events may benefit by a few percentage points by those last-minute travelers looking to play big having missed out on much of the series. Plus, also note that the Player of the Year points assigned to each of these contests is massive. Even small fields in these big buy-ins have the ability to switch the narrative on who will walk away with the 2021 POY awards. One Last Championship Event Event #78 - $10,000 Razz Championship It’s the final $10,000 Championship event of the series and, like many of the final big buy-in events, has a real chance of making an impact on who will walk away with the Player of the Year title. Razz likes to keep it low, and with so many events taking place this week, the field is likely to remain right around 90-100 players, but it should be a lineup of well-known mixed game crushers who enter including Scott Seiver who will be looking to defend his 2019 title for which he won just over $301k.
  23. The 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event dominated the headlines at the series this week -and why shouldn’t it? It’s arguably the most exciting and prestigious tournament of the year and nearly every notable name in the game turns on their A-game in order to fight for the biggest prize in poker, the World Championship bracelet. Even the smallest details surrounding the Main Event turn into major headlines. Everything from who rode into the Rio to play to how much the Main Event is worth this year, all eyes in the poker world are fixed on nearly every bet, raise, and bustout. There were plenty of former World Champions in the house, plus a number of former #1-ranked PocketFivers all of which have their eye on the multi-million dollar prize. Let’s not waste any more time - here are the five biggest storylines from Week 6 of the World Series of Poker. $8 Million Up Top For 2021 Main Event Winner When all was said and done, from vaccination mandates to adding two additional starting flights the Main Event kicked off this week and the magic returned to the Rio for one last time. In total, a very respectable 6,650 players entered the $10,000 buy-in tournament. The total makes it the 10th largest field in Main Event history, a feat unto itself considering the conditions that the series has been under since Day 1. https://twitter.com/WSOP/status/1458623238133596160?s=20 The prize pool topped $62 million and 1,000 players will enjoy a piece of it. A min-cash gives a return of $15,000 and everyone at the final table will earn seven figures with the top prize coming in at $8,000,000. A hefty prize for sure, with the pressure being applied to the final three where there is a $1.3 million jump between third and second, and a massive $3.7 million difference between runner-up and champion. https://twitter.com/WSOP/status/1458633558038171648?s=20 Stars Show Up For Main Event The Main Event is an event unlike any other and one of the best part for fans is to see their favorite players compete in a massive field for one of the largest prize pools of the year. Even in the current conditions, this year is no different as the Rio was flooded with big name stars who made the journey to try and become the next World Champion. Former World Champions Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Scott Blumstein, Martin Jacobson, Qui Nguyen, and Phil Hellmuth are all making their presence felt. For Hellmuth, it was more about his antics than his on the felt play. https://twitter.com/GGPoker/status/1458297842569650180?s=20 Moneymaker, who has talked about working on his game over the past few years, is off to a fast start surging into the top 20 of the chip counts after Day 2. https://twitter.com/CMONEYMAKER/status/1458655860960411650?s=20 But of course, the list of big names who took a shot in the field doesn’t stop with former champs. Daniel Negreanu hit the rail early, as did Damian Salas, former #1s Calvin Anderson and Shaun Deeb, Nick Schulman, Brian Rast, Tony Dunst, Jason Somerville, and Michael Addamo among many others. https://twitter.com/PokerNews/status/1457849351758180354?s=20 But headed into Day 3, the list of notable names in the 2,362 remain plentiful. Those sitting inside the top 100 at the start of the day include Nick Petrangelo, Matt Glantz, David Williams, Tyler Cornell, Mustapha Kanit, Greg Mueller, Brian Altman, and Victor Ramdin. Jason Koon, Chance Kornuth, Robert Mizrachi, Anthony Zinno, Ben Yu, and Faraz Jaka all have plenty to work with. On the other end former #1 Niklas Astedt, Ole Schemion, Garry Gates, Griffin Benger, and Eli Elezra are among those with some chipping up to do, all sitting under 100k headed into the day. Last Ride For Texas Dolly (at the Rio) While he didn’t advance through to Day 3, fans were thrilled to get to watch the return of Doyle Brunson to play in his final Main Event at the Rio. Brunson was featured on the PokerGO broadcasts on two occasions, both Day 1 as well as his Day 2. H accumulated a nice stack, but ran into a couple of tough spots which ultimately found him eliminated on Day 2abd. https://twitter.com/PocketFives/status/1456381655686397969?s=20 https://twitter.com/TexDolly/status/1458544793684873219?s=20 Jungleman Comes Back To Win $50K PPC, Leng Confronts Error The final table of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship turned into an extra-hour affair as Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates battled against Ryan Leng and Paul Volpe three-handed deep into the night, only to emerge with his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet, a spot on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, and the $954,020 first-place prize. Cates arrived with his hair dyed blue-green and in full Dragon Ball Z cosplay. That, along with his win, might have been the talk of the event but it was a critical hand in Limit Hold’em against Leng where Cates was down to his final bet, all-in with the worst hand, and on the verge of elimination. Leng, with top pair and getting incredible odds just needed to click call in order to eliminate him, but he found a fold instead and ‘Jungle’ scraped his way back and eventually took home the win. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1457105513674645507?s=20 The next day, the fallout from the hand took over Poker Twitter and Ryan Leng had to deal with the fallout from, what Leng himself called a “terrible fold”. He did so head-on. Leng posted his thoughts in a lengthy Twitter thread (which you can read by clicking right here). In the end, Leng didn’t make excuses, he simply vowed to learn from it and continue to move on. For his part, despite giving Leng the needle at the table when he showed his hand, Cates came to Leng’s defense from the online critics of the fold. https://twitter.com/junglemandan/status/1457573583341776898?s=20 Leng still sits in the top 5 on the Player of the Year Leaderboard. Josh Arieh Stays Hot, Takes Over Player of the Year Race Speaking of the Player of the Year race, the new leader is Josh Arieh who added to his point totals this week with a final table appearance in Online Event #7 ($3,200 NLHE) in which he finished in fourth for another $96,049. That makes it two bracelet wins, a final table in the aforementioned $50,000 Poker Players Championship, and the online final table. He’s having the series of his career in terms of results, something he credits to being a strong place mentally and playing free. With a healthy lead in the POY race, but a there's lot of poker left to play in the WSOP ‘post-lims’, Arieh has said he’s ready to double down, sell some action on PocketFives, and make a run at having a banner draped at all future WSOP events. https://twitter.com/jeffplatt/status/1458617115175309315?s=20 Current POY Top 5 Josh Arieh - 3,110.91 Jake Schwartz - 2,757.37 Anthony Zinno - 2,731.32 Ryan Leng - 2,684.04 Kevin Gerhart - 2,643.23
  24. Phil Hellmuth is hoping to conjure a little #WhiteMagic at this year’s 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event and he kicked it off by making a flamboyant entrance to the Rio in full The Lord of Rings cosplay. Hellmuth, who has a penchant for making a promotion-packed commotion before taking his seat at the $10K buy-in tournament, chose to arrive as Gandalf the White (as opposed to Gandalf the Grey) for Day 1F. Hellmuth is either a big fan of the series or perhaps it's a nod to the resurrection of his bracelet chase here in 2021. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1458245640211689472?s=20 Walking behind Hellmuth were what looked like three other characters from the J.R.R. Tolkien lore - a couple of "elves" and another spell caster. We're not quite sure in which of the legendary classic novels had Gandalf followed by a number of Bitcoin Latnium models, but there were 16 of them - one to represent each of his WSOP bracelets. https://twitter.com/GGPoker/status/1458297842569650180?s=20 PokerNews' social media grabbed some nice footage of Hellmuth making his way down the main corridor flanked by Dan 'Jungleman' Cates dressed as Saruman. Not completely inappropriate as Cates, the 2021 $50K Poker Players Championship bracelet winner, could still be considered a wizard at the table. In the video below you can hear Hellmuth deliver the classic "You shall not pass!" line to which Cates said something inaudible in reply. Then both actors showed off their dynamite bo staff skills before resuming their walk. Hellmuth, a pro at these entrances, then gave his fellow performer a note to say the line again "louder so they can hear you." https://twitter.com/PokerNews/status/1458275045382361092?s=20 Now that it's over, Hellmuth is going to try and cast a spell on the competition and make a deep run in the Main Event and add to his mystical 2021 WSOP. [note: Matusow said that as soon as Hellmuth sat down and the cameras were gone, he instantly went to change out of costume - not even waiting for the dinner break that was 10 minutes away.]
  25. With the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event in full swing, it’s time for the “post-lims” to begin. In reality, rather than actually being “post”, the majority of the back third of the series runs concurrently with the Main Event, giving those who hit the rail early in the Main something to jump into after the shock of busting the Main wears off. These events also cater to the recreational players who weren’t able to win their way into the Main plenty of opportunities to spin it up to win a bracelet. Spotlight Tournament Event #68 - $1,111 Little One For One Drop There are two major tournaments for recreational players to hop into this week, but the $1,111 Little One From One Drop is the one where a part of the buy-in goes to a good cause. The One Drop Foundation provides safe, clean water for some of the world’s “most vulnerable communities through innovative partnerships, creativity, and the power of art.” The WSOP has chosen One Drop as a charitable initiative since 2012 when Antonio Esfandiari won the original Big One For One Drop for more than $18 million and the tournament raised more than $5.3 million for the charity. At the same time, the Little One For One Drop was born. It gives players at every level a shot at playing for a bracelet, a major prize pool, and also helping a worthy cause. According to the One Drop website, each of the Little One For One Drop tournaments has raised roughly $500,000 since 2012. In 2019, 6,248 runners generated a prize pool of more than $5.6 million with James Anderson taking home $690,686. Even though there are still three starting flights for the tournament, the number of runners isn’t expected to be that high, but still, multiple six-figure sums will still be won. Complete WSOP Week 6 Schedule [table id=272 /] Additional Highlights Event #73 - $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 Outside of the Main Event, there’s only one Championship Event taking place this week and that’s the $10K Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8. It will be interesting to see who and how many runners this gets this year. With the Main Event extended by a couple of opening flights, some of the players who might want to jump into this tournament may still be in the Main. That aside, the reason to watch this is mainly for the Player of the Year points. There was no way to know about it at the time, but this tournament was pivotal to the 2019 POY race as it was won by eventual winner Robert Campbell helping him rack up the points needed to win the award. This year, the Player of Year race is incredibly tight up top and any big win in a Championship Event may be just what is needed to put someone over the top. Event #70 - $888 Crazy Eights Formerly brought to you by 888poker, the Crazy Eights has always been popular with recreational players for its somewhat affordable price point. Also, the fact that on Day 2, the levels jump from 30 minutes to 40 minutes gives those players a little more time in the back half of the tournament to make something happen. It’s also nice that players who make it to the end of an evening will already be in the money with payouts starting on each of the Day 1’s. It should be noted though that due to so much taking place at the same time as the start of the Crazy Eights that the original Day 1a was officially canceled, cutting the opportunities down from four to three. But, as of now, that hasn't changed the fact that first place is still guaranteed to pay out a massive $888,888, the same amount won by Ricardo Alvarado in 2019.

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