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Dan

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  1. As EC10 started his Sunday of poker last weekend, he probably did not realize his skills of multitasking were going to be put to the test. As the hour approached for two of the biggest online Sunday tournaments, the PokerStarsSunday Million at 4:30pm and UltimateBet's $200,000 Guaranteed at 5:00pm, EC10 threw down $430 to cover the buy-ins that would test his abilities. The Sunday Million drew a healthy 6,959 entrants; UB's $200,000 Guaranteed attracted 965, making for two large pools of skilled players vying for thousands of dollars. EC10 dominated both tourneys at the same time and was able to make his way on to both final tables. He took home fifth in the Sunday Million for over $41,000 and sixth in the $200,000 Guaranteed for $8,500. In the last year of our tracked online tournaments, EC10 has mostly played the $100-$200 buy-ins and has seen very consistent results. The Florida State University student's biggest cash before this weekend was in the PokerStars World Championships of Online Poker Event #9, Pot Limit Hold'em, last year. EC10 took over $21,000 for his sixth place finish. He also had two big wins coming from a Stars $200 buy-in for over $7,000 and a FullTilt Double-Stack for over $14,000. You can find him on UB under the name Monster Kill. Final tabling two Sunday majors on the same afternoon, however, is a feat of its own. One PocketFiver who is no stranger to phenomenal poker accomplishments is SCTrojans (pictured at right). Aside from capturing three Triple Crowns in just two weeks back in May, SCTrojans has established himself as a top-ranked player on the site. He comments on how tough of a feat it is to final table two Sunday majors on the same day: "Final tabling the Sunday Million is ridiculously hard in itself. The majority of top-ranked players probably haven't final tabled it in their hundreds and hundreds of entries, let alone on the same weekend as another major." He notes that his best finish is around 90th in the marquee Sunday tournament. "Anyone who final tables two Sunday majors on the same day has to be a pretty solid player." The Sunday Million regularly attracts around 7,000 online poker players, making for an enormous field and large paydays. Another P5er, knet_poker, was also able to go deep into the final table of UB's $200,000, finding himself at the same table as Monster Kill. The Cincinnati native placed third on Sunday and banked $18,000, the best finish by a PocketFiver in the event. Here are the top 10 finishers in both events that EC10 final tabled, as taken from our weekly Tournament Review: PokerStars "Sunday Million" $200+15 6,959 entrants - $1,391,800 paid out to 1,080 spots 5902838181 - $196,243 chipsncheese - $98,817 Tecknowledgy - $69,590 princess13 - $55,672 EC10 - $41,754 Infitilt - $30,619 Professor122 - $21,572 lostremote - $12,526 Ann Karen - $8,211 UltimateBet $200k Guaranteed $200+15 965 entrants - $200,000 paid out to 100 spots f4zi - $45,000 dangdokodang - $26,500 knet_poker - $18,000 GO F1SH - $13,100 Jay_Fiedler - $10,500 monster kill - $8,500 harrington25 - $6,500 midora - 4,500 135565 - $3,400 royo1 - $2,000 Congratulations to EC10, a poker star on the rise. Watch out for EC10 at your table from now on. He will long be known for accomplishing one of the toughest feats in online poker.
  2. On Thursday, April 19, 2007, two star-studded PocketFivers met on PokerStarsheads up for $1,000. They were the winners of the February and March PocketFives Monthly Leader Boards, Scott "emptyseat88" Fischman and Justin "YourTimeIsUp" Schwartz. In the end, YourTimeIsUp took down the heads up match and padded his wallet just a little bit more. This match marked the culmination of an incredible month for each of these two young guns. YourTimeIsUp notched the second highest monthly PLB score ever and emptyseat88 proved that he can dominate in both the live and online poker arenas. The heads up battle lasted only a few hands. A flop that gave an open-ended straight draw to Fischman and two pair for Schwartz set the tone. Schwartz comments: "I had J-9 off-suit on the button. The hand is by no means a monster, but position is everything heads up, so I raised it up. I flopped gin, top two pair, and Fischman bet the minimum, one-sixth of the pot. I then raised more than the pot, hoping Fischman would use the logic that I'm reading him as weak and trying to blast him off the pot in position. In actuality, over 95% of the time when I make that raise, I have Fischman crushed because whenever a player calls pre-flop and leads out of position heads up, it usually means he's looking to make a play on the hand. He misinterpreted my raise as weak and not super strong and incorrectly assumed he had fold equity. He over-bet shoved all in with his open ended straight draw and my two pair held." Next up for Schwartz could be P0KERPR033, who just took down the PokerStars Sunday Million. Schwartz comments on P0KERPR033's play: "He has improved a lot as a player since he came up in the rankings. He can be very tricky to play against when he has a stack and he is always fearless. He can tilt you. I think his success in MTT's comes from being very good at exploiting weaker players. By the time the final couple of tables come around and the field is much stronger, he has, a lot of times, amassed a great chip stack and rides it to victory." Schwartz had an amazing month in March to take down the PLB. Most impressively, he came in first in the Full Tilt $400k for a prize of just over $80,000. That alone was worth 660.94 PLB points. All in all, he had five different five-figure cashes in the month and won a total of five tournaments as well. The other big cashes were a win in the Full Tilt Saturday $300, second in the Full Tilt Sunday Mulligan, first in a Full Tilt $150, first in a PokerStars $50 rebuy, and first in a PokerStars $100. Fischman comments on what it meant to be a PocketFives Leader Board champ for February: "I had to play my ass off to achieve the honor and I was thrilled to find out that it came along with a $1,000 freeroll. It was fun while it lasted, but I don't see myself winning these types of leader boards again in the future. I will be focusing on live tourneys for the remainder of the year primarily and look forward to meeting some of my online rivals in person!" Fischman got to the match by winning the February PLB (the first month he signed up for the site) and defeating January champion ComeOnPhish last month for $1,000 in our heads up match. Congratulations to YourTimeIsUp on taking down the PLB match and we look forward to continued success from each of you. Visit the PocketFives Monthly Leader Board for more information.
  3. The fifth season of the World Poker Tour kicked off this week with none other than PocketFiver Devin "TranquilChaos" Porter finishing third at the Mirage Poker Showdown in his second WPT final table. The WPT has aired on The Travel Channel since the first season back in 2003, launching the poker craze and making The Travel Channel extremely popular. The Associated Press broke word on Thursday, April 5, 2007, that the WPT had entered into an agreement with GSN, The Network for Games, to air the sixth season of the show in early 2008. PocketFives.com sat down with Steve Lipscomb, President and CEO of WPTE, and Rich Cronin, President and CEO of GSN, to discuss the recent developments. The WPT originally scheduled a press release about the decision to go out on Monday, April 9, but the AP broke the news upon seeing an SEC filing concerning the matter (The WPT is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the symbol WPTE). Lipscomb comments on the decision: "We launched the poker television phenomenon in 2003 on a small cable network. Since then, we have been looking for a place that is excited as we are about poker and its potential. The Travel Channel deserves credit for putting poker in prime time, which really helped us gain visibility. What we are announcing today is the next huge step in the growth of the poker industry. We can give poker a home on GSN on Monday nights [starting in 2008]." GSN airs High Stakes Poker, currently in its third season, on Mondays at 9:00pm ET. The sixth season of the WPT will air on the same night. Cronin explains how acquiring the WPT fits in with GSN's strategy: "The WPT is a huge brand with a gigantic following. When we re-branded ourselves in 2004 to become 'GSN, The Network for Games,' we felt casino programming would be essential to our brand. We started with the World Series of Blackjack and High Stakes Poker, but we've been eyeing the WPT ever since it launched and have wanted to have it on our channel for quite some time. It helps make us the top destination for poker." Lipscomb explains the effect that the WPT had on the demand for The Travel Channel: "We'd be thrilled if GSN were available more on basic cable. We had that effect on The Travel Channel. They expanded as a result of the benefit that the WPT brought to the network." GSN now has the rights to 23 two-hour episodes of the sixth season of the WPT, which is about the same number that The Travel Channel has rights to this season. The hosts, look, and feel of the broadcast will remain the same (see set picture at right), but the potential, according to Lipscomb, will be much greater for the WPT brand: "We are expanding internationally and are always looking for the next great place to do tournaments. A great example of this is the Fallsview Casino [near Niagara Falls,] which is a great facility. Given the fact that GSN is in Canada, we'll be able to leverage more of what we do there. We'll continue to make the television show better. We are recording our 100th event at the upcoming WPT Championship on April 25th. I've always called this the 'great American card game.' My dream was to find a place to find a place as excited as I am to grow poker on television." In the meantime, you can catch each episode of the WPT on The Travel Channel Wednesdays at 9:00pm ET. The tournament series has made 69 millionaires and has given out over $300 million in cash. Lipscomb comments on the premiere episode of the fifth season: "People responded literally by saying 'wow' or 'you did it again.' We had all of our staff watch it together on Wednesday night. People were blown away. This season shows that we have hit that stride." In 2008, you're definitely going to need to check your local listings for details, as the WPT moves to GSN on Monday nights. Thank you to Steve Lipscomb, Rich Cronin, and the Media Relations staffs at the WPT and GSN for their help coordinating this interview.
  4. When many outsiders examine the internet gambling situation, they always come back to one thing: money. Why doesn't the United States Government just tax internet gambling revenues? Why put an effective ban on an industry that can be so lucrative? The answers to these questions and more lie in the aptly named Internet Gambling Tax Act. Known as H.R. 2607 in Congress, it was proposed by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and offers up a framework for the Federal Government to tax the multi-billion dollar industry. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on June 7th and currently awaits debate. It's the last of four bills concerning online gambling sitting in the U.S. Congress. The Text The Congressional Research Summary gives an easy to understand synopsis of what the Internet Gambling Tax Act will do: The bill "amends the Internal Revenue Code to establish licensing requirements and fees for Internet gambling operators. It requires Internet gambling operators to pay to the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network during each 30-day period of operation a license fee of 2% of all bets and wagers placed during the preceding 30-day period. It requires the Director to grant Internet gambling licenses to applicants who meet criteria set by the Director and are generally fit to engage in the business of Internet gambling. It requires such operators to adopt appropriate mechanisms to ensure the collection of all taxes and license fees relating to Internet gambling that become due to federal and state governments." The Co-Sponsors The bill was introduced back on June 7th and has since attracted one Co-Sponsor, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI). The Update According to Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas, this bill will eventually be attached to another existing online gambling bill: "The Internet Gambling Tax Act is technically a stand alone bill; however, in practical matters it would never move on its own but rather as part of a larger Internet gaming regulation bill." The ability for the government to be able to tax this multi-billion dollar industry will come into play when deciding which initiatives to pursue in the fall: "Certainly the potential to tax Internet gaming (through regulation) is a very attractive prospect for the federal and state governments. Every current form of regulated gaming (lotteries, para-mutual, and casinos) is a tax revenue generator. The McDermott bill makes passing Barney Frank's bill (H.R. 2046) more palatable for many members of Congress." The PPA has been much more quiet on the Internet Gambling Tax Act: "The PPA has not taken a position on the bill, but we do believe that taxation of Internet gaming (in some variety) is inevitable. Our hope is to limit the tax burden on players and McDermott's bill only seeks to tax operators, so that is a positive. It is important to remember that the federal government could raise considerable revenue with just Barney Frank's bill too. His legislation requires mechanisms so online players can accurately report their taxes each year. This would not be a new tax; it would simply capture lost revenue from poker winnings that are not currently being reported. While no one, especially poker players, wants to be paying more taxes, they should and must pay the rightful taxes they owe." Stay tuned to PocketFives.com for what promises to be a critical session of Congress this fall. News Resources Read the text of the Internet Gambling Tax Act by clicking here. Track the bill on GovTrack. Become a member of the Poker Players Alliance.
  5. After President Bush signed the Safe Port Act and the accompanying Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into law on that fateful Friday the 13th last October, the Poker Players Alliancehas been in full swing trying to grow its numbers and influence as well as mobilize its current members. In the past two months, the organization has met with and informed the 110th Congress about all things online poker. Recently, a grassroots campaign was launched in order to thrust online poker further towards an exemption from the UIGEA. PPA President Michael Bolcerek provides his insight into the current state of affairs. The foundation for a successful grassroots campaign lies in the development of manpower at the local level. The PPA set out earlier this year by e-mailing each of its members - now 160,000 strong - looking for volunteers to fight the fight in their local Congressional districts through direct interaction with lawmakers and media outlets. Bolcerek comments, "It's been good so far. We've had members reaching out to local media. My mother showed me her local paper, the Fresno Bee, which had a letter in it about the PPA written by a local representative of ours. She read it and she showed her friends. That's the kind of action we want them to take." Over 250 applications for local representatives were gathered in total and the development of materials for them to use is now in full swing. Meeting with members of Congress and their staffs has also been a paramount focus for Bolcerek, who had just spent the previous three days on Capitol Hill. "We've had some very positive developments with the new Congress. Things are moving ahead nicely. It's a long process; it's a process of education. There's misperception from both Democrats and Republicans about the fairness of game, as well as what sites do and don't do to combat age verification. Part of our role is also to help change the perception of online poker operators and how they treat their players. No one is getting cheated." News has also surfaced in the state of Washington concerning efforts to remove completely or alter the gambling legislation that was passed there that essentially makes internet gambling a felony. The possibility of lowering the severity of the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor for breaking the gambling law did not sit well with Bolcerek: "That is an insane law. Reducing it to a misdemeanor is absurd as well, though any effort in the right direction is good for our industry. It was a Washington representative [Chris Strow (pictured at left), Assistant Minority Floor Leader] who took it upon himself to introduce this legislation. We sent out emails to our members in Washington to contact the head of the state committee working on the bill to move forward on it." Residents of Washington can track the progress of H.B. 2127 by clicking here. One online poker site, Full Tilt, recently stepped up to the challenge of reaching out to its immense user base to inform them about the PPA and make signing up for the organization extremely cost-effective and simple. Becoming a member of the PPA - whether it be a paid membership or not - allows a user to collect either a bonus and/or freeroll entry, depending upon the level of contribution. This has since ballooned the PPA's membership to its current level of 160,000. "We're happy to get support from Full Tilt by letting its members know about the PPA and make it easy for them to join. We've been in discussions with them and other sites to try and raise awareness and help them spread the word to get involved and speak as one voice. We're really pleased at the level of involvement they have provided." Recently, the PPA brought in additional reinforcement: Alfonse D'Amato (pictured at right), a former Republican Senator from New York. During his nearly 20 years in office, D'Amato served as the head of several prominent Senate committees and brings a unique, tenured edge to the PPA. Bolcerek comments: "Alfonse has, obviously, a very experienced perspective of how to get things done on Capitol Hill. He also has a real passion for poker." A March 5, 2007 New York Times article highlights the local Senator's involvement with the PPA. While 160,000 members may seem acceptable in some eyes, for Bolcerek and the online poker community, membership must be increased: "We need to get to one million members. That's a real goal and we hope that other sites like PocketFives.com help spread the word about the PPA. You can sign up for free; you can just join as a voice." For more information or to get involved, please visit the PPA website at www.pokerplayersalliance.org. Strow picture courtesy of Washington House of Representatives website. D'Amato picture courtesy of Wikipedia.
  6. January 10, 2007 marked a historic day for PocketFives.com as member Ryan "Daut44" Daut won the fourth annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure along with a $1.5 million paycheck and an entry into the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship. Daut overcame a field of 937 entrants and nearly 150 PocketFivers, each of whom came to Paradise Island in The Bahamas in pursuit of poker glory. When asked what he would do with his newfound riches, Daut stated, "nothing, I don't really spend money. I'll pay my taxes, leave enough online to move up to $10-20 or $25-50, and invest the rest." Daut entered final table play fourth in chips with a little over 2 million, but far behind chip leader Isaac Haxton (a fellow CardRunners member), whose 9.2 million chip stack dwarfed over the rest of the table. According to PocketFivesLive.com Tournament Reporter Court Harrington, who witnessed the final table unfold, "Daut came out of the gate aggressive at the final table, and then changed gears and tightened up until the heads up play started. Then the aggression came back and he was able to overcome Haxton's significant chip advantage." Daut44 was recently crowned as a protégé of CardRunners.com owner Taylor "Green Plastic" Caby. According to Caby, "I'm very happy for Ryan and, although I'd love to take a lot of credit for his success, the truth is he was a very solid player before I started to work with him. The best part about him is that he has a great head on his shoulders and this should help him immensely when he starts to play at the bigger cash games." Four out of the six final table participants were CardRunners members, a phenomenal feat for the young training site. Caby comments on Daut's run through the final table: "He played great the whole way through. He was all in for all of his chips four times, AA to QQ twice, KK to 22 once, and A7hh on a two heart board to T7o on the same board (neither had a pair). It's pretty amazing he went the whole way without having to suck out or even win a race for his chips." PocketFiver Frank "Round42" Rusnak (pictured at left and a CardRunners member) finished in sixth after calling an all-in of Robert Ford with pocket kings after a flop of J-9-9. Ford flipped over A-K offsuit and a river ace sent Rusnak to the rail. Sixth place earned him a strong $247,234. Harrington explains, "Frank made solid plays and seemed much more comfortable at the table than many of the other players in the tournament without much live experience." Jonathan "FieryJustice" Little (also a CardRunners member) was eliminated in 5th place for $317,873. He pushed in for his last 315,000 chips and was called by Daut. Little had A-Q and Daut had K-6. A river 6 would give Daut trips and it was exit stage right for Little. Other top finishes included Scott "BigRiskky" Clements, who's known on PocketFives.com as JRAvila, finished in 8th place. According to Harrington, "Scott is one of the top tournament players out there right now. He continues to go deep in many tournaments and was considered by many to be one of the favorites in the late stages of the PCA." World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner Jon "Pokertrip" Friedberg (pictured at right) was eliminated in 9th place. His dominant style in both online and live play has not gone unnoticed, claims Harrington: "As well as Jon plays, I always expect him to be deep in every tournament he plays. When he was eliminated from the PCA, I'm sure all the other players were relieved to see such a dangerous player eliminated from the tournament." Fellow PocketFiver Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo finished 11th. Harrington comments, "Justin definitely has the most consistent results of anyone over the last few months. I would say he is the favorite to win player of the year this year." Next up for the PocketFivesLive.com crew is a walk on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the Borgata Poker Classic. This event kicks off on January 26, with the final table scheduled to play out on January 30. Check out PocketFivesLive.com for more details!
  7. The Sunday majors this past weekend were full of PocketFivers taking home cash. For Jay "Stiches" Koeller, Sunday meant final tabling two major tournaments, the PokerStarsSecond Chance and the Full Tilt $400k Guaranteed. Winning the former and finishing fourth in the latter meant a hefty $70,000 payday. This 63 year-old retired real estate investor has been married longer than many PocketFivers have been alive - 29 years. He sat down with PocketFives.com to discuss his impressive Sunday. Koeller comments on his two final tables: "I always felt that I would crack one of the main tourneys, but to be at two final tables and finish 39th on Absolute at the same time even gets an old dog like me a bit excited - like wake up the neighborhood excited." Winning $46,000 in the Second Chance meant beating out 1,083 other entrants: "I arrived at the final table in the Stars Second Chance tourney with 42 big blinds and in second chip position. My plan was to play Tag style and avoid large pots with the other big stacks. That plan went awry on the first hand that I got involved in, but I wanted to send a message early that if I raised and somebody tried to take the pot away from me, I was willing to get my chips in the middle. That happened when the chip leader re-raised me. I put him on a steal and moved in on him. I think that helped set up my image for the final table and gave me the chip lead. Later, I got lucky in two classic races when my pocket tens and jacks held up against overs. I then had a 3-1 chip lead on the rest of the field and just kept the pressure on." Keoller comments on his play in the $400k on Full Tilt: "I arrived in a virtual three-way tie for the chip lead with approximately 85 big blinds and again was in position to play tight aggressive. It was a patient, tough final table and I was able to gain the chip lead early, but couldn't win the races once we got five handed. So after waking up my wife with shouts of joy from winning on Stars a bit earlier, I quietly sauntered to the bedroom and whispered, 'I only came in fourth on Full Tilt.' I was disappointed, yet overjoyed at the same time." His fourth place score earned him $24,000. 1,962 people entered. His wife was a profound influence in initially egging on Koeller to try his hand at poker: "I never played real poker until the boom hit during the Moneymaker era. My wife kept asking me why I couldn't do that. I am a compulsive sort of a person and once I get an interest in something, it's all or nothing. After a month or so of studying, I told her that I was placing $2,000 in a poker account and, if I lost, it I was done with it. I played limit exclusively for about two years and ran that up to $16,000. Then, and I still am not sure why, my account slipped back to less than my $2,000 seed money still playing limit, but I started experimenting with no limit." Things turned for the better in an odd series of events: "In June of 2006, I thought my poker career was over. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I made a small deposit on Absolute and entered a SNG with the last of my deposit and won. If I didn't win, I probably wouldn't have ever signed on the account again. I got an e-mail from Absolute saying that I was freerolled into a tourney. I figured that was a joke, but thought oh well. My nephew was having a live monthly tourney in his garage that night and, as time went on, I was playing live and online at the same time. Not being experienced in final table play, I squandered a huge chip lead, finished second, and won $14,700. I was astounded at my biggest win and realized that this was a resuscitation of my poker career. Since that time, I have been putting all of my efforts into studying and learning no limit." Koeller has come a long way since that free tournament on Absolute and credits Eric "Rizen" Lynch with some of his success: "I have to credit Rizen for writing articles in Card Player Magazine and leading me to PocketFives, PokerXFactor, and CardRunners." Congratulations to Stiches on two final tables on Sunday. We look forward to more great things to come.
  8. Players Onlyknows its audience: Competitive males with an itch to play at one of the top online poker rooms on the Net today. If you're a sports junkie, you'll love two promotions that Players Onlyis currently running. The first is called the "Fox Baseball Saturday Freeroll Tourney Qualifier" and culminates with one lucky person winning a World Series Prize Package in October. The second is the "NFL Ticket Blitz." There are 50 sets of football tickets being given away. You can also score Super Bowl tickets in a tournament later on this summer. These tournaments are a must for anyone looking for some of the best seats around and are available now on Players Only. Fox Baseball Saturday Freeroll Tourney Qualifier I cannot describe the Fox Baseball Saturday Freeroll better than the Players Only promotions page does: "Go grab a cold one and your lap-top and sit back on the couch and follow the 'Boys of Summer' on TV while playing in the Fox Baseball Saturday Freerolls. You could win tickets to see a live World Series Game in October." Fox broadcasts games each Saturday just before 4:00pm ET. Here are the details: Each freeroll starts at 3:30pm ET. You get 1,500 starting chips and blinds go up every six minutes, so be prepared to gamble. Everyone who makes the final table of the freeroll will be qualified to enter the Grand Final, which will take place on September 22nd. The Grand Final is a $55 buy in tournament that awards two trips to the World Series. It's that easy. You can buy in directly to the Grand Final or qualify through one of the freerolls Bonuses can be won for winning multiple seats to the main event as well. Everyone at the final table of the Grand Final will walk away with a great prize: 1st place: VIP World Series Package Trip (2 box seats to Game 1, first class air for two, suite, limo to and from stadium). 2nd place: Standard World Series Package Trip (2 field level seats, coach air for two, standard room, limo to and from stadium). 3rd place: Proton 37" LCD TV 4th place: $500 Circuit City gift certificate 5th place: Sirius Satellite Radio deluxe full package (includes car kit, home kit, portable boombox and $160 in gift cards to cover subscription fees and activation.) 6th place: Sirius Satellite Radio standard package (Includes car kit and $160 in gift cards to cover for subscription and activation fees) 7th place: 15" Sharp liquid crystal TV 8th place: $250 Amazon.com gift certificate 9th place: Bose Deluxe Headphones 10th place: $100 Circuit City gift certificate NFL Ticket Blitz From now until June 15th, you can check out the nightly NFL Ticket Blitz. Players Only is giving away a pair of tickets to an NFL game nightly at 10:00pm ET. The tournament is $5 to enter and actually awards $1,000 for tickets and all expenses: "You can get yourself tickets right on the 50-yard line and have a beer on us, you can grab a pair of cheap seats and take a limo to the game, or you can watch the action right at home and throw the craziest football bash your friends have ever seen." With NFL tickets hard to come by in some areas, this is a great way to get a seat on Sunday. There's a lot of flexibility in what you can do with the $1,000 as well, which makes for a nice prize package awarded each night. In addition, Players Only is giving away tickets to the Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix in February. On August 12th, the site is giving away Super Bowl packages to the 1st, 2nd, and 42nd place finishers in this tournament (the latter to honor the current Super Bowl). The buy in is 25 Gold Chips, which you can learn more about on the Players Only site. The only way to buy into this tournament is using Gold Chips and three people will become the envy of sports fanatics everywhere. So check out Players Only'sunique promotions going on now. Win your way into the World Series, Super Bowl, or a handful of NFL games this year. These tournaments are an excellent value for anyone looking to attend the best sporting events anywhere. In order to be eiligible for PocketFives promos, you need to sign up through the following link: Players Only.
  9. Fresh off its World Series of Poker Main Event Seat Giveaway, Full Tilt Pokeris at it again. This time, the site has drastically upped the number of guaranteed tournaments it offers. PocketFiver ftpdoug first broke the news on the site and, since then, the response has been overwhelming. The added guarantees are highlighted by the "Fifty-Fifty Guarantee," where you can play in a $50,000 guarantee tournament for a buy in $50 + $5. A bevy of satellites are available as well if the $50 is out of your price range. There are a dozen new guaranteed tournaments on Full Tilt Poker in total. In addition, the two major weekly tournaments have had their guarantees increased significantly. It's worth describing the Fifty-Fifty Guarantee in depth. The $50,000 guarantee tournament runs every Wednesday at 9:30pm ET. First place is worth at least $9,500. You can buy in for $55 or satellite in for as little as $2.25. If you want to spend those hard-earned Full Tilt Points, 50 of those will get you in as well. The tournament will become a staple of the PocketFives.com Online Tournament Player Rankings given its prize pool and overall value. Each player starts with 2,000 chips; blind levels are 12-minutes, starting with 10/20. PocketFiver ftpdoug shared his thoughts on the Fifty-Fifty Guarantee: "A nightly $50 at 21:30 seemed like a perfect addition. As for the silly name, that was my fault. I like silly names. We almost called it the 'nifty fifty.' So far the feedback has been excellent and I'm really pleased with how it's going. We also added a similar $50 at 15:30 ET for our European players (and our US players with awesome jobs), so nobody feels left out!" The fleet of added guaranteed tournaments is truly diverse and should allow players with varying bankrolls a reason to get excited. Besides the Fifty-Fifty Guarantee, there's another $50 buy in tournament at 11:30pm ET. It's a rebuy tournament with a $20,000 guarantee. There's also a standard $50 freeze out at 3:30pm ET with a $15,000 guarantee. If you like lower stakes, there's a $3 rebuy at 8:30pm ET with a $6,000 guarantee. Two $100 buy in tournaments have been added as well. There's one at 3:00am ET with an $8,500 guarantee and another at 9:00pm ET each Wednesday that's a rebuy tournament with $45,000 guaranteed. Tournaments are spread out over the day, so players from all over the world should find at least one time they can play. If all of that weren't enough for you, the weekly $400,000 guaranteed tournament has been upped to $500,000 and the $750,000 Guarantee is now a $1 million. Doug talks about the major changes to Full Tilt's tournament schedule: "I can say one of the best things about working here is when we add something that players want and it's a big success. PocketFives has had a real hand in helping shape our tournament schedule for the past year or so, and I'm sure that will continue." Special thanks to ftpdoug for providing PocketFives with the latest news from Full Tilt Poker. Check out the $4 million in guarantees on Full Tilt Poker. If you're looking for a great value, visit Full Tilt Poker today.
  10. Since the last time PocketFives.com wrote an article about the Poker Players Alliance, the major lobbying force for the online poker world, several major milestones have been reached. First, the PPA surpassed the half million member total and is rapidly approaching 550,000. The free memberships along with the addition of former three-time Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato (pictured) to its ranks have spurred tremendous growth and visibility. Now, John Pappas, a former executive with Dittus Communications, was brought on board to spearhead the government relations efforts of the PPA. The unique expertise that he brings to the organization is a testament to the proactive nature of online poker's leading political voice. Pappas was an executive at Dittus Communications, "one of Washington D.C.'s largest independent full-service public relations, marketing communications, and issue advocacy groups," according to its website. He was charged with ensuring that the right messages were sent to members of Congress. The PPA worked hand in hand with Dittus to spread the word to the media about the organization. The PPA outlines his new role: "John Pappas is now the Vice President of Government Affairs for the PPA. In this role, he will be coordinating the lobbying and grassroots efforts as well as spending a considerable amount of time on Capitol Hill educating lawmakers and staff about sensible regulation of online poker. With Representative Barney Frank's bill already moving forward and the likelihood of a poker 'skill game' bill being introduced soon, the PPA will be extremely active to ensure that Congress gives these bills full consideration." What prompted the move for Pappas? According to the PPA, "It was really about filling a need. Given Pappas' deep understanding of the policy and politics of the issue, it made sense that he step in to help the PPA directly in Washington. Not only is it a great opportunity for him to be at the center of a 'hot button' issue, it is good to have a dedicated, full-time staffer who cares deeply about the issue and is committed to ensuring that the rights of poker players are protected." Pappas comments on his new venture: "This is a great job that mixes the right amount of fun with hard work. No one believes that it will be easy to convince lawmakers to support us. It will take time, perseverance, and most importantly, it will take a full understanding of the facts. Online poker and internet gaming are easy things to demagogue. It will be incumbent upon me, the organization, and our hundreds of thousands of PPA members to fill the Halls of Congress with the facts so that our opponents' rhetoric will fall on deaf ears." Most importantly, "Being central to the upcoming debate on how to correct what happened last year will undoubtedly be the most significant professional experience of my career thus far." Pappas was the PPA's force behind various proactive events that PocketFives.com participated in. They include Write Your Congressman Day, a grassroots campaign to show online poker players' discontent with the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. As a direct result of this campaign, 5,000 e-mails were sent to Congressmen nationwide on a single day last May. Several months later, when the Senate was to debate the same measure, Pappas was once again on the move, coordinating the Phone March on Washington on September 12. His success in these two movements combined with his vast public relations experience means the PPA has added another key piece to the puzzle. If you're not already a member of the PPA, check out their website to become one today. Several different levels of membership are available, including a completely free one. It's important that the online poker community unite in Washington. Help see to it that the game enjoyed by over 20 million Americans is preserved for years to come.
  11. Some of the truly great online poker players anywhere in the world have managed to win the PocketFives.com Triple Crown. Winners must take down three multi-table tournaments across three different sites within a seven day period. Each tournament must have at least 100 entrants and a prize pool of at least $10,000. The Triple Crown champions include the very best online poker has to offer: TheWacoKidd, GB2005, BeL0WaB0Ve, Rizen, leggggggggggy, and gbmantis. Some have even managed to win it twice: PearlJammer, Ari, gator93, TheBeat, JohnnyBax, Annette_15, and colson10. Chalk up another Triple Crown winner, GBecks, who won the award over a two day period last weekend, taking down events on PokerStars, Full Tilt, and UltimateBet. GBecks won the $11 rebuy tournament on PokerStarsSaturday for $11,500. He jokingly claims, "I'm not sure if I've even played that tournament this whole year." During the same time, he was getting deep in the $100 six-handed tournament on Full Tilt and wound up winning that as well, cashing for $7,300 and completing two-thirds of his Triple Crown by day's end on Saturday. "So after all the excitement, I forced myself to get a couple hours of sleep to try to top off the Triple Crown and get ready for Sunday." His plan was to play the larger UltimateBet and Bodog tournaments to take down the last leg of the Triple Crown and was fortunate enough to win almost immediately. GBecks dominated the $200k on UltimateBet, winning $45,000 and landing his name, score, and date on the PocketFives.com Triple Crown Wall of Champions. His total take was around $65,000 as well, making the three tournaments profitable for both his wallet and his reputation. GBecks credits his growth to many including Tmay420, SBRounder, TheWacoKidd, PrtyPSux (pictured at left), Big Swing, MisterNiceGuy, badbeatme, bravejayhawk, and CrazyMarco. The native of Lawrence, Kansas lives in a house with others who play poker frequently. In addition, he says, "I play live. I haven't played many live tournaments yet, but plan to get into them more when I move to Los Angeles after the World Series of Poker this year. I have had a lot of live cash game success in $5/10 and $10/20 no limit over the past year or two." Like many, GBecks entered the online poker scene when Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer were winning millions in the 2003 and 2004 WSOP Main Events, respectively. "It was my brother 'jbecks' who got me started because he was the first person I'd actually witnessed playing online poker and of course around that time, home games and poker in the dorms were at an all-time high. I remember having $78 in my bank account and deposited $50 into Party Poker. I started at $.25/.50 and, in a couple of months, I had around $3,000. I took most of it out and went on a two week trip to Las Vegas and Los Angeles with some buddies when school let out for the summer. By the time I got home, I was high on life with a $7,000 bankroll." He describes what advantage he has playing online poker: "The biggest edge for me is putting pressure on late in tournaments. It truly is a huge advantage knowing that so many people in the field are content with cashing or even just striving to cash. In the UB $200k, I went into the final table sixth in chips. Since the pay jumps seem so big at that point, players get scared to enter pots. I was able to accumulate most of my chips without showdowns and take control of the table. Everyone hated to lose chips and not even get to see my hand, but because of the money, they just let it happen." Now that he's $65,000 richer, GBecks has many applications for the money: "I've recently started investing in the stock market, bought a new Chevy Tahoe, paid my taxes, and, of course, I credit much of my success to my new computer." He is also considering purchasing a new home. In the meantime, we wish GBecks the best of luck and congratulate him again on his Triple Crown. For more information, check out the Triple Crown Wall of Champions.
  12. The World Poker Touris in the midst of filming its sixth season, an amazing feat for the little-known program that filmed its first episode back in June, 2002. With the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic on the horizon, the WPT announced several key additions to its staff as well as the development of WPT China, which will spread the WPT brand to the far reaches of the Earth. The moves are part of a bigger plan to leverage WPT's brand name and experience to enter new markets and new countries. PocketFives.com sat down with WPT Founder, President, and CEO Steve Lipscomb to discuss the company's growth. Andy Goetsch came onboard the WPT from CryptoLogic and is the new Vice President of Online Gaming for the WPT. He helped with the launch of the WPT's online gaming site and brings a seasoned industry perspective. Lipscomb comments, "Andy joins us to help us establish our rightful place in online gaming market. We'll market where it's legal and not problematic. At the beginning of next year, we're going to begin implementing a marketing plan that Andy's helped us put together." Lipscomb believes the WPT brand can help the product succeed in the online gambling market: "If we can compete, we'll be a significant player in a short amount of time." Rohin Malhotra used to work with PartyGaming and will help the WPT direct its television programming into new markets in new countries. Lipscomb knows his poker programming helped launch a craze in the United States: "We have best poker television in world. When we take that into international markets and find ways to leverage it, Rohin is an expert. He's a smart and savvy guy that knows the space well." In France, the appearance of WPT programming has launched a poker phenomenon across the country. Television ratings in France and elsewhere worldwide are as high as several of the highest rated cable programs here in the United States. In France, two new personalities take the place of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, broadcasting the action from the felt. "You'd never even know Mike and Vince existed," says Lipscomb. In addition to spreading its programming globally, the WPT is expanding its live tournament offerings in China. The game of choice: Traktor, which is "a traditional folk game," according to the WPT website. Lipscomb comments, "Traktor is wildly different than poker. What we're doing in China is going after a game they're used to playing over there. A third or more of the people in mainland China know how to play." The WPT signed an agreement with the China Leisure Sports Administrative Center, a government agency that oversees darts, ping pong, and other activities. There are a series of regional tournaments throughout the nation, leading up to a national championship in 2008. However, the similarities with poker in the United States are few and far between. Lipscomb explains, "WPT China is very different by its nature. There's no gaming. There's no buy in. It's a game of skill. We're taking a home-grown game that those guys love and holding tournaments all across the country that end with a national championship. The nature of a game allows a true champion to emerge." The response has been overwhelming so far. Many of the tournaments have reached their limits on the number of players. With the WPT growing leaps and bounds outside of the United States and outside of the "live" arena, one might think that Lipscomb isn't geared up for Season 6 of the WPT. Not so: "It's going to blow you away. I wish your readers could hear my voice. It is another level up. It's our job every year to outdo ourselves. When you watch Season 6 of the WPT, it will blow you away. The open is probably 10 times better than what we've done before. It's totally CG. It shows legitimately where the phenomenon came from." Season 6 will air on GSN, which Lipscomb believes is a "good home" for his brand. Stay tuned for more big things coming from the World Poker Tour as it continues international and online expansion. In addition, we look forward to watching online poker's biggest stars succeed in every WPT tournament on PocketFivesLive.com.
  13. Remember all those times you said to yourself, "Online poker should be exempt from all of this legislation. It's a skill game, right?" One Congressman has taken that mentality to heart and developed the aptly-titled "Skill Game Protection Act." Known in the United States House of Representatives as H.R. 2610, the Act seeks exemption from existing anti-gaming legislation for poker, bridge, backgammon, and mah-jong. The fact that H.R. 2610 specifically mentions poker should immediately get you onboard. Proposed by Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), H.R. 2610 is one of four pieces of legislation currently in line for discussion in Congress. This article seeks to break down the bill and provide an update from the Poker Players Alliance. The Text Congressman Wexler's bill focuses on carving out an exemption for skill games from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The bill emphasizes that minors should not be allowed to access gaming websites, that "persons with compulsive behavior should be identified and referred to treatment," that money laundering issues will be addressed, and finally, that the industry will be taxed. The bill specifically refers to poker, chess, bridge, mahjong, or any other game where the action is essentially player versus player and not player versus the house. Most importantly, according to the Poker Players Alliance, the bill clarifies the Wire Act of 1961 to allow skill games to exist within the existing legislative framework. PPA Chairman and former three-time Senator from New York Alfonse D'Amato comments on H.R. 2610: "Congressman Wexler's bill is a positive development for the millions of American poker players who enjoy one of our nation's great pastimes. Poker and other games of skill have fallen victim to bad public policy. Wexler's plan will give skill games the rightful protection they deserve and it will require the proper safeguards to protect children and those prone to abuse." He adds, "Congressman Wexler's legislation is necessary to provide equitable treatment for true games of intellect and competitions among individuals. Americans have played poker responsibly throughout our history and the Wexler bill will ensure that the game is enjoyed for years to come." Congressman Wexler came on the PocketFives.com Podcast in July and gave the following summation of his bill: "My bill would undo the prohibition that was put in place during the last Congress that prevents adult Americans in consensual fashion from playing poker and a whole other set of games. My bill essentially says that an adult in America can play a game of skill if he or she chooses and that the U.S. Government should not be in the business of deciding what games adults should be playing on the internet." The Co-Sponsors The bill was introduced on June 7th, but has not yet been discussed in committee. It was referred to the House Financial Services Committee (of which Congressman Barney Frank is Chair) along with the Judiciary and Commerce Committees. H.R. 2610 has garnered 13 Co-Sponsors to date. They are: Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 7/18/2007 Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 7/10/2007 Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 7/17/2007 Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 7/17/2007 Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 7/27/2007 Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 7/10/2007 Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] - 7/18/2007 Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 7/17/2007 Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 7/23/2007 Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 7/18/2007 Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 6/27/2007 Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 7/25/2007 Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 7/17/2007 The Update The PPA's John Pappas provides the latest update on H.R. 2610: "At this time, there is not a hearing scheduled on H.R. 2610, the Skill Game Protection Act. We do believe, however, that a House Committee will be holding a hearing to further examine the Internet gaming bills that have been proposed this Congress. Ideally, we would like to see this in September." Pappas believes that Wexler's and Frank's bills are compatible with one another (rather than competitive pieces of legislation), meaning that online poker has several outs right now in Congress. "The ultimate goal of this bill is to clarify the legal status of poker as a game of a skill and to exempt it (and other skill games) from the recently passed UIGEA as well as the 1961 WIRE Act. If this happens, it will be a huge victory for online poker. We will then need to work with the appropriate regulators to ensure that U.S. players will not have roadblocks when funding these 'skill game' accounts." Stay tuned to PocketFives for further updates on Congressman Robert Wexler's Skill Game Protection Act. If you're not a member of the Poker Players Alliance, you should be. 661,000 poker players have already become a part of this vital organization. Visit the Poker Players Alliance website for more details.
  14. Atlantic City, New Jersey - The Borgata Poker Open kicked off last week from the gambling capital of the East Coast, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Over 500 poker hopefuls from all over the United States traveled to the Boardwalk for their chance to capture part of poker history. PocketFives.com member Lou "ljrtr" Russo finished seventh in this event, taking home nearly $210,000. PocketFivesLive.com was on the scene for this trademark World Poker Tour event. "Lou Russo is a great guy and has been a successful live and online poker player for the long time, including multiple WSOP cashes," said PocketFives.com Content Manager and Co-Owner Adam Small. "It's no surprise to seem him do so well in yet another poker event." On his final hand, Russo pushed over the top of chip leader Mark Newhouse's raise and was called by both Chris Bell and Newhouse. The flop came A-A-J; Bell and Newhouse both checked. A king hit on the turn and once again, both players checked. The river was a seven of diamonds. Lou showed 9-9 and, for an instant, it looked like he might triple up, but Bell said, "I have the king." Bell's K-T had paired on the turn and he put Russo out in seventh position. PocketFivesLive.com Tournament Reporter Courtney Harrington on Russo: "At the table he is a solid and feared opponent that is always a threat to go deep in a tournament. But even more impressive than his play is his attitude; Lou is one of the most gracious and likeable players out there." The final six poker players that remained included poker professional Bell, a former realtor from Raleigh, North Carolina. The chip leader: Newhouse, who had more chips than the second and third place players combined entering final table play. The short stack: esteemed poker strategy author David Slkansky, whose book, The Theory of Poker, is one of the top selling poker books on Amazon.com. "Sklansky is David Sklansky: There is probably not a single person in poker with a better grasp of the math of the game," said Harrington. The final table will be broadcast on The Travel Channel as part of its World Poker Tour Coverage. All the coverage can be found at www.pocketfiveslive.com.
  15. Tuesday, July 11, 2006 marks a dark day for the online gambling industry, as the House of Representatives resoundingly passed the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. The measure now moves on to discussion in the Senate. PocketFives.com represents the voice of the online player and has been a major force thus far in trying to prevent such legislation from passing. Many members of the site stand to lose substantial amounts of income, as the best online poker pros in the world call PocketFives.com home. PocketFives is one of the largest online poker forum sites on the Internet and the livelihood of its members and staff is now in question. "I'm appalled by today's events," says PocketFives President Cal Spears. "Our site focuses wholly on online poker. Our poker pros who regularly visit, post, and write for the site are all greatly saddened. We hope the Senate will take a closer look at alternatives to banning the industry entirely. Online poker is a game of skill, not a game of chance. It needs to be treated as such rather than placed in the same breath as online blackjack and craps." Rather than electing to tax and/or regulate the industry, the United States Congress instead chose to prohibit online gambling entirely. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-MA) were among the dissenters in today's proceedings. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act allows for special exemptions for horse racing and state lotteries, and prohibits all other types of online gaming. In retaliation, Congresswoman Berkley proposed an amendment that would have lifted all exemptions to the bill, but this was struck down by the 109th Congress. "It is troubling that horseracing and state lotteries are exempt from this legislation," says Spears. "To me, this is a clear example of the unfair nature of this bill. How this was able to be approved is beyond me." PocketFives has been actively involved since the beginning of the current bill's debate. The site held a Contact Your Congressmen Day on June 15, 2006, sending over 5,000 e-mails to lawmakers urging them not to support a ban on internet gambling. In addition, Congressman Frank appeared on the site's Podcast on May 25, 2006, to discuss the importance of preserving personal freedoms. Poker Players Alliance President Michael Bolcerek joined the show in June to discuss the bill itself. Both were ardently against such legislation. In a statement released on July 11, Bolcerek expressed his disapproval of the measure: "It is unconscionable that a skill game like poker gets swept into the net of prohibition, while online horse betting and Internet lotteries get free passes." PocketFives will continue to bring coverage of the bill's passage at www.pocketfives.com.
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