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Found 42 results

  1. 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. Don't miss this week's all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie reunite once again to bring you all of the latest news from this week in the world of poker. This week, the guys are discussing the World Series of Poker's recently announced hybrid live/online 2020 WSOP Main Event. The 10K freezeout will start by being played out on both WSOP.com (in the U.S.) and GGPoker and eventually end up with a televised heads-up match for broadcast on ESPN to determine poker's new World Champion. Plus, speaking of heads-up action, the Doug Polk-Daniel Negreanu high-stakes challenge is full speed ahead and the guys break down all of the action taking place and what they've learned in the early going. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  2. FIVE THINGS is a column, written by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley that covers pressing topics and current events in the poker world today. It appears periodically at PocketFives.com. For the last 10 days, the poker world has been tuned in to Daniel Negreanu vs. Doug Polk grudge match. The pair have played a total 4,651 hands and Polk holds a $143,996.16 lead over Negreanu. With nearly 20% of the 25,000-hand challenge (or 40% if the combatant who is trailing at the midway point throws in the towel) now complete, poker fans now have a good idea of what exactly this thing is all about. Here are Five Things the poker world has learned through the opening salvo of the so-called High Stakes Feud. It's Closer Than Expected In the days leading up to the start of this battle, Polk made it quite clear that he was lookng to put a financial hurting on his opponent and only cared about "backing up the fucking truck". While Polk opened up a six-figure lead after Monday night's lengthy session, that's only 3.5 buy-ins - not quite yet the thrashing many of Polk's most ardent supporters were predicting. On the other side of that coin, Negreanu is keeping this heads-up for rolls match close and those who bet on him at 4-1 (or better) are probably feeling pretty good about their wager. If you want to put on a tinfoil hat and dive deep into a potential conspiracy theory that Sidney Powell would approve of, you might wonder if Polk really believes his edge is massive, why would he want to be up even $1 at the midway mark when Negreanu could simply walk away without losing another cent? Polk might be better served by learning as much as he can about Negreanu's tendencies over the first 12,500 hands before stepping on the gas pedal of his massive truck and taking home a mid-seven-figure score. It's a Viewer's Utopia Whether they're cheering for Negreanu, Polk, or just want to see blood, poker fans have had a plethora of options for how to follow the action as it happens. Rather than tying up the viewing experience with just a single option, Polk and Negreanu allowed the Twitch/YouTube content creators full reign to do as they please with the action. The winner has been the fans. Polk has been running a livestream on his YouTube channel with the likes of Jamie Kerstetter, Andrew Lichtenberger, Marty Mathis, and others all taking turns calling the action. Negreanu hasn't done anything on his own, but GGPoker has been running live coverage on GGPoker.tv with Jeff Platt, Niall Farrell, along with GGPoker GGSquad members Kevin Martin and Patrick Tardif, all jumping in at various points to provide analysis and insight. A few days into the challenge, YouTube legend Joey Ingram threw his hat into the ring and fired up a stream of his own. He's had Nick Schulman and rising star Landon Tice working alongside him. The SolveForWhy crew recently brought their own flavor to the stream game, with Matt Berkey and Christian Soto at the helm. Can We Pull Back the Curtain Just a Little? While the live stream options are aplenty, anybody hoping that Polk and Negreanu would give their fans a glimpse at what's going on beyond the scenes between sessions has been left wanting. Outside of a few post-session interviews with both Polk and Negreanu, the lack of content being produced by these two is somewhat surprising. Both Polk and Negreanu have a talent group of content creators around them and they have each had a hand in producing some of the best player-created content ever. The stakes being as high as they are - especially when you consider the side action - probably means neither guy wants to give anything away until the session is over. Still, a vlog or two from each camp during the challenge would add a great deal to what we've already pointed out is one of the most viewer-friendly experiences in poker history. Here's hoping once they've played the 25,000 hands that each camp can put out some videos that will take poker fans behind the scenes. A Cage Match with a Side of Civility Remember when Negreanu and Polk hated each other? The challenge kicked off with a live session on PokerGO and while Negreanu winning big to kick things off grabbed the headlines, the level of civility these two "mortal enemies" displayed towards each other was also a real talking point. That hasn't gone away with the shift to the online felt. Outside of a small needle here or there on social media, there's been no real hatred - or even dislike - shown towards each other, even as both enjoyed or endured a six-figure swing in the opening few weeks. Fans firmly entrenched on one player's side were prepped and ready with More Rake is Better memes and oh-so-tired Vanessa Selbst jokes, but for better worse, they've been left to follow the lead of Polk and Negreanu who seem to be much too focused on the actual gameplay to spend any time engaging in trash talk at this point. Bill Perkins Can't Help Himself Before the challenge began, we speculated which Karate Kid character Polk was representing in this challenge. While the civility mentioned above makes it difficult to cast Polk as either Daniel LaRusso or Johnny Lawrence just yet, at least one other casting decision has a front-runner. Bill Perkins, who has gone on record with his six-figure bet on Negreanu, is definitely in the lead to take on the role of Tommy. For those who don't remember Tommy, he's the guy that LaRusso easily dispatched in the early rounds before he makes a somewhat memorable appearance during the finals despite not actually being in the match.  On November 17, Perkins, who like Tommy is not actually in this match, took to Twitter to share details of a potential delay in the schedule after a dispute arose over what was and wasn't allowed in terms of stat-tracking. The supposed controversy was quickly resolved (apparently thanks to some mediation from Phil Galfond) and the match continued without any delay while Perkins continues to shout from the rail. The Polk-Negreanu Challenge continues with Session #11 on Wednesday, November 25 and Session #12 on Saturday, November 28.
  3. For years, Daniel Negreanu has been obsessed with the Rocky movie franchise and as the Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge became official, the six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner immediately painted himself in the same light as Rocky Balboa: the plucky underdog with nothing to lose taking on the champ. That iconography might work for Negreanu, but this challenge isn’t Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed. Polk can’t be Creed. Creed was the reigning and defending heavyweight champ when his originally scheduled challenger, Mac Lee Green, had to pull out of a championship fight after breaking his hand. That fight was born out of necessity and convenience for Creed, not some long standing feud between two pugilists coming to a head in dramatic fashion. Rocky director John G. Arvidsen won an Academy Award in 1976 for his work on that film. Eight years later he directed another box office hit that, while it didn’t win him any more Oscars, might be a better cinematic fit and provide a stronger analogy for personifying the role of Polk in what we’re going to see play out over the next few months. The Karate Kid. For the seven of you who haven’t seen it: the film centers around two characters who develop a dislike for each which, through a series of smaller confrontations, turns into a deep-seated hatred. They decide to settle their differences one-on-one (kind of) at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship. Narrative-wise, one of them is a bully, angry at the world and looking for somebody to take out his aggression on, while the other is an innocent combatant, forced to stand up for himself and his ideals after growing tired of the other’s act. But which one is Polk? The answer isn’t as clear as it might seem. Thesis: Doug Polk is Johnny Lawrence Anybody who grew up in the 80s and saw The Karate Kid in theaters or rented the VHS tape from their local video store will tell you that Johnny Lawrence, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, two-time defending All Valley Under 18 Karate champion, is nothing but a bully with a chip on his shoulder. Polk, once considered the best Heads Up No Limit Hold’em cash game player in the world, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, and one of the best content creators in poker (some of which is centered around Negreanu), carries a similar chip. He’s told anybody and everybody that this is his arena, he’s not looking to make friends or build a legacy, he’s only looking to "back up the fucking truck" and show absolutely no mercy. Lawrence first encounters the story's hero, Daniel LaRusso, at the beach. Recently dumped by Ali Mills, Lawrence confronts his ex-girlfriend in an ill-fated attempt to win her back. Things get heated and after her ghetto blaster is destroyed by Lawrence in a fit of rage, LaRusso appears ready to intervene only to have Lawrence beat him up and leave him laying face down in the sand as Lawrence and his friends from the Cobra Kai karate dojo ride off on their awesome dirt bikes. Polk’s vendetta against Negreanu dates back to October 2016 when Negreanu gave an interview to Rikard Aberg where he claimed that higher rake leads to softer games. From that interview, the "More Rake is Better" meme was born and Polk continued to push it via his YouTube channel and social media. The taunting from Polk - and his team - reached a peak in June 2018 when Polk entered the Super High Roller Bowl and ended up seated next to Negreanu on the feature table. Polk removed his button-up shirt to reveal a black t-shirt with an image of "More Rake is Better" on a billboard. Polk busted the tournament in short order, but got the opportunity to humiliate Negreanu in front of a large audience. Two days later, the actual billboard appeared outside the Rio Hotel & Casino where the 2018 WSOP was underway. Following the initial confrontation, Lawrence and his Cobra Kai friends spend the next few weeks tormenting and attacking LaRusso which ultimately lead to LaRusso’s handyman/friend/sensei Mr. Miyagi walking into the Cobra Kai dojo to lay down a challenge on behalf of LaRusso. Lawrence’s sensei, John Kreese, is ready to have the throwdown then and there. Kreese: You get your boy on the mat or you and I will have a major problem. Miyagi: Too much advantage ... your dojo. Kreese: Name a place. Miyagi: Tournament. Kreese: You’ve got real nerve old man, real nerve, but I think we can accommodate you. After a quick negotiation, the pair agree to fight at the upcoming All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship. Like Lawrence, Polk seemingly never turned down an opportunity to troll Negreanu. This summer, Polk picked up his anti-Negreanu cause in earnest. Negreanu, playing WSOP bracelet events on WSOP.com, exhibited some less-than-perfect behavior and threatened a livestream viewer while offering him free dental work along with a rectal exam. That got his Twitch account suspended and gave Polk all the ammunition he needed to go back on the attack. After some back and forth, Polk challenged Negreanu to battle. The Cobra Kai Dojo philosophy is built around the motto, "Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy." And over the last four years, Polk has continued to strike at Negreanu and shown absolutely no mercy in his attacks. Thesis: Doug Polk is Daniel LaRusso The movie opens with Daniel LaRusso and his mom moving cross-country from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, California to chase down an opportunity at a better life. Polk is originally from Pasadena, California and while the drive to Las Vegas, where Polk now resides, isn’t a long one, he did have a short stint in Wilmington, North Carolina while in college. That’s where he discovered a real love for poker and eventually dropped out to pursue the game full time. LaRusso arrives in Reseda knowing nobody and gets invited to a beach party by another kid in the apartment complex he just moved into. At that party he sees another kid - Lawrence - angrily confronting another partygoer and destroying her property. In an effort to keep the peace and hold the bully accountable, LaRusso steps up and intervenes to stop Lawrence from ruining the party for everybody. In 2016, in the wake of PokerStars’ decision to suddenly take away benefits from SuperNova Elite players, Negreanu, a Team PokerStars Pro at the time, appeared on a podcast hosted by Rikard Aberg to make the case that business decisions made by PokerStars which appear to be unfriendly towards players are actually good for them. This is where Polk first stepped up on behalf of the poker community and called Negreanu out in a video on his YouTube channel. LaRusso found another opportunity to antagonize Lawrence after he showed up at the school Halloween dance. That’s where he spots Lawrence and his Cobra Kai cronies dressed as skeletons and when he realizes Lawrence is in a toilet stall he decides to take a shot at embarrassing him in front of the entire student body. LaRusso hooks up a hose above the stall and turns the water on, drenching Lawrence in the process. LaRusso, dressed as a shower, flees knowing they’ll be looking for him. The Cobra Kai eventually catch up to LaRusso and the five of them kick the everloving crap out of LaRusso before Mr. Miyagi appears and saves the day. The kid from New Jersey was going for laughs, but ultimately ended up battered and bruised after learning an expensive lesson. The Super High Roller Bowl is one of the marquee events on the poker calendar. In 2018, Polk showed to the $300,000 buy-in event hoping for a chance to make another point in his ongoing battle against Negreanu. That moment came when the pair wound up seated next to each other on the feature table. Polk took off his button-up shirt to show the world the "More Rake is Better" shirt hoping to get under Negreanu’s skin and get a few laughs along the way. Negreanu ended up winning a huge pot off Polk that day and Polk was eliminated not long after. Negreanu finished second in the tournament for $3,000,000. Polk got some laughs in the moment, but after losing the $300,000 buy-in and paying whatever the billboard outside of the Rio cost him, it was really just a costly piece of his entire campaign. As the karate tournament progresses, LaRusso makes his way through a number of competitors, including members of Cobra Kai who had been part of the 5-on-1 assault on him. Serendipitously he ends up in the final against Lawrence with far more than a title on the line. Polk’s path to the battle with Negreanu included no other required battles, but to make sure he was ready, Polk spent the past six weeks taking on all comers on WSOP.com and America’s Cardroom to make sure he was free of any ring rust before sitting down with Negreanu. The Cobra Kai Narrative Both of those thesis are based on the original interpretation of the movie where LaRusso is the good guy and Lawrence is the bad guy. Starting in 2013, when How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson first floated the idea, there has been plenty of discussion that maybe, just maybe Lawrence was in fact the hero of The Karate Kid. That narrative shift is a big reason why YouTube created the Cobra Kai show, which is now on Netflix, exploring where Lawrence and LaRusso wound up after the tournament. There is definitely a segment of poker fans who consider Polk to be the hero of the story thanks largely to his anti-hero, anti-establishment ideals that Lawrence carries with him in Cobra Kai. There’s also a group of fans who see Polk the same way that Cobra Kai paints a modern-day LaRusso: the successful and arrogant man who refuses to grow up.
  4. Throughout the years, iconic sports moments have often been memorialized with the equally classic commentary that went with it. The Miracle on Ice will always be paired with Al Michaels and his unforgettable call of "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" Every Premier League fan around the world will always remember Martin Tyler yelling "Balotelli…Agurerooooooo!" when the Manchester City striker scored the winning goal to give his team their first EPL title ever in 2012. The list goes on and on. While poker commentary isn’t necessarily known for its incredible calls, it is often an integral part in creating a highly entertaining and engaging product for the viewing audience. Someone who knows plenty about this, is none other than Kane Kalas, the man chosen to do the commentary for the highly anticipated Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu heads up match. Kalas’s love of sports was ingrained in him from a young age by his father, legendary baseball commentator and MLB Hall of Famer Harry Kalas. "Growing up listening to my father broadcast NFL games weekly during the regular season and following his commentary with NFL Films turned me into an NFL fanatic," Kalas told us about his childhood. While Kalas made a name for himself in the poker world through his stellar play, he has channeled his father many times when he has stepped into the commentary booth, quickly becoming one of the most popular and talented poker commentators. When it came time to pick out who the voice would be for this matchup of two poker titans, his wealth of experience made the choice an obvious one for Polk and Negreanu. "I have worked with PokerCentral/PokerGo for years. Each summer I broadcast a number of WSOP events. I have also broadcast for the WPT, Poker Night in America, the Triton Super High Roller Series, the Patrick Antonius Poker Challenge, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Live at the Bike, and the Borgata Poker Open," Kalas listed off. Kalas not only has plenty of experience playing high stakes poker, something not all poker commentators have, but even more important to this project specifically is the fact that Kalas first came up in poker by playing mostly heads up cash games. "Heads up NL Hold'em is my strongest game; I have played well over 1 million hands of that format in my career. I have played heads up NL Hold'em against both Daniel and Doug online. In addition, considering the nature of the feud between Daniel and Doug and the polarity it has caused in the poker community, my amicable relationship with both players was an asset," said Kalas. Heads up battles have been popular in 2020 with the lack of live poker options due to Covid-19 restrictions throughout the world. Phil Galfond has been playing high stakes heads up matches in his popular Galfond Challenges, but for Kalas, this grudge match is different. He says the reason is simple: this feud has years in the making, and for both players, it’s personal. "The main thing that makes this match different is the drama and personal vendetta between these two top pros. Doug has been relentlessly trolling Daniel for years, both on his channel and in the flesh. Daniel, for his part, largely assumed the posture of the bigger man, generally avoiding direct public criticism of Polk, until recently that is." Kalas continued on that note, discussing how quickly Negreanu agreed to a challenge where, on paper, he would be a heavy underdog against Polk, who was widely considered one of the best heads up players in the world during his poker prime. "Daniel barely hesitated to accept the challenge. In a blog post, he spoke directly to Polk, 'Attack me endlessly, bully me, mock me, in the hopes of getting me to agree to a high stakes poker match. If that’s the case, well played. You have your wish.'" Kalas continued, "The intense feud between Daniel and Doug is at the center of the storyline of this match and I am well-positioned to recap the drama, trolls, tirades, and escalation of this feud into a high-stakes grudge match in an entertaining yet fair manner." The drama seemed to kick up to a new level recently on Twitter, when Negreanu and Polk went back and forth on whether charts should be allowed to be used while the two are playing. Polk argues that charts that indicate the preflop raising tendencies of his opponent should be allowed because they are standard with online play, while Negreanu argues that this match should be played straight up with no outside assistance during hands. Kalas weighed in a bit on this recent controversy, saying that he can see both sides of the argument. "Ultimately, it should be determined by the players. To Daniel's point, it does make the match a bit less interesting if both players are employing the exact same preflop strategy by following a chart. To Doug's point, there is no precedent to ban the use of preflop charts during play and it is within the rules of the platform, WSOP.com." While Kalas’s poker commentary resume speaks for itself, his selection doesn’t come without its own bit of controversy, as is largely inevitable on Twitter and other online spaces. There have been some whispers that Kalas might be biased towards Polk considering that he runs a Short Deck Poker course on Upswing Poker, a coaching website run by Polk himself. Kalas was quick to address those critics, saying that anyone who knows him knows that he won’t pull any punches towards either player, regardless of his business considerations. "Everyone who knows me knows I am a guy who speaks my mind openly and honestly. Any 'filter' I may have is based on my ethics, not based on my business dealings. As an ex-professional poker player and current investor and hedge fund manager, I am in a privileged position of not needing to worry about getting 'fired.'" While Kalas no longer plays professionally full time, he plans to use his vast experience to his advantage with this job. However, he was quick to point out that poker experience alone does not make for a great poker commentator, making sure to recognize some of the biggest names in poker commentary who don’t play at the same levels as Polk or Negreanu. "David Tuchman, Lon McEachern, Norman Chad--these are just a few examples of my colleagues who have not competed on the felt at the level of Negreanu or Polk but are all indisputably top-tier commentators." Kalas did also point out that there are a few high-level aspects of the heads-up battle that he feels specifically suited to commentate on. "In-depth range analysis, while interesting on occasion, is not the cornerstone of a successful broadcast. I will say, however, that having played at the game's highest level allows me to more easily empathize with and explain the drama at the table as it unfolds." While Kalas has largely switched from playing poker to focusing on hedge funding, he did say that he uses several aspects of his poker playing in his new career, and vice versa. "One thing that I took away from my poker career is the value of data and quantitative analysis. When I got into poker, the number of good professionals was pretty much split 50/50 between 'feel players' and 'data geeks' like me. Today, most of the feel players have gone broke and the data guys are the best players in the world. The same thing is happening in the world of finance," said Kalas. Kalas went on to discuss in more detail what he has been up to the past few years. "Since 2015, I have spent less time at the poker tables and more time in the securities and digital assets markets. This year I launched Crystal Oak Capital which manages Crystal Oak Partners, a stocks fund, and Crystal Oak Digital Assets, a digital assets fund. I'm really excited about the future of finance and the opportunities that lie ahead." The future in the financial world surely looks bright for Kalas, but for the upcoming week, he will be going back to the past. He will be drawing from his years of poker playing and commentating, and digging even further back to the days of listening to his father’s famous radio calls. For Kalas, he hopes that his voice will forever be associated with a poker battle that could ultimately go down as one of the most memorable moments in recent poker memory.
  5. Skill, determination, and a little bit of luck are what it’s going to take for either Doug Polk or Daniel Negreanu to come out ahead in the most hyped, bad-blood poker grudge match in recent memory. The two social media heavyweights are planning on playing up to 25,000 hands of high-stakes, heads-up online poker starting this week and both are looking to put a hurt on the opposition's bank account and poker industry clout. But unlike some of poker’s more recent heads-up contests, a victory for these each of these guys will be measured by more than a strict tally of dollars and cents. After years of trash talk and trolling plus pre-match positioning, how each of these players measures their success, and really books a “W”, is drastically different. Time To Back It Up For Polk, it won’t be good enough to simply beat Negreanu by a couple of bucks in order for his return to poker to feel like a win. After all of his online put-downs, including how he will be “backing up the truck” to collect Negreanu's paychecks, those on his side are looking for him to absolutely bury Negreanu on the felt by an astonishing amount. Polk built his entire poker career on the back of being a legendary Heads Up No Limit crusher. Playing under his screen name ‘WGCRider’, Polk was known to take on all challengers, including high-profile players like Viktor Blom and Daniel Cates, and in the end, he emerged the richer for it. His HUNL success was the bedrock helped him launch his popular YouTube channel and brought people to his successful poker training site, Upswing Poker. That’s the history that has made Polk the overwhelming favorite in this challenge and it’s a role he’s embraced. He’s produced Photoshops of him backing up an armored truck while making comments about wanting to clean out “a complete dolt” in Negreanu who wants to “ship me a million dollars.” While it seems like it’s all a show in an effort to push the action, for Polk to truly win this challenge he’s going to have to make Negreanu look like he’s a member of the Washington Generals. A guy playing a game he has zero chance of winning. He’s going to need to do enough damage to Negreanu’s seemingly infinite bankroll that the six-time WSOP bracelet winner considers quitting before they hit any milestone hands simply because he can’t handle the pain. In short, for Doug to really get the win, he has to make the kind of money that will allow him to leave poker, again, and this time leave for good. The Rocky Scenario Negreanu doesn’t bear nearly the same burden as Polk. And it’s not by mistake. From the get-go, Negreanu spent the better part of the pre-match back-and-forth telling anyone who would listen that despite all his accolades which includes six WSOP bracelets, climbing to the top of All-Time Money list, finishing runner-up in a Super High Roller Bowl, and becoming the biggest name in the game over more than two decades on the felt…he’s a massive underdog. But he's the type of guy who just won’t back down from a challenge. And it worked. The public narrative is that Polk received nearly everything he wanted. Polk dictated what they would play (HUNL) and where they would play it (online) and when PokerShares originally put a line on who would win, Polk was roughly a 6:1 favorite. This made it so Negreanu doesn’t even really need to win a dime in order to celebrate in the end. Read: Five Of The Wildest Prop Bets for the Polk vs. Negreanu Challenge In his own mind, Negreanu is Rocky. Not the squirrel but the boxer. He’s the scrappy underdog stepping into the HUNL ring and he’s taking on the celebrated champ Apollo Creed, represented by Polk. But the end of the original Rocky is sometimes misremembered (spoilers ahead) in that Rocky doesn’t actually win the fight. Sure, he goes the distance with the champ, taking his lumps and dishing out some damage, but when all is said and done he ends up losing by decision. But even though Rocky isn’t the champ, no one in the theater considered Rocky a loser in the end, right? That’s a similar scenario that could be what constitutes a “win” for Negreanu. If “Kid Poker” goes the distance with Polk and somehow manages to escape having lost a nominal amount, say a few buy-ins that can be easily accounted for by normal variance, then Negreanu can (and likely will) raise his own hand in victory. Of course, if Negreanu happens to win outright, even by a dollar, or pulls off an unexpected haymaker and puts Polk to sleep in the early going then his celebration will be bigger than a billboard right outside of the Rio. “Let’s Put On A Show” It’s not just Polk and Negreanu who can win in this challenge. The fans also have a path to victory. For the railbirds, it will be a win if the players find consistent times to play on a stream that provides quality production value. Accurate hand counts and an up-to-the-minute accounting of who is up and down on the session is crucial to keep fans engaged. Guesstimation of the scoreboard keeps fans distanced from the action. Having high-stakes pro Kane Kalas anchor the commentary is already a good start. Bringing in (and properly publicizing) other high-profile players who can keep things fresh and offer the rail different views of the match would be a big plus as well. Any additional behind-the-scenes cooperation including post-session interviews from Polk and Negreanu would take the challenge to the next level and really turn it into something fans can invest their time into. How can the fans lose? Easy. Durr Challenge. Enough said. However, getting to that finish line is likely to take some time. Both Negreanu and Polk are busy guys and if they start out by playing two-hour sessions, as has been reported, weeks may turn into months before this comes to a conclusion. So, for all who plan on setting aside time to follow the challenge, perhaps the biggest win will be remembering that sometimes the journey is the destination, and getting the opportunity to watch these two battle it out, in any form, may itself be a win unto itself.
  6. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Lance and Donnie remember the late Sam Grizzle to kick off this week's episode of The Fives. The 67-year-old poker legend passed away following a stroke in mid-October. The upcoming Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu challenge is sure to take the poker world by storm and Lance and Donnie preview what the potential outcomes are and what - if anything - it settles between the two. While that challenge promises to hold the poker world's attention over the coming weeks and months, both guys discuss how the latest Galfond Challenge match featuring Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth has yet to really garner the same type of following as the now legendary battle against 'Venvidi1993' did earlier this year. They also discuss the return of live poker to Atlantic City, the strong turnout at the Venetian in Las Vegas for the Venetian DeepStack Showdown, and the possibility of online poker foe Sheldon Adelson selling his US-facing operations and what that might mean for the future of regulated online gaming in the United States. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  7. Forget the schoolyard trash talk and cheat sheet squabbles for a hot minute, and let’s focus on the poker. Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu will be going head to head in a knock-down drag-out war commencing on November 1, with millions on the line and at least one ego cruising for a bruising. As a former Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em specialist, Polk enters the $200/$400 ring as the clear favorite. But this battle isn’t Daniel vs Goliath. It’s Goliath vs Goliath 2.0. The fan favorite of the past 20 years against the fan favorite for a new generation. They truly hate each other and are out for blood. And like us, we’re sure you’ve got questions. Polk made his preparation public, but what has Negreanu been doing to ready himself for battle? Like Negreanu sunbathing in skimpy swim shorts, Polk has left nothing to the imagination when it comes to his preparation for the challenge. For the past month or so he’s been battling a bunch of players--including Bill Perkins and Landon Tice--at stakes ranging from $5/$10 to $50/$100, while also issuing one-off high-stakes challenges to Matt Berkey, Christian Soto, and Luke Schwartz. On Joey Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast back in August, Polk said: 'I’ve honestly been working around the clock trying to improve my game." He admitted to getting "rekt", but who wouldn’t after so long out of the game? (OK, so Fedor Holz probably wouldn’t. That guy can’t help but win. The entire high-stakes community put on their best Teddy KGB impersonation when Holz emerged from "retirement": “Kid’s got al-eee-gay-torr blood. Can’t get rid of him.") Polk has since reported some winning sessions, and it seems like his heads-up game is getting to where he wants it to be before the battle with Negreanu begins. But aside from posting a few casual, often comical strategy polls to his 486,000 Twitter followers, Negreanu has kept the world in the dark as to what he is doing to get himself in fighting shape. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1309244477232406530 For a while there, the answer was probably nothing, and understandably so. As a GGPoker ambassador, Negreanu was in Mexico for a month to play the World Series of Poker Online events in a bid to win his sixth bracelet (he bet plenty of money on himself to do so too, but we’ll get to that in a minute). When he returned to his Las Vegas home, he probably needed some rest. I mean, who among us doesn’t like to relax and play round after round on our top-of-the-range golf simulators after a few busy weeks at the office? But the time to relax is over. As we edge closer to the November 1 kick off, Negreanu has started hinting at what he’s been up to behind the scenes. On October 6 he tweeted that he "most definitely needs to start practicing". The whole cheat sheet pre-flop chart debacle (which we won’t go into now, but you can read about here) will have no doubt inspired Kid Poker to revise ranges. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313600198086549504 And nobody should be surprised if they find out Negreanu has hired coaches. That might seem inconceivable to your casual Joe Bloggs poker fan (“Why would Negreanu need coaching? HE CAN CALL OUT YOUR EXACT HAND!”) but Negreanu has always been humble about his own abilities and openly sought coaching when he felt he was falling behind in the Super High Rollers. It paid off big time, too. Keeping up with the Jason Koons, Stephen Chidwicks, and Michael Addamos of the world might not be a priority for Negreanu in 2020, but he enjoyed a long stretch where he was right in the thick of it, finishing second in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $3 million (May 2018), and second again in the WSOP $100K High Roller for $1.7 million (July 2019). He even released a MasterClass based on everything he’d learned (with some sandwich-based tells thrown in for extra bite). One thing we know for sure? Negreanu is rolled for the road to rail heaven. He recently tweeted that he will be loading up his WSOP.com account with $1 million (25 buy-ins) “to start”. There’s obviously a whole lot more in Negreanu’s bankroll should he need it. A million bucks could seem a paltry amount when all is said and done. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313961969171324929 Does Negreanu have anything to lose (aside from money)? Indulge us for 20 seconds while we tell you what you already know about Negreanu. He’s a legend and first-ballot hall of famer. He’s played and won at the highest stakes across multiple decades (shhh, we won’t mention his record on High Stakes Poker). He’s third on the all-time money list with $42 million in career earnings. He’s one of the best ambassadors the game has ever had. And he’s always, ALWAYS your friend’s favorite poker player. You shouldn’t put anything past him when it comes to playing poker. But in this contest, he’s a clear underdog. He’s admitted that. After all, he has agreed to play arguably one of the best heads-up No Limit Hold’em specialists of all time at heads-up No Limit Hold’em. For all his humor and on-camera charisma, it’s worth remembering just how good at poker Polk truly is, or at least was in his prime. He came up in the pre-solver era, when players had to forge ahead and build their own strategies based on hand histories and experience rather than memorizing what play a computer says is perfect and unexploitable. That’s exactly what Negreanu did in tournaments and cash games back in the day alongside his crew of Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Allan Cunningham. Whatever happens in the challenge, Negreanu’s reputation in poker will not be damaged. The man’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes. But his hall pass will forever be laminated. And if all he stands to lose is a few million bucks, can he really lose? Negreanu is used to wagering large amounts on himself. He locks in hefty WSOP bracelet bets at $100,000 or more a pop every single year against countless opponents and never seems to lose face (he might lose close to seven figures at times, but his face remains intact). Perhaps all of this puts even more pressure on Polk. He’s the favorite; the expert; the man who’s only here to "back up the truck", take Negreanu’s cash and drive off into the sunset. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316092457478615040 So, what if Polk loses? He’ll be just fine financially. Polk is a super-smart guy - you simply have to be to rise to the top of poker and have as much success as he’s had - and from cryptocurrency to YouTube to UpSwing Poker, he’s done very well for himself. You may wonder how he’ll be remembered in the poker world if he loses this heads-up challenge though. He’ll always be one of poker’s best content creators, but his legacy on the tables isn’t as cemented as Negreanu’s. Polk has won millions in tournaments and cash games, but it’s undeniable his poker identity is built on the foundation of his elite skills in heads-up play (an identity Polk probably couldn’t care less about). Look, both of these guys will be fine, whatever happens. It’s just that, if Negreanu loses, nothing changes. That’s what most people think will happen. There will be no surprises. But if Polk loses, it’s going to be a long, cold drive home in that big empty truck. What happens if we see a bloodbath on Opening Day? The poker world is very interested to see if either of these guys has a breaking point. After Day 1 of the Galfond Challenge, Phil Galfond was down €72,527 against 'VeniVidi1993', and they were playing €100/€200 PLO, a much more volatile game. So, let’s say, hypothetically, that Negreanu gets stuck $160,000 (four buy-ins) after the Day 1 sessions. We know his account is loaded with another $840,000, so he’ll be back to battle the next day. But how he sleeps that night will depend on how well he thinks he played. If variance punched him in the face he’ll be out like a light. He’s used to bad luck. But if he feels he was simply outmatched, it could be the beginning of a nightmare. Then what happens if he’s down a cool milly after, say, Day 4? That’s an enormous mountain to climb, both mentally and financially, even for a player of Negreanu’s calibre and bankroll. We saw Galfond complete a monumental comeback from a €900,000 deficit against 'VeniVidi1993', but that was only after some time off during which he considered quitting. After his break Galfond decided he wanted to continue, not only because he felt he could close the gap and even win (which he did, incredibly), but because it was him who initiated the challenge in the first place. In this case, Negreanu accepted the challenge. You can’t help but wonder what Negreanu’s threshold for pain is. It’s probably safe to say he’s one of the richest pure poker players around, and it wouldn’t be absurd to assume he’ll have 100 percent of himself. So, will he continue to play Polk if he’s, say, $1.4 million in the hole? $1.7 million? $2 million?!! That would be enough to make even the coolest individual feel the heat. And the scary thing? The challenge might still be far from over. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316096706711183360 On the flip side, what if Negreanu rips Polk a new one on opening day? Poker media will flock to their keyboards, bettors will rush to Mike McDonald’s PokerShares to examine the changes in odds, and Twitter trolls who haven’t emerged from their caves since PostleGate will run rampant. It would get more people paying attention, that’s for sure. Polk obviously has a lot of his own money, but may have sold action for this challenge. That safety net might help keep the wolf from his door if he finds himself buried early on. Still, it will be interesting to see if there’s a number at which he simply wouldn’t be able to continue. And if he does quit, whether we’ll ever see him play poker again. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316089776781488128
  8. In the post-summer online poker doldrums, the upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk is giving poker fans something to look forward to at the end of the year. Slated to kick off on November 1, one of poker’s most high-profile feuds will finally battle it out on the felt, giving fans of both personalities something to get invested in as the action unfolds. Online poker betting site PokerShares knows that the interest in the match is extremely high and so they are giving fans a chance to get in on the action themselves. Of course, the Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald led book allows players to bet on who will win the challenge outright (Polk is the current favorite at roughly 4.5-1) but they have also decided to have some extra fun by offering more than 15 prop bets for fans who want to have a little extra rooting interest. So, here are some of the more interesting wagers onlookers can make while watching Polk and Negreanu play HU4Rollz. How Big Will The Biggest Pot In Session 1 Be? For many fans, this is the biggest reason to tune in. Just like “Rail Heaven” days on Full Tilt Poker when the best nosebleed players in the world routinely won and lost six-figure sums, the chat will be packed with those hoping to see poker players put it all on the line in sick spots. This challenge has the potential to have some of those swings. At $200/$400, 100 big blinds deep with stacks being topped off, it only takes a cooler or two before there could be a whole lotta of money on the table. PokerShares is setting the over/under on the biggest pot at $100,000 and with the first session assumed to be at least two hours long with two tables running the potential for fireworks is there from hand number one. Will One Player Rage-Quit Early Session 1? Rage-Quitting is real. It’s defined as "angrily abandoning an activity that has become frustrating", and in recent months and weeks, tempers from both Polk and Negreanu have flared up. It wasn’t that long ago that Negreanu was temporarily banned from Twitch after having a few choice words for a viewer who insulted his family. This took place only a few sessions after disconnect problems on WSOP.com, the same platform this challenge is being held on, saw him nearly toss his laptop across the room on stream. Polk on the other hand keeps it more controlled in his streams and videos. That’s not to say he can’t be riled up. When the entire challenge was threatened, he lashed out a few times on Twitter not only at Negreanu but also taking the time to reply to random Dan-fans about how he’s planning on “backing up the truck”. Although unlikely, those who think emotions will get the better of one of these two can get 4.8-1 on their money. Will Doug Polk Return To Being A Pro Poker Player? The odds are not in favor of Polk, win or lose, returning to the grind but there are some interesting things to consider here. Polk has stated that he only retired from poker once and the only reason he’s back is to take on Negreanu. He posted a “goodbye poker” video on his channel and for those who followed his YouTube journey, it was clear his love of the game had dried up some time ago. But...he is back. Remember, he challenged Negreanu, not the other way around. He was out of poker and on to bigger things like trying to recall the Mayor of Las Vegas. But Polk chose to return to the spotlight, no one called him out. Now he’s back in the lab, not only working on his game in theory but getting cash game sessions in against some tough opponents in preparation. Finally, while he claims that he’ll be off once he's done taking out "the ******* trash", he’s also indicated on Twitter that he might be open to playing other opponents. It might be a tough judgment call on whether Polk is ever a pro again (for instance what if he’s playing challenges but also returns to creating content where he makes a good deal of money), but if you want to take a shot on him the line is 7.6-1. The flip side of this is Will Daniel Cease To Be A Pro Player Because of This Challenge? Good luck with that one. Will There Be A Slowroll in Session 1? Both players have a firm understanding of the etiquette behind slow rolls and the deep disrespect that sometimes comes with them. That said, these guys clearly do not like each other, and in the layers-deep mind games that play out in heads up, would either of these guys pull a slow one? This bet comes with an important caveat that needs to be seen before putting down a few dollars. The person behind the website, Mike McDonald, is “the decider” in this case. While being a longtime trusted member of the community, and apparently a 90% free throw shooter, it might be a little problematic if the guy who knows where the bulk of the money sits is also responsible for determining the outcome. This is not a questioning of McDonald’s honor or intent, just a nod to how someone might feel if they place and bet and it’s ruled against what they think is an obvious slowroll. Same odds on both sides here. Where Will Doug Polk's Teeth Be At The End Of This Match? You read that right. PokerShares is confident that Polk will be keeping all his teeth right where they are. But if you think Negreanu might make Polk the same offer that got him banned on Twitch, you can take a flyer on this wild prop that jokes about what might be done to Polk's teeth and where they might be given back to him. These prop bets are made for fun with a majority of them having a per-player max limit less than the buy-in of a Sunday Major. This ensures that neither the player nor the book, can be hurt too bad. At least not nearly as bad as the pain Negreanu or Polk may feel when the challenge gets underway next month.
  9. The ongoing, years-long feud between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk entered yet another chapter over the weekend. As the pair hashed out the subject of whether or not pre-flop charts (or any form of Real-Time Assistance) would be allowed in their upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge on WSOP.com, the tension between the two entered a new phase with Negreanu playing up his role as the underdog and Polk setting his intention to do real damage to Negreanu’s bankroll. After negotiating out the details of the November match, including the stakes, game format, platform, and starting date, the subject of what reference materials would be allowed during the course of play came up. It was clear from the onset of the discussion that the mind games between the two had started well before the first card has even been dealt. After first declaring that he was “open to either allowing or disallowing the use of any RTA including charts”, Negreanu shifted gears. He took to Twitter and dug into the notion that “real poker” is played without any in-the-moment assistance.
  10. In what has been one of the most interesting battles on the high-stakes tables at Full Tilt Poker, 2014 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured) has been squaring off against Denoking, with both players pulling out sizeable victories. Special thanks to HighStakesDB for the data used in this article. Last week, Polk took the action to Denoking on the $300/$600 No Limit Hold'em tables at Full Tilt and, after a long session, walked off with a $736,000 win. Thus, when Denoking returned to the felt on Monday night, Polk was poised to add some more of Denoking's ducats to his virtual wallet. As the session played out, however, it was Denoking who had the last laugh. Deciding on a shorter session than their previous matchup, Denoking came out of the gate rapidly. Inside an hour of play, Denoking was able to ratchet up a $300,000 edge. In one hand, after Polk three bet pre-flop, Denoking decided to just call and see a monochrome Qc-7c-10c flop. Polk check-called a bet from Denoking and, with both players having more than $100,000 on the table, saw a 9h on the turn. Polk once again check-called a bet and, on the 6c river, pushed his chips all in for the nearly $200,000 pot. Denoking made the call and, after Polk showed a Qh-10h for a flopped two pair, Denoking showed Ac-Qs for the rivered four-flush to take down the $279,000 pot, the biggest of the match. Polk didn't back off, instead reloading his stake and going back for more. Polk's big strike of the day came after four-betting Denoking off the button to see an innocuous 2-5-8 flop. Denoking fired out on that flop and Polk three-bet, which Denoking simply called. The turn was an ace and Denoking slowed down with a check. Polk fired off $22,000 into the $160,000 pot and Denoking called to see an eight on the river. Both players pulled back with checks, at which point Polk showed pocket queens to win on the very dangerous board. Now it was Denoking's turn to make a bit of a comeback, as he won several smaller hands before taking down the last six-figure pot of the matchup. As Denoking's roll continued, Polk took a pause from the action to gather his thoughts. As he waited, Denoking reminded Polk that it was a "short session" and, without a reply, stood up from the table and booked a $308,000 win. Although losing on Monday to his rival was a bit of a hit, Polk seems to have rebounded nicely. During action Tuesday on Full Tilt Poker, Polk soothed his wounds by booking a win of his own, taking down nearly $137,000. Since the start of 2014, Polk has played 95 sessions according to HighStakesDB and almost 27,000 hands. As of Wednesday, Polk has racked up $971,711 in winnings, good enough for fifth place. For his part, Denoking has had a tough week. Although he was able to start the week with a small win, the battles with Polk have resulted in his bankroll taking a bit of a hit. After the clash with WCGRider, Denoking's overall loss for the past week sits at roughly $436,000. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. In August, Daniel Negreanu took to Twitter to offer his commentary on the play during the 2014 World Series of Poker and, in particular, the "online" players he faced. Negreanu was less than complimentary of the attacking style employed by many online players and fell back on his success in live cash games to demonstrate his knowledge. This led to some in the Twitterverse deriding him, stating he couldn't even beat a $5/$10 cash game online. Not one to back down from a challenge, Negreanu issued a challenge. In response to a person who questioned whether he could beat the $25/$50 six-handed PokerStarscash games, Negreanu responded, "It would take two weeks of work and I'd be a winner." He added, "I couldn't be any more serious. Two weeks, five hours playing, four hours studying numbers daily… (I) would bet a million (that I would be a winner)." Naturally, this boisterous proposition by Negreanu raised the ire of some of the regular online cash game pros. One of those was 2014 WSOP bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured above), who responded to Negreanu's claims in an interview with CardPlayer. Polk said once Negreanu was called out, "Kid Poker" introduced several caveats to what he stated on Twitter. "This whole thing started with Negreanu posting that with two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50," Polk answered in the interview with CardPlayer's Julio Rodriguez. "So, I took that to mean that if given two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50. Apparently, what Negreanu meant was that he'd be given two weeks of study and then get a whole year to beat $25-$50, along with another year of play if needed with some consequences or something." "The question is, am I willing to bet against Negreanu beating $25-$50 over the course of two years while cherry-picking his spots and getting coaching?" Polk asked. "No, of course not. But that's not what he originally said. The terms that I think are reasonable for the bet, he would never agree to." Polk moved on to say that he and others in the online cash game world were "insulted" by Negreanu's insinuations that he could beat their game so easily. "I think Negreanu is a fantastic live tournament player. He has great results and is a great ambassador for the game of poker, but he is not a good high-stakes online cash game player. He's just not. There are guys who spent a lot of time and energy making their way to that level and winning and he's basically dismissing their effort by saying he could just jump in and beat them. Most of the older, more recognizable live pros just don't have the skill set to win online." Polk seems to be one of those who has made the online-to-live jump quite successfully. Although he dismisses reports of his online performance, his last eight months of live action have been impressive. In addition to winning a WSOP bracelet, Polk finished fourth in the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge in February for a big six-figure score and, in July, took down the Bellagio $100,000 Super High Roller Event for $1.6 million. In his live tournament career of only three years, Polk has racked up over $3.6 million in earnings, according to the Hendon Mob. Although it makes for excellent fodder for poker gossip, the battle between Negreanu and Polk would be fascinating to see come to fruition. Do you think that "Kid Poker"' may have bitten off more than he could chew? Or could he actually, with two weeks of training, become one of those top online cash game pros? Leave a comment here and let us know! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. In a series of Tweets posted last week, it was revealed that Doug Polk (pictured), who is known in the high-stakes online poker world as WCGRider, had his Bank of America accounts frozen. The bank's actions came in advance of Polk wanting to head to Canada for the ongoing WCOOP on PokerStars. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- According to HighStakesDB, "When Polk tried to change his more anonymous 'WCGRider' screen name to just 'Doug Polk', a security alarm of some kind in the Bank of America system must have been raised." Polk promptly took to Twitter to warn other poker players who may bank with BOA, saying: Members of the industry responded to Polk's comments by saying they've had similar experiences in the US and UK, with Polk remarking at one point, "Yeah, I'm tired of getting treated like a criminal." When asked why BOA shut his accounts down, Polk simply told the community, "They told me they do not reveal that information." The issue involving poker players and well-known banks doesn't seem to be isolated to BOA, either. For example, Jason JCarver Somerville (pictured) described his experience with Chase, saying, "Chase did basically the same thing to me a few years ago that BOA is doing to you. I'd be a little cautious w/ them too." WCGRider is 74th on the list of biggest winners tracked by HighStakesDB, which makes the news more high-profile. He is $1.23 million in the black in high-stakes games that the tracking site has logged since late 2009. According to the Hendon Mob, Polk has $3.6 million in career live tournament winnings, including a victory earlier this year in a $100,000 No Limit Hold'em Super High Roller event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $1.6 million. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  13. Starting on Friday at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, four high-stakes poker pros will square off against an AI bot. The competition lasts for two weeks and will see Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured), Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les each play 20,000 hands heads-up against a bot developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The game is No Limit Texas Hold'em. "Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was," said Tuomas Sandholm, a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, in a press release. "It's a game of exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information thanks to bluffing, slow play, and other decoys. And to win, the machine has to out-smart its human opponents. Computing the world's strongest strategies for this game was a major achievement, with the algorithms having future applications in business, military, cybersecurity, and medical arenas." Each of the four pros will compete for a purse of $100,000, hoping to wrestle the six-figure sum away from the computer program, which is called Claudico. Polk, whom we've written about several times here on PocketFives, commented, "I think there will be less hand reading, so to speak, and fewer mind games. In some ways, I think it will be nice, as I can focus on playing a purer game and not have to worry about if he thinks that I think, etc." Play will proceed in two 750-hand sessions per day for 13 days. According to the press release, AI bots have had success in Limit Hold'em, but it remains to be seen whether they can master No Limit Hold'em, a game that's considerably more complex. As the release put it, "Two-player No Limit Hold'em has 10161 (1 followed by 161 zeroes) situations, or information sets, that a player may face, vastly more than all of the atoms in the universe. By contrast, the easier game of Limit Hold'em, in which bets and raises are limited to a predetermined amount, has only 1013 (1 followed by 13 zeroes) information sets." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  14. With the event headed into the homestretch, four poker pros have built up an edge over a specially-created poker playing bot in a first-of-its-kind demonstration. On April 24, four players – World Series of Poker bracelet winner and online guru Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – set out in the "Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence" competition being held live at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Their opponent was the latest creation of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, a poker playing program known as Claudico. The challenge for the two sides was to play 80,000 hands of No Limit Hold'em on laptops linked together and, in the end, whomever had won the most money would be determined the victor. The four humans are playing for a $100,000 bonus. The competition is unique in that this is the first time a computer program built for poker was taking a stab at No Limit Hold'em. Other programs and competitions from the past, including the University of Alberta's Polaris, were playing Limit Hold'em, a far more statistical game than the No Limit version. Even the program that supposedly has "solved" poker – Alberta's Cepheus– has only solved the Heads-Up Limit version of the game. Over the past 12 days, the four men have played 1,500 hands per day against Claudico, with two of them playing on the floor of the Rivers Casino and the other two in an "isolation room" taking part in their own heads-up matches. The players are all using the same cards against Claudico and, as the experiment draws to a close, the players are the ones cleaning up. Heading into the final few days of play, the humans have built up a sizeable edge over the Carnegie Mellon team. Overall, the "Brains" have built up a $673,941 lead over Claudico, which, according to Dr. Tuomas Sandholm (pictured) of Carnegie Mellon, would be a statistical defeat for his artificial intelligence program. Li has been the star of the "Brains" team, racking up $466,473 of the total win for the squad. Polk ($184,542) and Kim ($129,273) are running neck-and-neck to see who can take the second largest total, while Les (-$106,347) is the only one letting the human race down. What is the purpose of building Claudico, Polaris, or Cepheus, you ask? Artificial intelligence programs have usage far beyond simple games such as poker and chess. The program that defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparovin 1997, known as Deep Blue, eventually morphed into the Watson program that crushed former Jeopardy champions in 2011. By being able to compute a massive amount of information from differing sources, such artificial intelligence programs can improve the lives of humans through the fields of medicine, finance, cybersecurity, and other areas. In essence, the decision-making skills the poker-playing programs use are vital in many areas of daily life. With only a couple of days of play remaining, it seems that the human race will emerge as victorious in this particular battle. On May 8, a special closing ceremony will be held where the final results will be announced. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  15. Wow. If you're looking for a World Series of Poker tournament packed with talent, check out the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event, which is down to its final two tables. Nosebleed-stakes cash game player Doug WCGRiderPolk is atop the field with a stack of 1.4 million, one of two players who bagged seven-figures. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- There are several brand name PocketFivers left. In fact, two former #1 playerscan be found in third and fourth: Paul paulgees81Volpe (pictured) and Fedor CrownUpGuy Holz, who have 896,000 and 841,000, respectively. Volpe has $5.1 million in career online tournament winnings and was last ranked #1 on PocketFives in 2011. Volpe won a bracelet last yearin a $10,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball event and was the runner-up to Shaun Deebin a $10K PLHE event this year. Holz, who has deactivated his PocketFives profile, was ranked #1 on PocketFives in March. Sam Pudge714Greenwood, who won a braceletlast week in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event, is in seventh place with 455,000. Greenwood has had success in daily fantasy sports as well, winning $100,000in a tournament on the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings. Chris SLOPPYKLOD Klodnicki (pictured) is in eighth. He has cashed for $2.5 million in online MTTs and will record his first in the money finish of the 2015 WSOP. Two behind Klodnicki on the leaderboard is Olivier livb112Busquet, who made waves over the weekend after calling out Phil Hellmuth for thanking his sponsorsduring his bracelet acceptance speech. Then, an image of a smiling Busquet rocking Full Tilt gear surfaced, which put an end to much of the debate. Finally, Mark AceSpadesRadoja is the short stack with 143,000 in chips. He's a two-time bracelet winner with heads-upand shootout titles. Here's how the leaderboard looks with 12 remaining. When play stopped, the price of poker was 5,000-10,000-1,000: 1. Doug Polk - 1,443,000 2. Kenneth Fishman - 1,200,000 3. Paul paulgees81Volpe - 896,000 4. Fedor CrownUpGuyHolz - 841,000 5. Kevin Song - 661,000 6. Byron Kaverman - 580,000 7. Sam Pudge714Greenwood - 455,000 8. Chris SLOPPYKLODKlodnicki - 434,000 9. Fernando Brito - 419,000 10. Olivier livb112Busquet - 403,000 11. Thomas Muehloecker - 254,000 12. Mark AceSpadesRadoja - 143,000 The tournament restarts at 2:00pm PT on Friday. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  16. After two weeks and 80,000 total hands, four of the world's top online heads-up cash game players emerged victorious against an artificial intelligence program specifically designed to beat humans at No Limit Hold'em. The idea of computer programs built to "beat" poker is nothing new – the University of Alberta's Polarishas been tested against people and its latest version, Cepheus, is said to have "solved" the game – but those programs played Fixed Limit. This was No Limit Hold'em, a much more complex, nuanced game. The four men - Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured above), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – played 1,500 hands per day against the Claudico program, developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Tuomas Sandholm. To minimize variance that can be produced by one player getting lucky and receiving better hands than the other, two players were dealt one set of hands against Claudico, while Claudico received those same hands against the other two human players. In the end, the human players came out $732,713 in play money chips ahead. The breakdown of the individual results is as follows: Bjorn Li: +$529,033 Doug Polk: +$213,671 Doug Kim: +$70,491 Jason Les: -$80,482 While the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars victory seems overwhelming, Sandholm said that by virtue of the $170 million bet over the course of the 80,000 hands, the result was actually a statistical tie. "We knew Claudico was the strongest computer poker program in the world, but we had no idea before this competition how it would fare against four top 10 poker players," he said in a press release. "It would have been no shame for Claudico to lose to a set of such talented pros, so even pulling off a statistical tie with them is a tremendous achievement." Les was impressed by the artificial intelligence. He had seen an earlier version of Claudico called Tartanian7last July, but said this one is better: "The advances made in Claudico over Tartanian7 in just eight months were huge." Li was proud that the humans are still #1 despite Sandholm's claim of a tie, saying, "We know theoretically that artificial intelligence is going to overtake us one day, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the humans remain on top for now." Interestingly, Sandholm(pictured) said creating a computer program to beat humans in No Limit Hold'em is not really the goal of the project, but rather just a step in a larger overall process. "Beating humans isn't really our goal; it's just a milestone along the way," he said. "What we want to do is create an artificial intelligence that can help humans negotiate or make decisions in situations where they can't know all of the facts." As the Carnegie Mellon press release stated, "The same sort of algorithms could also be used to create strategies for applications involving cybersecurity, business transactions, and medicine. For instance, an AI similar to Claudico might help doctors develop sequential treatment plans for a patient, or design drugs that are less prone to resistance. Or, such an AI might help people negotiate their best deal when purchasing a house or a car." Polk, like Les, thought Claudico was a solid poker player, but still has a ways to go before it is a serious challenger to the human throne. One oddity he noted was that sometimes Claudico's bet-sizing was way out of whack. Severe underbets and overbets were not uncommon: "Betting $19,000 to win a $700 pot just isn't something that a person would do." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  17. When high-stakes poker players get bored, they make prop bets. And when those poker pros have each won millions at the tables, the stakes can quickly get to an absurd level. Such is the case right now between high-stakes grinders Doug Polk and David Doc Sands Sands (pictured). In a Twitter post, Polk revealed that Sands had challenged him to a fight for half-a-million dollars. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- "Today @Doc_Sands asked to fight me for 500k, I said yes. He needs 24 hours to get back to me. Let's see what happens #challengeaccepted," he Tweeted to his 7,600 followers. Sands might have been taken aback by Polk's willingness to throw down and the pair began hashing out the details of the bet. The fight wouldn't be an MMA-style contest, but rather a boxing match. Sands was willing to fight that very night, but Polk balked, claiming he needed more time to prepare. "He wanted to fight me tonight and I am not in shape enough to do so. In 24 hours we will know for sure," he said. Unsurprisingly, both pros' Twitter feeds lit up with interest, with many onlookers waiting for details while discussing the potential bet. "U look pretty chiseled on your podcast... why do u need 6 months to train? Doc is some master street fighter?" asked @slaymerica. "I don't get why he needs 6 months to train, didn't he say challenge accepted?" he added. $500,000 is a lot of money to risk on a prop bet, even for poker players who have made millions. Polk (pictured) reportedly was ready to agree to a $100,000 fight in 6 months, but Sands wanted to raise the stakes, countering with $500,000. Sands and Polk have both made a large chunk of change from cash games and live tournaments. Sands is ranked 48th on the GPI Player of the Year leaderboard and has $7.7 million in live tournament cashes to his name. Polk ranks 365th on the same leaderboard and has banked $4.8 million in live tournaments. For whatever reason, poker players have often placed big bets on physical contests. In 2009, Gus Hansen and Theo Jorgensen went toe-to-toe in the boxing ring, with the latter claiming victory and a five-figure payday. In 2011, Lex RaSZiVeldhuis and Bertrand ElkYGrospellier faced off in a kickboxing match in Spain. The fight ended with Veldhuis landing a kick to his opponent's head. More recently, poker pro and MMA fighter Terrence TChanChan (pictured) and Huck Seed to test their wrestling skills during this year's WSOP. That friendly confrontation was never finished due to security guards breaking up the fight. While it's still not clear if the fight will actually happen, Polk's most recent Tweet indicates that it probably won't. "After talking with @Doc_Sands, we are unable to reach an agreement on time frame. He wants within 4 weeks and I want 6 months to train," he said. Polk wanted to make it clear, however, that there was no ill will between him and his potential opponent. "I also want to say that I have no problem with @Doc_Sands. I think he is a great guy and this wasn't because we were beefin," he said. We'll keep you updated if there are any new developments. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  18. [caption width="630"] Doug 'WCG|Rider' Polk won six figures and a SCOOP title on Saturday. (WPT photo)[/caption] Saturday afternoon Doug ‘WCG|Rider’ Polk captured his first career Spring Championship of Online Poker title by beating one of the tougher No Limit Hold’em fields the festival has to offer. Polk beat out 150 other players to win Event 43, a $2,100 NLHE event for $115,000. And he did it all live on Twitch. Polk streamed the final table live on Twitch right through until the final hand. Polk also made the final eight of the $21,000 buy-in Heads Up High Roller event which plays out on Sunday afternoon. David ‘EzPaTuLa’ Cabrera beat out Ivan ‘Negriin’ Luca to win the $215 buy-in mid-stakes version of the event. Carbrera walked away with $57,366.13 for the win. The low-stakes version went to Noah ‘dirty.brasil’ Vaillancourt. The Vancouver based grinder conquered 2,876 other players including Yuri ‘theNERDguy’ Martins heads up to win the title. After Brazil failed to win a SCOOP title on Friday, the South American poker powerhouse made sure to get one on Saturday. Ricardo ‘preTu.ras’ Silva took down Event 50 (L), a $27 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO tournament. Silva’s win is the 19th win by a Brazilian player this SCOOP. Silva outlasted 7,438 other players to win the title and the $$13,732.61 first place prize money. He also collected an additional $2,821.27 in bounties. Silva won a Turbo Championship of Online Poker last year and now just needs a World Championship of Online Poker title to join the COOP Triple Crown club. The mid-stakes version of that event went to another player with previous SCOOP success ‘ex6tenceLV’ beat out over 2,300 players to win the second SCOOP title of his career and almost $50,000 in prize money. Hannes ‘SuchADegen’ Speiser won Event 50 (H), a $2,100 buy-in tournament, to win $107,730 plus an extra $41,645.97 in bounties. Also worth noting that Shaun Deeb earned enough points on Saturday to move past Jason Mercier for top spot on the Overall SCOOP leaderboard. With just two days of play left Deeb has 780 points while Mercier trails with 755. Event 43 (H): $2,100 NLHE 1R1A Entrants:151 (42 rebuys, 57 add-ons) Prize pool: $500,000 Doug ‘WCG|Rider’ Polk - $115,000.00 sk2ll_m0dR - $80,000.00 zcedrick - $60,750.00 James ‘Andy McLEOD’ Obst - $45,000 3P3NIPA - $30,000 Gandalf MR - $25,000 birddy420 - $20,000 EvnomiYa - $15,000 Lrslzk - $12,500 Event 43 (M): $215 NLHE 1R1A Entrants: 771 (323 rebuys, 446 add-ons) Prize pool: $312.620.00 David ‘EzPaTuLa’ Cabrera - $57,366.13 Ivan ‘Negriin’ Luca - $40,953.22 Shyam ‘G’s zee’ Srinivasan - $30,949.38 tobi123456 - $23,290.19 Fukuruku - $16,256.24 kawachi1984 - $13,130.04 i need sheet - $10,003.84 Francisco ‘Tomatee’ Benitez - $6,866.64 groww - $4,064.06 Event 43 (L): $27 NL Hold'em, 1R1A Entrants:*2,877 (1,700 re-buys, 1,793 add-ons) Prize pool:*$156,383.50 Noah ‘dirty.brasil’ Vaillancourt - $24,710.41 Yuri ‘theNERDguy’ Martins - $18,558.02 BioNicle9 - $13,292.59 GloRyKeepah - $9,148.43 rodloiola - $6,959.06 kopakabritu - $5,395.23 pitaoufmg - $3,831.39 LameR25 - $2,267.56 swifterjet - $1,329.25 Event 44 (H): $1,050 HORSE Entrants: 264 (169 entries, 95 re-entries) Prize pool: $264,000.00 Matthew 'MUSTAFABET' Ashton - $53,460.00 Naoya 'nkeyno' Kihara - $40,920.00 gloria1986 - $30,360.00 Trueteller - $22,440.00 Eugene Katchalov - $14,520.00 Luke 'lb6121' Schwartz - $11,880.00 Adam 'Adamyid' Owen - $9,240.00 HlPPOCAMP - $7,260.00 Event 44 (M): $109 HORSE
 Entrants:*990 (745 entries, 245 re-entries) Prize pool:*$99,000 GrimIsCool - $11,619.07* hipoppotamus - $11,107.93* cbolt21 - $13,458* YaaGy - $12,255.70* grampabumkin - $4,950 alxbanana - $3,465 thefish01x - $2,227.50 BOT OHO - $1,485 *Four way chop Event 44 (L): $11 HORSE Entrants: 3,217 (822 re-entries) Prize pool: $40,390.00 Bowsercastle - $4,602.63* tigrenok.mn - $4,544.56* Mikki31 - $4,150.81* JobberJay - $4,403.36* homasapiens - $2,019.50 ALD74 - $1,211.70 chaka-G - $605.85 Sharkomaha - $363.51 *Four way chop Event 50 (H): $2,100 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO 
Entrants:*567 Prize pool:*$1,134,000 ($567,000 regular prize pool, $567,000 bounty prize pool) Hannes ‘SuchADegen’ Speiser - $107,730 + $41,645.97 in bounties Trueteller - $79,380 + $15,510.73 in bounties FaceStealer - $58,117.50 + $25,271.47 in bounties Bryn ‘BrynKenney’ Kenney - $39,690 + $28,281.24 in bounties Jason ‘jakoon1985’ Koon - $28,350 + $18,371.09 in bounties xPastorcitox - $18,144 + $7,867.15 in bounties Event 50 (M): $215 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO Entrants:2,309 Prize pool: $461,800.00 ex6tenceLV - $36,368.18 + $13,122.75 = $49,490.93 ForTheSwaRMm - $26,553.50 + $4,207.00 = $30,760.50 zwacke - $19,626.50 + $7,614.41 in bounties = $27,240.91 Desmoplakin - $13,276.75 + $2,909.37 in bounties = $16,186.12 EyesNvrLie - $8,658.75 + $3,074.20 in bounties = $11,732.95 PjotrNL - $4,613.38 + $628.12 in bounties = $5,241.50 Event 50 (L): $27 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO Entrants: 7,439 Prize pool: $182,627.45 (Regular pool: $91,499.70, Bounty pool: $91,127.75) Ricardo ‘preTu.ras’ Silva - $13,732.61 + $2,821.27 bounties Flyinbanana - $9,607.46 + $744.05 bounties !Mp!yavv - $6,862.47 + $6,862.47 bounties S3XXYMUCK - $4,117.48 + $1,891.82 bounties bodgik77 - $2,287.49 + $1,016.73 bounties Kosei Ichinose - $1,372.49 + $561.09 bounties
  19. The Rio hosted one 2016 World Series of Poker final table – the last Stud event on the schedule and the vaunted $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event brings six players to final table Friday. Registration closed on Day 2 in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller, the Tag Team event has nine remaining and two budget-priced, big bet games kicked off for the arriving Main Event crowd. David Prociak Outduels Brandon Shack-Harris and John Monnette for First Bracelet [caption width="640"] David Prociak faced off against two of the best Limit players today and came out on top.[/caption]David Prociak was the short stack at the final table of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event with nine players remaining and had two of the game’s best Mixed Game tournament players and a couple guys with 20 WSOP cashes in Calvin Anderson and Jameson Painter ahead of him. Prociak played beyond his experience and battled his way all the way back to his first bracelet and $156,546. “I can’t put it into worlds, there’s nothing I can say,” Prociak said moments after besting Shack-Harris heads-up. “I’m still in shock. I came in to the day with a lead but lost it pretty quick to him (Shack-Harris) in five straight pots.” “I was able to put it all behind me and kept him from putting it on me,” he added. “I’ve been locked in all week – waking up when I’m supposed to and eating healthy." Prociak's win is just his third WSOP cash in his first year at the WSOP. He previously cashed in Colossus II and finished 30th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Mixed Event. Shack-Harris won his second career bracelet a week ago in the Pot Limit Omaha Championship and recorded his third final table of the summer. He also played the entire final table wearing a hooded polar bear jacket. Monnette’s Series improved to eight cashes with five final tables. He’s made $319,906 for his efforts of a runner-up and third place finishes. Bryan Devonshire finished 10th and Al Barbieri 12th. Final Table Payouts David Prociak - $156,546 Brandon Shack-Harris - $96,750 John Monnette - $66,601 Alex Livingston - $46,652 Louis Russo - $33,263 Gaurav Kalro - $24,148 Jameson Painter - $17,855 Calvin Anderson - $13,452 Yue Due Holds Half the Chips in Play with Six Remaining in $5,000 No Limit Event The penultimate day of the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event returned with 47 players and the pace of elimination was a bit brisker than planned, so the field played down to six players before stopping. Yue Du holds half the chips in play with 11.73 million in the bag. German standout and three-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche is second in chips with 3.66 million and Jason Mercier’s better half, Natasha Barbour, sits in the middle with 2.45 million. Austrian Ismael Bojang, Michael Gentili and Marius Gierse round out the table. Matt O’Donnell (7th), Sertac Turker (8th) and Arne Coulier (9th) made the final table but didn’t survive the day. Kane Kalas bubbled the final table in 10th place as Andy Hwang, Byron Kaverman and Isaac Baron all made deep runs. Final Table Chip Counts Yue Du – 11,730,000 Dominik Nitsche – 3,665,000 Natasha Barbour – 2,455,000 Ismael Bojang – 1,785,000 Michael Gentili – 1,415,000 Marius Gierse – 730,000 Nine Tag Teams Advance, Polk/Fee Lead by Wide Margin Day 2 began with 130 returning teams and ten levels of action has the field trimmed to a final table headlined by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee. They have 1.2 million in the bag and John Gale and TJ Shulman sit second with 606,000. Top pros Mohsin Charania and Marvin Rettenmaier sit third, Jonathan Little has a team with his parents, James Dempsey and Chris Godfrey formed a team and Bart Lybaert, Adam Owen, Benny Glaser and Owais Ahmed formed a four-man squad that returns. Leo Wolpert and Ryan Laplante finished 22nd, Michael, Robert, Eric and Daniel Mizrachi finished in 26th place and Jeff Gross, Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari finished in 28th place. Final Table Chip Counts (by Last Player Sitting) Doug Polk – 1,243,000 John Gale – 606,000 Mohsin Charania – 505,000 Michael Padula – 475,000 James Dempsey – 447,000 Niel Mittelman – 425,000 Adam Owen – 293,000 Reuben Peters – 209,000 Larry Little – 113,000 Elite Field of 20 Return in $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Day 2 returned 95 survivors with chips and 21 player waited until the start of action to get in the event. Ten levels of action trimmed the field down to 20 players with Ludovic Geilich on top with 3,025,000 in the bag. Michael and Robert Mizrachi sit second and third in chips one day after Michael finished fourth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and the same day they cashed in 26th place with brothers Eric and Daniel in the Tag Team event. Ryan D’Angelo, Sean Winter and Paul Volpe finished in the top ten with Dan Smith, Cary Katz and Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the second half of the counts. Day 2’s additional entrants that skipped Day 1 pushed the prize pool to $4.37 million. The top 28 players made the money with Sam Stein, Taylor Paur, Rep Porter and Isaac Baron earning a payout before busting. Top Ten Chip Counts Ludovic Geilich – 3,025,000 Michael Mizrachi – 2,435,000 Robert Mizrachi – 2,245,000 Ryan D’Angelo – 1,640,000 Sean Winter – 1,560,000 Paul Volpe – 1,430,000 Chris Lee – 1,245,000 Veselin Karakitukov – 1,215,000 Tommy Le – 1,200,000 Jens Kyllonen – 1,165,000 Event 63: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em The budget No Limit event at 11 am drew a huge crowd of 2,452 entrants and after a long day at the felt 268 players remain. Daniel Weinman missed out on the overall led by a few chips but is one of 15 to bag up six-figure stacks. Matt Jarvis, Hiren Patel, Nick Guagenti, Tony Dunst and Mark Radoja all bagged up above average stacks. The field combined for a $2,206,800 prize pool for the top 368 finishers. All returning players have $1,750 guaranteed but the big money up top nabs all the attention – the top four players earn six-figures with the winner walking with $339,254. Top Ten Chip Counts Frederick Goff – 144,300 Daniel Weinman – 140,400 Raffaele Castro – 130,000 Patricia Kananda – 127,600 Michael Wang – 127,300 Paolo Cusinato – 117,600 Sean Gibson- 117,500 Massoud Eskandari – 114,900 Sergio Cabrera – 114,800 James Salters – 104,900 Event 64: $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha HiLo The afternoon event picked up 478 entrants and ten levels of play reduced the field down to 156 players. Jon Turner built the largest stack but Allan Le, Kyle Bowker and Leif Force all bagged up in the top five spots. 2005 Main Event Champ Joe Hachem landed in the top ten with Ashton Griffin, Ari Engel and Ben Yu with stacks way above average. Richard Ashby, Scott Clements, Ylon Schwartz and David Paredes also return. The field built a $1,291,290 prize pool for a little less than half of the returning field – 71 players. First place earns $294,960 and top three spots earn six-figures. Top Ten Chip Counts Jon Turner – 116,900 Allan Le – 112,700 Tark Abboud – 111,500 Kyle Bowker – 110,700 Leif Force – 110,500 Sirous Jamshidi – 109,800 Anil Gurnaney – 101,300 Terrance Bott – 97,000 Joe Hachem – 95,200 Timothy Vukson – 94,800 Expensive Chairs in the Amazon Room or Playing for a Bracelet in Underwear The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop returns Friday for one of the most expensive buy-ins this side of the Atlantic. The event drew X in 2014 when Tony Gregg earned $x for his first bracelet. For those that prefer much less media attention the online bracelet with unlimited re-entries starts at 1 pm and plays down to the final six for a live final table in the Amazon Room. The Ladies Championship returns with a 90% discount of the $10,000 buy-in for female players. Technically, men can enter but their +EV argument takes a huge hit.
  20. The final day of the 2016 World Series of Poker before the Main Event kicks off buzzed with the arrival of the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop and the final table of the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. The Ladies Championship also got underway and three bracelets were awarded for two events while a power couple got a little stronger. Jens Kyllonen, Tommy Le, Dan Smith Return for $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha Day 4 The $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event returned 20 of the world’s top players for Day 3 on Friday, but fell short of crowning a champion with three players remaining after ten levels of play. Jens Kyllonen leads Tommy Le with Dan Smith as the short stack. Smith doubled up on the last hand of the night with a straight against Le. Kyllonen bagged up 10,925,000, Le with 8,650,000 and Smith with 3,425,000. The final day saw ten full levels of action but with three players remaining there was no option but return for an additional day to play out. They’re all guaranteed nearly $500,000 but it may be a long day with $1,127,035 for the winner. Top Ten Chip Counts Anetta Holley – 117,600 Karen Xiu – 96,400 Barbara Johnson – 88,900 June Jenkins – 86,700 Alexis Sterner – 85,600 Linglin Zeng – 83,800 Donna Dicrescento – 82,400 Courtney Kennedy – 82,200 Vanessa Selbst – 80,800 Marie Acoba – 78,700
  21. One of the most popular products that Doug Polk and Ryan Fee’s new endeavor, UpSwing Poker offers is ‘The Poker Lab’, and with Polk taking down the World Series of Poker $111,111 One Drop tournament earlier this summer for $3.7 million, it’s a training platform that many more people are going to be interested in. So let’s break down what you get when you sign up for UpSwing Poker’s Poker Lab. What’s in the Lab? The Poker Lab consists of 35 learning modules, with a promise of a new module being added every month from here on. These modules include topics like ‘An introduction to being a gangster’, which will teach you how to fight for pots; ‘Ranges quiz’ which will test and improve your knowledge on certain range aspects; and ‘How to play the river’, which is pretty self-explanatory. There are also 40 theory videos from Polk himself, in which ‘WCG|Rider’ explains his thought processes in certain spots and teaches viewers how to put them into practice. A new 30-minute ‘Play and explain’ video will also be added every week, so users can watch Polk and Fee in action. You’ll be able to study dozens of hand ranges, so you can learn how to split your ranges in certain situations both pre-flop and post-flop. And the ‘Foundations’ section is ideal for poker beginners, giving you an introduction to multiple poker concepts. For more experienced players, the ‘Game Elements’ section will no doubt be invaluable. Polk describes it as: “The often overlooked, but perhaps the single biggest separating factor between mediocre/losing players and those that crush the game. Game selection strategy, bankroll management, poker software learning, mental game, and mental biases – all taught by Doug Polk.” Perhaps one of the most valuable sections of the Poker Lab is ‘UpSwing Poker Engaged’; a social platform which users can use to not only engage with each other to discuss strategy, but also with Polk, Fee and many other players who are on hand to provide feedback. How much does it cost? The UpSwing Poker Lab is split into three price-ranges, which break down as follows: The Monthly Plan: This plan normally costs $99 for the first month, and then $49 every month after that. It gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members get the first month for just $79 - a $20 savings - and then $49 per month after that. The Yearly Plan: This plan normally runs at $499 a year, which is to be paid in one installment, and it too gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members pay only $449 - a $50 savings. The Semi-Annual Plan: This plan costs $299 per six months, so users can limit the amount they have to pay in one go. Compared with the Monthly Plan users will save $40 per year, and it gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members pay just $269 for this plan - a $30 savings. To purchase any of these discounted products, use coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout.
  22. [caption width="640"] Doug Polk has three WSOP bracelets to his credit and is willing to teach you his secrets for heads-up No Limit Hold'em (WSOP photo)[/caption] Having won his third World Series of Poker bracelet and $3,686,865 by taking down the One Drop High Roller earlier this month, Doug Polk has further cemented himself as one of the best poker players in the world, and only increased the level of demand for his Upswing Poker coaching products. Last September, the prolific YouTuber took down a $5,200 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em High Roller event on partypoker whilst thousands watched on; but as we all know, Polk is better known for his years grinding heads-up No Limit Hold’em cash games. He’s returned to these roots by releasing an Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course on UpSwingPoker.com, his training site set up in collaboration with fellow high stakes pro Ryan Fee. Let’s take a look at what the course involves. Content breakdown The course itself consists of 28 hours of material, plus an additional six hours of analysis derived from the ‘brains versus AI’ challenge which took place earlier this year. Of course, to make that amount of content a little less intimidating, the course is split into ten different sections: An overall introduction to the course Preflop introduction Preflop three-bet and four-bet pots Postflop introduction Small blind single raised pots Big blind single raised pots Big blind three-bet pots Small blind three-bet pots Four-bet pots Play and explain Each section has multiple sub-sections, and as a whole the course contains more than 80 individual videos. Use coupon code 'pocket5s' to get the Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course for just $949 - a $50 savings. Join Doug Polk as he shows you his*secrets to winning at Heads-Up poker. Let the three-time WSOP bracelet winner take your poker skills to another level Buy it now!Nosebleed superstars The final section, Play and explain, is a series of 11 videos featuring Polk playing heads-up against Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky, so it will undoubtedly feature some in-depth, high level thinking from the nosebleeds. But Polk is keen to point out that only this end part of the course is structured this way. In his own words: “It is NOT a bunch of play and explains. In fact, there are only a couple play and explain videos (from a $100/$200 HUNL match I played against Sauce last year). Instead, it is more of a walk through of all of the different branches of the game tree, with an emphasis on breaking down your combinations across all actions that are important to your strategy.” Despite this, the course does also promise some hand history reviews from Polk’s battles against the likes of Isildur, Wilhasha, and Jungleman. Polk’s promises Like all training courses, customers need to know what they’re likely to take away from it after the fact. So what should a poker player expect to happen to their game having studied through the course? According to Polk, the Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course will give you a “leg-up” on other players, and will make you “a MUCH, MUCH better poker player”. This will be achieved by imparting more balanced HUNL ranges, that should give the customer “the confidence to sit down at ANY heads-up or six-max table and take on anyone.”
  23. [caption width="640"] Upswing Poker and Fernando Habegger present PLO University, the latest learning module from the website. (Upswing photo)[/caption] Upswing Poker is dominating the poker training site landscape with access to premium content unavailable anywhere else. The No Limit Hold’em cash game and tournament lessons offered by Doug Polk, Ryan Fee, and now, Pratyush Buddiga is a step beyond the competition. No Limit is a heavily demanded game by its audience but Upswing is broadening the options available with the introduction of Pot Limit Omaha and PLO University. Leading this new course is Fernando ‘JNandez87’ Habegger. The Swiss-born Habegger started playing online poker in 2006 and made the transition from No Limit to PLO in 2011. Primarily a cash game player, Habegger carries the extensive background required to take on the large task of teaching hundreds and potentially, thousands of students the way of Pot Limit Omaha. Use coupon code 'pocket5s' to sign up for PLO University for just $949 - a $50 savings. Fernando 'JNandez87' Habegger will teach you his closely guarded secrets and take your PLO skills to the next level. BUY IT NOW! Habegger says that the course will include basic strategy concepts for beginning players and will also contain high-level methods for already established players to take their game to the next level. “Beginners learn the fundamental structure of PLO and develop a strong base to develop strategies from. Mid and high stakes players also get a framework to structure their learning process that helps people to continuously improve after going through the course. Both kinds of player also get access to our private community which is active and supportive.” The private community that Habegger speaks of is the Facebook group available to all users with an Upswing Lab subscription. This group allows players to share hands and ideas with one another and also interact with Upswing’s coaches and get their feedback on various situations. From the time he first started playing PLO, Habegger has been on the cutting edge of how the game is advancing and staying ahead of as many learning curves as possible. There are numerous training sites available to receive PLO training from but Habegger believes what he brings to the table for Upswing is one step above the competition. “The material and data in the PLO University are based on hundreds of hours empirical research. It's also been developed after going through hundreds of coaching hours with players from all parts of the world and abilities, it is a proved and improved method of teaching poker strategy. The course also features the effective and efficient use of the most relevant poker software on the market.” Among the influences that Habegger credits for advancing his own learning of Pot Limit Omaha are Ben ‘ben86’ Tollerene and Jens ‘Jeans89’ Kyllönen. Habegger notes the two PLO standouts “have certainly influenced the way I approach and play the game.” He also says he studied each player’s game for over 100 hours each during his own career. All Upswing PLO University students can be sure to see elements of Tollerene and Kyllonen in Habegger’s training module. No Limit Hold’em remains the most popular form of poker in the world but more card rooms in the United States are offering Pot Limit Omaha than ever. The high-variance action of the game combined with the massive pots that play out always leave first time players wanting to come back for more. The players who have put in the hours grinding away know that there is always an edge and are looking to increase it with every session. So why should a novice and a high-stakes player both find themselves enrolled in PLO University? Let Habegger explain. “The PLO University is the most up to date course, based on researched data and put together in a way that makes sense and provides an effective learning path for players at any level. It also has a greatly supportive community behind it, and is the only course created from start to finish by a player with long-term success in mid and high stakes who has also coached over a hundred students.”
  24. Doug Polk already has one WSOP Tag Team bracelet to his name, after Day 1 of the $10K Championship, he's well positioned for another one. (WPT photo)[/CAPTION] The 2017 World Series of Poker got underway Wednesday with two bracelet events starting and it ended with a familiar face sitting atop the chip counts. Employees Event Opens Things Up, Gallagher Leads Final 11 As has become custom, the first event on the schedule was the $565 Casino Employees event. This year 651 players, all of whom work in the casino or poker industry in some respect, showed up to take their shot at winning a WSOP bracelet. David Tuchman, Erica Lindgren and former November Niner Kenny Hallaert were among some of the recognizable faces in the crowd. After playing 20 30-minute levels on Wednesday, just 11 players remain and a pair of Christopher's sit atop the chip counts, separated by a single small blind. Christopher Gallagher, representing Portland, OR, bagged up 519,000 while Christopher Solomon, out of Jacksonville, FL, finished with 513,000. Vincent Russell, from Bagshot, England, is the only international player still in the tournament. Action resumes at Noon and will play down to a winner. Chip Counts Christopher Gallagher - 519,000 Christopher Solomon - 513,000 Jermel Stephens - 418,000 Alexis Cordova-Nieto - 348,000 Victor Kim - 323,000 Bryan Hollis - 290,000 Adem Arbuckle - 243,000 Vincent Russell - 216,000 Joshua Clanton - 172,000 Haviv Bahar - 145,000 Nathan Bolinger - 77,000 Team Doug Polk Leading $10,000 Tag Team Championship Last year Doug Polk and Ryan Fee teamed up to take down the inaugural $1,000 buy-in Tag Team event. Wednesday they returned with reinforcements and ended up bagging the chip lead. Polk and Fee added Jason Mo and Michael Finstein to their squad and made it through 10 levels of play with 240,600, good enough for the chip lead. The event allows teams of between two and four players, with each player required to play just one set of blinds to qualify as a team. A total of 102 teams made their way into the field and exactly half of the moved on to Day 2. Two players who were picked by PocketFives staff to win their first bracelet this summer, Stephen Chidwick andDan Smith, teamed up and would up with the third largest stack at the end of Day 1. Team Rast, which was comprised of Brian Rast, Jeff Gross, Antonio Esfandiari and Olympian Michael Phelps was unable to make it through Day 1. Andy Bloch and good friend Chris Ferguson barely survived through Day 1, with all but 24,300 being seized by other players. The final 51 teams return at 2 pm PT. Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts Team Polk - 240,600 Team Staats - 216,400 Team Tran - 207,000 Team Chidwick - 204,500 Team Salter - 192,300 Javier Gomez - 191,100 Team Fast - 187,100 Team Gathy - 183,000 Team Shuchi - 178,400 Team Snead - 157,000 Day 2 Schedule Thursday should see the Casino Employees event will play down to a winner, while the Tag Team Championship is scheduled to play 10.5 levels. Two more events get underway on Thursday. The $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout event begins at 11 am PT while the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-better starts at 4 pm PT.
  25. [caption width="680"] Upswing Poker Co-Founder Doug Polk wants you to become a better poker player by using the Upswing Poker Lab. (Photo c/o Upswing Poker)[/caption] The marketplace for poker training websites is always in flux and the release of Upswing Pokerin 2016 provided a new option for players looking to improve their game. Led by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee, the site contains all the tools necessary for anyone looking to become a better poker player. One of the most appealing parts of UpswingPoker.com for users to take advantage of is the Upswing Lab. For as little as $49 per month, users have unlimited access to the most integral parts of the Upswing Poker system, that includes coaching on online and live strategies for cash games, tournaments, and heads up play. Other sites offer tools similar to the Upswing Lab but none of them can claim to have the same comprehensive guide that provides many hours of content. Similar to Upswing’s Postflop Engine, The Lab offers multimedia tools designed to give users a fully interactive experience that can help improve their game. When comparing The Lab to his popular YouTube series, “Poker Hands,” Polk says, “If you like the type of analysis I’ve been doing, then you’re probably going to enjoy what’s inside The Lab.” When users log onto the Upswing website, right in the middle of the page is a link to the Lab. Once inside the first page of the Lab is the tagline, “This is what we would teach our younger selves, if we could send the course back in time.” Users are given the option of subscribing to a month, semi-annual, and yearly plan, with various pricing options designed for each. All options give full access to all modules within The Lab, but the yearly option is the best value at $499. Sign up for the UpswingPoker Lab here and use the coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout and you'll get $20 off your purchase.The primary driver of content in The Lab is Polk, who has 40 videos on poker theory waiting for users along with 35 separate learning modules. Fee is also a major part of the Lab and provides content on a regular basis. “Every month we promise to add in a new module of information. What we also add in every week is are ‘play and explain’ videos, so you can see me and Ryan Fee play and we explain what we’re doing,” said Polk. Polk also mentions that all material within the Upswing Lab is designed exclusively by him and Fee, which allows users to gain a familiarity with the teaching methods that the two players offer. The step-by-step process of “Learn, Study, Master” is designed to give all users, regardless of experience, the best tools available to become successful in poker. One of the best features of the modules is the accessibility for players of all skill levels to find information that is relevant to where they are on the learning curve. Depending on where your game stands, you can start with the foundations of the game, mastering how to play preflop, or how to become a postflop savant. From a social media perspective, The Lab is also beneficial in that it allows for all members to join a private Facebook group where they can discuss hands and strategy with Fee and Polk along with other poker professionals frequently providing input. Subscribers have been raving on social media for months about the benefits of The Lab and there are more success stories to follow. Among the groups of players who are paying compliments to their training are World Series of Poker Circuit ring winners, Borgata Poker Open champions, and WPT Deepstacks Main Event winners. Where the Upswing Postflop Engine is designed to be a less-intensive method of training, The Lab is a place for users to move from getting their feet wet to diving in head first. It takes hours to become a great poker player and the time spent in The Lab will do nothing but set up all users for future success.
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