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  1. With so many promotions taking place on 888poker in the month of May, it’s no wonder PocketFivers had another incredibly profitable month on the online site. In addition to 888poker’s popular XL Inferno online series, they routinely discounted their biggest Sunday tournaments and provided players a Galaxy of Freerolls to benefit from. Players took notice and flocked to take advantage. The UK’s ‘JBHInfinity’ picked up a huge score at the end of the month to take home the top spot on the Top Earners list. They booked a final table finish in the $500,000 guaranteed XL Inferno Main Event for a career-high cash of $32,780. They also had a bronze medal finish in the May 19 edition of the $5,000 Deepstack Monsoon which was good for another $750, helping them book a total of $33,883 for the month. Fellow grinder from the UK Ben ‘benwa1’ Warrington also had a big month racking up 11 in the money finishes, 10 of which were PLB-qualifying scores. Warrington started the month off strong with back-to-back four-figure scores. The first was a win in the May 2 edition of the $10,000 Monsoon for $2,812 and he followed that up with a victory in the May 3 $20,000 Sunday Sale Whale for another $7,579. Add to that two more four-figure scores and Warrington ended the month with a total of $20,568.18 for second on the Top Earners list. Sachin ‘mcsash’ Joshi took the #3 spot on the Top Earners list for May, racking up $18,750 in winnings. Joshi, who plays under the screen name ‘BUCKEDURNAN’ on 888poker did all his damage in a single shot by taking down the May 24 edition of the $109 buy-in $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep. He bested the 705 entry field and locked up the $18,750 first-place prize, a career-high cash for the London-based player. 888poker Top 10 Earners May 2020 [table id=68 /] When it came to grinding, no one came close to the Netherlands ‘HeateN’. The small stakes tournament grinder racked up 137 in-the-money finishes in May for a total of $6,090 in earnings. Their month included 22 top-three finishes for a 16% podium finish. While they usually stick to the smaller stakes, $10 and under, a win in the May 16 edition of the $55 $3,000 Monsoon brought them a nice score of $1,171, their second-highest score ever on 888poker. No stranger to the Most Cashes list is Russia’s ‘Neverhood007’ who has routinely topped this category in past months. In May, they racked up 81 in-the-money finishes for a total earnings of $4,123. In all of those cashes, ‘Neverhood007’ managed to grab the top spot just one time, on May 29 when he took down the $400 Gtd Frenzy R&A for $160. Bruno ‘KeyzerSozePT’ Ferreira also had a prolific month, climbing into the #3 spot on the Most Cashes list with 79 cashes for a total of $15,258 - the most of anyone in the top 10. Ferreira booked five wins in the month including his spotlight score of $2,354 in the May 6 edition of the Gran Deepstack. 888poker Top 10 Most Cashes May 2020 [table id=69 /] With all of those cashes, it should be no surprise that ‘HeateN’ also topped the 888poker Most Wins category for May. They took down seven tournament of their 137 results which was two better than the next trio of players. ‘RuffWizard’, ‘Flavio Felipe’, and Bruno ‘KeyzerSozePT’ Ferreira all were tied for second place as they wrapped up the month with five outright victories. Behind them was ‘Appiah1’ and ‘volkogrich’ who struck gold four time in the month of May. 888poker Top 10 Most Wins May 2020 [table id=70 /]
  2. After Uruguay football star Luis Suarez (pictured) allegedly bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini last week during the World Cup in Brazil, which entered its knockout stage on Saturday, FIFA handed down a punishment of nine Uruguayan matches and four months of play along with a fine of over $100,000. Suarez was also a brand ambassador of 888 Poker, and when we say, "he was," we mean 888 severed ties with the football player late last week. --- 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! --- The "bite heard round the world" took place last Tuesday in Natal, Brazil and it took 888 all of a few days to distance itself from the "Twilight"-like saga. 888 commented on Friday, "888 Poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognized. Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888 Poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect." According to the New York Daily News, Suarez argued that rather than intentionally biting an opponent, he merely fell awkwardly, writing in a letter last Wednesday, "In no way it happened how you have described, as a bite or intent to bite. After the impact... I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent. At that moment, I hit my face against the player, leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth." Interestingly, Chiellini called the punishment handed down "excessive" and argued, "I sincerely hope he will be allowed to stay close to his teammates during the games because such a ban is really alienating for a player." In PocketFives' original article, we pointed out that it wasn't Suarez's first run-in involving biting: "In 2010 while playing for AFC Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie, Suarez received a seven-match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal… In 2013, he received a 10-match ban in the English Premier League for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic." Tweets and a blog announcing Suarez's arrival to 888 Poker, which happened in mid-May, have been removed. Suarez is also a brand ambassador for the shoe company Adidas, which yanked a poster on Copacabana of the football player with his mouth open wide (pictured). Below his likeness was a caption that translated to "all or nothing." Visitors and locals alike were posing with the poster as if Suarez were biting them. Adidas noted, "Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez's recent behavior and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players. We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Earlier this month, woohoo42(pictured) came away with the win in the 888 Poker Super XL Main Event, a $600 NLHE tournament with a $1 million guarantee. There was no chop and woohoo42 banked $199,000 for the win. "I'm going to continue working with my staking group," he told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I will increase their buy-ins. They were probably happier than I was." He won a $30 Step satellite to get into the $600 buy-in tournament and also won a $160 qualifier. He took the chip lead in the Super XL Main Event at the very beginning and didn't relinquish it for the first three hours. From there, woohoo42 told us, "I had a bad stretch after losing a blind-versus-blind flip with J-10 versus 3-3 against a guy who ended up final tabling as well, so that was sick. He was at my second table with over 1,000 players left and we both went all the way." The Serbian poker player said that the 888 tournament's structure likely contributed to his success. "It was very deep all the way," he said. "Recently, I had a deep run in the Sunday Million, but the average stack was way shorter. In this tournament, I was never all-in for my stack. Since I am a cash game player, it did wonders. I was able to exploit other players a lot post-flop." He had one memorable hand with 5-3 offsuit. He told us, "The key hand was at the final table when we were four-handed. I was the chip leader and opened with 5-3 off. I was playing 90% of the hands at the time from the cutoff and the button. I faced a 3bet from the small blind and saw that his average buy-in was very low, so I knew he couldn't risk going out fourth when he was second in chips. I 4bet him and he called. The flop was 10-7-6 rainbow. I bet one-third of the pot and apparently he folded A-Q. I showed the hand and my rail went crazy in the chat. From there on, I was stealing every hand and was lucky that they didn't get A-A or K-K since that was their all-in range at the time." He started playing poker in 2008. At the time, he had a bankroll from sports betting and said he "went into poker and hit a crazy heater. I ended up busting to Viktor Blom on Bet365. That was how it started. That's why I was never scared money in the Super XL Main Event. My staking group and steady income also help. I would say that staking and coaching is my full-time job." Hold it now. Viktor Blom busted woohoo42 on Bet365? That's not something you hear every day. "He busted my first bankroll, $40,000 or so, in January 2009" he told us. "We were both young sickos. He happened to run better. I dedicated myself to school after that. I had a full scholarship at the University of Richmond, but I dropped out because of poker." Blom continues to be one of the fixtures of the nosebleed-stakes poker community five years later and woohoo42 said of his game, "He was very good at adjusting and he was very good playing deep." Blom recently returned to Full Tilt Poker after a two-month hiatus. Away from poker, woohoo42 plays basketball and spends time with his girlfriend. He is a big fan of the NBA. On 888 Poker, you can find woohoo42 playing under the user name Adza32. In November, he finished fifth in the PokerStars Big $55 and seventh in the Bigger $162 in a 24-hour span for $12,000 total. He finished 19th in the Sunday Million last week. He is one of 242 members of the Serbia pokercommunity on PocketFives that have registered PLB scores. Serbia is #31 in the PocketFives Country Poker Rankings with a combined PLB score of its top 20 members of 48,102 points, sitting just ahead of New Zealand. Serbian PocketFivers have combined career online MTT winnings of $6.4 million, $1.8 million of which has come in the last three months. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a special 100% up to $600 deposit bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. Over the last weekend of August, Russia's MAMOHT_T(pictured) came away with the victory in the 888 Poker Mega Deep. Defeating a field of 681 entrants meant a $32,000 payday, as he defeated fellow PocketFiver Grind24seven heads-up. In part as a result of his recent performance, MAMOHT_T has found his way into the top five of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, settling in at #5 in the world, and just lapped $4.6 million in online tournament winnings. We caught up with the top-ranked Russian to talk about his latest claim to fame. PocketFives: Nice job on the 888 Mega Deep win. How are you feeling about it? MAMOHT_T: I feel great and very happy, of course. PocketFives: Can you walk us through how the tournament went in general for you and give us your thoughts on its structure, field, and buy-in? MAMOHT_T: The tournament went pretty calmly for me. Until there were 40 or 50 players left, I managed to gradually increase my stack – nothing really special. Starting when there were 40 opponents, the field began to play more aggressively and I had to fight back. When there were six players left, I became the chip leader and remained at the top until the end, busting one opponent after another. The tournament is very good. It has a very good and smooth structure and the buy-in is also okay for its structure. PocketFives: You've had several five-figure scores this year, including a win in the Full Tilt $250,000 Guaranteed. Tell us about what has been going right for you this year and why. MAMOHT_T: I play a lot, try hard in every tournament, and sometimes get lucky. The result is victories and it's awesome when a victory comes with a five-figure score. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? What have you used your poker winnings for this year? MAMOHT_T: Nothing special. I live for fun, go on holidays with my wife, and help my parents. I am thinking about getting a good car this year. PocketFives: Speaking of this year, what goals do you have poker-wise for the rest of 2014? MAMOHT_T: I would like to win one or two events during the WCOOP and then go to an EPT stop, as I really want and like to play offline, although I do so rarely. PocketFives: What do you do besides poker? What else interests you? MAMOHT_T: Poker takes up a lot of my time, so I don't have a lot of time to spend on other interests. I love to travel to visit interesting places in other countries, play Dota2 periodically, and the rest of my time is given to my wife, friends, and parents. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus,$88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Training. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. We all know that PokerStarsrules the roost in the online poker world in terms of cash game volume. It has been at the top of PokerScout's cash game traffic rankings for years and shows no signs of coming close to relinquishing that spot any time soon. With a seven-day average of 20,000 cash game players, it is eight-and-a-half times as large as its closest competitor. And that does not even take into account tournaments, where PokerStars is also king. --- 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! --- It is that closest competitor, though, where things get interesting in the industry. As PokerScout pointed out in its weekly Scouting Report, the fight for second place in the cash game standings is strong. 888 Poker and the iPoker Network are almost in a dead heat, with 888 just 4.5% ahead of iPoker, 2,300 cash game players to 2,200. iPoker has been trailing 888 for most of the year, but since the end of August, it has seen its cash game traffic rise 11%. PokerScout believes some of this improvement could originate from some of the iPoker Network's sites hosting rakeback and leaderboard promotions this month, which tend to draw people in. Two years ago, according to a graph provided by PokerScout, the iPoker Network was comfortably ahead of 888, at times by close to 1,000 players. The gap had closed a bit by the Q2 2013, as while 888 wasn't much higher than it was to start 2012, iPoker had taken a fairly steep downturn. 888 began to climb in late 2013 and by the beginning of this year, it had surpassed the iPoker Network. Both have been on a steady decline most of the year, but are now on the upswing. 888's 11% uptick is stronger than iPoker's 7%, though, leading to them be close to even. In fact, PokerScout says, the iPoker Network inched ahead of 888 briefly last Thursday before falling back. On the whole, online poker traffic increased 1% last week, according to PokerScout, the second straight week the numbers went up. However, the figures are down 9% from the same time last year. PokerScout's Scouting Report is a daily newsletter for the online poker industry, with in-depth data and analysis of the market. More information can be found by clicking here or contacting support@pokerscout.com. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. PocketFives had the opportunity to sit down with Edward Eddiegood86 Espino (pictured, ranked 56th in New Jersey), who started out in the professional video gaming world and quickly transitioned over to playing poker. He would spend endless nights playing cash games, which usually ended in losing sessions, but he used his drive and determination to keep motivating himself to get better at the game. With over $144,000 in tracked online cashes, his bread and butter tournament is the 888 PokerBig Sunday $10,000 Guarantee where he has two wins, a second and a third for a total of $10,589. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker originally? Edward Espino: I use to play video games for a living, fighting games such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken. I would be at my local arcade on a daily basis. One day, kids went over to play poker over someone's house. I had never touched cards before that day and after four hours of playing 25/50 cent No Limit Hold'em, I was hooked. I then was donating all of my paychecks to these guys for maybe six months. I sure wish I knew bankroll management then! PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sites to play on and why? Edward Espino: 888 Poker! I never have had anything negative to say about them except one issue, but that was partially my fault. I'm not a big fan of rebuy tournaments, but they do have ways to get into their Sunday main event for $1! I find that hard to beat. The other sites don't have satellites like that on a daily basis. I don't even want to get started on other sites' customer support. PocketFives: What has been your most memorable cash or win on the New Jersey sites? Edward Espino: The Big Sunday $10,000 Guarantee on 888. Over Labor Day weekend of 2014, I took it down for $4,225. I didn't believe it at first because I had not made a score like that in maybe four years. The following week, I took second in the same tournament. The week after that, I took third. This tournament I want to say I take great pride in. It brought me back to life in the poker world. PocketFives: How many hours do you dedicate to poker a week? Edward Espino: As much as I can. I would play all seven days a week if I felt up to it. However, I won't force myself to play anymore. The regulars I see online are on every day. Much respect to them, but I need at least one day of rest when I get two-outed five times in a span of three hours. It's not always fun and definitely can kick your momentum down. The next two months is all poker every day until a six- or decent five-figure hit is done. WSOP in Vegas is the best time to make money for any player. PocketFives: Is there anyone who helped change how you approach the game of poker? Edward Espino: Yes, losing! I don't remember where I read or heard it from, but the words were "In order to learn to win a lot, you must learn to lose a lot." Sadly enough, that made sense to me. I have definitely lost hundreds or possibly thousands in my teen years. As far as anyone helping me, yes. Everyone comes across plenty of great players. I just try to absorb their profitable features and blend them in with my game. PocketFives: What do you do away from poker? Edward Espino: I hang out with my friends from grade school. I've known them for over 20 years and none of them plays poker, so it's great. They know nothing of the game and I don't have to hear some poker terminology or joke about a bad beat story every five minutes. Besides that, I am trying to map out a list of places to travel to. I do, however, need to make a big score to make this happen. I know it's all in due time.
  7. Last weekend, New South Wales, Australia's John Shamon (pictured), known on PocketFives as Shamwoww, came away with the win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge, defeating a field of over 800 entrants for $22,000. He is the #10 ranked player in New South Wales and is undoubtedly zoned into the ongoing World Cup despite the Australian and English teams going a combined 0-4 so far. We managed to pull him away to talk about his groundbreaking win. PocketFives: Congrats on your win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge. Tell us how you're feeling about it John Shamon: I'm stoked! It's a pretty surreal feeling. I'm in the middle of my university exams and can only really play on the weekends, so to win one of the Majors is amazing. PocketFives: Can you walk us through how the tournament went in general? Did you take your one rebuy? John Shamon: No, luckily I didn't need to. I got really short just before the rebuy period ended with about eight or so big blinds and was wondering if I'd take the rebuy at all if I busted. But, I got one double, then another, and all of a sudden I was back in the game. I never really had a big stack until late in the tournament where I just kept adapting to the situation and luckily with about five or six players left, my hands held and I ended up winning. PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money? John Shamon: Nothing planned yet, but with university holidays starting, I'm sure I'll find something to spend it on. I might even save it for an end-of-year trip to England. PocketFives: Where do you go to school and what are you studying? Is there any potential to play poker after you graduate? John Shamon: I am currently studying to get a Bachelor of Business and Commerce with a Major in Sports Management in Sydney. I'm not too sure about my poker future, but for now I'm happy trying to balance studying and playing. I hope to one day be part of a sports club in their management and boardroom. Whether that means I play poker in between or not we will see, but all I know is I'm loving the lifestyle of both worlds even if I have to grind at crazy hours. PocketFives: Has it been easy to juggle poker and school? John Shamon: It hasn't been that easy. I usually start from around 11:00pm and just grind through the morning. I have to organize my university schedule so I can play on the weekends and get in some good volume. That means having long days at university with classes bunched together and then come home and play what I can. PocketFives: What sports clubs would you want to be part of? John Shamon: The ultimate dream is working for Liverpool FC, but right now I've got some work experience at my local Rugby League club, which I love just as much. A job at either club would be unreal. PocketFives: So you're in Australia, but root for Liverpool? John Shamon: Yeah, I've loved sports my whole life and football is right at the top. I remember going out to family functions and they would carry on into the morning, so I would sit there and watch the Premier League. I didn't care who was playing. I would just watch and I don't know how, but I grew to love Liverpool. That was when I was around six or seven and now, 16 years later, I love them more than ever. Luckily, I caught a game when I visited England in October and got to see Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, and Luis Suarez all score in front of me. That experience was only matched by when two mates and I drove from Sydney to Melbourne to see the preseason friendly. I'm gutted we lost the title, but onwards and upwards. No doubt we'll be up there again next season and for a long time. PocketFives: How did you get started in poker? How'd you find the game and why was it interesting? John Shamon: My buddy invited me to a pub freeroll. Then, I found online poker and kept depositing $10 here and there on Full Tilt Poker. I was terrible for a long time until I found a great group to be around and watched videos and listened to good players. From the first moment, I loved the game, the mental side of it. Being able to out-think someone is a great feeling and almost as satisfying as the money that comes along with it. I've only been playing properly for just over a year now and it has been so enjoyable. I have to thank Miguel kingmiguel3 King so much for playing a big part in that process of being a bad, losing player and now becoming a tougher opponent. PocketFives: How did kingmiguel3(pictured) help you out? John Shamon: We met on Skype and he kind of took me under his wing. He got me into a staking deal and helped me whenever and however he could, whether that be help with how to play a hand, how to think at the tables, how to manage yourself while playing, or generally being that person you know you can get support from no matter what situation you're in. Some of the time it was by not even talking poker, but tennis. We both love tennis and talking about it for hours would put me in a better mood and forget any problems I was having. PocketFives: Is there anyone you'd like to give a shout out to? John Shamon: I wanted to give a shout out to Miguel obviously and also the other guys in our group like LostOstrich, Pietro, Greg, and Hannah, who are all different characters, but equally great people to have around me. Also, shout out to my friend Juan. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600deposit bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee when you make a deposit. Click here to sign up. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  8. On the final weekend of July, N4kaicame away with the win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge. He certainly carried the banner for our community, as he was one of just two PocketFivers at the final table that day. His reward was $15,000 and you can find him on 888 under the user name EternallyYrs. "It felt good," N4kai told PocketFives, "especially considering that 888 has had some problems with disconnections recently and I was fortunate enough to dodge them." Thanks to the Poland poker community member, PocketFivers raked in about one-third of the prize pool. He added that at the final table, radasahkand Crotemoney, who finished second and third, respectively, gave him the most trouble: "Both of them were ahead in chips for almost the whole final table. Both of them were quite fearless and put a lot of pressure on the other players, including me. I entered the final table in the middle of the pack and also had around the chip average." Second and third places were worth $11,000 and $8,000. When we sat down with N4kai, he didn't have any plans for the money. Instead, he seemed more overwhelmed with winning a major Sunday tournament. He explained, "I'm just really glad to finally win a decent-sized online tournament. It's probably one of the nicest feelings I can recall." This isn't his first rodeo winning a big chunk of money online. In fact, he has $780,000 in career online tournament winnings and is the #31-ranked player in Poland. His big hit came in 2011, when he chopped a WCOOP $320 No Limit Hold'em event for $108,000. That score is larger than his second and third largest cashes – final tables in the Sunday Million and Bigger $162 – combined. He called his WCOOP victory "one of the highlights of my life to date. Back then, I was a reasonable player, but nowhere near good enough to take down such an event. That win gave me a lot of comfort, which I guess is not surprising. It also unfortunately gave me a false belief that I was better than I actually was, which led me to play fewer tournaments. But, I guess that's the natural order of things. Sometimes we have to make mistakes to have something to learn from." The Polish player was battling in poker nearly full-time before his WCOOP win. That tournament, however, propelled him over the edge and now he's a poker pro. As for what changes he has noticed in the game since, N4kai evaluated, "There are fewer people playing and better people playing. Playing poker still seems fun and profitable, but it's not as big as it was a few years ago." Finally, he has quite an eclectic life off the tables. He's a fan of board games like Puerto Rico, which Amazon describes as a "high-quality farming and economic themed board game." He called it "not complicated yet quite strategic." N4kai is also a fan of Dota 2, an e-sport title. He added, "Away from the computer and gaming, I try to stay fit and love listening to music live. A few other poker-related stats for N4kai: he has almost 50 top-three finishes in tournaments we track and has made the money 1,900 times over the years. He has been a member of PocketFives since the beginning of 2012 and was ranked as high as #675 worldwide on our site one year later. He's the #5 ranked PocketFiver in the Polish province of Slaskie. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through PocketFivesto get a special 100% up to $600 sign-up bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. [caption width="640"] 888 poker has partnered with Flow Esports to bring poker to the world of Hearthstone[/caption] Online poker giant 888 poker has announced a partnership deal with Flow Esports, a professional eSports team comprised of several of the world’s top Hearthstone players. The team is headed by Daniel Märkisch, who ranks as one of the most popular Hearthstone streamers on Twitch, and who regularly attracts an audience of more than 10,000 weekly viewers. Also included are Hearthstone pros Tobias ‘TwoBiers’ Graap, Vetle ‘Xzirez’ Stubberud and Johannes ‘JonnyStoneHS’ Steindl. “We at 888poker are continually looking for opportunities to collaborate with forward-thinking professionals,” said the company in a release. “In FlowEsports, we see a group of players that is not only professional but also down-to-earth and extremely talented.” Both Märkisch and Steindl are experienced poker players, and both participated in the recent World Series of Poker Circuit event in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Märkisch made a deep run in the Main Event, banking €9,459 for his 20th place finish, while earning some respect from the poker community in the process. As part of the deal, FlowEsports streamers will sport 888 patches while on camera, and start regularly streaming poker to their respective audiences. “The partnership between FlowEsports and us promises to be a successful one, filled with free tournaments, money-added prize pools and other great prizes,” 888 added in the release. Hearthstone, a strategy-based online fantasy card game, was released in just 2013, yet already boasts over 40 million users. Like poker, players use their cards to decrease the resources of their opponents. In Hearthstone, these resources are referred to as Life Counters, and are the equivalent of poker chips. With its similarities to poker, it comes as no surprise that poker pros like Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, Daniel Negreanu and Randy ’nanonoko’ Lew have taken a keen interest in the game. Grospellier and Lew, who recently signed with eSports organization Team Liquid, both began their careers as professional video gamers before making the switch to the far more lucrative online poker tables. The Ultimate in Poker Learning – The Game from 888 pokerAppealing to Millennials through eSports With its new partnership, 888 follows in the footsteps of PokerStars, which joined forces with Team Liquid earlier this year. That franchise, which also includes Hearthstone pros Jeffrey 'Sjow’ Brusi of Sweden, Janne 'Savjz' Mikkonen of Finland, and Dario 'TLO' Wünsch of Germany, has already begun introducing poker to their Twitch followers through sessions on PokerStars. Global Poker League founder Alex Dreyfus has criticized the online poker industry for failing to innovate, and has expressed concern that games like Hearthstone will soon leave poker behind. “Although poker is already very engaging, we are failing to renew and reach new generations,” he wrote in the Huffington Post last year. “Millennials want to be part of the next big thing, and share what they are doing with their friends and social audience. Poker is not in that picture.” With the FlowEsports and Team Liquid partnerships, it’s clear that operators are beginning to understand the need to stay relevant in the age of eSports. By tapping into that growing market through sponsorship deals, they hope to fill their poker tables with a new generation of players.
  10. [caption width="640"] Dominik Nitsche has a few tips to help you get better at No Limit Hold'em.[/caption] Every poker player starts their poker education somewhere, even someone with over $10 million in combined live and online tournament earnings like Dominik Nitsche. He may be one of the best No Limit tournament players in the world now, but Nitche’s poker beginnings probably look more like yours than you would expect. While many probably think these high rolling Germans just roll off the assembly line at the Willy Wonka Poker Factory, it took years of work for Nitsche to get his game where it is. He started where many people did, watching poker on TV. So much so that he takes a lot of pride in filling his own commentary with the most useful strategy information he can while still keeping things watchable and fun. “It's important to have someone else with you doing commentary asking the right questions. I think one situation that came up in the broadcast was Daniel Negreanu raising 7-4 suited from early position and the big blind folding a hand as strong as K-9. Situations like these are easy to explain when someone like (my co-commentator) Michael Koener is there to ask the right questions,” says Nitsche. From there, he turned to the internet, where he leaned “how to play 10-10+ and A-K+ with a 20-big-blind stack. Back then it was more than good enough to win at the smallest games and run up a bankroll,” Nitsche says. The next step in his poker career is a familiar one—Harrington on Hold’em. “studied these pretty much every day for two or three months,” Nitsche recalls. “Whenever I'd play, I would refer to hands I saw in the book. Back then, it was by far the best resource. Then, of course, came Kill Everyone, which was a fantastic book .” With his studying, Nitsche built his online bankroll in Sit n Gos, then transitioned from $100 and $200 SNGs to multi-table tournaments. The next step, of course, was live tournament action. He thought he was all set to crush live, but his first experiences on the real-life felt were a bit of a wake-up call. Nitsche very candidly recalls his first experiences: “I played my first big tournament at the Aussie Millions in 2009. Of course it was a big change of pace from mainly online to playing live, but the players back then were all very inexperienced and ready to give their chips away at any point. I thought I was probably the best player at any table. Now in hindsight, I was probably the best from a technical poker strategy point of view, but I was giving away a lot of live tells and missing probably even more.” “One thing I very clearly remember doing is looking at my cards as soon as I got them instead of waiting for my turn. It doesn't seem like a big deal and I only learned about it a couple months later when I met Boris Fragin at the Irish Open. He told me about this and a few other live things after we were done playing for the day. I figured he probably has a good point and maybe we young, online players really do screw up live and miss a lot of things. So, from that point on, I started paying a lot more attention to live tells and I have mostly Boris to thank for it.” The very next tournament Nitsche played was a Latin American Poker Tour event in Argentina he won for over $380,000. Goes to show what happens when you are willing to acknowledge your weak areas and make efforts to improve them. This is something Nitsche continues to do today, after $6 million more in live earnings and another $3 million in online winnings, he is still constantly fine-tuning his game. Nowadays, he spends time talking about the game with his peers, grinds day in and day out, and continues to review his play and look at what is working and what is not. His latest training tool is the work of his friend Roman. It is called Simple Postflop and it is a tool designed to help make game-theory optimal GTO postflop decisions. “His program has been my favorite study tool of choice for the past year and they are doing great things,” Nitsche says. We may all dream of being a high rolling German poker stud, but even Nitsche had to start the same place as the rest of us. However, his journey is a reminder that hard work pays off, that the learning curve in poker is steep and never-ending, but that there is hope that all of us can go from watching poker on TV to playing on the ESPN main stage someday.
  11. Just a few days into the New Year, 888 poker has already kicked off its promotional schedule for 2017. On Tuesday, the Gibraltar-based site announced a pirate-themed promo called Treasure Quest, in which players can win awards of up to $100,000 each. The $1 million guaranteed Treasure Quest is a multi-day challenge, where players must complete portions of a map in exchange for unlocking treasure chests filled with either cash or tournament tickets. These challenges can include things like winning with specific hands, playing in tournaments, finishing in the money or playing in Blast fast-fold games. Prizes and Odds Each day after logging in, users will find a new Daily Pirate’s Challenge awaiting them. Complete one challenge, and you’ll win one of the following prizes: One ticket into the daily $6,000 Pirate’s Prizes Tournament – 80% odds Two tickets into the daily $6,000 Pirate’s Prizes Tournament – 13% odds $1 – 5.9% odds $5 – 1% odds $50 – .1% odds The Daily Pirate’s Prizes Tournament runs every day at 21:08 GMT until February 25. 888 is also running a twice-daily $1500 Treasure Quest Tournament, which runs at 11:04 and 17:04 GMT and allows entry for any players who have made at least one deposit in the 888poker cashier. Those who have made previous deposits before the start of the promotion will receive an extra reward in the form of four free Pirate’s Prizes Tournament tickets, claimed via the promotional email/pop-up in the 888 software lobby. When you complete five challenges running either across or down the treasure map, you’ll be randomly awarded with cash bonuses up to $5000. $5 – 82% odds $10 – 14.99% odds $50 – 2.9% odds $500 – .1% odds $5000 – .01% odds Completing the entire map will increase your prize potential to the maximum level, making you eligible to receive a payout of up to $100,000. $20 – 87.489% $100 – 12% $1000 – .5% $10,000 – .01% $100,000 – .001% Only players who have deposited and made a bet of at least $1 in the past 12 months are eligible to win prizes in the Treasure Quest promo. To see your Daily Challenges, log into your account and click the Daily Challenges banner in the 888 lobby. Keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to win any cash prizes, the 888poker bonus policy will apply, meaning that before withdrawing a dollar, you’ll need to accumulate 3.5 bonus points. Any awards over $5000, however, will not come with a wagering requirement attached. For more info on the Treasure Quest promo head over to 888poker.com.
  12. On the final weekend of September, Steve Illini213Barshak (pictured) took down the 888 Poker Mega Deep outright for $33,000, defeating a field of 715 entrants. While it wasn't the largest score he has recorded, it snapped a month of bleeding. As he put it, "The WCOOP didn't go nearly as well as I hoped, but that's how it goes sometimes. It was a very rough three weeks before Sunday, so I am thrilled I could cut some of my losses." Given the number of players online for the WCOOP, Barshak called the fields that weekend "insanely soft," pointing out, "Even the $5K WCOOP Main Event field was quite weak. It was definitely one of the best weekends of the year in online poker." The $215 Mega Deep runs weekly on 888 and, if you've never played it, we asked Barshak how the tournament stacks up to other $215 ones on PokerStarsand Full Tilt. He explained, "The structure in the $215 on 888 Poker is much better than the structure of the Stars $215 tournaments. In a lot of the Stars ones, the average stack is much closer to 30 big blinds when you get deep, while in the 888 Mega Deep, the blind levels are 30 minutes and the average stack was probably 50+ big blinds at the final table." He added, "I really enjoy the structures at 888, especially the deep stack events. It really makes for a lot more play and I feel like the better players will come out on top much more often with these great structures." Barshak has had plenty of success over the years, including a second place finish in the FTOPS Main Eventin December of last year for $261,000 and victories in a WCOOP $1,050 NLHE event, the Sunday Warm-Up, and the Sunday 500, just to name a few. He has had a comparatively slow 2014, although he's won the Mega Deep twice. "The middle of 2014 was pretty rough for me overall," Barshak told us. "I was on the biggest downswing of my poker career in mid-2014. I wasn't playing well enough in many spots and needed to make a few adjustments with how the game has evolved. I am feeling great about my game right now, though, and plan to have a good mix of live and online poker coming for me in the next six months. I am craving some ridiculously massive live score very badly!" On the live scene, Barshak has almost a half-million dollars in winnings according to the Hendon Mob. His largest cash was $68,000, which came by virtue of a fourth place finish in WPT Denmark in late 2012. He has 11 in the money finishes in WSOP events stretching back to 2010 and is the owner of two Circuit rings. If your game seems to be stuck in a rut and you're not sure what to do, Barshak advised, "Being a top poker player is all about adjusting with the times and not letting your ego get in the way. You have to appreciate and love the challenge of getting better." If you're wondering what Barshak did specifically in order to stop his bleeding, he told us he started "being more disciplined in certain post-flop spots where you might have to make a tough laydown on the river or something of that nature." Additionally, he has gotten better at "dealing with the ridiculous aggression of online poker. Small things like knowing when not to c-bet can go a long way." "Adjustments a lot of times come from noticing leaks in your own game, figuring out how you bust certain tournaments or are losing big spots, and making adjustments accordingly. Adjustments are all about noticing your own leaks, being honest with yourself about it, and fixing it. Sometimes it can take months to make changes since it's quite easy to not think you are doing much wrong." Barshak is from the US, but makes his home in Costa Rica alongside a bevy of other PocketFivers. In fact, he is one of 156 players with PLB scores in Guanacaste and was ranked #2 on PocketFives in 2012. He called the Costa Rican atmosphere "the most relaxed lifestyle possible" and "a great environment for poker." Some of his fellow Costa Rican players like Brian brianm15England (Four-Max bracelet, pictured) and Chris Big Huni Hunichen (two runner-up finishes) also excelled during the recently completed WCOOP. Maybe there's something in the water? If you don't already have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600 deposit bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and a free PocketFives t-shirt shipped to your doorstep. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  13. This week in New Jersey, Borgata/PartyPokerran its nightly $10K Guarantee, with first place paying out as much as $2,200. PocketFiver Mike Gags30Gagliano bested a field of 120 runners to take down the Boragata/PartyPoker $10K on Monday. He took home $2,184 for his efforts. Also making the final table that day was Scott Pendergrast (mindwise on PocketFives), who finished in third place, pocketing $1,201. As a reminder, Borgata Poker results are now being tracked by PocketFives dating back to March 4 and will count toward the Online Poker Rankings for New Jersey players. Enter your Borgata Poker user name in your PocketFives profile by clicking here to be tracked. 888 Pokerran its nightly $1,500 Guarantee this week, and Freddyfreakmade back-to-back final tables. He won the $1,500 Guarantee on 888 on Wednesday and then followed that up with a seventh place finish on Thursday for a total of $727. WSOP.comfeatured its $5K and $10K Guarantees this week each night. Dan Lupo (centrfieldr on PocketFives) finished third in the WSOP $5K Guarantee on Tuesday, taking home $559. The highlight of the week on WSOP was the $10K Guarantee on Thursday. Four PocketFivers made the final table, with Gary Bogdanski (GB2005on PocketFives, pictured above) coming out on top for $3,186. Dan Cooley (rtheusaon PocketFives), who was recently interviewed on our site, finished in third place the same night for $1,005. Ultimate Pokerran its nightly $5K Guarantee, which literally has been a freeroll this week. This is due to the site's No-Verlay promotion, which awards players their buy-ins back for tournaments meeting their guarantees. Making back-to-back final tables this week was 2marcelos (2marcelos on PocketFives), finishing fifth on Tuesday and eighth on Wednesday in the Ultimate Poker $5K Guarantee for a total of $684. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. ------------------------------- Borgata/PartyPoker $10,000 Guarantee for Monday, March 3rd had 120 runners buying in for $100 ($91 + $9). 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $2,184. The top 9 finishers were: 1. ned_plimpton - $2,184 (Gags30) 2. clemslad - $1,610 3. mindwise - $1,201 (mindwise) 4. happy1 - $982 5. POLTER50 - $819 6. Studsg - $682 7. TheHorror - $573 8. Leo618 - $464 9. Papo353 - $354 ------------------------------- Borgata/PartyPoker $10,000 Guarantee for Tuesday, March 4th had 105 runners buying in for $100 ($91 + $9). 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,588. The top 9 finishers were: 1. Beahmer - $1,588* 2. SMDisReal - $1,539* 3. TaintedLady - $1,447* 4. Mikey_TheKidd - $900 5. Godzilla - $750 6. centrfieldr23 - $625 (centrfieldr) 7. greenmateo24 - $525 8. Binkedit8899 - $425 9. Eyerakemup - $325 *Final table chop ------------------------------- Borgata/PartyPoker $10,000 Guarantee for Wednesday, March 5th had 114 runners buying in for $100 ($91 + $9). 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $2,074. The top 9 finishers were: 1. adjust21466 - $2,074 2. feeluckyday - $1,530 3. Pot4Jack0ff - $1,141 4. cfran26 - $933 5. munsoned - $778 6. Thrall - $648 7. Flawlessbinkage - $544 8. jazzyjay1 - $440 9. perryl - $337 ------------------------------- Borgata/PartyPoker $10,000 Guarantee for Thursday, March 6th had 123 runners buying in for $100 ($91 + $9). 18 spots were paid with 1st place being $2,238. The top 9 finishers were: 1. SleepyGuy - $2,238 2. flushoff11 - $1,650 3. Godzilla - $1,231 4. voodooman75 - $1,007 5. VI545454 - $839 6. sonofa_nh - $699 (sonofa_nh) 7. THAKID04 - $587 8. allace10 - $475 9. boxxcarr - $363 ------------------------------- 888 Poker $1,500 Guarantee-$35 buy in for Monday, March 3rd had 68 runners with a total prize pool of $2,176. 10 spots were paid with 1st place $631. The top 9 finishers were: 1. Degenerate - $631 2. ShankU4DaPot - $369 3. Crackhead - $261 4. Titan91 - $217 5. KMD1973 - $174 6. ArdijanLFC - $150 7. SMDisReal - $128 8. JayDaddy888 - $106 9. Panamajack1 - $76 10. PlantLeaf - $60 ------------------------------- 888 Poker $1,500 Guarantee-$35 buy in for Tuesday, March 4th had 62 runners with a total prize pool of $2,048. 10 spots were paid with 1st place $575. The top 10 finishers were: 1. TONY0807 - $575 2. LeahLovin_ - $337 3. Betrainn - $238 4. Gregory1985 - $198 5. fantastat - $158 6. yourkidingme - $136 7. Millertime62 - $117 8. Jacksdad - $97 9. Black9 – $69 10. Moony - $55 ------------------------------- 888 Poker $1,500 Guarantee-$35 buy in for Wednesday, March 5th, had 66 runners with a total prize pool of $2,112. 10 spots were paid with 1st place $612. The top 10 finishers were: 1. freddyfreak - $612 2. Crushing - $359 3. Lilpapi22 - $253 4. phatchoy - $211 (phatchoy888) 5. Frankm68 - $168 6. njkingpin - $145 (njkingpin) 7. SLHalper13 - $124 (s.l.halper) 8. Caliper - $103 9. Lifetaker - $73 10. RichL86 - $59 ------------------------------- 888 Poker $1,500 Guarantee-$35 buy in for Thursday, March 6th, had 61 runners. 10 spots were paid with 1st place $566. The top 9 finishers were: 1. ShAbbA - $566 2. mogo123 - $331 3. TONY0807 - $234 4. onoreally - $195 5. jimmyice99 - $156 (jimmyice99) 6. LifeTaker - $134 7. freddyfreak - $115 8. jaxjunk1968 - $95 9. cylon – $68 10. sandip89 - $54 ------------------------------- WSOP.com the $5,000 Nightly Guarantee R&A for Monday, March 3rd had 244 runners buying in for $11($10+$1) each, 240 re-buys for $10 and 137 add-ons for $10, for a prize pool totaling $6,210. 25 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,645. The top 9 finishers were: 1. Stripey - $1,645 2. Mad_Chipz.17 - $962 3. Atsky - $608 4. leshabs714 - $484 5. whitechapel - $422 6. kondrella - $285 7. alwhite36 - $223 8. Poker_player - $173 9. cclark314 - $136 ------------------------------- WSOP.com $10,000 Guarantee for Monday, March 3rd had 189 runners buying in for $27.50 ($25 + $2.50) R&A, 206 re-buys for $25, 117 add-ons for $25, totaling $12,800. 30 spots were paid with 1st place being $3,456. The top 9 finishers were: 1. FinessingYou - $3,456 2. Smacster - $2,016 3. 9handicap - $1,140 4. AtHomeDad - $1,152 5. rbam13 - $896 6. TaintedLady - $768 7. bucknaked64 - $640 8. tlv720 - $486 9. JingboSlice - $307 ------------------------------- WSOP.com the $5,000 Nightly Guarantee R&A for Tuesday, March 4th had 226 runners buying in for $11($10+$1) each, 218 re-buys for $10 and 127 add-ons for $10, for a prize pool totaling $5,710. 25 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,513. The top 9 finishers were: 1. StumbDoner - $1,513 2. pshobbes479 - $885 3. centrfieldr - $559 (centrfieldr) 4. snake1125 - $445 5. LBI63 - $388 6. Chady1 - $262 7. BlackKnight8 - $205 8. greatgrandma - $159 9. GetChipsy - $125 ------------------------------- WSOP.com $10,000 Guarantee for Tuesday, March 4th had 169 runners buying in for $27.50 ($25 + $2.50) R&A, 196 re-buys for $25, 108 add-ons for $25, totaling $11,825. 30 spots were paid with 1st place being $3,192. The top 9 finishers were: 1. Grandpa10 - $3,192 2. midnight84 - $1,862 3. fredbet11 - $1,064 4. OoopsMyBad - $827 5. sy_fy - $709 6. BrennanHuff - $591 7. Twenty - $449 8. douhveasiste - $283 9. Brodie - $201 ------------------------------- WSOP.com the $5,000 Nightly Guarantee R&A for Thursday, March 6th had 221 runners buying in for $11 ($10+$1) each, 217 re-buys for $10 and 123 add-ons for $10, for a prize pool totaling $5,610. 25 spots were paid with 1st place being $1,486. The top 9 finishers were: 1. maraa - $1,770 2. jverr17 - $869 3. NoYouDidnt - $549 4. Acejoker - $437 5. bearsrule - $381 6. EVIL_GRIN - $258 7. JemBender - $201 (JemBender) 8. Quadfours - $157 9. Mr300 - $123 ------------------------------- WSOP.com $10,000 Guarantee for Thursday, March 6th had 144 runners buying in for $27.50 ($25 + $2.50) R&A, 198 re-buys for $25, 100 add-ons for $25, totaling $11,800. 25 spots were paid with 1st place being $3,038. The top 9 finishers were: 1. GB2005 - $3,186 (GB2005) 2. unclejimmy - $1,768 3. rtheusa - $1,005 (rtheusa) 4. billybizz69 - $784 5. RedsoxNets5 - $674 (RedsoxNets5) 6. pst34 - $563 7. itWasThatOr0 - $430 (Gags30) 8. muckbrews - $276 9. Silkworms - $198 ------------------------------- Ultimate Poker the $5,000 nightly for Monday, March 3rd had 150 runners buying in for $50 each ($45.50+4.50. 18 spots were paid with 1st place $1,830. The 9 finishers were: 1. Jojo0506 - $1,830 2. niborl - $1,247 3. BabyGoose - $896 4. lion99 - $605 5. DocRivers - $488 6. johnnymonmon - $371 7. Ddetoma88 - $255 8. JMPoker - $196 9. bigcakes - $138 ------------------------------- Ultimate Poker the $5,000 nightly for Tuesday, March 4th had 150 runners buying in for $50 each ($45.50+4.50. 18 spots were paid with 1st place $1,830. The 9 finishers were: 1. muckyou - $1,830 2. acesfullrjr - $1,247 3. biggerbill - $896 4. JMPoker - $605 5. 2marcelos - $488 (2marcelos) 6. vasio - $371 7. speedypete - $255 (fnasty97) 8. danny_boy_14 - $196 9. cloverfold - $138 ------------------------------- Ultimate Poker the $5,000 Nightly for Wednesday March 5th had 150 runners buying in for $50 each ($45.50+4.50). 18 spots were paid with 1st place $1,830. The 9 finishers were: 1. Maverik007 - $1,830 2. PocketProfit - $1,247 3. BrokePoker - $896 4. DocRivers - $605 5. DEFCON.1 - $488 6. stunnadaboss - $371 7. Ahmad - $255 8. 2marcelos - $196 (2marcelos) 9. FooQuan - $138 ------------------------------- Ultimate Poker the $5,000 Nightly for Thursday, March 6th had 70 runners buying in for $50 each ($45.50+4.50). 18 spots were paid with 1st place $1,830. The 9 finishers were: 1. Town Knave - $1,830 2. tranced - $1,247 3. Brilliant27 - $896 4. Eminem - $605 5. PocketProfit - $488 6. jal79 - $371 7. headsup - $255 8. tups - $196 9. Sloppo - $138 Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? 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  14. At one point last month, we interviewed back-to-back players from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a rarity for any country, more or less Bosnia and Herzegovina. First it was Alen lilachaaBilic, who is now #12 worldwide on PocketFives and, perhaps not coincidentally, a good friend of the second player from the European country we spoke to, Marko drjovaside Jovovic (pictured). --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- We caught up with Jovovic following his win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge for $24,000, a tournament that saw him defeat a field of 883 entrants. "It feels awesome," Jovovic told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I've missed a major title a couple of times, so it is a great relief to finally bink one." It was the first time Jovovic had ever entered the Sunday Challenge, so he is officially one-for-one in the weekly tournament on 888 Poker. "I noticed the difference between blind levels is smaller than in other tournaments," Jovovic said. "I had more time to pick my spots, especially at the final table, as I wasn't a big stack during most of it. The field was a little easier than in PokerStars' majors." Speaking of PokerStars, last year, Jovovic earned $62,000 after finishing fifth in the Sunday Million, his largest tracked score to date. "I hadn't had much success in majors until then," he admitted. "Then, I made it to the final table. It was surreal for me. I decided to play for the win there and played very aggressively, so ultimately I went out in fifth place. I probably could have made a pay jump or two, but I don't mind." His PokerStars winnings afforded him financial independence and the opportunity to play higher stakes games without much stress. Let's get to the meat of our interview, talking about what's in the water in the Bosnia and Herzegovina pokercommunity. "lilachaa is the hardest working player I know," Jovovic said of his fellow countryman. "He can take beats for days, but still returns tomorrow to grind some more. I guess that's what makes him a great player." He added, "We had similar styles even before we became friends, so I guess we improved together slowly." Read our interview with lilachaa (pictured). The Bosnia and Herzegovina community is #60 on PocketFives in our Country Poker Rankings. The group is just 85 players strong to start with and they've combined for nearly $3 million in lifetime winnings. Jovovic is finishing his master's degree in computer scienceand what he pursues after he graduates is anyone's guess. "I want to finish my degree," Jovovic remarked. "I value education highly in my life, but I have yet to decide if I will become a full-time poker pro or be some kind of computer developer." If he chooses poker, it's conceivable he'd face some backlash. "My friends and family approve of my poker playing right now, but I have to say I have heard some disapproving comments behind my back from people I don't know so well about my poker career. They say the standard stuff about poker being a gambling game and about me being a compulsive gambler." One of his biggest motivators to enter the poker world in the first place was the Chris Ferguson Challenge in which the embattled former Full Tilt Poker front man tried to turn $0 into $10,000. "I decided I would do the same thing," Jovovic said. "And did it. I started with freerolls and moved up in stakes." He has parlayed his early efforts into nearly $800,000 in tracked scores, a little less than one-third of the haul of his entire homeland, and says he enjoys skiing in the mountains in his free time. There's a ski resort located right by his home, so we'd expect we'd see him there quite often. The Sunday Challenge runs weekly on 888 Poker. If you don't already have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600 sign-up bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  15. Bob s.l. halperTaylor (pictured) out of Garwood, New Jersey has had much success in online poker before and after the launch of regulated poker in the Garden State. He has close to $200,000 in recorded cashes online. He finished in third place in the WSOP.comMini Fest Main Event $25,000 Guarantee for $2,250, won the WSOP $5,000 Guarantee for $1,452, and finished in second place in the 888 PokerBig Sunday $10,000 Guarantee for $1,800, among other scores. Visit PocketFives' New Jersey poker community for the latest. PocketFives: What are your favorite New Jersey online poker sitesto play and why? Bob Taylor: I currently play most of my games on WSOP.com and 888 Poker. I like the software and structure of the tournaments on both sites. I also like Betfair and enjoyed grinding out the small guarantee tournaments on that site just after the launch. PocketFives: What got you started playing poker? How long have you been playing? Bob Taylor: I have been playing poker since I was very young. Growing up, poker was the social activity in my family. Saturday nights often involved my extended family members sitting around a kitchen table playing poker for fun and small profits. Poker games were always going on among my friends; poker keeps me connected to my friends even as our lives have gone in different directions. I still play in regular games with my high school friends and our holiday party is the Festivus Invitational, an all-night poker game that is the highlight of the year. The only disappointment in my poker career is that I am not yet a Festivus champion and my friends always remind me of that fact. My friends began playing online poker in the early 2000s. After watching their success, I started playing in December 2006 in freerolls and soon switched to real money tourneys. I won the first MTT I played on PokerStars and have been part of the online poker community ever since. I got to play regularly against the world's most successful players in MTTs and SNGs until Black Friday sent me back full-time to my career. I am so happy to have the opportunity to play online poker again in New Jersey. PocketFives: To what do you attribute your current online success? Bob Taylor: Once I decided I wanted to improve my game, I studied the game. I reviewed my hand histories and watched training videos. After busting out of my own games, I would pull up a top player's tables and follow their play. I would watch JohnnyBax(pictured) and Annette_15in MTTs or Stevie444or Jorg95 in SNGs to try to understand why they were making certain plays in certain circumstances. After a while, I would try to fit some of these plays into my own game and some of them stuck. PocketFives was a great place to develop my game. Once I gained the courage to start posting hands, I became a better player. The responses within threads would force me to focus on why I made a certain play rather than if I won or lost a hand. I love discussing poker strategy and was glad to find a community on PocketFives that felt the same way. Also, online poker is a solitary experience. It helps to have the support and competition of a community of like-minded people to get through the grind. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  16. Earlier this month, Martin Mulsow (pictured with Sam TheSquidGrafton), known on PocketFives as moertelmu, came away with the win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challengefor $25,000. There were over 900 entrants that day and Mulsow helped push his career online tournament cash total to over $2.6 million. You can find him on 888 under the screen name IknowUfish. "I feel great about it," Mulsow told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I am finally a winning player on that site." Mulsow was on a trip with his girlfriend at the time of the tournament and, while he was looking forward to hanging out with her, he took time on Sunday to play poker. "I pretty much had only screen space for one 888 tournament," he said. "At 5:00am, I was already really tired, but was 1/30 in the PartyPoker Major and deep in the 888 Sunday Challenge with a stack." He punted the PartyPoker Major in 24th place on a "spewy bluff" and explained, "I was one-tabling all the way to victory at 9:30am while sipping beers from the mini bar. Then, I woke up my girlfriend and we went for a nice breakfast, only I was drinking beer instead of coffee or milk. The server looked quite surprised when I ordered it." He's headed on a road trip through Eastern Europe in June and plans to allocate a portion of his Sunday Challenge winnings toward nicer hotels. He's also saving up to purchase some real estate. If you're wondering, he'll start his Eastern Europe trip in Romania (pictured), where his girlfriend is from, and then move on to Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Vienna, where he is currently based. We're exhausted just thinking about it. Also during his travels, he attended the Eureka Poker Tour's stop in Hamburg, which is taking place right now, but won't be heading to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. "Live poker really pisses me off," he candidly said. "If things don't go well in Vegas, the lack of online poker plus the variance of these huge-field MTTs will really turn me off." Nevertheless, he usually takes one live poker trip per month. His largest online cash came last November in the PokerStars.fr Sunday Night Live for $32,000. He has 10,581 tracked in the money finishes at an average of $253 each. Mulsow got started in poker playing €2 home games with friends in 2007 and 2008. He explained, "When the boom died, I was the only one who was still interested in playing, so I saw an ad on TV and started crushing play money games on PokerStars. Then, I deposited €20 and never looked back." As far as why poker was appealing, Mulsow said, "I like the mental challenge and competition. Playing games against other people is just fun." Mulsow is #218 worldwide in the PocketFives Poker Rankings, 100 spots off his all-time high of #114 set three years ago. He's #12 in Austria and #9 in the capital city of Vienna. If you don't have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a special 100% up to $600 deposit bonus,$88 freein most locations, and one free month of poker training from CardRunners or Tournament Poker Edge. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  17. On Sunday, November 27, 888poker will celebrate the fifth anniversary of its popular Mega Deep tournament. To mark the special occasion, the site is boosting the event’s normal guarantee nearly fivefold to an impressive $500,000. The inaugural Mega Deep launched in January 2012, and started out as something of a well-kept secret amongst poker pros who frequented the event. Eventually, the $215 buy-in tournament attracted a mainstream following, and would soon become a leading weekly event. For the upcoming fifth anniversary tournament, the site has made a few notable changes. Aside from the increased prize pool, 888 will lower the length of blind levels from 30 to 20 minutes, while also allowing for one re-entry. The special Mega Deep event comes on the heels of the site’s Super XL Series VI, which played out in September and featured $4 million in guaranteed cash. That series is also quite popular with the poker community, and has seen continual yearly increases in its prize pool. A Favorite Amongst Pros Several 888 poker pros and ambassadors will be on hand for the Mega Deep celebration, including accomplished tournament specialist Chris Moorman. The British grinder, who boasts $4.4 million in all-time winnings, has played in countless events, but still considers the Mega Deep to be one of his favorites. Is Bitcoin Part of the Future of Poker? "With the amazing structure allowing for great flexibility of play, the Mega Deep has always been one of my favorite tournaments of the week," said Moorman. "Upping the prize pool to half a million dollars makes this a must-play for any aspiring or professional poker player." Poker pro Jonathan ‘jgjg3000’ Gill, who once made three Mega Deep final tables in a period of six weeks, will also be in attendance. "I will certainly be looking to play this event," said Gill. "The Mega Deep is a special tournament. Realistically it is what I believe to be the best structured MTT across all major sites, which I believe is partly the reason for my success in it. Weekly it attracts many players, whether online regulars or recs who have satellited in. It is hard to find a better weekly tournament." The Mega Deep also regularly draws some of the biggest names in the industry. Poker pros Felipe ‘mr.salgado’ Salgado, Peter ‘joeychestnut’ Murphy, and Marcelo ‘CHELitw’ Garcia Gonzalez are amongst the event’s past winners. The exclusive tournament is just a part of 888’s strategy to woo customers with creative promos and special events. In January, the site will kick off its second 888Live Festival, inviting players to Rozvadov, Czech Republic for what is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. The 10-day event will take place at the biggest poker room in Europe, King’s Casino Rozvadov, and feature a €600,000 prize pool.
  18. [caption width="640"] Dominik Nitsche plans to keep on grinding - both online and live - as his poker career continues to blossom[/caption] While some young Germans are keen to “retire” and step back from poker, three-time bracelet winner and 888 Poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche is intent on grinding until there is nothing good left to grind. The German pro, who has over $3.5 million in online tournament earnings and another $6.5 million in live earnings, is just 25 years old, but like many of his peers and countrymen, he is already a renowned, established pro and one of the top ten German tournament earners in history. When you realize how much Nitsche grinds, the results don’t seem as surprising. He works at the game year-round, grinding online when he isn’t traveling. Recently he chopped the 888Poker Super XL Series Main Event and soon is off to London for the upcoming 888 poker festival. He doesn’t intend to stop there though. He’ll likely head to Asia and play in Macau. Unlike Fedor Holz, retirement isn’t a word Nitsche is entertaining right now. In fact, “break” probably is not an option either. "Not in the near future," Nitsche explains. "The high roller events have been better than ever and are really kicking off everywhere. The only tournament I will miss in the near future is PCA. I'm going to Australia a bit early to spend some time in Sydney." Nitsche is all about making the most of opportunities, and knowing how much the poker landscape can change overnight, he is not going to let any chances pass him by. "A lot in tournament Poker is simply about putting in the volume. And now is a good time to do that. We don't know how the poker market will be in 2-3 years and I really don't want to miss out on the crazy good tournaments right now." He is definitely capitalizing on the crazy good tournaments. Nitsche finished second to Holz in June’s $50,000 Super High Roller at Aria for almost $630,000, then took fourth in a $5,000 WSOP event for another $250,000. While these scores are great, Nitsche is remarkably low key about his results. "I put in a lot of work away from the tables and I play a lot of online tournaments and cash games on 888 to stay sharp when I'm at home. Results will come if you keep playing well, but you can't control when you will have your big win. I'm just happy to keep playing more and more tournaments and maybe sometimes I get very lucky and win. That's fun, of course, but it is a bit silly to be proud of something you can't control." It may sound like Nitsche is singularly-focused on the felt, but his poker worldview extends far beyond himself. In his role as an 888 sponsored pro, he takes growing the game very seriously. He may play the highest stakes, but he loves using social media and Twitch to communicate with everyone, including the $.01/$.02 grinders. "A lot of the work I do for 888 is just very fun for me and it's a lot of things I have been doing even before I became sponsored. Things like communicating with casual poker players on social media and giving advice to new up-and-coming players is just something I really enjoy doing. As an 888 ambassador now, I get to do even more of that and help promote the game in my home country. I recently went to do German commentary for the WSOP in Munich and it was a great experience. I have been watching the WSOP on TV since I was 16 so, of course, it felt amazing." Learn more about Dominik Nitsche and the rest of the 888 poker Ambassadors. The commentary is something Nitsche has dabbled with in the past, but his take on TV poker talk is to try and give a different spin on it than the poker boom days. "Not at all, actually. I have had a lot of experience doing live commentary for various events before and the feedback has always been very positive. People watch these to learn a bit about how poker works and don't want to watch coin flip after coin flip. I always try to give the viewer something they can take away from what I say and use it the next time they play live." The respect Nitsche has for his audience is what helps his commentary stand out. His knack for speaking about higher-level strategy in a way anyone can understand is what earned him opportunities like the one in Germany. "In my opinion, poker is unique in that way because, unlike any other sport, people don't just watch it on TV. They play it themselves. Of course, I will have to keep things a bit more simple on TV, but really this just comes down to practice and having a deep understanding of what I am trying to say. Even complex concepts can be made fairly simple if you really do know what you are talking about." He certainly knows what he is talking about. In addition to his own impressive resume, Nitsche spends plenty of time talking poker with some of the best minds in the game. Lately he has been working with Jon Spinks and Moritz Dietrich, but he also cites Holz, Rainier Kempe, Stephen Chidwick, Oliver Price, and Marty Mathis as good friends and great players. As for who the next European wunderkind will be, Nitsche has a couple of suggestions. He says Steffen Sontheimer is "probably the best player you don’t know," and also says Marty Kozlov is “a complete beast and completely underrated.” With his role at 888, who knows what undiscovered genius might cross Nitsche’s path next? Given his open mind, his refusal to miss opportunities, and his insistence on listening to every kind of poker player there is, it certainly seems possible he helps develop some new poker talent. Until then, he continues to hone his with his can’t stop, won’t stop attitude continuing to pay dividends six figures at a time.
  19. [caption width="660"] Kara Scott is the newest brand ambassador for 888[/caption] Canadian poker player and media presenter Kara Scott has inked a deal with 888 Poker to become one of the iGaming giant's brand ambassadors. "I've long been impressed with 888 Poker's focus on providing a great player experience," she said. "I'm a big believer in just how much fun poker can be and adore being involved with the recreational side of the game as well as the more serious side." Scott is no stranger to the limelight and has been involved in poker media for more than 15 years. She is well-known for commentating during the European Poker Tour along with hosting the award-winning program "Poker Night Live" and GSN's "High Stakes Poker." She has also been a staple of reporting for ESPN during the annual World Series of Poker. While she prefers to call herself a "poker enthusiast" instead of a "poker pro," Scott is no slouch at the tables. The 40-year-old made a standout appearance in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, where she finished in the top 2% of nearly 7,000 players for $41,816. The next year, she made a deep run in the Main Event again, becoming the only woman to cash in both the 2008 and 2009 WSOP Main Events. "Joining the 888 Poker team is a fantastic milestone for my career and I feel honored to be representing such a key player in the poker industry," she said. "I'm also really excited to be part of their impressive team of ambassadors. I am looking forward to a bright and successful future with 888 Poker." In her new role at 888, Scott joins a sponsored roster consisting of Dominik Nitsche, Jackie Glazier, Sofia Lovgren, Bruno Politano, Bruno Kawauti, and Nicolau Villa-Lobos. The addition of Scott to 888 comes during a marketing campaign the site calls "Live the Game." With renewed focus on casual players, the company has released television ads depicting a group of friends one-upping each other as they would if they were betting in a poker game. As part of the promo, 888 promises to give away a guaranteed $1 million to players who complete a series of special tournaments on the site. Itai Pazner, Senior Vice President and Head of B2C at 888, welcomed the poker presenter to the family. "All of us here at 888 Poker are thrilled that Kara has joined our team," he said. "Her achievements and outlook on the game and the industry are exactly what 888 Poker stands for and we look forward to having her on board." 888 is celebrating its new hire with a $3,000 Welcome Kara Scott Freeroll, which runs on February 29 at 19:05 GMT. In addition, players will have the chance to win a $100 bounty if they knock out Kara herself. The Canada native will also make live appearances, including an event on March 3 that will take place at the Aspers Casino in London.
  20. Just recently, 888 Poker New Jerseyand 888 Casino New Jersey both began accepting PayPal as a deposit and withdrawal option. This news is very welcome to online poker players and casino aficionados playing in Garden State who have had difficulties banking via Visa and Mastercard. This announcement comes the heels of news that for the first time, PayPal is allowing transactions with regulated US online poker rooms. Earlier this month, WSOP Nevada and New Jersey accepting PayPal as a deposit option. PayPal is accepted for deposits and withdrawals at 888 Poker. The minimum deposit via PayPal to either the online poker room or casino is $10, while the minimum withdrawal amount is $20. Transacting using a PayPal e-wallet to and from 888 Poker or 888 Casino is quite straightforward, but here's a quick guide to help you along. In order to make a deposit onto 888 Poker or 888 Casino via PayPal, simply click the "Cashier" button, select "PayPal" as a deposit option, enter the amount you wish to deposit, and click "Submit." From there, you will be taken to PayPal's website, where you will need to log into your e-wallet and click "Pay Now." Once these steps are completed, you should have your money waiting for you at the online poker room or online casino, depending on where you initiated the transaction. According to 888 Poker, you will only be able to deposit amounts that are already present in your e-wallet. Withdrawing via PayPal is just as easy. Once again, click on the "Cashier" button to start. Then, click on the "Withdrawal" tab and select "PayPal" as a withdrawal option. From there, you will need to enter the amount you wish to remove and click "Withdraw." 888 Poker will then email you a token number for protection purposes, which you will need to enter along with your login information to finish the transaction. Many believe that the reversal of policy by PayPal is long overdue considering that its members are already allowed to transact via its e-wallet to and from daily fantasy sports sites. Sign up for 888 Poker hereand be sure to visit PocketFives' New Jersey pokercommunity for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players. You can also get a free NFL jerseythis month by signing up for 888. Check it out here.
  21. Now in the home stretch towards the $1 million guaranteed Main Event, the 888poker XL Inferno crowned three more champions on Wednesday with Sweden's 'LivinThDream' grabbing the biggest score of all as the only player to pocket a five-figure score. Event #19: $50,000 Eight Max Three days ago, Sweden's 'LivinThDream' finished third in XL Inferno Event #10 to come oh-so-close to an XL Inferno title. He avoided a repeat of that close call on Wednesday after beating out 458 other players to win Event #19 ($50,000 Eight Max) for $12,578. Greek grinder Misailidis 'xanthifan' Kostas picked up $9,268 for finishing as runner-up. Argentina's 'SHIGAON770' finished third for $6,792.12. Event #20: $15,000 Mini Eight Max After working their way through 1,017 opponents - who wracked up 404 rebuys - in Event #20 ($15,000 Mini Eight Max), Russia's 'FanToM186' and Greece's 'trixakias' took the remaining $4,875.66 and chopped it up. 'FanToM186' finished the tournament on top, earning $2,260.44 and the title. 'trixakias' took home $2,615.22 in the deal. Argentina's 'Dejavu.turn' had to settle for $1,551.07 as the third-place finisher. Event #21: $15,000 Late Eight Max As the day was winding down, Romania's 'POK_33_TATOO' was busy putting a bow on his first XL Inferno title, taking down Event #21 ($15,000 Late Eight Max) for $3,198. 'Limonad19' finished second, missing out on a chance to give Russia two XL Inferno wins on Wednesday, for $2,356. Leonardo 'Le0_Maga' Magagnin of Brazil took the final podium spot, finishing third for $1,727. Wednesday's XL Inferno Winners # Event Winner Payout 19 $50,000 Eight Max 'LivinThDream' $12,578 20 $15,000 Mini Eight Max 'FanToM186' $2,260.44* 21 $15,000 Late Eight Max 'POK_33_TATOO' $3,198.02
  22. Poker players inherently travel quite a bit. With live events sprawled throughout the world and online regulations being different in each country, professional players can live quite a nomadic lifestyle. Take Bret vertigo007Gross (pictured), for example, who has traveled across half of the continents in the world in the last two years playing poker. We caught up with him after he won the 888 Poker Mega Deep for $33,000. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "It feels great," Gross said about his five-figure score. "It's surreal. I have been grinding and traveling across Europe for the last two years and moved to La Paz, Mexico for eight months as well. I went on a horrible downswing and thought poker would never work out." We're guessing he was wrong. Gross hit up a live poker gathering in Punta Cana last October and drove to a 48th place finish in the series' Main Event for $3,500. Consequently, he traveled back to Mexico to continue the grind and, while there, bought a package to an event in Panama. "I played all three Day 1s," Gross said of the Central American event. "I took a rough beat with 28 players left on Day 1 with 27 advancing." He was all-in with tens against A-Q on a flop of A-Q-T and watched as an ace hit on the turn to give his opponent a boat. In the middle of last month, he avenged his loss with two of his biggest scores ever on 888 Poker, getting fourth in the $60,000 Turbo Mega Deep and first in the $125,000 Mega Deep, which he called "pretty insane." The two cashes were worth nearly $40,000 total. Consequently, he rewarded himself with a trip to Los Angeles to see his family for a week and then headed back to Mexico. In April, he plans to migrate even further south to Brazil. Yes, we said he traveled a lot and we definitely weren't kidding. Fellow PocketFiver BOANG TAO (pictured) hooked him up with a group called the Asia Poker Academy and he noted that because of his affiliation, "I've been living out of a suitcase and traveling for the last year and a half." As far as his newfound riches go, he plans to play in events during the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, whose final schedule has not yet been released, but we know it'll likely start in May. He started playing poker while in college, with fellow PocketFivers Jordan inblueCristos and Sarah SaramarTolagson helping him along the way. He closed by sending a shout out to Anthony whiterice1 Petreccia "for the advice to go to Panama for the LSOP." The Mega Deep runs weekly on 888 Poker. If you don't already have an 888 account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a special 100% up to $600 deposit bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Trainingwhen you make a deposit. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  23. The classic poker cliché "a chip and a chair" runs pretty true for Edmonton's aznxray(pictured), who stormed to a win in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge despite being down to just five big blinds when four players remained. It was his third Sunday Challenge win all-time, which is pretty impressive considering the tournament drew 1,000 players on that fateful day. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "It was nice to win it for the third time," the Canuck told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I remember making a deep run and thinking, 'No way this is happening again.'" Happen it did. He raked in $27,000 for the win, his largest tracked score to date. In fact, all three of his largest scores have come from wins in the Sunday Challenge for $27,000, $24,000, and $24,000. He had a solid stack at one point during his latest Sunday Challenge win and said the final nine were relatively even. Then, the bottom dropped out: "At one point, I 3bet someone who opened in the highjack. I had T-T, he jammed, and I snap called. Given the dynamic, it was a cooler that he showed up with Q-Q. At that point, I was left with five big blinds when it was four-handed." We bet you can guess what happened next. "I made a pretty epic comeback," aznxray perhaps understated. "I picked up a lot of hands and eventually got it in good at the final hand when I 3bet and then 5bet A-T offsuit all-in. The other player snapped me off with A-9 offsuit, surprisingly, despite us not really having much history, and I held." He has $109,000 in lifetime cashes on 888 and $432,000 across all sites. Why the success in the Sunday Challenge? Is the tournament somehow tailor-made for him? He theorized, "I feel the reason I have a lot of success in that tournament is because it has a really good structure. It's not ridiculously slow like the Mega Deep. I can start out with 5,000 in chips then add on to 10,000. A lot of people are playing with 5,000 with the mentality that it's a rebuy, so I feel it's really easy to pick up chips if you're patient." His two other Sunday Challenge wins came at the end of 2013 and, given his latest influx of money, we asked what he'd be splurging in. "I'm going to be playing in the World Series of Poker for the first time this year," aznxray explained. "I turned 21 in November and am looking to play all of the $1Ks and $1.5Ks to get a taste. I am trying to satellite into the Main Event online." The WSOP starts at the end of May and emanates from the Rio in Las Vegas. How will he fare at his first WSOP? "I think as long as I don't give away too many tells, I'll be fine," the Canadian assessed. "The most tiring part about live poker, in my opinion, is keeping track of the chip stacks at the table. I always feel more tired grinding out 10 hours live than online." What about tells? Is the online poker player leery of giving off potentially critical information to the live crowd? He responded, "I think the best strategy for me would be to sit still. Tells are overrated anyhow. I am mindful of the ones I give off, though." Away from poker, aznxray is a student, so he is only able to get in full sessions on the weekends. He's pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce, saying, "I like the idea of having something to fall back on. Poker is a bit too high-stress for me. I don't think I will end up doing it full-time, but you never know." The Sunday Challenge runs weekly on 888 Poker. If you don't already have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a special 100% up to $600 deposit bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Training, a $30 value. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  24. For most players, leaving a "real world" job to pursue a poker career was anything but easy. Enter Gavin gavonater O'Rourke (pictured), who worked as a train driver before pursuing poker. This author's two-year-old son would probably think driving a train is the greatest job imaginable, but for O'Rourke, the promise of a poker career was the trump card. That was six months ago. Nowadays, O'Rourke has gone from being a train engineer to engineering six-figure scores online. Last September, he won a PokerStarsWCOOP $320 No Limit Hold'em 3X Chance event for $133,000 officially, his largest tracked score to date. He banked nearly $100,000 for winning a W Series High Roller event on Winamaxand we caught up with him after a victory in the 888 PokerWhale in May for $60,000 and a final table in the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl the same day. Yes, it's good to be O'Rourke. "It feels great to take down a Sunday major at last," O'Rourke told PocketFives following his win on 888 and final table on Full Tilt. "I didn't take much notice of the Whale until I busted the Brawl. I was putting all of my concentration into that, but once I busted, I could give it my full attention. I managed to reach the final table third in chips, which is where you want to be. I stayed around third in chips until we were four-handed and got the chip lead. From there, I played my normal game and happily it went my way this time." If you ask O'Rourke, his recent flurry hasn't been a random occurrence. He's not Houdini, pulling wins out of a hat on a whim. Instead, he said, "In the last six months, I have been working a lot on my game and my mental attitude, which I think has been a big factor in my recent success." A half-year ago, O'Rourke quit his job as a train driver to pursue poker, as we said at the top of this article. "It wasn't an easy decision for me," he recalled, "given that I have a family to look after, but after my WCOOP win, I thankfully was in a position to give it a go. I haven't looked back since I have more time now to put into the game and continue to improve." O'Rourke has $1.7 million in tracked scores in online MTTs, including $1.2 million on PokerStars. He is the #1 player in Ireland, where he lives in Port Laoise, which if you're a reality junkie you know was one of the locations visited by Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on their honeymoon. Yes, we finally worked those two into an article. Okay, we digress. While O'Rourke was driving trains, he apparently was very into poker books, telling us, "It was a good job, but I always knew it wasn't for me. I knew poker was my way out of the normal 9-to-5 and I put everything into it. Guys I worked with would joke about how every time they saw me, I would be reading a poker book, obviously not while driving. Finally, I have the freedom that comes with being a poker player and feel blessed to be able to do it." Finally, we wanted to highlight O'Rourke's live scores, which total $108,000, according to the Hendon Mob, and primarily consist of a final table in March in the EPT Vienna Main Event for $83,000. He is #139 on the all-time money list for Ireland. The Whale takes place on 888 Poker. If you don't already have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600 deposit bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Trainingwhen you make a deposit. Click here to sign up for 888 Poker. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  25. Our most recent PocketFives Openwas held on 888 Pokerduring the off-day of the World Cup prior to the knockout round. As football fans around the world took a breather from rooting on their favorite countries, the PocketFives community event on 888 kicked off. Your winner: Michael SuarezisKing Lawrence, who calls the United Kingdom home. We caught up with our most recent PocketFives Open champion. PocketFives: Thank you for joining us. How are you feeling about the win? Michael Lawrence: Winning any poker MTT is great, but I know there were some really good players in the PocketFives Open, so it gave me great satisfaction to take it down. PocketFives: What online poker games do you typically play? Michael Lawrence: I am a six-max specialist, as I play a lot of poker at Sky Poker, a UK-only site. They only play six-max, so being that the PocketFives Open was six-max and the whole structure was so good, I felt I had an edge. I lost one-third of my stack in two hands very early on, as there were some very aggro players, so I just waited. The hand that I believe defined my tournament was K-3 of diamonds in the big blind. UTG limped and it folded to the small blind, who just called. Yippee a free flop, which had three diamonds and was ace-high, so I flopped the nut flush. In the end, I managed to keep the UTG limper to the river and he re-raised my value bet all-in. Happy days! He had Q-9 of diamonds and was a bit unlucky. That hand gave me the chip lead and I never looked back. I did get a bit lucky in a couple of all-ins, but you need a little bit of luck. PocketFives: What are your plans for the money? Michael Lawrence: Add it to my bankroll and treat my kids. PocketFives: How did you get started playing poker? Michael Lawrence: I have played poker ever since I was a child with my uncle, but I never really got started until about five years ago after watching "Late Night Poker" on TV with Jesse May (pictured). I got the bug and signed up for Sky Poker. PocketFives: Where do you see your poker career in five years? Michael Lawrence: I'm not sure were I want to be, but I at least want to be able to enter the WSOP Main Event within five years. PocketFives: What parting words do you have for us? Michael Lawrence: Poker is a great game. Even the bad beats make you want to play more. The rush is awesome, especially when you win. If you don't already have an 888 account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a special 100% up to $600 deposit bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Training with no sign-up fee. Get started by clicking here!

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