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  1. We've done a lot of interviews here on PocketFives featuring players who have won some of the largest tournaments offered on a weekly basis. Recently, Russia's hellohellohello(pictured), whom we'll refer to as H3 from here on out, won the 888 Poker Sunday Challengefor $23,000, an iPOPS event for $25,000, and the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $65,000 officially. All three scores, which combine for over $110,000, have happened in the last two months. The 23-year-old Russian player from Togliatti told us he "plays $109 Rebuys on my own and I hate nits." How has he managed to be so successful in the last eight weeks? He touts a pretty simple recipe for success: "How did I do it? Easy! I was just winning coin flips and fighting for each ante. In general, my victories happened at the right time." He said of his iPOPS score, "I managed to make the top 18 using two entries. I made a deposit right before the session to be able to do so. I was playing really well using both entries. At the final table, I was lucky to be seated on the opposite side of the table as the top regs, so they didn't give me a hard time. And then it was an easy game for me until heads-up play, where I managed to win by making a fortunate hero call against joaomathias." The hero call resulted in his largest career cash at the time. Nine days after the iPOPS win, the 888 Sunday Challenge served as his stomping ground. The tournament happened on the same weekend as the PokerStars SCOOP Main Event and, as H3 put it, many of the game's top players were likely more focused on SCOOP than on 888. "The 888 tournament was scheduled at the same time as the SCOOP Main Event," he said. "Apparently, the top regs were focused on the $10K and, therefore, the field in the later stages of the 888 tournament was pretty soft. My heads-up opponent deserved the victory more than I did, but the RNG was on my side." His Sunday 500 win came on June 1 and has helped boost his total cashes on PokerStars to over a half-million bucks. H3 is the top-ranked PocketFiver in the city of Togliattiand #4 in Russia. Worldwide, partly on the strength of his Sunday 500 win, he has shot up to #94, his highest ranking ever. He said of his homeland, "The Russian community is very friendly. But in case you suck out on your colleague in a deep run, be ready to get a punch to your face and liver. Ha-ha, just kidding of course! Just the face." We're pretty sure that's the first time a liver punch has ever been mentioned in an interview, so we're definitely charting new territory. He admitted, "Russians don't have the best reputation in the world, but in fact we have many good poker players and vivid personalities." In case you're wondering, there are just over 1,000 Russians with PLB scores on PocketFives. H3 has eight online MTT scores of at least $10,000 and is closing in on 1,900 in the money finishes overall. He plays as hello_totti on PokerStars and Full Tilt and hellohelloooon 888. We asked what qualities he thinks make for a successful MTT player nowadays. After all, this author has been in the industry for eight years and has seen our world spin upside down multiple times. "Discipline, psychological stability, controlled ego, and aces on the button," he jokingly responded. 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 (normally 100% up to $400), $88 free in most locations, and one free month of PocketFives Training with no signup fee. 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.
  2. Monday will be a big day for online poker players in New Jersey. To start the work week, WSOP's and 888 Poker's player pools will be partially merged in a move that will increase liquidity in the East Coast state. David Licht, CEO of the All American Poker Network, commented in the AP article, "Shared liquidity will help create a better player experience that we hope will attract a diversity of players and begin to bring poker to a broader audience once again." In case you're wondering how the merged player pools will affect the experience besides increased liquidity in certain games, the AP outlined, "Caesars Interactive Entertainment says the move will increase prize guarantees for tournaments and lead to a greater number of players available for cash games. The sites will begin sharing $130,000 in guaranteed tournaments each week. Each site will continue to maintain its individual reward and VIP programs." According to PokerScout, WSOP has a seven-day running average of 100 real money ring game players with a 24-hour peak of 187, while 888 has a seven-day running average of 90 cash game players with a 24-hour peak of 160. Therefore, the merged network could approach a seven-day average of 200 cash game players, although there is likely overlap between the player pools. Unclear is what percent of the sites' games will be shared. A WSOP representative told Online Poker Reportthat, starting Monday, low-limit cash games and select tournaments will be shared, but not every game on each site. Meanwhile, Borgata Pokerand PartyPoker, which make up the largest network in New Jersey, have a seven-day running average of 160 cash game players with a 24-hour peak of 279. In PocketFives' New Jersey pokercommunity, players were buzzing about the news. As one person put it, "This is probably necessary to prep for... shared liquidity with other states if/when government ever makes that happen." An 888-branded site launching in Nevada, coupled with WSOP already live in that state, could result in an interstate online poker network if and when laws permit it. Right now, only Delaware and Nevada have entered into a compact, while New Jersey has reportedly been in talks with Nevada and the UK. If you're in New Jersey, sign up for 888 here to get a jump-start on Monday's combination. We'll keep you posted on the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Last week, PocketFives reported that William Hill was in talks to purchase its live and online gaming rival 888. One week later, those talks appear dead, according to eGaming Review and a regulatory filing, after the two sides were unable to overcome "a significant difference of opinion." A statement released by 888 to the financial world on Monday explained, "Due to a significant difference of opinion on value with a key stakeholder, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the terms of a possible offer and the Board of the company has agreed with William Hill to terminate discussions." Whether talks will restart at any point remains to be seen. According to eGaming Review, the Shaked family, a major stakeholder in 888, has been holding out for an offer of 300 pence per share, whereas the two sides had been talking about a purchase price of "200 pence plus a 3 pence dividend per share," according to the regulatory filing. eGaming Review added that 888 would continue to forge on despite the setback: "888 Chief Executive Brian Mattingley (pictured above) said the operator would now 'look forward with confidence' and that the company continued to trade in line with expectations." 888's stock predictably retreated with news that William Hill had ended takeover talks. At the time of writing, its shares, which are traded in London, stood at 153 pence apiece, down 17 pence on the day, or 10%. It had been trading south of 120 pence per share as recently as August and jumped almost 30 pence per share the day the offer became public. According to Bloomberg, 888's stock had been down 18% earlier in the day, the company's biggest intraday drop in four years. William Hill's stock, which is also traded in London, was flat at the time of writing at 386 pence per share. The transaction could have had major ramifications in the US, as 888 has a branded online poker site and powers WSOP.com in New Jersey, provides the backend for all three regulated Delaware sites, and is rumored to be jump-starting its All-American Poker Network in Nevada this year. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. Last weekend was a whirlwind one for Rick TheClaimeerTrigg (pictured), who checked into the hospital for a gallbladder problem, only to be discharged and win the 888 Poker Mega Deep. No, we can't make this stuff up. "I pleaded with the doc to let me out on Sunday," Trigg told us. Yes, that's impressive. "They gave me antibiotics by tablet and sent me on my way." The result: a win in the Mega Deep for $40,000 after defeating a field of nearly 1,000. Trigg said he was running at about 85% health-wise in the Mega Deep and his Sunday grind ultimately checked in at 17 hours. Did we mention he was in the hospital the day before? By the way, his surgery to remove his gallbladder will take place soon; in the interim, pain meds will have to do. He has had success in the Mega Deep before, but usually "keeps it in the corner of the screen and lets it mind its own business." He added, "It's funny. Over Christmas, I e-mailed 888 saying they could be PokerStars' #1 competitor if only they sorted the schedule out. The next day, their card room manager got me on Skype. We had a long chat and basically the site's Crocodile and Volcano came around because of our chat." He has run "insanely hot" on 888 since. Trigg took down the aforementioned Crocodile earlier this month for $19,000. Last year, he won the site's Sunday Challenge for $23,000. Overall, he has $144,000 in winnings on 888, much of it in the last nine months. He won the PocketFives 2014 Yearly PLB. Trigg has been a staple of the upper echelons of the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings in recent years. He climbed as high as #4 worldwide on the leaderboard last year and currently stands at #30. He's the top-ranked player in Sheffield in the UK and #4 in his home country. He has piled up over $5.6 million in online winnings over the years. Away from poker, aside from recovering from his gallbladder malady, Trigg has been spending time with friends and family, house hunting, and dating, looking for a potential Mrs. Claimeer. We asked him how the dating scene was going; his response: "I'd say we have middle pair and a gutshot on the flop." If you're wondering how to avoid a gallbladder SNAFU of your own, check out the following words of wisdom from Trigg: "If you eat shitty food for 10 years, then lose weight and have stomach pains after eating fatty food, it's probably gallstones and it hurts like hell." There you go. Congrats to Trigg on his recent wins on 888. If you don't already have an 888 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 Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. According to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, poker liquidity sharing between Nevadaand Delawareshould go live in four to six weeks, meaning we're dangerously close to the first regulated multi-state compact coming to fruition. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "An agreement Sandoval signed last February with Delaware Governor Jack Markell for their states to share online poker players should go live in four to six weeks. Sandoval said 'technical glitches' delayed the rollout that was expected last summer, but he has been told by Nevada gaming regulators it now is 'imminent.'" According to Pokerfuse, in order for a site to be able to participate in the liquidity sharing, it must be licensed in both states. Footing that bill is 888 Poker, which powers the backends of all three licensed Delaware sites, powers WSOP.com in Nevada, and is rumored to be launching its own branded site in Nevada shortly as well as one for Treasure Island. It's not known what rooms would specifically be involved in the new multi-state network. Both states are minute when it comes to online poker play. PokerScout, which monitors cash game traffic, counts a seven-day running average of 170 real money ring game players for WSOP.com Nevada, about in line with PartyPoker/Borgata Poker in New Jersey. Meanwhile, the entire state of Delaware generates a seven-day average of an infinitesimal eight cash game players. The combined population of Delaware and Nevada is almost four million people, meaning we could see more games, more tournaments, and more promotions as a result of the liquidity sharing. It remains to be seen whether New Jersey, which has an 888-branded room as well as a separate 888-powered site in WSOP.com, would link up if liquidity sharing proved effective. Visit PocketFives' Nevada poker community for the latest news and discussion from Nevada players. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. According to media outlets in both the mainstream and the gaming community, Luxembourg-based GVC Holdings and the Canadian company Amaya Gaming are jointly trying to acquire what was once the largest gaming company in the industry, bwin.party. GVC and Amaya have put up a bid of €1.5 billion, which will come from cash from Amaya and stock shares from GVC. If successful, it would be the second largest merger of companies behind only Amaya's purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt. If GVC and Amaya were to purchase of bwin.party, the duo would probably break the company up for each side's particular interests. Amaya, looking to expand beyond its purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker just last year, is looking for a good sports book to add to its growing roster of gaming products. GVC, which already acquired Sportingbet in 2013, is simply looking for more inroads into the bookmaking industry. If they were able to complete the deal, GVC would keep a major portion of the bwin.party properties, with Amaya holding an option to purchase the poker and sports book operations. The GVC/Amaya bid comes on the heels of another stunner in the online gaming world that jump-started their efforts at acquiring bwin.party. On Monday, 888 Holdings confirmed it had put together a takeover proposal for bwin.party, looking to become the kingpin of the online gaming world by passing Amaya Gaming. The 888 offer would also be made up of cash and stock shares, but no price was disclosed. In an official press release on Monday, 888 Holdings admitted that not only was the company looking to acquire bwin.party, but it also already had approval from its shareholders. The Board of Directors for 888 said that there was an "industrial logic" in combining the 888 and bwin.party platforms and that it would "benefit both companies" to merge. Citing the size of the transaction, the Board also said that 59% of those holding shares in 888 had "committed" to the purchase of bwin.party. Talk of bwin.party being open for a merger or an outright purchase have been rampant since last year. In November, bwin.party confirmed that there had been discussions with "a number of interested parties"for either a merger or an acquisition of the company. bwin.party even went to the length of hiring Deutsche Bank to handle the offers that the company had been receiving. At that time, such companies as Playtechand William Hill were rumored to be in the running to take over bwin.party. If either 888 Holdings or the GVC/Amaya partnership were to take over bwin.party, the effects on the online gaming and poker world would be seismic. 888, already recognized as one of the biggest online sports book operations in the world with a solid online poker outlet, would gain the powerful online poker platform built previously by bwin.party as well as a wealth of other online casino gaming options. On the downside, 888 itself has been the target of takeover attempts in the recent past, including advances from Ladbrokes and a £720 million offer from William Hill earlier this year. If Amaya were to take over the operations of bwin.party and absorb them into the PokerStars/Full Tilt fold, it would give them a near monopoly in the online poker business, something that regulators could take a long look at in extending licenses. Quick math suggests that a PokerStars/Full Tilt/PartyPoker triumvirate would have more action that the next 22 busiest online poker sites combined. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  7. We tend to think of online gambling as the Wild West, where mavericks build empires from humble offices, compete against each other, come up with the next big thing, and develop the next big marketing idea. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- That may have been the case when the internet poker gold rush was on about a decade ago, but according to Nathan Vardi of Forbes, those shaping the industry now aren't so much the logo-patch-on-a-polo-shirt type, but rather the three-piece-suit type. What the landscape of online gambling looks like in the years to come will have a lot to do with Wall Street and big finance. Vardi's piece is really a tale about how the battle for bwin.party has gotten to where it is today. The road to bwin.party's sale began about two years ago in September 2013, when Jason Ader, head of SpringOwl Asset Management, bought $100 million of bwin.party's stock from Ruth Parasol, founder of Party Gaming, and her ex-husband, Russ DeLeon. With the stock came a Board seat and Ader immediately began pushing buttons and pulling levers to get the Board arranged in a way he saw beneficial to the company. He also wanted to see bwin.party sold and was able to get the company on the market in the middle of 2014. Last June, Amaya Gaming bought PokerStars and Full Tilt Pokerfor $4.9 billion. That was way too much money for Amaya, a small company, to afford, so it enlisted Blackstone Group, the world's largest private equity firm, and BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, to pitch in. So now you had two of the gaming industry's revolutionaries, Parasol and Isai Scheinberg, out of the business, essentially replaced by gigantic financial firms. In the meantime, there was still a battle to be fought over bwin.party. GVC Holdings, a small online gambling firm, teamed up with Amaya to bid on bwin.party this year. 888 Holdings soon followed suit, backed by two more big banks, JP Morgan Chase and Barclays. 888 won the hand of bwin.party, as the two agreed to a $1.4 billion deal, but GVC wasn't done. It parted with Amaya and received the backing of Cerberus Capital Management to help sweeten the pot. Even with the increased offer, Vardi writes, it still looks like 888 is the front-runner, as GVC's new offer leans heavily on stock, which is naturally a riskier proposition for bwin.party shareholders than cash. Vardi summed up the changing landscape of the online gambling industry earlier in the article when he wrote: "These sorts of symbolic hand-offs have been reshaping the online gambling industry, moving it away from the bold risk-taking entrepreneurs who pioneered the business and putting new players in control… The transformation of online gambling is being driven by Wall Street and some of the biggest names in finance." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. Like two suitors standing below the window of a maiden they are attempting to woo, the love songs from GVC Holdings and 888 Holdings to bwin.party continue to grow louder. On Tuesday, bwin.party, the parent company of PartyPoker, confirmed that is has received a new acquisition proposal from 888 Holdings, just the latest in a string of competing proposals over the course of the past two months. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Neither bwin.party nor 888 Holdings has revealed any of the financial details of the latest proposal, but rather have simply announced that the proposal has been made. From bwin.party: "Further to its announcement on 27 August regarding a proposal from GVC Holdings PLC ('GVC'), the Board of bwin.party ('bwin.party') confirms it has also now received a revised proposal from 888 Holdings plc. This revised proposal is subject to a number of preconditions (which can be waived in whole or in part by 888)." The company added, "The Board of bwin.party is evaluating this proposal, together with that received from GVC, and intends to consult with its key shareholders in the coming days before making a final determination as to which proposal is in the best interests of shareholders. A further announcement will be made in due course… The Board's unanimous recommendation of 888's offer, which was announced on 17 July 2015, remains unchanged by this announcement. Documentation in respect of this offer was posted to shareholders on 28 August 2015." While 888 has been going after bwin.party for some time, the real competition with GVC Holdings began in early July 2015. GVC was the first at bat, announcing a 110 pence per share offerfor bwin.party on July 9. With 824.25 million shares of bwin.party outstanding, that makes the offer worth approximately £907 million. One of the most interesting aspects of the proposal was that GVC was unable to afford it by itself, so it recruited Amaya Gaming, the owner of PokerStarsand Full Tilt, to get in on the deal. 888 countered, announcing on July 17 that it had proposed a 104.09 pence per share (£858 million) purchase price for bwin.party. Though that is lower than GVC's price, bwin.party's Board accepted it, recommending the deal to its shareholders. Both 888 and bwin.party cited a number of corporate synergies as the reason why this marriage was better than one with GVC. It is thought that needing Amaya in the mix created more financial uncertainty for the GVC deal. In addition, the prevailing notion was that GVC and Amaya were going to split up bwin.party, with Amaya taking PartyPoker and GVC taking the company's sports betting and casino operations, and that this made bwin.party's leaders bristle. On July 27, GVC announced that it had made another, richer, offer for bwin.party, increasing its price to 122.5 pence per share, or about £1 billion in total. Aside from the price, the big difference this time was that Amaya was out of the picture. GVC instead obtained a loan from Cerberus Capital Management to help finance the deal. The mention of the August 27 announcement in the above press release has to do with confirmation that bwin.party and GVC have continued to discuss a potential deal. Part of that announcement from bwin.party was as follows: "The Board of bwin.party confirms, further to its discussions with GVC Holdings PLC, that key aspects of GVC's proposal have now been addressed to bwin.party's satisfaction. bwin.party has now asked GVC to clarify, with respect to its proposal, the best terms on which GVC is prepared to make a formal offer to acquire all of the issued and to be issued shares in bwin.party." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. Over the weekend, Canada's Jason StatusUpLavallee (pictured) won the 888 Poker Whale for $31,000. The $600 buy-in tournament that runs every two weeks attracted almost 300 entrants and had a $155,000 prize pool. It was his fourth largest online poker cash to date and raised his career winnings in online MTTs past $2 million. PocketFives: Congrats on the 888 Whale win. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Jason Lavallee: It felt good to win something other than a satellite, I guess. It always feels good to win a tournament no matter how big or how small. PocketFives: For those of us who aren't familiar with it, tell us about the 888 Whale's structure and field makeup. It runs every two weeks and has a $600 buy-in. Jason Lavallee: The $500+ buy-ins online attract the same crowd mixed in with the occasional recreational player. The structure is great like most of 888's tournaments. The field is slightly weaker than the Sunday 500 and it has a few more spots than the $500 on PartyPoker if I had to guess. Sometimes it's hard to figure since it runs rarely and when it does it's mixed in with another 20 or so tables for most of the afternoon on Sundays. It was fun to win. I had a very brutal day, as I'm sure most of my viewers on Twitch could attest to, but in my usual Sunday fashion, I pulled out some one-table heroics. PocketFives: This was your biggest score in a while. What have you been up to? Jason Lavallee: I took a year off from MTTs, played a lot of PLO, and worked on other projects away from the table. After 2013, I felt like I really gave it my all, won my first "big" tournament (the EPT London High-Roller), and lost the drive to put in that much volume in MTTs. Outside of SCOOPs and the rare Sunday, I haven't played much MTT poker and haven't been traveling for live poker for about 15 months until the beginning of June, when I started a stream on Twitch and people wanted to see tournaments, so I obliged. PocketFives: Have you enjoyed being on Twitch? Jason Lavallee: It's fun and challenging. I'm used to having people over to my place to grind, so it's a new way to interact with people and it's cool to see a community being built from the ground up. I'm still learning a lot in regards to streaming, but so far the feedback has been great. PocketFives: Are you still playing a lot of PLO? Jason Lavallee: Not as much as of late. I've re-shifted my focus since I started streaming. I don't feel as comfortable streaming cash where I would have to lower the stakes and crush my hourly, whereas for tournaments it's not that big of a concern. PocketFives: You're headed to Barcelona? Jason Lavallee: Yeah. I'm flying to Barcelona later today for 12 days to play the EPT and bum around on the beach. It's going to be my first live tournament since the Grand Final two seasons ago, excluding the WSOP Main Event this year. I've played my fair share of live poker over the years, so I'm sure I'll shake the rust off rather quickly. PocketFives: Is there anyone you look up to or depend on nowadays? Jason Lavallee: Funny you ask. In Barcelona, I rented a house with some friends. Two guys I really look up to are Pass_72(pictured) and takechip, who will be housemates of mine. They are great NLHE minds and I look forward to 12 days of annoying them and picking their brains. PocketFives: Who do you think will emerge victorious from the 2015 WSOP November Nine? Jason Lavallee: It's hard not to go for Joseph McKeehen with the lead. Zvi Stern showed tons of heart and played some pretty interesting pots. I'd love to see him get down to three- or four-handed to make for some interesting TV. PocketFives: Who would you like to send shout outs to? Jason Lavallee: Shout outs to my Twitch followers, the Quebec poker community (including transplants we have), and all the kids who grew up in poker and stopped wearing hoodies, glasses, and noise-cancelling headphones while playing live poker. Don't have an 888 Poker account? Sign up hereto get an enhanced 100% up to $600sign-up bonus (regularly 100% up to $400), $88 freein most locations, and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunnerstraining. Plus, there's a special promotion for Table Ninjagoing on in August!
  10. The tug-of-war over bwin.party continues as GVC Holdings and 888 Holdings try to win the heart of their online gambling rival. 888 CEO Brian Mattingley (pictured) is both confident that his company will win the day and none too thrilled about the latest developments. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- About a month ago on July 9, GVC, which owns the internet sports book Sportingbet, paired up with PokerStarsand Full Tilt Pokerowner Amaya Gaming to present a 110 pence per share offer for bwin.party. 888, which had been trying to purchase bwin.party for some time, saw that it needed to do something in a hurry, so it offered a bit less – 104.09 pence per share – a week later. To the surprise of many, bwin.party accepted 888's offer over GVC's. Part of 888's pitch was that it shared many things in common with bwin.party such as office proximity, similarity between gaming units, and overlaps in licensing, all of which would make the transition easier. Additionally, it is thought that GVC and Amaya would have chopped up bwin.party after the transaction, with GVC taking control of bwin.party's sports betting and casino businesses and Amaya nabbing PartyPoker. This reportedly did not sit too well with bwin.party. On top of that, the rest of the industry would not have been overjoyed with Amaya owning PokerStars, Full Tilt, and PartyPoker. Thus, it was back to the drawing board for GVC. Last week, GVC took another swing, increasing its offer significantly, up to 122.5 pence per share. That put the value of the deal at just over £1 billion. GVC approached things a little differently this time as well, cutting Amaya Gaming out of the picture and instead securing a €400 million loan from Cerberus Capital Management to help finance the deal. As of now, bwin.party has not accepted GVC's new offer, so 888's is still the winner. Mattingley recently told the UK newspaper The Times that even though GVC has outbid his company twice, he feels very good about 888's chances: "We have rehearsed our strategy more times than we care to think of. We know how it's going to be done. I am confident this is doable with low-ish risk." He also reiterated that even if GVC's offer is more lucrative, 888 is simply the better fit, a notion that should not be brushed off. He explained, "I don't think it's only the quality of the paper… We know how to execute it and obtain the synergies. I think we have satisfied to the target company that we are a good, straightforward, honest, hard-working, and fit company to go forward. Our growth has not come just from doing wacky things in illegal territories; it has come from driving customers through our CRM and marketing campaign. The bwin.party board unanimously recommended our bid." Considering that bwin.party already accepted 888's lower bid and has yet to accept GVC's sweetened deal, it does sound like bwin.party is not just concerned about the money. It wants to go to a good home. 888's poker room, 888 Poker, is currently ranked second on PokerScout's cash game traffic chart with a seven-day average of 2,220 cash game players. PartyPoker is sixth with 1,050. Should 888 end up winning, the United States regulated market becomes more interesting, as 888 would essentially have a monopoly in the three states that allow online poker: Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. WSOP.com in Nevadauses 888's software, as do the three Delawareonline poker rooms. WSOP.com and 888 have combined forces in New Jersey, while the other competitor in the Garden State is the PartyPoker/Borgata Network, which, as you can tell, runs on the PartyPoker platform. If 888 buys bwin.party, that network would be under 888's control. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  11. You never quite know where interviews with players are going to go. Sometimes we talk about highly unique hobbies. Sometimes we talk about random adventures to faraway lands. In the case of Austria's neverfoldQ5, however, we digressed into talking about erdbeer schnaps. There are a ton of recipes you can make with erdbeer schnaps, a liquor, if you're so inclined, many of which involve strawberries. After we finished our interview, as I normally, do, I asked neverfoldQ5 if he had anything to add. "Oh yeah," he exclaimed. "I really want to recommend erdbeer schnaps to the PocketFives community. It's a great drink. A bit sweet, but pennyfox and I drink it a lot." Maybe there's something to it. Maybe instead of practicing and reviewing your game over and over, what you really need is a crate of erdbeer schnaps. We caught up with neverfoldQ5 after he won the 888 Poker Mega Deepoutright for $24,000. There were 627 entrants that day and PocketFivers raked in over 40% of the prize pool. "It's a nicely structured tourney," the Austrian told us. "It's possible to take your spots wisely and you don't get into the push-fold too quickly. The average stack at the final table was like 60BB, so it's still possible to play some poker." One of the players at the final table the day neverfoldQ5 won was Jeff YoungSupremacy Hakim (pictured), a longtime member of PocketFives who finished in sixth place. "He was super tough to play against," neverfoldQ5 said of Hakim. "I think I was out of position against him at the final table, so that wasn't much fun, but overall the final table was pretty tough. I got lucky doubling up with 3-3 against 7-7 and after that some 4bets and 5bets got through. You have to run really well to win tourneys like that." neverfoldQ5 is currently a full-time poker player. "The best part is that no one tells you when to work and what to do, and obviously the live trips are great," he said of his favorite parts of his career. "The German and Austrian communities have really nice guys to hang out with and talk strategy with, but also to get drunk and have fun with. The worst part is obviously the variance." Oh, the variance. The dreaded "v" word that so many players have brought up. "I've played this game for some years," he said of how he copes with the ups and downs of poker. "I have been broke enough times. Basically, the keys are volume and content." As neverfoldQ5 (pictured) said, traveling is one of the biggest perks of poker, as you can make your own schedule and hop around from tournament to tournament or elect to do all of your damage online. "Away from poker, I enjoy football, traveling, sleeping, and eating. Every place I've traveled can be the best place; it all depends on the people around you. I like warm countries, so Spain is definitely one of my favorite ones. I really enjoy the EPT stops in Barcelona." The Austrian's largest online poker score to date was worth $44,000 and came after winning a W Series event in January on Winamax. He earned his $1 million cash badgethree weeks ago and is the #7 ranked player in Austria. Worldwide, you can find neverfoldQ5 camped out at #319 in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, about 100 spots off his all-time high of #216 set earlier this year. 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 CardRunners or Tournament Poker Edge training. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  12. It appears the long, drawn-out battle for bwin.party is over. On Friday, it was announced that the company's board had unanimously approved a $1.7 billion offer from GVC Holdings, the owners of Sportingbet. bwin.party is the parent company of PartyPoker and bwin, among other brands. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- According to eGaming Review, the deal will likely close in the first quarter of 2016 and will "result in €125 million worth of revenue and cost synergies and create a platform which would provide 'further consolidation opportunities.'" The acquisition was valued at 130 pence per share. bwin.party's board originally accepted an offer from 888 Holdings, the owners of 888 Poker, before a drama-filled few weeks that saw GVC up its bid, dump its original partner in the deal in Amaya Gaming, and ultimately come out on top. The final offer by 888 Holdings was 115 pence per share. If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of the deal, according to EGR, "bwin.party shareholders will receive 25 pence in cash and 0.231 new GVC shares for each bwin.party share held, although a mix-and-match facility will be made available for those that would prefer to vary the proportion of cash and paper. The majority paper deal will mean bwin.party shareholders will assume 66.6% of the combined firm." It doesn't look like 888, whose shareholders have been on a roller-coaster ride with the acquisition, will be submitting a better bid, as a statement from the company read, "The 888 board has concluded that, as a result of its own extensive due diligence on bwin.party, it cannot see sufficient value in bwin.party to warrant a revision to its offer. Consequently, 888 confirms that it is no longer in discussions regarding the acquisition of bwin.party." Winner: GVC. GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander told EGR in a separate article, "The hard work starts now… It's going to be challenging work but also fun work and, potentially, lucrative work… The large group will combine the very best talent GVC and bwin have. There are a lot of very talented people and I've been impressed by the bwin people I've met so far, so there will be lots of opportunities for employees on both sides of the business." EGR added that GVC will migrate Sportingbet to bwin.party's platform and said that the company could divest its poker product. In case you're wondering, by the way, why there was such a lengthy battle for bwin.party, the Wall Street Journal explained the allure of the European gaming giant: "[bwin.party] owns much of its own technology and has strong brands across several product verticals, most notably sports betting, where bwin is well recognized globally." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  13. Last week, we reported that shareholders of bwin.party recommended that the company's Board of Directors approve a $1.4 billion acquisition by 888 Holdings, the parent company of 888 Poker. However, not refusing to lay down and die, GVC, which had been in a bidding war with 888, has upped the ante, reportedly bidding $1.6 billion for bwin.party. The roller-coaster ride might not be done yet. The offer might end the involvement of Amaya Gaming, the owners of PokerStarsand Full Tilt, as the $1.6 billion bid is from GVC and Cerberus Capital Management and does not involve Amaya. bwin.party cited less risk as a reason to roll with 888 rather than GVC already. If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of the deal, it's worth 122.5 pence per share of bwin.party's stock, up from GVC's earlier offer of 110 pence. About a quarter of that would be given in cash and the rest would be in stock. As eGaming Review explained, "The improved offer would be financed through a combination of new GVC shares issued to bwin.party shareholders and €400m provided by affiliates of New York-based Cerberus Capital Management, which is also a part-owner of Gala Coral. GVC would also raise £150m through an equity placement of new GVC shares, which would be used for restructuring costs and to finance bwin.party's current debt." GVC and Amaya had previously submitted an offer of $1.41 billion, but bwin.party elected to go with 888's slightly lower offer instead. As far as the latest GVC bid goes, one analyst told Reuters, "This is a real statement of intent from GVC. The proposed premium over the accepted offer by 888 is such that the bwin.party Board will probably have no choice but to reconsider its acceptance of the 888 offer. We would be surprised if 888 does not come back with a counter-offer of its own." There have been a bundle of mergers and acquisitions in our industry as of late, including Betsson buying Europe-Bet and Ladbrokes merging with Gala Coral. GVC owns Sportingbet. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  14. After a flurry of bids, 888 Holdingswon the battle to buy rival bwin.party on Friday. The price: $1.4 billion in a cash and stock deal. 888 won out over a similarly-priced joint bid by GVC and Amaya, the latter of which already owns PokerStars and Full Tilt. 888 head Brian Mattingley told Reuters, "We believe the deal creates one of the world's leading online gaming operators. It's all about scale... When you've got critical mass, you can ride storms and take advantage of opportunities as they come along." According to the New York Times, "The transaction is expected to increase the scale of 888 Holdings and its products and to generate at least $70 million in annual pretax cost savings by the end of 2018." bwin.party shareholders will receive 39.45 pence in cash per share and 0.404 new 888 shares. bwin.party actually turned down a slightly richer bid from GVC/Amaya, but as Reuters explained, "While lower than the 110 pence face value of GVC's rival offer, bwin said it carried fewer risks, with better prospects and an experienced management team all factors." 888's stock price was up over 10% in London at the time of writing to 177 pence, a gain of 17 pence on the day. Meanwhile, bwin.party's stock was up 2.3% to 105.3 pence. Global Poker Index head Alex Dreyfus called 888's purchase "a great move," adding, "It will still be four to times times smaller than PokerStars in terms of liquidity, but it gives a proper foundation to reinvest in marketing." In New Jersey, PartyPoker/Borgata and 888/WSOP represent the two largest poker networks that exist. 888 buying bwin.party could therefore result in added liquidity. Dreyfus pointed out, "Merging the liquidity/platform should allow [888] to create a very solid alternative offer against PokerStars' 2016 New Jersey launch." Dreyfus added that GVC/Amaya losing the war for bwin.party may actually prove beneficial to the company: "The PartyPoker integration would have been a distraction for Amaya/PokerStars and very much time/resource-consuming. I believe it is better to have them focusing on growing poker and launching DFS than integrating a third brand." Philip Yea, Chairman of bwin.party, commented in a news release, "Bringing our two groups together will generate substantial financial synergies for the benefit of both sets of shareholders and create a strong player with the breadth of product, brands, and geographic coverage to grow faster than either business would be able to achieve stand-alone. Drawing upon a wealth of experience accumulated over the past few years, our management team looks forward to working with new colleagues to realize the considerable potential that this business combination presents." Mattingly (pictured) said in the same release, "It delivers a substantial premium to bwin.party shareholders whilst also giving them the opportunity to participate in this value creation opportunity. 888's management have a well-established track record of delivering outperformance since 2011 and we look forward to working with our new colleagues to create a global leader." According to PokerScout, 888 and PartyPoker's dot-com arms are the second and seventh largest networks worldwide in terms of cash game traffic with a seven-day running average of 3,537 real money ring game players combined. When you add in the various country-specific sites, that number jumps to 4,569, or roughly 12% of the market. Amaya buying bwin.party would have pushed that company's market share to almost 65%. As it stands, PokerStars and Full Tilt hold almost a 60% share. Again, these numbers are all according to PokerScout. One week ago, GVC/Amaya put in its own bid of $1.4 billion for bwin.party. The deal would have given Amaya a foothold into the US, where PokerStars and Full Tilt have struggled to reenter following Black Friday, in the form of PartyPoker in New Jersey. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  15. [caption width="640"] Spring Fever is in the air at 888 New Jersey[/caption] Wednesday's high in Atlantic City: 59 degrees. Thursday: 60. Spring is definitely in the air, and while it's not quite time to grab your sunscreen and surfboard, it's definitely time to play some online poker. 888 Poker, a regulated online poker room in New Jersey, is giving away over $300,000 in cash and prizes as part of it brand new Spring Fever promotion. You can win cash, freeroll tickets, and other prizes every day of the week between now and June 19. To start, 888 is giving each player two tickets to the $1,000 Spring Fever Daily Freerolls and one ticket to a $3,000 Spring Fever Weekly Freeroll. Players can get more Daily Freeroll tickets each day by earning one Status Point in poker games, participating in poker tournaments with a total buy-in of $5 or more, or wagering $10 or more in 888's casino. Only one of these tasks needs to be completed. Players who get more Daily Freeroll tickets will also be awarded special "surprises," which include free play, tickets, cash bonuses, tournament entries, and more. You can see what "surprise" you won by checking your email or looking at 888 Poker's client. "Surprises" vary by whether a player is an MVP or not. Regardless, the most likely "surprise" for each group is a $1,000 Spring Fever Freeroll ticket. The Daily Freerolls run twice a day at 7:05pm ET and 9:05pm ET. They're nine-handed and have three-minute blind levels. You'll get 1,500 in chips to start and late registration is available for a half-hour. You can register for any Daily Freeroll up to 24 hours in advance. Anyone who qualifies for three or more $1,000 Spring Fever Freerolls during the week will get entry into a $3,000 Spring Fever Weekly Freeroll. These run on Sundays at 5:35pm ET from March 20 to June 19. Prizes given away in the Weekly Freerolls include a Sony Playstation 4 to the winner, a GoPro camera to the second place finisher, and Beats headphones to the third place finisher. Weekly Freerolls have the same turbo structure as the Daily Freerolls. The fourth through 117th place finishers in the Weekly Freerolls get 888 swag like hats, shirts, and playing cards. There is no cash given away in the Weekly Freerolls, just prizes. All of the $1,000 Spring Fever Daily Freerolls give away cash. This promotion is only available for players physically located in the state of New Jersey. Non-residents are more than welcome to play if they're in New Jersey, and since this promotion stretches more than halfway into June, there should be plenty of non-Garden State residents taking part. If you don't already have an 888 account, sign up here to get $10 free with no deposit needed. The bonus comes in the form of $4 in cash and six $1 poker tournament tickets.
  16. According to SBC Newsand an FAQ formerly found on its site, Lucky Ace Poker is closing by December 28. Players will be funneled to 888 Poker, which ran Lucky Ace on the same network. SBC explained, "The defunct poker brand had been in service for eight years, primarily used by 888 to target the German market. In November, 888 had halted new customer signups to the Lucky Ace brand as it prepared to cease its services. Lucky Ace players, media partners, and affiliates have been communicated regarding the brand closure." SBC added, "888 detailed that the decision to close Lucky Ace was undertaken in order to concentrate growth and corporate resources on its in-house managed 888 Poker room." An FAQ on Lucky Ace Poker, which now simply forwards to 888's home page, was primarily being used to relay what 888 was and when the move would take place. Pokerfuse added that in recent weeks Lucky Ace's software was only available to existing customers and could not be downloaded by newcomers. According to PokerScout, which keeps tabs on online poker traffic, 888 is the second largest online poker network in the world, with a seven-day running average of 2,309 real money ring game players. PokerScout also notes that the network includes LotosPoker, TowerTorneos, and WSOP's UK site. Other 888-owned, non-poker brands include Reef Club Casino, BingoStreet, TastyBingo, Posh, and Bingo Fabulous. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  17. [caption width="640"] The 888 'Live the Game' marketing campaign is all about the good times, not the grind.[/caption] Modern poker strategy has become so refined that today’s amateur players stand little chance when pitted against a table full of calculating professional grinders. The disparity in skill level is so pronounced that many of the industry’s leading operators have turned their focus to attracting and nurturing casual users in the hopes of keeping the online poker economy healthy. 888, the world’s second-largest real-money online poker site, is one such company, and recently kicked off a marketing blitz called “Live the Game” with that goal in mind. As part of the campaign, 888poker produced a series of well-made television ads that feature three poker-playing buddies who can’t stop one-upping each other, at or away from the poker table. In one spot, the men try to impress by doing increasingly difficult high dives, while in another, they take to the dance floor at a jazz club. Indeed, the 888 ads do a nice job of capturing the competitive nature of poker players in an entertaining and relatable way. How to earn tickets The ‘Live the Game’ promo runs until March 14 and gives players the opportunity to win a piece of $1 million in cash through a series of special tournaments and “missions.” 888 is continuously running $2,000, $5,000 and $10,000 guaranteed events which players can enter by collecting “tickets.” These can be acquired in several ways. Existing customers who signed up prior to the start of the promo, but have not yet made a deposit, will be emailed a special offer with the opportunity to win tickets. Members who have made at least one deposit will automatically receive three free tickets. Additional entries can be won by completing any of the following daily missions: Smooth Player Mission - wins a $2,000 Smooth Call Tournament ticket Big Raiser Mission - wins a $5,000 Raise the Stakes Tournament ticket All Action Mission - wins a $10,000 Action Hero Tournament ticket The requirements for each “mission” are emailed to players on a daily basis and can change from day-to-day. For the overachievers who complete three or more of those missions each week, 888 will award bonus cash prizes, extra tickets or casino FreePlays. More Goodies Users will have the opportunity to win even more prizes with the site’s ever popular prize wheel bonus feature. Depositing members are granted two spins per day and have a choice between two types of spinners. A “Smooth Spinner” will always award a small prize, while a “Wild Spinner” awards bigger prizes, but only 30% of the time. Up for grabs are cash bonuses, casino FreePlays, Sports Free Bets, Step Satellite Tournament tickets and Live the Game Tournament tickets. Sign-up for 888 Poker here and take advantage of the 'Live the Game' promotions going on now.
  18. Online poker tournament players have something to look forward to in January, as the world's second largest online poker room, 888 Poker, announced the return of the Super XL Series. The fourth edition of the online poker festival takes place fromJanuary 24 to 31, featuring 38 tournaments with a combined $2 million guaranteed prize pool. As one might expect, the highlight of the festival is the Super XL Main Event, where for a $1,050 buy-in, players will be playing for at least $1 million guaranteed prize pool. Other big events on the schedule include a $160 buy-in $250,000 Guaranteed Opening Event Multi-Chance, a $1,500 buy-in $300,000 Guaranteed High Roller Event, and a $600 buy-in $200,000 Guaranteed Outback Event. The High Roller Event has one of the largest buy-in amounts for a tournament in 888 Poker's history. If those buy-ins sound steep, rest assured the Super XL is still likely to be up your alley if you love online poker tournaments. You can qualify into Super XL events for the fraction of the cost, with the many satellitesalready taking place on 888 Poker. If last year is any indication, many players took this route, as over 60,000 different qualifiers for the Super XL took place. 888 Poker offers Main, Mini, and Turbo-style games for most of the tournaments on the schedule. So, for example, if you don't want to spend the $160 to buy into the Opening Event or if you didn't qualify, you can opt to enter the $12 buy-in Mini Opening Event, which features a $50,000 prize pool. [caption width="618"] Dominik Nitsche is one of the 888 Ambassadors who will be in action[/caption] 888 Poker informed PocketFives that all of its Ambassadors, which include Dominik Nitsche, Jackie Glazier, Nico Villa Lobos, Bruno Politano, Bruno Kawauti, Akira Ohyama, and Sofia Lovgren, will be in action during the series. Nitsche appears especially excited about the upcoming series. "I'm very excited about this year's Super XL Series, which in all likelihood will set records on 888 Poker," said Nitsche in a press release. "Very few online events are 'can't-miss,' but the Super XL Series is definitely one of them. I'll most likely be playing in all the big events and I'm expecting big things in the Main Event, which is going to be one of the best tourneys ever." Last, but not least, players can win even bigger by finishing in the top 10 spots on the XL Leaderboard to win cash prizes. Each event on the Super XL schedule will qualify for the leaderboard, with the winner bringing home an additional $5,000 in cold hard cash.
  19. [caption width="640"] 888poker is giving players around the world the chance to star in their own poker story video.[/caption] Many poker players just want to maximize their profits when they sit down at the poker table. For them, it’s all about the money. But there’s another group of poker players who have another motivation in mind when they buy-in to a tournament or a cash game. They want to see their name in lights. They want to be TV stars. They want to be famous. And now 888poker has come up with a way to make that possible for online poker players around the world and they don’t have to throw a chair, berate some guy from Northern Europe or whine about their lack of luck. They’ve just got to play. 888 recently introduced a personalized video program that takes the last week of a player’s activity and turns it into a statistic-diven video that can be shared via social media with friends and family around the world. "888 was looking for a way to engage players in a new and powerful way in order to retain them. By using their stats and behavior and creating a personalized TV poker series; with a new episode each week, each player can see their progress and compete against themselves and other players,” the company said in a press release. Some of the 21 different data points that appear in the video includes an aggressiveness meter, a loose-tight meter, the number of knockouts recorded in tournaments and the nemesis for each player. As the player continues to create weekly videos the story will continue to expand to include more data including national rankings, gender and even playing patterns. If you want to become a star of your own poker video, sign-up for 888poker and get $88 free. "Poker is a skill game with a lot of statistics, so we can generate very personal and engaging content that can be interesting to the player and even improve [their] game," the company said. It’s also easy to share the video with friends and family around the world. Each video includes built-in share buttons meaning that putting the video on Twitter, Facebook or even WhatsApp is just a single click away. If you’re dying to be the star of your own poker video series, you might have to be patient. The program was initially rolled out to 10,000 users and quickly expanded to 20,000 users, all in English-speaking markets. As the program becomes more successful and popular, more users and more languages will be added. To learn more about the personalized video program visit 888poker.com
  20. [caption width="640"] It's hard to miss the 888 poker players at the 2016 WSOP Main Event[/caption] It’s nearly impossible to look around the remaining players in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event and notice an abundance of 888 poker branding. The hats, shirts and patches adorned with the 888 poker logo seem to be everywhere - and that’s thanks to an extensive satellite campaign put on by the online poker site over the first six months of 2016. A total of 148 players qualified for the WSOP Main Event through 888 poker this year. Most came through a satellite step system that allows players to start playing the first level for one penny. “We have so many of them because the system is really friendly in terms of the process. We have six or seven steps that are running as scheduled tournaments,” said Hilli Shakked, 888 Director of Poker Operations. “Every hour we have a penny tournament, every hour we have a dime tournament, every one or two hours we have a $1 tournament.” Those $1 buy-in Step tournaments are just the third step in what is a seven step qualifying system. Players advance from the $1 into the $5 Steps, then $30 Steps, then $160 Steps and eventually find themselves in a $1,050 WSOP Main Event package qualifier. Shakked points out that one of the reasons the program is so successful is that players can move out of the step system at any time and use the tournament tickets elsewhere on 888 - including regularly scheduled MTTs. While 888 is an official WSOP sponsor and the only online poker company that can offers WSOP Main Event satellites outside of WSOP.com, they launch the WSOP qualifier program in January to help build momentum and interest. “We don’t want to run it too early. We want to create excitement around the start and then we can do some promotion around, so that everybody knows,” said Shakked. “Many play because of the opportunity to play in the WSOP. It adds a lot of prestige to us. And, of course there is some cannibalization with the regular games, but it’s difficult to measure the immediate impact. we believe that the overall impact is positive.” Along with the 148 players who made their way into the Main Event through the site, another 100 players qualified for the $888 Crazy Eights event. But not all of those players made their way in via satellites. The site offered mission-based challenges throughout 2016 that rewarded players with the chanceto spin a wheel and win a Main Event or Crazy Eights package. “We had several campaigns. We had one called “The Road to Vegas” that every player that registered got to spin a wheel,”said 888 Poker Acquisition Director Shai Tabibian. “The wheel gives some options, including a seat to the Main Event, the $888 event, or to participate in other freerolls. We had players register and win a seat to the Main Event.” Now that the WSOP campaign is finished, 888 is focusing their qualifying efforts on this fall’s Super XL Series, which comes with the biggest main event guarantee they’ve ever run - $1.5 million. Qualifiers for that are running now.
  21. [caption width="640"] The 888 Poker Summer Championships runs August 14 - 21[/caption] You may or may not have noticed, but a rather major sporting event kicked off this weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Next weekend 888 Poker launches their own series of events and rather than gold medals, players will be chasing cash and points in the 888 Poker Summer ChampionChips. Consisting of 18 different events running August 14 - 21, the Summer Champion-Chips is a series geared towards recreational players hoping to score big. The buy-ins range from $1 to $55. Each of the 18 events are named for an Olympic event. The Summer ChampionChips Main Event runs Sunday, August 21 with a $30 buy-in and a $50,000 guarantee. Sign-up for 888 Poker through PocketFives and get $88 free - No deposit required. Click here to get started. Complete Schedule * [poker card="TD"]EVENT # [poker card="TD"]DATE * [poker card="TD"]BUY-IN * [poker card="TD"]GUARANTEE * [poker card="TD"]NAME * [poker card="TD"]1 * [poker card="TD"]August 14 * [poker card="TD"]$5 * [poker card="TD"]$5,000 * [poker card="TD"]Opening Ceremony (Six Max) * [poker card="TD"]2 * [poker card="TD"]August 14 * [poker card="TD"]$12 * [poker card="TD"]$25,000 * [poker card="TD"]Half Marathon * [poker card="TD"]3 * [poker card="TD"]August 14 * [poker card="TD"]$1 * [poker card="TD"]$1,500 * [poker card="TD"]Race Track (Turbo) * [poker card="TD"]4 * [poker card="TD"]August 15 * [poker card="TD"]$12 * [poker card="TD"]$10,000 * [poker card="TD"]Long Jump * [poker card="TD"]5 * [poker card="TD"]August 15 * [poker card="TD"]$5 * [poker card="TD"]$1,500 * [poker card="TD"]Sync Swimming (Omaha) * [poker card="TD"]6 * [poker card="TD"]August 16 * [poker card="TD"]$55 * [poker card="TD"]$30,000 * [poker card="TD"]weightlifting (High Roller) * [poker card="TD"]7 * [poker card="TD"]August 16 * [poker card="TD"]$1 * [poker card="TD"]$1,000 * [poker card="TD"]Wrestling (Four Max) * [poker card="TD"]8 * [poker card="TD"]August 17 * [poker card="TD"]$12 * [poker card="TD"]$3,000 * [poker card="TD"]Boxing (Knockout) * [poker card="TD"]9 * [poker card="TD"]August 17 * [poker card="TD"]$1 * [poker card="TD"]$3,000 * [poker card="TD"]Hurdles (Extended R&A) * [poker card="TD"]10 * [poker card="TD"]August 18 * [poker card="TD"]$5 * [poker card="TD"]$3,000 * [poker card="TD"]Rugby (Quarterback) * [poker card="TD"]11 * [poker card="TD"]August 18 * [poker card="TD"]$3 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Pole Vault * [poker card="TD"]12 * [poker card="TD"]August 19 * [poker card="TD"]$3 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Triple Jump (1R&1A) * [poker card="TD"]13 * [poker card="TD"]August 19 * [poker card="TD"]$3 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Judo Tournamnet (SNAP) * [poker card="TD"]14 * [poker card="TD"]August 20 * [poker card="TD"]$12 * [poker card="TD"]$10,000 * [poker card="TD"]Long Distance Race * [poker card="TD"]15 * [poker card="TD"]August 20 * [poker card="TD"]$1 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Trampoline * [poker card="TD"]16 * [poker card="TD"]August 21 * [poker card="TD"]$30 * [poker card="TD"]$50,000 * [poker card="TD"]Marathan (Main Event) * [poker card="TD"]17 * [poker card="TD"]August 21 * [poker card="TD"]$3 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Freestyle Swimming (Turbo) * [poker card="TD"]18 * [poker card="TD"]August 21 * [poker card="TD"]$5 * [poker card="TD"]$2,000 * [poker card="TD"]Spring (Super Turbo) Starting Monday, August 8, 888 Poker is running free qualifiers that guarantee 50 seats to each of the 18 SCC events. Each qualifying event is restricted to 2,000 entrants and opens 30 minutes before it begins. The free qualifiers stop running on August 13 - the night before the Summer ChampionChip begins. Step qualifiers are also already available in the 888 Poker lobby under ‘Summer ChampionChips’ tab’ under ‘Tournaments.’ Every player who plays in a SCC event can earn points on the Summer ChampionChips Leaderboard. The top 200 players at the end of the SCC win a prize with the overall winner taking home $1,000. The top 100 finishers earn a cash prize while those who finish between 101 and 200 will earn a 888 tournament ticket. Points for this leaderboard are calculated and awarded in real time.
  22. [caption width="640"] Parker 'TonkaaaaP' Talbot is the newest member of team 888poker.[/caption] 888poker’s team of ambassadors continues to add more star power following the announcement that Parker 'TonkaaaaP' Talbot is joining the squad. Talbot has grown a massive following on Twitch, with his videos collecting over 3,500,000 views and thousands of subscribers paying for exclusive content. And for good reason. Talbot has earned nearly $3,000,000 playing online poker and reached a peak in 2016 of number 11 on the PocketFives Worldwide Rankings. As part of Talbot’s deal with 888poker, he joins the likes of Chris ‘Moorman1’ Moorman and Dominik Nitsche in promoting the game on a global level. Additionally, Talbot will stream at least five days a week and commentate on all 888 Live events on his neverlucky.tv channel. “I'm obviously a big fan of 888poker as I play a chunk of my online volume there. When presented with the opportunity to become an 888poker ambassador, it became apparent that this could turn into something very exciting,” said Talbot. Talbot generally plays most of the major daily events online and has an enjoyment for playing the major 888poker events including the Crocodile, the Whale, and the Mega Deep Turbo. The upcoming Super XL Series will be part of Talbot’s upcoming streams, as well. “The XL series has been killing it recently, and I can't wait to get in there and duke it out later this month. 888 is 100% a premiere online poker operator. I'm very hopeful for 888 taking over the game in the coming years. The site has been continuing to grow for a good long while now with no signs of turning back. I can't wait to work with everyone at 888 and try to get the word out about just how great it can be.” The five days a week that Talbot’s loyal fans are used to him streaming will continue as part of his new deal. As Talbot continues to stream with a name brand attached to his name, his following is likely to grow higher than ever before. “I'll be streaming 888poker every day I stream, which is currently Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday starting at 1:00 pm EST at neverlucky.tv. I play a pretty high average buy-in, but I have recently been mixing in a lot of $20-$50 games for volume because I've realized how awesome the $30 tournaments are on 888poker. So basically, every $22 tournament that runs in my schedule will be played and streamed!” Talbot’s inspiration for streaming came from when he and his friend, Jamie Staples, were playing video games together with Staples suggesting to Talbot that he start his own stream. A few months later, Talbot had crossed back over into playing tournaments and decided to give streaming a shot. In only 13 months, his stream is one of the most-viewed in all of poker. “I think that I'm generally pretty relatable and genuine, and I think people can just join in on that. I'm generally upbeat as well, and I feed off of the energy of the chat. I could never stream and be exciting or have energy if I didn't have all the muppets hanging out with me and rooting me on. Winning hundreds of thousands of dollars on occasion can also be very helpful.” The star that is Talbot has come a long way from his humble beginnings as both a player and a streamer. With his new deal firmly in place, it seems as though the sky's the limit for both Talbot and 888poker. If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, sign up through this link and you’ll get a 100% bonus up to a maximum of $700. You'll also get a free $10 on top of the first $10 you deposit available to you right away!
  23. [caption width="640"] Last year Griffin Benger turned a 0 satellite win into a November Nine appearance.[/caption] It’s almost here. You have made it through the first five steps of the 888poker World Series of Poker Main Eventqualifying stages. All that is standing between you and the chance to play for a Main Event seat is $160 a field of competitors hungry to make to Las Vegas. Sound intimidating? Not to worry. Last year, Griffin Benger started his Main Event journey at this step and walked out of the Rio last November over $1,250,000 richer as a result. Could you be on your way to joining Benger and possibly exceeding his feat? All it takes is one click to find out. RELATED: Start your journey to the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $0.01For players who have made the climb up the ladder to make it this far, there is the case to made for fear of losing and having to restart the climb. Lucky for those players, former November Niner and 888poker team pro Bruno Politano has some positive advice to share. “Don’t give up! There are lots of cases of success where the players tried four or five times and got it the package. This is a very good strategy for these players to believe and trust in your potential and continue trying Focus and persistence are the keys to success.” One out of every, approximately, seven entrants into Step 6 will earn a seat in the $1,050 mega satellite, which will result in at least one player earning a seat at the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event seat. 888poker team pro Dominik Nitsche has already qualified for the Main Event through 888poker and says he wishes he “could play every day” noting the high equity value of the seats. Unfortunately, 888poker does not allow for players to earn multiple seats, which Nitsche thinks is a positive as it would take away the opportunity from many recreational players. Nitsche points out that players who have qualified for the later steps should play them closer to the Main Event as by then, many of the professionals will have already won a seat, therefore making the fields not as arduous to fight through. Regardless, there is tremendous value in being able to earn a $10,000 seat for barely over one percent of the initial price. As we have learned through the opening five pieces in this series, most professionals recommend allocating four or five buy-ins for every step and to be aware of all stacks when on the bubble. It’s not about winning the tournament, but not losing the seat. Like Parker ‘tonkaaaa’ Talbot says, “shove wide and call tight.” RELATED: How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $5Now that you have all the tools required to succeed in the 888poker satellite series, we hope to see one of you win a seat to the Main Event and maybe even reach the November Nine. Need any more convincing to try 888poker’s satellite steps? Let Kara Scott explain. “Players have a chance to climb their way up the steps satellite structure and try to earn tickets to the higher buy-in satellites, running a couple times a week, where they can win a package to the Main Event or 888 Side Event and potentially win HUGE.”
  24. [caption width="640"] You could find yourself in the 2017 WSOP Main Event for just thanks to 888poker[/caption] We are at the approximate halfway point of our 888poker World Series of Poker Main event satellite series and now at Step 3. The buy ins are starting to get more serious as $1 now marks the entry fee to hop on the ladder. As with Step 2, there is a slower structure in this step. Blinds go up every six minutes, rather than the five in Step 2 and three in Step 1. All entrants start with 2,000 chips and have rebuy options open for the first 10 levels of the satellite. Most importantly, instead of one out of every 10 entrants earning a seat to the next step, one of five advance. RELATED: How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $0.01With this new dynamic comes a need to adjust in strategy. Luckily for players, the newest member of the 888poker team, Parker ‘Tonkaaaa’ Talbot has just the suggestions anyone might need. “Satellites are a game where if you study enough, any tournament becomes soft. People make mistakes in all of them and someone could stack off with a big stack. Overall, satellites are profitable.” All of the 888poker team pros featured thus far in this series have offered strategy advice for how best to avoid bubbling and in turn, failing to move on to the next step. Talbot offers similar advice and suggests being aware of the playing habits of your opponents. “Don’t stack off on the bubble. Play the first half as you would a regular tournament. Making a 10 big blind shove on the button should be more profitable than calling with ace-king in the big blind.” Most of all, Talbot recommends players live by the saying of “shove wide, call tight” in order to be most profitable when making decisions for large portions of chips. RELATED: How to Qualify For the 2017 WSOP Main Event for Just $0.10Fellow 888team pro and 2015 WSOP November Niner Bruno Politano is in agreement with Talbot. Politano suggests players treat it like a standard MTT and then ramp up the aggression late when chips are of the utmost importance. “I think the strategy for the lower satellites is to make it seem like a regular tournament. Play tight in the first levels and aggressive in the middle and the final stages. The important mental part is to not lose your focus because it’s a lower step. Play the first step like you will play the last step and you will have more of a chance to win all your steps.” Now that we are midway through the steps to qualify for the Main Event, our next part in the series will focus on how players should attack Step 4, the $5 section, before making their way into the world of Steps 5 and 6.
  25. [caption width="640"] 888poker team pros Bruno Politano, Chris Moorman, and Bruno Kawauti are excited for the release of the Live Festival and Local Event schedule. (888 photo).[/caption] 888poker’s 2017 Live Festival season kicked off at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic and recently announced a full series in Barcelona in May. 888live is pleased to reveal seven more stops to add to their calendar. In total, there are three 888live Festivals on the remaining schedule along with six Local Events. The 888live Festival Series and Local Events will be making four separate stops to London. The Live Festival is on the schedule for October with Local Events on tap for May, July, and November. 888poker team pro and former PocketFives #1 player Chris 'moorman1' Moorman is planning on being in attendance in London and excited to take down a title in his native country. “I plan on winning the event in London as I've always wanted to win an event in my home city and getting so close in the high roller last year has wet my appetite to do this even further,” said Moorman. Fellow 888poker ambassador Kara Scott is overjoyed at the prospect of winning a title so close to home. “I'm calling London! I'm going to use Barcelona as my warm up (and absolutely try to take it down). But London feels like home turf to me, and I've done well there in the other two 888poker main events I've played, even coming 3rd in the first I played with an 888poker patch on, so it feels like mine.” Along with the previously announced 888live Festival stop in Barcelona, the other Live Festival stop on the calendar is in August in Sao Paolo, Brazil; the home of many 888poker team members. One of those Brazilian players, 2014 November Niner Bruno Politano, loves playing 888Live events and will be at the stops in Barcelona and Brazil. “The atmosphere in 888Live events is amazing. You can feel that the company is putting the players first, giving them the chance to play with our amazing 888 team. I absolutely love the 888Live events in Brazil and will love even more the upcoming [series] in Barcelona!” The other Local Events on tap for later this year are Dublin in June, Madrid in September, and Vienna in December to close out the campaign. The official locations and schedule of events will be released closer to the timing of each series. Both returning and new players should be ready for an experience unlike any other when the next 888poker arrives at a city near them. Live poker has come a long way and someone who has been around the game as long as Scott is floored by what 888poker offers at their events. “When players approach me to share their stories of how fun an event was or to tell me how they feel taken care of by 888poker, it always makes me feel very proud to be part of the 888poker team. Since the inception of 888Live, the players have come first at 888poker, as they consistently offer affordable buy-ins alongside impressive guaranteed prize pools.” If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, sign up through this link and you’ll get a 100% bonus up to a maximum of $700. You'll also get a free $10 on top of the first $10 you deposit available to you right away!

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