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  1. Off to a hot start in 2014 is PocketFives member LarsLuzak(pictured), who is known in the real world as Sami Kelopuro. This Finnish poker pro has a final table in the Full Tilt Poker FTOPS Main Eventand a win in the site's $250,000 Guaranteed already this year for a combined $134,000. Additionally, he has one of the largest cashes ever recorded by a PocketFiver. We'll have more on that to come. --- 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's always great to final table the right tournament," Kelopuro said of the FTOPS Main Event. "I wasn't doing well in any of the earlier FTOPS tournaments and finishing fifth in a lot of them wouldn't have paid much at all. Of course, it would've been great to go all the way and win it, but that's a good enough payday. I'll take what I can get." PocketFiver firaldo took down the FTOPS Main Event for $236,000 after a three-way chop. "I thought it was a sick field when there were about 30 players left and to my immediate right were Phil Galfond (pictured) and Mike timex McDonald," Kelopuro said of the field down the stretch in the $635 Re-Entry tournament. "Then, Phil busted and I had position on Mike all the way. There definitely weren't any very fishy plays toward the end." He bought into the FTOPS Main Event exactly once and said he was "running pretty well from the start. In general, I try to take advantage of the possibility of re-entries, play looser, and take chances, at least until I have a stack." Kelopuro officially banked $735,000 in 2011 after winning the PokerStars SCOOP High-Stakes Main Event, one of the largest scores you'll find for any PocketFiver. That score makes up nearly half of his tracked in the money finishes in tournaments and helped push him as high as #53 in the PocketFives Rankings. "I think a deeper structure is better for me," Kelopuro said of his success in larger tournaments. "I feel like I have more of an edge when it's not just pre-flop poker and there is room to play some. I've probably also been running well in the right tournaments, as luck is such a big factor, even after all these years." He added, "There aren't too many big tournaments running and I mostly play these big series, as I'm not too interested in the normal weekly tournaments. Last year until September, I played tournaments most Sundays, but then I realized it wasn't worth it. They have bad hours and even though I was running all right, it didn't pay enough per hour for me to keep doing it. I've always been more of a cash game player and there wasn't any downside for me to play just cash games." You can find him in $10/$20 and $25/$50 cash games nowadays and he was formerly active in the nosebleed stakes. "I tried to figure out how much I was getting from weekly tournaments and then decided to quit them when it seemed it was never going to pay more than $100 or $200 per hour; it's easy to make more from cash games." He explained, "I don't even need to play $10/$20 or higher. In fact, I think a good $2/$4 PLO player beats every single tournament player's win rate by multi-tabling and choosing games in a smart way. On top of that, you can make your own schedule; those games run all day long." Kelopuro got into poker in 2005 through friends who held home games. "I was immediately hooked and started playing online shortly thereafter," he said. His family was always approving of the Fin's poker exploits and, despite a stint in the military in 2007, he remained on top of his game. "By the time that was over," he said, "I was already winning big. At that point, it would have been time to think about schools to apply to, but I already had a career going in poker, so I stayed on that path." The Finland poker community is 522 members strong here on PocketFives. Its top 20 ranked players have combined for $43.4 million in winnings, including $3.9 million in the last three months. Kelopuro is its tenth-ranked player. FTOPS runs quarterly on Full Tilt Poker. If you don't already have a Full Tilt account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and make a deposit to get one free month of PocketFives MTT Training. You'll also get $25 free in most locations. Click here for PocketFives' Full Tilt Poker link. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Last weekend, Scotland's Niall firaldoFarrell (pictured) struck gold in the Full Tilt Poker FTOPS Main Event, coming away with the win for $236,000 following a three-way chop. The tournament, a $635 No Limit Hold'em Re-Entry event, drew over 2,500 entrants, four of whom walked off with six-figures. We caught up with Farrell to break down his landmark score that has shot him up to #35 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- PocketFives: Huge score! How are you feeling about it? Niall Farrell: I'm still ecstatic. It was a great feeling. PocketFives: What are you going to do with the money? Niall Farrell: I'm not sure. Most of it is going back into my bankroll so I can play higher live games. I'm going to buy a ridiculously priced steak in Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker too! PocketFives: Walk us through how the tournament went in general and what you thought about the skill level at the final table. Niall Farrell: I was in for only one bullet, which was a welcome change. I got short very early, but then doubled up and by the time I was at the mid-stages, I had a pretty good stack. I consciously played super-aggressively during the mid-stages trying to make a real run at the final table. My stack was yo-yoing a good amount and then I got 5-5 in versus K-K for a decent number of chips and rivered a five. With 60 or so left, the field was very tough. When we got to three tables, there were two really tough tables with timex(pictured), Phil Galfond, and LarsLuzak and one easier table that I was fortunate enough to be at. The really strong players at my table were kind of short, so I was able to accumulate fairly easily going into the final table. The final table itself was very tough. timex, LarsLuzak, and yrwthmelthrare all top players. Chilax Chuck was the big chip leader and although I believe he doesn't play full-time, he did a great job of applying ICM pressure on the other stacks, so it was certainly a very tough final table overall. PocketFives: Why did you decide to chop? Niall Farrell: Three-handed, the pay jumps were pretty huge. Chilax Chuck had the chip lead and was willing to give up a little equity to get a chop done and I think that was fair. We left $36,000 to play for that he was in the best chip position to win, so all in all it seemed fair. It was nice to lock up $200,000 too. PocketFives: You're about to pass $2 million in tracked scoresin your profile. Niall Farrell: Yeah, that feels really good. Profit is the main number you look at, but having a high cash total certainly helps with that. Hopefully, we're on the way to moorman1-esque numbers, if somewhat more slowly. PocketFives: What separates you from other poker players out there? Niall Farrell: I think every poker player thinks they're really good at all times. I like to think I'm quite self-aware regarding my abilities. At the start of last year, I began thinking I could make it to the top tier of tournament players. I'm certain I can get there, but it's going to take time and hard work. PocketFives: When you say you're self-aware, is that a trait you've had to develop or how do you know you're self-aware? What tools do you use to analyze your game? Niall Farrell: I think a good indication that you're self-aware is your ROI. If you have a strong ROI, it shows you're not playing lots of games you can't beat but think you can and things like that. I watch a lot of training videos and try to apply different concepts I learn. I also go over my play using PokerTracker to try to identify areas where I can improve. I recently signed with CardRunners as a high-stakes MTT instructor and that has really helped me get back in the groove of self-study and improvement. PocketFives: You had quite a fan base railing your FTOPS Main Event win. How did that feel? Niall Farrell: That felt great. It's a very nice feeling to have so many of your peers hoping you do well. I feel like 70% of them were cheering hard knowing the debauchery that's going to follow the next time we meet up. PocketFives: You mentioned to us earlier that you were a little jet-lagged. What are you up to travel-wise? Niall Farrell: I was in Calgary. My girlfriend is doing her PhD there, so I'm there about half the year. I'm going back to Calgary for SCOOP and then on to Las Vegas. I'm back home in Scotland now, although I'm off to Ireland for the Irish Poker Open and then straight on to Monaco for the EPT Grand Final. PocketFives: What are you looking forward to the most at the WSOPthis year? Niall Farrell: I always look forward to Vegas, but after three weeks there, I'm usually ready to come home. I'm really looking forward to the $10,000 Six-Max event this year. I've never played it and they didn't have it last year. I'm also looking forward to the food and a free meal at Nobu that's owed to me. Getting a house in Vegas is really important. Staying in a hotel for that period of time on the Strip gets unbearable. We stay in a house 20 minutes away from the Strip. It's a really good value and quiet so you can get away from the madness every night, which is great. PocketFives: We understand you want to send a shout out to players in Scotland? Niall Farrell: Yeah, I'd like to send a shout out to the Scotland poker chat. The boys have been crushing it this year. FTOPS runs quarterly on Full Tilt Poker. If you don't already have a Full Tilt account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and make a deposit to get one free month of PocketFives MTT Training. You'll also get $25 free in most locations. Click here for PocketFives' Full Tilt Poker link. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. [caption width="640"] You can find Niall 'firaldo' Farrell at big live events around the world with a boisterous band of Scots[/caption] They're loud. They have strength in numbers. And when they have a beer in their hands, all bets are off. They're called Scots, and among them is Niall 'firaldo' Farrell, #8 in the PocketFives Rankings for the UK and #2 on Scotland's all-time money list. "Scottish guys are awesome, especially my close-knit community," Farrell said. "Everyone rails each other and I'm pretty sure each of us has borrowed money from the other people in the group at some point in the last five years. We all travel together a good amount and go out together. Even when we're back home, we hang out as well." Farrell is fresh off finishing second in the France Poker Series Monte Carlo Main Event in Monaco for $144,000. His rail was, needless to say, loud and supportive, and they were there every step of the way. And when you spot him in the halls of Le Sporting at the Monte Carlo Bay Resort, he's surrounded by compatriots and fanboys, all with Heinekens in their hands. This isn't the group's first trip abroad. In fact, their travels approach legendary status. "Recently, I was with Dean Hutchison, who won a UKIPT event, in Australia for a few weeks in Melbourne and Sydney," Farrell said. "We got an Airbnb. It was an absurd Airbnb, like a $3 million place. We had a bunch of English guys like Billy Chattaway with us too. We started off with two of the biggest parties I've ever been involved in. It was ridiculous." Farrell and his merry band of Scots received a message from the owner of the condo on a Saturday night. The owner had received a noise complaint and was concerned that there were more than six people in the apartment - the agreed upon number of guests. The owner was coming over to check. Fortunately for Farrell, the owner never showed. There were over 200 people in the apartment at the time. "It's great to have a group. It really helps keep me sane when you're traveling about so much. It's cool to hang out with your friends at all of these places," Farrell said. Guys like Ross 'RLOG' Loggie (#53 on Scotland's all-time money list) and David 'davidv1213' Vamplew (#1) regularly travel with him. They've helped him retain a sense of normalcy amid a sea of airplane flights, meals out, Uber rides, and power converters. "We don't really talk poker that much," Farrell said of his group's time away from the tables. "We all have different styles and we all play at different levels, so there's not big strategy talks. There is some poker talk, but not as much as most groups. We mostly talk about football, drinking, partying, and stuff like that. We are all big fans of Davey Weir, who is a legendary Scottish footballer, so we talk about him a lot." [caption width="640"] The Scots invade Vegas to root on Pius Heinz[/caption] "I'm in Monaco with Jake Cody, who is obviously not Scottish, but we have an apartment here," Farrell said. "There are five of us Scottish guys here. There are usually a few more, but Monaco is one of those EPTs where it's very expensive. Barcelona, you can just go and party. You can party here, but it's not one that a lot of the boys are going to come over for. A lot of the boys come over and play side events, but it's too expensive to do that here." A Coke and a cheeseburger will set you back well over $30 in Monaco. You'll find similar pricing almost 10,000 kilometers west in Las Vegas, where Farrell and his merry band of Scots are headed in a few short weeks for the World Series of Poker. Look out, world. "The whole UK rail is pretty legendary in Las Vegas," said Farrell. "It's not just Scotland. There have been a lot of pictures and controversy over the years at the rail. When one of your mates gets to the final table, it's like a football match, so it's kind of mental. We go over the top, but I think it's good. I think they should let us do our thing. No one's getting hurt. They should just chill. There will definitely be a good UK rail in Vegas this year." One of those players who has received a red card on the rail over the years is Chris 'moorman1' Moorman, who also calls the UK home. "I know Moorman has been removed from the tournament area before and people have been thrown out," Farrell said of the most accomplished online poker player in history. Again, they're pretty loud. Farrell won last year's EPT Malta Main Event for almost $600,000. His crew was on-hand for the libations and celebrations that ensued. Shortly after, they headed to Prague and will be back in Malta in October when the EPT returns. "The one EPT win I was really going for was Prague, which was right after Malta, because if you win two EPTs in a row, you're set," Farrell said. "I got 40th, so I went really deep. With 50 left, I thought I was going to win and would be living the dream. I'll definitely be back in Malta this year. I very rarely miss an EPT. They're extremely well run. The tournament staff and the dealers are the best in the world by far. They're great tournaments and great value. As a poker pro, you should never miss one." You know who else never misses a big live tournament stop? The merry band of Scots.
  4. [caption width="640"] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell now has a WPT title to go along with his EPT win (WPT photo)[/caption] Niall ‘firaldo’ Farrell is one step closer to being a part of poker’s Triple Crown after taking down the partypoker World Poker Tour Caribbean title for $330,000. 323 entrants took part in the $5,000 buy-in event and after starting the final table among the short stacks, Farrell wound up taking the lion’s share of the over $1,450,000 prize pool. Farrell won the European Poker Tour Malta Main Event in October 2015 for the first leg of the Triple Crown and this victory adds to his already sizable $2,936,820 in live tournament earnings. The final table marked Farrell’s first in a WPT main event and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. This TV final table was an international affair with six different countries represented. Additionally, all the final tablists were making their first WPT final table appearance. Stephen Woodhead started the final table as the short stack and it took 24 hands before he met his end. It was Farrell who did the deed knocking out Woodhead as the two battled for Woodhead’s last 15 big blinds in a preflop confrontation. Farrell opened for 105,000 from the hijack and Woodhead moved all in for 750,000 from the big blind. Farrell called having Woodhead dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"] against the short stack’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="4h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2d"][poker card="8s"] runout was no assistance to Woodhead as he took home $66,000 for his finish. The next to go was Yiannis Liperis, who has also hamstrung with a short stack coming into the final table. With just over six blinds left, Liperis jammed for 375,000 on the button and got a call from Anthony Augustino out of the big blind. Like Woodhead, Liperis had an inferior ace as he showed [poker card="as"][poker card="3s"] against Augustino's [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"] flop left Liperis needing running cards to double up, as well as a three. The [poker card="7h"] turn gave him a gutshot straight draw but the [poker card="4h"] would seal his fate as the fifth place finisher. Farrell picked up his second elimination of the final table as he took downColin Moffatt 17 hands after Liperis departed. With the blinds still at 30,000/60,000, Farrell raised to 105,000 on the button and Moffatt moved all in for 1,180,000 from the big blind. Farrell called and was in a flip with [poker card="6d"][poker card="6c"] against the [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] of Moffatt. The [poker card="ad"][10s][poker card="7s"] flop surged Moffatt ahead as he flopped two pair. Farrell regained the lead on the turn, though, with the [poker card="6h"] giving him a set. Needing to fill up on the river, Moffatt did not as the [poker card="jc"] and he exited in fourth place. It would only take Farrell 10 more hands to earn the championship as he dispatched his next two opponents in short order. Farrell caught a double at an opportune time which fully charged his late run to the title. In one of the biggest pots of the tournament, Farrell chased down Troy Quenneville in the hand that effectively sealed the title for Farrell. With the blinds still at the same level, Quenneville opened to 135,000 from the button and was three-bet by Farrell to 375,000. Quenneville pumped it up to 890,000 and Farrell jammed for 3,380,000 total with Quenneville calling with [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. Farrell needed to come from far behind with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] to stay alive. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] surged Farrell into the lead and he held on the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="ah"] river. The pot put Farrell into the chip lead with 6,850,000 (114 big blinds) and left Quenneville with 840,000 (14 big blinds). Despite being the short stack, Quenneville doubled through Augustino a few hands later to put him as the low man on the totem pole as Augustino was eliminated in third place. In Hand 73 of the final table, Farrell moved all in from the small blind and Augustino called for his last 1,160,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"] from the big blind. Farrell was behind, but live, with [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"] and promptly flopped a straight draw on the [poker card="ks"][10s][poker card="8h"] board. The [poker card="8s"] changed little but the [poker card="jc"] on the river filled Farrell’s straight to send Augustino out with the bronze medal earning $140,000. Heads up play didn’t last long as Farrell knocked out Quenneville in the first hand of their match. Farrell moved all in from the small blind to put Quenneville at risk for his last 1,540,000 and Quenneville called. Farrell had the slight lead with [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] but Quenneville had a lot to work with holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"] flop gave both players a pair but Quenneville still needed help to double. The [poker card="qd"] on the turn gave Quenneville a straight draw but the [poker card="6d"] on the river would eliminate him just short of first place. The $330,000 first place prize marks the fourth largest of Farrell’s career as he adds to his already sterling poker resume. Farrell also earns his place in the WPT Tournament of Champions for his victory. Final Table Payouts Niall Farrell - $330,000 Troy Quenneville - $220,000 Anthony Augustino - $140,000 Colin Moffatt - $105,392 Yiannis Liperis - $80,000 Stephen Woodhead - $66,000
  5. [caption width="640"] Catalin Pop defeated a field of 531 to win the first 888Live Main Event of 2017. (PokerNews photo)[/caption] The first series of the opening 888Live Festival wrapped up Monday at King's Casino in Rozadov, Czech Republic as Catalin 'SrylGotOdds' Pop defeated a field of 531 entrants to claim top honors. The appropriately priced €888 Main Event had a €300,000 guarantee that was easily surpassed and the final table live-streamed on Twitch. Among the players who reached the final table were World Poker Tour winner Niall 'firaldo' Farrell and top online professional Ludovic 'ludovi333' Geilich, but in the end, it was Pop who came out on top and claimed the €80,000 first place prize. Pavel Berka was the first player eliminated from the eight-handed final table and. Following an open by Geilich to 80,000, Berka shoved from the big blind and Geilich called. Berka was in trouble with [poker card="6c"][poker card="6d"] against the [poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"] of Geilich and after a dry board was dealt, Berka hit the rail. Geilich started the final table as the chip leader and extended his lead further by eliminating Alexander Dmitrienko. Lukasz Tomecki opened to 105,000 from early position with [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"] and found calls from Geilich in the hijack with [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] and Farrell in the cutoff with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"]. An extremely short stacked Dmitrienko moved all in from the small blind for 145,000 total and all three players called. Dmitrienko’s cards were not revealed. The flop came down [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"][poker card="6d"] and Geilich bet 275,000, which found calls from the two players competing for the side pot. The turn was the [poker card="3d"] and Geilich moved all in and got both of his opponents to fold. The river was the [poker card="jc"] and Geilich rivered broadway to eliminate Dmitrienko. Geilich dipped slightly in chips after eliminating Dmitirienko but was back to his winning ways when he sent Juan Carlos Vecino out. With about 2,500,000 in front of him, Geilich moved all in from the hijack with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"] and Vecino called for his tournament life with [poker card="8s"][poker card="8h"]. A king on the flop effectively ended the drama and Geilich moved to 3,800,000. The first non-Geilich bust out of the final table was dealt out by Farrell, who took the liberty of taking out Tomecki. At big blind 100,000, Tomecki shoved for 2,220,000 from the small blind with [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"] and Farrell called out of the other blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="7c"]. Both players paired their high card on the flop but Tomecki did not improve further and was eliminated in fifth place. The up and down ride of Geilich was put to an end by Pop, who claimed the final table chip lead for the first time in the process. Pop limped with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"] from the button and Geilich raised the action to 385,000 out of the small blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="5s"]. Pop turned up the heat to 825,000 and Geilich moved all in over the top and Pop called. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="7h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"] board was not enough help for Geilich and he exited the final table. Pop’s run continued with his elimination of Farrell, who was denied his first title of 2017. From the small blind, Pop raised to 360,000 with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] and Farrell three-bet to 925,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]. Pop moved all in for effectively 4,000,000 and Farrell called to create a pot worth the majority of the chips in play. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2d"] flop put Pop ahead with a set but the [poker card="qd"] turn opened the door for Farrell to chop the pot. The [poker card="7h"] hit the river and Pop entered heads up play with a huge lead over Bernd Schönwälder. The battle did not last long as Pop dispatched Schönwälder to claim victory. Schönwälder moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"] and Pop called with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="9s"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6c"] flop gave Schönwälder a straight draw but he failed to improve on the [poker card="4s"] turn or the [poker card="5c"] river, giving Pop the hand and the title. The victory for Pop marks his first career major title which now accompanies his over $500,000 in online earnings. For the win, Pop earns €80,000 and the claim to winning the opening 888Live event of 2017. Final Table Payouts Catalin Pop - €80,000 Bernd Schönwälder - €50,023 Niall Farrell - €36,113 Ludovic Geilich - €29,184 Lukasz Tomecki -€22,785 Juan Carlos Vecino - €17,730 Alexander Dmitrienko - €13,247 Pavel Berka - €9,619

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