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Found 5 results

  1. "I'm gonna make this happen. Somehow, I'm gonna win one of these damn passes." After calling his shot earlier this year, Nathan Manuel has done it. He's won a PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship Platinum Pass. Winning the Pass involved topping a field of 825 entries in the $86 buy-in Moneymaker PSPC Tour stop at Run It Up Reno. After 128 players hit the money, the field worked its way down to the final table. Manuel entered the final table with the chip lead and had to battle with a tough group of competitors, including three-time Run It Up Reno trophy winner Andrew Cha and Florida grinder Hayden Fortini, who finished in sixth and eighth places, respectively. In the end, Manuel was left to battle with Run It Up Reno regular Marty Gorenc. Manuel entered the heads-up match at a 3-1 disadvantage but ultimately prevailed. "I'm sure it has not sunk in," Manuel said 24 hours after the win. "I have not done the paperwork yet, but it'll probably feel more real once I do all of that and know what the situation looks like." Manuel has already been all over in his quest for a Platinum Pass, and knowing his opportunities were running out more and more by the day, he was prepared to jump overseas in his chase. "The thing that makes it the most real is that I was literally planning a trip to London to play two events there — a MegaStack and a £2,000 event that both had Platinum Passes, and I was trying to figure out any alternate ways that I might find to win a Pass. The fact that I'm not having to do that and go to these extra lengths to give myself more opportunities makes it feel more practically real, but I don't think the reality of accomplishing a goal has settled in yet." No matter how he won a Pass, Manuel would have felt a great success, but doing so in a Moneymaker PSPC Tour stop was something that resonated with Manuel as he drew some similarities between himself and Chris Moneymaker. "For me, poker is something that I love and something that I am passionate about," Manuel said. "I'm an everyday guy with a job, who, very much like Chris Moneymaker, lives a professional career, but this game opens up opportunities that are unique and that you can’t even anticipate. "I find myself in a place today where I have some opportunities and it's interesting to find myself in the position to play a $25K tournament that I clearly would never play based on my bankroll and based on the history I have playing poker," Manuel said. "My average tournament buy-in is sub-$1,000, so to have an opportunity to play something with the best players in the world in a field that’s going to be super unique in that it has all these people being added to it that likely are not professional players, it puts a really interesting spin on it. I do feel some relief that I’ve won a Pass because I came into this knowing that I was not a favorite to win a Pass." Now that he’s clinched a Pass and will be off to the Bahamas in January, Manuel is quick to change gears. Even though recognizes the odds weren’t in his favor to win a Platinum Pass, Manuel realizes that winning a Pass, albeit a very big accomplishment in itself, is only part of the larger goal. "All that I'm thinking about at this point is that the goal has now changed," Manuel said. "I'm not trying to win this Pass, I'm not trying to learn Japanese to win a Pass, which is something I wanted to do and I'm really excited I did, but now it's getting better at poker. Think about poker, think about poker at the highest level, think about poker at the level of $25K buy-in tournaments and the people who you’re going to be interacting with and playing with in that field, even though I know a huge percentage, probably half of the field, will be non-professionals. I hope and anticipate and expect of myself a lot. Part of that is expecting that I'll play well. Even if I don't make a deep run, that I'll play well for myself and be happy with the way that I play in that tournament for myself." You can follow Nathan Manuel on his quest to the PSPC via his Twitter account and his YouTube channel.
  2. "I'd love to be a poker player forever. I would love to do what Doyle Brunson did, obviously who wouldn't?" You may not recognize him now that he chopped off all of his hair, trimmed his bushy beard, and has a swollen black eye from a bike-riding adventure gone wrong, but Arlie Shaban is showing up everywhere in poker right now. The Big Brother Canada contestant turned Enterprise Rent-A-Car 9-5er has a new role as a Herculean. His rise has been fast and it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon, especially now that Shaban has the likes of Jason Somerville, the Twitch Poker community, and PokerStars adding fuel to the fire. "My biggest thing was, after Big Brother Canada I had gone and traveled and partied for a few years," Shaban said. "I had got myself into a bit of debt and then I had to go work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a job I hated. I just wanted to not do a job I hated. I didn't care if I was making amazing money. At the beginning, it was strictly just that I hated waking up every day, wearing a shirt and tie, going in rain, shine, winter, sun, doesn't matter — you go in, you work. I was outside a lot. I hated it. I just wanted to not do that. That was pretty much what it came down to." Shaban’s run on Big Brother Canada 2 ended in eighth place. Kevin Martin, fellow poker player, and also a Big Brother Canada contestant, had a similar result when he took ninth place on Big Brother Canada 3. Martin eventually went on to conquer Big Brother Canada 5 and he's someone Shaban credits for showing him how to conquer poker. "I'm a very highly motivated person, and I realized that the vast majority of people that play poker are losing players and you can learn how to be a winning player if you want to put in more work than your opponents," Shaban said. "I was willing to do that. I was willing to study. I just figured out the blueprint to success, by talking to Kevin. If you just put in hard work, you study, you game select, and you do things the right way — you have to have proper bankroll management — and I was doing all of those things incorrectly, which most people are. I just fixed those things, and once those were completely fixed, I realized I was making money and that started making me more confident. Once I got the confidence, I was like, 'OK, I'm going to give it a shot.' I started making a pretty consistent amount [of money] and I just realized if I combine this start of income that I'm getting from poker with Twitch — and hopefully, I can build a channel as well — I can create a little bit of supplemental income and it will take the stress off it. I did go for both of them at the same time, which I think is hard but helped because my channel did start growing and I did get a little bit of supplemental income and confidence from people watching. That's what did it for me. I knew I had the ability if I really just tried and I thought it was worth giving it a shot." In back-to-back months of August and September, Shaban was announced as an addition to Team RIU as a streaming ambassador and given a mega challenge deemed the "12 Labors of Arlie." With the 12 Labors, Shaban must complete various tasks given to him by PokerStars, with each task more difficult than the last. If he completes all 12 by the end of 2018, Shaban will earn a Platinum Pass to compete in the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship in the Bahamas. The Platinum Pass is worth $25,000 and entry into one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in poker. "The 12 Labors have been absolutely incredible," Shaban said. "I got challenged by PokerStars a few months back and I just accepted it, not knowing at all what this was going to be about. They choose me because I did my 125-day streaming streak. I had streamed 1,000 hours for my very first time streaming, so for over four months straight. Then, I also streamed for 43 hours in a row. So they reached out to me and they were like, 'Oh, you think you’re good at challenges? We challenge you to these 12 labors.' I was like, 'OK, let's do it.' I didn’t know what the prize was going to be for, I just had my pride on the line. When PokerStars challenges you, you don’t really say no. At least I’m not going to." One of the challenges Shaban was to complete involved "capturing poker's most mythological creature," according to PokerStars, and it was to be done while attending Run It Up Reno. Alongside fellow reality TV contestant Tyson Apostol, Shaban was to capture Chris Moneymaker while racing down a mountain on a bike in Northern Nevada. https://youtu.be/vcHO2mEAodc With his capture of Moneymaker complete, Shaban had completed seven of the 12 Labors of Arlie and was that much closer to winning a Platinum Pass. "It would just be unbelievable if I did go to the Bahamas and play in the PSPC, so if that happened I would just keep trying to go on the trajectory that I'm on," Shaban said. "Everything has been going very well with my poker, with my Twitch channel, and so I wouldn't want to take any momentum away from that. This is feeding all of the momentum into it. It’s a really cool challenge, the viewers are really enjoying it. I just want to carry the momentum, continue doing this as a full-time career, make sure the Twitch channel very consistently getting content out on there, and make sure I'm studying off stream and growing as a poker player." Part of growing as a poker player means playing more live poker events, hopefully in preparation for his trip to the big dance that is the PSPC. During the recent Run It Up Reno event, Shaban earned three cashes on the live felt, including a 15th-place result in the Main Event. In such a short period of time in poker's spotlight, Shaban has done a lot. He broke into the streaming world with a bang, landed a place on one of poker's most popular squads, and it appears nothing more than a formality for him to earn an exclusive Platinum Pass. Where does he go from here and what's Shaban's ultimate career goal? "I would just love to be a part of the poker community my whole life," Shaban said. "I'd love to be a poker player forever. I would love to do what Doyle Brunson did, obviously who wouldn't? Play a game you love until you’re old and you’re still playing at the highest stakes against the best players. That's so cool. For me, I just want to make a living off of poker my whole life. If that involves putting out content with Twitch, or if that involves just playing, I just want to be a part of the community. I love poker so much. I love the community. I’ve made a bunch of amazing friends here [in Reno]. Run It Up Reno is just amazing. Jason Somerville and the team, everyone is so cool, and I just got to be a part of the team. I just want to keep representing amazing companies that I love and watch the community grow for the rest of my life." *Photo courtesy of Run It Up.
  3. Ricky 'ratedGTO' Guan was recently announced as a new member to Team RIU, the group of streamers hand-picked by Run It Up Studios founder Jason Somerville. If you’ve played on a regulated poker site within the US, especially in New Jersey, you’ve likely tangled with Guan, or at least you know of him. "I've been a fan of Jason Somerville and Twitch Poker ever since the beginning of my poker career," Guan said when asked about how the opportunity came about. "Along my journey, I got to meet him a couple of times at different events and it was only until right before WSOP this year that I started streaming on Twitch myself. Then the opportunity arose over the summer where I got to meet up with Jason and talk a little bit about my potential career in creating content. That’s kind of how the whole conversation started." For many poker players within the US, the chance to stream online poker isn’t viewed as a great one, simply because online poker not as widely available in the US as it once was. For Guan, he chooses to see opportunity where others might not. "For me, I have a little bit of a competitive advantage, just because there are not too many streamers from the US that are streaming MTTs online, and especially the high stakes that I’m also playing," Guan said. Joining Team RIU is the next step in Guan's young career, but it’s a career that has already welcomed a fair bit of success. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Guan recently made the relocation jump to New Jersey to continue playing online poker. As of late October 2018, he’s won nearly $520,000 from online tournaments, plus he’s won nearly $300,000 in live tournaments. "I'm originally from Brooklyn, New York, and it was only earlier this year where my little poker group called 'the Young Wizards' decided to move to New Jersey where there is regulated online poker and I get to play on sites such as PokerStars," Guan said. "I thought it was very important for me to be able to do that, both in terms of being able to play different buy-ins across multiple sites and also for me to create content, because a lot of the big viewerships on Twitch are through platforms like PokerStars. For myself, I wanted to be able to continue to create content in New Jersey and also kind of be at the forefront a little bit of helping poker come back to America. I know Jason has very big plans for that in the near future and he’s been doing a lot of things to make that happen. With my partnership with him and Run It Up, hopefully, we can work together to make that kind of dream come true for everyone back in America again." Oftentimes in sports, you see a player play out of his mind before landing a big contract and becoming complacent. They fall off after they sign a new deal. Guan’s new deal will have him working closely with Somerville and Team RIU in hopes of producing high-quality poker content, but Guan wants a bit more from himself. He wants to challenge himself to be the best. "I've always been very competitive growing up — any sports I played or any games I participated in — and that's something that I saw in poker," Guan said. "That it was a game where it could potentially be solved and it was a challenge to become one of the very best in it. That's always been the goal for me ever since I began my poker journey — to study, work hard, and become one of the best players in the game. Through the hard work over the last couple of years, we’ve been able to progress really nicely and I'm very happy with where I am in my poker career as of right now." With a solid support system from his poker circle, a hard work ethic, and the guidance of Somerville, Guan’s poker career is set up for a lot of advancement, especially if regulated online poker continues to grow within the US. From speaking with him, Guan appears to be equal parts grounded, eager, and enthusiastic about his future. "There are always chances to improve in poker," Guan said when asked what's next for him in his poker career. "No one is playing perfectly or anything like that. For myself, I'm already playing some of the highest stakes that are available to me in the US, so it's just to continue to study and get better. Now, in this new chapter in my poker journey, it's to create content and give back to the community a little bit. I'm very comfortable with my abilities in poker and I want to be able to share that and help other people learn as well. I've also gotten into coaching and helping other students kind of live their poker dreams. That's something that I’ve done over the last couple of years, where I've helped some of the best young American players to rise to the top. That’s something that I look to continue to do in the near future."
  4. Fifteen years ago, the poker world was introduced to Chris Moneymaker. The accountant from Tennessee with an unthinkable last name earned his way into the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event via a satellite on PokerStars for a paltry $86. Moneymaker went on to win the event thanks to a storybook run in poker’s greatest tournament and recently was the subject of the acclaimed 30 For 30 Podcasts by ESPN. "They actually approached me about doing the TV series, 30 for 30, a while back and I thought that sounded really cool," Moneymaker said of the opportunity with ESPN. "Then I guess they didn’t think I was cool enough for the TV show, or they saw my face and said that I have a face for radio, and they moved it over to the podcast (laughs). A guy came to Memphis, where I live, and spent three days with my wife and I, just hanging out and being part of the family. I did a bunch of interviews and then basically did about a million follow-up questions. It was a cool process. I haven’t heard the podcast yet myself, but I’d be interested to hear what the others [on the podcast] said. I know kind of what I said because I've said it a few times, but it’d be interesting to hear what Matt Savage and some of the others guys said." Moneymaker’s story is the stuff dreams are made of. Even though his big win was 15 years ago, at times it still appears that the relationship Moneymaker has with poker is still going through the honeymoon period. Make no mistake about it, though, the man once very open about his amateur status in the game now comes with a win-first mentality. "My goal is that whenever I come into a room, I want to take everybody's money, but I want them to be really happy when I do," Moneymaker said. Since his WSOP Main Event victory, Moneymaker's been on the ride of a lifetime, and understandably so. Many would argue his win was the win in poker. It catapulted Moneymaker into poker stardom and since then he's been triumphantly serving as one of the game's most prominent ambassadors. "It's been pretty surreal," Moneymaker told PocketFives of the last 15 years. "There's been ups and downs like anything else. Mostly it’s been up, but obviously, there's downsides of it, too. At the end of the day, poker went through a very hard time around Black Friday, and I think that we’re coming out and we’re recovering. There are other things that are attracting the younger generation’s attention that we’re sort of competing against for the new players coming up, but I think Twitch and what everyone else is doing is helping get us some buzz. We have things like PokerGO putting out great content, too.” One of Moneymaker’s recent trips took him to Reno, Nevada, for Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno VII festival. He brought with him the Moneymaker Tour, his brightest ambassador costume, and fierce-but-fun-loving competitiveness. While there, Moneymaker, alongside PokerStars, helped dish out another Platinum Pass in the stop’s $86 buy-in Moneymaker Tour event, deemed the "Moneymaker Spectacular." That tournament attracted the largest turnout of Run It Up Reno VII, with 825 entries blasting away in hopes of winning the $30,000 Platinum Pass package. In the end, it was Nathan Manuel achieving a lofty goal he set out to complete months prior. "First of all, [PokerStars] gave all of the ambassadors one seat to give away and our goal was to send everybody here to Reno and give away that seat," Moneymaker said. "It morphed into giving away a Platinum Pass away at every single stop [on the Moneymaker Tour], which is just absolutely incredible. It’s huge for me because I give someone else the opportunity that I had 15 years ago to turn $86 into life-changing money. Even for people go down there and don’t make anything, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford to go to the Bahamas so it’s already life changing for them. Then they have the opportunity, if they work hard or they want to get better, that I’m offering resources to help them get better and give them a real shot at making something in this tournament. My hope is that one of the people that won one of my tournaments makes a deep run or wins the [PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship]. Actually, I hope I win it, let’s be real, so they can get second (laughs). Again, to me, it’s about giving someone else the opportunity that I had so many years ago. It’s been really the most enriching experience to go through and play at every one of these stops. We’ve had people come in that have never played poker before or haven’t played poker in 10 years or never been to casinos before." While in Reno, Moneymaker cashed in three events for a total of $8,015 and was one player away from taking home a Run It Up Reno trophy when he placed second in the $235 6-Max 8-Game tournament for $5,400. If he’d have won that event, Moneymaker could’ve added the trophy right next to his bevy of PokerStars NJCOOP titles, of which he scored two more earlier in the month of October. Ever since online poker became legal in New Jersey and PokerStars launched PokerStarsNJ, "Money800" has been a regular fixture in the Garden State's virtual streets, locking horns with the best the state has to offer and coming out on top. In April 2018, he won two NJCOOP titles and placed second and fourth in two other NJCOOP events during the series. In October, Moneymaker doubled the weight of his NJCOOP bag by adding two more titles in back-to-back days. "It's awesome," Moneymaker said of being able to play regulated online poker in New Jersey. "It’s been, what? Two, three years now? I’ve had really good results in NJCOOP since I moved up there to play, and it’s always good the time the series comes in. There are a couple games I like to focus on. I always focus on the 8-game and a couple of the other variants, and they have all those so I really enjoy playing that series because they have a lot of different variants to play." When playing regulated online poker in New Jersey, Moneymaker can often be found on Twitch streaming his grind when he’s there for some action. Back when Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event, and for much of the 15-year period between his win in 2003 and now, online poker streaming wasn’t a thing. Now, it’s everywhere, serving audiences in both entertainment and enhanced instruction. "Back when I won [the WSOP Main Event], there was Super/System and Mike Caro’s Book of Tells," Moneymaker said of poker’s new age involving Twitch and streaming. “I think those were the only two books, maybe a few more. There just wasn’t that much poker material out there. No one knew what they were doing, and now, you have all this free access. If you want to learn and get good at poker, you can do it for free, which is through time. All it takes is time, and energy to sit there and ask questions and watch a good streamer play. And there are so many different streamers to choose from. You can find one that fits your style, obviously, there are so many training sites and videos, there’s just so many resources now that poker is just so much more difficult now. The average player is just going to be better. That’s a tough thing for new players getting in the game, as they’re coming into a very knowledgable market that knows what they’re doing and it’s tough to just come in without trying to learn. To just be a recreational player, it’s difficult to sort of break through and be successful. But, the great thing about poker is that there is luck in the game and even people that aren’t as experienced are going to have good runs and maybe win a main event." *Photo courtesy of Run It Up.
  5. On Monday, PokerStars announced a change to its flagship online poker tournament, the Sunday Million. Starting January 27, 2019, the world's largest weekly poker tournament will feature a buy-in of $109, reduced from the previous $215. "We want to open online poker's flagship event to more and more players. The lower buy-in will do that, while ensuring the "Milly" remains the Sunday Major every player wants to win," the company said in a statement announcing the change. Although the buy-in has been nearly cut in half, the Sunday Million's $1 million prize pool guarantee will remain the same. On the surface, that means the tournament will now need 10,000 entries to reach the guarantee instead of 5,000. The structure for the Sunday Million will stay the same, though the company does plan on monitoring the next few events to monitor the length of the tournament and the average stack at the start of the final table. PokerStars has also promised to increase the number of a satellites available to the Sunday Million in an effort to make their flagship event accessible to even more players. The record for the largest-ever PokerStars Sunday Million was set on December 18, 2011, when 62,116 entries were generated for a prize pool north of $12.423 million. Kyle 'First-Eagle' Weir won that historic tournament for more than $1.146 million in prize money.
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