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Found 7 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Steve Madara captured his first major live title in September following years of dedication to his craft.[/caption] At the tender age of 24, Steve ‘7douche’ Madara has endured a lifetime of accomplishment and hardship from poker. Only three months ago, Madara won the Almighty Stack event at the Borgata Poker Open for a $169,000 score that despite Madara’s young age, was years in the making. For as long as he can remember, Madara has been surrounded by the world of gambling. Madara accompanied his family on trips to Atlantic City and says he always felt like he would eventually work or do something similar in a casino. Prior to becoming a teenager, Madara witnessed Chris Moneymaker winning the World Series of Poker Main Event on television and his interest in the game only grew. Madara himself admits he made the firm decision to make poker his current full-time career path at the worst possible time but has found success despite the adversity he has faced. “My main issue was that I couldn’t even put in the work, since online wasn’t an option and I was only 20-years-old with a [limited] net worth,” said Madara. Madara says he ran up $500 to $7,500 on Lock Poker, only to have the website shut down and his funds incinerated along with it. From there, Madara rebuilt his bankroll by taking on landscaping jobs and playing in small home games. In one of these home games, Madara noticed a player winning at what he thought was an unsustainable rate. As it turns out, the player in question was cheating but Madara says the drive to win in this game made him work harder than ever to become better. “I’ve always [been] naturally lazy so there’s a good chance that losing [during] that summer made me study more than if I was winning,” said Madara. Upon turning 21, Madara received backing and coaching to play online, after the completion of two years of college, in order to pursue poker on a more serious basis. During that time, Madara claims to have been deceived by his backer at the time for a few tournament buy-ins that were never fully reimbursed. Deciding that was the breaking point, Madara deposited $1,000 online on New Jersey sites and built his own bankroll. A few months later, Madara hit his first major five-figure online score and hasn’t looked back on his way to over $300,000 in career online earnings. Madara has remained a consistent face among the New Jersey online player pool since starting play in the state with the many lessons he has learned over the years culminating in his September victory. While still in the relatively early stages of his poker career, Madara already has plans laid out to grow the game and bring more newcomers in. He is set to launch the website, PokerOnSlot, within the next few months with the intention of the site being to “grow the game of poker to its full potential.” “It’s absurd to me how many people you see go to casinos but rarely will ever step into the poker room. My vision is to change the games in the poker room to bring more gamblers over to our tables. Live poker has gotten far too boring and slow for anyone to find it interesting anymore.” In order to promote his new venture, Madara says he will begin streaming on YouTube and Twitch at the start of the new year. Madara has learned plenty about the game of poker in his time as a professional and how to navigate the sometimes seedy nature that lies on the underbelly of it. With his unique perspective, Madara’s ambition to expand the game makes him an intriguing figure to keep an eye on as 2017 arrives.
  2. [caption width="400" align="alignleft"] Josh Rothberg won two Sunday Majors in the span of a few hours on April 9 and has his goals set even higher for the rest of 2017.[/caption] Winning a Sunday Major in New Jersey is usually the highlight of any player's weekend. Given the week and online series taking place, anywhere from 5-10 majors with five-figure guarantees are up for grabs on New Jersey’s three websites with PokerStarsNJ offering some of the highest prize pools to fight over. Sunday, April 9 started like an ordinary day for Josh ‘thejberg’ Rothberg as he opened a dozen or so windows to commence his weekend grind. The 24-year-old Rothberg crossed over the $100,000 mark in 2016 for online earnings and as had a few quality results to his name, including a major victory on partypokerNJ last September. As the windows gradually started to close, Rothberg found himself deep in two majors on PokerStarsNJ, the $200 buy in $50,000 guaranteed Sunday Special and the $500 buy in $15,000 guaranteed Six Max High Roller. By the time his grind ended at 2:00 am, Rothberg was victorious in both MTTs for a combined haul of $18,849. Rothberg says he didn’t fully register how much money he had won until a few days later but work the next day for the New York City tech sales rep was anything but normal. “I was really tired going to work the next day. There was a lot of adrenaline from winning and making a deep run. I got three hours of sleep and was up at 7:00 am to head into the office.” The wins are the product of hard work and diligence to the craft for Rothberg, who sought out Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano as a coach on a consistent basis about six months ago. The player-coach relationship for the two has been immensely positive for Rothberg as he calls Gagliano a “mentor” and notes how the many sessions they have shared together all clicked when it mattered most. “We have gone over specific situations late in the game and realized I used to be too tight in opening. I had the chip lead at both final tables and needed to hammer away. I’ve been playing a lot more and am more comfortable doing it and taking initiative. It was way easier than it should have been. I was locked in and felt confident.” It almost wasn’t meant to be for Rothberg as his computer stopped cooperating as he gained the chip lead in both events. As his computer charge waned, Rothberg was able to borrow one a laptop from one of his Hoboken roommates to continue his nighttime grind. Even though both final tables were playing out simultaneously, Rothberg maintained firm concentration on each as he navigated through the highest equity spots of his online career. Rothberg says he felt prepared for this exact scenario due to Gagliano’s coaching, which taught him how to balance action on multiple tables; the exact mindset needed for grinding a New Jersey Sunday. Rothberg’s poker goal coming into 2017 was to become a top-25 player in the United States and to make a live final table, and so far he’s achieved one of those by virtue of his current ranking of #24. The second part of that list might be on the horizon for Rothberg, who is currently in Atlantic City for the first weekend of the Spring Poker Open at the Borgata. Rothberg notched a top-100 finish in last year’s World Series of Poker Monster Stack and will be back in Las Vegas this summer for the Main Event. The variance in winning Sunday Majors is volatile but for a magical couple of hours, Rothberg harnessed the magic needed to wrap up two wins and potentially propel him to the next level of success he is chasing.
  3. [caption width="640"] Michael Gagliano is one of the top spokespeople for online poker in New Jersey through his relationship with BorgataPoker.com.[/caption] The heyday of online poker provided many players with the chance to earn money and gain notoriety by representing a site through wearing a patch while playing. We all know why that stopped becoming a fad but players in New Jersey have been granted that opportunity through the regulation of online poker in the state. Out of all of New Jersey’s websites, BorgataPoker.com has the most “ambassadors” with Michael 'Gags30' Gagliano among them. Gagliano’s online reputation needs little introduction as the online coach is well-respected by many of his peers and the results of his former students, including 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Joe McKeehen, speaking volumes. Along with his $2,700,000 in online tournament earnings and WSOP bracelet, which he won in 2016 for a $2,500 No Limit Hold’em event, Gagliano is about as well-rounded of an online and live player that a site could want to represent them. When online poker first became regulated in New Jersey, BorgataPoker.com was among the first clients to make their product available and Gagliano was excited to be able to represent a company from his home state. “As soon as the opportunity to work with Borgatapoker.com came up I knew I wanted to do it. I've been a huge fan of their live poker room and tournament series for quite some time and knew that working with their online team would be a great experience. It's great to have regulated poker in NJ, and even better having a site like Borgatapoker.com where they're constantly working to get the players the best experience possible.” Being a representative of a site generally means that the “ambassadors” become public figures who put themselves out there in ways that other poker players might not. Gagliano and his popular Twitch stream have given him the opportunity to interact with players from within New Jersey, which Gagliano says is one of his favorite parts of working with BorgataPoker.com. “The best part is getting to interact with all the other players in NJ. A lot of players know me from being represented by BorgataPoker.com, while others just know me from my stream, or even just from seeing my name at the tables. I constantly have players reaching out to me to ask me questions or to just that they enjoy my stream or to congratulate me on a score. It's just really cool knowing that there's such a community of players that support me and enjoy playing online here in NJ.” Although Gagliano enjoys being part of a website now, he did not feel the same as he rose through the ranks of the online world. Gagliano says he was more focused on playing poker than anything else but thought it would be a “good experience” should the right circumstance present itself. The New Jersey online poker community is a strong one and Gagliano is in some ways, the face of one of the top online sites in a poker-crazed state. Gagliano’s teammates on BorgataPoker.com includes accomplished professionals like Matt Stout and Vinny Pahuja, but the state of New Jersey has formed a unit around Gagliano. One that supports their favorites son everywhere he plays. “Wherever I go to play live, I’m never alone. Even if I don't know anyone there, there's nearly always someone who's looking to talk to me and ask questions, it's like I have friends in every cardroom on the East Coast. It's a pretty cool experience most players just don't get.”
  4. For much of the latter half of 2016, Jeremy ‘Jermz’ Danger was on top of the New Jersey Online Poker Rankings. His domination over the rest of the state was rarely challenged during his time wearing the crown toward the end of the year. As a result, he comes into 2017 with the #1 ranking. Danger put together another stellar month in December with an astounding 27 victories to his name. The largest score for Danger came when he won the WSOP.com $200 buy-in $50,000 guaranteed Ultimate Warrior. The $13,500 first place prize in the event marks the highest grossing score of Danger’s online career. There was a changing of the guard on the next tier of the podium as Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon moved into the #2 spot. Kwon surpassed Dan ‘centrfieldr’ Lupo, who dropped down to #3after being #2 in last month’s rankings. Kwon finished December with 17 wins to his credit while Lupo took down 11 medals of his own. Craig ‘craigruby’ Rubinsteincontinues to ascend his way up the leaderboard as he moved up two spots to go from sixth place to fourth. The biggest of Rubinstein’s five victories came when he won the PokerStars $250 buy-in $10,000 guaranteed Super Tuesday for $5,030. Additionally, Rubinstein hit a Triple Crown over the course of three consecutive days between December 22-24. Fred ‘BiggDaddy’ Ferrell took a slight hit to his place on the NJ totem pole as he fell to fifth place after dropping from second to third last month. The newest addition to the rankings is Daniel ‘wildman75’ Buzgon, who sits in sixth place. Buzgon may be more well known for his $1,600,000 in live earnings and over $2,100,000 in online earnings outside of New Jersey-based sites, but is now among the elite players in his home state. Holding strong at #7 is David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman, who moved up a notch from eighth place when he first appeared in the rankings. Switching spots with Coleman is Michael ‘Johnnnydrama’ Haberman as he continues to hold steady in the top ten. After a month spent outside of the rankings, Andrew ‘Mergulas’ Glauberg and Jacob ‘jtsnakes’ Perry are once again back in at #9 and #10 respectively. Ceding their positions from the bottom two spots in the rankings are Jesse ‘No_Xcape’ Elliott and Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano. Dropping out of the rankings for the first time in many months is Keith ‘donnysack’ Donovan as he is now in #15. New Jersey Online Poker Ranking Top 10 1. Jermz – 3,904.68 (-) 2. ykwon17 – 3,581.31 (+2) 3. centrfieldr – 3,555.59 (-1) 4. craigruby – 3,521.31 (+2) 5. Biggdaddy – 3,356.07 (-2) 6. wildman75 – 3,291.56 (NR) 7. dehhhhh – 3,249.05 (+1) 8. Johnnny Drama – 3,164.97 (-1) 9. Mergulas – 2,780.21 (NR) 10. jtsnakes – 2,773.24 (NR) Dropped Out of Top 10 – No_Xcape, Gags30, donnysack Just Missed – Lav519 (11th), Hags021 (12th), JLaw (13th)
  5. [caption width="640"] Daniel 'centrfieldr’ Lupo is now the #1-ranked online poker player in New Jersey. (Borgata photo)[/caption] It took nearly five months, but Jeremy ‘Jermz’ Danger’s run as the king of New Jersey online poker has come to an end. Danger dominated the last few months of the 2016 and held the number one ranking for months on end, but he has been dethroned by Daniel ‘centrfieldr’ Lupo for the top spot in the New Jersey Online Poker Rankings. Lupo notched eight tournament victories in January along with five other podium finishes. His largest score of the month came when he won the partypoker Mega Tuesday $500 buy-in $15,000 guaranteed event for a score of $5,934. Despite dropping out of the top spot, Danger still had another solid month of MTTs. Danger won 24 events and became the first person in the history of NJ online poker to record $1,000,000 in tournament winnings. Moving up the rankings from #7 to #3 is David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman, who won 11 tournaments. Coleman notched the largest score of his career on January 24 when he won the PokerStarsNJ Winter Festival $1,000 buy-in $30,000 guaranteed High Roller event for a total of $16,169. Sitting at fourth for the second consecutive month was Craig ‘craigruby’ Rubinstein. Rubinstein reached a peak of #2 earlier in January but dropped back before month’s end. After finishing second in last month’s rankings, Yong ‘ykwon17’ Kwon, dropped down to fifth place. Right behind him is Dan ‘wildman75’ Buzgon, who first appeared in the NJ rankings in December and finished January in sixth place, once again. For his part, Kwon won 15 total events, including a win in the PokerStarsNJ $500 buy-in $15,000 guaranteed Sunday Six Max, worth $7,144. Fred ‘Biggdaddy’ Ferrell continues to fall in the rankings. Ferrell was previously ranked #5 after being in the top two or three down the stretch of 2016 and is now ranked #7. The #8 and #9 spots are the same as they ever were with Michael ‘JohnnnyDrama’ Haberman and Andrew ‘Mergulas’ Glauberg remaining in their respective positions. New to the rankings this month is Ryan ‘hags021’ Hagerty, who overtook Jacob ‘jtsnakes’ Perry for the final spot among New Jersey’s elite. New Jersey Online Poker Ranking Top 10 centrfieldr – 3,887.99 (+2) Jermz – 3,796.86 (-1) dehhhhh – 3,737.15 (+4) craigruby – 3,624.38 (-) ykwon17 – 3,574.80 (-3) wildman75 – 3,474.68 (-) Biggdaddy – 3,242.67 (-2) Johnnny Drama – 3,101.74 (-) Mergulas – 2,807.79 (-) hags021 – 2,755.24 (NR) Dropped Out of Top 10 – jtsnakes Just Missed – donnysack (#11), Lav519 (#12), jtsnakes (#13)
  6. [caption width="640"] Ryan Hohner has a chance at capturing an elusive six-figure score when play resumes Friday for the Winter Poker Open.[/caption] The Event Center inside The Borgata has been buzzing this entire week with players taking their shot in the Winter Poker Open $2,000,000 guaranteed opening event. Over 4,000 entrants are anticipated to register when all is said and done, with a crop of top New Jersey online players among them. Already through to Friday’s Day 2 is Ryan ‘shipthesherb’ Hohner, one of the up-and-coming players among New Jersey’s youthful online base. Hohner anticipates that he will be playing most of the major events at the Borgata during this WPO series and has a plan to keep himself fresh during the three-week long grind. “During the WPO, I'll typically make a couple trips back home to spend time with friends and family to kind of hit the reset button if I'm not playing well. After you [register] tournament after tournament after tournament, it can become mundane and with long Day 1's, fatigue can definitely be a factor.” Hohner credits his friend and fellow New Jersey online grinder, Ryan ‘hags21’ Hagerty, with introducing him to yoga. As Hohner notes, yoga “has gone a long way towards making me feel much more relaxed and ready to take on long days.” The 25-year-old Hohner says he started playing online poker as far back as 2008 and during his first two years of college at Ramapo College, he started to commit to the game as a means of making a long-term living. Once Black Friday hit in 2011, though, Hohner soon saw his bankroll vanquished and with it, his vision at that time for being a professional poker player. Despite the life downswing, Hohner remained optimistic he would have another chance and took advantage when the opportunity presented itself. “During the final years of my college education, I worked nights at a local grocery store and continued to pursue a degree in journalism, but knew I wasn't finished playing poker. I continued to work, save money, and sure enough, a door opened up here in New Jersey to play online, and I never looked back.” Hohner has gradually grown more accustomed to the live game in the last year and acknowledges the stark differences between the two. “The foundation to beating live is having an overall good core understanding of game theory and being able to step into the ring psychologically to beat your opponents.” New Jersey online Sundays offer five-figure guarantees on a weekly basis but for live series like the Winter Poker Open, multi-million dollar prize pools are up for grabs that draw players in from up and down the East Coast. With fields numbering in the thousands, some players have a certain strategy for outlasting the masses. Hohner, on the on the other prefers to base his strategy on his the immediate opponents he is up against. “Poker is so very dependent on your opposition and being able to adjust accordingly to fit whatever playing style will win you the most chips. I'd say the biggest aspect as I continually progress my game, as well as my students (since I have recently begun coaching NLH), is being increasingly aware of your opponents at the table and the manner in which they perceive you.” First place prizes numbering in the hundreds of thousands do not come around often and Hohner has a chance to secure the largest tournament cash of his career should he advance deep in the WPO kickoff. Hard work has a tendency to pay off and Hohner is hopeful the time he has invested will pay dividends by week’s end. “It's hard to put into words what exactly making a deep run and notching a significant score would mean to me. This past year, I've put so much work into progressing my life on and off of the felt. A title would be bittersweet and prove to myself that the countless hours of studying amounted to a significant result.”
  7. [caption width="650"] David 'dehhhhh' Coleman is playing in his first Main Event and is out to validate New Jersey online poker in the process.[/caption] Last year at this time, David ‘dehhhhh’ Coleman was another New Jersey online grinder looking to move up in the virtual world. Fast forward a year later, and Coleman is the #1 on ranked player in the state and among the first players to break 100,000 on Day 1C of the World Series of Poker Main Event. Coleman has learned plenty both poker-wise and on the business end of the game that helped him make sure he had a seat for this year. “I definitely wanted to, but I wasn’t fully rolled for it at the time and not accustomed to selling action. This year, I sold a bunch of action and here I am. It’s going really well so far.” The preparation done by Coleman to get himself in the right state mentally for a potential two-week grind was to come out a few weeks before the start of the Main Event and play a few preliminary events. Coleman cashed in the $5,000 No Limit event and on his relative home turf in the $3,333 Online High Roller. Those events gave Coleman some wind at his back at he gets started on the longest journey in poker. “It helps gives me a little confidence because I don’t have a ton of live experience,” said Coleman. Going deep in the Main Event is a boon for any player and Coleman is looking at this tournament as an opportunity to expand his horizons outside the online world. “It would solidify me in the poker world, getting a deep cash in the Main Event. I have a lot of online experience success but not much live success. It would give me a lot of confidence going further in the live poker world. Maybe I’ll play more big buy in events and gear away from all the online I’ve played in the last two or three years.” Before he shifted his focus to online MTTs, Coleman was primarily a cash game player and is right at home in the deep structure the Main Event provides. New Jersey’s own Thomas Pomponio won the Colossus to kick off the WSOP and by making the final table, Coleman would be the second player from the state to notch a live seven-figure score this summer. Coleman appreciates the relative burden of representing the NJ online community and representing the strong play from the state. “A lot of New Jersey players have had success this summer, which is great to see, especially coming from a smaller market. The solid players that are out here seem to have success which is a testament to how much talent we have in New Jersey.” Only time will tell how Coleman’s Main Event will end but for someone who wasn’t in any part of the poker radar a year ago, there is plenty for him to look forward to regardless how what his fate holds. The Main Event offers a few great storylines each year and a 24-year-old online phenom from New Jersey competing with the best in the world would make for a great headline as the pay jumps grow by the tens of thousands.
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