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  1. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. In the aftermath of the Polk-Negreanu high-stakes, heads-up challenge, news of two more high-profile challenges have emerged and Lance and Donnie break both of them down on this week's episode of The FIVES! First, 15-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and season one High Stakes Duel winner Phil Hellmuth looks poised to be Daniel Negreanu's next challenger. But what will the format be when (and if) it takes place and will it be enough to satisfy the fans? At the same time, 21-year old poker phenom Landon Tice and high-stakes businessman Bill Perkins have publically agreed on a 20,000 hand challenge to start in May. Tice has also agreed to spot Perkins a 9bb/100 advantage - meaning in order to win, Tice will need to win more than $720,000. Finally, the guys discuss all of the most important breaking news from this week in the world of poker. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  2. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land poker players were playing, getting in one last hand. The bad-regs were grinding at the tables with care in hopes that some run good soon would be theirs. The locals were nestled, all snug in their seats, with visions of jackpots brought on by bad beats. Playing live on the strip, no PokerBros app. Is that Mike Postle with his phone in his lap? When out in the lobby, someone backed up a truck. I sprang from my seat to see what the f**k. There was Doug Polk celebrating a win, and Joey beside him, a shit-eating grin. The scene was electric, a buzz filled the air. Like Galfond’s big comeback, I’m glad I was there. When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear? A high-stakes affair, the big game was here! With cameras, lights, and high society stacks, a commentary team of Schulman and Platt. As if from a chimney, the great Mori came and he whistled and shouted and called them by name: “It’s Ivey, and Dwan! There’s Doyle and Gus Hansen! Daniel and Bellande! That’s Dan Bilzerian!” They all took a seat Stacking chips with a grin “Splash away! Splash away! Let’s go all-in!” They got ready to play, the rail became deep. I was pushed to the back, it was hard just to see. But then the crowd parted, Daniel stood on his seat, he said “We need one more!” and he pointed at me. Nervous but ready I knew this was my chance. A seat with the best, a trip to the dance. A Perkins-sized buy-in, it’s all on the line. Like Mike versus Teddy, it’s my time to shine. They shuffled and dealt, chips and cards flew. I was tight, I was snug, it was all I could do. The pros were relentless, betting and raising. The pots quickly grew, these guys were amazing. Finally the time to play a hand had arrived. With joy I looked down, I spied Pocket Fives I opened with a raise, but Ivey three-bet. Folded back to me, should I mine for a set? I looked in his eyes, not a read to be had. The poker world will see this, will math nerds be mad? I called and I gulped and awaited the flop. Ivey laughed, turned to Doyle, and said “We’re on for props!” An ace and a queen with a five in the door. Ivey didn’t slow down, he bet even more. Just what I wanted, I set the trap. “Let’s play for it all”, I pushed in my stack. Ivey snap-called, like I hoped he would do. He flipped over his cards, he flopped top two. We just had to hold, I showed down my set. The turn was a deuce, we’re not safe just yet. I used my ”one time”, I prayed to St. Nick The river was dealt, “It’s a brick, it’s a brick!” With the pot pushed my way, Ivey vanished from sight “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
  3. [caption width="640"] Antonio Esfandiari is no stranger to high stakes, high pressure situations.[/caption] There are a number of ways in which a poker player can be disqualified from a tournament. On Sunday, Day 2 of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, Antonio Esfandiari was disqualified and it had nothing to do with anything the Poker Tournament Directors Association has ever made a rule for. Esfandiari was disqualified for urinating into a bottle while at a table. You read that right. Mother nature called and rather than leave the table and head to the men's room, Esfandiari took care of business at the table. It turns out getting from the table to the men's room would have been all too painful thanks to a prop bet Esfandiari had made with Bill Perkins. To win the bet, Esfandiari had to lunge everywhere he went for 48 hours. Sunday was the second day of the bet and Esfandiari was apparently feeling the effects of lunging around the Atlantis Resort for two days straight. Before Day 2 began, Esfandiari took to Twitter to give an update on the prop bet and ended up foreshadowing the big incident of the day. Esfandiari's punishment was only for the Main Event and he is allowed to play other PCA events beginning Monday.
  4. [caption width="640"] Daniel Negreanu and Kevin Hart are just two players that could round out the field of the PokerCentral Super High Roller Bowl (PokerStars photo)[/caption] Just about two weeks ago, Aria poker room management was faced with a difficult decision. When registration opened for the 2017 PokerCentral Super High Roller Bowl, a total of 54 players put down a deposit to lock up their spot in the $300,000 buy-in event. Only problem was there were only 35 spots open to the public while the other 15 spots in the 50-player event were being held for invited players only. Degens gonna degen, so the only solution was to hold a lottery, drawing 35 numbered balls out of a tumbler. Each number corresponded to one of the players who had paid the deposit. You can view the final list of 35 names here and you’ll notice it’s missing some of the bigger names in the game today. In an effort to make make things easier on Aria’s Director of Poker Operations Sean McCormack we’ve compiled a list of ten names - five pros and five recreational players – that should be pat of the field when action kicks off May 28. Daniel Negreanu – Poker’s all-time leading money winner was one of those players who paid their deposit and was ultimately left out of the group of 35. It just makes too much sense to get Negreanu into the event. First off, he’s a PokerCentral ambassador, but beyond that he makes for great TV and success in this event would help him get closer to crossing some of his 2017 goals off of his list. Phil Ivey – The high stakes room at Aria – the host of the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl – is named Ivey’s Room after the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner, an honor bestowed on him when the Aria poker room first opened in 2009. Only problem is Ivey probably couldn’t find it without a map since he apparently hasn't spent a lot of time inside the room. To many poker fans out there, Ivey is still the draw and having him in one of poker’s biggest buy-in events feels like a win for everybody. Jason Koon – Another one of the players who lost out on the lottery, Jason Koon might be one of the hottest high stakes players on the planet right now. Since July 2016 he’s cashed ten times, with four of those being wins, for $4,544,781. In January he won the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Super High Roller for $1,650,300. While other players might not want him there, he's certainly earned the invite with his play. Phil Hellmuth – With four days of live TV coverage expected, it’s hard to imagine that Phil Hellmuth won’t find a way to get in front of the cameras. Sure, he can do the commentary like he does for the WSOP Main Event, but Hellmuth loves getting in with the best in the game and showing he can hang. He’s also a PokerCentral and Aria ambassador so it seems likely he’s getting an invite. Mike McDonald – Sure, he’s taken his talents to Twitch lately and is dedicating some time to his PokerShares.com project, but Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald is still a threat on the high stakes tournament scene and has built himself quite the following over the past few years. Besides, who doesn’t want to tune into CBS Sports' coverage of the Canadian guy just staring at everybody? Kevin Hart – The recent PokerStars Championship Bahamas saw comedian Kevin Hart make his super high roller debut. Hart played the $100,000 SHR event, firing two bullets in the event. He made every table he played at a fun one and could be a star of the live broadcast should he find his way to a feature table. Cary Katz – Locks are for doors and windows, but you can safely bet your net worth on Cary Katz getting one of the 15 reserved seats in the PokerCentral Super High Roller Bowl. Why so sure? Well, he’s the founder of PokerCentral and the Super High Roller Bowl is one of his proudest creations. Bobby Baldwin – Sure, he’s a WSOP Main Event champion but even he’s ready and willing to admit that he’s not a professional anymore. Still, having Bobby Baldwin in the tournament would give it a level of prestige and allow the old guard to be represented by one of the best ever. Dan Shak - Yes, he has a day job that he happens to be extremely successful at, but Dan Shak has also amassed $8.7 million in lifetime earnings at the poker table including a seventh place finish in last year's Super High Roller Bowl. He's a regular in the Aria high roller events and has proven on multiple occasions that he's capable of hanging with the younger pros who regularly populate those events. Bill Perkins – If you look at the group of extremely successful businessmen who have entered the world of high stakes tournament poker, none have had more fun that Bill Perkins – and it’s got nothing to do with winning. The hedge fund manager just loves playing poker and the bright lights of the SHRB would be a great place to showcase that.
  5. [caption width="640"] The 2017 Super High Roller Bowl will be the largest field in the three-year history of the event (PokerCentral photo)[/caption] When registration for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl opened last week a total of 54 players made the initial deposit to secure their spot in the biggest buy-in tournament of the year. Only problem is, there were only 35 seats available. The remaining 15 seats were being held back for ARIA VIPs and high rollers. After holding a lottery for the available 35 seats, there were 19 players left out in the cold and unable to play in the $300,000 buy-in event. On Wednesday the ARIA announced they would be adding six more seats to bring the total to 56 players - eight seven-handed tables. “Based on the success of last year’s Super High Roller Bowl and the overwhelming interest in this year’s event, ARIA believed it was in our best interest to increase the size of the event by six players,” said Sean McCormack, ARIA’s Director of Poker Operations. The 21 open spots will now be at the discretion of McCormack and the rest of the ARIA poker management team. Announcements as to who is filling those available seats could come as early as next week. Some of the bigger names who missed out on the lottery include Daniel Negreanu, Jason Koon, Dan Colman and Dan Smith. READ: 10 Players We Hope to See in the Super High Roller Bowl Field“More players getting a chance to play against some of the best competition in the world and more recreational players getting a chance to measure themselves against those top players in a televised event will only add to the total experience for poker fans,” said McCormack. With the rake-free event expected to sell out all 56 seats, the total prize pool will be $16.8 million with the eventual winner walking away with $6 million. Given the overwhelming popularity of the event and the subsequent expansion of the field, organizers have already determined to expand the field for 2018 to 56 as well. The Super High Roller Bowl runs May 28 - 31 at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Complete list of the 35 players guaranteed a seat in the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl Koray AldemirBryn KenneyStefan Schillhabel Matt BerkeyIgor KurganovJake Schindler Pratyush BuddigaJason LesErik Seidel Christian ChristnerAndrew LichtenbergerScott Seiver Connor DrinanAnkush MandaviaSteffen Sontheimer David EinhornTom MarcheseSam Soverel Antonio EsfandiariDominik NitscheBen Sulsky Isaac HaxtonDavid PetersBen Tollerene Fedor HolzNick PetrangeloChristoph Vogelsang John JuandaDoug PolkHaralabos Voulgaris Byron KavermanBrian RastSean Winter Rainer KempeAndrew Robl
  6. As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. To date we've gone over the top five off-the-felt news stories of 2017, the top heaters of the year, covered the game's newest characters, breakout stars, grudges, and WTF Moments. Keeping with the theme of wacky and weird, up next is the Year in Flops. and Fails. #5 - No Shot Clock during the World Series of Poker The WSOP added new clock rules to their 2017 campaign but missed the boat on the clock players were really looking for. Whether you call it a shot clock or an action clock, the timer used in events like Super High Roller Bowl and the World Poker Tour was a hit in 2017. The outcry for it to be used in World Series events fell on deaf ears as the biggest tournament series in poker declined to add it for 2017. The lack of such a product hurt the WSOP Europe One Drop event immensely. The tanking reached a fever pitch and reigning Poker Master Steffen Sontheimer spoke out on behalf of the High Roller community. Joining him were businessmen Bill Perkins and Dan Shak, who said they would boycott any future events that do not have a shot clock. With the Big One For One Drop coming back to next year’s WSOP schedule, those in charge have some major decisions to make over the next few months. https://twitter.com/RunGo0seRun/status/927224889660071937? #4 - WSOP Streaming Schedule The old world of all WSOP final tables streaming for free on the World Series website became a thing of the past. Just before the 2017 WSOP began, PokerGO took hold of the ownership rights to stream WSOP final tables. The paid subscription service provided high-quality content, but left fans wanting more and the feeling of they weren’t getting enough bang for their buck. “Only” 16 events were broadcast but that total does not include all days of Main Event coverage that streamed live. Notably lacking were mixed game events and perhaps they will be added back into the rotation next year. In an industry where free content has long been the norm, the adjustment period to PokerGO’s new age business model is still being digested. #3 - PokerStars Live Rebrand Fizzles The largest change to the PokerStars Live series in 2017 came in the form of a name change. Out with the tour brands players grew to love and in with PokerStars Championships and Festivals. The first step of this process was poorly executed in the beholden Bahamas and the former but now brought back PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event drew only 738 entrants and was met with lackluster reviews from the professional and recreational ranks. That lack of enthusiasm carried over for the full year as numbers fell for the larger portion of PokerStars Live events. The company brought back the name brands of European Poker Tour and PCA to start 2018 in an attempt to spark new interest in the worldwide live tour. #2 - Gardens Casino Punts a $1 Million Guarantee Lofty guarantees drive players to casinos where they might not play otherwise. In September, the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles put a $565 buy-in with a $1 million guarantee on the schedule. Players showed up for the 14 flights initially listed but the guarantee was not met. So what did the Gardens Casino do instead of pay out the difference? They added more flights. Three more, in fact. A move such as this was unprecedented among the community and players took notice. The social media airwaves were unkind to Gardens for their decision to alter the schedule of the tournament. Most notably, complaints were made about the property overstepping the bounds of player trust and changing the starting days listed. All of this lead to a public relations disaster for the property. The tournament wound up overlaying anyway and the Gardens Casino poker team will have a lot on their hands should they end up running a similar event in the future. #1 - WSOP Player of the Year Formula In the end, the World Series and its much-maligned points formula for Player of the Year got what it deserved. From the moment this summer’s WSOP kicked off, players were displeased with the new formula put in place to decide one of poker’s most highly coveted awards. Ostensibly, no player feedback was asked for by the WSOP brass before they inputted a system that rewarded Colossus min-cashers more than $10,000 mixed game event ITM finishers. Players who were accustomed to having a linear path to making a run in the POY race found themselves having to reevaluate. Take David Bach, for example. ‘The Gunslinger’ won two bracelets and finished 87th in the final POY standings. In most years, Bach’s two bracelets alone would have him in contention for most of the summer. The result of the broken formula is the soon to be hung banner of 2017 winner Chris Ferguson, who min-cashed his way to the title. A fitting finale to a system everyone would rather forget as soon as possible.
  7. 34 pounds. That’s all that separates Jamie Staples and his younger brother Matthew Staples from winning $150,000 of that sweet, sweet Bill Perkins money. As a reminder, the brothers were offered 50-1 odds by Perkins that the brothers couldn’t weigh within one pound of each other. Jamie weighed 305 at the time. Matthew was just 130 pounds. “I weighed in about six days ago and I was 212 pounds, and my brother was 178 (Monday) morning,” said the elder Staples. That means that by March 26 at 5 pm, the pair only have to work off 34 pounds. Originally, the brothers were trying to get to 180 pounds, but that’s no longer the plan. “I would say we’re (looking at) around 187 right now. It will depend on how the next two months go. I think 180 would be ideal, but it’s maybe a bit optimistic,” said Staples.. Dropping 93 pounds over 10 months has been a challenge for Jamie. The brothers have worked with trainer Mike Vacanti even while traveling around the world. Staples has taken his live stream set up to Montreal, Vienna, and Split (Croatia) and even as he moves from city to city, he’s managed to find ways to eat healthily and get in the necessary work. “There’s good things to eat everywhere, and the brutal thing is I’ve lived with my brother, so I’ve seen him eating the chips and the pizza and the potatoes and the rice and the pasta. I’m just sitting there with my chicken breast and salad,” joked Staples. “I think it’s doable in any part of the world, so I didn’t want to sacrifice the lifestyle and the opportunity we have playing poker for a living to do it in a bunch of places, I thought that I could do both of those things, so I’m glad I did.” The Canadian Team PokerStars Online Pro admits that the hard work has been fun and it’s allowed him to discover ways he can live a healthy lifestyle while living life abroad or traveling from tournament to tournament. “We’re aiming for 1,300 calories a day, so every day you’re slowly starving yourself, and you feel the effects of that in terms of concentration and energy and mood and mindset, so it’s very draining, and I’m tired. I’m ready for it to be done,’ said Staples. If you read that and think that having any sort of issues with concentration, energy, mood, and mindset could have a negative impact on a poker player at a live tournament, you’re right. Jamie knows it too. “It absolutely does and I describe it to people as a sliding scale. There’s a bottom and a top, and previously, when I was really overweight - 300 lbs - my bottom was much lower and my top was much lower,“ said Staples. “I think most days I’m operating on 20% of normal energy, but that scale has moved up significantly to where my bad days now are where my good days were. So it’s progressively getting better all the time, and I just feel fresher.” Matthew, on the other hand, is literally and figuratively on the other end of that scale. The diet he’s on has him eating an average of 3,500 calories per day. It’s a lot of pasta, rice and potatoes, not to mention some other foods that will help him pack on some pounds. “It’s been difficult for him for sure. He’s lifting a lot of weights so he’s very, very strong but he’s just tired of eating. This is a guy that walked around at 135 or 140 pounds,” said Staples. “He’s just tired of it, he just wants to eat some normal stuff and not have to think about constantly eating. You’re tired as well when you’re eating that many calories, so it can really burn you out in the middle of the day when you’re on your second helping of pasta.” There are just 2.5 months left before the weigh in. They get one shot at hitting their number but have planned out that day already to make sure there’s no last-minute drama. “We’re researching the best scales so we can get it very exact and not have any fluctuations that way. There’s no regulations in terms of how much we can weigh in before that 5 pm time,” said Staples. “We’ll come into that day at the same weight and we’ll just be fluctuating water weight throughout the day, so at 4:59 we’ll be hopping on the scale, making sure we’re there.”
  8. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. This episode features coverage of the bubble of the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship including interviews with Bill Perkins and PocketFiver and Platinum Pass winner Anthony Maio as well as the latest edition of Five Questions, this time starring Daniel Negreanu. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  9. Amid a flurry of recent news in the world of online poker ambassadorship, partypoker has announced the creation of their own “Team Online” and have revealed the first two players to be named to it. Online Twitch streamers Matt Staples and Hristivoje ‘AllinPav’ Pavolic are the first poker pros named in what is expected to be a series of announcements of new members to the expanding team. Matt Staples Matt Staples, younger brother of former PokerStars ambassador Jaime Staples, followed in brother's footsteps in becoming a full-time Twitch Poker streamers. From starting at the micros at age 18, Matt Staples, now 22, has come into his own as a full-time mid-high stakes regular tournament grinder. “Becoming a sponsored pro is something I’ve aspired to for a while now and I couldn’t be happier about the partnership,” Staples said. “There’s nothing I like more than streaming tournaments on Twitch and I’m pumped to have the opportunity to showcase and help grow partypoker and their Twitch community.” “Signing with partypoker ranks as one of my proudest achievements,” said Pavlovic. “I’m stoked to represent a company that has strong ethics at its heart, and I can’t wait to help build the great game of poker.” Pavlovic, also a regular MTT grinder, is known for marathon Twitch sessions and consistently posting his wins and losses on his Twitter feed. partypoker Tunes In It's clear that partypoker has decided to dive into the deep end when it comes to increasing their marketing efforts with regards to online streaming. Not only is it expected that their own Team Online will be growing throughout the next week, but they have also agreed to a sponsorship/partnership deal with Bill Perkins’ “The Thirst Lounge.” They also have plans to live stream a new online high stakes cash game. “We have been a bit behind the curve when it comes to streaming,” said partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters. ”We are hoping to make up for lost time by compiling an elite team that will be able to stream entertaining and engaging content 24/7.” In addition to their newly created Team Online, partypoker promises streaming sessions from some of their already established Team partypoker Pros including Ludovic Geilich, Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard and Fedor Holz.
  10. For the fifth day in a row, partypoker has announced another addition to their brand new Team Online. Just four days after departing as an ambassador for Unibet Poker, professional gamer turned poker fanatic Alan ‘Hotted89’ Widmann is now officially an ambassador for partypoker. Widmann is a big pickup for partypoker as the Venezuelan born content creator brings a wealth of followers and experience in the online streaming department. Widmann made a name for himself in the world of esports as a professional World of Warcraft player, one that helped him accumulate over 286,000 followers on his Twitch channel. His reach is arguably the deepest of all the online streamers in the game today. Thanks to his esports background, his Twitch channel currently has more followers than Run It Up and his own Twitter account, with 166K followers, has roughly four times the amount of reach than partypoker’s own. Add to that over 143,000 YouTube subscribers, when Widmann chooses to showcase poker, there will be a lot of eyes on what he does. Widmann credits his development in poker to a friendship with one of online poker’s most famous players, Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom. According to partypoker, through their friendship, Blom has taken Widmann under his wing, offering him advice along his poker journey.   Widmann spent the better part of two years as an online ambassador for Unibet and during that time he was not only streaming online but representing the company at live events. His first record live cash was at the 2017 Unibet Open where he took first place in their Esports Sit & Go for over $6,000. Since that time, he also spent time at the World Series of Poker. Over the past two year he cashed in four events, including the 2018 Main Event where he finished in the money for $15,000. In total, Widmann is approaching $50,000 in total live earnings. With his new partypoker deal, he’ll likely have the opportunity for much more on the MILLIONS Live tour. All week, partypoker has been unveiling new signings for Team Online. At beginning of the week it was announced that prolific Twitch Poker streamers Matt Staples, bother of former PokerStars ambassador Jaime Staples, and Hristovoje ‘ALLinPav’ Pavlovic would be the first two members of the new squad. By mid-week, the group had grown to four with the additions of Canadians Travis ‘dramaticdegen’ Darroch and Patrick ‘XxXMLGPROXxX’ Tardif. In addition to expanding their reach on Twitch through individual ambassadors, partypoker has announced a partnership with Bill Perkins reborn Twitch channel, ‘The Thirst Lounge’ - a channel that features 10 different streamers all promoting the game of poker with their individual styles but under the same banner. partypoker has indicated that there will be additional announcements to their Team Online in the coming days.
  11. Twitch Poker pioneer Jamie Staples has announced that he will be joining partypoker’s emerging Team Online. Over the past few weeks, partypoker has been incredibly active in announcing a steady stream of online poker pros to their newly formed Team Online, their squad of streaming poker players aimed at promoting play for the online site. On Friday, came the biggest announcement yet. Former PokerStars ambassador Jaime Staples will officially become part of the fledgling team as of May 4. The May 4 date falls 90 days after Staples announcement that he was leaving PokerStars. Jaime Stapes’ story is well-known to those who have followed the rise of poker streaming in recent years. He started streaming poker from the basement of his mother’s house where he cultivated a healthy online following. PokerStars took notice and he took up a position as a “friend of PokerStars”. That turned into a full-time position as a Team PokerStars Online ambassador in late 2016. Jaime and his younger brother Matt enjoyed a year of skyrocketing popularity in 2017 as they participated in the #UltimateSweat prop bet. With a significant weight discrepancy between them, the brothers were tasked by businessman and fellow poker player Bill Perkins to get within a pound of each other in a year. The duo accomplished that task, winning $150,000 in the process and the story of Jaime’s transformative weight loss made mainstream news. Then, just over a month ago, the relationship with PokerStars came to an end. Staples posted a video announcing that he was stepping away from the online poker giant to pursue a new opportunity. “I felt as if I might have an opportunity to do something bigger with my career in poker,” Staples said at the time. It appears as if that opportunity has now presented itself. According to Staples own Twitter account, he will not only be joining partypoker’s Team Online as a player but he and Jeff Gross, another former Team PokerStars Online pro who has teamed up with partypoker, will be taking a leadership role on the team, helping to grow the team. In addition to Staples’ expertise in the ‘Twitch streets’, he brings one of poker’s largest online followings to partypoker. His Twitch channel features more than 120,000 followers, while his Twitter following is over 31,000 strong. He also has a pair of Youtube channels that, combined, have over 87,000 subscribers. Although not officially a member of Team Online as of yet, Jamie Staples is the eleventh poker pro named to the team. The first streamer named in mid-February was his brother Matt Staples. He was then joined by Hristivoje ‘ALLinPav’ Pavlovic. The announcements didn’t stop as Travis ‘dramaticdegen’ Darroch, Patrick ‘XxXMLGPROXxX’ Tardif, Alan ‘hotted89’ Widmann, Ryan ‘RSchoonbaert’ Schoonbaert, Courtney ‘courtiebee’ Gee, Steven ‘DWstevie’ Kok, Monika ‘HeyMonia’ Zukowicz and Jeff Gross all signed on. Should Jaime Staples and Gross be working side-by-side to keep the partypoker Team Online roster fresh, it would not be their first time building a streaming stable. The pair were instrumental in the construction of Bill Perkins’ ‘Thirst Lounge 10’, a roster of personalities that are featured on Perkins’ own partypoker sponsored Twitch channel. In the meantime between now and May 4, Staples has implied that nothing will really change.
  12. On Wednesday, partypoker announced the addition of well-known Twitch Poker streamer Kevin Martin to their expansive stable of Team Online pros. Martin, who gained notoriety as a two-time contestant and winner of the Canadian version of the TV show Big Brother, is considered a veteran of the Twitch Poker scene. He picked up streaming back in 2015, only one year after taking up poker full time and brought his ever-growing audience along for the ride as he evolved in the game of poker. His dedication to the platform earned him an ambassadorship with PokerStars, a roster spot on Jason Somerville’s Team Run It Up and a dedicated following of over 83,000 on his Twitch channel. Back in February, at the onset of partypoker’s Team Online, Martin publicly announced that he and PokerStars had agreed to part ways. Martin is one of a number of Team PokerStars Online pros who made the jump to partypoker in recent months. Former PokerStars ambassadors Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples both made videos in February announcing that they were leaving the online giant and both have subsequently joined the partypoker ranks, with Staples making his official debut to the team on May 4. partypoker picks up a massive online presence with the addition of Martin. In addition to his 83,000 Twitch followers, Martin adds another 40,000 subscribers on YouTube and 35,000 followers on Twitter. While Martin is best-known of his online poker exploits, he has also had surging results in his own live poker game, rapidly approaching $300,000 in lifetime earnings. In 2018, Martin, who plays mostly low/mid-stakes live tournaments booked six five-figures scores among his four outright victories in the tournaments he played. With Martin on board and Staples officially joining the team later in the week, partypoker’s Team Online will consist of 12 total online personalities. The rapid growth started with the announcements of Matt Staples and Hristiivoje ‘ALLinPav’ Pavlovic as the first players named to the team. Then partypoker released a string of near-daily announcements that included Travis ‘dramaticdegen’ Darroch, Patrick ‘XxXMLGPROXxX’ Tardif, esports standout Alan ‘hotted89’ Widmann, Ryan ‘RSchoonbaert’ Schoonbaert, Courtney ‘courtiebee’ Gee, Steven ‘DWstevie’ Kok, Monika ‘HeyMonia’ Zukowicz and Jeff Gross. parrtypoker’s online strategy also includes sponsorship of poker personality Bill Perkins’ own ensemble of online players which grind online on his ‘Thirst Lounge’ channel. To catch Kevin Martin in action, check him out on his Twitch channel.
  13. Aaron Zang has done it! On Saturday, he captured the title in poker's richest-ever tournament, winning the £1,050,000 buy-in Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity for £13,779,791 in prize money. Zang topped a mixed field of 54 businessmen, recreational players, and the game’s top professionals to capture the title. Entering the Triton Million, Zang, who is known as a high-stakes cash game player, had less than $900,000 in live tournament earnings. Originally set to pay the winner £19,000,000, a heads-up deal was struck between Zang and his final opponent, Bryn Kenney, that saw Zang take £13,779,791 and Kenney take £16,890,509. With a conversion rate that puts Kenney's prize north of $20,400,000, Kenney is now the holder of poker's largest single score from a live tournament. That is rather fitting as Kenney now sits atop poker's all-time money list, as recorded by Hendon Mob, as a result of the finish. Triton Million Results 1st: Aaron Zang - £13,779,791* 2nd: Bryn Kenney - £16,890,509* 3rd: Dan Smith - £7,200,000 4th: Stephen Chidwick - £4,410,000 5th: Vivek Rajkumar - £3,000,000 6th: Bill Perkins - £2,200,000 7th: Alfred DeCarolis - £1,720,000 8th: Timothy Adams - £1,400,000 9th: Wai Leong Chan - £1,200,000 10th: Chin Wei Lim - £1,100,000 11th: Winfred Yu - £1,100,000 *First and second prizes as a result of a heads-up deal. Zang began the third and final day of the tournament in sixth place on the leaderboard with eight players remaining, but the early story of the final table was the demise of Vivek Rajkumar, who entered with a big chip lead over the rest of the field. First, Bill Perkins scored a double through Rajkumar when his pocket nines held up against Rajkumar’s pocket fours on Hand #9. Perkins then doubled again through Rajkumar on Hand #30 when his pocket sevens held up against Rajkumar’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Kh"]. Despite the two hits to his stack, Rajkumar maintained his lead. Not too long after Perkins scored his second double up of the day, Zang took his turn doubling through Rajkumar. Both players had the same hand, ace-jack, but it was Zang’s [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Jh"] that made a flush against Rajkumar’s [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jd"] after the board ran out [poker card="Ts"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4h"][poker card="3h"][poker card="Th"]. That brought Rajkumar back to the pack and his closest competitor was Kenney, who had rather quietly worked his way up to an eight-figure chip stack. Rajkumar was able to get things moving in the right direction when, on Hand #49, he knocked out Timothy Adams in eighth place. Right after that, on Hand #50, Stephen Chidwick scored a double up through Rajkumar, forcing Rajkumar to give a good chunk of the chips he had just won to someone else. Chidwick used those newly acquired chips to then knock out Alfred DeCarolis on Hand #51, closing out quite the exciting three-hand run of action. Things only got worse for Rajkumar on Hand #56. On the [poker card="Tc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="4h"] flop, Dan Smith held the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Jc"] to Rajkumar’s [poker card="Th"][poker card="9h"]. All the money went in and it was Smith’s overpair up against Rajkumar’s top two pair. It was a good spot for Rajkumar, but the turn was the [poker card="3d"] and the river the [poker card="Js"] to give Smith the huge double into the chip lead. Rajkumar was knocked down to the second shortest stack with six players remaining. Perkins grabbed another double up through Rajkumar on Hand #66, which knocked Rajkumar down to the bottom of the pack. Rajkumar fought on, though, and it was eventually Perkins who busted in sixth place. Kenney was the one to bust Perkins, holding the [poker card="As"][poker card="Ad"] to Perkins’ [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Td"]. With six players left and the blinds at 150,000-300,000 with a 300,000 big blind ante on Hand #88, Zang shoved all in for 11,375,000 from the small blind with the [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"]. Kenney was in the big blind with a stack of 7,775,000 and called holding the [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"]. The flop, turn, and river ran out [poker card="Jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="Qs"] and Kenney survived a big sweat to score the double. Rajkumar was next out, busting in fifth place on Hand #91. Like Perkins, Rajkumar also ran into the aces of Kenney. That allowed Kenney to take the chip lead, but it didn’t last long because Zang flopped top two pair versus Kenney’s top pair on Hand #100 and doubled through Kenney. Despite Zang doubling through him, Kenney powered on and began to run away with the lead for some time. It looked like it really was going to be Kenney’s tournament, and even more so after he busted Chidwick in fourth place. Kenney didn’t stop there, busting Smith in third and taking quite a large chip lead into heads-up play. Heads-up play didn’t last too long, but it was the underdog Zang who stormed back in the match. First, Zang found a double up with pocket sixes against Kenney’s [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Qd"] to close the gap. Then, Zang moved into the chip lead after he made a full house and allowed Kenney to bluff off some chips to him. Shortly after that, it was all over. On the final hand, the two found the money in the middle on the [poker card="8s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3c"] flop. Kenney had the [poker card="As"][poker card="6s"] for a flush draw, and Zang had the [poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"] for top pair. The turn was the [poker card="9c"] and the river was the [poker card="Kd"] to secure Zang the win.
  14. London won't be burning with boredom this week. The biggest buy-in poker tournament ever takes over London this week with many of the world's best high roller poker players playing at the invite of big-swinging recreational players. The Triton Million is a £1,050,000 buy-in tournament with unique rules designed to provide some level footing for the businessmen and women against some of poker's elite and all of the action will be streamed live. Leveling the Playing Field Not just anybody can play though. The Triton Million features a unique format designed to ensure the tournament isn't a shark fest. Triton organizers invited 23 recreational players, mainly businessmen and women, and each of them is allowed to invite one professional poker player as their guest. In an attempt to create a fair playing environment, recreational players will be separated from the pros for the first six levels of play with a full re-draw taking place following the sixth level. At that point, all players will be inter-mingled with the exception that recreational players can not be seated with the pro they invited until reaching the final table. Players are also not permitted to wear any form of clothing that covers their face or head. This includes scarves, funnel neck sweatshirts, turtle neck jumpers, hats/caps. All-Star Calibre Field As with any Triton Poker event, Paul Phua and Richard Yong will be in the field as two of the recreational players. They'll be joined on the recreational side by the likes of Bobby Baldwin, Cary Katz, Rob Yong, Talal Shakerchi, Tony G, and Leon Tsoukernik. Fedor Holz, Tom Dwan, Jason Koon, Sam Greenwood, Bryn Kenney, Mikita Badziakouski, Stephen Chidwick, Nick Petrangelo, and Timofey Kuznetsov are just a sprinkling of the players who have accepted an invite to play. There are currently 47 players registered including two additions made late Monday when hedge fund manager Bill Perkins invited Dan Smith to play. The only recreational player who has so far chosen not to extend an invite to a pro is Rick Salomon. The History of $1 Million Buy-In Poker Tournaments The £1,050,000 buy-in - roughly $1,285,000 US - make this just the fifth tournament in history to have a seven-figure buy-in. The previous four were all World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop events. The first Big One for One Drop in 2012 featured 48 players and was won by Antonio Esfandiari and represents the largest prize pool of the four. Year Event Entries Winner Prize pool 2012 $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop 48 Antonio Esfandiari $42,666,672 2014 $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop 42 Dan Colman $37,333,338 2016 €1,000,000 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza 28 Elton Tsang $27,437,564 2018 $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop 27 Justin Bonomo $24,840,000 The 2016 event in Monte Carlo was only open to recreational players and was won by Elton Tsang. Multiple Charities Set to Benefit Like the Big One for One Drop, the Triton Million also has a charitable angle. £50,000 from each buy-in goes to Triton Million beneficiaries, a hand-selected collection of charities including Caring for Children Foundation, Healthy Hong Kong, Credit One World Charity Foundation, Sarawak Children's Cancer Society, Malaysian Red Crescent, One Drop, and Raise for Effective Giving (REG). Full Triton Super High Roller London Schedule The Triton Million is the star of a seven-event Super High Roller London schedule that includes a mix of traditional No Limit Hold'em and Short Deck Hold'em spread over the eight days of play. Event # Buy-In Game Dates 1 £25,000 Six Max No Limit Hold'em Turbo July 31 2 £1,050,000 Triton Million for Charity August 1-3 3 £50,000 No Limit Hold'em August 2-3 4 £100,000 Main Event August 4-5 5 £25,000 Short Deck Ante Only No Limit Hold'em August 5-6 6 £100,000 Short Deck Main Event August 6-8 7 £50,000 Short Deck Ante Only No Limit Hold'em August 7-8 How to Watch the Triton Million Triton Poker has an established history of hosting live streams of their events to huge audiences around the world with commentary in multiple languages. Previous tournaments have been streamed on YouTube and Twitch, but the all three days of Triton Million will be streamed for free on PokerGO beginning, August 1 at 8 AM ET. Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman will be in the booth calling all of the action. If you don't already have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
  15. All good things must come to an end. And that end has come for the PCA. As PocketFives reported, when PokerStars announced the return of the PSPC in 2020 they also, unceremoniously, announced that the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure would not be back in 2020, ending its run of 16 years. For many, the PCA kicked off the yearly poker calendar with players making plans to escape their winter hardships for weeks of poker, sun and waterslides. At the height of the poker boom, the PCA was one of the most popular stops on the tour as winners of the Main Event added millions to their career earnings and a marquee victory to their resumes. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] However, as many tour stops experienced, the numbers began to decline after Black Friday and the fatigue of making the trip to the Atlantis Resort & Casino began to weigh on the players. Now, PokerStars has pulled the plug on one of the most enduring poker stops of the last two decades. But even though it’s gone, it certainly won’t be forgotten. With that, we’ve compiled nine of the most memorable moments in the history of the PCA. Gus Hansen’s On A Boat Before the PCA became the flagship stop for PokerStars, it has a very different look. In fact, in 2004, the first year it ever took place the PCA was then a World Poker Tour event. Also, it took place on a boat. The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas to be exact and just as poker was about to hit mainstream a young up-and-coming player from Denmark, Gus Hansen, was in the middle of making a reputation for himself, a reputation that lasts to this very day. Hansen bested the likes of Daniel Negreanu for the $455,780 first-place prize and his third WPT title. Right from the get-go, the PCA drew premier poker star power and eventually the PCA would be the engine to create that star power. Ryan Daut And Isaac Haxton Take It Outside In 2007, rising online phenom Isaac Haxton was in prime position to take down the 2007 PCA Main Event and it’s massive $1.5 million first-place prize. Ryan Daut had other ideas and the pair put on a famous heads up battle at the final table which took place…outside. The weather outside was nearly as volatile as the play on the felt. The winds whipped as evening fell and it looked like the sky was going to open up and pour at any moment. In the eye of the storm was Haxton and Daut who played an iconic hand where both players had “absolute Garfunkel!” Haxton won the famous battle of the bluffs but Daut took home the PCA title. ESPN Took The PCA Live The PCA made history in 2011 when PokerStars struck a deal with ESPN to bring ‘near-live’ coverage of the PCA final table to the network. The final table was shown on ESPN2 and online on ESPN3.com on a one-hour delay so viewers could see the hole cards. According to the PokerStars Blog, it was the first time that poker fans were able to see a final table, every hand, every decision completely unedited. “For the first time viewers at home will see a poker telecast from start to finish, with all the strategy of world class-poker players playing in real-time,” said ESPN’s Matt Volk back in 2010. Galen Hall Finds A Fold Not only did 2011 produce one of the first unedited accounts of a final table, but it also produced one of the finest folds every caught on camera. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver was cruising in the PCA Main Event and at the start of heads up play he had a 3:1 chip advantage over fellow online pro Galen Hall. On the third hand of play, the pair both make monster hands by the river. Hall rivered a straight while Oliver had just gone runner-runner to a full house. After being checked to by Oliver, Hall put out a bet and was check-raised for his tournament life. “If Hall calls it’s all over,” said commentator James Hartigan. “I don’t see Hall getting away from this hand,” declared Daniel Negreanu. After minutes in the tank, Hall makes the laydown of his poker life and ended up turning the tables on Oliver to become the 2011 PCA Main Event champion for $2.3 million. Antonio Esfandiari DQ’d From Main Event Antonio Esfandiari loves to prop bet. So does Bill Perkins. When the two of them got together at the 2016 PCA they agreed to a bet that had Esfandiari only able to perform lunges when moving for 48 hours. Sore and not wanting to lunge himself to the bathroom, Esfandiari made the unfortunate decision to go to the bathroom in a bottle…under the poker table. When officials caught wind of Esfandiari’s makeshift restroom he was quickly disqualified from the Main Event. However, the prop bet continued and he got up and lunged his way out of the tournament area. Read: Antonio Esfandiari Disqualified from PCA Main Event Vanessa Selbst’s Big Bet So the story goes…after a night of having (perhaps too much) fun in the Bahamas, Vanessa Selbst made a big bet against her friend Jason Mercier that he couldn’t win three WSOP bracelets the following summer. It’s hard enough for pros to count on winning one WSOP bracelet, much less three and so she ended up giving 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager. The bet was made in a bit of an 'altered state' and when Selbst woke up the next day, she tried to cancel it but according to Mercier, the bet was booked. She offered Mercier a $1K buy-out, he declined. Mercier went on to pick up two bracelets that summer and finish second in another tournament nearly completing the challenge that would have paid him $1.8 million. Christian Harder Battles Bax Long-time online and live pro Christian Harder became a bit of a footnote in PCA history in his 2017 Main Event win. That’s because, technically, it wasn’t the PCA. That year PokerStars shelved their popular PCA brand and tried to rebrand the tour stop the ‘PokerStars Championship Bahamas’. That is the year Harder fought through the field of 738 entries to find himself heads up for the title. When he looked up he saw he sitting across from him was his former backer (and PocketFives Legacy Award winner) Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy. Josephy was a bit of a mentor to Harder and had put him in the PCA in the past so when they got heads up, a deal was quickly struck between the two friends with Harder going on to take home the extra $10K and the first (and last) PSC Bahamas trophy. Maria Lampropulos First Woman Winner of PCA Argentina’s Maria Lampropulos made PCA history in 2018 by becoming the first-ever female to capture a PCA Main Event title. She overcame a 2:1 heads up chip deficit to defeat Canadian crusher Shawn Buchanan and take home the $1,081,100 first-place prize, her second seven-figure score in under 12 months. The Main Event final table was not only notable for who won the title but how she won it. Lampropulos was quite visibly extremely sick throughout the final day, having fits of coughing and seemingly struggling to stay focused. This also led to her taking a long time on many decisions, which prompted other players to call the clock on her on a number of occasions. In the end, she fought through the sickness, made the right decision and won some crucial flips to become the first (and now last) female PCA champion. The PSPC Breaks Records In 2019 PokerStars has a plan to revitalize the PCA and that was by hosting the largest ever $25,000 buy-in tournament - the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. The PSPC was the culmination of a year-long marketing campaign. One that doled out over 320 Platinum Passes, a ticket worth $30,000 that allowed players from all over the world to live their dream of playing in a tournament with life-changing money on the line. When the event got underway, the tournament room was electric with players of every skill level giddy with excitement over such a special event. The tournament exceeded all expectations with 1,039 players registering for the event creating a prize pool of $26,455,500. In fairytale fashion, Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas from Spain ended up as the winner and took home the massive $5.1 million first-place prize.
  16. As Phil Galfond prepares to embark on an ambitious series of heads-up Pot Limit Omaha challenges against six competitors, PocketFives Managing Editor Donnie Peters talked to the three-time WSOP bracelet winner. In the second of two features, Galfond discusses the motivation behind the challenge and what it's like for him to step back into the world of high stakes online cash. Read Part 1: One Year In, Phil Galfond’s Run It Once Poker Just Getting Started Phil Galfond loves a good challenge. He built a professional poker career on challenging himself against the best players in the world at limits most of us can only dream about. After he conquered that, Galfond took on the even greater challenge of starting a brand new online poker site, Run It Once Poker, in the post-Black Friday world. Although his latest challenge is far from complete, it hasn't stopped Galfond from dusting off the high-stakes boxing gloves and getting back into the ring. Recently, Galfond challenged the poker world to high-stakes, heads-up poker. He called out coaches not part of the Run It Once team and everyone else who wanted to battle. "The idea came together in a few stages," Galfond said. "First, I noticed that my RunItOnce.com video views were dropping, and I thought to myself, 'Well, that makes sense - I don't play much anymore so they probably don't think I have much to teach them.' I felt that I still had a lot to teach people and, moreover, that the way they're being taught elsewhere can in some ways be detrimental to their development, so I came up with the idea initially to 'prove' that to them. This is when I came up with the coach challenge of 3-1 odds on a 50,000-hand match. "After running that by some of the team, a couple of things became clear. First, that it was unlikely a coach would take me up on that. Second, that this could also be a great promotion for Run It Once Poker. From there, it turned into the more open challenge that you've seen." The Challenges Galfond now has at least six matches lined up to start and plans to start this month, with the possibility of more challengers to come. The players he’ll be taking on are Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, and two online poker players known as 'ActionFreak' and 'VeniVidi1993.' "I've missed it so, so much," Galfond said when asked if he misses playing poker as much as he used to. "I love playing, and I have absolutely been less fulfilled, professionally-speaking, since I stopped playing full-time. I can't wait to play again." All of these 'Galfond Challenges,' as they’re being called, will be played in Pot Limit Omaha, across various stakes and a set number of hands. Not only will the two sides be battling to win each other’s money, but there are side bets involved with huge sums of money on the line. Against Perkins, the two will be playing €100-€200 PLO over 50,000 hands and there is a $400,000 stop-loss in place. Galfond is laying 4-1 odds to Perkins, with his $800,000 on the line against Perkins’ $200,000. The match against Adams will be $100-$200 PLO and played in a live setting. Instead of playing a set number of hands, the two will play for 40 hours. Galfond has put up $150,000 to the $100,000 of Adams. For the duel against Kornuth, Galfond has the most side action on the line. The two will play 25,000 hands of €100-€200 PLO, with Galfond risking €1 million on the side to Kornuth’s €250,000. Against Cates, Galfond will play 7,500 hands at €100-€200 PLO, but the side action has still yet to be determined. Galfond will then play €150-€300 PLO for 15,000 hands against 'ActionFreak' and €100-€200 PLO against 'VeniVidi1993' for 25,000 hands. Against 'ActionFreak,' Galfond is wagering €150,000 to his opponent's €100,000. Against 'VeniVidi1993,' it's Galfond's €200,000 on the line against the €100,000 for 'VeniVidi1993.' "Losing to Chance or Bill Perkins and the Thirst Lounge will be the most costly, but I'd say I expect 'Jungleman' and 'ActionFreak' to be my toughest opponents," Galfond said. "I also think that a longer match is favorable to my skill set as a player, and 'Jungleman's' is the shortest, so I guess that's the one I feel I'm most likely to lose." All told, Galfond has around $2.4 million in side action on the line from these six matches already lined up. That’s in addition to whatever is at stake from playing the matches themselves. He’s giving 4-1 odds to Perkins and Kornuth, but then he’s playing for even side action against 'ActionFreak.' If he wins all of these matches, Galfond will win around $850,000 in side action. "In short, I think I laid odds appropriately for the most part," Galfond said. "Some of my challenges are at 1-1 odds - I'm less confident in those ones." Preparing for Battle Galfond told PocketFives that he had planned to study for these matches a lot but hasn’t had as much time as he had hoped. He has enlisted the help of some friends to learn how to use solvers, which he said was "long overdue for a high-stakes player like myself". But, time is running out and the challenges will be here very soon. "I'm trying to focus on areas where I'm playing the furthest from optimal and figuring out why that is - what I'm missing," Galfond said. Much like you see boxers make in-fight adjustments on the fly or in between rounds, Galfond knows there’s only so much he can do ahead of time to prepare and that he has to be willing to adapt throughout. It’s these in-game adjustments that Galfond’s views as a strength that he’ll look to lean on during the matches. "For the most part, I've always had a lot of success heads-up," he said. "I believe I do a very good job of adjusting to individual opponents, which is why I'm excited about some of the longer matches. I plan to spend a good amount of time breaking down my opponents in between sessions." He’ll also be juggling family life and work life in the middle of all of this. Galfond said he’s worked on a schedule with his wife, Farah, that should allow him to maintain a good balance. He also plans to take a step back from his Run It Once work while the challenges are running and is confident his team is well prepared to handle everything. "I'm going to try to take a step back from Run It Once work over the course of the challenges," Galfond said. "It remains to be seen if I can do that, but I think that realistically, the best thing I can do for the company is to go out there and be Phil the poker player and brand ambassador. We've got a fantastic team who can make decisions just as well as I can, but I'm the only one who can play the Galfond Challenges." The Stakes Galfond challenged the entire poker world after being away from playing full-time, he’s short on time to prepare, and there’s a lot of money on the line. Whenever someone puts him or herself out there like this, there’s going to be pressure. Additionally, the two challenges within the overall challenge present their own unique pressures. In one arena, Galfond challenged "anyone who currently makes training videos for a site other than Run It Once." As the person who built Run It Once into the premier poker training site that it is today, Galfond has, to some extent, risked the reputation of Run It Once. Is it really the best training site out there if a coach from a competitor takes down the commander-in-chief? In another arena where he challenged everyone else, Galfond has his own reputation as a poker player on the line. He joked that he was a “washed-up ex-pro” in his message to the poker world, but what if he really is washed-up? "If I had gotten more coaches to take me up on the coach challenge, I'd feel a lot more pressure,” Galfond said. "Chance is the only coach who took me up on it, and I ended up having to lay a bigger price for fewer hands. I'd say this is the only match that I feel reputational pressure to win - I'm playing on behalf of Run It Once Training. "The rest of the matches, I don't really think my result has much of an impact on RIO or my personal reputation. If I win or lose them all, sure, but if I beat Perkins, Chance, and ActionFreak and I lose to 'Jungleman,' Brandon Adams, and 'VeniVidi,' for example, I don't think people will view me much differently than they do now. "The dollar amounts are certainly high, especially in the long-odds matches. If I get swept, it's going to be very painful." It’s easy to understand how excited Galfond is about the challenges - how excited he is to get back into the ring with some very good poker players and have a lot at stake. He’s also hopeful that the challenges will lead to increased visibility for Run It Once Poker, especially once people get a peek at the fun, cutting-edge software Galfond and his team have built and are continuing to improve upon. Run It Once Poker and one of the sponsors of the challenge, MuchBetter, will be running multiple promotions throughout the challenge that give players a rooting interest in Galfond connected to their play on the site. Will the challenges lead to more traffic more Run It Once Poker? That’s "unclear," as Galfond put it. Will he be doing his damnedest to make it happen? You better believe it.
  17. "I'm gonna keep playing." Those were the words that Phil Galfond posted on Run It Once's website regarding the 'Galfond Challenge' against 'VeniVidi1993,' with the post coming just more than two weeks after Galfond suspended the match. That was it. Short and sweet. Although he is an extremely busy man these days, Galfond took some time to sit down with PocketFives ahead of the restart against 'VeniVidi1993,' which comes on Wednesday, March 4. "First, I spent some time with family and took a short poker break," Galfond said of what he's been doing to regroup. "For the last week or two, I've been practicing, mostly in $25-50 heads-up Zoom pools, against tough competition." [ptable zone=“GG Poker”][ptable zone=“Party Poker NJ”][ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”] Galfond and 'VeniVidi1993' are slated to play 25,000 hands of heads-up €100-€200 Pot Limit Omaha on Run It Once Poker. Through 9,927 hands of play, Galfond is down more than €900,000 to his opponent. While that's an astronomical sum to many, it's a downswing that Galfond has experienced before. "In terms of absolute dollar value, it's not anywhere near my biggest [downswing], as I used to play 3-5 times these stakes regularly," Galfond told PocketFives. "In terms of buy-ins, I think it's getting up there, but to be honest I don't know. I've jumped around games and stakes so much during my career that I never kept track of a downswing in terms of buy-ins. I suppose that might mean I haven't had too many bad ones!" In the time off, Galfond has been able to do a lot of thinking on the current challenge, and he's thought about where he would like it to go. As things stand, Galfond is down more than 45 buy-ins to 'VeniVidi1993' and all signs point to him losing the additional €200,000 side bet he put up against the €100,000 of 'VeniVidi1993.' As the match goes forward, Galfond's task is focused on cutting into the deficit some now that he’s regrouped. "I'd like to end around minus €400,000," Galfond said. "Obviously, that's ambitious and there's a lot out of my control, so I'll try to focus on playing my best and keeping my mindset strong." Throughout the play against 'VeniVidi1993,' Galfond has received a ton of support from the poker community. Galfond is certainly viewed as the hero by almost everyone watching. "It has felt great, but to be honest I would much rather they support and rally behind Run It Once Poker than me!" Galfond said. "I've played poker for a decade and a half. I've been through plenty of downswings and I'm going to be just fine no matter the outcome of these challenges. What we're trying to do with Run It Once is much more important than my short-term results at the tables." Despite the hit, Galfond's bankroll has taken from battling with 'VeniVidi1993,' he said the challenge has been performing well on the promotional and marketing side as it pertains to Run It Once Poker. "It's been great for Run It Once so far," Galfond said. "We've got a lot of momentum building in these last few months and traffic has been getting better and better. I'm hopeful that with the challenge continuing, so will the trend. More traffic leads to better experiences for our players, which leads to more traffic, and so on. I'm rooting for that as much as or more than myself in these challenges." Starting with Wednesday's session, the Galfond Challenge against 'VeniVidi1993' is back on. After it's complete, Galfond has a handful of other challengers lined up, including Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, and high-stakes online poker player 'ActionFreak.' There is even a challenge match on the table against Luke Schwartz, who has been quite vocal on social media, calling Galfond a "washed up nice guy" and saying that "it's clearly time to wave the white flag" about Galfond playing against 'VeniVidi1993.' Galfond said that he plans to play Schwartz as part of the Galfond Challenge, but that the details haven't been ironed out yet. Galfond said the match is likely to take place after the 2020 World Series of Poker. Although the challenge against 'VeniVidi1993' hasn’t gone in his favor, Galfond said that the toughness he has faced has only helped him and should put him in a better position for future challenge matches. "A difficult challenge like this to start has accelerated my learning curve, so I think that balances out the negatives (feeling less confident after losing so consistently)," Galfond said.
  18. Down more than €900,000 in his 'Galfond Challenge' match against 'VeniVidi1993,' Phil Galfond is opting to suspend his play against 'VeniVidi1993' for the time being. Galfond and 'VeniVidi1993' have battled across 15 sessions at €100-€200 PLO on Run It Once Poker, Galfond's online poker site. Through those 15 sessions, 9,927 hands were played and Galfond was down €900,240.17. The three most recent sessions have set Galfond back €419,016.77 alone. Galfond and 'VeniVidi1993' had a day off on Monday and were planned to play another session on Tuesday, but it was called off. "I was playing scared," Galfond wrote in a statement he released on Twitter. "I was expecting to lose. I simply couldn't get my brain to work properly." [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] Galfond pointed out that, contrary to what may be the common belief, the most difficult thing wasn't the money. "It's the gap between the result and your expectations," he said. Galfond said the two had six more sessions planned in February and that missing those sessions will see Galfond take a per-session penalty of about €3,000 each. Galfond and 'VeniVidi1993' were slated to play 25,000 hands, with Galfond risking €200,000 in side action to the €100,000 of 'VeniVidi1993.' In his note, Galfond said he is going to suspend playing anymore sessions against 'VeniVidi1993' until at least March 1. When March 1 rolls around, Galfond will decide if he's going to continue to battle with 'VeniVidi1993' or call it off. If Galfond does elect to call it off and accept defeat, he'll have to pay 'VeniVidi1993' the €200,000 side bet. "I hope I feel prepared to come back and put on a good show for you all, but I know that realistically, as much as I don't want to, there's a chance I'll have to just take the loss," Galfond said. The individual sessions have not been good to Galfond, who won just two of the 15 times he and 'VeniVidi1993' played. One of those winning sessions for Galfond saw him finish up just €2,615.26. Challenge Results To Date Hands Played Daily Winner Amount Won Day 1 (Jan. 22) 655 VeniVidi1993 €72,572.68 Day 2 (Jan. 23) 715 Phil Galfond €2,615.26 Day 3 (Jan. 24) 557 VeniVidi1993 €84,437.52 Day 4 (Jan. 25) 581 VeniVidi1993 €17,544.87 Day 5 (Jan. 27) 726 VeniVidi1993 €155,063.52 Day 6 (Jan. 28) 703 VeniVidi1993 €13.31 Day 7 (Jan. 30) 823 VeniVidi1993 €52,057.13 Day 8 (Jan. 31) 940 VeniVidi1993 €60,743.37 Day 9 (Feb. 1) 446 VeniVidi1993 €12,706.51 Day 10 (Feb. 3) 696 VeniVidi1993 €100,993.30 Day 11 (Feb. 4) 741 VeniVidi1993 €15,647.36 Day 12 (Feb. 6) 622 Phil Galfond €87,940.91 Day 13 (Feb. 7) 470 VeniVidi1993 €267,949.70 Day 14 (Feb. 8) 593 VeniVidi1993 €48,473.73 Day 15 (Feb. 9) 659 VeniVidi1993 €102,593.34 - - - - Total 9,927 VeniVidi1993 €900,240.17 In addition to playing against 'VeniVidi1993,' Galfond has five other competitors lined up for the Galfond Challenge. He's locked in details with Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, and high-stakes online poker player 'ActionFreak.' Those matches have their own specific terms, stakes, and length of play, but no timetable has been set for when they will take place. In his note, Galfond did say that he had planned to start playing another match in the Galfond Challenge at the end of February and that he still hopes to make this happen.
  19. The second edition of the 'Galfond Challenge' continued on Tuesday, April 21, with Phil Galfond and Bill Perkins putting on the gloves for another round of $100-200 PLO. They played 625 hands and Galfond finished $91,705.91 to the good. Perkins entered the second day of play with $1,561.86 lead over Galfond, and in opposing fashion to what we saw when Galfond took on 'VeniVidi1993' in the first Galfond Challenge competition, Galfond has started up a few buy-ins instead of down. Now through 1,013 hands of the 50,000-hand challenge (there is a $400,000 stop-loss in effect), Galfond is up $90,144.05 overall. READ: Galfond's Five Biggest Pots Between Against 'VeniVidi1993' [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] Once again, Galfond streamed his side of play on the Run it Once Poker Twitch channel, so we're able to show you a few highlights. The first pot we'll look at from Tuesday's action was one that saw Galfond put in a pot-sized raise on the river with a full house.  With $4,957 in the middle on the [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"][poker card="7s"][poker card="7d"] board, Galfond checked with the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="Ts"][poker card="8d"][poker card="7h"] and Perkins fired $2,478.50. Galfond made the call and the river was the [poker card="Qh"]. Galfond checked and Perkins bet $7,435.50 into the pot of $9,914. Galfond check-raised to $26,371 and Perkins folded. Not too long after, Galfond made a full house and won a $53,955 pot off of Perkins.  On the [poker card="Ts"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4d"] flop, Galfond checked with the [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4h"] and Perkins bet $599.50 into a pot of $1,199. Galfond called and the [poker card="Qd"] hit the turn to give him a set of queens. Both players checked and the [poker card="4c"] paired the board on the river. Now holding a full house, queens over fours, Galfond bet the pot for $2,398. Perkins raised to $7,793.50 and Galfond fired back with a reraise to $25,778.50. Perkins called but could only muck his hand as he was not able to beat Galfond's full house. Of course, there were some pots that swung Perkins' way, including this next one worth $53,973.10.  After Perkins made it $600 to go on the button, Galfond reraised to $1,800 from the big blind. Perkins four-bet to $5,400 and Galfond called. The flop was [poker card="9d"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3s"] and Galfond checked. Perkins bet $5,399.50 and Galfond raised to put Perkins all in. Perkins called off his remaining $16,187.55. Perkins showed the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="As"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"] and Galfond had the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kc"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="3d"]. The turn was the [poker card="7c"] and the river was the [poker card="4s"]. Perkins went on to make a straight and hauled in the pot. One final hand we'll highlight from the Tuesday, April 21, session was a set-over-set banger that gave Galfond an $81,489 pot.  On the [poker card="As"][poker card="Qc"][poker card="6c"] flop, Galfond bet $815.32 into a pot of $1,199 after Perkins checked. Perkins raised to $3,644.96 and then Galfond made it $8,974.60 to go. Perkins called and the turn was the [poker card="7h"]. After Perkins checked, Galfond fired $13,020.77. Perkins shoved and Galfond called off his remaining $18,149.66. Galfond had the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ac"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="7c"] and Perkins held the [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"]. The river was the [poker card="8s"] and Galfond was pushed the $81,489.06 pot. Challenge Results To Date Hands Played Daily Winner Amount Won Day 1 (Apr. 14) 388 Bill Perkins $1,561.86 Day 2 (Apr. 21) 625 Phil Galfond $91,705.91 - - - - Total 1,013 Phil Galfond $90,144.05
  20. The second edition of the 'Galfond Challenge' kicked off on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Next up for Phil Galfond was a battle with Bill Perkins and various members of the Thirst Lounge team. The first day of play saw swings both ways before ultimately ending with Perkins grabbing a $1,561.86 lead. Galfond and Perkins are scheduled to play 50,000 hands of $100-200 PLO or until one player loses $400,000, whichever comes first. The challenge is taking place on partypoker. On Tuesday, Galfond streamed his side of play on the Run it Once Poker Twitch channel. He and Perkins played one table and the session lasted 388 hands. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] Perkins jumped out to the early lead and began to extend the gap, which is something we've seen before as Galfond started off losing to 'VeniVidi1993' in the first Galfond Challenge match. With Perkins up around $40,000-$50,000, the following hand came up that gave Perkins even more of a lead.  On the button, Galfond raised to $600 holding the [poker card="Js"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4h"] and Perkins made the call. The flop came down [poker card="Jc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] and both players checked to see the [poker card="2s"] land on the turn. Perkins fired a min-bet of $200 and Galfond raised to $1,287.32. Perkins reraised to $5,060.96 and Galfond called. The river was the [poker card="5h"] and Perkins led with a bet of $8,490.69. Galfond mulled it over and folded his two pair. Shortly thereafter, Galfond had to make another fold to Perkins in a pot north of $10,000. This time, Galfond folded on the turn.  Perkins raised on the button to $600 and Galfond three-bet to $1,800 from the big blind with the [poker card="Ac"][poker card="8d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="4c"]. Perkins made it $5,400 and Galfond called. The flop was [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"][poker card="Kc"] and both players checked to see the [poker card="6d"] land on the turn. Galfond checked again and Perkins fired $5,399.50. Galfond folded. Around halfway through the session is when Galfond started to turn things around, including taking the following pot worth $11,325.64 off Perkins.  The two saw a flop of [poker card="Td"][poker card="Th"][poker card="4h"] with $3,599 in the middle and Galfond bet $600 holding the [poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5s"]. Perkins called and the turn was the [poker card="5c"]. Galfond bet $3,263.32 and Perkins called again. The river was the [poker card="7s"] and both players checked. Galfond showed his hand to beat the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jd"] of Perkins. The biggest pot of the session was worth more than $34,000 and it also went Galfond's way, which helped him further cut into the lead that Perkins had built.  Galfond was holding the [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Qd"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="Tc"] on the [poker card="Jh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="6c"] flop. He bet $1,079.70 into a pot of $3,599 and Perkins raised to $3,958.90. Galfond made the call and the turn was the [poker card="9s"] to give Galfond a queen-high straight. Both players checked and the river was the [poker card="Ah"]. Galfond fired a pot-sized bet of $11,516.80 and Perkins made the call. Perkins' hand was mucked after he made the call but Galfond did mention on the stream that Perkins had ace-jack-six in his hand for two pair. Challenge Results To Date Hands Played Daily Winner Amount Won Day 1 (Apr. 14) 388 Bill Perkins $1,561.86 - - - - Total 388 Bill Perkins $1,561.86
  21. The second 'Galfond Challenge' is complete and once again Phil Galfond is the winner. On Tuesday, Galfond finished his challenge against Ioannis 'ActionFreak' Kontonatsios, winning approximately €115,000 from play and a €150,000 side bet. Although Galfond lost the final session by about €123,000, it wasn't enough to overcome the lead Galfond had. Entering the final session, Galfond was up nearly €240,000. 'ActionFreak' gave it a good run on the final day but it ultimately wasn't enough. Galfond and 'ActionFreak' played 15,000 hands of €150-300 PLO. With the result, 'ActionFreak' lost a combined €265,000 to Galfond. The victory was the second Galfond Challenge match win for Galfond. He had previously defeated 'VeniVidi1993' in an epic comeback that resulted in Galfond winning €101,671.58 from 'VeniVidi1993.' Through the two complete Galfond Challenge matches, Galfond is up a total of €366,000. Galfond also has an ongoing match against Bill Perkins that is just more than 1,000 hands complete. In that competition, Galfond is up more than $90,000. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Party Poker NJ"] The challenge against 'ActionFreak' played out a bit different than the one against 'VeniVidi1993.' Against 'VeniVidi1993,' Galfond was getting crushed through the first 15 sessions and it even appeared that Galfond might forfeit the match and move on. After taking an extended break, Galfond returned to battle with 'VeniVidi1993' and mounted a comeback for the ages to win that Galfond Challenge match. Against 'ActionFreak,' Galfond held the overall lead virtually from start to finish. Of the 16 sessions that were played, Galfond was only behind overall following the first two sessions. Following a win of more than €310,000 in the third session and more than €113,000 in the fourth session, Galfond never looked back. Through 10,000 hands, Galfond was up six figures. Galfond then won €165,000 and €179,000 on back-to-back days of May 21 and May 22, which pushed his lead to more than €450,000 overall. From there, Galfond held on to the finish. In the final session, 'ActionFreak' did what he could to battle back but the hole he was in proved too deep to climb out of. One aspect that likely helped Galfond maintain his lead was a feature that was added to the challenge later on. Galfond and 'ActionFreak' were aware that partypoker, where they were playing the challenge, was going to be implementing a feature that all all-in pots would be run twice in games in private rooms. The Galfond Challenge between the two was being played in a private room on partypoker. Eventually, the two had to run all of the all-in pots twice. If 'ActionFreak' was looking to gamble more and increase the variance to try and cut his deficit, a variance-reducing feature such as running it twice wouldn't be in his favor. Galfond vs. 'ActionFreak' Results Hands Played Daily Winner Amount Won Day 1 (Apr. 27) 145 ActionFreak €11,162.32 Day 2 (Apr. 28) 1,017 Phil Galfond €3,632.83 Day 3 (Apr. 30) 844 Phil Galfond €310,594.59 Day 4 (May 1) 665 Phil Galfond €113,377.48 Day 5 (May 4) 680 ActionFreak €95,304.17 Day 6 (May 5) 734 ActionFreak €78,919.35 Day 7 (May 7) 746 Phil Galfond €26,980.36 Day 8 (May 9) 944 Phil Galfond €165,093.85 Day 9 (May 11) 721 ActionFreak €256,044 Day 10 (May 12) 776 Phil Galfond €19,003.35 Day 11 (May 14) 784 ActionFreak €23,363.64 Day 12 (May 15) 710 ActionFreak €57,580.53 Day 13 (May 16) 716 Phil Galfond €48,169.76 Day 14 (May 19) 740 ActionFreak €61,136.84 Day 15 (May 21) 832 Phil Galfond €165,417.31 Day 16 (May 22) 674 Phil Galfond €179,545.58 Day 17 (May 23) 725 ActionFreak €180,000 Day 18 (May 24) 840 Phil Galfond €135,000 Day 19 (May 25) 820 ActionFreak €168,000 Day 20 (May 26) 881 ActionFreak €123,000 - - - - Total 15,000 Phil Galfond €114,803.51 What's Next for the Galfond Challenge? As mentioned, Galfond has a challenge against Perkins that has already started, so he'll be able to resume that whenever the two are able. Sessions between Galfond and Perkins have been more sporadic but will likely pick up now that Galfond's battle against 'ActionFreak' is done. Galfond could also start playing one of his other challenges as well, such as the one against Chance Kornuth.
  22. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. It was another busy week in the poker world and Lance and Donnie are back to bring you all the latest news on an all-new The FIVES Poker Podcast. This week, #PokerTwitter exploded after Bill Perkins made accusations of cheating in the high-stakes private online games. A public outing by none other than Dan Bilzerian named Dan 'Jungleman' Cates as the pro who was 'ghosting' on a recreational player's account. That plus all of the latest results from the biggest online poker series taking place including the Super High Roller Bowl Online Series, the PokerStars 2020 Spring Championship of Online Poker and the World Poker Tour Online series. Subscribe to The FIVES - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts! Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher

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