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Found 11 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Fedor Holz had many millions of numbers to crunch in 2016[/caption] Many are reflecting back on the year and suggesting 2016 is a year we might want to forget. Do not let the celebrity deaths or endless talk of politics keep you from remembering some of the happier storylines the past year had to offer though. It was a memorable year in poker with countless tournaments, feuds, prop bets, cash games, and big stories. We can’t count all of big headlines of 2016, but we can relive a few of the biggest stories in this year-end edition of Number Crunch. 10 - Number of cashes for Chris Ferguson at the 2016 WSOP. The Full Tilt Poker co-founder had been absent from poker’s biggest stage since 2011, but both he and Howard Lederer decided it was time to return to the tables this summer. Not only did Ferguson return, he cashed every couple of days. Extra security appeared to be added when he final tabled one event, but other than some verbal barbs, there were no serious altercations for the man many consider to be partially responsible for the downfall of what was once one of the biggest online sites in poker. Ferguson won over $250,000 over the course of the summer, while Lederer failed to cash at all. 15 - Number of seasons Poker Hall of FamerMike Sextonhas co-hosted the World Poker Tour alongside Vince Van Patten. Sexton’s list of WPT accomplishments are not just behind the commentator’s desk. He is now a member of the WPT Champion’s Club too, taking down this season’s fall Montreal event for over $450,000. Sexton final tabled the Bay 101 Main Event in 2011, but exited in sixth place. This time around, he was around to the very end, but instead of toasting the champ, it was the Champ getting toasted. 17 - Finishing position in the WSOP Main Event for William Kassouf. The Brit may not have made the November Nine but, like a boss, his personality loomed large over the ESPN coverage of the tournament this year thanks to his endless table banter and altercation with Canadian pro Griffin Benger. His table talking sparked many online debates about table etiquette, with top pros both condemning and commending the behavior. Kassouf did not go quietly into the night after his finish though. He was back in the news in December after agreeing to chop the European Poker Tour Prague High Roller event, taking less money than second place, but taking home the trophy and posing for the winner photo. 28 - Number of High Roller tournaments hosted by the Aria Casino in 2016. With buy-ins ranging from $25,000 to $350,000, the Aria offered a steady supply of big buy-in small-field events for the poker elite. Not only did the events, which were frequently packaged back-to-back over a single weekend, bankroll boosters to some of the biggest names in the game, they also made Las Vegas a destination for live high stakes action again. If there were questions about whether or not the High Roller circuit was oversaturated, based on the success of the Aria’s scheduling, the answer appears to be no, at least for now 345 - Combined number of @ mentions on Twitter in the month of December for Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. In a year of many Twitter beefs, theirs took the cake, with Dentale sending 274 Tweets with her handle it and Hall sending 71 with his in a back and forth exchange that began with Dentale critiquing how Hall played a hand in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Main Event. The trash talk escalated enough for Poker Night in America to turn it into a heads-up battle to be played out in March at Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia. 52,986 - Dollars in career tournament earnings for Qui Nguyen before winning the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. Once he won the biggest tournament of the year, that number rocketed to over $8 million. He is the first amateur since Jerry Yang in 2007 to win the Main Event. 1,800,000 - Dollars Jason Merciersupposedly stood to earn after a hotly debated bracelet bet with Vanessa Selbst. As the story goes, Selbst offered Mercier 180-1 odds he could not win three bracelets in a single summer. The eventual WSOP Player of the Year certainly gave Selbst a sweat, winning two bracelets and making four final tables. He got oh-so close, finishing second in the $10,000 Razz event, but failed to cash in on many lucrative bets he would not threepeat. 4,360,000 - Approximate number of viewers who tuned in to watch David Williams compete in the MasterCheffinale on Fox. A foodie in addition to a poker pro, Williams made quite a run on the Gordon Ramsay reality show, making it all the way to the very end. Much like the 2004 Main Event though, he was a bridesmaid, not the bride, and had to settle for finishing as one of the two runners-up. 4,981,775 - Dollars won by Fedor Holz in the $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller at the WSOP. Shortly after accepting his bracelet, Holz announced his retirement. After all, he had a busy six weeks crushing just about everything he played and raking in over $10 million, starting with a second-place showing in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl for $3.5 million and ending with a bracelet. So far, retirement looks an awful lot like the working world for the young German though. In August he won the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller for almost $1.5 million. 10,100,000 - Dollars Phil Ivey and his friend Cheung Yin Soo have to pay the Borgata Resort and Casino according to a December ruling from a federal judge. The sum is the total of his winnings across four sessions of baccarat in 2012 and the money he took to a craps table and ran up into $500,000. Ivey and Soo were “edge-sorting”, which means they used imperfections in the manufacturer’s design of a deck of cards to determine which cards were which. While not explicitly cheating, the judge did deem the actions to be a violation of the agreement between gambler and casino and ordered the eight-figure judgment.
  2. [caption width="640"] Zachary Smiley has one career live cash - a World Poker Tour win (Joe Giron/WPT photo)[/caption] At a final table that included current World Poker Tour Player of the Year frontrunner Benjamin Zamani, Season XIV breakout star Cate Hall and two-time WPT champion Darren Elias it was a relative unknown that was left standing on Wednesday night as WPT Maryland Live played down to a winner. Zachary Smiley, who dropped out of medical school last week, beat out that group of players to win WPT Maryland Live and $356,536 for his first career live cash. Cate Hall began the final table as the shortest stack and wasn’t able to improve her position before being eliminated in sixth place. Ryan Belz raised to 230,000 from UTG and Hall shipped her last 800,000 from the big blind and Belz called. Hall tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"] and was racing against Belz’s [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="7s"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2s"] to eliminate Hall. She now has eight career WPT cashes including two fifth place finishes, a ninth place and a sixth. While it took 73 hands for the first elimination, it took just 11 more hands to get the second. Smiley moved all in from UTG, Zamani called from the small blind and Belz called from the big blind. When the hands were table Smiley was behind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"], Belz held [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and Zamani had [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. Fortunately for Smiley the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="3c"] to put him ahead. The [poker card="9d"] turn and [poker card="9c"] river were no help for his opponents and Smiley tripled up while Zamani was eliminated in fifth place. Zamani now has three WPT final table appearances this season and has twice as many WPT Player of the Year points as his nearest competitor. Just 20 minutes later the only former WPT champion at the final table was eliminated. Left with just over six big blinds, Darren Elias moved all in from the UTG and Mario Silvestri called from the big blind. Elias got bad news after turning over [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"] and discovering Silvestri had him dominated with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. It only got worse for Elias as the board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="5c"] to give Silvestri a flush and end Elias’ run in fourth place. Despite picking up the extra chips, Silvestri didn’t stick around much longer. Just eight hands later Silvestri raised to 240,000 from the button, only to have Smiley make it 525,000. Silvestri moved all in and Smiley called. This time it was Silvestri who was dominated; Smiley showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] while Silvestri had [poker card="ah"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"] run out couldn’t save Silvestri and he was out in third. When heads up play began Smiley had a better-than 3-2 chip lead over Belz. Over the next 42 hands of play Smiley only increased his lead before finally finishing Belz off. Smiley opened to 300,000, Belz raised to 800,000 and Smiley moved all in. Belz called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] while Smiley showed [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6d"] flop was no help for Belz but the [poker card="jh"] turn gave him eight extra outs for a straight. The [poker card="4s"] river was not one of those outs and Smiley eliminated Belz to capture the title, the $356,536 first place prize, including a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions. Final Table Payouts Zachary Smiley - $356,536 Ryan Belz - $239,412 Mario Silvestri - $153,983 Darren Elias – $113,905 Benjamin Zamani – $85,429 Cate Hall - $68,554
  3. [caption width="640"] Cate Hall beat Mike Dentale 2-0 in their best of three grudge match Sunday at SugarHouse Casino(Photo Courtesy Jeff Shurilla/PNIA)[/caption] It was billed as the ‘Twitter feud heard round the world … of poker’ and on Sunday afternoon at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, Cate Hall and Mike Dentale added another chapter to their ongoing rivalry. Hall defeated Dentale 2-0 in the best-of-three $15,000 heads-up freezeouts in a little over 3.5 hours. The match was live streamed on Poker Night in America’s Twitch channel and drew almost 12,000 viewers at its peak and was the most watched poker stream of the day. Things got serious on the very first hand of play. Hall raised to 400 from the button with [poker card="ts"][poker card="8s"] and Dentale called with [poker card="qs"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7s"] flop put Hall firmly ahead and Dentale check-called her 500 bet. The [poker card="2h"] hit the turn and Dentale lead out for 1,000 and Hall called. The river was the [poker card="qd"] and Dentale bet 2,000 and Hall called and tabled the winner to take down a 7,800 pot. The next decent-sized pot began with Hall on the button. Hall raised to 400 from the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"] and Dentale defended with [poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"]. Both players checked the [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"][poker card="2C"] flop to see the [poker card="8s"] turn. Dentale check-called Hall’s 500 bet. The river was the [poker card="2d"] and Dentale checked, allowing Hall to bet 900. Dentale took nearly 90 seconds before calling and losing the hand to drop to 7,375. Over the next half hour Dentale worked his stack back up to a high of 10,200 before finding a big pot of his own to win. Hall called from the button with [poker card="js"][poker card="9s"] before Dentale raised to 1,200 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"]. After the [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2c"] flop, Dentale bet 1,000 and Hall called. The turn was the [poker card="td"] and Dentale fired 1,500 into the pot and Hall folded.That 5,900 win gave Dentale a stack of 11,650. Just 15 minutes later Dentale got close to even by taking down a 4,800 pot. Hall raised to 400 from the button with [poker card="9s"][poker card="7c"] and Dentale called with [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. After the [poker card="th"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4c"] flop Dentale check-raised Hall’s bet of 400 to 1,000. Hall called. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Dentale lead out for 1,000. Hall called again. The river was the [poker card="3s"] and Dentale bet 1,500, forcing Hall to fold. Over the course of the next hour Hall regained momentum and the nearly 2-1 chip lead. it took her just 15 more minutes to end the first match. With Dentale down to just 3,000, Hall moved all in with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9h"] and Dentale called with [poker card="qc"][poker card="5d"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="jd"] to give the first match to Hall. The second match started off with the same sort of fireworks that the first one did. Dentale raised his button to 400 with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] and Hall called with [poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"]. Dentale bet 700 after the [poker card="7s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2c"] flop before Hall raised to 2,100. Dentale tanked for 3.5 minutes before folding. Hall quickly built up a 2-1 chip lead and never gave up the lead again. After 40 minutes of play, Hall had a 5-1 chip lead before Dentale found himself a double-up. Hall called from the button with [poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"] and Dentale checked his option with [poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"]. Dentale check-called Hall’s bet of 300 after the [poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2h"] flop. Dentale checked the [poker card="ac"] turn, Hall bet 900 and Dentale moved all in for 3,400. Hall tank-called and watched the [poker card="tc"] turn give Dentale a full double to 7,700. Dentale’s stack fell to just over 5,000 before the final hand of the night. Hall raised to 300 from the button with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] and Dentale defended with [poker card="ac"][poker card="2s"]. The flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="5s"], Hall bet 400 and Dentale called. The turn was the [poker card="8h"], Hall bet 1,300, Dentale moved all in for 4,325 and Hall called. The river was a [poker card="kh"] to give Hall quads and the second match to sweep and earn $30,000. After the match Hall had some fun, tweeting that she might be looking for her next opponent.
  4. [caption width="640"] Luigi Shehadeh won the 888Live Barcelona Main Event for €110,000 on Thursday.[/caption] From a field of 609 entries, the €1,100 buy-in 888Live Barcelona Main Event played down to a winner on Monday with Luigi Shehadeh navigating his way to victory and a €110,000 score. The day started with 25 players but after Javier de Vicente Miquel was eliminated in ninth place, the official final table took no time in getting to a champion. It took just two minutes to see the first final table bustout. Carlos Garcia Rodriguez moved all in for 2,100,000 from UTG before Marco Regonaschi called all-in from middle position. Rodriguez tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"] and Regonaschi reluctantly turned over [poker card="th"][poker card="td"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"][poker card="5h"] flop put Rodriguez even further ahead, leaving Regonaschi drawing to runner runner. The [poker card="7d"] turn was no help and as the dealer dealt the meaningless [poker card="3c"] river, Regonaschi was out in eighth. It took just another couple of hands to lose another player and again queens had a hand in the elimination. Cate Hall raised to 225,000 from UTG before Jaime Rueda Sampedro moved all in for 1,400,000 from the hijack. Hall called and tabled [poker card="qs"][poker card="qc"] but got bad news when Sampedro showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"] flop changed everything and put Hall firmly in front. Sampedro could only watch the [poker card="8c"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river do nothing for him except cause him to leave in seventh place. The quick pace of eliminations didn’t stop there. Just seven minutes later Hamza Miri moved all in from UTG for 740,000 and Stefan Eriksson defended from the big blind and showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] while Miri was looking for help with [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="jh"][poker card="8s"] to eliminate Miri in fifth place. That’s when things finally slowed down. It took almost 75 minutes before another player was eliminated. Shehadeh raised to 350,000 from UTG and Hall responded by moving all in from the small blind. Action folded back to Shehadeh, he called and flipped over [poker card="kd"][poker card="ts"] which put him slightly behind Hall’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="6s"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"] gave Hall top pair but left Shehadeh with a Broadway draw. The [poker card="js"] turn filled that draw but left Hall with a flush draw. The river was the [poker card="tc"] and Hall was out in fourth. Three-handed play continued for another 20 minutes until Shehadeh found another victim. Gonzalez moved all in for 2,800,000 from the button and Shehadeh called from the big blind. Gonzalez had [poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] while Shehadeh tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"][poker card="5d"] flop put Shehadeh in front and he stayed there through the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="ts"] river to eliminate Gonzalez and get to heads up play with a nearly 8-1 lead over Rodriguez. Despite the huge chip advantage, it took nearly 35 minutes for Shehadeh to finish things off. On the last hand of the night, Shahedeh moved all in and Garcia called with his tournament life at stake with [poker card="ac"][poker card="7s"]. Shahedeh had [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"]. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6s"][poker card="9c"] to give Shahedeh the win and eliminate Garcia in second. The win is the second straight six-figure score for Shahedeh. In March he won the €200 buy-in Only the Barracudas 27 Main Event in Campione d'Italia, Italy for €100,000. The next 888LIVE Festival is in August in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sign-up for 888poker today and get an instant $10 bonus on top of your first deposit plus a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $700 and start playing qualifiers to get yourself to Brazil! Final Table Payouts Luigi Shehadeh - €110,000 Carlos Garcia Rodriguez - €75,000 Jose Alberto Lopez Gonzalez - €50,000 Cate Hall US - €35,000 Stefan Eriksson - €27,000 Hamza Miri - €22,000 Jaime Rueda Sampedro - €18,000 Marco Regonaschi - €15,000
  5. [caption width="640"] After three months of waiting, Mike Dentale and Cate Hall are ready to battle at SugarHouse Casino. (PokerNight photo)[/caption] It was the hand heard ’round social media. On Day 3 of theWorld Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic in December, Cate Hallcalled Barry Hutter’s six-bet shove with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"] and the hand was soon the talk of Twitter. Hall attempted to get in front of the firestorm that she assumed would follow but could not firmly batten down the hatches against the mob questioning her play. New Yorker Mike Dentale was the loudest and most outspoken of that mob. Well-known on the East Coast as a cash game and tournament regular, along with his brash personality, Dentale is never one to shy away from speaking his mind. Through a series of tweets that grew in animosity with each 140 characters, Dentale and Hall’s feud reached a boiling point and they agreed to play heads up against each other to settle their dispute once and for all. The combatants were in place but they needed an arena. Luckily for Dentale and Hall, Poker Night in America and SugarHouse Casino agreed to host the match and broadcast it live on Twitch starting this Sunday, March 19 starting at 3:00 pm EST. It didn’t take much prodding on Poker Night in America’s part to take on duties as Rush Street Gaming’s Matt Glantz was more than willing to do what was necessary to finalize the details and provide a scene for one of the most anticipated matches in poker history. “Once I saw Cate and Mike going at it on Twitter and challenging each other to heads up, I jumped on the opportunity so that we could make this ‘Grudge Match’ a Poker Night in America production. SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia is the perfect location for the match. It is directly in between where Mike and Cate reside,” said Glantz. The pair have agreed to play a best-of-three series of Sit N Gos freezeouts. Each player start withs $15,000 cash and blinds will be $75/$150 for the duration of each match. Shaun Deeb and Doug Polk are teaming up to provide commentary for the live stream. There have been many “made for TV” confrontations across the sporting world but what separates this match, according to Glantz, is the authentic hostility between the two players. “There is real animosity between these two. This is not manufactured dislike in any way. These are two polar opposites. Cate is a highly-educated, liberal-minded, math-based poker player, who is relatively new to the scene. Mike is an extremely street-smart, conservative-minded, feel-based player, who has been around poker for twenty-plus years.” Dentale and Hall haven’t been shy about hiding their hate for each other. In a recent interview, Dentale went as far as to refer to Hall as a “phony bitch” while Hall described Dentale as a “really bad person [who is] a pathological liar and a cheat,” and noted that there is “nothing redeeming about him.” Both players feel they are superior to the other and are confident about their respective edge. “I think I have an edge because I’m a better poker player than him. I think I will be able to adjust in-game better than him. On both a fundamental level and live level, I feel like I have a big advantage,” said Hall. “I have a hard time believing he is beating tournaments with relatively high buy-ins or $2/$5. Just because someone has been around for a few years doesn’t mean they’re good,” said Hall. When faced with a similar question about his opponent’s playing abilities, Dentale responded with, “Any skilled veteran player can see that she’s a bad player. She always tries to not take responsibility for her bad play. I’ve played with her in three WPTs and found her incredibly novice. She has no clue. I firmly believe in my heart she doesn’t have the experience to beat me. There are certain things you need time to learn.” As for the preparation that each player has gone through prior to the match, both Dentale and Hall have not received formal coaching, but Hall has done the diligence of researching heads up play. Dentale, on the other hand, believes his many years of poker experience will be more than enough to overcome Hall. “No matter what she does, I’m going to put a lot of veteran pressure on her. I have very good hand reading ability,” said Dentale. Hall says she considered coaching but when she weighed the cost of hiring one versus the increase in expected value, she decided studying on her own would suffice. “Given a sample size of a few hundred hands against someone with major holes in their game, I felt I could get myself to 90 percent to where a coach would get me.” Regardless of who wins the match, Dentale and Hall both think that their play will speak volumes in determining who is the better player. They admit the variance in heads up play is too large to where the purest of results will take form, but each player wants to prove to the audience watching of their superiority. “I think that what I’ve tried to focus on and get mentally prepared for is, assuming many people are watching, is I want it to be apparent to people that I am playing better than him, if that is the case, it won’t be hard to acknowledge,” said Hall. The build-up to the match has been like no other and the three months of verbal warfare will be replaced by chips this Sunday inside SugarHouse Casino. Glantz notes that this is “uncharted territory” in the realm of live-streamed poker but he is hoping that the match is able to “capture the interest of the majority of the poker community.” The audience and social media chatter will be abuzz on March 19 and if Dentale and Hall have proved nothing else, the poker world is in for a one of a kind experience.
  6. [caption width="639"] Mike 'Timex' McDonald is ready to let the world buy shares of poker players in tournament around the world. (PokerStars photo)[/caption] A few years ago Mike McDonald felt that some players were getting out of hand with how they priced themselves when selling pieces. As a bit of a lark he launched a Twitter account under the name @BankofTimex and started offering his own pricing on some players in high profile events. He never meant for it to be a real thing. “Originally it wasn’t so much looking at betting on it, it was more just looking to just troll people who had too high markups and things like that. It was not a very well thought out thing,” said McDonald. “After a couple of days when there were a bunch of people responding and some messages going back and forth, somebody was just like ‘Hey Mike, what you’re doing is basically just bookmaking in the public eye’.” And with that the Bank of Timex was shut down. Fast forward three-and-a-half years and McDonald has brought the concept back, but this time he’s jumped through all the necessary hoops to make it real and earlier this month launched PokerShares.com. “What’s changed is that we’ve found a way to get it fully licensed,” said McDonald. “We wanted to be as cautious as possible and what we’re doing, obviously there’s no gambling key slot to support what poker betting would be like, but we figured it would be treated similarly enough to sports betting that we should have proper licenses if we’re actually going to do it.” The company has a Curacao gaming license and is accepting action now - just not from America. The idea was reborn after Veron Lammers, a high stakes poker player that McDonald had hired to do some coaching a few years ago, asked about the Bank of Timex. “I was talking to a friend of mine and he was asking me why I never really pursued turning it into something more and I was like ‘well, it’s a lot of work and I’m kinda lazy and I’m always traveling around for poker tournaments and I don’t know if I really have the time to set up a proper company’,” said McDonald. Lammers offered McDonald a deal. If McDonald would be the face of the company and do most of the promotional and marketing work, as well as set the prices on players, Lammers was more than happy to do the other stuff. Lammers is in charge of day-to-day business operations and set up the LLC and pursued the gaming license. “In my mind this is the stuff I find fun, so it feels like I’m doing that much work. He enjoys that stuff, where he doesn’t feel like he’s that much work and it worked out well for both of us,” said McDonald. Unlike sites like StakeKings or YouStake that allow poker fans and players to buy shares that players have decided to sell, PokerShares is selling action in players and assuming all of the risk. The site began selling action in players at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas as well as the much-hyped heads-up match between Cate Hall and Mike Dentale. “What we do is we create a share, you purchase it through us and we don’t even own the share, we just give you what that share would have paid out,” said McDonald, who knows that lending his credibility in the poker world is a big part of his role. “A lot of people wouldn’t want to make a bet just hoping that someone is going to pay them out $100,000 or $1 million when they win, but I think I’m one of the few people where in the early stages of the company my reputation is strong enough that very few people are actually questioning that.” While the ‘Bank of Timex’ was originally intended to point out some of the bad pricing McDonald saw in the marketplace at the time, PokerShares could end up acting as a market correction tool and change the price players are able to charge. “People who charge too high of a mark up will probably have less opportunity to sell, but I still think plenty of people will sell out from prices higher than we’re charging,” said McDonald. “The product or experience that you’re getting from PokerShares is different from buying form your friend. If you’re buying from your friend, whether or not you buy might be the difference between him getting to play the tournament or not. And it just feels better to be winning with your best friend than it does to be winning off of some company.” McDonald is also savvy enough to know that pricing certain players a certain way could end up generating buzz, particularly on social media. “It is one of those things where it’s kind of interesting, separating emotions from the success of the business. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” said McDonald. “I don’t want to get it into any ego battles or anything like, but getting into those ego battles is good for the company. It’s not a bad idea to price some people down, specifically guys you know will get offended, if that gets the word out there.”
  7. [caption width="640"] Tom Hall played a key hand to win 888Live in London in October[/caption] While it is true that in tournament poker just about every hand counts, for those who make it deep - perhaps even to the end - often times there are one or two hands that can be looked back upon as being a crucial development to the story of the tournament. Those hands and decisions are even more magnified when playing in major events for heaps of money like the players were in the 888Live Events this year. With 888poker's circuit finished for the year, we decided to take a look at a few key hands from final tables that helped change the fortunes for the shot takers who found themselves in a position to go for the win. Niall Farrell Gets Popped Three-handed. After passing chips back and forth multiple times with Romania’s Catalin Pop during the final table of the 888Live event in Rozvadov in February, Scottish superstar Niall Farrell, found himself just moments away from having a choke on the tournament’s endgame. After the chip leader Pop raised from the small blind, Farrell, who was second in chips, looked down at [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"] and put in a healthy three bet. Pop, having Farrell covered, came over the top - moving all in. Farrell snapped Pop off and saw the good news as Pop tabled [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"]. Unfortunately for the former EPT Main Event winner he only had a moment to enjoy his brief lead as the flop spread out [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2d"]. The flopped set for Pop put Farrell way behind, with just under 8% chance to pull it out. The [poker card="qd"] on the turn increased Farrell’s outs to one for the win and an additional nine for the chop. But, as we like to see around here, pocket fives won out as the river offers no helps sending the top tier pro home in third for over €36,000 and propelling Catalin Pop to a commanding chip leadthat he would not relinquish - claiming the 888Live Rozvadov Main Event Title for a career high score of €80,000. Cate Hall Plays it Cooler. Outspoken poker personality Cate Hall stormed into the final table of the 888Live May Event in Barcelona second in chips. After some early action which saw Hall’s chip stack fluctuate quite a bit she found herself in an unavoidable head-on collision that nearly left her on life support. Under the gun, Hall picked up the [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"] and put in a raise for roughly 2x. Spain’s own Jaime Rueda Sampedro quickly moved all-in for a little less and when the action returned to her, Hall called. Sampedro had her crushed, holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. Sometimes though, you just have to play it cool. Hall did just that and her pocket queens got there in a hurry with a [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="7h"] flop. The board ran out clean for Hall sending Sampedro to the rail in seventh and helping propel Hall further in the contest. She eventually would bow out in fourth for €35,000. Haroldo Shows Heart. Facing a 2.5:1 chip deficit during heads-up play at the 888Live Event in Sao Paulo, local player Haroldo Ferriera Da Silva had his back against the wall. Needing to make a move he made a tank-call while holding [poker card="4c"][poker card="4s"] vs his opponent, Guilherme Cazula’s suited [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kh"] and the baby pair held, giving Silva some much-needed breathing room and ability to mix it up. Now holding the chip lead, Silva found himself facing a three-bet after his open raise. Looking down at [poker card="4h"][poker card="5h"] Silva made the call. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] gave him a gutter and backdoor possibilities, but he was also facing another healthy bet from Cazula. He called to see the [poker card="ah"] drop on the turn. The checked around action was just what Silva needed as the [poker card="2h"] completed the board. Cazula put the majority of his chips in the middle and Silva snapped holding the six-high flush. It was good. Casual was nearly felted allowing Silva to turn his overwhelming lead into easily the biggest cash of his career, good for $200,000 BRL ($63,862 USD). Tom's in it for the long Hall. UK poker pro Tom Hall was in the midst of a grueling battle. After reaching a heads-up deal with local UK player Ning Lu at the 888Live Event in London this October, one that guaranteed each at least £70,000, play had begun to drag. With £8,888 and the trophy left in the prizepool, the pair were reluctant to relinquish the notion of taking first place. After play crawled on, the pair agreed to shorten the levels to 30 minutes. Play continued. Hall requested to the levels shorten to 20 minutes, but Lu contested. Play continued. For over three hours the pair grinded their stacks until finally, mercifully at nearly 3:30 in the morning Lu and Hall got it all in. Lu held [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"] but was slightly behind Hall’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="5h"]. The board of [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"][poker card="3h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="4s"] gave them both a pair but it was Hall that ended up smiling in the winner’s photo. Which crucial hands will change the fortunes of players in 2018? 888Live Events are set to return in the New Year with plenty more pivotal plays to pour over.
  8. [caption width="640"] Catalin Pop took home the first 888Live title in 2017[/caption] 2017 was a year of big fields and bigger prize pools for the popular series of 888Live Events. As the current 888Live Season comes to an end we look back on the major events and the players who found themselves fortunate enough to lift the 888Live trophies and call themselves champions. In February, the King’s Casino in Rozvadov played host to the first 888Live Festival of the year. In the Main Event, 531 entries put up the brand appropriate €808 +80 buy-in to create a prize pool of over €407,000. The broad coalition of international players included some big names and top-tier professionals including William Kassouf (23rd), Ludovic Geilich (4th) and Niall Farrell (3rd). But it was Germany’s affable Catalin Pop that outlasted them all to take home €80,000 ($86,246) and be crowned 888poker’s first festival champion of 2017. Just two months later, in April, 303 runners hopped into the 888Live Easter Edition at Aspers Casino Stratford in London generating a prize pool of £121,200 ($151,438). 888poker brought out their ambassadors to play host as Sofia Lovgren (30th) and Chris Moorman (13th) found their way into the money for the first time in the season. At the final table with five players left, local grinder Krzysztof Pregowski found himself at the bottom of the pack. He laddered up to make the final three where a deal was made guaranteeing him £15,000. Finally, he battled all the way to the winner's circle, defeating runner-up Terry Jordan for a grand total of £21,118 ($26,386). While Jordan didn’t get to take home the trophy, he was the chipleader when the deal was made and ended up celebrating with, basically, a first place of £21,000 ($26,239). 888Live Events continue to emerge as one of the premiere poker circuits of any given year. Now that 2017 is in the books, all that’s left is to wonder is...where will 888Live land in 2018?
  9. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] 2017 saw it's fair share of poker players mixing it up both on and off the tables[/caption] 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 and breakout stars. Now it's time to get into the he said, she said world of grudges Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow vs. Shawn Sheikan. Tom Dwan vs. Dan 'Jungleman' Cates. 'Jesus' Ferguson vs. The Poker Community at Large. Throughout the history of the game of poker, there's been no shortage of ill will, well-timed “needles” and downright disrespect among poker players. 2017 was no different with a number of hard-fought grudges developing over an assortment of disagreements. #5 - Maurice Hawkins vs. Tim Reilly An on-the-felt conflict led to a war of words off-the-felt this summer when 10-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Maurice Hawkins clashed with Massachusetts grinder Tim Reilly. Deep in WSOP Event #23, The Marathon, Hawkins and Reilly played a hand against each other where Reilly spiked a one-outer on the river to give him a royal flush against Hawkins aces full, allowing Reilly to double through Hawkins with only 22 remaining. Then, depending on which of the two you speak with, the reported war of words not only spilled off the table but into the press with Hawkins claiming that Reilly said to him “This ain’t the circuit. Go back to the circuit.” and Reilly saying that Hawkins “literally lies more than anybody I’ve met in my entire life” and that his table talk was simply “trying to belittle him.” As the tournament intensified it seems so did their mutual dislike with the needles going back and forth. Finally, Reilly says he went up to Hawkins to try and squash the beef and apologize but, according to Reilly, Hawkins told “Hey man, you’re a piece of ***.”, right to his face. Both players ended up at the final table with Hawkins finishing in ninth for $54,000 and Reilly in fourth for $224,000. Both went home with a grudge that likely won’t soon be forgotten. #4 - Doug Polk vs…Lots of Players Doug Polk, the YouTuber who won the 2017 High Roller For One Drop for over $3.6 million, has never shied away from the spotlight of controversy and in 2017 he found himself fighting very public battles on many fronts. Not one to be without an opinion and an audience with an insatiable appetite for content, Polk tackled a number of issues troubling to him, firing shots at a variety of popular poker players in the process. Just some of the items Polk took issue with were players who may or may not have angled on Poker Night in America by not having his big chips visible (Alec Torelli), players who may or may not have agreed to appear at televised poker games and opted not to show up (Matt Berkey), players who may or may not have tried to argue the notion that “more rake is better” (Daniel Negreanu) and players who lost a ton of money at the high stakes games on PokerStars (Luke Schwartz). For, each of these issues Polk took to his Silver Play Button YouTube channel (or Facebook live) to call them out. But a good grudge isn’t one sided and Torelli, Berkey, Negreanu and Schwartz all shot back, either defending themselves or attacking Polk directly, on their social media platforms and in the media. Are the grudges real? There seems to be some very real disdain from each of these guys but for Polk, who every day is finding new ways to market himself, 2018 will likely find him embattled in brand new issues with a new cast of high profile players - and we’ll likely be watching. #3 - Phil Hellmuth vs. The Germans Is there anyone who would disagree that the current contingency of German high rollers are crushing the game right now? Yes. Phil Hellmuth. Whether it’s just his public persona or very real hubris, the 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner seems to think he’s a favorite against the field in just about any No Limit Hold’em game. After the 2017 Poker Masters, despite a lackluster performance, Hellmuth tweeted out he was “always the #1 seed” in NLHE tournaments and it started off a firestorm between him and Daniel Negreanu as to just how much of a favorite Hellmuth is in today’s modern high-rolling circuit. Negreanu accusing Hellmuth of constantly muttering how bad all the players are, especially the Germans, and how disrespectful he was to their games. For his part, Hellmuth claimed he was a “good guy” and even told Fedor Holz and, the eventual winner of the 2017 Poker Masters Purple Jacket, Steffen Sontheimer that "he liked them". When the war of words began to escalate into a big-time prop bet Hellmuth ended up easing off the gas but never conceding that he is always a huge favorite. Sontheimer, for his part, kept it classy. In the media he talked about how he liked Hellmuth, but is more than willing to play him, just about anytime, anywhere. #2 - Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Kirk A late night high-stakes heads-up match at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas between King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and “Aussie” Matt Kirk not only ended up with Tsoukernik losing $3 million of money he borrowed from Kirk but after a confusing series of events, the pair have found themselves in a bitter lawsuit in the Nevada court system. Depending on who you listen to Tsoukernik, Kirk or even Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong, who ended up as an intermediary between the two parties, Tsoukernik was either was too drunk to know what he was doing, simply lost a massive amount of money and refused to pay it back, or the pair struck a deal for a lesser amount which Kirk’s “backers” refused to take. However you look at it, the situation is cloudy and now the lawyers are involved. The lawsuit at first was simply Kirk wanting his $3 million back but now there is a countersuit from Tsoukernik claiming that the reports in the media that he refused to pay has damaged his reputation and he wants $10 million from Kirk for defamation of character and he also wants the Aria Resort & Casino in on the lawsuit for over-serving. Someone is not going to be happy at the conclusion of this saga and it’s not very likely that the pair will be shuffling chips on the felt together anytime soon. #1 - Cate Hall vs. Mike Dentale A three month war of words between the two outspoken professional poker players, Cate Hall and Mike Dentale, reached its conclusion back in March after the pair booked a mini-HU4Rollz match on Poker Night In America, finally putting their money where their mouths were. Dentale, very publicly, called out the play of Hall from a hand during the December 2016 World Poker Tour Five Diamond. Hall, eventually having enough, issued the challenge and before long the pair sat across the felt from each other with $15,000 playing $75/$150 NLHE in a best two-out-of-three match. While Dentale may have started it with his comments online, Hall finished it off by sweeping the Brooklyn player in two straight matches, earning his $30,000 and, maybe, his respect? Not so much. “Remember you will always suck,” Dentale said to Hall during the match. In the end, Hall took home the cash, Dentale apologized to his fans and both raised money for charity. All's well that ends well for the pair as both went on to earn six-figures over the course of 2017.
  10. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. The Fives is back with Lance Bradley and PocketFives' new Managing Editor, Donnie Peters sitting in the co-host chairs. Lance and Donnie recap the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker and discuss how the 2018 Poker Masters might have been the breakout party for a young American pro. They also discuss the Chad Power vs. Cate Hall backing debate and talk about how William Kassouf's 15 minutes of fame might actually be up all over $100. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  11. Staking arrangements are commonplace in poker, and for the most part things tend to work out. That said, there are disagreements between parties that do occur, such as the recent dispute with Cate Hall and Chad Power involving a $60,000 makeup figure. The best way to resolve these issues may not be so commonly known, and it’s important to do your due diligence before you dive into a staking deal so you and your backer can avoid any headaches down the road. Here is what some players with extensive experience believe. “From a staker's point of view, you want to be confident that your horse is profitable in the events they are competing in and holds a record of integrity,” Jason Somerville said when asked what to look out for before entering a staking deal. “There is a ton of trust in staking, and as an investor, you need to be sure your horse will treat the investment professionally and as if it were their own money (or better). As a horse, you want to be sure your investor has sufficient funds to survive standard variance and will be easy to communicate with.” When it comes to makeup, it can be handled in different ways depending on the deal between the parties involved. Somerville, who has lots of experience with staking arrangements, said there are often a lot of questions to be answered regarding makeup, but that it’s important to agree upon these terms ahead of time. “Discussing what happens to makeup in different scenarios is important before you agree to terms of the deal,” Somerville said. “I've had horses quit poker and you can't really do anything about it, except that if they return to poker they return to makeup. It's usually up to the backer if they want to quit or not, and if they do then typically makeup vanishes at the end of the agreement. It's important to hammer out these issues beforehand — can makeup be transferred/sold? Can the horse potentially keep a small piece of their action, separate from the stake? Does makeup just expire at the end of a certain period? It's key to nail this before settling on a deal.” Another Jason, Jason Mercier, mentioned dealing with a makeup figure generally comes down to who wants out. If the player is the one who wants out, he or she should work out a deal to buy the makeup from the backer — known as a buyout. In cases where the player may simply want to play poker less, he or she should give the backer the option to still stake the person. If it’s the backer who calls off the deal, the player often assumes no makeup. Natasha Mercier, Jason’s wife and also a poker player, replied to a thread on Twitter involving a situation Cate Hall and Chad Power are in echoing her husband’s comments: “Jason had that happen with multiple [people]. They don’t owe, but when they play he gets to choose if he wants it on the stake.” Other pros we talked said similar things. Tristan Wade agreed, in that the common result simply comes down to who is the one deciding to end the backing arrangement. "Usually, if a backer wants to end an agreement with a horse, the backer can either try to sell the makeup or drop the horse and lose out on all the makeup,” Wade said. “If a horse wants to end the agreement, then a backer might let the horse pay [a percentage] of the makeup to get out of the deal.”
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