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Found 36 results

  1. Forget the schoolyard trash talk and cheat sheet squabbles for a hot minute, and let’s focus on the poker. Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu will be going head to head in a knock-down drag-out war commencing on November 1, with millions on the line and at least one ego cruising for a bruising. As a former Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em specialist, Polk enters the $200/$400 ring as the clear favorite. But this battle isn’t Daniel vs Goliath. It’s Goliath vs Goliath 2.0. The fan favorite of the past 20 years against the fan favorite for a new generation. They truly hate each other and are out for blood. And like us, we’re sure you’ve got questions. Polk made his preparation public, but what has Negreanu been doing to ready himself for battle? Like Negreanu sunbathing in skimpy swim shorts, Polk has left nothing to the imagination when it comes to his preparation for the challenge. For the past month or so he’s been battling a bunch of players--including Bill Perkins and Landon Tice--at stakes ranging from $5/$10 to $50/$100, while also issuing one-off high-stakes challenges to Matt Berkey, Christian Soto, and Luke Schwartz. On Joey Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast back in August, Polk said: 'I’ve honestly been working around the clock trying to improve my game." He admitted to getting "rekt", but who wouldn’t after so long out of the game? (OK, so Fedor Holz probably wouldn’t. That guy can’t help but win. The entire high-stakes community put on their best Teddy KGB impersonation when Holz emerged from "retirement": “Kid’s got al-eee-gay-torr blood. Can’t get rid of him.") Polk has since reported some winning sessions, and it seems like his heads-up game is getting to where he wants it to be before the battle with Negreanu begins. But aside from posting a few casual, often comical strategy polls to his 486,000 Twitter followers, Negreanu has kept the world in the dark as to what he is doing to get himself in fighting shape. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1309244477232406530 For a while there, the answer was probably nothing, and understandably so. As a GGPoker ambassador, Negreanu was in Mexico for a month to play the World Series of Poker Online events in a bid to win his sixth bracelet (he bet plenty of money on himself to do so too, but we’ll get to that in a minute). When he returned to his Las Vegas home, he probably needed some rest. I mean, who among us doesn’t like to relax and play round after round on our top-of-the-range golf simulators after a few busy weeks at the office? But the time to relax is over. As we edge closer to the November 1 kick off, Negreanu has started hinting at what he’s been up to behind the scenes. On October 6 he tweeted that he "most definitely needs to start practicing". The whole cheat sheet pre-flop chart debacle (which we won’t go into now, but you can read about here) will have no doubt inspired Kid Poker to revise ranges. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313600198086549504 And nobody should be surprised if they find out Negreanu has hired coaches. That might seem inconceivable to your casual Joe Bloggs poker fan (“Why would Negreanu need coaching? HE CAN CALL OUT YOUR EXACT HAND!”) but Negreanu has always been humble about his own abilities and openly sought coaching when he felt he was falling behind in the Super High Rollers. It paid off big time, too. Keeping up with the Jason Koons, Stephen Chidwicks, and Michael Addamos of the world might not be a priority for Negreanu in 2020, but he enjoyed a long stretch where he was right in the thick of it, finishing second in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $3 million (May 2018), and second again in the WSOP $100K High Roller for $1.7 million (July 2019). He even released a MasterClass based on everything he’d learned (with some sandwich-based tells thrown in for extra bite). One thing we know for sure? Negreanu is rolled for the road to rail heaven. He recently tweeted that he will be loading up his WSOP.com account with $1 million (25 buy-ins) “to start”. There’s obviously a whole lot more in Negreanu’s bankroll should he need it. A million bucks could seem a paltry amount when all is said and done. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313961969171324929 Does Negreanu have anything to lose (aside from money)? Indulge us for 20 seconds while we tell you what you already know about Negreanu. He’s a legend and first-ballot hall of famer. He’s played and won at the highest stakes across multiple decades (shhh, we won’t mention his record on High Stakes Poker). He’s third on the all-time money list with $42 million in career earnings. He’s one of the best ambassadors the game has ever had. And he’s always, ALWAYS your friend’s favorite poker player. You shouldn’t put anything past him when it comes to playing poker. But in this contest, he’s a clear underdog. He’s admitted that. After all, he has agreed to play arguably one of the best heads-up No Limit Hold’em specialists of all time at heads-up No Limit Hold’em. For all his humor and on-camera charisma, it’s worth remembering just how good at poker Polk truly is, or at least was in his prime. He came up in the pre-solver era, when players had to forge ahead and build their own strategies based on hand histories and experience rather than memorizing what play a computer says is perfect and unexploitable. That’s exactly what Negreanu did in tournaments and cash games back in the day alongside his crew of Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Allan Cunningham. Whatever happens in the challenge, Negreanu’s reputation in poker will not be damaged. The man’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes. But his hall pass will forever be laminated. And if all he stands to lose is a few million bucks, can he really lose? Negreanu is used to wagering large amounts on himself. He locks in hefty WSOP bracelet bets at $100,000 or more a pop every single year against countless opponents and never seems to lose face (he might lose close to seven figures at times, but his face remains intact). Perhaps all of this puts even more pressure on Polk. He’s the favorite; the expert; the man who’s only here to "back up the truck", take Negreanu’s cash and drive off into the sunset. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316092457478615040 So, what if Polk loses? He’ll be just fine financially. Polk is a super-smart guy - you simply have to be to rise to the top of poker and have as much success as he’s had - and from cryptocurrency to YouTube to UpSwing Poker, he’s done very well for himself. You may wonder how he’ll be remembered in the poker world if he loses this heads-up challenge though. He’ll always be one of poker’s best content creators, but his legacy on the tables isn’t as cemented as Negreanu’s. Polk has won millions in tournaments and cash games, but it’s undeniable his poker identity is built on the foundation of his elite skills in heads-up play (an identity Polk probably couldn’t care less about). Look, both of these guys will be fine, whatever happens. It’s just that, if Negreanu loses, nothing changes. That’s what most people think will happen. There will be no surprises. But if Polk loses, it’s going to be a long, cold drive home in that big empty truck. What happens if we see a bloodbath on Opening Day? The poker world is very interested to see if either of these guys has a breaking point. After Day 1 of the Galfond Challenge, Phil Galfond was down €72,527 against 'VeniVidi1993', and they were playing €100/€200 PLO, a much more volatile game. So, let’s say, hypothetically, that Negreanu gets stuck $160,000 (four buy-ins) after the Day 1 sessions. We know his account is loaded with another $840,000, so he’ll be back to battle the next day. But how he sleeps that night will depend on how well he thinks he played. If variance punched him in the face he’ll be out like a light. He’s used to bad luck. But if he feels he was simply outmatched, it could be the beginning of a nightmare. Then what happens if he’s down a cool milly after, say, Day 4? That’s an enormous mountain to climb, both mentally and financially, even for a player of Negreanu’s calibre and bankroll. We saw Galfond complete a monumental comeback from a €900,000 deficit against 'VeniVidi1993', but that was only after some time off during which he considered quitting. After his break Galfond decided he wanted to continue, not only because he felt he could close the gap and even win (which he did, incredibly), but because it was him who initiated the challenge in the first place. In this case, Negreanu accepted the challenge. You can’t help but wonder what Negreanu’s threshold for pain is. It’s probably safe to say he’s one of the richest pure poker players around, and it wouldn’t be absurd to assume he’ll have 100 percent of himself. So, will he continue to play Polk if he’s, say, $1.4 million in the hole? $1.7 million? $2 million?!! That would be enough to make even the coolest individual feel the heat. And the scary thing? The challenge might still be far from over. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316096706711183360 On the flip side, what if Negreanu rips Polk a new one on opening day? Poker media will flock to their keyboards, bettors will rush to Mike McDonald’s PokerShares to examine the changes in odds, and Twitter trolls who haven’t emerged from their caves since PostleGate will run rampant. It would get more people paying attention, that’s for sure. Polk obviously has a lot of his own money, but may have sold action for this challenge. That safety net might help keep the wolf from his door if he finds himself buried early on. Still, it will be interesting to see if there’s a number at which he simply wouldn’t be able to continue. And if he does quit, whether we’ll ever see him play poker again. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316089776781488128
  2. In the post-summer online poker doldrums, the upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk is giving poker fans something to look forward to at the end of the year. Slated to kick off on November 1, one of poker’s most high-profile feuds will finally battle it out on the felt, giving fans of both personalities something to get invested in as the action unfolds. Online poker betting site PokerShares knows that the interest in the match is extremely high and so they are giving fans a chance to get in on the action themselves. Of course, the Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald led book allows players to bet on who will win the challenge outright (Polk is the current favorite at roughly 4.5-1) but they have also decided to have some extra fun by offering more than 15 prop bets for fans who want to have a little extra rooting interest. So, here are some of the more interesting wagers onlookers can make while watching Polk and Negreanu play HU4Rollz. How Big Will The Biggest Pot In Session 1 Be? For many fans, this is the biggest reason to tune in. Just like “Rail Heaven” days on Full Tilt Poker when the best nosebleed players in the world routinely won and lost six-figure sums, the chat will be packed with those hoping to see poker players put it all on the line in sick spots. This challenge has the potential to have some of those swings. At $200/$400, 100 big blinds deep with stacks being topped off, it only takes a cooler or two before there could be a whole lotta of money on the table. PokerShares is setting the over/under on the biggest pot at $100,000 and with the first session assumed to be at least two hours long with two tables running the potential for fireworks is there from hand number one. Will One Player Rage-Quit Early Session 1? Rage-Quitting is real. It’s defined as "angrily abandoning an activity that has become frustrating", and in recent months and weeks, tempers from both Polk and Negreanu have flared up. It wasn’t that long ago that Negreanu was temporarily banned from Twitch after having a few choice words for a viewer who insulted his family. This took place only a few sessions after disconnect problems on WSOP.com, the same platform this challenge is being held on, saw him nearly toss his laptop across the room on stream. Polk on the other hand keeps it more controlled in his streams and videos. That’s not to say he can’t be riled up. When the entire challenge was threatened, he lashed out a few times on Twitter not only at Negreanu but also taking the time to reply to random Dan-fans about how he’s planning on “backing up the truck”. Although unlikely, those who think emotions will get the better of one of these two can get 4.8-1 on their money. Will Doug Polk Return To Being A Pro Poker Player? The odds are not in favor of Polk, win or lose, returning to the grind but there are some interesting things to consider here. Polk has stated that he only retired from poker once and the only reason he’s back is to take on Negreanu. He posted a “goodbye poker” video on his channel and for those who followed his YouTube journey, it was clear his love of the game had dried up some time ago. But...he is back. Remember, he challenged Negreanu, not the other way around. He was out of poker and on to bigger things like trying to recall the Mayor of Las Vegas. But Polk chose to return to the spotlight, no one called him out. Now he’s back in the lab, not only working on his game in theory but getting cash game sessions in against some tough opponents in preparation. Finally, while he claims that he’ll be off once he's done taking out "the ******* trash", he’s also indicated on Twitter that he might be open to playing other opponents. It might be a tough judgment call on whether Polk is ever a pro again (for instance what if he’s playing challenges but also returns to creating content where he makes a good deal of money), but if you want to take a shot on him the line is 7.6-1. The flip side of this is Will Daniel Cease To Be A Pro Player Because of This Challenge? Good luck with that one. Will There Be A Slowroll in Session 1? Both players have a firm understanding of the etiquette behind slow rolls and the deep disrespect that sometimes comes with them. That said, these guys clearly do not like each other, and in the layers-deep mind games that play out in heads up, would either of these guys pull a slow one? This bet comes with an important caveat that needs to be seen before putting down a few dollars. The person behind the website, Mike McDonald, is “the decider” in this case. While being a longtime trusted member of the community, and apparently a 90% free throw shooter, it might be a little problematic if the guy who knows where the bulk of the money sits is also responsible for determining the outcome. This is not a questioning of McDonald’s honor or intent, just a nod to how someone might feel if they place and bet and it’s ruled against what they think is an obvious slowroll. Same odds on both sides here. Where Will Doug Polk's Teeth Be At The End Of This Match? You read that right. PokerShares is confident that Polk will be keeping all his teeth right where they are. But if you think Negreanu might make Polk the same offer that got him banned on Twitch, you can take a flyer on this wild prop that jokes about what might be done to Polk's teeth and where they might be given back to him. These prop bets are made for fun with a majority of them having a per-player max limit less than the buy-in of a Sunday Major. This ensures that neither the player nor the book, can be hurt too bad. At least not nearly as bad as the pain Negreanu or Polk may feel when the challenge gets underway next month.
  3. The ongoing, years-long feud between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk entered yet another chapter over the weekend. As the pair hashed out the subject of whether or not pre-flop charts (or any form of Real-Time Assistance) would be allowed in their upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge on WSOP.com, the tension between the two entered a new phase with Negreanu playing up his role as the underdog and Polk setting his intention to do real damage to Negreanu’s bankroll. After negotiating out the details of the November match, including the stakes, game format, platform, and starting date, the subject of what reference materials would be allowed during the course of play came up. It was clear from the onset of the discussion that the mind games between the two had started well before the first card has even been dealt. After first declaring that he was “open to either allowing or disallowing the use of any RTA including charts”, Negreanu shifted gears. He took to Twitter and dug into the notion that “real poker” is played without any in-the-moment assistance.
  4. In what has been one of the most interesting battles on the high-stakes tables at Full Tilt Poker, 2014 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured) has been squaring off against Denoking, with both players pulling out sizeable victories. Special thanks to HighStakesDB for the data used in this article. Last week, Polk took the action to Denoking on the $300/$600 No Limit Hold'em tables at Full Tilt and, after a long session, walked off with a $736,000 win. Thus, when Denoking returned to the felt on Monday night, Polk was poised to add some more of Denoking's ducats to his virtual wallet. As the session played out, however, it was Denoking who had the last laugh. Deciding on a shorter session than their previous matchup, Denoking came out of the gate rapidly. Inside an hour of play, Denoking was able to ratchet up a $300,000 edge. In one hand, after Polk three bet pre-flop, Denoking decided to just call and see a monochrome Qc-7c-10c flop. Polk check-called a bet from Denoking and, with both players having more than $100,000 on the table, saw a 9h on the turn. Polk once again check-called a bet and, on the 6c river, pushed his chips all in for the nearly $200,000 pot. Denoking made the call and, after Polk showed a Qh-10h for a flopped two pair, Denoking showed Ac-Qs for the rivered four-flush to take down the $279,000 pot, the biggest of the match. Polk didn't back off, instead reloading his stake and going back for more. Polk's big strike of the day came after four-betting Denoking off the button to see an innocuous 2-5-8 flop. Denoking fired out on that flop and Polk three-bet, which Denoking simply called. The turn was an ace and Denoking slowed down with a check. Polk fired off $22,000 into the $160,000 pot and Denoking called to see an eight on the river. Both players pulled back with checks, at which point Polk showed pocket queens to win on the very dangerous board. Now it was Denoking's turn to make a bit of a comeback, as he won several smaller hands before taking down the last six-figure pot of the matchup. As Denoking's roll continued, Polk took a pause from the action to gather his thoughts. As he waited, Denoking reminded Polk that it was a "short session" and, without a reply, stood up from the table and booked a $308,000 win. Although losing on Monday to his rival was a bit of a hit, Polk seems to have rebounded nicely. During action Tuesday on Full Tilt Poker, Polk soothed his wounds by booking a win of his own, taking down nearly $137,000. Since the start of 2014, Polk has played 95 sessions according to HighStakesDB and almost 27,000 hands. As of Wednesday, Polk has racked up $971,711 in winnings, good enough for fifth place. For his part, Denoking has had a tough week. Although he was able to start the week with a small win, the battles with Polk have resulted in his bankroll taking a bit of a hit. After the clash with WCGRider, Denoking's overall loss for the past week sits at roughly $436,000. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. In August, Daniel Negreanu took to Twitter to offer his commentary on the play during the 2014 World Series of Poker and, in particular, the "online" players he faced. Negreanu was less than complimentary of the attacking style employed by many online players and fell back on his success in live cash games to demonstrate his knowledge. This led to some in the Twitterverse deriding him, stating he couldn't even beat a $5/$10 cash game online. Not one to back down from a challenge, Negreanu issued a challenge. In response to a person who questioned whether he could beat the $25/$50 six-handed PokerStarscash games, Negreanu responded, "It would take two weeks of work and I'd be a winner." He added, "I couldn't be any more serious. Two weeks, five hours playing, four hours studying numbers daily… (I) would bet a million (that I would be a winner)." Naturally, this boisterous proposition by Negreanu raised the ire of some of the regular online cash game pros. One of those was 2014 WSOP bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured above), who responded to Negreanu's claims in an interview with CardPlayer. Polk said once Negreanu was called out, "Kid Poker" introduced several caveats to what he stated on Twitter. "This whole thing started with Negreanu posting that with two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50," Polk answered in the interview with CardPlayer's Julio Rodriguez. "So, I took that to mean that if given two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50. Apparently, what Negreanu meant was that he'd be given two weeks of study and then get a whole year to beat $25-$50, along with another year of play if needed with some consequences or something." "The question is, am I willing to bet against Negreanu beating $25-$50 over the course of two years while cherry-picking his spots and getting coaching?" Polk asked. "No, of course not. But that's not what he originally said. The terms that I think are reasonable for the bet, he would never agree to." Polk moved on to say that he and others in the online cash game world were "insulted" by Negreanu's insinuations that he could beat their game so easily. "I think Negreanu is a fantastic live tournament player. He has great results and is a great ambassador for the game of poker, but he is not a good high-stakes online cash game player. He's just not. There are guys who spent a lot of time and energy making their way to that level and winning and he's basically dismissing their effort by saying he could just jump in and beat them. Most of the older, more recognizable live pros just don't have the skill set to win online." Polk seems to be one of those who has made the online-to-live jump quite successfully. Although he dismisses reports of his online performance, his last eight months of live action have been impressive. In addition to winning a WSOP bracelet, Polk finished fourth in the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge in February for a big six-figure score and, in July, took down the Bellagio $100,000 Super High Roller Event for $1.6 million. In his live tournament career of only three years, Polk has racked up over $3.6 million in earnings, according to the Hendon Mob. Although it makes for excellent fodder for poker gossip, the battle between Negreanu and Polk would be fascinating to see come to fruition. Do you think that "Kid Poker"' may have bitten off more than he could chew? Or could he actually, with two weeks of training, become one of those top online cash game pros? Leave a comment here and let us know! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. In a series of Tweets posted last week, it was revealed that Doug Polk (pictured), who is known in the high-stakes online poker world as WCGRider, had his Bank of America accounts frozen. The bank's actions came in advance of Polk wanting to head to Canada for the ongoing WCOOP on PokerStars. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- According to HighStakesDB, "When Polk tried to change his more anonymous 'WCGRider' screen name to just 'Doug Polk', a security alarm of some kind in the Bank of America system must have been raised." Polk promptly took to Twitter to warn other poker players who may bank with BOA, saying: Members of the industry responded to Polk's comments by saying they've had similar experiences in the US and UK, with Polk remarking at one point, "Yeah, I'm tired of getting treated like a criminal." When asked why BOA shut his accounts down, Polk simply told the community, "They told me they do not reveal that information." The issue involving poker players and well-known banks doesn't seem to be isolated to BOA, either. For example, Jason JCarver Somerville (pictured) described his experience with Chase, saying, "Chase did basically the same thing to me a few years ago that BOA is doing to you. I'd be a little cautious w/ them too." WCGRider is 74th on the list of biggest winners tracked by HighStakesDB, which makes the news more high-profile. He is $1.23 million in the black in high-stakes games that the tracking site has logged since late 2009. According to the Hendon Mob, Polk has $3.6 million in career live tournament winnings, including a victory earlier this year in a $100,000 No Limit Hold'em Super High Roller event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $1.6 million. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. Starting on Friday at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, four high-stakes poker pros will square off against an AI bot. The competition lasts for two weeks and will see Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured), Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les each play 20,000 hands heads-up against a bot developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The game is No Limit Texas Hold'em. "Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was," said Tuomas Sandholm, a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, in a press release. "It's a game of exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information thanks to bluffing, slow play, and other decoys. And to win, the machine has to out-smart its human opponents. Computing the world's strongest strategies for this game was a major achievement, with the algorithms having future applications in business, military, cybersecurity, and medical arenas." Each of the four pros will compete for a purse of $100,000, hoping to wrestle the six-figure sum away from the computer program, which is called Claudico. Polk, whom we've written about several times here on PocketFives, commented, "I think there will be less hand reading, so to speak, and fewer mind games. In some ways, I think it will be nice, as I can focus on playing a purer game and not have to worry about if he thinks that I think, etc." Play will proceed in two 750-hand sessions per day for 13 days. According to the press release, AI bots have had success in Limit Hold'em, but it remains to be seen whether they can master No Limit Hold'em, a game that's considerably more complex. As the release put it, "Two-player No Limit Hold'em has 10161 (1 followed by 161 zeroes) situations, or information sets, that a player may face, vastly more than all of the atoms in the universe. By contrast, the easier game of Limit Hold'em, in which bets and raises are limited to a predetermined amount, has only 1013 (1 followed by 13 zeroes) information sets." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. With the event headed into the homestretch, four poker pros have built up an edge over a specially-created poker playing bot in a first-of-its-kind demonstration. On April 24, four players – World Series of Poker bracelet winner and online guru Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – set out in the "Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence" competition being held live at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Their opponent was the latest creation of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, a poker playing program known as Claudico. The challenge for the two sides was to play 80,000 hands of No Limit Hold'em on laptops linked together and, in the end, whomever had won the most money would be determined the victor. The four humans are playing for a $100,000 bonus. The competition is unique in that this is the first time a computer program built for poker was taking a stab at No Limit Hold'em. Other programs and competitions from the past, including the University of Alberta's Polaris, were playing Limit Hold'em, a far more statistical game than the No Limit version. Even the program that supposedly has "solved" poker – Alberta's Cepheus– has only solved the Heads-Up Limit version of the game. Over the past 12 days, the four men have played 1,500 hands per day against Claudico, with two of them playing on the floor of the Rivers Casino and the other two in an "isolation room" taking part in their own heads-up matches. The players are all using the same cards against Claudico and, as the experiment draws to a close, the players are the ones cleaning up. Heading into the final few days of play, the humans have built up a sizeable edge over the Carnegie Mellon team. Overall, the "Brains" have built up a $673,941 lead over Claudico, which, according to Dr. Tuomas Sandholm (pictured) of Carnegie Mellon, would be a statistical defeat for his artificial intelligence program. Li has been the star of the "Brains" team, racking up $466,473 of the total win for the squad. Polk ($184,542) and Kim ($129,273) are running neck-and-neck to see who can take the second largest total, while Les (-$106,347) is the only one letting the human race down. What is the purpose of building Claudico, Polaris, or Cepheus, you ask? Artificial intelligence programs have usage far beyond simple games such as poker and chess. The program that defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparovin 1997, known as Deep Blue, eventually morphed into the Watson program that crushed former Jeopardy champions in 2011. By being able to compute a massive amount of information from differing sources, such artificial intelligence programs can improve the lives of humans through the fields of medicine, finance, cybersecurity, and other areas. In essence, the decision-making skills the poker-playing programs use are vital in many areas of daily life. With only a couple of days of play remaining, it seems that the human race will emerge as victorious in this particular battle. On May 8, a special closing ceremony will be held where the final results will be announced. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. Wow. If you're looking for a World Series of Poker tournament packed with talent, check out the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event, which is down to its final two tables. Nosebleed-stakes cash game player Doug WCGRiderPolk is atop the field with a stack of 1.4 million, one of two players who bagged seven-figures. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- There are several brand name PocketFivers left. In fact, two former #1 playerscan be found in third and fourth: Paul paulgees81Volpe (pictured) and Fedor CrownUpGuy Holz, who have 896,000 and 841,000, respectively. Volpe has $5.1 million in career online tournament winnings and was last ranked #1 on PocketFives in 2011. Volpe won a bracelet last yearin a $10,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball event and was the runner-up to Shaun Deebin a $10K PLHE event this year. Holz, who has deactivated his PocketFives profile, was ranked #1 on PocketFives in March. Sam Pudge714Greenwood, who won a braceletlast week in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event, is in seventh place with 455,000. Greenwood has had success in daily fantasy sports as well, winning $100,000in a tournament on the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings. Chris SLOPPYKLOD Klodnicki (pictured) is in eighth. He has cashed for $2.5 million in online MTTs and will record his first in the money finish of the 2015 WSOP. Two behind Klodnicki on the leaderboard is Olivier livb112Busquet, who made waves over the weekend after calling out Phil Hellmuth for thanking his sponsorsduring his bracelet acceptance speech. Then, an image of a smiling Busquet rocking Full Tilt gear surfaced, which put an end to much of the debate. Finally, Mark AceSpadesRadoja is the short stack with 143,000 in chips. He's a two-time bracelet winner with heads-upand shootout titles. Here's how the leaderboard looks with 12 remaining. When play stopped, the price of poker was 5,000-10,000-1,000: 1. Doug Polk - 1,443,000 2. Kenneth Fishman - 1,200,000 3. Paul paulgees81Volpe - 896,000 4. Fedor CrownUpGuyHolz - 841,000 5. Kevin Song - 661,000 6. Byron Kaverman - 580,000 7. Sam Pudge714Greenwood - 455,000 8. Chris SLOPPYKLODKlodnicki - 434,000 9. Fernando Brito - 419,000 10. Olivier livb112Busquet - 403,000 11. Thomas Muehloecker - 254,000 12. Mark AceSpadesRadoja - 143,000 The tournament restarts at 2:00pm PT on Friday. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  10. After two weeks and 80,000 total hands, four of the world's top online heads-up cash game players emerged victorious against an artificial intelligence program specifically designed to beat humans at No Limit Hold'em. The idea of computer programs built to "beat" poker is nothing new – the University of Alberta's Polarishas been tested against people and its latest version, Cepheus, is said to have "solved" the game – but those programs played Fixed Limit. This was No Limit Hold'em, a much more complex, nuanced game. The four men - Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured above), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – played 1,500 hands per day against the Claudico program, developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Tuomas Sandholm. To minimize variance that can be produced by one player getting lucky and receiving better hands than the other, two players were dealt one set of hands against Claudico, while Claudico received those same hands against the other two human players. In the end, the human players came out $732,713 in play money chips ahead. The breakdown of the individual results is as follows: Bjorn Li: +$529,033 Doug Polk: +$213,671 Doug Kim: +$70,491 Jason Les: -$80,482 While the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars victory seems overwhelming, Sandholm said that by virtue of the $170 million bet over the course of the 80,000 hands, the result was actually a statistical tie. "We knew Claudico was the strongest computer poker program in the world, but we had no idea before this competition how it would fare against four top 10 poker players," he said in a press release. "It would have been no shame for Claudico to lose to a set of such talented pros, so even pulling off a statistical tie with them is a tremendous achievement." Les was impressed by the artificial intelligence. He had seen an earlier version of Claudico called Tartanian7last July, but said this one is better: "The advances made in Claudico over Tartanian7 in just eight months were huge." Li was proud that the humans are still #1 despite Sandholm's claim of a tie, saying, "We know theoretically that artificial intelligence is going to overtake us one day, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the humans remain on top for now." Interestingly, Sandholm(pictured) said creating a computer program to beat humans in No Limit Hold'em is not really the goal of the project, but rather just a step in a larger overall process. "Beating humans isn't really our goal; it's just a milestone along the way," he said. "What we want to do is create an artificial intelligence that can help humans negotiate or make decisions in situations where they can't know all of the facts." As the Carnegie Mellon press release stated, "The same sort of algorithms could also be used to create strategies for applications involving cybersecurity, business transactions, and medicine. For instance, an AI similar to Claudico might help doctors develop sequential treatment plans for a patient, or design drugs that are less prone to resistance. Or, such an AI might help people negotiate their best deal when purchasing a house or a car." Polk, like Les, thought Claudico was a solid poker player, but still has a ways to go before it is a serious challenger to the human throne. One oddity he noted was that sometimes Claudico's bet-sizing was way out of whack. Severe underbets and overbets were not uncommon: "Betting $19,000 to win a $700 pot just isn't something that a person would do." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  11. When high-stakes poker players get bored, they make prop bets. And when those poker pros have each won millions at the tables, the stakes can quickly get to an absurd level. Such is the case right now between high-stakes grinders Doug Polk and David Doc Sands Sands (pictured). In a Twitter post, Polk revealed that Sands had challenged him to a fight for half-a-million dollars. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- "Today @Doc_Sands asked to fight me for 500k, I said yes. He needs 24 hours to get back to me. Let's see what happens #challengeaccepted," he Tweeted to his 7,600 followers. Sands might have been taken aback by Polk's willingness to throw down and the pair began hashing out the details of the bet. The fight wouldn't be an MMA-style contest, but rather a boxing match. Sands was willing to fight that very night, but Polk balked, claiming he needed more time to prepare. "He wanted to fight me tonight and I am not in shape enough to do so. In 24 hours we will know for sure," he said. Unsurprisingly, both pros' Twitter feeds lit up with interest, with many onlookers waiting for details while discussing the potential bet. "U look pretty chiseled on your podcast... why do u need 6 months to train? Doc is some master street fighter?" asked @slaymerica. "I don't get why he needs 6 months to train, didn't he say challenge accepted?" he added. $500,000 is a lot of money to risk on a prop bet, even for poker players who have made millions. Polk (pictured) reportedly was ready to agree to a $100,000 fight in 6 months, but Sands wanted to raise the stakes, countering with $500,000. Sands and Polk have both made a large chunk of change from cash games and live tournaments. Sands is ranked 48th on the GPI Player of the Year leaderboard and has $7.7 million in live tournament cashes to his name. Polk ranks 365th on the same leaderboard and has banked $4.8 million in live tournaments. For whatever reason, poker players have often placed big bets on physical contests. In 2009, Gus Hansen and Theo Jorgensen went toe-to-toe in the boxing ring, with the latter claiming victory and a five-figure payday. In 2011, Lex RaSZiVeldhuis and Bertrand ElkYGrospellier faced off in a kickboxing match in Spain. The fight ended with Veldhuis landing a kick to his opponent's head. More recently, poker pro and MMA fighter Terrence TChanChan (pictured) and Huck Seed to test their wrestling skills during this year's WSOP. That friendly confrontation was never finished due to security guards breaking up the fight. While it's still not clear if the fight will actually happen, Polk's most recent Tweet indicates that it probably won't. "After talking with @Doc_Sands, we are unable to reach an agreement on time frame. He wants within 4 weeks and I want 6 months to train," he said. Polk wanted to make it clear, however, that there was no ill will between him and his potential opponent. "I also want to say that I have no problem with @Doc_Sands. I think he is a great guy and this wasn't because we were beefin," he said. We'll keep you updated if there are any new developments. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  12. The Rio hosted one 2016 World Series of Poker final table – the last Stud event on the schedule and the vaunted $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event brings six players to final table Friday. Registration closed on Day 2 in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller, the Tag Team event has nine remaining and two budget-priced, big bet games kicked off for the arriving Main Event crowd. David Prociak Outduels Brandon Shack-Harris and John Monnette for First Bracelet [caption width="640"] David Prociak faced off against two of the best Limit players today and came out on top.[/caption]David Prociak was the short stack at the final table of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event with nine players remaining and had two of the game’s best Mixed Game tournament players and a couple guys with 20 WSOP cashes in Calvin Anderson and Jameson Painter ahead of him. Prociak played beyond his experience and battled his way all the way back to his first bracelet and $156,546. “I can’t put it into worlds, there’s nothing I can say,” Prociak said moments after besting Shack-Harris heads-up. “I’m still in shock. I came in to the day with a lead but lost it pretty quick to him (Shack-Harris) in five straight pots.” “I was able to put it all behind me and kept him from putting it on me,” he added. “I’ve been locked in all week – waking up when I’m supposed to and eating healthy." Prociak's win is just his third WSOP cash in his first year at the WSOP. He previously cashed in Colossus II and finished 30th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Mixed Event. Shack-Harris won his second career bracelet a week ago in the Pot Limit Omaha Championship and recorded his third final table of the summer. He also played the entire final table wearing a hooded polar bear jacket. Monnette’s Series improved to eight cashes with five final tables. He’s made $319,906 for his efforts of a runner-up and third place finishes. Bryan Devonshire finished 10th and Al Barbieri 12th. Final Table Payouts David Prociak - $156,546 Brandon Shack-Harris - $96,750 John Monnette - $66,601 Alex Livingston - $46,652 Louis Russo - $33,263 Gaurav Kalro - $24,148 Jameson Painter - $17,855 Calvin Anderson - $13,452 Yue Due Holds Half the Chips in Play with Six Remaining in $5,000 No Limit Event The penultimate day of the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event returned with 47 players and the pace of elimination was a bit brisker than planned, so the field played down to six players before stopping. Yue Du holds half the chips in play with 11.73 million in the bag. German standout and three-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche is second in chips with 3.66 million and Jason Mercier’s better half, Natasha Barbour, sits in the middle with 2.45 million. Austrian Ismael Bojang, Michael Gentili and Marius Gierse round out the table. Matt O’Donnell (7th), Sertac Turker (8th) and Arne Coulier (9th) made the final table but didn’t survive the day. Kane Kalas bubbled the final table in 10th place as Andy Hwang, Byron Kaverman and Isaac Baron all made deep runs. Final Table Chip Counts Yue Du – 11,730,000 Dominik Nitsche – 3,665,000 Natasha Barbour – 2,455,000 Ismael Bojang – 1,785,000 Michael Gentili – 1,415,000 Marius Gierse – 730,000 Nine Tag Teams Advance, Polk/Fee Lead by Wide Margin Day 2 began with 130 returning teams and ten levels of action has the field trimmed to a final table headlined by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee. They have 1.2 million in the bag and John Gale and TJ Shulman sit second with 606,000. Top pros Mohsin Charania and Marvin Rettenmaier sit third, Jonathan Little has a team with his parents, James Dempsey and Chris Godfrey formed a team and Bart Lybaert, Adam Owen, Benny Glaser and Owais Ahmed formed a four-man squad that returns. Leo Wolpert and Ryan Laplante finished 22nd, Michael, Robert, Eric and Daniel Mizrachi finished in 26th place and Jeff Gross, Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari finished in 28th place. Final Table Chip Counts (by Last Player Sitting) Doug Polk – 1,243,000 John Gale – 606,000 Mohsin Charania – 505,000 Michael Padula – 475,000 James Dempsey – 447,000 Niel Mittelman – 425,000 Adam Owen – 293,000 Reuben Peters – 209,000 Larry Little – 113,000 Elite Field of 20 Return in $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller Day 2 returned 95 survivors with chips and 21 player waited until the start of action to get in the event. Ten levels of action trimmed the field down to 20 players with Ludovic Geilich on top with 3,025,000 in the bag. Michael and Robert Mizrachi sit second and third in chips one day after Michael finished fourth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and the same day they cashed in 26th place with brothers Eric and Daniel in the Tag Team event. Ryan D’Angelo, Sean Winter and Paul Volpe finished in the top ten with Dan Smith, Cary Katz and Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the second half of the counts. Day 2’s additional entrants that skipped Day 1 pushed the prize pool to $4.37 million. The top 28 players made the money with Sam Stein, Taylor Paur, Rep Porter and Isaac Baron earning a payout before busting. Top Ten Chip Counts Ludovic Geilich – 3,025,000 Michael Mizrachi – 2,435,000 Robert Mizrachi – 2,245,000 Ryan D’Angelo – 1,640,000 Sean Winter – 1,560,000 Paul Volpe – 1,430,000 Chris Lee – 1,245,000 Veselin Karakitukov – 1,215,000 Tommy Le – 1,200,000 Jens Kyllonen – 1,165,000 Event 63: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em The budget No Limit event at 11 am drew a huge crowd of 2,452 entrants and after a long day at the felt 268 players remain. Daniel Weinman missed out on the overall led by a few chips but is one of 15 to bag up six-figure stacks. Matt Jarvis, Hiren Patel, Nick Guagenti, Tony Dunst and Mark Radoja all bagged up above average stacks. The field combined for a $2,206,800 prize pool for the top 368 finishers. All returning players have $1,750 guaranteed but the big money up top nabs all the attention – the top four players earn six-figures with the winner walking with $339,254. Top Ten Chip Counts Frederick Goff – 144,300 Daniel Weinman – 140,400 Raffaele Castro – 130,000 Patricia Kananda – 127,600 Michael Wang – 127,300 Paolo Cusinato – 117,600 Sean Gibson- 117,500 Massoud Eskandari – 114,900 Sergio Cabrera – 114,800 James Salters – 104,900 Event 64: $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha HiLo The afternoon event picked up 478 entrants and ten levels of play reduced the field down to 156 players. Jon Turner built the largest stack but Allan Le, Kyle Bowker and Leif Force all bagged up in the top five spots. 2005 Main Event Champ Joe Hachem landed in the top ten with Ashton Griffin, Ari Engel and Ben Yu with stacks way above average. Richard Ashby, Scott Clements, Ylon Schwartz and David Paredes also return. The field built a $1,291,290 prize pool for a little less than half of the returning field – 71 players. First place earns $294,960 and top three spots earn six-figures. Top Ten Chip Counts Jon Turner – 116,900 Allan Le – 112,700 Tark Abboud – 111,500 Kyle Bowker – 110,700 Leif Force – 110,500 Sirous Jamshidi – 109,800 Anil Gurnaney – 101,300 Terrance Bott – 97,000 Joe Hachem – 95,200 Timothy Vukson – 94,800 Expensive Chairs in the Amazon Room or Playing for a Bracelet in Underwear The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop returns Friday for one of the most expensive buy-ins this side of the Atlantic. The event drew X in 2014 when Tony Gregg earned $x for his first bracelet. For those that prefer much less media attention the online bracelet with unlimited re-entries starts at 1 pm and plays down to the final six for a live final table in the Amazon Room. The Ladies Championship returns with a 90% discount of the $10,000 buy-in for female players. Technically, men can enter but their +EV argument takes a huge hit.
  13. [caption width="630"] Doug 'WCG|Rider' Polk won six figures and a SCOOP title on Saturday. (WPT photo)[/caption] Saturday afternoon Doug ‘WCG|Rider’ Polk captured his first career Spring Championship of Online Poker title by beating one of the tougher No Limit Hold’em fields the festival has to offer. Polk beat out 150 other players to win Event 43, a $2,100 NLHE event for $115,000. And he did it all live on Twitch. Polk streamed the final table live on Twitch right through until the final hand. Polk also made the final eight of the $21,000 buy-in Heads Up High Roller event which plays out on Sunday afternoon. David ‘EzPaTuLa’ Cabrera beat out Ivan ‘Negriin’ Luca to win the $215 buy-in mid-stakes version of the event. Carbrera walked away with $57,366.13 for the win. The low-stakes version went to Noah ‘dirty.brasil’ Vaillancourt. The Vancouver based grinder conquered 2,876 other players including Yuri ‘theNERDguy’ Martins heads up to win the title. After Brazil failed to win a SCOOP title on Friday, the South American poker powerhouse made sure to get one on Saturday. Ricardo ‘preTu.ras’ Silva took down Event 50 (L), a $27 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO tournament. Silva’s win is the 19th win by a Brazilian player this SCOOP. Silva outlasted 7,438 other players to win the title and the $$13,732.61 first place prize money. He also collected an additional $2,821.27 in bounties. Silva won a Turbo Championship of Online Poker last year and now just needs a World Championship of Online Poker title to join the COOP Triple Crown club. The mid-stakes version of that event went to another player with previous SCOOP success ‘ex6tenceLV’ beat out over 2,300 players to win the second SCOOP title of his career and almost $50,000 in prize money. Hannes ‘SuchADegen’ Speiser won Event 50 (H), a $2,100 buy-in tournament, to win $107,730 plus an extra $41,645.97 in bounties. Also worth noting that Shaun Deeb earned enough points on Saturday to move past Jason Mercier for top spot on the Overall SCOOP leaderboard. With just two days of play left Deeb has 780 points while Mercier trails with 755. Event 43 (H): $2,100 NLHE 1R1A Entrants:151 (42 rebuys, 57 add-ons) Prize pool: $500,000 Doug ‘WCG|Rider’ Polk - $115,000.00 sk2ll_m0dR - $80,000.00 zcedrick - $60,750.00 James ‘Andy McLEOD’ Obst - $45,000 3P3NIPA - $30,000 Gandalf MR - $25,000 birddy420 - $20,000 EvnomiYa - $15,000 Lrslzk - $12,500 Event 43 (M): $215 NLHE 1R1A Entrants: 771 (323 rebuys, 446 add-ons) Prize pool: $312.620.00 David ‘EzPaTuLa’ Cabrera - $57,366.13 Ivan ‘Negriin’ Luca - $40,953.22 Shyam ‘G’s zee’ Srinivasan - $30,949.38 tobi123456 - $23,290.19 Fukuruku - $16,256.24 kawachi1984 - $13,130.04 i need sheet - $10,003.84 Francisco ‘Tomatee’ Benitez - $6,866.64 groww - $4,064.06 Event 43 (L): $27 NL Hold'em, 1R1A Entrants:*2,877 (1,700 re-buys, 1,793 add-ons) Prize pool:*$156,383.50 Noah ‘dirty.brasil’ Vaillancourt - $24,710.41 Yuri ‘theNERDguy’ Martins - $18,558.02 BioNicle9 - $13,292.59 GloRyKeepah - $9,148.43 rodloiola - $6,959.06 kopakabritu - $5,395.23 pitaoufmg - $3,831.39 LameR25 - $2,267.56 swifterjet - $1,329.25 Event 44 (H): $1,050 HORSE Entrants: 264 (169 entries, 95 re-entries) Prize pool: $264,000.00 Matthew 'MUSTAFABET' Ashton - $53,460.00 Naoya 'nkeyno' Kihara - $40,920.00 gloria1986 - $30,360.00 Trueteller - $22,440.00 Eugene Katchalov - $14,520.00 Luke 'lb6121' Schwartz - $11,880.00 Adam 'Adamyid' Owen - $9,240.00 HlPPOCAMP - $7,260.00 Event 44 (M): $109 HORSE
 Entrants:*990 (745 entries, 245 re-entries) Prize pool:*$99,000 GrimIsCool - $11,619.07* hipoppotamus - $11,107.93* cbolt21 - $13,458* YaaGy - $12,255.70* grampabumkin - $4,950 alxbanana - $3,465 thefish01x - $2,227.50 BOT OHO - $1,485 *Four way chop Event 44 (L): $11 HORSE Entrants: 3,217 (822 re-entries) Prize pool: $40,390.00 Bowsercastle - $4,602.63* tigrenok.mn - $4,544.56* Mikki31 - $4,150.81* JobberJay - $4,403.36* homasapiens - $2,019.50 ALD74 - $1,211.70 chaka-G - $605.85 Sharkomaha - $363.51 *Four way chop Event 50 (H): $2,100 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO 
Entrants:*567 Prize pool:*$1,134,000 ($567,000 regular prize pool, $567,000 bounty prize pool) Hannes ‘SuchADegen’ Speiser - $107,730 + $41,645.97 in bounties Trueteller - $79,380 + $15,510.73 in bounties FaceStealer - $58,117.50 + $25,271.47 in bounties Bryn ‘BrynKenney’ Kenney - $39,690 + $28,281.24 in bounties Jason ‘jakoon1985’ Koon - $28,350 + $18,371.09 in bounties xPastorcitox - $18,144 + $7,867.15 in bounties Event 50 (M): $215 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO Entrants:2,309 Prize pool: $461,800.00 ex6tenceLV - $36,368.18 + $13,122.75 = $49,490.93 ForTheSwaRMm - $26,553.50 + $4,207.00 = $30,760.50 zwacke - $19,626.50 + $7,614.41 in bounties = $27,240.91 Desmoplakin - $13,276.75 + $2,909.37 in bounties = $16,186.12 EyesNvrLie - $8,658.75 + $3,074.20 in bounties = $11,732.95 PjotrNL - $4,613.38 + $628.12 in bounties = $5,241.50 Event 50 (L): $27 NL Hold'em, Six Max, Progressive Super KO Entrants: 7,439 Prize pool: $182,627.45 (Regular pool: $91,499.70, Bounty pool: $91,127.75) Ricardo ‘preTu.ras’ Silva - $13,732.61 + $2,821.27 bounties Flyinbanana - $9,607.46 + $744.05 bounties !Mp!yavv - $6,862.47 + $6,862.47 bounties S3XXYMUCK - $4,117.48 + $1,891.82 bounties bodgik77 - $2,287.49 + $1,016.73 bounties Kosei Ichinose - $1,372.49 + $561.09 bounties
  14. The final day of the 2016 World Series of Poker before the Main Event kicks off buzzed with the arrival of the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop and the final table of the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. The Ladies Championship also got underway and three bracelets were awarded for two events while a power couple got a little stronger. Jens Kyllonen, Tommy Le, Dan Smith Return for $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha Day 4 The $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event returned 20 of the world’s top players for Day 3 on Friday, but fell short of crowning a champion with three players remaining after ten levels of play. Jens Kyllonen leads Tommy Le with Dan Smith as the short stack. Smith doubled up on the last hand of the night with a straight against Le. Kyllonen bagged up 10,925,000, Le with 8,650,000 and Smith with 3,425,000. The final day saw ten full levels of action but with three players remaining there was no option but return for an additional day to play out. They’re all guaranteed nearly $500,000 but it may be a long day with $1,127,035 for the winner. Top Ten Chip Counts Anetta Holley – 117,600 Karen Xiu – 96,400 Barbara Johnson – 88,900 June Jenkins – 86,700 Alexis Sterner – 85,600 Linglin Zeng – 83,800 Donna Dicrescento – 82,400 Courtney Kennedy – 82,200 Vanessa Selbst – 80,800 Marie Acoba – 78,700
  15. One of the most popular products that Doug Polk and Ryan Fee’s new endeavor, UpSwing Poker offers is ‘The Poker Lab’, and with Polk taking down the World Series of Poker $111,111 One Drop tournament earlier this summer for $3.7 million, it’s a training platform that many more people are going to be interested in. So let’s break down what you get when you sign up for UpSwing Poker’s Poker Lab. What’s in the Lab? The Poker Lab consists of 35 learning modules, with a promise of a new module being added every month from here on. These modules include topics like ‘An introduction to being a gangster’, which will teach you how to fight for pots; ‘Ranges quiz’ which will test and improve your knowledge on certain range aspects; and ‘How to play the river’, which is pretty self-explanatory. There are also 40 theory videos from Polk himself, in which ‘WCG|Rider’ explains his thought processes in certain spots and teaches viewers how to put them into practice. A new 30-minute ‘Play and explain’ video will also be added every week, so users can watch Polk and Fee in action. You’ll be able to study dozens of hand ranges, so you can learn how to split your ranges in certain situations both pre-flop and post-flop. And the ‘Foundations’ section is ideal for poker beginners, giving you an introduction to multiple poker concepts. For more experienced players, the ‘Game Elements’ section will no doubt be invaluable. Polk describes it as: “The often overlooked, but perhaps the single biggest separating factor between mediocre/losing players and those that crush the game. Game selection strategy, bankroll management, poker software learning, mental game, and mental biases – all taught by Doug Polk.” Perhaps one of the most valuable sections of the Poker Lab is ‘UpSwing Poker Engaged’; a social platform which users can use to not only engage with each other to discuss strategy, but also with Polk, Fee and many other players who are on hand to provide feedback. How much does it cost? The UpSwing Poker Lab is split into three price-ranges, which break down as follows: The Monthly Plan: This plan normally costs $99 for the first month, and then $49 every month after that. It gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members get the first month for just $79 - a $20 savings - and then $49 per month after that. The Yearly Plan: This plan normally runs at $499 a year, which is to be paid in one installment, and it too gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members pay only $449 - a $50 savings. The Semi-Annual Plan: This plan costs $299 per six months, so users can limit the amount they have to pay in one go. Compared with the Monthly Plan users will save $40 per year, and it gives users 100% access to all modules in the Lab. PocketFives members pay just $269 for this plan - a $30 savings. To purchase any of these discounted products, use coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout.
  16. [caption width="640"] Doug Polk has three WSOP bracelets to his credit and is willing to teach you his secrets for heads-up No Limit Hold'em (WSOP photo)[/caption] Having won his third World Series of Poker bracelet and $3,686,865 by taking down the One Drop High Roller earlier this month, Doug Polk has further cemented himself as one of the best poker players in the world, and only increased the level of demand for his Upswing Poker coaching products. Last September, the prolific YouTuber took down a $5,200 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em High Roller event on partypoker whilst thousands watched on; but as we all know, Polk is better known for his years grinding heads-up No Limit Hold’em cash games. He’s returned to these roots by releasing an Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course on UpSwingPoker.com, his training site set up in collaboration with fellow high stakes pro Ryan Fee. Let’s take a look at what the course involves. Content breakdown The course itself consists of 28 hours of material, plus an additional six hours of analysis derived from the ‘brains versus AI’ challenge which took place earlier this year. Of course, to make that amount of content a little less intimidating, the course is split into ten different sections: An overall introduction to the course Preflop introduction Preflop three-bet and four-bet pots Postflop introduction Small blind single raised pots Big blind single raised pots Big blind three-bet pots Small blind three-bet pots Four-bet pots Play and explain Each section has multiple sub-sections, and as a whole the course contains more than 80 individual videos. Use coupon code 'pocket5s' to get the Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course for just $949 - a $50 savings. Join Doug Polk as he shows you his*secrets to winning at Heads-Up poker. Let the three-time WSOP bracelet winner take your poker skills to another level Buy it now!Nosebleed superstars The final section, Play and explain, is a series of 11 videos featuring Polk playing heads-up against Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky, so it will undoubtedly feature some in-depth, high level thinking from the nosebleeds. But Polk is keen to point out that only this end part of the course is structured this way. In his own words: “It is NOT a bunch of play and explains. In fact, there are only a couple play and explain videos (from a $100/$200 HUNL match I played against Sauce last year). Instead, it is more of a walk through of all of the different branches of the game tree, with an emphasis on breaking down your combinations across all actions that are important to your strategy.” Despite this, the course does also promise some hand history reviews from Polk’s battles against the likes of Isildur, Wilhasha, and Jungleman. Polk’s promises Like all training courses, customers need to know what they’re likely to take away from it after the fact. So what should a poker player expect to happen to their game having studied through the course? According to Polk, the Advanced Heads-Up Mastery Course will give you a “leg-up” on other players, and will make you “a MUCH, MUCH better poker player”. This will be achieved by imparting more balanced HUNL ranges, that should give the customer “the confidence to sit down at ANY heads-up or six-max table and take on anyone.”
  17. [caption width="640"] Upswing Poker and Fernando Habegger present PLO University, the latest learning module from the website. (Upswing photo)[/caption] Upswing Poker is dominating the poker training site landscape with access to premium content unavailable anywhere else. The No Limit Hold’em cash game and tournament lessons offered by Doug Polk, Ryan Fee, and now, Pratyush Buddiga is a step beyond the competition. No Limit is a heavily demanded game by its audience but Upswing is broadening the options available with the introduction of Pot Limit Omaha and PLO University. Leading this new course is Fernando ‘JNandez87’ Habegger. The Swiss-born Habegger started playing online poker in 2006 and made the transition from No Limit to PLO in 2011. Primarily a cash game player, Habegger carries the extensive background required to take on the large task of teaching hundreds and potentially, thousands of students the way of Pot Limit Omaha. Use coupon code 'pocket5s' to sign up for PLO University for just $949 - a $50 savings. Fernando 'JNandez87' Habegger will teach you his closely guarded secrets and take your PLO skills to the next level. BUY IT NOW! Habegger says that the course will include basic strategy concepts for beginning players and will also contain high-level methods for already established players to take their game to the next level. “Beginners learn the fundamental structure of PLO and develop a strong base to develop strategies from. Mid and high stakes players also get a framework to structure their learning process that helps people to continuously improve after going through the course. Both kinds of player also get access to our private community which is active and supportive.” The private community that Habegger speaks of is the Facebook group available to all users with an Upswing Lab subscription. This group allows players to share hands and ideas with one another and also interact with Upswing’s coaches and get their feedback on various situations. From the time he first started playing PLO, Habegger has been on the cutting edge of how the game is advancing and staying ahead of as many learning curves as possible. There are numerous training sites available to receive PLO training from but Habegger believes what he brings to the table for Upswing is one step above the competition. “The material and data in the PLO University are based on hundreds of hours empirical research. It's also been developed after going through hundreds of coaching hours with players from all parts of the world and abilities, it is a proved and improved method of teaching poker strategy. The course also features the effective and efficient use of the most relevant poker software on the market.” Among the influences that Habegger credits for advancing his own learning of Pot Limit Omaha are Ben ‘ben86’ Tollerene and Jens ‘Jeans89’ Kyllönen. Habegger notes the two PLO standouts “have certainly influenced the way I approach and play the game.” He also says he studied each player’s game for over 100 hours each during his own career. All Upswing PLO University students can be sure to see elements of Tollerene and Kyllonen in Habegger’s training module. No Limit Hold’em remains the most popular form of poker in the world but more card rooms in the United States are offering Pot Limit Omaha than ever. The high-variance action of the game combined with the massive pots that play out always leave first time players wanting to come back for more. The players who have put in the hours grinding away know that there is always an edge and are looking to increase it with every session. So why should a novice and a high-stakes player both find themselves enrolled in PLO University? Let Habegger explain. “The PLO University is the most up to date course, based on researched data and put together in a way that makes sense and provides an effective learning path for players at any level. It also has a greatly supportive community behind it, and is the only course created from start to finish by a player with long-term success in mid and high stakes who has also coached over a hundred students.”
  18. Doug Polk already has one WSOP Tag Team bracelet to his name, after Day 1 of the $10K Championship, he's well positioned for another one. (WPT photo)[/CAPTION] The 2017 World Series of Poker got underway Wednesday with two bracelet events starting and it ended with a familiar face sitting atop the chip counts. Employees Event Opens Things Up, Gallagher Leads Final 11 As has become custom, the first event on the schedule was the $565 Casino Employees event. This year 651 players, all of whom work in the casino or poker industry in some respect, showed up to take their shot at winning a WSOP bracelet. David Tuchman, Erica Lindgren and former November Niner Kenny Hallaert were among some of the recognizable faces in the crowd. After playing 20 30-minute levels on Wednesday, just 11 players remain and a pair of Christopher's sit atop the chip counts, separated by a single small blind. Christopher Gallagher, representing Portland, OR, bagged up 519,000 while Christopher Solomon, out of Jacksonville, FL, finished with 513,000. Vincent Russell, from Bagshot, England, is the only international player still in the tournament. Action resumes at Noon and will play down to a winner. Chip Counts Christopher Gallagher - 519,000 Christopher Solomon - 513,000 Jermel Stephens - 418,000 Alexis Cordova-Nieto - 348,000 Victor Kim - 323,000 Bryan Hollis - 290,000 Adem Arbuckle - 243,000 Vincent Russell - 216,000 Joshua Clanton - 172,000 Haviv Bahar - 145,000 Nathan Bolinger - 77,000 Team Doug Polk Leading $10,000 Tag Team Championship Last year Doug Polk and Ryan Fee teamed up to take down the inaugural $1,000 buy-in Tag Team event. Wednesday they returned with reinforcements and ended up bagging the chip lead. Polk and Fee added Jason Mo and Michael Finstein to their squad and made it through 10 levels of play with 240,600, good enough for the chip lead. The event allows teams of between two and four players, with each player required to play just one set of blinds to qualify as a team. A total of 102 teams made their way into the field and exactly half of the moved on to Day 2. Two players who were picked by PocketFives staff to win their first bracelet this summer, Stephen Chidwick andDan Smith, teamed up and would up with the third largest stack at the end of Day 1. Team Rast, which was comprised of Brian Rast, Jeff Gross, Antonio Esfandiari and Olympian Michael Phelps was unable to make it through Day 1. Andy Bloch and good friend Chris Ferguson barely survived through Day 1, with all but 24,300 being seized by other players. The final 51 teams return at 2 pm PT. Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts Team Polk - 240,600 Team Staats - 216,400 Team Tran - 207,000 Team Chidwick - 204,500 Team Salter - 192,300 Javier Gomez - 191,100 Team Fast - 187,100 Team Gathy - 183,000 Team Shuchi - 178,400 Team Snead - 157,000 Day 2 Schedule Thursday should see the Casino Employees event will play down to a winner, while the Tag Team Championship is scheduled to play 10.5 levels. Two more events get underway on Thursday. The $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout event begins at 11 am PT while the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-better starts at 4 pm PT.
  19. [caption width="680"] Upswing Poker Co-Founder Doug Polk wants you to become a better poker player by using the Upswing Poker Lab. (Photo c/o Upswing Poker)[/caption] The marketplace for poker training websites is always in flux and the release of Upswing Pokerin 2016 provided a new option for players looking to improve their game. Led by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee, the site contains all the tools necessary for anyone looking to become a better poker player. One of the most appealing parts of UpswingPoker.com for users to take advantage of is the Upswing Lab. For as little as $49 per month, users have unlimited access to the most integral parts of the Upswing Poker system, that includes coaching on online and live strategies for cash games, tournaments, and heads up play. Other sites offer tools similar to the Upswing Lab but none of them can claim to have the same comprehensive guide that provides many hours of content. Similar to Upswing’s Postflop Engine, The Lab offers multimedia tools designed to give users a fully interactive experience that can help improve their game. When comparing The Lab to his popular YouTube series, “Poker Hands,” Polk says, “If you like the type of analysis I’ve been doing, then you’re probably going to enjoy what’s inside The Lab.” When users log onto the Upswing website, right in the middle of the page is a link to the Lab. Once inside the first page of the Lab is the tagline, “This is what we would teach our younger selves, if we could send the course back in time.” Users are given the option of subscribing to a month, semi-annual, and yearly plan, with various pricing options designed for each. All options give full access to all modules within The Lab, but the yearly option is the best value at $499. Sign up for the UpswingPoker Lab here and use the coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout and you'll get $20 off your purchase.The primary driver of content in The Lab is Polk, who has 40 videos on poker theory waiting for users along with 35 separate learning modules. Fee is also a major part of the Lab and provides content on a regular basis. “Every month we promise to add in a new module of information. What we also add in every week is are ‘play and explain’ videos, so you can see me and Ryan Fee play and we explain what we’re doing,” said Polk. Polk also mentions that all material within the Upswing Lab is designed exclusively by him and Fee, which allows users to gain a familiarity with the teaching methods that the two players offer. The step-by-step process of “Learn, Study, Master” is designed to give all users, regardless of experience, the best tools available to become successful in poker. One of the best features of the modules is the accessibility for players of all skill levels to find information that is relevant to where they are on the learning curve. Depending on where your game stands, you can start with the foundations of the game, mastering how to play preflop, or how to become a postflop savant. From a social media perspective, The Lab is also beneficial in that it allows for all members to join a private Facebook group where they can discuss hands and strategy with Fee and Polk along with other poker professionals frequently providing input. Subscribers have been raving on social media for months about the benefits of The Lab and there are more success stories to follow. Among the groups of players who are paying compliments to their training are World Series of Poker Circuit ring winners, Borgata Poker Open champions, and WPT Deepstacks Main Event winners. Where the Upswing Postflop Engine is designed to be a less-intensive method of training, The Lab is a place for users to move from getting their feet wet to diving in head first. It takes hours to become a great poker player and the time spent in The Lab will do nothing but set up all users for future success.
  20. [caption width="640"] Doug Polk earned his third career bracelet after taking down the 1,111 One Drop High Roller Monday (WSOP photo)[/caption] Doug Polk and Jesse Martin both took home World Series of Poker bracelets on Monday with Polk winning the $111,111 One Drop High Roller and Martin showing off his Triple Draw skills. Monday also saw another busy day in Colossus III and a completely unknown storming to the top of the $1,500 Dealer's Choice event after Day 1. Colossus III Inches Closer to a Champion Just 41 players remain out of the 18,054 that entered Colossus III, with Raul Martinez Requena enjoying the view from the top of the chip counts after Day 2. Requena put 5,270,000 in the bag, which put him barely ahead of Erkut Yilmaz, who wound up with 5,150,000. They were the only two players to bag more than 5,000,000 at the end of the day. Other notables still in the field include Matt Affleck, WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown winner Tony Sinishtaj, Luke Vrabel, Ralph Massey and Alex Masek. Day 3 begins at 2 pm PT Tuesday. Top 10 Chip Counts Raul Martinez Requena - 5,270,000 Erkut Yilmaz - 5,150,000 Pojana Jenne - 4,700,000 Christopher Mitts - 4,680,000 Taylor Black - 4,275,000 Thomas Pomponio - 4,265,000 Hugo Perez - 3,935,000 Ardavan Yazdi - 3,735,000 Gavin O'Rourke - 3,000,040 Matt Affleck - 2,890,000 Doug Polk Outduels Bertrand Grospellier for One Drop High Roller Bertrand Grospellier entered the final table of the $111,111 One Drop High Roller with the chip lead and his eyes clearly set on the $3,686,865 first place prize money. Doug Polk had other ideas. Starting the day with just the sixth biggest stack, Polk worked his way through a final table that included Andrew Robl, Rainer Kempe, Martin Jacobson, Dario Sammartino and Grospellier to win the third bracelet of his career. Last summer Polk and Upswing Poker business partner Ryan Fee teamed up to win the $1,000 Tag Team NLHE event. In 2014, Polk won the $1,000 Turbo NLHE event. This one was a little bit different though. "In those events, the money was really not a very big deal," said Polk. "Whereas this is huge for me. This is a lot of money. Just the fact that it's... I'm sorry, I'm struggling for words right now. It's surreal. To win that much more money against tough people in a real, world-class event. It's way different." At one point during play, Polk and others at the table stopped play over concerns the cards they were playing with were marked. Defending champs Doug Polk and Ryan Fee still managed to find some time to play the event even though Polk was busy winning a bracelet on his own. While they were unable to defend their title on Monday, they did put up a min-cash in the event. From the "You've Got to Be F****** Kidding Me" department, Andy Bloch teamed with Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer on one team. The trio finished the day with 23,000 chips. Top 10 Chip Counts John Hulett - Deepinder Singh - 146,000 Brian Yoon - Michael Gagliano - 130,400 Kiryl Radzivonau - Mikhail Semin - 116,600 Ben Yu - Jacob Wilson - 115,600 Allyn Shulman - Jessica Horan - Barry Shulman - 109,000 Team Dees - 102,000 Team Green - 90,000 Team Mariz - 80,000 Timothy Rhoda - Errol Massey - 79,900 Brian Pinkus - Michael Pinkus - 71,600 Troy Evans On Top of Dealers Choice Event Giving players their choice of 19 different games to play means only the best all-around players should rise to the top as the $1,500 Dealers Choice event advances. It seems Troy Evans either didn't know this or is the best-kept secret in poker. Evans, who apparently has no previous tournament results at all, bagged up the biggest stack at the end of Day 1, finishing with 76,200. There are fewer surprises in the other 90 players who survived from an original 364. Justin Bonomo is second in chips, defending champ Lawrence Berg is fourth, Marco Johnson is fifth. Others still in contention include Chip Jett, Jeff Madsen, Mark Gregorich, Jon Turner, David Benyamine, Robert Mizrachi, Brandon Cantu, John Racener and Justin Young. The 91 players get back at it 2 pm PT on Tuesday Top 10 Chip Counts Troy Evans - 76,200 Justin Bonomo - 70,900 Raol Encinas - 68,000 Lawrence Berg - 63,300 Marco Johnson - 61,300 Chip Jett - 59,500 Kyle Bowker - 55,400 Jeff Madsen - 49,600 Alan Richardson - 49,500 Mark Gregorich - 49,000
  21. [caption width="640"] Being a successful poker player wasn't enough for Ryan Fee - he wanted more - and found it with Upswing Poker (WPT photo)[/caption] Ryan Fee became one of the best poker players on the planet by honing his craft online. He earned a mainstream poker following, however, by founding Upswing Poker - a training site created by Fee, Doug Polk and Matt Colletta. Fee and Polk are the prominent faces of the site and are both successful, high-stakes poker pros over the last decade. They know each other from gaming ventures before poker, but if it wasn’t for Polk trolling a poker forum in 2008, the two may have never become friends. “Doug hates this story,” said Fee. “But I think it’s hilarious. Let me give you a little back story on this. In high school, Doug got in an argument with a statistics teacher about Martingaling. He thought he solved it and that was it. Boom. Gambling was done. He was just going to take 100 bucks, go start betting 1 dollar on black jack and then just be a millionaire.” Polk posted a story in a prominent online poker forum about how he gambled away his bankroll using the Martingale system. Having already had some history with Polk in other games, Fee felt compelled to help his fellow gamer and up-and-coming poker pro. Use coupon code 'pocket5s' to get the UpswingPoker Postflop Game Plan for just $19 - that's an $8 savings. The Postflop Game Plan is a system that allows you to make quick, high-quality, profitable poker decisions, which translates into more money in your pocket. Buy it now!“He’s like ‘I thought that could never happen.’ Blah, blah blah,” said Fee about Polk’s post in the forums. “I see this thread and I send him a message. I’m like ‘Hey man. I used to play you in Warcraft III. We got to stick together.’ So, I’m like ‘I’ll send you 250 bucks. And I’ll give you some coaching. And try to get you back on your way here.” After that the two became close friends and kept in touch online for the rest of the year while Polk used the money to grind up a roll playing .10/.25 No Limit hold'em. They met up in Las Vegas in 2009 and spent some time living and grinding up the stakes together. A couple years later, however, Fee found out that the story that created their friendship was completely fabricated. “I was stunned when I heard this,” said Fee. “That the story he made up about him Martingaling his roll away in college. [It was] completely made up. Didn’t happen. That was the basis for our friendship, so I’m glad he did it. It worked out for both of us.” The two laughed and joked about the story. It never affected their relationship. Fee chalks it up to how easy it was to pull the wool over people’s eyes back in those days. “So, there was wild shit happening, people posting on the forums, and it would be real,” said Fee about the state of online forums in ’09. “Sometimes it would be bullshit and it was like hard to tell. Whereas, like now, you pretty much always know if somebody’s real or full of shit. It just wasn’t like that 10 years ago.” It wasn’t very long after the two became very close and rapidly moving up the stakes of the online cash game world that Black Friday happened. Like many young online grinders living in America at the time, the duo hit the road and spent most of the time out of the country playing online. After spending several years on the road in Canada, Europe and Southeast Asia, Fee felt like a change of pace was needed. He wanted to come back to the United States. Both him and Polk had already beaten the highest stakes that were being offered online at the time, so they decided to come back to the U.S. and take a shot at playing live tournaments. “From 2011 through ’13, so for three years I was on the road the whole year basically,” said Fee. “I was just sort of like ‘Dude, enough is enough of this shit, right?’ So, I was like ‘I’m just going to sort of change pace.’ And that went into me playing tournaments. In 2014, I played all the tournaments. The majority of my tournament results come from that year.” A year of grinding live tournaments was enough for Fee. Neither him or Polk had any real desire to travel again for online action and they didn’t want to grind live tournaments full time. They decided to move in a different direction. Upswing Poker was born. “Upswing started because of a guy named ‘Scubba,’ who some people may remember,” said Fee. “He’s an old school like legendary cap player.” Steve 'Scubba' Cesaro was playing less poker at the time of Black Friday and moved into the business world after the U.S. government dropped the proverbial hammer on internet poker. He gave them the idea to start a training website, citing the inefficiencies in the current business models of training sites that were available. “He was like ‘Yeah, they’re doing it all wrong. You’ve got to do it this way. If you do it this way, you’ll crush,’” said Fee. “We’d sort of done everything and honestly just looking for new challenges and wanted to spend more time in the U.S.” Fee introduced Polk to Colletta and the three of them got working on developing their own training site. There was just one problem. None of them had any business experience. “It was a good spot because we had all this poker expertise,” said Fee. “But we didn’t know anything about running the business, right? So, it was a spot where, and I think this is sort of true for a lot of businesses. You want to be an expert in one dimension of the business, right? So, for Upswing, we were expert poker players with a lot to offer. But we didn’t know much about the business. “So, that was more of the learning process. Whereas now, if we’re going to do a business, we could do another poker business or we could so something tangentially related. Like something involving like the web based stuff because now we have that expertise. So, it’s learning and growing and stuff.” With the business growing, Fee also grew as a person and, in his opinion, it’s a change for the better. Fee used to spend all of his time grinding out a win rate in front of a computer screen. Now, he’s building a more balanced and complete life for himself. Fee, a Philadelphia native, picked up the game as a senior in high school. He had turned a $300 bankroll into a nice sum of cash by the time he was receiving his diploma. He spent a semester at Drexel University before taking a leave of absence to pursue the game full time. He stayed on the east coast for a little while before making his way west to Vegas and California. He earned an LAPT title and a six-figure score just after turning pro, grinded up the stakes, playing the biggest games on the web, amassed over $3 million in live tournament earnings and even earned a WSOP bracelet with Polk in the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em tag team event last year. Adding Upswing to his life made him a more well-rounded and happier person. He started making decisions on what made him happier as opposed to what was the most plus-EV. “Upswing sort of comes first,” said Fee about balancing poker with his business. “That’s where I get the most joy and satisfaction. And you know what really it is? I think this almost goes back to being the philosophy of sort of teaching people versus keeping everything a secret. What I started doing was I just started making compromises for money. “I was like ‘Yeah, this isn’t going to make me as much money, but it’s going to make me happier.’ And that was honest. I had like a real epiphany last year about that. So, now most of my decisions center around what ads to the greatest life satisfaction rather than what makes the most money.” Fee realized that he was traveling around the world playing online poker, making a lot of money by anybody’s standards, but he was miserable while he was doing it. “I would go to great places, then I would be sitting on my computer 10 hours a day, waiting for a fish to log on and play me,” said Fee. “Or like wait to get in good games or whatever. I’d be happy to take half as much money for ten times as much life.” He’s only a year removed from his first bracelet win, but that won’t change Fee’s outlook when all of the tournaments get underway at the Rio. With the WSOP about to get underway, Fee is still content playing poker when he wants to and working on modules for Upswing. “I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up and lost [in poker],” said Fee. “It’s something I went through and I think that’s why I sort of have that position.”
  22. [caption width="640"] Steve Madara utilized the tools available to him on Upswing Poker and won 9,000 at The Borgata Poker Open as a result.[/caption] The opening and development of Upswing Poker brought a new poker training tool into the marketplace last year. In its relatively short time as an available tool, many customers have walked away satisfied with their experience with the product and are writing rave reviews as a result. Perhaps the most public of Upswing’s happy customers is Steve '7douche' Madara. Last September, Madara won the “Almighty Million” event at the Borgata Poker Open for $169,000. While he was busy winning the title, Madara flaunted the popular Upswing shirt that brings to light the term popularized by Upswing co-founder Doug Polk, “Bad Reg.” Madara wore the shirt in jest and overall has been tremendously pleased with his experience using the site after starting his membership based on name recognition alone. “I first started using Upswing simply after I heard Ryan Fee and Doug Polk were going to be coaches on the site. Being the huge poker nerd that I am, I knew that these two guys were considered top bosses in the game for many years. Then there’s me, an online mid-stakes New Jersey reg winning or losing thousands a day, it was a no-brainer to spend $300 on this new site that had videos made by them with also a chance for them to personally answer your questions.” Like others in his position, Madara realized that his purchase of all the tools that Upswing has to offer was of much better value than seeking out individual coaching, which oftentimes requires students to spend hundreds of dollars per hour. Why spend that much per hour when you can get a much better value that comes at an annual cost? Madara estimates that Fee and Polk’s coaching services were worth four figures each and he was getting a great deal by purchasing the full Upswing Lab, which includes 40 videos made by Polk along with over two dozen available learning modules for players like Madara who are looking to expand their game. RELATED: The Upswing Poker Lab: The Ultimate Poker Training ExperienceBefore he joined Upswing, Madara was climbing the ranks in New Jersey’s online sites but once he fully engaged with the learning material on the website, Madara says he started looking at the game from a whole new perspective. “In poker, there are countless possibilities, but overall, once you categorize all your hands into ranges and start to notice how they play on certain board textures, you begin to be able to build a much more solid framework to build your game around. You begin to feel like you’ve almost been in that spot before even if you’ve never played it simply because you’ve studied enough similar spots,” said Madara. "The lab is all about this core teaching of solid theory and math that once you gain an overall understanding of, there’s really no excuse as to why you can’t be a winning poker player.” There are many options available within the Upswing Lab for what a player can learn and based how much time they are willing to invest, fully grow their knowledge of the game. One aspect of Upswing that Madara particularly enjoys is the familiarity in learning only from Fee and Polk and gaining a comprehensive understanding of their way of thinking. There is still a lot for Madara to learn as he builds his game but he knows that with the tools available to him inside The Lab, the possibilities are endless. Madara may not be the “bad reg” that his shirt advertises and he admits that as he discovers more about the game, his prior understanding was small in comparison. The next Steve Madara is out there. Are you willing to do what it takes to take your game to the next level? Sign up for the UpswingPoker Lab here and use the coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout and you'll get $20 off your purchase.
  23. [caption width="640"] Doug Polk believes he's the best Heads Up No Limit Hold'em player in the world - and now he's willing to teach everybody else how to be better (WPT photo)[/caption] The man once known only as ‘WCGRider’ has been a busy guy of late. Not only has Doug Polk managed to create a YouTube channel with close to 70,000 followers that’s jam-packed with original content; he’s also found the time to get back to his roots of Heads Up No Limit Hold’em cash games. However, he hasn’t been playing. Now he’s turned his attention to teaching. Polk happily calls his Upswing Poker Advanced Heads-up Mastery the "best heads-up course of all time" and thinks players will learn a great deal from this course. “I have been spending more or less my entire last year building my audience, and creating content for Upswing Poker,” Polk says. “[But] we knew from the get go that this was ultimately a course we wanted to offer.” As Polk is based in Las Vegas, he’s unable to play the highest online stakes. He instead turned his attention to having fun, streaming bankroll challenges and grinding micro stakes. “When we started Upswing, we thought it was important to start off with offering material to the widest number of people, which meant a focus on smaller stakes play,” he explains. “Heads Up No Limit has been my bread and butter for the past six years. I reached an established number position in the game type for about three years, and then my students came up and became top 5-10 players as well. I am the most qualified person in the world to teach this course, and was happy to get the chance to create it.” There’s no denying Polk’s credentials as one of the most successful heads-up specialists in the game. But what exactly does this course involve? Well, one of the main areas Polk focuses on is how to “correctly navigate the branches of the game tree”. “[This] has been an important part of poker for years, players just didn’t realize it.” he says. “In Heads Up poker variants, you will consistently see certain situations over and over again. This means - if you are making mistakes in them - it will compound and your opponent will get a good opportunity to make money off of you. “Playing the game tree is important, but you have to know what you are looking for to begin with. You should be striving to hit certain frequencies for all of your actions, and learning how to balance out those ranges correctly. I think in today’s game, we just know much more specifically what that looks like.” Sign up for the UpswingPoker Lab here and use the coupon code 'pocket5s' at checkout and you'll get $20 off your purchase.There are already plenty of options out there for online learning in poker, so aside from Polk’s excellent credentials, what else makes this course unique. “I don’t think I’m stretching by saying nothing like this has ever been released to the public,” Polk says. “I am in every moment of the video, and it walks you through how to play all parts of the game tree. This is done in a structured way, with sample analysis and examples. “There is simply nothing else like this out there on the market if you are trying to take your game to the next level.” While Polk doesn't play as much online these days, he hasn’t slowed down in his attempts to get better. “I still enjoy playing the game of poker, but time is a commodity I don’t have as much of anymore,” he says. “I think it is important to still try to learn about the game of poker, and playing in tough environments helps you do that. You don’t want to end up falling behind the curve. “It is unlikely we will see too much of [me playing online high stakes]in the future, although I am known to get in the mix from time to time. I am planning on doing some streaming during the Spring Championship Of Online Poker, so I should be putting at least some volume in during that period of time.” And finally, what’s next for Upswing Poker? “This course is already live, and we are excited by the launch,” Polk says. “I have received so much positive feedback from everyone who has made the purchase, I can’t say how good that feels about the months spent putting it together. “Next up we are going to spend time bolstering the lab with quality content. It is essential to Upswing to make sure that the Lab remains a top focus, and it is the best destination for smaller stakes players looking to up their game. “After that, we might have a little PLO in the works, but I will leave that story to be told by our newest member of Upswing, Jnandez.” To purchase the Doug Polk Heads Up Mastery Course - click here.
  24. [caption width="640"] Doug Polk is the captain of The Postflop Engine (Photo c/o Upswing Poker)[/caption] When it comes to No Limit Hold’em, players have plenty of ways to improve their preflop game. Memorize a few key percentages, examine some hand rankings charts, keep position on the brain. These mantras can have any level of poker player feeling like preflop success is attainable. Postflop can be a lot more intimidating, though. Sure, we all learn the chances your flopped flush and straight draw will hit, but what to do you when you flop bottom pair is a whole other matter. Upswing Poker, lead by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee, is now offering a training module designed to make postflop strategy a lot more attainable - and it's ridiculously affordable. The site’s Postflop Engine is a standalone, multimedia training product designed specifically to help beginner players catch their postflop skills up to their preflop ones. The product comes at a flat fee of $7. “The Postflop Engine teaches you how we categorize hands into one of four categories. Each corresponds how to play a given hand in your range, in any postflop situation. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. The PFE basically teaches the fundamental way of how to think about playing your hands postflop,” explains Upswing Poker President and poker proMatt Colletta. Sign-up here for the Upswing Poker Postflop Engine for just $7!The driver of the Postflop Engine is fellow Upswing Poker founder and WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk. With a mix of videos from Polk and written lessons, a beginning player can learn all the fundamentals to transform their game in a couple of hours. Upswing Poker provides a subscription service in addition to free articles and The Postflop Engine. If you are nervous about investing in a monthly subscription, Colletta says The Postflop Engine is a good example of how content is presented in The Poker Lab. “It gives an insight into the material presented in the Poker Lab. Additionally, the Poker Lab covers more advanced topics with much more depth and specificity.” All users need to do in order to get The Postflop Engine is to start an account on UpswingPoker.com. By clicking on The Postflop Engine image, users will be directed to a page where they can use PayPal or credit card to pay the $7 fee. Once the fee is paid, users will have access to that are of the site just a few clicks of the mouse later. The basic gist of the product is learning how to classify your postflop holdings into one of four categories. Then the Engine gives you tips and concepts to apply to each type of hand. If you are looking to find a holistic, simplistic way to begin mastering postflop play, this is a foundational resource intended to quickly recoup its relatively low cost. The material is easy to process, but that does not mean it does not permeate throughout your hold’em game. The Engine itself does not take too long to read through and watch, but it is designed to be a core strategy players learn to master and then build upon. Colletta explains how to best utilize The Postflop Engine. “A true amateur player will gain a huge increase in their poker skill level after going through the material in the PFE. There has never been a better product for new/amateur players ever in poker. And for just $7… the value is off the charts. They will have a key insight into how to think about poker.” In a training site world dominated by subscriptions and big year-long commitments, The Postflop Engine stands out because it is standalone. Upswing Poker also offers more intense, subscription-based services, as mentioned, but by catering to players still looking to work on the fundamentals without having to make a big commitment to poker training, they stand out with a useful offering that does not use up a ton of time to understand.
  25. [caption width="640"] The latest episode of The Fives is now available on iTunes and Stitcher.[/caption] Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. GREAT NEWS: The Fives is now available on Stitcher. Check out the links below to start listening on your favorite podcast app. In this episode, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark get into the latest info the Matt Kirk vs. Leon Tsoukernik drama, wrap up WPT Montreal and get into Doug Polk's calling out of players bailing on high stakes televised appearances. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THE FIVES ON STITCHER
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