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  1. 34 pounds. That’s all that separates Jamie Staples and his younger brother Matthew Staples from winning $150,000 of that sweet, sweet Bill Perkins money. As a reminder, the brothers were offered 50-1 odds by Perkins that the brothers couldn’t weigh within one pound of each other. Jamie weighed 305 at the time. Matthew was just 130 pounds. “I weighed in about six days ago and I was 212 pounds, and my brother was 178 (Monday) morning,” said the elder Staples. That means that by March 26 at 5 pm, the pair only have to work off 34 pounds. Originally, the brothers were trying to get to 180 pounds, but that’s no longer the plan. “I would say we’re (looking at) around 187 right now. It will depend on how the next two months go. I think 180 would be ideal, but it’s maybe a bit optimistic,” said Staples.. Dropping 93 pounds over 10 months has been a challenge for Jamie. The brothers have worked with trainer Mike Vacanti even while traveling around the world. Staples has taken his live stream set up to Montreal, Vienna, and Split (Croatia) and even as he moves from city to city, he’s managed to find ways to eat healthily and get in the necessary work. “There’s good things to eat everywhere, and the brutal thing is I’ve lived with my brother, so I’ve seen him eating the chips and the pizza and the potatoes and the rice and the pasta. I’m just sitting there with my chicken breast and salad,” joked Staples. “I think it’s doable in any part of the world, so I didn’t want to sacrifice the lifestyle and the opportunity we have playing poker for a living to do it in a bunch of places, I thought that I could do both of those things, so I’m glad I did.” The Canadian Team PokerStars Online Pro admits that the hard work has been fun and it’s allowed him to discover ways he can live a healthy lifestyle while living life abroad or traveling from tournament to tournament. “We’re aiming for 1,300 calories a day, so every day you’re slowly starving yourself, and you feel the effects of that in terms of concentration and energy and mood and mindset, so it’s very draining, and I’m tired. I’m ready for it to be done,’ said Staples. If you read that and think that having any sort of issues with concentration, energy, mood, and mindset could have a negative impact on a poker player at a live tournament, you’re right. Jamie knows it too. “It absolutely does and I describe it to people as a sliding scale. There’s a bottom and a top, and previously, when I was really overweight - 300 lbs - my bottom was much lower and my top was much lower,“ said Staples. “I think most days I’m operating on 20% of normal energy, but that scale has moved up significantly to where my bad days now are where my good days were. So it’s progressively getting better all the time, and I just feel fresher.” Matthew, on the other hand, is literally and figuratively on the other end of that scale. The diet he’s on has him eating an average of 3,500 calories per day. It’s a lot of pasta, rice and potatoes, not to mention some other foods that will help him pack on some pounds. “It’s been difficult for him for sure. He’s lifting a lot of weights so he’s very, very strong but he’s just tired of eating. This is a guy that walked around at 135 or 140 pounds,” said Staples. “He’s just tired of it, he just wants to eat some normal stuff and not have to think about constantly eating. You’re tired as well when you’re eating that many calories, so it can really burn you out in the middle of the day when you’re on your second helping of pasta.” There are just 2.5 months left before the weigh in. They get one shot at hitting their number but have planned out that day already to make sure there’s no last-minute drama. “We’re researching the best scales so we can get it very exact and not have any fluctuations that way. There’s no regulations in terms of how much we can weigh in before that 5 pm time,” said Staples. “We’ll come into that day at the same weight and we’ll just be fluctuating water weight throughout the day, so at 4:59 we’ll be hopping on the scale, making sure we’re there.”
  2. 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 debate the hottest topics in poker. Listen to this week's episode of The Fives as Lance Bradley and Matt Clark dive deep into the PokerStars NJSCOOP schedule and their decision to include two Platinum Passes to Main Event champions. They also discuss the conclusion of the Jamie and Matt Staples weight loss prop bet and reminisce about some of their favorite poker prop bets of all time. They also give their take on the recent Twitter discussions over what recreational poker players want and maybe more importantly, need. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER
  3. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. When the calendar turned to February, a number of the top online poker players attempted to take a stand against PokerStars and a much-heralded new online poker site launched. The Boycott: PokerStars vs MTT Heavy Hitters Just before Valentine's Day, PokerStars broke the hearts of some of their most frequent high stakes tournament grinders. A little over 18 months after first introducing Stars Rewards, the company announced major changes to the program that meant MTT players would be earning 55% fewer reward points for any tournament fees paid. Players originally earned 100 reward points for every $1/€1 in rake paid. The changes meant players would now earn just 45 reward points for every $1/€1 in fees. The online MTT community didn't respond well to this change. One of the top-ranked players in the world, 'girafganger', organized a boycott which started out as 250 other players agreeing to sit out a $5,200 buy-in Turbo Series event on PokerStars that same week. "The nonstop rake increases and unbeatable formats they have been pushing on all of us, with the latest one pushing me over the edge, made me reach out to some of the high stakes regs to try and convince them to skip the $5K PokerStars Turbo Series event as a protest," 'girafganger' said in a statement. "The positive feedback was overwhelming and it didn’t take long for a group to naturally form." Some of the players boycotting included 'lena900', 'C Darwin2', Laszlo 'omaha4rollz' Bujtas, Calvin Anderson, and Samuel '€urop€an' Vousden. PokerStars' chief competition, partypoker, even went as far as to create a special $5,000 buy-in tournament with a $1,000,000 guarantee to run against the PokerStars tournament that was subject to the boycott. The boycott didn't seem to have the impact the players were hoping for. The PokerStars event drew 187 total entries, down just seven players from the same tournament a week earlier while the partypoker event met the guarantee. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Bryn Kenney Chops Up the Aussie Millions Main Event Bryn Kenney had himself one helluva 2019 and it all started in earnest in February when he won the Aussie Millions Main Event after a three-way chop. The tournament ended as soon as the deal was agreed upon. Michael Del Vecchio actually had a slight chip lead when negotiations began, but Kenney was able to talk his way into a deal that gave him the title and a $1,272,598 AUD ($914,617 US) payday. Kenney won the title despite not being responsible for eliminating a single player from the final table. Del Vecchio took home $1,272,162 AUD while third-place finisher Andrew Hinrichsen banked $1,097,739 AUD. The event drew 822 runners to break the previous record of 800 from 2018. Kenney wasn't the biggest winner from the Aussie Millions though. Toby Lewis, who won the $50,000 High Roller and finished runner-up in the $25,000 Challenge, earned $1,607,654 AUD ($1,149,064 US) to top the 2019 Aussie Millions earnings list. Team PokerStars Loses Two In January, PokerStars was more than happy to trot out their Team Pros and Ambassadors at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for every media opportunity possible. Less than a month later, two of the most visible pros on their roster began what would be a season-long exodus. In early February, Jamie Staples and Jeff Gross both announced that they were leaving Team PokerStars. Gross and Staples each made an announcement of their own confirming their departure. For Gross, it was a matter of not being able to come to terms on a new contract to continue representing the site. “Is this it for you in poker? The answer is ‘no’,” Gross said “If anything, we are just getting locked in, just getting strapped in and it’s seriously about to turn up.” Staples was looking further ahead and had plans to take his career, poker and streaming, to a new level. “I felt as if I might have an opportunity to do something bigger with my career in poker,” Staples said at the time. “It was a risk and I thought about it a lot and I decided to go on my own.” Over the course of the next few months, Gross and Staples both signed on with partypoker to represent their brand at live events on via player-created content on YouTube and Twitch. David Peters Takes Home US Poker Open In mid-month, the PokerGO airwaves were jam-packed with the 10 events from the US Poker Open. Most of the high roller regulars were out in full force for events with buy-ins from $10,000 up to the $100,000 Main Event. David Peters closed out the by winning the Main Event for $1.32 million. That victory also allowed him to beat out Sean Winter for the overall Series title. Peters had two cashes heading into the Main Event. He finished second to Winter in Event #4 ($10,000 Short Deck) for $100,800 and then fifth in Event #9 ($50,000 No-Limit Hold’em) for $164,000 before winning the 33-player Main Event. Stephen Chidwick won a pair of USPO titles. He beat Winter heads-up to win Event #1 ($10,000 No-Limit Hold’em) and then won Event #6 ($25,000 Pot Limit Omaha). Other US Poker Open event winners included Jordan Cristos (Event #2), Lauren Roberts (Event #3), Ali Imsirovic ( Event #5), Bryn Kenney (Event #7), Nick Schulman (Event #8), and Koray Aldemir (Event #9). Run It Once Goes Live When Phil Galfond announced in 2016 that he was launching an online poker site of his own, the poker world was excited that one of their own was stepping out to give them a new place to play. It became a patience tester for both Galfond and poker community. It took two years longer than Galfond expected, but in February, Run It Once launched the Public Beta version of their software to much fanfare. Galfond, who had been transparent about the delays and hiccups experienced along the way, was more than happy to put the product out to the world in an effort to get much-needed feedback. “The deck may be stacked against us, but I believe that with just a little bit of help from you, we can make our poker dream a reality – we can conquer threats to online poker’s future through the innovations we launch with and the countless more still to come, we can be a driving force for positive change in the industry, and we can make Run It Once exactly what a poker site should be.”  
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