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  1. Online poker players in Michigan now have another online poker site to play on. BetMGM Poker, which uses the partypoker software, launched Monday afternoon to join PokerStars MI as the only sites currently serving the Great Lake State. "The demand for online poker in Michigan was made clear by players across the state. BetMGM Poker is proud to offer them a seat at our tables and we’re confident that BetMGM Michigan customers will enjoy an engaging, reliable, and fun poker experience," Ray Stefanelli, Director of Poker, BetMGM said. Players in Michigan are currently playing in a ring-fenced environment against other players in Michigan. Any plan to have BetMGM join the interstate compact with New Jersey have not been announced but the recent ruling that determined that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting clears a potential hurdle to expand the compact to include other states and operators. Players signing up for BetMGM Poker get $10 free to use at the cash game and fastforward tables plus $15 in tournament dollars that can be used for MTTs and sit-n-gos and are eligible for a 100% bonus on their first deposit up to a maximum of $600. There is also a $50,000 freeroll tournament on Sunday, April 4 which pays out prizes to the top 1,000 finishers ranging from $10 in tournament dollars up to the first place prize of $500 in tournament dollars plus entry to the $109 buy-in BetMGM Grand Online Series Main Event. In late January, PokerStars MI became the first poker site to take advantage of the online gaming regulations signed into law in December 2019. The addition of BetMGM Poker means Michigan now has twice as many online poker operators as Pennsylvania, where only PokerStars PA is live. BetMGM Poker's launch gives the gaming company a full slate of iGaming products that includes sports betting and casino. "The launch of BetMGM Poker in Michigan fully rounds out our premier gaming portfolio in the state,” said Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM CEO. "BetMGM’s sports betting and casino offerings have been met with incredible early success in Michigan and we’re thrilled to provide players with another exciting gaming option."
  2. In early 2019, having become one of the most respected heads-up No Limit Hold’em players in the world across a decade of high stakes online crushing, Kevin Rabichow decided to switch gears and commit his time and energy to live tournaments. Six months later, he finished second in the partypoker Millions Montreal $10K for $484,460. “It was kind of surreal,” Rabichow said from his home in Toronto. “The speed at which I went from being lukewarm on travelling for tournaments to having my phone blowing up with 200 friends all railing me, it was cool. And it was totally foreign to me.” Prior to that score, Rabichow - who is more than a million in profit over two million online hands - was used to a solitary grind and had only experienced the “miserable side” of live tournaments. “I’d reluctantly go to an event, brick everything, then have a drink with other guys who also bricked everything and talk about variance,” he said. But now he’d experienced the amazing side. Now he understood why people loved them and why they were worth dedicating his time to. To date, he’s cashed for more than $2 million in live and online events under the screen names 'KRab42' and 'Barewire'. He had a big year of tournament travel planned for 2020. Then the world shut down. ---- You might be familiar with Rabichow from his work as an Elite Pro at Run It Once. While building his bankroll and earning the respect of his peers in high stakes heads-up no limit, Rabichow was also building a reputation as one of the most sought-after coaches in poker. “I definitely had an influx of coaching work [during lockdown],” he said. “Part of that was natural because of the circumstances and part of that was a deliberate effort to shift more of my attention to coaching.” Like all of us, lockdown presented some challenges within his personal life (“I used to strongly prioritise getting out of the house and seeing people and playing sports”). But he’d made connections on his live poker excursions and with people stuck at home, his phone kept ringing. “A lot of people reached out to me pretty early saying this is a good time for them to work on their strategy and get coaching. By late summer, I had comfortably committed myself to the quality of work with my students rather than my own play.” Coaching comes naturally to Rabichow, who has been doing it on a private basis as far back as 2009. With a competitive schooling background (he went to a top high school before studying Economics at the University of Chicago) he has always been theoretically minded. “Strategy discussion and the theoretical side of things has always been a natural draw for me,” he said. “I think that would have been my place in whatever community I joined. It just happened to be poker.” Rabichow was first exposed to poker in high school after a friend latched on to play money games as a hobby. “We’d meet at my house and play at the weekends,” he told me. “Sometimes we’d meet up to study for school for a few hours then play poker the rest of the night.” Right away he immersed himself in strategy and got caught up in the nuance of how to play well. “I didn’t just play for the sake of fun.” Always methodical, Rabichow remembers a blog post he wrote on a now-defunct platform tracking his results in his $2 home games. “I was taking it so seriously. In retrospect, it’s kind of funny.” When he went to university and roomed with his high school friend, they began playing online poker immediately. If he wasn’t taking care of schoolwork, he was interacting on Two Plus Two and swapping strategies in MSN chat groups. “Back in 2010, if you had a good network, you could move up the heads-up no limit stakes once a month,” Rabichow told me. “The acceleration was so fast, but strategically speaking, we were probably getting better very slowly.” By 2011 he was playing $10/$20 heads up cash on Full Tilt, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, “the three worst sites to be playing on in 2011.” He graduated that year and was moments away from signing a lease on a Chicago apartment that would become his grind station. “I wasn't really looking into jobs or anything at this point. I was so involved in the community and felt pretty good about my strategy and results.” Then Black Friday happened. “I was just about to turn pro when I got a call telling me the sky was falling,” he said. He didn’t sign the lease. He had to reconsider everything. Three months later Rabichow headed to Canada and set up shop in Toronto with friends, their only plan being to play as much online poker as they could. Things really took off. “I took a big financial hit from Black Friday but now I was in a position where I felt I was going to be successful,” he said. “It was like an incubator for accelerating my growth rate. We were exchanging ideas all the time. We played 12-14 hours a day for two years straight. By 2013, I had really hit my stride as a professional player.” He took life strides too. Not content with life behind a desk, Rabichow really made Toronto his home, finding new friendships, falling in love, and forging a new passion in the local Ultimate Frisbee community. All the while he was making heads-up no limit training videos. “When I started playing, lots of people were making heads-up content [Rabichow lists Jay Rosenkrantz and Emil 'Whitelime' Patel as the creators he watched the most], but by 2014 I was pretty much the only one.” A friend suggested he send his videos to Phil Galfond’s training site, Run It Once, who subsequently signed him as an Elite Pro. “They were really supportive of whatever I wanted to make. They're great to work with.” But with so many hours of work required to become successful in poker, burn out is fairly common. When Rabichow felt exhausted, he’d throw himself into ultimate frisbee or daydream about training as a chef. “80% of my YouTube subscriptions are cooking channels,” he said. For a while, tournaments had totally eclipsed cash games in terms of popularity. The format Rabichow had dedicated his career had begun to feel stale to him. “Lobbies were full of people sitting and waiting for a live one,” he said. “When a live one sat down, you’d just clean them out. The edges were massive. They basically had no hope of winning. It became a nasty environment.” Rabichow had never approached heads up from the angle that he wanted to play all of the best players in the world and thus be recognised as the best. “I just wanted to be very proficient and make money,” he said. “But at some point, it stopped being exciting and fulfilling.” Instead, Rabichow wanted to focus on tournaments. That is until 2020 became the year of high profile, stay-at home, heads-up duels. ---- When Rabichow first became known in the heads-up world, one-on-one grudge matches were a weekly occurrence. “It was so common because it was so hard to tell who was better than one another,” he told me. “There was no standard for good play.” These days, the matches are so widely seen thanks to Twitch and YouTube, and so closely scrutinised by viewers, that it creates a sports-like environment, something Rabichow enjoys. “I think heads-up battles with streams and side betting are here to stay. I'm pretty excited about that.” When Doug Polk began training for his match against Daniel Negreanu, Rabichow was one of the players Polk played a session against. The two talked afterwards and Rabichow gave Polk an honest assessment of his play. Rabichow followed the match closely (like much of the poker world, he had wagers on it) and enjoyed the spectacle of it all. “Neither of them has released much content yet, but I was hoping we’d see more around their preparation and the day-to-day work,” he said. “That’s the stuff I’m interested in. How did they prepare? What did they prioritise? What techniques did they use to go from scratch to a top-tier heads-up player? These are extra layers I’d love to see highlighted in future matches like that.” Don’t expect to see Rabichow take part in any grudge matches though. He’ll continue to coach others in heads up, taking on new clients through his website, but his focus will remain firmly on live tournaments when the tours resume safely. “I have no intention of leaving tournaments behind just because of a hiccup in the schedule and availability,” he said. “Everything that was promising about tournaments in 2019 is going to be twice as promising in 2022. Any time I’m not spending on coaching I’m spending on tournament preparation. I just want to be as prepared as possible.” With the majority of the world still on pause, Rabichow has had time to reflect on his incredible career and goals for the future. “I’d like to have a positive impact on the poker industry,” he told me. “I feel compelled to be a voice reason, to be fair, to promote the good things we could be doing.” One of those being Run It Once Poker, the poker room extension of Galfond’s training site. In February 2020, the company announced that Rabichow was to become their first Team Pro. He’s been locked down ever since, but Rabichow seems thrilled with his life in Toronto, the city he’s called home since moving there in his early twenties. His coaching services have never been so in demand. He’s built a great life with his girlfriend. He cooks and imitates YouTube chefs daily, posting the results to his Instagram. He practises Ultimate Frisbee and even coaches others. He only plays poker when he feels like it. “It's not lost on me that I'm ridiculously lucky to live my day-to-day life how I do and actually have an income,” he told me. “In other careers, I might struggle because of my attachment and intense focus. But in poker, it’s perfect.”
  3. For many poker players, January is a time to get a fresh start. It's a time to reset the stats, dedicate oneself to study, and hope that in the new year the work pays off and the results go to the moon. But for Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, a “fresh start” is not on the agenda. For the world’s #1-ranked online pro, the continuation of his heater that started one year ago is what he wanted. That's what happened and what brought him the title of Online Poker Player of the Month for January. One might think that after earning a career-high seven-figure score in the international leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker at the end of 2020, Botteon might take some time off. But within a week he was back to picking up PLB-qualified cashes en masse. He found success in the first week of January on GGPoker with deep runs in the WSOPC Series $525 Bounty Hunters for $22,304 plus 321.09 PLB points and weekly $10K Super MILLION$ for another $41,934 and 374.26 PLB points. His first outright win arrived on January 10 when he topped the 279-entry field of the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR for $57,263 and 547.72 PLB points. The middle of the month was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the GGPoker High Rollers Marathon for $12,542. It was right around this time when Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic pushed to within just 5 PLB points of overtaking Botteon as the top-ranked player in the world. But when Croatia’s Zufic traveled to the United States to make a deep run in the World Poker Tour’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Botteon booked his first six-figure score of the new year with a win in the January 25 edition of the GGPoker High Rollers Sunday 500 for $126,544 and 738.24 PLB points. His spotlight score of the month brought more than enough PLB points to pull away from the pack and keep the #1-spot for the seventh week in a row. In total, Botteon racked up 3,893 PLB points on 59 total cashes for a total of $391,988. January also marked his third time as Player of the Month. Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson finished out January just 150 points behind Botteon to end up in second place with 3,734 points. Watson, who is Canada’s #1-ranked pro and sitting at an all-time high ranking of #3 in the world, put in significantly less volume than Botteon but made up the difference with nine PLB-qualifying cashes and seven five-figure cashes for a total of $526,078. Watson kicked off the month with a string of victories including a PokerStars Blowout Series title in Event #25-H ($1,050 NLHE Sunday Warm-up) for $75,462 and 648.85 PLB points. The very next day, on January 4, he was in the winner’s circle again in the Natural8 WSOPC $1,500 Deepstack, winning $36,040 and another 404.81 PLB points. Watson picked up big-time scores on just about every online operator he played on including a runner-up finish in the partypoker High Roller Big Game for $54,958 and a win in the World Poker Tour Montreal Online Event #18 for $39,007. But his biggest result of the month came on Natural8 when he finished in fourth place in the January 26 edition of the Super MILLION$ for $187,255 and 618.64. His Super MILLION$ score was big enough to land in Watson’s all-time top 5. Estonia’s Markku ‘markovitsus’ Koplimaa rounded out the top three in January with 3,590 PLB points. Koplimaa has been rocketing up the worldwide rankings, reaching a new career-high rank of #12 in the world. While both Botteon and Watson put up impressive results, Koplimaa outdid them both when it came to volume by racking up 229 in-the-money finishes. He embraced the grind, playing every tournament he could enter from mid-stakes and higher. He was rewarded with over $390,000 in earnings including a runner-up finish in the January 18 edition of the GGPoker High Roller MILLION$ for $187,272. It was the second-largest online cash of his career and included a massive 908.09 PLB bump. In total, Koplimaa notched five results of five-figures or better with 11 PLB-qualified scores. Should he continue to have results even half of what he posted in January, he’ll eclipse the career $10 million mark before the end of the year. January 2021 Player of the Month Results [table id=167 /]
  4. If so, Im trying to create a server designed specifically for semi pro and professional poker players from stars, party poker, wsop, poker bros, ppp poker etc. Its brand new but once it grows I think it could be a great help to all. Here is the link : https://discord.gg/NETkWs (they expire once a day, so HMU if you need a new invite link)
  5. It’s been a tough time for poker players recently, especially in the United States. Casinos around the country were closed for most of 2020, and options stateside have been limited to online play in just a few states, primarily Nevada and New Jersey. One player who knows plenty about playing in both states recently is Ryan Hagerty. The young East Coast pro is fresh off his best career poker cash, finishing fourth place at the World Series of Poker Main Event in December, taking home $387,130. Hagerty has carried the momentum from that finish into the recent partypoker US Network Online Players Choice series, where he won three of the major events in just four nights. For his efforts, he scored first place prizes of $4,154.80, $9,223, and $6,071, earning over $20,000 in total. Hagerty said that his wealth of experience on the platform set him up nicely for success. “Mainly I just played my game. I'm playing with a ton of confidence now coming off the WSOP Main event final table, and my bankroll is as high as it's ever been so that always helps a lot. As far as playing style in the events, I've been grinding on New Jersey ever since the start so I know the field pretty well at this point, but I'm always making adjustments in game depending on my tables,” Hagerty said. The series was exclusively short-handed play, with all tournaments being either Six Max or Eight Max. Hagerty finished first in Event #4 ($15,000 Guaranteed Turbo), Event #5 ($30,000 Guaranteed PKO Six Max,) and Event #8 ($25,000 Guaranteed Eight Max). Hagerty went into a bit of detail on how each final table went differently for him. “The first final table I entered as the chip lead. No wins come easy but I would definitely say I coasted in this more so than the others. The PKO final table, I also came in with chip lead and I relinquished it a couple times and eventually got head up with Dan Lupo who is one of the tougher regs and we went back and forth before I coolered him for the victory.” Hagerty continued, “The final one was for sure the hardest as I came in as one of the short stacks and had to grind my way up making a couple big hero calls, most notably one where I was put in a really tough spot on the river with second pair and tanked a long time before calling off correctly.” Undoubtedly, a huge part of Hagerty’s recent success online can be credited to the confidence he gained with his huge run at the WSOP in December. He spoke a bit about the unique experience leading up to this latest partypoker series. “That was an amazing once in a lifetime type of experience. Playing at a final table like that is something you dream about coming up in the game and I enjoyed every bit of it. It definitely gave me tons of confidence coming back into the online streets with a huge accomplishment under my belt as well as my biggest score to date by a lot,” Hagerty said. Hagerty was also quick to point out the quality of the New Jersey partypoker software, saying that his experience on that site has been much better than what he has played in Las Vegas. “I love the partypoker software. I think it is tremendous and miles better than WSOPs outdated software. I haven't played on GG so I can't speak to that. I have no plans of traveling, for now I'm just going to hang in New Jersey and grind online.” Hagerty’s bankroll is at an all time high following his recent string of big results, but he is doing his best to save that money and not splurge on much, saying that his family is his priority at the moment. “Nothing too crazy for me as far as the money is concerned. I'll probably splurge on some things, invest and treat my family. Other than that it's just nice to be really comfortable and have a nice bankroll to grind with.” Hagerty hopes to repeat his success from this series in the next major series on the site. That is set to take place from February 21st-28th, with buy-ins ranging from $109 to $535, and all of the events will be using the increasingly popular Progressive Knockout Bounty format. For now, Hagerty will continue to run the online streets in New Jersey while he waits for casinos to open up more. A hugely successful WPT event at the Seminole Hardrock recently shows that despite the pandemic, poker isn’t going anywhere, and Ryan Hagerty seems to be a name that you will want to remember in 2021.
  6. In the same month that Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon captured the worldwide #1 ranking for the first time in his career, he leveraged his first seven-figure score to take home the title of PocketFives Player of the Month for December. Botteon’s outstanding performance in 2020 has been well documented. Continually reaching new career-high cashes throughout the year, Botteon made a name for himself with high-profile appearances in the WSOP Online $25K Poker Players Championship as well as earning a spot in the finals of the WSOP Online $25K Heads-Up Championship. However, in December he was able to, once again, find a way to reach new heights. Botteon’s runner-up finish in the international leg of the $10K WSOP Main Event earned him $1,062,723, his first million-dollar score. It was also the fifth time in 2020 that he earned himself a new career-high cash. But it wasn’t just his deep run in the WSOP Main Event that helped him lock up the Player of the Month. Early in the month, he took down the December 6 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club ($1,050 Sunday Cooldown) for $10,478 and 232.78 PLB points. The very next day he won the GGPoker Sunday Forty Stack for another $35,985 and 451.43 PLB points. He picked up yet another win in the GGPoker $1,050 High Rollers Main Event for $25,645 and another 342.05 PLB points. In total for December, Botteon picked up nine five-figure scores from his 37 total results (outside of his WSOP cash). He also had nine PLB scores for a total of 5,308 points, just enough to help him outpace the competition to win the monthly award for the second time in his career. It was a perfect finish to an incredible year in which Botteon was named one of poker’s brightest rising stars. It seems like for the past month, whatever Botteon has done Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic has been right behind him, chasing him down. The #2-ranked player in the world finished as the runner-up in December’s Player of the Month race with 5,237 PLB points, just 71 behind Botteon. Zufic may not have had an avalanche of PLB points like one gets for taking second in the WSOP Main Event, but he did have a massive score of his own. His runner-up finish in the December 13 GGPoker High Roller Million$ brought him $228,682 and 821.52 PLB points. He added to his PLB point total with a victory in the GGPoker WSOPC Series $400 Sunday Forty Stack for $41,934 and 547.42 PLB points. In December Zufic was on a non-stop grind. He logged 131 in-the-money results, 12-PLB qualifying scores, and ten cashes of five-figures or better. He’s off to a fast start in 2021 as well, already locking up multiple large scores and keeping himself in the race for the worldwide top spot. Anton ‘AnteSvante’ Wigg, Austria’s #1-ranked pro, finished in third place in December after accumulating 4,091 PLB points. He finished in fourth place in the GGPoker Super Million$ High Rollers on December 1 for a career-high online cash of $176,631 and 587.22 PLB points. Two weeks later, Wigg defeated the 321 runners in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $60,389 and another 566.57 PLB points. Over the final two weeks of the year, Wigg went on a run on GGPoker picking up five-figure cashes and PLB points in bunches. A runner-up finish in the WSOPC Series $1,500 Sunday High Rollers brought him $44,369 on the same day he won the Sunday Special for $31,929. The next day he earned another $22,477 in the WSOPC Event #2 ($10, 300 Super MILLION$ High Roller) and another $32,729 in WSOPC Event #3 ($3,000 Deepstack) the very next day. His late-year results have pushed Wigg into the worldwide top-10 ranked, where he currently sits at #7. December 2020 Player of the Month Results [table id=153 /]
  7. As the poker world has turned nearly its entire focus to online poker in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the best tournament players in the world have found themselves battling more frequently on the virtual felt. Following its launch in June, the GGPoker Super MILLION$ has became one of the top destination for poker's elite. The Super MILLION$ is one of four events on the weekly MILLION$ schedule and features by far the largest buy-in. The other three are the High Roller MILLION$ ($500 buy-in), the Zodiac MILLION$ (¥500 buy-in) and the Global MILLION$ ($100 buy-in). Each of those events are doing well in their own right, but the murderer's row field that frequents the $10,000 buy-in Super MILLION$ each Sunday sets it apart. The fields often include the likes of Stephen Chidwick, Timothy Adams, Ali Imsirovic, Alex Foxen, Isaac Haxton, Artur Martirosyan, and former #1-ranked PocketFivers Niklas Astedt, Fedor Holz, and Yuri Dzivielevski all playing under the real name. The high buy-in and relative strength of the field are helping to turn the five-month old tournament into one of online poker's most prestigious Sunday events. The Dominance of Michael Addamo No player has had more success in this event than Australian Michael Addamo. The Super MILLION$ has run 23 times and Addamo has five cashes, four final tables appearances, and three victories for $1,537,452.90 in winnings. Addamo's wins came on June 28, July 19, and August 16. His two other results were a 33rd place finish on August 23 and a third place finish on October 18. He also finished on the stone bubble on September 20. No other player has won more than once. [table id=125 /] The Consistency of Stephen Chidwick While Addamo leads the way in wins and overall earnings, no player has cashed with a higher frequency than Stephen Chidwick. A former #1 on the Global Poker Index, Chidwick has found the cashier cage in 14 events. His best finish came on October 11 when he finished runner-up to 'blakjak19' and earned $263,791.65. Rui Ferreira is the only other player to have broken the double digit barrier in cashes with 10. [table id=124 /] The Excellence of Niklas Astedt Nobody who has been paying attention to the online poker rankings over the past three years is shocked to learn that Niklas Astedt has also found success in the Super MILLION$. Ranked #1 for 65 total weeks in the past three years, Astedt is widely considered amongst the best tournament players in the world and has proven to be a threat here as well. Astedt has made the final table five times, highlighted by a runner-up finish on October 25. Finishing one spot behind fellow Swede Joakim Andersson earned Astedt $251,336.47. Six other players have each cashed four times each. [table id=126 /] Livestreaming for the World to See With final tables packed with some of the most recognizable faces in the game, GGPoker knew they had a hit on their hands. The Super MILLION$ plays down to a final table on Sunday with the remaining nine players retuning on Tuesday to give GGPoker.tv the opportunity to stream the final table action. With Randy Lew and Kevin van der Kooi calling the action, the weekly stream has become one of the week's top options for those looking to rail some online poker heavyweight action. By the Numbers During the 2020 WSOP Online, the Super MILLION$ was one of the 54 bracelet events on the schedule. That day, Connor Drinan beat the largest Super MILLION$ field ever to win $1,435,048.71 and his first career WSOP bracelet. The tournament had 899 entries and a $8,720,300 prize pool. The Super MILLION$ was also a part of the recently completed High Roller Week on GGPoker with prize pools of $3,000,000 and $5,810,000. Despite the star-studded fields, there has been overlays in nearly 40% of the weekly events. The first five events, which ran June 14 through July 12, all had overlays, the largest coming on July 12 when 192 players created a $137,600 overlay.
  8. Marketers at bwin.party are undoubtedly reeling this week after several of the gaming giant's highly trafficked domains were removed from Google results. The disappearance was first reported by eGaming Review and is likely due to a penalty imposed on the Gibraltar-based company by Google for link-building practices. While the company once ranked among the top few results in searches involving terms like "online poker" and "online casino," its domains are now conspicuously absent. Even a search for "PartyPoker.com" now only brings back a result of the site's dot-net page, with similar results for "PartyCasino.com." Holding the top spot for gambling-related keyword searches is a highly sought-after accomplishment for companies like bwin.party. The financial advantages of such free visibility can be huge, as top-ranked sites are sent large amounts of traffic without the need for paid advertising. That means the competition is cutthroat, especially for an industry like online gambling where a site could reap thousands of dollars from just one customer. To get that extra boost, some companies choose to buy links from other high-ranking sites pointing back to their own site, a practice common in the gambling world but generally against Google's terms. While paying for links might be technically against the rules, it can be effective in boosting a page's rank in search results. As far as Google is concerned, if a lot of popular sites link to your site, then your site must be popular as well. But, Google is onto these schemes and has continually refined its algorithm to spot "link profiles" that don't appear to have evolved naturally. In fact, the search engine released an update called Penguin 2.0 last year that specifically targets sites with paid links and links from low-quality websites. Overnight, the balance of search rank shifted tremendously as previously successful sites felt the sting of the new update. "It looks like this is likely the cause of the lost visibility for PartyPoker.com," SEO expert Stacey Cavanagh told eGaming Review. "They have a lot of what Google is likely to deem manipulative inbound links." bwin.party is only the latest high-profile gaming company to incur Google's wrath this year. Last month, a similar fate befell sports book BetOnlinewhen the gaming site was wiped off of the search engine for unscrupulous link buying activity. "It looks like a classic case of not being careful with their link-building and having too many site-wide links," said SEO specialist Nick Garner at the time. In January, gaming behemoth William Hill took a huge search visibility hit when the company's toxic link profile was penalized, causing a huge drop in traffic. "Losing all of your Google organic traffic is, for most sites, a substantial financial hit - many have to replace this traffic through paid search, for example," said Cavanagh, reiterating just how devastating the loss of visibility can be. With the right modifications, however, sites can have their penalties lifted and regain their former standing. In Party's case, that would likely involve having all of the paid links removed and filing a reconsideration request with Google. Once the site is appearing in search results again, it could add the paid links back in a slow, more natural way. Last September, PartyPoker completely revamped its website and client with a focus on recreational players and social gaming features. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. As part of a campaign to put the brakes on internet gambling in the US, three Senators sent a letterto Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday asking for his agency's support for a bill that would reinstate the Wire Act and rid the US of online gambling, even those sites in regulated markets. --- 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! --- The letter, penned by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC, pictured), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), references the Department of Justice's 2011 opinion that the Wire Act of 1961 should only prohibit sports betting, not intrastate online gaming. "Left on its own, the DOJ opinion could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet, and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day, seven days a week," the letter read. Earlier this year, Graham, along with Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), introduced a Federal bill dubbed the "Restoration of America's Wire Act," which seeks to reinstate and clarify the original DOJ view that all internet gambling should be prohibited. The legislation was spurred by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson (pictured) and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and was purportedly written byDarryl Nirenberg, one of the tycoon's own lobbyists. The letter to Holder continues to parrot CSIG talking points, highlighting that "the FBI has warned [i-gaming] will open the door to money laundering and other criminal activity," and claiming that the industry "is bound to prey on children and society's most vulnerable." Recent studies by Harvard Medical School, on the other hand, seem to refute the idea that easy access to casinos will increase the number of problem gamblers in society. That research, conducted by Howard J Shaffer, found that for the most part, internet bettors gamble sensibly and within their means. If Adelson and his acolytes get their wish, then not only would new states be prohibited from offering internet gambling, but Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey would be forced to shut down all gaming sites that have already been approved and are currently in operation in those states. Curiously, the Senator's letter then asks Holder point blank: "Since you have changed DOJ's interpretation of the Wire Act… will you support the legislation we have introduced to respond to your reinterpretation of the statute?" Some observers believe lawmakers like Graham are merely paying lip service to Adelson, who has donated around $31,000 to the South Carolina Senator since 2009; $15,600 of that money went to Graham's campaign in 2013, a short time before he suddenly became interested in the issue of online gambling. After GOP rising star Eric Cantor's stunning defeatin the Virginia Republican House primary, analysts have stated that lawmakers will be playing it safe and avoid taking sides on controversial issues like internet gaming. "If there is anything Washington hates, it's uncertainty," one insider told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Not just internet poker, nothing is going to move forward in Washington," said another. Others, like Texas Governor Rick Perry (pictured), who would need Adelson's financial backing in a 2016 Presidential bid, have written letters of concern as well. "Allowing internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and be piped into our dens, our living rooms, our workplaces, and even our kids' bedrooms… is a major decision," he said in his own note to Congress. "We must carefully examine the short- and long-term social and economic consequences before internet gambling spreads." But Graham seems to think that his bill could gain traction, saying, "We fully expect the Senate will act on our legislation this year and it is our intent to do whatever we can to make that happen." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  10. Former Utah Attorney Generals Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow (pictured) were arrested this week and charged with an array of corruption offenses, some of which are linked to online poker payment processor Jeremy Johnson. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsson Poker, a leading global online gaming provider. Betsson Poker is available on Mobile and offers regular promotions to live events around the world along with great bonuses and competitions. Play nowfor a chance to win the a Dream Holiday with the Grand Poker Adventures throughout 2014! --- Shurtleff served as the state's Attorney General for 12 years before stepping down due to health reasons. Swallow was Shurtleff's hand-picked successor and Assistant AG, but was forced to resign after less than a year as corruption allegations mounted. Both were both charged with multiple felonies including receiving or soliciting bribes, accepting gifts, tampering with witnesses and evidence, and participating in a pattern of unlawful conduct. Authorities allege that Swallow and Shurtleff received lavish, illegal gifts from businessman like Johnson, the Utah man who became embroiled in Black Friday due to his connections with SunFirst Bank and online poker processing. Swallow reportedly spent two nights on Johnson's luxury houseboat in 2010 and Shurtleff and Swallow regularly took the businessman's private jet on trips from California to St. George, Utah. This VIP treatment was purportedly meant to coax the former top officials into stalling an investigation into IWorks, Johnson's telemarketing company that employed fraudulent billing practices. According to investigators, Swallow reportedly offered access to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV, pictured) and Johnson hoped to garner a favorable legal opinion on online poker in Utah and squash a Federal Trade Commission probe into IWorks. Swallow allegedly told Johnson that the connection to Reid "wouldn't be cheap." After that discussion, Johnson promptly wired $250,000 to Richard Rawle, a business associate of Swallow. Rawle then allegedly paid Swallow an $8,500 kickback. Reid's office has responded to those allegationsby saying that the Senator "has never been contacted in regards to this investigation." The DOJ refused to investigate. As Swallow and Johnson started to feel vulnerable, they met in a Krispy Kreme to discuss strategy in an hour-long conversation that Johnson secretly recorded. During the meeting, Johnson purportedly suggested that the $250,000 meant for Reid be paid back and that Swallow erase all emails that could incriminate the pair. Swallow then allegedly told his campaign staff that he needed to completely wipe his hard drive and that he had all of his data backed up on an external drive. He later told staffers that he had lost the laptop during a flight to Salt Lake City. "This has been a complex, nuanced, multiple investigation," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. "Multiple leads continue to be investigated and the investigation remains active." Shurtleff (pictured), a Republican, responded to allegations by claiming that Gill, a Democrat, brought the charges only to boost his prospects for reelection. "I, as all of us, made mistakes in my time as Attorney General, probably, clearly errors in judgment, but I have never intentionally committed any violation of the ethics, codes of ethics," he said. "I have never misused or abused the public trust and I have certainly not violated any of the criminal laws of the state." Swallow denied all charges and spoke out to a crowd of reporters as he walked out of jail. "This finally gives us the opportunity to start to respond back. With multiple investigations, we were hesitant to say anything. Now, we have our constitutional right to make our case in court," he said. "I look forward to that." Both former Attorney Generals were given bail set at $250,000. But, due to their former position in the state government, they were allowed a supervised released without needing to post bond. "They are first-time offenders," said Gill. "But, they're first-time offenders unlike any in the history of the state." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. One of the most important things a poker player can have at the tables is the ability to maintain a "level head" and use that tool to make the correct decision on the felt. Now, there is a study from Finlandthat has directly linked more experienced poker players with a more emotionally stable base. Masters student Michael Laakasuo and PhDs Jussi Palomäki and Mikko Salmela, who have previously done studies that looked at such diverse poker subjects as decision-making and the effects of "tilt" on players, conducted a study that examined the proficiency of "emotion regulation" in players recruited from online poker forums. Using a HEXACO model of personality structure, which measures six levels of a person's personality, the scientists discovered there was "a predisposition for emotional stability – that is, lower scores on emotionality – is linked to high levels of poker experience." "We employed an online survey in English, whose first page was opened by 1,178 participants," the research stated. "478 participants (36 of them were female and 255 had some level of college education) successfully completed the entire survey. These demographics, including the low number of females who are underrepresented among poker players, are in line with previous studies sampling poker playing populations." The results "suggest that higher emotional stability predisposes poker players to continue playing poker, whereby they are likely to accumulate poker experience and skill," the writers suggested. "This indicates that experienced poker players may have an innate disposition to tolerate mental and emotional pressure and keep calm while making decisions involving large sums of money." In looking at the other side of the equation, researchers found that those with less experience in the game weren't as able to handle what poker players call "the swings" as well as those with an extensive background in the game. "Players with lower levels of emotionality were also more likely to report fewer numbers of poker hands played and were less likely to consider themselves professional players," the study stated. The study from the Finnish academics also touched on another subject that many in the poker community have wondered about. The study suggests that those who prefer live poker are more extroverted than their online compatriots. "The correlation between preference for live poker, extroversion, and openness to experience is also sensible," the authors wrote. "Extroverts seek excitement, activity, and novel experiences and these are probably more often found in live poker rather than online poker." The writers recognized there may be some problems with their study. For example, in some of their conclusions regarding online poker, they acknowledged that other forces may have a hand rather than preferring the online game over the live one. "The negative correlation between level of poker experience and preference for live poker may be linked to the overall availability of live poker rooms," the authors suggested. "It could be that, for many experienced players, live play becomes available so seldom that, if they want to play often and regularly, they must do so online." The trio of authors concluded their essay by stating, "Our results seem to indicate that emotional stability is an important predictive and enabling factor for acquiring experience in poker. Furthermore, players who prefer to play poker live rather than online seem more likely to be extroverted and open to experiences." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. In its latest Weekly Scouting Report, PokerScout took a look at PokerStars' "meteoric" rise, framing the discussion around Stars' now-famous milestone hands. From the site's inception to its 10 billionth hand in mid-2007, more than five years passed. PokerStars celebrated by giving away loads of money for players involved in that hand and many hands leading up to it, and, from there, things took off. In just one year and nine months after the 10 billionth hand, another 15 billion hands were dealt. In other words, 50% more hands were dealt in just one-third of the time. Another 15 billion hands were dealt over the course of the next year, and then from February 2010 to March 2011, 20 billion more hands were dealt, upping PokerStars' lifetime total to 60 billion. As you might notice, that milestone was just before Black Friday, which happened four years ago. Because PokerStars had to jettison its customers in the United States, traffic naturally slowed. PokerScout noted, though, that online poker continued to grow in popularity in Europe; that, combined with the launch of the extremely popular Zoom Poker in May 2012, helped buoy PokerStars' numbers somewhat. The 85 billionth hand was hit in early 2012 and the 100 billionth hand was dealt in mid-2013. When those huge billion hand milestones hit, the spike in traffic at PokerStars was incredible. With players scrambling for spots at tables to try to be one of the lucky ones to be dealt into a milestone hand, the site's traffic made many of the other poker rooms out there temporarily irrelevant. On June 13, 2013, the date of the 100 billionth hand, PokerScout noted that PokerStars' peak traffic was an astounding 150,000 cash game players at once. And that is without people from the US at the tables. PokerScout estimated that the next big milestone celebration will be next March for the 150 billionth hand. At the rate hands are dealt on the site – about 1.5 billion per month – PokerStars might not be able to afford to have those gigantic milestone promos every 10 billion hands anymore. Visit PokerStars for details. PokerScout's Scouting Report is a daily newsletter for the online poker industry, with in-depth data and analysis of the market. More information can be found by clicking here or contacting support@pokerscout.com. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  13. [caption width="600"] Preben 'prebzzz' Stokkan is the top-ranked online poker player in Norway[/caption] Poker is incredibly different from country to country. From the robust live games in the UK to limited regulated online poker in the US, no matter where you go, poker is inherently different. And that's part of what makes the game so unique. For the 558 poker players from Norway who have PLB scores on PocketFives, a bustling online poker scene is juxtaposed with an up-and-coming live scene. 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen is from Norway. So is Annette 'Annette_15' Obrestad. The top-ranked online poker player from Norway right now is Preben 'prebzzz' Stokkan, who won the PokerStars Sunday 500 last weekend for $62,000. And for Stokkan, winning that big time tournament boosted him all the way to #22 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings, 19 spots off his all-time high of #3 set last year. "I spend fewer hours playing than many other regulars," Stokkan said. "It's usually under 30 hours per week, but I work really hard on my game when I'm not playing. I am always focusing on improving and I think I've become a lot better in the last couple of months." When he's not playing poker, Stokkan is traveling and working out. He also spends plenty of time with his friends watching football or putting back an adult beverage. Sometimes both at the same time. In the end, though, it's all about poker and making his fellow countrymen proud. "Winning big tournaments feels amazing," he said. "I think winning the Sunday 500 will help build up my confidence toward future tournaments both online and live." The live tournament scene in Norway is just getting ramped up. Take the Norwegian Poker Championships, for example. Even with a name that includes the word "Norwegian," the Norwegian Poker Championships had been held outside of Norway in recent years. However, a series of events was held in Norway late last year in cities like Oslo and Trondheim. Therefore, live tournaments are picking up steam in Norway after the government there changed its tune in a 2014 decision that permitted home games. In fact, almost 2,000 players turned out for a Norway Cup event last November in Oslo, which fittingly featured Stephensen hoisting the Main Event trophy and earning $161,000. [caption width="620"] Felix Stephensen is Norway's top money earner. (Photo PokerListings)[/caption] "Besides the Norwegian Championships, which we finally were allowed to host in Norway, I haven't really played many live games here," Stokkan said. "I play online when I'm home and live when I'm out travelling." "Poker has become so big in Norway," he said. "We had 1,500 Norwegians traveling to Dublin every year to play the Norwegian Championships there. Now, it's back in Norway. The Norwegian poker community is amazing. There are so many nice people, so it was great to play a live tournament here in Oslo. I'm definitely going back this year." "The Norwegian Poker Championships were very cool. I was very happy to sit down with fellow Norwegians and play," he said. "The atmosphere is usually better during the Norwegian events in comparison to EPTs and other international tournaments. Everyone is having such a good time playing poker, talking to each other, drinking beer, and so on." Next to Norway geographically is the poker powerhouse of Sweden, which has dominated the online poker scene and owns the top spot in the PocketFives Country Poker Rankings. Perhaps the Swedes' dominance provides some motivation for their Scandinavian counterparts. "It's sick how well the Swedish tournament crew has been doing lately," he said. "All creds to them, but I'm hoping to beat them all in the PocketFives rankings by the end of the year." The Hendon Mob credits Stokkan with almost $70,000 in live winnings, so needless to say, that part of the poker world is untapped for him thus far. Compare that with over $3 million in online winnings. "I haven't been doing too well on the live circuit yet," he said. "Besides a 22nd place in the EPT Prague Main Event last year, I don't have too many big live scores. I'm relatively new to the live tournament scene, though, and have only been playing tournaments the last two years. I used to play cash games before that."
  14. [caption width="640"] Dani 'supernova9' Stern topped the high-stakes cash game leaderboard in March (photo credit Danny Maxwell/PokerNews)[/caption] It was no April fool's joke. Dani 'supernova9' Stern topped the high-stakes cash game leaderboard for March, according to HighStakesDB and beat out all other competitors by almost $100,000. Stern raked in $352,017 in profit last month over the course of 131 sessions and 10,203 hands. On average, Stern profited $2,687 per session played and just over $34 per hand. Not a bad way to spend 31 days. Stern began the month of March a half-million dollars in the red, so the upswing could not have come at a better time. He was down the most money since the tracking site began following him and responded by ending the month still down $130,000, but in much better shape than he was 31 days ago. Stern made mincemeat of the Pot Limit Omaha tables on PokerStars on March 17, carving up his competition to the tune of $238,000. Every dime of that came courtesy of Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov. The following day, Stern took another $67,000 off Kuznetsov, seemingly ensuring that he'd be in the black for the month. The largest hand of the month was worth $186,000 and came in a $200/$400 heads-up Pot Limit Omaha table between Stern and Kuznetsov. Stern had [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6s"], while Kuznetsov was dealt [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"][poker card="td"][poker card="4c"]. The flop of [poker card="jc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] brought two clubs and the money went in. The turn and river were run twice, but no club came and Stern raked in the entire pot. Sitting $91,000 behind Stern on the high-stakes cash game leaderboard for March was fellow American transplant Isaac 'philivey2694' Haxton, who ended up at $260,283 in profit. Haxton was down about $130,000 lifetime at the high stakes tables when the year began but helped in part by his impressive showing in March, the pro is now up almost $400,000 lifetime. [caption width="640"] Isaac 'philivey2694' Haxton profited 0,283 in March, the second highest total of anyone[/caption] Haxton had 75 sessions and 3,441 hands in March for an average of $3,470 per session and $75 per hand. The latter was more than double Stern's rate for the month. Third place on the high-stakes leaderboard in March went to 'Cobus83', who raked in $221,883 in profit on PokerStars and is now the 70th biggest winner on HighStakesDB. The primarily PLO player turned in 50 sessions and 3,574 hands in March, an average of $4,437 per session and $62 per hand. 'Cobus83' has pretty much been on the up-and-up over the course of his career and his $221,883 in profit added to an already impressive high-stakes cash game resume. In fact, he passed $800,000 in profit for his career in March for the first time ever. The six-figure profit comes after February which saw him lose almost $100,000 in February. Mikael 'ChaoRen160' Thuritz, who was the biggest winner in February at $158,000 in profit, continued his torrid pace in March, profiting $165,547 on the month. Thuritz had 28 sessions and 2,264 hands during the month, much of which came on March 21 during a Mixed Game session in which he profited $130,000. In that session, he wasn't up against soft competition, either, as he rolled over the likes of Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich, Alex 'BiatchPeople' Luneau, Alexander 'joiso' Kostritsyn, Mike 'gordo16' Gorodinsky, and Elior 'Crazy Elior' Sion. Five players profited more than $100,000 in March. Here was the leaderboard for the month: supernova9 (131 sessions, 10,203 hands) - $352,017 profit philivey2694 (75 sessions, 3,441 hands) - $260,283 profit Cobus83 (50 sessions, 3,574 hands) - $221,883 profit Sauce123 (73 sessions, 9,131 hands) - $198,806 profit ChaoRen160 (28 sessions, 2,264 hands) - $165,547 profit w00ki3z. (126 sessions, 16,594 hands) - $82,791 profit calvin7v (40 sessions, 4,077 hands) - $72,602 profit Secret_M0d3 (8 sessions, 558 hands) - $57,764 profit Fake Love888 (6 sessions, 1,646 hands) - $56,818 profit Durmitor26 (38 sessions, 5,008 hands) - $45,167 profit
  15. [caption width="450"] Players will be shelling out more rake in certain games at PokerStars[/caption] The news over the last 24 hours has been all about PokerStars. And Monday afternoon even more news came in, as the online poker giant announced rake increases for Spin & Gos, multi-table tournaments, and ring games. According to a release announcing the change, the average increase across all games will be 4%. In Spin & Gos, rake will go up by one percentage point for games with buy-ins of $1 to $30. The two exceptions to this are the $3 buy-in Spin & Gos, which will have their rake increased by two percentage points, and the $0.25 Spin & Gos, which will be unaffected. Outside of that price range, $60 and $100 buy-in Spin & Gos will not have their rake changed. In MTTs, PokerStars will begin raking add-ons and rebuys similar to its practice in closed-market MTTs. Starting March 28, every rebuy and every add-on will be raked while rake in Hyper-Turbo MTTs will be upped to 5%. In ring games, PokerStars will increase the cap and percentage of rake in select No Limit and Limit games, with a focus on heads-up games. Some rake caps will actually be lowered from their current levels and Fixed Limit games will remain unchanged. On Twitter, plenty of players reacted to the rake increase, including seventh-ranked Steven 'SvZff' van Zadelhoff, who tweeted: High-stakes players like Scotland's Niall 'firaldo' Farrell were concerned about the impact on games like the $109 Rebuy, which will now have every rebuy raked. "Charging rake on rebuys tilts me incredibly hard. Percentage rake vs buy-in will be much higher on 5 rebuys of 100r (545) vs a 500+30 fo," Farrell said. "As a result of these changes, PokerStars expects that the overall impact will be a rake increase of 4%," a statement from PokerStars said. "PokerStars will continue to monitor its games and make regular adjustments to pricing whenever necessary." The changes will be implemented on March 28 on PokerStars.com. The changes do not apply to closed markets such as the newly-launched PokerStarsNJ; they'll only take effect in markets that share liquidity. In defending its decision to increase rake with an overall impact of 4%, PokerStars provided a chart showing data from games played between January 8 and March 7 of this year. Then, it compared the rake taken in these games to the rake that reportedly would have been taken by its three major competitors: partypoker, 888, and iPoker. [caption width="450"] PokerStars provided this graph comparing their rake to rake at other sites[/caption] "When the rake is weighted according to the different volumes of games played at different stakes, the current rake at PartyPoker is 7% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake," PokerStars said. "The current rake at 888 Poker is 16% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake. The current rake at iPoker is 19% more expensive than under the new PokerStars rake." Vamplew responded with a chart showing rake on $20 to $24 rebuys with three rebuys and one add-on as an example of the effect that raking all rebuys and add-ons will have compared to practices on other sites: [caption width="640"] "The chart does not take rakeback into account - HUGE factor," Vamplew said. "And it's restricted to convenient stakes and game types[/caption] This is the latest change announced by PokerStars. The chain began back in November, when PokerStars announced it would reduce rewards for high-volume and high-stakes players, which resulted in a three-day boycott led by a group of Russians and Dani 'ansky451' Stern. In January, WeArePokerPlayers.com claimed a boycott it led resulted in a $1.3 million hit to PokerStars' bottom line.
  16. [caption width="640"] PokerStars officially launched in New Jersey on Monday, March 21, 2016.[/caption] Thanks for following our live blog coverage of the PokerStarsNJ launch. 9:13 PM: With nearly 1,200 seated players, there are currently eight full $1/$2 Six Max NLHE tables and 14 full $0.25/$0.50 Six Max NLHE tables. 8:01 PM: The threat of an overlay in the big nightly events on Day 1 was probably overstated. The Big $50, which carried a $1,500 guarantee needed 33 players to reach the guarantee and ended up with 79 for a total prize pool of $3,594.50. The biggest guarantee of the night was in the Nightly Stars $100. With a $10,000 guarantee the event needed 109 players to avoid an overlay. With another 58 minutes of late registration available, there are 115 players in the event, making the guarantee easily. 6:52 PM: One of the products that U.S. players will find new on PokerStarsNJ is the Spin N Go. The Hyper Turbo sit n gos, which are played three-handed, do not have a set prizepool. Before play begins players watch a spinning wheel with prizes ranging between two and 10,000 times the buy-in. Just before 7 PM three players signed up for a $5 Spin N Go and wound up splitting $6,000. 'sumzyy' took home $5,000 for winning and 'NJPLandy15' and 'alucard 27' each earned $500 for finishing second and third. If you don’t already have a PokerStarsNJ account you can sign-up here and be ready to play as soon as you’re inside the state of New Jersey. 6:20 PM: The 'Big $50' tournament which runs nightly at 6 PM and has a $1,500 guarantee, had no trouble meeting the number of the first night. With registration open for another 1 hour and 40 minutes, there are 30 players registered, meaning they've raised exactly $1,500 so far. However, unlike in other markets around the world, the buy-in of $50 is inclusive of fees, so the buy-in for this event is actually $45.50 + $4.50. This leaves the net overlay currently at $135. 5:43 PM: Six full days before their first "Sunday Major", PokerStarsNJ has a player registered for their marquee Sunday event, the Sunday Special. 'RevelOwner', who has been active on the site during throughout the day, signed up for the $200 buy-in, $50,000 guaranteed event. The full PokerStarsNJ tournament schedule includes regular daily events with buy-in from $5 to $100 and guarantees as high as $10,000. 5:37 PM: Heading into the busier part of the nightly tournament schedule, PokerStarsNJ broke through the 500-player mark with four tables of $5/$10 Six Max NLHE running, two full tables of $2.50/$5 Six Max NLHE and a full lineup of NLHE games from $0.05/$0.10 and up. 4:22 PM: Chris Moneymaker is known for winning the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, but he's not just a one trick pony. Moneymaker, playing under the screen name 'Money800NJ', is currently playing $1/$2 Pot Limit Triple Draw. And he's making hands like a boss. 3:41 PM: Jason Somerville, a Team PokerStars Pro, is in New Jersey and started streaming on Twitch.tv/jcarverpoker just after 3 PM. Somerville, playing as 'jcarverNJ', currently has just over 5,000 people watching him play a $20 deepstack NLHE event. 3:01 PM: Just after the clock struck three o'clock, PokerStarsNJ hit another milestone, topping the 400-player mark for the first time. As the afternoon approaches and more of the 9-5 bridge-and-tunnel crowd make their way home, this number should see a bigger jump. 2:50 PM: The PokerStars media event at Resorts Casino & Hotel has all of the big name Team Pros on hand to show off the new PokerStars NJ product. One of those players is Jason Mercier and he even managed to bring along his dog, marshmallow. 1:00 PM: It appears that at least on Day 1, PokerStars is quickly becoming the top site. A look at the lobby of competing sites shows PokerStars as the leader. PokerStars: 283 connected players WSOP.com: 110 cash game players* partypoker: 189 connected players *data from PokerScout.com 12:16 PM: Mainstream media is starting to pick up on the scent. The Associated Press just released a story about the re-launch of PokerStars in New Jersey and mentions the possibility that the Garden State might need to start working with other states for this thing to really take off. New Jersey has been seeking reciprocal compacts with other states and even other countries to offer Internet gambling with larger combined prize pools, but so far it has only succeeded in taking small steps toward that goal. 11:29 AM: The excitement of PokerStars being in just one state is spilling over to surrounding states - even if the play isn't. Players in the Pennsylvania Poker Community are talking about making the trip into New Jersey to play - one player did so during Soft Launch and was pretty impressed by the product, calling the software "by far the best offered in NJ right now". 11:00 AM: A new high in number of connected players of 169. There were three full $0.25/$0.50 Six Max NLHE tables and two tables of $2.50/$5 Six Max NLHE for the first time. 10:34 AM: The first official tournament now has a winner with 'Pandemicz' taking down the $15 No Limit Hold’em (Six Max, Turbo, Progressive SuperKO). 'Pandemicz' beat out PocketFives members 'Mrs. Baskets' and 'LennyCappy' to win $82.03 plus $50.57 in bounties. 10:23 AM: While the cash games are picking up and multiple tournaments are now running, there are still no ZOOM tables running. 10:15 AM: Check out our PokerStarsNJ FAQ for many of the answers to questions you might have about the return of PokerStars to the United States. 9:57 AM: New Jersey native Vanessa Selbst is apparently contemplating moving back to her home state. 9:45 AM: Traffic has peaked with 91 active players. Most players are playing $1/$2 Six Max NLHE and $0.25/$0.50 Six Max NLHE. There is also a single table of $0.50/$1 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha running. 9:30 AM: Registration is closed on the first official tournament on PokerStarsNJ. The $15 No Limit Hold’em (Six Max, Turbo, Progressive SuperKO) got 27 entries, pushing the total prize pool to $364.50 - well past the $250 guarantee. There were two other tournaments scheduled for earlier in the day, but both were cancelled after not making the minimum number of players. 8:33 AM: More and more players are finding their way to the site. Lobby shows 62 players playing and two full $1/$2 Six Max NLHE tables. The first guaranteed tournament of the day is set for a 9 AM start and has three players currently registered. 7:57 AM: It's no surprise that PokerStars has put the full weight of their Team Pros behind the launch. While Jason Somerville is scheduled to stream from New Jersey later on Monday, another Team Pro is making his way there now. [CCODE] [/CCODE] 7:41 AM: PocketFives member Steven Madara, the #17 ranked player in New Jersey, is up early and playing. Madara, playing under the screenname 'FadeOrHoldz', is seated at a $1/$2 Six Max NLHE table. 7:30 AM: A little over an hour into the day and there are 32 active players on the site. The most popular tables are $0.05/$0.10 Six Max NLHE where three tables were running. 6:13 AM: PokerStars issues a press release announcing they have passed all New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement soft launch requirements and are now 100% live in the Garden State. "We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey. Working with our partner, Resorts Casino Hotel, we look forward to providing the most exciting, innovative and secure gaming experience to New Jersey," said David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya, PokerStars' parent company.
  17. [caption width="640"] Spring Fever is in the air at 888 New Jersey[/caption] Wednesday's high in Atlantic City: 59 degrees. Thursday: 60. Spring is definitely in the air, and while it's not quite time to grab your sunscreen and surfboard, it's definitely time to play some online poker. 888 Poker, a regulated online poker room in New Jersey, is giving away over $300,000 in cash and prizes as part of it brand new Spring Fever promotion. You can win cash, freeroll tickets, and other prizes every day of the week between now and June 19. To start, 888 is giving each player two tickets to the $1,000 Spring Fever Daily Freerolls and one ticket to a $3,000 Spring Fever Weekly Freeroll. Players can get more Daily Freeroll tickets each day by earning one Status Point in poker games, participating in poker tournaments with a total buy-in of $5 or more, or wagering $10 or more in 888's casino. Only one of these tasks needs to be completed. Players who get more Daily Freeroll tickets will also be awarded special "surprises," which include free play, tickets, cash bonuses, tournament entries, and more. You can see what "surprise" you won by checking your email or looking at 888 Poker's client. "Surprises" vary by whether a player is an MVP or not. Regardless, the most likely "surprise" for each group is a $1,000 Spring Fever Freeroll ticket. The Daily Freerolls run twice a day at 7:05pm ET and 9:05pm ET. They're nine-handed and have three-minute blind levels. You'll get 1,500 in chips to start and late registration is available for a half-hour. You can register for any Daily Freeroll up to 24 hours in advance. Anyone who qualifies for three or more $1,000 Spring Fever Freerolls during the week will get entry into a $3,000 Spring Fever Weekly Freeroll. These run on Sundays at 5:35pm ET from March 20 to June 19. Prizes given away in the Weekly Freerolls include a Sony Playstation 4 to the winner, a GoPro camera to the second place finisher, and Beats headphones to the third place finisher. Weekly Freerolls have the same turbo structure as the Daily Freerolls. The fourth through 117th place finishers in the Weekly Freerolls get 888 swag like hats, shirts, and playing cards. There is no cash given away in the Weekly Freerolls, just prizes. All of the $1,000 Spring Fever Daily Freerolls give away cash. This promotion is only available for players physically located in the state of New Jersey. Non-residents are more than welcome to play if they're in New Jersey, and since this promotion stretches more than halfway into June, there should be plenty of non-Garden State residents taking part. If you don't already have an 888 account, sign up here to get $10 free with no deposit needed. The bonus comes in the form of $4 in cash and six $1 poker tournament tickets.
  18. [caption width="653"] The top five of the PocketFives Rankings this week[/caption] Sweden's 'C Darwin2' has a chokehold on the top spot in the PocketFives Rankings. He's been #1 since February 10, but there are several talented players nipping at his heels. Take Vancouver's Joel 'jbrown8777' Brown, for example, who moved up five spots in the rankings this week to settle at #5, two spots off his all-time high. Brown won a PartyPoker Powerfest tournament on Tuesday for $67,000 and a mammoth 635 PLB Points. That event drew a field of 808 players and had a buy-in of $530. To close out February, Brown took third in the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance for $20,000 and is closing in on $4 million in online tournament winnings lifetime. He was ranked as high as #3 in the world on PocketFives last year and is the top-ranked player in Canada. [caption width="667"] Stats for 'jbrown8777'[/caption] 'jbrown8777' has 6,796 PLB Points and trails top-ranked 'C Darwin2' by 600. 'C Darwin2', from Sweden, hasn't recorded an online MTT win since February 7, but has put up plenty of volume and plenty of results. He finished second in the PokerStars $109 Rebuy on Tuesday for $6,100 and final tabled a Powerfest event on March 7 for $10,000. 'C Darwin2' has almost 30 in the money finishes so far in March and has helped lead Swedes to the top three spots worldwide in the rankings, and five of the top nine. Over the years, 'C Darwin2' has accumulated over 2,000 in the money finishes, 130 top-three runs, and $3.7 million in online winnings. There wasn't much movement in the top 10 this week. Outside of the top 10, however, players jostled for position with gusto, as 'MiracleQ' rose 15 spots to #17, his highest ranking ever. 'MiracleQ' won the PokerStars Hot $55 on Tuesday for $9,200 and also has two victories this month in the PartyPoker Heavyweight Drago and one win in the PokerStars Hot $82. He's the #2 ranked player in Russia. 'philroyal888', from the UK, also set a personal best this week, moving up 16 spots from #54 to #38. He won Powerfest Event #87 on PartyPoker on Monday for $45,000 and 484 PLB Points, defeating a field of 469 entrants. One day prior, he finished fourth in the 888 Baby Whale. The next top-three finish he records will be the 100th of his career. A familiar face in the rankings, Sweden's 'Sheater', was up 31 spots this week to #42. He was ranked #1 on PocketFives as recently as 2014 and has four wins already this month: the PokerStars $40,000 Guaranteed, PartyPoker High Roller, PokerStars Big $109, and PokerStars $10,000 Guaranteed. Those four have driven his career win total north of 200. The arrow of Mexico's 'Blackk' is also pointing up after he rose 28 spots this week to #50. The top-ranked player in Mexico, 'Blackk' has four wins this month, including in the 888 Volcano for $23,000. Two days before that, he was the runner-up in the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance. He plays as 'Biack88' on PokerStars, where he just hit $3 million in career winnings, and is the owner of five PocketFives Triple Crowns. Noah 'dirtybrasil' Vaillancourt hit #67 in the rankings this week, 22 spots higher than last week. He's now 26 slots shy of his all-time high and took fifth in the FTOPS Main Event over the weekend for $17,000. Over the first weekend of March, he final tabled the Sunday Million, so he'll look to three-peat in this weekend's Sunday Majors. Hungary's 'breeth' returned to the top 100 this week at #78 thanks in part to a final table in the PokerStars Bigger $55 over the weekend for $10,000. Earlier in the month, 'breeth' won the PartyPoker High Roller for $5,000 more than that. He's the third-ranked player in Hungary and has more career online wins (115) than second and third places combined (98). [caption width="615"] Rasmus 'RasA' Agerskov Larsen reentered the top 100 at #85[/caption] Finally this week, Rasmus 'RasA' Agerskov Larsen reentered the top 100 at #85. He was ranked as high as #40 in the world last year. Larsen won the Sunday 500 in 2014 and 2015 and came within inches of another victory over the weekend, but bowed out in fourth place for $25,000. Current Top 10 Players: C Darwin2 - 7,423 points eisenhower1 - 6,953 points lena900 - 6,814 points MendaLerenda - 6,801 points jbrown8777 - 6,796 points Ariados - 6,682 points SvZff - 6,665 points gray31 - 6,601 points DeathbyQuads - 6,369 points veeea - 6,308 points
  19. [caption width="640"] Mustapha 'lasagnaaammm' Kanit had a big Sunday again, winning the PokerStars Sunday Million just one week after winning the Sunday Supersonic.[/caption]. The online tournament winning streak for Mustapha 'lasagnaaammm' Kanit continued over the weekend, as the Italian poker pro and #1 overall Global Poker League draft pick took down the PokerStars Sunday Million for a score of $177,230 -- just one week after winning the Sunday Supersonic. Longtime PocketFives member Mayu 'marroca5' Roca of Colombia captured an outright victory in the Stars Sunday Warm-Up for $70,912. There was a heads-up chop in the Stars Sunday 500, which saw
  20. [caption width="640"] Moe Farah was one of the big winners in partypoker GSSS IV action Sunday[/caption] The second and final week of the partypoker Garden State Super Series followed the same trends as the first, with big name players rising to the top of some of the series’ biggest events. That started with Leonard 'smoothustler' August and Moe 'MoeFarah' Farah claiming massive scores through the second Sunday of the series, as they won the $100,000 and $50,000 guaranteed events respectively. That wasn’t their only GSSS success though, as August added to a $19,100 score for his $100,000 guaranteed win with two runner up finishes over the last week and Farah added another GSSS win, along with a 2nd place finish. That pushed his GSSS haul to nearly $17,000 when it was all said and done. Another player that had multiple deep runs and wins throughout the second half of the series was Anthony 'flawlessbink' Maio. He final tabled seven events over the last week, including an outright win in a $10,000 guaranteed event for nearly $2,000. While Maio wasn’t included in the last New Jersey Online Poker Rankings, those results could put him there next month, although players already in that top ten certainly showed up during the last ten days. Mike 'JohnnyDrama' Haberman notched four final table runs, including two wins, while Yong 'OWNEDLOLUMAD' Kwon recorded five final table runs of his own. BorgataPoker.com professional Matt Stout notched four final table runs through the final week of the series, including an outright win, while 'ManBearPig', Chris 'kid4655' Horter and Mike 'MikeyCasino' Azzaro had similar success, with three final table runs and one win a piece. Those big names were just setting the stage for the biggest weekend of the series and Keith 't1mb3y_b33f' Donovan made the most of those massive guarantees. He won a $15,000 guaranteed event earlier in the week and then finished 4th in the $150,000 guaranteed Main Event for a nearly $10,000 score. He also won the $1,000 buy-in High Roller, claiming the lion’s share of a $88,000 prize pool and the title pushing his total GSSS earnings up near the $30,000 mark. Donovan sat comfortably in second place in last month’s New Jersey Online Poker Rankings but after a dominating final weekend of GSSS play, he could contend for the top spot heading into the spring. In total, 62 champions were crowned throughout this massive Garden State Super Series, where nearly every guaranteed prize pool was crushed. That’s a good thing for the New Jersey online poker landscape and while the sites will revert back to their normal tournament schedules this week, we already can’t wait until the next Garden State Super Series. Until then, a complete update of the final half of the GSSS IV series is found below: partypoker GSSS #24 - $5,000 GTD ($18 + $2) 120 entrants - $5,400 paid out to 18 players - Mar. 5 JohnnyDrama - $1,080 (JohnnnyDrama) ljsmith1920 - $797 (Roxi1920) NevaTeachTheWu - $594 (jedimind) Kazzz - $486 QuaddyModo24 - $405 Mazz10 - $338 (MikeyCasino) Extraction - $284 (Quintuple) Iplay4cake - $230 InspireEnvy - $176 partypoker GSSS #25 - $20,000 GTD ‘Six Max’ ($200 + $15) 92 entrants - $20,000 paid out to 12 players - Mar. 5 Moose4Life - $4,500 Flawlessbink - $3,090 (tonydatiger) mrdadio488 - $2,440 OWNEDLOLUMAD - $2,020 (ykwon17) Billy_Wheels - $1,740 MajorMalady - $1,480 partypoker GSSS #26 - $1500 GTD ($100 + $9) 185 entrants - $18,500 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 5 jmzit2u - $4,255 centrfieldr23 - $2,858 (centrfieldr) Ramz2584 - $1,943 takeAwalk - $1,526 (schaf4206) jakep474 - $1,129 (jtsnakes) ONEDLOLUMAD - $925 (ykwon17) v5nq2wp7 - $740 Stringer57 - $583 boyequity - $463 partypoker GSSS #27 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 170 entrants - $8,500 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 5 boyequity - $1,685 RidinDirty - $1,584 The_Due - $893 GaiusMaruis - $701 Bondfather - $519 (Bondfather) Flawlessbink - $425 (tonydatiger) Ardmark - $340 (bermudaACE) mjzduniak - $268 (mjzduniak) lootyman007 - $213 partypoker GSSS #28 - $7,500 GTD ‘Six Max’ ($50 + $5) 154 entrants - $7,700 paid out to 21 players - Mar. 5 upayformypennies - $1,848 (Thatgood45) treetrap - $1,251 Hyperion - $827 ill_advised - $635 (IllAdvised) JamieKerstetter - $474 (mmmWawa) Luckyduck - $385 (luckyduck01) partypoker GSSS #29 - $7,500 GTD ‘Slow Grind’ ($50 + $5) 232 entrants - $11,600 paid out to 30 players - Mar. 6 Iplay4cake - $2,436 Squishy - $1,705 (Squishy) FlamingoKid5 - $1,160 SPHINX - $940 (SPHINX167) Tiquizzle - $702 MajorMalady - $580 phatchoy - $464 (phatchoy888) Nilben - $365 mush20 - $290 partypoker GSSS #30 - $100,000 GTD ($200 + $15) 553 entrants - $110,600 paid out to 81 players - Mar. 6 smoothhustler - $19,101 (smoothustler) Moose4Life - $13,714 poopchute - $9,512 (sisco) Real_Donk_Star - $7,521 (Donk_Star) wlforever - $6,249 upayformypennies - $5,143 (Thatgood45) grokker - $4,037 P-aire_146 - $3,097 (P-aire 146) laumserg - $2,212 (Mergulas) partypoker GSSS #31 - $50,000 GTD ‘High Roller’ ($500 + $35) 111 entrants - $55,500 paid out to 15 players - Mar. 6 MoeFarah - $12,155 (moefarah) ArmadilloPhil - $8,270 Mercedes1951 - $6,383 Rrggbb35 - $5,273 Gags30 - $4,440 (Gags30) T1mB3y_B33F - $3,774 (donnysack) Cugieni4 - $3,164 boyequity - $2,553 JamieKerstetter - $1,998 (mmmWawa) partypoker GSSS #32 - $20,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 277 entrants - $27,700 paid out to 36 players - Mar. 6 TENAFLY_BILL - $5,540 jmzit2u - $3,878 Flawlessbink - $2,618 (tonydatiger) gianna07 - $2,133 Jackin44 - $1,662 DeadWrong - $1,385 (Deadwr0ng) yazi4 - $1,108 (yazi4) iwassuited24 - $873 boyequity - $693 partypoker GSSS #33 - $7,500 GTD ($50+ $5) 205 entrants - $10,250 paid out to 27 players Donate_here - $2,255 (Donate_here) Bet3Bet - $1,527 DeadWrong - $1,051 (Deadwr0ng) centrfieldr23 - $830 (centrfieldr) jfksbh - $625 jmzit2u - $513 CharlieBrown - $410 (money4bacon) nowitsover - $323 (nowitsover) TPR11 - $256 partypoker GSSS #34 - $10,000 GTD ‘Turbo’ ($100 + $9) 152 entrants - $15,200 paid out to 21 players - Mar. 6 DoorKnob - $3,648 TabulaRasa - $2,470 sansara52 - $1,634 (sansara52) SparkleTheClown - $1,254 jakep474 - $935 (jtsnakes) hags021 - $760 (hags021) RCM77 - $608 Wigler13 - $479 (Wigler13) mooseman1710 - $380 (mooseman1710) partypoker GSSS #35 - $20,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 227 entrants - $22,700 paid out to 30 players -Mar. 7 poopchute - $4,767 (sisco) Jtheace2 - $3,337 donkyluckbox - $2,270 Royalty - $1,839 (Freddie Mercury) bison39 - $1,373 (bison39) draiman517 - $1,135 (drainman517) hotcards08873 - $908 DeezNutz86 - $715 witt1313 - $568 partypoker GSSS #36 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 177 entrants - $8,850 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 7 WilfordBrimley - $2,036 (jaminonface) BagelBud - $1,367 (Bagel) POKERDORMS - $929 Aves6623 - $730 (Ryan66223) NevaTeachTheWu - $540 (jedimind) emilyrose - $443 MajorMalady - $354 babydil - $279 treetrap - $221 partypoker GSSS #37 - $7,500 GTD ‘Six Max’ ($50 + $5) 166 entrants - $8,300 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 7 WinningAtTheB - $1,648* redmo - $1,543* roystalin - $872 (ol muggins) KINGDONK99 - $685 JohnnyDrama - $506 (JohnnnyDrama) ill_advised - $415 (IllAdvised) partypoker GSSS #38 - $15,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 203 entrants - $20,300 paid out to 27 players - Mar. 8 T1mB3y_B33F - $3,750 (donnysack) ManBearPig - $3,741 Nanony - $2,081 rajagopalan3888 - $1,644 romet05 - $1,238 (romeo8880) ninjaG0 - $1,015 (ninjaGO) Muck_Your_Life - $812 (Pker4Dummies) leinad - $639 (wildman75) jalbin3 - $507 partypoker GSSS #39 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 181 entrants - $9,050 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 8 FitzroidPoo - $1,833* GrapeAPE - $1,647* Ikelove227 - $950 OWNEDLOLUMAD - $747 (ykwon17) laumserg - $552 (Mergulas) Miklan300 - $453 (Miklan300) sandman9876 - $362 BrokerRR - $285 AvonBarkz - $226 (AvonBarkz) partypoker GSSS #40 - $20,00GTD ($200 + $15) 101 entrants - $20,200 paid out to 15 players - Mar. 8 MoeFarah - $3,502* (moefarah) AvonBarkz - $3,195* (AvonBarkz) mooseman1710 - $3,060* (mooseman1710) MikeFrancesa - $1,919 HenryIam - $1,616 GrapeAPE - $1,374 MikeyCasino - $1,151 (MikeyCasino) Hitmy1outer - $929 (Hitmy1outer) sansara52 - $727 (sansara52) partypoker GSSS #41 - $20,000 GTD ($500 + $35) 67 entrants - $33,500 paid out to 8 players - Mar. 8 stevenmadara - $8,040 (7douche) smoothustler - $5,863 (smoothustler) sdlex1109 - $5,025 Tinder - $4,020 FitzroidPoo - $3,015 TENAFLY_BILL - $2,680 laumserg - $2,513 (Mergulas) kid4665 - $2,345 (hort336) partypoker GSSS #42 - $15,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 223 entrants - $22,300 paid out to 30 players - Mar. 9 MikeyCasino - $4,291 (MikeyCasino) yazi4 - $3,300 (yazi4) PokerKarma - $2,600 iwillbustyou - $1,806 (rpalm478aau) Flawlessbink - $1,349 (tonydatiger) gailums - $1,115 DeadWrong - $892 (Deadwr0ng) CheckRaise - $702 MajorMalady - $558 partypoker GSSS #43 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 184 entrants - $9,200 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 9 Kazzz - $1,803* holla2mlo - $1,500* (holla2mlo) upayformypennies - $1,200* (Thatgood45) BillyWheels - $759 stickyking - $561 (stickyking) TheKing411 - $460 Sambiniamin4 - $368 MoikeAA - $290 (MoikieAA) Godzilla - $230 (Godzilla) partypoker GSSS #44 - $10,000 GTD ($104 + $5 + $52) 171 entrants - $10,000 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 9 Flawlessbink - $2,768 (tonydatiger) GauisMarius - $1,753 pokeraddict - $1,258 MattStout - $877 TheKing411 - $1,130 JohnnyDrama - $812 (JohnnnyDrama) MontyBanx - $764 ChicagoBears85 - $731 MajorMalady - $666 partypoker GSSS #45 - $15,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 217 entrants - $9,050 paid out to 30 players - Mar. 10 ManBearPig - $4,557 shipthesherb - $3,190 (shipthesherb) MikeyCasino - $2,170 (MikeyCasino) GiantGenius - $1,758 (Pompiaa2) sofcknsick - $1,313 (Sofcknsickk) YourKiddingMe - $1,085 deerpathdave - $868 rjsk0531 - $683 Mahi_Mahi - $543 partypoker GSSS #46 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 186 entrants - $9,300 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 10 MattStout - $2,139 WinningAtTheB - $1,437 Optimus24 - $977 (optimus24) Billybackpack - $767 (billybackpac) NeverNude83 - $567 MrColdstone - $465 scratchdango64 - $372 sansara52 - $293 (sansara52) OWNEDLOLUMAD - $233 (ykwon17) partypoker GSSS #47 - $5,000 GTD ‘Speed Down’ ($50 + $5) 106 entrants - $5,300 paid out to 12 players - Mar. 10 rusty45 - $1,351* yazi4 - $1,140* (yazi4) grindharder629 - $716 (grindharder629) Billy_Wheels - $477 surffish99 - $384 dogeEATdoge - $305 GM-MitchMurphy - $239 treetrap - $186 bernstreg - $146 partypoker GSSS #48 - $7,500 GTD ‘PLO Six Max’ ($100 + $9) 100 entrants - $10,000 paid out to 12 players - Mar. 11 kid4665 - $2,850 (hort336) smoothustler - $1,850 (smoothustler) LADYDICE - $1,350 leinad - $900 (wildman75) Royalty - $725 (Freddie Mercury) boyequity - $575 partypoker GSSS #49 - $15,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 208 entrants - $20,800 paid out to 27 players - Mar. 11 SBlast2711 - $4,576 (Sblum2711) MattStout - $3,099 LOLYOUFOLD - $2,132 (ykwon17) GiantGenius - $1,685 (Pompiaa2) CheckRaise - $1,269 AvonBarkz - $1,040 (AvonBarkz) VARJAK - $832 Tremorpb - $655 (Tremorpb) gianna07 - $520 partypoker GSSS #50 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 187 entrants - $9,350 paid out to 24 players - Mar. 11 mooseman1710 - $1,899* (mooseman1710) myGAME - $1,696* (Lav519) casinochamps - $982 PokerKarma - $771 GiantGenius - $570 (Pompiaa2) TheSchuck - $468 (Schuckie) IfLoPsEtS74 - $374 riskaverse - $299 Wannabepro89 - $234 partypoker GSSS #51 - $10,000 GTD ‘Deep Stack’ ($100 + $9) 104 entrants - $10,400 paid out to 12 players - Mar. 12 Blakjaks - $2,964 ISaidTopTop - $1,924 TommyKittens - $1,404 (TommyKittens) Fuzzball - $936 Cardinals - $754 WinningAtTheB - $598 myGAME - $468 (Lav519) martillo78 - $364 boxxcarr - $286 partypoker GSSS #52 - $5,000 GTD ($50 + $5) 109 entrants - $5,450 paid out to 15 players - Mar. 12 OWNEDLOLUMAD - $1,526 (ykwon17) Tremorpb - $995 (Tremorpb) iH8Poker - $654 thehebrewhammer - $477 AvonBarkz - $341 (AvonBarkz) DrBadBeat - $273 waldorf - $218 (jrose523) Mr.Shipawitz - $177 Rick_Grimes - $136 partypoker GSSS #53 - $15,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 210 entrants - $21,000 paid out to 27 players - Mar. 12 jakep474 - $4,620 (jtsnakes) mush295 - $3,129 FepsFan10 - $2,153 Flawlessbink - $1,701 (tonydatiger) raisydaisy - $1,281 dylanfan821 - $1,050 ArmadilloPhil - $840 AA5454 - $662 jeffeb - $525 (jeffeb) partypoker GSSS #54 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 157 entrants - $7,850 paid out to 21 players - Mar. 12 xReDonKuLiSx - $1,884 (MarisKA) MoeFarah - $1,276 (moefarah) Iplay4cake - $844 sansara52 - $648 (sansara52) BrainFantana - $483 ChrisPartlow - $393 (ChrisPartlow) v5nq2wp7 - $314 Lions1B21 - $247 cabowabo1013 - $196 (njphilf) partypoker GSSS #55 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 132 entrants - $7,500 paid out to 18 players - Mar. 12 JohnnyDrama - $1,681* (JohnnnyDrama) Diesel554 - $1,529* kid4665 - $825 (hort336) Tremorpb - $638 (Tremorpb) Stoops211 - $469 WhoisWhat - $375 Flawlessbink - $300 (tonydatiger) GiantGenius - $236 (Pompiaa2) Iplay4cake - $188 partypoker GSSS #56 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 212 entrants - $10,600 paid out to 27 players - Mar. 13 Gothim32 - $2,332 Get_Some49 - $1,579 Bornstellar - $1,087 Stoops211 - $856 knittingboy - $647 taylor68 - $530 BobCapps - $424 JohnBender1984 - $334 NoYouDidnt - $265 partypoker GSSS #57 - $150,000 GTD ‘Main Event’ ($200 + $15) 744 entrants - $150,000 paid out to 108 players - Mar. 13 hags021 - $21,347* (hags021) anotherphish - $17,489* MYSTICMOUNTAIN - $16,469* T1mB3y_B33F - $9,750 (donnysack) S1nnr - $7,890 (s1nnr) doritosalllda - $6,390 jerseyboy - $4,890 BETT0RthanU - $3,585 (BETT0RthanU) AA5454 - $2,745 partypoker GSSS #58 - $75,000 GTD ‘High Roller’ ($1,000 + $60) 88 entrants - $88,000 paid out to 12 players - Mar. 13 T1mB3y_B33F - $17,177* (donnysack) drew1115 - $16,128* Tinder - $10,736 SparkleTheClown - $8,888 Acesrkings - $7,656 TheKing411 - $6,512 LADYDICE - $5,368 ManBearPig - $4,312 centrfieldr23 - $3,344 (centrfieldr) partypoker GSSS #59 - $20,000 GTD ($100 + $9) 344 entrants - $34,400 paid out to 54 players - Mar. 13 mj23style - $5,088* (RedsoxNets5) Stoops211 - $4,271* BrianFantana - $3,794* Billy_Wheels - $3,351* roystalin - $1,995 (ol muggins) kinking69 - $1,668 (deflated) Hitmy1outer - $1,342 (Hitmy1outer) Miklan300 - $1,015 (Miklan300) dogeEATdoge - $731 partypoker GSSS #60 - $7,500 GTD ($50 + $5) 241 entrants - $12,050 paid out to 30 players - Mar. 13 SparkleTheClown - $2,531 Redh0tm0mma - $1,771 (Redhotmomma) MattStout - $1,205 Kanish29 - $976 spades26 - $729 Harris212 - $603 ShellyC626 - $482 POKERDORMS - $380 MikeD87 - $301 (MikeD87) partypoker GSSS #61 - $10,000 GTD ‘Six Max Turbo’ ($50 + $5) 257 entrants - $12,850 paid out to 36 players - Mar. 13 SMDisReal - $2,570 Steelworks - $1,799 (aad) Mapz_ - $1,214 (Mapz) Tinder - $989 romet05 - $771 (romeo8880) FerociousPanda - $643 partypoker GSSS #62 - $15,000 GTD ‘Tubro’ ($200 + $15) 138 entrants - $27,600 paid out to 18 players - Mar. 13 WinningAtTheB - $5,879 Donate_here - $4,002 (Donate_here) eZZZgAAme - $3,008 TheGlyph278 - $2,484 phatchoy - $2,125 (phatchoy888) sansara52 - $1,822 (sansara52) Hyperion - $1,518 pst34 - $1,242 (petey3412) hyerolla - $966
  21. Online poker giant PokerStars has returned to New Jersey. Since it has been five years since PokerStars offered real money play to American players, PocketFives has constructed this Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer any questions that may come up. Do you have to be a New Jersey resident to play on PokerStars New Jersey? While you don't need to call the state of New Jersey home to play for real money, you do need to be in the state of New Jersey while playing. Players visiting New Jersey can play on the site as long as they pass the Geo Location test. What is Geo Location? To ensure that players are physically in the state of New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement requires PokerStars to verify a player's location using IP address and Wi-Fi signal triangulation. Who is PokerStars licensed by? PokerStars is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement. Can I use my old PokerStars account login in New Jersey? For launch, PokerStars has created the Quick Account Creation process which allows players who previously had PokerStars accounts to use that information to sign up. To take advantage of the Quick Account Creation, follow the instructions below: Login using existing PokerStars User ID and password. Press ‘Create Account on PokerStars NJ’. You will see confirmation that your account was successfully created. After login, you will be asked to acknowledge that you are at least 21 years of age and that you agree with the End User License Agreement. In order to play for real money, you will be required to complete electronic account verification. Your personal details from your old account will be pre-populated to speed up the registration process. Players who wish to create a new account and screenname and keep their previous account for play outside of New Jersey can do so. What methods of deposit and withdrawal are available? Players will be able to deposit via Skrill, NETELLER, VISA, MasterCard, ACH bank transfer and in person at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Are PokerStars New Jersey players playing against players around the world? Due to gaming laws, the PokerStars New Jersey product only includes players within the state. How do I download the PokerStars NJ software? Download the PokerStarsNJ client here. To register your account visit www.pokerstarsnj.com. Can we play on mobile devices? The PokerStars App will be available at launch and will allow players to play cash games, sit & gos and spin & gos. Will casino games be available or just poker? PokerStars is licensed to offer a full slate of casino games as well as poker. Blackjack, roulette, baccarat, video poker and slots will be available at launch. How can I add my new PokerStars NJ screen name to my PocketFives profile? Login to your PocketFives account On the top right, click on your PocketFives username and select 'Profile' Choose 'Edit Poker Names' From the drop-down menu, select 'PokerStars NJ' and enter your screen name and click 'Create New' Please note: It can take up to 24 hours for your screen name to pop up in your profile.
  22. [caption width="640"] Latvia's Dainis 'ex6tence' Budovskis preaches thinking before you click in poker.[/caption] There are countless factors that go into making one simple decision like whether to raise or fold at the poker table. Does your opponent's line make sense? What does your opponent think you have? Why did he take 10 seconds to act? How much should you bet? Why would you bet so much, Toto? Then you think to yourself, "Wait, I've seen this situation before." For 70th-ranked Dainis 'ex6tence' Budovskis, it's all about thinking before you click. Before you commit chips, muck cards, or tap the table to check, you have to be sure your action is the right one. Otherwise, you're flushing your EV down the toilet. Budovskis hit $3 million in career online tournament winnings three days ago. He has only been playing professionally for the last half-decade and said that 2015 was his worst year yet. His solution wasn't to hang up his cleats, walk away, and forget he once was in love with poker. Instead, he ardently worked on his game and whipped his mind into a state not seen before. Budovskis believes math has always been hist strong suit. As such, he has a leg up on the competition in poker, which is largely a math-driven game. He added that besides being prolific in math, staying fit has also given him an edge over his poker brethren. "I like all kinds of sports," he said. "At the moment, it's fitness that keeps me in shape since playing poker does not involve an active lifestyle." Budovskis is the top-ranked player in Latvia and has won a SCOOP bracelet, the 888 Mega Deep, PokerStars Big $162, and PokerStars Saturday Super Knockout over the years, just to name a few. He has over 400 top-three finishes in online MTTs, 38% of which are wins. Sustaining his success after a lackluster year meant that focusing on his game was paramount. "I always knew that players who review their hands and think about every spot they weren't sure about will make more profit than these who don't," said Budovskis. "When you run good, you think you deserve it. After that when you are on a downswing and look into the hands you've played, you understand that it's not just a downswing. Instead, average and weak play make our downswings bigger." Specifically, the Latvian looks at spots he wasn't certain about and calculates the odds in order to be 100% confident the next time the situation comes up. He uses software like Hold'em Manager, PokerStove, and ICMIZER in order to do so. In the long run, if he takes his own advice, he should be a more profitable player no matter what challenges variance throws at him. Every day, he looks for the biggest pots won, biggest pots lost, and key end game situations. The $3 million man then examines each hand, making sure he plays optimally. Massaging his game also involves watching videos from the training site Run It Once, mostly content from high-stakes cash regs. He explained that he has recently found a number of leaks in his game that he has tried to plug as a result of his studies. "Overly aggressive play, spewy play like three-betting too wide, re-stealing too wide with no information on how aggressive my opponent is, and opening too wide were all really hurting my game," Budovskis said. "Now before I open, I take a look at everyone at my table in a different light. I think about whether this is a good hand to open in this spot and, if so, I will. It doesn't matter who's sitting with me. I need to think about whether the hand will make me a profit in the long run in this spot against these players, not just whether the hand is good to open with or not." As his new catch phrase goes, "Think before you click." Not everyone can be as successful as Budovskis has, and some of the reason likely has to do with mistakes players make while reviewing hands. "I doubt the most players know how to calculate their spots and find an answer to that," he said. "If they don't know, I'd recommend hiring a coach. That pays off big time and most coaches don't ask for the price they are worth." "What I've noticed with a very big percentage of regs is that they have a problems with stack dynamics: how to play with 10, 20, 30 big blind stacks, and so on," Budovskis said. "For example, they stack off too deep or make some -EV move like three-bet/fold a lot when the three-bet takes 30%+ of their stack." In the first month of 2016, Budovskis was sick of struggling. His solution: review hand histories every single day. The result: he binked a few high-stakes turbo MTTs and recorded his largest score ever, a TCOOP High Roller final table for $50,000. "That gave me back some of the confidence I lost in 2015," he said. "But, there is still a lot of work to do. I can do better than just final tabling. It's all about fighting the laziness and working hard. I'm looking forward to 2016."
  23. [caption width="640"] Jonathan 'xMONSTERxDONGx' Karamalikis hopes his Big Stack Underwear line takes offl[/caption] David Beckham has his own fragrance line. Kobe Bryant has his own line of sneaker. So does Michael Jordan. John Elway once sold five car dealerships for $80 million. Mike Ditka has a well-known chain of steakhouses. Enter Jonathan 'xMONSTERxDONGx' Karamalikis, who started a line of underwear targeted at poker players called Big Stack Underwear. It's not just any kind of underwear. According to its website, it's "the most comfortable underwear you will ever wear." "My dad has been in the retail industry," Karamalikis said. "He was always brainstorming ideas. We were having dinner one night with one of his good mates and that person had been in the underwear industry for 20 years. We decided to create a poker-based underwear company." So far at least, the undie gods have been treating Karamalikis well. The end product is made from 95% viscose from bamboo and the website is littered with poker imagery and lingo. "It picked up traction during the Aussie Millions," Karamalikis said. "We have to pick up the social media, though. A lot of our marketing right now is the presence of patches that other pros and I have been wearing." Big Stack Underwear isn't cheap. At Target, you can buy five boxers for $20. At Big Stack Underwear, $20 will get you one pair… maybe. Each runs between $25 and $29 AUD and they all have poker-themed names like "suits trunks" and "big blind briefs." "It molds to your junk," Karamalikis candidly said when asked why his underwear was worth the price of five pairs from a major retail chain. "We've done market research of high quality underwear and ours is better than the designer brands like Calvin Klein. We just don't have the name quite yet." Karamalikis is the company's CEO and runs it alongside a few other partners. He admitted that business isn't booming quite yet, but someone recently placed an order for 100 pairs. That guy is apparently set for life. [caption width="320" align="alignright"] Even Big Stack's packaging is poker-themed[/caption] The Australian's time spent hawking bamboo briefs has taken away from his ability to focus wholeheartedly on the poker felts. Nevertheless, he found a few hours last weekend to take down the six-max PokerStars Sunday Supersonic for $47,000, his 17th largest online poker score to date. "I'm still spending a lot of time on poker," he said. "Big Stack is more of a side project. This is a new thing for me too. I'm still trying to get a grip on how to do things. I've been trying to keep more of an online presence for marketing purposes and constantly talk to people about it." Two of his largest online scores came in 2011: a WCOOP bracelet in a $215 Rebuy for $179,000 and a SCOOP kickoff final table for $101,000. All told, he has $5.8 million in career online tournament winnings along with another $2.5 million in live cashes. He's one of the most well-known and successful players in Australian poker history. Accordingly, even if his underwear business were to blow up, he wouldn't abandon the game that's molded him into what he is today. "If it got really big," Karamalikis said, "I'd want to make sure I had enough time to play poker and so would delegate work. It'll be a good problem to have." Karamalikis won the Asia Championship of Poker High Roller Event in 2012 for almost $500,000 and took down the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Main Event in Sydney a half-dozen years ago for $454,000. Accordingly, he has received a ton of face time in the poker world and in the mainstream press. "I think I am an Australian ambassador," Karamalikis said. "I've been around for a long time. I know a lot of people from difference facets of the poker world. When people think of Australian poker players, I hope to be one of the first ones they think of." Other popular players from "Down Under" include Joe Hachem, Jeff Lisandro, and Tyron Krost. A little over two months into 2016, Karamalikis is planning to take poker as it comes. However, he still has one lofty goal in mind, something he can try to cross off his bucket list in a few short months. "I want to do well in the WSOP Main Event," he said. "I've probably played the Main Event five times and cashed once. I'm looking forward to it."
  24. [caption width="639"] Brandon 'tedSTRETCH' Merrill won his fourth Triple Crown, credit: CodigoPoker[/caption] Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. A new perspective. Something different to wake up to every morning. For Brandon 'tedSTRETCH' Merril, a move from Costa Rica to Colombia meant a noticeable boost to his poker game. Last year, Merrill gathered his belongings, stuffed them in a few bags, and moved southeast from Jaco Beach, Costa Rica to Medellin, Colombia. Jaco is on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and is the equivalent of a 24/7 spring break. Its beautiful scenery, warm climate, and sprawling beaches have made the seaside hamlet a popular destination for poker players from the United States and around the world. Now, contrast white sandy beaches with the urban metropolis of Medellin, Colombia, located six hours from the nearest natural sand. It has a population of over two million and could not be more dissimilar to Jaco. It's like comparing apples to basketballs. "It's pretty imperative to know Spanish here," Merrill said. "There is hardly any English spoken. So, I have been spending a lot of time studying and learning to speak Spanish correctly. I almost think pronouncing things correctly is harder than the game of poker for me." Why move? Why lose any hope of mastering how to surf? "Jaco was pretty awesome for the first year I was there," he said, "Especially since I hadn't traveled much outside the United States besides Mexico. But it's a pretty big party town and full of tourists and people passing through. It's almost like a miniature U.S. for ex-pats in that you don't need to speak Spanish and the prices are not that much cheaper." Merrill met his current roommates in Costa Rica and they invited him to make the journey 600 miles away. So far, the decision has proven to be profitable financially and emotionally. "I have been liking Colombia way more than Costa Rica even though there is no surf close by," he said. "Colombia also has been at the top of the list of happiest countries for the last couple of years. This year, I want to tour South America now that my Spanish is passable and maybe hit up the LAPT circuit a lot more." Not only have his linguistics gotten better, but a desire to alter his lifestyle has been ignited as well. "I started eating healthy, working out a ton, and paying a chef to prepare meals for me on grinding days the last six months," Merrill shared. "I have always been pretty healthy and skinny, but didn't really realize the tremendous impact doing things right would have on my mental state and clarity while grinding." When he's not playing online, Merrill spends time at a nearby manmade lake where he enjoys wakeboarding and jet skiing. He also plays soccer with other poker players who live in the area. [caption width="640"] Medellin, Colombia, Merrill's new digs, credit: MaverickTraveler[/caption] Merrill believes that without the move, he would not be as successful as he is today. "A couple of my roommates don't go out partying at all, and the others rarely do, so it's definitely easier to stay focused on playing and discussing hands than other living situations I have been in," he said. "Also, the climate is perfect. It's not usually too hot or too cold. That really helps when I have a bad session or when I'm running badly." His roommates are heads-up and Six Max cash game grinders who have had a profound impact on Merrill's game. As he put it, "Cash players are way more GTO sound." In February, Merrill won his fourth PocketFives Triple Crown, an award that requires a player to win three $10,000 prize pool tournaments across three sites tracked for the PocketFives Rankings within a seven-day period. He won MTTs on PokerStars.fr, PokerStars, and 888 and piled up 467 PLB Points for his fourth award. He won his third Triple Crown last August. "I had a few nice scores in February and saw that I had a shot at getting the Monthly PLB, so I tried to put in a ton of volume towards the end of the month," Merrill said. "I ended up not winning the PLB, but it was nice to get the Triple Crown without really trying for it. I have had a lot of times where I just needed one more win to cinch the Triple Crown, but couldn't close." Merrill ended up finishing third in the February Monthly PLB race with 2,440 points. While the new locale is certainly helping, Merrill believes being a student of the game is more important than many realize. "I try to take as many tips and tricks from guys who are crushing the game and implement them in my own game and lifestyle," said Merrill. He has piled up $3.3 million in career online tournament winnings and ascended all the way to #39 in the rankings, his best showing ever. Moreover, he's the top-ranked player in Colombia and has an amazing 835 top-three finishes in online MTTs, 60 more than the most successful online player in history, Chris 'moorman1' Moorman.
  25. [caption width="640"] Ian 'APokerJoker2' Steinman is the new #1 ranked player in Nevada[/caption] There's a new top dog in town in Nevada. After entering the top 10 of the PocketFives Rankings for Nevada in the beginning of January, Ian 'APokerJoker2' Steinman is now the new #1 player in the state. Steinman has 2,245 PLB points after goin on a tear of epic proportions in February. He won 13 online MTTs during the month, the largest of which was worth $2,200 for the WSOP.com $3,000 Guaranteed Nightly on February 12. Steinman is up to 51 wins for his Nevada career and $157,000 in total winnings. He's the #21 ranked player in the entire US and lives in Carson City. Entering February, he trailed the #1 ranked player in the Silver State by 56 points. Two-hundred points behind Steinman on the leaderboard in Nevada is 'ChaosTheory', who was last month's #1 player. 'ChaosTheory' was quiet during the 29 days of February, only recording 11 cashes, but he won the WSOP.com $3,000 Guaranteed Nightly for $1,600, his 44th career win. 'ChaosTheory', who lives in Henderson, is seven cashes away from hitting 600 for his career and was #1 in Nevada to open 2016. David 'MastAAce08' Goodman held strong at #3 this month in Nevada with 1,896 PLB Points. He turned in 17 in the money finishes last month, including a win in the WSOP.com $1,500 Guaranteed Weekend Sprint. He has $662,000 in career online MTT winnings and is the top-ranked player in the city of Las Vegas. Moving up two spots this month in Nevada to #4 is 'wsopfreezer', who reentered the top 10 in the beginning of February. He's trending upwards thanks to a final table in the WSOP.com Big Deal on Sunday for $4,400 as well as a win in the site's Weekend Warm-Up last month for $2,600. 'wsopfreezer' has 1,773 PLB Points, and this is the highest he has ever been ranked in Nevada. He plays as simply 'freezer' on WSOP.com. Dropping one spot in the Nevada rankings in March to #5 is 'DatDude', who calls Las Vegas home and has 1,648 PLB Points. He took fourth in the WSOP.com Big Deal over the weekend for $3,500, his second largest cash all-time, and owns almost 200 top three finishes. His largest online tournament score came last year in the WSOP.com Weekly Sunday for $3,600. Moving into the top 10 in Nevada this month is Bobby 'bcm4924' McLawhorn, who can be found at #9. After not recording a score since last August, McLawhorn came back with a vengeance in February. He recorded 20 cashes during the month, seven of which were wins. He won the WSOP.com $3,000 Guaranteed Nightly six times last month and also took down the site's $2,000 Guaranteed No Limit Hold'em Deepstack. He now has 107 tracked wins and could easily be ranked in the top five by next month. [caption width="300" align="alignright"] Jed 'JCHAK' Hoffman is #10 this month[/caption] Rounding out the top 10 in Nevada is Jed 'JCHAK' Hoffman. Hoffman, who was also ranked #10 through January, recorded just nine cashes in February, but two-thirds of them were top 10 finishes. He has $148,000 in career online winnings on WSOP.com and is the second-ranked player in Reno. Here are the top 10 players in Nevada along with the PLB score for each: APokerJoker2 - 2,245 points ChaosTheory - 2,012 points MastAAce08 - 1,896 points wsopfreezer - 1,773 points DatDude - 1,648 points Power - 1,470 points PaulDewald - 1,470 points Freakinpoet76 - 1,431 points bcm4924 - 1,304 points JCHAK - 1,215 points

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