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Found 7 results

  1. When Brent Hanks took on the role as PokerGO’s Director of Programming, a good friend texted him with a congratulatory note - and a warning. “You are going to make and lose a lot of friends because of this,” the text read. The job meant having some say in who was - or wasn’t - invited to play on some of poker’s most popular shows, including Poker After Dark and the recently relaunched High Stakes Poker. Putting a lineup together for Poker After Dark, Hanks is often working with two variables: the first is a theme for the show while the second is, well, who’s available. For High Stakes Poker, Hanks has the extremely enviable position of taking a backseat to Poker Hall of Famer, Mori Eskandani. “High Stakes Poker was a little different because that was pretty much going back to the man, the myth, the legend Mori and his connections to so many of the great players,” Hanks said. “Obviously Mori being able to network with Jean-Robert Bellande, and Tom Dwan especially, who has some connections to some fun players as well. So it's like herding cats a lot of the time.” One of the key sponsors of the return of High Stakes Poker has been Poker King, an Asian-facing online poker site that has relationships with Dwan, Bellande, Nick Petrangelo, and Phil Ivey. That helped ensure that all of those players were part of the HSP cast this season. The nostalgic appeal of Dwan and Ivey, combined with the likes of Petrangelo, Jason Koon and a few new faces have helped forge a table dynamic that reminded many poker fans of the original incarnation of the show. Finding on-air chemistry amongst six to eight randomly chosen poker players isn’t easy, but Hanks has figured out that ensuring producers don’t end up with those players buried in their hooded sweatshirts, too dialed in to the game to be talkative or entertaining once the TV lights go on. “A lot of the times you want to bring what you know is sort of maybe a game that's happening elsewhere, or these guys have a ton of history playing with each other and you bring that chemistry and you bring those lineups together,” Hanks said, pointing to the times Phil Hellmuth has been the center of a show featuring a number of his friends from Silicon Valley. “This game is amazing because they just rip on Phil. Like they'll pay him not to talk. Jason (Calcanis) and Chamath (Palihapitiya) are just so brutal with Phil Hellmuth. You don't really see that but you realize that that's what it's like in their home game. He's kind of the whipping boy.” The cast for the first episode of High Stakes Poker included Bellande, Dawn, Petrangelo, alongside HSP newcomers Bryn Kenney, Brandon Steven, Rick Salomon, and former major league baseball player Michael Schwimer. While poker fans will recognize Kenney, Steven, and even Salomon, it was the addition of Schwimer to the roster that got Hanks’ blood pumping. “I believe he's friends with Tom Dwan and that was the connection to the show, but he is special. That guy played so many hands. His comments, you couldn't tell if he was being genuine and he would say something like, ‘Oh, that's a bad card’ and he'd bet anyway,” Hanks said. “And everyone would just die laughing. He'd be up a million, he'd be down a million. Yeah, wait till you see the next episode. It's crazy.” If poker fans who watched the first episode of the new season liked Schwimer, Hanks thinks they’re gonna love what’s to come when some more new blood grabs an open seat. “Another guy that stood out for me, who you haven't seen yet, that's going to be in the show is Jake Daniels. He is a recreational-slash-businessman-slash semi-pro. Hails out of Texas. He is electric when it comes to his play,” Hanks said. With the entire season already in the can and being voiced over by Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza in Los Angeles, Hanks already has some ideas in mind for new players to add next season that might have been overlooked. “I think Garrett Adelstein was the biggest snub, and if I had my control of it, he would have played in the games, but obviously there's the politics involved,” Hanks said. “The reality is we had a huge list. When we film again, hopefully in March, which is the plan … I'm just going to fight for him. When I think of high stakes poker, I think of Garrett Adelstein, he's one of these modern players and I think that most people that are fans of the game would agree.” Another one of the challenges that Hanks and Eskandani face with every casting decision is making sure that not only is the PokerGo core audience going to be happy and want to tune in, but they also try to attract viewers who might not quite be poker diehards. “The key is getting outside. So it's, can we target the hardcores? Yeah, we're doing that. We're giving them the content that they love, Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, all the tournaments, obviously the World Series of Poker,” Hanks said. “But what else can we do to make sure that we get outside of that? And that's the difficulty, that's the trick that, unfortunately, we're still trying to learn and solve every single day from the industry side.” That text message about making and losing friends comes in full view for Hanks when new shows air. Whether it’s a group of familiar faces or a new face or two, he always ends up hearing from one or two players, either privately or via social media, who are disappointed or even upset that they weren’t included. Hanks always has to ask them what including them in the show would have done for the metric that matters most, total viewers. “You're the best player in the world. That's how you make a living. That's how you print money. No problem. But if you really care about your brand and if you really bitch about not being on shows, well then let's build, right?,” Hanks said. “I don't care if you want to be an introvert and you just want to print money and do your thing in poker. I'm all about it. Have at it. You are the man. Awesome stuff. I just don't want to hear it when you say, ‘Well, why can't I get on that show?’" When Black Friday shut down the three busiest online poker sites in the United States, the first defence that poker industry advocates turned to was that poker was a game of skill. Hanks understood the thinking at the time, but as daily fantasy sports and most recently sports betting, have become accepted forms of gambling, Hanks thinks poker needs to lean into that side of the game to help build a more mainstream audience. “I don't see why poker should be any different. It's time to embrace gambling for what it is. Poker is gambling. And we should be allowed to say that without hushing and not saying the G word. And to me, I think we're there. I think the industry is there,” Hanks said. “We're going to turn a corner and we should be sort of seen in the same light as daily fantasy or fantasy football or just sports betting in general. Is there an element of skill? Sure. But for the most part, this is gambling and you should have fun.” That belief is also something reflected in how Hanks puts lineups together for Poker After Dark and when he looks at the cast for this season of High Stakes Poker, he knows they’ve got a hit on their hands thanks in large part to just how much gamble there is amongst the players. “Do I like it when you've got guys that are willing to mix it up, maybe gamble, do prop bets on the side, talk about that? Yeah, I think there's a culture there that is appealing,” Hanks said .”And I think the mainstream, the masses, really sort of resonate towards that as opposed to just so much of the solver study.”
  2. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES Lance and Matt are pretty excited that Tom Dwan is back on Poker After Dark. On this episode, they discuss Dwan's big hand against Antonio Esfandiari, wrap up all the action from the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, preview Poker Night in America's King of the Hill event and convince themselves to go see Molly's Game, the poker movie from Aaron Sorkin.
  3. [caption width="640"] Tom Dwan is the headliner in the first three episodes of Poker After Dark on PokerGO (WPT photo)[/caption] When PokerGO announced they were bringing Poker After Dark back as part of their schedule, there was plenty of speculation as to who would be on the show. Fans seemed to want some of the players who played on the show before mixed in with some of the top younger talent that has emerged since the show last ran. Nobody thought it would mean the return of Tom Dwan though. Thursday night, PokerGO announced the first three lineups for the show and Dwan is scheduled to be playing in all three. The first three days of PAD are a $100,000 minimum buy-in cash game with $200/$400 blinds and a $400 button ante. The first show airs live on PokerGO, Monday, August 14 at 8 pm ET. Subsequent episodes will also air live on Tuesday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 16. The nosebleed wunderkind, once a regular PAD participant, has been playing in Macau and Manila and has spent very little time in the public eye since Black Friday. “The shows were fun, they ended up being more interesting and more fun than I expected. It also helped that I won basically every hand that I played. If I called they were bluffing, if I was bluffing they folded. I’m hoping that continues,” said Dwan. The first episode also features Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari while Doyle Brunson and Andrew Robl are both scheduled to play in the second and third episodes. Jean-Robert Bellande, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein will also appear on all three episodes. Lineup #1 - Monday, August 14 Tom Dwan Daniel Negreanu Antonio Esfandiari Jean-Robert Bellande Lauren Roberts Bill Klein Lineup #2 - Tuesday, August 15 Tom Dwan Doyle Brunson Andrew Robl Jean-Robert Bellande Lauren Roberts Bill Klein Lineup #3 - Wednesday, August 16 Tom Dwan Doyle Brunson Andrew Robl Jean-Robert Bellande Lauren Roberts Bill Klein
  4. [caption width="640"] William Kassouf is in Los Angeles for the first time, playing the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker event (WPT photo)[/caption] Eighteen months ago William Kassouf was still some random, relatively unknown British poker player who’d gotten a bit of poker fame after a hand with Vanessa Selbst. Now though, the 35 year old is a poker celebrity, playing on Poker After Dark and posing for selfies with international rock stars that wanted HIS photo. “This is how I seem to roll these days. Straight from London to Vegas, as you do, to play the Poker After Dark, $25,000 buy-in with the likes of Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, David Williams and couple of other heroes. It was a good lineup, fun table,” said Kassouf. Kassouf was part of the lineup for PAD’s ‘Voices Carry’ week that featured other loud and brash poker players. Kassouf of course rose to this level of poker celebrity during the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. Kassouf’s “speech play” drew the ire of other players and earned him warnings and penalties on his way to a 17th place finish. “From two years ago to now, it’s been phenomenal. Since last year’s Main Event coverage, people talked about (my) 15 minutes of fame, ‘Oh it won’t last, we’re not going to hear about him in six months’ … a year later, ‘Oh we won’t hear about him another few months’. I’ve gone a year and a half since then and here I am right now mixing it up with all the superstars, the rock stars, the celebrities, the poker heroes,” said Kassouf. Now Kassouf is onto Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker. While it’s his first time in Los Angeles, it’s also his first time visiting somewhere in the United States other than Las Vegas. “Thought I’d make the short trip over to LA while I’m in this neck of the woods and come play the WPT Legends of Poker,” said Kassouf. “Believe it or not, I’ve been to the US seven times, Las Vegas seven times - never been anywhere outside of Nevada. So I thought I’ve got to give this tournament a spin, Legends of Poker, I’ve heard lots of good things.” Playing on Poker After Dark afforded him the opportunity to play with some of poker’s biggest stars, a trend that continued with the Legends of Poker. Kassouf rattles off names like Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth before talking about possibly the biggest name in the tournament. - even if the poker world doesn’t know much about him. “GACKT, Japan’s #1 rock star is here. He wanted to have a photo with me. He said he watched me in the WSOP. He didn’t know I’m actually half-Japanese, half-Lebanese, and he was taken aback by that and he was buzzing,” said Kassouf. “The fact that he watched me in the WSOP last year and wanted to have a photo with me, it’s great. I put a photo with him up on Twitter and so many people are re-tweeting it all over Japan. It’s gone crazy.” Even though he’s the one being asked for photos with fans and other players, Kassouf still has a little bit of recreational player / poker fan in him. Having become a household name for poker fans around the world meant a different experience for him when he returned to the RIo this past summer. “I couldn't’ step like two minutes in the Rio without someone shouting ‘Nine high like a boss!’ or ‘The coconuts, mate! Can we have a selfie?’ So it’s great, it does get tiring after a while, but I enjoy it,” admitted Kassouf.
  5. Clear your schedules for the next two nights as "Godfather Week" takes over Poker After Dark. Doyle Brunson will be joined by a handful of poker’s biggest names as they compete for astronomical stakes in a mixed game cash game on PokerGO. Along with Brunson, Gus Hansen, Daniel 'Jungleman' Cates, Scott Seiver, Brian Rast, and Billy O'Neill will be playing mixed games at limits of $1,500/$3,000. The minimum buy-in is $50,000 and they will be playing HORSE and Deuce to Seven Triple Draw. The action starts at 6 pm ET (3 pm PT) on PokerGO. The all-star team of Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman will be in the booth to provide commentary and analysis for both nights of action. Will Hansen Provide the Action? Hansen took a bit of time off from high-stakes poker in more recent years but appears to be back and ready to tackle some of the best at incredible limits. The 'Great Dane' has a career the includes more than $10.2 million in live tournament earnings, and he is also the owner of three WPT titles and one WSOP gold bracelet. Hansen has been known to bring a style all his own to the poker table, and it's often been one that drives a lot of the action in a game. Will we be getting the old Hansen driving play or will we be getting a newer, more tame version of this poker great? That's a question we can't wait to see answered come Tuesday. Cates, Seiver, and Rast Represent Today's Mixed Game Specialists Cates, Seiver, and Rast represent the best mixed game players in poker today. Cates is the youngest of the three at 28, Seiver is the middle child at 33, and then Rast is 36. Their ages may not seem old, but these guys have all played millions of hands of poker between online and live play and regularly lock horns in games of the highest stakes. Having the opportunity to watch the three of them play in such a high-caliber lineup at limits larger than most of the paychecks many of us see on a monthly basis will be nothing short of a treat. It will also provide a great learning experience because with hole cards shown, the audience will be able to pull back the curtain for insight into every street of every hand. Don’t Sleep On Billy O'Neill If there was a name you wouldn't recognize at this table, it'd be that of Billy O'Neill, but don't be surprised if he leaves the game as the biggest winner. If you follow poker closely, you've likely seen his name pop up here or there, or you may recognize his face from a photo or two. Even if you attempted to look up some of his results, you wouldn’t find much. HendonMob.com only has him winning just more than $195,000 and all of those results come from 2010 to 2012. O'Neill is a regular in Bobby's Room at Bellagio or the Ivey Room at ARIA, playing the highest stakes in all games. All of his peers know the level of skill he brings to the table and the stakes won't be foreign to him. The $1,500/$3,000 mixed game action for Godfather Week on Poker After Dark starts Tuesday, October 23, at 6 pm ET on PokerGO. Get your popcorn ready. If you don't already have a PokerGO subscription, sign up using the code "pocket5s" to receive $10 off an annual subscription.
  6. For many who take the game of poker seriously, they can point to another player who has had a profound effect on their game. Whether it’s emerging from obscurity to win the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, pulling off heart-stopping bluffs on High Stakes Poker, or crushing the nosebleed stakes of online poker, some of the best poker players in the world have helped to inspire generations of new players find their way in poker. We've spoken with some of the biggest stars in the game today about who it their poker idols are. Chris Moorman is often referred to as one of the most successful online poker players in history. Before the era of Super High Roller online tournaments, Moorman's dedication to the online grind helped him become the first player to reach $10 million in earnings. For Moorman, his love of online poker has never seemed to fade as he was also the first player to break through the $15 million earnings mark as well. Moorman is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, a PocketFives Legacy Award winner, and continues his role as an 888poker ambassador. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver maintains the record for the most online Triple Crowns (30) and boasts more than $16.6 million in total lifetime online earnings. When you first started playing poker, who was the player you admired the most? Doyle Brunson. What was it about that player that you liked or admired? On the site that I learned to play on he was often seen at the highest stakes limit and NLH cash games bashing it up. Plus, I’d read Supersystem cover to cover. When did you first get to see them play (either on TV, or live)? High stakes poker would probably have been the first time but I also got to play with Doyle on day 2 of the WPT $25k at Bellagio which was a surreal moment. Did you ever get to meet that player and what was that like? I signed with Doyle’s Room as the fourth member of their Brunson 10 team in 2009 and got to go for dinner with him at Asia de Cuba in London (which has now become one of my favorite restaurants). He really is a great storyteller and it was a really fascinating evening and experience. Can you tell me about something either on the felt or off of the felt that you learned from them? I actually called him asking for some advice when I was going through a tough period in the game and he gave me some really good perspective on things and helped me to recognize that life wasn’t so bad! How does it feel to know somebody out there looks at you the way you looked up to your favorite player? It’s an amazing feeling. I was fortunate enough to get to play Poker After Dark in Vegas with a big fan of mine, Peter Martin, who had satellited into the event for just $1. I even let him knock me out of the tournament.
  7. For many who take the game of poker seriously, they can point to another player who has had a profound effect on their game. Whether it’s emerging from obscurity to win the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, pulling off heart-stopping bluffs on High Stakes Poker, or crushing the nosebleed stakes of online poker, some of the best poker players in the world have helped to inspire generations of new players find their way in poker. We've spoken with some of the biggest stars in the game today about who it their poker idols are. For the better part of 10 years, Sweden’s Sofia Lövgren has been in the poker spotlight as an ambassador for online poker site 888poker. During that time she has earned over $425,000 in a tournament career that shows her putting up results all around the world in prestigious events including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, Asian Poker Tour, and 888poker LIVE. Her career-high cash came back in 2016 when she went on a deep run in the WSOP Millionaire Maker, an event with 7,190 players where she took 11th place for over $75,000. Since that time, Lövgren has continues to travel the globe playing poker while also spending time grinding online in the deep stack cash games she originally came up playing. When you first started playing poker, who was the player you admired the most? I remember back in the days when I used to watch Poker After Dark on TV at home with my dad and brothers. Patrik Antonius was playing there and it was a lot of fun to watch him. He was also very exciting to rail when he was crushing sky-high levels online. What was it about that player that you liked or admired? I liked his unpredictable style and cool poker face. Totally impossible to get a read from. When did you first get to see them play (either on TV, or live)? I was watching Poker After Dark at home on TV, already before I started playing poker. It was exciting to watch and I decided that I would like to learn poker myself. Did you ever get to meet that player and what was that like? I have met him several times and he is really a super nice guy. Cool, always friendly, and very relaxed. Can you tell us about something either on the felt or off of the felt that you learned from them? I have definitely picked up knowledge and poker moves by watching YouTube videos. TV tables where hole cards are shown is a very good way to learn from and improve your game. Next to playing poker myself, I find watching videos of people who are better than myself the most effective way to learn. How does it feel to know somebody out there looks at you the way you looked up to your favorite player? It always makes me happy when people come up to say hi and that they admire my poker. I also like to talk to any poker player and listen to their poker stories.

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