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Found 31 results

  1. Hey Friends, New to this forum. I was searching for some poker forums and found this page. Can anyone help me with some good authorized websites to play poker as I am coming here from mobile poker games. 😅
  2. We're in the home stretch of 2014. In fact, just four days remain in this calendar year, which means it's time to reflect on the year that was and create a few goals for 2015. In a thread in the Poker Community forum, posters were sharing their goals and aspirations for next year. Whether it was building a bankroll or dabbling in live games, plenty of players are looking forward to the year to come. A poster from the UK kicked off the thread, saying, "Mine are in order most important down to not-so-important: (1)final table the Sunday Storm, (2) get five four-figure scores, (3) cash in at least two SCOOPs, (4) don't play online poker drunk, and (5) get a six-figure score. Apart from #5, I think these are achievable." Across the pond in Canada, a PocketFiver who already has $500,000 in online tournament scores shared what he's looking forward to accomplishing next year: "(1) 10K+ MTTs, (2) $200K profit, (3) top 200 in the PocketFives Rankings, (4) one six-figure score, and (5) make a profit in 200nl." Posters from the US also got in on the action despite the number of regulated online poker sites in that country being limited. A poster from Texas wrote that he wanted to "show profit each month of the year, move up from mid-stakes to become a reg at higher stakes, get my $250K badge, get into the top 1,000 worldwide, get into the top 25 in the USA, increase my work ethic off of the tables, increase my ability to multi-table better, and not be table-restricted." Bankroll management was a running theme, as it tends to be this time of year with bills piling up following the holidays. One poster wrote that he wanted to "manage my bankroll better. In the past, I've been guilty of spending winnings instead of padding and mainlining my bankroll. I don't mean spending on bills, but on impulse items and such." There was a similar thread in our New Jersey poker community. In that state, regulated online poker on sites like Borgata Poker, PartyPoker, and 888 Poker exist, giving players several options. One novice to the game wrote, "I'm still new to poker, so I'm looking to keep improving and hopefully get that run-good on my side as well." Another poster from New Jersey focused on live tournaments in places like Atlantic City, saying that he wanted "to play at least three live events this year and be listed on the Hendon Mob." We'll leave the last word on this topic to Dennis Dlorican Lopez, who produces a considerable amount of content for PocketFives related to poker in New Jersey and is one of the fixtures of that community. Lopez wrote what he's looking forward to accomplishing in 2015: "Try to put in more volume. Ship a Sunday Major and or a nightly $10K Guaranteed on any site. Also, improve as a player overall." What are your poker goals for 2015? Post in one of the threads or comment here and let us know. We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Consider the following scenario: You're a new poker player who is invested in a strategy coach to get you on the track to making steady income at the tables. You end up in a hand with Kh2h on a board of AsTh9h4c and your opponent accidentally flashes you his hand of Ac6d. You want to know what your chances were of winning, so you review the hand with your coach during your next session. Your coach tells you there was a 20% chance that you'd catch a flush on the river and moves on to the next hand you want to review. Technically, your coach is correct, but has he improved your game? Not really. From my perspective, coaches who give these kind of answers are not coaches at all. Luckily, no decent strategy coach would gloss over this obvious opportunity to teach you how to calculate probability. Unfortunately, in equivalent mental coaching scenarios, you may be settling for the right answer and not even realize you're missing out on game-changing information. In the example above, it's easy to spot the problem with handing you the answer instead of teaching you how to get the answer yourself. The former only helps with one situations that's unlikely to come again anytime soon; the latter helps you handle a wide variety of situations that you'll encounter every time you play. Consider a similar scenario with a mental coach: You've found a soft game and you've tripled up. Then your pocket aces get cracked by a recreational player who gloats about it for the next 15 minutes. You end up spewing off half your stack over the next five orbits before you leave the table. The next week, you schedule a session with a reputable mental coach, tell him you're struggling with tilt, and he tells you to do the Fibonacci sequence in your head to calm down next time you take a bad beat. The problem with this answer is much more subtle than the strategy example, especially if you're new to mental coaching, but it's just as significant. The problem with this coaching style is two-fold. First, it creates dependency. By spoon-feeding you answers, you have to come back to your coach for every subsequent question. Second, it teaches you nothing about the underlying causes of your problem. Even if your coach's advice works for you, you'll never be able to address the root cause or extrapolate on that advice to develop your own mental techniques. In short, you're unlikely to ever reach your optimal mental game. So what should you be asking to ensure you do reach your optimal mental game? When in a mental coaching session, you should be looking for the why. If you can figure out why something is or is not happening, you can begin to understand it and begin to effect change. Do not just settle for an answer and accept it as true before moving on to the next question. If your problem is tilt, it's possible that the Fibonacci sequence may actually help you most. However, your coach shouldn't recommend that solution unless he or she is basing that suggestion on knowledge of how you personally think and react to situations at the table. By taking the time to understand you personally, your coach can help you better understand yourself and teach you how to change your own mental game. Here is another way to think about it: imagine you are taking a taxi somewhere you have never been before. You say, "Driver take me here please" and you end up where you asked to go. However, you were staring out the window lost in thought or looking at your phone along the way and have no idea how you ended up at that destination. You will need to call another cab when you are ready to leave. Mental coaching should be more like driving yourself with a friend in the passenger seat. Your co-pilot tells you where to turn and what landmarks to look out for along the way. When you end up at your destination, you not only remember how you got there, but you learned what signposts were along the way so you can explore on your own next time without getting lost. Over time, clients should be able to map out processes that work for them so that they can solve their own issues. What I want for my clients is for them to no longer need my help. This should be the ultimate goal for any mental coach. If you have any doubt that your mental coach has another goal in mind, you may be settling for the right answer instead of pursuing your optimal game. John Wood is the on-staff mental coach at Alex Fitzgerald's Pokerheadrush.com. For a discount on his mental coaching services, please visit this link.
  4. In a blog published on Friday on FullContactPoker, Daniel Negreanu (pictured) gave his take on becoming a professional poker player. He explained, "A professional poker player is a small business owner, in the business of entertaining their customers (players who aren't as skilled as they are)." Negreanu added that part of being an owner of a business is to create a two-sentence vision statement about what you want to get out of your career as well as determine a concrete income you can achieve. "Drawing from our vision statement, we need to make sure that our plan is financially responsible and that we are continuing to develop our skills away from the table," Negreanu cautioned. He gave an example of a player wanting to make $100,000 from poker in a year, not a far-fetched goal by any means. However, by his calculations, a person would need to work upwards of 120 hours per week in order to amass that amount. That's 17 hours a day, which barely allows any time to eat and run errands. Kiss your social life goodbye. He questioned, "If you aren't playing with a bankroll big enough to play the games you want and live the lifestyle that you want, then what is your plan if you run out of funds? How will you stay in action? Borrowing from friends is one option, but how will you ever build a bankroll big enough to pay them back?" Negreanu asserted that between 2% and 5% of the poker population can "make the lifestyle work." The PokerStarspro noted, "There are many careers where the odds are heavily stacked against you. There are heroes, those special people who have 'it' and find a way to make it, but most will fail. This holds true in poker as well." It wasn't Negreanu's intent to be full of doom and gloom, by the way. Instead, he summarized, "My intention wasn't to discourage you from chasing your dreams, whatever they may be. My intention was to illustrate to you that it will require hard work. It will not be as easy as it looks on TV. Are you willing to put in all that hard work, all the while knowing that even if you do, it still may not be enough?" Read Negreanu's full thoughts by clicking here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. The biggest names in poker will most likely find themselves in Europe in October chasing not only the ten WSOP bracelets available at WSOP Europe but also the riches that come with another European Poker Tour stop. For those staying State-side, October features great mid-tier buy-in events across the country. Europe The World Series of Poker is back in Europe, but at a new location as the Series goes to Germany for the first time. Ten bracelets will be awarded at Berlin's Spielbank Casino from October 8-24. The €10,450 WSOPE Main Event is a six-day affair as the biggest names in poker go after one of the year's most prized titles. The next stop on the European Poker Tour brings players back to Malta with their series running October 21-31. The €5,300 Main Event starts right after the WSOPE Main Event ends and the events on Mediterranean island are expected to draw large fields once again. If you're not looking to live it up in Europe, there's plenty of more moderately-priced series going on all around the United in States in October. Northeast The 20th edition of the Foxwoods World Poker Finals runs from October 3-19 with over $1,600,000 in guaranteed prize pools during the 21-event series. The Parx Big Stax XIII series is now underway through October 19 with multi-flight events at buy-ins of $330, $550 and $1,100. South The Heartland Poker Tour makes their way to the South in October for two tournament series. First, to the Daytona Beach Kennel Club for their $1,650 Main Event October 9-12, and then to Mississippi the following week as they visit the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg. The Isle Casino in Pompano Park, Florida holds the $1,300,000 guaranteed Isle Open October 5-27. The World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble starts their series October 23rd with several preliminary events. Midwest The World Series of Poker Circuit runs two tournaments in Indiana this month. Horseshoe Southern Indiana features 12 WSOPC ring events October 1-12 while Horseshoe Hammond, one of the most popular stops on the WSOPC, runs from October 15-27. Both WSOPC stops have the usual $1,675 Main Event, but Hammond added a $5,300 High Roller to their schedule. The Mid-States Poker Tour heads to the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan for the Michigan State Poker Championship, a $1,110 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament October 15-18. In Minnesota, Canterbury Park holds their annual Fall Poker Classic October 3-18. Nevada The Aria in Las Vegas has scheduled two one-day $25,000 High Roller tournaments for October 1-2. The Wynn Fall Classic features $700,000 in guaranteed events with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,600. The Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza starts on October 26. There's tournament action elsewhere in the Silver State this month. The Peppermill in Reno hosts the Poker NV Fall Challenge October 2-12, followed by Run It Up Reno, hosted by Jason Somerville October 20-25. The WSOP Circuit heads to Harvey's Lake Tahoe as their series starts on October 29. California There are three tournaments worth a mention: The Bicycle Casino holds their $1,100 Big Poker Oktober Main Event October 10-13. Hollywood Park holds their $500 buy-in $150,000 guaranteed National Poker Championship October 22-25. The annual Liz Flynt Poker Classic at the Hustler Casino in Gardena features six-figure guaranteed prize pools with tournaments under $500 starting October 13. WPTDeepStacks heads to Oceans 11 Casino near San Diego October 17-26 with their Main Event an $1,100 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament. Elsewhere The only World Poker Tour Main Tour event this month is at the Emperor's Palace Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa for their $3,600 Main Event October 30. In Australia, Melbourne's Crown Casino features the PokerStars ANZPT series October 8-20. The DeepStacks Poker Tour heads to the Yellowhead Casino in Edmonton October 1-12.
  6. [caption width="640"] If you don't think you have a time management problem, you're wrong. But it is fixable.[/caption] I’m going to be honest with you right off the bat here. If you’re a poker player - either a professional, or a dedicated amateur - you probably have a time management problem. The reality is that whichever category you’re in, it’s always difficult to decide exactly how much time to dedicate to poker, and how to spend the time you’ve allocated to it. Let’s examine a few ideas that might help you fix flaws in this area. Identify your biggest challenges Everyone has their own challenges when it comes to poker. If you’re a professional, your challenge might be that you’re not sure how many days a week you should be working, or how many hours, in order to get in the requisite amount of volume necessary to pay the bills. If you’re an amateur, you might be struggling to find time after work to play poker, or trying to balance poker with raising a family. Whatever your circumstances, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself about the challenges you’re facing. Many people tread water as best they can for a long time, hoping for a big tournament win or a cash-game upswing to save them from having to address the problem. It should be obvious that this isn’t a winning strategy - you don’t control whether you run good or bad. What you do control is how you handle the circumstances you’re presented with, and identifying your restrictions is the first step towards conquering them. Find a structure that works for you Once you’ve identified the lifestyle challenges that may be holding you back, your next step should be to develop a structure for yourself that allows you to move forward from the ‘treading water’ stage. For an example, as an MTT player, one step that made a difference for me early in my career was identifying that my poker session had to be the last thing I scheduled for the day. If I scheduled something for 9pm in the evening, I wouldn’t be able to fit in a full MTT session beforehand without a risk of one-tabling at 8.45pm and making mistakes as a result. In your case, it could be something completely different - maybe you decide to focus on playing poker only on weekends to avoid playing when you’re tired after work. Maybe you switch from playing in the mornings to the evenings. Maybe you set aside one day per week for working on your game instead of simply grinding out the hours if you feel you’re hitting a wall. Whatever the situation, there’s a choice you can make that will add structure and organization to your life. Always be optimizing Finally, once you’ve put together a blueprint for how poker is going to fit into your lifestyle moving forward, it’s important that that blueprint be flexible enough to change and improve with the times. Maybe you decide that you need an extra day off every week to work on a new project, or maybe you find poker isn’t as much fun for you as it used to be and is starting to feel like a chore - maintaining your focus on time management even after you’ve developed a process that works will help you to factor these things into your planning. It’s also crucial to look at little details that can be easily changed to produce a bigger impact - maybe your mental game would be better if you exercised before your session instead of after, for example. Try to treat time management just the way you would treat your on-the-table decision-making - you wouldn’t be satisfied with playing marginally +EV poker if you knew you could be playing better, so you should never settle for a mediocre time-management process that ‘just about works’ or is ‘more or less acceptable’. Time management is a simple, fundamental thing that forms the bedrock of consistently profitable poker performance, and making good decisions with your time is good practice for making better decisions at the table.
  7. [caption width="640"] Poker players need to follow these tips to avoid losing focus easily over longer sessions.[/caption] Staying Focused During Long Live Sessions With the 2016 World Series of Poker currently in full flow, many poker players are spending a lot of time at the poker table this summer. With the average day’s play in a WSOP event lasting anywhere between eight and 12 hours, this can be a gruelling schedule, especially for professionals grinding five to seven days a week throughout most of June and July. A lot of recreational players might be unaccustomed to playing sessions of that length, and as a result they will find themselves flagging during the last two to three hours of each day. It’s not uncommon to see certain tables get a lot tighter as the day goes on, and players start looking to lock up their spot for Day 2, rather than put themselves in difficult spots when they’re feeling tired. Here’s how to avoid becoming one of those players, and keep your edge as high as possible throughout the day. Eat right and drink lots of water It’s most likely fairly obvious to you, no matter which country you live in, that modern society is displaying an increasing tendency towards producing people who have simply adapted to being extremely unhealthy on a physical level. Most people’s default state is to be lacking the right kinds of nutrients in their diet, and to be dehydrated on a daily basis. This almost constant state of poor health leads many people to believe that the way their brain operates most of the time, is the way it has to operate all the time. This is simply factually incorrect, and if you were to compare a sample of poker sessions played after eating McDonald’s and drinking four Starbucks coffees with a sample played after eating chicken salad and drinking four bottles of water, the results would shock you. Your brain is significantly more efficient when it gets what it needs. If you want to make those last 2-3 hours of your session more profitable, take multiple bottles of water with you to the casino (don’t just rely on the tiny ones they’ll give you for free), and either pack your lunch in advance, or have somewhere healthy in mind to eat from. Consider lowering your caffeine intake and switching to green tea instead of coffee - this has the added benefit of making you more relaxed, instead of more anxious. Keep yourself in good physical condition This is another one that almost goes without saying - if you looked at a sample of the 100 best poker players in the world right now, I would imagine that only a handful would have a higher-than-average body fat percentage, and none of them would be significantly overweight. That’s not really about weight, and it’s definitely not about body image (since poker is very accepting of all kinds of people, no matter what they look like) - it’s about conditioning, and the simple fact that people who are in extremely good physical shape are significantly more likely to be in extremely good mental shape, and people who are in extremely good mental shape are significantly more likely to be able to play better poker, for longer. If you’re a professional poker player who doesn’t have a personal trainer, you’re probably making a mistake. If you’re a recreational player who doesn’t believe that becoming a healthier person physically would make you a better poker player, you’re incorrect. There’s an old saying that “success leaves a trail”, and the trail left by almost everyone succeeding in poker these days suggests that physical fitness is becoming increasingly essential for long-term poker success. It is certainly essential if you want to still be mentally sharp after eight hours sitting at a poker table. Sleep, sleep, and sleep some more This one might seem less obvious to some people, given that the ‘grinder’ mentality seems to be fairly common these days - after all, who wants to think about sleep when you could be playing more poker? The reality, though, is that if you’re so focused on putting in volume that you’re always doing it at 70% effectiveness because you’re always one or two hours short on sleep, then you’d be doing equally well putting in 70% of that volume at 100% effectiveness, since the increase in your ROI would most likely greatly offset the decrease in volume. With that in mind, if you’re going to be playing long sessions at the WSOP or elsewhere, you need to be getting enough sleep beforehand. What that amount is varies for each person, but there’s almost nobody for whom it’s less than seven hours. You’ll find that when you’re well-rested going into a day’s play, you’re less prone to tilt, less prone to passive play, and less prone to missing out on information given away by your opponents. You’re also more apt to notice the moments late on in a day’s play where your opponents are slacking off, and that means more EV for you. Relax, be sociable and disconnect between hands Finally, I think your attitude at the table needs to be part of your approach, but I’m going to suggest the opposite to what many people do. Some players throw on the headphones, disappear into their own little bubble and try to maintain 100% focus on the action at all times. Personally, I’m not a fan of this approach - you might think you’re giving away less information this way, but in reality you’re probably missing out on a lot of info from your opponents, and you’re draining your focus a lot more quickly. Your brain can’t concentrate for 10 hours straight. The guys with the headphones on will be finding things a lot more difficult towards the end of the day, when they simply can’t maintain 100% focus for long enough - it’s important to give yourself the opportunity to disconnect in between hands, whether by conversing with other players or just simply thinking about other things while the dealer is shuffling the deck. Being conversational will allow you to pick up more information by knowing your opponents on a personal level, keep you alert and awake, and most likely keep you relaxed - and above all, poker is a lot more fun this way! With this approach, you’ll increase both your EV, and your enjoyment of the game.
  8. [caption width="640"] Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton took home ,800 for a runner-up finish in the Sunday Grand.[/caption] There was a three-way final table deal in the PokerStars Sunday Million weekly flagship tournament over the weekend, as 'needdollarz' outlasted over 5,500 opponents to claim the $159,387 first place prize. Fellow Russian 'THCHunter' finished runner-up in that event for $116,000 while Daniel 'lucky_scrote' Carter of the United Kingdom walked away with $122,069 in third place. 'RuckusTheJam' captured an outright victory in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up for $49,600 as 'Palau777' cashed for $37,200 in second place. It was player 'Subv' who came out on top in the Sunday Grand for $47,444 while Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton (ranked #283 worldwide) placed second and received $34,800. New Zealand's 'brolleaterNZ' was the biggest winner in the Sunday Supersonic Six Max event, cashing for $25,321. 'D0nKanaille_' took down the $2,600 buy-in Super High Roller event for the second week in a row, this time earning $44,400 for the win. Ireland's 'thevirus217' won the party $150K Guaranteed tournament for a payday of $30,750. 'SamSaymon' took down the 888poker WHALE tournament for $26,113. The 888poker Mega Deep event saw 'Achileys34' outlast 590 opponents to claim the $22,328 cash prize. PocketFiver 'iamVolanD' of Russia (ranked #162) won the iPoker Sunday Masters tournament. PokerStars Sunday Million ($200+15 NLHE) 5,594 entrants - $1,118,800 paid out to 810 spots needdollarz - $159.387.24 THCHunter - $115,999.87 danistheking - $122,069.02 (lucky_scrote) *3-way deal bfizz11 - $63,212.20 bostanu24 - $47,549.00 NH 1121 NH - $36,361.00 kdrAS - $25,173.00 (FabianoTeixeira) bennybolt - $13,985.00 inokun202 - $8,950.40 PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up ($200+15 NLHE) 1,550 entrants - $310,000 paid out to 234 spots RuckusTheJam - $49,600.00 Palau777 - $37,200.00 gimley14 - $27,900.00 (gimley14) Legadzo - $20,382.50 (Legadzo) iamtheboss12 - $14,725.00 ZAGABOY - $11,470.00 Dealm8ker69 - $8,370.00 (Dealm8ker) FrederickH. - $5,425.00 PokPokMH - $3,100.00 PokerStars Sunday Grand ($1,000+50 NLHE) *$200k Guaranteed 232 entrants - $232,000 paid out to 36 spots Subv - $47,444.00 SamSquid - $34,800.00 (TheSquid) Sputnick_PT - $26,216.00 readas_reada - $19,720.00 n3xD - $13,456.00 shamrocker92 - $10,440.00 antispeed - $8,120.00 C Darwin2 - $5,800.00 johnnylodden - $4,408.00 PokerStars Sunday Supersonic ($205+$10 NLHE 6-Max) *$175K Guaranteed 909 entrants - $186,127 paid out to 132 spots likely2cash - $25,321.15 (brolleaterNZ) talentaki - $18,346.03 Poker Own U - $19,837.68 WhatIfGod - $20,718.11 *4-way deal iconoff - $8,375.70 IgorKarkarof - $5,583.80 PokerStars Sunday Storm ($10+$1 NLHE) 21,408 entrants - $214,080 paid out to 3,150 spots omgartofgod - $21,425.17 loftyimp - $15,908.28 Blueyz1987 - $10,704.00 lusan682 - $8,563.20 sebfrank - $6,422.40 T0X16- - $4,281.60 AllCska - $3,007.82 themantis2 - $1,926.72 B00mbergirl - $1,284.48 partypoker Super High Roller ($2,600 NLHE) *$100k Guaranteed 47 entrants - $117,500 paid out to 6 spots D0nKanaille_ - $44,400 atlasshrugged - $29,375 (greengrass67) HungarysHero - $17,625 p00cket00 - $11,750 mfenety - $8,813 TDurdenWAR - $6,463 (joaomathias) partypoker High Roller ($530 NLHE) *$150k Guaranteed 270 entrants - $150,000 paid out to 36 spots mcgag - $30,750 (thevirus217) rudinhos - $22,500 zooey - $16,950 HungarysHero $12,750 deepsee - $8,850 (veeea) mehpkr - $6,750 dulek6969 - $5,250 DRFallin - $3,750 good player - $2,625 (iamthedeck ftw) iPoker Sunday Masters (€150 NLHE) 129 entrants - $20,014 paid out to 18 spots E1fenLied $4,603.14 (iamVolanD) RuningLikeAGod - $3,202.18 EasyEasyEasy123 - $2,431.66 nutyfish - $1,801.23 BloodyF4ce - $1,200.82 television12 - $1,000.68 BornToSplashhhH - $800.55 ccfold11 - $600.41 RuningLikeAGod - $500.34 888 Poker WHALE ($600 NLHE) *$100k Guranteed 226 entrants - $127,690 paid out to 36 spots SamSaymon - $26,113 namlleh - $19,154 (Pot4teUS) BringItOn313 - $14,429 Nordynordbrg - $10,854 KTBFFH89 - $7,406 (seahawk89) Kafrou - $5,746 fishmobbadge - $4,469 (molliemalone) JimPool - $3,192 pelfort - $2,426 888 Poker Mega Deep ($215 NLHE) *$100k Guaranteed 591 entrants - $118,200 paid out to 81 spots Achileys34 - $22,328 kiskutya23 - $16,193 Shelby_8 - $11,938 salamerancio - $8,983 julio_andres - $6,312 cosmokramr26 - $5,024 bozaking - $3,842 weneedit - $2,660 FU_GTO - $1,773 (girex91) BetVictor Sunday Showdown (€215 NLHE) *€25k Guaranteed 123 entrants - €25,000 paid out to 12 spots TURBO1 - €6,888 DocFlykick - €4,625 (Lundgr3n) khalid1968 - €3,500 Xanduca - €2,375 AbulFadl - €1,750 WarStreet173 - €1,313 hairycobra - €1,063 GylbertFD - €838 summernowplz - €663
  9. How to Implement Changes in Your Game It’s one thing to take a look at your game and figure out what changes you need to make, but it’s quite another to actually implement those changes effectively. Many people stumble during the process - they know what it is they need to change, but trying to change it does more harm than good. They take one step forward, and two steps back, and they end up worse off than where they started. Is there a way out of this cycle? Of course - it’s just a matter of knowing where to focus, and avoiding the cognitive dissonance and ‘fuzzy logic’ that can come with being trapped between two schools of thought. Here are a few pointers to help you structure your learning and ensure that your game maintains its forward momentum. “Don’t rush the process, trust the process” This is a phrase often used by well-known motivational speaker Eric Thomas, and it’s particularly relevant to poker. With our constant struggle as poker players not to be results-oriented, must also come a corresponding focus towards the process by which we expect to achieve results. If we stay attentive to doing the right things, we’ll get the right results. However, when you’re trying to change the things you’re doing, you can’t change them all at once. You can’t work on improving your three-bet bluffing at the same time as also working on your river check-raises and your turn calls - it’s too many things to think about, and you won’t be able to isolate the results to figure out if you’re actually doing any better with one thing since you’ve changed all the others. Changing one thing and keeping others the same is the only way to truly work out what’s producing positive effects and what isn’t. Changing too many things at once is often what leads to cognitive dissonance (i.e. holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time) - you might be studying game theory and telling yourself you need to make a river call because you have the top of your range, but you’re also working on learning to make bigger folds in important spots, so which takes precedence? Do you ‘need to call’ or ‘need to fold’? Tough to decide. Start preflop and move on from there Keeping in mind that we’ve established the need to focus on changing one thing at a time, we obviously have to pick the right things to focus on. Everyone wants to learn how to make ‘sick’ river bluffs and hero calls in big pots, but these skills aren’t going to be necessary any more than once or twice a session if you’re lucky. If you’re going to pick one thing to focus on to start with, it should first be an aspect of your preflop game. A positive change to your preflop game will manifest itself across every hand you ever play - after all, every hand has a preflop stage to it, while very few hands go all the way to the river. If you’re not sure where to start, stick with what will be the most useful, which will always be preflop. Similarly, if you’re a tournament player, start with your short-stack game - if you can’t make good push-fold decisions when you’re 10bb effective, you’re going to struggle to construct appropriate river bluffing ranges in 50bb+ pots, and short-stack play is a part of every MTT you’ll ever play. Even the worst-structured live tournament you can find features a lot of short-stacked play, while only the high-buyin, well-structured events will allow you to play 100+bb deep post-ante. Track, evaluate and adapt regularly Finally, the only way to know whether the changes you’re implementing are actually producing positive effects, is to track your progress using whatever metrics are available to you. This will be significantly easier if you’re an online player using HM2 or PT4, since you can simply track your win rate over an appropriate sample of hands. For live players, it’ll take a little longer to measure results, and you won’t have such a specific set of statistics, but it can still be done. Regardless of the games you’re playing and the format you choose, if you’re not regularly evaluating to make sure your graph is trending upwards, you might be convincing yourself things are better than they really are. You might be telling yourself that your new, more aggressive approach to three-betting is really paying off, or that your river bluffs are getting through more often, when the reality might be the exact opposite. If you do discover things aren’t shaping up the way you like, then simply react, adapt, and make a new change. You don’t control the results, but you do control your decisions, and you also control how you manage your decision-making process.
  10. [caption width="640"] The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Goliath event starts Saturday in Coventry.[/caption] Known as the largest poker event in all of Europe, the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Goliath tournament kicks off Saturday at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England, and promises juicy cash games, a variety of side events and a £120 buy-in, £250,000 guaranteed Main Event which wraps up Sunday, August 7. The Goliath tournament has been growing at a steady clip since it debuted in 2011. In 2014, the tournament boasted 3,394 entrants, then topped itself with 4,210 runners and a prize pool of £421,000 last year. Organizers expect that number to increase even further this year and are estimating more than 5,000 will make the trek. With a buy-in of just £120, Goliath organizers have made the popular tournament accessible to players of all bankrolls. This time around, participants will play stacks of 25,000 chips, and will have plenty of chances to get back into the game in the unfortunate event that they get felted early. This year’s tournament allows players to enter up to three times a day during the event’s seven Day 1s. The large amount of rebuys last year increased the prize pool to £421,000, smashing the £250,000 guarantee. The Goliath event is just one of the tournaments slated for the yearly poker festival. Grinders have their choice of entering unconventional events like “Joker is Wild” and “Win the Button,” or battling in traditional favorites like Omaha 4/5/6. If 2015 is any indication, cash game traffic will be brisk at this year’s event. Goliath organizers counted up to 30 cash game tables running concurrently last year, and expect even more this year. Games will run 24/7 with table limits starting at £1/£1 going all the way up to £5/£10 for the “Round of Each” game, which will be live streamed to the poker fans across the globe. While organizers have already confirmed several high rollers for the game, they are urging anyone interested in playing to contact them on their Facebook page. To grab a seat, players can head to any local Grosvenor Casino and preregister for the Main Event Day 1 of their choice. Organizers warn, however, that the final starting flight, Day 1G on August 5, will be especially busy, and if they don’t sign up early they will likely be in for a wait. Goliath is part of the GUKPT, which was established in 2007 and consists of nine poker festivals peppered in locations throughout the United Kingdom. Grosvenors Casinos operates 55 casinos and poker rooms in the United Kingdom and offers online poker to its customers through a partnership with Microgaming. Finland’s Miikka Toikka bested a huge field of competitors in last year’s Goliath to take first place, the Goliath trophy and a £70,800 payday. For more info and a full schedule of the events, check out GUKPT.com
  11. [caption width="640"] Winning at poker means learning what it really means to be competitive[/caption] Living in Poker’s Competitive Paradigm An often overlooked aspect of the mental game in today's poker environment is the extent to which taking poker seriously and making an effort to improve your game requires a transformation in the way you look at the world. Becoming a professional poker player in particular forces you to re-evaluate the way you approach life. In many cases, it can mean going from a lifestyle where your paycheck is only loosely related to your performance and nobody is attempting to steal it away from you, to a domain where literally every single other person who does the same job as you benefits each time you perform poorly. It's the ultimate competitive environment. Not even in another individual professional sport like golf or tennis do players have to deal with being part of an economic ecosystem that relies upon a predatory attitude towards exploiting one's opponents in order to make a living. So what does that mean for us as players? Even if you're not a professional player, there are things you can do to ease the adjustment into a competitive paradigm. Here are a few tips. Accepting defeat (and victory) It's crucial not to get too caught up in the idea of winning or losing. If you're a tournament player, you're going to lose more often than you win, and even if you're a heads-up cash player you might only win 60% of your sessions. If every defeat feels like confirmation that you suck, and every victory feels like you're the world's greatest, then your life will be a constant rollercoaster. Your self-esteem needs to be attached to things outside of your poker performance, because the competitive nature of poker will pose a constant threat to your equilibrium if it isn't. At the same time, it's important to give yourself credit for your positive habits and reinforce them appropriately, so when you do find things that contribute to improved performances, you have the self-awareness to continue implementing them in a way that gives you a competitive edge in the long term. Learning not to hold grudges We've all been through the process of playing at a live table with someone we don't like on a personal level. Sometimes it's a guy (or girl) who was a jerk an hour earlier when you asked a question, sometimes it's a guy who insists on critiquing everyone else's play, and sometimes it's a guy who just sucked out on you. Whatever the circumstances, live or online, attempting to ‘win’ every time a situation crops up where you feel like you're in a direct confrontation with an opponent is simply going to lead to mistakes, and most likely a lot of results-orientated thinking to go along with it. Ultimately, there's no reward for stacking that one person you don't like - no more than there is for stacking your best friend. Focusing on battling with one specific player through a misguided desire to prove you're better than they are is a mistake, for the simple reason that nobody is paying any attention to whether you're better than that other guy anyway, so not even your own social metrics are actually going to give you the ‘victory’ you're looking for. You'll get more satisfaction from making the right plays and ignoring the behaviours around you that you don't like. Staying one step ahead We all know poker is becoming more competitive as the years go by, and that increases the demands on those of us seeking to remain at a certain level within the game. At the stage we're at now, if you're not improving, you're declining, because everyone else around you is improving at a fast rate. This is the hard part of living in a competitive paradigm - you're forced to keep improving. If you rest on your laurels for just a year or so, you might only be 70% of the player you were before. It might be difficult sometimes to stay one step ahead of other players - they might have more resources than you, a better coach, or a bigger bankroll - but if you're not at least doing whatever you can, you're falling behind. If you're a recreational player seeking to one day turn pro, consider this as part of your decision. The idea that you will be able to get to a certain point and then just print money for the next 40 years is a complete fantasy. If you're not willing to put in hours upon hours of work to stay ahead of your competition for the duration of your poker career, you might be better off doing something else for a living. Success vs happiness Finally, it's important to recognize that many people do not find the process of testing their limits and achieving their full potential to be particularly fulfilling. You may get to the top in poker and find out it's not as much fun as you thought. This should be part of your thinking throughout your poker journey - if poker isn't making you happy, or at least putting you on the path towards ultimately being able to live the life you want, then why expend so much energy on it? If the effort you're putting in to stay competitive isn't bringing with it a reward, why bother? Competition needs to be a means to an end. It can't just be a way to conquer a specific insecurity or prove to everyone how smart you are. If you find that competing for a living means sacrificing your happiness, then you can always follow a different path. Poker will always be there if you change your mind.
  12. [CAPTION=100%]The way you talk about poker Watch Your Language: Why Words Matter in Poker There are many different ways in which we conceptualize poker in order to make it easier to talk about. We talk about it as a mathematical construct, we talk about it as a psychological battle between opponents, we increasingly talk about it as a sport, we talk about it as a gambling pastime. One way in which we almost never talk about it, however, is in meta-discussion - in other words, talking about the ways in which we talk about poker. This article contends that the language we use in order to talk about poker, both to one another and to ourselves, is perhaps the most important aspect of the game, period. Indeed, the argument could reasonably be made that language is the most important aspect of any field, since it’s the only way we’re able to even acknowledge said field’s existence. Here’s an introduction to why this is the case. Poker is a man-made creation First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that just like most other aspects of modern culture, poker is entirely a man-made game that doesn’t exist in any kind of objective way. It only exists to the extent that we say it does, which means all the concepts associated with it also only exist if we say they do. Once you understand and embrace that fact, it becomes a little easier to recognize some of the biggest potential stumbling blocks in your poker learning. In linguistics and semiotics, there exist concepts called the ‘signifier and signified’. Each word we use is defined as a ‘signifier’ for a thing that exists, while the thing itself is the ‘signified’. Changing the signifier, such as using the British word ‘pavement’ instead of the American word ‘sidewalk’, or using the French word for ‘chair’ (‘chaise’) instead of the English word, doesn’t physically change the landscape of our roads or render a chair invisible. In poker, these concepts as true as well. There was a time back in the days of Wild Bill Hickok when re-raising someone in a hand of poker (presumably five-card draw poker) wasn’t called 3-betting - it wasn’t really called anything. But nowadays, when we say ‘3-bet’, we’re using a new signifier to describe a signified concept that has existed for centuries. Translating the math The modern era of poker, and the advent of Texas Hold’em as the most popular form of the game, has taught us the reality that poker is really just one giant, infinite, unsolvable math problem. A solution exists theoretically, if not in practicality. What we’re doing, therefore, is trying to figure out that solution in a way that we can understand - since complex math isn’t an appropriate form of human communication, we need to take what we can from it and turn it into language. All we’re doing, in reality, is translating numbers into words. When we say “I think my opponent’s range is X, Y and Z”, we’re using language to express numerical denotations about our opponents’ ranges, and when we raise to 2.5 big blinds preflop we’re communicating something to our opponents about our range using a mathematical metric. The only way to really bridge the gap between these two paradigms - the mathematical and the linguistic - is to take our interpretations of a situation and plug them into a GTO solver or a calculator, and then re-evaluate our original interpretations based on the results we get. Essentially we’re translating from English (or whatever other language we speak) into math, and then back to English again. This process is the process by which we learn - over time, the mathematical reality of poker becomes more and more evident to us once our ability to ‘speak the language of poker’ improves, and we get a little bit closer to playing a mathematically perfect game. Directing your mental game With all of this in mind, we need to divert our attention towards how our language drives our own mental game. It could be said that our self-talk, or the language we use when we’re talking to ourselves internally, is the primary driver of almost all of our behaviours - the words we use to describe ourselves are highly determinant of what we believe about ourselves (and vice versa), and what we believe about ourselves shapes our reality. It follows, therefore, that we must master our own internal language before we can hope to achieve a high-level mental game. We must recognize that the questions we ask ourselves will always be answered with something that makes sense to us according to the way we see the rest of the world - if we ask, “why I can’t I just win tournaments more often?”, the answer we get from ourselves won’t be, “because that’s not how variance works”, it’ll be “because I’m not good enough”, or “because I’m the unluckiest person in the world”. When trying to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of poker performance and become entirely process-focused (as opposed to results-focused), this means that we must avoid discussing our results with ourselves internally if we want to avoid being focused on them. We shouldn’t dwell on them, or wonder why they’re different, or ruminate on what we can do to improve them. We should only strive to improve our processes, one step at a time, by directing our mental energy towards them. Communicating inwardly and outwardly Finally, our outward communication can be just as important as the things we say to ourselves. If we’re constantly telling bad beat stories, complaining to friends about our opponents, berating weaker players for mistakes, or otherwise talking or behaving in ways we never would outside of poker, we’re leading ourselves in entirely the wrong direction. If we’re preoccupied with celebrating our victories and commiserating our defeats, we can’t also celebrate when we make a great decision but take a bad beat afterwards. If we’re preoccupied with receiving our friends’ sympathy for how unlucky we are, we can’t teach ourselves to embrace the reality of variance within the game. It’s crucial for all of us to look closely at the way we talk and communicate, and do whatever we can to use language that is helpful to both ourselves and those around us. It’s what’s best for us, and what’s best for poker.
  13. [caption width="640"] Understanding your opponents "pain thresholds" will lead to more profit for you[/caption] Eliminating Your Poker Pain Threshold Recently, I was lucky enough to interview high-stakes live cash pro Matt Berkey for a podcast over at Tournament Poker Edge - one of the most interesting interviews I’ve been a part of to date. He raised an interesting concept, using terminology that isn’t really part of the traditional poker lexicon - he talked about high-level poker being a case of figuring out your opponents’ “pain thresholds”. This struck me as a particularly apt analogy, given that the higher the stakes you’re playing, the more potential pain awaits your unsuspecting opponents (at least if you’re someone who crushes as hard as Berkey does) or you if you make mistakes. The funny thing, however, is that even players playing the lowest stakes have pain thresholds, they just don’t exist for the same reasons. Understanding Contrasting Motivations It goes without saying that people playing poker for high stakes mostly do it for the huge sums of money involved (and, to some extent, for the thrill of playing for them), but that doesn’t mean people playing for low stakes are just playing because they have nothing better to do. Of course, we should consider that everyone playing the game does it for a reason, and thus, they all have something to lose. That something isn’t always money - sometimes it’s pride or ego, sometimes it’s the time they spend playing, sometimes it’s the fun and entertainment they get from it. But no matter what the circumstances, there is always something that can suddenly cause a player to go from complete comfort and serenity, to forehead-scrunching confusion and abject frustration. While we’re not in the business of causing our opponents pain on a personal level and we should always be respectful to our fellow players, we can use our understanding of our opponents’ motivations to inflict as much pain on them as possible with our playing style. For example, low-stakes players who are playing for pride or their ego frequently exhibit a tendency to ‘hero-call’ too often - they’re obsessed with trying to achieve that great feeling of calling an opponent’s bluff and winning the pot, and they’re willing to lose ten pots that way just to win one. On the other hand, a player in even a $3 online tournament might be extremely tilted from a bad beat he just took, and he’ll be extremely risk-averse for a while as a result. Making Peace with Big Pots and Variance In order to take advantage of other people’s pain thresholds, we need to begin by minimising or eliminating our own. Simply put, there should be nothing in poker that can cause you any significant pain. Our bodies and brains are conditioned to avoid pain, but we can also use our emotional and mental capabilities to define what is or isn’t painful for us, so we can manipulate our brains (our bodies, not so much) in this way. The process of eliminating your pain threshold begins with the recognition that the things that usually cause you pain - losing big pots, bad beats, coolers, bubbling the final table of a tournament, losing a heads-up match - are a necessary part of life as a poker player. They’re unavoidable - if you played poker forever, you’d experience countless instances of each one. The more of each you experience, the less pain each one causes you - your pain threshold expands. Given long enough, it would expand to the point where nothing in poker could hurt you, and then you’d be the one in charge. Being Fearless in Important Spots People often refer to ‘fearlessness’ as an important quality for a poker player, and there’s a strong correlation between that quality and lacking a pain threshold. However, there’s an important step in between the two - before you can learn to do something fearlessly, you have to learn to “feel the fear and do it anyway”, to quote Susan Jeffers’ book. Before making a big river bluff becomes a matter of course for you, there has to be a first time, and a second time, and a third time - you get the picture. If you never start doing something, it can’t become a habit, and if it doesn’t become a habit, it will probably always have fear attached to it. Breaking through your pain threshold means turning the things that used to scare you into the most mundane things in the world, and to do that you have to push through those first few instances. Putting Poker in a Wider Context Finally, it’s crucial to recognize that while poker might seem like the most important thing in the world while we’re in the middle of each tournament or cash game session, it should never be our be-all and end-all. No matter how motivated you are to succeed in poker, it should always form part of a balanced lifestyle that gives you opportunities to interact socially and do the other things you enjoy - otherwise you’re risking burnout, mental game and even mental health problems. By recognizing that poker is just one aspect of your life and busting a poker tournament or having a losing cash session really isn’t that much of a big deal, you ruin poker’s ability to inflict pain on you - if it can’t hurt you that badly, all of a sudden you’re the one with the power. A well-rounded understanding of your own emotions and thought processes can help you discover your potential and crash through the pain barrier to unlock the riches beyond.
  14. Why You Need to Stop Fighting to Control Poker We’ve all played poker with people who love to talk about how unlucky they are. Sit down at any low-stakes cash table in Las Vegas or any home game in London and everyone will have a story for you about their latest bad beat or a big hand they lost. These stories will often be accompanied by a muttered self-admonition, along the lines of, “I should have just shoved preflop”, or “terrible call, I should have folded”. Occasionally, in the event that the player has either recognized the impact of variance or refused to admit to making a mistake, the admonition will be directed towards an opponent - “that donkey should never have called there”, or “such a bad call, what was he thinking?” In many cases, the player is just looking for sympathy or reassurance, but beneath this lies an even more powerful impulse - the desire for control. Poker’s biggest emotional trap Most people respond to the idea of control in what feels like a rational way - they recognize that they control their own actions, but they don’t control the actions of others, and they don’t control the way the cards come out. But there’s recognizing a lack of control, and then there’s desiring more control, and these are two massively different concepts, particularly in poker. Almost everyone wishes they had more control over the circumstances of their life. Most people wish they could just snap their fingers and make more money, or make their boss stop bothering them, or change their spouse’s behaviour. In poker, almost everyone wishes they could win more coinflips, or get dealt pocket Aces every hand. In reality, we don’t have control over those things any more than we do over the weather each morning. Neither do we have any control over the actions of other people. We might sit there for five minutes on the river, mentally screaming for our opponent to fold to our huge bluff, but we don’t actually control what they do. So why, if these things are so obvious, do we still feel bad about them? The emotional trap we’re falling into is desiring to control the amount of control we have. Think about it - most people don’t ask the poker gods to deliver them pocket Aces every hand, just this one hand. They don’t ask to win every time they get it all-in with the worst hand, but just this “one time”. They know they don’t control these things, but they’re so unhappy with that reality that they’re trying to fight to change the entire configuration of the universe, wishing everything were different, just to give themselves control of this one instance! Wouldn’t it be easier without fighting a battle they can’t win? Of course it would. The power of absolute, radical acceptance Here’s the part where we give up fighting that battle. It takes time, but with the right approach we can learn not just to embrace the fact that we don’t have control over the way the cards come out, but also to embrace the fact that we don’t fully control how wealthy or financially rich we are in our lives. If you think you do, try talking to the 48% of UK citizens who, like me, recently voted for the UK to remain part of the European Union, but saw their net worth drop by 10% literally overnight anyway when the rest of the country voted to leave and the Pound crashed. We don’t control the actions of our friends, family, husbands or wives, politicians, governments, business owners, other drivers on the road, sports teams, or poker opponents; we don’t control the circumstances into which we’re born, or any random accidents that might happen to us during the course of our lives. I know that you know all of this, but you have to accept it. Truly accept it as an unshakeable reality. By which I mean, you have to give up screaming advice at the television to berate your favourite sports team (you can still root for them to win, I’m not trying to take all the joy out of it!). You have to give up calling for cards when you’re all-in. You have to give up trying to use Facebook to influence the way your friends perceive your personality. I’m not just talking about recognising your lack of control, I’m talking about killing your wish completely and accepting whatever eventuality might happen. I’m talking about not wanting things to be any different than they are right here and now, even if right here and now absolutely sucks, because no matter how much you sit there wanting things to be different, it won’t help. A radical transformation of your approach to life that will help you focus on responding to your circumstances in the best possible way, rather than wasting time wishing they were otherwise. Transforming your life inside and outside of poker You might be reading this thinking, “well, if I just accept everything and don’t try to change it, how am I ever supposed to improve as a person? How do I ever accomplish anything?” - this is natural to an extent, but it’s still predicated on the desire for control. In most cases, people want to become a better person because they want to be more successful, or make more money, or be the best poker player in the world - they believe that improving themselves is a way to avoid being subject to the whims of the universe, a way to gain more control over the world and thus more control over their lives and the level of happiness and fulfilment they experience. Actually, it’s the opposite. Money, success, fame - those are routes toward power. Power is the antithesis of control. The more power you have, the more unwieldy it becomes. Power is the enaction of a desire to change the world to suit oneself - it’s the end result of the desire for greater control over one’s own life. But even those with the greatest power don’t have ultimate control - it’s why money is so rarely a direct route to happiness. All the money in the world can’t directly control the circumstances of a person’s life. So if you want to become a better poker player and a better person, it’s time to start embracing the fact that you are not in total control of your life. You’re not in total control of whether you get into a car accident tomorrow, or whether the economy crashes, or whether your spouse cheats on you, or whether you win that poker tournament tomorrow. All you control are your decisions - your responses to the situations that life throws at you. Giving up the fight for control will be the best decision you’ll ever make for your poker game, and you’ll free up massive amounts of mental energy by doing so. This is what will help you achieve great things and succeed in poker, because there’s a good chance that you wanting it more than anybody else, simply might not be enough.
  15. ‘The luck of the Irish’ is a saying that comes with a certain amount of ridicule. Created in the late 19th century, when many of the most successful gold miners in America were Irish, it suggests that it was pure luck, rather than brains and skill, that led the Irish to success. For that reason, we would never use that saying when talking about online poker. Instead, through their brains and skill, many Irish poker players have been mining their fortunes online for years. Here are the top 10 Irish players in the world right now. 10. Conor ‘ccoonnoorr’ O’Driscoll In at number ten is Conor O’Driscoll, better known as ‘ccoonnoorr’ on PokerStars, ‘Hammmers' on Full Tilt and ‘godfryjones’ on 888.com. With more than $1.1 million in tournament earnings, O’Driscoll is clearly a force. What makes that amount more impressive, though, is that his biggest cash to date is just $17K, coming from a win in the Hotter $44 on PokerStars in January 2015. 9. Sean ‘monkeybudgie’ Prendiville Next up is Sean Prendiville, aka ‘monkeybudgie’. His biggest cash came back during the 2013 Spring Championship Of Online Poker (SCOOP), when he finished third in a $1,050 event for $145K. Prior to that, Prendiville had taken down the Sunday Brawl for $106K in 2010. All of his scores (which also include a Sunday Million final table and a SCOOP runner up finish) add up to the tune of $1.4 million. But Prendiville is also a great live player, with $630K in winnings. 8. danielt999 Yet another player with more than million in career winnings, danielt999 sits with just over $1.3 million right now. The player from Dublin banked $48K in November 2015 when he finished fifth in the Sunday Million. His next most notable cashes come from third place finishes in both the Sunday 500 and the Bigger $162, and a February 2017 win in the Mini Sunday Million for $25K. 7. SuitedAcesBaby SuitedAcesBaby is better known as ‘torino2000’ on PokerStars, where he’s amassed more than $1.8 million of his $2.7 million total winnings. SuitedAcesBaby has also won an incredible amount despite no six-figure scores. His biggest results come from a runner up finish in the 2016 888.com Super XL or $42K, and a win in the WHALE for $34K. Recently, he took down the Big $109 for just over $10K. 6. FoxyLisa FoxyLisa currently ranks second in Dublin with $1.8 million in online cashes. Of late, FoxyLisa finished second in the $55 Sunday Stack for $12K, and took down the Bounty Builder $109 for almost $9K (plus bounties). However, those results pale in comparison to the $148K he won on Full Tilt in a $1M GTD event back in 2010. FoxyLady has been in the game for over a decade, having notched a $131K score (also on Full Tilt) back in 2006. But he’s clearly still at the top of the game, winning $106K in last year’s SCOOP in a $700 6-Max event. 5. Noogaii Noogaii had a breakout year in 2016, when he took down a $320 World Championship Of Online Poker (WCOOP) event for $144K, his biggest cash to date. That year he also won the Sunday Warm-Up for $53K, the Sunday Kickoff for $32K, the $109 Bubble Rush for $14K, and final tabled the Sunday Million for $48K. He’s carried that good streak into 2017, winning the Sunday Cooldown in February for $22K. However, Noogaii was winning big even when he was on the micro-stake grind. His biggest results also boast a MicroMillions $2 Rebuy event for $13K. 4. Tomas ‘luckymo32’ Geleziunas With $4.34 million in winnings, Tomas ‘luckymo32’ Geleziunas is clearly a beast. He’s also Lithuanian though, but as he’s based in Meath he’s on this list. He locked up a $201K score back during the 2013 WCOOP. The result that’s put him this high in the rankings is surely his recent SCOOP win. Geleziunas took down the SCOOP-11-M ($55+R PLO [6-Max], $100K Gtd) for just shy of $31K. 3. Dan ‘NukeTheFish’ Wilson One of Ireland’s most recognisable players currently on the live and online scene is Dan ‘NukeTheFish’ Wilson. Not only does he have $2.72 million from online results, but he has $650K in live winnings too, including victory in the 2016 Irish Open for $168K. Wilson’s three biggest online cashes came in 2015, when he finished second ($58K) and first ($37K) in the Sunday 500, and finished third in an FTOPS event for $30K. 2. Toby ‘Jobytoyce’ Joyce This player from Galway is not only second in Ireland, but is enjoying an all-time high worldwide position of 50. Toby ‘Jobytoyce’ Joyce has $1.9 million in winnings, bolstered by a recent win in the SCOOP-11-H ($530+R PLO [6-Max], $200K Gtd) for $87K - his biggest score to date. Next up on his highest cashes is a runner up in the 2013 MiniFTOPS Main Event for $79K, and a 2016 Sunday Warm-Up win for $53K. Joyce also has a FCOOP title to his name, plus $115K from the live felt. 1. James ‘Jaymo’ Noonan Ireland’s top online player right now is James ‘Jaymo’ Noonan, known as ‘deyrzuited’ on PokerStars. Despite no massive scores in recent months, it’s been Noonan’s consistency in his grind that puts him in the no.1 spot. He’s amassed $2.2 million throughout his career, with his biggest result coming in December 2016 when he placed fourth in the Million Dollar Sunday for $63K. Noonan has won an impressive total of 193 tournaments, so it’s no surprise to see him top this list.
  16. Ethan Brandenburg doesn’t have the bankroll to play $100,000 super high roller events. As a school teacher in New Jersey, he probably needs to save for several years to even dream of putting up that kind of money. With the rise of staking websites, Brandenburg is able to buy small pieces of players in an effort to get in on the action without risking huge sums of money to play himself. He frequently buys action on StakeKings.com and has done well for himself buying action of pros that post packages on the site. His biggest score came when he had a piece of Charlie Carrel in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Super High Roller. Carrel finished second for just shy of $1.2 million and Brandenburg picked up a nice payday. “It was fun to be able to sweat a tournament of that size for an amount that fits within my bankroll,” said Brandenburg of Carrel’s finish. “I have had many solid scores on this site for someone who could never be playing these high-stakes tournaments without their platform that offers fixed markup bidding.” StakeKings gives players the options to post packages for live or online tournaments. Brandenburg’s biggest score came from a live event, but he generally prefers to buy action from players that are grinding on the virtual felt. “I prefer to buy online events because it is easier to watch and follow along with these on livestreams and social media, but StakeKings also does an excellent job of providing updates for live tournaments,” said Brandenburg. Even if he hasn’t bought any online action, Brandenburg sweats live updates and chip counts for players in live events that he has pieces of. For the 25-year-old, sweating the action is the most fun part about buying a piece on StakeKings. The evolution of Twitch as a platform to stream poker helps investors get more of an intimate feel of the tournament. Brandenburg finds investments that are streamed on Twitch to be the most enjoyable. “The high stakes packages are very fun, especially when streamed live on Twitch because you can see the cards face-up,” said Brandenburg. “Again, you don’t need a lot of money to invest in high-stakes tournaments. You can invest into tournaments of $10,000 and higher for as low as $1. “So, it truly allows anyone to get involved and enjoy the sweat. It’s a revolutionary idea and the platform is only going to improve in the future. There have been four $1 million-plus cashes on StakeKings.com so far, including one in last year’s Main Event.” Players on StakeKings offer packages of all different games and stakes. Not everybody needs to buy a piece of a Super High Roller event. Players put packages up for even the smallest of online events. Regardless of the size of the event, Brandenburg enjoys the entire process of looking for someone to invest in and following the action. “When I’m buying a piece of someone, I generally look for a few different things,” said Brandenburg. “I look for the combination of entertainment value and profitability. When I invest on StakeKings, I know that whether I win or lose, I will have fun being a part of the action.” Brandenburg got into poker prior to Black Friday. As a New Jersey resident, he has access to online poker within his state, but buying pieces on StakeKings allows him to live vicariously through players living outside the U.S. and play in larger tournaments. “It’s legal in the United States,” said Brandenburg. “So, it allows me to stay connected to the game and the pros while working and doing other things throughout the day. StakeKings allows me to live a personal dream of mine through others without the high risk.”
  17. [caption width="640"] Ferguson elicits a polarizing range of emotions as he steps back into the spotlight[/caption] Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson won his sixth World Series of Poker bracelet on Wednesday when he took down WSOPE Event #7 (€1,650 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better) for €39,289. With the victory, Ferguson, the current WSOP Player of Year points leader, extended his first place margin over both Ryan Hughes and John Racener, the players nearest to him in the race. Shedding his traditional urban cowboy garb, Ferguson took to the table with a navy T-shirt with a single word silkscreened in the center chest reading “love.” While Ferguson clearly loved the result, not everyone who received word of his victory was feeling what his shirt was preaching. Ferguson, a central figure in the Full Tilt Poker financial collapse, has yet to publicly comment on the fiscal disaster that left thousands of poker players funds trapped in limbo for years. His silence has led to resentment by some members of the poker community, while others have opted not to hold a grudge against Ferguson since he’s returned from his self-imposed exile. Both sides took to social media to comment on the bracelet win for the controversial champion. Comments directed at Ferguson himself were at a minimum early on. It was actually 14-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth’s congratulatory tweet that seemed to generate the most buzz. Ferguson continues to march to the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year as the final points will be tallied at the conclusion of the WSOPE Main Event which begins on November 4.
  18. [caption width="639"] Mayweather vs. McGregor brings out the bettors this Saturday night[/caption] Mayweather or McGregor? The entire sports world will come to a standstill this Saturday night as the once-in-a-generation boxing talent of Floyd “Money” Mayweather puts his perfect record at risk against the biggest superstar the UFC has to offer in “The Notorious” Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. With a fight - nay, a spectacle - of this magnitude, there is plenty of money flowing into the Vegas sportsbooks from those looking to get some additional “action” to the action inside the ring. It’s the kind of big money event that many in the poker community look to take shots on, so we surveyed the #pokertwitter landscape to find out where the edge seeking pros are hoping to place their bets and pad their bankrolls. Mayweather vs. McGregor takes place this Saturday night on Pay-Per-View with the main card starting at 6 pm (9 pm ET).
  19. [caption width="640"] John Hesp went from playing pub poker tournaments to being a fan favorite in the WSOP Main Event in 2017.[/caption] As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. The first two stories looked back at the top five news stories from off the felt and the five best heaters. Now we fondly remember the players who brought more to the game than a GTO approach. Here we give you the top five characters of 2017. #5 - Jackie Wang When PokerGO announced the lineups for their 'Leave it to Seiver' episodes in mid-November, there was one player that was a bit of a head-scratcher. Jackie Wang was simply described as a "family and businessman from Macau" in the press release hyping the episodes. He turned out to be a lot more than that. Showcasing an eccentric playing style and a desire to play as many pots as he could, Wang drew praise from viewers at home and the players he was playing with for his first appearance. It was during a December episode where the praise turned to scorn after he was found to be angle shooting against Farah Galfond. After the episode aired, the pair apparently made up. #4 - Mickey Craft One of the players who benefitted from having the World Series of Poker Main Event live on ESPN and PokerGO this year was West Virginia businessman Mickey Craft. After finishing Day 3 with a top 10 stack, word of Craft's loose aggressive playing style made its way to ESPN producers. That's when fans tuning in at home got their first taste of Craft. Whether it was his endless table chatter or his desire to play any two cards at any time, Craft made the tables he was playing on fun not only for those watching at home but also for the eight other players sitting with him. The fitting end for Craft came when he was eliminated by Michael Ruane while holding [poker card="7c"][poker card="2s"]. He then returned to the table after collecting his $53,247 payout to buy the remaining players each a shot of Patron. #3 - Martin Kabrhel While Wang and Craft made their way onto this list be endearing themselves to poker fans, Martin Kabrhel basically did the opposite. While he was a bit of known commodity before 2017, Kabrhel showed up at the WSOP this year and found himself drawing the ire of his fellow players for being painfully slow and engaging in trash talk at almost any opportunity. Down to just two tables in the $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship, Kabrhel found himself getting glares from the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Terrence Chan before being eliminated in 18th place. Some even went as far as calling him the Czech version of William Kassouf. He finished off the year by winning his first career WSOP bracelet at WSOP Europe and then thanks to some table talk that might have gone too far, almost wasn't allowed in the casino for his bracelet ceremony. Cooler heads prevailed and Kabrhel was able to accept his bracelet. #2 - Salomon Ponte When 2017 began, Salomon Ponte was just some guy who won a WPTDeepStacks event in 2016 and had his winner interview video go viral. By the end of 2017 though, Ponte was a controversial figure who went through the highs of lows of being "internet famous". Ponte first came to light again after seeing theCate Hall vs. Mike Dentale grudge match play out on Poker Night in America. Ponte wanted his own grudge match and soon began calling out as many PNIA regulars as he could in hopes of being added to a future lineup. He got his wish in April when he joined Doug Polk, Shaun Deeb, Brandon Cantu and Dentale in Choctaw. His performance on that show, which saw him felted early, had him trying to sell his watch to other players to continue playing. His trash talk repeatedly crossed the line and by the end of the night, many were hoping to never hear from him again. Live at the Bike had to cancel his future bookings after much of Ponte's social media antics crossed the line. He was then featured on a viral video after stiffing a Las Vegas restaurant for the bill. The year wrapped up in sad fashion for Ponte as security footage of a Richmond Hill, Ontario poker game was released showing a player - believed to be Ponte - being assaulted by another player over an alleged debt. #1 - John Hesp The WSOP Main Event is often full of unique characters. While Craft was one of the first new stars born at the 2017 WSOP Main Event, Englishman John Hesp easily goes down as the most memorable. The 64-year-old normally plays in £10 buy-in tournaments at his local pub and decided to play the Main Event to cross it off of his bucket list. He ended up finished fourth for $2.6 million - and soon found himself a fan favorite of those watching at home. Thanks to his amateur status, friendly nature and a unique taste in sports coats, Hesp made the atmosphere of the final table a little looser than years past. His willingness to show his cards after winning a pot and emphasis on enjoying the experience rather than maximizing his earning opportunity by studying push-fold charts had Twitter abuzz. Hesp made such an impression on the other final tablists that four months after play finished, sixth place finisher Bryan Piccioli traveled to England to spend time with Hesp. Rather than let the fame and fortune that comes with a fourth place finish in poker's most prestigious event go to his head, Hesp returned to England to a hero's welcome and continued playing in the £10 buy-in tournaments.
  20. “It wasn’t always easy. When I first moved out here in 2012, I played for like six months. I moved to L.A. and didn’t have good bankroll management, expenses were a lot higher and I ended up going broke and I moved back in with my parents. That was especially brutal.” That was nearly five years ago, and while Las Vegas-based professional poker player Brad Owen has learned a thing or two about playing within his bankroll and dealing with the swings that come with a life as a poker pro, it’s still not always easy. In addition to grinding out on-the-felt gains, Owen is one poker’s top-tier vloggers, constantly documenting his exploits as a real-life $2/$5 reg in Sin City and that comes with its own learning curve. When Owen first started to vlog, in December of 2016, he thought no one would even watch. He had seen the beginnings of fellow grinder Andrew Neeme’s vlog and, while not trying to compete per se, he thought he could offer a different perspective. A perspective he hoped would help him bridge a gap between him and his family. “I really wanted my family to see what my life was like. I felt like there was a big disconnect between my family and friends in California and myself. So this was a way to show them what poker is really like, that there’s actual skill involved and that I’m making money at it.” Owen’s parents were not always completely on board with his efforts to be a poker pro, despite him having played the game for so long. Owen recalls starting to play around the age of 14, mostly with his older brother Matt and his friends. That extended into high school and, eventually, when Owen went to college in San Diego, he got his first taste of playing in a casino. He started grinding the $3/$6 limit games and playing $40 tournaments. In 2010, he played the largest tournament he’d ever played to that point - a $100 satellite to the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. He won the seat, and by the conclusion of his WSOP Main Event opening flight, Owen became hooked. “It was a dream come true just to make it through Day 1 and to be toward the top of the chip lead was pretty sweet,” Owen recalled. “I didn’t feel completely outmatched. In my mind, I felt like I could compete with the best in the world. I didn’t realize how much I had to learn.” Although he busted in the middle of Day 2, he set about learning. Some of it, the hard way. In 2012 he made his first foray into trying to play professionally. He first moved to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles and it ended up with his crashing with his, then, disapproving parents back in Santa Rosa, CA. Broke and living with his parents he needed a new direction. He decided to study to become a CPA. After passing all the tests though he found getting employed difficult because firms tended to only hire out of colleges. It was the middle of summer and he could only find one master's program still accepting applications. It just so happened to be UNLV. “I applied and got in at the last minute and moved back to Las Vegas in the fall of 2013. The master's program is only a one year program that prepares you for taking the CPA exams. It was all review for me so I spent a lot of time playing poker and rebuilding my bankroll.” Owen finished his Masters, got a job at a top-flight accounting firm and was put to work. He was crunching number sometimes 70-80 hours a week. “It wasn't something that I enjoyed or found interesting. I thought that if instead I put in that kind of time and effort into poker I could make way more money,” Owen said. “When I started playing poker again full time, I was able to take a more disciplined and professional approach. My parents weren't happy with my decision to go back to poker but at least I had a master's degree and a CPA license to fall back on. It hasn't been a completely smooth second stint but it has gone well for the most part” Times are better now, and part of that is in thanks to his vlog. His parents are his #1 fans, watching every episode and his siblings both follow the vlog closely. They aren’t the only ones. His vlog on YouTube has over 32,000 subscribers who tune in to Owen’s adventures. At first, Owen thought of his vlog as a growing experience for his poker career. Hoping there’d be some back and forth on how he played specific hands. Nowadays he finds that while there’s a little of that, there are a lot of beginning poker players who tune in to learn. So, in order to keep things fresh for himself, Owen, who is a fan of comedy, tried to keep his videos light and loaded with humor. “I’ve always been a fan of stand-up comedy, The Office, Seinfeld, and shows like that,” Owen said. “I emphasize comedy and humor a little bit more than most do. That’s something I enjoy more than teaching people how to play poker. I enjoy making people laugh.” In his videos Owens is quick to deliver punchlines in the same cadence that he’s describing a check-raise, giving viewers a taste of his dry and affable sense of humor and personality. It’s that personality, and the poker, that people tune in to see and, of course, Owen’s on-screen foil, his “talking” cat Cosmo. While he’s got his style down, it took him a while to get the process down. He says that when he first started building the videos it would take him 25-30 hours to complete a 15-minute clip. The effort was so laborious that if it weren’t for the encouragement of the Las Vegas poker community he may have stopped. Even now, though he’s better at the process, he’s still spending a ton of time editing on the laptop. “It’s becoming a second job now. The vlogging is starting to pay pretty well and so I’m putting a lot more hours into that than I am playing poker. I played maybe 700-800 hours last year and I probably worked on videos for like 1000 or 1200 hours,” Owen estimates acknowledging that as a pro player one would like to get in about 1500 hours a year. “That’s one thing that worries me is that people see my videos and Andrew’s [Neeme] and think that poker is something that’s really easy. It’s another thing that they don’t really see all the effort.” All of Owen’s effort seems to be paying off. He had the ability to play poker and create content while making a living at both, all the while his audience continues to grow. As he looks to the future, Owen sees a wide variety of possibilities including branching out into streaming poker online, seeing more parts of the world and continuing to support Off The Felt, the online poker forums he and his brother Matt created. “I have no idea what’s going to be happening a year from now, what opportunities that I’ll have but I really hope that I’ll be traveling a lot more and get the green light to film in a lot more casinos. That’s definitely the goal.” In the meantime, Owen plans to continue sharing his experience. “This has been a really cool period in my life where I’m doing something that I really enjoy doing.”
  21. Brazil's Henrique Bastos Coutinho came through a 5,490 player field to bank $148,292 and become this week's PokerStars Sunday Million champion. Playing under the alias 'Galochina10' he was able to beat 'it.happ3ns.' into second-place for $104,064, with 'mrAndreeew' taking away $73,028 in third-place. The win for Coutinho meant he smashed his previous best recorded online cash of $10,244 by some margin. 'sousinha23' came through a tough PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller final table that included the top two ranked players in the world Lena900 and C.Darwin2 to bank $45,028. 'Lena900' followed by '€urop€an', Michael 'mczhang' Zhang, 'Bigfish112392', 'C.Darwin2' and 'roo_400' exited the tournament before 'probirs' took $25,825 in third. 'sousinha23' was then able to get the better of 'cigarromata' heads-up to take the title with the latter taking $34,100 in second. This week's PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller winner was former world #1 ranked 'p0cket00' after they eliminated 'Karssen1987' heads-up. 'p0cket00', who has over $11m in online earnings, won $32,536.83 + $28,122.96 (in bounties) with runner-up 'Karssen1987' banking $23,848.97 + $5,515.62 (in bounties). Sweden's Johannes 'Greenstone25' Korsar took away $17,481 + $2,687.50 (in bounties) in third-place. 'mraink' came through a 1,066 player field in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up and sent Jonas Palsgård Christensen to the rail during heads-up play to secure a $34,593 payday. Christensen took away $24,872 for his efforts and 'fers223' won $17,883 in third. Also, a shoutout must go to 'Bagelakis23' who was able to achieve sixth-place finishes in both the Sunday Million and the Sunday Warm-Up. 'Malapisk' was able to secure two titles across the partypoker Sunday Majors for a combined total prize of $53,894. Firstly, 'Malapisk' and John Adderley agreed to a heads-up deal in the $1,050 Deepstack-HR to bank $36,694 and $33,685 respectively. There were a total of 198 entries, and after 'FoldDigger' fell in third-place for $21,100 the final two made the money deal before 'Malapisk' took down the win, and John Adderley achieved his highest online cash to date. And their second win of the day came in the $109 Sunday Major for $17,200. 'LeadRush' was the player to fall at the hands of 'Malapisk' this time around during heads-up and took away $12,320 for second-place. Elsewhere on partypoker, there was a field of 39 players in the $2,500 Super Sunday High Roller as 'mwhldwn', AKA RaiseYourEdge head coach 'Bencb', beat partypoker ambassador Patrick Leonard to take the win for $40,500. Leonard's prize for second-place was $26,500 with current PocketFives world #2 'HellmuthTheGr8' taking the bronze medal for $16,500. 'Demba_Pa' took the majority share of the $150,000 prize pool in the $530 Sunday Major after they came through the 293 player field for the victory. Paul 'Sheld0nC00per' Allen exited in third-place for $15,230 before 'x_zola25' took $20,778 in second-place and 'Demba_Pa' was awarded with $28,545 for the win. There was also a second final table appearance of the day for Patrick Leonard after he took fifth-place for $8,183. Over on 888poker, Fabrizio 'DrMikee' Gonzalez achieved gold and bronze medals in the flagship 'Sunday Mega Deep' and 'Whale' tournaments. Ivan ‘hurrrrican3’ Gabrieli took down the $1,050 The $100,000 Whale for $24,596 after agreeing to a heads-up deal with Alessandro 'ZeroNineee' Valli. Gabrieli, who took the silver medal in last week's 888poker Sunday Mega Deep, went this distance this time around as Valli banked $17,387 as runner-up and Gonzalez claimed $10,950 in third place. Gonzalez then went the distance in the $215 Sunday Mega Deep to add another $19,250 to their Sunday winnings after he defeated 'GangstaGo' heads-up. The runners-up prize was $14,250 with American Bryan 'DePittsterje' Paris taking the final podium spot for $10,750. Below are this week’s Sunday final table results: PokerStars Sunday Million ($200 + $15 NLHE) $1M Guaranteed 5,490 entrants, $1,098,000 prize pool Galochina10 - $148,292.04 it.happ3ns. - $104,064.15 mrAndreeew - $73,028.96 ELLA_ELIAS - $51,249.58 felipebeltra - $35,965.42 Bagelakis23 - $25,239.39 RovoDice - $17,712.27 Cndale1 - $12,430.01 miniDanny028 - $8,723.06 PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller, $125k Gtd 95 entrants, $190,000 prize pool sousinha23 - $45,028.15 cigarromata - $34,100.99 probirs - $25,825.57 roo_400 - $14,812.07 C.Darwin2 - $14,812.07 Bigfish112392 - $11,217.58 mczhang - $8,495.35 €urop€an - $6,433.76 Lena900 - $5,528.14 PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller, $300k Gtd 770 entrants, $385,000 prize pool p0cket00 - $32,536.83 + $28,122.96 (in bounties) Karssen1987- $23,848.97 + $5,515.62 (in bounties) Greenstone25 - $17,481.23 + $2,687.50 (in bounties) renaton - $12,813.70 + $9,707.04 (in bounties) arvidxoxo - $9,392.40 + $1,125.00 (in bounties) SELOUAN1991 - $6,884.60 + $3,234.37 (in bounties) Dhr.Awesome - $5,046.40 + $5,490.24 (in bounties) betpeter3 - $3,699.00 + $4,285.16 (in bounties) jeremy98rus - $2,711.36 + $3,687.50 (in bounties) PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up $200k Gtd 1,066 entrants, $213,200 prize pool mraink - $34,593.71 Palsgaard1 - $24,872.57 fers223 - $17,883.57 HU4FU - $12,858.45 TanTanSWE - $9,245.33 Bagelakis23 - $6,647.49 xKoSSSx - $4,779.60 AS Leshiy - $3,436.59 EdilsonRTJ - $2,470.94 partypoker $109 Sunday Major-H $100k Gtd 984 entrants, $100,000 prize pool Malapisk - $17,200 LeadRush - $12,320 mikimiki88 - $8,150 MexiCain241lbs - $5,460 BYLIA - $3,870 d1n0s_Law - $2,740 melogno_jr - $1,920 ows86 - $1,300 partypoker $530 Sunday Major – HR $150k 293 entrants, $150,000 prize pool Demba_Pa - $28,545.30 x_zola25 - $20,778.45 Sheld0nC00per - $15,230.55 TheHoggDogg - $11,163.90 Patrick_Leonard - $8,183.10 Aspartam1967 - $5,998.20 cr3zyem34 - $4,396.95 NoisiaRadio - $3,222.75 GiMMiETheL0T - $3,222.75 partypoker $2,500 Super Sunday High Roller $100k Gtd 39 entrants, $100,000 prize pool mwhldwn - $40,500 Patrick_Leonard - $26,500 HellmuthTheGr8 - $16,500 spinner2255 - $9,000 maniakboy - $7,500 partypoker $1,050 Deepstack-HR $200k Gtd 198 entrants, $200,000 prize pool Malapisk - $36,694.74* johnadderley - $33,685.27* FoldDigger - $21,100 Lucky_Chicken - $15,600 rudiqa1 - $11,000 TullaMoreFan12 - $8,400 proudflop - $6,200 stub8ornCnt - $4,600 *denotes heads-up deal 888poker $1,050 The $100,000 Whale 53 entrants – $100,000 prize pool Hurrrrican3 - $24,596.69* ZeroNineee - $17,387.31* DrMikee - $10,950 Farrugia_1 - $7,300 Canette_15 - $5,475 InJeBakkes - $4,015 SalsaFiesta - $3,285 *denotes heads-up deal 888poker $215 Sunday Mega Deep 338 entrants – $100,000 prize pool DrMikee - $19,250 GangstaGo - $14,250 DePittsterje - $10,750 rodckz - $7,750 HateH4teHate - $5,250 iBustYa888 - $3,750 Graftekkel - $2,750 ZeroNineee - $2,250
  22. One look at #WSOP gives even those with the slightest interest in poker a severe case of FOMO. The first week of the 49th Annual World Series of Poker had it all. Big names fighting for multimillion-dollar scores and players mixing it up both on and off-the-felt. It’s impossible to catch everything that’s happening at the Rio in Las Vegas but here are some of the highlights we enjoyed that will make you feel like you’re in the thick of the action yourself. So Many Rings When you want to stretch your bankroll, perhaps a single table satellite is the way to go. Just beat a soft field of 9 other players and next thing you know you’re vying for a gold bracelet. Well, maybe the field isn’t that soft. On to week two!
  23. Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. It's that time of year again when gift givers scramble to pick the perfect gift for the poker player in their life. While it's impossible to give the gift every poker player really want - a healthy dose of run good, we have done our best to assemble gift ideas that show that you truly understand how deep their devotion to the game is. Not everything on this list is going to be for everyone and they won’t all be great stocking stuffers. But if you want a gift someone (or even yourself) with some killer poker presents this year here’s a few items we like. [caption id="attachment_621555" align="alignnone" width="768"] Both Kem and Faded Spade make high-quality 100% plastic coated playing cards.[/caption] Kem/Faded Spade Cards Sick of playing with cards that resemble disposable napkins like you do at some poker rooms/festivals? Want a deck that looks and feels great in your hand as you turn over the nuts in a bloated pot? Kem branded cards are widely considered a top-tier brand of plastic cards and have been around for decades. They are 100% plastic giving them a great shelf life and have a classic look that will add some class to any home game. If you want something a little more modern, Faded Spade has introduced an updated four color deck to mimic the online poker look. Faded Spade is also 100% plastic for durability and they have a non-traditional, pretty cool illustration design for the face cards. You can get a two deck set of either brand for roughly $25. [caption id="attachment_621556" align="alignnone" width="768"] AirPods are great for when poker players are on the go. Sennheiser is a high quality over the ear headphone for the online grind.[/caption] Apple AirPods Some poker players and poker industry influencers are not really looking to promote images of a hoodied young pro plugged into their headphones, taking down pots while ignoring the table. It’s understandable, a table full of players not engaging with other, obsessed with their own media does not a “fun” game make. However, sometimes you just gotta grind. Downswinging is real and you can’t always be the affable storyteller making sure all the recs are having a blast. What you need is some “you” time at the table where you turn up your best motivational playlist, pop in some wireless headphones and get down to business. Apple AirPods are becoming a top choice for poker players due to their convenience and the ability to keep your head on a swivel, following the action, without all the wires. They sound great, allow you to move around easily and have a little more discretion than a large pair of headphones. AirPods can be picked up for around $100-$150. For the online grinder in your life, getting them a pair of great sounding headphones is a great idea. If you are looking for a suggestion here, a classic pair of Sennheiser 650 Open Back is a five-star choice and can be found for around $320 online. Honorable mention in this category: get a Spotify or Apple Music paid subscription because listening to commercials is not GTO. [caption id="attachment_621557" align="alignnone" width="768"] PokerGo's $10/mo price tag might be the best pure value in poker.[/caption] PokerGO This is a no-brainer. A yearly subscription to PokerGO will have the poker fan in your life glued to their computer (or mobile device) watching the biggest names in the game playing for the highest stakes imaginable. From the revamped Poker After Dark to the heady play in the Super High Roller Bowl, there’s always fresh content on the streaming service and it’s super cheap. $10 a month cheap or you can get a yearly subscription for as little as $89. [caption id="attachment_621558" align="alignnone" width="768"] 50 pros detail their secrets for succeeding in the world of poker.[/caption] The Pursuit Of Poker Success by Lance Bradley Wait! Before you go accusing this writer of being a homer (I am) read this. There are a ton of poker books out there - most of which focus on getting better at the game. Bradley’s The Pursuit of Poker Success has a unique slant unlike any other poker book out there. It talks to 50 of the most long-lived, success cash game and tournament players in history and has them discuss what it means to be a successful poker player. It’s more than how to play AK to a three-bet, it’s more than a simple mindset book (there are good ones for this category too) - the text reads like a motivational blueprint for upping your game from the inside out. Bradley’s book, along with a ton of amazing poker texts can be found at D&B poker. Paperback runs $29.95, ebook $19.99. [caption id="attachment_621559" align="alignnone" width="768"] If you are going to wear sunglasses at the table, wear good ones.[/caption] Ray-Ban Original Classic Wayfarers There’s been a movement in recent years to remove sunglasses from the poker table. The look is, perhaps, a little cliche and could even be intimidating to newer poker players. But here’s the real deal, for some players sunglasses are a security blanket that allows them to play their best game and hide whatever emotion is going on in their head. So we say if you are going to wear sunglasses at the table - look good doing it. There is no more classic, cool brand of sunglasses out there than a pair of RayBan’s Classic Wayfarer sunglasses. Dark lenses, sleek design and known for durability these are a pair of sunglasses that you’ll enjoy wearing away from the table when down in the Bahamas and you end up busting from the PSPC. You can fetch these in a number of designs all for around $150 online. [caption id="attachment_621560" align="alignnone" width="767"] Get your short stack game in good shape with SnapShove.[/caption] SnapShove App The SnapShove App, developed by poker pro Max Silver, is a guide to perfecting short stack play. It’s both a calculator to help players understand shoving ranges with particular stack depths. It’s also a training app that helps players make “perfect decisions every time.” Select how many players are at the table, what the big blind is, how many bigs you have left and your position. The app will give you what range of hands you should be looking to get in the middle profitably. It’s must-know concepts for all tournament players. SnapShove is available on both iOS and Android and the Pro version is only $14.99. [caption id="attachment_621561" align="alignnone" width="768"] A traveling poker player needs a good backpack to go along for the ride.[/caption] Alcatraz Laptop Backpack from Timbuk2 For the poker player who puts a ton of miles in traveling from tournament to tournament, a nice, reliable backpack is a necessity. As a carry-on item on flights and to store all their needs for a long day in the poker room, it’s great to have something that looks as good as it performs. The Custom Alcatraz Laptop back from Timbuk2 is perfect to tote around everything a poker player could want, including their laptop for when they are in countries and US States that allow for some online grinding. This rain resistant backpack allows for some killer stylistic customization. Pick this, and similar bags, up from direct from Timbuk2. The Alcatraz Laptop Backpack runs $144. [caption id="attachment_621562" align="alignnone" width="768"] Nowadays, a trip to the WSOP means much more than taking shots at a bracelet.[/caption] A Trip To The World Series of Poker If you really want to make a splash this holiday season, commit to sending that poker player in your life on what might be their first trip to the World Series of Poker. Now, we’re not suggesting that you withdraw a stack of high society and buy directly into the WSOP Main Event - not at all. While the actual WSOP is the grand attraction in Las Vegas during the summer, the surrounding properties including the ARIA, Wynn, Planet Hollywood and more run their own super series of tournaments and cash games. For a fraction of the Main Event buy-in, a player could book a cheap flight, stay in a decent hotel, grind tournaments for a few days and still get that rush of having been to the World Series of Poker. The only downside to a gift this grand is once a player makes their way to Vegas in the summer, they usually spend the rest of their poker lives trying to find a way back. Happy holidays!
  24. Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. It would be nice to think that, as we grow older, the old adage of “it’s better to give than receive” is a feeling that most people come to embrace. That said, there’s an amazing feeling when the right person gives you the perfect gift. Quite often it’s not only the gift itself, but it’s the fact that there’s someone out there that knows you so well and wants nothing more than to make you happy. “This is a close one,” said PokerStars and WSOP broadcaster Joe Stapleton when thinking about the best gift he’s ever been given. “I’m gonna go with the original NES [Nintendo Entertainment System]. “Everyone on my block had one and my parents pretty much swore they weren’t going to get us one. Also, maybe Santa was still a thing then...I can’t remember. “When we finished opening our presents and the NES we so desperately wanted was not contained therein, we, my brother and I, did our best to hide our disappointment. We were good kids, (read: terrified of our parents), and it would have been rude and ungrateful to complain about not getting something for Christmas. Also, we were kinda genuinely good kids who didn’t want to make our parents feel bad.” However, not all hope was lost for Stapes. “My Grandma would always come over when we were done opening present for her non-Santa presents. You see where this is going so I’ll cut to the chase. She brought us the Nintendo. It was some real Red Rider BB Gun shit. We were thrilled.” New Jersey poker pro Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano has a similar story. For him, it was a gaming system that led him to a lifetime of playing games. “I would have to my favorite gift was when I got Nintendo 64. It was 1996, I was 11 and really into video games,” said Gags. “I had no idea what the N64 would bring. It was a video game system like I had never seen before. The games were amazing and I would spend the next seven years glued to it, playing every game imaginable. It really grew my interest and obsession with game and video games a ton, and probably is partly responsible for leading me to poker.” While some a gift may be an item that helped shape their future, for some, the best gifts of Christmas can’t be bought. Solve For Why coach and former PocketFives #1-ranked player Jordan Young didn’t have to think twice when recalling his perfect gift. “I have received the perfect Christmas gift,” Young said. “The best gift I ever received was from my parents and it was a memory book full of pictures of my dog, Doogan. That was the first time I ever received something and got emotional because I had just spent three years without him while I had moved abroad to play online poker.” For others that perfect gift isn’t an object at all. “It may sound a bit cheesy…” said partypoker Pro Kristen Bicknell “…but I think the true gift and magic of the holidays is being with family and loved ones. There really is something special and unique about the spirit of the season. One of my favorite things about Christmas that never fails is Christmas dinner. It’s definitely the best meal of the year.” World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage’s favorite gift falls in line with that sentiment. “My favorite gift has always been spending time with family. This year is going to be a tough one as my father recently passed away,” Savage said. “Christmas was his favorite holiday. He made every Christmas special when I was young with gifts I never needed but wanted. I always enjoy giving more than receiving and the perfect gift is the one that makes Maryann [his wife] smile.” Still looking for that perfect gift to give the poker player in your life? We have some suggestions to make their eyes light up with The Definitive Poker Player Holiday Gift Guide.
  25. As news of the passing of Thor Hansen spread throughout the poker community on Wednesday, an outpouring of love and respect for “the Godfather of Norwegian Poker” flooded social media. Hansen was a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, a three-time Poker Hall of Fame nominee as well as both a PokerStars WCOOP and SCOOP champion. In 2012, after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, doctors had given him just months to live. Hansen sought treatment, beat the odds and throughout the next six years continued to be a fixture in the world of poker. Hansen, finally succumbing to the disease, passed away at the age of 71. The poker community took time to remember him. Hansen is survived by his wife, Marcella Bramwell.

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