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  1. Every year, the World Series of Poker is enormous fun for fans of the game as poker heroes such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Shaun Deeb take each other on for the biggest prizes and bragging rights associated with winning the much-coveted Player of the Year title as well as individual bracelets.   This year sees the return of the $25k Fantasy Draft, where players and fans alike can invest their hard-earned money in the performances of their poker idols. But how does the $25k Fantasy Draft work and who are the best people to ask?   We’ve delved into poker’s biggest sweat in Las Vegas by speaking with Remko Rinkema and Donnie Peters, who this year are the two men behind Team Pocket Fives, as well as chatting to Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks, who both represent Team No Gamble, No Future. For the first time, investors can buy a piece of the action from both teams direct from the Pocket Fives site. Remko Rinkema can see the benefits of following the website to keep track of which players are selling their action.   “There are people who have posted action on Pocket Fives,” he says. “If we can see that a player is playing a big buy-in tournament, there’s a good chance they’ll be playing a full schedule. The staking marketplace on Pocket Fives has brought all that to one platform.”   Jeff Platt couldn’t agree more. The man who made award-winning content at the last World Series of Poker is excited about how easy it is to advertise the package.   “While it’s a thrill for us to run the team, it’s even more exciting to be able to get fans involved with the squad, via the Pocket Fives Staking platform,” he says. His teammate, Brent Hanks, agrees.   “A few years ago, Remko and I did this thing together and it dawned on both of us that we were actually sharp when it comes to the WSOP and determining the value and pricing of players. Fast forward, Jeff and I have been very fortunate to be immersed within the poker industry.”   Making the Best Picks   "Knowing how it works has absolutely nothing with winning this." ~ Remko Rinkema   The two teams know all about the process of picking players, but what strategy is the right one? As both teams confess, experience is no guarantee of success.   “Knowing how it works has absolutely nothing with winning this. We know better than anyone how it works and haven’t won a thing!” laughs Rinkema, who won a Global Poker Award earlier this year for his spectacular feature on the life of Stu Ungar told through his daughter Stephanie’s memories for PokerGO.   “It’s very different from playing a tournament or cash game,” says Donnie Peters, Rinkema’s right-hand man on Team Pocket Fives. “You’re betting on other players. It’s fantasy football transitioned to poker. They didn’t run the $25k fantasy last year because of the vaccine or mask mandates, but we’ve been doing this $25k for several years.”   As Rinkema explains, knowing that a player will put in the volume no matter what is key to making the right buys on Draft night.   “The first tier is how much are they going to play,” he explains. “Then how likely are they to stick to that schedule based on outside parameters such as cash games and skill level compared to their opponents. Anyone can win a tournament on a given day; Jeff Platt made a final table last year - that says it all.”   This theory applies to the biggest players, as the men who know poker best tell us. Volume is by far the biggest factor and while some stars of the game like Daniel Negreanu will play every game, others such as Phil Ivey might take four or five days off if a juicy cash game kicks off elsewhere on the Strip.   The Origins of the Game   "We have been in the industry and have a good feel for the WSOP." ~ Donnie Peters   The notion of playing a $25,000-entry Fantasy Draft for poker started in 2011. At that stage, Daniel Negreanu was the man behind it, but interest in the idea quickly snowballed. Podcasters Quad Jacks, who were huge in 2012 interviewed Rinkema for their show and the latter then discussed the idea with Peters on a PokerNews podcast episode.   “We thought it didn’t seem like they understood draft strategy,” says Peters. “We joked that we’d max the auction on Phil Ivey, spending 193 on Ivey then fill in the rest of our players with $1 players. Some people got wind of it on social media.”   The pair were encouraged to take part the following year, raising the money from several investors. Despite their knowledge and background in the game - both men have lived and breathed poker for well over a decade - they are yet to profit... but believe this is the year.   “The last time it was organized in 2019, I had a team with Poker Central,” says Rinkema. We were a min-cash shy of finishing in the top three [with] probably the best team ever assembled. We had Jeremy Ausmus, Dan Shak, Rob Mizrachi, Jon Turner, Stephen Chidwick, James Obst, Justin Young and Bart Lybaert was our one-dollar player.”   The $25k Fantasy Draft, or rather ‘gambling on gamblers gambling well’ as Rinkema says, is, as all four men admit, the funniest thing imaginable. Investors are betting money on poker players not only showing up with their own money, but finding ways to win. Variance is huge, and Team Pocket Fives are well aware that players ‘grind for years and never make the final table’. The variance is so high that it’s the reason never to give up. Anyone can win it.   “If you’re investing in Team Pocket Fives, you’re investing in Remko and I. We’re the brain trust. Similar to if you’re backing me in a poker tournament, you invest in me and take a leap of faith with your dollars. Remko and I lean on our expertise. We have been in the industry and have a good feel for the WSOP, we’re there every single day and have studied these players over the years.”   [caption id="attachment_638190" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Who'll pick the best team when Daniel Negreanu hosts the $25k Fantasy Draft at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA?[/caption] Fireworks Guaranteed   The $25k Fantasy Draft will be presented by Daniel Negreanu on May 30th and looks set to be held on a live stream on PokerGO too, with a live auctioneer of Tim Duckworth and an electric atmosphere in the room. With huge money on the line and poker heroes captaining many teams, Rinkema explains it can be nerve-wracking for debutants.   “It is one thing betting on fantasy football sitting behind your computer, but quite another being in a room where Daniel Negreanu bids $73 for Stephen Chidwick and I raise my hand and shout ‘$75!’ It’s quite the vibe that you’re stepping into.”   Rinkema explains that team cohesion is everything on the night when the lights are on the teams and marginal decisions need to be made. Whatever the team’s spending limit on players before the auction can change in a second if a big name goes for cheap or sleeper picks gather traction.   “It’s a really cool atmosphere,” says Rinkema. “It’s for the true hardcore. If you’re a podcast fan and love the WSOP, it’s the coolest thing ever. If you’re a true fan of the game, it’s ‘can’t miss’ content and provides an amazing sweat during the WSOP.”   Peters admits that every year, walking into the room for the Draft sends a shiver down his spine.   “You’re going up against a lot of people in the industry and you want to do well. You walk in there and its game day you got your stats, you’ve done your research, but every year people are winging it! They want to borrow your computer it’s like ‘No, you should have done your own research!’ If players don’t go for as many dollars as they think they’re worth, they go crazy."   Peters says the pair get messages from players thanking them for being drafted and promising how hard they’ll try. Not everyone ends the draft delighted with proceedings, though.   "One year Phil Hellmuth went for fourth or fifth most expensive player," recalls Peters. "Obviously, he’s the most decorated WSOP player of all time. He lost his mind that he wasn’t the most expensive player drafted that year!”   [caption id="attachment_638191" align="aligncenter" width="857"] Walking through the famous PokerGO studio doors is inspiring and daunting on Draft night.[/caption] Talking Tactics   "We know when well-known players are looking to play." ~ Brent Hanks   When it comes to individual players, how does each team decide who goes for who? In every case, the process is different, only adding to the variance across the board.   “We both have endless contact information for domestic and international players alike,” says Hanks about his and Platt’s tactics. “We know the sort of volume that goes under the radar and when well-known players are looking to play.”   This isn’t always foolproof, as Rinkema reminds us. It’s not always about the quality of the player.   “I would love to have Jeremy Ausmus on our team every year, but I have a feeling he’ll be one of the highest-priced players bid on. He plays a lot of tournaments, he’s extremely good looking; these factors are important.”   Others won’t be playing a full series, as Rinkema reveals to everyone who reads this.   “Darren Elias, I know without asking him, always takes a break to fly back to the East Coast to hang out with his family. We don’t want those family men on our team. We want dedicated grinders who do not leave the parameter of the valleys and lock in to play every single tournament. Jeremy Ausmus, by the way, big time family man.”   Rinkema has already been sharking Twitter for new names and admits to having found ‘a couple of gems’ in the hunt for a great value breakout player.   “Jason Mercier is a really good example,” says Peters. “He was crushing this thing for so long but, from 2018, hasn’t really played, so you have to find the next people who are coming up. Hanks can’t contain his excitement about the next two months on and off the felt.   “The 25k Fantasy Draft is something that Jeff and I absolutely had to be a part of,” he gushes. “It’s the perfect fit for No Gamble, No Future and what we’re trying to create for our show and brand.” “Yeah, Brent and I have been discussing innovative ways to relaunch No Gamble, No Future,” agrees Platt. “Having a $25k WSOP fantasy team is the perfect complementary piece to that puzzle.” A Rowdy Rail is Guaranteed   "Our virtual rail will only be topped by Brent’s in-person antics when one of our players makes a final table." ~ Jeff Platt   Part of the fun for Pocket Fives investors or players on each team is the guaranteed entertainment that either participation or investment in either Team Pocket Fives or Team No Gamble, No Future brings.   “Our virtual rail will only be topped by Brent’s in-person antics when one of our players makes a final table,” laughs Platt in a reference to the last time Hanks and Platt lit up Twitter after the latter ran very deep at the World Series. “We’ll have so many social media updates so that rail can really feel like they have a good sweat. We plan to feature short interviews with our squad, and love looking at our best sweats throughout the course of the WSOP.”   “Players on our team are going to get our undying support for the duration of the WSOP,” says Peters. “We’ll do almost daily podcasts from Bally’s and Paris, the podcast has nine topics going to every show with nine players on our team. It’s going to generate some major content.   Brent Hanks couldn’t agree more and is determined to bring the same party mood that he did last year to every step of the $25k Fantasy Draft.   “Not only do we absolutely love being a part of this experience, we also know our fans will have a blast alongside us. Not only will this be a fun sweat, but we fully expect to win the damn thing! When our horses make a final table, we guarantee a wild rail as we cheer our team on.”   The last word goes to Rinkema before each of the four go back to their spreadsheets, social media messages and other contacts to continue work on building the perfect $25k Fantasy Draft.   “It’s the most fun content to do during the WSOP,” he says. “There are sweats, players going deep, and having a little skin in the game every morning when you wake up to see how your team is doing is a fun way to make the WSOP even more exciting.”   The $25k Fantasy Draft takes place in less than a fortnight. Before then, you can invest in both teams right here:   https://twitter.com/golferjosh/status/1526657824532701184
  2. The notion of a poker hand representing a poker player is not a new one. For decades, ten-deuce has been known as the ‘Texas Dolly’. So-called after Doyle Brunson, the hand struck notoriety thanks to being the winning hand in back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Events in 1976 and 1977. Last week, Phil Hellmuth’s queen-four call for his tournament life - and subsequent suck-out success - went viral. Playing against Alex Foxen in the 2022 U.S. Poker Open, the so-called ‘Poker Brat’ become associated with the hole cards around the world... but how long will that last? From Will Smith-related memes to Hellmuth’s own reaction to the hand, how has a week in the spotlight given queen-four off the unlikeliest of popularity boosts? The Hand Takes Place Whichever way you look at it, Alex Foxen and Phil Hellmuth played out one of the most virally viewed poker hands in history on PokerGO during the 2022 U.S. Poker Open. With both men in the running for not only the Event title but the leaderboard victory at that stage, Foxen saw Hellmuth’s three-bet and four-bet enough to set the Poker Brat all in with a call. Hellmuth weighed things up as co-commentator Brent Hanks, working alongside Jeff Platt in the PokerGO booth, stated what every viewer was feeling. “This a guy who can dodge bullets but can’t get away from queen-four? I am shocked that he’s taking time making this decision. It is not a decision.” It was, however, and as Hellmuth declared ‘I guess I better play to win.” He put in his remaining chips, deciding not to leave himself with nine big blinds. Of course, a queen came on the flop and to add insult to injury, another queen on the river gave Hellmuth the crucial double-up. No nines arrived across the board left Foxen perplexed, and he shot a look of wonderment slowly around the PokerGO Studio. “What did we just witness? What the heck was that?” said Hanks. The whole world was about to provide a different answer to that question. Poker Twitter Blows Up No sooner had the hand played out were PokerGO themselves sharing what has become one of the most popular poker hands in living memory for people to watch. Quotes, retweets, likes and engagements alone sent the hand around the globe faster than you could locate your push-fold charts to prove the call 'wrong'. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1507474159030321155 Some of the comments on Poker Twitter have predictably been brilliant. “I swear the next time I'm dealt a [queen-four], I am shoving my chips in,” said one Poker Brat fan. “Instead of calling for my 'one time' I will announce ‘For Phil!’”. Many Hellmuth supporters came out in defense not only of their man but the hand itself. “I secretly love [queen-four],” one said. “It's my oddball hand.” Another represented many dozens with their assertion that: “From here on out, the queen-four will be known as ‘The Hellmuth’ or ‘The Brat’ People will be playing it like the [seven-deuce] game. Poker rooms across America will be talking about the hand!” They already were. The Memes Take Over From the moment the clip was shot out of the PokerGO social media cannon, the poker circus that exists online was in raptures. Max Pescatori hinted that an element of jealousy would waft through high roller games everywhere https://twitter.com/maxpescatori/status/1507533575054409733 Hellmuth himself shared the effect that the internet had enjoyed having on queen-four. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1507669423636692997 Plenty of fans were on Hellmuth’s side, and more than happy to show this runaway train of a meme subject would not be stopped by anything in its way. https://twitter.com/FPLFledgling/status/1507831077762736128 When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Poker Twitter moved at speed to appropriate the action to Hellmuth’s hand. https://twitter.com/jsmith84poker/status/1508287597067468804 While intelligent debate was thin on the ground, that didn’t mean the very best couldn’t parody it, and Phil Galfond’s post was a thing of beauty and a joy forever. https://twitter.com/PhilGalfond/status/1507837664216567808 Hellmuth even shared an amended hand ranking chart, giving new power to this craziest of calling hands. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1507667976891166720 Could ‘The Hellmuth’ Stand the Test of Time? One fan’s assertion that Johnny Chan could have prevented Hellmuth winning his iconic WSOP Main Event in 1989 really set the controls of the out of control juggernaut to ‘crazy’. “Your 1989 WSOP win showed up on my YouTube feed today,” they said. “Funny thing is if he played [queen-four] against your [pocket nines] he would have won. I think there's something magical about your hand.” Magical or not, Hellmuth didn’t win either the USPO event or any other event with the hand in question. So can it really stand the test of time? Eager to show that it might, the Poker Brat was on the road to a meet up game later in the week, and what would his first hand be? You’ve guessed it. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1509035404581736452 There’s a 'Queen-Four' Facebook group, and before long, you just know there will be t-shirts. If the hand catches on at the World Series, then the memes will all come out for a second airing. Hellmuth himself, as is so often the case, seems in charge of the hand’s destiny. Doyle Brunson played ten-deuce in not one but two vital spots. Both times he won a WSOP Main Event as a direct result, but while Hellmuth may not have the opportunity to do so, what the Poker Brat has in 2022 is a much more powerful media machine to feed. If Phil Hellmuth makes a final table at the 2022 World Series of Poker, then the Poker Brat will be waiting for two hole cards in particular to go crazy with on a live stream. Setting aside the value he’s stacking up by less experienced hopefuls presuming he is playing queen-four along the way, Hellmuth should absolutely play it under the lights. If queen-four makes it to mainstream television, we might never hear the last of a hand that is living in the moment for far longer than anyone gave it the chance of doing. All in? You'd better believe it.
  3. The third episode of PokerGO’s latest season of High Stakes Poker continued to bring fans the nosebleed action they crave with Doyle Brunson showing off his skills over a multi-hand heater while Tom Dwan struggled to break out of his multi-episode downswing. The majority of the same cast that finished the last episode remained in play the start of the next hour. Phil Ivey, Jonathan Gibbs, Brunson, Jean-Robert Bellande, Dwan, and Patrik Antonius all sat in their same seats. Daniel Negreanu slid to the opposite side of the table with the notable absence of 2021 WSOP Main Event champ Koray Aldemir who racked up and exited in-between shows. Hot Start For Dwan After being on the losing end of a pair of six-figure flips in the first two episodes, Dwan was looking to build some momentum in order to claw back some of the chips currently sitting in other players’ stacks. Dwan started off by winning the first three hands of the night including a hand that played out like a session from when Dwan first burst onto the scene. Brunson put in a raise to $1,400 from middle position with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] and Dwan, in the cutoff, made the call with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="2c"]. Antonius came along on the button holding [poker card="7d"][poker card="4d"] and Negreanu called from the small blind with his [poker card="6s"][poker card="6h"]. It was four ways to the [poker card="th"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"] flop and after Negreanu checked, Brunson fired $3,200 with top pair. Bottom pair was good enough for Dwan to call and both Antonius and Negreanu released their hands. The turn was [poker card="7s"] and Brunson checked it over to Dwan who took the lead and bet $8,000. Brunson made the call and the dealer put the [poker card="jd"] out on the river, improving Dwan to two pair. Brunson checked and Dwan value bet for $16,000. Brunson quickly called and was shown the winner by Dwan who dragged the $60,800 pot. DNegs Downs Dwan, Again Dwan’s resurgence was short-lived, however. On the very next hand, Dwan and Negreanu clashed again resulting in Dwan shipping another six-figure pot in Kid Poker’s directions. Dwan open-limped the $400 from early position holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"], bringing a raise from Antonius to $2,000 with the [poker card="ts"][poker card="8s"]. Negreanu was next to act and he flatted with [poker card="ks"][poker card="kh"]. Bellande tried to get in on the action from the big blind by calling with his [poker card="ad"][poker card="5d"] but Dwan limp-reraised to $14,000. After Antonius let his hand go, Negreanu sat stoically for a few moments before announcing a four-bet to $32,000. Dwan shot Negreanu a couple of quick glances while shuffling some of the $120,000 in chips he still had in his stack. Eventually, Dwan made the call and the flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"] giving Dwan top pair and setting him up for trouble. Dwan checked to Negreanu who when for a $20,000 bet. The pot was $88,000 at this point and Dwan had just over $100,000 behind when he announced he was all-in. Negreanu didn’t take but a second before grabbing a stack of yellow $1K chips and shoving them in the middle to call. Once again, the pair ran it twice. The first board was completed with the [qh turn and][poker card="4c"] river. The second board ran out the [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river and Negreanu, who is known for having a tough time on HSP, took down another monster pot, this time it was good for $272,600. As Dwan reloaded for another $100,000, Negreanu and Ivey started chatting. “You having some fun, you enjoying yourself?” Ivey asked Negreanu who couldn’t hold back his glee from winning. “Didn’t you say one time I’m the worst winner ever,” Negreanu replied. “Pretty bad winner, yea,” Ivey joked back. “I can’t help but giggle when I win a pot,” Negreanu said, clearly enjoying sitting on a stack of nearly $350,000. Jean-Robert Gets There The very next hand was the only other six-figure pot of the episode and once again Negreanu was involved. Negreanu put in a raise to $1,000 with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] as the conversation continued. After taking a verbal shot at Brunson, calling him “lousy winner” and “grumpy, grumpy, grumpy”, Bellande casually three-bet to $4,000 with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"]. Back on Negreanu, he said “I’m running hot” as he splashed his chips in to complete the call. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] flop gave Negreanu top pair, but it was Bellande who was betting. When checked to, JRB fired $4,000 which Negreanu quickly called. The [poker card="4d"] on the turn changed nothing, and after Negreanu checked again, Bellande went for a large bet of $14,000 into the $16,800 pot. Again, Negreanu just called. Everything changed however on the [poker card="tc"] river, bringing in the gutshot straight for Bellande. Bellande overbet, throwing out $60,000. “That card might have saved me a lot of money,” Negreanu mused, audibly breaking down the hand. In the end, Negreanu made the correct laydown and the $104,800 pot (inflated by JRB’s final uncalled bet) was pushed to Bellande. Brunson Can’t Lose After that last hand, there were only 11 more hands shown in the episode. Doyle Bruson won six of them and chopped another one. Even if, by the show’s standard, the pots weren’t for major amounts of money, it was a long stretch where Brunson was in every pot, making all the right moves, and stacking up the chips. After five small wins, Brunson wanted to bump up the action and so he put on the straddle to $800. He turned to Bellande and gave him the old “um…Hello??” and Bellande noticed the $800 straddle was on and instantly made it $1,600 to go saying “Doyle, you don’t have to ask me twice.” Dwan was first to act and made it $5,000 to go with his [poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"], Negreanu joined in calling the $5K with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="9d"]. With $13,200 in the middle, Brunson, from the first straddle, looked down at [poker card="7s"][poker card="7h"] and made it $30,800 to continue. Bellande folded, Dwan quickly let his small suited gappers go, and Negreanu laughed as he surrendered as well. A big smile came across Texas Dolly’s face as he exposed his pocket sevens. “That’s how you feel it,” Antonius said. “That was pretty sweet there, Doyle,” Bellande said. “Still works at 88.” Brunson, Bellande, Negreanu, and Dwan all return for more High Stakes Poker action next Monday night at 8 p.m. ET, exclusively on PokerGO.
  4. Every player from Joe Public to Daniel Negreanu has attempted to call poker cards before they are revealed, but it so difficult that to do so consistently invites ridicule. Get it right and you look like a wizard, get it wrong and you can look like the biggest fool at the felt. Doing so may be fraught with danger, but last night on PokerGO’s High Stakes Poker, Jean-Robert Bellande managed to predict his two hole cards, drawing gasps from some of the best poker players in the world. It's time we compare JRB’s moment as some sort of poker clairvoyant to others who have managed to put their opponents on exact hands or called even more unpredictable random cards to come. What Did Bellande Do? Of all the players to take part in Season 9 of High Stakes Poker, Bellande is the easiest to watch purely for the drama and frequency with which he takes on his opponents. No one is safe from JRB until he’s folded his cards, no matter what he has. One of the most experienced cash game players at the purple felt, the Long Islander was in the mood for fun on Episode 8 of the latest season of dollar-brick action continued. As commentators AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan described, what Bellande asked for, he got. Pre-flop, Bellande said that all he wanted was two queens. When he revealed them to the table at the end of the hand, Phil Ivey’s reaction was one of the best ever seen in the history of High Stakes Poker. As Daniel Negreanu said, "That is just creepy." https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1513675401893072901 Bellande calling both cards is impressive, but is it the best card-calling in poker history? It turns out that despite the impressive nature of the clip, it’s not even close. Bellande doesn’t call the suits, and although the odds are long, it’s not like he specified the exact cards. We've found even better in the archives. A History of Calling Cards Sticking with pocket queens, picking them to jump out of the pack is one thing, but what about if it’s another player’s cards? Well, there are numerous examples of that, so let’s get our head around one. Daniel Negreanu, who recently told us about the hand that changed his life, calls his opponent’s ladies out of nowhere and saves himself valuable chips by doing so. Kid Poker has enjoyed some highly intuitive moments during his career, but this is right up there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9rZQWYqgWQ Romanello Reaches Deep to Save His Stack Both our previous examples are from cash games, but what about doing it in a tournament? It doesn’t get much bigger than the World Series of Poker Main Event's feature table, where the eventual Triple Crown winner Roberto Romanello made the fold of his lifetime with jacks full. Here’s how it went down, with Mike Matusow watching along the whole time. "As the commentary went at the tie, 'If he lays this down, I'll move to a Franciscan monastery and become head chef.'" https://youtu.be/5I62m9RvvN4?t=414 Seeing Through a WSOP Main Event Champion Both those previous reads necessitate that the opponent has a huge hand, but what if the player whose cards need to be read for this sort of hero fold are more polarized? It doesn’t get much better than this ridiculous fold four years ago from Ian Steinman against former WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen. The hand took place on the World Poker Tour and left the commentary team stunned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InFMhKlDIxU As it was observed at the time, Steinman made the fold of a lifetime. The fold is only correct if McKeehen has either pocket aces or queen-ten, meaning the latter is so well disguised that Steinman’s ability to make the fold qualifies as wizardry. Sadly for him, all that hard work may have been enough to get the better of McKeehen, but Steinman would finish second in the event after leading heads-up by 2:1 in chips. Still, $201,428 and the reputation for possibly the sickest fold ever is a fine consolation prize. https://twitter.com/MattClarkPoker/status/971186130581204993 What Are the Odds? Finally, what about being able to predict all five community cards? Yes, it really has happened, and on a live stream too. Take a look at the amazing powers of American poker player Troy Clogston during The Lone Star Poker Series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH1fq5Eb834 The reactions around the room at Champions Poker Club in Houston from the other players are incredible. They’re justified on the final two cards, due to the specific card and suit, with the [poker card="4s"] and [poker card="2h"] called out just before they land. The huge action pre-flop gives the mystic player the notion that premium cards are already in the players hands who remain interested. Choosing the flop cards, even without calling the suit, is extremely unlikely. Add in the exact turn and river cards, and it’s no surprise to see the other players get out of their seats and head for the nearest cold drink. Bellande choosing both queens to come out of the pack would be likely to happen once in 221 hands. Therefore, if Bellande called out "two queens" each time the dealer shuffled the pack, then playing 30 hands an hour, he’d only have to be at the felt for an average of less than a 9-5 shift to be proven right. There have been well over a hundred episodes of High Stakes Poker to date, so if there were two predictions in each episode, then we should have already seen a player get it right by now. Jean-Robert Bellande managed to get the better of Ivey with the pocket queens he called in pre-flop. Whether he’ll be about to see out the next five episodes of High Stakes Poker Season 9 to stay in profit by the time the curtain comes down is still up for debate, but calling cards for this kind of reaction should really catch on among the elite. Make it a prop bet, but make it happen.  
  5. Accusations of cheating, threats to name and shame parties and the possibility of a poker ‘blacklist’ being made public - the Easter weekend was never going to be a quiet one for poker players. This weekend saw Alex Foxen - himself a controversial figure at times in the past two years - openly state that Ali Imsirovic is a ‘known’ cheater on the high stakes elite circuit. In shocking revelations on Twitter, Foxen went into detail about one specific hand in the recent $250,000-entry Super High Roller Series Europe Main Event in Cyprus, then added details of the Bosnian’s alleged use of RTAs in online games. What Did Alex Foxen Accuse of Ali Imsirovic? In an explosive post that went viral in minutes, Foxen’s words about his fellow poker player have shocked many to the core. Seldom has a current elite poker player been so openly accusatory of another who plays in the same nosebleed tournaments or cash games. As a result, the blowback from what Foxen has said is likely to be felt for months. The Twitter thread put out by Foxen covers a specific hand which Foxen believes is proof that Imsirovic is cheating in live poker games. In it, the Bosnian is accused of looking at or in the direction of Paul Phua’s cards at the recent final table in Cyprus. It also alleges irregularities relating to the Bosnian’s play online, stating that he is banned by GGPoker for multi-accounting and using RTA (Real-Time Assistance) during games. “Ali is known as a cheater to almost all in the high roller community.” Foxen says. That sensational opinion, however, is backed up by others in the industry. Here’s the original thread made by Foxen. https://twitter.com/WAFoxen/status/1515900587522637824 Poker Players Line Up to Comment Foxen’s comments could easily come across as inflammatory, especially given the American’s polarizing opinions on vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic overall. Foxen could be seen as the worst whistleblower to step forward with his reputation among some for being that of a chaos theorist. But his staunch defense of his thoughts on the topic, along with his follow-up that he has 100% proof he is 'unable to release' suggests others agree with him. Ryan Leng said: “I’ve known for a while about high stakes cheating but never been in the position to officially out someone. Long before “Covid” I was hearing rumors of Ali (and others) cheating. These “rumors” were coming from extremely reputable sources.” Jason Wheeler was one player who leapt into the debate to suggest that the time has come for poker to put together an independent ‘advisory board’. “[We] need a group above the sites for it to work. A players council or poker advisory board consisting of players and industry and site exes...almost like a union for the players in a sense. leaving it to each site simply doesn’t work. i.e. [GGPoker] is not one site. It’s a bunch of agents, affiliates and skins. i.e. [you] get banned on one skin under one agent, [you] pop up under new account under another agent/skin. also ban from one site not enough of deterrent to the offenders. still other sites, live venues etc. any framework would need to apply across, so what is realistic?” Wheeler wasn’t the only player who had more questions than answers. Chase Bianchi queried Foxen’s own actions in a final table where he was playing against his then-fiancée and now wife Kristen Foxen (nee Bicknell). Others were happy to put up a popcorn GIF and sit back to watch the fireworks. Ian Simpson, who was a long-term sponsored player for Unibet until recently, expressed his thoughts at agreeing with Foxen. “Nice to be able to agree with someone who I’ve otherwise had some animosity with,” he said. “One potential problem however would be if someone got banned for a nonsense reason, or imagine if someone in poker security had a grudge against someone. They could cause big problems for them.” Radio Silence from Imsirovic While there has, as yet, been no comment at all from the 2021 PGT Player of the Year Ali Imsirovic, others who have been speaking of him for much of the last two years stepped in to comment. PokerGO’s commentary team of Brent Hanks and GPA award winner Jeff Platt have consistently praised Imsirovic for his above the rim plays. But while there is no categorical condemnation of the Bosnian, both men’s replies to the topic do not suggest the claims are entirely baseless. Hanks quipped a reference to his own commentary of Imsirovic in recent years. https://twitter.com/BuffaloHanks/status/1516071518517616648 Jeff Platt credited Foxen for bringing the subject up and announced his disappointment. https://twitter.com/jeffplatt/status/1516087387583045638 He’s not the only one. Justin Bonomo, who has played plenty of High Roller and Super High Roller events over recent years, decided to risk the reactions of poker players by posting a thread on the subject. In it, he says that “someone whose first name starts with the letters ‘Ja’ was the biggest offender online and that he’s been told that “the evidence goes far beyond hand histories and is completely irrefutable.” https://twitter.com/JustinBonomo/status/1516089106987556864   On a subject that clearly has a lot more to it than the surface information already gathered, the initial dive into the murky waters of high stakes poker looks likely to leave few at the rail dry.  
  6. The recent PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown featured 32 of the best poker players on the planet. After three days at the felt, it was Chino Rheem who emerged victorious to claim $400,000 and the title as the end of an important chapter in his chequered poker career was brought to the happiest of conclusions. Daniel Negreanu is in Pre-WSOP Form Though he missed the money, Daniel Negreanu came into the PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown with a tough path ahead of him. In the first round, Kid Poker took care of Jared Bleznick on the feature table, building a sizeable lead before finishing off his opponent and progressing to a meeting with Tamon Nakamura. Nakamura provided a stiff challenge, but an early pot for Negreanu when his pocket tens turned top set against the Japanese player’s inside straight draw and flush draw worked the Canadian to almost level in chips and he would eventually prevail at the feature table. He may have lost to Darren Elias, but Negreanu is warming up for the World Series of Poker nicely. [caption id="attachment_638152" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Daniel Negreanu performed well at the felt, looking happy with his form and the game in general.[/caption] Elsewhere on Day 1, in the ‘Spades’ section, there were unexpected defeats for Sam Soverel and Shaun Deeb, who slid out after a dramatic and high-quality defeat to long-time rival, Shannon Shorr. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTi3JEAcEuw Darren Elias Knows How to Close The four-time World Poker Tour winner Darren Elias had an excellent run in the event, making it all the way to the final showdown, where he eventually lost out for the runner-up prize of $200,000. It could be argued, however, that Elias’ performance was the strongest in the entire Showdown, with his opponents among some of the best players ever to have looked down at hole cards. In the opening round, Elias took care of Landon Tice in the first match to conclude, with the final hand seeing Elias’s ace-king beat Tice’s dominated ace and ease the former’s progress. The second round didn’t get any easier for Elias, however, as he faced - and beat - Erik Seidel. The former WSOP Main Event runner-up proved a tricky opponent, but Elias again prevailed, only to face Daniel Negreanu in the next round, with his Round of 16 and quarterfinal opponents having won over $85 million in tournaments between them. Elias got the better of Negreanu and then took on the impressive Justin Young, who had beaten two of the favorites for the trophy on his way to the semifinals. Now in profit, Elias once again came out on top, making the final when he had worked himself 3:1 up in chips before winning a flip with ace-queen against Young’s pocket threes. The Big Guns Are Out for Hellmuth "My opponent gave me the double bird, and was out of line [with] his verbal attacks." ~ Phil Hellmuth There was no question about the most dramatic fall-out from the opening round inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA. Phil Hellmuth was the favorite to progress against Eric Persson in the $25,000 buy-in event. That result didn’t materialize, however, and when Persson won, a disgruntled Hellmuth trudged off complaining of the behaviour of his opponent. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1517361856779759616 While the verbal sparring had been even, Hellmuth perceived Persson’s flipping of the[ ‘double bird’ to be over the line, leading to a small explosion on Poker Twitter. Eventually, however, Hellmuth, ever the bigger man after the event, made a live apology during Persson’s next round victory over Dan Shak. https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1517620869693988865 Persson might have triumphed against the Poker Brat and much-fancied Shak, but couldn’t make profit as he lost out to the whirlwind that is Isaac Kempton. Favorites Can Still Lose to Underdogs Many of the PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown games went against the favorite pre-match. Ali Imsirovic came into the Showdown on the back of perhaps his most difficult week in the game and exited immediately after being busted by Jake Daniels in the opening round. Others faced the same fate, with stars of the game such as Alex Foxen losing to Justin Young in the quarterfinals, Scott Seiver falling in the opening round to Isaac Kempton and Jeremy Ausmus losing inside the PokerGO Studio as he became one of Chino Rheem’s many victims on route to the title being decided. By the time the event reached the semifinal stage, it was one where every player was guaranteed a return of $100,000 on their stake of $25,000. Darren Elias was the only player of the four to have put his action on sale on Pocket Fives, once again making huge profit for investors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2dhO_jn8Y Chino Rheem is on the Redemption Trail "We’re back on the right track. God willing." ~ Chino Rheem Chino Rheem’s victory came with more than a heavy dose of irony in a week overshadowed for many by the cheating allegations that have peppered Twitter all week. Rheem, who openly admitted many of his problems early in his career came down to his reliance on drink or drugs, credited his sponsor and his many supporters in helping him turn his life around. “We’re back on the right track. God willing, thank God, if I can just stay there,” he said after the final victory against Darren Elias. “Honestly, once I made the money, once I won the first three matches, I was like, ‘whatever happens from here it’s all good.’ Things went my way, and I’ll take it, obviously. I can’t complain at all.” In achieving some inner peace, Rheem has proved something of a redemption story in the game and during a period in poker where many are being asked to look for the same sort of redemption by acting in good faith in the here and now, Rheem’s win confirms it can be done. With one of the toughest sets of players to win against, his victory against Darren Elias saw a superb tournament close out in dramatic fashion as four men made the money and in Rheem’s case, win his 14th ranking tournament victory across a rollercoaster poker career. PokerGO Heads Up Showdown Final Results: Chino Rheem - $400,000 Darren Elias - $200,000 Isaac Kempton - $100,000 Justin Young - $100,000
  7. It didn’t take long for the new season of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO to find its footing as the superstar lineup that includes Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Patrick Antonius, and Tom Dwan took turns getting involved in massive pots early and often. It was a tough night to be a Dwan fan as the HSP legend found himself with the second-best hand time and time again during Episode 2 of Season 9. On the flip side, those looking for a glimpse of Ivey, who hardly made a sound in the first episode, enjoyed him making his presence felt by getting more involved in the show. Speaking of getting involved, this week featured the arrival of Jean-Robert Bellande, as the HSP favorite made his way onto the set and quickly broke the silence with his patented table talk. Ivey Picks Off Dwan After an early position raise to $1,200 from Dwan holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="ts"], Ivey called from the button with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. Professional online slots player from Sweden, Kim Hultman came along from the small blind with the [poker card="jh"][poker card="td"], but Koray Aldemir let go of his big blind. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"][poker card="4c"] flop offered Dwan a straight flush draw, Hultman a gutshot straight draw as well, and Ivey middle pair. Hultman checked to Dwan who bet $2,000, and both Ivey and Hultman made the call. The turn was the [poker card="ad"], giving two pair, but it was Dwan who kept betting. Dwan fired another $8,000 and this time, just Ivey called. The [poker card="ac"] river gave Ivey a full house and Dwan, left with a busted flush draw checked it over to Ivey who put out a bet of $25,000. Dwan shot a look skyward and folded sending the pot of more than $51,000 over to Ivey. Bellande Makes It Look Easy Just a few more hands into the episode, James Bord, who doubled up through Tom Dwan on the premiere, collected his chips and made way for Jean-Robert Bellande. Bellande, a regular in the Las Vegas high-stakes home games, gave Brunson a fist bump, took a seat, and found himself immediately in action. Dwan opened to $1,200 from under the gun with his [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"] and it folded all the way back to Bellande in the big blind with the [poker card="jh"][poker card="8s"] and the newcomer made the call. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="ts"][poker card="3h"] putting Dwan in the lead with top pair, but Bellande had a gutshot straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. Bellande checked it over to Dwan who bet $2,000, which Bellande called. The turn came the [poker card="9c"], turning the tables and giving Bellande the straight. He checked it over to Dwan, who was drawing dead, who made it $5,000 to go. Bellande didn’t take long before making it $16,000. Dwan made the call and the river came the [poker card="qs"], giving Dwan trips. Bellande targeted exactly that, overbetting the pot for $51,000. Dwan seemingly sussed it out, and laid it down giving Bellande an early boost to his stack with the pot of $90,000. Gibbs Gets There Right after that hand, Hultman announced he was done for the day and racked up to make room for Jonathan Gibbs. Like Bellande before him, Gibbs got involved right away, playing a big hand against Dwan. The straddle to $800 was on, and Dwan raised to $2,500 with the [poker card="8d"][poker card="6d"]. Gibbs three-bet to $4,300 with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"] and when the action got back to Dwan he was the only one to make the call. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"], missing both players but offering Dwan a flush draw. Dwan checked it over to Gibbs who slid out a continuation bet of $9,000. Dwan made the call and the dealer put out the [poker card="7s"] on the turn, giving Dwan even more outs. Dwan checked it again, this time Gibbs checked back. The river was the [poker card="kh"], giving Gibbs top pair, but it was Dwan who was looking to bet. Dwan fired $16,000 and was snapped off by Gibbs and his ace-king. Once again, Dwan was shipping chips as Gibbs collected just over $60,000. More Rungood For JRB The first of three six-figure pots took place when Patrick Antonius put the straddle on to $800 and Ivey opened to $2,500 in early position with the [poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"]. It folded to Bellande holding [poker card="th"][poker card="td"] and he just called. Antonius woke up with the [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] in the straddle and three-bet to $10,800. Ivey took a moment but ultimately let his small suited one-gapper go. Bellande, with over $200,000 in his stack, four-bet to $81,500 which was more than Antonius had behind. Antonius unceremoniously made the call and the pair decided to run it twice for the $166,300 pot. They watched as the dealer put out the [poker card="kc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"] as the flop for the first board, putting Antonius way ahead for at least half the pot. The [poker card="3s"] hit the turn but the river came the [poker card="ts"] improving Bellande to a set and locking up the first half of the pot for him. The second board of [poker card="7c"][poker card="6h"][poker card="4h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="qc"] was just as good for Bellande who scooped the entire pot leaving a frustrated Antonius looking for a rebuy. Daniel Downs Durr The High Stakes Poker troubles continued for Dwan when he and Negreanu got involved in the biggest pot of the episode. The straddle to $800 was on. From early position, Aldemir made it $2,100 to go with his [poker card="7s"][poker card="7d"]. When the action reached Dwan, he flatted with his [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"]. Antonius folded and Negreanu looked down at the [poker card="8s"][poker card="8d"] and put in a chunky three-bet to $12,700. Aldemir quickly counted his own stack and looked like he was thinking about calling, but ultimately he laid his pocket sevens down. When the action returned to Dwan, he took a few moments before grabbing the $50K stack of cash and announcing that he was all-in for roughly $168K. Negreanu shrugged, took just a second, and slapped a stack of yellow $1K chips in the middle to indicate a call. Like the hand before, the players agreed to run it twice. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9c"][poker card="3c"] flop gave Dwan top pair and, like Antonius on the last hand, put him in solid position to take down at least half the pot. Negreanu began to move all his money in the middle when the dealer put out the [poker card="8h"] on the turn, giving Kid Poker a set. Negreanu pulled his cash back as the [poker card="kc"] completed the board. With two of Dwan’s six outs burnt on the last board, there was little drama when the second board came [poker card="7c"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="6h"]. Dwan took another massive hit, doubling up Daniel who dragged the $228,100 pot. Ivey Closes The Show The final hand of the session was another six-figure clash. This time it was between Ivey and Negreanu. Ivey opened to $1,200 with his [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"] and Brunson made the call in middle position with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="7d"]. Negreanu made the call in the big blind with the [poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"] and it was three ways to a flop of [poker card="kd"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. Negreanu checked and Ivey continued for $2,500 which Brunson called. Negreanu then check-raised to $7,500. Ivey didn’t take long before sliding out a $5K call, but Brunson, with the superior flush draw, made the laydown. The turn was the [poker card="js"], keeping Negreanu’s pocket sixes slightly ahead and giving Ivey an open-ended straight draw to go with his flush draw. Negreanu fired $12,500 and Ivey, going nowhere, put in the call. The river was the [poker card="8d"] giving Ivey the flush but Negreanu, first to act, fanned out a bet of $36,000. Ivey double-checked his cards and counted out a call and stuck it in the middle, good for a $118.700 pickup to end the episode. High Stakes Poker continues every Monday Night for the next 12 weeks, exclusively on PokerGO.
  8. The wait is officially over for all-new episodes of High Stakes Poker as the opening hour of Season 9 premiered on PokerGO on Monday night. It brought nearly everything that fans love about the show - the biggest stars, the highest stakes, and even $50,000 bricks of cash right there on the table. However, the first episode, while entertaining, was more of a reintroduction as to what HSP could be. The cast, a high-powered lineup that featured Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Doyle Brunson, Patrik Antonius, 2021 WSOP Main Event Champion Koray Aldemir, James Bord, Kim Hultman, and Daniel Negreanu spent most of the episode feeling out the table out as opposed to lighting it up. There were some clashes, a couple of healthy pots, and a big bluff by Negreanu but for the most part, commentators Gabe Kaplan and A.J. Benza seemed to be waiting in anticipation for something jaw-dropping to take place. But while they were, some pretty fun hands were played. Dwan Gets It In Early The biggest pot of the night took place on the show’s third hand. After Brunson opened the pot to $1,200 with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"], Bord flatted holding the [poker card="qs"][poker card="qh"]. Dwan, on the button, picked up [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"] and bumped it up to $5,500. It folded back to Brunson who let his hand go and Bord quickly put in a chunky four-bet to $25,000. Dwan, with $93K behind, took some time but eventually moved all in. Bord quickly called and the duo were flipping for a pot of $192,600. They agreed to run it twice and Bord’s queens held through both runouts. The first [poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9d"][poker card="qd"], Bord spiked a set on the river. On the next board, he flopped a full house on a [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="th"] flop, which stood up through the turn and river, making Bord one the night’s biggest winners. Negreanu Makes Moves On The River Negreanu, who had won a small pot earlier in the night, played a big hand against Kim Hultman - a Swedish YouTube streamer whose “Let’sGiveItASpin” channel focuses on casino games. Negreanu opened to $1,600 in early position with the [poker card="6d"][poker card="4d"] and Hultman flatted on the button with his [poker card="qc"][poker card="js"]. Brunson completed in the big blind holding the [poker card="9h"][poker card="8s"] and the three took a flop of [poker card="ts"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6s"]. After Brunson checked his middle pair, Negreanu, with bottom pair, made a bet of $1,500. Hultman, open-ended with the jack-high flush draw flatted as did Brunson. The turn was the [poker card="as"], bringing in Hultman’s flush. Brunson checked again and Negreanu didn’t slow down, firing $5,500 into the pot. Hultman again called but Brunson released his hand. The river was the “inconsequential” [poker card="6h"], giving Negreanu trips but Kid Poker's hand was still second best. Kaplan then said “When world-class players smell weakness, they act on it.” and that’s exactly what Negreanu did, overbetting the $21,900 pot with a bet of $36,000. Hultman, with $72,000 behind, smiled but was viably uncomfortable. Eventually, the Swede let it go and Negreanu dragged the pot, his second of the night. Rough River For The Champ The very next hand saw Antonius battle against Aldemir, who was making his HSP debut after his WSOP Main Event victory. Aldemir opened to $1,000 holding the [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. Antonius, who had been the most aggressive player during the first episode, put in a three-bet to $4,000 with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. Negreanu let go of pocket fives, sending the action back to Aldemir, who made the call. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="th"][poker card="2s"], giving Aldemir top pair and Antonius a straight draw to go with his two overs. Aldemir checked it over and Antonius slid out $6,000, which Aldemir called. The turn was the [poker card="9d"], giving Antonius the nuts. Aldemir checked it over again and this time, Antonius checked it back. The river [poker card="ah"] was a bit of a disaster for the Main Event champ, and after he checked it over to Antonius, Aldemir was faced with a $30,000 overbet. But having rivered two pair, Aldemir couldn’t get away and made a quick call sending the $80,800 pot over to Antonius. Ivey Gets Involved A stoic Ivey spent the better part of the episode folding marginal hands and staying out of the action. As the episode was winding down Ivey finally found his spot. He open-raised to $1,200 with the [poker card="2s"][poker card="2d"] only to be three-bet by Hultman who made it $5,500 to go with his [poker card="kd"][poker card="th"]. Ivey shot Hultman a glance and tossed out a call. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="7h"][poker card="6h"] and Ivey checked it over to Hultman, who opted to check back his top pair. The turn, however, was the [poker card="2c"], improving Ivey to a set and he didn’t waste any time trying to build a pot, betting $8,000. Hultman made the call and the pair watched as the [poker card="9s"] completed the board. As seen many times in this episode, a river overbet came as Ivey bet $30,000 into the $28,000 pot. Once again, Hultman was in the blender, but unlike his hand against Negreanu, Hultman made the call and was shown the set. A pained look stretched across Hultman’s face before he said “Nice hand, Phil” and watched Ivey drag the $88,000 pot. Of the 13 hands shown on the episode, Brunson led the pack, dragging four pots. Bord scored the biggest single-hand win in his $192,600 flip against Dwan and Aldemir was the only player not to win a hand. The High Stakes Poker action continues every Monday for the next 13 weeks, exclusively on PokerGO. *** Don't miss out on the High Stakes Poker action on PokerGO! Sign up for a subscription using promo code "SWEAT" and earn a free $20 into your PocketFives Staking account.***
  9. Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Patrik Antonius, and Tom Dwan are just some of the poker superstars who will be featured when High Stakes Poker returns to the PokerGO airwaves beginning on Monday, February 21. Season 9 of the popular poker programming is shaping up to be one of its best with 14 consecutive episodes of non-stop action every Monday night at 5 p.m PT (8 p.m. ET). The game will play at nosebleed stakes ranging from $200/$400 up to $500/$1000. "Season 9 of High Stakes Poker is arguably the best season yet, and we cannot wait for poker fans to enjoy the game in its purest form at breathtaking stakes," said Mori Eskandani, President of PokerGO. "In addition to the star-studded lineups, fans will be pleased to see a revamped set that aims to capture the traditional authenticity of this legendary show and the return of $50,000 bricks of cash on the table." The stacks of cash aren't the only thing making a return as longtime HSP commentators Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza will be back in the booth, calling all the high-stakes action. The sessions, which were filmed at the beginning of December 2021, will not only feature the mainstay players like Negreanu, Ivey, and Dwan, but will also have an injection of new blood including 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Koray Aldemir, current leader of poker’s All-Time Money List Bryn Kenney, and high-stakes phenom Garrett Adelstein. Fan favorites Jean-Robert Bellande and Jennifer Tilly will also get in the game this season as revealed in prior social media posts. “Starting February 21, every Monday isn’t just poker night, it’s High Stakes Poker night,” Eskandani said. High Stakes Poker can be seen exclusively on PokerGO. New viewers who sign up for an annual subscription can use the promotional code “SWEAT” and not only get access to every episode of High Stakes Poker but will also get a free $20 deposited into their PocketFives Staking account to help them get started staking future live tournaments.
  10. Sean Perry went wire-to-wire with the chip lead at the final table of Event #8 ($50,000 NLHE) to take down the 2022 PokerGO Cup finale, his second win in the series, for $640,000. At the same time, Jeremy Ausmus, who started the day as the short stack, advanced to finish in third-place for $256,000 and earned enough points to lock down this year’s PokerGO Cup overall championship and the $50,000 leaderboard prize. “It’s tough, I mean it’s very grueling too,” Ausmus said after winning the PokerGO Cup championship. “A lot of the best players in the world are here. It’s only eight events but, I went deep in a lot of them obviously, but I was playing ten to fourteen hours a day for the last six, seven days. I was worn out, tired…I didn’t know it could be so grueling.” “When I played this before I bricked everything and I was getting good sleep…home by dinner,” he said right before hoisting the trophy. There were plenty of storylines to keep an eye on during the last day of the series as every player at the final table had a chance to elevate up the series leaderboard for a shot at the Cup. Four of the five players, including Perry, Ausmus, Daniel Negreanu, and Brock Wilson had already won a prior event while Nick Schulman was at his third final table of the series. The dynamics of the overall series leader could be seen throughout the final table as the day wore on, giving an added touch of strategy to the table dynamics. Negreanu was going to need everything to go right for him to repeat at the PokerGO Cup overall champion. He needed Ausmus to bow out in fifth and he needed to win it all. However, in some respects, everything went wrong for ‘Kid Poker’ at this final table. He stared the day third in chips, but after an early confrontation with Wilson in which he lost a healthy pot holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] against Wilson’s [poker card="td"][poker card="tc"] on a [poker card="qc"][poker card="ts"][poker card="5h"][poker card="7h"][poker card="8s"] board, Negreanu slipped to the short stack. With the blinds at 15,000/30,000 (30,000 ante) Negreanu picked up [poker card="7s"][poker card="7c"] and with just 550,000 chips remaining, he opened from under the gun to 250,000. Wilson, on the button, once again had [poker card="th"][poker card="td"] and three-bet to 450,000. When it folded to Negreanu, he decided to just call the three-bet and leave himself with a little less than three big blinds behind. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5s"] and Negreanu took a moment, talked it out, and put in the rest of his stack. Wilson quickly called and Negreanu was looking for help to survive. A path opened when the [poker card="ks"] hit the turn, giving Negreanu backdoor spades outs. But the [poker card="8d"] river spelled the end for Negreanu’s run, eliminating him in fifth place for $112,000. With four players left, Ausmus was on the short stack. However, he found a double through the chip leading Sean Perry to climb back over 35 big blinds. Schulman slipped to the short stack and help a little over fifteen big blinds at 20,000/40,000 (40,000 bb ante). When it folded to Ausmus in the big blind, he looked at the [poker card="kc"][poker card="6c"] and open-ripped on Schulman’s big blind. Schulman snapped Ausmus off with the [poker card="ts"][poker card="tc"] and put himself at risk with the dominating hand. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2c"], keeping Schulman out front and leaving Ausmus looking for a favorable turn card. The [poker card="5c"] was exactly that, adding both flush and straight outs for Ausmus. And when the [poker card="9c"] completed the board, Schulman was out in fourth place for $176,000. Additionally, with Ausmus advancing to the top three, Perry’s shot at the overall series title evaporated leaving just Ausmus and Wilson to battle for the Cup. Perry applied maximum pressure with three left, building his chip stack to more than 4.5 million. Both Ausmus and Wilson slipped below 1 million as the blinds climbed to 25,000/50,000 (50,000 bb ante). After Wilson folded his button, Perry open-shipped his [poker card="ts"][poker card="7d"] on Ausmus in the big blind. Ausmus looked down at [poker card="ah"][poker card="2c"] and went deep in the tank. After roughly a minute, Ausmus made the call looking for a double. The flop came [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"], putting Perry in a position to eliminate Ausmus who needed some help on the turn. The [poker card="8s"] made it so Ausmus needed an ace and an ace only to remain in play. However, the [poker card="5h"] hit the river and Ausmus was eliminated in third place for $256,000 and now had to sweat to see if he would win the Cup. After the elimination, Perry held a 7:1 chip lead over Wilson, who needed to come back and win in order to win the series leaderboard. However, Perry was not going to be denied his second 2022 PokerGO Cup victory. It took just a few hands for the pair to get it all in the middle. Perry made it 125,000 to go with his [poker card="js"][poker card="jc"] and Wilson shipped all-in for 810,000 holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"]. Perry made the call, flipping for the win. The board ran out [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="8c"], giving Perry his second win of the series. Wilson, who was staked by more than 100 backers in the PocketFives Staking marketplace, ended up with a $416K score. Perry walked away with a $640,000 payday. With the elimination of Wilson in second place, Ausmus, who was sweating the action, was named the 2022 PokerGO Cup champion with a victory, a runner-up finish, and two third-place finishes over the eight events. PokerGO Cup Event #8 Final Table Results Sean Perry - $640,000 Brock Wilson - $416,000 Jeremy Ausmus - $256,000 Nick Schulman - $176,000 Daniel Negreanu - $112,000 PokerGO Cup Leaderboard Top 5 Jeremy Ausmus - 658 points Sean Perry - 616 points Brock Wilson - 570 points Cary Katz - 346 points Ali Imsirovic - 300 points
  11. Ali Imsirovic scored yet another victory inside PokerGO’s Las Vegas studio on Wednesday after taking down the penultimate event (Event #7: $25,000 NLHE) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup for his third career PokerGO Cup event victory and $365,500. With the victory, Imsirovic soared past $16 million in live career earnings, just another testament of the young phenom being one of the toughest players in the game today. At the start of the 20,000/40,000 (40,000 bb ante) level, four of the six players were sitting with less than 20 big blinds, including Darren Elias who, at his fourth final table of the series, had just over 10 bigs in his stack. Sam Soverel opened the action to 80,000 with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="5s"], next to act was Imsirovic who flatted holding the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"]. Elias was in the small blind and three-bet shipped for a total of 405,000 and Soverel let go of his hand. Imsirovic, however, did not fold. He made the call and putting Elias at risk. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"][poker card="2d"], handing Imsirovic top pair and leaving Elias looking for an eight. The turn was the [poker card="4h"] and the [poker card="3h"] completed the board, sending Elias out in sixth place for $64,500. On the very next hand, Cary Katz shipped his final 325,000 all-in holding the [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"] and, once again, it was Imsirovic happy to make the call with his [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="jh"][poker card="td"] flop brought Karz some chop outs to go along with his bottom pair. However, the [poker card="6s"] on the turn and the [poker card="5d"] river was no help to the PokerGO founder and in back-to-back hands Imsirovic took out two. Katz hit the cage to collect his $86,000 fifth-place prize and snap-enter Event #8. After Ausmus found a double, Nick Schulman was the lone short stack with roughly 10 big blinds. When it folded to Ausmus in the small blind, he opened shoved on Schulman holding the [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. In the big blind, Schulman looked down at the [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"] and made the call with his tournament on the line. The flop came [poker card="th"][poker card="6s"][poker card="2h"], keeping Schulman in the lead. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] giving Ausmus a double-gutter to go along with his pair outs to eliminate Schulman. The [poker card="qd"] hit the river, bringing Ausmus top pair and sending Schulman out in fourth place, good for $118,250. Three-handed play saw Imsirovic build a tower of chips, holding a better than four-to-one lead over Soverel in second place with 1.1 million. When the blinds hit 25,000/50,000 (50,000 ante), Ausmus had himself roughly 13 big blinds and found a great spot to potentially double yet again. From the button, Imsirovic moved all-in with the chip lead holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="7c"]. In the small blind, with 640,000 total, Ausmus picked up [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"] and called for the rest of his stack. In the big blind, Soverel let go of the [poker card="ah"][poker card="7s"] and let Imsirovic know he had the same hand. That said, the flop came [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"], bringing one of the last two sevens in the deck and putting Imsirovic’s hand in the lead. The turn was the [poker card="4s"], offering Ausmus chop-outs to a five. But the river came the [poker card="3h"] and Ausmus’ day was done in third place for $161,250. Imsirovic held a better than five-to-one chip lead over Soverel when the pair sat down heads-up to determine a winner. But Soverel hung around, closed the gap between them, and eventually took the chip lead. Although Soverel held the momentum, a pivotal hand swung the match back in Imsirovic’s favor. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000 (60,000 ante) Soverel raised the button to 175,000 with his [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"] and Imsirovic called holding the [poker card="kh"][poker card="2d"]. The flop came [poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2c"], giving Imsirovic trips. Imsirovic checked to Soverel who bet 75,000. Imsirovic raised to 350,000 and Soverel opted for a quick call. The turn came the [poker card="ad"] and Imsirovic led for 700,000, which Soverel quickly called. The river was the [poker card="tc"] and Imsirovic shipped his stack for 1.9 million. Soverel, with just 2.1 million behind, took his time, asked for a count, and eventually shrug-called hoping to win it right here. But Soverel was shown the trips and was left with just 210,000 in his stack. The very next hand, the pair got it all-in and Imsirovic’s [poker card="9d"][poker card="4d"] outflopped Soverel’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="2c"] as the board came [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="qd"][poker card="9h"]. Soverel’s second-place finish was good for $236,500 while Imsirovic celebrated his third career PokerGO Cup event win with the $365,500 first-place prize. PokerGO Cup Event #7 Final Table Results Ali Imsirovic - $365,500 Sam Soverel - $236,500 Jeremy Ausmus - $161,250 Nick Schulman - $118,250 Cary Katz - $86,000 Darren Elias - $64,500
  12. The high rollers return to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas this week for the second annual PokerGO Cup, an eight tournament high-stakes No Limit Hold’em series building to the $100,000 buy-in Main Event. The PokerGO Cup keeps the action of the PokerGO Tour going strong following the success of the recently completed Stairway To Millions, which saw Nick Petrangelo go back-to-back in the final two events and take home the more than $1 million top prize. The PokerGO Cup is PokerGO’s first pure high-roller series of the year, starting out with three $10,000 buy-in events. The rest of the series includes a single $15,000, two $25,000, a $50,000 and the $100,000 finale. The final table of every event will be livestreamed on PokerGO starting at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) from February 3-10. Results for every event of the series will accumulate points for the PokerGO Tour and help crown the winner of the PokerGO Cup and take home an additional $50,000 on top. Last year, Alex Foxen, Ali Imsirovic, Jake Schindler, and Jason Koon were among the event winners. However, the series was most notable for when Daniel Negreanu broke through a winless drought and took down the penultimate $50,000 buy-in for a $700,000 score and then followed that up with a deep run in the finale which ultimately locked up the PokerGO Cup title. Negreanu has already stated that he’ll be back in action, looking to defend his title. Plenty of other notable names are expected to try and dethrone Negreanu including current PGT points leader Petrangelo, as well as PokerGO regs Imsirovic, David Peters, Seth Davies, Chris Brewer, and PokerGO founder Cary Katz among others. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1487205995713421313?s=20&t=xI3XDLy_T201LwCwVmBniw Not only can you watch the PokerGO Cup, but you can also pick up a piece of the action with a number of the high-rollers offering action in the PocketFives Staking Marketplace. Daniel Negreanu, Ali Imsirovic, and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias have all offered fans a way to sweat the action from home. Plus, if you are looking for an annual subscription for PokerGO, sign up today and use the promo code “SWEAT” and receive a bonus $20 in your PocketFives Staking account so you can watch the action and have a piece of it too. 2022 PokerGO Cup Schedule [table id=287 /] [stakingupcoming]
  13. It’s another win inside the PokerGO Studio for Nick Petrangelo who bested the 41-entry field of Event #5 ($25,000 NLHE) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup to take home the $369,000 first-place prize. Petrangelo has been on a bit of a heater in the PokerGO high-stakes events as of late, having cashed four times, including two victories, in January’s Stairway to Millions series. All of his early 2022 high-roller results have him currently sitting atop the PokerGO Tour leaderboard and, with his latest victory, topping more than $2 million in earnings this year. “Everything has been going really well since even, like, September,” Petrangelo told PokerGO after the win. “A little up and down, but yeah, since then pretty much everything has been working out. I’m running great, winning all-ins, and getting hands at the right times. Sometimes you get around the bubble when you have a lot of chips and you lose a couple of hands, but it’s been the opposite for me when I go deep and everything just goes well.” Darren Elias was at his third PokerGO Cup final table of the 2022 series, however, he started this final table on the short stack and with the blinds at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 ante) he held just under 10 big blinds. After Nick Schulman opened from under the gun to 100,000, Elias three-bet shoved his final 485,000 holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"]. When the action folded back to Schulman, he quickly called putting Elias at risk. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="9d"][poker card="9c"] giving Schulman top pair and leaving Elias with needing runner-runner to survive. When the turn came the [poker card="2c"], Elias was officially drawing dead to the river. The four-time WPT champ said his goodbye and went to collect his $51,250 sixth-place prize. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000 (60,000 ante), Schulman and 2021 PokerGO Tour champion Ali Imsirovic were both sitting on just over 10 big blinds, with Imsirovic holding a 40,000 chip edge. From the cutoff, Imsirovic raised to 140,000 holding the [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] and when it got to Schulman in the small blind, he three-bet shipped all-in with his [poker card="js"][poker card="ts"]. Petrangelo folded his big blind and with Imsirovic going nowhere, he snap-called, and the two short stacks put the cards on their backs. Schulman was slightly covered putting his tournament at risk, but it was Imsirovic who was in trouble when the flop came [poker card="tc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2c"], giving Schulman top pair. The turn was the [poker card="7d"], leaving Imsirovic looking for an ace or king to take out Schulman. But the river was the [poker card="5c"], giving Schulman the full double and leaving Imsirovic with just over a small blind left. Imsirovic was eliminated in fifth place on the very next hand, losing in a four-way pot. Imsirovic collected $82,000 for his efforts. After the first break, the blinds escalated to 40,000/80,000 (80,000 bb ante), and with just over 10 bigs in his stack, Sean Winter raised to 375K from the button with the [poker card="qh"][poker card="th"]. After Schulman folded the small blind, Petrangelo looked down at the [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"] and jammed all-in for 1 million. Winter, with half his stack in the middle quickly called for it all. Winter playfully picked up the [poker card="th"] and said to Petrangelo “Hey, have you seen these coming today?”. Petrangelo, unfazed said no and Winter continued “Have you been watchin’?” Soon the dealer put out a [poker card="qs"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"] flop, giving both top pair, but keeping Petrangelo’s kicker in play. “Ten baby!” Winter rooted. “Four of spades, I have a deck read” Petrangelo replied. Close, the turn came the [poker card="4d"] leaving Winter looking for just three outs to survive. The river was the [poker card="6d"] and the good-natured Winter stood and went to the cage to collect his $112,750 cash for fourth place. Playing three-handed at the same level, Schulman raised to 160,000 with the [poker card="as"][poker card="7d"] and when it was Bill Klein’s turn in the big blind, he three-bet shipped his chip lead with the [poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"]. After using a time bank, Schulman said “I don’t know what I’m doing here, Bill.” and eventually made the call, wincing when he saw Klein’s hand. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"][poker card="2s"], and Schulman took the lead hitting top pair. “I’m the captain, now,” Schulman joked having come from behind. The [poker card="7c"] turn brought Schulman two pair, but it didn’t change the situation. However, the [poker card="8s"] on the river did, giving Klein a set of eights and shipping him the pot. Schulman tapped the table and “hugged it out” with Bill Klein before he left in third place for $164,000. Klein took a better than 3:2 lead into heads-up play versus Petrangelo. The duo put on one of the longer heads-up battles of the series so far, playing for the better part of an hour. Eventually, Petrangelo. chipped up and took the lead, reversing the situation. At 50,000/100,000 (100,000 ante) Klein picked up [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"] on the button and made the call. Petrangelo looked at the [poker card="ac"][poker card="9h"] and moved all-in. Klein decided to go for it, flipping in a single chip to make the call. There was little drama as the board ran out [poker card="ks"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="8s"] leaving Petrangelo the winner with his ace. Klein scored $246,000 as the runner-up and Petrangelo, who won the PokerGO Stairway to Millions finale, scored another victory in the PokerGO Studio, winning Event #5 for $369,000. PokerGO Cup Event #5 Final Table Results Nick Petrangelo - $369,000 Bill Klein - $246,000 Nick Schulman - $164,000 Sean Winter - $112,750 Ali Imsirovic - $82,000 Darren Elias - $51,250
  14. Just one day after finishing as runner-up to Jake Daniels in Event #3 of the 2022 PokerGO Cup, Jeremy Ausmus was back at the final table in Event #4 ($15,000 NLHE), only this time he went the distance and topped the 65-entry field for the win and a $263,250 payday. Ausmus started the day near the bottom of the chip counts, but didn’t have to wait very long for his opportunity to chip up. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 ante) Justin Saliba put in a raise to 100,000 from the cutoff with the [poker card="jh"][poker card="jc"]. Ausmus picked up the [poker card="ts"][poker card="td"] on the button and three-bet shipped his final 755,000. After Bill Klein folded his small blind, table short stack Jesse Lonis looked down at [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"] and called for the rest of his 660,000 stack. Faced with two all-in, Saliba went for the double KO and called with his pocket jacks. The three saw a flop of [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4d"] sending Ausmus from worst to first with a set of tens. The [poker card="6s"] hit the turn and when the [poker card="5h"] completed the board, Ausmus nearly tripled up and Lonis was headed for the door, aces cracked, in sixth place for $58,500. Ausmus then overtook Brock Wilson for the chip lead, leaving Saliba as the new short stack. During the next level, 30,000/60,000 (60,000 ante), Wilson opened from the button to 140,000. Saliba picked up [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] in the small blind and committed his final four big blinds. Wilson made the call, putting Saliba at risk. The flop came [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"][poker card="4d"], keeping Saliba ahead but providing some chop opportunities. Everything changed with Wilson binked the [poker card="jh"] on the turn to take the lead. Saliba was drawing to a king, but the [poker card="4c"] came on the river ending his tournament in fifth place for $78,000. During the same level, Klein was sitting with fewer than 10 big blinds and was looking to find a way back up the leaderboard. After Wilson put in a raise to 120,000 from under the gun with [poker card="jc"][poker card="9d"], Klein moved all-in from the small blind for 480,000 with his [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. Cary Katz woke up with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] in the big blind and just made the call. Wilson bowed out and Katz flopped trips on the [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="5s"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="5h"] and Klein was drawing dead to river. Klein, who started the day third in chips, fell in fourth for $97,500. Once again, Ausmus found himself on the bottom of the chip counts when three-handed play started. But it wasn’t long before he picked up a big pot off Katz and left the PokerGO founded with just four big blinds. The blinds were at 50,000/100,000 when Ausmus picked up [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"] in the big blind and put in a raise big enough to put Katz all-in. With just 400,000 total and 200,000 committed with the big blind and ante, Katz stuck the rest of his chips in with the [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"] and saw the bad news. The board ran out [poker card="js"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3h"] sending Katz out in third place for $126,750. Wilson had a two-to-one chip lead over Ausmus headed into heads-up play and it appeared that both were trying to work out whether there was a deal to be made. But nothing was said and the pair played on. Slowly, Ausmus chipped away at Wilson’s lead. The tide really turned when Ausmus picked off a big bluff attempt by Wilson with bottom pair to assume the chip lead. Ausmus never looked back, widening the gap and opening a roughly six-to-one chip lead. On the final hand, Wilson moved all-in with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="4h"] and Ausmus made the call with the [poker card="qs"][poker card="3c"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="4s"], giving Wilson bottom pair and hope for a double. But the turn was the [poker card="qh"], putting Ausmus way ahead. The river was the [poker card="jc"] and it was all over. Wilson earned a second-place score of $195,000 while Ausmus booked the win and a $263,250 payday. Side note: PocketFives Staking backers had 17% of Brock Wilson’s action - a roughly $25 stake yielded more than $330. Looking to start backing? Sign up right here. PokerGO Cup Event #4 Final Table Results Jeremy Ausmus - $263,250 Brock Wilson - $195,000 Cary Katz - $126,750 Bill Klein - $97,500 Justin Saliba - $78,000 Jesse Lonis - $58,500
  15. Jake Daniels eliminated all five of his final table opponents in Event #4 ($10,000 NLHE) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup to take home the $200,000 first-place prize and his second career PokerGO Cup victory. Event #3 saw another healthy field make their way to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas as 80 entries amassed an $800,000 prize pool. For Daniels, who has become a familiar face in these high roller series, the victory is representative of the work he’s been putting into his game in order to compete. “I’ve hired a couple of coaches and I’ve put in a ton of work in the last five or six months trying to get better because these guys are so stinking good,” Daniels told PokerGO after the win. “I had a nice deep run in Florida for a WPT a couple of weeks ago, make a final table there. I love the competition.” Brock Wilson started the final table as the short stack and with the blinds at 30,000/60,000 (60,000 ante) he picked up [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] under the gun and moved his 10 big blind stack all-in. When it folded to Daniels in the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"], he three-bet to just over 1 million making sure that Chris Moorman folded his big blind. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="3d"] flop didn’t provide any extra help to Wilson who was looking for one of the final sixes in the deck. The turn was the [poker card="5h"] and the river came the [poker card="th"], sending Wilson, who had sold action over on the PocketFives Staking marketplace, out the door in sixth place earning $48,000. Not long after, Daniels found a double through Daniel Weinand, who started the day as the chip leader. Daniels and Weinand got it al-in preflop with Daniels holding [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and Weinand with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="7h"][poker card="js"][poker card="3s"] board to give Daniels a commanding chip lead. Daniels then scored a massive double-knockout to take firm control of the table. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (80,000 ante) a short-stacked Sean Winter raised to 400,000 with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"], leaving himself just 25,000 behind. Next to act, Daniels three-bet to 920,000 holding the [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"]. Immediately after, the former PocketFives #1-ranked Moorman, with just over 12 big blinds, looked down at [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] and he moved all-in. Moorman, not knowing that Winter still had a chip behind, showed his hand. Winter threw all his timebanks in the middle and started to do the math on whether he should fold with an expected pay jump. “I’m so bad, it’s so gross…,” Winter said. “I mean, I have a lot of equity.” Ultimately, he put his remaining 25,000 in the middle. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6s"] keeping Daniels in the lead and making it so both Moorman and Winter needed help to survive. The turn was the [poker card="7s"], opening the door for Winters to hit a gutshot straight. But that’s where the drama ended as the [poker card="ks"] completed the board, giving Daniels top pair, a double KO, and an even healthier chip lead. Winter, with the shorter stack, was awarded fifth place and $64,000 and Moorman claimed fourth place and walked with $80,000. The final three battled for nearly 45 minutes as the blinds climbed to 50,000/100,000 (100,000 ante) and Jeremy Ausmus slipped in the chip counts, holding just five big blinds. But while it looked like he might be the next to go, a clash between Daniels and Weinand gifted Ausmus a nice, unexpected ladder. Weinand made it 250,000 to go holding the [poker card="as"][poker card="9d"] and after Ausmus folded, Daniels defended his big blind with the [poker card="js"][poker card="th"]. The flop came [poker card="9h"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2d"], giving Weinand top pair. When it was checked to him, Weinand fired a bet of 175,000 which Daniels check-raised to 625,000. Weinand made the call and the [poker card="td"] hit the turn. Daniels led for 850,000 and with 2.2 million left in his stack Weinand moved all-in. Daniels asked for a count, took some time, and made the call putting Weinand at risk. The river was the [poker card="2s"], ending Weinand’s run in third place for $96,000/ During heads-up play, Ausmus battled back. He chipped up from 500,000 to roughly 2 million. But, in the end, it was Daniels’ day. Daniels raised his [poker card="jh"][poker card="2h"] on the button enough to put Ausmus all-in. Looking at [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"], Ausmus made the call and had Daniels dominated. It looked like Ausmus was about to turn the situation around but the flop came [poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2s"], giving Daniels bottom pair. That pair held through the [poker card="9c"] turn and [poker card="4d"] river. Ausmus collected $144,000 as the runner-up and Daniels added another PokerGO Cup victory to his resume and an even $200,000. PokerGO Cup Event #3 Final Table Results Jake Daniels - $200,000 Jeremy Ausmus - $144,000 Daniel Weinand - $96,000 Chris Moorman - $80,000 Sean Winter - $64,000 Brock Wilson - $48,000
  16. Sean Perry put on a show as he battled back from just two big blinds to score the victory in Event #2 ($10,000 NLHE) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup for $200,000. High roller final tables can often be a serious affair with top players battling in silence in search of a big-time payday. However, this particular final table was one of the most entertaining of the year with its loose and engaging vibe and plenty of table talk. There were side bets, all-in blind raises and shoves, and improbable comebacks. In fact, PokerGO founder Cary Katz and Bryn Kenney even agreed to swap outfits if they got heads-up. In addition to the pure entertainment of this table, there was another storyline that had emerged. Kenney was tracking down Justin Bonomo to retake the top spot on the Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List. Kenney needed a third-place finish or better to make it happen. The final table fireworks started on just the second hand of the day. With the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (40,000 bb ante) Kenney opened from under the gun to 80,000 with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="9c"]. Next to act was Dan Shak who three-bet shipped his 1 million chip stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"]. It folded around to Perry in the big blind who woke up with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"]. Perry re-shipped all-in for 1.3 million forcing a fold from Kenney. Shak, at-risk and dominated, needed help in order to survive however the board ran out [poker card="8s"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] keeping kickers in play. Perry received a near full double-up and Shak made his way to the cage to collect his $48,000 sixth-place prize. During the 25,000/50,000 (50,000 ante) level, Elias, who had made back-to-back PokerGO Cup final tables played a pivotal pot with Kenney. Kenney made it 100,000 to go from the cutoff holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"] and Elias, who had just doubled through Kenney, defended his big blind with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"]. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"][poker card="2s"] giving Elias top pair and he quickly checked it over to Kenney who continued for 60,000, which Elias called. The turn was the [poker card="jh"], bringing in the gutshot straight for Kenney who, when checked to, fired again - this time for 210,000. Elias called once again. The river came the [poker card="7d"] and this time when Elias checked, Kenney put together a hefty 785,000 bet. Elias only had 900,000 left in his stack. After burning through multiple time banks, Elias made the call. Kenney surged to the chip lead and Elias was left with just over two big blinds. Elias went out on the very next hand, finishing in fifth place for $64,000. The dynamics changed quite a bit with four left. Katz went from the short stack to the chip lead after tripling through Ball and Kenney. Then Ball took back the lead, after sending Kenney to the bottom of the chip counts. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (80,000 ante) Kenney remained active and doubled up when his [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"] got it in the middle against Perry holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"] and the board ran out [poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="ac"][poker card="5h"] leaving Perry with just two big blinds. But Perry battled back, doubling in multiple hands to not only get back in the game but bring all four chip counts effectively even. The wild swings continued when Perry and Kenney agreed that if it folded to Perry in the small blind, the two would go all-in blind. With that on the table, both Ball and Katz folded. Perry made good on his word, sticking in 1.6 million (20 big blinds) with the [poker card="td"][poker card="2h"] and Kenney made the call with his [poker card="ks"][poker card="5h"]. The board ran out [poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="4c"] giving Perry a pure double up with his pair of deuces and sending him to the top of the chip counts. Things got even more hectic when, at 50,000/100,000 (100,000 ante), Ball opened from under the gun to 200,000. When it folded to Perry in the small blind, he looked down at [poker card="9s"][poker card="4c"]. Normally, this might be an uneventful fold. However the final four players were playing the "nine-four" game (the equivalent of the popular seven-deuce game) where if someone won a hand with any nine-four combo, the rest of the table would pay that player a $5K bounty. So, with that in mind - Perry shoved his chip lead, and Ball snap-called. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"][poker card="9c"] giving Perry the lead with his pair of nines. The turn was the [poker card="3c"] and Ball was left with just ten outs. The river was the [poker card="4d"] shipped Perry the hand and the $15,000 side bet from the other players. Ball, who finished in fifth place in Event #1, fell in fourth place for $80,000. That wasn’t the only other significant result from that hand, with Ball eliminated, Kenney was guaranteed to retake the top spot on the Hendon Mob All-Time Money List. Soon thereafter, Kenney slipped in the chip counts and found himself chasing Katz and Perry, both of who had more than 40 big blinds. But after doubling through Perry once, Kenney and Perry got it all in again with Perry just barely covering Kenney. Perry raised the button to 200,000 with the [poker card="6d"][poker card="6c"] and Kenney shipped 2.7 million in the small blind with his [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"]. After Katz folded, Perry pretty quickly made the call and put Kenney at risk. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3c"] giving Perry middle set and leaving Kenney with just a 2% chance to survive. The turn was the [poker card="kd"] and the new All-Time Money List leader was drawing dead to the [poker card="5h"] river. Kenney did what he needed to do, finishing in third place for $96,000, besting Justin Bonomo on the ATML by a little more than $10,000. After a short break, Perry and Katz returned to finish the tournament with Perry holding a slight chip lead. Within just a couple of hands Perry, extended that lead and looked to close it out. On the ninth hand of head-up play, Perry moved all-in from the button with the [poker card="kh"][poker card="3h"] and Katz, with roughly 10 big blinds behind, called for it all holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"] flop kept Katz in the lead to double up but brought Perry both flush and backdoor straight outs. The [poker card="jd"] turn was safe for Katz, but the river came the [poker card="3c"], pairing Perry's kicker and eliminating Katz as the runner-up for $144,000. PokerGO Cup Event #2 Final Table Results Sean Perry - $200,000 Cary Katz - $144,000 Bryn Kenney - $96,000 Scott Ball - $80,000 Darren Elias - $64,000 Dan Shak - $48,000
  17. Daniel Colpoys outlasted the 77-entry field in Event #1 ($10,000 No Limit Hold’em) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup to earn his first career high-roller victory and take home the $200,200 first-place prize. Colpoys started the day third in chips with less than half that of final table chip leader Andrew ‘LuckyChewy’ Lichtenberger and only slightly behind four-time WPT champ Darren Elias. But Colpoys played tough through the four-hour-long final table, frequently ending up on the right side of hands against Lichtenberger and ultimately eliminating three of his final five opponents. "I was kind of handcuffed at the start, and then I got some momentum and ran pretty well," Colpoys said to PokerGO after his win. "I'm happy to take it down. I respect a lot of the guys there. It was nice." It didn’t take long for the final table to shed its first player. With the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (40,000 bb ante) Matthew Wantman put in a raise to 80,000 holding the [poker card="jc"][poker card="ts"]. Next to act was Michael Lang who, with roughly 15 big blinds, three-bet shipped with his [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"] for just over 600,000. The action folded around to Colpoys in the big blind and when he looked down at the [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"], he announced he was also all-in for nearly 1.6 million. Wantman let go of his hand and the cards were on their backs with Lang at risk. Even before the flop came out Lang tapped the table, said “good game, guys”, and stood up. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="3c"] flop was of little help for Lang who did indeed look to be on his way out. The turn was the [poker card="5d"], leaving Lang with just six outs, one time. The [poker card="2c"] completed the board and this time Lang was serious when saying his goodbyes, exiting in sixth place for $46,200. After Lang’s departure, Scott Ball was sitting on the short stack and slipped below 10 big blinds at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 bb ante). After Darren Elias made it 100,000 to go in the cutoff with [poker card="ac"][poker card="td"], Ball three-bet shipped his final 460,000 with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="tc"]. Both blinds folded and, after verifying the amount, Elias made the call. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6h"] giving Ball extra outs to the straight. “That’s an exciting flop, I’ll take that,” Ball said to Elias. “That’s fun.” The [poker card="7s"] turn added some chop outs for Ball, but the [poker card="2c"] river missed them all and Ball slid his chips to Elias and made he way to the rail in fifth place to collect his $61,600. Four-handed play stretched out over the next couple of levels as Lichtenberger increased his chip lead and the rest of the table battled for position. With the blinds up to 40,000/80,000 (80,000 ante), Colpoys picked up [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"] on the button and raised to 800,000, leaving himself with over one big blind behind. Lichtenberger folded his small blind and Wantman, in the big blind, and less than 10 bigs behind, opted to move all-in with his [poker card="qd"][poker card="td"]. Colpoys quickly committed the rest of his chips and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3c"], keeping Colpoys in the lead and adding the nut flush draw to increase his lead in the hand. The turn was the [poker card="4c"] completing the flush and leaving Wantman drawing dead to the river. Wantman made a quiet exit in fourth place, good for $77,000. Three-handed, Colpoys and Elias chipped away at Lichtenberger’s lead, drawing the chip counts closer. Eventually, Colpoys wrestled the chip lead away from Lichtenberger when the pair played a pivotal pot in which Lichtenberger’s flopped trips were downed by Colpoys who rivered a flush. After a short break, the blinds escalated to 50,000/100,000 and Elias was sitting on just 13 big blinds. After Lichtenberger folded his button, Elias moved all-in holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="8d"] and was quickly called by Colpoys and his dominating [poker card="kh"][poker card="tc"]. With Elias at risk, the pair saw a flop of [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="2c"], keeping Colpoys in the lead but offering Elias some notions of additional chop outs. That increased when the turn came the [poker card="qc"]. However, everything bricked for Elias when the [poker card="7h"] hit the river. Elias settled for the bronze and a $100,100 score. After taking out Elias, Colpoys held a 16 big blind chip lead over Lichtenberger at the start of heads-up play. The pair battled into the next level when Colpoys, with a 3.5:1 chip lead found a fortunate river to help him seal the victory. With the blinds at 75,000/150,000 (150,000 ante), Lichtenberger called on the button with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="4c"] and Colpoys put in a raise to 475,000 holding [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"]. Lichtenberger made the call and the pair took a flop of [poker card="qh"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"]. Colpoys led for 225,000 and Lichtenberger made the call, leaving himself with just over 10 big blinds behind. The turn came the [poker card="ad"] vaulting Lichtenberger’s hand into the lead and leaving Colpoys with just 5% to win the hand. Colpoys checked it over to Lichtenberger who bet 450,000 and Colpoys opted to make the call not knowing he had just two outs headed to the river. When the [9c[ hit the river, Colpoys locked up the hand. He checked it to ‘LuckyChewy’ who moved all-in for his final 1.5 million. Colpoys snap-called and ended the tournament. Lichtenberger settled for runner-up and $146,300 while Colpoys took down the first event of the 2022 PokerGO Cup and added $200,200 to his results. PokerGO Cup Event #1 Final Table Results Daniel Colpoys - $200,200 Andrew Lichtenberger - $146,300 Darren Elias - $100,100 Matthew Wantman - $77,000 Scott Ball - $61,600 Michael Lang - $46,200
  18. When Josh Arieh sat down to take his winner’s photo for his third career gold bracelet in the 2021 WSOP $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha, he was been ecstatic. It was a major victory worth over $204,000 and a major step in lifting him to the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year title. It had to feel good. But he wasn’t the only one over the moon about his victory. Arieh opened up some of his action to backers on PocketFives Staking and those who were sharp enough to ride with the future POY turned a $15 investment into more than $2,000. Those backers felt the rush of following along as Arieh turned his starting stack into a mountain of chips, as he emerged from the middle of the pack to take the chip lead. They were able to refresh the updates as their horse dominated the final table and came home with the win. And when he won, they did too. That’s the thrill of staking and that’s why PocketFives Staking and PokerGO are teaming up - to bring you the thrill of staking. Together, PocketFives and PokerGO want to make you sweat in 2022 and it’s easy to get started. When you purchase an annual subscription for PokerGO and use the bonus code “SWEAT” you'll get a BONUS $20 into your PocketFives Staking account. That’s $20 you can put to work by backing any of the high-profile players who sell action with PocketFives Staking. Poker’s biggest stars including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Fedor Holz, Darren Elias, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, and Erik Seidel have all offered packages in recent weeks. Now, you can not only follow the high-stakes action on PokerGO but have a piece of it as well. If you already have a PocketFives account, simply sign-up at PokerGO and use promo code “SWEAT” and you’ll be staking in no time. If you aren’t yet a PocketFiver you can sign up for a free new account right here on P5s Staking and then when you get your annual PokerGO subscription, use the code and get started staking. PokerGO and the PokerGO Tour is the home of high-stakes action. With your subscription, you can watch every episode of High Stakes Poker (including new episodes coming soon), the Super High Roller Bowl, the upcoming PokerGO Cup, and everything World Series of Poker. Of course, not every stake is going to be a winner, but this is a can’t-lose combination. Year-long access to one of the largest poker content libraries available and a bonus $20 so you can get in on the action. Get started with PocketFives Staking and grab an annual PokerGO subscription using promo code “SWEAT” to get in on the action today.
  19. Phil Hellmuth is the reigning champion of PokerGO's High Stakes Duel once again after defeating Tom Dwan in the Round 3 high-stakes heads-up rematch for $400,000. The three-hour match featured mostly measured play with only a few wild swings and no major eye-popping moves. For the most part, Hellmuth and Dwan appeared content to let the game come to them with Hellmuth getting the better of Dwan in a number of critical big spots. The table talk was also fairly muted as well. There were no real "Poker Brat" moments and Dwan, who often appeared unphased throughout the first hours of the match, only showed signs of slight frustration toward the end. Once Hellmuth found a way to seize the momentum he didn’t let up. The 16-time WSOP champ was making hands when necessary and keeping Dwan off balance with some interesting pre-flop raises that kept the chips coming his way. As expected, in the early going the stacks stayed relatively close with Dwan holding a small edge throughout the first hour. One notable hand that took place early, with the blinds at 300/600 (600 ante), Hellmuth limped the button holding [poker card="th"][poker card="td"] and Dwan checked his option with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="4c"]. The flop came out [poker card="jc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="3c"] and Dwan checked it over to Hellmuth who put out a bet of 600. Dwan check-raised his flush draw to 2,500 which Hellmuth called. The turn was the [poker card="qs"], adding a straight draw to Dwan’s outs. It was the [poker card="6c"] that completed the board and Dwan hit his flush. Dwan led for 8,700 and Hellmuth went into a brief tank before releasing his hand. “F*** me,” Hellmuth said as he got up to take a lap and walk it off. By the end of the hour, however, the stacks were even again. Roughly ninety minutes in, during the 500/1000 (1000 ante) level, the pair finally played a significant pot. Dwan put in a raise on the button to 2,600 with his [poker card="kd"][poker card="2d"] and Hellmuth, who held a slight lead, made the call with the [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"]. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4d"] giving Hellmuth top pair and Dwan a flush draw. Hellmuth checked to Dwan who fired another 3,600 and was snap-called by Hellmuth. The turn brought the [poker card="ah"], giving Hellmuth a king-high flush draw as well and after he checked, Dwan fired for 9,600 more. Hellmuth then check-raised to 19,200 and after a moment of consideration, Dwan called. “I’m very likely to check the river here…but who knows,” Hellmuth said right before the [poker card="9s"] completed the board. Hellmuth made good one that statement and checked, with only king-high Dwan seemed to weigh all his options but ended up conceding the 50,800 chip pot with a check back. [caption id="attachment_637821" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Tom Dwan during High Stakes Duel III[/caption] As the match stretched into the third hour, Hellmuth won a string of hands and jumped out to a modest lead. Then Hellmuth found a way to widen the gap. With the blinds at 400/800 (800 ante) Hellmuth limped the button holding [poker card="7h"][poker card="4d"] and Dwan put in a raise to 5,600 with his [poker card="th"][poker card="td"]. Hellmuth responded with a chunky three-bet to 21,000 and after a moment, Dwan made the call. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2h"] flop saw Hellmuth hit middle pair. But when Dwan checked to him, he opted to check back. The turn brought the [poker card="7c"], improving Hellmuth to trip. Dwan checked again and this time Hellmuth bet out 17,000. Dwan made the call and the pair saw the [poker card="9h"] complete the board. Dwan checked yet again and Hellmuth followed through with another bet, this time for 37,000. Dwan went into the tank, used some of his time bank, and eventually made the call. Hellmuth dragged the 150,000 chip pot and got out a three-to-one lead. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1486544492018556928?s=20 Hellmuth started the fourth hour with another big hand. At 500/1000 (1000 ante) Dwan called on the button holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="ts"] and Hellmuth, who had been putting in big raises with smaller holdings all match long, made it 10,000 to go with the [poker card="3c"][poker card="2c"]. Dwan made the call and the flop came [poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] giving Hellmuth bottom pair, open-ended straight draw, straight flush draw, The action checked through, and the [poker card="ac"] hit the turn, giving Hellmuth the straight flush. Hellmuth bet 6,000 and, with the king of clubs in his hand, Dwan made the call. The river was the [poker card="3s"], putting a straight on the board. Hellmuth checked it over, clearly hoping for a bet from Dwan who ultimately checked back and was shown another huge hand by Hellmuth who climbed to holding 80% of the chips in play. The end came soon after. Hellmuth called on the button with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and Dwan looked down at [poker card="8h"][poker card="8c"] in the big blind and put in a raise to 7,000. Hellmuth took a look at Dwan’s stack and went for the final blow, shipping it all-in. Dwan looked to the side and made his final stand with a call. With nothing left to do but watch, the pair saw a board of [poker card="kd"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"] award the hand and match to Hellmuth. The friends got up and shook hands with Hellmuth quickly declaring “I know you’re rematching…this time for $800K” to which Dwan replied, “Yea, it’ll be a big one.” With Hellmuth back as the High Stakes Duel champion, he still needs to win two more matches in a row in order to cash out. To get there, he would need to win the $400K buy-in and an $800K match for a potential $1.6 million payday. Dwan now has the option to re-challenge Hellmuth in Round 4 would only need to win two in a row in order to walk away.
  20. PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel III returns this week as Tom Dwan and Phil Hellmuth sit down for a rematch of the heads-up battle that saw Dwan end Hellmuth’s seven-match winning streak and seize control of the High Stakes Duel title. On Wednesday, January 26 at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m PT), Dwan and Hellmuth will go at it again. The biggest difference this time around is that the stakes are doubled. Both Dwan and Hellmuth will put up $200,000 for a $400,000 prize pool and the winner will move on to Round 4, where, depending on who wins, a brand new situation will arise. In the last round, Dwan and Hellmuth had no trace of their 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship feud. Instead, the pair exchanged compliments before putting on an entertaining five-and-a-half-hour match in which Dwan wore down Hellmuth with some surprisingly straightforward play. So what’s on tap for the rematch? Here are a few items to keep in mind while tuning in to Round 3 this week. Hellmuth’s Confidence At An All-Time High While poker players and pundits have debated Hellmuth’s style of play over the years, no one has ever questioned his confidence. His supreme belief in self is part of the show when putting “The Poker Brat” on the air for all to enjoy. And even though he lost to Dwan in the previous round, one must assume that Hellmuth’s hubris is at an all-time high after his inarguable excellent 2021 World Series of Poker performance. For those that need a refresher, not only did Hellmuth bink WSOP bracelet #16 in the $1,500 2-7 No Limit Lowball Draw, the one tournament on his bucket list that he really wanted to win (“I wanted that bracelet so badly,” he said at the time) but he also made the final table in seven different events. That included the $50,000 High Roller PLO ($734,807) and the $10,000 Dealers Choice ($153,493) both of which he finished as the runner-up. If a card or two falls differently, we could be talking about Hellmuth looking forward to bracelet #20 and having an eight bracelet lead on his closest competition. Even though the majority of his 2021 WSOP success was mixed games (he had two NLHE results, neither were deep runs) it’s not as if Hellmuth has been transitioning to mixed games full time. When he hasn’t been sitting courtside at Golden State Warriors games, making profitable football picks, or hitting the gym, Hellmuth has been occasionally splashing around in high limit No Limit games. As he was here with Dwan himself: https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/1470266909195059200?s=20 In short, look for Hellmuth to arrive in both bravado and style, perhaps even more than his usual fanfare. Ready to continue his vibe from 2021 right into 2022. Will Tom Dwan let his inner ‘Durrrr’ come out to play? The last time these two matched up in High Stakes Duel, there was a decidedly different Tom Dwan from the reputation he gained from his days in High Stakes Poker over 10 years ago. Dwan’s approach was rather measured, forsaking some of the high-flying plays he crafted during his online poker days playing under the ‘Durrrr’ pseudonym that brought him a reputation that is likely going to land him in the Poker Hall of Fame one day. So while Hellmuth will be looking to employ some #WhiteMagic and #POSITIVITY, fans might wonder if Dwan counter by putting Hellmuth in tough spots with a variety of creative plays. Or will he stick to the script of his original victory and let the game come to him, picking his spots here and there and while letting a potentially volatile Hellmuth simply blow up if things don’t go the way of the Brat. The dynamics of heads-up Sit & Go’s are different than that of full or even short-handed cash games, but the mere thought that Dwan might draw up and pull off a play as he did back in the day is one of the reasons he continues to be a fan-favorite to this day. Here's what's REALLY on the line. PokerGO is selling this heads-up match as a $400,000 battle with each player putting up $200,000. But in reality, it’s much more than that. This is High Stakes Duel III (Round 3) and according to the previously laid out rules, a champion needs to win three times in a row (before Round 4) in order to cash out. Hellmuth did this when he ran the table on both Esfandiari and Negreanu. If that doesn’t take place a champ needs to get (at least) back-to-back victories beginning in Round 4. With that in mind, Dwan has only won once. So, at a minimum, if Dwan wins this upcoming match, he’ll need to win in Round 4, at double the stakes, in order to cash out. Round 4 will have a total prize pool of $800,000 easily making it one of the largest televised heads-up matches, save for situations like the Super High Roller Bowl where the money separating the final two can stretch into seven figures. There would be even more pressure on Hellmuth if he wins. It’s three wins in a row, so his victory in Round 1 over Fox Sports personality Nick Wright doesn’t play. In order for Hellmuth to cash out he needs to get to a minimum of Round 5 where, according to the rules, the buy-in would be $800,000 - $1.6 million on the line. That’s 2.5x the buy-in of the SHRB, an event that Hellmuth has repeatedly skipped over the past couple of years. It’s closing in on Big One For One Drop money. What makes Hellmuth’s rematch of Dwan so surprising is, if he wins, is he willing and able to go the distance to cash out for the third time? Finally, what’s on the dinner menu? Aside from the poker, one of the highlights of each of the previous matches has been Hellmuth’s appetite at the table…and we’re not talking about poker chips. Sushi, turkey sandwich, burgers, and, of course, a can of BreinFuel and a super-sized bag of Sour Patch Kids. Who knows what it will be this time but whatever Hellmuth’s tableside snacks are Ali Nejad and the commentary team should have plenty of ammo to crack a few jokes as Hellmuth fuels more than his hunger for action at the table. Need a PokerGO account? Sign up for an annual membership using the promo code “SWEAT” and get a free $20 deposited in your PocketFives Staking account!
  21. Nick Petrangelo touched the final step of PokerGO’s inaugural 2022 Stairway to Millions, going back-to-back in the final two events of the series and winning the $100,000 buy-in NLHE finale for $1,026,000, the fourth seven-figure cash of his career. Petrangelo finished the series with four final tables, three of which came in the final three events. Just after his victory, Petrangelo talked with Maria Ho about the importance of momentum and confidence in his game. “I think when you’re running good and making hands and timing is working well it obviously breeds confidence,” Petrangelo said. “That’s important to play well because you gotta be able to make the right play when you know it’s correct and if you’re running bad and always running into it sometimes it’s hard to do that. Running good helps you be confident and helps you play better” Of the 19 entries in the last event, just three players made the money and returned to play out the final table. Petrangelo started the day with the chip lead, Sean Perry sat in second with nearly half of Petrangelo’s chips, and David Peters a distant third place holding just under 20 big blinds. Both Peters and Perry chipped away at Petrangelo’s lead in the early goings and roughly 40 minutes in, Perry even took over the chip lead. However just before the end of the first hour, Petrangelo took back the lead, and right after the break, Peters won a significant pot off Perry putting himself and Perry essentially even in chips. A pivotal hand took place in the 15,000/30,000 (30,000 ante) level when Petrangelo opened on the button to 60,000 holding the [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"]. Peters, with roughly 25 big blind in his stack, three-bet to 400,000 with the [poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"]. Perry let go of the big blind and Petrangelo moved all-in for nearly 2 million total and Peters made the call for his remaining 300,000. The [poker card="tc"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4c"] flop kept Peters hand in the lead, but with 15 outs twice Petrangelo was the favorite. The [poker card="kh"] turn was no help to Petrangelo and neither was the [poker card="2h"]. The pot was shipped to Peters and with the double, Peters assumed the chip lead for the first time all day. Petrangelo and Perry were both looking up at Peters when they went to battle. After Peters folded his button, Perry, with a slight chip lead over Petrangelo, put in a raised from the small blind with the [poker card="9d"][poker card="4c"]. Petrangelo made the call with the [poker card="qc"][poker card="td"] and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"]. Perry continued with a bet of 180,000 and Petrangelo made the call. The turn was the [poker card="8c"], giving Petrangelo and double gutter to go with his second pair. Perry fired again, putting 220,000 in with just 415,000 behind. Once again, Petrangelo called. The river brought the [poker card="ah"], and after a moment Perry moved all-in for his final 415,000 putting Petrangelo to the test. Petrangelo burnt his final time extension and eventually correctly clicked call to drag the 1.7 million chip pot and leave Perry on just 100,000. Perry was eliminated on the very next hand when he put it in with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="9c"] and Peters made the call from the big blind with [poker card="8d"][poker card="5h"] and the board came [poker card="7h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3s"][poker card="ks"][poker card="3h"]. Perry picked up $304,000 for third place. The levels dropped to 10 minutes at heads-up and Peters has a 2.1 million to 1.7 million chip advantage over Petrangelo. Petrangelo almost immediately took back the lead and within 10 minutes the pair had all the chips in the middle. Peters, covered, held [poker card="6h"][poker card="6d"] and Petrangelo, once again, was trying to take him out with a suited ace of clubs, the [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4s"], nearly the same set up as when Peters doubled earlier in the day. However, this time the clubs came in as the [poker card="qc"] hit the turn, leaving Peters drawing dead to the [poker card="5s"] river. As the runner-up, Peters added $570,000 to his more than $38 million in lifetime live earnings, and with that score climbed into 4th on the All-Time Money List surpassing Erik Seidel. With the win, Petrangelo picked up the $1,026,000 first-place prize and became the first Stairway To Millions “Main Event” champion. PokerGO Stairway to Millions $100K Final Table Nick Petrangelo - $1,026,000 David Peters - $570,000 Sean Perry - $304,000 The finale completed the inaugural eight-tournament series which offered players the chance win their way up the escalating buy-ins. Every time a player cashed in a Stairway to Millions tournament, they were given a ticket to the next event, along with their payout. As long as they continued to cash, they’d continue to play - of course, direct buy-ins were also available. Not unlike the tried-and-true online poker satellite tree where players start at a low buy-in but, as long as they continue to win, they earn a spot in the next event. The series started with a $1,100 event at the Aria that drew 190 entries and saw 28 players advance to Event #2. The next $2,150 buy-in event brought in 129 entries where three-time WSOP bracelet winner Chance Kornuth took down the title. In fact, Kornuth did it again in Event #3 ($4,000 NLHE), earning back-to-back titles (and three cashes in a row) for a series total of just over $136,000. As the buy-in increased, the fields began to narrow with 12 players from Event #3 advancing to Event #4. The $8,000 buy-in drew a total field of 56 entries from which Salim Admon earned his first PokerGO win for $138,880. Just eight players advanced from Event #4 to make up the 43-entry field of Event #5 ($15,800 NLHE). In the end, Michael Wang walked away with the $219,300 first-place prize. Jake Schindler, who is no stranger to winning in the Aria, scored the victory in Event #6 ($25,000 NLHE) where just seven of the 25 entries were from the previous tournament. The foursome of Schindler, Nick Petrangelo, Alex Foxen, and Sean Winter earned entry into Event #7 ($50,000 NLHE). Petrangelo topped the 21-entry field, coming back from a single big blind, and walked away with another $567,000 in his bankroll prior to his win in Event #8. Next up for PokerGO is the PokerGO Cup taking place from February 2-10.
  22. Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan are set to renew their rivalry in an all-new $400,000 heads-up High Stakes Duel III (Round 3) set to take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Wednesday, January 26. Hellmuth, the former champion, had gone 7-0 in the High Stakes Duel heads-up Sit & Go format prior to facing off against Dwan last August. First, he disposed of Antonio Esfandiari three times in a row and shortly after performed the same threepeat against Daniel Negreanu. After a one-and-done vanquishing of Fox Sports commentator Nick Wright, Hellmuth’s next charge was to avenge his 2008 bad beat loss at the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship over fan-favorite high roller Tom Dwan. However, Hellmuth’s HSD streak came to an end during High Stakes Duel III (Round 2) as Dwan played a more measured match, forsaking many of the high-flying moves that showcased him as a young phenom on poker television. He simply “took care of business”, collected the $200,000 prize pool, and eliminated Hellmuth, putting a stop to the streak. READ: Three Takeaways From Tom Dwan’s Victory Over Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel Even though he was defeated, Hellmuth had the option to rechallenge Dwan at double the stakes and that is exactly what he’s done. And now, nearly five months after he surrendered the High Stakes Duel belt, Hellmuth is back to, once again, try to put that beat on Dwan. Here’s what’s at stake: No matter who wins the $400,000, Dwan or Hellmuth, according to current High Stakes Duel rules, they can’t simply walk away with the money. The winner will have to face another challenger at double the stakes. If it’s Dwan, he’ll only need to face (and defeat) one more opponent in order to cash out as a player needs to win three matches in a row before Round 4 in order to put that money in the bank. That opponent could be Hellmuth, who would still have one more option to rematch left. If it’s Hellmuth, he would need to win another three straight, taking this season to a minimum of Round 5. At that point, the buy-in would be $800,000 per player for a total of $1.6 million making it easily one, if not the, largest televised heads-up matches of all time. All of the action can be caught on January 26 on PokerGO at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT). The first hour of the match will be streamed for free on YouTube.
  23. This year we’re doing something a little different and breaking down our annual Poker Year In Review into three different parts - the Flop (January-April), Turn (May-August), and River (September-December). We’ll be wrapping up 2021 by taking a look back at some of our biggest stories, winners, and surprises that unfolded in one of the most unique years in the history of the game. May One of the craziest stories of the year broke in May when it was revealed that high-stakes poker pro Chad Power had been victim to a home invasion robbery of nearly $1,000,000 in cash and casino chips. However, the Henderson Police Department arrested a suspect who was charged with multiple felonies including Burglary with a Deadly Weapon, Conspiracy Home Invasion, and Theft after the suspect went out and purchased a Dodge Hellcat Charger with a $30,000 cash down payment and also purchased a 2018 Maserati Levante SUV under his mother’s name with another $60K in cash. On the felt, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu returned for Round 2 of High Stakes Duel II with Negreanu looking to get even, however, once again, Hellmuth pulled off the win. Negreanu promised that there would be a third match sooner than later leaving Hellmuth still feeling slighted despite his back-to-back wins. “I’ve given Daniel credit the whole way from start to finish and I haven’t said one negative word about him. He was pretty condescending in the first match. I felt it was super condescending, and this match he handled himself much better,” Hellmuth said. “But even still, he’s preaching down to me about ranges, and I’m thinking to myself, I’ve just won 24 out of 26 heads-up matches against pros and they have me rated as a fucking underdog every match. It just blows my mind, but I just never quite get that respect, and that’s ok with me. I just want to keep winning.” There were plenty of other winnings taking place in May with a trio of World Poker Tour events coming to a conclusion. The pandemic had forced the WPT to delay a number of its high-profile final tables for more than a year and in the middle of the month, they gathered in Las Vegas to crown three consecutive champions. First up was Veerab Zakarian who took down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $674,840. “Waiting this long, you didn’t know what to expect. You don’t know, you keep waiting for it,” Zakarian said after the tournament ended. “Most people, after the pandemic, they didn’t have anything to look forward to so I was glad to have something to look forward to.” [caption id="attachment_637581" align="alignright" width="250"] Brekstyn Schutten[/caption] The next day it was Balakrishna Patur’s turn in the spotlight as he won the delayed 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic for $1,015,000, defeating Matas Cimbolas in heads-up play. It was the second year in a row that Cimbolas finished as the LAPC runner-up. Finally, Brekstyn Schutten took down the largest event in the 19-year history of the WPT when he won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1,261,095. While all of that is nice, the most prestigious contest of the year came to a conclusion in May when Niklas Astedt was named, by the poker community and his peers, as the All-Time #1 Number One. For the better part of a month, PocketFives ran a social contest asking the poker community to vote, March Madness-style, to see which of the (then) 60 former worldwide #1-ranked online pros stood above the rest. The finals came down to Astedt and online great Chris Moorman with Astedt edging out Moorman with 54% of the vote. “The PocketFives rankings really motivated me over the years,” Astedt said after being crowned the winner. “I’m super happy and proud that so many people voted for me.” Speaking of Chris Moorman, he was one of three popular player profiles to be featured this month. Moorman reflected on his career and his recent winning of his first SCOOP title. READ: “Old Guy” Chris Moorman Happily Proves He’s Still Got It Sami Kelopuro had been on an amazing heater and talked with PocketFives in a rare interview on the secret to his recent success and how he planed on taking it easy after his intense grind. READ: After Winning $4.4M, Sami Kelopuro is Taking It Easy - For Now Finally, after winning the first-ever GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event, Mathias ‘KingKongJoel’ Joelsson talked about what it was like to win a seven-figure score. READ: Mathias Joelsson Has ‘King Kong’ Plans After $1.25M GGSF Score By the end of the month, another Brazilian earned themselves an Online Player of the Month title, as Dalton Hobold took the title in May. June It had already been announced that the World Series of Poker was going to be moved to the fall, but in the middle of June, the complete schedule (before the addition of online events) of the last WSOP at the Rio was announced. It was an 88 gold bracelet schedule that hoped to bring back a sense of normalcy after a year away. READ: 5 Things: The WSOP Schedule Gives Players a Comfortable Return Home While players had the WSOP to look forward to, the 2021 U.S. Poker Open was taking place in the PokerGO Studio with familiar faces winning large sums of money. Stephen Chidwick, Jake Schindler, Ali Imsirovic were all at the top of the earners list for the series but David Peters dominated them all, winning more than $2.6 million and taking home the Golden Eagle trophy. READ: David Peters, Old Guard, New Faces Shine Bright as U.S. Poker Open Hellmuth’s three-peat over Negreanu was completed earning him the $400,000 prize and bringing his series record to 6-0 and bringing High Stakes Duel II to an end with Hellmuth opting to cash out and start over in the coming months. Brian Altman also notched his third win, but for him, it was taking home his third World Poker Tour Main Tour title at WPT Tampa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. The reigning WPT Player of the Year put himself in the race for WPT all-time title, just one behind Darren Elias’ four, and picked up $613,225 in the process. READ: WPT POY Brian Altman Writes His Own Script For Success In other WPT news, the 2021 WPT Online Series Main Event reached a conclusion as well with Christian Rudolph earning his first WPT title and $487,442. Plus, the WPT held its WPT Heads Up Poker Championship in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. An online tournament, it featured some of the biggest names in the game including Doug Polk, Tow Dwan, Sam Greenwood, Anthony Zinno, Brad Own, and eventual winner Phil Ivey who took down the invite-only event for $400,000. Another popular profile published in 2021 was on poker vlogger Jaman Burton and his recent move to Las Vegas. In it, he discusses how the social climate in St. Louis pushed him to make a move, the future of his vlog, and finding new inspiration in Sin City. READ: Jaman Burton and The Drawing Dead Find New Life In Las Vegas The string of Brazilian crushers taking down the Online Player of the Month continued in June as Geraldo Cesar Neto earned the honor for the first time in his career. July The poker world was shocked and saddened in July when six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Layne ‘Back-to-Back’ Flack unexpectedly passed away at age 52. An outpouring of condolences for Flack’s family poured out from the poker community as a mainstay personality from the early days of the poker boom will be certainly be missed. Before that, Daniel Negreanu was back making headlines. After his loss to Doug Polk earlier in the year and then falling three times to Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel, Kid Poker’s ability to close in a big spot was being questioned by some in the poker world. He quickly responded with a victory during the PokerGO Cup series, not only winning the $50,000 NLHE event for $700,000 but, with a little thanks to Cary Katz in the final event of the series, taking the PokerGO leaderboard title and trophy for an additional $50,000 score. READ: The Anatomy- and End - of Daniel Negreanu’s Tournament Futility All month long, the World Series of Poker was running online bracelet events with some notable names adding to their poker resume including David Peters, Manig Loeser, and Chris Moorman who grabbed the victory in one of the final events of the series for his second career bracelet. But the big WSOP news was the rumor (which turned out to be true) that the World Series of Poker would be on the move in 2022, leaving its long-standing home of the Rio to set up shop on the Strip at Bally's and Paris. [caption id="attachment_637583" align="alignright" width="250"] Andrew Moreno[/caption] July also saw a pair of celebrated live wins as Andrew Moreno battled through the 1,325-entry field of the first-ever $10K Wynn Millions to walk away with a life-changing $1.460 million score. The final three agreed to chop the majority of the prize pool, creating two more millionaires as Clayton Maguire finished as the runner-up for $1.443 million and Toby Lewis grabbed the bronze for $1.235 million. Dapo Ajayi also earned a career-defining win after taking down WPT Choctaw for $558,610, making it the second time that Viet Vo would come up just one spot short in the same tournament, finishing in second place for $372,415. Brazil’s Dalton Hobold earned Online Player of the Month honors in May, in July he opened up about how he was almost scammed out his entire career by someone he trusted. READ: Rising Star Dalton Hobold Almost Had Poker Career Derailed by Scam Another month, another Brazilian at the top of the Online Player of the Month leaderboard, as Renan Carlos Bruschi took home the honors in July. August August was another massive month when it came to online poker as PokerStars announced the start of their biggest World Championship of Online Poker with $100 million guaranteed and the World Series of Poker Online kicked off on GGPoker. Both series featured poker superstars taking home titles including Christian Rudolph and Ivan Zufic taking down early WCOOP titles and Joao Simao and Samuel Vousden earning gold bracelets. It was also the month where Erik Seidel made history, taking down 2021 WSOP Online Event #11 ($10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller) for $977,842 and his ninth career gold bracelet, tying Johnny Moss. Soon after, he talked with us about winning his ninth bracelet online made it special for him. “Winning any WSOP event is special,” Seidel said when asked where his online bracelet ranks. “This one was extra great for me because it was so unexpected. Getting through 600+ players and then the prize was close to one million, which I think is my biggest WSOP cash, felt really amazing. Might be my favorite.” READ: Erik Seidel’s Online WSOP Bracelet Victory Might Just Be His Favorite In addition to Seidel winning the WSOP edition of the Super MILLION$, a pair of perennial champions added to their MILLION$ resume. Niklas Astedt scored his third title and Michael Addamo kept the all-time wins record with his fourth. For Addamo, it was just a sign of things yet to come. READ: 50 Things To Look Forward To At The 2021 WSOP After Phil Hellmuth vanquished Fox Sports commentator Nick Smith in a bottle episode of High Stakes Duel, the re-match everyone was waiting for was booked. The Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan hype train was rolling and the show did not disappoint. However, after seven wins in a row, Hellmuth was defeated as Dwan dethroned Hellmuth to become the new High Stakes Duel champion. READ: Three Takeaways From Tom Dwan's Victory Over Phil Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel III [caption id="attachment_637584" align="alignleft" width="250"] Brock Wilson[/caption] A pair of profiles proved to be popular this month as 26-year-old high-stakes tournament pro Brock Wilson talked about his major move from New York to Las Vegas to pursue the poker dream. Plus, Ryan Hagerty scored an online bracelet in July and sat down to talk with us about his roller coaster of a year grinding the tournament scene. A victory for Alex Theologis in the WSOP $25,000 Super High Roller Championship locked up the August Online Player of Month. Finally, after six years as the President and Editor-in-Chief of PocketFives Lance Bradley stepped away to pursue new opportunities and left by spotlighting some of his favorite stories he published over the years.
  24. PokerGO’s revival of High Stakes Poker is set to return in 2022 for Season 9 and over the weekend fans were given a first look at some of poker’s high-powered players that have officially locked up a seat in the game. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1467256348643500035?s=20 After sitting on the sidelines for Season 8, Daniel Negreanu - who played in all of the first seven seasons of the show - confirmed his return to HSP via Twitter. Then, hours later, Jennifer Tilly posted one of the first cast photos, much to the delight of poker fans everywhere. RELATED: Chemistry Lessons: Building The Perfect High Stakes Poker Cast https://twitter.com/JenniferTilly/status/1467576251716018183?s=20 As you can see, some of the biggest names in the game will be in action including cash game legends Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, both of whom were featured last season. Joining them in a return are Jean-Robert Bellande and Bryn Kenney, who made their High Stakes Poker debut in Season 8. Taking a seat for the first time and pictured to the right of Kenney is Hustler Casino Live regular Krish, who is often introduced as an entrepreneur and collector of rare casino chips. And finally, on the far left, is Garrett Adelstein, one of the most prolific live stream high-stakes cash game players of today. RELATED: Three Takeaways From Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan’s Appearance on Hustler Casino Live It’s Adelstein’s first invitation to High Stakes Poker but not his first encounter with the likes of Ivey and Dwan. Earlier this year, Hustler Casino Live broadcast two days of high-stakes play that featured all three players and captured on camera the first meeting of Adelstein and Ivey. However, that’s not the only members of the cast that were confirmed. Tilly commented on how much fun it was playing with Rail Heaven legend Patrik Antonius... https://twitter.com/JenniferTilly/status/1467173525244891136?s=20 ...and Xuan Liu was sure to snap a selfie with the legend Doyle Brunson. https://twitter.com/xxl23/status/1467208721168154627?s=20 On Monday night, World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Koray Aldemir added some more names to the High Stakes Poker confirmed list when he posted this photo of after his time on set. https://twitter.com/kooraay90/status/1468017193359069186?s=20 Traditionally, High Stakes Poker features minimum stakes of $200/$400 with an $800 straddle or simply $400/$800 blinds, making it one of the highest stakes cash games available for fans to sweat. Of course, all the players are sworn to secrecy on the results of the taping but it was curious that Negreanu, who has admitted in the past to running badly in his seven seasons (roughly a $2 million loser according to some calculations) posted the following: https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1467631154320662530?s=20 No firm date for the airing of High Stakes Poker Season 9 has been announced, but unconfirmed rumors has it dropping in February 2022. We’ll have to wait and see however, whenever it does return, High Stakes Poker Season 9 will be available on subscription site PokerGO. [original article updated 5:10 pm PT 12/6]
  25. The holidays are here and that means it’s time, once again, to pick out a few choice items that make for a perfect gift for the poker players in your life. After the garbage year that was 2020, 2021 proved to be a little bit better and therefore deserving of a better gift guide. So here are a few suggestions of gifts for the poker player in your life that will make these holidays one to remember. RELATED: The Definitive Poker Player Holiday Gift Guide Gifts To Get Better For many poker players, the best gift they can receive is getting real help in getting better at the game. In turn, performing better when playing produces the real results they want and nowadays, there’s no shortage of ways to help a poker player improve and they all make for great gifts. Poker Training Sites Looking to help someone who really wants to improv? Check out Upswing Poker, Run It Once Poker, Learn Pro Poker, or Daniel Negreanu’s Masterclass. All of these will provide important base-layer strategies for improving at poker. All these courses are led by top-tier, well-known coaches and, for the most part, start at less than $100. For someone who is process-oriented, look first at Negreanu’s Masterclass and Upswing Poker. For the player who enjoyed watching non-stop videos, Run It Once and LearnProPoker are packed with content. Poker Books More of an old-school student? D+B Publishing pretty much has the market cornered on poker books. From No Limit Hold’em to Mixed Games, there’s a poker strategy book that makes for the perfect gift. Try any one of Jonathan Little’s books including Excelling At No-Limit Hold’em, Exploitative Play in Live Poker by Alexander Fitzgerald, or Mastering Mixed Games by Dylan Linde. D+B offers many of these titles as audiobooks for those long drives to the card room. Want to shop outside of D+B? Check out the trio of books by PocketFiver Dara O' Kearney with poker media superstar Barry Carter: Poker Satellite Strategy, PKO Poker Strategy, and Endgame Poker Strategy - all under $20 on Amazon. Not for nothing, a good non-strategy poker book makes for a great gift as well including Poker Brat by Phil Hellmuth, The Pursuit of Poker Success by Lance Bradley, or The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova. Poker Apps For the player who is always on their phone check, a gift card with a recommendation for any of these apps would likely delight: Dominik Nitsche’s DTO Poker Trainer offers a free version that allows players to train by playing hands and it will evaluate your play against GTO standards. There’s an upgrade available that allows for more in-depth studying. The PokerGO app (it’s actually a complete website of content) gives you the ability to watch a nearly endless amount of poker content anywhere you go. Perfect for the poker fan who can’t get enough of poker on TV. A one-month sub is just $10, a full year can be purchased for $100. Poker Income Tracker is a good way to see all of the stats that true poker junkies are into including sessions, wins and losses, how one performs at different stakes. This might not make much sense to someone who isn’t into poker, but for the player, these stats are the scoreboard of their poker journey. Gifts To Look Better In general, poker players aren’t known for their style. Oftentimes, whatever clothes are nearest to them when they wake up are what they are showing up to a final table in. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a couple upgradable items of essentials for the live poker player. Poker Vlogger Merch If you know which poker vlogger is their favorite - grabbing some merch could look like a very thoughtful gift. Hundreds of thousands tune in to the on-the-felt adventures of Brad Owen, and he has signature hoodies and shirts that support his empire available right here. Andrew Neeme’s FVRBL apparel offers shirts, hats, hoodies, and more. Maybe grab a pair of Greg Goes All In signature sunglasses for the meme lover in your life or a “Folding Is Boring” shirt courtesy of Rampage Poker. Hoodies As cliche as it is, hoodies are essential. If you forgo one from the aforementioned Vlogger collection check out the Rocky Eco-Fleece Zip Hoodie from Alternative Apparel - it's a super lightweight, eco-friendly hoodie that can be worn everywhere, all day. Or, for those looking for some more Ali Imsirovic vibes, check out the wild designs at Zipy Hoodie to make a greater impact while at the table. Sunglasses Sunglasses at the table are a little bit controversial. But for some players, it’s the security blanket they need to play their best and keep their opponents guessing. In the past, we’ve recommended the classic Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers and this year we’re sticking with that clean look and picking the Oakley Holbrook design. It comes in all different colors and lens styles, but there’s no doubt that if you pick something other than black-on-black these Red Iridium Lenses would offer that distinctive, memorable look. Gifts To Be Better Now let’s put it all together. You see, for a poker player, it’s playing part that they really want. So, here are a couple of big ideas to get them into the game. ClubGG Subscription Some players want to play but don’t ever want to lose. Fair enough. ClubGG gets them very close to that. The app allows players to play as much as they want for $50 but the best part is they can qualify for live events including the World Series of Poker. Recently, ClubGG also announced partnerships with the Mid States Poker Tour and the RunGood Poker Tour, offering players even more opportunities to win their way into a big live event for just the monthly payment. Not for nothing, at the 2021 WSOP, there was also a ClubGG Poker Lounge where free snacks and drinks were available, which was likely worth the price of the app that month alone. A Trip to the WSOP Of course, this is the big-ticket item, but no gift guild would be complete without mentioning that it’s nearly every poker player’s dream to play in the WSOP. But for the uninitiated, one might think that gift is going to cost an unreasonable $10,000 - not realizing that it’s a whole series of events and not just the Main Event. But that’s not the case, the upcoming WSOP will likely have upwards of 90 live events with the smallest buy-in coming in around $500. Not cheap, but not necessarily going to break the bank. And with the WSOP moving to The Strip this summer, it’s going to be a historic series that would make for an unforgettable experience.
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