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Found 24 results

  1. Pennsylvania grinder Thai Ha woke up this morning at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure expecting to sit down to his 130,300 stack and do everything he could to make Day 3. He arrived at his table a little bit late and almost missed out on what will probably end up being the most exciting - and profitable - part of his day. Ha’s table, one of 45 in play at the start of play Wednesday, was randomly chosen to be part of the PokerStars Players Championship promotion. As the cameras moved in, Joe Stapleton explained the rules to everybody. Each of the seven players was going to be dealt a hand of Hold’em. The dealer would then run out the flop, turn, and river. Whichever player had the best hand after the river was going to be given a PSPC Platinum Pass worth $30,000. As the dealer began dealing, Ha wasn’t at the table yet. He was running about a minute behind. He did make it to the table just in time to see the river dealt, but with the crowd that had formed around the table, Ha wasn’t quite able to get to his seat. The player on his left turned his hand face up and Ha discovered he had rivered trip eights to beat out Mike Leah’s flopped top pair. “It was amazing. I would never expect that to happen to me, obviously. That was unreal - it’s a free $25,000, plus the trip,” said Ha. The promotion, which awards 300 Platinum Passes over the course of 2018, is geared towards making the PSPC the biggest - and potentially softest - $25,000 buy-in event in history. Players can win them through various means throughout the year. The 2018 PCA Main Event champion will also earn one. “I was going to play that event regardless. Now I’m saving my $25,000,” laughed Ha. The 26-year-old has only been playing poker since 2014, but he’s managed to move up in stakes relatively quickly. “I was born in Vietnam, so I didn’t even know about poker until I moved to the United States. That was 2007, but I went to school so I just focused on school. After I graduated, I started playing poker,” said Ha, who has $659,518 career earnings. This past summer he finished 226th in the World Series of Poker Main Event for an official cash of $40,181, but just like this trip to the Bahamas gave him a little bit more equity, Ha found a way to make a little more than that $40K. “For the Main Event, bought 20% of myself on PokerShares. I punished them a little bit,” said Ha, who paid 1.5 through the site. Now that he’s saved the $25,000 entry fee on the PSPC, he might spend some of that on himself on PokerShares for the event. “I’m probably going to do that,” said Ha, who regularly plays Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold’em cash games and tournaments at Parx, Sugar House and the Borgata and only travels for some of the bigger events.
  2. Like a lot of amateur poker players, Steven-John Jost wanted to qualify for the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to combine some poker with some Bahamian sunshine for a vacation. He ended up with way more than that. Jost qualified on PokerStars.com and wound up finishing 74th to earn $17,500 for his second career live cash. "For me, that's big money. It's great," said Jost, who works in a labratory back home in Switzerland. Like everybody who made the money at PCA, Jost had his name entered into a draw for Platinum Pass, the $30,000 package that includes entry to the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship next January back in the Bahamas. As the final table was playing down to a champion on Sunday, Jost had his name drawn as the winner. "I was really shaking. Now I'm calm. I had to go for a drink and now I'm relaxed, just enjoying it," Jost said a few minutes after having his Platinum Pass presented to him. PokerStars is awarding 300 Platinum Passes to players playing online, at live events and even fans who tune into PokerStarsTV live streamed events. Lots of players try to qualify for PokerStars live events on the cheap. Working their way through lower buy-in qualifiers before finally getting a shot at the final step. Jost suffered no such struggle. "Just one, actually," Jost. "I went from the $27 to the $55 to the $530 and then I got the package from the mega satellite." Jost only had one other previous live cash, but nothing like the PCA. Most of his live poker comes in playing with his buddies back home. "We play one time per week, all our friends in a cash game. Sometimes we organize a tourney - three or four times a year - just having fun," said Jost. "We have about 25 or 30 players for a $100 buy-in. It's great. It's poker!" Jost entered Day 1 of the PCA Main Event with a little bit of butterflies in his stomach, but they quickly disappeared. "Yeah, I was nervous for about 10 minutes on Day 1 and then I was fine," said Jost, who continued to live the dream with some TV time. "I started on Day 2 on the secondary feature table, then they sent me to the main feature table. It's crazy." So for those keeping score at home, Jost paid $27 for a week long vacation in the Bahamas where got to play poker with some of the best players in the world, won $17,500 cash and a $30,000 package that includes entry to the PokerStars Players Championship next January. It sounds like it was a perfect trip, but Jost did have one complaint. "The only thing was the weather, it was disgusting. It was raining while I was playing, but when I was knocked out on Day 4, the sun was shining and it was really good," joked Jost. All kidding aside, Jost knows just how fortunate he's been throughout all of this since he first registered for that $27 qualifier and really hopes to keep the ride going through the PSPC. "It's really a dream came true. First time here at the Bahamas, I got to play the Main Event, I cashed," said Jost. "It was a win-win situation to come here and now I've won the Platinum Pass. It couldn't be better."
  3. It was 15 years that Chris Moneymaker turned an $86 satellite win into $2.5 million, a World Series of Poker Main Event title and a special place in poker history. Now, with the help of the PokerStars Platinum Pass, Moneymaker is hoping to make magic happen for somebody else. The Moneymaker PSPC Tour is nine-stop tour running across the United States that will award one $30,000 Platinum Pass at each stop - and the buy-in is just $86. Each Platinum Pass comes with a buy-in to the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship this January at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and an additional $5,000 for travel and hotel. PokerStars is giving away 300 through various means leading up to the event. While Moneymaker doesn't want to take all of the credit for the new tour, when PokerStars approached him about giving away a Platinum Pass, he knew he wanted to reach a certain audience. "It was a little bit of a collaboration. We were trying to figure out a way that we could get more passes into the United States and do some things. One, to have a better presence in the U.S. and two, give other people opportunities that aren't getting opportunities playing online or going to some of these other stops," said Moneymaker. "This a way to do that and give everybody a really good price point to get in and promote this and hopefully have a story to tell at the end of it." The nine stops are all inside the United States, including one being played online in New Jersey. While details for each stop are up to the host venue, Moneymaker expects each one to unlimited re-entry but don't think this means it'll be full of well-bankrolled players taking shot after shot after shot. "I would imagine every single stop is going to be packed where there's going to be alternates, so if you bust it's going to be difficult to bust multiple times and get back in," said Moneymaker. Each stop on the tour will award a Platinum Pass to the winner on top of the normal prize pool with payouts determined by the host venue. "Every casino is probably going to have a different method to how they're going to run their tournaments. We're going to be at MGM Harbor and they're going to run different from Stones, probably. The payout structures are going to be different. I think Stones is leaning more towards paying almost zero to first and giving all the money to second and back and first place will get the $30,000 package." The Moneymaker PSPC Tour Schedule Date Venue Location August 4 - 5 Stones Gambling Hall Citrus Heights, CA August 19 - 26 Lucky Chances Colma, CA September 9 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, CT September 15 MGM National Harbor Oxon Hill, MD September 22 Gardens Casino Hawaiian Gardens, CA September 23 Talking Stick Scottsdale, AZ September 30 PokerStarsNJ.com Online October 7 Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT October 10 - 14 Maryland Live Hanover, MD While obviously designed to be affordable, the $86 buy-in is also a nod to one of the most misreported parts of Moneymaker's historic 2003 WSOP victory. In the moments and days after his win, mainstream media reported that Moneymaker had turned his win in a $39 satellite on PokerStars into $2.5 million. In reality, the buy-in for his first satellite was $86 - but even Moneymaker ran with the $39 story for years. "I remember that night doing the interviews it was $39, and I thought for 12 years it was $39. I wrote a book, $39 to $2.5 million," said Moneymaker, who was told by a PokerStars staffer at an event in London in 2015 that the buy-in was actually $86. "I was like, 'I did not know that, but okay, good to know'." The confusion actually continued though. Moneymaker misheard the number and was under the impression it was $81. When they started putting plans together for this tour, everything was built around an $81 price point. "Somebody had to come back and say 'No, it was $86'. So it goes up every couple of years - it'll be $100 before long," joked Moneymaker. The historical tie-in was obviously important, but Moneymaker wanted to make sure that players that aren't able to otherwise travel to play in bigger buy-in tournaments were able to get into this one with a shot at winning something special. "I'd rather go and play the Festivals or the Cups with the smaller buy-ins. Go to some of the smaller stops. That's where people like to see me and it's just a lot more fun and I enjoy that atmosphere. This fits really well with that mold," said Moneymaker. "I'm excited about this tour. This tour is going to be a really awesome thing. Hopefully one of them makes a deep run and it changes their life."
  4. When PokerStars announced the Platinum Pass program in late 2017, they promised to find unique and interesting ways to give the $30,000 packages away. Over the last six months, players have won them by winning PokerStars-branded live events, random draws at those same events and through online play as well. Now they've weaponized their Ambassadors in quite possibly the most unique Platinum Pass offering yet. Jason Somverille, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov, and Jaime Staples have created specific programs tailored towards their own fan base and following that will award a Platinum Pass. Somerville, who has developed his Run It Up Twitch stream into a highly-successful brand of its own, is looking to find The Next Great Twitch Streamer. Streamers can submit their name between now and July 27 with Somerville choosing three finalists who will be judged by a panel including fellow Ambassadors Lex Veldhuis, Kevin Martin, Staples, Ben 'Spraggy' Spragg, Jeff Gross and Fintan Hand to select a winner. To be eligible, the streamer must log at least 150 broadcast hours during the contest period and play a majority of their games on PokerStars. “I am incredibly excited about the Platinum Pass that PokerStars will be giving away to the next top Twitch poker streamer. What an amazing opportunity for someone to get involved in Twitch poker, try your hand at Twitch poker streaming and be awarded with a Platinum Pass," said Somerville. "If you need any help getting started with your streaming journey, we have a comprehensive guide on RunItUp.com and I am excited to see who gets involved and what these streams look like. I think it is going to be awesome for both poker and Twitch.” Just a few short months after winning a six-figure weight loss prop bet with Bill Perkins, Staples is looking to continue inspire people to take on a challenge and he's offering up a Platinum Pass as inspiration. The challenge, dubbed Your Ultimate Sweat, doesn't have to be a weight loss bet, though. “I wish people could have their own Ultimate Sweat experience. Now thanks to PokerStars you can! I am giving away one Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship and you get to set your own challenge. Lose weight, learn to play Omaha poker, read a book a day, run a marathon,” said Staples. Staples is taking submissions beginning July 1. The last of the three programs announced Wednesday could put players front and center with two of poker's strongest thinkings. Boeree and Kurganov are teaming up to run the Next Great Poker Minds challenge. Players will be tested in a series of multiple-choice quizzes with the top 10 finishers after the four preliminary rounds advancing to the final scheduled for October 3. “What we’ve always loved most about poker is the strategy of the game and how it constantly challenges you to think deeply. Much of this translates to better decision making in everyday life. So when PokerStars gave us two Platinum Passes to give away to our followers, we immediately knew we wanted to do something around rationality and logic,” said Boeree. These three passes are just the first ones being offered by PokerStars through direct interaction with their Ambassadors. Players are encouraged to follow the Ambassadors via social media for more information on qualifying.
  5. Piotr Nurzynski just might be the Polish Chris Moneymaker. The 28-year-old former doctor, who qualified for the European Poker Tour Barcelona stop online, won €1,037,109 and a seat in the PokerStars Players Championship next January by outlasting the 1,931-player field on his way to the title. The six-handed final table started with Nursynski sitting in second place behind only Haoxiang Wang. It was Wang who did most of the heavy lifting early on though. It took just over two hours of play before the first elimination of the day. With blinds of 125,000/250,000 (250,000) Matthias Tikerpe moved all in for 3,975,000 from UTG+1 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"] and Piotr Nurzynski called from the cutoff with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"] flop kept Nurzynski ahead and as the dealer dealt the [poker card="6h"] turn and [poker card="qs"] river, Tikerpe was eliminated in sixth place for a career-best live score of €287,050. Ten minutes later, Rodrigo Carmo saw his final table run end. Carmo came into the final table with just 10 big blind and after laddering up one place in payouts, found a spot to get his chips in with a double up in mind. Wang raised to 600,000 from UTG with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"] and action folded to Carmo in the big blind. The Portuguese pro looked down at [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] and moved all in for 4,000,000. Wang called and then watched the board run out [poker card="jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3s"] to send Carmo out in fifth. The four remaining players then turned their attention to re-adjusting the prizepool. After a brief discussion, the players agreed on a deal that paid out the following: Haoxiang Wang - €1,023,701 Piotr Nurzynski - €857,109 Ognyan Dimov - €725,621 Pedro Marques - €698,369 That left €180,000 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass to play for. With most of the money set aside though, the action picked up and it took just 30 minutes to send the first player packing. From UTG, Wang raised to 625,000 with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] before Pedro Marques moved all in for 6,500,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3c"]. The other two players folded and Wang called to put Marques at risk. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"] runout couldn't save Marques from busting in fourth place and propelled Wang to an even bigger lead. Five minutes later Wang continued to be the unstoppable force at the table. Ognyan Dimov shoved for 3,400,000 from the button with [poker card="kc"][poker card="7c"] and Wang called from the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="8h"]. Dimov could only watch as the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2d"] flop, [poker card="6h"] turn and [poker card="qh"] river failed to give him even half the pot and the Bulgarian, who won a WSOP bracelet earlier this summer, was sent packing in third place. At this point, Wang held 78% of the chips in play and seemed assured of the victory. Nurzynski had other ideas though. After doubling up early on during heads up, Nurzysnki then took the lead to set up two hours of play that saw each player holding the lead. Eventually, Nurzynski finished Wang off and turned his €250 online satellite into a dream seven-figure score. With blinds of 250,000/500,000 (500,000), Nurzynski called from the button holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"] and Wang check his option with [poker card="ks"][poker card="2d"]. The flop was [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"] and Wang bet 500,000 and Nurzynski called. The turne was the [poker card="7c"] and this time Wang checked. Nurzynski bet 2,000,000 and Wang called. The river was the [poker card="4d"] and Wang checked gain. Nurzynski moved all in and Wang, who was out of time banks, called just as the clock was winding down only to find he had the losing hand. Both players ended with €1M scores thanks to the chop. Both players also wound up winning Platninum Passes worth $30,000. Nurzysnki won his for being the last online qualifier remaining in the field. The winner of the tournament was also supposed to get a Platinum Pass, which comes with the $25,000 buy-in to the PokerStars Players Championship and $5,000 for travel and accommodations, but players are only allowed to win one so Wang ended up winning the pass that Nurzynski would have won had he not been an online qualifier. Final Table Payouts Piotr Nurzynski - €1,037,109 (+ $30,000 Platinum Pass) Haoxiang Wang - €1,023,701 (+ $30,000 Platinum Pass) Ognyan Dimov - €725,621 Pedro Marques - €698,369 Rodrigo Carmo - €354,200 Matthias Tikerpe - €287,050
  6. Over ten months after announcing what is expected to be the largest $25,000 tournament in history, PokerStars has finally revealed what players can expect when they take their seat at the upcoming PokerStars Players Championship. Everything from the tournament structure to the payout percentage was designed for the players by the players as well as members of the PokerStars team. The field is expected to be a mix of elite high-rolling players and the 300 participants that freerolled into the contest by way of winning a Platinum Pass. In total, the prize pool should soar past $10,000,000 with the winner of the inaugural PSPC becoming a millionaire many times over. How Players Helped The Process The only two aspects of the PSPC that was determined before consulting the players was that the event will take five days and it will be a freezeout. There will be no re-entries. After that, PokerStars sent surveys to players who will actually be participating in the event - both Platinum Pass winners as well as players that are expected to buy-in directly. In addition, a five-player panel was consulted that includes, former PocketFives #1-ranked player Shaun Deeb, 2018 PCA High Roller winner David Dvoress, high roller circuit grinder David Peters, author-turned-PokerStars sponsored player Maria Konnikova and Dragos Trofimov - those three all have already won a Platinum Pass this year. The surveyed players, the player representatives, as well as members of the PokerStars team, evaluated just about every aspect of the tournament. With all opinions accounted for the details of the event began to take shape. Player Comfort The question of whether play would begin eight or nine-handed was seemingly split down the middle. It was decided that Day 1 of the PSPC will play nine-handed. Then, as players bust the tournament, tables will be scaled down to eight-handed “at the start of Day 2 by the latest.” With the event taking place in the Bahamas, players overwhelmingly also opted for a shorter playing day. Roughly 70% of the players wanted to play for eight hours a day versus a ten hour day. The first two days of play will not have dinner breaks but will be introduced later in the tournament depending on field size. Places Paid PokerStars popularized the current trend of paying 15% and the polled players agreed that's what the PSPC should pay. However, since there is no rake for this event, the money that would have gone to rake will be redistributed to the prize pool. Before reaching what would be a traditional min-cash, there will be some players receiving their $25,000 buy-in back. For Platinum Pass winners, this will be a $25,000 profit as they will not have paid out-of-pocket to be in the tournament. Other prize pool numbers that have been revealed include first place paying out somewhere between 16.8%-17.5%. Though the survey favored a slightly higher percentage for first place, the player panel and the PokerStars team determined that with the additional $1,000,000 added to first place, a flatter payout structure would benefit more players. Tournament Details All of today’s modern high roller conventions will be enlisted during the PSPC. The big blind ante, which is currently used in all of PokerStars LIVE events, will be used. The tournament will also shift to a shot clock as soon as the money is reached, which is expected to be late in Day 2. The structure features 60-minute levels throughout the tournament. The starting stack of 60,000 at 100/200 starting blinds provides 300 big blinds when the first hand is dealt. The min-cash will be based on the total number of players who end up registering. The calculation will likely be between 1.27 and 1.45 the buy-in. This calculates into a min-cash of roughly $32,000 on the low end and $34,000 on the high end.
  7. Years ago, Randi Hilsercop gave her husband, Jeremy, an official deck of cards from the World Series of Poker and an autographed 8X10 of his favorite poker player, Daniel Negreanu, as a Christmas gift. Since then, the couple has moved five or six times around the country for Jeremy's job. Throughout all of that, the couple has played poker four or five nights a week using that same deck of cards. The Negreanu picture was lost in one of the moves. So as Randi and Jeremy were opening their Christmas gifts with the rest of their family this year, Jeremy had a feeling that his wife had somehow replaced the autographed photo with a new one. He'd seen the box under the tree and picked it up and felt it. When it came time for Jeremy to unwrap the gift from his wife, he was unaware that one of his life's dreams was about to come true and that his world was about to get turned upside down in the best way possible. In a video likely now seen by the entire poker community, Jeremy unwrapped his present to find out that he was half-right. There were some autographed photos from some of his favorite poker players, but those were really just decoys. Randi had purchased airfare and hotel and put aside enough money for Jeremy to travel to Las Vegas and play in the opening event of the 2019 World Series of Poker, the Big 50. "After I got all the kids’ presents and still had some extra money, I had bought him some autographed photos on eBay. It was Daniel (Negreanu) and Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, and Antonio Esfandiari, and then we still had money left over," Randi said. "I follow the WSOP on Twitter, and they had just released their tournament schedule, and then I saw at the end of May, first week of June, they had this Big 50 tournament, and I thought, 'Okay, we could do that. That's affordable'. It was $500. I was like, 'Okay, we have $500. We don't have much, but we have $500.'" She started searching for the cheapest flights possible from Nashville to Las Vegas and found a few within her budget. Then she saw that the Rio Hotel had some good rates for the dates she needed and she knew Jeremy would want to stay there because he'd seen it on TV so many times while watching the WSOP. Before she booked everything though, she called Jeremy's dad to see if he would be able to take care of their two kids, Michael, 9, and Madison, 10. "I got a sitter, and then I was able to buy everything and still have enough money without overdrafting - but just barely," said Randi, a stay-at-home mom. She wrapped up the new autographs together with a poker chip from the Rio and a note that read, "We're going to Vegas WSOP". [caption id="attachment_621932" align="aligncenter" width="720"] The Negreanu autograph and the travel information for Jeremy’s Las Vegas trip.[/caption] The video first made its way to Facebook, where friends and family were commenting on how great of a moment it was. Wanting to share it with even more people, Randi first took it to the poker subreddit on Reddit before posting it on her Twitter account. In the video, Jeremy showed emotion that even Randi was surprised by. "He doesn't really cry. I mean, when it comes to our kids and stuff, but he doesn't really cry. I knew he'd be really excited, but I didn't know he'd be so emotional, but it's been his dream since he was so young," Randi said. "It was just a really real moment, which was amazing." The video went viral in a heartbeat as some of the world's most famous poker players started sharing the video. Joey Ingram shared the video and wanted to find a way to do something more for Jeremy. PokerStars didn't waste much time in agreeing to Ingram's terms and conditions and suddenly Jeremy was not only going to be playing in the 2019 WSOP, but he was going to be on his way to the Bahamas to play in a $25,000 buy-in tournament against some of the best players in the world. Jeremy couldn’t believe it. "It wasn't real at first. I mean, my wife had shown me the post and I kept reading it and kept reading it, and it's like you just sit there and think, 'Well, this can't happen. That's not real,’ and then suddenly it just sank in, like, 'Oh, my God. This is real ... and it's crazy,’ and it was just a whole bunch of emotions," Jeremy said. "At first, it was definitely nerves, and then when everything started settling in, it definitely became excitement. I'm still very, very excited, but now I'm starting to try to focus on playing cards, trying to get myself ready for the events to take place, and get myself prepared and in a spot where I need to be." While Jeremy is a huge fan of poker and studies as much as possible, he doesn't have a great wealth of live poker experience to rely on when he sits down to play on January 6. The biggest buy-in tournament he's ever played was a $170 buy-in event back in Ohio. He didn't make the final table that day, but he did cash and instead of adding to his bankroll or playing another tournament, Jeremy put the extra money where he knew it would have the biggest impact - his family. "We took that money and used it for things we needed," said Jeremy. While playing on some of poker's biggest stages is a dream come true for Jeremy, the couple is also well aware of what even a min-cash would mean for their family of four. "I can't even imagine. I don't even wanna put it out there 'cause that'll jinx it, but that would be great," Randi said. "That would change our lives so much because to put money down on actually owning a home and maybe towards Jeremy and my kids, my kids could do so much with that. Put money away for them to go to school, and there are so many things that would open doors for my children alone would be amazing." Growing up in Ohio, Jeremy was introduced to poker at a very young age. Hanging out at his Grandpa Earl's house, poker - played for pennies - was what brought the family together. Six-year-old Jeremy watched in awe as his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all battled throughout the night. It was in those moments that Jeremy came to love the game. "(Poker) just brought our family together and it was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget. It made me just want to pursue poker and try to obtain that happiness," Jeremy said. "Since I was a child, this has been a dream of mine, to play poker in a bigger environment and I was never able to do that. Me and my wife met when we were very young. We've been together for 13 years, have two beautiful, amazing kids, and I've always put them first in anything, and I just never really had the time or the money to do anything like this." Jeremy and Randi have been together for over 18 years and during that time, Randi has come to love poker as well. Three or four nights a week, once the kids are in bed, Jeremy and Randi play against each other, usually with some poker playing on the TV. Sometimes it's a WSOP broadcast or an episode of two of Poker After Dark or even some High Stakes Poker. The legends who played on those shows are some of the players Jeremy idolizes now. His favorite, by far, is Negreanu. "I've studied his play and just how he acts at the table, how he treats people - amazing guy," said Jeremy. "He's always positive, always a positive poker player. I mean, everybody has their bad beats and everything. I was watching him play on The Big Game, and I mean, I've seen it over and over again where he would just flop the nuts and then turn, river, and lose, and even though that happened to him, he still maintained a positive attitude and kept going and just the way he approaches everything makes me love the guy." He also admires some of the biggest legends in the game: Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, and Phil Laak. Jeremy knows there's a good chance he might find himself sitting at the same table as one of the players he admires so much and he's prepared to make the most of the moment, first as a fan and then as a fellow combatant. "At first, I'm going to be in awe. I'm gonna shake their hand and tell them what a pleasure it is, and then when they sit down and they have chips in front of them and I have chips in front of me, it's definitely poker one hundred percent," said Jeremy said. There's also a few other people Jeremy and Randi are hoping to meet once they get to the Bahamas. Along with some other legends of the game, they both know they need to find one person in particular, Joey Ingram. "I'd never heard of Joey. Amazing guy. I can't thank Joey enough for what he's done for somebody that he doesn't even know, never even met. I'd never even heard of him, and I know he for sure hasn't ever heard of me, and it's just wild that somebody that you don't know would do something like that for you," said Jeremy. "Chris Moneymaker has been absolutely amazing. He's offered to pay for things, he's taking us out for dinner in the Bahamas when we get there, absolutely amazing guy. Phil Galfond has reached out to us. Just absolutely amazing." [caption id="attachment_621920" align="alignleft" width="1024"] The Hilsercop Family (L to R): Michael, Madison, Randi and Jeremy.[/caption]
  8. The PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish. The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1078708641665073152 The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays. If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. Here's a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750 Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415) 2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250 Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165) 2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250 Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140) 2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000 Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150) 2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000 Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000) 2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000 Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356) 2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500 Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960) 2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852 Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059) 2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825 Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It's more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn't happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here's a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000 Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000) 2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800 Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000) 2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400 Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000) 2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400 Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000) 2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700 Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096) 2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900 Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000) 2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976 Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000) 2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200 Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580) 2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842 Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall. The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event. So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship's figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  9. Nearly every ride at Disney World starts with a slow build-up and crescendos into some combination of speed and excitement before inevitably slowing to a halt to allow the rider to safely depart. The last 14 months of Anthony Maio’s life have closely resembled a thrill ride, but one that shows no signs of slowing down at all. The slow build-up actually came in October 2017 at Disney World in Orlando when he proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Jenelle, while Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Jenelle’s daughter looked on. Things began to accelerate a few months later when he took some of the money he’s won playing live and online poker in New Jersey and started putting it to work for him. “It's been a whirlwind, said Maio. “Especially to start the year. I started a charter fishing and motorsports business here in South Jersey.” Maio admits he’s not much of a fisherman, and the business is actually run by one of Maio’s close friends, so it doesn’t take him away from the online games he frequents. “I play probably seven days a week,” Maio said. “Start at seven to eight at night and end up around four every day. So I probably play eight hours, [six or seven] days a week. I usually try to take a night off for a date night every week.” Maio, currently ranked #82 in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, might have thought he’d hit peak velocity over the summer. While poker pros from around the world headed to Las Vegas for the seven weeks of the World Series of Poker, Maio stayed back in New Jersey, where he found his working conditions improving quite a bit. “Grinding in Jersey during the summer is the best decision I could make,” Maio said. “Not only for the business, that's pretty much self-sufficient, but the fact that every grinder goes to Vegas. I'm the only one here. You see so many people come out of the woodwork that don't play poker online that just are online in the summertime. I don't know where they come from, I don't know if they're people just here visiting, but it's great.” That doesn’t mean he avoided Sin City entirely during the summer, though. He made one trip in mid-June and picked up $8,632 cash at the Venetian before heading back east. He continued grinding online and when the WSOP $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Online Championship event rolled around, Maio was ready. He outlasted 1,633 other players before losing heads-up to Ryan Tosoc for the bracelet. “Getting second in a bracelet event in Jersey at my home at 10 a.m. was pretty cool,” Maio said. “It would've been awesome to win the bracelet, but doing that in New Jersey was quite amazing.” The thrill ride now in full swing, Maio packed up and headed back to Las Vegas with the WSOP Main Event in sight. This was the second consecutive year that he’s stayed home and played online and he’s noticed both years the difference it makes in his Main Event mindset compared to some of his colleagues who were gone all summer. “I'm coming every year to Vegas and I'm fresh for the Main,” Maio said. “I see so many people burned out, they're just away in the summer and their summer's been going terrible. So they're already over it by the time the Main rolls around, and I get there and I'm excited to play. So it's a big difference.” Coming in fresh, and with his fiancé there for support, Maio breezed through the first few days of the Main Event. As the money bubble approached, Maio couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. “My table on the bubble was so insane,” Maio said. “I had 30 bigs to start when it went hand-for-hand and my table had all Euros on it. I didn't see a pot. I got moved to this table. I sat there for a good 20 minutes of hand-for-hand, and I didn't see one hand that was not at least three-bet. That's how action-happy these people were.” Seeing as how he couldn’t even enter a pot, let alone win one, Maio did something he’s never done before. While the tournament was hand-for-hand, Maio left the table and went outside to get some air while the madness played out inside the Amazon Room at the Rio. “It took 20 minutes,” Maio said. “I only lost maybe 25K in chips. So not even four or five big blinds. I came back, had a great Day 4 table, and then made it to Day 5.” He busted in 377th place for $33,305 and immediately headed back to New Jersey. He played a few live events at Borgata but mostly continued to grind online until the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open in mid-September. Maio continued his great run and wound up at the six-handed final table with a shot at $575,000. It wasn’t meant to be, though, as Maio couldn’t spin his short stack up and was eliminated in sixth. The final table wasn’t the most disappointing day of that tournament, though. “It was frustrating the day before [the final table],” remembered Maio. “At the final table, the only frustrating part was the kid waking up with kings and slamming them down and fist-pumping it. That was frustrating.” The frustration didn’t last, but Maio’s seemingly endless thrill ride did. In late September, on the second day of the PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Poker, Maio entered the $86 buy-in Chris Moneymaker Tour Online event that awarded a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the winner. Maio beat out 409 other players to win the tournament and now is preparing himself to head to the Bahamas in January to play the PokerStars Players Championship event, the largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history. Maio, who doesn’t normally travel to play poker tournaments, is looking forward to this one. “Every known player, I'm assuming, is gonna play that and they're entering 300 Platinum Pass winners and most of the Platinum Pass winners are not professional poker players,” said Maio. “I'm probably one of the few Platinum Pass winners that's actually a professional. So that alone, there's so much value in the field. Plus, they're adding a million dollars for first. The structure itself looks amazing. It's a freeze-out, so the bosses can't come in and just blast off. Because if you give Bryn Kenney 10 bullets, he's just gonna beat you every time.” Thanks to the runner-up in the bracelet event and the WPT final table, Maio decided to pitch Jenelle on changing up their wedding plans. “We were gonna do something in Virginia, in the mountains, and then I got second in the bracelet event, and I just said, ‘Let's just get married in Disneyworld’," said Maio. Jenelle was all for it and almost exactly one year after getting engaged in front of Mickey and Minnie, the pair got married with friends and family watching on. With the PSPC, another live Borgata series, and the online games in New Jersey all presenting opportunities for ever more momentum, Maio isn’t ready for this ride to end.
  10. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. The PokerStars Players Championship is down to a final table and Lance and Donnie break down the penultimate day of play and preview what lies ahead for the eight players who made the final table. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  11. Exactly one year ago today, Maria Konnikova was basically a complete unknown in the poker world. Sure, some people knew that a New York Times bestselling author had enlisted the assistance of Erik Seidel to learn how to play poker so she could write a book about it all, but almost nobody would have been able to put a name to that person. Then, over the course of the next seven hours, Konnikova became a known commodity, winning the $1,650 National Championship at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The win came with $84,600 and one of the very first $30,000 Platinum Passes to be awarded. Suddenly every poker media outlet and a few mainstream outlets picked up her story. She followed that up over the next few days by making a very deep run in the PCA Main Event, almost as a way of proving that it wasn't beginner's luck. That set the stage for a big year for Konnikova and changed the direction of what she had planned for her book and poker career. "PCA last year really changed the trajectory of my relationship with poker because it had been, in the past, basically for the book," Konnikova said. "I was really enjoying it and I was learning and had gotten much more into the game than I ever thought I would, but it was always still one of these things that I'm gonna do this for a year and be done. Konnikova, who had originally planned to use the 2018 WSOP Main Event as the end of her poker journey for the book's story arc, decided to take advantage of her good fortune and pushed the book deadline back indefinitely to play more and see where it took her. The answer was, well, everywhere. "I've been playing really full time this past year. I made a point of just hitting as much of the major stuff as I could," said Konnikova, who played European Poker Tour, World Poker and World Series of Poker events over the 12 months. "And it's still for the book in the sense that you never know what's gonna happen and what's going to be an important moment, an important thing. If you don't do it, it doesn't have a chance of happening, so it gives you more opportunities." Once the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure finishes, Konnikova is headed back home to New York City to focus on writing the first draft. Her editor has been very understanding of the shifting deadline, but has made Konnikova promise him one thing. "The only thing he told me is, 'just make this the best book you can'," said Konnikova. She's looking forward to finally sitting down and just writing, but she's also excited about getting a break from one of the toughest parts of the last year, the travel. "The hardest thing has been just being constantly on the road because I do like being home. I like stability. I like to see my family, and it can be rough to just spend three days a month in my apartment," said Konnikova. "I take my role as (PokerStars) ambassador really seriously because I want to share my excitement. I want to bring women to the game. I want to be a positive force and not ever be seen as someone who's like, 'Oh man, the constant travel's such a drag'. That's no good to anyone. Yeah, sure, the travel's tough, and that's the hardest part, but you have to put it in perspective and say, 'Shit, I get to travel to all these places to play a game. That's pretty cool'." Hopeful that the book will be on bookshelves by the end of 2019, Konnikova has no plans of walking away from the game entirely. She's come to enjoy it too much. "Once I'm done with the book, definitely playing full time until publication for sure. If I'm still playing well and if the book is doing well, I don't see why I'd stop, because I'll just start working on my next writing project," said Konnikova. "At this point, I see a very possible future and once again, life has a way of getting in the way so I have no idea, but one possible future I see is just playing and writing in tandem because you can write from anywhere in the world. That's the beauty of writing." Along the way, PokerStars added Konnikova to their group of Team Pros. That too has been an eye-opening experience for her. As she's become more of a known commodity in the poker world, players and fans have approached her at various events to share their story with her. "I've had so many people come up to me, and a lot of them women, be like, 'You've really inspired me. You're a model for what I want to do'," said Konnikova. "That's so wonderful and I'm happy to do any number of interviews and to just give as much of my time as needed because ultimately, that's the dream, right? To inspire people. It's what I hope my books do, so to be able to do it also through poker, it's great to know that you've reached people." Having lived the life of a poker pro over the past year, Konnikova has noticed she's also undergone personal growth that is directly related to her time at the table. "I've always been pretty low stress, but I've just had to become really low stress because it's something where if you let things get to you, you're just gonna be so miserable," said Konnikova. "So I've really gotten to the point where okay, let's just go day by day and see what happens and be okay not knowing what's going to be going on two weeks from now. I've just been much more sanguine about any given tournament. I busted the $25K on Day 1 on the last level. That wasn't fun. I was bummed in the moment, but then I was like, you know what? On to the next one."
  12. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. This episode features coverage of the bubble of the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship including interviews with Bill Perkins and PocketFiver and Platinum Pass winner Anthony Maio as well as the latest edition of Five Questions, this time starring Daniel Negreanu. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  13. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. The PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship wrapped up Thursday night with Ramon Colillas turning his Platinum Pass into $5.1 million. PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and Senior Writer Jeff Walsh were there to capture all of the action and re-action for this episode. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  14. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. Over 500 players saw their PokerStars Players Championship dream die on Day 2. Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters bring you a complete recap including interviews with Julien Martini, Griffin Benger and Brandon Adams. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  15. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Is Chino Rheem a Poker Hall of Famer? Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters are back from the Bahamas to talk about all things poker, including whether or not the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event winner is worthy of getting into the Poker Hall of Fame when he's eligible in 2020. Other topics include the most recent news from the World Series of Poker including the addition of a Short Deck event, the use of Big Blind Ante in the Main Event and plans for the 50th WSOP. The guys also recap the WPT Gardens Championship, discuss PokerStars' decision to lower the Sunday Million buy-in to $109 and go over the first few events of the 2019 Aussie Millions. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  16. A little over a year and a half ago, the marketing manager of an online poker room emailed Scott Baumstein in the middle of the night to offer him a lucrative deal to be a brand ambassador. Unfortunately for Baumstein, it was a case of mistaken identity. They were actually looking for Scott Blumstein, who had just made the final table of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Search for "Scott Baumstein" on Google and even they ask you, 'Did you mean Scott Blumstein?'. Now, with 15 players left in the PokerStars Players Championship, Baumstein has the chip lead and is in position to win $5.1 million and make sure nobody gets the two Scott's mixed up again. "It's a little surreal at the moment, with all of the chips, getting lucky," said Baumstein. "It's definitely stressful, but I'm just trying to focus and I'll worry about all of that stuff when we're done." Throughout Day 4 it's been nearly impossible for Baumstein to ignore the TV cameras that are hovering around, even from one of the secondary feature tables. The New York native believes the power of the spotlight he's under now is second only to poker's most prestigious event. "Nothing can match this except for the WSOP Main Event. This is the biggest tournament of the year outside of that," said Baumstein, who cashed in the WSOP Main Event in 2009, 2010, and 2015. The quality of players Baumstein has had to tangle with in the PSPC has changed each and every day. The Platinum Pass winners that accounted for 30% of the field on Day 1 are now mostly gone and Baumstein recognizes it's getting harder and harder to navigate through the pros that are now left. "The field, every day, in this tournament, got continually tougher. The first day I had two really great table draws," said Baumstein. "I thought it was really easy, especially for a $25K, but even for a smaller buy-in tournament. As this tournament progressed, the better players sort of stuck in there and I've had very difficult tables from Day 2 on." The elimination of Louis Boutin in 16th place also secured Baumstein a career-best cash, even if the unthinkable happens. His previous top score in January 2018 when he took down the opening event of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $220,238. Having people no longer confuse him for the 2017 WSOP Main Event champ isn't something Baumstein is concerned about, even if it felt like a bit of an unintentional needle at the time. He's just focused on maximizing the opportunity that's now in front of him. "I'm definitely playing for the money," said Baumstein. "In terms of respect, everybody knows that any idiot can get lucky in one poker tournament."
  17. Anybody who watched the 2018 US Poker Open probably remembers seeing a different version of Daniel Negreanu. Nearly six months after first sitting down with a pair of coaches who were tasked with bringing Negreanu up to speed on the game theory optimal approach to poker, the 44-year-old was sitting at the table with measured posture, checking with the same single finger all while being relatively quiet. Skip ahead to Super High Roller Bowl V this past December and most of that was missing. Negreanu was once again chatting up his opponents, playing a looser, seemingly more aggressive game. He was once again having fun at the table and sharing that joy with the viewers back home. For all intents and purposes, 'Kid Poker' was back. To the surprise of nobody who has been paying attention to Negreanu during that time, the shift all comes down to his reunion with Amanda Leatherman. The pair got engaged on New Year’s Eve. Many have noticed that Negreanu’s demeanor at the table and away from it are approaching new levels of giddiness. “I think a lot of people have said that too, even (PokerStars Pro Talent Relations Manager) Melanie (Moser) said that to me the other day,” Negreanu said. “I think just playing poker's been fun, but it's funny because I bought this ring for Amanda ten years ago. When I bought it for her she was young, she was like 22, 23. She was not ready to be married.” [caption id="attachment_622442" align="alignright" width="375"] Ten years after buying the ring, Negreanu proposed to Amanda Leatherman on New Year's Eve (Negreanu photo)[/caption] Negreanu says Leatherman was more interested in living life in the “fast lane” when they first dated. She had no interest in settling down, the eight-year age difference between them playing a role. The pair eventually split, but Negreanu continued to hold on to the ring. In September, Leatherman returned to Las Vegas after taking a job with Poker Central as part of the Friday Night Poker broadcast team. As Negreanu tells it, Leatherman was the one pursuing him. “I did not take her seriously. I was like, ‘Let's have some fun like we used to,’ but I didn't see her as like a wife for me,” Negreanu said. “I just realized, ‘Wow, she's really grown up and we get along,’ and then I thought to myself, ‘What's the point of looking for somebody who looks like Amanda, has a personality like Amanda, and we have a vibe like her when I could just give her a shot?’” Now, with a wedding happening sometime in 2019, Negreanu is talking about adding to his legacy in a way that has nothing to do with poker. He wants to start a family with Leatherman sooner rather than later. “Our goal is to have at least one of our own. Then we'll see from there,” said Negreanu. “I think adopting two as well as having two of our own would be a good round number, four. I'm not held to any sort of number. We'll just see how it goes.” Priorities are shifting for Negreanu and have less to do with poker than ever before. He’s thinking less about check-raising and GTO and more about vegan wedding menus and invite lists. One of Negreanu’s yearly traditions, his goals blog where he recaps the previous year and lays out what he intends to accomplish in the 12 months ahead, has also been pushed to the backburner. “I do one every year, and because my priorities are just not aligned on that. I don't have any clear ones that I feel like I need to achieve right now. This might be a year where I don't write one and just take a year off of writing one,” Negreanu said. “I always talk about clear intention. This is diverted attention, like how much is my mind going to be on this when I'm actually thinking about the wedding and all that?” Even if there are four or five Kid Poker kids running around the house, Negreanu isn’t thinking of retiring from the game - at least in the formal sense of the word. “There's no such thing with poker. The World Series of Poker is in Las Vegas, right? So I live there. I'm always going to come to Europe a couple of times a year and play some of those,” Negreanu said. “Retirement in the sense of am I where David Peters is in his life, where David is grinding every tournament, playing everyone in the world, and focusing on his game more, and things like that? I've been retired like that for many years now - ten plus years. My goal is to just be competitive at those levels.” Negreanu doesn’t expect to be amongst the best players in that group anymore. He knows he can’t put in the amount of work required to stay in that group if he’s putting a good chunk of his attention into his home life too. All of that could change in the next few years as the Negreanu household eventually settles into some sort of routine and the Hall of Famer wants to again shift his focus back to poker. That being said, Negreanu looks at his career accomplishments and recognizes that there isn’t a lot left for him to do that he hasn’t already done. “There's not really much I have to prove. One thing that I was holding onto for most of my career was the top spot on the money list. The chances of me ever being number one again is almost nil, because every year now you have a group of kids who all get eight to ten million in winnings,” Negreanu said. “I guess one number I'm still proud of, I guess, is the (earnings list) that doesn't count high rollers, because I'm way ahead on that one. I don't know that anyone will ever catch me on that one, especially if I'm playing a steady diet of World Series events that are under $25K.” That doesn’t mean Negreanu will be playing significantly less poker in 2019. He’d already scaled back his travel schedule over the past few years, focusing on events in his hometown of Las Vegas over the last two years. He’s going to continue his work with PokerStars and plans on being as much of an ambassador as he ever was for the company and the game. “Obviously I'll be at the World Series Poker. We're doing vlogs again,” Negreanu said. “The next few months we're working on wedding lists and all that kind of stuff, so that will be a little bit of a distraction. (It was) something that I was thinking about during the PokerStars Players Championship that I probably shouldn't have been, but my priority right now is her, and waking up every morning and thinking about how I can make her happy, and make her days as joyful as possible, and have her smiling throughout the day.” “That's priority number one, but she's a poker fan. She's a poker player. She gets it.”
  18. Five months ago, Jeremy Hilsercop became the center of the poker world's attention after his wife Randi posted a video showing Jeremy getting a WSOP Big 50 buy-in for Christmas. The video quickly went viral and in the 48 hours that followed, Jeremy ended up with a free seat in the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship and had the entire poker world cheering him on. The chaotic days that followed included getting passports, airplane tickets, and planning for a trip to the Bahamas that was just a few days away. While the PSPC trip certainly had the makings of a potential fairytale, Jeremy busted out on Day 1, well before the money. With all of that now behind them, the Hilsercops are now in Las Vegas with Jeremy playing Day 1A of the Big 50. It's a completely different experience from what he went through in January and it's got very little to do with the difference in buy-in. "It's a lot different. I'm a lot more comfortable. I actually slept last night. It's not real hectic. I can just be myself and go play poker. It's 100% different this time," Jeremy said. "I'm calm, collected and just ready to play." Since leaving the Bahamas in early January, life has largely returned to its normal state for Jeremy. He's been working and focused on spending time with his family while also finding some time to play some cash games. That doesn't mean he hasn't had this day circled on his calendar since Christmas though. "This is what got me. This is my dream. My dream is to play at the WSOP and this is what I've always wanted to do," Jeremy said. He's got a huge virtual rail back home in Tennessee with nobody more excited than his two kids, Michael and Madison. The early bust out from PSPC was his first taste of a big buy-in live tournament action and while it didn't come with a Hendon Mob entry, he learned a thing or two along the way. He's brought those lessons with him to the WSOP and has a simple gameplan to make the most of this whole experience. "Play smart, keep my chips in front of me and get ready for Day 2," Jeremy said. During his time in the Bahamas, Jeremy got to understand a little bit of what it's like to be a well-known poker pro. Players at his table knew who he was and he was frequently asked about his story. He also got a fair bit of media attention. Returning to civilian life, Jeremy doesn't expect too many people are going to remember him and he's just fine with that. "Whether I get recognized or not, I'm not thinking about it. I'm just thinking about playing," Jeremy said.
  19. In January, PokerStars made history by hosting the PokerStars Players Championship - the largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament of all time. Now, seven months later they've announced that they're bringing it back and giving it a new host city. The 2020 PokerStars Players Championship will be held in Barcelona, August 20-24 as part of the European Poker Tour stop. The first PSPC held in conjunction with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, had a field of 1,039 and a total prize pool of $26,455,500. “The inaugural PSPC generated hundreds of personal stories of achievement and ambition among the Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director & Commercial Officer at PokerStars. “The PSPC demonstrates our commitment to cultivating and growing the game, not only by creating opportunities for poker fans of all levels to win life-changing sums of money, but by showcasing poker and its many inspirational stories well beyond the poker realm.” [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] The 2019 PSPC featured an additional $1 million added to the first place prize and PokerStars gave away 320 Platinum Passes that included the $25,000 buy-in. PokerStars had yet to confirm if the 2020 event will include the first place prize bump or the number of Platinum Passes they plan to award over the next year. The first five 2020 Platinum Passes were awarded Tuesday as part of the announcement. Five players who were brought to EPT Barcelona to be part of a live-streamed event with some Team PokerStars Pros. Adrian Garcia, Clement Eloy, Danielle Summer, Christoph Walkenhorst, and Daryl Inglis will be returning to Barcelona in 2020 to play the PSPC. On Wednesday, ten more passes will be awarded on PokerStars through the Stars Rewards program in Mystery Chests. Throughout 2018, PokerStars found a myriad of ways to award poker players and fans with a $30,000 Platinum Pass. This included the Moneymaker PSPC Tour which was 11 live and online tournaments with a $86 buy-in that included a Platinum Pass for the eventual winner. Other PokerStars Team Pros also held contests that gave away a Platinum Pass for completing certain tasks or creating content. Players who win or are awarded 2020 Platinum Passes will get a €22,500 buy-in to the PSPC, six nights hotel in a five-star hotel, €1,250 to cover other expenses, as well as PSPC merchandise and airport transfers. The value of each package is approximately $30,000 US. Spaniard Ramón Colillas, who earned a Platinum Pass for winning the 2018 Campeonato de España de Poker, won the 2019 PSPC for $5.1 million. One month after his victory, he became a member of Team PokerStars.
  20. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Just minutes before Lance and Donnie recorded this week's episode of The Fives, word broke that PokerStars was bringing back the PokerStars Players Championship for 2020 - this time in Barcelona. The guys get into all of the details on that and what it could potentially mean for the online poker giant over the next 12 months. They also recap early action from EPT Barcelona, the decision by PokerStars to limit players to just four cash game tables running at any given time. Lance also gives an update on the Nick Marchington lawsuit. All this and more on this week's episode of The Fives.
  21. 320 Platinum Passes. $1 million added to first place. No rake. Those were some of the key components that made the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship the largest $25,000 buy-in event of all time. The event is coming back in 2020, this time in Barcelona, and it turns out the location is not all that will be different this time around as PokerStars attempts to top the success of the 2019 event. When that inaugural event was announced, the online poker giant promised to award 300 Platinum Passes which included the $25,000 buy-in and $5,000 for travel and other expenses. They ended up handing out 320 Passes and the tournament ballooned to 1,039 players and a $26,455,500 prize pool. Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Marketing Director, wants the sequel to outclass the original, but unlike 2019, there are no plans to award a set number of Platinum Passes for 2020. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] "We want to seed the prize pool with significant numbers of players, while also seeding excitement and storytelling throughout the year," Hollreiser said. "I can’t tell you today whether that means there will be more or fewer total Platinum Passes than last year. I can tell you that we are aiming for PSPC 2020 to be bigger and better." Hollreiser also confirmed that another staple marketing element of the first PSCP won't be back. PokerStars will not be adding the $1 million to the first-place prize for 2020. Hollreiser pointed to how the first PSPC engaged the existing poker community, inspired new players to try the game for the first time, and allowed the company to market poker through mainstream campaigns. Over the next year, the company plans on focusing their resources, financial and otherwise, toward making sure the word gets out about the event and the players playing in it via the Platinum Pass. "We’ve now turned the PSPC stories into marketing content that is reaching new audiences through campaigns on TV and digital platforms. These expose new audiences to the poker dream," Hollreiser said. "We initially launched our Dare to Dream TV campaign in Spain during Q2 and this month expanded the campaign to France and Germany (while creating new Dare to Dream ads for Spain). This campaign has shown promising results. PSPC 2020 aims to generate more of this inspirational storytelling that will likewise reach existing, lapsed and new audiences." Due to Spanish regulations, tournament organizers were forced to switch the buy-in from US dollars to Euros and the €22,500 buy-in is approximately $25,000 once the exchange rate is factored in. The value of a Platinum Pass remains roughly $30,000 and continues to include money for hotel, travel and other expenses. Once again, PokerStars won't be raking the event. "Like this year, we will not be taking rake from PSPC and we will be taking the dealers’ fee from the prize pool," Hollreiser said. One of the more popular components of the lead up to the 2019 PSPC was the Moneymaker Tour, which gave players in various US cities the chance to win a Platinum Pass in an $86 buy-in tournament - a tip of the hat to the manner in which PokerStars Team Pro Chris Moneymaker famously qualified for the 2003 WSOP Main Event. "Chris Moneymaker was the original inspiration and will remain a cornerstone of PSPC. And Chris is still relevant and loved by poker players around the world," said Hollreiser. "I believe the Moneymaker Tour was successful independent of the Platinum Pass giveaways that we provided. We have not yet provided details, but you can count on the Moneymaker Tour being a part of our plans." While PokerStars does not yet have a large foothold of the regulated US online poker scene, the states where they do have a presence will have the chance to win Platinum Passes online. In 2019, PokerStarsNJ hosted an online Moneymaker Tour event. This time, New Jersey online poker players and Pennsylvania online poker players will be able to win Platinum Passes by clicking a few buttons from their home or mobile device. Lost in the PSPC 2020 announcement was that the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which has been a mainstay on the poker calendar since 2004 and hosted the inaugural PSPC, was the final one. It’s no secret that after 15 successful years, the PCA [prior to last year’s PSPC] has been losing momentum and there’s been increasing player criticism of the location," Hollreiser said. "As such, we will not be returning to Paradise Island in 2020. PokerStars and our players have had some great success at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas over a strong 13-year run, and we have very many fond memories of ringing in the New Year with our PCA. Our research, alongside player feedback, has shown, however, that it is time for a change to keep things fresh and give our players what they are asking for."
  22. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. Even though it was August, the WSOP Main Event was back in the headlines, as a player that was disqualified from the tournament had a terrorism charge brought against him and another player was being sued over a staking deal. Ken Strauss Arrested and Charged for Terroristic Threat Ken Strauss, who was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, was taking into custody and charged with making terroristic threats against a Las Vegas casino. The charge stemmed from Strauss’ social media activity at the end of July. In a tweet, Strauss threatened the Venetian Resort. WSOP Main Event Seventh-Place Finisher Sued Another big story from August that had WSOP Main Event ties was a lawsuit involving seventh-place finisher Nick Marchington. The 21-year-old Marchington won $1.525 million for his result, but he was soon hit with a lawsuit from two men who claimed to have bought a 10% piece of his WSOP Main Event action. David Yee and Colin Hartley, partners in C Biscuit Poker Staking, alleged that Marchington attempted to back out of a staking deal after he had agreed to sell 10% of his action to them for the WSOP's $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em and Main Event tournaments. There were many questions surrounding the situation, most of which focused on the conversations had between the two parties and if the deal was on or off. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Aaron Zang Wins Poker’s Richest Tournament With a buy-in of £1.05 million, the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity became poker’s richest tournament. It was also set to award some absolutely mammoth paydays. Topping the field of 54 entries was Aaron Zang, who won £13.779 million. But, Zang wasn’t the event’s biggest winner. A heads-up deal between Zang and Bryn Kenney saw Kenney take home £16.89 million. The conversion rate put the score north of $20.4 million for Kenney, making him the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. Triton Million Results 1st: Aaron Zang - £13,779,791* 2nd: Bryn Kenney - £16,890,509* 3rd: Dan Smith - £7,200,000 4th: Stephen Chidwick - £4,410,000 5th: Vivek Rajkumar - £3,000,000 6th: Bill Perkins - £2,200,000 7th: Alfred DeCarolis - £1,720,000 8th: Timothy Adams - £1,400,000 9th: Wai Leong Chan - £1,200,000 10th: Chin Wei Lim - £1,100,000 11th: Winfred Yu - £1,100,000 *First and second prizes as a result of a heads-up deal. For more on this incredible tournament, go back and read the PocketFives recap. Bryn Kenney Doing His Own Thing and Crushing Speaking of Bryn Kenney, PocketFives’ Lance Bradley had the opportunity to sit down with Kenney for an interview. Even though he’s younger, Kenney isn’t often thought of as the same wizard-like player that his peers are. Kenney would be the first to admit it, too, but with a style all to his own he put together a tremendous year of poker in 2019. Checking in on Kenney’s stats on Hendon Mob, we can see that Kenney has more than $56 million in live tournament earnings and is atop poker’s all-time money list. As we mentioned before, he’s also the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. In 2019, Kenney won more than $30 million. Take some time and read the special feature story on this special player. PSPC Going To Barcelona in 2020 The first-ever PokerStars Players Championship was a smashing success, becoming the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history. PokerStars wanted to run it back, only in a different location, and announced that the PSPC would be heading to Barcelona, Spain. Taking place August 20-24, the 2020 PSPC will be part of the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona that is ever so popular with players. Platinum Passes are back and currently being given out through a variety of promotions from PokerStars, and this event is anticipated to be even larger than the first. ‘Girafganger7’ Wins Monthly PLB in August 'Girafganger7,' a former top-ranked online poker player in the world, earned his second PocketFives Monthly PLB title by topping the leaderboard in August. He put in a ton of volume and accumulated 2,399 points from more than 120 results. He won just over $125,000 from those results. His August was highlighted by a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $530 Bounty Builder HR for $13,519.
  23. Every poker player wants to play in the PokerStars Players Championship in Barcelona this August, but not everyone can afford to buy-in for €22,500 (approx. $25,000). Winning a PokerStars Platinum Pass - which includes the buy-in and money for travel and accommodations - could be your ticket to the big dance, and there are plenty of ways to win one. Included in the ways to win a Platinum Pass are the Mega Path qualifier promotion, PokerStars live events, Mystery Chests, and more. Here are the details on how to win a PokerStars Platinum Pass for PSPC 2020. PSPC Mega Path One of the most popular ways to try and win a Platinum Pass is through the PokerStars Mega Path. Through Mega Path, players can work their way through a four-step path that has a Platinum Pass being awarded at the end. Plus, you can get started with Mega Path for as little as $2 or 50 Stars Coin. Pierre Lewandowski is one of the many players to win a Platinum Pass via Mega Path. Lewandowski won a Platinum Pass to the first-ever PSPC by winning a MegaStack event in Dublin and this time he did it through Mega Path. Not only did Lewandowski win a second Platinum Pass, but he won the second one on his birthday. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] PokerStars Live Events Another way to win a Platinum Pass is by doing so at a PokerStars live event, and there are plenty on offer for 2020. As of Saturday, January 11, PokerStars had confirmed 21 live events and plenty of them lead up to PSPC. As part of the schedule are 'Road To PSPC' events. Like the name suggests, these events are just that, they’re roads to the PokerStars Players Championship. These events have a specific focus to awarding Platinum Passes and come at accessible price points. One player who has already won a Platinum Pass for Barcelona is Scott Baumstein, who did so by winning the Moneymaker's Road to PSPC - Seminole Main Event in December 2019. In that $360 buy-in tournament, the New Jersey grinder topped a field of 464 entries to win a Platinum Pass. If you remember, Baumstein made the final table of the first PSPC, finishing fourth for $1.657 million. Playing On PokerStars Players can win Platinum Passes multiple ways by playing on PokerStars. Platinum Passes are given away through Mystery Chest promotions and Platinum Pass Experiences. Steve Zander won his Platinum Pass via a Mystery Chest Drop. He was simply playing on PokerStars, opened a Mystery Chest, and boom, there was his Platinum Pass. If you’d like to have a chance at a Platinum Pass from a Mystery Chest, log into PokerStars and play real-money stakes of at least $0.02/$0.05. If you win a hand with ace-five, the hand that Ramon Colillas won the first-ever PSPC with, you’ll have a chance to unlock a Mystery Chest to see if you are a Platinum Pass winner. Oliver Hutchins won a £5 online qualifier that earned him the chance to compete for a Platinum Pass against seven other players at an exclusive Platinum Pass Experience tournament in London. Hutchins won the eight-handed tournament and scored a Platinum Pass. Social Media and Twitch PokerStars loves to get social, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, or Twitch. If you’re not already, make sure you follow all of their accounts so you can be made aware of any special social offering that is going to award a Platinum Pass. Look at the UK’s Richard Robinson, who won his Platinum Pass by watching via Mason 'pyefacepoker' Pye's Twitch stream. Follow PokerStars on Twitter, like the PokerStars page on Facebook, and stay tuned to PokerStars' Twitch channel.
  24. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In January, all eyes - and seemingly poker players - were on a tiny island in the Caribbean. PokerStars Players Championship Breaks Records Throughout all of 2018, PokerStars built up hype for the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship, a $25,000 buy-in tournament in the Bahamas as part of the annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. By giving away 320 Platinum Passes, which included the $25,000 buy-in and another $5,000 for travel and accommodations, and adding $1 million to the first-place prize, the mission for PokerStars was to make the PSPC the largest $25,000 buy-in tournament ever. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Well, mission accomplished. When registration closed, the field stood at 1,039 players, easily surpassing the previous record of 639 players for an event with a buy-in that high and pushing the total prize pool to $26,455,500. Spain's Ramon Collilas, who won a Platinum Pass after winning a leaderboard from a series of small buy-in tournaments in his home country, outlasted the PSPC field to win $5.1 million. Frenchmen Julien Martini finished as the runner-up for $2,974,000. The event was a massive hit with players and many compared the atmosphere of the event to the World Series of Poker Main Event. The Poker World Mourns Gavin Smith On January 15, in the midst of the festivities in the Bahamas, the poker world was saddened to hear of the unexpected passing of Gavin Smith. He was 50 years old. Smith, who won a World Poker Tour title in 2005 and World Series of Poker bracelet in 2010, had two elementary school-aged sons at the time of his death. In the days following his passing, a GoFundMe campaign was set up by longtime friend Josh Arieh to help out Smith's kids. Chino Rheem Wins PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Collilas's win wasn't the only big win at the PCA. Once all the PSPC festivities had ended, the 2019 PCA Main Event played out to a winner and Chino Rheem beat out a final table that included Simon Deadman, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Brian Altman, and Daniel Strelitz to win the tournament and take home $1,567,000. The win pushed Rheem's career earnings to just over $10.5 million. Along with his PCA Main Event win, Rheem has won three World Poker Tour titles, and final tabled the WSOP Main Event but he still continues to be one of the most polarizing players in the game. Daniel Negreanu Hints at Big Life Change Just weeks after proposing to long-time girlfriend Amanda Leatherman, Daniel Negreanu made the media rounds at the PCA and talked candidly about his desire to get married and start a family and indicated that it might mean some changes were in order. “The next few months we’re working on wedding lists and all that kind of stuff, so that will be a little bit of a distraction. (It was) something that I was thinking about during the PokerStars Players Championship that I probably shouldn’t have been, but my priority right now is her, and waking up every morning and thinking about how I can make her happy, and make her days as joyful as possible, and have her smiling throughout the day,” Negreanu said. Romeo Romanovsky Wins January PLB Ukranian online poker pro Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky dominated the tables on throughout the month of January and ended up winning the January PocketFives Leaderboard. Romanovsky wracked up 4,522.98 PLB points to beat out Sweden's 'C Darwin2' and British grinder Patrick 'Pleno1' Leonard. He cashed an astonishing 215 times in January to take down the title.
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