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  1. A whole host of brand new features to the PocketFives Staking Marketplace were released this past week giving poker fans a whole new world of staking to explore. In addition to offering the action of some of the biggest names in live poker, including recent listings from Daniel Negreanu, Ali Imsirovic, and Brock Wilson, the latest update has opened the world of online poker staking. In partnership with online poker operators, backers can now see a whole host of listings from poker players offering action in the online streets. Everything from players dedicated to the big-time Sunday schedule to those up-and-coming grinders making a name for themselves by registering for the daily low rollers - all of them can now be found in the P5s Staking marketplace. https://twitter.com/golferjosh/status/1497744268059979777 Backers from all over the world, including inside the United States, now have the ability to get in on online action. It makes daily sweating even easier as backers can watch their horses at every stage of the tournament. All of the features backers are used to are present. Buy-in amount, markup, percentage being sold and the maximum amount offered. It looks and behaves just like a standard listing, and when an online player wins, the backer's account is credited right away. Opening the world (and possibilities) of online poker staking means that there are far more opportunities and a marketplace that’s constantly full of players looking for backers. That’s why at the same time, a new way to filter staking offerings has also been implemented. Filter by player name (including a list of featured players), current active Venues, and buy-in amounts from Micro stakes all the way up through High Rollers. Plus, the marketplace results can be refined by Markup, Start Times, and Percentage Available. The detailed filtration system makes it easier for backers to play within their bankroll, diversify their action, and follow their favorite players. The latest features continue to expand how backers can get inside the game even when they are not on the felt themselves. When applicable, backers can click on a horse's name for information on where they can connect with them including social media links and sometimes a player's livestream. With a new crop of players continually offering action, the PocketFives Staking Marketplace stands to be even more active than its ever been. Looking to get started with PocketFives Staking? Sign up for a new account right here.
  2. 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.
  3. Just one week after Dylan Gang’s slowroll of Garrett Adelstein had the poker world abuzz, the pair of high-stakes cash game players found themselves back on the Hustler Casino Live felt - ready for round two. With thousands of fans watching the livestream, it didn't take long before Adelstein and Gang were back and battling heads-up in a hotly contested pot. The game was playing big with three binds posting $100/$200/$400 when Adelstein, sitting with just over $300,000, opened the button to $1,200 holding the [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"]. Gang, with $194K in his stack, three-bet from the big blind to $6,500 holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"]. In position, Adelstein made the quick call and the flop came out [poker card="9d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2d"] giving Adelstein top pair and Gang one over and backdoor outs. Gang took a few seconds and led with a $4,500 bet. Adelstein shot few quick glances Gang's way before he made it $20,000 to go. Gang shifted slightly, looking a little uncomfortable, took a moment and made the call, floating with his ace-high. “This is an action turn.” With the pot at just over $53,000, the dealer put out the [poker card="th"] on the turn and Gang checked it over to “G-Man”. Now with top-two, Adelstein asked Gang to show him how much he had left in his stack. Then, Adelstein fired a $35,000 bet. Then, just like that, Gang moved his remaining $167K all-in. Adelstein jumped up and asked for a count. “Well, boys and girls,” said Hustler Casino Live co-founder Nick Vertucci. “This is what we’ve been waiting for.” “There’s nothing to even think about, I have a big hand,” Adelstein said looking somewhat incredulous. “I can’t even consider doing anything else, I have a monster.” Then, he finally committed the chips for a call and without hesitation flashed a single finger - run it once. With $389,500 in the pot, the dealer put out a complete brick, the [poker card="2s"].   “I have nothing,” Gang said. But Adelstein wasn’t about to be fooled a second time. One week ago, Gang gave Adelstein the “nice call” essentially baiting Adelstein to show his worst hand first. This time, Adelstein stayed still refusing to show, waiting for Gang to expose the losing hand. Gang held his missed flush draw face-up, Adelstein stood, looked, and only when he saw he couldn’t be beaten, turned over his winning two pair over to drag the pot. “Second round TKO - goes to Adelstein,” the commentator said as Gang slowly got up and left the room. In the aftermath, Adelstein, who finished the night up roughly $200,000 tweeted out a little quote about karma. https://twitter.com/GmanPoker/status/1497451546904186882?s=20&t=6ME9Z0WMu5jddnXHIFeXlQ Undoubtedly, this won’t be the last time these two high-stakes pro tangle.
  4. The complete schedule for this summer’s 2022 World Series of Poker has been announced. The series will contain 88 live gold bracelet tournaments to be held at its new home on the Las Vegas Strip of Bally’s (soon to be Horseshoe) and Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino plus another 14 online events for players in regulated states. "This year is particularly historic for the WSOP with its move to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and debut in the best facilities we’ve ever had," said Ty Stewart, the WSOP's Executive Director. "We’re ready to welcome players from all over the world to our housewarming party at Bally’s, soon-to-be Horseshoe, and Paris. The schedule is jam-packed with first-class events and we expect this to be the biggest and most anticipated WSOP yet.” The series is anchored by "The Main Event", the $10,000 event - generally considered to be the ultimate tournament of any calendar year - returns to its traditional time slot around the 4th of July holiday. There are four starting flights from July 3-6 with the final table taking place over the course of two days on Friday, July 15th and Saturday, July 16. One of the biggest tournaments on the schedule will be "The Housewarming". In the footsteps of 2019’s "The Big 50" and last year’s "The Reunion", "The Housewarming" welcomes players to the WSOP’s new home on the Las Vegas Strip with a $500 buy-in bracelet event. With four starting flights spread out over the opening weekend and a $5 million guarantee, this event will be a target event for all recreational players looking to check out the new layout between Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. There are plenty of new offerings for the new era, however, plenty of old marquee favorite events are returning to the schedule. The Monster Stack, Millionaire Maker, Colossus, and The Closer all headline weekends during the series in an effort to bring out weekend warriors. Bounties events are well represented including the featured bounty event, the Million Dollar Bounty. This event, which was originally conceived by the WSOP in 2020, is finally going to happen. It comes with a $1,000 buy-in and gives players four starting flights in an effort to make Day 2. That's when the bounties begin to pile up with a mystery bounty being awarded for every player KO'd and a top bounty prize of $1 million. High rollers have plenty to look forward to as well with 28 events (including Championship events) posting a buy-in of $10,000 or more. There’s a $100,000 High Roller Bounty on the very first day of the series, plus the $25,000 Heads-Up Championship, a mid-series $100K, and a $250,000 Super High Roller on June 23 among other events. 2022 WSOP Live Schedule of Events [table id=290 /] The move to The Strip includes all of the convention space from both Paris Las Vegas and the soon-to-be renamed Bally's. According to the WSOP, it will have 200,000 square feet of space and roughly 600 poker tables of action. Live coverage of the action will be handled by CBS Sports and PokerGO with 18 gold bracelet events covered and a minimum of 15 hours of start-to-finish Main Event coverage. WSOP Online bracelet events are back as well with 14 in total., Players in Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will have the opportunity to battle for bracelets from the comfort of their homes. There are online events every Sunday throughout the series plus three "Double Up Bracelet Days". Check out the WSOP Online bracelet schedule below. 2022 WSOP Online Events [table id=291 /] In addition to all of the bracelet events, the popular Daily Deepstacks will also be available. Most days at 2 pm, 5 pm, and 9 pm in the Paris Ballroom. COVID-19/Vaccination Note This year the World Series of Poker's COVID policy will reflect local, state and CDC guidelines. There will be no proof of vaccination requirement, and currently there is no mask mandate in effect. "Players will be accountable to follow CDC guidelines appropriate to them as individuals."
  5. 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.***
  6. When it comes to etiquette in poker, performing a slowroll might just be one of the worst offenses. An intentional one is specifically designed to tilt an opponent and no matter the stakes, when one takes place it’s going to get the table talking. Unless, of course, you’re Garrett Adelstein, one of today’s most respected televised high-stakes grinders. In a recent episode of Hustler Casino Live, program regular Dylan Gang, decided to test the temperament of Adelstein. On a board of [poker card="qh"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="kd"], Adelstein, holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="ts"] bet $20,000 on the river into a pot of $36,000. However, Dylan was sitting with [poker card="4s"][poker card="4c"] for the turned full house. When the action was on him he raised to $75,000, making it $55,000 for Garrett to call. Adelstein, clearly put in a spot, shot Dylan a glance and went deep in the tank. Eventually, Adelstein painfully tossed in call with both hands, making it a $186,000 pot. A that’s when it happened: “Good call,” Dylan said, a clear implication that he was beaten. Adelstein flipped over his hand, assuming he'd won. A full two seconds later, Dylan dryly said “Just kidding” and showed down the boat. Check out the entire hand right here: What happened next was nearly as surprising as the slowroll. Adelstein didn’t say a word. He simply paid the bet and got back to business. Bart Hansen in the booth sounded stunned as he contextualized what just happened. “That…was definitely in poor etiquette I will say,” Hansen said. “That is a slowroll. And I think I’m an expert on analyzing slowrolls. Dylan just became the supervillain and we have a new livestream legend born.” It didn’t take long for the hand to get clipped and shipped to social media where some members of the poker world were quick to point out that Adelstein took the slowroll with an extraordinary amount of professionalism. https://twitter.com/JohnnieVibes/status/1494920018177449984?s=20&t=6D1gI9xO91qkj0UzgtUYhQ Dylan may have earned the new nickname “Dylan The Villian”, but for those that have paid attention to the Hustler Live Stream, they’d know this isn’t the first time Dylan has shown that he likes to mix it up to try and get under someone’s skin. Back in October, Dylan was one of the featured players when Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan took a seat in the Hustler Casino Live cash game. Dylan, left his stack on the table in the middle of the game and headed out early to sit courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game - one in which he was eventually escorted out of the arena after a confrontation with Rajon Rondo. (Check that out below) Where Rondo had Dylan removed for slapping his hand away, Adelstein took to Twitter to comment that it’s going to take a lot more than simply a slowrolling a hand to get inside his head. https://twitter.com/GmanPoker/status/1494937987406131200?s=20&t=jWvCj-69FWJfXViUrZFEWA Check out the complete Hustler Casino Live stream that featured that hand right here:
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. Daniel Negreanu’s hope of defending last year's PokerGO Cup overall title looked a little brighter after he won Event #6 ($25,000 NLHE) of the 2022 PokerGO Cup and picked up the $350,000 first-place prize. Prior to his win, Negreanu’s 2022 PokerGO Cup journey had proven to be a frustrating one. Throughout many of the early events, Negreanu had been building large chip stacks on a single bullet during the late registration period, only to be eliminated just before making the money. With only eight events in the series and with no results through five events, it looked to him like he didn’t have much chance of a repeat performance. But with a win in Event #6, Negreanu is back in the race. He picked up 210 points, good for the eighth spot on the leaderboard and trailing Jeremy Ausmus who has 407 points in first. However, should Negreanu do well in the final two events he’s got a shot to get back to the top. “I feel great right now. Now I’m back in it and the key is that I knew the $50K is where it’s at,” Negreanu said. "So today’s event is important, obviously, but it’s really going to be about the $50K.” After the victory, Negreanu spoke with PokerGO and talked about what it was like to turn his fortunes around during the series. “It feels really good. People who play tournament poker get this, especially live…you go through periods where you just feel like the poker gods are spitting on you because they’ll beat you in hands in such ways, like on the river, where it’s the most emotional. And I’m an emotional guy, I don’t hide it very well.” Brock Wilson started the final table in the middle of the pack, third in chips. And just when it looked like the PocketFives Staking favorite was going to jump into the chip lead, a brutal break sent him out the door. With the blinds at 15,000/25,000 (25,000 bb ante), Sean Winter picked up [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] in the cutoff. With more than 1.7 million in chips and all three of the short stacks to his left, Winter open-ripped putting max pressure on the table. Negreanu folded the [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] on the button and Stephen Chidwick let go of his small blind. But when came to Wilson in the big blind, he looked down at the [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"] and quickly snap-called his 900K stack. Winter was dominated, but when the flop came [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"][poker card="9h"], he found new life, slapping the table and said “What do you think about that, papa?!”. The turn was the [poker card="jh"], bringing Winter the flush and a huge hold on the hand. With Negreanu folded the other ace, only one of two nines would have saved Wilson. The river came the [poker card="5s"] and Wilson stood, put his backpack on, and went to the cage to collect his $61,250 for fifth place and enter Event #7. During four-handed play, Negreanu picked up key hands against Chidwick and Winter, taking the chip lead for the first time. With the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (40,000 bb ante) Chidwick was sitting on six big blinds when he moved all-in from the button with the [poker card="tc"][poker card="9d"]. In the big blind, Winter quickly called holding the [poker card="as"][poker card="td"] leaving Chidwick dominated and needing help. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2h"] flop left the door open for a backdoor flush, with Chidwick holding the only club. The turn came the [poker card="4c"] and all of a sudden Chidwick was 25% to win heading into the river. However, the [poker card="qs"] was the right color, wrong suit, and Chidwick was forced to settle for fourth place and a $96,250 payday. Negreanu expanded his chip lead during three-handed play, sparing with Winter and avoiding major all-ins. The blinds were at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 bb ante) when Negreanu picked up [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"] on the button and made it 125,000 to go. Vikenty Shegal was sitting with roughly thirty big blinds, a stack in between Negreanu and Winter, and he looked down at the [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"] and announced he was all-in. Winter folded his [poker card="9c"][poker card="7c"] big blind and Negreanu snap-called putting Shegal at risk. The flop came [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"], keeping Negreanu way ahead. The turn came the [poker card="ac"] and Shegal was needing a ten to continue. The river came the [poker card="2s"], ending Shegal’s event in third place for $140,000 and giving Negreanu roughly 80% of the chips in play. With a better than four-to-one chip lead and the blinds at 30,000/60,000 (60,000 bb ante), Negreanu called on the button with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. In the small blind with 900,000 in his stack, Winter made it 180,000 to go with the [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"]. Back on Negreanu and he moved all-in and Winter made the call. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"], giving Negreanu top pair and leaving Winter looking for running cards or a jack to make a straight. The turn was the [poker card="kh"], leaving Winter just three outs. When the river came the [poker card="th"], it was all over. Winter ended up as the runner-up for $227,500 and Negreanu picked up his second PokerGO Cup career victory and the $350,000 first-place prize. PokerGO Cup Event #6 Final Table Results Daniel Negreanu - $350,000 Sean Winter - $227,500 Vikenty Shegal - $140,000 Stephen Chidwick - $96,250 Brock Wilson - $61,250
  10. Just days after the ‘Skillsrocks’ cheating incident took place on Hustler Casino Live, Barry Wallace, the player who was targeted by ‘Skillsrocks’ by actively looking at his hole cards in the middle of a hand, returned to the live stream game and opened the show looking to “address the elephant in the room” talk about the scandal. “I was 100% responsible for protecting my hand as a player,” Barry said, looking to take some responsibility for the situation. “100%. I own all of that. But motherf***ers is leaning over you on purpose, kicking other people that’s the cheating part.” https://twitter.com/HCLPokerShow/status/1489893119877267457?s=20&t=Vw1ho3eKDqulKRoULjioYQ Much of the focus of the 'Skillsrocks' stream has been centered on 'Skillsrocks' not just seeing Barry’s hand but going out of his way to do so. The fact that 'Skillsrocks' also tried to warn another player by kicking him under the table, took a bit of a backseat, something that Barry wanted to shine a light on. “The cheating part isn’t what he did, he didn’t cheat when he looked. I’m responsible for my own hand. The cheating part is when he kicked the other dude and was addressing him trying to tell him to fold when I had the straight.” It’s unclear whether ’Skillsrocks’ was trying to get the other player - Antonio (who wasn’t “in on it”) - to fold. Or, possibly, ‘Skillsrocks’ was trying to get the Antonio to check the turn so that 'Skillsrocks' who had flopped two pair, could see a free river to try and fill up and stack Barry who had the straight. “The idiot was looking at my hand, he was purposefully leaning back…trying to get into my hand. That’s the cheating part,” Barry continued. “So I don’t mind what he did, it’s part of the game. I should have been smarter and I should have held my hand better. I should have protected better…so I’m responsible for that. But him? He’s responsible for being a...” After Barry trailed off, high-stakes cash game pro Garrett Adelstein weighed in. Adelstein, widely consider one of the most respected high-stakes cash game players in the game today, respectfully took issue with Barry’s notion that part of what ‘Skillsrocks’ did was simply “part of the game.” “One thing you said that I just take strong issue with, on behalf of the poker community, looking at other people’s hands, if you can, is not part of the game,” Adelstein said. “That is not part of the game…that’s completely f***ing unacceptable.” Adelstein went on to talk about the decision to cheat is more than about the game, with Barry chiming in that it’s about integrity. “Now, is there a small segment of people in poker, and in life, who are going to take every edge like that if they can get away with it? Absolutely,” Adelstein continued. “But that’s not part of the game, that’s completely f***ed up and I think I stand for the vast majority of poker players that when someone is showing their hand they go out of their way to ensure they don’t look at it, they don’t see it, they say something - even if they have to say something to the guy every five minutes.” “I don’t think poker is this community where everyone’s just trying to rip each other’s head off… “That like life, some people in life are going to try to take every spot and other people are more interested in looking in the mirror at themselves and feeling ok about it,” Adelstein concluded. Barry followed that up by talking about the support he’s received. “Well, I appreciate it,” Barry said. “I’ve got a lot of support out there and I appreciate everybody reaching out.” ‘Skillsrocks’ remains banned from everything having to do with Hustler Casino Live and the establishment itself. The conversation about the incident continued during parts of the high-stakes cash game which you can watch right here (or on YouTube).
  11. ‘Skillsrocks’ may not be the next Mike Postle, but his alleged unethical behavior on a recent Hustler Casino Live cash game stream has him banned from returning to the casino and being branded a cheater by many in the poker community. The incidents in question took place during the February 2 Hustler Casino Live $10/20/40 stream when a player who went by the name ‘Skillsrocks’ was caught positioning himself to look at the cards of the player to his left, a well-respected cash game regular named Barry. Over the course of the five-hour stream, it appeared that ’Skillsrocks’ proceeded to use the knowledge of Barry's hole cards to pull off a series of increasingly brazen bluffs against him and celebrate as if he had made the moves all on his own. As the show went on, observant viewers in the chat began to notice that 'Skillsrocks' likely had some inside knowledge as to what Barry was holding. In the following video clip, 'Skillsrock' flopped bottom two pair holding [poker card="9h"][poker card="7c"] on an [poker card="ac"][poker card="9h"][poker card="7d"] flop. Barry flopped an open-ended straight draw and a third player in the hand, 'SoFlo Antonio' had flopped top pair. When checked to him, Antonio threw out a $1K bet on the flop, 'Skillsrocks' and Barry made the call. When the [poker card="6s"] hit the turn, it was checked over to 'Antonio' and it appears to some viewers that 'Skillsrocks' tried to kick him under the table - an old-school, well-known sign of collusion. Perhaps it a warning that 'Skillsrocks' knew that Barry had turned a straight and wanted Antonio not to bet. Antonio addressed it, saying "you keep hitting my foot". Barry, hearing this, says, "Please don't tell me that." Antonio proceeds to bet $2,400 anyway. At this point, the commentators discuss how 'Skillsrocks' may even "rip it in". Barry inquires again "ya'll, kicking each other?" noting that something seemed off. "Wow, this is so sick, I can't believe I'm going to fold this," 'Skillsrocks' said. Right before letting it go to the astonishment of the broadcasters. However, an unusual fold wasn't the only evidence. For some of the viewers, it was just the beginning. Onlookers began to timestamp instances of 'Skillsrocks' peering over in Barry's direction when Barry would go to look at his cards. In back-to-back hands, 'Skillsrocks' pulled off big-time bluffs in a scenario when a better, but still weak hand, would end up the winner. Even that may not constitute sufficient evidence, however, in this next hand, the camera caught a good look at 'Skillsrock'...taking a good look of his own. A look that likely helped intensify the scrutiny on the player. By the end of the broadcast, the commentators in the booth - who were watching on a delay - caught wind of the accusations and indicated that Hustler Live would look into it. The next day, Hustler Casino Live and its co-founders Nick Vertucci and Ryan Feldman released a statement, one that indicated that they spoke with 'Skillsrocks', he didn't deny it, and that he wouldn't be returning to the Hustler Casino. "The player known as 'Skillsrocks' will not be welcome back to HCL or Hustler Casino," the statement read. "It is certainly each player's own responsibility to protect their cards at all times. But with that said, it is highly unethical to ever look at another player's cards and use that as an advantage." "'Skillsrocks' has acknowledged that what he did was unethical, and he accepts our decision not to welcome him back." https://twitter.com/HCLPokerShow/status/1489370612518703108?s=20&t=Crvp6H5iLW--8UX6wpuxOw To view more of the stream, watch the entire show on YouTube right here with timestamps to the activity laid out in the comments. Plus, poker vlogger Alex Duvall breaks down his thoughts on all of the hands in question on his YouTube channel.  
  12. 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.
  13. They say “fortune favors the brave.” That phrase is really put to the test when playing the Seven-Deuce game at a high-stakes cash game table. But that’s exactly what went down in the latest episode of The Lodge Live, the livestream from the Austin, TX card room that recently added Doug Polk, Andrew Neeme, and Brad Owen as co-owners. As a part of Monster Meet Up Week at The Lodge, the three poker YouTube stars took a seat in a live-streamed $5/$10/$25 No Limit Hold’em game. The Texas action, as advertised, was wild, and only adding to the stakes was the iconic Seven-Deuce game. The rules: whoever wins a hand (whether by folding everyone out or by showdown) with seven-deuce wins $100 from every player plus an additional $100 from the last player to fold. It’s a side-action favorite among many home games and not too often do you get to see those dynamics play out on a livestream. In many instances here, it really changed the game. So, in the midst of an action-packed stream, we pulled (nearly) every instance where someone tried to get away with one and bluff out the opposition with seven-deuce. Some in which bravery brought fortune...and a couple where it didn't. Doug Does The Polka Polk had the first opportunity of the night to make something happen with seven-deuce and he wasn't going to pass it up. Owen Makes A Big Move A similar situation went down when Brad Owen tried to make a move on 'Poker Traveller' only this time, Ceddy Travino was a little more reluctant to get out of the way. Polk Gets Pushed Out Polk picked up the seven-deuce again and was more than willing to put some money in the pot however sometimes following through with a big bluff just isn't in the cards. Bluffing With The Best Hand It's a rare occasion when you are trying to pick up the seven-deuce bounty and you're actually holding the best hand. E Makes It Look Easy 'E' goes for back-to-back seven-deuce bounties and shows off that sometimes all you need to do it play it straight. Any Two Will Do 'Poker Traveler' had the most encounters with seven-deuce, twice he needed to defend against it. So when he was the one holding it, he wasn't about to let it go even when faced with an all-in. The Lodge Live has events and livestreams taking place all the time. If you want to check out the rest of the action from this five-hour stream. Watch it right here:
  14. 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!
  15. 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 $567,000 in his bankroll prior to his win in Event #8. Next up for PokerGO is the PokerGO Cup taking place from February 2-10.
  16. The Online Player of the Year race went right down to the wire, proving to be one of the closest contests in recent years. In the end, Brazilian online crusher, and current #2-ranked player in the world, Pedro ‘pvigar’ Garagnani did what was necessary to edge out high-stakes legend Sami ‘LarzLuzak’ Kelopuro and took down the PocketFives 2021 Online Player of the Year honors. 2021 proved to be the best of Garagnani’s decade-long career and the story of his year is one of a player who climbed the rungs of the Online Poker Rankings and didn’t stop until he reached the top. Last year saw him dive headfirst into the online high roller waters and emerge with a reputation as one of the game's elite talents plus seven six-figure scores. He found success at almost every stage of the year and in nearly every major online series. Garagnani finished 2021 with a PokerStars WCOOP title, two WPTDeepstacks High Roller titles, a Turbo Series win, a GGPoker WSOP High Roller victory, and a runner-up finish in the GGPoker Super MILLION$. In fact, of his top 20 career scores, 15 took place in 2021. Although he had some fairly notable scores in the first two months, Garagnani’s big year didn’t truly kick off in earnest until March. That’s when he bested the 202 runners in the PokerStars $5,200 High Roller Club Titan Event for $197,646, a career-high score for him at the time. It was a bit of a proving ground for Garagnani as he battled against a stacked final table of online poker talent including Mike Watson, Parker Talbot, and former #1-ranked Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson. His victory in this tournament can be looked back on as the launching point for things to come in 2021. Two weeks later, on April 6, Garagnani, who at the time was ranked #6 in Brazil and approaching the worldwide top 20, would blow his previous high score out of the water. He went on a deep run in the GGPoker’s weekly $10,300 Super MILLION$. His runner-up finish earned him $454,196, a score that stands as his current career-high. It also brought him a massive haul of 1,165.36 Player of the Year leaderboard points, a score that stood as his highest of the year and was instrumental to him clinching Player of the Year honors. By the time summer came around, ‘pvigar’ had climbed to #12 in the world. That’s when he earned his second career PokerStars WCOOP title, outlasting yet another heavyweight final table that included Samuel Vousden, Christian Rudolph, and 2021 U.S. Poker Open champion David Peters in the $5,200 8-Max High Roller. He added $195,689 to his bankroll and another 1,000 leaderboard points in what was a top-3 result for him in the year. Then, just four days after his WCOOP win, he finished as the runner-up in another $5,200 WCOOP event for another $71,712. All of these major scores were adding up for Garagnani. He inserted himself into the Online Poker Rankings Top 10 and became a real threat to those at the top. Then, a late-year heater kicked in for him which propelled him to the top of the rankings. In September, he won a GGPoker WSOP High Rollers event for $31,280, and then in October, he was in the winner’s circle again with a victory in the WPTDeepStacks High Roller on partypoker for $112,079. Finally, at the end of November, Garagnani took down the Winamax Mini WSOP SUPER HIGHROLLER for $47,197 and that’s when he earned enough points to put him over the top. In the first week of December it became official, Garaganai overtook fellow Brazilian Bruno Volkmann and became the #1-ranked player in the world for the first time in his career. He joined the ranks of Volkmann, Yuri Dzivielevski, Brunno Botteon, Joao Mathias, and Joao Simao in the elite club of Brazilians who have reached the top of the rankings. In his first week at #1, Garagnani was back on his WPTDeepStacks grind only this time it was on 888poker. He won event #9 of that series, a $200,000 GTD PKO, for $40,500 and 447.21 leaderboard points, a score that made all the difference in the Player of the Year race. Garagani finished the year with 24,867 leaderboard points, just 343 more than Kelopuro. In contrast, when the UK's Conor Beresford took the Online Player of the Year title in 2020, he finished more than 4000 points above runner-up Brunno Botteon. Garagnani held on to the #1 spot for six weeks before relinquishing it in early January and ended the year with more than $8.4 million in total career earnings. 2021 Online Poker Player of the Year Standings [table id=285 /]
  17. It’s another high roller victory for Michael Addamo’s extensive poker resume as he claimed a record fifth career victory in this week’s GGPoker Super MILLION$, besting the 266-entry field for a $518,640 payday. Addamo entered the final table with the chip lead and held it all the way until heads-up play. He was never really in any danger throughout the day, especially after scooping a massive pot in the early action. From there, he cruised to heads-up play, battled back when he lost the lead, and sealed the deal against a tough opponent in Brazilian powerhouse Pablo Silva. The win breaks the two-way tie with four-time Super MILLION$ champ Niklas Astedt and lifts him into the top 5 on the tournament’s All-Time Money List with more than $3.5 million in Super MILLION$ earnings. At this point, after Addamo’s incredible 2021 campaign, another victory for Addamo shouldn’t be a surprise to poker fans. This week, the surprise was just how fast the victory came. Between Addamo and Silva, they eliminated every other opponent save one and did so in just over ninety minutes. It didn’t take long before Addamo went to work. Less than 10 minutes into the final table, with the blinds at 35,000/70,000 (8,500 ante), Addamo put in a raise to 140,000 under the gun holding [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"]. The action folded to ‘TheRayGuy’ on the button who was sitting second in chips with 4.5 million and the [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. ‘TheRayGuy’ three-bet to 462,000 and Addamo made the call. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"], giving Addamo a set which was made all the more improbable with one ten having hit the muck preflop. Addamo checked it to ‘TheRayGuy’ who put out a bet of 546,000. Addamo check-raised to 1.2 million and ‘TheRayGuy’ moved all-in. Addamo snap-called having hit his one out and the [poker card="8h"] and [poker card="jd"] completed the board. ‘TheRayGuy’ started the day second in chips but left in ninth place for $64,830 and Addamo soared to more than 10 million in chips, more than enough to apply maximum pressure for the rest of the tournament. The blinds climbed to 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante) when ‘DollarVig’ opened from under the gun to 160,000 holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. In the cutoff, Pablo Silva three-bet to just over 371,000 holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. When the action returned to ‘DollarVig’ they shipped their remaining 12 big blinds and Silva made the call. The board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="td"] providing no help to ‘DollarVig’s overcards and sending them home in eighth for $84,074. At 50,000/100,000 (12,500 ante), China’s Huang Wenjie slipped down to 13 big blinds and was in looking for a spot to perhaps double. When Austria’s ‘JukeZonYou’ opened to 200,000 on the button, Wenjie made his move and shipped all-in holding the [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"]. However, ‘JukeZonYou’ quickly called and turned up with the dominating [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"]. The flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4d"], pairing both but keeping kickers in play. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] giving Wenjie a couple of additional outs, but the river came the [poker card="6h"], and right before the first break, Wenjie was eliminated in seventh place for $109,030. It would be the only break of the final table and the final table sped to a conclusion. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante), Silva opened from the cutoff to 240,000 with [poker card="ah"][poker card="js"] and when it folded to Orpen Kisacikoglu in the big blind, he moved all-in for 2 million holding [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"]. Silva made the call, putting Kisacikoglu at risk. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"] bring a pair for both but keeping Kisacikoglu ahead with the queen kicker. The [poker card="jd"] turn changed everything and Silva took a commanding lead which he held through the [poker card="9d"] river. Kisacikoglu, who started the day third in chips, hit the rail in sixth which was good for $141,395. Two hands later, Silva was back at it. ‘JukeZonYou’ opened to 240,000 on the button and Silva, looking to apply pressure on a short stack, open shipped his 7 million stack with [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"]. ‘JukeZonYou’ insta-called with the best hand, but the flop came out [poker card="ah"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"], helping Silva come from behind once again. The [poker card="js"] hit the turn and the river came the [poker card="5s"], ending ‘JukeZonYou’s day in fifth place for $237,797. The very next hand, ‘spaise411’ opened to 240,000 under the gun holding [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"]. When it folded to Addamo in the big blind, just like Silva the hand before, he open-shipped the chip lead holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="2c"]. ‘spaise411’ called looking for the double up however the board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="tc"][poker card="2s"] giving Addamo the pot and finishing off ‘spaise411’ in fourth place for $237,797. Three-handed at 70,000/140,000 (17,500), Silva opened the button to 280,000 holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] and after Addamo folded the small blind, Mario Mosboeck took a few seconds before three-bet shipping his final 12 big blinds with the [poker card="jh"][poker card="th"]. Silva made the call and the flop came [poker card="qc"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3c"] giving Mosboeck some additional straight outs to survive. The [poker card="3s"] turn was no help to him and the [poker card="ks"] river simply sealed his fate. Mosboeck was eliminated in third place and picked up $399,926 for the deep run. Addamo and Silva were essentially even in chips when heads-up play got underway. Silva jumped out to a lead, but after a big double up for Addamo where he rivered a flush against Silva’s flopped top pair, Addamo quickly finished Silva off. Four hands after Addamo’s double-up, a classic cooler shipped him the win. Silva opened the button to 350,000 with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"] and Addamo three-bet to 1.2 million holding the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. Silva didn’t wait, he shipped his final seven million and Addamo made the call. The flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="td"][poker card="8h"], keeping Silva ahead. However, the turn came the [poker card="as"] giving Addamo top pair. The river was the [poker card="6h"] and Silva finished up and the runner-up for which he collected $399,926. With the victory, Michael Addamo recorded his fifth Super MILLION$ win and took home $518,640. GGPoker Super MILLION$ Final Table (1/11) Michael Addamo - $518,640 Pablo Silva - $399,926 Mario Mosboeck - $308,385 ‘spaise411’ - $237,797 ‘JukeZonYou’ - $183,367 Orpen Kisacikoglu - $141,395 Huang Wenjie - $109,030 ‘DollarVig’ - $84,074 ‘TheRayGuy’ - $64,830
  18. Poker in Austin, Texas just got an injection of star power for 2022 as Doug Polk, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme announced that they have teamed up to purchase a majority share of The Lodge Poker Club & Card Room, the largest poker room in the city. “As of today I have officially bought part of the largest card room here in Austin, Texas - The Lodge,” Polk said in his recently released YouTube video. “Other part-owners include Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, and Jake Abdalla.” The partnership doesn’t end there. Along with the core owners, Polk noted that many of the trusted partners that helped his training site Upswing Poker succeed, including Ryan Fee, Matt Colletta, Mike Brady, and Thomas Keeling are also coming in on the deal. The Lodge is a 24/7 poker room that holds 60 tables and offers live streaming cash games on its own YouTube channel, The Lodge Live, which boasts more than 20,000 subscribers. Polk, who recently moved from Las Vegas to Texas, talked a little bit about how the collaboration came to be. “I didn’t know poker was [in Texas] at all until I got a coffee and looked over and there was a card room next door. From there I went to all the different cad rooms in Austin and realized that this is actually a very large business here in the city and it’s also going on across the state in places like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.” “At this point, it became clear with over 60 rooms in the state and seemingly endless growth it was time to make a move. So I got in contact with two people that I knew would be absolutely essential for the long-term success of any room - Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme.” https://twitter.com/TheBradOwen/status/1478081942377533440?s=20 As three of the most recognizable content creators in the poker space, Polk, Owen, and Neeme recognized that together they may have the means to cross the chasm from playing to the business end of the poker game and are bringing their influence to The Lodge. “I believe in The Lodge so much that I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I’ve made a substantial investment into the room to become a part of it and so have Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme.” It all kicks off later in January with their first-ever Monster Meet Up Week. On January 24, all three of the new co-owners will appear on The Lodge Live. The next day, on January 25, they are planning “The Biggest Meet Up Game in Texas History” as they invite players to splash around with them. From January 26-30 they are also hosting a $600 tournament with a $500,000 guarantee. Poker in Texas is a bit different from other states where poker is offered. Besides Polk’s assertion that “poker strategy went back in time ten years here in Texas”, card rooms are not allowed to take a rake. The room can’t take any money off the table or have any incentive to have large or small pots. Instead, poker is offered as a social club where members pay a fee to play and then are charged a timed rate for having a seat. Polk also states that he hopes his team will not only make The Lodge the premier place to play in Austin but that, down the line, they would look ahead to opening up additional branded poker rooms around the country where poker, either under this model or outright, is legal. And this is a project for which he’s willing to come out of “retirement” in order to make it happen. “We have a few different goals with The Lodge. The first is to continue to make The Lodge the place to play poker in Austin, Texas. It’s already the biggest place and it’s already, in my opinion, the best place poker…but we’re going to do our best to continue to make that a reality with planned trips from both Andrew and Brad and two times a week I’m going to be driving down there on Wednesdays and Fridays to play some poker. Polk acknowledged the recent troubles that took place at the Houston card room previously owned by Johnny Chan, Johnny Chan’s 88 Social where a lack of funding and some allegedly shady dealings left players, at times, locked out and unable to cash in their chips. Johnny Chan’s 88 Social has since been sold and a rebranding has taken place with players promised their money. Polk calls this unacceptable and says “one thing I can absolutely guarantee you of, we’re going to do things right at the Lodge.” Watch the complete announcement below:
  19. It’s another trip at the top of the Online Poker Rankings for UK online pro Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard, who, thanks to a dominant end of 2021 and fast start in the New Year, is now enjoying his fifth reign at #1 in the world. For more than a decade, Leonard has honed his skills to become one of the most respected online grinders in the game. He's amassed more than $15 million in lifetime career online tournament earnings as well as spent the past five years as a vocal ambassador for partypoker. In the closing months of 2021, Leonard soared back up the rankings, breaking back into the top 10, crashing the top 5, and settling into the #2 spot. This week, he completed the journey and unseated Brazil’s Pedro ‘pvigar’ Garagnani for the top spot, ending Garagnani’s six-week stint at #1. Leonard’s first time taking control of the Online Poker Rankings was back in August 2014, when he held the position for a short stay of one week. However, it wasn’t long before he was back on top, overtaking Nicholas Fierro in October 2014 for another two-week run. It was nearly five years later that Leonard battled his way back to the top for a week grabbing the lead in September of 2019, and then made his fourth appearance just two months later. Leonard’s latest surge in results gives him the kind of leaderboard points total that could see him having the longest #1 reign of his career to date. Since the beginning of December 2021, Leonard has produced nearly 200 in-the-money finishes for a total of more than $908,000 in total earnings. This included his victory in the December 27 GGPoker $1,050 GGMasters High Roller in which he outlasted 986 entries for a monthly high score of $141,384, the seventh-largest cash of his online career. Along with the cash he also picked up 1000.00 leaderboard points, the critical score he needed to retake the #1 spot. Among his notable results over the past few weeks was his January 5 win in the GGPoker World Series of Poker Online Series $365 GIANT for $46,427 (576.30 points) and the score that kicked off his recent hot streak, a fourth-place finish in the PokerStars $5,200 Titans Event for $75,469 (383.19). He’s had 15 five-figure scores in the past month and 14 outright victories - an outright win rate of just over 7% every time he makes it into the money over this stretch. Leonard has always been a threat when it comes to the Online Poker Rankings, however, as previously noted, his past stints as the worldwide leader have never exceeded two weeks. This time around, thanks to his four leaderboard-qualifying scores this week, he built up a significant point lead over Garagnani. With 11,006 points, Leonard holds a 547 point lead over the #2 spot and 1,211 point lead over Dan ‘SmilleThHero’ Smijkovic who occupies the #3 spot. Of course, anything can happen, but assuming Leonard continues his persistent grind, this may be the time that he not only takes the top spot but retains that ranking for some time. Additional Top 10 Moves This Week In addition to Leonard and Garagnani swapping places in the #1 and #2 spots, Alex Theologis (#4) jumped over Brazil’s Lucio Lima (#5) by just 4 points on the back of a cash in the Natural8 $400 DOUBLE STACK for $3,302 and 109.69 points. Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson (#8) jumped up six spots this week bouncing back into the Top 10. Watson went one tear at the end of 2021, amassing seven qualifying scores since December 15 including a final table finish in the December 21 edition of the GGPoker Super MILLION$ for $93,080 (544.45) and, more recently, a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Winter Series Event 54-H $1,5050 NLHE for $60,618 (445.03). Watson’s career-high rank is #3 in the world. Ramiro Petrone, recent winner of the partypoker Millions Online Main Event for $859,018, also joined the top 10. It’s not the first time Petrone has entered the top 10, but it’s the first time since leaving and rejoining the rankings earlier in 2021. He jumped 7 spots this week with his most notable cash of the week being his victory in the January 2 Black Chip Poker $200K GTD for $40,449 (590.76). Online Poker Rankings Week of 1/5 [table id=281 /]
  20. 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.
  21. After a ten-month hiatus, the live World Poker Tour Main Tour returned to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. After a long day of play and a three-handed deal, Ilyas Muradi took home $605,000, a ticket to the 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions, and his first career WPT title. For anyone questioning if live poker players were eager to get back in the action, the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open had the answer. Despite the state of the pandemic, playing behind plexiglass barriers, and the requirement to wear masks the tournament’s 1,573-entry field became the third-largest in the WPT’s eighteen-year history. It wasn’t just an outpouring of local players that made their way to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as players traveled from all parts of the globe to participate in the first WPT Main Tour live event since the conclusion of WPT Rolling Thunder in March 2020. There were plenty of notable names who made a deep run in the event but fell short of the final table. World Poker Tour champions Sam Panzica (189th, $6,150) and Kevin Eyster (167th, $6,300) made Day 3 as did Athanasios Polychronopoulous (125th, $7,025), Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (103rd, $7,880), and well-known vlogger Johnnie Moreno (93rd, $8,230). Among those joining them in the money were Jerry Wong (90th, $8,230), Alex Keating (77th, $9,885), and worldwide current #2-ranked online pro from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic (31st, $23,110). The final three tables included some of the World Poker Tour’s biggest names including WPT winner Aaron Mermelstein (25th, $23,110), Scott Baumstein (24th, $27,660), WPT Deepstack Champion Justin Liberto (22nd, $27,660), and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias who finished in tenth place and earned $79,455 which brought his career WPT total to just under $3.9 million. Day four started with the final seven players grinding for two 90-minute levels before reaching the official final table of six. Andy Hwang, the final WPT Champion Club member left in the field, started the day third in chips, however, a few hours into play he found himself grinding a short stack of fewer than 20 big blinds. After a raise from Francis Margaglione in early position with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7c"], Hwang three-bet shipped his stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Folded back around to Margaglione, he made the call. The board ran out [poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="qd"] ensuring that a new WPT champion would be crowned as Hwang exited in seventh place for $115,630. Roughly twenty minutes later, after an early position raise, Tsz Shing shipped his 22 big blind stack holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"] from the button. Ronnie Bardah made the call from the small blind with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and the early position raiser folded. The [poker card="th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5d"] ran clean for the pocket queens and eliminated Brooklyn’s Shing in sixth place for a career-high recorded live cash of $168,990. At five-handed, Jesse Lonis put in a raise from late position with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. After it folded to Bardah in the big blind, Bardah put in a three-bet with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"]. With the action back on Lonis and 30 big blinds behind, Lonis four-bet shipped with Bardah snap-called. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] flop left Lonis looking for one of two outs to save him. The [poker card="3d"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] completed the board and ended Lonis’ tournament in fifth place for $223,895. Margaglione started the day with the chip lead but his stack slowly dwindled during the day. Eventually, he made his move by raising from the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"] only to be shoved on by the big stack of Bardah in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"]. With just over 10 big blinds behind, Margaglione opted to make the call. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7s"] giving Bardah top pair and leaving Margaglione looking for runner-runner help. The [poker card="2h"] was of no use to Margaglione who was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Margaglione finished in fourth place for $293,510. During a break, the final three players negotiated a deal for the remaining prize pool. Ilyas Muradi locked up $580,000 as the chip leader and Bardah, sitting in second, agreed to $566,135. Robel Andemichael secured $545,500 and all three agreed to leave $25,000 and a ticket to the WPT Tournament of Champions on the table for the eventual winner. Even though a deal was in place, the pace of play stayed deliberate. After roughly two hours, Andemichael put in a raise on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="9d"] and Bardah pushed his final twelve big blinds in the middle with [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Bardah the lead, which held through the [poker card="ts"] turn. But the [poker card="9s"] river gave the hand to Andemichael which eliminated Bardah in third place for his agreed-upon career-high score of $566,135. Heads up play started with both Andemichael and Muradi practically even in chips. Another two hours passed without either player holding a significant lead. Finally, Andemichael moved all-in for his final 15 big blinds with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and was called by Muradi holding [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"] giving Muradi’s pocket fours the pot and his first WPT title. Andemichael finished as the runner-up, taking home the$545,500 he locked up in the deal. Ilyas Muradi added the $25,000 to his $580,000 portion of the deal for a total cash score of $605,000 plus a $15K ticket to the Tournament of Champions, and a date to have his name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Ilyas Muradi - $605,000* + WPT Tournament of Champions seat 2. Robel Andemichael - $545,000* 3. Ronnie Bardah - $566,135* 4. Francis Margaglione - $293,510 5. Jesse Lonis - $223,895 6. Tsz Shing - $168,990
  22. 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. In the aftermath of the Polk-Negreanu high-stakes, heads-up challenge, news of two more high-profile challenges have emerged and Lance and Donnie break both of them down on this week's episode of The FIVES! First, 15-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner and season one High Stakes Duel winner Phil Hellmuth looks poised to be Daniel Negreanu's next challenger. But what will the format be when (and if) it takes place and will it be enough to satisfy the fans? At the same time, 21-year old poker phenom Landon Tice and high-stakes businessman Bill Perkins have publically agreed on a 20,000 hand challenge to start in May. Tice has also agreed to spot Perkins a 9bb/100 advantage - meaning in order to win, Tice will need to win more than $720,000. Finally, the guys discuss all of the most important breaking news from this week in the world of poker. Listen in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  23. It's going to be a happy holiday season for Dario Sammartino who, in his seventh trip to a GGPoker Super MILLION$ final table, took down this week's $10K tournament for his first Super MILLION$ title, a World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring, and the $740,917 first-place prize. Sammartino started the day third in chips, but there was a massive gap between the top two stacks and the rest of the field. Sammartino simply bided his time, held tough through the early levels, and eventually picked up big hands in key spots to position himself to win. It looked like it could be a tight final table, with only one person busting before the first break, but soon enough the knockouts picked up with Sammartino driving the action and amassing a chip lead he rode to the end. But this holiday edition of the Super MILLION$ was no easy gift for Sammartino who was forced to fight past a number of big-name pros including Mike Watson, Francisco Benitez, and previous Super MILLION$ champ David Miscikowski who started the day as the chip leader. Roughly twenty minutes into play, Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson’s stack evaporated in two consecutive hands. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante), Watson and Austria’s ‘Intermecik’ got it all-in with Watson holding the [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"] and ‘Intermecik’ with the [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. The board ran out clean for ace-high and Watson was left with just over one big blind. He open-shoved the very next hand with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] and Michel Dattani woke up with [poker card="as"][poker card="ah"] in the small blind. The board ran out [poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="qc"] to end Watson’s day in ninth place for $92,614. Watson was the only elimination before the first break, but with five of the remaining eight players sitting on 20 big blinds or less, the bustouts were right around the corner. Just a few hands after players returned, with the blinds at 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante) Dattani raised to 1.175 million with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="8d"], leaving himself just 240,000 behind. David Miscikowski picked up [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"] and shoved over the top pushing Sammartino out of the pot in the big blind. Dattani called off for his remaining chips. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"], providing no help to Dattani. When the turn came the [poker card="9c"], Dattani was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Miscikowsk scored a full house and Dattani scored $120,106 for his eighth-place finish. On the very next hand, Miscikowski made it 320,000 to go on the button with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="6h"] and ‘Internecik’ defended the big blind holding the [poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"]. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"] giving Miscikowsk top two pair and ‘Internecik’ top pair. ‘Internecik’ checked it over and Miscikowski put out a bet of 160,00 which ‘Internecik’ called. The turn was the [poker card="6s"], and once again Miscikowski hit a full house. ‘Internecik’ checked again and Miscikowski bet 422,200. Again, ‘Internecik’ called. The river was the [poker card="2c"], and ‘Internecik’ checked a third time, this time Miscikowski put it all in the middle and after a short tank, ‘Internecik’ called it off, ending their tournament in seventh place for $155,758. Over the next twenty minutes, Sammartino started climbing the leaderboard and into second place. On the other end of the spectrum, ‘TheRayGuy’ slipped to the bottom of the chip counts. The blinds climbed to 125,000/250,000 (30,000 ante) and from UTG+1, ‘TheRayGuy’ shipped their final 960K in the middle with the [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"] and was called by Russia’s ‘fizoka’ in the big blind holding [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"], giving ‘TheRayGuy’ a couple more outs with the deuce. But the turn was the [poker card="7d"] and the river came the [poker card="3s"] and ‘TheRayGuy’ hit the rail in sixth place for $201,994. The eliminations picked up with five left but it wasn’t the big stacks just picking on the short stacks. A classic cooler took place to speed things along. Russian ‘Topgrek’ opened to 1.875 million from late position with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"], leaving just 1.3 million behind. Then, Miscikowski flat called from the small blind holding the [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. In the big blind, Sammartino woke up with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] and shoved all-in for 12.6 million. ‘Topgrek’ made the quick call putting themselves at risk and Miscikowski, who had Sammartino covered by just 2.5 million also called with his pocket kings. The flop came the [poker card="ts"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3h"], not providing any help to the two underdogs. But it was officially all over when the case ace, the [poker card="as"], hit the turn guaranteeing Sammartino the hand and a huge chip lead. The meaningless river was the [poker card="8c"] and ‘Topgrek’ was out in fifth for $261,954 and Miscikowski went from the big stack to the bottom. Moments after the third break, with the new blinds at 150,000/300,000 (35,000 ante), Sammartino was the beneficiary of another cooler. He raised to 660,000 on the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"] and ‘fizoka’ three-bet shipped from the small blind with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="jc"]. Once again, no drama for Sammartino as the board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"] ending the Russian’s run in fourth place, good for $339,712. With three left, Miscikowski was sitting on seven big blinds and needed to make a move. From the small blind, he shipped his 2.1 million with the [poker card="js"][poker card="7h"] into Sammartino in the big blind who snap-called with his [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2h"] flop kept it clean for Sammartino’s eights which held through the [poker card="9c"] turn and [poker card="qd"] river. Miscikowski settled for a third-place finish and a $440,552 payday while Sammartino took a nearly 9-to-1 chip lead into heads up against Francisco Benitez. Although Benitez found a double-up early on, it took only seven hands or so for Sammartino to close it out. Sammartino limped the button with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"] and Benitez shipped just over 7 million from the big blind with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="7d"]. It took about 10 seconds for Sammartino to call and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="td"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2s"], keeping Benitez in the lead with middle pair. However, the turn was the [poker card="js"] putting Sammartino in the lead. The [poker card="9h"] river sealed the deal for Sammartino, sending Benitez home as the runner-up for $571,325 and awarding Sammartino his first-ever Super MILLION$ title and largest Super MILLION$ score of $740,917. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (12/21) Dario Sammartino - $740,917 Franciscio Benitez - $571,325 David Miscikowski - $440,552 ‘fizoka’ - $339,712 ‘Topgrek’ - $261,954 ‘TheRayGuy’ - $201,994 ‘Internecik’ - $155,758 Michel Dattani - $120,106 Michael Watson - $92,614
  24. “I feel good. Physically, I have recovered. I guess from an emotional standpoint, I don’t know that I still quite get what happened yet. Sounds a little weird but it’s still all surreal for me.” It’s been a month since George Holmes played in his second-ever World Series of Poker Main Event, the outcome of which was an experience he could have only dreamed of having. The 49-year-old father of two from Alpharetta, Georgia went on a once-in-a-lifetime run in the $10,000 televised tournament, one that turned him from an anonymous everyday recreational player into the “Home Game Hero”, battling in poker’s bright spotlight against some of the best in the business ended up finishing as the runner-up for an incredible $4,000,000 score. “But I feel good. I finally went back a week ago and kind of watched the stream of the final table. I think, for me, it’s about as good as it’s going to get as far as being able to put everything into perspective…it kind of is what it is,” Holmes said. “I’ve been, probably for the past week and a half, back in the normal swing. I came home, I went back to work the following week. I planned on working just because I enjoy what I do and it just gives me an opportunity to kind of take a step back and take my time and figure out what I want to do with all this money.” Holmes works as an executive for a company that helps merchants process payments. It’s currently offering him a sense of real-world stability as opposed to his whirlwind experience in the Main Event filled with the highs, the lows, the lack of sleep, and the pressure to perform. But Holmes, who presents as level-headed and as even-keel as they come, insists that while he’s still processing what took place, his return to reality took place rather quickly. “To know me, I’m pretty a pretty monotone, mellow person so I don’t get very high. I think coming back to Earth, for me, was a lot easier,” he said. “After the Main Event was over, it was probably eight o’clock. A bunch of my friends were still there from the rail so we went out to celebrate for a few hours. We hung out probably ’til midnight or one…we were all on a flight the next morning at six o’clock a.m. At that point, I wanted out of Vegas. “For me, a perfect stint in Vegas is three or four days. Being there for a week and a half, I mean I’m just spent and I’m ready to go. Especially with the schedule for the World Series. You don’t really get to do anything. It’s poker, sleep, get up, poker, and then sleep again and that’s basically it for a week and a half,” he said. “So, for me to come down, it didn’t take much, probably a couple of days. Physically, I was drained, I was tired. Mentally, I was spent from just sitting at the table, looking at hands nonstop. But after a few days back at home, I was fine. I was still trying to understand what all happened and I told a couple of friends this, I kind of which I could’ve experienced this somewhat from their perspective, just being on the rail. “But I was just playing, cameras in your face. Once you have that for a day or two, it’s normal. But I don’t know that I experienced it the way everyone else did. I mean, I’m hearing all these great stories, all these people that were cheering for me, but I don’t get to see any of the highs or the lows, I’m just kind of living in the moment I guess…kind of weird to explain.” One of those moments he lived in was the final hand of the Main Event, one of the most thrilling WSOP moments for fans in some time. In summary, after spiking top pair on the turn, and being checked to on the river, Holmes moved all-in for his tournament life. However, Koray Aldemir, his affable German heads-up opponent (and eventual 2021 WSOP Main Event champ) had flopped two pair and was deep in thought about whether to make the call that could end the tournament. “The longer he took told me that I did not want a call,” Holmes said. “I’m shoving, thinking I have the best hand. I would have never imagined [Aldemir] had such a miracle flop.” “But the longer he took, I started replaying things in my head like, ‘Well, maybe he has two pair.’ Initially, I thought maybe he has top pair and maybe a flush draw. We had such a great rapport at the table…he looks up at me as he’s thinking and he’s probably halfway through his tank and he’s like ‘This might be it. This might be the hand.’ “ It was the hand, Aldemir did put his chips in the middle and both hands were turned face up. Aldemir read the board instantly and knew he was the new World Champion. He threw his hands in the air, turned to his rail, and the celebration began as Holmes also stood and leaned over the table, taking a long second look at what had just happened. “To be honest, I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time,” Holmes said, reflecting on the moment. “I think I asked, because I wasn’t one hundred percent sure, if he had me covered at that point. I know I asked the dealer if he had me covered and to be honest, at that point, I did not care what happened.” --- Holmes is back home, back spending time with his family and gearing up for what is sure to be a special holiday season for his wife, 13-year old son, and 15-year old daughter. But Holmes is also back playing in the Atlanta home game he made famous on the WSOP coverage. It’s the one he’s been playing in for the better part of a decade. He’s come a long way since first getting into the game back in 1999, before No Limit Hold’em rose to power as the dominant variant of the game. Holmes says although he’s never been a serious student of the game, he’s loved poker since the moment he started playing it with co-workers regularly in 2000. Back then it was a ‘just for fun’ $0.25/0.50 game. But now he plays with a regular group of guys splashing around at $2/5. But Holmes is quick to clarify that “it plays a lot larger than a normal $2/5 game.” It’s the same group of guys who were on the rail rooting Holmes on in the Main Event, the same who are likely looking to see if some of that $4 million end up on the table in their own game, even if it is one small buy-in at a time. But Holmes insists that his newfound poker fame hasn’t changed the game in the least, “It’s a tough crew, man. I get razz no matter what.” One might think that there would be other opportunities for Holmes to flex his popular final table persona, but according to him he hasn’t received any invitations yet for shows like Poker After Dark or live-streamed games like Hustler Casino Live or Live At The Bike, at least not yet. “My phone hasn’t really been blowing up,” he said. Noting that he’s had a couple of promotional opportunities which he’s politely declined. “I get friends that ask me all the time ‘Have you had any sponsors reach out to you?’ and the answer’s been no. It’s been quiet.” But Holmes seems at peace with that quiet. He’s not the type to hit a big score, rearrange his life, and take to the circuit. But when pressed about whether a stint on a PokerGO cash game could entice him to make a trip back to Las Vegas sooner than later, a small smile appears. “That’d be interesting.” People would likely watch as Holmes understands he has fans well beyond the dozen of guys who were on his rail. His “Home Game Hero” storyline not only played well on the broadcast, but it’s the dream for a lot of recreational players who are just like Holmes. Those who were pulling hard for him to take it to the high roller pro, even as likable as Aldemir is. “I had been hearing the whole week, ‘You’re blowing up on Twitter.' And, at the time I didn’t have a Twitter account. But what I did feel, just in the Amazon room, was the love from the folks there…and it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. Even the [media] that was there, when I busted out one of the camera guys stopped me and said ‘This might sound weird but we know your face. After a week of watching you we know your face better than you do and we just wanted to tell you from all the crew that we loved your game, we were rooting hard for you here in the room and in the trucks.’ And I thought that was pretty amazing. “I ran into a couple of folks at the airport the next morning. And when I tell you I had no regrets after that final hand, I honestly did not. But one regret would be just for the folks who were rooting for me,” he said. “There were so many folks saying ‘We were hoping you win the whole thing. We wanted you to take it down.’ And there was this story of like USA versus Germany and the UK…and that’s the only real regret I have, it’s not winning it for the folks that I didn’t know that had just jumped on and were rooting for me so hard.” In 2019 Holmes entered the Main Event and finished in 213th for over $50,000. His goal in 2021 was simply to beat his 2019 finish, which he clearly did. But where does that leave him moving forward? There’s not a lot of Main Event places he can improve to. “That’s a great question. Naturally, I will continue to play the Main Event and see how I can do. I hadn’t thought about it beyond knowing that I’m going to continue to play the Main and there are a bunch of circuit events that I will probably play one or two but I hadn’t thought much past that. I really haven’t.” “The odds tell me I should quit while I’m ahead…but I love playing the game too much.”
  25. It was a come-from-behind victory for former worldwide #1-ranked online pro Bert Stevens who started the final table of the GGPoker Super MILLION$ Main Event as the short stack, but found a way to battle back and take the whole tournament down for a $1,125,181 score. This week was a special edition of the Super MILLION$, a multi-flight affair that drew 693 runners and built a prize pool of more than $6.9 million. With just nine left, there were plenty of Super MILLION$ mainstays left in the field including former Super MILLION$ champions Daniel Dvoress, Anatoly Filatov, Joakim Andersson, and Artur Martirosian. Adding in Stevens, more than half of the final table had won it before proving, once again, that taking down the Super MILLION$ is one of the toughest tasks in online poker. Players hoping that Stevens as the short stack would bust out early were disappointed after he scored an early double up against Daniel Dvoress and better inserting himself into the mix. Instead, nearly an hour into the final table there were still nine players left and it took a clash of huge hands held by top-tier pros for the ice to break. With the blinds 125,000/250,000 (30,000 ante) 2020 WSOP Main Event champ Damian Salas opened from the cutoff to 500,000 holding [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and when it folded to Anatoly Filatov in the big blind, he defended with his [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"]. The flop came [poker card="qs"][poker card="jc"][poker card="4c"] giving Salas middle set but also providing Filatov with the nut flush draw. Filatov checked to Salas who put out a small bet of 250,000. Filatov check shoved his 4.3 million chip stack and Salas, who had just 3.7 million behind made the quick call. The turn came the [poker card="kh"], adding a straight draw to Filatov’s outs but it was the [poker card="7c"] river that shipped the pot to Filatov and shipped Salas out in ninth place for $148,900. Stevens continued to climb and shortly after the first break, ‘Giraf’ had moved into the chip lead before the next elimination. After coming from behind to knock out Salas, the deck turned on Filatov. First, he got it all in preflop holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"] against fellow Russian countryman Artur Martirosian’s [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"]. Filatov covered Martirosian by less than a million and would have surged to the chip lead. However, the board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="th"][poker card="ts"][poker card="3h"][poker card="qs"], allowing Martirosian to spike the set on the river and crippling Filatov. The very next hand the pair got it in preflop again, this time Filatov had [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] against Martirosian’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="9c"] and the board [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="7d"], giving Martirosian top pair and, in two hands, ending Filatov’s tournament in eighth place for $181,739. Thirty minutes later, Martirosian took out another. With the blinds at 175,000/350,000 (45,000 ante), Martirosian raised from under the gun to 770,000, and then ‘progery81’ three-bet shipped all in for 1.2 million with their [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. In the big blind, China’s ‘Jerome001’ made the call. But when the action got back to Martirosian, he four-bet shipped more than enough to cover ‘Jerome001’, who quickly folded leaving it heads up. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="js"][poker card="6d"] flop was safe for ‘progery81’, but the turn came the [poker card="4c"], flipping the script. The river came the [poker card="jc"] and Martirosian dragged another pot while ‘progery81’ was eliminated in seventh for $246,886. Three hands later it was Canada’s ‘DollarVig’s turn to fight for their tournament life. After ‘Jerome001’ opened to 700,000 from early position with the [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"], it folded to Canada’s ‘DollarVig’ in the big blind with less than 10 big blinds. They three-bet shipped their 2.3 million stack with the [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"] and ‘Jerome001’ made the call. The board ran out [poker card="ks"][poker card="th"][poker card="3s"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"], flopping a flush and straight draw for ‘DollarVig’ but bricking out on the turn and river. ‘Jerome001’ scored the knockout and ‘DollarVig’ collected $317,896 for sixth place. Five-handed play lasted through the second break and when the blinds climbed to 250,000/500,000 (60,000 ante) and Joakim Andersson found himself on the short stack with roughly 10 big blinds. Folded to him in the small blind, Andersson open-jammed his [poker card="jd"][poker card="4d"] and was snapped off by Dvoress in the big blind with the [poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="7s"] was no help to Andersson who fell in fifth place for $409,329. With four left, everyone had over 20 big blinds, giving them some room to play. During that play, Martirosian’s chip lead began to slip away. After Dvoress doubled through the Russian, Martirosian went from first to worst on the leaderboard. When the blinds were up to 300,000/600,000 (75,000 ante) it folded to Martirosian in the small blind and he moved all-in for 8.1 million with his [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"] and again, it was Dvoress calling in the big blind, this time with his [poker card="4s"][poker card="4h"]. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2h"], giving Martirosian top two pair and a virtual lock on the hand with Dvoress left with just two outs. The turn was the [poker card="6d"], and Martirosian was 95% to double up. However, when the [poker card="4c"] hit the river, Dvoress’ chip lead soared to over 40 million and Martirosian settled for a fourth-place finish for $527,060. Dvoress held a commanding lead, but before long Stevens doubled through him, twice in fact and the stacks evened out. The blinds were at 500,000/1,000,000 (125,000 ante) when Stevens put in a raise to 2.1 million from the button holding the [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] and Dvoress, now the short stack, three-bet shoved his 14 million chip stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"]. Stevens quickly called and the pair watched as the flop came [poker card="8c"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"], giving Dvoress a flush draw and a backdoor straight draw. The turn was the [poker card="ks"], eliminating any possible straight draws for Dvoress and leaving him needing a club or a six to stay alive. However, the river was the [poker card="kh"] ending his run in third place for $678,652. Heads-up play only took roughly 15 minutes for Stevens to grab a significant chip lead over ‘Jerome001’ and close it out. On the last hand, with a 2.5-1 chip lead, Stevens opened the button to 2.5 million with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ac"] and ‘Jerome001’ three-bet shipped his final 18 million holding the [poker card="kh"][poker card="4h"]. Stevens snapped and his aces held through the [poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6c"] board. ‘Jerome001’ scored an impressive $873,846 as the runner-up while Bert Stevens, who started the day as the short stack, claimed his second career Super MILLION$ title and the $1,125,181 first-place prize. Super MILLION$ Final Table Payouts (12/14) Bert Stevens - $1,125,181 ‘Jerome001’ - $873,846 Daniel Dvoress - $678,652 Artur Martirosian - $527,060 Joakim Andersson - $409,329 ‘DollarVig’ - $317,896 ‘progery81’ - $246,886 Anatoly Filatov - $191,739 Damian Salas - $148,909

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