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Found 21 results

  1. It’s a rare day for Yuri Dzivielevski, one in which he isn’t making his presence felt deep in an online high roller. Here, in late September, as the live 2021 World Series of Poker approaches, the #1-ranked online player in the world is taking a few days off from his grind to adjust to his temporary accommodations in Costa Rica where he will be spending the next two weeks before making his way to Las Vegas for a series-long gold bracelet grind. “I have to stay quarantined fourteen days in a country authorized by the USA,” Dzivielevski said just days into his stay. “This makes things very difficult, as my family does not have the option to come and go whenever they want so they’ll have to spend 70 days traveling with me. I know this will not be easy for them, so I will do my best to honor that effort.” What Dzivielevski means is that he is planning on furthering his fantastic 2021 campaign, a standout year that has come in the midst of a career renaissance that can be traced back to the 2019 WSOP. It was during that series that Dzivielevski randomly found himself in the poker spotlight. As he entered the Amazon Room and took his seat in the Main Event, he discovered that he would be sitting at the ESPN Main Event featured table with none other than Daniel Negreanu. And while Negreanu may have been the intended target of the broadcast, it was Dzivielevski’s play and charisma that shined the brightest as he drew the attention of the poker world for his tough, smart style of play. “I was randomly chosen to play at that table and it was really good, really fun. I managed to dominate the game well and still have fun with those tablemates. It was a good time and I also had the benefit of getting used to that environment and then making the deep run in a place I was familiar with.” The Brazilian ended up spending hours on the featured table as the Main Event field thinned out. He eventually finished in 28th for more than $261,000. A great experience that only added to the headlines he made earlier in the summer when he captured his first career gold bracelet in the $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better event for over $213,000. But the truth is, for online poker fans, Dzivielevski was already a known crusher. In 2014, Dzivielevski took his first turn at the top of the online poker rankings, spending three weeks at #1. Two months later, he did it again, upending then #1-ranked Fedor Holz to claim the crown for another five weeks. It was January 2015 when fellow countryman Joao Simao took the top spot for himself. After that, Dzivielevski wouldn’t see the top of the rankings again for the better part of six years. However during that time, he never let go of the idea of being number one again. “I always wanted and want to be on top. What happened is that for a long period in my career I moved away from MTTs to play PLO cash games and Mixed Games. Because of that, I couldn’t be at the top of the MTTs. After a while, I was invited to be a coach and partner at bitBBrazil, which made me study tournaments again and automatically want to play them again. Since then, I have given my best and had the best years of my career.” Dzivielevski’s resume speaks for itself. More specifically, his results in 2021 point to the longtime grinder enjoying the peak of his career. Of his top-20 lifetime online scores, 15 have taken place this year. This includes a win in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ for more than $408,000, a WSOP Circuit ring on Natural8 for over $179,000, a win in PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker for $107,949 (one of two WCOOP wins in the same week), and a runner-up finish in the $8M GTD Venom on ACR for nearly $850,000. Dzivielevski has soared up the All-Time Online Money list amassing more than $14 million in earnings where he sits at 16th all-time. All of those results have been in service to Dzivielevski scaling back up the online rankings and earning the #1 spot again, six years after his last reign. Only this time, no one has been able to catch him so quickly. He’s held #1 for 26 straight weeks and counting, the fifth-longest single stint since the rankings began in 2005. It’s something he credits to the confidence one gets when their dedication to studying the game leads to success. “I’m really happy to be ranked #1 for so long. I believe there was a big change in my mentality after winning some titles. I started to play with more freedom, not wanting to prove anything to anyone. At the same time, I evolved a lot technically with my study group. I don’t think I’ve evolved this much in any time of my career and I’ve never been so happy playing poker. The combination of this, and other things, helped me get there.” One of those “other things” is the fervent poker community that continues to emerge from Brazil. It’s been undeniable that Brazilian online pros have excelled in some of the biggest online series this year. Names like Bruno Volkmann, Bruno Botteon, Renan Carlos Bruschi, Pedro Padilha, and Dalton Hobold have made headlines for taking home major titles during SCOOP, WCOOP, GGSF, and the international WSOP Online. Of the top 100 ranked players in the world 37 hail from Brazil, and for over half a year it’s been Dzivielevski who has led them all. “Brazilians are very passionate about poker and very competitive. I believe that the combination of these two things makes us work hard. Poker also gives us the opportunity to have a good life, with comfort and freedom,” he said. “This is what makes young Brazilians fall in love with the game and work hard to be good. We cannot forget that we are a huge country, so we have more players than any other country probably.” But with so many players emerging from Brazil, one might think that the community is tight-knit, with top pros sharing information with up-and-comers as is thought to be the case in the past with top-tier German pros and the elite online community in Sweden. But Dzivielevski says that the competitive nature of Brazilians makes it so that’s not always the case. “Brazilians generally have small study groups and do not pass information on to people outside of those groups. Outside of the tables, we are friends. I know almost all of the high-stakes regs and like them, but at the table things are different…” With two weeks to wait before he and his family can complete their journey to Las Vegas, the newly signed Team partypoker ambassador will be back grinding online soon enough. He’ll be adding to his totals, vying for titles, and preparing to see what this autumn at the WSOP will have in store. However, during that time at the Rio, the current #1 will likely see his grip on the rankings slip. With no ability to play in the worldwide market, those that would look to have their turn at the top may find their window of opportunity open. But for Dzivielevski, that will just motivate him more. After over a decade in the game, he still finds excitement in the grind and challenge. “I never loved playing tournaments as much as I do these days. Nowadays, I just play for performance, thinking about making the best decisions on every street and dominating my stakes as much as possible. I like to go further and take my opponents out of their comfort zone…because I’m a competitive person, that’s very exciting. If I feel like I’m not dominating my stake, I study hard until I can do it again,” he said. “This quest is endless and I love it. I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
  2. Poker pros from all over the world are currently making their way to Las Vegas for an autumn of non-stop action in the 2021 World Series of Poker…and you’re making a PowerPoint presentation. Or a sandwich or something. That’s because you have responsibilities to a family or a job and setting aside eight weeks out of your life to chase the poker dream is not only not practical, it’s completely off the table. For many serious recreational players that sounds like the dream: grinding day-in and day-out, feeling the high and lows of an eight-week schedule at the Rio while battling with the world’s best in the game we love. But if you’re lucky, you get to pick a weekend where you can book your flight, post up in a hotel, and take a shot in the great bracelet chase. So if, as a weekend warrior, you only get one chance - you best choose wisely. This might help. Here's a breakdown of all the marquee events that highlight all eight weekends of the 2021 WSOP. The pros, the cons, and the little things to consider in each event so that you can maximize your gold bracelet shot. The REUNION $5,000,000 Guaranteed Buy-in: $500 (1 Re-Entry per flight) Duration: Up to 5 Days Starting Dates: Friday, October 1 thru Sunday, October 3 Start Time: 10 AM If you simply can’t wait to get back into the action at The World Series of Poker, the Reunion is the perfect event for you. Kicking off on the opening weekend of the series, it’s the low buy-in, high-guaranteed tournament that is certain to have one of the softest fields of the entire schedule. But while the $5 million guaranteed event sounds like the perfect tournament to test your mettle (and in many ways it is) there are a few items to consider before purchasing your ticket to this get-together. The same reason that makes it exciting - it's the first major NLHE tournament of the fall - is the same that might cause some headaches. In 2019, The BIG 50 was absolutely massive. But so were the lines. Registration, bathroom, poker kitchen…you name it you were waiting your turn. The Rio was smashed with people. This year, there’s the added process of vaccination verification and it will be the first time series officials will be dealing with that. So, there could be some unforeseen hiccups meaning some additional patience might be needed. Secondly, with 30-minute levels on the three opening flights (which is good for a local daily tournament, but fast for a bracelet event) simply means that play will be brisk. If you want that extended WSOP experience, this might not be it. To that end, each flight allows for a single re-entry so decisions need to be made - will you hop back in line? How many times? There are three flights so someone firing maximum bullets would need to allow for $3,000 in buy-ins. Despite all of that, The Reunion should be considered a top pick for any weekend warrior. The vibe will be electric with it being the first WSOP weekend in a year-and-a-half. And, even if you have to fire a couple of bullets, a shot at the bare minimum $5 million prize pool comes at a reasonable price. Plus, payouts start by the end of Day 1’s so you don't have to wait if you're going to get paid. Note that the final table plays out on Tuesday, October 5 so you might have to find an excuse for the boss on why you won’t be back at your desk until Thursday. MILLIONAIRE MAKER $1,000,000 guaranteed for 1st Buy-in: $1,500 (1 re-entry per flight) Duration: Up to 6 Days Starting Dates: Friday, October 8 & Saturday, October 9 Start Time: 10:00 AM In some ways, the $1,500 Millionaire Maker is like The Reunion turned inside out. Whereas The Reunion is small buy-in, fast levels (30 minutes), and 50,000 in chips. The Millionaire Maker triples the buy-in, doubles the level time (60 minutes), and gives you half the starting chips at 25,000. Both tournaments are going about accomplishing the same goal from a different angle - giving the winner a million bucks. So what’s the upside of The Millionaire Maker? Smaller fields. Don’t get it wrong, it’s still going to be big, but there will likely be 25% of the entries of The Reunion (bigger buy-ins have a way of doing that). But also, the structure on the Millionaire Maker is subtly slower up top. An extra level to start and another extra level at Level 5 helps make up for the shallower starting chip stack, allowing for some extra play. Those hour levels also give some weight to the event you might not feel in The Reunion. Finally, it should be noted that the event is slated for 5 Days, but that’s five including a starting flight, one of which is on Saturday, October 9. So the final table plays out on Wednesday, October 13…six days after the start of the opening flight. But if you make it to the end, as John Gorsuch did in 2019 - for which he won more than $1.3 million - you’re probably not terribly concerned with an extra 24 hours. PLAN B: This weekend offers the $1,000 Flip & Go NLHE Presented by GGPoker. Looking for a lightning-fast way to make the money? This event which takes place on Sunday, October 10 has everyone going all-in on the first hand and the winner of the first table is instantly in the money. The upside - the adrenaline! The downside - flipping for a thousand bucks! MONSTER STACK No guarantee Buy-in: $1,500 (freezeout) Duration: Up to 6 Days Starting Dates: Friday, October 15 & Saturday, October 16 Start Time: 10 AM Take the starting chips from The Reunion, the levels of the Millionaire Maker, make it a freezeout and you’ve got one of the best weekend tournaments on the schedule - the Monster Stack. It might be the closest event on the schedule to mimic the feel of playing in The Main Event (even more so than the tournament dubbed the Mini Main Event) as there’s tons of play throughout Day 1 and, because it plays so deep, it’s one bullet and you're done. No re-entry in any flight and, if you play and bust Day 1A, you cannot enter Day 1B. It’s good like that. The downside for those who are looking to absolutely max out every buy-in dollar with time on the felt is that in 2021, they eliminated two hours of play right off the bat from what was in the structure in 2019. Missing are the 100-100 (no ante) and 100-200 (no ante) levels. But the other side of that coin is when the tournament starts at 100-200 (100 ante) you’ll be involved in meaningful pots from jump street. In 2019, this event drew 6,035 over the two starting flights with the top 8 players walking with six-figure scores, and the winner, Kainalu McCue-Unciano from Hawaii, flew home with more than $1 million added to his bankroll. Again, with a tournament so deep, you may need to budget a little more than the weekend as the final table will play out on Wednesday, October 20. But to experience one of the best starting stacks to buy-in ratios - go big in the Monster Stack. PLAN B: Bust out of the Monster Stack but still want to get some deep-stacked play in? The WSOP knows you do and so on Sunday, October 17 the $800 8-Handed No Limit Hold’em takes place. Smaller buy-in, 40,000 chips, 30 minutes levels and it’ll award a bracelet before the Monster Stack final table begins. It’s a second chance for the time you budgeted anyway. DOUBLE STACK No guarantee Buy-in: $1,000 (single re-entry per flight) Duration: Up to 6 Days Starting Dates: Friday, October 22 & Saturday, October 23 Start Time: 10 AM The Double Stack is the younger sibling of the Monster Stack. Not quite as deep (40,000 starting stack) and with 2/3 of the price tag. That’s where its value lies. The structure and level duration are identical so if you want the feel of the Monster Stack just on the cheaper side this may be for you. Practically, players are getting more starting stack value. If the Double Stack was equitable with the Monster in terms of chips-to-entry fee ratio, it would start with 33,333 chips. But that’s silly, so it’s rounded to 40K and players can simply enjoy the extra chips to splash around with. That’s not the only difference. The Monster Stack is an old-school freezeout, but the Double Stack is back to the single re-entry per flight giving you multiple bullets in case you want to double-stack off. This one also runs six days (with a day off) if you play Day 1A on October 22 as the final table plays out on Wednesday, October 27. Sounds good? In 2019 it did to fan-favorite Joseph Cheong who bested a field of 6,214 to earn $687,782 and his first gold bracelet. PLAN B: There’s another $800 8-Handed No Limit Deepstack with a single re-entry taking place on Sunday, October 24. COLOSSUS No guarantee Buy-in: $400 (1 re-entry per flight) Duration: Up to 4 Days Starting Dates: Friday, October 29 & Saturday, October 30 Start Time: 10 AM Perhaps the ultimate pick for weekend warriors would be the Colossus. It’s has everything: it’s the cheapest bracelet event on the schedule, it crowns a winner in time to be back at work on a Tuesday, and payouts start the same day as the starting flights. It starts plenty deep with 40,000 chips and slightly longer levels than the Reunion (40 minutes). And like The Reunion, one should expect the Rio to be a madhouse during the Colossus with long lines of players looking to fire on both starting flights. There’s a single re-entry per flight and with such an affordable price tag, players may find themselves needing to hit the cage four times in order to build a stack and get a piece of what, in 2019, was a prize pool of over $4 million. All of that should sound great but there’s a big-time caveat this year. The Colossus plays through Halloween. For some, that’s no problem. But for anyone with kids (or non-poker playing friends) a tournament on Halloween might just be a non-starter. This is one of the tournaments to keep an eye on to see how the fall schedule affects an event. In 2019, the Colossus saw 13,109 runners. It will likely be less this year, but also, for some, it’s the perfect weekend to scare up a bracelet. PLAN B: Travel to Las Vegas to play the Colossus with a buddy? Both hit the rail? Team up and jump into the Tag Team event on October 31. There’s always a rail in the Tag Team event giving it. The MAIN EVENT No guarantee - but, it’s the Main Event so someone’s going to get rich. Buy-in: $10,000 Duration: Up to 13 days Starting Dates: Thursday, November 4 - Sunday, November 7 Start Time: 11 AM The Main Event may be the best live tournament of any given calendar year but truth be told, it simply doesn’t qualify for a weekend warrior trip. It’s too long, too expensive, and requires too much planning. For many, playing in the Main Event is the pinnacle of live tournament poker but for the sake of this report, the Main Event isn’t something that people with responsibilities just hop on a plane for in order to test their luck. That said, the Main Event comes with the highest recommendation. Anytime you can clear your calendar and either satellite in or afford it without it being a strain on a life roll, this is the one to take a shot in. No applicable Warrior Head rating. CRAZY EIGHTS $888,888 first-place guarantee Buy-in: $888 (1 re-entry per flight) Duration: Up to 6 Days Starting Dates: Thursday, November 11- Sunday, November 14 Start Time: 12 noon Crazy Eights has been a staple on the live (and online) WSOP since 2016 when online sponsor 888poker had it added to the schedule. It’s always brought a lot of weekenders out because of the happy medium it strikes on being a fast-paced tournament with a big-time payout at the end for a mid-stakes price point. It’s also, in a way, the last hurrah for a massive multi-flight battle at a very affordable price point. Four starting flights, re-entry for each, will make for a hefty prize pool - one that climbed to over $8 million in 2019. In fact, all of the players at the final table that year turned their $888 into six-figure scores, so a nice ROI is waiting for those who make it to the final day. The only real downside, for those looking for longer levels, is how fast those Day 1’s play with 30-minute levels. But that allows them to start paying people at the end of the night and, should you go deep, hit a score, and bust before bagging…well you “go crazy” can hop in the next starting flight and try it all over again. Plus this one kicks off on a Thursday and has starting flights through Sunday, so there’s more flexibility on when you decide to enter. The CLOSER No guarantee Buy-in: $1,500 (1 re-entry per flight) Duration: up to 3 Days Starting Dates: Friday, November 19 & Saturday, November 20 Start Time: 11 AM There’s nothing wrong with The Closer. It’s fast-paced with 25,000 starting stack and 30-minute levels and a great way to close the series. But this is not recommended for a weekend warrior because - what were you waiting for all fall? The Rio is closing up shop, turning off the lights, and the electricity of the 2021 WSOP has been replaced with last-chance grinders looking for a tournament score to serve as a series saver. If you can avoid it, don’t make The Closer your only 2021 WSOP experience there are so many others that bring you excitement, value, and massive paydays for the winners. If this is the only time you can make it - fine. But if you are plotting and planning your getaway to Sin City to chase a bracelet you best scroll back up this page and choose another event. You want memories of a packed house and the real thrill of playing in the WSOP, not one where you roll up on the party just as the music has stopped and the stragglers are pouring into the street. Here's the exception: If you have to get one final tournament in before the Rio ceases to play host to the WSOP, this may be the play. The Closer is a fine tournament but, generally, one you hope you don’t find yourself in as the only one you play. World Series of Poker action kicks off on September 30.
  3. In back-to-back final tables, going wire-to-wire with the chip lead in both, Michael Addamo took down the finale of the 2021 Poker Masters, Event #12 ($100,000 NLH), for a career-high live score of $1,160,000 as well as the Purple Jacket and $50,000 leaderboard prize. Addamo somehow makes taking on some of the toughest competition in the world look easy. The Australian came in late to the series, played in just the final three events, and in 48 hours won two of them. He earned $1.84 million, was rewarded as the player of the series, and on this particular day, wrapped up the final table in a little under an hour. “It’s insane, I’m incredibly tired, I’m looking forward to getting some sleep,” Addamo said right after the win. “It’s been an amazing run and I’m grateful the cards turned my way I guess.” In the early action of the final table, Addamo continually leveraged his enormous chip lead to apply constant pressure on his opponents as Mikita Badziakouski, Alex Foxen, and Stanly Tang all had stacks of less than 15 big blinds and with significant pay jumps ahead. Twenty-five minutes in, with the blinds at 15,000/30,000 (30,000 bb ante), Addamo raised from the button to 265,000 holding the [poker card="jc"][poker card="ts"]. After Tang released his small blind, Badziakouski looked down at the [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] and called off the rest of his short stack. The [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"][poker card="2s"] kept Badziakouski in the lead but offered Addamo gutshot straight outs to go with his overcards. That’s exactly what came in with the [poker card="qc"] turn, giving Addamo a straight and leaving Badziakouski drawing dead to the [poker card="3s"] river. Badziakouski fell in fifth place and picked up a score of $203,000. The very next hand, Addamo was back at it. He raised to 420,000 from the cutoff holding [poker card="js"][poker card="9c"] and Tang, with exactly 420,000 in his stack, quickly pushed all-in on the button with his [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. Foxen and Nick Petrangelo folded in the blinds the two live hands were turned up, with Tang as a two-to-one favorite. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"][poker card="8d"] keeping Tang in the lead but bringing Addamo open-ended straight outs to go with his nine. Yet again, Addamo spiked the card he was looking for on the turn when [poker card="9h"] hit. Addamo picked up a pair and then it was Tang looking for help. The [poker card="6c"], however, was a brick, and Addamo sent Tang to the rail in fourth place for $319,000. With the elimination of Tang, Foxen laddered the pay scale for more than $200,000, but his stack continued to slip. Minutes later, it was the two-time GPI Player of the Year’s turn to get it in. And this time, it wasn’t Addamo who he was up against. From the small blind, Foxen shoved his final eight big blinds with the [poker card="kh"][poker card="4d"] and Petrangelo, in the big blind, quickly made the call with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="7d"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="2d"] put Foxen in jail, leaving him looking for runner-runner outs to a straight or trip fours. When the [poker card="9c"] hit the turn, it was all over. Foxen was already pushing his chips into Petrangelo’s stack when the [poker card="jd"] completed the board. Foxen grabbed his backpack and headed to the cashiers to collect his $464,000 third-place prize. Once Foxen was eliminated, the race for the Poker Masters Purple Jacket was over. Thanks to his victory in Event #11 and the prize money he’d secured in the finale, Addamo had a future date to be fitted for the Poker Masters trophy as well as claim the additional $50,000 that goes along with it. “I’m surprised it fits actually,” Addamo said as a break in the action allowed him to slip on the jacket for the first time. “It’s really amazing. I actually didn’t even there’d be a chance. I only came for three events. I didn’t know the points system would give me a chance, but yea, that’s amazing.” “It definitely gives me a lot of confidence, but I guess there’s also a lot of luck in these tournaments. A lot of the players are very strong players I respect a lot. I’m very fortunate the cards went my way as well.” But before any real celebrating could be done, Addamo and Petrangelo had a heads-up battle to finish. After a short break the two sat back down with Addamo having a four-to-one chip lead. Unlike some of the early final tables of the Poker Masters, where the heads-up portion took an extended time to complete, the finale was over in roughly 15 minutes. The blinds were still at 15,000/30,000 when Petrangelo raised to 70,000 with the [poker card="kc"][poker card="8d"] on the button and Addamo defended the big blind with the [poker card="7h"][poker card="3c"]. The flop came [poker card="7c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"] and Addamo checked it over to Petrangelo who bet 50,000. Addamo then check-raised to 165,000 and Petrangelo opted for a call. The turn was the [poker card="th"] and Addamo checked it to Petrangelo who made it 250,000 to go, leaving himself with roughly 15 bigs behind. Addamo made the call and the river came the [poker card="5c"]. Addamo checked it again and Petrangelo stuck the rest of his chips in the middle with his king-high. Addamo instantly looked uncomfortable, uttered an audible expletive, and went into the tank. “I know I’m supposed to fold but I don’t like it.” He tossed in a time extension and then, suddenly, tossed in a single chip and called for it all. Petrangelo finished up in second place, good for $754,000 while Michael Addamo won a career-high live cash of $1,160,000 and the aforementioned Poker Masters Purple Jacket. 2021 Poker Masters Event #12 Final Table Results Michael Addamo - $1,160,000 Nick Petrangelo - $754,000 Alex Foxen - $464,000 Stanley Tang - $319,000 Mikita Badziakouski - $203,000
  4. Niall Farrell, also known as 'Firaldo' online, is one of just nine players on the planet who have won poker's live 'Triple Crown'. With a World Poker Tour, Europen Poker Tour, and World Series of Poker victory to his name, the Scotsman is not only one of the most respected players in the poker community, he's also one of the most well-liked. Farrell achieved that lofty ambition four years ago by winning a WSOP bracelet. Since then, he has turned 30, become a father, and, so far, survived a global pandemic - all with his trademark grin in place. For any British player traveling to Las Vegas, the options for travel have been vast. From quarantining practices to making sure a double vaccination has been administered a clear fortnight before the first event they play. And that’s been only the start of it. But Farrell is heading to Las Vegas for this year's World Series of Poker, and like many others traveling from Europe, he has not found it without its logistical difficulties. “There are three options, but I’ll probably end up going via Mexico,” he laughs. “I’m looking forward to it. We could all do without all the other things we need to do [to get there], but needs must, I guess!” Those ‘other things’ include the necessity for players to receive both doses of the COVID vaccine before entering the Rio after a 14-day period where the vaccine has fully worked. Farrell is "pro-vaccine", but perhaps not for the reasons you might think. “I don’t think it’s a question of whether you agree with it or not. I don’t think the World Series is doing it for the greater good of humanity, I think they’re doing it for liability reasons as a business," he said. "It’s the same as if they said every time you play at the Rio, you must pay $20 to come in. It’s not like they’re a health board and they’re trying to bring the numbers down in Nevada. It’s their policy. If you want to go, you’ve got to do it.” Farrell’s positive nature about the vaccine is down to his belief that scientists are doing what is right for people, not just players. “I’m pro-vaccine,” he says. “Generally, in spots like this, I just trust people who are a lot smarter than me to figure out the best things to do, then do it. I understand some people have their misgivings.” The Scottish pro, who has over $6.2 million in live tournament winnings alone, admits that after not playing as much since becoming a father, he might have skipped this autumn’s WSOP. After no live series in 2020, however, it’s a must for someone who plans a WSOP schedule every year. “I look at how many buy-ins I can play, and the World Series is one of the softest things you’ll play all year. It’s one of the biggest money-earners you’ll have all year. You can’t really miss it. I’ll be out there full time and I’m going to play everything $25k and down. If I have a really good summer, I’ll play some of the higher stuff.” Farrell doesn’t perceive the lack of players who have refused the vaccine as having a huge effect, with the WSOP on target to pull in massive numbers in his opinion. It’s a big change from the first time he played it over a decade ago. “I was just starting out as a ‘professional’,” Farrell recalls. “I only played six bracelet events, they were $1,000 and $1,500 entries only and I was grinding the $600 tournaments." Farrell stayed in a house rented by his backer, and with his poker-playing friends. It was a time of hunger in more ways than one. “We were all pretty skint at this point so, weirdly, my strongest memory from my first trip to Vegas was finally being allowed to play 'The Big 33' on Full Tilt and winning it the first time I played! It’s changed a lot now. Back then, it was a shot to take, now it’s more like a grind where you’re going to play pretty much everything and try to make a good chunk of your money for the year.” The recent influx of Pennsylvanian events and other smaller-field bracelet events has taken away some of the prestige for a player who admits to being legacy-oriented. “I think it has diluted it,” he tells us. “Joe Cada has won two bracelets; one was the Main Event and one was another for absolute bombs. If some other guy says ‘Oh yeah, I’ve won two bracelets’ and one was a 38-runner on WSOP PA and the other was a hyper-turbo flip on GGPoker, obviously I’m saying ‘Joe’s count and yours don’t really mate.’” One of Farrell’s proudest achievements is the WSOP bracelet he won in 2017 that sealed his Triple Crown. It had a final table with players such as Ryan Riess, Claas Segebrecht, Ole Schemion, Antoine Saout, Sylvain Loosli, and Benjamin Pollack, who Farrell toppled heads-up. Farrell admits that his American friends wind him up about his bracelet not having been won on U.S. soil. “My response to them is always ‘This is how you decide if a bracelet event counts: Was Philip Hellmuth Junior in the field?’ And for mine, he was, so it counts. I was the worst player at the table - that has to count for something!” Farrell only traveled to Rozvadov on that occasion because of the chance that he could win the Triple Crown - and because friend and fellow pro Sam Grafton persuaded him to play it. A happy blend of serendipity and skill led to success. Now, heading back to Sin City, Farrell believes that an early win could help kickstart a successful series. “It’s obviously nice if you instantly win something and you know you’ve got a winning trip. You know that regardless of what happens the rest of the summer you’ve made some money. Maybe it affects how you play subconsciously; it’s a relief to know that you’ve locked up a winning summer and you can start making arrangements to change your dollars.” This autumn will, of course, be the final time that the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino hosts the World Series of Poker and Farrell will miss it. “As much as we bitch about the Rio, I’ve been going there for a decade, so it will be a little bit sad in a way. Also, one of my favorite Irish bars is going to be in walking distance from Bally’s next year when I bust, so that can’t be good. Having to go on the Strip is not ideal.” The WSOP Main Event is the one tournament everyone wants to win and Farrell is no different, having played in it nine of the last 10 years. “It’s the biggest event of the year and although I’ve not personally been super lucky - I got 150th in 2012, my friends have done really well in it, Pius [Heinz] won it and Daniel Strelitz should have won it but punted it off like the little idiot he is.” It’s clear that Farrell loves everything about the WSOP Main Event. Declaring it the ‘greatest tournament in the world’, the freezeout element of the $10,000 buy-in event is its biggest plus. “The playing field couldn’t be any more level. It’s you against the world. It’s the tournament I look forward to most every year, and the event you’re saddest to bust. You always have the post-Main Event bender in Vegas which is a bit rough, but it’s a phenomenal tournament.” Farrell admits to being "on and off a wee bit" when it comes to putting in the practice and has steered clear of higher-stakes games in recent weeks. He has plans to ramp up the action post-WSOP however...whatever the outcome of his epic journey to Sin City. “I’ve played a little bit to keep some semblance of sharpness about me. When I get back from Vegas, I’m going to throw myself back into it a bit.” The Triple Crown winner is going to hit Vegas hard and that might mean a lot more time at the felt than in years gone by. The Scottish poker legend’s appetite for a Vegas bracelet is larger than ever, and perhaps the World Series will benefit from the energy that the Scotsman's presence will undoubtedly provide.
  5. Celebrities have floated in and out of the poker world with regularity. Maybe it’s a passing fad, maybe there’s a promotional opportunity, but over the years there have been plenty of high-profile personalities who have enjoyed a brief stay in the poker spotlight and, inevitably, moved on. Norm MacDonald was not one of them. Norm MacDonald was a poker player. That’s why the unexpected news of his passing after a prolonged battle with cancer felt like such a gut punch to the poker community. Certainly, MacDonald will be remembered for his comedic gifts, his grinder mentality when it came to performing stand-up live, and, of course, his years as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and as the anchor for Weekend Update. The world will remember him, rightly and fondly, for all those things. But for many in poker, MacDonald will also be remembered as an avid fan of the game, and certainly the funniest man on the felt. It felt like that in 2019 at the PokerStars PSPC. MacDonald was flown down for an exclusive show for PSPC players. Perhaps it was just a performance, but he seemed genuinely thrilled to be in front of a packed house of poker players. His delivery was as crisp as ever and his material was geared specifically for this crowd, his poker audience. It was undoubtedly a special night for all who attended. The guy on stage crushing was the same guy busting a Sit & Go just hours earlier. [caption id="attachment_636243" align="aligncenter" width="1500"] Norm MacDonald playing a Sit & Go with a few friends at the PSPC.[/caption] So here’s to celebrating Norm MacDonald one of the funniest comedians of his generation and a fantastic ambassador for the game of poker.
  6. Shaun Deeb is known as a master of mixed games. He’s won four World Series of Poker bracelets, each of them in a different variant. His first was in Pot Limit Hold’em, his next came in Seven Card Stud. In 2018, when he won WSOP player of the year, he took home two titles - one in PLO and another in No Limit Hold’em. It doesn’t matter the game, Deeb loves it: 5-Card Draw, Triple Stud, H.O.R.S.E… …"Contra." "Contra." Not a poker variant, but the popular run-and-gun shooter first produced by Konami in the late 80’s during the quarter arcade boom. The game was an early success but really took off in popularity when it was then brought over to Nintendo Entertainment Systems in 1988. For Deeb, playing "Contra" on his NES eventually became one of his early video game go-to's and helped open him up to the world of gaming. “I always loved video games,” Deeb said. “When ‘Fortnite’ got big there was a whole poker contingency [that played]. We had a group, about 10-15 guys from poker - a couple who had never played video games - we got on every morning, it was fun. Bunch of shit talking, played props and stuff…I mean, I love gambling and video games, it’s a great combination for me.” Enter Nelson Laffey, careerist collector of all things “nerdy” from video games to "Magic the Gathering" to "Pokémon" cards. Deeb and Laffey first met while playing poker in New York. They quickly bonded and discovered that they have more in common than just poker. Deeb heaps praise on the “really, really sharp” Laffey calling him “pretty much the most knowledgable guy” in the collectibles sector. [caption id="attachment_636114" align="aligncenter" width="618"] World Series of Poker 2018 Player of the Year Shaun Deeb.[/caption] “I just happened to run into him at a casino, he’d just gotten into poker and we became friends right away. Now, we hang out all the time and he’s one of my closest friends,” Deeb said. “He has always been big into Magic [the Gathering] and Pokémon and stuff and he approached me a couple of years ago. He said ‘hey listen, I’m buying these games, you should give me some cash, we should be partners, and I’m going to buy us a bunch of stuff.’” That “bunch of stuff” turned out to be vintage, factory-sealed video games. Convinced, Deeb cut Laffey a proverbial check, and off Laffey went, determined to succeed in his quest. They scooped up all the titles they could find that kids from the ’80s and '90s obsessed over: “Final Fantasy”, “Double Dragon”, “Deja Vu”, “Street Fighter II” and, of course, “Contra.” In total, according to Deeb, the investment brought in roughly 100 pieces. But the crowning piece, that title that brings their whole collection together, is a top-graded, third-print copy of the Nintendo classic “The Legend of Zelda.” “It is arguably my favorite piece in my collection,” Laffey said. “It’s arguably going to be - if not is - the most coveted piece throughout the entire lot. I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody that says I don’t like ‘Zelda.’” Laffey’s suspicions are easily confirmed. A recent post on TMZ.com shows that a factory-sealed copy of “The Legend of Zelda”, donated to Goodwill in Connecticut (very similar to the graded copy in Deeb and Laffey’s collection), recently sold for a record $411,278. Deeb explains that after building up the collection over the past few years, a message from end boss Cliff Josephy connected him with Ken Goldin. Goldin, a former online grinder and PocketFiver who played under the name ‘isuck123’, is the founder of Goldin Auctions, an online auction house specifically tailored for collectibles, sports cards, and memorabilia. Goldin says that the red hot video game collectibles market which has “really popped in the last 12 months” is a product of when a portion of “hundreds of millions of video game players became nostalgic...it set up a new collectibles market.” Titles like “The Legend of Zelda” along with “Pokémon”, “Super Mario Bros.” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” are currently sitting at the top of the heap for investors. A look at Goldin Auctions sees a top-graded copy of “Zelda” currently sitting with a bid of $75,000 - with roughly two weeks left to bid. [caption id="attachment_636109" align="alignleft" width="279"] In April 2021, a factory-sealed edition of "Super Mario Bros." sold at auction for $660,000.[/caption] An early edition, factory-sealed copy of the original “Super Mario Bros.” for NES has a bid of $400,000, while a near-pristine copy of “Sonic the Hedgehog” is sitting with a bid of $120,000. Deeb and Laffey’s lot is being sold as individual pieces, some this month (September 18 is the final chance to bid) and others in November, to allow investors and collectors to pick and choose what they’d like to add to their own collection. Deeb is excited to see what the collection fetches, however, investing in video games has become more than just a transaction for him. He’s discovered an investment of passion, one that connects him to his childhood and something he plans on continuing to pursue. “I love the games, it sucks to get rid of them but I know that the market’s really hot and so we’re going to unload our games and try to buy more. We’re trying to make a profit, but we love the games. I remember as a kid playing Contra and my wife used to play Zelda so it’s been really cool to have them in our collection.” Deeb enjoys video games, and clearly enjoys gaming in general but when it comes to what’s next for the investment, he insists that will be his partner’s call. “It’s a booming industry and with so much inflation going on, I’m so happy that I had part of my net worth tied into these games. And, you know, if we make money that’s cool. If we lose a little, no big deal…,” he said. “But I think we’re going to make a lot of money.”
  7. The 2021 World Series of Poker is less than a month away and while there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the return of one of live poker’s premier events, there are also plenty of questions that hang in the air. Specifically, questions surrounding COVID, the Delta variant, vaccinations, and the health and safety of both players and staff. Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, as well as his staff, have been working on preparing the series for the unique challenges that will likely come with holding a major poker event in the current COVID climate as well as updating policies as real-time changes occur. Stewart made himself available to answer some questions, above and beyond what’s stated on the WSOP’s website, regarding the WSOP’s policy decisions and plans moving forward - including, that in light of Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 050 - masks will no longer be required for players while seated at the table. - The topic of vaccinations is a touchy one, can you talk a little about why the WSOP opted for a vaccine mandate? Stewart: For the WSOP, it’s not about politics. It’s not about claiming to be experts in science. It’s about protecting the integrity of the tournament competition. Whatever your sentiments on COVID-19 vaccination, whatever personal choice you make, the CDC has clear guidelines on the impact of that choice. If you’re fully vaccinated, you may generally go on with your daily life following a COVID-19 exposure, unless you exhibit symptoms. If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’re required to go home and quarantine and your activities will be interrupted. As a Nevada Gaming licensee, we strive to fully follow the applicable CDC guidelines. The current CDC guidance is clear there should be an incubation period after exposure before testing. Following that guidance, there were no viable alternatives to keep unvaccinated players chips in a tournament once we became aware they were a close contact. Those unvaccinated players would be required to leave our premises to quarantine. We didn’t feel it was right to withhold information about very real scenarios leading to disqualification should players remain unvaccinated. We saw the outrage when we published Rule 115 and knew we needed to go further. With that in mind, amidst a rising number of cases and the Delta variant we saw only two viable options: Cancel the WSOP outright again, or have a full vaccination mandate which under current CDC guidelines generally removes contact tracing and the need to disqualify any player for close contact so long as they remain asymptomatic. With a fully vaccinated field, we hope the number of interruptions to the tournaments are very minimal.   Can you talk about the Close Contact Rule and what that could mean for players? Stewart: A close contact is anyone having been within six feet for a period of 15 minutes or more within the past 24 hours of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. As you might imagine, in large poker tournaments with thousands of entrants, as tables break and consolidate, it would not be uncommon for a single player to have close contact with 100 or more players in a given session. If unvaccinated players come into contact with any person who tested positive for COVID-19, they must leave the premises to quarantine. This is what unvaccinated players should know and understand before they sit down to play at any casino in Nevada. This is not a World Series of Poker issue. We’re all following CDC guidelines, which for the unvaccinated is a serious gamble in a multi-day poker tournament.   You say it would be a serious gamble for the unvaccinated, what could have happened? Stewart: This could have been a very real scenario. A final table is set for 2 pm shooting on CBS. But at 9 am in the morning, we get a call from the chip leader, who is unvaccinated, telling us he felt fine but has tested positive. Can he still play? Or can we have everyone stay and move the taping of the event to a week later? Or will he get ICM? After we have the knowledge of the positive COVID-19 case, we would have to go to everyone who was a close contact at the final table and break their hearts. Those of you who are vaccinated, can stay and play as long as you’re asymptomatic. Those of you who are not, we’ll blind off your chips and you can pick up your prize money, if any, when the tournament is finished, but come back after you’ve completed the appropriate quarantine and/or testing recommended by the CDC. You can imagine how many will want to leave voluntarily. But it’s not just the final table. Any other unvaccinated player who was determined to be a close contact of the person who tested positive and has now entered new events will also need to be disqualified to quarantine. It just becomes untenable. You can imagine in the Main Event, with its extended duration and large field size. Just a handful of positive cases amongst a field of thousands could completely destroy the integrity of the tournament should the unvaccinated players be exposed to any person who tests positive for COVID-19. That’s why we felt it important to have tournament fields that would avoid those situations.   So from your point of view, this is about both following guidelines and tournament integrity? Stewart: That’s the thing that’s gutted me the past two weeks - poker players thinking we’re choosing sides or somehow trying to penalize them for making a personal choice. Or that we have the power to dictate medical policy. We’re following the same CDC guidelines as everyone else. We’re just the first ones to call it out in poker. We all can read the sports pages, in the NFL Carson Wentz had a close exposure to a team staffer and was out for five days on the COVID list until he could return following a negative test. The NBA just came out and said any of their unvaccinated players will be out for seven days following an exposure. In those leagues, the players are also paid. Here, our customers pay for their travel and post their buy-ins. Given the scale of our event, we felt strongly it was the most responsible decision to make to avoid asking unvaccinated players to completely gamble with their tournament life.   Why aren’t you requiring staff to be vaccinated? Stewart: We’re doing all we can to encourage and incentivize our staffers to become vaccinated. Much of the staff will be existing Caesars employees subject to its policies, which include comprehensive health screening already. Our dealers, even those fully vaccinated, will wear masks at the tables. As I said earlier, the primary reason for the vaccination requirement is to eliminate the prospect of disqualifying an unvaccinated player through contact tracing. Because you must be fully vaccinated to participate in the 2021 WSOP, under current CDC guidelines, an exposure to COVID-19 will not force you into disqualification so long as you remain asymptomatic.   Earlier today you announced that in accordance with Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 050, no masks will be required at the table? Stewart: Yes, it’s true. Given all participants are required to be fully vaccinated, they will be able to remove their masks while seated at a poker table during a WSOP event in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Convention Center for our “poker convention.” As permitted under Governor Sisolak’s Directive 050 announced on September 2, we are moving forward with this masking exception option. Such directives are always subject to change, but that’s a very positive development for the 2021 WSOP. Of course, masks are permitted at the poker tables should a player feel more comfortable using one this fall, but it appears we’ll be the only live poker played in Las Vegas where you can see a poker face.   Finally, just for clarity, this means that masks are optional while seated at the table. Are masks required in the convention area when you stand up, say to take a break, or use the restroom? Stewart: Correct, masks are optional while seated at the poker tables, but masks are used in all other areas of the building as we are currently under a mask mandate. - The 2021 World Series of Poker begins September 30 and runs through November 23. For additional information on registration, as well as the event’s current COVID-19 policy, visit their website at WSOP.com.
  8. Well, 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth didn’t get to the top of the heap by giving up, and apparently, he’s not going to start now. Hellmuth announced over the weekend that he was going to ignore our well-intentioned advice and challenge Tom Dwan to a rematch in High Stakes Duel. The decision sets up High Stakes Duel III Round 3, where this time both players will pony up $200,000 for a seat at the table. When you rattle off seven wins in a row, it’s understandable that you can bend the rules a little. Originally, when past players have been ousted in the Duel, they have traditionally had 72-hours to decide if they will call for a rematch (provided they haven’t been beaten three times in a row). For “The Poker Brat” it appears that PokerGO gave him a little more time to figure out his next move. Dwan originally dethroned Hellmuth in a five-and-a-half-hour battle back on August 26 and now, eight days later, just when you thought he was out…Hellmuth pulls you back in. It’s too early to know the details of exactly when Dwan and Hellmuth will face off again but it will for sure take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas and when it does, for anyone who follows poker, there will simply be no escaping knowing about it. And why not run it back? Sure, some poker pundits may have predicted that Hellmuth would bow out but that doesn’t mean that seeing these two go at it again isn’t great for poker. There are simply too many unanswered questions that need to be resolved: How will Hellmuth handle entering the arena as the challenger as opposed to the champion? What adjustments might each player make with their experience in the first match? What memes will be created around whatever foods Hellmuth devours tableside? This is what makes this show fun. The stakes are higher with the buy-in doubled to $200,000 (a level Hellmuth hit with both Esfandiari and Negreanu) but arguably so is the entertainment value. And everyone involved seems to know that. So, with the High Stakes Poker belt back up for grabs, prepare yourself for a second helping of Dwan vs. Hellmuth - coming soon (presumably).
  9. It was late in London. The early morning actually, and Erik Seidel, one of poker’s most iconic figures, was back on the grind. Already in the United Kingdom to celebrate his youngest daughter’s wedding, the poker legend decided to extend his stay in the UK’s capital to take care of some business. Specifically, the business of high-stakes poker. And at this moment, his deep run in GGPoker WSOP Online Event #11 ($10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller) was taking him back to the beginning of his career. “I haven’t stayed up that late for poker since I was in my 20’s,” Seidel said, referring to the overnight hours of Day 1 of the gold bracelet event. “London isn’t ideal for me because I’m a morning person and Day One lasted ’til the next morning.” Even casual fans are familiar with Seidel’s impact on poker and his history that took him from the early days of Mayfair Club in New York to the Poker Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. His career has spanned 40 years and in that time he’s earned nearly $38 million in recorded live earnings. He’s a World Poker Tour champion and, prior to the online high roller he was playing in, had previously won eight WSOP bracelets, making him one of the most prolific players in WSOP history. Seidel didn’t know it at the time but after that sleepless night, he was just days away from adding to his legacy with WSOP bracelet #9. For a player who has experienced just about everything there is to experience in the game of poker, Seidel admits he still feels “out of [his] element online”, making his victory one of the most unique moments of his career. [caption id="attachment_636078" align="alignleft" width="300"] Seidel's online winning moment.[/caption] “I’m just never that comfortable online,” he said. “I like it, it’s nice to be able to play a tourney in bed, but I make mistakes. I had two misclicks at the final table. It’s easier for me to get distracted and there’s always that concern that I’ll lose connection.” In fact, he did lose connection at one point while playing in his hotel on spotty Wi-Fi. But, obviously, the man they call Seiborg recovered nicely. He navigated his way through the field of 624 entries, made the final table, and bested a final nine that included Rui Ferreira, Isaac Baron, Thomas Muehloecker, and eventual runner-up, Francisco Benitez. When it was all over, Seidel won more than $977,000 and made WSOP history. He earned that ninth bracelet and moved into a tie with poker legend Johnny Moss for fifth (third-most) in all-time WSOP bracelets. “Winning any WSOP event is special,” Seidel said when asked where his online bracelet ranks. “This one was extra great for me because it was so unexpected. Getting through 600+ players and then the prize was close to one million, which I think is my biggest WSOP cash, felt really amazing. Might be my favorite.” [caption id="attachment_636079" align="alignright" width="219"] 2007 WSOP victory in NL 2-7 Lowball for bracelet #8.[/caption] That said, as special as winning another bracelet is for him, 14 years after winning #8, Seidel hasn’t been consumed with the bracelet chase as, perhaps, some other pre-poker boom prominent players. “I can’t say I really get caught up in bracelet fever,” he said. “My focus has been much more on higher buy-in No Limit events. If you really want to rack up bracelets, you’ve got to play the high buy-in limit events at the WSOP, the No Limit fields are way too big. I play a limited amount of events at the WSOP, and I love playing them, but I’m not trying to maximize my chances by playing every event.” It would be tough for anyone to not want to push if given the chance to break into double-digit bracelets. It’s well-known that there are currently only four players with 10 or more. Phil Hellmuth is the all-time leader with 15. And then, tied for second, all with 10, are Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey - a club that’s hasn’t admitted a new member since 2014. Now, Seidel is knocking on the door. At 61, he says he has no intentions of slowing down and has set his sights on playing a healthy schedule at this year’s WSOP. “I love playing, I hope I can continue competing for a while. I expect to play 20-something events at the WSOP although I’m really disappointed in the WSOP schedule this year, the big NL events that I’d love to play in are all very close to Thanksgiving. I’ll have to see if I can play them.”
  10. High-stakes online professional Wiktor ‘Limitless’ Malinowski captured a resume-topping live score after taking down the Super High Roller Bowl Europe $250,000 Main Event for his first SHRB ring and the $3,690,000 first-place prize. The quarter-million-dollar tournament attracted an elite field of 41 entries and created a prize pool of more than $10.2 million. Poker superstars including Phil Ivey, Michael Addamo, Bryn Kenney, and Ali Imsirovic all made their way to Merit Royal Hotel & Casino in Cyprus to take their shot at a seven-figure score but it was Poland’s Malinowski who topped them all. In the end, ‘Limitless’ was able to lean on his expertise in heads-up play in what turned out to be a lengthy heads-up match against Malaysian tournament specialist Ivan Leow in order to win his career-best cash. It didn’t take long for the first player to fall. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000 (50,000 ante) Viacheslav Buldygin, who started the day with just eight big blinds, was all the way down to fewer than two big blinds. Holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="2s"], he called the 50,000 big blind, leaving himself just 40,000. Right behind him, Leow also called holding [poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"] and Ruan Zhuang checked his big blind option with [poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"]. The three players saw a flop of [poker card="qh"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3d"]. It checked through to Leow who put in a bet of 90,000. Zhuang quickly folded and Buldygin committed the rest of his chips. The turn came the [poker card="2h"] giving Buldygin some additional outs, however, the [poker card="6s"] river was not one of them and the Russian exited in sixth place for $512,500. It was an up and down day for David Peters who, early at the final table found a critical double up and then, not long after provided a double-up of his own to Leow when Leow’s [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"] flopped a set on Peters’ [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"]. With just ten big blinds left, Peters moved all-in from under the gun holding [poker card="4s"][poker card="4c"]. Right behind him, Leow leveraged some of those chips he took off Peters and made the call with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="9h"]. The rest of the table got out of the way and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"][poker card="tc"], keeping Peters ahead. The [poker card="9d"] turn gave Leow a pair and left Peters looking for one of the final fours in the deck. The river came the [poker card="jc"] and Peters headed for the exit to collect his $820,000 fifth-place prize as Leow took over the chip lead. It was just ten minutes later when Malinowski picked up [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"] and put in a raise to 125,000. It folded to Timothy Adams who, in the big blind with [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"], moved all-in for his final 25 big blinds. Malinowski snap-called putting Adams at risk. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="qc"][poker card="4c"] flop brought open-ended straight outs for Adams but kept Malinowski as a three-to-one favorite. The [poker card="3d"] turn changed nothing and when the [poker card="6h"] hit the river, Adams was eliminated in fourth place for $1,127,500. With three left, Malinowski and Leow were nearly even in chips with Zhuang looking up with just over 15 big blinds. After the first break, on the first hand of 30,000/60,000 (60,000 ante), Zhuang raised to 120,000 holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="ac"]. Leow made the call, defending his big blind with [poker card="8c"][poker card="7s"]. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4h"] and when Leow checked it over to Zhuang put out a bet of 200,000, which Leow quickly called. The turn came the [poker card="9d"], keeping Zhuang ahead but offering Leow additional outs to a gutshot straight. Leow checked again, and with a little more than a pot-sized bet left, Zhuang moved all-in for 755,000. This time, Leow took his time and got a complete count. Deep in the tank, he used multiple time bank extensions before eventually making the call. With only nine outs in the deck, the river came the [poker card="tc"], giving Leow the straight and cracking the aces of Zhuang. Zhuang fell in third place and picked up a career-high score of $1,640,000. As heads-up play got underway, Leow held a 15 big blind chip lead over Malinowski. However, it only took one hand for Malinowski to bring the chip stacks to even. After that, the grind began. Malinowski and Leow embarked on a heads-up battle that lasted over five hours with grabbing and losing momentum and the chip lead being passed back and forth. The early hours of heads up belonged to Malinowski and eventually, Leow clawed his way back to the chip lead. As the blinds increased to 100,000/200,000 (200,000 ante) the stacks were within four big blinds of each other when the penultimate hand of the match had the biggest swing of the tournament. Malinowski raised to 400,000 holding [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] and, with the larger stack, Leow moved all-in with his [poker card="ad"][poker card="4h"]. Malinowski call, putting himself at risk. Both players stood and watched as the flop came [poker card="8c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="5d"] keeping Malinowski ahead but offering Leow some extra outs. The turn was the [poker card="8h"], bringing some additional chop outs. But the river was the [poker card="9s"] and Malinowski picked up the biggest pot of the tournament, leaving Leow’s stack crippled to just three big blinds. It was all over the next hand when Malinowski moved all-in holding [poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] and Leow stuck it in as well with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="4c"]. The flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5d"], but it was the [poker card="8s"] turn that paired Malinowski and there was no help for Leow with the [poker card="4h"] river. After a hard-fought heads-up match, Leow took home $2,460,000 as the runner-up and Wiktor ‘Limitless’ Malinowski captured his first Super High Roller Bowl Main Event ring and the $3,690,000 first-place prize, far and away a career-high live score. Super High Roller Bowl Europe Main Event Final Table Results Wiktor Malinowski - $3,690,000 Ivan Leow - $2,460,000 Ruan Zhuang - $1,640,000 Timothy Adams - $1,127,500 David Peters - $820,000 Viacheslav Buldygin - $512,500
  11. “What he has now is real problems,” Ali Nejad said as he called the action on PokerGO's High Stakes Duel III. “Dwan binks the nine on the turn, a demoralizing development…and now, Hellmuth has twelve outs, or the streak is over.” The river was a brick for the defending champion and as soon as Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan rose from their seats to share a friendly handshake in the center of the frame, the headlines were already being written: Tom Dwan Dethrones Phil Hellmuth in Round 2 of High Stakes Duel III The entertaining five-and-a-half-hour match gave fans just about everything they could have wanted. There was Dwan back in the poker spotlight, public closure over the duo’s famous 2008 feud, and, of course, peak Hellmuth - jovial and steaming, cursing and eating. (Oh, the eating!) That’s a big part of what makes High Stakes Duel work. Of course, for die-hard fans, the poker is critical. But, for many, it’s the dynamics between the players that make HSD good TV. And sure, by the end of the broadcast the big question of "who will win?" is always answered, but the show is more than just a point tally on a scoreboard. Emerging from this match were plenty of other storylines that were fun to see play out and could also play a big part in the future of the show. That was ‘Durrrr’, this is Dwan. You know the story: Dr. Bruce Banner infused himself with high doses of gamma rays while in the lab altering his DNA so when he becomes angry he transforms into…the Incredible Hulk! Banner is always trying to control his temper, but when the rage comes out the Hulk gets loose, and he destroys everything in his path. Perhaps Tom Dwan is a little like Dr. Banner. In the late 2000s, at the height of the online poker boom, Dwan exposed himself high doses of understanding ranges (before most people understood ranges) while “in the lab” and when he appeared on TV he transformed into “Durrrr”, the incredible online wunderkind who destroyed every bankroll in his path. That was then. His amazing, creative style of play is what Dwan built his reputation on. It's why still today fans are attracted to watching him play, despite him spending the better part of a decade grinding private ultra-stakes behind closed doors. But this is now: “The thing about high stakes poker back then was…a lot of people were missing some pretty core concepts and it gave me a lot of flexibility,” he said on PokerGO’s HSD “Weigh-In” show. “I just played this WPT show a week ago and I couldn’t really get that out of line, everyone’s studied No Limit a ton. I had a lot more options ten years ago.” That showed during his High Stakes Duel with Hellmuth as Dwan played a measured game, never really getting out of line, never really putting Hellmuth to the test with a less than adequate hand. Instead, he settled into the match, taking it seriously (when many thought he wouldn’t), and let the match come to him. Additionally, Dwan had an answer to Hellmuth's antics. Nothing. Whereas all of Hellmuth's previous opponents had a tendency to jaw back-and-forth with "The Poker Brat", Dwan never flinched. He never seemed compelled to answer back. Instead, Dwan kept his cool rather than responding with taunts like he did in his 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship. He soldiered on, a wry smirk or left-looking glance here or there, but in general, he simply took care of business. Certainly, ‘Durrrr’ will emerge at some point in the future, but right now Tom Dwan looked like he was in complete control. Did Hellmuth actually...win? No doubt about it, the streak is over. Hellmuth’s reign as the undisputed king of High Stakes Duel has come to an end. But, honestly, is that a bad thing for Hellmuth? At the time of this writing, Hellmuth has yet to accept a rematch against Dwan and, if he doesn’t, who can blame him? He can credibly claim he has nothing left to prove in the format. He bested Antonio Esfandiari three times. He came back from a 19:1 deficit against Daniel Negreanu and ended up sweeping him in three straight. Finally, he played an experienced amateur in Nick Wright (something Dwan called him one of the best at) and took care of business. Plus, every sponsor of Hellmuth - from energy drinks to altcoins - must be happy with the amount of exposure he’s given them (far more than 24 total hours of screen time) on this show. Whenever the opportunity presented itself Hellmuth (is “shilling” too harsh a word?) took the opportunity to promote those who support him. A loss to Dwan marks the perfect time to exit stage left. Hellmuth, almost notoriously, is averse to stakes that climb too high. Yes, he played the 2012 Big One For One Drop with its $1 million buy-in, but for a player who sometimes has extended stays at the Aria Resort & Casino he’s notably absent in the regularly running $10Ks that take place in the Aria poker room. When it comes to bankroll management and game selection, super high-stakes tournaments are not traditionally where Hellmuth has found his success. So with the next High Stakes Duel, should PokerGO continue down the road they have established, be Round 3 would have a buy-in of $200,000. Win or lose, Hellmuth’s next option would be a $400,000 match. If Hellmuth were to win, he would be forced to defend a title at $400,000 and, in order to walk away, play and win a Round 5 that comes with a $800,000 price tag - legitimately making it among the biggest buy-in tournaments of all time. Losing to Dwan makes it the perfect time for Hellmuth to step aside under the notion that all his focus needs to be on his first love - the World Series of Poker. No one would blame Hellmuth for saving all his #WhiteMagic for chasing bracelet #16. Plus, by saving a $200K buy-in, Hellmuth could play just about every event on the WSOP schedule if he wanted to (provided he can pull himself away from his new bestie Mr. Beast.) All in all, a Round 2 loss to Dwan could end up being an easy exit and the real win for Hellmuth. Will PokerGO push Dwan (and the show) into deep waters? “If no one challenges a winner within 30 days of the previous match, that last winner declares victory.” The original High Stakes Duel rules have the stakes doubling through Round 8 “resulting in a potential prize pool of $12,800,000” and a player needing to win three straight matches before Round Six (or two in a row from Round Five) in order to cash out and win. If that stays true (it’s a TV show so producers can change the rules at will), there could be some incredibly high stakes to fight for in the next few months. As mentioned earlier, Dwan would play again at $200,000 and whoever wins that would need to battle at twice that with only Dwan having the potential to walk away with a victory and an $800,000 prize pool. That seems to be the minimum. So, all eyes will be on how far can the show go and how big is the player pool to help them get there. By the time Round 4 takes place, a $400,000 buy-in is bigger than PokerGO’s marquee event, the Super High Roller Bowl and it’s unlikely that there’s a massive player pool willing to play at those stakes in such a shallow format. Phil Ivey is a natural fit, and fans would love to see it. A rehashing of the “Durrrr Challenge” debate could take place if Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates were to answer the call. Maybe it would be a nosebleed tournament pro like Justin Bonomo, Dan Smith, Andrew Robl or All-Time Money List leader Bryn Kenney. As the rounds go higher, would the wealthiest of businessmen in the poker space need to courted? Players like Paul Phua, Rick Solomon, or perhaps even PokerGO founder Cary Katz himself. This is what is on the horizon for the show itself. It looks like either the initial premise is about to pay off on the promise of astronomical heads-up stakes or a hard reset is right around the corner with two new combatants creating new storylines (in anticipation of a Phil Hellmuth return.) More on the conversation on High Stakes Duel can be heard on The FIVES Poker Podcast below:
  12. FIVE THINGS is a column, written by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley that covers pressing topics and current events in the poker world today. This is the final edition. It appeared periodically at PocketFives.com. As you might have heard on this week's episode of The Fives or read on Twitter, I am leaving PocketFives after a six-year run as President and Editor in Chief. One of the things I was challenged with when I was first hired was to improve the quality of the content on the site and I'd like to believe that I accomplished that with the help of some of the amazing writers that worked for me during that span. In my final edition of Five Things, I wanted to share some of the stories that I wrote over the last six years that I'm most proud of. #5 - The World Series of Poker Christmas Gift On Christmas Day 2017, Jeremy Hilsercop was given a World Series of Poker entry as a Christmas gift by his wife, Randi. The video she posted of the unboxing went all kinds of viral. Talking to the Hilsercop's after the video was shared around the world and everything that happened after that was definitely a fun way to spend the day after Christmas. Read: Lifelong Poker Fan Goes Viral on Christmas Day, Now Headed to PSPC #4 - A Profile of Strength in Action A number of poker players have been kind enough to open up and share very personal stories with me. Probably none moreso than Sheddy Siddiqui. A Florida grinder, Siddiqui suffered an unimaginable loss when his wife, Cathy died suddenly at 39 years old thrusting Sheddy into the intersection of life as a single father to two young boys and a professional poker while still dealing with his own grief. Read: Resilience Defined: Sheddy Siddiqui Raising His Two Boys #ForCathy #3 - The WSOP Goldmine Covering the WSOP every year provides plenty of opportunities to find good stories. I've been fortunate over the years to tell the stories of people that might not have tracked otherwise. They range from a kindergarten teacher playing for life-changing money, a blind man and his friend, a father-son story from the Main Event, and a Main Event final tablist surrounding himself with good people on his way to the final table. Read: WSOP: The Kindergarten Teacher Who Might Become a Millionaire (2016) Read: WSOP: Legally Blind, Steven Iglesias Tests Himself in $10K Six Max (2017) Read: WSOP: Bryan Piccioli Thriving Through Tragedy with Main Event Run (2017) Read: WSOP: Tony Miles Had a Feeling, So He Called in Reinforcements (2018) #2 - An Amazing Display of Friendship on Poker's Biggest Stage The 2016 World Series of Poker had 6,737 entrants, but the one story that stood out the most for me was about just two of them. Bob Brundige and Charlie Weis were friends and co-workers, and when Bob was diagnosed with a cancer that could end his life, Charlie went to work making sure his friend got to cross one big item off of his bucket list - playing the WSOP Main Event. This piece is one of the most read articles in PocketFives history and won the 2016 American Poker Awards for Media Content of the Year. Read: Bob, Charlie and Life-Changing WSOP Main Event Journey #1 - The Exclusive Interview with Isai Scheinberg Starting in 2009, I began asking PokerStars for the opportunity to interview co-founder, Isai Scheinberg. Every time I asked I was politely told the man didn't do interviews. Then Black Friday happened and the opportunity to speak with one of the most influential people in the history of the game was most likely gone. Still, I kept asking and in late 2020, Scheinberg agreed to grant me an exclusive interview - his first and only interview to date. The article took me nearly four months to write and was published on April 15, 2021, the 10-year anniversary of Black Friday. Read: Isai Scheinberg: His Company, His Legacy, and How Black Friday Impacted Both If you have enjoyed any of the content on PocketFives over the last six years, I can't thank you enough for being a reader or a listener. My time at PocketFives has been so enjoyable because of you.
  13. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week on The FIVES, Lance and Jeff bring you all of the need-to-know news from this week in the world of poker including Tom Dwan stopping Phil Hellmuth's win streak on High Stakes Duel III, news from the upcoming World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, the latest results from WSOP Online and WCOOP, and Phil Ivey finding his way back to the winner's circle. Plus, a big announcement about the future of The FIVES! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  14. Phil Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duel seven-match winning streak came to an end Wednesday night after nosebleed cash game savant Tom Dwan defeated the reigning champion in an entertaining five-and-a-half-hour, hard-fought heads-up battle for $200,000. Those hoping for Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan to reignite their 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship feud may have been disappointed when the pair sat down with commentator Ali Nejad for the High Stakes Duel III (Round 2) “Weigh-In” show. Whereas in boxing or MMA, the combatants posture as to who will have the upper hand, this pre-game hype show saw a pair of players who seemed to genuinely enjoy and respect each other as people, if not each other's poker game. As Nejad peppered both with questions about their past encounters on the felt and their evolution (both as players and people) over the past 13 years, he received mostly replies of the duo slinging compliments at each other. Dwan, adamant that Hellmuth is one of the best at playing against amateurs (even better than Daniel [Negreanu]), while Hellmuth reminisced about how he and Dwan have recently palled around, smoking cigars and talking crypto. Hellmuth even called Dwan at age 35, “already a legend.” The good vibes continued once the cards were in the air. Dwan and Hellmuth kept the conversation going in the early moments with “Durrrr” asking “The Poker Brat” some probing questions about his prior matches and Hellmuth doing his promotional duties for his many sponsors. Dwan got off to a quick start, flopping a flush on the very first hand holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"] on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"] flop. But with little to continue with, Hellmuth folded his [poker card="ad"][poker card="2c"] and just two hands later Hellmuth took over a chip lead that he didn’t surrender for the better part of two hours. The first important hand of the match took place in the first hour with Dwan raising the button to 1,200 holding [poker card="9h"][poker card="7d"] and Hellmuth defending his big blind with the [poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"]. Hellmuth checked in the dark as the dealer spread the [poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"][poker card="6h"] flop, giving Hellmuth two pair and Dwan an open-ended straight draw. Dwan continued for 1,500 and Hellmuth made the call. The turn came the [poker card="2s"] and Hellmuth checked again. Dwan fired 4,400 and Hellmuth made the call. The river came the [poker card="ac"] and after Hellmuth checked, Dwan bluffed for 11,000 with nine-high, and Hellmuth snap-called dragging more than 36,000 chips in the middle. As Dwan began climbing back from his lows, Hellmuth picked up another important early pot. From the button, Hellmuth called the 500 chip big blind with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="2d"]. Dwan made it 1,500 more to go holding the [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and Hellmuth came along. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5s"] flop kept Dwan in the lead and he led for 1,600 which Hellmuth called. The turn was the [poker card="4c"] and the action checked through. The [poker card="kh"] hit the river and Dwan led again, this time for 3,000. Hellmuth took a moment and announce a bet of 7,200 and after taking some time, Dwan paid him off, giving Hellmuth a 40,000 chip lead. Despite the things not going his way early, Dwan never showed any real frustration. He chipped away at Hellmuth and took over the chip lead for the first time since the first few minutes. From the button, Hellmuth made the call to 800 with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] and Dwan checked his option in the big blind holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="5s"] brought Dwan top two pair and Hellmuth both a flush and straight draw. Dwan checked it over to Hellmuth who bet 800 and Dwan promptly check-raised to 3,000, which Hellmuth called. The turn was the [poker card="6h"] and Dwan bet 4,800 and Hellmuth snap-called. The [poker card="3d"] came on the river and Dwan bet 13,300 and Hellmuth started talking to himself before finally letting it go. By the end of the third hour, Dwan had extended his chip lead and was looking for opportunities to take Hellmuth out. It almost came when Hellmuth, with 72k behind, called 1,000 from the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"]. Dwan raised it up to 4,000 from the big blind and Hellmuth made the call. The [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] flop brought an open-ended straight draw for Dwan and he led for 5,000. Hellmuth clicked it back, raising to 10,000 with his ace-high hand. Dwan made the call and the turn came the [poker card="jh"], bringing Dwan a straight. Dwan checked it over to Hellmuth, who bet another 14,000 drawing dead. Dwan considered his options and decided to shove. Hellmuth made the quick fold and Dwan’s lead surged to roughly three-to-one. “This is f***ing ridiculous actually,” Hellmuth fumed. “Noone’s ever beaten me raising every f***ing button before.”   Dwan continued to apply pressure, looking for the knockout blow and moving in with his big draws. But Hellmuth hung around and as he had in matches prior, turned his short stack around. Not only did he draw even with Dwan, but he reclaimed the chip lead for a short amount of time. But eventually, as the fifth hour was coming to a close, Dwan grabbed the lead back as well as a momentum that he wouldn’t let go of. With the blinds at 3,500/7,000, Dwan completed from the button with the [poker card="8h"][poker card="3h"] and Hellmuth checked holding the [poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"]. The flop came [poker card="jc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"] and the action checked through. The turn came the [poker card="2h"] and Hellmuth led out for 9,000 from his 83k stack. Dwan considered and opted for a call with his heart flush draw and live eight. The river came the [poker card="8s"], giving Dwan the best hand and when Hellmuth fired 11,000, Dwan found the call, scooped the pot, and built one of his biggest leads of the match. “Motherf***er. Call nine thousand with a dry f***ing flush draw,” Hellmuth rants. “Never getting paid off…He doesn’t know any better.” As Hellmuth paced and ranted, Dwan didn’t reply with the bravado he showed off in 2008. He calmly stacked his chips, like a pro who had been there many times before, unfazed by the antics. While not the final hand, the one that summed up the match came early in the sixth hour of play. Dwan made it 9,000 to go on the button with [poker card="kh"][poker card="2s"] and Hellmuth made the call from the big blind with the [poker card="td"][poker card="8d"]. The flop came [poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"], giving Dwan bottom pair. Hellmuth checked to Dwan who checked it back. The turn was the [poker card="5c"] and Hellmuth fired for 11,000 and Dwan made the call. The [poker card="3s"] hit the river and after cutting out some chips, Hellmuth announced a bet of 27,000 - half his remaining stack. Dwan tanked, used a time extension and let out a long sigh. Eventually, Dwan made the call, scooping the pot and grabbing an overwhelming eight-to-one chip lead. Down to his final 20K, Hellmuth picked up [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] on the button and limped for 4,000. Dwan checked his [poker card="9s"][poker card="3c"] and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2h"]. Dwan led out for 5,000 with his middle pair and Hellmuth sprung the trap, moving all-in with his pocket aces. Dwan called the extra three big blinds and was looking for help. Help arrived for Dwan when the [poker card="9c"] hit the turn, improving him to two pair. Down to his final card, Hellmuth needed help. However, as the [poker card="6c"] arrived on the river, Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duel unbeaten streak was over and Dwan became the show’s new champion. “Good battle,” Hellmuth said shaking Dwan’s hand with a smile on his face. Dwan laughed and replied “Yea, crazy last one.” Hellmuth now has 72 hours from the end of the match in which to declare if he will challenge Dwan for another match. If he declines, a new challenger will be announced for Round 3.
  15. “Pick your stakes heads up…I’ve said it a million times.” The highly-anticipated heads-up match 13 years in the making will finally take place on Wednesday, August 25 when Phil Hellmuth takes on Tom Dwan in High Stakes Duel III (Round 2) at 8 pm ET on PokerGO. Now with an undefeated record of 7-0 in the High Stakes Duel format, Hellmuth most recently vanquished Fox Sports personality Nick Wright in the first round of HSD III. When Wright declined the option for a rematch, the powers at PokerGO filled the open seat with of the most popular personalities to emerge from the early eras of online poker, fan favorite Tom Dwan. Hellmuth and Dwan will pick up where Wright left off, skipping the initial $50,000 buy-in match and jumping straight to Round 2, where both players will put up $100,000. "We're going to play heads up, I told you." Bringing Dwan in to face Hellmuth is more than just a case of fan service, it’s also a nice nod to history. At the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, Hellmuth and Dwan faced off in what is arguably the most memorable match of the events eight-year history. Back then, Hellmuth was just an 11-time WSOP bracelet winner - still the record holder - and as popular as he’d ever been. Dwan was an emerging online poker star in a time when there was still a divide between “real poker” and “internet poker.” The miniature heads-up table was nowhere near big enough for the two egos sitting at either end. Hellmuth, clad in his then signature Ultimate Bet hockey jersey, looked eager to show the kid a lesson or two while Dwan, having trouble getting comfortable, wasn’t interested in old-school ways of thinking. And just when the match was getting started, it was over. Hellmuth and Dwan were both all in, Hellmuth with pocket aces and Dwan with pocket tens. Standard. But when the ten of spades hit the turn and Dwan took the lead, the Poker Brat quickly emerged and the jawing began. “Son, I would tell you this much, son, I’d never put in more than three thousand with two tens before the flop,” Hellmuth chided Dwan. “I was going to say good game, sorry for the suck out but…when you phrase it that way it makes me not wanna.” Dwan replied, with his ever-present skyward side-eye in full effect. “Phil, that’s why you lose money online.” Dwan pushed the envelope telling Hellmuth to pick his stakes, that he’d play Hellmuth as many times as he’d like. As the back-and-forth continued, Hellmuth then uttered what may be the most memorable line from the match. “We’ll see if you’re even around in five years,” Thirteen Years Later Far more than five years later, Dwan is still here and both he and Hellmuth enjoy the perks of being two of the most popular players in the game today. With the clash of thirteen years ago well behind them, the 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship is still the backdrop for what will be an interesting clash of perceived styles when they reunite to finally face off in a televised rematch. The hype for the match will get started on PokerGO on Tuesday, August 24 at 8 pm. ET when Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman are scheduled to break down what can be expected when the two meet face-to-face. Then both Hellmuth and Dwan sit down with Nejad just before cards are in the air during The Weigh-In which starts on Wednesday, August 25 at 7:30 pm ET. Both players will give their thoughts about the match and, very likely, talk about their history together both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. [caption id="attachment_635969" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Phil Hellmuth, Tom Dwan (and Mr. Beast) play high-stakes cash at the Aria.[/caption] Finally, the action kicks off on August 25 at 8 pm ET as Hellmuth puts his undefeated record on the line while Dwan returns to the poker spotlight, bringing his years of playing in the ultra-high-stakes Macau cash games to the High Stakes Duel felt. Whether Dwan bests Hellmuth to take the HSD belt or if Hellmuth avenges his 2008 NBC Heads-Up loss over Dwan, the loser of the match will have the option to call for a rematch with the stakes doubling to $200,000 a player. High Stakes Duel III, Round 2 - Phil Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan is available with a subscription to PokerGO.
  16. Poker Hall of Fame member Erik Seidel captured his ninth career World Series of Poker bracelet after winning GGPoker 2021 WSOP Online Event #11 ($10,000 Super MILLION$ High Roller) for $977,842. With the victory, Seidel moves into a tie for third all-time bracelets with the legendary Johnny Moss and sits just one bracelet win behind Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Johnny Chan. Seidel's last WSOP gold bracelet win took place in 2007 when he won the live $5,000 Duece To Seven Lowball Championship for $538,835 of his now more than $37 million in career live earnings. The final table was especially hard-fought as not only was the gold bracelet on the line, but the WSOP edition of the Super MILLION$ had nearly $1 million up top. Start of the day chip leader Francisco Benitez applied constant pressure while some of today's best online pros including Thomas Mueloecker, Isaac Baron, and Rui Ferreira fought over six-figure sums. It took just two hands before the first player fell. With the blinds at 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante) Thomas Muehloecker opened from under the gun to 336,000 holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. When it folded to Rui Ferreira in the hijack, he moved all in for roughly 15 big blinds with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. Muehloecker took only a second to call, and Ferreira was flipping for his tournament life. The board ran out [poker card="td"][poker card="6h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qc"] allowing Muehloecker’s pocket jacks to hold and ending Ferreira’s day before it got started in ninth place for $129,410. Despite the quick elimination of Ferreira, the action at the final table slowed down considerably. It took nearly an hour for the next player to hit the rail. The blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 (30,000 ante) when a short-stacked Isaac Baron opened from under the gun to 1.25 million with [poker card="qd"][poker card="js"], leaving himself with just over one big blind behind. In the cutoff, Chin-wei Chien flat called holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] and the rest of the table let go of their hands. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4s"] and Baron moved all-in for his final big blind and Chien snap-called. The turn was the [poker card="2s"], giving Baron some flush outs but the river came the [poker card="tc"] and shipped the pot to Chien, as Baron, who started the day sixth in chips, exited in eighth place for $166,631. Five hands later, former Super MILLION$ champion Claas Segebrecht found himself on the short stack and looking for help. After Erik Seidel opened from UTG+1 to 500,000 with [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"], it folded to Segebrecht in the big blind with [poker card="9s"][poker card="9c"] and he moved all-in. Seidel made the quick call and the flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"] keeping Seidel’s pocket kings in great shape to hold. The [poker card="kd"] effectively ended the hand improving Seidel to a set and leaving Segebrecht drawing dead to the [poker card="9h"] river. It was a small river needle for Segebrecht who collected $214,557 for his seventh-place finish. Thirty minutes later, the blinds had climbed to 175,000/350,000 (45,000 ante) when Norway’s Joachim Haraldstad put in a raise to 1.575 million with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"], leaving himself with three big blinds behind. By this time, Fransicso Benitez had amassed a healthy chip lead over the field and moved all-in from the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. Both the blinds released their hands and Haraldstad committed the rest of his stack. The flop came [poker card="qs"][poker card="7h"][poker card="3d"], keeping kickers in play. The turn was the [poker card="qc"], bringing some additional chop outs for Haraldstad. But the river came the [poker card="4c"], awarding the pot to Benitez and sending Haraldstad out in sixth place for a $276,268 payday. Moments later, Chien moved all-in for nearly 3.9 million from the cutoff with [poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"] and when it folded to Muehloecker in the big blind with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"] he made the call. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"] flop put Muehloecker in the lead with top pair and left Chien looking for running spades or one of the last two fours in the deck. The turn was the [poker card="5h"] and the river was the [poker card="kh"], ending Chein’s run in fifth place for $355,728. A tense four-handed battle was waged for the better part of thirty minutes as Benitez held the chip lead, Muehloecker was not terribly far behind, and both Seidel and Shyngis Satubayev were within striking distance with around 20 big blinds. With the blinds at 250,000/500,000 (60,000 ante), Benitez put in a raise to 1 million on the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"] and Satubayev shoved all-in for more than 12 million holding [poker card="ts"][poker card="td"]. Seidel folded his [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"] and Benitez quickly called putting Satubayev’s tournament life at risk. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"][poker card="7c"], keeping the pocket queens in the lead. The turn fell the [poker card="ks"], reversing Satubayev’s outs from the final two tens to two queens to make a straight. But the river was [poker card="kc"] and the cooler sent Satubayev to the rail in fourth place for $458,043. Benitez held a roughly 2:1 chip lead over both Muehloecker and Seidel when, with the blinds at 300,000/600,000 (75,000 ante), he opened from the button to 1.2 million with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"]. After Seidel folded his small blind, Muehloecker shipped his 26 big blind stack all-in holding [poker card="as"][poker card="th"]. Benitez made the call and Muehloecker saw that he was dominated. The flop came [poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"], keeping Benitez ahead. The turn was the [poker card="kh"], and Muehloecker needed a ten to survive. However, the river fell the [poker card="jd"] and Muehloecker bid for a Super MILLION$ title ended in third place for $589,785. Benitez had both the chip lead and momentum when heads-up play against Seidel started. But only a few hands into heads-up play, Seidel found a double when he coolered Benitez holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="qd"] against the [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"] of Benitez. After than, Seidel built a chip lead of his own, taking a 2:1 advantage. On the last hand, with the blinds at 350,000/700,000 (85,000 ante) Seidel limped the button holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="8h"] and Benitez put in a raise to 2.8 million with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"]. Seidel took a few seconds and then shipped all-in and Benitez snap-called creating a monster pot of more than 52 million. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4h"], giving Seidel heart flush out while keeping Benitez with a small edge. The turn was the [poker card="ad"], but it was the [poker card="3h"] river that helped Seidel come from behind in the hand to win it all. Benitez settled for runner-up and its $759,418 payday for second place, while Erik Seidel claims World Series of Poker bracelet number 9 and the $977,842 first-place prize. WSOP Online Event #11 (Super MILLION$) Final Table Erik Seidel - $977,842 Francisco Benitez - $759,418 Thomas Muehloecker - $589,785 Shyngis Satubayev - $458,043 Chin-wei Chien - $355,728 Joachim Haraldstad - $276,268 Claas Segebrecht - $214,557 Isaac Baron - $166,631 Rui Ferreira - $129,410
  17. It’s been nearly two years since the last live World Series of Poker took place and for poker players around the world, poker’s premier summer camp has been sorely missed. It's not just the massive amount of action, but also all of the little things that take place when one travels to Sin City to chase the glory of winning a bracelet, that makes for the total experience. With the World Series of Poker 50 days away, the PocketFives staff sat down and came up with 50 things, both big and small (and in no particular order), that we are looking forward to when the WSOP returns on September 30. 1. “Shuffle Up And Deal” Is there anything more exciting than taking your seat in a WSOP bracelet event and getting underway with the classic starting gun of “Shuffle Up and Deal!” 2. Daniel Negreanu’s poker vlogs. Over the past few years, one of the most fun pieces of content has been Daniel Negreanu allowing you to be his wingman as he chases WSOP bracelet number seven in his daily WSOP vlogs. Everything from cameos by some of poker’s biggest stars to behind-the-scenes access to his daily grind Negreanu lets those who can’t make the trip to the WSOP feel like they are part of the action. 3. The hustle back to the table. Speed walking the Rio hallway to make sure you don’t miss a hand after the break. Not only do you want to be in action, but we all know that if we miss a hand or two, somebody at the table will inevitably joke that “you got aces” upon your return. 4. The Poker Kitchen. Trying to decide between chicken strips or a pre-packaged sandwich from the poker kitchen. Complaining about the food at the poker kitchen has become as much of a WSOP tradition as the bracelets themselves. But we’d all rather eat the $18 cobb salad than getting stuck in traffic trying to get back to the Rio after the dinner break. 5. Standing in line at Starbucks behind Huck Seed. Hitting the long line at the Rio Starbucks to get some caffeine to shake off the night before and get ready for a long grind at the tables and see some of your favorite poker players doing the same thing. 6. Behold the bracelet! One can’t help but appreciate the moment when WSOP tournament director Jack Effel presents the gold bracelet to the series most recent champion. 7. Grinding for lammers. Getting your satellite grind on, grabbing pink lammers, and then wandering the hallways looking for someone who is buying into the next event to sell them to. 8. The Amazon Room. There was a time when all of the rooms had the dim lighting currently held by the Amazon Room, but whether you start there or are moved into the back ballroom as the money draws near - there’s nothing like playing in the Amazon Room. 9. Killing time in the “Mothership.” Not everything is going to go your way at the WSOP, but when you’ve busted the latest tournament and you’re ready to dive into the next one, the ample seating of the Final Table spaceship has a spot for you to watch the kind of action you are hoping to be playing in. 10. Squeaking into the money. Of course, everyone would prefer to be the big stack heading into the money bubble. But when the choice is not your own and you gotta grind out those last few big blinds to make the money, sometimes trying to survive on fumes is a game unto itself. 11. Acting like you’ve been there before. Tap, tap. Nice hand. Good luck everyone. 12. Mean mugging for poker photogs. You’re a poker player at a poker table in the middle of a poker game. Now, let’s see that poker face. 13. Friendly reunions… It’s been nearly two years since the last World Series of Poker and, for many, the same amount of time since they’ve seen some of their friends from poker player summer camp in person. Raise a glass to reunions! 14. …at the Hooker Bar. The last stop on the way out of the Rio is the iconic “Hooker Bar” where many of the WSOP’s greatest late-night stories have taken place. There’s always time for one more. 15. Getting harassed by phone charging vendors. The bad boys of the WSOP hallway will be back for one more shot at upselling you a phone accessory at four times what you can get it for online. A sight for sore eyes for sure. 16. Phil Hellmuth rants. Love him or hate him, the Poker Brat is woven into the fabric of the WSOP. The 15 bracelets are only half of what makes Hellmuth, well, Hellmuth. The other is the antics and temper tantrums that have helped make him famous. At some point during the seven weeks of action, somebody is going to do something to set Hellmuth off. And the ensuing rant about how bad his opponents play and/or how well he is playing will serve as a tell-tale sign that the WSOP is back. 17. Finding a GTO way to beating the crowds to the restroom. Maybe this isn’t something to look forward to but it’s key to make life a little more comfortable during the series. No one wants to miss a hand, what you don’t know won’t hurt you and standing in a long line to use the restroom is one of the worst ways to spend a break. 18. Mid-day table-side massages. Long days of grinding can wear a person down, luckily there’s a swarm of top-tier professionals ready to help work out the kinks while you are trying to build a stack at the table. 19. Picking up big hands in big spots. Who wouldn’t be excited to look down at pocket aces in a bracelet event? 20. Getting featured on an upcoming vlog (battling for Bradley Bucks). Whether it’s at the Rio or another one of Las Vegas’ many poker rooms, during the WSOP most of the well-known vloggers will be in action. Whether it’s Brad or Andrew, Jaman or Johnnie or another up-and-coming poker cinematographer like Mariano, there’s a chance that if you play cash games in Sin City you might just get to guest star in an upcoming YouTube vlog. 21. Kevmath’s Daily Deepstack Updates. There simply isn’t a more beloved figure in poker than Kevin Mathers and following along as the man known as the WSOP social media czar or guru navigates his way through a Michelob Ultra or two while playing in one of the Rio Daily Deepstacks gives everybody the feels. 22. Having a drink with Niall Farrell at Hal’s hallway bar. As long as it’s not the first or second level of the day, you can find Niall Farrell in one of two places. The first is the Daily Deepstack where he’s blasting away while a Corona or two deep. The other is in the hallway bar with his good friend Hal the Bartender. Either way, Niall’s a good enough sport that he just might buy you a beer and listen to your bad beat story. 23. Punting a Saturday tournament to make a Sunday LV Raiders game. Okay, so maybe this isn’t something we missed since the Raiders weren’t in Vegas in 2019 and this is the first (and only) Fall WSOP, but knowing you can get over the bad beat by watching the Raiders the next day is something to look forward to. 24. Grabbing the latest in poker literature from D&B. Seeing Dan and Byron from D&B Poker selling the latest poker books from the likes of Chris Moorman, Jonathan Little, and PocketFives’ own Lance Bradley at their booth in the hallway. 25. Sitting to the left of one of your favorite pros (or anywhere with Phil Laak). One of the best parts about the World Series of Poker is that anyone, who can pony up a buy-in, can play. That means that recreational players get to mingle with the pros and no matter the bracelet event, there’s going to be some famous poker players in the field. Don’t pass up the chance to put in a three-bet when you think Phil Laak is raising light. 26. Diving out of the way of Doyle’s scooter. It was just a couple of years ago that Doyle said he was finished playing tournaments at the WSOP. But this year, he indicated that in 2021 - he’d be back scooting around the Amazon room for an encore (and a shot at bracelet #11). 27. Suffering through a bad beat story (while still in the tournament). Bad beat stories are rarely tolerable but when you still have a shot at a gold bracelet, you can lend an ear to a friend. After all, if and when you bust, you’ll be the one telling the story. 28. Cheering on a friend making a deep run - when you have a piece of them. Poker’s an individual game, but having (and being a part of) a support system is crucial. So, enjoy the ride from the sidelines when you have a small percentage of a pal and help them keep their head on straight in the middle of a deep run. 29. Bagging chips at the end of the day. No better way to end a day of play than to find a bag in a big event. Pass the pens around and write your name clearly so friends and family can find you in the chip counts. 30. Players complaining about a live update having bad info. Poker fans around the world consume content at a gluttonous pace during the WSOP. This includes live updates from every bracelet event. Inevitably, some of the reported include mistakes. A card is reported incorrectly, either the suit or the value is wrong. Sometimes bet sizes are wrong. These mistakes happen in the rush to get information to those hungry fans. This causes players involved in those hands to take their complaints to Twitter. 31. Playing the games your local card room never bothers to offer. No Limit Hold’em may be the “Cadillac of Poker” but the game has so much more to offer when you play other variants. During the WSOP, there are plenty of other games offered (both inside and outside of the Rio) to allow you to test your overall poker skills. 32. A deep run in the $50K by Phil Ivey. With all of his court cases officially behind him, Phil Ivey has indicated that he’s planning on making a return to the Rio this year. When he does, it’s expected he’ll be firing in the biggest tournaments on the schedule, including the $50,000 Poker Players Championship where he’ll be a favorite to make a deep run. 33. Late-night cash game action everywhere in Sin City. When the World Series of Poker tournaments are taking place, the cash game action all over the city reaches a fever pitch. Not only can you find great games, at every buy-in level, in nearly every poker room on the strip but poker rooms games that don’t typically run also show up on the board. It’s non-stop cash game action during the WSOP. 34. Treating yourself to an All-American Dave meal. Sure, the poker kitchen is good for a quick bite but it’s not exactly a quick bite that’s good FOR you. All-American Dave has serviced the WSOP poker playing public with healthy meals from his food truck. You don’t have to be a baller and get the meals delivered to the table, you can simply pop out back and treat yourself to something a little healthier to help get you through the day. 35. Forgetting what day of the week it is. The grind plays tricks on the mind. Just don’t miss your flight home. 36. Calling for a card and seeing it appear. Everything seems bigger when battling for a bracelet and it just feels so good when you spike the perfect card at the perfect time to keep the dream alive for another orbit. 37. Hearing Gus Hansen announce that “It’s going to be a great fall.” While in Las Vegas throughout 2018 and 2019 Gus Hansen let it be known that “it’s going to be a great summer.” With the WSOP playing out in the fall this year, we hope to see The Great Dane keep the good times going with an appropriate seasonal motto. 38. Watching your ODB Fantasy team struggle. Despite fielding a near-perfect roster, complete with a pair of sleeper picks you stole for the cheap, your fantasy team is still going to underperform. But that’s ok because it’s all about the sweat anyway. 39. Live episodes of The FIVES from the Amazon Room. You may be stuck behind a desk for the time being but the guys from The FIVES will be bringing you all of the latest news and results from the floor of the WSOP. A great way to kill an hour and keep tabs on the series. 40. Double bracelet winners. It's almost a certainty that at least one player will go on a heater and sun run their way to at least two bracelets during the series. Can't wait to see who emerges this year. 41. Allen Kessler finishing second in something. Four times in his WSOP career, Allen ‘the Chainsaw’ Kessler has made his way through all but one player in a WSOP event only to have that one player block him from winning his first WSOP bracelet. Kessler has served as bridesmaid to Lukas Zaskodny, Brian Rast, Frank Kassela, and Todd Brunson. 42. Short stacks "struggling" to find their new table. For a lot of players, cashing in a WSOP event is a lifelong dream. Some might be willing to, let’s say, bend the rules a little bit to check that item off of their bucket list. This includes the short stack being sent to their new table only to find the open seat is about to be in the big blind. It’s at this moment that a poker player with an aptitude for numbers fails to understand the elementary school level system of numbering tables as they walk right by that empty seat before getting “lost” in the tables some 30 feet away. 43. Getting called “baby” by Scotty Nguyen. In 1998, Scotty Nguyen looked at Kevin McBride at told him, “you call, gonna be all over, baby” on his way to winning the WSOP Main Event. Since then, Nguyen has won three more WSOP bracelets (for a total of five) and has called approximately 71 million other poker players “baby” in what has become his trademark phrase. 44. Walking past a closed Hash House. Dinner breaks at the WSOP can be chaos. Some players grab Ubers or taxis and head to local restaurants, but the majority of players look for something inside the Rio. On the busiest of days, that leads to long lines at All-American Bar & Grille, El Burro Borracho, and the dim sum joint. But on your way from the tournament area to those restaurants, you’ll inevitably walk past a closed Hash House A Go Go. The breakfast spot is apparently only allowed to be open during breakfast hours. 45. Making the correct decision in a big, big spot. Sometimes you gotta risk it for the biscuit and one of the best feelings in tournament poker is making the right decision in the most crucial of spots with what feels like all the eyes in the room on you. 46. That god damned carpet. There isn’t a casino in the world that doesn’t have tilt-inducing carpet and the Rio is no exception. But over the years, players have come to know the carpet well - much like the carpet in their parent's house. You don’t like it. You wouldn’t put it in your house. But at least it’s familiar. 47. Hopping in an Uber to head to your next tournament. Busting out of a WSOP tournament is a horrible, horrible feeling for any player. Thankfully, the WSOP isn’t the only tournament series in town and the next event is just a short Uber ride away. 48.Finally making it out of the bowling alley and into the Brazilia during the Reunion. Smaller buy-in WSOP tournaments draw massive turnouts every year. While that’s great for the prize pools and the eventual winner, sometimes players are forced to start their tournament journey in less-than-ideal settings. Any available square footage gets used and in past years that has included an empty bowling alley and the area right outside of Guy Fierri’s Mexican joint. Getting moved from there to the main tournament is a welcome sight for all. 49. Check-raising the flop with air. You defended the big blind against a 3X open with [5c][8d] and the flop came [jh][7s][2s]. You checked to the aggressor and he fired out a pretty standard continuation bet. At this point you really had two choices: fold and post the small blind for the next hand, or announce “raise” and put your opponent to the test. Maybe even because you put him on Ace-King? 50. The Main Event! There’s only one, true World Series of Poker Main Event and there’s nothing like it in the game of poker.
  18. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don't miss another all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Jeff bring you the latest news and results from some of poker's biggest events. This week, with the World Series of Poker less than 50 days away, the guys talk about the WSOP's new Rule 115, which gives the WSOP strong decision-making powers about how they plan on handling players in the midst of the COVID crisis. Plus, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open wrapped up with a one-time WSOP Main Event champion continuing to make his case as being one of the best tournament players in the game today. Also, WSOP Online results and the guys talk a little about what they are looking forward to when the live series gets underway at the end of September. It's time to tune in! Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  19. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. In an all-new episode of The FIVES, Lance and Jeff dive into another interesting week in the poker world including breaking down the announcement from PokerGO that Phil Hellmuth's next High Stakes Duel is none other than high-stakes phenom Tom Dwan, who Hellmuth last played at the NBC Heads Up Championship back in 2008. Plus, the domestic World Series of Poker Online event has come to an end this week with a Championship event field that came as a surprise. Additionally, the pair talk about a pair of new poker movies on the horizon and finally tear apart one of poker's hottest debates: Who has the better career - Hellmuth or Negreanu? Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  20. Dalton Hobold was just 21 when he won $106,000 in an $11 buy-in tournament. It was 2017 and the sixth anniversary of the PokerStars Sunday Storm - a gargantuan MTT with 131,715 entries - and the prize he pocketed for his runner-up finish remains his largest cash to date. By any measure, it was an incredible start to a poker career which today sees the 25-year-old Brazilian rank 14th in the world with $3.53 million in career winnings. The fact that Hobold--known as 'daltonhb' on PokerStars and 'morgota' on GGPoker--is now a consistent crusher in high stakes tournaments is even more admirable when you know the many hardships he endured immediately after that score; enough to drive many players away from poker for good. ***** Hobold was a teenager when his older brother taught him poker at their family home in Itapiranga, Santa Catarina. He played more intently while at college studying civil engineering and soon won an online tournament for $1,000. “I kept winning more and more tournaments and was making more money than in my job,” he says. “I decided to stop working but continue with my studies. For the next few years of college, I was a professional poker player. I made enough to pay all the bills.” It was during his third and final college year that Hobold enjoyed his breakout six-figure score in the Sunday Storm. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “It was so much money that I didn’t know what to do with it.” Hobold had no experience managing such large sums of money. He was only 21, after all, and ultimately the win led to the worst experiences of his young life. “I had so many problems with that money,” he says. “I think it would be better if I hadn’t won it.” With $106,000 in his PokerStars bankroll, Hobold transferred $20,000 to his Neteller account. Not long after, his email was hacked and the perpetrator was able to break into both his partypoker and Neteller accounts, amongst others. “That was my first lesson: never use a single email address for all of your accounts,” he says. “Luckily, my PokerStars account couldn’t be hacked, but I lost all of the money I had on Neteller. I contacted their support team several times so they could track the guy and get the money back, but it didn’t happen.” It’s one thing to be robbed by a faceless villain. It’s another thing entirely to have your money stolen by someone you trusted and admired. But that’s exactly what happened next. ***** The first poker book Hobold ever read was by a Brazilian named Leo Bello. For much of the 21st century, Bello was considered a pioneer of poker in Brazil. A former doctor, he co-founded the São Paulo Hold'em Circuit, won the inaugural Main Event in 2006, and subsequently found fame as a poker personality. He wrote two books (2007’s Learning to Play Poker and 2009’s Dominating the Art of Poker), commentated on poker for Brazilian TV, and even appeared as a guest on Brazil’s most popular late-night talk show, Programa do Jô. According to a post by user ‘VinnyCout’ on twoplustwo, Bello also ran a successful poker stable with more than 40 horses. Hobold was close with Bello, exchanging dollars on online sites whenever the other needed funds. After the hacking incident, Hobold reached out to his old friend. “I asked him to help me get my money back,” says Hobold. “We called some lawyers for help, but it didn’t work. We then made a deal where I’d invest in his stable.” Hobold sent Bello $56,000 in a PokerStars transfer. “I trusted him a lot. He was famous in Brazil at the time, after all,” he says. But according to Hobold: “He was behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of Brazilian poker that I know of.” According to Hobold and VinnyCout, Bello began asking friends and fellow poker players to invest in his stable, and for two years everything ran smoothly, with investors receiving money back. But somewhere along the line, the payments to investors stopped, despite the stable supposedly being in profit. VinnyCout claims Bello “oversold shares” of the stable while living a “luxury lifestyle in one of the most expensive points in Rio, doing (sic) many travels to Europe.” To this day, Hobold hasn’t received a penny of his money back from Bello. “He disappeared after that and my money was robbed...again,” he says. “This time it was even worse. Not only did I lose my money, I also lost my belief in poker and that was so hard to conquer.” These experiences resulted in Hobold entering a period he describes as “near to a depression”. He became “really fat” and lost all of his self-esteem. “It was hard to play poker thinking about what had happened,” he says. ********* Everything turned around for Hobold when he joined the BitB Brazil team at the beginning of 2019. “I learned a lot of poker stuff,” he says, including bankroll management and GTO strategies, plus he now had a big network of poker-playing friends. “This is all stuff that I never had before.” These days Hobold plays in a ‘pool’ with two good friends and fellow poker pros, sharing all wins and losses between the three of them. It’s going so well they’re considering expanding the pool to start playing high stakes live tournaments. In May 2021, Hobold was named the PocketFives Online Player of the Month after cashing for more than $331,000 across roughly 140 in-the-money finishes. The highlight? Taking down the $1,050 GGPoker WSOP Circuit Super Tuesday event for a $55,880 score, the fourth largest cash of his career. He now battles against the best in the world every session he plays. “It’s really hard,” he admits. “And it’s important I know every one of them.” As the current #14-ranked online poker player in the world and #5-ranked player in all of Brazil, you can bet they all know him too.
  21. For six hours on Wednesday night, Phil Hellmuth sat across from Fox Sports 1's First Things co-host Nick Wright and found an opponent willing to match him blow-for-blow - both in cards and the verbal jabs. In the end, it didn't matter and Hellmuth went on to win the opening round of PokerGO's High Stakes Duel III. Hellmuth now has a perfect 7-0 record in this format. He defeated Antonio Esfandiari 3-0 in 2020 and then rattled off three straight wins against Daniel Negreanu earlier this year. Hellmuth and Wright spent the opening minutes of the match promoting each other's platforms before spending the next 30 minutes playing small pots, feeling each other out, before Wright struck the first blow. Hellmuth raised to 450 with [poker card="as"][poker card="8d"] and Wright called with [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"]. The flop came [poker card="jc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"] and Wright bet 500 and then called after Hellmuth raised to 1,500. Both players checked the [poker card="9h"] turn. After the [poker card="4s"] river, Wright bet 3,500 and while Hellmuth was considering his options, Wright began to to talk to the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. "You're definitely folding," Wright said, multiple times. Hellmuth called and Wright showed him the winner to take a 57,000-43,000 lead. The next big hand didn't come for another 45 minutes but lead to an epic Hellmuth rant. Hellmut opened to 500 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jc"] and Wright called with [poker card="td"][poker card="6s"]. After the [poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"] flop, Wright check-called Hellmuth's bet of 500. Wright then checked the [poker card="jh"] turn and Hellmuth bet 1,500 with top pair and Wright called. The river was the [poker card="tc"] to give Wright two pair and he checked once again. Hellmuth bet 4,600 and Wright called and tabled his hand saying, "I rivered you, buddy." Hellmuth immediately stood up and began pacing around the studio, and dropped F-bombs in the ensuing rant including the following soliloquy. "What a fucking mockery, man. This is my fucking living here. Just a fucking off-suit fucking ten. From a fucking calling station," Hellmuth said as both players were playing the next hand. Wright had built his stack up to 72,000. Hellmuth took a chunk back 15 minutes later with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] against Wright's [poker card="as"][poker card="9d"] on the [poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="qs"] board. Most of that went back to Wright after Hellmuth led out for 7,200 into a pot of 12,500 on a board of [poker card="qs"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="3s"]. Hellmuth was bluffing with [poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"] while Wright had turned quads with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"]. Wright raised to 27,000 and Hellmuth tossed his cards into the muck. Wright was in front with 64,000 to Hellmuth's 36,000. Hellmuth slowly chipped away at Wright's lead over the next hour to once again find himself even. Rather than relinquish the opportunity, Hellmuth continued to apply pressure to Wright and three hours into play, held a 2-1 chip lead of his own. An an hour later, that lead had grown to 5-1 before Wright played a familiar tune to gain some chips back. Hellmuth called from the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"] before Wright moved all in for 12,200 with [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"]. Hellmuth called only to see the [poker card="5h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop give Wright a full house. Hellmuth was drawing dead after the [poker card="as"] turn as the meaningless [poker card="8d"] river completed the board. Hellmuth still held a 3-1 lead. The duel went on for another two hours with little fluctuation before a cooler of a hand ended things. Holding 70,000 of the 100,000 in play, Hellmuth limped the button for 800 with [poker card="8c"][poker card="5c"] and Wright checked with [poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"][poker card="5s"] flop gave both players a flush draw and Wright check-called Hellmuth's bet of 2,000. The [poker card="tc"] turn completed both flush draws and Wright checked again. Hellmuth bet 3,000 and Wright called, leaving himself 22,000 behind. The river was the [poker card="8d"] and Wright checked for a third time. Hellmuth bet 7,400 into the 13,200 pot and Wright moved all in for 22,000. Hellmuth called and tabled the winner to capture his seventh straight High Stakes Duel victory. While Esfandiari and Negreanu were both quick to invoke the rematch option provided to the loser of the match, Wright indicated after the match that he wanted to think about it and consider his options before deciding if he will be back to play Hellmuth in a $100,000 buy-in.
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